About this text
Muhammad Tahir Ghani (d. 1668–9) was probably born in Srinagar, Kashmir, where he spent most of his life, apart from a journey to northern India, which his poetry mentions. Ghani remained aloof from the court, but actively involved in the literary life of seventeenth-century Kashmir. He worked with the poet Fānī Kashmiri (d. 1670–1) and composed a poem on the death of Kalīm Kāshānī (d.1651) the poet laureate of Shāh Jahān (r. 1628–58). The earliest biographical source, Tazkira-yi Naṣrābādī (1679), reports that Ghani died young. The surviving compilation of his poetry was edited by his student, Muslim, with an introduction. This dīvān includes c.2000 verses, a small portion of Ghani’s corpus. His poetry reflects the literary values of the shīva-yi tāza (“fresh style”, later called sabk-i hindī, “Indian style”). Ghani may have been associated with Ṣāʾib Tabrīzī (d.1676), the master of this style, which demonstrated, as the selections show, an increasing literalism of metaphors of eating, cooking, and disease.