ʿAMĪD-AL-DĪN SANĀMĪ

 

ʿAMĪD-AL-DĪN SANĀMĪ, ḴᵛĀJA FAḴR-AL-MOLK, 7th/13th century Persian poet of India, panegyrist of Nāṣer-al-dīn Maḥmūd (r. 644-64/1246-66) and perhaps of Ḡīāṯ-al-dīn Balban (r. 664-86/1266-87). Although much is known of ʿAmīd’s contemporaries, information on his life is scanty and contradictory, and only a few of his verses are preserved in biographical dictionaries. Badāʾūnī (II, pp. 96-99) quotes a panegyric of ʿAmīd in praise of Nāṣer-al-dīn Maḥmūd, who assumed power in 644/1246, as well as other verses (II, p. 109), which indicate that ʿAmīd was born in 601/1204-05, at the small town of Sa(n)nām, in the Frontier Provinces. In some biographies he receives the additional epithets Daylamī and Tūlakī, indicating that his ancestors had come originally from a place named Tūlak in Daylam. Iqbal Husain (Persian Poets, pp. 201-03) derives information on ʿAmīd’s life from Loṭf-ʿAlī Beg Āḏar, Reżā-qolī Khan, Lačhmī Narāʾen Šafīq, and Taqī Awḥadī, who lived in the 11th/17th century and later; ʿAmīd is said to have been court poet and later chief accountant under Balban’s eldest son, Moḥammad Qāʾān, to have received the title Faḵr-al-molk, and later to have been dismissed and imprisoned because of a discrepancy in the state accounts. But Baranī (d. after 758/1357, the historian closest to him in time, says nothing of this, and in fact ʿAmīd’s very association with Moḥammad’s court is doubtful. By the time Balban divided the former territory of Šēr Khan between his two sons, with Moḥammad receiving Sind and the Punjab, ʿAmīd must have been in his seventies. It is unlikely that he would have sought court patronage at that advanced age.

ʿAmīd’s panegyrics conform closely to the Arabic model, with a tendency towards employment of rhetorical devices, word-plays, and poetic conceits. Typical of this tendency is his qaṣīda in praise of Nāṣer-al-dīn, in which he selects a fairly difficult and uncommon end-rhyme (radīf) and maintains it with ingenuity throughout the twenty-two couplets of the poem. The other extant compositions of ʿAmīd include a few fragments, a satirical piece (hazl), and a number of ḡazals. He is also considered the first Indian poet to have experimented, rather successfully, with the form known as monāẓara (strife-poem). His ḡazals resemble tašbīhs more than the conventional ḡazal: ʿAmīd seems, therefore, to have been a poet principally of the qaṣīda. The exact date of his death is not known. According to Ātaškada (p. 841) he died at the age of fifty-four, but it is more likely that he died at a much more advanced age.

 

Bibliography:

Badāʾūnī, II, pp. 99-127.

I. Husain, The Early Persian Poets of India (A.H. 421-670), Patna, 1937, pp. 192-220.

S. Ṣ. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān, Bazm-e mamlūkīya (Urdu), Azamgarh, 1954, pp. 196-220.

Nafīsī, Naẓmo naṯr I, pp. 175-76.

(M. U. Memon)

Originally Published: December 15, 1989

Last Updated: August 3, 2011

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Vol. I, Fasc. 9, pp. 937-938