Mir Abdul Hai “Taban”: A Lover Who Looked like a Beloved (Urdu)

  • Saleem Kidwai


Mir Abdul Hai “Taban” (Luminous) lived in Delhi. He was born some time between 1718 and 1722 A.D.2 All contemporaries, including Mir Taqi Mir, describe him as extremely good looking and often refer to him as Yusuf-i sani, the second Yusuf.3 He always dressed in black. A story frequently related is that the Mughal emperor Shah Alam, on hearing of Taban’s beauty, wanted to have a look at him and arranged to pass by his house. Taban heard of this and made sure he was sitting in front of his house when the royal cavalcade passed.4


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  1. 1.
    Translated from Abdul Haq, ed., Diwan-i Taban (Aurangabad: Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu, 1935).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ismat Malihabadi, ed., Intikhab-i Abdul Hai Taban (Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy, 1997), 5.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Muhammad Hussain Azad, Aab i-hayat (Calcutta: Usmaniya Book Depot, 1967), 170–71.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Tariq Rahman, “Boy Love in the Urdu Ghazal,” Annual of Urdu Studies, 7(1990): 1–20Google Scholar

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© Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai 2000

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  • Saleem Kidwai

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