Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869) – Facts And History


Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869) was a prominent Urdu and Persian poet during the Mughal era in India. He was born in Agra, but spent most of his life in Delhi. Ghalib’s real name was Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan, and he was also known as “the poet of the poets” for his exceptional literary talent and mastery over both languages.

Ghalib’s poetry was known for its complexity, depth, and innovative style, which set him apart from his contemporaries. His works reflected his personal experiences and emotions, as well as the political and cultural milieu of his time. He wrote about a range of topics, including love, loss, religion, philosophy, and social issues.

Ghalib’s poetry has been widely appreciated and admired across the Indian subcontinent and beyond. His verses have been translated into several languages, and his influence on Urdu literature has been significant. Some of his most famous works include “Diwan-e-Ghalib,” “Mirza Ghalib,” and “Nuskha-e-Hamidiya.”


Mirza Ghalib’s Birth And Childhood:


Mirza Ghalib’s birth name was Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan and was born in Agra on December 27, 1797 into a family of aristocrats who were descendants of Timur, the Central Asian conqueror. His father, Mirza Abdullah Baig Khan, was a nobleman in the court of Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II.

Ghalib’s family moved to Delhi when he was young, and he received his early education in Persian and Arabic from his maternal grandfather, Mirza Qoqan Baig. He was later sent to a madrasa (Islamic seminary) to further his education, where he learned about Islamic theology, law, and philosophy.

Despite his family’s privileged background, Ghalib faced financial difficulties throughout his childhood and early adulthood. His father died when he was only nine years old, leaving the family in a difficult financial situation. Ghalib struggled to make ends meet and had to take up various odd jobs to support himself.

Ghalib’s difficult childhood and financial struggles had a profound impact on his poetry, which often reflected his feelings of loneliness, despair, and loss. His experiences also gave him a unique perspective on life, which he later channeled into his poetry.


Mirza Ghalib’s Family History:


Mirza Ghalib’s family history can be traced back to Timur, the Central Asian conqueror, who established the Timurid Empire in the 14th century. Ghalib’s ancestors were a part of the Timurid dynasty and were prominent nobles in the Mughal court.

Ghalib’s father, Mirza Abdullah Baig Khan, was a nobleman in the court of Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II, and held several important positions throughout his career. Ghalib’s mother, Izzat-un-Nisa, was the daughter of a wealthy nobleman, and she played an important role in shaping his early education.

Ghalib had several siblings, including two brothers and a sister. His younger brother, Mirza Yousuf Khan, was also a poet and scholar, and played an important role in Ghalib’s life and career.

Despite his family’s noble background, Ghalib faced financial difficulties throughout his life, and had to struggle to make ends meet. However, his family’s cultural and intellectual legacy had a significant impact on his poetry, and he drew inspiration from their literary and artistic pursuits.


Mirza Ghalib’s Married Life:


Mirza Ghalib had a tumultuous married life, marked by several personal tragedies and difficulties. He married Umrao Begum, who belonged to a family of nobles, when he was 13 years old, but their marriage was not a happy one. Ghalib had a difficult time supporting his family financially, and the couple had several disagreements.

Tragically, Ghalib lost all seven of his children in infancy, which was a great source of grief and sorrow for him and his wife. The couple also faced financial difficulties and had to rely on the support of friends and relatives.

Despite their problems, Ghalib and Umrao Begum remained together throughout their lives. Ghalib was devoted to his wife, and she played an important role in his life and career. She supported his literary pursuits and helped him through his personal struggles.

In his poetry, Ghalib often wrote about the difficulties and complexities of love and relationships, drawing from his own experiences. His verses on love, separation, and loss are some of his most powerful and poignant works, and have touched the hearts of millions of readers over the years.


Mirza Ghalib As a Poet:


Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869) is considered one of the greatest poets in the Urdu language and one of the most influential poets in the history of Indian literature. Even today, he is widely regarded as the last great poet of the Mughal era.

Ghalib’s poetry is characterized by its profound complexity and depth of thought. He is known for his mastery of the ghazal form, a traditional form of Urdu poetry that consists of rhyming couplets and a refrain. Ghalib’s ghazals are marked by their intricate wordplay, use of metaphor and allusion, and philosophical musings on the nature of love, God, and the human condition.

Ghalib’s poetry reflects the tumultuous political and social climate of his time, as well as his personal struggles and experiences. He lived through a period of great upheaval in India, including the decline of the Mughal empire, the rise of British colonialism, and the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Ghalib’s poetry reflects his skepticism towards authority and his search for meaning and purpose in a world marked by chaos and uncertainty.

Ghalib’s poetry has had a profound impact on Urdu literature and has influenced countless poets and writers in India and beyond. His work continues to be celebrated and studied for its literary excellence and its insights into the human experience.


Books And Poetry Written By Mirza Ghalib:


Mirza Ghalib was a prolific writer, and his works include poetry, letters, and prose.

  • Diwan-e-Ghalib: This is Ghalib’s collection of Urdu poetry, which includes his ghazals, qasidas, and other poetic forms.
  • Ghalibnama: This is a collection of Ghalib’s letters, which provide insights into his life, his philosophy, and his relationships with his contemporaries.
  • Asar-us-Sanadid: This is Ghalib’s magnum opus, a Persian language work that explores the history and culture of Delhi, the city where he lived.
  • Khatoot-e-Ghalib: This is a collection of Ghalib’s letters that were written to his friends, family, and acquaintances.
  • Mahnama-e-Urdu: Ghalib was also a journalist and contributed to several newspapers and literary magazines. He edited the Urdu-language journal Mahnama-e-Urdu.


Some of Ghalib’s most famous ghazals include:


  • “Hazaron khwahishen aisi ke har khwahish pe dam nikle”
  • “Ishq mujhko nahi wehshat hi sahi”
  • “Yeh na thi hamari qismat ki visaal-e-yaar hota”
  • “Dil-e-nadan tujhe hua kya hai”
  • “Gham-e-ishq ka asad kis se ho juz marg ilaaj”


These works and poems have cemented Ghalib’s legacy as one of the greatest poets of the Urdu language.




In conclusion, Mirza Ghalib was a poet of extraordinary talent and skill, whose works continue to inspire and move people around the world. His poetry reflects his deep insights into the human experience, his mastery of language, and his profound understanding of the complexities of life. Despite living in a time of great political and social upheaval, Ghalib was able to create a body of work that has endured for generations, and has had a profound impact on Urdu literature and culture. His legacy as one of the greatest poets of the Indian subcontinent is secure, and his works will continue to be celebrated and studied for years to come.

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