Monday, December 5, 2022

Library Of National Archives Of India,New Delhi


I have great pleasure in placing before the public in general and scholars in particular this catalogue of 189 manuscripts. These had been acquired by the National Archives of India by way of gift or purchase over a period of time from private individuals and institutions. They are mainly in Persian, though some are in Urdu, Arabic and Turkish language. This collection, though small, includes some extremely useful and rare works on the Oriental life and culture covering different faiths and religions, manners and customs, arts and philosophy practiced in this part of the world. It has been arranged subject wise to facilitate clear understanding and better appreciation of their contents. Opening section of this catalogue deals with religious and Sufi literature, both Hindu and Islamic. Highlights of this section are:- a very valuable manuscript copy of the Persian translation of the Mahabharata prepared by the order of emperor Akbar under the supervision of Abul Fazl, Su`al-u- Jawab-i- Dara Shukoh wa Baba Lal, a treatise containing conversation between Prince Dara Shukoh and Baba Lal Das of Kaithal on the life and doctrines of Hindu Faqirs, a fairly early copy of Kashf al-Mahjub, the oldest systematic work on the theoretical and practical doctrines of Sufism by Abul Hasan Ali bin Uthman bin Ali al-Hujwiri and a very good and complete copy of Fawaid-i- Firuz Shahi, a treatise on the various precepts of Islam, written by Sharaf Muhammad al-Attari after consulting as many as 110 authoritative works. The Section on history covers practically two fifth of the manuscripts and contains a good number of outstanding works of great historians and litterateurs. A few of such works on Indian history are Tawarikh-i- Firuz Shahi by Shams-i- Siraj Afif, Akbarnama and Ain-i- Akbari by Abul Fazl, Majmu`a-i- Khwurrami or Shajahan Nama by Bahadur Singh, Shash Fath-i- Qala-i- Kangra by Jalalai Tabatabai, Maathir-i- Alamgiri by Muhammad Saqi Mustaidd Khan and Mirza Sangi Beg’s Sair al-Manazil, containing a topographical account of the principal buildings of Shahjahanabad and old Delhi, with copies of their inscriptions. Works on the history of neighbouring countries and general history of the world deserving special mention are:- Tarikh-i- Alam Ara-i- Abbasi, a history of the life and reign of Abbas I of the Safawi dynasty of Iran by Iskandar, commonly known as Munshi, Haft Iqlim, a geographical and biographical encyclopaedia containing no less than 1560 biographical notices relating chiefly to poets, Ulamas and holy men by Amin Ahmad Razi, Tarikh-i- Alfi, a general history containing in chronological order a detailed account of the millennium after Prophet Muhammad’s death (11 A.H.) to 997 A.H. (1589 A.D.) by Mulla Ahmad Thattawi and Jafar Beg, Zafar Nama, a history of Amir Timur by Sharaf al-din Yazdi and a very old and rare copy of Abdus Sattar bin Qasim’s Thamrat al-Falasifa, a unique work written in Persian at the behest of Emperor Akbar and probably a pioneer attempt at presenting a historical account of the people of Europe together with biographical details and sayings of the well-known Greek and Roman Philosophers. Likewise the Sections on Travels, Language and Literature, etc. too have some very significant works such as Munshi Itisam al-din’s Shigarf Nama-i- Wilayat containing a narrative of his journey to Europe in 1180 A.H. (1766-67 A.D.), Munsha`at-i- Brahman, a collection of letters addressed to Shahjahan and his Wazirs, Amirs and other distinguished persons by Chandra Bhan Brahman, Khutut-i- Farsi-i- Ghalib, a collection of Persian letters of Mirza Asad Allah Khan Ghlib addressed to his friends and patrons during his sojourn to Calcutta in the third decade of the 19th century and an extremely fine and large size copy of Firdausi’s Shahnama. Further, to make the catalogue more useful two separate indices have been provided: One covers the Titles and names of manuscripts and the other contains the names of authors, compilers, translators and other important personages. I am thankful to S/Shri K.L. Arora, Deputy Director of Archives, S.M.R. Baqar, Assistant Director of Archives and other members of the staff, who have helped me in compiling this catalogue.

R.K. Perti New Delhi, Director General of Archives, 7 March, 1991. Government of India.

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