Abdur Rahim Khan I Khanan:
Besides being a strong administrator and military commander, Rahim was a great scholar and poet, and it is said that he was the only man during the reign of Akbar and Jahangir who had the power to wield the sword and the pen in equal measure. He is best remembered for his 700 Hindi couplets or dohas, for translating Baburnama into Persian, and, he also wrote verses in Turkish, Arabic, Sanskrit and Persian and several prose works, including two books on astrology.
In AH 988 (1580 AD), Akbar appointed Rahim as Mir Ard, a role that put him in charge of the thousands of petitions addressed to the emperor. Two years later, after proving himself not only as an able administrator and military commander but also a scholar with a deep understanding of the arts, sciences and court etiquette, he was appointed as the crown prince Salim’s ataliq, or tutor.
In due course Rahim not only acquired proficiency in Persian, Arabic and Turki but also developed a refined taste and sensibility for poetry in different languages. He was also interested in mathematics, astronomy, scholasticism. He eventually turned out to be a versatile poet, prolific writer, consummate scholar and an able administrator. Impressed by his learning, sophisticated manners and humanism, Akbar conferred upon him the title Mirza Khan.
Rahim’s close association with scholars of eminence like Hakim Abd Fath Gilani, Shaikh Muhammad Fazl Ullah, Khwaja Diwana amongst others shows how considerate he was to men of learning. Of the works translated by him into Persian, only the translation of Baburnama is extant. It was translated from Turki and shows how lucid and graceful was his style.
The significance of Rahim’s Mausoleum lies not only in its architectural and archaeological value but primarily on account of its association with an eminent cultural personality and thus immense historical significance. Aimed at disseminating Rahim’s literary works, including his dohe, and enhancing our understanding of both Rahim and culture of the early Mughal era, AKTC in partnership with InterGlobe Foundation undertook an intense cultural revival programme. It is hoped that both the conservation effort and the associated academic and cultural programmes will enhance the city of Delhi and become a model for our shared tangible heritage to be conserved and presented in context and together with our remarkable pluralistic intangible heritage.
A three day festival of conference, concerts, exhibitions, and heritage walks which showcased the humanitarian and pluralistic life of Rahim in March 2018 at India Habitat Centre, Delhi. This festival included an international conference discussing on relevance of the revival of his poetry in present context, his role as a patron to art, architecture and literature, Guided heritage walks to Rahim Tomb and seeing the ongoing conservation works, and dance and music performance by musicians of the compositions of Rahim’s verses in folk, classical, contemporary style.
Abdur ‘Rahim’ Khan I Khanan or popularly known as Rahim, was one of Emperor Akbar’s navratans. Coupled with the conservation effort, Celebrating Rahim, a book published in association with MAPIN, aims to celebrate the associated intangible heritage. Essays by noted scholars shed light on Rahim’s contributions to literature, arts, architecture, culture and Indian society. This legacy includes not only the famed dohe that Rahim is today most well-remembered for but also much else that over time had been lost to us.
Rahim ke dohe, widely known even today - four centuries since they were written – are a testimony to Rahim’s genius. Coupled with the conservation effort, InterGlobe Foundation has also supported an intense research programme aimed at disseminating Rahim’s literary works, including his dohe, and enhancing our understanding of both Rahim and culture of the early Mughal era. In order to revive Rahim’s cultural legacy, the team has travelled across northern and central India to document Rahim’s verses.
For the 2017 Rahim festival, a wide repertoire was performed by classical performers Pandit Rajan & Sajan Mishra, Pandit Ritesh & Rajnish Mishra, Swaransh Mishra. In their performances, Devnarain Sarolia, Rahmat Khan Langa and Mohammad Ahmed Warsi used their grounding in folk music and qawwali respectively. On 11 March vocalist/guitarist Harpreet and percussionist Netai Das, dastango late Ankit Chadha presented a musical narrative emphasizing the diversity of Rahim’s legacy. Never before, in the past century, have Rahim’s verses been known to be performed in public.
Since 2016, the team of heritage volunteers from Sair E Nizamuddin group has been undertaking heritage walks at Rahim’s tomb in Nizamuddin (East) for school children, and institutions. In one of the rare opportunity where both the building and personality associated with it are being restored, the walks focuses on giving a glimpse of Rahim’s grand and multifarious personality, along with a chance to see the conservation works and crafts from close.