FORŪGĪ BESṬĀMĪ (BASṬĀMĪ), ʿABBĀS, 19th-century poet (b. 1213/1798 in Karbalā; d. 1274/1857 in Tehran).
Forūḡī Besṭāmī’s father, Āqā Mūsā, was an accountant at the court of Āḡā Moḥammad Khan Qājār (q.v.; r. 1203-12/1789-97). After falling out of favor and being punished by the ruler, Āqā Mūsā retired to Karbalā where he died in 1229/1814. The sixteen-year-old ʿAbbās returned to Persia and for the next few years lived in Sārī, Māzandarān, with his uncle Dūst-ʿAlī Khan Moʿayyer-al-Mamālek (q.v.), the overseer of the royal mint. It is assumed that Dūst-ʿAlī Khan introduced ʿAbbās to the court of Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah (q.v.) when the poet was in his early twenties. A few years later, the shah sent him to Mašhad to join the entourage of Prince Ḥasan-ʿAlī Šojāʿ-al-Salṭana, governor of Khorasan. At this court ʿAbbās formed a deep and lasting friendship with the poet Qāʾānī (q.v.), and changed his pen name from Meskīn to Forūḡī in honor of the prince’s son Forūḡ-al-Dawla. Upon the death of Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah in 1250/1834, Forūḡī returned to Tehran, where he lived most of his life, though during the reign of Moḥammad Shah (1250-64/1834–48) he spent several years near the holy shrines in Iraq, drawn there by his strong inclination to mysticism. According to some sources Forūḡī received little formal education in his childhood and only later on acquainted himself with the literary knowledge of his time (see Āryanpūr, Az Ṣabā tā Nīmā I, pp. 82-86; Modarres, Rayḥānat al-adab IV, pp. 331–32). His extant dīvān contains 321 ḡazals of about eleven lines each, though his total output must have been at least four times as much (apud Asad-Allāh Mīrzā in the preface to the first printing of the dīvān and reprinted in subsequent editions). The present dīvān is based on a selection made in 1274/1857 by Asad-Allāh Mīrzā Qājār, who published Forūḡī’s poetry together with the dīvān of Qāʾānī. The rest of his poems seem to have been lost. Forūḡī’s ḡazals followed the style of classical models, often being reminiscent of the lyrical mood of Saʿdī and occasionally betraying the poet’s attempts to imitate the metaphors and typical expressions of Ḥāfeẓ. Nevertheless, a degree of personal sentiment often rings through his lines, lending them originality and a touching quality. Of his panegyric ḡazals only one devoted to Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah and three devoted to Moḥammad Shah have survived, but there are seventy-three ḡazals extolling Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah (although only in the last two or three lines of each). Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah seems to have liked Forūḡī and allowed, or perhaps even encouraged, him to incorporate a few lines of the shah’s own poetry into his ḡazals (Dīvān, ed. Naḵaʿī, nos. 125, 168, 247).
The qeṭʿa and qaṣīda in praise of Solṭān-al-ʿOlamāʾ, the Emām Jomʿa (q.v.) of Isfahan, and Pope Pius IX on the occasion of the Papal Order received by Solṭān-al-ʿOlamāʾ, and preserved in the Caetani Foundation for Islamic Studies at the National Academy of Lincei in Rome, are not, as Alessandro Bausani was led to believe (pp. 559-63) by Forūḡī Besṭāmī and his son but rather, as Angelo Piemontese has proved, by the poet Mīrzā Moḥammad-ʿAlī Meskīn (d. 1303/1886) and his son Mīrzā ʿAbd-al-Raḥīm Afšār (d. 1315/1898?) respectively, both being poets and calligraphers (Piemontese, 1971; idem, 1991; Qodsī; Bayānī, II, pp. 381-84; Fażāʾelī, pp. 576-78).
The dīvān of Forūḡī has been published several times, ed. among others by M. Darvīš with an introduction by S. Nafīsī as Dīvān-e kāmel-e Forūḡī Besṭāmī, Tehran, 1342 Š./1963; also ed. by Ḥ. Naḵaʿī, Tehran, 1336 Š./1957, 3rd repr., 1346 Š./1967.
Both editions quote the full text of Asad-Allāh Mīrzā Qājār’s biographical notes originally published in his lithograph joint edition of Forūḡī and Qāʾānī, Tehran, 1274/1857.
Bāmdād, Rejāl II, p. 211.
A. Bausani, “Two Unpublished Qạsīdehs by Furūḡī Bisṭāmī and His Son on the Pope,” Archiv Orientalni 30, 1962, pp. 559-63.
M. Bayānī, Aḥwāl wa aṯār-e ḵošnevīsān II, Tehran, 1346 Š./1967, pp. 381-84.
Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia IV, 336-37.
Dehḵodā, s.v. “Forūḡī.” Mīrzā Aḥmad Ešīk-Aqāsī Dīvānbīgī Šīrāzī, Ḥadīqat al-šoʿarāʾ, ed. ʿA.-Ḥ. Navāʾī, 3 vols., Tehran, 1365 Š./1986, II, pp. 1343-48 (published earlier in Yādgār 5/1, 1327 Š./1948, pp. 145-46).
ʿAlīqolī Mīrzā Eʿteżād-al-Salṭana, Eksīr al-tawārīkò, ed. J. Kīānfar, Tehran, 1370 Š./1991, pp. 561-63.
Ḥ. Fażāʾelī, Aṭlas-e ḵaṭtÂ, Isfahan, 1350 Š./1971, pp. 576-78.
M. Ḥamīdī, Šeʿr dar ʿaṣr-e Qājār, Tehran, 1364 Š./1985, pp. 6-7, 11.
Majmaʿ al-foṣaḥāʾ II, pp. 394-96.
Dūst-ʿAlī Khan Moʿayyer-al-Mamālek, “ʿEšq-e Forūḡī Besṭāmī ba Ḵātūn Jān Ḵānom,” Yaḡmā 3, 1329 Š./1950, pp. 529-31.
A. Piemontese, “Il poeta Meskin e l’onorificenza di Pio IX all’ Emām Jomʿè d’Eṣfahān,” Rivista degli Studi Orientali 47, 1972, pp. 81-95.
Idem, ed., Italia ed Esfahan: sezione culturale dell’Ambasciata d’Italia in Iran, Rome, 1991, pp. 75-80.
M. Qodsī, “Yak ḵānadān-e fażl wa honar dar Eṣfahān,” Honar o Mardom 100, 1349 Š./1971, pp. 33-37. Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit., p. 332.
Ṣ. Reżāzāda Šafaq, Tārīḵ-e adabīyāt-e Īrān, 4th ed., Tehran, 1321 Š./1942, pp. 390-91.
E. Ṣafāʾī Malāyerī, “Forūḡī Besṭāmī,” Armaḡān 27, 1337 Š./1958, pp. 433-40.
N. Tabrīzī, Devīst soḵanvar, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1363 Š./1984, p. 292.
Originally Published: December 15, 2000
Last Updated: January 31, 2012
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