GOLḴANI, MOḤAMMAD ŠARIF (1770s-1827), poet and satirist from Kokand (Ḵōqand), bilingual in Persian and Chaghatay (see CHAGHATAY LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE).

Little is known about the life of Golḵani. His given name was Moḥammad-Šarif, but he is better known simply as Golḵani, one of his pen-names (taḵalloṣ). He wrote under the pen-name of Jorʾat as well. He was born in Kokand (see KOKAND KHANATE) into a family of farmers; his father reportedly came from the village of Bulqās in the region of Qarātegin (present-day Rašt valley in central Tajikistan; Abdullaev, p. 267; Muqimov, p. 207). At some point in life, Golḵani joined the Kokand literary milieu at the court of Moḥammad ʿOmar Khan (r. 1810-22) and his wife Nādera (1792-1842); they were themselves poets and actively promoted the social and cultural life of the khanate (Qayumov, p. 63).

Golḵani was a lyric poet as well as an author of satirical prose. His surviving literary output includes a qaṣida in Persian, twelve ḡazals (among which seven are in Persian and five in Chaghatay; Muqimov, p. 209), and the satirical prose-work Żarb al-maṯal (“parable” or “proverb”), composed in Chaghatay.

His bilingual poetry is mainly to be found within the Majmuʿa-ye šāʿerān (see Bibliography below) compiled at the Kokand court in 1236/1821 by the poet ʿAbd-al-Karim Fażli Namangāni. Golḵani and the other poets involved in this collection do not imitate the verses of the classics, but those of ʿOmar Khan, who designated himself as both the poetic and political authority of the Kokand Khanate (see Erkinov, pp. 294-305).

Żarb al-maṯal criticizes the prevailing social and political order by the means of satire, and notably by depicting the faults of human nature. The main characters of the work are animals, basically birds, which typify the individuals of the society of the author’s lifetime.

Soviet scholarship usually portrayed Golḵani as a major “progressive” poet of the 19th century by favoring and publishing his satirical prose-work rather than his “conservative” bilingual poetry, which represents anyway a good laboratory for the study of late Persian-Chaghatay bilingualism in Transoxiana.



Żarb al-maṯal survives in three manuscripts: MS copied in 1299/1882 and MS with no date (both not yet identified in a library fund, only briefly mentioned by Muqimov, p. 209); MS of 80 folios, 50 of which contain the Żarb al-maṯal and the other 30 contain ḡazals by various Central Asian poets of the 19th century (Andijān State Library, Uzbekistan). Editions include (lithographed) Żarb al-maṯal, Kazan, 1890; Tashkent 1904, 1907, 1909, 1914; Zarbulmasal va ḡazallar, ed. Ḵ. Ëkubov, Tashkent, 1960; Zarbulmasal, Tashkent, 1974, 2000; Russian tr. as Izbrannye proizvedeniya, ed. Kh. Yakubov, Tashkent, 1951.

Poems are found in ʿAbd al-Karim Fażli Namangāni, Majmuʿa-ye šāʿerān, copied through the 19th century, MSS 232, 358, 1153, 1242, 2329, 2371, 7510, 9914 (Tashkent, Biruni Institute of Oriental Studies, Uzbek Academy of Sciences); MSS 1465, 1530 (Dushanbe, Institute of Oriental Studies, Tajik Academy of Sciences).


V. A. Abdullaev, Ŭzbek adabiyoti tariḵi (XVII asrdan XIX asrning ikkinči yarmigača) II, Tashkent, 1964.

Jiří Bečka, “Tajik Literature from the 16th Century to the Present,” in Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit., pp. 485-605.

Timur K. Beisembiev, Annotated Indices to the Kokand Chronicles, Tokyo, 2008.

Aftandil Erkinov, “Les Timourides, modèles de légitimité et les recueils poétiques de Kokand,” in F. Richard and M. Szuppe, eds., Écrit et culture en Asie centrale et dans le monde turco-iranien, Xe-XIXe s., Paris, 2009, pp. 285-330.

Evelin Grassi, “Kokand Men and Women of Letters who Wrote in both Chaghatāy Turkish and Persian (First Half of the 19th Century),” Studia Iranica 42/2, 2013, pp. 227-48.

F. Ishakov, Gulkhaniĭ zarbulmasal, Tashkent, 1976.

R. Muqimov, “Muhammad Šarifi Gulḵanī,” in R. Hodizoda, ed., Adabiëti tojik dar nimai duyumi asri XVIII va avvali asri XIX, Dushanbe, 1989, pp. 206-18.

Aziz P. Qayumov, Qŭqon adabiĭ muhiti XVIII-XIX asrlar, Tashkent, 1961.


Originally Published: March 8, 2018

Last Updated: March 8, 2018

Cite this entry:

EVELIN GRASSI, “GOLḴANI, MOḤAMMAD ŠARIF,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2018, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/golkani-mohammad-sarif (accessed on 08 March 2018).