About this text
Kalim Kashani (c.1581-1651) wrote Persian poetry in the so-called Indian style (sabk-e hindi). He studied at Kāshān and Shiraz before going to the Deccan to seek patronage in the Indian courts. He became friends with Šāhnavāz Khan of Shiraz (d. 1611), a court official to Ibrāhim ʿĀdilshāh II, the ruler of Bijāpur; but Kalim’s first stay in India was rather unsuccessful, and he was imprisoned as a spy. In 1619, he returned to Persia, settled for two years at Isfahan, without recognition. Some of his poems complain of these hardships. He returned to India in 1621, and until 1628, was in Agra serving Mir Jumla. In 1628, he became a member of the court of Shah Jahān (r. 1628-58), winning the emperor’s favour, so that in 1632, he was given the title Malek al-shuʿarā (poet laureate) and commissioned by Shah Jahān to compose a poem on his reign. Kalim thus spent the last years of his life in Kashmir, composing the masnawi Shāhnāma, where he was buried in 1651. Kalim’s poetical works comprise about 24,000 lines, including around 15,000 couplets in the Shāhnāma and 9,500 couplets collected in his Divān.