Remembering Mirza Ghalib, the most quoted Urdu poet

Remembering Mirza Ghalib, the most quoted Urdu poet

Dr Gurupdesh Singh (C) with Dr Gurpratap Khaira at Majha House event on Mirza Ghalib’s poetry in Amritsar on Saturday. Sunil Kumar

Neha Saini

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 23

Mirza Ghalib, the most quoted Urdu poet ever, was remembered as a man with unmatched wit and master of humour at a baithak (discussion) held to mark his birth anniversary at Majha House. The discussion was led by Dr Gurupdesh Singh, former professor of English, Guru Nanak Dev University, and Dr Sarbjot Behl, Dean, Academic Affairs, Guru Nanak Dev University, who were in conversation with Dr Gurpartap Khairah, associate professor in English, Hindu College. Dr Arvinder Chamak shared the recitation of the preface written by Gulzar for his TV serial “Mirza Ghalib” to introduce the audience to the premise of the event.

Dr Gurupdesh Singh introduced Mirza Ghalib as a person beyond his poems and letters. “If you study his letters and dairy, one understands the great sense of humour he had and the nuanced approach in his observations of everyday things and emotions. Even some of his popular ghazals are an example of this master of wits,” he said.

Dr Sarbjot Behl spoke on the times of Ghalib and how they could be seen reflected in his ghazals. “The role of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, in whose court Ghalib was a poet, was tremendous in developing his stature as a poet. Zafar’s patronage was instrumental in the evolvement of Ghalib as a poet.” Reciting a couple of Ghalib’s well-known and loved couplets, the two also deconstructed them to come to the deeper meaning which sometimes remained hidden from the lay reader or admirer.

Elaborating on Ghalib’s views about love and beauty, Dr Gurupdesh said Ghalib’s poetry revealed the poet’s very own perspective on true beauty and beloved. “So, when he is talking about Visaal, he is actually talking about the final meeting with the Supreme. These reveal the Sufi element in Ghalib’s works. Ghalib was not an atheist, he was against orthodoxy and rites and rituals concerned with worship.”

To that, Dr Behl added, “Ghalib in his own way was a believer in spite of his drinking habits and shunning of rituals. In lots of his works, he mentions his beloved as the Almighty.”

The attending members then recited their favourite couplets by Ghalib. The evening ended with the recitation of rendition of Ghalib’s best loved ghazals by Dr Jasmeet Nayyar and Gaurav, who sang “Hazaron Khwahishen aisi”, “Na tha kuchh toh khuda tha” and “Unke dekhe se” and many more.

“This evening was dedicated to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Ghalib and an extension of our Baithak porgrammes that we have been hosting to celebrate the genius of our poets, writers and artists each month. Till date, we have celebrated the works of Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Sahir Ludhianvi, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Munshi Premchand, RD Burman and Gulzar. Today’s event too is a celebration of India’s best loved Urdu poet,” said Preeti Gill, founder, Majha House.

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