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"Rubāʿī" (رباعي) is Arabic for "quatrain", and is used to describe a Persian quatrain, or its derivative form in English and other languages. The plural form of the word, rubāʿiyāt (رباعیات - often anglicised rubaiyat), is used to describe a collection of such quatrains.[1]

There are a number of possible rhyme schemes to the rubaiyat form, e.g. a-a-b-a or a-a-a-a.[2] In Persian verse, a ruba'i is visually only two lines long, its rhyme falling at the middle and end of the lines.

EtymologyEdit

The word "rubāʿī" is derived from the same Arabic root as "arbaʿa" (أربعة), meaning "four".[3]

Rubai is like a poetry (Sher in Urdu) which contains four lines. Generally sher in urdu contains two lines.

Example: (Sher) Ulti ho gayi sab tadbeeren kuchh dawa na kaam kiya. Dekha is bimari dil ne aakir kaam tamam kiya. (Rubai) Mar mar ke musafir ne basaya hai tujhe. Rukh sab se phira ke munh dikhaya hai tujhe. Kyon na lipat kar soun tujh se aye qabra. Aakir maine bhi jaan de kar paaya hai tujhe.

Ruba'i in EnglishEdit

Main article: Rubaiyat quatrain

The verse form a-a-b-a as used in English verse is known as the Rubaiyat Quatrain due to its use by Edward FitzGerald in his famous 1859 translation, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Algernon Charles Swinburne, one of the first admirers of FitzGerald's translation of Khayyam's medieval Persian verses, was the first to imitate the stanza form, which subsequently became popular and was used widely, as in the case of Robert Frost's 1922 poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening".

In extended sequences of ruba'i stanzas, the convention is sometimes extended so that the unrhymed line of the current stanza becomes the rhyme for the following stanza(Citation needed). The structure can be made cyclical by linking the unrhymed line of the final stanza back to the first stanza: ZZAZ. These more stringent systems were not, however, used by FitzGerald in his Rubaiyat.

Sa'd Bin Ard is a poet from Rangpur who wrote some English ruba'is. He wrote some ruba'is in Bangla and translated some of those into English by himself in ruba'i form. One example is as follows.

                              Fireflies are flying over a coppice. I wonder
                              They are flakes of gold flying together.
                              Stars are smiling in the sky by twinkling.
                              Can the gifts of God be counted with a finger?

Ruba'i in BanglaEdit

There are many ruba'i writers in Bangla. Rubayyat-e-Omar Khayyam has about 50 translations in the market of Bangla books, many of which preserve the original ruba'i form. The notable ones among these are Rubayat-e- Omar Khayam and Rubayat-e-Hafiz by Kazi Nazrul Islam, Omar Khayamer Rubai by Shakti Chatterjee etc.

According to Sa'd Bin Ard, a writer of Bangla ruba'is Rabindranath Tagore, the great Bangla Noble Prize winning poet has also written at least some ruba's in Bangla. One of his famous rubai is

                   Foole foole dhole dhole bohe kiba mridu bay.
                   Totini hilol tuli kollole bohia jay.
                   Piko kiba kunje kunje kuhu kuhu kuhu gay.
                   Ke jane kishero lagi praano kore haay haay!

It means-'Wind continues blowing on flowers moving those. Rivers go on murmerring making waves. It seems cuckoos are cooing in different bushes of plants. The mind is wishing for an unknown thing.'

Ms. Sultana Begum Dulari has a book named Rubaiyat-e-Dulari which contains 47 ruba'is. One of those is-

                  Din kete jaay, Raat kete jaay, amon kore bochhor je jaay!
                  Keu ki taha bujhte paare bishoy ashoy kisher borai!
                  Taar haate to ghurir latai jamon ichchha tamon khalen!
                  Taar kothai to bhaabchhi boshe ondhokarer omanishay!

It means-

                  Days pass. Nights pass. Years pass this way.
                  Nobody knows that who has the pride of this world.
                  It is He Who has the spool of the kite in His hand, He uses it in His own Way.
                  I am rather thinkiing of him in this darkness.

Mr. ATM. Mostafa Kamal has written a book named 'Bangala Rubai' in Bangla which contains 50 Bangla rubai's.

Sa'd Bin Ard has written many ruba'is in Bangla. His ruba'is which number about 200 include Lajuk Meye, Videshi Sahaya, Shomoy-5 etc.

Ruba'i in HindiEdit

Hindi has a long tradition of ruba'is. Throughout eons many muslim Urdu poets have written many Urdu ruba'is. One of them is Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib. In recent times a poet has written a nice poem regarding how a woman answers to her husband or boyfriend's inquiry about why she keeps her mobile in the front pocket of her shirt. The poems is

                Aap jayse log haame kuchh khaas lagte hai.
                Manme har-wakt ek aas rakhte hai.
                Jaane cub ajaye SMS aapka
                Iss lea cellco dilke pass rakhte hai.

It means-"People like you seem very special to me. I always keep a wish in my mind and that is to get your SMS. That is the reason why I keep the mobile always by the heart."

CoinageEdit

File:Caliph Al Mustansir Sicilian coin.jpg
Main article: Tarì

In the Islamic world the "ruba'i" designated a quarter-dinar, weighing 1.05 grams of gold.[4] The ruba'i had been minted by the Muslims in Sicily, unlike the Muslim rulers of North Africa, who preferred the larger dinar.[5] It became highly popular as it was smaller and therefore more convenient than the large-sized 4.25-gram dinar.[6] This type of coin was named tarì by Christians and was largely adopted in Sicily and mainland Italy.

ReferencesEdit

  1. A Brief History of Persian Literature, by the Iran Chamber Society
  2. Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Princeton University Press, 1974, p.611
  3. JM Cowan, (editor). The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, Spoken Language Services, 1976, ISBN 0-87950-001-8, p.323
  4. Cardini, Franco. Europe and Islam. Blackwell Publishing, 2001. ISBN 978-0-631-22637-6 [1], p.26
  5. Matthew, Donald, The Norman kingdom of Sicily Cambridge University Press, 1992 ISBN 978-0-521-26911-7 [2], p.240
  6. Grierson, Philip. Medieval European Coinage. Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN 978-0-521-58231-5 [3], p.3


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