Nawab Mustafa Ali Khan (Shaifta)

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Nawab Mustafa Ali Khan (Shaifta)

Birthdate: (65)
Death: 1869 (65)
Immediate Family:

Son of Nawab Murtaza Khan and Begum Murtaza Khan
Husband of Begum Mustafa Khan (Shaifta)
Father of Nawab M. Ali Khan; Nawab Naqshband Khan and Nawab Ishaq Khan

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About Nawab Mustafa Ali Khan (Shaifta)

Nawab Mustafa Khan of Jahangirabad, popularly known as Nawab Shefta [1804-1869]

Shayad Isi Ka Naam Muhabbat Hai Shefta Ik Aag Si Hai Seeney Ke Ander Lagi Hui

 Mustafa Khan Shefta

Reference – FRANCIS ROBINSON, Separatism among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces' Muslims

He was a descendant of Murtaza Khan, a Bangash Afghan and son-in-law of General Ismail Bey Khan Hamadani, a Mughal general and risaldar in Scindia's army. He received the jagir of Palwal in Gurgaon from Lord Lake and purchased the estate of Jehangirabad in Meerut at an auction sale in 1813. His son, Mustafa Khan, was related to the rebel Walidad Khan, who fought against the English in the Freedom Fight wrongly described as the Mutiny, corresponded with the Emperor of Delhi, was imprisoned but pardoned. He was the poet whose takhullus was in Urdu, Shefta, and in Persian, Hasrati, and who was a close friend of Ghalib and patron of Hali. Mustafa Khan had three sons, Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan, Nawab Naqshband Khan, and Nawab Ishaq Khan. Before the estate reached Nawab Ishaq Khan, it was held by his eldest brother, Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan, who was additional member of the Imperial Legislative Council and Revenue member of the Council of Regency of Bharatpur, then by another brother, Nawab Naqshband Khan from 1899 to 1914, and then only did it pass to him. In 1917, Ishaq Khan had three sons: Muhammad Ismail Khan (q.v. Appendix I) who was a barrister at Meerut, Muhammad Ibrahim Khan who was at Clare College, Cambridge, and Ghulam Alauddin, who was ADC to the Nawab of Rampur.

Reference – Bahadur Shah Zafar and His Contemporaries: Zauq, Ghalib, Momin, Shefta: Selected Poetry: Text, Translation, and Transliteration by K.C. Kanda

NAWAB MUSTAFA KHAN SHEFTA (1809-1869) Shefta was born in Delhi in 1809. He received his elementary education from the famous local teachers, Mian ji Maal Maal, and Haji Mohammed Nur Naqshbandi. He had acquired proficiency in Urdu, Persian and Arabic at an early age and had started writing poetry at the age of sixteen. His Kuliaat, published by Majlis-e-Taraqqi-e-Adab, Lahore, contains 169 ghazals, four masnavis, one nazm, a few rubaies, and miscellaneous verses.

Shefta was a man of romantic disposition. He had performed two marriages and had fathered three sons, all of whom had come to occupy high administrative posts in life. In addition he had gone through a number of romantic attachments with beautiful women. Two of his ladyloves, Ramjo and Janglo, have found a prominent mention in his masnavis. One of them, Ramjo, was a dancing girl and a poetess, writing under the pen name, Nazakat. In keeping with the prevailing convention, Shefta wrote his verse both in Urdu and Persian, and assumed two poetic names, Shefta for Urdu verse, and Hasrati for his Persian poetry. He also wrote a history of Urdu poets under the title: Gulshan-e-be Khar. Half way through life Shefta turned away from romance to religion. He undertook a pilgrimage to Mecca which was completed in two years. He became increasingly religious with advancing years and advised his readers to shun the pleasures or the cup and song:

Wajad ko zamzama-e-murgh-e-sahr kafi hai, Sliefla, naaz-e-mughanni-o-ntazamir na kheinch.

Forget Shefta the false delights of sensuous song and wine, Enough is the crowing cock to elevate your mind.

Shefta was a patron of poets and his house was the hub of poetic activity, a favourite venue of Mushairas. His poetry, though it deals with the conventional themes of love and romance, is remarkable for the sincerity and frankness of sentiment, alacrity and aptness of style, a pleasing musicality, and an easy accessibility. Among the famous men who admired his poetic genius may be included Ghalib, Hali and Hasrat Mohani. Here is Hali's acknowledgment of his debt to Shefta:

Hali sakliim mein Shefta se mustfeed hai, Ghalib ka molqid hai, muqlid hai Mir ka.

Hali owes his poetic skill to Shefta's poetic art, An admirer of Ghalib, emulator of Mir's art. Shefta sought advice for Urdu poetry from Momin, and for Persian verse from Ghalib.

Shefta was not an active supporter of the rebellion of 1857. Yet he suffered persecution for being an influential Muslim, and a friend of Bahadur Shah Zafar. He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and divested of his landed property, half of which was restored on appeal. Shefta died at his house in Kucha Chelaan in Delhi in 1869.

Nawab Mustafa Khan Shefta Ah, how I got involved with that lightning blaze, For whom the burning away of hearts is a sportive rage. How enticing are your locks, coil on coil enmeshed, Even before getting embroiled, I was caught in their maze. You would have lost your peace, spent your nights awake, Good, you didn't hear my heart's tragic tale. Let them ask us what it is, we have played this game for long, Those who think falling in love is sheer fun and play. I found him in the dimpled chin, securely perched one day, The heart which for long had from my grasp strayed. How can I acquaint you with the aches and agues of love. The wise do not share their secrets with the little babes. Ah, that fairy face bewitching, and that faith-flaunting heart, From such an elfin sort no one can be saved.