On In History & Religion

Tutor in Emperor's Court to His Spiritual Connection: Facts You Didn't Know About Ghalib

Born as Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, Ghalib is considered as one of the greatest poets in the history of Urdu poets. He also happens to be the last poet of the Mughal Empire. Ghalib had seen the court of Bahadur Shah II ascend and descend on a really high and low note. But, his own personal life was a bag full of mystery and secrets. This just reiterates the fact that people who gave us masterpieces to read lead a really tough life themselves. Ghalib has written ghazals and prose that are soulful and everyone relates to them but here are some of the unknown facts about his life that everyone must know before we take a look at his work. 

1. His real name and pen name 

Mirza Ghalib's real name is Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan. He took the pen name Asad which means 'lion' and then Ghalib which means 'dominant'. The title Ghalib became so popular that people still remember him as Mirza Ghalib. 

2. Ghalib's letters 

If you ever get a chance to read Mirza Ghalib's letters, you would understand what I mean when I say his letters can talk. His words and sentences have the power to bring a change and let people relate to his words. His letters were more like conversations and started on a very informal note. 

3. Ghalib was a tutor as well

Ghalib was appointed as a tutor in the Emperor's court. He received a lot of nobility and pride in Delhi. He was given the title of 'Mirza Nosha', and that's how Mirza was added to his name. He tutored the Emperor and prince Fakhr-ud Din Mirza, eldest son of Bahadur Shah II.

4. Ghalib's connection with spirituality

Ghalib was a prolific writer, and he believed in humanity as a whole rather than having different sectors. This man and his spiritual words were admired by both the Hindus as well as Muslims. He also had a great sense of respect and refused a job once when he was not greeted properly. 

5. His dependance on maternal grandparents 

Ghalib faced sheer tough times in life. His father and uncle died when he was very young. He had spent a good part of his life with his mother's family. He was socially and economically dependent on his maternal grandparents for his upbringing. A part of all worldly goods that he had were a part of charity too.  

6. Ghalib's wife and children 

At the age of thirteen, in a completely traditionally arranged setup Ghalib married Umrao Begum, daughter of Nawab Ilahi Bakhsh. Soon after his marriage, he moved to Delhi with his brother who died at a very early age. He also had seven children from his marriage but none of the kids survived post-infancy. In one of his letters, he described his marriage as an imprisonment and also mentioned that life was a continuous struggle. 

7.  He was surely a prodigy 

Most of the works by Ghalib have been assumed to have been completed by 1816 when he was merely nineteen years of age.

8. Philosophy, theology, history and grammar in Ghalib's work 

Ghalib's writings and verses show that he was a distinguished man not only in terms of creativity and his words but also in terms of great knowledge of philosophy, theology, classical literature and history. 

9. Ghalib's Memorial in Delhi 

The house where Ghalib lived in Gali Qasim Jaan, Ballimaran, Chandni Chowk, in Old Delhi known as the Ghalib ki Haveli has now been converted into 'Ghalib Memorial' and has a permanent Ghalib Exhibition throughout the year. 

10. Love Sonnets of Ghalib 

The first complete English translation of Ghalib's ghazals was Love Sonnets of Ghalib written by Sarfaraz K. Niazi. It contains complete roman translations of his words and apt elaborations too.That's all people. Cover image source: India TimesIf you have anything to add to the list, let me know in the comment section below. You can also write to me at muskan@wittyfeed.com.