ग़ालिब के मशहूर शेर / Ghalib’s Famous Couplets

Today is the birth anniversary of King of Shayari, Mirza Ghalib. This famous Urdu poet was born on this day in 1797.

Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan used the pen names Ghalib (i.e. dominant) and Asad (i.e. lion). He started writing verses at the age of 11. He wrote in Persian as well.

He was bestowed with the titles Dabir-ul-Mulk and Nazm-ud-daula by Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar II, who was finally deposed by the British rule.

Here I’m going to share his 10 famous couplets with English translation for you to relish:

1. आह को चाहिए इक उम्र असर होते तक
कौन जीता है तिरी ज़ुल्फ़ के सर होने तक ?

A lifetime passes before a sigh shows its effects
Who would wait so long to see your curls fixed up?

2. हम ने माना के तगाफुल ना करोगे लेकिन
ख़ाक हो जायेंगे हम तुम को खबर होने तक!

It’s true, you would respond without least delay
But you’ll come to know when I’d be no more!

3. रंज से ख़ूगर हुआ इंसाँ तो मिट जाता है रंज
मुश्किलें मुझ पर पड़ीं इतनी कि आसाँ हो गईं …

Once you get used to sorrow, it ceases to be sorrow
So many hardships fell upon me that they became easy…

4. दिल-ए-नादां तुझे हुआ क्या है?
आख़िर इस दर्द की दवा क्या है?

Oh naive heart! What has happened to you?
What is the cure for this pan, after all?

5. इशरत-ए-क़तरा है दरिया में फ़ना हो जाना,
दर्द का हद से गुज़रना है दवा हो जाना…

The joy of a drop is to diminish in the river
Transcending the limits, pain becomes antidote…

6. न था कुछ तो ख़ुदा था कुछ न होता तो ख़ुदा होता
डुबोया मुझ को होने ने, न होता मैं तो क्या होता…

God existed when nothing else did, God would have existed if nothing were there
I have been drowned by my being, nothing would have been lost if I were not there…

7. रगों में दौड़ते फिरने के हम नहीं क़ाइल
जब आँख ही से न टपका तो फिर लहू क्या है…

I’m not convinced by blood running in the veins
It’s not blood, unless it flows from the eyes…

8. हम को मालूम है जन्नत की हक़ीक़त लेकिन
दिल को ख़ुश रखने को ‘ग़ालिब’ ये ख़याल अच्छा है…

I know the reality of paradise, Ghalib
But to keep the heart happy, this idea is good…

9. ये ना थी हमारी क़िस्मत के विसाल-ए-यार होता
अगर और जीते रहते, यही इंतज़ार होता…

It was never my fate to be united with my beloved
If I had lived any longer, it would be nothing but more waiting…

10. इश्क़ पर ज़ोर नहीं है ये वो आतिश ‘ग़ालिब’
कि लगाए न लगे और बुझाए ना बने…

There is no control on love, it’s such a fire
That can’t be snuffed or kindled at our own wish…

Kaushal Kishore



  1. Ghalib’s wisdom transcends time and the country of his birth and is pertinent to our feelings today.
    Thank you, Kaushal, for your thought to introduce this wonderful poetry on the day Ghalib was born!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a collection of Ghalib’s poetry, when I was hardly 12 or 13. I learnt a few Urdu words to understand his couplets. Thank you, Joanna for sharing your beautiful thoughts. Much appreciated.


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