Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hali on Ghalib

Hali is one of the modern critics along with Mohammad Husain Azad, both of whom emerged in late 19th century and placed Urdu literature in what can only be described in the British India context. Hali was also a sensitive poet whose elegiac Musaddas-e-Hali is a long poem lamenting the decline of Islamic civilisation and a precursor to Iqbal's Shikwa and Jawab-e-Shikwa. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had apparently said that when he would meet God and God were to ask what have you brought, he would say, "I brought Hali's Musaddas." Hali's life is inspiring in itself. Hali was also a good prose writer too and this can be seen in his portrait of Ghalib called "Yaadgaar-e-Ghalib" which was first published in 1898. He starts his preface to the book, saying: Terahvee sadi hijri mein mussalmano ka tannazil darja ghaayat ko pahunch chukaa thaa aur unki daulat, izzat aur hukummat ke saath ilm-o-fazal aur kamaalaat bhi rukhsat ho chuke the. husn ittefaq se dar-ul-khilaf dehli mein chand ahl-e-kamaal aise jama ho gaye jinki sohbatein aur jalse ahad akbari o shahjahaniki sohbaton and jalson ko yaad dilaati thee..."(In 13th century Hijri the fallen state of Mussulmans had reached the nadir. With the fall in their wealth, pride, power, fell their knowledge and grace and their genius took leave of them as well. It was a happy coincidence that at this time in the capital of prominence of dehli there were gathered a few geniuses whose camaraderie and festive gatherings reminded one of the gatherings and groupings of eminent people of the ages of akbar and shahjahan.) agarcha jis zamaane mein ke pehli baar raaqam ka dilli jaana hua, is baagh mein pathjhad shuroo ho gayee thee. kuchch log dilli se baahar chale gaye the aur kuchch log duniya se rukhsat ho chuke the. magar jo baaqi the aur jinke dekhne ka mujh ko hameshaa faqr rahega woh bhi aise the na sirf dilli se balki hindustan ki khaak se phir koi waisa uthtaa nazar nahin aata kyunki jis saanche mein woh dhale the woh saancha badal gaya, aur jis hawa mein unhone nash-o-numa paayee thee woh hawa palat gayee." (In the time that this writer had come for the first time to dilli, the winter blast had begun. Some of them had left Delhi and some others have taken leave of life. But those who remained and and who I saw and this would remain a proud moment for me, even they were of such that not just in dilli but even from hindustan there does not seem anyone like them rising because the foundry in which they were formed has changed, and the air in which they bloomed and flowered that air has changed.) In the first chapter Hali tells us that Ghalib was born in Agra on the eight of Rajab in Hijri 1210. "unke aabaa-o-ajdaad aibak qaum ke turk the. aur inkaa silsila nasb tur ibn-e-faridoun tak pahunchtaa hai. jab kayaani tamaam iraan-o-turaan par masallat ho gaye, aur turaaniyon ka jaan-o-jalaal duniya se rukhsat ho gaya, toh ek muddat daraaz tak turki nasl mulko-daulat se benaseeb rahi, magar talwaar kabhi haath se na choddhi. kyoki turkon mein qadeem se ye qaayda chalaa aataa thaa ke baap ke matradak mein se bete ko talwaar ke siwaa aur kuchch na miltaa thaa. aur kul maal aur asbaab aur gharbaar beti ke hisse mein aataa thaa." Hali narrates how Ghalib's forefathers came from Samaqand to the court of Shah Alam, and how Ghalib's father, Mirza Abdullah Beg Khan worked with Nawab Asaf-ud-doulah and was in Hyderabad for some time before he returned to Agra. He took up employment with the ruler of Alwar, Bakhtawar Singh and died in a raid. The ruler of Alwar supported the upbringing of Mirza Asadulla Khan and his brother Mirza Yusuf Khan.

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