ʿENĀYAT-ALLĀHKANBO, (b. in Burhanpur, 19 Jomādā I 1017/31 August 1608; d. in Delhi on 19 Jomādā I 1082/23 September 1671), Sufi and scholar, descendant of an old respected Lahore family that had converted to Islam in Punjab. The family had risen to prominence as scholars, Sufi saints, and officers in the 15th century. Neither ʿEnāyat-Allāh nor his younger brother Moḥammad-Ṣāleḥ mentioned their father’s home; he seems to have moved from Lahore to Burhanpur as a servant of the Mughal state (Moḥammad-Ṣāleḥ, III, p. 373).

After completing his education, ʿEnāyat-Allāh reportedly joined the Mughal service as a petty officer. During his service career, he pursued his study of religious sciences, which led him to renounce the world and become a devout Sufi. Under the influence of a certain Češtī Sufi saint (whose name is not given) he became attached to the shrine of Shaikh Qoṭb-al-Din Baḵtīār Kākī in Delhi. Having left his wife and children in Lahore, he went to Delhi, and had his ḵ¨ānaqāh built near the shrine of Shaikh Baktīār, where he spent his time praying, meditating, and reciting the Koran.

Before becoming a Sufi, ʿEnāyat-Allāh had distinguished himself as a man of letters. Moḥammad-Ṣāleḥ relates (III, p. 374)ṟ that ʿEnāyat-Allāh continued to evince an interest in literature even after his conversion to Sufism; he would suggest corrections and improvements in the verses and other compositions of Moḥammad-Ṣāleḥ and those who visited him in his ḵānaqāh.

ʿEnāyat-Allāh’s fame rests on his Bahār-e dāneš, a romance of Prince Jahāndāršāh and Princess Bahravar Bānū, around whom a number of other interesting tales have also been woven. ʿEnāyat-Allāh relates that he first heard the story in Hindi dialect from a young Brahman and gave it Persian garb. Soon after its completion in 1061/1650, the work gained wide popularity as a perfect example of elegant Persian (Bahār-e dāneš, pp. 3, 7; Moḥammad-Ṣāleḥ, III, p. 429). With the introduction of the printing press in India in the 19th century, publishers in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Lucknow, and Kanpur printed this work. It was translated into English by Alexander Dow (London, 1768) and Jonathan Scott (Shrewsbury, 1799) and into German by A. T. Hartmam (Leipzig, 1802). His works also include a history of the reign of Shah Jahān (Tārīḵ-e delgošā), a continuation (Takmela) of Abu’l-Fażl ʿAllāmī’s Akbar-nāma, and a collection of letters (Golšan-e ʿEnāyat).

ʿEnāyat-Allah died at the age of sixty-five and was buried in his ḵānaqāh at Delhi, not in Lahore as S. M. Laṭif (pp. 208-9) has asserted.


Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):

A. S. Bazmee Ansari “ʿInāyat Allāh Kanbū” in EI2 III, pp. 1203-4.

ʿEnāyat-Allāh Kanbō, Bahār-e dāneš,Lucknow and Kanpur, 1878.

Moḥammad-Ṣāleḥ Kanbō, ʿAmal-e Ṣāleḥ, Lahore, 1960, III, pp. 373-75, 428-40.

S. M. Laṭif, Lahore: Architectural Remains, Lahore, 1892.

Marshall, Mughals in India, pp. 203-4.

Rieu, Persian Manuscripts, p. 765.

Ṣafā, Adabīyāt V/3, pp. 1756-59.

B. P. Saxena, History of Shah Jahan of Dihli, repr. Allahabad, 1975, p. 256.

I. H. Siddiqi, Mughal Relations with the Indian Ruling Elite, New Delhi, 1983, pp. 90-105.

Storey, I/1, p. 578.

(Iqtidar Husain Siddiqi)

Originally Published: December 15, 1998

Last Updated: December 15, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VIII, Fasc. 4, pp. 429-430