ABŪ ṬĀLEB KHAN LANDANĪ B. ḤĀJJĪ MOḤAMMAD BEG KHAN TABRĪZĪ EṢFAHĀNĪ, official and author in British India. His father, an Azerbaijani Turk by descent, had emigrated from Isfahan to Lucknow. Abū Ṭāleb was born in Lucknow in 1166/1753. In 1775-76 he served as a district administrator in the regime of the prime minister of Awadh, Moḵtār-al-dawla. Subsequently he was in the service of Alexander Hannay (C. E. Buckland, Dictionary of Indian Biography, London, 1906, p. 188) and then Nathaniel Middleton, the British resident at Lucknow (ibid., p. 288). Under the latter, he defeated the rebel Balbhadar Singh (Beale, Orient. Biog. Dict., p. 102). After moving to Calcutta in 1202/1787-88, he edited the dīvān of Ḥāfeẓ (publ. Calcutta, 1791). In 1213-18/1799-1803, he traveled through Europe with Captain D. Richardson of the East India Company’s Bengal army. Returning to India in mid-1803, he died at Lucknow in 1220/1805-06.

Abū Ṭāleb’s writings include: 1. Ḵolāṣat al-afkār, biographies of Persian poets including the author, written in 1206-07/1791-93 (Storey, I, p. 878; see also JRAS 9, 1848, pp. 153-58). According to Storey, attached to the manuscripts of this work are usually found treatises by Abū Ṭāleb on ethics, music, prosody and medicine, as well as: 2. Lobb al-sīar o ǰahānnomā, a compendium of Muslim history written in 1208/1793-94 (Storey, I, pp. 145-46; Elliot, History of India VIII, pp. 298-300). 3. Tafżīḥ al-ḡāfelīn (1211/1796-97; Storey, I, pp. 704-05), a history of the period of Āṣaf-al-dawla of Awadh (1188-1212/1775-97), much favored by British historians because of its defense of colonial administrative practices. Though no manuscript of the work is presently extant, it was translated into English by W. Hoey (History of Asaf-al-dawla, Allahabad, 1888). 4. Masīr-e ṭālebī fī belād-e afranǰī, an account of Abū Ṭāleb’s European travels completed in 1219/1804-05. The text was edited and published in Calcutta in 1812 by his son, Mīrzā Ḥasan ʿAlī, and Mīr Qodrat ʿAlī; it was later abridged by D. Macfarlane (Calcutta, 1827, 1836). An English translation of the entire work (C. Stewart, The Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb Khaŋ, London, 1810; 2nd ed., 1814) served as the basis for two versions in French, from one of which a German translation was also prepared (Storey, I, pp. 878-79). 5. Abū Ṭāleb’s Dīvān (Cat. Bodleian I, Oxford, 1889, no. 1994), ed. and tr. G. Swinton, London, 1807. 6. Meʿrāǰ al-tawḥīd, an astronomical treatise written in 1219/1804; manuscript in Edinburgh University Library.


See also C. Collin Davies, “Abū Ṭālib Khan,” EI2 I, p. 153.

Marshall, Mughals in India, pp. 41-42.

Ḵayyāmpūr, Soḵanvarān, p. 19.

Tarbīat, Dānešmandān, pp. 243-44.

(M. Baqir)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 21, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, pp. 389-390

Cite this entry:

M. Baqir, “ABŪ ṬĀLEB KHAN LANDANĪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/ 4, pp. 389-390; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abu-taleb-khan-landani-b (accessed on 31 January 2014).