Collection of Poetry by Kalīm


Abū Ṭālib Kalīm Hamadānī (or Kāshānī, died 1651; 1061 A.H.) was one of the foremost Persian poets of the 17th century. He was born in Hamadan (present-day Iran) but appears to have lived in Kashan (also in Iran) for a sizeable portion of his life—hence the appellation Kāshānī. He received his education in Kashan and in Shiraz before moving to India to serve the Mughal ruler Jahangir (reigned 1605–27). Abū Ṭālib was thus among a large number of Persian poets and literati who left Persia in search of patronage in the Indian subcontinent beginning in the 16th century. Under Jahangir’s successor, Shah Jahan (reigned 1628–58), Abū Ṭālib achieved the rank of poet laureate. Later in life he is said to have accompanied Shah Jahan to Kashmir, which became his home until his death. Abū Ṭālib’s fame rests principally on his ghazalīyāt (a metrical form expressing the pain of loss and the beauty of love). Of the 10,000 verses that appear in his divan (or collected poems), about half were written in the ghazal form. He is especially renowned for the novelty of his themes, for which he came to be known as khallāq al-maʻānī (creator of meaning). Other characteristics of his poems are the originality of his khayāl bandī (rhetorical conceits) and the aptness of his mithālīya (illustrations). Abū Ṭālib was also the author of Shāh Jahān Nāma (The book of Shah Jahan), a work which, following the style of the epic Shāhnāma (The book of kings), praises Timur and the Timurid rulers up to Shah Jahan. In the present illuminated copy of Abū Ṭālib’s divan, the maqtaʻ (final verse) of many of the poems, which generally includes the takhalluṣ (pen name of the poet), is set off in its own frame. The year 1103 A.H. (1691–92) is written in the colophon.

Last updated: November 12, 2014