Ghalib was a great poet. But it is not clear why about half of his poetry needs to be explained by scholars, not just qasidas but even ghazals. When he launched on his poetic career, he found the Delhi literary scene dominated by Momin and Zauq. So he escaped into Persian. But Persian was already being edged out by Urdu in northern sub continent. So he had, after a while, to return to Urdu. However, he seems to have carried the Persian's intellectualised Sufism with him. Bertrand Russell places philosophy between science and religion. Sufism is between philosophy and religion. It is an attempt to explain, by Aristotelian logic, things of which it could not possibly have any scientific knowledge as they were still beyond human experience. While this kind of poetry had been internalised by the Persian literature over a long period, e.g. Tau hum chu subhi o man shamme-khilwat-e-sahar am, it came to Urdu like an undigested mode of expression. Thus Ghalib's poetry of his early period is not only beyond the common literate man but sometimes incomprehensible even to the educated, e.g. Na kee samaan-aish-o-jah, nay tadbeer-e-wahshat kee. Moreover, Persia's culture and, therefore, its literature had, by his time, reached the ceiling of their possibilities, in view of its failure to change its economic system and social organisation in response to the European challenge. So they had nothing new to give to Urdu. It was only later that Ghalib began to write Urdu in a new style and with a modern diction, whose richness is exceeded only by its natural lucidity and Ghalib's command over the language. And it was this later poetry that drew the attention of the scholars to his early period too. This was also the period when the sub continental literature had begun to be influenced, though indirectly, by the Western thought. Professor Mumtaz Hussain says that the literati of South Asia were familiar with and receptive to the Sufistic philosophy which preached the transitoriness of the material existence. It was cosily somniferous, even inebriating, as is the case when the existing culture is itself bankrupt. He adds: "But the defeats and the batterings of the last quarter-millennium have taught us that the existence of the universe is undeniable and that it is a universe of causality, not of miracles." We are pleasantly surprised to discover that Ghalib too had sensed these new developments, though he was unfamiliar with Western languages which could have given him a scientific insight into them. He recognises this himself: Hoon garmi-e-nishat-e-tassawur say naghma sanj, Main andaleeb-e-gulshan-e-na afrida hoon. Otherwise the literary criticism of the period took Khan Arzoo as its model. In his much admired work, Daad-e-Sukhan, this criticism amounts to "he controls his pen too tightly", or "this should have been a direct not an indirect expression", or "who has the power to praise the Creator of the tongue itself?" though his selection of the pieces of poetry he has chosen to comment upon is excellent, as is his discussion of aesthetics. It is the modern poet and critic, Partau Ruhila, who has, in his recent work, (Mushkilat-e-Ghalib, Nuqush, Lahore, 2002) so to say, reconciled the two periods of Ghalib to each other. Of course he cannot put a modern content into Ghalib's early output. But, by deciphering the couplets, which, on the face of it, appeared close to tautology, he lends integrity to Ghalib's Urdu poetry. For example, the subjects like the force of overpowering love distinguishing the materiality of existence from pure existence or the place of the mirror in the Sufistic concept of pantheism, a structure incomplete without the parrot, which is both the observer and the interlocutor of the mirror. Sufism was the ideology of the Artisanat, since pantheism, by uniting the Creator and the creation, eliminates the space both for the South Asian caste system and the feudal domination and exploitation. Artisanat could then unite with a section of the peasantry to push forward the industry and lay the basis of a bourgeois order. It became a powerful movement in the period 15th to 18th century but, by the latter period, the English were in the field to protect the landed class and destroy the local industry. Bourgeois order did, ultimately, come but from outside and was, therefore, of a peripheral nature. So the artisanat could not play here the revolutionary role that it played in Europe. And, of course, Sufism survives for the intellectual delectation of a few, without any social role, though we can still enjoy the great Sufi poets and their message of equality and goodwill for all. The writer is a former ambassador.