In a thrilling discovery for all lovers of Urdu poetry, the original manuscript of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib’s ‘Nuskha-e-Hameediya’ may have survived after being reported missing during the India – Pakistan war during the 1940s. The manuscript, dated 1821, was commissioned by Nawab Faujdar Mohammed Khan and penned by the hand of calligrapher Hafiz Mueenuddin, and features some of the most authentic and beautiful Urdu poetry ever written. An online art gallery and museum named Husaini Arts were the ones to uncover this miraculous discovery. A spokesman for the venture says, “It’s truly an incredible find and we’re thrilled that we may yet get to read the original manuscript, which is now almost 200 years old. Urdu poetry lovers everywhere will be rejoicing at this news – that the original text can now be added to the canon of work Ghalib worked on.”
He adds, “After many years of believing that the manuscript was missing and accepting doctored and amended versions of this work as ‘authentic’, we can now finally see the genius of Ghalib as it was originally intended.”
The manuscript was the first of the nine known manuscripts of the Divans of Ghalib – commissioned when Ghalib was just 24 years of age. Accounts from scholars and publishers say the original manuscript contained almost 1,800 verses – nearly twice the number of verses that were published in the ‘authorized’ version in 1941. The discovery of these extra verses is very important – fifty years after the death of Ghalib, finding a manuscript with many unknown verses was a huge discovery for the poetry community. Ghalib did not find the omitted verses ‘fit for publication’, but true poetry lovers were keen to read the missing text.
Later, in 1969, Professor Hamid Ahmed Khan wrote that he examined the manuscript in 1938, but did not keep extensive notes on his thoughts regarding the omitted piece, later going on to publish a ‘corrected’ version of the poems. By the time the ‘corrected’ version of the poems had been released, the actual manuscript had disappeared, presumed missing or possibly destroyed during the India – Pakistan division back in 1947. With no original text as evidence, readers had to accept that Professor Khan’s version was authentic – until now.
The original Nuskha-e-Hameediya is about to be brought to light, and all those who love Urdu poetry are about to see the true, authentic text that Ghalib first intended to be read by the elite in the 19th century. The discovery of the original manuscript has sparked celebrations in the creative community, especially the researchers on the works of Mirza Ghailb, many of whom are thrilled that the doctored and amended texts will not go down in history as the definitive poems.