Hakim Muhammad Momin Khan ‘Momin’ was born in 1797. He studied Arabic and Persian. He had a multifaceted personality. Not only was he a renowned physician, he was also well-versed in music, astronomy and astrology. He was also reported to be an oustanding chess player.
Momin’s poetry is free of allusions to mystical love and philosophical thoughts. It is steeped in praise of love and beauty. He used Persian words without making his work cumbersome and difficult to understand.
He never accepted any employment offer from any King or even by the British. His answer – “Gustakhi maaf, ham kisi ki naukari nahiN karate” ! Unfortunately at the age of 55 he fell down from the terrace and died after 3-4 months on 12th May, 1852.
After his death MiyaaN Nazir KhaaN, (a famous Veena player of that time) packed his Veena, saying “ab Delhi me koi rasiyaa nahiN bachaa”.
A noted critic Allama Niyaaz Fatehpuri once said, “If I have all the Deewans, old and new, in front of me, and if I have to select only one Deewaan, apart from Meer’s, then I will say that — mujhe kulliyat-e- Momin de do aur baaki sab uTHaake le jaao” !!
He was referring to the quality of the meter in Momin’s poetry. It seems that people had found faults with respect to meter, in the poetry of almost all the major poets, including GHalib and Iqbal. But not Momin. He is supposed to have written technically perfect GHazals !!
na taab hijr me hai, na aaraam wasl me,
kambaKHt dil ko chain nahiN hai, kisi tarah
ham bhi kuchh KHush nahiN wafaa karake
tumane achchha kiya, nibaah na ki !!
Momin is famous for his legendary “nazaakat”, a quality which at time, was considered as must for becoming a good Shayar. His Shers really touch your heart.
Here is a little Momin gem.
haal-e-dil yaar ko likhu kyuN_kar
haath dil se judaa nahiN hota !!
A rather well-known anecdote related to Momin is that Ghalib supposedly said he would exchange his entire ‘deewan’ for one of Momin’s sher. The sher in question:
tum mere paas hote ho goyaa
ko_ii duusaraa nahii.n hotaa