Mirza Ghalib is a name that is synonymous with Urdu poetry. Born as Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, Ghalib was a pen name that he adopted. He achieved immense fame with this.
For such a great poet, it is essential that we take you back in time and tell you a little about his beginnings because it actually makes for a good read.
1. Ghalib was born in Agra in Turkish aristocratic ancestry on this day in 1797. Not much is known about Ghalib’s education. A lot confusion surrounds it, as there has been no written records of his formal education and early life.
However, it is said that his friends were some of the most respected and intelligent people of Delhi.
2. Ghalib got married at a very young age. It is said that he had seven children but unfortunately none of them survived. The pain of losing his children found its way into his poetry.
3. Another interesting fact about this great poet is that he had a weakness for two things – drinking and gambling. These two vices stuck with him throughout his life.
Even though gambling was considered as an offence during those times, Ghalib was never bothered about it. In fact, he himself used to say that he was not a strict Muslim in the true sense of word!
Ironically, no one gave him his due importance then and fame came much later. Today, he is the most written about and the most read poet in Urdu.
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4. Talking about his work, Ghalib was one of the important poets in the court of Bahadur Shah Zafar II. The emperor, who was also his student, honoured Ghalib with royal titles of Dabber-ul-Mulk and Najm-ud-daulah. These titles helped Ghalibs enter the nobility of Delhi.
He suffixed his name with Mirza because of the title that the emperor added to his honor – Mirza Nosha. He was then called as Mirza Ghalib.
5. He wrote his first poem at the age of 11 and was a master of many languages like Urdu, Persian and Turkish. Most of his poems and shers are about failed love and its agony.
He also wrote a lot about the philosophy of life and mysticism. He successfully managed to express himself in bigger depths because he made his lover less important in his poetry and gave more importance to his feelings and emotions.