EMPEROR Akbar's love for history drew around him a number of reputed Persian scholars who produced valuable historical treatise. The Tabaqat-i-Akbari is one such authoritative account from the pen of Khwaja Nizamuddin Ahmad, who was not a professional historian but an experienced administrator with a keen historical outlook. It gives us a comprehensive history of India from the time of the Ghaznavides down to A.D. 1593-94. In consideration of its importance as a source book for the reconstruction of the history of medieval India, the Asiatic Society published the text in three volumes in its Biblio-theca Indica Series, edited by Sri. B. De between the years 1911 and 1941. Sri De also undertook English Translation of the text which again came out in three volumes during the same period. It will appear from the Translator's note that after publication of fascicle I of Volume I in 1911, the work was suspended till 1927 when the rest of it was taken up. The Volume I of the translation went out of print while the two other volumes are still in stock. In order to meet the sustained demand of the volume from scholars working in the field the Council of the Society decided upon bringing out a reprint of the particular volume only. It is a matter of gratification for me to be able to release the work for which our thanks are due to Sri Biram Mukhopadhyaya who assiduously corrected the proofs and saw the volume through the press. We deeply appreciate the cooperation rendered by the Iran Society, Calcutta, in permitting us to consult their copy of the book, as our own library copies even have been damaged by continued use by the scholars.
Though a new edition has been brought out we do not claim that we could revise it thoroughly, as much as we liked for obvious reasons. Discrepancies about spelling of proper names, and also in transliteration, which were there in the original edition could not all be remedied, but they are of minor nature and will not for that minimise the value of the book.
THE sublimest praise is due to that true King who has placed the making and unmaking of the government of the world, and the regulation of the affairs of the human race, in the noble existence of just rulers and wise administrators; and has treasured and entrusted the task of maintaining and enforcing the laws of religion and govern- ment in the greatness and grace, the generosity and sternness, and the mercy and wrath of these great men. And may prayers high as the throne of God rest on the leaders of the caravans that follow the straight path, and guide the foolish wanderers in the darkness of infidelity to the brilliant spaces of truth, and lead those who wander in the wilderness of confusion to the haven of fulfilment, by the aid of the glory of the Divine light and the help of the refulgence of the Divine nature; and specially 'on that most perfect specimen of creation, and that final embodiment of Divine aid and inspiration, whose sublime nature is a part of the Divine light, and whose noble essence a portion of God's holiness; of whose light the earth and the sky are a shadow, and of whose essence all space and creation a reflection; and [may similar prayers rest] on those who travel along the high- way of his will, and following him step by step reach the vantage ground of union.
But, after that, this insignificant particle-s-Nizamuddln Ahmad, the son of Muhammad Mukim the Harawi, who is a humble depen- dent and a faithful adherent of the sublime Court of the great Emperor, the Sultan of the Sultans of the world, the beneficent- shadow of God, the vicegerent of the Omnipotent, the strengthener of the pillars of world-conquest, the founder of the rules for govern- ing the world, the ruler of the world and of all who inhabit it, the lord of all time and of all that exists in it, the embodiment of Divine secrets, the personification of spiritual essences, the most potent conqueror and the most successful ruler, the lion in the wilderness of political and religious warfare Abul Fateh Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar Badshah Ghazi ; may God perpetuate his domi- nion and empire, and fill the table of his justice and benefaction!- represents that from his childhood, according to the instructions of his worthy father, he occupied himself with the study of historical works, which brightens the intellect of the studious, and inspires the intelligent with awe; and by the study of the accounts of the travellers in the stages of the journey of existence, which is like a progress of the soul, rubbed off the rust of his nature.
And in this great land of Hindustan, which is a vast continent containing many climes, and which those who have calculated the area of the earth have estimated to contain a fourth part of its surface, at various times and in different quarters various rulers have acquired power and dominion, and having styled themselves Sultans, have ruled the land; and the writers of those periods having described the conquests and the government of those quarters have left memorials of them. In this way there are histories of Dehli, Gujarat, Malwah, Bangalah and Sind; and similarly separate histories have been written of all the provinces and parts of Hindustan, It is wonderful (however) that no history has been written by any of these writers which contains a complete account of the events which have occurred in anyone of the provinces. Nor has any history been compiled of the whole country of India and of its capital Dehli. The only work which has acquired any fame is the Tabakat-i- Nasiri in which Minhaj has given an account of the period which begins with the reign of Sultan Mu'izzuddin Ghuri and ends with that of Nasiruddin, the son of Shamsuddin, Again the period from the reign of Sultan Nasiruddin to that of Sultan Firoz has been dealt with in the history of Zia Barni. For the period extending from the reign of Sultan Firoz to the present day, during the greater portion of which great disturbances have taken place in this country, and the people have not had the good fortune to be ruled by any great kings, the humble writer has in spite of repeated searches only come across fragmentary compilations; and has not heard of any history which contains an account of the whole of Hindustan.
Now that all the Provinces and Divisions of Hindustan have been conquered by the world-opening sword of His Majesty, the vice- gerent of God, and the many have been unified into the one, and even many of the countries outside of India, which had never been acquired by any of the former great Sultans have become part and parcel of his dominions, and it is hoped, that the seven climes would become the abode of peace and quiet under the shadow of His Majesty's auspicious standard, it came to the dull understanding of the author, that he should, with the pen of truth and candour, write a comprehensive history which should present in a clear style, in its different sections, an account of the Empire of Hindustan from the time of Sabuktigin which began with the year 3671 A.H., when Islam first appeared in the country of Hindustan, to the year 10012 A.H., corresponding with the thirty-seventh year of the Divine era, which was inaugurated at the epoch-making accession of His Majesty, the vicegerent of God; and should embellish the end of each section with the story of the victories of His Majesty's glorious army, which is as it were an introduction to the sublime chronicle of renown; then he should give a comprehensive account of all the victories and events and occurrences of His Majesty's reign each in its own place. The details of these events are contained in the great history called the Akbar-namah, which that embodiment of all excellence, the learned in all truths and know- ledge, the personification of worldly and spiritual perfection, the favoured of his Majesty the Emperor, the most erudite Sheikh Abul Fazl who is the preface of all excellence and eminence has written with his wonder-inscribing pen, and has made a chronicle for all times.
This is a reprint of the second volume of Brajendranath De's edition of the text of The Tabaqat-I -Akbari of Khwajah Nizamuddin Ahmad. The importance of the work was realised by the Society in the middle of the last century, but it was not before 1911 that it was taken up by Brajendranath De. And it was first printed in 1936 by the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal as part of its Bibliotheca Indica Series.
The book offers an account of India from the earliest days of Muslim invasion to the thirty eight year of Akbar's rule. It is not just an account of the events in a chronological order but complete with the observations of the amirs, the hakims and poets of that time.
I hope that this reprint will prove useful to all serious students of history.
The third volume of Brajendranath De's edition of .Khwajah Nizamudin Ahmad's Tabaaat - 1- Akbari was first issued in 1935 by Khan Bahadur M. Hidayat Hosain after the death of Brajendranath. The Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal entrusted Baini Prashad with the task of editing the work. But in view of the size of the volume it was decided to publish it in three parts and the first part was issued in 1939.
The second part of the third volume of The r Tabaqat - I -Akbari of Khwajah was also published by the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1939. It contains a detailed preface containing the lives of Kbwajah Nizamuddin Ahmad, and Brajendranath De who had translated and annotated the text. The preface to the second part is selfexplanatory and highlights the importance of the work for all serious students of Indian history.
I hope this reprint will prove useful to all such scholars.
The late Mr. Brajendranath De, as a result of sustained work for nearly 20 years, prepared a collated edition of the text of the T'abaqat-i-Akbari of Khwajah Nizam-ud-din Ahmad. The first half of the first volume of the text was issued in July 1911, and the final or third volume was completed after Mr. De's death on 28th September, 1932, by Khan Bahsdur M. Hidayat Hosain from his manuscript and issued in July 1935. The first two volumes of the English translation by the same author were issued in 1927 and 1936 respectively. The first 80 pages in page-proof and an unrevised and partly incomplete translation of the remainder of the third volume Was found amongst Mr. De's- papers, and the Council of the Roval Asiatic Society of Bengal recently requested the undersigned to edit and complete the work. It was hoped that the-undersigned would have the collaboration of Prof. M. Mahfuz-ul-Haqq in this work, but, this has not been possible, and for the work, as now issued, the entire responsibility must rest with the undersigned. The first 80 pages were printed as corrected and revised by Mr. De, and in the remainder the work of Mr. De has, as far as possible, been preserved. The under- signed has, however, to prevent errors and omissions. verified the entire translation and checked citations and references as far as pos- sible. Further, as no standard scheme of transliteration had been followed, it was thought desirable to follow a slightly modified form of the scheme adopted by the International Oriental Congress of 1894 for the transliteration of Arabic and Persian works.
In view of the size of the publication it was decided to issue the translation in two parts. The first part is now being issued, and the second part with a detailed preface and comprehensive indices to both the parts will, it is hoped, be ready for issue sometime during the year.
S. K. MITRA
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