KOFRI, pen name of MAWLĀNĀ AMIR-ḤOSAYN TORBATI (d. Borhānpur, India, 1016/1607), a poet-calligrapher of the second part of the 16th and the second decade of the 17th centuries.  He was born in Zāva, a village in the Torbat-e Ḥaydariya district in Khorasan, to a noble sayyed family.  Kofri, who had a good talent for poetry, soon developed mastery in calligraphy, especially in the style of šekasta-taʿliq (see CALLIGRAPHY), as well as in epistolary art.

Like numerous other Persian poets who sought their fortune in India, the young Kofri, together with a fellow poet, Nawʿi Ḵabušāni (d. 1019/1610), set out for India.  For some time he remained in the company of the statesman-scholar Mirzā Yusof Khan Mašhadi, governor of Kashmir under the Mughal Jalāl-al-Din Akbar Shah (Golčin-e Maʿāni, II, pp. 1163-64, 1557), soon rising to fame throughout the region.  Then he joined the retinue of prince Dāniāl b. Akbar Shah, and composed fine panegyric odes (qaṣida) for him.  When the prince died (1604), Kofri entered the great circle of poets and learned people at the court of the influential military general and statesman Mirzā ʿAbd-al-Raḥim Ḵān-e Ḵānān (d. 1626) at Borhānpur, achieving high position and great wealth.  He expressed his deep gratitude to this powerful figure by writing many exquisite qaṣidas eulogizing him.  According to ʿAbd-al-Bāqi Nahāvandi (III, pp. 807-8), Kofri died in Borhānpur in 1607, but the present author considers 1604, mentioned by Awḥadi Balyāni, more plausible (see Golčin-e Maʿāni, II, p. 1165, n. 1).

Kofri seems to have been mainly a panegyrist, but the poetry quoted from him in various memoirs clearly shows his propensity for lyrics (ḡazal) and quatrains (robāʿi).  Detached from the main body of his qaṣida, its nasib (amatory prologue of the multithematic qaṣida) section hardly falls short of the characteristics of a real ḡazal, a noticeable feature in the works of the 15-18th century poets who were more inclined to the lyrics and poetic themes typically used in this highly popular poetical form.  It appears that no complete Divān of his has been published or identified yet.  So one might suspect that of all his poetical production only a small amount quoted in various sources has survived.


Mollā ʿAbd-al-Bāqi Nahāvandi, Maʾāṯer-e raḥimi, ed. Šams-al-ʿOlamāʾ M. Hedāyat Ḥosayn, 3 vols., Calcatta, 1924-31.

Taqi-al-Din Awḥadi Balyāni, ʿArafāt  al-ʿāšeqin wa ʿaraṣāt al-ʿārefin, ed. Ḏabih-Allāh Ṣāḥebkār et al., 8 vols., Tehran, 2010.

Aḥmad Golčin-e Maʿāni, Kārvān-e Hend, 2 vols., Mashhad, 1990, II, pp. 1163-69.

(Aḥmad Golčin Maʿāni)

Originally Published: September 28, 2017

Last Updated: September 28, 2017

Cite this entry:

Aḥmad Golčin Maʿāni, “KOFRI,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2017, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/kofri (accessed on 28 September 2017).