Ghalib’s Photograph

Thanks to the good offices of Francesca Orsini, and the generosity of Alok Rai and his family, we now have access to a print of what was apparently the only photo ever made of Ghalib. This is such a moving and fascinating glimpse of him! We owe a real debt of gratitude to the owners of the photo for making this scan available. - Francis Pritchett, Jan. 2010

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نقش فریادی ہے کس کی شوخیِ تحریر کا

کاغذی ہے پیرہن ہر پیکرِ تصویر کا

naqsh faryaadii hai kis kii sho;xii-e ta;hriir kaa
kaa;Ga;zii hai pairahan har paikar-e ta.sviir kaa

the image/painting is a plaintiff– about whose mischievousness of writing?
of paper is the robe of every figure of the picture


Portraits of Ghalib

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3 thoughts on “Ghalib’s Photograph

  1. Debasish Dey

    I’m a HUGE fan of Ghalib.. and of the Urdu language. btw, I’m a Bengali Hindu, but that doesn’t stop me from worshipping Ghalib. here are a few lines from the genius:

    safinaa jab ki kinaare pe aa laga ghalib,
    Khuda se kyaa situm-o-zaure nakhuda kahiye.

    (when the boat has reached the shore,
    why complain that the boatman was unjust?)

    looking at this photo is like looking at a photograph of God Himself.

    Reply
  2. Debasish Dey

    Btw, I’d like to know the history behind this photograph. who took this photograph? If i ever had a chance to meet the guy (which i know I’ll never have), I’d have kissed his hand a thousand times for leaving behind such a priceless treasure for posterity.

    Reply
    1. Taimur Khan Post author

      Thank you for the impassioned, heartening comments! I myself am quite a devotee of Ghalib and try not to miss a chance where personal experience or another individual’s insight brings any of his verses to life.

      Reply

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