Tabatabai, Syed Muhammad Baquer

Tabatabai, Syed Muhammad Baquer (?-1909) merchant and poet. His given name was Syed Muhammad, his poetic name, Baquer, and his family title, Tabatabai. His father, Syed Muhammad Taqi, came from Shiraz in Iran and to India in connection with trade and finally settled in Dhaka. He bought zamindaris in Dhaka and Barisal. muharram used to be observed at his house with a great deal of pomp.

Syed Muhammad Baquer travelled to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Italy and Russia for nine years for trade. In 1876 he returned to Dhaka and took charge of his paternal property. Syed Muhammad was highly proficient in his mother tongue, Persian. nassakh (1833-1889), a well-known Urdu and Persian poet of Bengal, was his friend. Syed Muhammad Baquer's Persian book of poems, Gavzina-e-Baquer, was printed in 1891 at the Hablul Matin press in Calcutta. As a ghazal writer, Baquer can be compared with modern Iranian ghazal writers. His compositions are influenced by Sheikh Sa'di's Rubaiyyat and Hafez's ghazals. His writings speak of moral values but also emphasize worldly love and material beauty.

Syed Muhammad Baquer was a merchant of distinction. He traded in carpets and leather. The Nawab of Dhaka, Abdul Ghani, was his trading partner. Syed Muhammad encouraged the Muslims of Dhaka to engage in trading and business. It was at his encouragement that many Muslims took to trading in leather and other businesses. His house was a centre for mushayera or poets' gatherings where he used to recite his qasida, ghazal etc. He died in 1909 and was buried in the graveyard of Husaini Dalan Imambara. [Kaniz-e-Butool]