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Updated: July 11, 2012 19:19 IST

A city reclaims its son

R. V. Smith
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Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma
Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Among other things, “Ghalib Nama” brings out the poet’s association with Agra

Mirza Ghalib has been monopolised so much by Delhiwallahs that the people of his home-town, Agra think that the poet’s association with their city has been overlooked and his Kala Mahal residence and Red Stone horse icon confined to oblivion. To make up for this lapse, Syed Ikhtiyar Jafri, head of the Ghalib Research Academy, Agra has compiled a book, Yaad-e-Ghalib in Urdu, Hindi and English. The contributors are from various places, including Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Kanpur and Patiala. Gulzar says he wouldn’t have been a poet but for Ghalib. The Vice-President, Mohammad Hamid Ansari has congratulated the publishers for their enterprise. It is surely a treasure mine of information for both the researcher and the casual reader looking for literary gems.

Included in the collection are articles like ‘Ghalib’s Agra’, ‘Ghalib as chronicler’, ‘Ghalib in a hundred moods’, ‘the poetic approach of Ghalib and Keats’, ‘Ghalib’s sense of humour’, his concept of paradise, need for a Ghalib memorial in Agra, his disciples and his letters, Ghalib’s Agra house, Ghalib, Shelley and Keats as romantic poets, the poet’s universal appeal, legal jargon in Ghalib’s poetry, the candle burns in variegated moods till dawn – a panorama of the poet’s life whose mastery even an Ustad like Seemab acknowledged.

The Hindi and Urdu sections of the 460-page book are even more exhaustive with articles by littérateurs like Maikash Akbarabadi, Kaifi Azmi, Malik Ram, Hari Mohan, Nasreen Begum, Raza Haider, Rashmi Jafri, Kanhaiyalal Kapoor, Shashi Tandon and Tahir Mahmood. The poems like those by Asrar Akbarabadi and Duniya hai ek khilona (The world is a toy), translated by Sarwat Rehman are illuminating. For those who are never tired of admiring Mirza Ghalib, this collection is a unique tribute to a poet whose genius has only now been recognized the world over – and a befitting reply to the monopolists in Delhi.

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