Urdu Couplet Of The Day 2: Mirza Asadullah Khan ‘Ghalib’

Gham-e-hasti ka Asad kis se ho juz marg, ailaaj
shama-e-har rang mein jalti hai seher hone tak
(The sorrows of existence have no other cure but death, O Asad
The candle burns in all shades of intensity till daybreak)

One of the most celebrated couplets from Mirza Asadullah Khan's slender diwan or collection of poems. Ghalib is undoubtedly the greatest poet in the Urdu language--complex, mystical, philosophical and romantic. His work explores the entire range of human emotions in rich and layered Ghazals.
This couplet is a classic example of the philosophical dimensions of Ghalib’s poetry. The sorrows of existence (Gham-e-hasti) have no other cure (ailaaj) except (juz) death (marg). In the second line the poet compares human existence to a candle which burns with varying intensity till daybreak (seher). Incidentally, Ghalib like other Urdu masters, uses the candle analogy for life and daybreak for death, following the poetic tradition in Persian.

The celebrated poet of Bahadur Shah Zafar's court used the norm de plume or takhallus (poetic name) of Asad in many of his ghazals apart from Ghalib.

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