Kalim Kashani (Hamadani)

Kalim Kashani, Mirza Abu Talib (d. 1650/1651/1662), a poet with the nom de plume Kalim and well-known as Talib. He is termed by some biographers as Khallaq al-Ma’ani Thani (The Second Creator of Meanings). He was originally from Hamadan, hence his appellation Kalim Hamadani as mentioned by some biographers, but since he mainly lived in Kashan, he was better known as Kalim Kashani. Having received his education in Kashan and Shiraz, he departed for Deccan, India, in his youth under the Gurkanid Jahangir (1605-1627) and was patronized by Shahnawaz Khan Khwaja Sa’d al-Din ‘Inayat Allah Shirazi, and Wakil al-Saltana Ibrahim ‘Adil Shah Thani Bijapuri whom he eulogized. Following the death of Shahnawaz Khan in 1618, he returned to Persia and after a two year stay returned to India where he associated with Mir Jumla Shahristani, bearing the nom de plume Ruh al-Amin, to who Kalim composed exquisitely elegant eulogies. Then, he was well respected by Shah Jahan (1627-1658) and was appointed Poet Laureate (Malik al-Shu’ara’). He accompanied Shah Jahan in Kashmir, still serving as his chosen eulogist. He was a contemporary of some distinguished masters, like Sa’ib Tabrizi, Siydi, Muhammad Hashim Sanjar, brother of Mirza Ma’sum, Mirza Ibrahim Adham, Mirza ‘Aliriza Tajalli, Malik Qummi, some of which he associated. Kalim was mainly a skillful ghazal poet who had mastery in including proverbs and proverbial couplets and hemistiches. He died in Kashmir and was laid to rest beside the tomb of Muhammad Quli Salim. His works include divan of poetry, running to about 24,000 cuplets, including mathnawis, like. Zafarnama-yi Shah Jahani, also known as Shah Jahan-nama and Shahanshah-nama, on the conquests of Shah Jahan; mathnawis presenting depictions of Kashmir, his horse and his ailment, Akbarabad, the Garden of Jahanara; ghazals and qasidas. The attribution Khallaq al-Ma’ani Thani (The Second Creator of Meanings) arises from the emergence of a novel form of themes created by him. His poetry is marked by his diction which is simple, fluent, vigorous, imbued with novel and innovative themes, at times deriving from lyrical, didactic, and social ideas not influenced by the works of other poets. Kalim is one of the few poets whose significant works have embellished Persian poetry down the centuries. His everlasting renown lies in his pure and delicate thought and his poetical vigor which is reflected in his innovative themes. Further, his poetry is free from prolixity, but it betokens his utmost employment of themes and figures of meaning and speech. He strives to present innovative, delicate, and imaginative themes and in this vein aims at finding new themes and presenting particular and distinguished imaginativeness, viz. particular, but innovative and exquisite ideas; in his divan he mentions many a time that he is weary of unmeasured and repetitive themes and longs for innovative ones. Another excellence of Kalim, manifested in some of his ghazals, is that he is intent on presenting exalted ideas in the least possible forms and it is not an easy task to include innovative, and quite pleasing themes in pleasant, but unpretentious mannor. In other words, he does not imitate other poets, but he chooses his words of his own will. He mainly composes in the forms of qasida and ghazal, but his renown and mastery lies in his ghazals, whose couplets are not restricted in number and at times they approach 40 in each ghazal. Thus, repetition of rhymes is natural. Such repetition may be justified by the fact that he follows the India style in which single couplet is regarded as the true form, as it is manifested in single couplets, though the poet intertwines such independent couplets by the threads of rhymes and radifs. His ghazals are also marked by the delicacy, flow, and coherence of the Iraqi style on the one hand and the imaginativeness of the Indian style on the other. The themes of his ghazals are mainly didactic. His poetry tends to prefer the meaning over the form. His diction is vigorous and free from defects, presenting exalted meanings easily as if it expresses everyday ideas. Kalim’s poetry reflects his poetical talents in sensory, intellectual, imaginative, and compound similes and the links of similitude between the hemistiches are rational, delicate, moderate, and intelligible. He makes use of allegories and proverbs par excellence and the majority of his ghazals display such proverbial and allegorical expressions. Owing to his long stay in India, his divan may serve as the best measure for Indian words and expressions and his poetry excels other poets versifying in Persian and flourishing in India in terms of employment of required figures. Quoting Muhammad ‘Ali Mahir, a poet flourishing in Kalim’s times who knew him, the author of Kalimat al-Shu’ara’ writes, ‘… Kalim was a man of exquisitely good disposition and his company was so pleasing. He was never a man of possession but expended on the needy what he received as rewards from the rulers.’ In his divan, he aims at encouraging people to acquire nobility and virtues. He finds fault with nobody rather his poetry reflects his profundity of thought and exaltedness of character. He is a moderate and cautious man and such characteristics are accompanied by scribal training, constituting his character. However, he disfavors gaudy things and sudden leaps of fortune. He makes mention of his enemies in pleasing terms, regards animosity a kind of ailment, and blames it on himself that he could not make friends out of enemies. His worldview is reflected in his entire voluminous poetry, which is marked by reflection. His worldview is mainly marked by transience of the world and intransience of the hereafter.

Buzurgan wa Sukhansarayan-i Hamadan (1/ 290-298); Tarikh-i Adabiyyat dar Iran (5/ 1170-1181).