Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Mirza Ghalib: Still Nonpareil After 225 Years

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 27 December 2022 Despite Knowing Excellent Persian, Ghalib And Iqbal Remained Next To Iranian Greats In Terms Of Syntax And Structure Of Persian Language And Grammar ------- December 27 is Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib's 225th birthday. He was born on December 27, 1797 and passed away on February 15, 1869. Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib ---- Ghalib's oeuvre like that of the Bard of Avon has been 'squeezed to the last drop' (to borrow T S Eliot's phrase for William Shakespeare's works) yet, many aspects of Ghalib's poetry and persona still remain to be explored. Professor Edwin Arnold wrote about Hinduism, ' Veil after veil will lift but there'll be veil after veil behind. ' The same eulogy can be heaped upon Ghalib's multifaceted and multi-layered poetry. Intezaar Hussain wrote, ' Ek Hi Baat Ko Hazaar Log Ek Hi Tareeqe Se Kahte Hain Par Khaas Log Usi Ko Mukhtalif Andaaz Mein Kahte Hain ' (one thing is expressed by a number of people without much change, but special people express the same thing in a different and striking manner). Very true. Ghalib himself wrote about his profound poetry and manner of presentation in his oft-quoted couplet: Hain Aur Bhi Duniya Mein Sukhanvar Bahut Acchhe/Kahte Hain Ke Ghalib Ka Hai Andaaz-E-Bayaan Aur (though there're other very good poets around/ Ghalib's manner of expression is altogether different). If you look at his entire works, Ghalib didn't write too much. His wasn't a factory churning out Sher after Sher. But whatever he wrote was enough to immortalise him. All his 235 Urdu Ghazals are gems. Every couplet is a Koh-e-Noor. His Tarkeeb (conceit, far-fetched idea, Udbhavna in Sanskrit) can startle a reader. Ponder over this couplet, " Aate Hain Ghaib Se Mazameen Khyal Mein/ Ghalib Sareer-E-Khaama Nawa-E-Sarosh Hai" (these thoughts descend from the divine realm/ Ghalib, the scratching sound of a quill is the euphony of angels). One is surely transported to a different plane when one mulls over a pen, making the sounds of angelic music. Not only poetry, Ghalib wrote purple prose as well. His collection of letters in Dastamboo (Persian for a bouquet) can be adduced as his mastery over Nasr (prose). It's time to analyse his poetry from psychological perspective as well though English scholar of Ghalib, Ralph Russell and Rehan Ashraf of Islamabad University tried to delve into the psychological depths of Ghalib's poetry. More exploration is required. His Persian poetry should also be redefined and studied all over again. Somewhere, Ghalib and also Iqbal cannot be bracketed with the legends like Rumi, Sanai, Khaqani, Hafiz, Nizami etc. Despite knowing excellent Persian, Ghalib and Iqbal remained next to Iranian greats in terms of syntax and structure of Persian language and grammar. The reason could be their sub-continental linguistic roots, juxtaposed with Central Asian or Iranian Persian. I wrote on this aspect of stylistics for Persian broadsheets and journals and would love to translate into English for the readers. ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-personalities/mirza-ghalib-nonpareil/d/128724 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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