On birthday, Mirza Ghalib beats Salman Khan on twitter trends

“A long time has passed since Ghalib passed away, but he still revisits the memory, saying every-time that had it not been this way, then how it would have been?”

NH photo by Vipin
NH photo by Vipin

Ashutosh Sharma

In debt and on verge of penury, the last great poet of the Mughal era, Ghalib (the conqueror) once got an offer to teach at Delhi College. An eminent citizen, who was an admirer of his poetry, had pleaded with the principal of the college, a British, to give him a job. On a certain day, Ghalib reached at the main gate of the institute in a palanquin with all grandeur and returned from the gate after rejecting the job within no time.

On hearing about Ghalib’s arrival, the principal of the college in fact had rushed to the gate to welcome him: “Mr Ghalib, i’ve come to receive you on your first day. You are going to serve here. From now onwards, you will have to enter the college at your own. I won’t come here to welcome you on daily basis.” This infuriated Ghalib: “A job that diminishes my dignity, is not acceptable to me.”

Karte ho mujhko mana-e-qadam bos kis liye,

kya aasmaan ke bhi baraabar nahin hun main !

(Why do you stop me from kissing your footsteps, Am I not even equal to the sky !)

Mirza Asadullah Khan Baig, who was born on December 27, 1797 in Agra, was a prominent poet of Urdu and Persian during the decline of Mughal empire.

NH photo by Vipin
NH photo by Vipin
An inside view of the Haveli where the fascinating poet wrote much-talked about poetry and some of the finest letters in Urdu langauge. Now a heritage site, it houses a bust and a life size replica of the poet besides hand written poems

Acknowledging his immense popularity, Google also paid tribute to the legendary poet on Wednesday with a doodle on the occasion of his 220th birth anniversary.

In its blog post, Google said, “His (Ghalib) verse is characterised 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.”

Na tha kuch toh khuda tha, kuch na hota toh khuda hota,

duboya mujh ko hone ne, na hota main to kya hota!

(When there was nothing, God was there. If there had been nothing, there would still have been God. My existence has let me down. Becoming (My existence) has defeated me. If I did not exist, what would I be?”

“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),” the post added.

Mohabbat mein nahin hai farq jeene aur marne ka,

Usi ko dekh kar jeete hain, jis kaafir pe dam nikle !

(When in love, there is little difference between life and death, The same infidel is my life, for whom I could give my last breath.)

“A long time has passed since Ghalib passed away, but he still revisits the memory, saying every-time that had it not been this way, then how it would have been?” Ghalib said in one of his famous ghazals and predicted that the world would acknowledge his greatness posthumously. On Twitter, #MirzaGhalib was trending above hashtag #HappyBirthdaySalmanKhan, ranking second on Twitter trends after #JaiRamThakur till late Wednesday afternoon. This is how Twitter users are remembering the great poet and paying him tributes:

At the age of 72, Ghalib passed away in Delhi on February 15, 1869. The house where he lived in Gali Qasim Jaan, Ballimaran, Chandni Chowk, in Old Delhi, is known as Ghalib Ki Haveli. It has now been turned into ‘Ghalib Memorial’ and houses a permanent Ghalib exhibition and a bust of the poet donated by poet-film director Gulzar. In this Haveli, it is said, the bard penned 1,100 couplets in Urdu and 6,600 in Persian besides writing numerous letters to his admirers and friends that ushered in an informal style of letter-writing in Urdu.

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Published: 27 Dec 2017, 3:08 PM