Mirza Ghalib death anniversary: Remembering the great poet


Updated: Feb 15, 2020 15:42 IST

Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, a poet who perfectly captured the decrepit beauty of a declining Mughal empire, slowly being displaced by the edifices of the colonial British Raj, is better known by his pen name Ghalib.

He held the honorary titles of Dabir-ul-Mulk and Najm-du-Daula in the Mughal court. Ghalib was born on December 27, 1797 and breathed his last on February 15, 1869, in an area in Old Delhi’s Ballimaran. The place now known as the Ghalibki Haveli and is considered among the must-see places in Old Delhi.

Born into a family of Aibak Turks who moved to Samarkand following the downfall of the Selijuk kings and later to India during the reign of Ahmad Shah, Ghalib moved to Delhi following his marriage to Umrao Begum, the daughter of NawabIlahi Baksh.

The great Indian poet, who wrote in both Persian and Urdu, is known for his love for Mughal Delhi and had once passionately written, “Ik roz apni rooh se poocha, ki dilli kya hai, to yun jawab main keh gaye, yeh duniya mano jism hai aur dilli uski jaan.”

Ghalib was buried in Hazrat Nizamuddin near the tomb of Nizamuddin Auliya.

Ghalib is attributed several timeless quotes and couplets that still manage to evoke poignant feelings among readers.

•Ham ko maalūm hai jannat kī haqīqat lekin/ Dil ko ḳhush rakhne ko ‘Ghālib’ ye ḳhayāl achchhā hai

•Ishq ne ‘Ghālib’ nikammā kardiyā/ Varna ham bhī aadmī the kaamke

•Hazāroñ ḳhvāhisheñ aisī ki har ḳhvāhish pe dam nikle/ Bahut nikle mere armān lekin phir bhī kam nikle

•Aina kyun na dun ki tamasha kahein jise/ Aisa kahan se laun ki tujhsaa kahein jise

•Mohabbat meñ nahīñ hai farq jeene aur marne kā/ Usī ko dekh kar jeete haiñ jis kāfir pe dam nikle

Ghalib was appointed as a poet tutor to the royal family and the royal historian of Mughal court by Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II. He was given the honorific title Mirza Nosha and thus he came to be known as Mirza Ghalib.

A gifted letter writer, his letters led to the foundation of easy and popular poetry.

The witness to a turbulent period in Indian history, the vanishing of the beautiful architecture of Delhi saw him famously pen, “An ocean of blood churns around me/ Alas! Were this all!/ The future will show/ What more remains for me to see.”

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