He is known as the father of Urdu poetry, being the first established poet to have composed Ghazals in Urdu language and compiled a divan (a collection of ghazals where the entire alphabet is used at least once as the last letter to define the rhyme pattern).
Before Wali, South Asian Ghazals were composed in Persian, almost being replicated in thought and style from the original Persian masters like Saa'di, Jami and Khaqani. Wali began, using not only an Indian language, but Indian themes, idioms and imagery in his ghazals. It is said that his visit to Delhi in 1700, along with his divan of Urdu ghazals created a ripple in the literary circles of the north, inspiring them to produce stalwarts like Zauq, Sauda and Mir.
|Wali Muhammad Wali|
1707 (aged 40)|
|Pen name||Wali Deccani, Wali Aurangabadi, Wali Gujarati|
|Genre||Ghazal, masnavi, qasida, mukhammas|
Born in 1667 at Aurangabad, an important city in the present Maharashtra State. He loved travelling, which he regarded as a means of education. He visited Delhi, Surat, Burhanpur and also undertook pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.
Wali Mohammed Wali's visit to Delhi in 1700 is considered to be of great significance for Urdu Ghazals. His simple, sensuous and melodious poems in Urdu, awakened the Persian loving poets of Delhi to the beauty and capability of "Rekhta" (the old name for Urdu) as a medium of poetic expression. Wali Mohammed Wali's visit thus stimulated the growth and development of Urdu Ghazal in Delhi.
Although Wali tried his hand at a variety of verse forms including the masnavi, qasida, mukhammas, and the rubai., the ghazal is his speciality. He wrote 473 ghazals containing 3,225 couplets (Ashaar). His poems were simple, sensuous & melodious.He was a trend setter in classical poetry who helped establish Urdu ghazal in Delhi by inspiring different poets to write in Urdu It is believed that Wali started to have established the tradition of writing ghazals in Urdu and also influencing the other writers when he visited Delhi. Before that, preferred language for ghazals was Persian.
Some of his famous couplets are
Jisay Ishq Ka Teer Kaari Lagay
Use Zindagi Jag Mein Bhaari Lagay
Naa Chode Mohabbat Daame Marg Tak
Jisay Yaar Jaanisoon Yaari Lagay
Naa Howe Use Jag Mein Hargiz Qaraar
Jise Ishq Ki Beqaraari Lagay
Har Ek Waqt Mujhe Aashiq Zaar Koon
Pyaare Teri Baat pyaari Lagay
“Wali” Koon Kahe Tu Agar Yak Bachan
Raqeebon Dil Mein Kataari Lagay
His favorite theme was love – both mystical and earthy – and his characteristic tone was one of cheerful affirmation and acceptance, rather than of melancholy grumbling. He was the first Urdu poet to have started the practice of expressing love from the man's point of view, as against the prevailing convention of impersonating as a woman.
If, on the one hand, Wali unraveled the beauty and richness of the native language as a poetic medium, on the other, he was alive to the vigor and verve of Persian diction and imagery which he successfully incorporated into the body of his verse. He may thus be called the architect of the modern poetic language, which is a skillful blend of Aam Boli and Persian vocabulary. His diction was unique here is one of his famous ghazal.
Yaad karna har ghari us yaar ka
Hai wazifa mujh dil-e-bimaar ka.
Tishna-lab hun sharbat-e-didaar ka.
Aakbat kya howega maalum nahin
Dil hua hai mubtla dildaar ka.
Kya kahe tarif dil, hai be nazir,
Harf harf us makhzan-e-Israar ka.
Gar hua hai taalib-e-Aazadgi,
Band mat ho subba-o-zunnaar ka.
Masnad-e-gul manzil-e-shabanam hui,
Dekh rutba dida-e-bedaar ka.
Aye Wali hona srijan par nisaar,
Mudda hai chashm-e-gohar baar ka.
His memorial tomb in Shahibaug, Ahmedabad was attacked by the Hindu mob during riots in 2002 and replaced with makeshift Hanuman temple. It was completely razed and the road was constructed overnight. After protests from citizens and literary class of city, the Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Gujarat High Court.
In 2010, a widely acclaimed short film on Wali's life was made by a film-maker Gopal K. Annam.