{139,1} Commentary page


[1861/2, to Ziya:] In my school days, I read up to the shar;h-e maa tah ((aamil [=an elementary book on Arabic grammar]. After that, games and play; and beyond that, I became absorbed in wickedness and immorality and enjoyment and pleasure. A leaning toward the Persian language, and a relish for poetry, were natural and innate in me. Suddenly a person came who was of the bloodline of the 'fifth Sasanian' [ruler in that Persian dynasty], who also in logic and philosophy was an equal of the late Maulvi Fazl-e Haq, and was a true and sincerely believing monotheist. He came to my city. The subtleties of the nature of Persian, and glimpses of Persian mixed with Arabic-- from that came my present state. The gold mounted to the touchstone. The mind was not bent away. An eternal connection with the Dari [=Persian] language, and an Ustad who was, without exaggeration, the Jamasp of the age, the Vazir Buzurchmihr of the time-- the reality of this language became seated in my heart and emblematic of my temperament.

==Urdu text: Khaliq Anjum vol. 2, pp. 743-44; this seems to be Ghalib's first reference to such an early Ustad


[1866, to Navab Kalb-e Ali Khan:] By nature my temperament had a leaning toward the Persian language. I wanted some source [maa;xuz] to be available to me beyond dictionaries; finally my desire was fulfilled, and from among the Persian nobles a venerable-elder [buzurg] came here, and in Akbarabad [=Agra] remained for two years at the home of the faqir [=myself]. And from him I learned the realities and subtleties [;haqaa))iq-o-daqaa))iq] of the Persian language. Now in that special area I have attained full confidence, but I don't make a claim of 'inventive authority' [ijtihaad], I don't remember the style of argumentation [ba;hs kaa :tariiq].

==Urdu text: Khaliq Anjum vol. 3, p. 1234


Mirza Ghalib, with his younger brother, until the age of awareness [sin-e shu((uur] stayed only in Agra; although from the age of seven years onward he began to come and go to Delhi. But until after his marriage, his settled residence was in Agra alone. And he was educated by Shaikh Mu'azzam, who at that time was among the well-known learned men of Agra. After this, a person of Persian birth whose name in his days of fire-worship had been Hurmuzd, and who after becoming a Musulman was called 'Abd us-Samad-- probably he came to Agra as a traveler, so that he stayed for two years with Mirza, first in Agra and then in Delhi. From him Mirza obtained some insight into the Persian language. Although sometimes [kabhii kabhii] it has also been heard from Mirza's lips, 'I have no pupilship with anyone except the Beneficent Source [God], and 'Abd us-Samad is an imaginary [far.zii] name. Since people used to call me "Ustad-less," in order to shut their mouths I have fabricated [ga;Rhnaa] an imaginary Ustad.' But there is no doubt that in reality Abd us-Samad was a Persian-born man and from him Mirza more or less learned the Persian language.

==Urdu text: Yadgar-e Ghalib, pp. 13-14


[Some years ago I asked S. R. Faruqi whether he believed that 'Abd us-Samad had really existed or not. He thought about the question carefully for a minute. Then he gave his own considered judgment: 'a 51% probability that he did not exist'. For Faruqi's discussion of the whole 'Abd us-Samad controversy, see the second essay in his 'Four Essays on Ghalib' [;Gaalib par chaar ta;hriire;N] . --FWP]