Mirza Ghalib Shayaris For The Soul




Mirza Ghalib remains one of the most renowned shayars and whose legacy lives on even after years of his demise. He was born as Mirza Beg Asadullah Khan in 1797 in Agra. He started composing poetry at the tender age of 11 and his first works were in Urdu. However, he was well versed in Persian and Turkish too. And though Mirza Ghalib has written much more in Persian and values it himself more, it is his works in Urdu that have earned him the maximum fame and love. 

About Ghalib

mage – Wikimedia

Ghalib’s original pen name was Asad (lion). But sometime later he switched to Ghalib, meaning superior, most excellent and all conquering. 

He was bestowed with many titles and honors including the title of Dabir-ul-Mulk by Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1850. He also became the official poet laureate of the Mughal court. For Ghalib his first love was always the city of Delhi. He moved from one rented house to another and finally breathed his last in a home near a mosque. It was here that he wrote the couplet, ‘Masjid ke zere saya ek ghar bana liya hain, ek banda-e-kameena hamsaya-e-Khuda hai.’ (Under the shadow of the mosque, A scoundrel has made my home). His tomb is located near Chausath Khamba, Nizamuddin area in Delhi.

Ghalib moved to Calcutta for a matter concerning his pension. And here too he fell in love with the city. He found the literary circles different from the ones of Delhi. There were no courtly appearances and the discussions were more liberal and freer. It is often said that his journey to the City of Joy changed the course of his life. 

Ghalib’s works


Though Ghalib is most well known for his Urdu shayari or poetry, he is also credited for a number of other literary contributions. His letters and prose in Urdu is what scholars and generations to come will always be indebted to. Before him, letter writing in Urdu was highly sophisticated. But he made the letters truly conversational. 

Ghalib also wrote naats in praise of Prophet Mohammed. Besides, his Persian works included qasidas that were an ode to the rulers. He also wrote ghazals and masnavi (poems with rhyming couplets) in Persian. Essentially, both poetry and prose in Urdu and Persian owe a lot to Ghalib’s work. 

Ghalib’s Shayari

The subject of most of Ghalib’s poems are based on philosophy and love. There is no definite gender or beloved of whom he talks. And hence his poems are about love, though not love poems. But his vast repertoire of poetry and literary works touch upon a wide range of subjects that are based on the mysteries and philosophies of life itself. The first translation of his ghazals are found in Love Sonnets of Ghalib, a book written by Sarfaraz Niazi. 

For laymen, it has always been the shayaris of Ghalib that have touched a deep chord and churned the soul and mind. His simple, yet meaningful poems in Urdu have been used by popular creative media, such as in films, TV shows and more. His ghazals have been sung on screen and in concerts by renowned artists. Overall, these Urdu shayaris have left a lasting impact on the listeners. Here is taking a look at some of Ghalib’s most wonderful shayaris. 


‘Ishq ne Ghalib nikamma kar diya

Varna hum bhi aadmi the kaam ke’

     (Love made me useless, otherwise I too was a useful man.)


‘Gunah Kar ke kahan jaoge Ghalib, 

    Ye zamin ye aasmaan sab usi ka hai

    (Where will you go or hide after committing sins? This earth and sky are of His)


 ‘Unn ke dekhe se jo aa jaati hain munh par raunak

     Woh samjhte hain ke bimar ka haal acha hain’

      (My face lights up whenever I see my lover, now she thinks my illness is cured)


 ‘Guzar jayega ye daur bhi Ghalib zara itminan to rakh

     Jab Khushi na thahri to gum ki kya aukat hain’

      (These days shall pass too Ghalib, for if happiness didn’t stay, how much sadness can.)


‘Haton ki lakeeron pe mat ja ae Ghalib

     Naseeb unke bhi hote hain jinke haath nahin hote.’

      (Do not believe in the lines on your palm Ghalib, for even those without hands have a         destiny)


 ‘Mere bare mein koi raye mat banana Ghalib

     Mera waqt bhi badlega teri raye bhi.’

      (Do not form an opinion about me Ghalib, for in time I will change and so will your opinion.)


 ‘Manzil milegi bhatak kar hi sahi, 

     Gumrah woh hain jo ghar se nikle hi nahi,’

     (The destination will be found albeit after getting lost, but lost are those who haven’t ventured out of their homes.)


 ‘Aah ko chaahiye ik umr asar hone tak

    Kaun jeeta hain teri zulf ke sar hone tak’

   (A lifetime of sighs scarcely reveals its effects, yet how impatiently I wait for you to             untangle your hair)


 ‘Umar bhar Ghalib ye hi bhool karta raha, 

     Dhool chehre par thi aur aaina saaf karta raha’

     (All your life Ghalib you repeated the same mistake, your face was dirty but you kept          cleaning the mirror)


‘Dil-e nadaan tujhe hua kya hai,

       Aakhir is dard ki dawa kya hai’

       (Oh naïve heart what will become of you? Is there no relief for your pain? What will              you do?)


‘Log badalte nahin Ghalib, benaqaab hote hain’

      (People don’t change Ghalib, their true colors are revealed)


‘Hazaroon khwaishen aisi ke har khwaish pe dam nikle,

       Bahut nikle mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikle’

      (Ten thousand desires, each one worth dying for…. So many fulfilled and yet still I               yearn more!)


‘Humne maana ke tagaaful na karoge lekin, 

       Khaak ho jayenge hum, tumko khabar hone tak’

        (While you may not ignore me, I’ll be ashes before you understand me)


‘Peene do sharab masjid main bhet ke Ghalib

        Ya woh jaga bata jaha Khuda nahin hain’

         (Let me get drunk in the mosque, or show me the place where God abstains.)


‘Humne mohabbat ke nashe mein aa kar unhain Khuda bana dala, 

       Hosh toh tab aaya jab unhone kaha ki khuda ek ka nai hota’

      (In the toxification of love we thought of our beloved to be God, but we came to our             senses when they said that God is not for one alone.)


‘Mat kar itna ghuroor, apnea aap par aye insaan,

      Na jane Khuda ne kitne tere jaise bana bana kar mita diye’

      (Do not take pride in yourself O! Man, for you don’t not know how many like you did God create who are no more)


‘Woh saath tha hamara, ya hum paas the uske, 

      Woh zindagi ke kuch din, yeh zindagi thi kuch din’

     (Was she with me, or was I near her? Were those a few days of my life, or were those           days my life)


 ‘Rakh kar dekho khud ko meri jagah, 

      Taras na aaye toh beshak chor jaana’

       (Keep yourself in my place, and if you do not pity me, then for sure leave me and go)


‘Khhub tha pehle se hote jo hum apne bad-khvah,

       Ki bhala chhahte hain aur bura hota hain’

      (I’ll only wish ill on myself today, for when I wished for good, bad came my way)


‘Daam-e har mauj main hai halqa-e-sad kaam-e-nahang,

       Dekhein kya guzre hai qatre pe guhar hone tak’

       (Every wave conceals monsters, and yet teardrops become pearls)


‘Main ne maanaa ki kuch nahin Ghalib, 

       Muft haath aaya to buraa kya hain’

       (I get that Ghalib is not much, but when a slave comes free, what’s the problem?)


‘Ashiqui sabr talab aur tamanna betaab, 

      Dil ka kyaa rang karoon khoon-e jigar hone tak’

      (Love requires patience, while pa’Jab ssion races, must my heart bleed constantly until it expires)


‘Nikalna khuld se aadam ka sunte aaye hain lekin, 

       Bahut be-aabroo hokar tere kooche se hum nikle’

        (Often we have heard of Adam’s banishment from Eden, but with far greater                      humiliation, I depart your garden)


‘Is sadgi pe kaun na mar jaae ae Khuda,

       Ladte hain aur haath mein talvaar bhi nahin’

       (Who would not die on this simplicity. They are fighting and there is not a sword in the hands)


‘Jab laga tha teer, tab itna dard na hua Ghalib,

       Zakham ka ehsaas tab hua, jab kaman dekhi apne ke haath main’

       (The arrow didn’t hurt O! Ghalib much, but the realization of the pain was when I saw in whose hands lay the bow)


There are many other wonderful shayaris that have been penned from the heart, soul and intellect of Mirza Ghalib. On calm days, pick his shayaris out to read, reflect and feel something connect. 

Suggested Read – 10 Great Indian Poets Who Still Warm Our Hearts With their Epic Poetry 

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