Remembering Mirza Ghalib

Published: December 27, 2010
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Ghalib is generally considered to be among the greatest Urdu poets in the history of the language

Ghalib is generally considered to be among the greatest Urdu poets in the history of the language

December the 27th marks the 213th birth anniversary of renowned poet Mirza Ghalib.

Ghalib was born in Agra in a family descended from Aibak Turks who moved to Samarkand after the downfall of the Seljuk kings.

Ghalib started composing poetry at the age of 11. His first language was Urdu, but Persian and Turkish were also spoken at home. His most famous poetry originated in Bahadur Shah Zafar II’s royal court, where the Mughal Emperor revived upon him the title of “Dabeer-ul-Mulk.” He was the Emperor’s poet tutor, and was appointed the royal historian of the Mughal Court. Ghalib is generally considered to be the greatest Urdu poet in the history of the language.

Ghalib himself took far more pride in his poetic achievements in Persian, although he is today more famous for his Urdu poetry. Not only is he well reputed in Urdu speaking circles in the Subcontinent, he is also very popular in the Urdu speaking diaspora around the world. Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib’s poetry reflects the journey from nothingness to a totally human affirmation. His distinctive style of poetry included keeping the gender of the subject indeterminate to keep the message in the ghazal universal and applicable to all.

Ghalib was a very liberal Sufi Muslim, encouraging people to look beyond the letter of the law and towards its true essence.

Ghalib died on February 15th, 1869.

With additional reporting by Hamza Hussain

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Khurram
    Dec 27, 2010 - 1:30PM

    Mohammad Ibrahim ZAUQ was Bahadur Shah Zafar’s tutor and mentor not Mirza GHALIB. Recommend

  • syed nizamuddin
    Dec 27, 2010 - 2:27PM

    historians views may differ bt i belive n trust they dt try 2 change the history as seen in 2days edu. Ministry . Thanks n i appr., ur lv 2wards this.informative mgs. NizamRecommend

  • Ehtisham+Rizvi
    Dec 27, 2010 - 2:58PM

    @Khuram, yes sir spot on, Mirza Ghalib did not like this fact and wrote the verse “bana hay shah ka masahib phiray hay itrata” about Zauq but then cleverly added “wagarna shehr mein Ghalib key abru kya hay” to save himself in the court of Bahadur Shah Zafar. I read there was an intellectual rivalry between Zauq and Ghalib.Recommend

  • Sankalp
    Dec 27, 2010 - 5:42PM

    Undoubtedly, the Greatest Urdu poet in the history of the language.Recommend

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