The Evolution of Ghalib

by Hasan Abdullah

  1. ISBN: 978-81-291-3471-4
  2. Pages: 386 pages
  3. Date: September 2017


One of the most oft-quoted poets of the nineteenth century, Ghalib was an intellectual colossus, whose poetry is imbued with timelessness and universality. Born and brought up in North India, he wrote both in his mother tongue, Urdu, and in Persian, the established and privileged language of literature and officialdom. He wrote exquisite prose, but is better known for his poetry, particularly his Urdu ghazals.

In The Evolution of Ghalib, the author, Hasan Abdullah, provides a detailed introduction that describes Ghalib’s life history and brings out his persona, and situates his work in time and space. He briefly discusses the Urdu language and ghazal as a literary form and familiarizes the reader with the words, symbols and concepts crucial for understanding Ghalib’s poetry.

Based on a chronological reading of Ghalib’s Urdu ghazals, the author identifies the different stages and phases of the poet’s development and from each of these phases, selects and interprets verses, including those that differ from the dominant trend, in order to reveal Ghalib’s intellectual evolution. The book aims to make reading and understanding of Ghalib’s Urdu ghazals a pleasurable and enlightening experience.


Schooled in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, Hasan Abdullah is a graduate from Delhi College of Engineering and postgraduate from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Besides consulting, researching and publishing as a professional engineering researcher, he has published articles on society and literature, including some on the poetry of Ghalib, in Urdu and English periodicals. He discusses Urdu poetry of Ghalib on

A. Naseeb Khan (translator) wrote his PhD thesis on translation of modern Urdu poetry into English, and MPhil dissertation on Khushwant Singh and A.J. Arberry’s translations of Iqbal’s Shikwa aur Jawab-e Shikwa. He has to his credit several translated and edited volumes, including the translation of Maut Ki Kitab, an Urdu novel by Khalid Jawed, and a monograph on Moin Ahsan Jazbi, published by Sahitya Akademi. His latest collection of poems is titled Rip Not the Sore. At present, he is the Principal of Syed Abid Husain Senior Secondary School, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

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