NĀDERA (b. Andejān 1792; d. Ḵᵛoqand 1842) Transoxianan poetess of Ḵᵛoqand, who wrote in both Persian–with the pen name Maknuna–and Čaḡatāy (see CHAGHATAY LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE) under the pseudonyms of Nādera and Kāmela.

Nādera’s real name was Māhlar-āyim, but she is better known as Nādera. She was born into the family of the governor of Andejān, Raḥmānqulibi (Nazirov, p. 471), who was the uncle of ʿĀlam Khan (r. 1798-1810), the sixth ruler of the Khanate of Ḵᵛoqand. In 1808, Nādera married Moḥammad ʿOmar Khan; they had two sons: Moḥammad ʿĀli and Solṭān Maḥmud. She then moved to the city of Ḵᵛoqand with her husband, who, after successfully engineering the assassination of his brother ʿĀlam Khan (Howorth, p. 821), was to ascend the throne as the seventh ruler of Ḵᵛoqand in 1810. Moḥammad ʿOmar Khan died in 1822, when Nādera was thirty, and their first-born son Moḥammad ʿĀli was enthroned in his early teens: some sources mention that he was twelve at that time (Spuler, p. 250), other studies state that he was fourteen (Anvarova, p. 8; Nazirov, p. 471). The early problems of ruling were to be solved by Nādera (Anvarova, p. 8; Nazirov, p. 471), whose involvement in court politics also continued in the following years. She also took an active part in the cultural and social life of the Khanate, encouraging the building of new mosques, madrasas, and bāzārs (Nazirov, p. 471). During Moḥammad ʿĀli’s reign the Khanate reached the apogee of its territorial extent, but the situation began to deteriorate in the late 1830s, when he reportedly became more cruel and a debauchee (Howorth, p. 826; Spuler, p. 250); it seems that he had exiled many of his relatives, including his brother Solṭān Maḥmud (Howorth, p. 823), and had married his own mother-in-law (Howorth, p. 827). In 1839-40, when relations with the Emirate of Bukhara  worsened (Howorth, p. 826), Nādera played an important role in maintaining the unity of the Khanate of Ḵᵛoqand (Nazirov, p. 471). These were also the last years of her life. In 1842, the Emir of Bukhara, Naṣrallāh, conquered Ḵᵛoqand, and both Nādera and her two sons were executed (Safarnāma-ye Bukhara, p. 204; Howorth, p. 827; Nazirov, p. 471). She was buried in Ḵᵛoqand in the Mādar-e Khan mausoleum, whose building was ordered in 1825 by the poetess herself when her mother-in-law died. In the 1950s, Nādera’s remains were reburied not far from the mausoleum, and a white marble arch was erected above her new grave. A commemorative postage stamp printed in Moscow was issued in Uzbekistan in 1992 for her bicentennial.

It was Nādera’s mother and later her husband, himself a bilingual poet, who familiarized her with the classical Persian and Čaḡatāy literatures. At the court of Ḵᵛoqand, she would gather together some well-known poetesses, such as Jahān Ātin Uveysi (1780-1845), whose poems are still popular among Uzbek people, Maḥzuna Mehrabān, a bilingual poetess who flourished in the early 19th century, and the long-lived poetess and historian Delšād Barnā (1800-1905), who wrote in both Persian and Čaḡatāy and worked for over fifty years as a teacher at a girls’ school in the town center of Ḵᵛoqand.

Nādera’s work consists of 5,000 beyts (Qayumov, 2001, p. 12), some of which have been written in imitation (tatabboʿ) of her husband’s poems; she wrote mainly ḡazals, but she used genres such as moḵammas, robāʿi, and fard as well. Her poetry, which follows those of ʿAbd-al-Qāder Bidel, Moḥammad Fożuli, Munis Ḵᵛārazmi, and Amir ʿAlišir Navāʾi, both in style and tone (Èshankulova, p. 292), consists mainly of love poems expressing devotion to her husband and sorrow for his death. The manuscripts of her Divāns, notably the MSS 4182 and 7766, both kept in the library of the Biruni Oriental Institute of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences in Tashkent, include introductory parts written by her contemporaries (Èshankulova, p. 292; Kadyrova 1967b, pp. 40-41), representing a valuable source for any scholarly attempt to reconstruct her life. The MS 4182 (described by Abdullaev, p. 326), and notably the fols. 1a-52b, include 109 ḡazals in Čaḡatāy and Persian that the poetess wrote with the pen names Nādera, Kāmela, and Maknuna; fols. 53b-229b include ḡazals by the poetess Uveysi, the poet Nāder, Saʿdi, Navāʾi, and others. The Museum of Literature of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences in Tashkent holds a photostat copy of the whole manuscript (inventory no. 139). The MS 7766 (described by Abdullaev, pp. 326-27), bound in 1911 by Moḥammad Ṣaḥḥāf, and consisting of 132 fols., includes 333 ḡazals in Persian written under the pseudonym of Maknuna, a couple of which are included in MS 4182 as well.

Further information about Nādera’s life and references to her great poetic began to spread when she was still alive (Èshankulova, p. 292): one can mention a story that the poetess Jahān Ātin Uveysi devoted to the reign of Nādera’s first-born son, titled Wāqeʿāt-i Moḥammad ʿĀliḵān (MS 1837, kept in the Biruni Oriental Institute of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences in Tashkent), praising Nādera’s natural talent for poetry (fol. 213a). Ḥakimḵān Tāra as well, in his historical treatise Montaḵabāt-tawāriḵ (MS 594, kept in the Biruni Oriental Institute of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences in Tashkent), talked about Nādera’s remarkable poetic nature, also including some information about her life (fols. 61a, 253b-254a). Moreover, one can cite the stories Haft Golšan by Nāder-ʿOzlat (Èshankulova, p. 292; Sultanova, p. 56) and Šāhnāma-yi divāna Moṭreb by Moṭreb (Abdullaev, p. 329); finally, there are the historical treatises Ansāb al-salāṭini wa tawāriḵ-i ḵawāqin by Mošref (Abdullaev, p. 329; Èshankulova, p. 292; Sultanova, p. 56), Tāriḵ-i Farḡāna by ʿIsiḵān Tāra (Sultanova, p. 56), and Toḥfat al-tawāriḵ by Moḥammad Dāmollā ʿAṭṭār (Abdullaev, p. 329; Sultanova, p. 56).


Works by Nādera.

(a) In original Persian and Uzbek:

Še’rlar, ed. A. A. Qayumov, Tashkent, 1958.

Asarlar, ed. M. Qodirova, 2 vols., Tashkent, 1968-71.

Nodira še’riyatidan, eds. M. Qodirova and H. S. Sulaymonov, Tashkent, 1980.

Eï sarvi ravon: ḡazallar, eds. A. A. Qayumov and M. Qodirova, Tashkent, 1992.

Devon I, eds. A. A. Qayumov and M. Qodirova; II, eds. M. Qodirova and V. Rahmonov, Tashkent, 2001-04.

Še’rlar: Uvaïsiï Uvaysiy, Mahzuna va Nodira, ed. M. Qodirova, Tashkent, 1960.

Ŭzbek šoiralari baëzi: Uvaïsiï Uvaysiy, Nodira, ed. Qodirova, Tashkent, 1993.

(b) Russian translations:

Nadira. Očerk zhizni i tvorchestva, tr. S. Ivanov, Tashkent, 1967.

Nadira, Izbrannye stikhotvoreniya, tr. S. Ivanov, Tashkent, 2006.

Stikhi: Uvaïsi, Makhzuna i Nadira, tr. M. Fofanova, Tashkent, 1961.


“Safarnāma-ye Bukhara,” by anonymous author, ed. I. Afšar, in I. Afšar, Daftar-e tāriḵ (jeld-e dovvom), Tehran, 2005, pp. 151-220. 


V. A. Abdullaev, Ŭzbek adabiëti tariḵi (XVII asrdan XIX asrning ikkinči yarmigača) II, Tashkent, 1964.

N. Anvarova, Muhabbat va ozodlik kuychisi: Nodirabegim tavalludining 215 yilligi munosabati bilan, Tashkent, 2006.

Suraïë I. Èshankulova, “Interpretatsiya mifologicheskikh obrazov v tvorchestve Nadirabegim,” Vestnik Chelyabinskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo Universiteta, Chelyabinsk, 2011, pp. 291-99.

H. H. Howorth, History of the Mongols: From the 9th to the 19th Century, II/2: The so-called Tatars of Russia and Central Asia, London, 1880.

M. Kadyrova (Qodirova), Nadira, Tashkent, 1967a.

Idem, Nadira. Ocherk zhizni i tvorchestva, tr. Sergeï Ivanov, Tashkent, 1967b.

U. Nazirov, “Nodira,” Èntsiklopediyai adabiët va sanʿati tojik, Dushanbe, 1989, II, p. 471.

A. Qayumov, Qŭqon adabiy muhiti XVIII-XIX asrlar, Tashkent, 1961.

Idem, “Muqaddima,” in Naadera’s Devon, I, 2001, pp. 8-46.

M. Qodirova, Nodira: Haëti va ijodi, Tashkent, 1965.

B. Spuler, “Central Asia: the Last Three Centuries of Independence,” in The Muslim World: A Historical Survey, eds. F. R. C. Bagley et al., Leiden, 1969, III, pp. 219-59.

R. Sultanova, From Shamanism to Sufism. Women, Islam and Culture in Central Asia, London, 2011, esp. pp. 55-56.

U. Toji, Bistu se adiba, Stalinobod [Dushanbe], 1957.

(Evelin Grassi)

Originally Published: June 14, 2013

Last Updated: June 14, 2013

Cite this entry:

Evelin Grassi, “NĀDERA,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2013, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/nadera-poetess (accessed on 16 October 2013).