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Poetry Guide: Beher

Beher in Urdu poetry is the meter of a sher (a form of poetry in Urdu, essentially a couplet). It can be considered as the length of the sher. Both the lines in the sher, the couplet, must be of same beher. And all the shers in one ghazal (a poetic form consisting of couplets which share a rhyme and a refrain) must be of the same beher. There are 19 kinds of beher. However, generally beher is categorized in three classes: Short, medium, long, depending upon the length of the misra (first line of the sher)

For a ghazal, all the shers in the ghazal should be of the same of beher. The example of this is this ghazal of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Notice the length and meter of the ashaars in this ghazal: it is same throughout.

shaiKh saahab se rasm-o-raah na kii
shukr hai zindagii tabaah na kii

tujh ko dekhaa to ser-e-chashm hue
tujh ko chaahaa to aur chaah na kii
tere dast-e-sitam kaa ajz nahii.n
dil hii kaafir thaa jis ne aah na kii

the shab-e-hijr kaam aur bahut
ham ne fikr-e-dil-e-tabaah na kii

kaun qaatil bachaa hai shahar me.n 'Faiz'
jis se yaaro.n ne rasm-o-raah na kii