ʿABD-AL-ḠANĪ KHAN MEO, MAWLAVĪ MOḤAMMAD (poetical name, ḠANĪ), Indian literary scholar. He was born and raised in Farrukhabad, but the exact date of his birth is not known. He joined the education service in Hyderabad (Deccan) as a teacher of Arabic and Persian, eventually becoming chairman of the Arabic department in the Madrasa-ye Fawqānīya in Hyderabad. He died in retirement on 15 October 1916.

A poet in both Persian and Urdu, ʿAbd-al-Ḡanī was known primarily as a scholar and researcher in Arabic and Persian. His chief published work is Armaḡān-e āṣafī, a comprehensive Persian lexicon, including compounds, phrases, and idioms. It was completed, after twenty years’ work, in 1292/1875 and given the title Armaḡān as a chronogram. The only printed edition was published in Agra in eight volumes, comprising 1,713 pages, between 1904 and 1908. Though basing his work mainly on Ṭēk Čand Bahār’s noted lexicon, Baḥr-e ʿaǰam (1152/1739), ʿAbd-al-Ḡanī made use of compositions by many poets not previously cited by Bahār and quoted more than 40 thousand verses to support his definitions. Entries are arranged in alphabetical order. A definition is followed by a table of infinitives, in alphabetical order, which combine with the entry word to produce idioms. Such a table consists of: (a) the infinitive; (b) the first hemistich of the verse, or the prose quotation, cited as the source; (c) other words, if any, entering into the idiom; (d) the second hemistich of the verse cited; and (e) the name of the poet or prose author quoted. Various phrases and metaphorical uses of words are explained, with examples, in footnotes. In selecting sources ʿAbd-al-Ḡanī preferred celebrated literary figures and avoided little-known writers and poets.

After compiling Armaḡān, ʿAbd-al-Ḡanī began Ḥawār al-ʿarab, a compilation of Arabic idioms translated into Persian and Urdu. The total work comprised nearly 50 thousand idioms. By the time of his death only one volume had been published (Aligarh, 1916); the rest remain in manuscript. His Taḏkerat al-šoʿarāʾ, an alphabetical inventory of Persian poets (Storey, I, p. 923, no. 8), was compiled between 1882 and 1910. It is based on well-known biographical works such as Lobāb al-albāb, Maǰmaʿ al-foṣaḥāʾ, Kalemāt al-šoʿarāʾ, Laṭāʾef al-ḵayāl, Natāʾeǰ al-afkār, Ātaškada, and Rīāż al-šoʿarāʾ. Each poet is allotted only one line, divided into six columns giving his taḵalloṣ, full name, date of death, locality, country, and the name of the ruler in the poeṭµ’s lifetime. The work was published posthumously at Aligarh in 1916.


Šahryār Naqavī, Farhangnevīsī dar Hend va Pākestān, Tehran, 1341 Š./1962, pp. 231-32.

(M. Baqir)

Originally Published: December 15, 1982

Last Updated: July 14, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 1, pp. 107-108

Cite this entry:

M. Baquir, “Abd-Al-Gani Khan,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/1, p. 107-108; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-gani-khan (accessed on 12 January 2014).