ḠOLĀM SARVAR, b. Mofti Ḡolām Moḥammad LĀHURI (b. Lahore, 1244/1828; d. near Medina, 24 Ḏu’l-ḥejja 1307/14 August 1890), historian, hagiographer, and poet in Persian and Urdu. He belonged to the Mofti family of Lahore, who traced their lineage to Shaikh Bahāʾ-al-Din Zakariyā Moltāni (d. 661/1262), the founder of the Sohravardi Sufi order in India and the spiritual mentor of Faḵr-al-Din ʿErāqi (q.v.). The family had taken up residence in Lahore in the 15th century. The contemporary historian Kanhayyā Lāl Hendi (d. 1888) praises Ḡolām Sarvar and his family for their excellent virtues (Kanhayyā Lāl, pp. 76, 77, 79). Ḡolām Sarvar received his elementary education and early training in medicine from his father (d. 1276/1859) and then joined the teaching circle of Mawlawi Ḡolām-Allāh Lāhuri for advanced studies (Hāšemi, p. 101). His first employment was as the supervisor of Sardār Baghavān Sing’s property in Lahore. In 1882, he was hired as a secretary in the maintenance department (edāra-ye taʿmirāt) of Punjab (Kanhayyā Lāl, p. 77; Hāšemi, p. 101), but he quit his job a short while later. G. W. Leitner (1832-99), the registrar of the Punjab University in Lahore, offered him an honorary research fellowship at the university, but he declined. In 1884, Sir Sayyed Aḥmad Khan (d. 1898) came to Lahore in order to raise funds for the establishment of Aligarh College. He offered Ḡolām Sarvar an assignment for the purpose, but he refused; in fact, he never liked to be involved in any literary or cultural event that was sponsored by the government. All his life he preferred to remain an independent, private scholar in order to concentrate solely on his own work (Hāšemi, pp. 108-11). He died in 1307/1890 on his way to Medina after a pilgrimage to Mecca (Hāšemi, p. 103). Ḡolām Sarvar was survived by four sons, all of whom wrote poetry in Persian and Urdu; the most famous among them was Mofti Ḡolām Ṣafdar (d. 1923), who collected his father’s letters in a book called Enšā-ye ṣafdari (Lahore, 1287/1870; Hāšemi, pp. 145-46). Kanhayyā Lāl Hendi, the author of Tāriḵ-e Lāhur and Tāriḵ-e Panjāb, was a student of Ḡolām Sarvar and benefited from his guidance while conducting research for his own works. He is particularly indebted to Ḡolām Sarvar for the information found in his Tāriḵ-e Lāhur on the mosques of Lahore (Kanhayyā Lāl, p. 459).
Ḡolām Sarvar is the author of twenty-one works in Persian, Urdu, and Punjabi, covering a variety of subjects. His major works include: 1) Ḵazinat al-aṣfiāʾ (comp. 1280-81/1863-64), a Persian dictionary of biographical notices of 1,065 saints, especially those of the subcontinent, divided into seven chapters (maḵzan). It contains some errors, particularly concerning dates, and has to be used with caution (Ẓohur-al-Din Aḥmad, V, p. 13). Nevertheless, it became very popular despite its shortcomings and was used by almost all authors of later biographical dictionaries (Mojaddedi, introd. to Ḥadiqat al-awliāʾ, p. 18). It was first published in two volumes in Lahore in 1284/1867-68. An Urdu translation by Maḥmud ʿĀlem Qorayši and Eqbāl Aḥmad Fāruqi came out in 1990 (3 vols., Lahore). 2) Ganjina-ye sarvari or Ganj-e tārikò, a collection of verse chronograms in Persian by the author on the birth of great men of Islam from the Prophet to the author’s own lifetime (Lahore, 1285/1868). 3) Tāriḵ-e maḵzan-e Panjāb, a detailed book in Urdu on the history, geography, and monuments of Punjab from the time of Ghaznavid rule to the late 19th century (Lahore, 1285/1868-9). 4) Bahārestān-e tārikò, better known as Golzār-e šāhi, a comprehensive Urdu history of the Indian, Muslim, and British rulers of India from the very beginning to the second half of the 19th century (Lucknow, 1290/1873; 2nd revised and enlarged ed., Lucknow, 1290/1873). 5) Zobdat al-loḡāt or Loḡāt-e sarvari, an Urdu dictionary of Arabic, Persian and Turkish terms (Lucknow, 1316/1898). 6) Ḥadiqat al-awliāʾ, an Urdu biographical dictionary of the lives of 244 male and female mystics of Punjab from the Ghaznavid period to the lifetime of the author. 7) Jāmeʿ al-loḡāt (comp. 1307-8/1890), a comprehensive Urdu dictionary of Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu vocabulary, idioms, and conversational phrases (2 vols., Lucknow, 1309/1892). 8) Madinat al-awliāʾ, a general biograpical dictionary of mystics, in fact an Urdu version of Ḵazinat al-aṣfiāʾ (2 vols., Lucknow).
Mofti Maḥmud ʿĀlem Hāšemi, Ḏekr-e jamil, Lahore, 1968.
Eqbāl Aḥmad Fāruqi, Taḏkera-ye ʿolamā-ye ahl-e sonnat wa jamāʿat, Lahore, 1987, pp. 192-99.
Kanhayyā Lāl Hendi, Tāriḵ-e Lāhur, ed. Kalb-ʿAli Khan Fāyeq, Lahore, 1977.
Kesrā Menhās, “Mowarreḵin-e Lāhur,” Noquš, no. 92, 1962, pp. 985-89.
Ḡolām Sarvar Lāhuri, Ḥadiqat al-awliāʾ, ed. Moḥammad Eqbāl Mojaddedi, Lahore, 1976.
Aḵtar Rāhi, Taḏkera-ye ʿolamā-ye Panjāb I, Lahore, 1981, pp. 459-63.
Storey, I, pp. 1043-44.
Ẓohur-al-Din Aḥmad, Pākestān min fārsi adab V, Lahore, 1990.
Originally Published: December 15, 2001
Last Updated: February 9, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. XI, Fasc. 1, pp. 59-60