Remembering Mirza Ghalib on 221st birth anniversary

Islamabad, Pakistan: The 221st birth anniversary of classical Persian and Urdu poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib was observed on Thursday.

MirzaMirza Ghalib, the last great poet of the Mughal era, is considered to be one of the most popular and influential poets of the Urdu language.

Ghalib was born on December 27, 1796 in the city of Akbarabad which is presently known as Agra. His full name was Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan and Ghalib was his pen name.

He wrote several ghazals during his life which have since been interpreted and sung in many different ways by different people.

Ghalib died in Delhi on February 15, 1869. His rented house in Gali Qasim Jaan, Ballimaran, Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi, where he took his last breath, has now been turned into the ‘Ghalib Memorial.’

Ghalib’s Tomb was restored last year under the Urban Renewal Project, a non-profit public-private partnership between the Archaeological Survey of India and the Aga Khan Foundation amongst many others.

Beautified with marble inlays and red sandstone, it now befits the resting place of South Asia’s renowned poet. Ghalib’s famous couplet is inscribed on a marble slab in Hindi, Urdu and English translations.



Gifted naturally with the talent of letter writing, here’s looking at top 10 couplets from the poet as we celebrate his 221st birth anniversary:

  1. “aah ko chāhiye ik umr asar hote tak
    kaun jiitā hai tirī zulf ke sar hote tak”

Translation: A prayer needs a lifetime, an answer to obtain
who can live until the time that you decide to deign

  1. “bāzīcha-e-atfāl hai duniyā mire aage
    hotā hai shab-o-roz tamāshā mire aage”

Translation: Just like a child’s playground this world appears to me
every single night and day, this spectacle I see

  1. “bas-ki dushvār hai har kaam kā āsāñ honā
    aadmī ko bhī mayassar nahīñ insāñ honā”

Translation: Tis difficult that every goal be easily complete
For a man, too, to be human, is no easy feat

  1. “dard minnat-kash-e-davā na huā
    maiñ na achchhā huā burā na huā”

Translation: My pain did not seek favors from any opiate
I don’t mind the fact that I did not recuperate

  1. “hazāroñ ḳhvāhisheñ aisī ki har ḳhvāhish pe dam nikle
    bahut nikle mire armān lekin phir bhī kam nikle”

Translation: I have a thousand yearnings , each one afflicts me so
Many were fulfilled for sure, not enough although

  1. “kaaba kis muñh se jāoge ‘ġhālib’
    sharm tum ko magar nahīñ aatī”

Translation: Ghalib, what face will you to the Kaaba take
when you are not ashamed and not contrite

  1. “kahāñ mai-ḳhāne kā darvāza ‘ġhālib’ aur kahāñ vaa.iz
    par itnā jānte haiñ kal vo jaatā thā ki ham nikle”

Translation: Wherefrom the ‘saintly’ priest, and where the tavern’s door
But as I entered he was leaving, this much I do know

  1. “koī mere dil se pūchhe tire tīr-e-nīm-kash ko
    ye ḳhalish kahāñ se hotī jo jigar ke paar hotā”

Translation: What pain your arrow, partly drawn, inflicts upon my heart
cleanly through if it had gone, would it this sting impart?

  1. “mohabbat meñ nahīñ hai farq jiine aur marne kā
    usī ko dekh kar jiite haiñ jis kāfir pe dam nikle”

Translation: In love there is no difference ‘tween life and death do know
The very one for whom I die, life too does bestow

  1. “na thā kuchh to ḳhudā thā kuchh na hotā to ḳhudā hotā
    Duboyā mujh ko hone ne na hotā maiñ to kyā hotā”

Translation: In nothingness God was there, if naught he would persist
Existence has sunk me, what loss, if I didn’t exist


Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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