Monday 5 June 2017

The Dominant One

                                         Haiñ aur bhī duniyā meñ suhan-var bahut achchhe

Kahte haiñ ki 'ġhālib' kā hai andāz-e-bayāñ aur

(Indeed the universe own many great eloquent, but they say,

‘Ghalib’ possess a unique style of narration)

Mirza Ghalib was a preeminent Urdu and Persian language poet during the last years of Mughal Empire. His name is synonymous with Urdu poetry and is considered by many as the greatest Urdu poet ever.

The life history of Ghalib is truly fascinating and his biography indeed makes a captivating read.

The real name of Ghalib was Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan. Later, he adopted 'Mirza Ghalib' (Ghalib means dominant) as his pen name. His honorifics were 'Dabir-ul-mulk' and ‘Najm-ud-Daula’, as specified by last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar.

Mirza Ubaidullah Beg was his father, who tied the knot with Izzatun-nisa in Agra. She gave birth to Mirza Ghalib on 27th December, 1797.

Na thā kuchh to hudā thā 

Kuchh na hotā to hudā hotā

Duboyā mujh ko hone ne

 Na hotā maiñ to kyā hotā

(In nothingness God was there, if naught he would persist
Existence has sunk me, what loss, if I didn’t exist)

During his childhood, Ghalib lost his parents. His upbringing was done by his uncle Mirza Nasrullah Beg Khan, but when he was eight years old, his uncle also died. Ghalib took to poetry at an early age and wrote his first poem for his teacher when he was only eleven.

Mirza Ghalib got his initial education by Molvi Mohammad Muazzam who was a renowned scholar of Agra. During his early life, a traveller, Abdus Samad came from Iran to stay in Agra. He stayed with Ghalib and his family for two years. It is presumed that Ghalib learnt Persian, Arabic, logic, philosophy etc. from him.

Kyuuñ jal gayā na tāb-e-ruh-e-yār dekh kar

Jaltā huuñ apnī tāqat-e-dīdār dekh kar

(Why didn’t I turn to ashes seeing her face so glowing, bright

By envy now I am flamed, at strength of my own sight)

In 1810, when Mirza was only thirteen years old, he got married to Umrao Begum. She had a contrasting personality when compared to him. They had seven children, but unfortunately none of them survived. This pain has also found its way into his poetry. In the same year, he left his hometown and moved to Delhi. This migration was a major turning point in his life. He befriended some of the most respected and intelligent people of Delhi

Apnī galī meñ mujh ko na kar dafn baad-e-qatl
Mere pate se halq ko kyuuñ tere ghar mile

 (In your street, do not inter me, when I cease to be
Why should people find your house when they look for me)

He also became an important courtier of the royal court of  Bahadur Shah Zafar.  As the Emperor was himself a poet, Mirza Ghalib was appointed as his poet tutor in 1854. He was also appointed by the Emperor as the royal historian of Mughal Court.
Being a member of declining Mughal nobility and old landed aristocracy, he never worked for a livelihood and lived on either royal patronage of the Emperor, credit or the generosity of his friends.
Alcohol consumption and irregular lifestyle took a toll on his health and he passed away on 15th February 1869.

Mirza Ghalib occupies a place of pride in world literature. He is also one of the most quotable poets having couplets for almost all situations of life. Ghalib today remains popular not only in India and Pakistan but also amongst diaspora communities around the world.

--Ms.Mazia Ahmed

You can order Ghalib merchandise here -


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  3. Notable work... Appreciable

  4. Notable work... Appreciable

  5. great intro...keep up the work ..

  6. Good Masha Allah. Keep it up. Stay blessed!

  7. Commendable job... Keep it up.. Looking forward to read many more such article.