Studio Project

The Life and Works of Ḥasan Sijzī Dihlavī (1253–c.1336)

Amīr Najm al-Dīn Ḥasan Sijzī Dihlavī (1253–c.1336) is hailed as one of the greatest Indian poets in the history of Persian literature. One of his published poetic anthologies (dīvān) consists of 901 lyrical verses (ghazal), 125 panegyrics (qāṣīda), 106 quatrains (rubāʾyāt), 21 fragments (qiṭʿa), and several long narrative poems (mathnavī) and rhymed stanzas (tarjiʿband and tarkībband). He perfected the prose genre of malfūżāt (literally, “conversations” or “table-talks”) in order to preserve the teachings of his master, Niżām al-Dīn Awlīyā’ (1238–1325). His literary works influenced several generations of creative writers and poets in the Persianate world. His literary style was appreciated by renowned poets like Amīr Khusraw (1253–1325), Hāfiż-i Shīrāzī (1325/26–1389/90), Khwāja Kirmānī (d. c.1349), Kamal Khujandī (1321–1400), Zayn al-Dīn Vāṣifī (1485–1551/56), Ẓamīrī of Iṣfahan (d.1565/66) and ʿAbd al-Raḥman Mushfiqī (1525–1588). Apart from poets and writers, he attracted a long list of admirers from other walks of life in India, Iran and Central Asia — from the historian Żīya’al-Dīn Baranī (1285–1357) to the Safavid King Shāh Tahmashp (1514–1576) to the modern Islamic scholar Shiblī Nomanī (1857-1914). Given his widespread popularity and readership, his literary oeuvre serves as an invaluable resource for exploring the early history of Persian literature in South Asia, and for appraising the creative reimagination of sufi poetics by Muslim poets of Indian descent.

This website is dedicated to the life and works of Ḥasan Sijzī Dihlavī. It provides a comprehensive documentation of various archival and ethnographic sources which illuminate the biography and legacy of the poet as well as the reception history of his literary oeuvre. It is developed by Pranav Prakash, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religious Studies, in collaboration with a team of Studio specialists at the University of Iowa.