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Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan, known to us as Mirza Ghalib, is undoubtedly one of the greatest, if not the greatest name exalting the stature of Urdu literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular by his absolute brilliance in expression of his highly intellectual, philosophical and visionary mindset, glittering the “Ghazal” genre of Urdu poetry with everlasting fame. He is rightly referred as the last classical and the first modern poet of Urdu language, not only taking the great literary legacy handed over to him by his predecessor Urdu poets of great expertise and fame to its pinnacle but also laid strong foundations of new trends and styles ever to dominate Urdupoetry and literature.
Fate handed him over to the parents of Turkish descent settled at Agra (former subcontinent) in 1797, the precise date subject to debate as yet. He saw the demise of two of the most dominant male figures in family life of an Indian Muslim of those times which had significant influences on his upbringing and mental posture, inculcating an ambivalent nature into his being, evident not only from his varied lifestyle but clearly mirrored in his poetry as well.
On one end, it evolved a free independent spirit into him that ultimately played a significant role in freeing Urdu poetry from the confining shackles of tradition and convention, exposing totally new, diverse and realistic dimensions to broaden the horizons of Urdu poetry. On the other end a sense of deprivation and dependency marred his psychology for being dependent on his maternal grandparents socially and economically. His inclination towards finding a permanent and secure source of livelihood all his life so desperately can help us surmise some of his early thoughts about his being.
Marriage, an important event in everybody’s life, was dawned upon Ghalib at a tender age of 13, to a girl almost aged same, from a noble and wealthy family settled in Delhi. This took him moving to Delhi as well. This incident brought nothing more than a bit of financial bliss to his life. As far as his marital well being is concerned, it was always on tantrums, very likely to be a part and parcel of such an early marriage.
His marriage however, played a great role in maturing him as a human being with firm, diverse and somewhat complex ideologies towards life greatly shared and expressed with masses through his Urdu poetry with brilliance yet to find match. Most of what is known to us today as his substantially completed literary works in Urdu was developed by 1816, when Ghalib saw only 19 years of his life.
The diversity, depth, versatility and wholesomeness one sees in his poetry at an age as meager as 19 years is a proof enough of his intellect and caliber, expressed explicitly through his poetry with a craftsmanship and brilliance yearned by all but mastered by none.
He left indelible marks not only in Urdu poetry alone but bestowed a unique and everlasting style of prose, gaining mass acceptance in years to follow, through his letters to his mates and family members.
Literary masterpieces of Ghalib are it prose or poetry, shall undoubtedly serve strong inspiration to Urdu lovers throughout its history.
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