GOLŠAN DEHLAVI, Shah SAʿD-ALLĀH

GOLŠAN DEHLAVI, Shah SAʿD-ALLĀH, b. Ḵᵛāja Moḥammad-Saʿid (b. 1075/1664, d. 21 Jomādā I 1140/3 January 1728), Naqšbandi Sufi and prolific poet in Persian with the pen name (taḵalloṣ) Golšan. His ancestors came to India from an Arab country in the Middle East and settled in Gujarat (Ṣabā, p. 690), where one of them, Eslām Khan, became the court minister. After the conquest of Gujarat by the Mughal emperor Akbar (q.v.) in 991/1583, some of them moved to Burhanpur (q.v.), where Golšan was born and educated. He also studied with Ḥājī Ekrām-ʿAli for a few years in Delhi before leaving on a pilgrimage to Mecca with his father in the company of his spiritual master, Shah ʿAbd-al-Aḥad Gol-Moḥammad Serhendi (Hāšemi, p. 789; Āzād, p. 199; Ḵošgu, p. 165; Ḵalīl, p. 121; Mir Dard, p. 257; Eḵlāṣ, p. 213). He came back in 1686 and spent the next twenty-two years traveling in central India before he returned to Delhi, where he spent the rest of his life (Ḵošgu, p. 168).

Golšan lived as a dervish in Delhi’s Zinat-al-Masājed Mosque on the bank of the Jumna River. He lived in self-imposed poverty, mainly on the stipend (kačahri) provided for people residing in the mosque (masjediān; Ḵošgu, p. 166). His charismatic personality attracted a large number of Sufis, scholars, and poets around him. They included Bendrāban Dās Ḵošgu Ḵᵛāja Moḥammad-Nāṣer ʿAndalib, Farḥat Kašmiri, Mirzā Maẓhar Jān-e Jānān, Serāj-al-Din ʿAli Khan Ārzū (q.v.), and Moḥammad Wali-Allāh Wali, a highly influential poet of the time who was inspired by Golšan to write poetry in Urdu (Mir, p. 91; Wali, p. 290).

Golšan was an accomplished poet. His mentors in the art of poetry were Moḥammad-Afżal Sarḵoš and Mirzā ʿAbd-al-Qāder Bidel (q.v.). He chose the pen name Golšan (rose garden) at the suggestion of the latter as an indication of his devotion to his spiritual master in the Naqšbandiorder, Shaikh ʿAbd-al-Aḥad Serhendi (Ḵošgu, pp. 166-67), who used the pen name Gol (rose) in his Urdu poems. Golšan reportedly left a huge corpus of Persian poetry (as much as 120,000 couplets according to Ḵošgu, p. 167) that the poet himself had arranged into seven collections. He also left a few poems in Urdu, which are scattered in collections and biographical dictionaries (Belgrāmi, p. 1118; Qayṣar Amrōhāvi, p. 113; Mir Dard, p. 257).

Golšan used to hold weekly meetings near the mosque, which were attended by both Muslim and Hindu poets. These meetings, where poetry was recited (mošāʿara) and discussed, were instrumental in the propagation of the style known as Sabk-e hendi as well as in the refinement of the nascent Urdu poetry. According to Ḵošgu, Golšan was a skillful musician with some masterful compositions to his credit. His contemporaries called him the Amir Ḵosrow of his age in reference to his excellence as a poet and musician (Ḵošgu, p. 167; Ārzu, p. 72; Imān, p. 342). Golšan died of diarrhea in ʿAndalib’s home and was buried in Aḥmadipurā cemetery.

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(Moinuddin Aqeel)

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