In poetic and theological imagination, the personality of Ali has risen from the domain of contingent history to that of metaphysics. This means that he emerges not as an accident of time, but as a cosmic emanation and a metaphor. Numerous Urdu poets have drawn rich inspiration from this emanation, irrespective of their creedal orientation; Mir Taqi Mir and Iqbal among them. Ghalib’s relationship with Ali– Maula, Bu Turab, Asadullah—has given a powerful spin to the poet’s creative world such that he transcends history and constructs an alternative universe with its own universal grammar. Paying close attention to Ghalib’s glorious Manqabat of Ali, this lecture explorers the concrete yields of this creative act—yields that are not only philosophical and poetic, but also cultural and social.
Dr. Syed Nomanul Haq, one of the most senior faculty members of Habib University, is Professor of Comparative Liberal Studies. Previously, he served as Advisor to the Social Sciences and Liberal Arts Program at IBA Karachi, and as a standing faculty member of LUMS, and the University of Pennsylvania and Brown. He is a consulting editor of Brill’s Journal of South Asian Intellectual History.