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Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797-1869) lived at a time of historic change in India, a period when the British conquest of India was in its ascendancy and the Mughal empire was coming to an end. He was witness to the ravaging of Delhi and its courtly culture, culminating in the uprising of 1857. This trauma, accompanied by his personal losses, informs his poetry, evidenced in Divan-E-Ghalib, containing 235 Urdu ghazals redolent with a sense of loss, grief and a plangent longing for a vanished way of life. Yet, what sets his poetry apart is an irrepressible sense of humour, energy and linguistic delight that drive his darkest lamentations.
In A Tribute to Ghalib, Azra Raza and Sara Suleri Goodyear select twenty-one ghazals that illustrate the astonishing range of Ghalib's many voices and the ideas that populate his poetry. Every ghazal is accompanied by an introduction, a literal translation and a detailed commentary, shedding light on the complexities of the individual sher as well as the ghazal as a whole. This book will be invaluable not only to the Ghalib aficionado but also the lay reader.