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Mirza Ghalib Biography

Mirza Ghalib was a famous Urdu and Persian poet of the Indian subcontinent in the 19th century. His original name was Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan. His original pen-name was Asad but he changed it to Ghalib, which means ‘conqueror’. According to historical documents, Ghalib had no formal education.

Personal Life

Mirza Ghalib was born on 27 December, 1796 in Kala Mahal, Agra. He was of Turkish descent. His father and uncle died when he was young and eventually he moved to Delhi. When he was thirteen years old he married into an aristocratic family (circa. 1810). He had seven children but none of them survived. This pain is apparent in his ghazals.

Literary Career

Ghalib is famous for his ghazals written in Urdu. But he also used to write poems in the Persian language. His talent flowered at an early age; he wrote most of his poems by the age of nineteen. Initially his ghazals conveyed the pain of love but he expanded the horizon. He pushed the Urdu language to express life’s myriad pains and philosophies. This made Ghalib’s poetry a masterpiece.

At the time of Ghalib, Urdu was a very ornamental language; he made it interesting by making it an informal one. He also composed humorous proses. The letters written to his friends are ample proof of that humour. In fact, the modern Urdu language is indebted to Mirza Ghalib. He made the language beautiful and gave it a life.

Royal Titles

Mirza Ghalib was bestowed with the title of “Dabir-ul-Mulk” by Bahadur Shah Zafar II. He also got an additional title of “Najm-ud-daula” from the emperor. The other title given to him by the emperor was ‘Mirza Nosha’.

Mirza Ghalib was one of the courtiers of the royal court of the Emperor. He was appointed as Emepror’s poet and the royal historian of Mughal Court.

Ghalib lived on state patronage; he never had a formal steady job. Mirza Ghalib, regarded as one of the most brilliant and influential poets of the Urdu language, passed away on 15 February 1869. He could not attain fame during his lifetime and became famous after his death.

Indian director Gulzar has made a TV serial titled Mirza Ghalib on the life of this great poet. It was telecast on Doordarshan.