Sub continental Literature
Mirza Ghalib’s Prose
One of the most influential luminaries of the Subcontinent literature, Mirza Asad Ullah Khan, continues to win the hearts of the posterity with his evergreen literary works. His is renowned for his poetic endeavors in Urdu and Persian language with thousands of high quality verses to his credit. He bagged a major chunk of fame through his rich philosophical verses which often eclipse his status as a prolific prose-writer. Many notable writers proclaim that Ghalib could have garnered the same magnitude of fame only on the basis of his amazing prose. He gave a new and refreshing facet to the genre of prose-writing and thereby, is often referred to as “the father of prose-writing” in the realm of Urdu literature. He is the most written about of all the poets of Urdu literature , so much so that the study of his works has surprisingly been converted into a branch of exhaustive Urdu literature named “Ghalibiyaat”. Ghalib truly excelled in the domain of letter and journal writing (especially letter-writing which he started in 1857), endowing the style a novel characteristic. Before Ghalib ventured into literature, the prose literature included only a few theological and fictional books unnecessarily encumbered with heavy Persian and Arabic words. Ghalib divorced this highly artificial style in vogue, and hospitably welcomed his peculiar austere writing style. He effortlessly wrote two significant Urdu collections of letters; Urdu-e-Muallah (The Royal Urdu) and Ud-i-Hindi (The Indian Amber), laying a solid foundation of easy, popular and yet literary Urdu. He added another prominent feather to his literary cap through his narrative of historical accounts penned into impressive journal/diary format. This format includes Dastanboo (Pellet of Perfume) and Mihr-e-Nim Roz (Midday Sun), both in Persian language. His idiosyncrasy became so popular that even the most popular writers including Maulana Hali and Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan embraced his unpretentious style and carried forth the valuable legacy. Through analysis it becomes clear that there cannot be encountered any essential difference between the style that Ghalib adopted, and the style which is prevalent in today’s era which demands simplicity as well, rather than the complex and incomprehensible literature, embodying the heavy dose of flowery vocabulary and low content value. Ghalib was a gifted and an erudite writer with no dearth of creativity; introducing the new style being the biggest example of his treasure of creative skills. His letters project a clear, uncomplicated, natural and fascinating style, characterized with unimaginable flow, rhythm and spontaneity in his language. He adopted a conversational manner in his letters, giving the impression that he is conducting a conversation with a friend who is ostensibly sitting in front of him, discussing the everyday matters face-to-face. Such open and frank style even assists a reader to bond and gel with writer’s flow of thought. His words are impregnated with loud and fearless expressions of his innermost feelings, and at the same time reflect Ghalib’s highly developed taste and knowledge, owing to his aristocratic lineage. He expresses them openly and frankly, and at the same time he expects the correspondent to reciprocate the same intensity of emotions and frankness. Apart from being simplified linguistically, the letters are quite informal, progressing from the rhyming sentences and flattering epithets/long salutations, which were the characteristic features of the letters written by the educated Muslims, to simple salutations. Indebted to non-ornamental language, the commencement of a letter just by addressing the name of the recipient showed the transition in the long held tradition. Being celebrated for intense, intelligible poetry does not lessen Ghalib’s exceptional talent...
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