ABU’L-QĀSEM SOLṬĀN, Bēglār chief of Sind, b. at Nasarpur, Sind, in 969/1562. He was also known by the title “Arḡūn” (Mīr Moḥammad, Tārīḵ, p. 228; Mīr ʿAlī, Toḥfa I, p. 203); this was due to his family’s association with the Arghunids of Qandahār and Sind. The family traced its ancestry to ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭāleb (Toḥfa I, p. 200; Mīr ʿAlī, Maqālāt, p. 523). Abu’l-Qāsem’s grandfather, Amir Sayyed Qāsem, migrated from Termeḏ to Samarqand and then to Sind in the reign of Shah Ḥasan Arḡūn (928-67/1521-60). Shah Ḥasan granted him the pargana of Jaheja in fief, and he married into the family of Rāǰā Versī, the Bhattī Rajput chief of Umarkot/Amarkot (Toḥfa I, p. 201; Maqālāt, p. 525). From this union was born Shah Qāsem Khan Zamān, the father of Abu’l-Qāsem. Shah Qāsem pursued an active political role continuing into the Torḵān period; his exploits are elaborated in Edrākī Bēglārī’s Bēglār-nāma (Marshall, Mughals in India, pp. 197-98).
Abu’l-Qāsem Solṭān exerted political influence during the reign of Mīrzā Jānī Bēg (993-98/1585-91), the last independent Torḵān ruler of Sind. After ʿAbd-al-Raḥīm Ḵān Ḵānān conquered Sind for the Mughals, Abu’l-Qāsem retired to his ǰāgīr at Nasarpur. He rose in rebellion when the emperor Akbar appointed Mīrzā Ḡāzī Bēg as ruler of Thatta in 1008/1600, but his father intervened and mediated a peace settlement. Ḡāzī Bēg then proceeded to violate his sworn word; he captured Abu’l-Qāsem by stratagem, and then ordered him blinded and thrown into prison (Sayyed Mīr Moḥammad b. Sayyed Jalāl, Torḵān-nāma [1065/1655], Hyderabad, Sind, 1965, p. 87). Abu’l-Qāsem escaped with the aid of a rope sent to him by his sister Šāh-Bēgom, wife of Mīrzā Jānī Bēg. Apprehended again, Abu’l-Qāsem was released through the intercession of Ḵosrow Khan Čarkas. A portion of Nasarpur was allotted to him as ǰāgīr; but he soon fled to Agra, where he was welcomed by the emperor Jahāngīr and assigned a manṣab. According to Shaikh Farīd Bhakkarī, Abu’l-Qāsem remained there for some time but eventually returned to Sind, spending his last days among the zamīndārs of Thatta (Ḏaḵīrat al-ḵawānīn, fol. 164; see Storey, I, p. 1092). He died in 1033/1623-24 according to the Bēglār-nāma, in 1030/1620-21 according to Maqālāt (p. 118); but the inscription on his grave at the Torkī graveyard (in Taluka Tando Allāhyār of the Hyderabad district, near modern Nasarpur) indicates 1039/1629-30.
Mīr ʿAlī claims that the historian ʿAbd-al-Qāder Badāʾūnī, in a work now lost, regarded Abu’l-Qāsem as the author of the maṯnavī romance Čanēsar-nāma (Toḥfa I, p. 204; see also Mīr Moḥammad, Tārīḵ, p. 236). Mīr ʿAlī rejects that view, asserting that Edrākī Bēglārī composed the work and only dedicated it to Abu’l-Qāsem because of the latter’s patronage of poets and scholars. In any case, Abu’l-Qāsem was a poet; one of his compositions was in honor of Ḵosrow Khan Čarkas. He is reputed to have been open and generous, in the fashion of Sind chiefs. On one occasion he is said to have released 1,000 horses and 5,000 cows and buffaloes in the forest to be taken by those in need (Farīd Bhakkarī, Ḏaḵīra, fol. 165). He is also described as a virile nobleman, whose harem was adorned with one hundred women (ibid., fol. 164).
See also Sayyed Mīr Moḥammad Ṭāher Nesyānī Thattavī, Tārīḵ-e Ṭāherī (1031/1621), Hyderabad, Sind, 1964, pp. 228-36.
Mīr ʿAlī Šēr Qāneʿ Thattavī, Toḥfat al-kerām (1181/1767), Hyderabad, Sind, 1971, pp. 200-04.
Idem, Maqālāt al-šoʿarāʾ (1174/1760-61), Karachi, 1957, pp. 523-35.
(M. H. Pathan)
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 21, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, pp. 365-367