Ghazal Word Cloud

 

I compiled a selection of Urdu to English translated poems Allama Iqbal, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and Ahmad Faraz. The poems were sourced from a poetry compilation site. I took the word frequencies of the poetry texts and created a word cloud out of the word counts. The more frequently a word showed up, the larger it is in the heart-shaped word cloud.

Even looking at the piece at first glance, an invocation of Sufi mysticism through the poetry is evident. The central presence of heart, love, and God, remind us immediately of the love narrative that Ghazal tend to follow: the beloved, the lover, and sometimes the rival.  While we must operate with the constraint that this word cloud is based off a translator’s translation into English, we can still breakdown the centrality of these words.

The presence of God at the middle of the heart makes the observer of the word cloud take the role of the seeker or lover him/herself, invoking “the introspective aspect of mystic love that asks the seeker to plunge deep into his own heart and discover there the presence of the divine beloved” (Naim 189). The observer is thrown into the word cloud illustration, and luckily they are able to locate God within this external word cloud heart right away. However, would that be the case when these words are presented in their original form as the original Ghazal poems? It is hard to say.

When the observer finds Love at the center of the heart as well, we can even go so far to wonder if the translators chose translations where love is a proper noun and capitalized to “Love” on purpose. Is it an invocation of divine love as a proper noun? Is the passion of the beloved in pursuit of Love? In any case, the centrality of love embedded with Sufi mysticism is quite important to Urdu Ghazal poetry.

The most common words across a selection of Urdu Ghazal Poems.

The most common words across a selection of Urdu Ghazal Poems, visualized in an aesthetic heart shape. Created with the help of WordClouds.com

 

Top 20+ Words in Sampling of Urdu Ghazal Poetry.

24 Love
16 heart
14 love
11 God
10 garden
9 even
9 remember
7 man’s
6 now
6 Come
6 life
5 can
5 future
5 night
5 passion
5 life’s
4 cup
4 long
4 world
4 Like
4 day
4 till
4 song

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