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Mirza Ghalib

Updated on May 30, 2017

Downfall of Mughal Empire; Rise of the Legend

The preeminent, central and leading figure in the history of sub-continent who in future, would have become the famous poet "Ghalib" was born on 27th December 1797 and was named as Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan. That was the time when the Mughal Empire was facing kiss of death as a result of the impacts of Colonialism. And soon he had to be the evident of Indian Rebellion 1857. That was the epoch when the Mughals were being deteriorated and transposed by the British. He was born in complete anarchy and chaos taking him over from all around. The renowned poet operated his pen in such a way that the whole of the region has now turned into his brace.

نہ ستائش کی تمنّا نہ صلے کی پروا

گر نہیں ہیں مرے اشعار میں معنی نہ سہی

I don't need appreciation neither do i need any return

let not be if there is no meaning in my couplets

During the reign of Ahmed Shah, Mirza Qoqan Baig Khan, a Saljak Turk and the paternal grandfather of Ghalib migrated from Samarkand to India. When Mirza Abdullah Baig Khan, Ghalib's father was settled in Agra he was blessed with a boy whom he given the name of Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan. At the time, when he was five his father died in a battle in 1803 and then augmented by his uncle Mirza Nasrullah Baig Khan. When he was only thirteen years old he married Umrao Begum his wife and the daughter of Nawab Ilahi Bakhsh. That was an arrange marriage according to the prevailing traditions of that time. The woeful aspect of his married life was that he had seven children and none of them could survive. Even they met their God at the time when they had not even crossed their age of infantry.

The renowned poet Mirza Ghalib
The renowned poet Mirza Ghalib

Ghalib and the Sub-continent

Like every other poet, Ghalib which was his pseudonym, he has almost used it in his every Ghazal. His pen name was Assad in his early age which he replaced by Ghalib when he came to know that this name was also used by another poet. He created uniqueness in his poems by including different social issues of sub-continent. Love, religion, mysticism, spirituality, romance, life, death etc were his favorite focuses. He spread peace through his letters, ghazals and poems. He liked when people used to write him in their letters. Initially, not crowd-pleasing but was bestowed by the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar the titles of Dabir-ul-Mulk, Najm-ul-Dola and Mirza Nosha. All of his work shows his nobility in the streets of Dehli, an old name of Delhi. He was the soul of sub-continent and that's why he still lives in everyone's heart in sub-continent. The land cannot forget him as he has loved it for many years and it doesn't matter that how much this land was cruel for him, but his patience and his astonishing inducement has made this land a reminiscence of him.

Said I one night to a pristine seer

(Who knew the secrets of whirling Time)

'Sir you well perceive,

That goodness and faith,

Fidelity and love

Have all departed from this sorry land.

Father and son are at each other's throat;

Brother fights brother.

Unity and Federation are undermined.

Despite these ominous signs

Why has not Doomsday come?

Why does not the Last Trumpet sound?

Who holds the reins of the Final Catastrophe?

-An extraction of the poem "Chirag-eDair"

Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan Tomb, Delhi
Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan Tomb, Delhi | Source

Financial Life

After his marriage, his financial crisis started growing. His expenses were high and he became debtor. He after too much suffrage was helpless to join the job at fort. Moreover, he was an alcoholic and spent most of his money to buy alcohol. He also became a gambler which his wife Umrao Begum never liked. He and his wife were already in affliction as they had seven children but none of them could survive. Moreover, his addiction towards alcohol and gambling added more anguish in it. His miseries left a deep impact on his mind and made him one of the best poets of region.

بازیچۂ اطفال ہے دنیا مرے آگے

ہوتا ہے شب و روز تماشا مرے آگے

Just like a child's playground this world appears to me

Every single night and day, this spectacle I see

His Popularity among New Generation

Most of his ghazals had been sung by many famous classic singers like Mehdi Hasan, Ghulam Ali, Asad Amanat Ali and many others. His poetry was the best to sing for every singer after the partition of sub-continent. The neophyte states of the region Pakistan and India consider him as their own poet. Therefore, the singers from both states feel proud to recite his poetry. Even the very modern singers like Ali Zafar had recited his ghazals in current decade.

Today, Ghalib is not popular among Hindustan and Pakistan but in all other Hindustani diaspora in the world. At the age of eleven, when no one is capable of understanding the facts, Ghalib started composing his poetry. Now in modern era, his biography and poetry is taught in many schools, colleges and universities in Pakistan and India to the students of 11-25 years of age. His famous Persian and Urdu literary works can not be unlearned.


The sole creator of many poems and ghazals, the eye-witness of 1857 Indian Rebellion, the man who was the honorific of Najm-ul-dola and Dabir-ul-mulk, Mirza Ghalib died on 15 February 1869. His death place is known as "Ghalib ki Haveli" and in Delhi, India. His famous works on love, mysticism, philosophy can never be forgotten till the existence of mankind because the legend lives in the hearts.

قید حیات و بند غم ، اصل میں دونوں ایک ہیں

موت سے پہلے آدمی غم سے نجات پائے کیوں؟

The prison of life and the bondage of grief are one and the same

Before the onset of death, how can man expect to be free of grief?

Grave of Mirza Ghalib in Delhi
Grave of Mirza Ghalib in Delhi | Source

Who is your favorite poet of Sub-continent?

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© 2017 Muhammad Hassan Ibrahim Minhas


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    • Minhas333 profile imageAUTHOR

      Muhammad Hassan Ibrahim Minhas 

      12 months ago from Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan

      Thank you

    • profile image

      Hammad Maqsood 

      12 months ago

      Too much informative


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