Ghalib made easy
Karachi: Mirza Ghalib’s poetry has always been considered rather abstract, and so all-encompassing that one can interpret his language in a host of ways and derive a multitude of meanings from it. Even for Ghalib’s contemporaries, his language and imagery in many of his poems presented a challenge. Fortunately, we now have dozens of major interpretations of the master’s poetry which make Ghalib easier to comprehend for the layman. Nevertheless, a modern reader, perhaps reading Ghalib for the first time, may take his work as a big challenge.
There are a number of scholars and Ghalib enthusiasts who have taken up the altruistic mission of introducing Ghalib and his sublime thoughts to those who may not be initiated in Urdu literature. This is all the more called for especially in the present highly cosmopolitan era when perhaps even Ghalib’s descendents’ attention may have been distracted from Urdu literature in favour of the more global discourse where English holds sway.
One such literature enthusiast is celebrated young writer Musharraf Ali Farooqi who seems to have Ghalib at his fingertips and interprets his sublime thought for the lay reader fluently. In his talk titled, “Ghalib made easy” at the T2F on Wednesday evening, he quoted fluently from a multitude of Ghalib’s verses and explained the underlying meanings of not only the stanzas but all that motivated Ghalib to communicate in that particular style. Most of it pivoted around Ghalib’s concept of love and the beloved. He also explained the many epithets that Ghalib uses in his poetry and his symbolism.
It goes without saying that Ghalib’s imagery is superb. For instance, a line from one of his verses which Farooqi quoted, is a tribute to his beloved’s radiant beauty and says: “Even the mirror is not capable of reflecting your beauty”. Another of his verses, explained to the audience by Farooqi, contained the line where Ghalib is addressing his beloved and says: “Sab Ko Maqbool Hai Dawah Teri Aqsai Ka”, (the whole world acknowledges your superlative beauty). According to Farooqi, it is the epithets coined by Ghalib that make his poetry so rich and lyrical. The series of weekly lectures on Ghalib by Farooqi at the T2F is open to all.