AMAR NĀTH AKBARĪ, DEWĀN (1822-67), Persian writer and poet of the Punjab under the Sikhs. His father, Dīnā Nāth, was the revenue minister of Ranjīt Singh (1780-1839), while his grandfather, Pandit Baḵt Mal, was the author of Singh-nāma or Ḵāleṣa-nāma, probably the first history of the Sikhs. Amar Nāth studied Persian and Arabic under Ahm Baḵš Češtī. At the age of eleven he wrote Rawżat al-azhār, an account of the principal gardens of Lahore. The next year Ranjīt Singh commissioned him to write a Fatḥ-nāma on the Sikh victory over the Afghans and the occupation of Peshawar in 1834. He was appointed a baḵšī (paymaster) in the Sikh cavalry at the age of twenty. His main work, Ẓafar-nāma-ye Ranjīt Singh (ed. S. R. Kohli, Lahore, 1928), which describes events up to the close of 1252/1836-37, is a primary source for Sikh history. Though a Hindu he quotes often from the Koran and Hadith; his ornate and verbose style shows all the defects of latter-day Indian Persian. As a poet (Dīvān-e Akbarī, published by his son Rām Nāth, 1873) he tried to follow Fayżī and Ṣāʾeb, though some of his constructions show the influence of Amīr Ḵosrow; his verses have music but no depth.
Calcutta Review, December, 1858.
Oriental College Magazine 2/4, 1926.
Storey, I, pp. 668-70.
Originally Published: December 15, 1989
Last Updated: August 2, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 9, p. 924