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Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, a short biography

Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, a short biography


Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, one of the most distinguished nobles of Emperor Akbar’s court, was born on December 17, 1556, in Delhi (Mughal Empire). He was noted for his military prowess as well as his literary brilliance. The illustrious son of Akbar’s regent Bairam Khan, Abdur Rahim was only five years old when his father was assassinated.

At the age of 14, Abdur Rahim had shown his flair for writing, when he composed a poem in a mixture of Sanskrit and Persian languages. His literary works had influences from Amir Khusrau, a renowned 13th-century Sufi poet, as well as the Vaishnavite aspect of the Bhakti movement.

He composed in Persian, Turkish, Sanskrit and Brajbhasha. He also maintained a personal library, which had a collection of almost 24,000 manuscript volumes in different languages. Employed in the library were calligraphists and copyists, painters, bookbinders, gilders and illuminators.

At the age of 19, he was given the governorship of Gujarat. He took part in important military expeditions, including the ones against the Rajput King Rana Pratap, against Chand Bibi in the Deccan and Akbar’s half-brother, Mirza Hakim in Kabul. By his thirties, he had become one of the most important members of the emperor’s court.

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During Jahangir’s reign, he oscillated between falling out of royal favour and being pardoned. He was one of the nobles on Prince Khurram’s side during his doomed rebellion against his father Jahangir. Rahim’s family, including his sons and grandsons, was captured and executed after the coup. Abdur Rahim, however, made amends with Jahangir and was recalled to court.

He died in 1627, and was buried in Nizamuddin, Delhi; near the tombs of Humayun and Is Khan Niazi. Apart from his military service, Abdur Rahim is still renowned today for his poetic services, from his translation of the Baburnama from its original Chagatai to Persian or his odes to Krishna in Braj, and his immense generosity to the people of all walks of life.

Last updated on May 3rd, 2023 at 09:06 pm

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