FARĪD b. Shaikh Maʿrūf BHAKKARĪ, author of an important biographical dictionary in Persian of Mughal notables, the Ḏaḵīrat al-ḵawanīn. Nothing is known of the life of Shaikh Farīd Bhakkarī beyond the few autobiographical details mentioned in his book. From these, it appears that he was in the bureaucratic service of several Mughal dignitaries, including Abu’l-Fatḥ Dakkanī (until his death in ca. 1023/1614); Nūr Nesāʾ Begam, wife of the Jahāngīr; Khan Jahān Lōdī during his governorship of Multan and subsequent revolt (1029-40/1631); Mahābat Khan Ḵān-e Ḵānān; and others (full details in Farīd Bhakkaṟī, tr. Desai, I, pp. xiv-xxi). He finished compiling the Ḏaḵīra in 1061/1650. Although written in an often obscure and rambling, anecdotal style, this work is significant for its early date, its attention to both high and low-ranking Mughal officials, and its wealth of information gleaned from personal experience and primary sources. Among the biographical notices are many devoted to Hindu manṣabdārs with whom the author worked and socialized and of whom he speaks approvingly. He is relatively free from religious bias in his accounts and was clearly quite familiar with Hindu customs and the Hindi language, even citing Hindi proverbs and poetry. ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Šāhnavāz Khan Awrangābādī criticized the Ḏaḵīra severely as based on “hearsay,” but nonetheless exploited it freely and extensively in his own more famous biographical dictionary, the Maʾāṯer al-omarāʾ.
M. Abdulla Chughtai, “A Treasury of Biographical Sketches of Great Men,” Islamic Culture 9, 1935, pp. 411-22.
Farīd Bhakkarī, Ḏaḵīrat al-ḵawanīn, ed. S. Moʿīn al-Ḥaqq, 3 vols., Karachi, 1961; part. tr. Z. A. Desai as The Dhakhirat ul-Khawanin of Shaikh Farid Bhakkari: A Biographical Dictionary of Mughal Noblemen I, Delhi, 1993.
Originally Published: December 15, 1999
Last Updated: December 15, 1999