ABU’L-QĀSEM MOḤAMMAD ASLAM (pen name MONʿEMĪ), 18th century historian of Kashmir. He was apparently attached to the court of Awadh, since he mentions his accompanying the nawwāb’s army to Etawah in 1188/1774. Though a poet, he is not mentioned in familiar taḏkeras. His father, Ḵᵛāǰa Moḥammad Aʿẓam Kōl (Kawl?) Mostaḡnī, wrote a history of Kashmir titled Wāqeʿāt-e Kašmir (Rieu, Pers. Man. I, p. 300); it covers up to the year 1160/1747. Moṇʿemī reproduced this work, aiming to extend the narrative forty-odd years. He used an extensive range of written sources (Bodleian ms., fol. 9a; Cat. Bodleian, no. 320) and, for recent years, “relied on information obtained from trustworthy persons and on his own memory” (Rieu, Pers. Man. I, Supp., p. 57a). The new work, dedicated to the Mughal emperor Shah ʿĀlam II, was titled Gowhar-e ʿĀlam or Gowhar-nāma-ye ʿĀlam (Rieu, Pers. Man. III, p. 956; Storey, I, pp. 684, 1325). The B.M. manuscript is arranged as follows. Introduction (following the preface and dedication): Peculiarities of Kashmir; climate; notable sites (fol. 9a). Part (ṭabaqa) I: Origin of Kashmir; conflicting Hindu and Muslim traditions; ancient kings (fol. 16b); Dāwūdī and Pāndū dynasties. Part 2: Hindu rajahs (fol. 54b). Part 3: Early Muslim kings (fol. 84a). Part 4: The Čak dynasty (fol. 132b). Part 5: The Mughals (fol. 168), ending abruptly with events of the year 1150/1737 (the Bodleian ms. breaks off at the same point). Part 6 contained, or “was to contain, the history of the rise of the Afghans, the conquest of Kashmir by Aḥmad Shah till the time when the author wrote” (Cat. Bodleian, no. 320).
Bibliography: Given in the text.
(S. Moinul Haq)
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 21, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, pp. 364-365