Mirza Ghalib’s 222nd birth anniversary: 7 of his couplets that are timeless

A look at how Mirza Ghalib’s words remain as relevant in today’s society as they were when he wrote them two centuries ago.
Friday is the 222nd birth anniversary of Mirza Ghalib.
Friday is the 222nd birth anniversary of Mirza Ghalib.
Updated on Dec 27, 2019 11:26 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | BySweta Kaushal

Mirza Ghalib has been the most revered poet in the history of Urdu literature. Apart from Urdu poetry, his prose, letters are considered modern in for its conversational style. In initial days, he wrote in Persian but failed to gain attention as it was a court language and had little relevance beyond royal literary circles. His popularity began with adopting Urdu as his medium of expression.

Friday marks the 222nd birth anniversary of Ghalib. While he has penned down some touching romantic couplets, Ghalib is majorly known for his philosophy entwined in the verses. Born as Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan in 1797 at his maternal grandparents’ house in Agra, Ghalib used two pen-names - Ghalib (dominant) and Asad (lion).

Ghalib’s poetry was affected by the environment and times that he lived in - the declining Mughal empire, rampant crimes and state oppression. Interestingly, Ghalib never became a victim, brooding over his circumstances. He had rather revolutionary idea of ‘vahdat-ul-vujood’ (Urdu for unity in diversity).

He was one of the most important poets in the court of the last Mughal emperor in India, Bahadur Shah Zafar II. The emperor honoured the poet with royal titles of Najm-ud-daulah and Dabber-ul-Mulk. The emperor was also Ghalib’s student.

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Here are a seven gems by Ghalib that will resonate with every rebel heart:

1. Rago mein daudte firne ke hum nahi qayal, jab aankh hi mein na utra to fir lahoo kya hai

2. Hazaaron khwahishein aisi ke har khwahish pe dum nikle, Bahut nikle mere armaan lekin phir bhi kam nikle

3. Ba-zicha-e atfal hai duniya mere age. Hota hai shab-o-roz tamasha mere aage

4. Humko maloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin, dil khush rakhne ko ghalib ye khayal accha hai


5. Ishrat-e-qatra hai dariya me fanaa ho jana hai, dard ka had se guzarna hai dawa ho jana

6. Ishq par zor nahi, hai ye wo atish ghalib, jo lagae na lage aur bujhae na bujhe

7.hue mar ke ham jo rusvā hue kyuuñ na ġharq-e-dariyā na kabhī janāza uThtā na kahīñ mazār hotā

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    Sweta Kaushal has 13 years of experience covering Bollywood and regional movies, TV shows, national current affairs and social issues.

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