The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians: the Muhammadan Period: The Posthumous Papers of the Late Sir H. M. Elliot - Vol. 2

The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians: the Muhammadan Period: The Posthumous Papers of the Late Sir H. M. Elliot - Vol. 2

The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians: the Muhammadan Period: The Posthumous Papers of the Late Sir H. M. Elliot - Vol. 2

The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians: the Muhammadan Period: The Posthumous Papers of the Late Sir H. M. Elliot - Vol. 2

Excerpt

THIS work is named after the author, Mir Tahir Muhammad Nasyani, son of Saiyid Hasan, of Thatta. The author, his father, and grandfather, were intimately acquainted with the affairs of the Arghuns and Tarkhans, and were dependants of the members of the former family. Tahir Muhammad, indeed, dedicates his work to, and writes it at the instigation of, Shah Muhammad Beg ' Adil Khan, son of Shah Beg ' Adil Khan Arghun, governor of Kanda- har. The Tuhfatu-l kiram styles Shah Beg a Tarkhan, not an Arghun, and states that it was to him that the Tarikh-i Tahiri was dedicated. (Vide "Early Arab Geographers")

The author, independent of what he says in his rambling preface of twenty pages, which is replete with the most fulsome adulation, gives us several incidental notices of himself and family in the course of his work.1 We learn that in 1015 H. ( 1606 A.D.), when Kandahar was beleaguered by the Persians, he went to Thatta to complete his education, and that he was then twenty-five years old. He placed himself under Maulana Ishak, a celebrated teacher, who was well instructed in Sufyism by an attentive perusal of Shaikh Sa'di, Jami, Khakani, and Anwari.

His maternal grandfather, ' Umar Shah, and his son Daud Sehta, Chief of the Pargana of Durbela, afforded such effective aid to Humayun, in his flight from Shir Shah, that the Emperor wrote a document expressive of his satisfaction, and of his determination to reward their fidelity with a grant of their native district of Durbela, should he succeed in his enterprises and be restored to his throne. At the instigation of Mahmud Khan, the governor of Bhakkar, they were both put to death for this injudicious zeal; one being sewn up in a hide and thrown into the river from the battlements of Bhakkar; the other flayed alive, and his skin sent, stuffed with straw, to Mirza Shah Hasan Arghun. The family fled to Ahmadabad in Guzerat. The document above alluded to was unfortunately destroyed, when Mirza Jani. Beg ordered Thatta to be fired on the approach of the imperial army. The author, nevertheless, hoped to meet with his reward, should it ever be his good fortune to be presented to the reigning Emperor Jahangir. In one part of his work he calls ' Umar Shah by the title of Jam, from which we may presume that he was a Samma. Daud, ' Umar's son, is also styled Sehta, one of the descendants of the Samma refugees, is spoken of as one of the Chiefs of Kach.

Tahir Muhammad informs us that, notwithstanding all the enquiries he made, he was not able to procure any work which dealt with the periods of history which he had undertaken to write. There might, perhaps, have been some written in the Hindi character, but on that point he was ignorant. This is disingenuous, for his early history must be derived from some written source, though he does not choose to declare what it was. He quotes poem by Mir Ma'sum Bhakkari, and is, perhaps, indebted to his prose also, but to no great extent, for in describing the same events, our author is fuller, and his credulity induces him to indulge in strange anecdotes, which the other rejects. His later history, in which he is very copious, is derived not only from his father, who was himself an actor in some of the scenes which he describes, but from other eye-witnesses, as well as his own observations. His residence seems to have been chiefly at Durbela, but we hear of his being, not only at Kandahar and Thatta, as previously mentioned, but at Multan and Lahore; so that, for a Sindian, we may consider him what Froissart calls a "well-travelled knight."

The Tarikh-i Tahiri was completed in 1030 He. ( 1621 A.D.), in the fortieth year of the author's age. Its style is bad and confused, and occasionally ambitious. We are told that it is divided into ten chapters (tabka), but they are not numbered beyond the fourth, and only seven can be traced altogether. The first, consisting of sixteen pages, is devoted to the Sumra dynasty. The second, of ten pages, to the Samma dynasty. The third, of 30 pages . . .

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