ʿALĪ-QOLĪ KHAN WĀLEH DĀḠESTĀNĪ (1124-69/1712-56), Persian poet at the Mughal court. He belonged to a noble family from Dāḡestān; his ancestors held high posts under the Safavid kings. His father, Moḥammad ʿAlī Khan, was a military commander who left Wāleh orphan at the age of four. His early life passed amidst political disturbances caused by the capture of Isfahan by Maḥmūd Khan Afḡān (1135/1722). The shock of the forced marriage of his cousin and betrothed Ḵadīǰa to a slave of Maḥmūd Khan coupled with the regime of Nāder Shah ultimately compelled Wāleh to leave for India. Ḵadīǰa suffered still more forced marriages and then died on her way to join Wāleh; her fate left a deep impact on his poetry. When he reached Lahore in 1147/1734, he met the mystic poet Shah Faqīrallāh Āfarīn and Mīr Ḡolām-ʿAlī Āzād Belgrāmī, who was to become his most intimate friend. He accompanied Belgrāmī to Delhi, where he was introduced to Moḥammad Shah, the Mughal Emperor, who conferred on him the title of Ẓafar Jang and a manṣab of four thousand. He remained in Mughal court circles until his death. He played an important role in shaping the literary taste of 18th century India; sympathetic toward the Persian poets of India, he condemned ʿAlī Ḥazīn for his severe criticism of their poetry. Wāleh’s dīvān was completed in 1157/1744-45; he wrote fine ḡazals, though his fame rests mainly on his Rīāż al-šoʿarāʾ, a taḏkera containing alphabetically arranged notices of 2,500 poets and an autobiographical ḵātema (see Storey, I, pp. 830-33).
See also Ḡolām-ʿAlī Āzād Belgrāmī, Ḵezāna-ye ʿāmera, Cawnpore, 1871, p. 446.
Ṣeddīq Ḥasan Khan, Šamʿ-e anǰoman, Bhopal, 1292-93/1876, p. 492.
Bendrabān Dās Ḵᵛošgū, Safīna-ye Ḵᵛošgū, Patna, 1959, p. 293.
Originally Published: December 15, 1985
Last Updated: August 2, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 8, p. 876