It is the birth anniversary of the timeless poet Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan popularly known as Mirza Ghalib. Over 15 decades after his death, the poet Ghalib still remains relevant and popular among his Urdu-speaking fans.
Ghalib has both young and old admirers. His poetry ranges from romance to the deeper meaning of life. Here are some facts about one of the most esteemed poets of the Urdu language.
1. Ghalib’s grandfather was a Seljuq Turk who had migrated to India and settled in present-day Agra. Turk from his father’s side, Ghalib was also Kashmiri as his mother Izzat-ut-Nisa Begum was from the region.
2. The poet was born on December 27, 1797, in Akbarabad (present-day Agra). When Ghalib was five years old, his father died in a battle. His uncle Mirza Nasrullah Baig took care of Ghalib but he too passed away four years later.
3. Mulla Abdussamad gave him lessons in Arabic, Persian and philosophy and Ghalib never received formal education.
4. He wrote in both Urdu and Persian but is predominantly known for his work in the Urdu language.
5. At age 13, Ghalib was married to Umrao Begum who was in her pre-teens. Unlike her husband, Umrao followed religion strictly.
6. Ghalib and Umrao had seven children together. However, all of them died in infancy.
7. When his family was in need of accommodation, the residence of Ghalib (Ghalib ki Haveli) which exists in Old Delhi was given to him by the sister of Nawab of Loharu.
8. The poet was given the title of ‘Dabir-ul-Mulk’ by Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1850.
9. He faced financial instability most of his life. Ghalib used to get assistance from nobility and his uncle’s government pension was irregular and meagre.
10. He died in 1869 when he was 71 years old. His grave is called Mazar-i-Ghalib.