The frontispiece from a 19th-century Urdu edition of Ghalib’s poetry

The frontispiece from a 19th-century Urdu edition of Ghalib’s poetry

“Ghalib” was the pen name of Mirza Asadullah Khan (1797–1869). He was born in India during the last days of the Mughal Empire to an aristocratic family. Writing in Urdu and Persian, he became poet laureate to the last Mughal emperor. His work broadened the subject matter and tonal reach of the Urdu ghazal.