‘ghalib’: Father Of Urdu Prose

Brief life history:

Ghalib is one of the most famous poets of the subcontinent. He had the most unique form of poetry in Urdu. The poet was famous for his heartrending, moving, poignant, sad, and tragic poetry in the history of Urdu. , Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan was born in Agra on 27th December 1797. His ancestors belonged to a noble Turkish family.


He was not only a commendable poet but also had an impressive and strong personality. He was a tall and handsome man. This light skinned man had the appearance of Turks as his forefathers belonged to soldiers. Due to this reason as well he had a build of soldiers.


The call of poetry from Ghalib was instinctive. He was a man to follow his own free will. If he had anything inherited he would have formed out to be a soldier like his ancestors. I rather call it intuitive ability that he perceived and responded with his intellect. He was a peaceful man and had nothing in common with his ancestors in interests. He liked to be on the literary side even as a child. He had interest in Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages. Yet we cannot find an evidence of his formal education.

Father of Urdu prose:

“Main koshish karta hoon ke koi aisi baat likhoon, jo padhay khush ho jaaye”

[I try to write in such a way that whoever reads should enjoy it…]

Mirza asad ullah khan Ghalib was known to be the ‘Father of Urdu Prose’. He was a great thinker and observer. His intellect was full of philosophical, ethical, literary, theoretic and theological in nature. This was all due to his observation and thinking that he attained a high level in expression of prose in Urdu. These verses show how observant and philosifical he wrote:

“Na tha kuchh toh Khuda tha, kuchh na hota toh Khuda hota

Duboya Mujhko hone ne, na hota Main toh kya hota ?”

“When there was nothing, there was God

If nothing had been, God would have been

My very being has been my downfall

If I hadn’t been, what would it have mattered?”

todays prose that we read in urdu is quite influenced by the conversational letters used by this poet. This is what he says about it:

“Sau kos say ba-zabaan-e-qalam baatein kiya karo aur hijr mein visaal kay ma-zay liya karo”

[From hundreds of miles, talk with the tongue of the pen and enjoy the joy of meeting even in separation…]

He had an informal rather I would call it a comfortable way to communicate from long distances as well. Most of his letters were written to his admirers, friends and family member. History is evident for letters that he even wrote to himself.

Work of Ghalib:

One of his works includes divan e Ghalib. During his life time he wrote 235 Ghazals and about 1818 verses. We can find his work both on Urdu and Persian. His poetry was not only romantic but also included subject related to the correction f society and British conquest. His first divan was published in 1841.

Marital life of Ghalib:

Ghalib got married at the age of 13. His wife belonged to a noble family. He had seven children. He never seemed to be satisfied with his married life and considered it as an imprisonment.

Death of Ghalib:
After the long struggle the life of Ghalib came to an end in 1969. Thus the long journey poetry and literature came to an end. He was the one laying the first brick of modern poetry. We might not know much about him yet we use his verses every now and then in our daily lives.