Mirza Ghalib’s 220th Birthday – Today we celebrate one of Urdu literature’s most iconic poets, Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, known in popular culture by many names, but most commonly as Ghalib (meaning conqueror).
Born in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, during the reign of Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah, Ghalib showed a gift for language at an early age and was educated in Persian, Urdu, and Arabic.
His verse is characterized by a lingering sadness borne of a tumultuous and often tragic life — from being orphaned at an early age, to losing all of his seven children in their infancy, to the political upheaval that surrounded the fall of Mughal rule in India. He struggled financially, never holding a regular paying job but instead depending on patronage from royalty and more affluent friends.
But despite these hardships, Ghalib navigated his circumstances with wit, intellect, and an all-encompassing love for life. His contributions to Urdu poetry and prose were not fully appreciated in his lifetime, but his legacy has come to be widely celebrated, most particularly for his mastery of the Urdu ghazal (amatory poem).
Irshad muqarar, Mirza!
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You can find more about Mirza Ghalib’s 220th Birthday on the official Google Doodle Page