GANJ-E ARŠADĪ, an Indo-Persian collection of sayings (malfūẓāt) of the Češtī saint of Jaunpour Aršad Badr-al-Ḥaqq (1047-1113/1637-1701), whose lineage is traced back in the book to the third caliph ʿOṯmān. It was compiled in 1134-35/1721-22 by Aršad’s son and successor Abu’l-Fayyāż Qamar-al-Ḥaqq from the notes made by Shaikh ʿAbd-al-Šakūr, a confident of Aršad. It is divided into ten chapters, totaling 552 folios in Phulwarisharif manuscript. Despite its bombastic language and constant exaggeration concerning the lives and deeds of notable Sufis, it provides a kaleidoscopic survey of several aspects of socio-religious activity and thought among the 18th-century Indian Muslims, and contains many details of historical value about the life and times of Shah Aršad, his family, and a host of disciples throughout eastern Uttar Prasdesh, Bihar, and Bengal. Especially useful is the information it provides concerning the educational process prevalent in late medieval madrasas and ḵānaqāhs of India as well as about persons, places, and events of the time with precise references to dates. We learn, for instance, about the routes, stages, and inns (many now extinct) that Shah Aršad and others used during the course of their journeys. Ganj-e aršadī is also a good source of information concerning linguistic assimilation between Persian and the local Hindi dialect. It contains numerous conversational and ejaculatory expressions in the vernacular language as well as instances of rēḵta verse, alternating Persian lines with Hindi. Three manuscripts are known to the present writer: at Phulwarisharif, Biharsharif, and Ḵānaqāh-e Rošdīya Maḥalla, Jaunpur.
Marshall, Mughals in India, p. 31. Rieu, Persian Manuscripts III, p. 1013.
Storey, I, pp. 1015-16.
(S. H. Askari)
Originally Published: December 15, 2000
Last Updated: February 2, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. X, Fasc. 3, p. 280