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This is a representative selection of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib’s letters. There are many aspects of Ghalib’s Urdu letters that scholars have deliberated on. Ghalib departed from the norm among his peers of writing in Persian, composing many of his letters in an Urdu which was moreover free of the highly ornamental language and long and tortuous salutations and formalities that were also customary. In fact, Ghalib’s letters are specimens of exquisite Urdu prose. At that time, Urdu prose, as distinct from poetry, was beginning to take shape. Ghalib’s letters and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s essays are the most important early landmarks in the history of modern Urdu prose. Ghalib’s earliest Urdu letter discovered is dated 1847 and is addressed to Mirza Tafta. His incisive wit and sharp sense of humour make these letters examples of prose humour. Some of his letters carry important information about his own life and works. Letters that debate literary issues are quite large in number. Many of them discuss Urdu orthography and lexicography or give critical opinions about Persian or Urdu literary works.
Professor Dr Tanzeem-ul-Firdous is distinctive among female Pakistani critics and researchers in Urdu literature, since there are few such who have been engaged in academic and research activities with consistency over an extensive period. In addition to several published books, she has to her credit a large number of research papers and critical essays. She is engaged at Karachi University as professor and research supervisor to PhD students.