Welcome to the post on Interesting Facts About Mirza Ghalib. This post is written to celebrate and honor the birth anniversary of legendary poet Mirza Ghalib. His birth anniversary is celebrated on 27th December every year. He is one of the most esteemed poet of the Urdu language. The actual name of this timeless talented poet is Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan and popularly known as Mirza Ghalib.
Mirza Ghalib is considered as one of the greatest Urdu poets. He wrote fine Urdu poetry. He was also a pioneer in modern Urdu prose. He provided strong base to the Urdu literature. Ghalib became one of the most prominent poets in Urdu and Persian. His fame spread far and wide. He enjoyed great popularity in Arabian countries too.
It is very apt to say that Ghalib’s poetry is distinguished by its intense feelings, wistfulness and a strong romantic mood. This produced a charming effect on readers. The collection of the obstetrical works of Ghalib is “ Diwan – i – Ghalib” which is in 10 volumes. This has been translated into several Indian and Foreign languages.
Ghalib believed in using simple words. He laid the foundation of Urdu prose. His notable prose works are “Naam – i – Ghalib”, Lateif – i -Gaibi and Duupshe Kawaiyani.
Urdu – i – Hindi and Urdu – i -Muallah are his two famous books of collection of letters.
Mirza Ghalib’s writings reflect the contemporary political, social and economic condition of the country.
Undoubtedly, Mirza Ghalib is a distinguished Urdu and Persian poet. He is considered to be the last great poet of Mughal era.
Now, let us know about some interesting facts about poet Mirza Ghalib …….
- Mirza Ghalib was born as Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan on December 27, 1797 in Kala Mahal, Akbarabad ( now known as Agra )
- His birth place has been converted as the “ Indrabhan Girls’ Inter College”. The room where he was born has been conserved.
- His father Mirza Abdullah Baig Khan died in battle of Alwar in 1803, when Ghalib was only five years old.
- His uncle Mirza Nasrullah Baig Khan took care of Ghalib. But, he too passed away after four years.
- Ghalib’s grand father was a descendant of an Aibak Turk family, who migrated to India and settled in present day Agra.
- Ghalib was also a Kashmiri as his mother Izzat – ut – Nisa Begum was of Kashmiri origin ( ethnic of Kashmir )
- Ghalib’s father initially served the Nawab of Lucknow and thereafter Nizam of Hyderabad
- Mirza Ghalib learned Urdu as his first language.
- Turkish and Persian were also used in the home of Mirza Ghalib
- As a young boy, Mirza Ghalib studied in Persian and Arabic languages.
- Ghalib learned Persian, Arabic, logic and philosophy from a tourist from Iran, who had come to Agra and lived in his home for few years when Ghalib was in his teens, The name of the teacher was Abdus Samad ( originally called Hormuzd )who had just converted to Islam.
- Ghalib wrote his first poem at the age of eleven – 11.
- It is interesting to note that in most of his verses, the gender or identity of the beloved is indeterminate.
- At the age of 13, his marriage was arranged with Umrao Begum.
- Umrao Begum was the daughter of Nawab Ilahi Bakhsh and the niece of the Nawab of Firozepur Jhirka.
- Mirza Ghalib relocated to Delhi after marriage. He took along his schizophrenic younger brother Mirza Yousuf Khan to Delhi , but he died in 1857.
- The wife of Mirza Ghalib was regarded as a religious and orthodox lady. But, there are contrasting reports regarding their relationship as Ghalib has described his matrimonial life as second imprisonment and described life itself as first imprisonment.
- The recurring theme in his poetry is the idea that life is an ongoing struggle, which can conclude with the death of a person.
- Ghalib had become the father of seven children. Unfortunately all of them died as infants. The pain and agony of this personal loss became a theme in many of his “ghazals”.
- His habits like taking loans, borrowing books, drinking continuously, breaking norms and gambling often made him infamous.
- Ghalib served as the royal historian of the Mughal court and able to lead his life either on the patronage of the emperor or on the magnanimity and borrowings from the friends.
- Ghalib witnessed the downfall of Mughal empire and rise of the British Raj, after the Indian rebellion of 1857 against the British ‘East India company’ failed.
- After the downfall of Mughal empire, Ghalib pleaded with the government authorities of British India to restore his full pension and he went even to Calcutta for this.
- He witness the disappearance of “bazaars”, localities and lanes. He also witnessed the demolition of “havelis” (mansions) of his friends.
- He chronicled the disturbed period of Delhi during 1857 in his work ‘Dustumbo’.
- According to Dr. Taqi, by 1865, Ghalib had written 1792 couplets in Urdu and 11,340 in Persia.
- Ghalib was a dedicated Muslim. He believed in seeking God instead of following religious practices. Through his poetry he showed reverence for the Muhammad.
- Some of his works that illustrate his respect for the Muhmmad include ‘ Abr – i – gauharbar’( The Jewel – carrying cloud) and a ‘qasda’ of 101 verses.
- He used to call himself ‘Half Muslim’ as he used to say “ I drink wine, but don’t eat pork”.
- He very often used to say that he would get his due recognition from later generation, and what an irony it has happened so!
- During that period purview of “ghazals” had been predominantly restricted to the expression of heartbreak in love. This was expanded by Ghalib. He included different subjects in his “ghazals” such as the enigmatic aspects of life, philosophy etc. And in most of his verses, he maintained the tradition of keeping the gender of the adored unspecified.
- Many Urdu scholars elucidated “ghazal” compilations of Ghalib. The first such work was done by poet, translator, and scholar of languages Ali Haider Nazm Tabatbai from Hyderabad.
- The first complete English translation of the “ghazals” of Ghalib was done by Sarfaraz K. Niazi. This included a full Roman transliteration, an elucidation, and this book was published in India by ‘Rupa & Co’. and in Pakistan by ‘Ferozsons’.
- His prose pieces were also beautiful and simple. Still, they were unique and created revolution in Urdu literature.
- Ghalib also wrote fascinating letters in Urdu. Instead of writing letters in decorative language, he wrote in quite informal and sometimes humorous. Many of his letters gave the readers the feel of having conversation with him.
- In 1859, Mirza Ghalib was appointed as the poet tutor of Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II and also as the royal historian of the Mughal Court.
- Ghalib was appointed as a poet tutor to the royal family along with being appointed as the royal historian of Mughal Court by the Emperor.
- The title of ‘Dabir – ul -Mulk’ was given to him by Bahadur Shah Zafar II. Later on he was given the title of ‘Nizam – ud -daula’. Also the title of ‘Mirza Nasha’ was given to him by Bahadur Shah Zafar II.
- Ghalib did not have to work to earn livelihood. He received royal patronage of Mughal Emperors and also his rich friends. They ensured that he didn’t have to worry about anything. Still, due to some habits he became infamous.
- Ghalib wrote against some “maulavis” (clerics ) and criticized them for their lack of knowledge and for their imperious confidence.
- He also abhorred the practices of some “ulemas” who, in Ghalib’s poems, reflect hypocrisy and prejudices.
- Mirza Ghalib , the world renowned poet, breathed his last in his famous haveli, Gali Qasim Jannat Chandni Chowk, on February 15, 1869. It is also known as Ghalib ki Haveli.
- It is said that this Haveli was presented to him by a physician ( Hakim ), who was a big fan of Mirza Ghalib.
- Ghalib was burried in Hazrat Nizamuddin near the tomb of Nizamuddin Auliya.
- The life of this great genius has been portrayed in films and theatres in India and Pakistan.
- Reputed Indian poet, lyricist and film director Gulzar produced a popular T. V. Serial named “Mirza Ghalib” in 1988. This serial was aired on DD National and Naseeruddin Shah played the role of poet Mirza Ghalib.
- Many singers such as Begum Akhtar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Mohammad Rafi, Jagjit Singh have sung his ghazals.
- Pakistani singers such as Ghulam Ali, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Mehdi Hassan have sung his ghazals.
From the writings of Mirza Ghalib, we can very well say that he gave great emphasis on seeking God rather than the ritualistic practices.
Ghalib’s idea about life is that it is a struggle which can end only when life itself ends. He considered this as “ The Prison of Life”. Through his writings he expressed that the prison of life and the bondage of grief are one and the same.
Ghalib also considered that life is a play ground, people are busy in mundane activities and not aiming clearly for a major goal.
It is heartening to note that the final aim and goal of Ghalib was – “ I want to write lines that make whoever reads them happy”.
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