192 years after Ghalib’s visit, Kolkata pays homage to doyen of Urdu poetry | Kolkata News

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KOLKATA: Nearly 192 years after Urdu and Persian poet Mirza Ghalib visited the city to restore his pension from the East India Company, Kolkata’s Urdu Academy is remembering the famed poet with a weeklong celebration titled ‘Bayaad-e-Ghalib’ on Tuesday. Ghalib’s visit to Kolkata entailed an appeal to the East India Company to restore the full pension in lieu of his family estate annexed by the British.
“Ghalib came to Kolkata on February 21, 1828. He used to stay at a place in Shimla Bazaar (Simla Street at present) and would go to Writers’ Building to hasten the process of his pension. He even visited the residence of the Governor General, which was located at the place where we have the National Library now,” said Nadimul Haque, Trinamool MP in the Rajya Sabha.
During his stay, Ghalib would often visit a mosque at Kanthalbagan to pray. The mosque was located near what we know as Philips More today on Dr Lal Mohan Bhattacharya Road. In one of his couplets, he had written: “Triumphant we reached Calcutta and washed away the scar of distance from loved ones with wine”.
“Ghalib enthusiasts are now planning to shoot a documentary on him. It is not just about a few places, but the period he lived through,” said Haque. During his stay in in the city, Ghalib had developed differences with the contemporary poets and novelists. Later, he wrote a book titled ‘Qatey Burhan’.
“Scholars on Sunday deliberated on ‘Qatey Burhan’ in detail,” said Dabir Ahmad, a Ghalib expert. Speakers at the discussions alluded to traits of Sufism in Ghalib’s poetry. A drama, titled ‘Lal Qila Ka Akhri Mushaira’, was staged at the Urdu Academy on Sunday as part of the programme. Another drama — ‘Ghalib: Daur-e-Haazir mein’ — a work of fiction depicting Ghalib in modern times will be staged on Monday at the concluding session





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