Mirza Ghalib

Mirza Ghalib: The Sensational Urdu Poet

Mirza Ghalib was a great poet in history. The poems, ghazals, and other literacy content of Ghalib are still read and loved by the Urdu and Persian Poetry lovers. Ghalib is a well-known and prominent poet of the nineteenth century. 

When Ghalib became a progressive poet, it was the diminishing period of the Mughal Empire. However, British Raj was prominent leading to the defeat of the Indian Rebellion in 1857. All such events are described in his poetry. 

Even after centuries, Ghalib is still one of the most read poets in India and Pakistan. 

Family Background and Early Life 

Mirza was born in Agra, India. He was named Asadullah Baig Khan. As the father of Ghalib belonged to Seljuk Turk, therefore, after the fall of Seljuk, they moved towards India from Samarkand.

History reports that Ghalib had three brothers and three sisters. Ghalib’s father died at an early age. Hence, his uncle raised him who also died soon. Later, at the age of 13, Mirza got married to Umrao Begum. Both were blessed with seven kids but all died. 

Moving forward, he raised his nephews but they also died at a young age. This pain appears in his poetry. According to Ghalib, his marriage was the second imprisonment afterlife. As his poetry describes that life is full of struggles and the pains only end after death.

Names and Titles of Mirza Ghalib

Ghalib used two pen names in his poetry i.e., Ghalib (Superior, Excellent) and Asad (Lion). Moreover, the Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafer entitled Ghalib as “Dabir-ul-Mulk” as well as “Najm-ud-doula”. The Emperor also gave him the title of Mirza Nosha. So, he added Mirza to his name.

As the Emperor himself was a poet, he appointed Mirza as a poetry tutor. He also gave tuitions to the elder son of Bahadur Shah Zafer, Prince Fakhr-ud Din Mirza. Furthermore, he also provided services as a historian of the Emperor. 

At the decline of the Emperor, Ghalib tried a lot but didn’t restore his complete pension. However, he was confident that the later generations would recognize him.

Don’t you think Ghalib was right? I am still writing, and you are also reading the biography of this great person Mirza Ghalib.

Mirza Ghalib Poetry

Ghalib started writing and composing poetry at the age of 11. However, his first language was Urdu but he also learned Persian and Turkey as his family used to speak these languages at home.

Mirza Ghalib preferred Persian over Urdu. But he is famous due to his Urdu Poetry. At earlier times, poetry was used as an expression of Love. Whereas, Ghalib wrote poetry on different subjects including travails, philosophy, mysteries of life, and many more. 

Mirza Ghalib Poetry
Mirza Ghalib Poetry

Mirza Ghalib: Letter Writer 

Letter Writing was a keen hobby of Mirza. He used to write letters to his friends and feels happy when he receives a reply. Moreover, it will not be wrong to say that Ghalib is a pioneer of easy Urdu letter writing. 

According to Mirza, the letter is a half meeting. So write letters when you are separated from your loved ones.

He used to use informal language while writing letters. He said that I prefer writing such words in the letter that can make the receiver happy and enjoy it. 

Mirza Ghalib and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

Are you familiar with Sir Syed Ahmed Khan? If not, do visit a complete biography of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.

In 1855, Syed Ahmad Khan finished the scholarly, and well-researched edition of Abul Fazl’s Ai’n-e Akbari. Hence, he approached Ghalib as he thought that Ghalib would appreciate his work and write. 

Whereas Ghalib obliges but said that it’s just a small Persian poem. Moreover, Syed is wasting his time and talent on dead things.

Later, Syed also realized that Ghalib was somehow right and he never wrote anything in praise of Ai’m-e Akbari. However, he became a social reformer.

Religious Nature and Naat Writing

Ghalib had a great love for God and wrote many religious poems. He wrote qasida, a collection of 101 verses. He was a devoted Muslim.

However, he says that he is a sinner and he should keep silent in front of the holy Prophet PBUH because he is not much worthy to say anything in front of him.

A conflict with Zouq

Ibrahim Zouq and Mirza Ghalib
Ibrahim Zouq and Mirza Ghalib

Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim Zouq was another poet who was the closet rival of Ghalib. Amazing competition of poetry was held between them at that time. Both respected each other for their talents. 

Both of these poets were appreciated by another famous poet Mir Taqi Mir (astonishing poet of 18th century). Momin Khan Momin, and Altaf Hussain Hali also inclined by Ghalib. Hali was a student and also wrote a biography of Mirza Ghalid known as Yaadgaar-e-Ghalib.

At an early time, Urdu was a complex language, however, Ghalib introduced a simple, easy, and beautiful way of speaking Urdu. 

Few Lines of Ghalib Poetry

Mirza Ghalib Poetry is a heart touching, beautiful, and complete expression of thoughts. Here are a few lines that you may love.

دل ناداں تجھے ہوا کیا ہے آخر اس درد کی دوا کیا ہے

ہم ہیں مشتاق اور وہ بیزار یا الٰہی یہ ماجرا کیا ہے

میں بھی منہ میں زبان رکھتا ہوں کاش پوچھو کہ مدعا کیا ہے

جب کہ تجھ بن نہیں کوئی موجود پھر یہ ہنگامہ اے خدا کیا ہے

یہ پری چہرہ لوگ کیسے ہیں غمزہ و عشوہ و ادا کیا ہے

شکن زلف عنبریں کیوں ہے نگہ چشم سرمہ سا کیا ہے

سبزہ و گل کہاں سے آئے ہیں ابر کیا چیز ہے ہوا کیا ہے

ہم کو ان سے وفا کی ہے امید جو نہیں جانتے وفا کیا ہے

ہاں بھلا کر ترا بھلا ہوگا اور درویش کی صدا کیا ہے

جان تم پر نثار کرتا ہوں میں نہیں جانتا دعا کیا ہے

میں نے مانا کہ کچھ نہیں غالبؔ مفت ہاتھ آئے تو برا کیا ہے

Mirza Ghalib’s Persian poetry is at least 5 times longer than Urdu Poetry. But Mirza Ghalib Poetry in Urdu gave him great recognition

Death of the Sensational Poet

On 15th February 1869, Mirza Ghalib Died in British India, at the age of 71. His tomb is located in Delhi. 

Tomb and Statue of Ghalib in Delhi
Tomb and Statue of Ghalib in Delhi

Tributes to Mirza Ghalib


Ghalib is still alive in the hearts of poetry lovers. In 1954, India cinema aired a film named “Mirza Ghalib”. 

Moreover, Pakistani cinema also released a film in 1961 as a tribute to Ghalib. In this film, the role of Ghalib was played by Sudhir and Madam Noor Jahan acted as his courtesan lover. 

Read more about Noor Jahan: The melodious voice

In 1988, a telefilm, “Mirza Ghalib” was also aired in India.  

Google Doodle

On 17th December 2017 (220th birth anniversary) the search engine Google showed a tribute to Mirza Ghalib on his homepage for Indian audiences.

Statue of Ghalib

Mirza’s Status is placed at the entrance gate of Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, India. It was inaugurated in Early 2000 and depicts Ghalib as a sensational Urdu poet.

Wall Mural, India

Wall Mural is located in Mumbai. It is 10 ft. x 42 ft. long and depicts the life and literacy of Ghalib. It was inaugurated on January 21, 2019.

Ghalib Ki Haveli

The residence of Ghalib is now named as Ghalib ki Haveli. It is now used as a museum showing the heritage of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib. 

Mirza Ghalib is a great Entertainment and historical hero of Urdu Literacy. If you want to explore more stories about our heroes in History then don;t forget to subscribe the Viral Cross. Tap the bell icon and stay tuned.

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