ḠANĪMAT KONJĀHĪ, MOḤAMMAD-AKRAM, also known as Ḡanīmat Panjābī (d. ca 1125/1713), a Persian poet from the Indian subcontinent, famous for composing Nīrang-e ʿešq. He was born and buried in the town of Konjāh, about 10 km south of Gujarat (Punjab Province, Pakistan) and about 100 km northwest of Lahore.
Ḡanīmat came from a long line of jurists in the town where his father had his jurisdiction (Sanbhalī, p. 230, ʿAẓīmābādī, III, p. 1114: Šarāfat Nawšāhī III/2, p. 265). A member of the Qāderīya Nawšahīya order of Sufis, Ḡanīmat’s mentor was Sayyed Moḥammad-Ṣāleḥ Nawšāhī (d. 1118/1706; Ṣadāqat Konjāhī, p. 148; Šarāfat Nawšāhī, III/1, pp. 241-8). He praised his mentor in Nīrang-e ʿešq. Ḡanīmat studied poetry and rhetoric with Mīr Moḥammad Zamān “Rāseḵ” Serhendī (d. 1107/1695-96; ʿAẓīmābādī, III, p. 1114; Ḵalīl, 1981, p. 114; idem, 1982, p. 10; Ārzū, p. 67; Hendī, fol. 201a). In 1096/1685 Ḡanīmat was in the service of Mīrzā Artoq Beyg, the military commander of Sīālkūt, and he composed Nīrang-e ʿešq on his order (Awrangābādī, fol. 237b; Ḵalīl, 1981, p. 114). The details of Ḡanīmat’s life remain obscure and most literary biographers, including ʿAẓīmābādī, admit that they do not know the year of his death. Only Gowpāmavī (p. 516) states that he died toward the end of the 11th/beginning of the 18th century. Ḡanīmat’s nephew, Moḥammad Māh Ṣedāqat-e Konjāhī (d. 1148/1735) refers to Ḡanīmat’s death in his Ṯawāqeb al-manāqeb, written in about 1126/1714, but without specifying the year. Because Ḡanīmat praised Farroḵ-sīar (enthroned in 1125/1713) in the introduction to the maṯnawī, Golzār-e moḥabbat, one can conclude that he died toward the end of that year (Šarāfat Nawšāhī III/2, p. 308).
Works. 1. Nīrang-e ʿešq (ed. Ḡ. Rabbānī ʿAzīz, Lahore, 1962), a maṯnawī of 1500 lines composed in 1096/1685. This is the work for which he is best known. It describes the love between two boys named Šāhed and ʿAzīz, and it is a true reflection of the poet’s time. Nīrang-e ʿešq is unique in Persian literature as the first full length maṯnawī about a pair of lovers of the same sex (Ẓohūr-al-Dīn, III, pp. 24-32 for a full analysis; Ṭ. Ṣadīqī, pp. 236-39). Both the author of Ḡīāṯ al-loḡāt, Gīāṯ-al-Dīn Rāmpūrī (d. 1852), and Dūst Moḥammad (in 1194/1780) wrote commentaries on Nīrang-e ʿešq (Šarāfat Nawšāhī, III/2, pp. 298-300). Kāmta Paršād, “Nādān,” translated the work into Urdu poetry under the title Bahārestān-e Nādān (Lucknow, 1879). Because of the popularity and fame of Nīrang-e ʿešq, many later Persian poets of the Punjab composed maṯnawīs imitating it (Šarāfat Nowšāhī, III/2, pp. 300-303). 2. Golzār-e moḥabbat, a maṯnawī of 591 lines. Manuscript in the library of Shaikh Karāmat-Allāh, Gujarat, Punjab (Šarāfat Nawšāhī, al-ʿElm 3/2, Karachi, April-June, 1973, p. 315). 3. Dīvān, collection of 233 ḡazals, twelve robāʿīs, and other poems (ed. Ḡ. Rabbānī ʿAzīz, Lahore, 1958). 4. Roqaʿāt (Collected correspondence), 13 short letters addressed to friends. Many aspects of Ḡanīmat’s character can be gleaned from the contents of these letters (ed. Šarāfat Nawšāhī in Ṣaḥīfa, Lahore, January 1973, pp. 1-12. 5. Monāẓera-ye gol o narges, a debate between the rose and the narcissus in ornate prose (ed. M. Boḵš, Bhirah, Punjab, 1865).
Literary biographers generally admit that Ḡanīmat was a talented wordsmith with an appealing style. His fame spread throughout Punjab during the time of Awrangzib (Ārzū, pp. 67-68; ʿAẓīmābādī, p. 1114; Ḵalīl, 1982, p. 10; Sandīlawī, IV, p. 227).
Serāj-al-Dīn ʿAlī Khan Ārzū, Majmaʿ al-nafāʾes, ed. ʿĀ. Bīdār, Patna, 1992.
Ḥosaynqolī Khan ʿAẓīmābādī, Neštar-e ʿešq, ed. A. Jānfedā, Dushanbe, 1983.
Moḥammad Qodrat-Allāh Gowpāmavī, Natāʾej al-afkār, Bombay, 1336 Š. /1958.
Bahgwān Dās Hendī, Ḥadīqa-ye hendī, MS Qom, Ketāb-ḵāna-ye ʿomūmī-e Āyat-Allāh Najafī Marʿašī, no. 790.
Ebrāhīm Khan Ḵalīl Ṣoḥaf-e Ebrāhīm, ed. ʿĀ. Bīdār, Patna, 1981.
Idem, Ḵolāṣat-al-kalām, ed. ʿĀ. Bīdār, Patna, 1982. Moḥammad Māh Ṣadāqat Konjāhī, Ṯawāqeb al-manāqeb, MS Islamabad, Nawšāhī Library (dated 1346/1927).
Ṭ. Ṣadīqī, Dāstānsarāʾī-e fārsī dar šebha qārra dar dawra-ye Tīmūrīān, Islamabad, 1999.
Lačhmī Narāyn Šafīq Awrangābādī, Gol-e raʿnā, MS Lahore, Punjab University, Šīrānī fond no. 149.
Mīr Ḥosayn Dūst Sanbhalī, Taḏkera-ye ḥosaynī, Lucknow, 1875.
Aḥmad ʿAlī Khan Hāšṟēmī Sandīlawī, Maḵzan al-Ḡarāʾeb IV, ed. M. Bāqer, Islamabad, 1993.
Šarīf Aḥmad Šarāfat Nawšāhī, Šarīf al-tawārīḵ, vol. III, pts. 1-2, Lahore, 1983-4.
A. Ẓohūr-al-Dīn, Pākestān mīn fārsī adab III, Lahore, 1977.
Originally Published: December 15, 2000
Last Updated: February 2, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. X, Fasc. 3, pp. 278-279