KAŠFI, MIR MOḤAMMAD ṢĀLEḤ ḤOSAYNI (d. 14 Šaʿbān 1061/1 August 1651), calligrapher and poet in Mughal India. He was the son of the poet and calligrapher Mir ʿAbd-Allāh Termeḏi and a descendant of the Sufi master Shah Neʿmat-Allāh Wali. It is not known where he was born. His father used the pen name (taḵalloṣ ) Waṣfi and was also known by the title Moškin-qalam, which he had received from the Emperor Akbar (Baḵtāvar Khan, p. 483). According to the historian Badāʾuni (p. 259), Waṣfi was related to the historian Mirzā Neẓām-al- Din Aḥmad on his maternal side. Kašfi’s brother, Mir Moḥammad-Moʿmen ʿArši, was also a calligrapher, poet, and musician who instructed the prince Solaymān Šokuh in calligraphy. Like his father and brother, Kašfi was also a master of nastaʿliq calligraphy. He was Shiʿi, as evidenced by his writings on the Imams, and he also had some degree of involvement with Sufi orders, perhaps the Qāderiya (Ḡolām Sarvar, p. 350). He spent some time in reduced circumstances until he was favored by the Emperor Šāh Jahān (r. 1628-57) and made an amir (Baḵtāvar Khan, p. 484). In 1056/1646 he was appointed the head (dāruḡ ) of the royal library (Lāhuri, pp. 505, 679). He died in 1651 and is buried near his father in Agra. In modern times he is sometimes confused with the Mughal historian Moḥammad- Ṣāleḥ Kānbu.

Works . Kašfi authored several works in verse and prose. The Majmuʿa-ye rāz is a mystical poem of twenty-seven stanzas in the strophe form (tarjiʿband ). Selections from this poem are found in an anthology that includes poems by Safavid and Mughal poets such as Waḥši Bāfqi and Nawʿi Ḵabušāni (Rieu, II, p. 737). This poem is also found on the margins of a manuscript of the divān of Qāsem Anwār (Rieu, III, p. 1090) and in a lithographed edition of the poem Nāhid-e aḵtar . A modern edition of this short work with a translation was published by Sheikh Chand Husain. Manāqeb-e mortażawi is a biography of Imam ʿAli b. Abi Ṭāleb in twelve chapters of mixed prose and poetry. It includes quotations from the poems of Nur-al-Din ʿAbd-al-Raṃān Jāmi, Shah Neʿmat- Allāh Wali, Mawlānā Jalāl-al-Din Moḥammad Rumi’s Maṯnawi-e maʿnawi , as well as his own verses. This work was lithographed in Bombay (1269/1852-53) and in Tehran (1273/1856). The Eʿjāz-e moṣṭafawi is a biography of the Prophet Moḥammad, the early caliphs and the Imams. It was left unfinished by the time he died and was completed by Mir ʿAbd-Allāh Wāṣefi in 1157/1744-5 (Storey, p. 215; Rieu, I, p. 154). A collection of qaṣida s in praise of the Imams may have been composed by him (Sprenger, p. 456), but the divān attributed to him (Marshall, p. 245) is the result of a misreading of the poet’s name. Kānbu mentions that Kašfi wrote poetry in Hindi under the nom de plume Sujān, but these verses have not come down to us (Kānbu, p. 344). Perhaps the Hindi poems were composed to be sung in musical gatherings, because Kānbu adds that the two brothers enjoyed Indian music and were often in the company of singers. A treatise on music is also attributed to him (Husain, p. 35), but it could be the work of his brother. Specimens of Kašfi’s calligraphy are found in the Sālār Jang Museum (Husain, pp. 34-35) and in an album in the British Library (Rieu, II, p. 784, Add. 21,154).



ʿAbd-al-Qāder Badāʾuni, Montaḵab al-tawāriḵ , ed. Mawlawi ʿAli Aḥmad, 3 vols., Tehran, 2000, III, p. 259.

Moḥammad Baḵtāvar Khan, Merʾāt al-ʿālam: History of Emperor Awrangzeb ʿĀlamgir , ed. Sajida S. Alvi, 2 vols., Lahore, 1979, II, pp. 483-84.

Ḡolām Sarvar Lāhuri, Ḵazinat al-aṣfiā , 2 vols., Kanpur, 1894, II, p. 350. Nabi Hadi, Dictionary of Indo- Persian Literature , New Delhi, 1995, p. 298.

Shaikh Chand Husain, “Majmūʿa-i-rāz of Mīr Muḥammad Ṣāliḥ Kashfī,” J(R)ASB 18, 1942, pp. 31-68.

Moḥammad Ṣāleḥ Kānbu, ʿAmal-e ṣāleḥ , ed. Ḡolām Yazdāni and Waḥid Qorayši, 3 vols., Lahore, 1967-72, III, pp. 344- 45.

ʿAbd-al-Ḥamid Lāhuri, Pādšāh-nāma , ed. Mawlawi Kabir-al-Din Aḥmad and ʿAbd-al-Raḥim, 3 vols., Calcutta, 1867-72, II, p. 505,

D. N. Marshall, Mughals in India: A Bibliographical Survey of Manuscripts , London, 1967, pp. 245.

Charles Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the British Museum , 3 vols., London, 1879-83, I, p. 154, II, pp. 737, 784, III, p. 1090.

Moḥammad Moẓaffar Ḥosayn Ṣabā, Taḏkera-ye ruz-e rowšan , ed. Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Roknzāda  damiyat, Tehran, 1964, pp. 978-79.

Ḏabiḥ-Allāh Ṣafā, Tāriḵ-e adabiyāt dar Irān , 5 vols. in 7, Tehran, 1938-92, V, pp. 1311-13.

A. Sprenger, Catalogue of the Arabic, Persian and Hindu’sta’ny Manuscripts of the Libraries of the King of Oudh , Calcutta, 1854, p. 456.

Charles A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, 2 vols., London, 1970-72, I, pp. 214-15. 

(Sunil Sharma)

Originally Published: December 15, 2011

Last Updated: April 24, 2012

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