ENŠĀʾ-ALLĀH KHĀN, SAYYED, Urdu-Persian poet and writer (b. in Moršedābād in 1169/1756 and d. in Lucknow in 1233/1818; Pervez, p. 23). His forefathers are said to have emigrated to India from Najaf during the reign of Farroḵsīar (1124-31/1713-19; Sandelavī, fol. 43). In 1763, hostilities in Moršedābād forced his father, Māšā-Allāh Khan, to move to Fayżābād and then to Delhi. Only sixteen years of age, Enšāʾ-Allāh Khan joined the poets in Nawwāb Šojāʿ-al-Dawla’s employ in Fayżābād (Sandelavī, fol. 43). Enšāʾ-Allāh Khan moved to Delhi in 1193/1779, the year Mīrzā Najaf Khan established himself in Delhi, and after Šojā ʿ-al-Dawla’s death Enšāʾ-Allāh enrolled in Mīrzā Najaf’s army (Bhagwān, p. 19). There he emerged as an important literary figure and drew the attention of such luminaries as Mīrzā Maẓhar Jān-e Jānān, Qodrat-Allāh Khan Qāsem, and Mīrzā ʿAẓīm Beg, whom he offended in a poetic assembly by a satirical poem. Hardships forced him to leave Delhi; he went to Lucknow in 1202/1788 after serving a short period in the army of Moḥammad Beg Hamadānī (Pervez, p. 25; Sandelavī, fol. 43). In Lucknow he lived an esteemed life under the patronage of Almās-ʿAlī Khan, Mīrzā Solaymān Šokūh, and Navvāb Saʿādat-ʿAlī Khan and was in constant touch with such poets as Rangīn, Jorʾat, and Moṣḥafī, although his relations with the latter were touched by poetic enviousness. Enšāʾ-Allāh’s employment under Saʿādat ʿAlī Khan is regarded as the most important period of his career as he gained social and scholarly recognition. He ended his active career as a courtier there.
A multilingual poet, Enšāʾ had full command of Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, and Pashto (Yaktā, p. 105). His collected works (Kollīyāt, Lahore, 1969) comprises Urdu and Persian lyrics, qaṣīdas, maṯnawīs, quatrains, strophes, and riddles. He also composed in what later was called Urdu (rēḵta). His Persian maṯnawīs include Šīr-berenj, Šekār-nāma, and Ṭūr al-asrār. His works in prose include Daryā-ye laṭāfat, a work on Urdu linguistics and grammar written in Persian in 1222/1807 with the collaboration of the poet Mīrzā Moḥammad-Ḥasan Qatīl (Moršedābād, 1850, Awrangābād, 1916); Torkī rūz-nāmča in Turkish; Laṭāʾef al-saʿādat, a work on wits, in both Persian and Urdu; Rānī keytki kī kahānī, a romantic story in Urdu (Karachi, 1955); and Selk-e gowhar, a collection of tales in Urdu (ed. E. ʿA. ʿAršī, Rampur, 1948). Bibliography: Bhagwān Dās Hendī, Safīna-ye Hendī, ed. ʿA.-R. Kākovī, Patna, 1958. T. G. Bailey, A History of Urdu Literature, Calcutta, 1932. A. S. Bazmee Ansari, “Inshāʾ” in EI2III, pp. 1244-45. Ḡolām Moṣḥafī Hamadānī, Taḏkera-ye Hendī, Awrangābād, n.d., pp. 23-25. ʿAbd-al-Ḡafūr Nassāḵ, Soḵan-e šoʿarāʾ, Lucknow, 1874, pp. 52-55. A. Pervez, Enšāʾ-Allāh Ḵān: Enšāʾ,ʿahd aowr fann, Delhi, 1961. M. Sadiq, A History of Urdu Literature, London, 1964. Aḥmad-ʿAlī Sandelavī, Maḵzan al-ḡarāʾeb, MS. Aligarh Muslim University, no. H.G. 51/6.1. A.-ʿA. Yaktā, Dastūr al-faṣāḥat, ed. E. ʿA. ʿAršī, Rampur, 1943.
(M. Asif Naim Siddiqui)
Originally Published: December 15, 1998
Last Updated: December 15, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. VIII, Fasc. 5, p. 457