Letters of Mirza Ghalib – 1


This post is about Mirza Ghalibs Letters, whats special about the letter is that its original. The letter shown below is a copy of the original letter, the handwriting is Ghalibs and no changes have been made to the letter, you’ll also see the letter showing stamp marks from the original envelope at the bottom. They are original however they dont look so because of the techniques used to highlight the texts.

The letter letter was written by Ghalib to one of his friends Ala’i in July of 1862.  The letter quotes two Persian ghazals, then couplets of 2 famous Urdu Ghazals, koi ummiid bar nahiin aatii // koii suurat nazar nahiin aatii” verses 1, 3, 2, 7, 4, 8, 10; and finally nukta-chiin hai gum-e dil us ko sunaae nah bane // kyaa bane baat jahaan baat banaae nah bane” verses 1, 2, 5, 8, 4, 9.

A letter from Ghalib to his friend 'Ala'i, July 1862. This is a copy of the original letter. The handwriting is Ghalibs. The letter quotes two Persian ghazals and couplets from 2 Urdu Ghazals.

Letter Page 2

Letter Page 3 - Last

Here are the 2 Urdu Ghazals quoted in the above letter –


  • koi ummiid bar nahiin aati // koi suurat nazar nahiin aatii
  • maut kaa ek din muayyan hai // neend kyu raat bhar nahiin aatii


  • aage aati thi haal-e dil pe hansi // ab kisi baat par nahiin aatii
  • jaantaa huun savaab-e taa’at-o-zuhad // par tabiiat idhar nahiin aatii

[savaab=reward of good deeds in next life, taa’at=devotion, zuhad=religious deeds]

  • hai kuchh aisii hii baat jo chup huun // varna kya baat kar nahiin aatii
  • kyu na chiikuun kih yaad karte hain // merii aavaaz gar nahiin aatii
  • daag-e dil gar nazar nahiin aataa // buu bhii ay chaarah-gar nahiin aatii


  • ham vahaan hain jahaan se ham ko bhii // kuchh hamaarii khabar nahiin aatii
  • marte hain aarzuu mein marne ki // maut aatii hai par nahiin aatii
  • kaabe kis munh se jaaoge ‘Ghalib’ // sharm tum ko magar nahiin aatii

AND ————————————————————————————-

  • nukta-chiin hai gum-e dil us ko sunaae na bane // kya bane baat jahaan baat banaae na bane


  • main bulaataa to huun us ko magar ay jazbah-e dil // us pah ban jaae kuch aisii kih bin aae na bane
  • khel samjhaa hai kahiin chhoR na de bhuul na jaae // kaash yuun bhii ho kih bin mere sataae na bane
  • gair phirtaa hai liye yuun tere khat ko ki agar // koii puuchhe ki yeh kyaa hai to chhupaae na bane
  • is nazaakat kaa buraa ho wo bhale hain to kyaa // haath aaven to unhen haath lagaae na bane


  • kah sake kaun kih yih jalvaa-garii kis kii hai // pardah chho;Raa hai vuh us ne kih uthaae nah bane


  • maut kii raah nah dekhuun ki bin aae nah rahe // tum ko chaahuun kih nah aao to bulaae nah bane
  • bojh wo sar se giraa hai ki uthaae na uthe // kaam wo aan paRaa hai ki banaae na bane
  • ishq par zor nahiin hai yeh woh aatish ‘Ghalib’ // ki lagaae na lage aur bujhaae na bane



I have not attempted to translate the letter because I may not be able to do justice to it. However you’ll find the 2 Urdu Ghazals quoted in the letter, if you are confident that you can translate the letters in English, please go ahead and contribute to the post, if anyone can convert the Urdu script into Roman, it would be of great help. ( yes, you’ll be credited for it, letters translated by X) I am still learning Urdu and converting the letter into Roman script would be a herculean task for a beginner like me.

If you have any questions or would like to share your opinion to make the blog better please share your views in the comments section below.

If you find any mistakes, contact me on twitter @Alipoetry

I’ll publish more post with other Original Ghazals ( in Ghalibs handwriting ) along with some more facts.

Thank you,

Ali Muhammad Ali. @Alipoetry

Sources: FWP, Khaliq Anjum vol 1, pp. 388-90


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