Literary sources of knowing the history of the Mughal period – Urdu, Persian and Arabic literature in the Mughal era

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The Mughals excelled in various areas, including architecture, literature, science, and administrative efficiency, making significant contributions to these fields. The Mughal era witnessed a remarkable flourishing of literature.

Literary sources of knowing the history of the Mughal period – Urdu, Persian and Arabic literature in the Mughal era

Literary sources of knowing the history of the Mughal period

The evolution of Indian literature gave rise to the emergence of Urdu as an independent language by the late 4th century AD. Khusrau (1253-1325) is considered the earliest Urdu poet, having begun his poetic journey during the reign of Sultan Balban while being influenced by Nizam ud-din Auliya. Both Babar and Humayun held a deep appreciation for literature. Babar himself was a renowned scholar of Persian and authored the highly esteemed book Tuzek-e-Babari, which greatly contributed to Turkish literature.

Urdu literature began to develop further during the final days of the Mughal empire, thanks to the notable efforts of Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan and Mirza Ghalib. Mirza Ghalib, a celebrated poet of his time, drew inspiration from Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan’s compositions and played a significant role in uplifting Urdu poetry.

In addition to Urdu, Persian, and Arabic also played significant roles in the evolution of Indian literature. These languages were introduced to India with the arrival of the Turks and the Mongols. Humayun, an avid learner, facilitated the translation of various treatises into Arabic. Persian remained the court language for many centuries, and the interaction between Hindi and Persian led to the development of Urdu as a distinct language.

During Akbar’s reign, a strong inclination towards learning was evident. Prominent literary works such as the “Akbar Nama,” “Sur Sagar,” and “Ram Charitamanas” were produced during this period. Additionally, Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s “Padmavat” and Keshav’s “Ram Chandrika” were written during the same era. Jahangir, known for his patronage of the arts, further nurtured literature and its development.
Evolution of Indian Literature: Urdu, Persian, and Arabic in the Mughal Era

The main literary source to know the history of the Mughal period is as follows,

Baburnama – It is also called Tujke-Babri or Vakyate Babri. This is the autobiography of Babur which he wrote in the Turkish language. Later it was translated into many languages. The first translation from the original Turkish language to English was done by Madam Beveridge. Abdurrahim Khana-Khana translated it into Persian in 1598-90 AD. The Urdu translation of these volumes was published by Mirza Nasiruddin Haider in Delhi in 1924. Very useful information about Babur is found in it.

Tarikh-e-Rashidi- This book was composed by Mirza Muhammad Haider in the Persian language. In this, he has described the events of the time of Babur and Humayun. Mirza Haider was a relative of Babur. Had come to his service at a young age. In his book, he described the events of that time which he saw with his own eyes. He wrote Tarikh-i-Rashidi in two parts. In one part, the events of Babur and Humayun were mentioned between 1527-1533 AD, and in the other part, the main events of their life that happened till 1541 AD were mentioned.

Humayun Nama – It was composed by Babur’s daughter Gulbadan Begum at the request of Emperor Akbar. In most parts of this book, Gulbadan Begum has described the successes, victories defeats, and difficulties of Humayun’s life. He described the war between Humayun and Kamran.

Tajkirat-ul-Wakiyat- This book was composed by Jauhar Aftabchi in the Persian language on the orders of Akbar. Jauhar Aftabchi remained in the service of Humayun for many years. He was present with Humayun Durdin and his military campaigns. Therefore, this is an authentic book for information about Humayun.

Tarikh-e-Daulat-e-Shershahi – The composition of this book was written by Hasan Ali Khan in the Persian language. From this, useful material is obtained about the personality, life, and rule of Sher Shah.

Tarikh-e-Shershahi- Abbas Khan Sarwani wrote this book in the Persian language on the orders of Akbar. This book throws light on Sher Shah’s life character and administration.

Waqiyat-e-Mushtaqi – This is the first book written by Shaikh Rizakullah Mushtaqi in the Persian language to throw light on the Lodi and Sur periods. The description of Bahlol Lodi till the middle part of Akbar’s reign is found in this book.

Tarikh-e-Daudi – Abdullah probably composed this book during the rule of Jahangir. In this, he has given a detailed description of the reign of Sher Shah.

Akbarnama – This book was composed by Abul Fazl during the reign of Emperor Akbar. It is an important source of knowing Mughal history. It has three parts. The third part is Ain Akbari, the life of Akbarnama. In its first part, the history of Mughal rulers from Amir Timur to Humayun has been described. The second and third parts describe the history of Emperor Akbar till 1602 AD.

Tabakat-e-Akbari – Its author was Nizamuddin Ahmed. It is divided into three branches. In this, history has been given from the establishment of Muslim rule in India to the forty-nine years of Emperor Akbar. Thus it is an important source for knowing the history of a large part of medieval India.

Tarikh-e-Badayuni -Its author is Abdul Qadir Badayuni, he was an important scholar of Akbar’s time. Akbar gave him protection in his court and appointed him to the post of Imam. He translated many Arabic and Sanskrit texts into Persian. Tarikh-e-Badauni has three parts. The first part describes the events from the time of Subuktagin till the reign of Humayun and the second part covers the events of Akbar’s rule till 1594 AD. In the third part, Badayuni mentions the lives of contemporary scholars and saints.

Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri – This is the autobiography of Jahangir in which he has described his accession to the throne till the 17th year of his reign. Later, due to deteriorating health, the responsibility of writing further events was handed over to his Bakshi Mutamid Khan, who wrote the events till the nineteenth year of Jahangir’s rule.

Iqbalnama- It was written by Mutamid Khan, and it is in three parts. In the first part there is the history of Amir Timur’s family, the period of Babur and Humayun. In the second part, there is the history of the time of Emperor Akbar and in the third part, there is the history of the period of Jahangir.

Padshahnama – Padshahnama has been written separately by three court historians. All three basically wrote the history of the period of Shah Jahan, first of all, the emperors ordered Muhammad Amir Qazwini to write the history of his reign in the eighth year of his reign. He wrote the history of the first ten years of Shah Jahan. Later Shah Jahan prohibited writing about further events. Amir Qazwini was in favor of Shah Jahan. In his Ten Years of Events, he blamed Begum Nur Jahan for Shah Jahan’s rebellion. After some time, Shah Jahan ordered to rewrite it.

He appointed Hameed Lahori for this work. He also named his book Padashnam. He divided the Padshahnama into two parts. The first part describes the first ten years of the reign of Amir Tamur till Shah Jahan and the second part describes the next ten years of Shah Jahan’s reign. The third Padshahnama was composed by Muhammad Waris. Abdul Hameed Lahori, being old, handed over the responsibility of writing the further events of Shah Jahan’s period to the heir. Waris created the entire history of Shah Jahan’s period by taking the Pad Shahnama of Abdul Hameed Lahori as its basis.

Muntkhab-ul-Labab – It was composed by Hashim Khafi Khan. In this book, he has written the history of the Mughal period from Babur’s campaign on India to the first fifteen years of the later Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah. Khafi Khan was Iranian. He held a high position during the reign of Aurangzeb. He later became the Diwan of Nizamul Mulk, the founder of Hyderabad State. He presented this book of his to Muhammad Shah.

Nusha-e-Dilkhusha- The author of this book was Bhimsen. He wrote this book when he was completely free from the service of the Mughal state. For this reason, he has described the then events with complete impartiality. This book contemporary history is mainly an important literary source to know the history of South India.

Disclosure Ut-Tawariya – It was composed by Sujanrai Khatri, in this book he has written the history from the Pandavas of Mahabharata to the time of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.

Kanoon-e-Humayun – This is the last creation of Khwand Mir. He started writing it in 1533 AD and completed it in 1534 AD. This is a contemporary text of Humayun’s period in which he has described the events seen through the eyes of that time.

Tohfaye-e-AkbarShahi Abbas Khan Sarwani wrote this book on the orders of Akbar. It gives a detailed description of Sher Shah’s rule. This book was dedicated to Akbar.

In addition to these texts, Ahmad Yadgar’s Tarikh-i-Shahi, Mir Ala-Ud-Daula Qazvini’s Nafais-ul-Manasir, Mohammad Saleh’s Amal-i-Saleh, Sadiq Khan’s Tarikh-i-Shahjahani, Isvardas Nagar’s Futhat-i-Alamgiri, and Saki Mustaid Khan’s Masir-e-Alamgiri, etc. are important literary sources to know the history of the Mughal period.

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