ʿABD-AL-BĀQĪ NAHĀVANDĪ, Mughal noble and biographer. He was born in 978/1570 at Julak near Nahāvand, which his ancestors had held in rent-free tenure from the Safavid king Shah Esmāʿīl. ʿAbd-al-Bāqī’s father, Ḵᵛāǰa Āqā Bābā, a Kurdish poet who had adopted the pen name of Modrekī, was appointed by Shah ʿAbbās I as the vizier and nāẓer of Hamadān. Āqā Ḵeżr, another son of the poet, also enjoyed the patronage of Shah ʿAbbās, having been appointed vizier at Lāhīǰān and later dīvān and vizier at Hamadān, where he seems to have succeeded his father. Āqā Ḵeżr’s achievements were recorded by Amīr Taqī-al-dīn Moḥammad in an eponymous work titled Maʾāṯer al-Ḵeżrīya.
ʿAbd-al-Bāqī held responsible positions in Hamadān, Semnān, Besṭām, Daylamān, Lāhīǰān, Yazd, and Abarqūh. Eventually he was appointed revenue officer of Kāšān. There he heard from his religious preceptor, Amīr Moḡīṯ-al-dīn Hamadānī, about the largess of the eminent Mughal general ʿAbd-al-Raḥīm Ḵānḵānān. Moḡīṯ-al-dīn himself had had a distinguished career in India in Ḵānḵānān’s service, and his account of his patron so impressed ʿAbd-al-Bāqī that he wrote a ḡazal in which he expressed his regret at not having been able to join the poets in Ḵānḵānān’s employ.
Upon the sudden death of his brother, ʿAbd-al-Bāqī was appointed vizier; but people jealous of his position tried to poison the shah’s ears against him, and he found it impossible to continue living in Iran. Eventually he responded to an invitation from Ḵānḵānān and the poet Fayżī and arrived in Khandesh toward the end of 1614. Ḵānḵānān welcomed his new protégé, awarding him a suitable ǰāgīr (revenue assignment) and entrusting him with the task of writing his memoirs. The ensuing voluminous work, entitled Maʾāṯer-e Raḥīmī, was completed in 1025/1616. It consisted of four parts, with an introduction and a conclusion. The text detailed Ḵānḵānān’s ancestry, his life and achievements and those of his progeny, the history of India from the Ghaznavids to Jahāngīr, together with histories of nine provinces, Bengal, Jawnpur, Malwa, Kashmir, Multan, Sind, the Deccan, Gujarat, and Khandesh, and finally biographies of learned men, saints, poets, philosophers, physicians, military officers, and other celebrities.
For the history of India up to Akbar’s reign, ʿAbd-al-Bāqī drew extensively upon Neẓām-al-dīn’s Ṭabaqāt-e Akbarī, which he frequently reproduced verbatim. The account of the contemporary period, on the other hand, though replete with praise of Ḵānḵānān, provides a valuable record of events which transpired in the author’s lifetime; the biographical notices also are of enduring historical interest.
ʿAbd-al-Bāqī was amīn of the Deccan and Berar until 1619, and thereafter was appointed dīvān of Bihar by the emperor Jahāngīr’s son Parvēz. The date of ʿAbd-al-Bāqī’s death, mentioned by Moʿtamad Khan in Tārīḵ-e Moḥammadī (ms., B. M. Or. 1824, fol. 170b), is 1042/1632. This was disputed by W. Ivanov, who observed that in the A.S.B. copy of Maʾāṯer-e Raḥīmī a note, probably in ʿAbd-al-Bāqī’s own hand, states that the entire work had been checked and collated by him in 1046/1637 (Cat. A.S.B., p. 140). Yet the printed text of Maʾāṯer-e Raḥīmī, based on the same A.S.B. manuscript, states that the author’s note concerning collation was made by him in 1026/1617 and supplemented by a further brief note in 1031/1622 (III, pp. 1698-99). It seems likely, therefore, that ʿAbd-al-Bāqī died in 1042/1632.
ʿAbd-al-Bāqī Nahāvandī, Maʾāṯer-e Raḥīmī, ed. M. Hedāyat Ḥosayn, 3 vols., Calcutta, 1930-31.
Bindraban Das “Ḵošgū,” Safīna-ye Ḵošgū, ms. Bodleian 376, no. 650.
Elliot, History of India VI, pp. 237-43. Storey, I, pp. 553, 1315.
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 1, pp. 104-105