Today we celebrate one of Urdu literature’s most iconic poets, Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, known in popular culture by many names, but most commonly as Ghalib (meaning conqueror).
Born in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, during the reign of Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah, Ghalib showed a gift for language at an early age and was educated in Persian, Urdu, and Arabic.
His verse is characterized by a lingering sadness borne of a tumultuous and often tragic life — from being orphaned at an early age, to losing all of his seven children in their infancy, to the political upheaval that surrounded the fall of Mughal rule in India. He struggled financially, never holding a regular paying job but instead depending on patronage from royalty and more affluent friends.
But despite these hardships, Ghalib navigated his circumstances with wit, intellect, and an all-encompassing love for life. His contributions to Urdu poetry and prose were not fully appreciated in his lifetime, but his legacy has come to be widely celebrated, most particularly for his mastery of the Urdu ghazal (amatory poem).
He is often quoted by scholars, historians and journalists.One of the most famous lines from his poetry is—
‘Hazaaron khwahishen aisi ke har khwahish pe dam nikle, Bohat niklay mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikle (Thousands of desires, each worth dying for… many of them I have realised…yet I yearn for more.)’.
Google India while extolling the iconic personality, tweeted,
“Be it one or a thousand, no one gave words to ‘khwahishen’ like he could. #GoogleDoodle celebrates one of India’s greatest poets – #MirzaGhalib.”
The master poet died on February 15, 1869 at his haveli in Gali Qasim Jaan, Ballimaran in Old Delhi.The old house has been partly preserved as a memorial to him and is known as ‘Ghalib ki Haveli’. It is frequented by both locals and foreign tourists.
Irshad muqarar, Mirza!