Read this article to learn about the important sources of Indian history during the Sultanate, Mughal and Medieval Period !
Chronicles, travellers accounts, coins, monuments, palaces, forts, royal farmans, official orders, court bulletins, historical letters, religious literature, inscriptions etc. constitute sources of knowing the history of this period.
Among them contemporary chronicles have been found most useful.
Some of the important chronicles and travellers accounts of this period are as follows:
Archaeological Sources (Sultanate Period):
The structure was built by Qutubuddin Aibak. It is the first mosque in India built on Indo-Islamic pattern. It was originally a Jaina temple, then converted into a Vishnu temple).
Adhai din ka Jhopra:
It was built by Qutubuddin Aibak in Ajmer. (Which had been a monastery)?
It was built in the memory of Shaikh Qutub-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki by Qutubuddin Aibak. It was completed by lltutmish. Originally it was 4 storied and 225 feet in height. Firuz Tughluq replaced the fourth storey which was damaged by lightening, by adding two smaller storey raising its height to 240 feet.
Tomb of lltutmish:
It is located near Quwwat-ul-lslam Mosque,
lltutmish built it on the grave of his son Nasiruddin Mahmud.
Situated nearQila Rai Pithora.
Alauddin Khilji built it. This door to the Qutub Minar contains a dome which for the first time was built on correct scientific lines.
Built by Alauddin Khilji, it was the second city of Delhi.
It was built by Alauddin Khilji.
Mahal Hazar Satoon:
Built by Alauddin Khilji.
Jamait Khana Mosque:
Built by Alauddin Khilji.
The third city of Delhi was built by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq.
The fourth city of Delhi was built by Mohd. bin Tughlaq.
The fifth city of Delhi built by Firuz Shah Tughlaq.Tomb of Khan-i-Jahan
It was an octagonal tomb built by Jauna Shah in 1368 AD.
Tomb of Sikander Lodhi:
Its speciality lies in a double dome.
Literary Sources (Sultanate Period):
Hasan Nizami. It is the first historical narrative which deals with the beginning of the Muslim rule in India.
Firuz Shah Tughlaq
Yahiya Bin Ahmed Sirhindi (only history of Sayyid dynasty)
Futuhus Salatin Khwaja:
Abdullah Malik Isami
Archaeological Sources (Mughal Period):
Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty had a fine aesthetic taste, though he did not find enough time to build many buildings. However, he built two mosques one at Sambhal in Rohilkhand and the other at Kabulibagh in Panipat.
A third mosque in the old Lodhi Fort at Agra has also survived. In the early years of his reign, Humayun built a city at Delhi called Dinpanah.
The real phase of Mughal architecture began with Akbar and he combined the Persian traditions of architecture along with the Indian. Humayun’s tomb at Delhi built by his widow Haji Begum, has the first slightly bulbous double domed structure made of marble. Placed in a garden, this is the prototype of the Taj.
Akbar built the Agra Fort in red sand-stone. His other forts are at Lahore, Ajmer and Allahabad. During Akbar’s reign a palace-cum-fort was built at Sikri, later named Fatehpur after the victory at Gujarat (imperial capital from 1569-1584).
The Jami Masjid at Fatehpur-Sikri has been described by Fergusson as a romance in stone. In its courtyard is the tomb of Shaikh Salim Chisti. The massive gateway to the Masjid is the Buland Darwaja started by Akbar in 1573 to commemorate his victory at Gujarat.
It stands 176 feet in height. Other important buildings at Fatehpur-Sikri are Jodha Bai’s palace (influence of Hindu style) Anup Talao, (Peerless pool) Birbal’s house, palace of Mariam, Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Khas and Panch Mahal (pyramidal structure in five stories, shows influence of Buddhist vihara) Two other remarkable buildings of his period are the Palace of Forty Pillars at Allahabad and Akbar’s Mausoleum at Sikandara (started by Akbar himself) which shows influence of Buddhist viharas.
During the reign of Jahangir, his wife Nurjahan built (her father) Itmad-ud-daullah’s tomb at Agra. A new technique borrowed from Golmandal temple at Udaipur, Pietra Dura was introduced here (decoration of walls with floral designs made of semi-precious stones). This tomb was entirely made of marble. Jahangir built the Moti Masjid in Lahore and his own tomb at Shahadra near Lahore.
During the reign of Shahjahan, Mughal architecture reached its supreme exuberance. Shahjahan built the famous Taj Mahal in memory of his wife Mumtaj Mahal. Its chief architect were Ustad Ahmad Lahori who was honored by the title Nadir-ul-Asar, Mir Abdul Karim, Mukarramat Khan, etc.
Mosque building also reached its climax under Shahjahan. The noteworthy being the Moti Masjid in the Agra Fort, built entirely in marble and the Jama Masjid at Delhi built in red sandstone (1644). In 1638,
Shajahan began at Delhi the construction of a new capital city of Shahjahanabad, which was completed in 1648. The Diwan-i-khasand Rang Mahal are the two most conspicuous buildings inside the Red Fort. Aurangzeb built the Moti Masjid in the Red Fort at Delhi and the Badshahi mosque at Lahore.
The tomb of Aurangzeb’s queen Rabia-ud-durani at Aurangabad erected in 1679 is a frank imitation of the Tajmahal. Compared with the Taj, this tomb is a very mediocre production which as Fergusson says “narrowly escapes vulgarity and bad taste.”
Literary Sources (Mughal Period):
Tarikh-i-Humayuni – Jauhar
Tarikh-i-Alfi – Mulla Daud
Tarikh-i-Shershahi or Tuhfut-i-Akbarshahi – Abbas Khan Sherwani
Qanun-i-Humayun or Humayun-namah – Khondamir
Akbarnama – Faizi Sirhindi
Akbarnamah and Ain-i-Akbari – Abul Fazl
Humayunamah – Gulbadan- Begum (daughter of Babur)
Muntakhab-ul- Tawariqh – Badaoni
Tabaqat-i-Akbari – Nizamuddin Ahmad
Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri – Jahangir’s autobiography
Padshahnama – Muhammad Amir Qazwini
Padshahnama – Abdul Hamid Lahori
Shahjahanamah – Muhammad Sadiq Khan
Alamgirnama – Mirza Muhammad Qazim
Muntakhab-ul-Lubab – Khafi Khan
Futuhat-i-Alamgiri – Ishwar Das
Nuskha-i-Dilkusha – Bhimsen
Literary Sources of Medieval Period:
It was written by Sadruddin Mohammad Hassan Nizami in Turki language. Hassan Nizami took up this work in 1205 A.D. and described the events of the period between 1191 to 1217 A. D. Mostly he described the events of reign of Qutbuddin Aibak though gave reference of the events related to the period of Mohammad of Ghur and Sultan lltutmish also. Hasan Nizami mostly concentrated himself on the description of battles.
He paid little attention towards administration and social conditions of that time. He also gave details of some cities, fairs, festivals and sources of entertainments of the people. Hassan Nizami was witness of those events which he described and, therefore, his account has been regarded quite authentic.
It was written by Minhajuddin Siraj in Persian. Sultan lltutmish took Minhajuddin Siraj under his service in 1228 A.D. He, therefore, remained in the services of the state till the rule of Sultan Nasiruddin except for a period of one year.
Tabkat-i-Nasiri is a detailed text Minhaj described in it not only the events of the period of rule of the Sultans of the so-called slave-dynasty but also the events beginning with the rise of Islam rule of different Khalifas and rulers of Iran, the history of the Ghaznavis and the Ghur-dynasty and the attacks of the Mongols on Muslim kingdoms.
Besides, Minhaj gave his account in a chronological order and interpreted them also. It has also been accepted that though Minhaj was a religious minded person and mostly worked as a Qazi, yet his description is free from religious bigotry. Therefore, this description has been accepted fairly reliable and later historians like Ziauddin Barni used Tabkat-i-Nasiri for their own writings.
3. Works of Amir Khusrau:
Abul Hasan Yaminuddin Khusrau was one of the best scholars and poets of his age. He was a witness to the reign of Sultan Balban and got patronage of the Khilji rulers and even that of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq. Primarily, Khusrau was not a historian but a poet. None of his work, therefore, can be considered historical material. Yet, as he described the events in a chronological order and honestly, much useful historical knowledge has been derived from his writings. Khusrau wrote much.
However, important among his writings were Qiran-us-Sadain, Miftah-ul-Futuh, Ashiqa, Tughlaqanama, Tarikh-i-Alaie etc. Much of his writings were in form of poems though some of them were written in prose as well. Put together, his writings provide us good historical source-material.
4. Tarikh-i-Firuzshai written by Ziauddin Barani:
Barani belonged to a family which had been close to different Sultans of Delhi. His uncle, Ala-ul-mulk was a friend of Sultan Alauddin Khilji and worked as Kotwal at Delhi. Barani himself was provided a respectable place at the court of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq and Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq. Sultan Firuz Tughlaq, however, felt displeased with him and withdrew his patronage from him. Yet, Barani remained close to throne and the court for long years and, therefore, was witness of the events of his time.
Besides, Barani was a great scholar. Therefore, his works have been regarded fairly reliable. Barani wrote several texts, e.g., Inayatnama-i-llahi, Hasaratnama, Fatwah-i-Jahandari, Tarikh- i-Firuz Shahi, etc. Among them Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi has been regarded as the best historical source-material. In it, Barani narrated the events from the period of accession to the throne by Sultan Balban to the first six years of reign of Sultan Firuz.
Barani preferred to be a court- writer, did not want to annoy any Sultan, did not give his account in chronological order and was a fanatic Muslim. Therefore, his account has not been considered fair. Yet, it has been regarded as a good source-material of history because Barani described the contemporary policy, economy, society etc. in quite detail.
5. Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi by Shams-i-Siraj Afif:
Afif also wrote several texts. Among them, Tarikh- i-Firuz Shahi written by him has been regarded as a good historical source-material. He was at the court of Sultan Firuz Shah though he did not prepare his text under the patronage of the Sultan.
He prepared it after the invasion of AmirTimur. Afif gave a vivid account of the events, administration, society and cultural life of the people during the period of Sultan Firuz Tughluq and, therefore, Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi written by him has been regarded much useful.
6. Futuhat-i-Firuz Shahi:
It is a small text written by Sultan Firuz himself. The primary purpose of Sultan Firuz in writing this text was to justify himself as an ideal Muslim ruler. Therefore, he did not describe his activities for the extension of the Empire as the title of the text signifies but his efforts for the propagation of Islam among his subject. The text provides useful information concerning the administration of Sultan Firuz.
It was written by Kwaja Abdulla Malik Isami who was a contemporary of Sultan Muhammad Tughluq when Muhammad Tughluq shifted his capital to Daultabad in the Deccan, his family also shifted there.
He received patronage of the first ruler of the Bahamani Kingdom, Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah and wrote his text while he was at his court. Futuh- us-Slatin was written in the form of poetry.
It described the history of the dynasty of Mohmmad of Gazni to the rule of the dynasty of the Tughluqs. Much of the material of Futuh-us-Slatin has been regarded useful historical source material particularly the contemporary history of the Deccan. Isami was displeased with Sultan Mohammad Tughluq. Therefore, he described several acts of Muhammad Tughluq against the tenets of Islam. Several later historians like Badayuni and Firista took help, Futuh-us-Salatin for their writings.
One of the important chronicles of this period is the description of the African traveler, Ibn Batutah who remained in India for fourteen years. He worked as Qaziat Delhi during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Tughluq for ten years.
The Sultan was once displeased with him and removed him from the post of Qazi. Later on, when his misunderstanding was removed, he deputed him as his ambassador to China. Ibn Batutah, however, could not reach China as his ship wrecked while on the way.
He came back to India and then left for his motherland. There he wrote the account of his travels which, afterwards, were published under the title Rehla. Ibn Batutah described the events, administration, fairs and festivals, markets, food and clothing’s of the Indian, city-life, court life, economy, society, climate etc. during the rule of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughluq and Sultan Muhammad Tughluq.
He was under no temptation or fear of any ruler in India because he wrote his travels while he was in Africa. Therefore, his writing (Rehla) has been regarded as an authentic source-material of the then Indian history.
9. Tarikh-i-Mubarak Shahi:
It was written by Yahya bin Ahmad of Sirhind who enjoyed the patronage of the Sayyid ruler, Mubarak Shah. Yahya bin Ahmed began the history from the accession to the throne by Muhammad of Ghur and finished at the accession to the throne of Delhi by the third ruler of the Sayyid dynasty, Sultan Muhammad Shah.
He took help of several texts for writing Tarikh-i-Mubarak Shahi which is the only contemporary literary source material for knowing the history of the rule of the Sayyids. It has been regarded as useful text and several later historians took its help in their writings.
10. Tarjkh-i-Salatin-i-Afghana or Tarjkh-i-Shahi:
Its author was Ahmad Yadgar. Primarily, it is a history of the Afghan rulers of Delhi and describes in detail the events of the reigns of the Lodi and Sur Sultans of Delhi. The text begins with the rule of Sultan Bahlul Lodi and ends with the death of Hemu.
It is the autobiography of the Mughul emperor, Babur written in Turki. It was translated by several persons in Persian during the period of the Mughals. Afterwards, it has been translated into several European languages including English and French.
Among these modern translations, the one translated by Madam Beveridge in English from the original Turki- text has been regarded as the best. The Tuzuk-i-Bahuri has been praised by all modern historians. Elphinstone described it “almost the only piece of real history in Asia.”
The Tuzuk-i-Baburi or the memories of Babur has provided us information not only concerning the events of life of Babur but also about his character, personality, knowledge, capability, weakness, merriments etc. The description of Babur is quite authentic. It is possible that Babur failed to understand particular individuals of circumstances and, therefore, gave wrong descriptions as is the case with his description of Indian affairs and people. It can be said, however, that he tried his best to adhere to the truth.
Babur wrote frankly about the weaknesses of his own character and failures as well. He described his use of alcohol and opium and festivities among friends. He wrote about his friends and foes impartially. He described quite fairly the character, personality and actions of Daulat Khan Lodi, Ibrahim Lodi, Alam Khan Lodi, Rana Sangram Singh etc. He also described in an impressive style the climate, hills, rivers, forests, flora and fauna, trees and flowers, beauty of the nature etc. of the countries he visited.
Babur also gave the description of India in the Tuzuk-i-Baburi. He described its geographical condition, climate, rivers, political condition, different states and their rulers as well as the clothings, food and living condition of the people. He was not impressed by the Indians and their living conditions when he first came in contact with them. He wrote: “Here the people are neither beautiful nor cultured.
We do not find either good horses, dogs, grapes, muskmelons or other fruits. There is neither good bread nor cooked food in the markets. There are no hot-baths and no good colleges. The people do not use candles or torches here. In place of candles or torches, the people use oil-lamps which are carried by servants. Rich people keep a large number of such lampmen in their houses.
Except large rivers, there is a shortage of water. Here the gardens have no boundary walls. The houses are not well built and have no arrangement for fresh air. The peasants and the poor people live practically naked.
The males use mostly langote and the women cover their entire body with one piece of cloth.” Babur, however, appreciated several things in India. He expressed that India was a vast country and had plenty of gold and silver. He appreciated the rainy season of India but also pointed out that everything was spoiled during that season because of the dampness.
Babur expressed that another good thing in Hindustan was that workmen of every kind were available here in large number and hundreds of workers worked daily on his buildings at Agra, Sikri, Bayana, Dholpur, Gwalior and Kol.
He described that every group of workmen belonged to a particular caste and every caste was pursuing his profession from generations. Babur also described the political condition of India and also his battles against his enemies here.
He gave description of the Muslim rulers of Delhi, Gujarat, Bahmani, Malwa and Bengal and Hindu rulers of Mewar and Vijayanagar. He described his battles against Daulat Khan Lodi, Ibrahim Lodi and Rana Sangram Singh and gave the number of soldiers as well as the fighting tactics of the contending parties and the causes of his success against them.
The description of India by Babur is neither complete nor completely correct. He did not mention several other states in India. There are certain gaps also in his description. He also failed to form proper judgement concerning Indian people and their affairs.
This is not accepted that the Indian were not cultured at the time when Balw conquered India. Babur got very little time in India. Besides, mostly he remained busy in fighting battles. Therefore, he got very little opportunity to come in contact with the cultured people in India otherwise probably, he would have changed his opinion.
However, with certain limitations, the Tuzuk-i-Baburihas been regarded as a useful and authentic source material of contemporary history. It has been accepted as a good literary work as well.
It was written by Mirza Mahammad Haider Dughlah who was a cousin of Emperor Babur. It was written in Persian. Mirza Haider was a witness to many events during the reign of Babur and Humayun, fought with Humayun, against Sher Shah at the battle of Kannauj, conquered a part of Kashmir at the direction of Humayun and finally died there.
Tarikh-i-Rashidi was divided into two parts by him. In the first part of it, he described the history of the Mughal emperors between the period 1347-1553 A.D. and, in the second described the events of his own life up to 1541 A.D. The text of the second part has been regarded more useful for the students of history.
It was written in Persian by Gulbadan Begum, the daughter of Babur and real sister of Prince Hindal. It was written during the reign of Akbar at his instructions. She described the later events of the rule of Babur and the events of the reign of the emperors but emphasized on the character, personalities and family relations of the Emperors. Therefore, the historical importance of the text is reduced.
14. Tarikh-i-Sher Shahi or Tauhfa-i-Akbar-Shahi:
It was written by Abbas Khan Sarwani in Persian at the instruction of Akbar. Only a part of it is available. Abbas Khan Sarwani described only those events which he could come to know from those of his close relatives or other people who were in know of things.
He also described the source-material of every event which he mentioned in the text so that its readers might not doubt the authenticity of his writing. Therefore, Tarikh-i-Sher Shahi has been regarded as an authentic source-material.
In the text, the lineage of Sher Shah, his career, the contest between Sher Shah and Humayun, the administration of Sher Shah, his practices of Dag and Huiiya, his care for the peasants, his public welfare works etc. have been decribed in detail. However, the text suffers from one weakness. The dates of different events have not been mentioned in it. Yet, it is regarded as a very useful text.
Shaikh Rizakullah Mushtaqi wrote it in Persian. Mushtaqi did not write elaborately concerning Sher Shah though he certainly described the important events of his reign. We, however, find the description of Islam Shah and his successors in his text.
He also described those circumstances which led to the establishment of the Mughal empire in India for the second time. Therefore, his text provides useful information concerning Sher Shah, his successors and Humayun.
Firishta wrote this text while he was in the service of Adil Shah II, the ruler of Bijapur. His text is a history of India during the medieval period. Firishta consulted several Persian texts while preparing his text. Tarikh-i-Firishta has been regarded as a renowned historical text and an authentic one.
It was written by Abul-Fazal in Persian. It has been divided into three parts. The first part deals with the history of the Mughals from the reign of Amir Timur up to the reign of Humayun. In the second and the third parts has been given the history of the rule of Akbar up to the year 1602 A.D.
While describing the events Abul-Fazal gave an introduction to each of them in which he referred to the cause of that event, Describing the history of the reign of Babur, he tried to cover the gaps of Tuzuk-i-Baburi. He described the events of the reign of Humayun in detail and gave the description of the contest of Humayun aginst Sher Shah. Regarding Akbar’s reign, he described in detail the campaigns of Akbar, his policies, their causes as well as their effects. Therefore, the Akbar-nama is a very useful source material of knowing the history of the Mughals. But it suffers from certain defects also.
He glorified the personalities of Babur, Humayun and particularly that of Akbar and belittled their enemies particularly Sher Shah and Islam Shah. Besides, the language of Akbar-nama is full of verbosity. Therefore, one has to observe caution while studying the Akbar-nama.
It has also been written in Persian by Abul-Fazal. In it Abul-Fazal has not described the political events of the reign of Akbar but his administration, laws, rules, regulations, etc. It has also been divided into three parts.
Abul-Fazal narrated in it the facts concerning the royal treasury, the coinage, the Harem, the royal-stable, court-ceremonies, salaries and status of civil and military officers, justice and revenue administration, sources of the income of the state and items of expenditure, Din-i-llahi of Akbar, foreign aggressions, Hindu and Muslim saints and scholars, etc. Therefore, the Ain-i-Akbari has been regarded a precious source- material of knowing the culture and administration during the reign of Akbar.
It was written by Khvaja Nizam-ud-din Ahmad. It is a general history from the beginning of the Muslim rule in India to the thirty-ninth year of the reign of Akbar. It has been divided into three parts. In its first part, Nizamuddin Ahmad described the beginning of the Muslim rule in India and the history of the Sultans of Delhi.
In its second part, he described the history of the Mughal emperors in India beginning from the rule of Babur to thirty-ninth year of Akbar’s reign. In the third part, he narrated the history of provinces. Among the history of provinces, he described in detail the history of Malwa and Gujarat. Therefore, the Tabaqat-i- Akbari provides extensive knowledge concerning a large portion of medieval history and has been regarded as an important literary source material.
20. Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh or Tarikh-i-Badauni:
Its writer was Abdul Qadir Badauni who was a scholar of Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit during the reign of Akbar. He had been a fellow- student of Abul-Fazal and was jealous of him because Abul-Fazal commanded more respect in the eyes of Emperor, Akbar. Badauni gradually became the supporter of the group of fanatic Sunnis.
Therefore, Akbar became displeased with him. Yet, Akbar kept him at his court and assigned him the responsibility of writing historical texts and that of translating the texts written in other languages, in Persian. He translated several texts of Arabic and Sanskrit in Persian besides writing original texts. Among his original texts, the Tarikh-i-Badauni has been regarded as the best historical text.
The Tarikh-i-Badauni has been divided into three parts. In its first part, Badauni described the history beginning from the rule of Subutgin to the reign of Humayun. In its second part, he described the history during the rule of Akbar up to the year 1594 A.D.
Badauni criticized severely the religious views and policy of Akbar. Therefore, he disclosed its second part only after the accession of Jahangir to the throne. In the third part, Badauni described the lives and activities of contemporary saints and scholars. The description of Badauni is biased against Akbar. Yet, it helps modern historians in understanding the other side of the reign of Akbar. Therefore, the Tarikh-i-Badauni has been regarded as a useful source material.
It is the autobiography of Emperor Jahangir. Jahangir wrote the events of his reign beginning from his accession to the throne to the seventeenth year of his reign. Afterwards, he gave the responsibility of writing his biography to his Bakshi, Mutamid Khan. Mutamid Khan completed it only up to the beginning of the nineteenth year of the reign of Jahangir.
In most of the cases Jahangir wrote in good detail and closer to truth. He did not even hide the weaknesses of his character. Besides, Jahangir was born and brought up in India and had become acquainted with the life and culture of its people. Therefore, the description of the Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri is balanced and reliable.
Jahangir described the revolt of his son, Khushrav, his measures for administering justice, military campaigns of his reign, his daily life-routine, festivals held at the court, his treatment with the Rajputs and other Hindus, his travels, his marriage with Nur Jahan etc. He described the climate, the beauty of the nature, birds, animals, flowers etc. of the places he visited.
He described his taste, knowledge and his efforts for the development of painting. These all provide useful information concerning the history and culture of India during the reign of Jahangir to modern historians. Therefore, though the Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri suffers from certain weaknesses, yet it is a valuable, historical document.
It was written by Mutamid Khan who wrote the later part of the biography of Jahangir for nearly two years. The text has been divided into three parts. In its first part, Mutamid Khan described the history of the family of Amir Timur including the history of the reigns of Babur and Humayun. In the second part, he narrated the history of the reign of Akbar. In the third part, he narrated the history of the rule of Jahangir.
Mutamid Khan, being under the partronage of Jahangir, exaggerated the personality of Jahangir and afterwards, when he got favour of Shahjahan, expressed dissatisfaction against the activities of Begum Nur Jahan. Thus, his description remained biased. Yet, the Iqbai-nama has been regarded as a good source material.
Written by Muhammad Amin Qazuini Shahjahan ordered Qazuini to write the history of his reign. He wrote the history only of the first ten yea of Shahjahan’s reign. He was then asked to discontinue the work. Qazuini divided his texts into three parts. In its first part, he described the life and career of Shahjahan from his childhood to his accession on the throne.
In its second part, he described the history of the first ten years of the reign of Shahjahan. In the third part, he gave a list of contemporary scholars and saints. Qazuini was favourably inclined towards Shahjahan. Therefore, his description cannot be accepted as it is. Yet, his text has been found useful by modern historians.
24. Padshah-nama was written by Abdul Hamid Lahauri.
When Muhammad Amin Qazuini was asked to discontinue the writing of the history of the reign of Shahjahan. Abdul Hamid Lahauri was assigned his task. He divided his text into two parts.
In the first part, he described briefly the history of Mughals from the period of Amir Timur to the first ten years of the reign of Shahjahan. In the second apart, he narrated the history of the next ten years of the reign of Shahjahan. The second part is very much elaborate. It provides useful information to modern historians.
25. Padshah-nama of Muhammad Waris:
When Abdul Hamid Lahauri became old, the responsibility of completing the history of the rest of the period of Shahjahan was assigned to his disciple Muhammad Waris. Muhammad Waris wrote the complete history of the reign of Shahjahan.
His description of the first twenty years of the rule of Shahjahan was based on Padshah-nama of Abdul Hamid Lahauri but the history of these ten years was written independently.
He wrote the history of these ten years in good detail. His text has been regarded as a good source-material of knowing the history of the reign of Shahjahan.
26. Muntakhan-ul-Lubab or Tarikh-i-Khafi Khan:
Its author was Hashim Khafi Khan. Beginning with the attacks of Babur on India, it described the history of the Mughals to the first fifteen years of the rule of later Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. Khafi Khan described the events of the reign of Aurangzeb in detail. He claimed that he wrote an objective history of the period. Yet, his certain descriptions prove that he was biased.
He blamed Shivaji for the murder of Afzal Khan. He praised Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah of Hyderabad out of proportion because he happened to be his patron. He was a Persian. Therefore, he blamed the Turani group of Muslim nobles for the group rivalry at the court of the Mughal emperors. All this is, certainly, not objective history. Yet the Muntakhab-ul-Lubab of Khafi Khan has been regarded as a good source material of contemporary history.
Accounts of Travellers:
Many European travellers visited India during the period of the Mughals. Several of them described the condition of India which throw light on the history of India. W. Hawkins, Sir Thomas Roe, De Leat, Peter Mundy, Bernier, Manucci were such travellers who gave useful account of Indian affairs and among them the accounts of Peter Mundy, Bernier and Manucci have been found most extensive and serve the purpose of source-material for the modern historians.
Travellers during Mughal Period:
Humayun and his son Akbar took lessons in the art of painting from Mir Sayyid Ali, a pupil of the famous Bihzad of Herat who had been styled ‘the Raphael of the East’ and Khwaja Abdus Samad. Both these artists helped to prepare the illustrations to the Dastan-i-Amir-Hamzah which had nearly 1200 paintings. Of the 17 leading artists of Akbar’s reign, no less than 13 were Hindus, chief among them were Basawan, Lai, Mukund and Dasawant.
Abdus Samad was given the title of ‘Shirinqalam’. During Akbar’s reign, painting was organised as an imperial establishment or Karkhana. Under Akbar, European painting was introduced at the court by the Portuguese priests.
Western influence may be seen in the fables such as Tuti namah, Anwar-i-Suhaili, in which each and animals are shown with detailed realism. Dasawant painted the illustrations of Razm Namah (Persian translation Mahabharata).
Under Jahangir, the Mughal painting reached its climax and Persian influence declined. It made way for a style that was essentially Indian. Himself an art connoisseur and an art critic, he could tell the names of individual artists in a composite piece.
The famous artists of his court were Aga Reza, Abul Hasan, Muhammad Nadir, Muhammad Murad, Ustad Mansur, Bishan Das, Manoharand Govardhan. Abul Hasan was titled ‘Nadir-us-Zaman’. Ustad Mansur specialised in painting rare animals and birds while Bishandas in portraits. Use of halo or divine lights began under Jahangir.