Mirza Abdul-Qader Bedil biography and peoetry

Mirza Abdul-Qader Bedil is one of the most respected poets with the Afghans. In the early 17th century, his family moved from Afghan Turkestan (Balkh region) to India, to live under the Moghul dynasty. Bedil himself, although ethnically an Uzbek, was born and educated in India. In his later life he spent time travelling and visiting his ancestral lands.

His writings are extensive and none have been lost. His kulliat (complete works) consist of many ghazals, tarkib-bands, a tarjih-band, mu'ammas (riddles) and more. He also wrote four masnavis, the most important being "Irfaan", which he completed at age 68. It contains many stories and fairy tales, outlining the poets philosophical views.

Possibly as a result of being brought up in such a mixed religious environment, Bedil had considerably more tolerant views than his poetic contemporaries. He preferred free thought to accepting the established beliefs of his time, siding with the common people and rejecting the clergy who he often saw as corrupt.

He essentially believed that the world was eternal, and in constant motion. He believed that all life was first mineral, then plant, then animal. He also expressed disbelief in judgement day and other orthodox tenets of faith. Despite this, he was by no means an atheist or a freethinker in the modern day sense. On the contrary, he had complicated views on the nature of God, heavily influenced by the Sufis (with whom he spent a considerable period of time).

Bedil enjoyed virtually no fame in Iran, and only few scholars knew of him until recently. In Afghanistan and Tajikistan, however, he had a following that almost followed like a cult. People would get together at weekly Bedil meetings to study and interpret his poetry, and he was the poet of choice for many ghazal singers (including the most illustrious of all, Ustad Sarahang, who even expressed his desire to be buried at Bedils tomb.)

The language of Bedil is as complicated as his thoughts. His sentence structure and use of images often requires time to comprehend, being as difficult for a Dari speaker as Shakespeare is for the modern English speaker. If comparing his language to the Iranian contemporary poets such as Sa’ib, one can clearly see the difference between modern Dari and Iranian Farsi.

Some of Bedils ghazals:

Ba baghi ke chun gol khandida budum
Sereshkam nuskha-e dewana-e kist