This blog will archive a few of my attempts to convey intimations in English – no doubt distant and faint – of the Urdu ghazals of Ghalib. I have been doing this off and on for more than forty years. I cannot say that the results have gotten better with time, but producing these intimations has gotten harder. It appears that the gap between these intimations and Ghalib’s Urdu originals have widened as I have developed a deeper appreciation of the rich multivalence of his ash’aar.
Why then have I persisted in this refractory task? I do it because Ghalib compels it, as no other Urdu poet does. Although you may disagree, I like to think that this is a worthy way of engaging – in the sounds, vocabulary and traditions of an alien language – with the richness of Ghalib’s ghazals.
I do not ask that you to read these intimations as Ghalib’s ghazals in English, but as poetry in English that has been crafted under the tutelage of Ghalib.
M. Shahid Alam
Professor of Economics at Northeastern University.
Click HERE to access my faculty page at NU.