Book Review: Love Sonnets of Ghalib by Dr. Sarfaraz K. Niazi

Love Sonnets of Ghalib (translations and explication) by Dr. Sarfaraz K. Niazi is a treasure trove for readers who appreciate how it feels to come across a book of rare standards. The poet, Mirza Ghalib needs no introduction – he is a maestro whose compositions have compared him to the best poets of the world, like Shakespeare, Hafiz, Shelly, Rumi, Sa’adi.


Ghalib’s work has been deciphered, translated in numerous languages because he is not merely an Asian phenomenon.  His poetic compositions attracted the attention of scholars from all corners of the world.


Love Sonnets of Ghalib is the first complete English translation, explication, lexicon, and transliteration of Ghalib’s Urdu love sonnets.  The Introduction of the book is by Dr. Farman Fatehpuri.


Mirza Ghalib, who endured countless trials and tribulations – throughout his life’s journey, found continuous relief in writing about them.   This is the way how poets are!  His creative mind inspired him never to leave to company of his pen.


Love Sonnets of Ghalib are the solid proof where the bard repeatedly displays his feelings – whether they begin with the discussion of wine and glass, or, about the woes of unfulfilled love.


Dr. Farman Fatehpuri – who has done the Introduction of Love Sonnets of Ghalib taught for over thirty years, and published several books, texts and articles on scientific, philosophical and literary topics.  He also held a chair of Urdu at Karachi University – and has been considered a scholar of Urdu.  Among his books published, several are on Ghalib.


Going through the book, the reader discovers the real Ghalib, the one who struggled to live through the norms of society; he was brilliant yet humble and often angry.  The engaging powers of mutiny disturbed Ghalib beyond doubt – most of what he saw on the political front and domestic is also the basis of his verse.  Indirectly, this must effect him with vastness of hopelessness.  Therefore, from envy to passion to tyrannies of love to God – Love Sonnets of Ghalib is a classic and enjoyable read.  If one is a lover of poetry, and of Mirza Ghalib – this book is a priceless gift.


Published first in 2002, it was for the first time, the complete collection of the Love Sonnets of Ghalib – which has been translated into the English language.


The publishers of the book are Rupa & Company.

Geeta Chhabra

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