Urdu Letters of Mirza Asadu'llah Khan Ghalib

Translated by Daud Rahbar

Subjects: Religion
Paperback : 9781438481180, 674 pages, July 1987
Hardcover : 9780887064128, 674 pages, July 1987

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Table of contents

Ghalib's Portrait
Translator's Homage
Pantheistic Creed

Ghalib's Life
Ghalib's Letters
A Note on Transliteration

Letters to:
Nawwab Aminu'd-Din Ahmad Khan
Nawwab 'Ala'u'd-Din Ahmad Khan 'Ala'i
Mirza Shahabu'd-Din Ahmad Khan Saqib
Mirza Amiru'd-Din Ahmad Khan Farrukh Mirza
Mirza Qurban 'Ali Beg Khan Salik
Munshi Hargopal Tafta
Mirza Hatim 'Ali Beg Mihr
Munshi Shiv Nara'in Aram
Mir Mahdi Majruh
Mir Sarfaraz Husain
Mir Afzal 'Ali (Miran Sahib)
Khwaja Ghulam Ghaus Bekhabar
Nawwab Anwaru'd-Daula Shafaq
Hakim Ghulam Najaf Khan
Hakim Zahiru'd-Din Ahmad Khan
Nawwab Husain Mirza
Nawwab Yusuf Mirza
Nawwab Sajjad Mirza
Mir Ghulam Baba Khan
Hakim Sayyid Ahmad Hasan Maududi
Miyan Dad Khan Sayyah
Mir Habibu'llah Zaka
Chaudhari 'Abdu'l-Ghafur Surur
Sahib-i-'Alam Marehravi
Khan Bahadur Qazi 'Abdu'l-Jamil Junun
Muhammad 'Abdu'r-Razzaq Shakir
Mir Ghulam Hasanain Qadr Bilgirami
Prince Bashiru'd-Din Taufiq
Munshi Hira Singh
Maulavi Karamat 'Ali



Mirza Asadu'llah Khan Ghalib was the brightest luminary of his time in the South Asian, Muslim literary community. A poet in Urdu and Persian, he was endowed with exquisite imagination, sparkling wit, and a charming presence. Ghalib was a brilliant conversationalist, skilled in the art of human relations. In the last twenty years of his life, the political conditions of northern India caused the death or dispersion of many of his best friends. He satisfied his gregarious urges by writing exquisite letters in Urdu, in a delightfully conversational style. By these means Ghalib kept in touch with his scattered friends. These letters were so novel in style that the first collection was published only a month after the poet's death.

In this book, Daud Rahbar provides thoroughly annotated English versions of 170 Urdu letters. These letters exemplify the possibility of elevating human relations to an art form, and Rahbar's translation reproduces the delicate flavor of the original Urdu prose.

Daud Rahbar is Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University.


"This translation makes available in readable and easily accessible form a body of material that would be closed to most students of Indian Islam, even many of the most competent scholars. Couched in clear, colloquial English, these translations are backed up by a formidable set of notes that put the correspondence into its historical, social, and cultural context. I appreciate especially the care that has been taken with transliteration—it is meticulous. I would rank this book as 'outstanding.'" — Charles J. Adams, McGill University

"Ghalib occupies the premier position among poets of nineteenth-century India, and "Ghalibology' has become a recognized field of endeavor in itself. This excellent translation faithfully reflects the tone of the original." — W. M. Thackston, Harvard University