Mirza Mohammad Asadullah Khan Ghalib began writing poetry in Persian at the age of nine and the pre-eminent poet of the time, Mir, predicted a great future for the precocious genius when he was shown his verse. But success and material rewards did not come to Ghalib easily: the times were against him, and he did not suffer fools gladly even if they occupied positions of importance.
Ghalib was at the height of his powers when events took a turn for the worse. First came the decline of the Mughal Court, then the rise of the British Empire and finally the Revolt of 1857. Though Ghalib lived through the upheavals and purges of the Revolt, in which many of his contemporaries and friends died, and his beloved Delhi was symmetrically and irrevocably changed, he was a broken man and longed for death. When he died, he left behind some of the most vivid accounts of the events of the period.
In this path-breaking biography, Pavan K. Varma captures evocatively the spirit of the man and the essence of the times he lived in.