AŠRAF-ʿALĪ KHAN FOḠĀN (or FEḠĀN), poet writing in Persian and Urdu (1140-86/1727-72); he was the son of Mīrzā-ʿAlī Khan Nokta and the foster-brother (kōka) of the emperor Aḥmad Shah of Delhi (r. 1161-67/1748-54). He was born in Delhi and lived there till Aḥmad Shah was dethroned in 1167/1754, when he left for Murshidabad, where his uncle, Īraǰ Khan, was the nāẓem during the reign of Aḥmad Shah. He seems not to have been received favorably by his uncle and soon returned to Delhi. In 1174/1761, when Aḥmad Shah Dorrānī came to India for the fourth time, Foḡān left Delhi for good and repaired to Fayżābād, seeking the patronage of Nawwāb Šoǰāʿ-al-dawla, the governor of Oudh (1167-88/1753-74). However, he soon fell out with his patron and moved to ʿAẓīmābād (Patna), where he was well received by Raja Šetāb Rae, the governor of Bengal and Bihar (1772-77). But this governor offended him by an unkind remark and Foḡān left his court. Soon he found a job with the East India Company and spent the rest of his days comfortably. He died in ʿAẓīmābād in 1186/1772 and is buried there.
Foḡān was a poet of pungent satires. His dīvān, comprising extant Urdu and Persian poetry, was published in 1950 in Karachi for the first time. Beale reports that his Urdu dīvān only comprised 2,000 verses, but most of it is lost. In appreciation of his poetry, the emperor Aḥmad Shah conferred upon him the title of Ẓarīf-al-molk Kokaltāš Khan Bahādor. Mīr Taqī Mīr reports that he was a pupil of the poet Ommīd, while, according to Moṣḥafī his teacher was ʿAlī-qolī Nadīm.
ʿAbd-al-Bārī Āsī, Taḏkera-ye ḵanda-ye gol, Lucknow, 1929, pp. 341-42.
ʿAbd-al-Ḡafūr Nassāḵ, Soḵan-e šoʿarā, Lucknow, 1291/1874, p. 369.
ʿAlī-Ebrāhīm Khan, Golšan-e Ebrāhīm, Aligarh, 1352/1934, pp. 184-85, 207, 244-45.
Sayyed ʿAlī Ḥasan Khan, Ṣobḥ-e golšan, Bhopal, 1295, pp. 318-19.
T. W. Beale, An Oriental Biographical Dictionary, London, 1894, p. 134. EI2 I, p. 702.
Fatḥ-ʿAlī Ḥosaynī Gardīzī, Taḏkera-ye rēḵtagūyān, Aurangabad, 1933, p. 121.
Ḡolām Hamadānī Moṣḥafī, Taḏkera-ye hendī, Delhi, 1933, pp. 159-65.
Idem, Rīāż al-foṣaḥāʾ, Delhi, 1934, pp. 46-47.
Idem, ʿEqd-e ṯorayyā, Delhi, 1934, p. 44.
Ḵayyāmpūr, Soḵanvarān, p. 451.
Lačhmī Narāyan Šafīq, Čamanestān-e šoʿarā, Aurangabad, 1982, pp. 482-83.
Mīr Ḥasan, Taḏkera-ye šoʿarā-ye Ordū, Delhi, 1940, pp. 115-18.
Mīr Taqī Mīr, Nekāt al-šoʿarā, Aurangabad, 1935, pp. 74-98.
Qīām-al-dīn Qāʾem, Maḵzan-e nekāt, Aurangabad, 1929, pp. 41-43.
Qodratallāh Qāsem, Maǰmūʿa-ye naḡz, Lahore, 1933, II, pp. 72-76.
Rām Bābū Saksēna, A History of Urdu Literature, Allahabad, 1940, pp. 52-53, 173.
A. Sprenger, Oudh Catalogue (Urdu tr.), Allahabad, 1934, pp. 137-88.
Originally Published: December 15, 1987
Last Updated: August 17, 2011
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Vol. II, Fasc. 8, p. 794