New Delhi: Mirza Ghalib’s couplets were remembered for their timelessness and depth on his 220th birth anniversary today, as romantics paid rich tributes to the legendary poet while search giant Google honoured him with a Mughal-themed doodle.
The social media trended with Ghalib and his romantic couplets as people recalled his poetry that has been an inspiration for generations.
Google came out with a unique doodle to pay tribute to Ghalib. The digital artwork shows Ghalib, standing beside three contiguous multi-foliated arches (‘mehrabs’), holding a piece of paper in his hands while overlooking a monument in the horizon. The Mughal-styled architecture is portrayed in grey colour with the sun in the background and the poet dressed in flowing red robes and sporting a pointed hat (‘lambi topi’).
The six letters of ‘Google’ in faded white splashed across the arches appear floating in the air behind the bard.
Born Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan in Agra on December 27, 1797, he later adopted the pen name of ‘Ghalib’. He was a prominent court poet during the last phase of the Mughal empire, and is to this day, considered one of the finest poets around the world.
He wrote in Urdu and Persian languages, and his legacy shone brighter posthumously, as he remains popular not only in India and Pakistan but also among their diaspora globally. He is often quoted by scholars, historians and journalists.
One of the most famous lines from his poetry is — ‘Hazaaron khwahishen aisi ke har khwahish pe dam nikle, Bohat niklay mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikle (Thousands of desires, each worth dying for… many of them I have realised…yet I yearn for more.)’.
Google India while extolling the iconic personality, tweeted, “Be it one or a thousand, no one gave words to ‘khwahishen’ like he could. #GoogleDoodle celebrates one of India’s greatest poets – #MirzaGhalib.” The doodle team on its official page also shared some of the other illustrations that were tried during the conceptualisation of the Ghalib doodle.
“Today we celebrate one of Urdu literature’s most iconic poets, Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, known in popular culture by many names, but most commonly as Ghalib (meaning conqueror),” Google India said on the doodle page.
“His verse is characterised by a lingering sadness borne of a tumultuous and often tragic life — from being orphaned at an early age, to losing all of his seven children in their infancy, to the political upheaval that surrounded the fall of Mughal rule in India,” it said.
Showing a gift for language at an early age, Ghalib served as a court poet during the reign of Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, himself a renowned poet, who was exiled by the British to Rangoon after the fall of the Mughal empire. Ghalib struggled financially, never holding a regular paying job but instead depending on patronage from royalty and more affluent friends, the search giant said.
“But despite these hardships, Ghalib navigated his circumstances with wit, intellect, and an all-encompassing love for life,” the Google doodle team said.
“His contributions to Urdu poetry and prose were not fully appreciated in his lifetime, but his legacy has come to be widely celebrated, most particularly for his mastery of the Urdu ghazal (amatory poem),” it said, while signing off with, “Irshad muqarar, Mirza!”.
The master poet died on February 15, 1869 at his haveli in Gali Qasim Jaan, Ballimaran in Old Delhi. The old house has been partly preserved as a memorial to him and is known as ‘Ghalib ki Haveli’. It is frequented by both locals and foreign tourists.