DARVĪŠ ʿALĪ, AMĪR NEẒĀM-AL-DĪN KüKäLTĀŠ KETĀBDĀR, Timurid amir under Solṭān-Ḥosayn Bāyqarā (q.v., Supplement; 873-911/1469-1506) and younger brother of ʿAlī-Šīr Navāʾī (Bābor-nāma, fol. 173a). The brothers belonged to an Uighur family that had been affiliated for generations with Sol ṭān-Ḥosayn’s family by ties of foster brotherhood; hence his title Kükältāš (foster brother; Bartol’d, p. 212; Ando, p. 248). During his career Darvīš ʿAlī served as governor of Qom under Abu’l-Qāsem Bābor (853-91/1449-57); after Solṭān-Ḥosayn’s conquest of Khorasan in 873/1469 he became state treasurer (parvānačī) and later governor of Balḵ in the domain of Solṭān-Ḥosayn’s son Mīrzā Ebrāhīm Ḥosayn, as well as royal librarian (ketābdār; Ḥabīb al-sīar IV, pp. 46, 189; Ando, p. 198). According to the Mughal emperor Bābor (932-37/1526-30), who did not entertain a very high opinion of him, he held these positions largely as a result of ʿAlī-Šīr’s influence (Bābor-nāma, fol. 173a). Darvīš ʿAlī was married to Āfāq Bīke, a poet and sister of Ḥasan-ʿAlī Jalāyer, one of Solṭān-Ḥosayn’s chief amirs (Faḵrī Heravī, p. 129).

Darvīš ʿAlī became involved in his brother’s opposition to attempts by the Persian official Majd-al-Dīn Moḥammad to institute centralizing reforms in the Timurid state, especially during the period 892-95/1487-90 (Subtelny, pp. 131 ff.). Fearing for his own position in Balḵ, he mobilized the amirs in a revolt against the sultan, and, making common cause with Solṭān-Ḥosayn’s Timurid rival, Solṭān-Maḥmūd Mīrzā, he attempted to oust Mīrzā Ebrāhīm Ḥosayn from Balḵ. Although he was pardoned after the intercession of one of ʿAlī-Šīr’s friends, the sultan no longer trusted him, and, when he set out on campaign against Solṭān- Maḥmūd Mīrzā, he imprisoned Darvīš ʿAlī in the fortress of Balḵ. In 899/1494 Darvīš ʿAlī made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and after he returned four years later he was again reinstated, in 904/1498, as amir of the dīvān-e aʿlā (Ḥabīb al-sīar IV, pp. 188-90, 198, 238; Ando, p. 209).

After ʿAlī-Šīr’s death in 906/1501 Darvīš ʿAlī was dismissed from Timurid service and retired to the village of Fayżābād outside Balḵ, which he held free of tax (Ḥabīb al-sīar IV, p. 298; ʿAbd-Allāh Morvārīd, pp. 79-80). The Uzbek Moḥammad Šaybānī Khan used him as an envoy in his unsuccessful attempt to negotiate the surrender of Balḵ in 909/1503-04 (Ḥabīb al-sīar IV, pp. 298-99). After the death of Moḥammad Šaybānī Khan in 916/1510 Darvīš ʿAlī entered the service of Bābor, himself a member of the Timurid family, in Qondūz; he appears to have been still in Bābor’s service when the latter captured Samarkand in the following year (Bābor-nāma, fol. 174b). It is not known when he died.



ʿAbd-Allāh Morvārīd, Šaraf-nāma, facs. ed. and tr. H. R. Roemer as Staatsschreiben der Timuridenzeit, Wiesbaden, 1952.

S. Ando, Timuridische Emire nach dem Muʿizz al-ansāb, Berlin, 1992.

V. V. Bartol’d, “Mir Ali-Shir i politicheskaya zhizn’” (Mīr ʿAlī Šīr and political life), Sochineniya (Collected works) II/2, Moscow, 1964, esp. pp. 237-46.

Solṭān-Moḥammad Faḵrī Heravī, Taḏkera-ye jawāher al-ʿajāyeb, ed. Ḥ. Rāšedī, Hyderabad, 1968.

M. E. Subtelny, “Centralizing Reform and Its Opponents in the Late Timurid Period,” Iranian Studies 21/1-2, 1988, esp. pp. 123-51.

(M. E. Subtelny)

Originally Published: December 15, 1994

Last Updated: November 18, 2011

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