Brief Life History: Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan was born in Kala Mahal in Agra on 27 December 1797. He was a classical Urdu and Persian poet from the Mughal Empire during British colonial rule. His original pen-name was Asad, drawn from his name, Asadullah Khan. During an early period of his poetic career he also adopted the pen-name of Ghalib. He wrote several ghazals. He is considered to be one of the most popular and influential poets of the Urdu language.
Around 1810, at the age of 13, he was married to Umrao Begum. At the age of thirty he had seven children, none of whom survived. This grief has found its echo in some of Ghalib’s ghazals.
Ghalib started composing poetry at the age of 11. Although Ghalib himself was far prouder of his poetic achievements in Persian, he is today more famous for his Urdu ghazals. Before Ghalib, the ghazal was primarily an expression of anguished love; but Ghalib expressed philosophy, the travails and mysteries of life and wrote ghazals on many other subjects, vastly expanding the scope of the ghazal.
1st edition of Urdu ‘Diwan-e-Ghalib’ was published by Syedul Akbar, Delhi in 1841. Persian Diwan ‘Maikhana-e-Arzoo” published by Maktaba Darus Salam, Delhi in 1845. His book “Panj Aahang” (Persian) published in 1849.
The title of ‘Najmuddaula Dabirul Mulk Nizam Jung’ was conferred upon Ghalib by Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1850. He was commissioned to write history of Taimur dynasty. He was appointed Ustad (Teacher of poetry) of Bahadur Shah Zafar on 15 November, 1854 after the death of Zauq (Shaikh Mohammed Ibrahim Zauq). Nawab Yousuf Ali Khan Nazim appointed him Ustad on 5th February,1857.
He died in Delhi on 15 February 1869. The house where he lived in Gali Qasim Jaan, Ballimaran, Chandni Chowk, in Old Delhi has now been turned into ‘Ghalib Memorial’ and houses a permanent Ghalib exhibition.
Mirza Ghalib’s Tomb in Delhi. The tomb of Mirza Ghalib is in the foreground.
Ghazal by Ghalib: Na Tha Kuch Tou Khuda Tha
Dard ho Dil mein tou Dooa kijiaye
Ghalib’s Ghazal: Phir mujhay deeda-e-tar yaad aaya