Poochhte hain woh ki ‘Ghalib’ kaun hai
Koi batlaao ki hum batlaayein kya…
(They ask who ‘Ghalib’ is
Someone tell them, what shall I say?)
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Mirza Ghalib was synonymous with the literature of Urdu language. The brightness of beacon that Mirza Ghalib was, no other name in Urdu poetry could surpass his brilliance.
Born on 27 December 1797, in Agra, Ghalib was a nobleman in the court of the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, and was a good friend and poetry coach to Zafar.
Throughout his life, Mirza Ghalib was living with immense agony. He had a life of proverty and personal life tragedies. Ghalib died on February 15, 1869.
Ghalib’s agony can be imagined by the fact that none of his seven children could reach adulthood.
While many of us know about Mirza Ghalib through the Doordarshan serial named Mirza Ghalib, Gen-Z is learning about the legend through digital media.
Apart from poems, Ghalib was a gifted letter writer. Some of his letters are now part of academic syllabus. Here are some of his letters that have been recited by popular poet Gulzar and late singer Jagjit Singh.
Mirza Ghalib started writing poems at the age of 11. He wrote in Urdu, Persian and Turkish
Some of Mirza Ghalib’s Ghazals:
Some of Mirza Ghalib’s popular couplets:
#1 Ye masaayil-e-tasawwuf, ye tera bayaan Ghalib
Tujhe hum wali samajhte, jo na baadakhwaar hota
#2 ham ko ma.alūm hai jannat kī haqīqat lekin
dil ke ḳhush rakhne ko ‘ġhālib’ ye ḳhayāl achchhā hai
#3 hazāroñ ḳhvāhisheñ aisī ki har ḳhvāhish pe dam nikle
bahut nikle mire armān lekin phir bhī kam nikle
#4 ragoñ meñ dauḌte phirne ke ham nahīñ qaa.il
jab aañkh hī se na Tapkā to phir lahū kyā hai
#5 ishq par zor nahīñ hai ye vo ātish ‘ġhālib’
ki lagā.e na lage aur bujhā.e na bane
#6 haiñ aur bhī duniyā meñ suḳhan-var bahut achchhe
kahte haiñ ki ‘ġhālib’ kā hai andāz-e-bayāñ aur
#7 maut kā ek din muayyan hai
niind kyuuñ raat bhar nahīñ aatī
Ghalib’s works are well preserved in literature, cinema and other forms of art.
In Delhi, his Haveli in Ballimaran, relishes the life of Mirza Ghalib and it has been turned into a walk-in tribute gallery, and his tomb at Nizamuddin, near the tomb of the Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.
His timeless and classic works are as relevant today as they were two centuries ago. In his own words:
Hui muddat ke Ghalib mar gaya, par yaad aata hai
Woh har ek baat pe kehna ki yun hota to kya hota.
It has been aeons since Ghalib died, but one remembers
(Him) saying again and again — if it had been that way, then how would it have been?
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