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Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858. -- 14. Quellen auf Arabisch, Persisch und in Turksprachen. -- Fassung vom 2008-05-19. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen14.htm
Erstmals publiziert: 2008-05-19
Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung FS 2008
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Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Sanskrit von Tüpfli's Global Village Library
Falls Sie die diakritischen Zeichen nicht dargestellt bekommen, installieren Sie eine Schrift mit Diakritika wie z.B. Tahoma.
Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsquellen in den Sprachen der Muslime, besonders in Persisch, gibt es in einer unübersehbaren Fülle. Zuerst soll eine unvollständige Übersicht einen Eindruck von der Fülle der Geschichtsschreibung geben, dann werden einige Werke als Beispiele vorgestellt. Anschließend wird auf die eigentlichen Quellen (Erlasse, Verträge, Verwaltungsurkunden usw.) hingewiesen, die meist noch unausgewertet in Archiven, Bibliotheken und Privatbesitz schlummern.
Im Unterschied zu Sanskrit ist die Anzahl der Werke in Arabisch, Persisch und in Turksprachen zur Geschichte Indiens sehr groß.
Die folgende Übersicht soll einen Eindruck von der Fülle der Quellen geben. Sie ist keineswegs vollständig. Sie folgt
The history of India, as told by its own historians : The Muhammadan period / edited from the posthumous papers of the late Sir H. M. [Henry Miers] Elliot [1808 - 1853], by John Dowson [1820 - 1881]. -- London : Trübner, 1867-77. -- 8 Bde. ; 23 cm. -- Bde. 4-8 Titel: " ... The posthumous papers of the late Sir H. M. Elliot ... edited and continued by Professor John Dowson." -- Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-06
Annemarie Schimmel (1922 - 2003), deren Quellenkenntnis zum muslimischen Indien unübertroffen ist, schreibt über dieses Werk noch 2000: "... bietet einen außerordentlich nützlichen Überblick.
Das Vorwort ist eine Einführung in die Quellen und selbst eine Quelle für kolonialistisches Denken:
"SIR HENRY ELLIOT'S ORIGINAL PREFACE.
A FEW months since, the Compiler of this Catalogue was engaged in a correspondence with the Principal of the College at Delhi on the subject of lithographing an uniform edition of the Native Historians of India. On referring the matter to his Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, North Western Provinces, it was replied that the Education Funds at the disposal of the Government were not sufficient to warrant the outlay of so large a sum as the scheme required, and without which it would have been impossible to complete so expensive an undertaking. At the same time it was intimated, that, as few people were acquainted with the particular works which should be selected to form such a series, it would be very desirable that an Index of them should be drawn up, in order that the manuscripts might be sought for, and deposited in one of our College Libraries, to be printed or lithographed hereafter, should circumstances render it expedient, and should the public taste, at present lamentably indifferent, show any inclination for greater familiarity with the true sources of the Muhammadan History of India.
The author willingly undertook this task, as it did not appear one of much difficulty; but in endeavouring to accomplish it, the mere Nominal Index which he was invited to compile, has insensibly expanded into several volumes; for, encouraged not only by finding that no work had ever been written specially on this matter, but also by receiving from many distinguished Orientalists, both European and Native, their confessions of entire ignorance on the subject of his enquiries, he was persuaded that it would be useful to append, as far as his knowledge would permit, a few notes to each history as it came under consideration, illustrative of the matter it comprehends, the style, position, and prejudices of the several authors, and the merits or deficiencies of their execution.
Brief extracts from the several works have been given in the [S. xvi] fourth volume, in order to show the style of each author. Some of these have been translated in the three first volumes; of some, where the text is of no interest, the translation has been omitted; but in most instances, the English translations exceed the Persian text. As the translation and the printing of the Persian text occurred at different periods, the translation will be found occasionally to vary from the text, having been executed probably from a different manuscript, and the preferable reading taken for the fourth volume. The versions are inelegant, as, in order to show the nature of the original, they keep as close to it as possible; and no freedom has been indulged in with the object of improving the style, sentiments, connexion, or metaphors of the several passages which have been quoted.
The author has been very particular in noticing every translation known to him, in order that students, into whose hands this Index may fall, may be saved the useless trouble, which he in his ignorance has more than once entailed upon himself, of undertaking a translation which had already been executed by others.
He had hoped to be able to append an account of the historians of the independent Muhammadan monarchies, such as of Guzerāt, Bengāl, Kashmīr, and others; but the work, as it is, has already extended to a length beyond what either its name or the interest of the subject warrants, and sufficient information is given respecting their annals in many of the General Histories. For the same reason he must forego an intended notice of the various collections of private letters relating to the history of India, and the matters which chiefly interested the generation of the writers.
The historians of the Delhi Emperors have been noticed down to a period when new actors appear upon the stage; when a more stirring and eventful era of India's History commences; and when the full light of European truth and discernment begins to shed its beams upon the obscurity of the past, and to relieve us from the necessity of appealing to the Native Chroniclers of the time, who are, for the most part, dull, prejudiced, ignorant, and superficial.
If it be doubted whether it is worth while to trouble ourselves about collecting such works as are here noticed, it is sufficient to reply that other countries have benefited by similar labours—exemplified [S. xvii] in the Scriptores Rerum Italicarum, the Auctores Veteres Historiae Ecclesiasticae, the Monumenta Boica, the Recueil des Historiens des Gaules, and a hundred other collections of the same kind —but no objection is urged against them on the ground that each chronicler, taken individually, is not of any conspicuous merit. They are universally considered as useful depositories of knowledge, from which the labour and diligence of succeeding scholars may extract materials for the erection of a better and more solid structure. This country offers some peculiar facilities for such a collection, which it would be vain to look for elsewhere; since the number of available persons, sufficiently educated for the purpose of transcribing, collating, and indexing, is very large, and they would be content with a small remuneration. Another urgent reason for undertaking such a work in this country, is the incessant depredation which insects, moths, dust, moisture, and vermin are committing upon the small store of manuscripts which is now extant. Every day is of importance in rescuing the remnant from still further damage, as was too painfully evident a short time ago, from a report presented to the Asiatic Society of Bengal, respecting the injury which has already been sustained by their collection.
On the other hand, it must not be concealed, that in India, independent of the want of standard books of reference, great difficulties beset the enquirer in this path of literature, arising chiefly from one of the defects in the national character, viz.: the intense desire for parade and ostentation, which induces authors to quote works they have never seen, and to lay claim to an erudition which the limited extent of their knowledge does not justify. For instance, not many years ago there was published at Agra a useful set of chronological tables of the Moghal dynasty, said to be founded on the authority of several excellent works named by the author. Having been long in search of many of these works, I requested from the author a more particular account of them. He replied that some had been once in his possession and had been given away; some he had borrowed; and some were lost or mislaid; but the parties to whom he had given, and from whom he had borrowed, denied all knowledge of the works, or even of their titles. Indeed, most of them contained nothing on the subject which they were intended to [S. xviii] illustrate, and they were evidently mentioned by the author for the mere object of acquiring credit for the accuracy and extent of his researches.
Again, a native gentleman furnished a catalogue of the manuscripts said to compose the historical collection of his Highness the Nizām; but on close examination I found that, from beginning to end, it was a complete fabrication, the names of the works being taken from the prefaces of standard histories, in which it is usual to quote the authorities,—the very identical sequence of names, and even the errors of the originals, being implicitly followed.
Against these impudent and interested frauds we must consequently be on our guard, not less than against the blunders arising from negligence and ignorance; the misquoting of titles, dates, and names; the ascriptions to wrong authors; the absence of beginnings and endings; the arbitrary substitution of new ones to complete a mutilated manuscript; the mistakes of copyists; the exercise of ingenuity in their corrections, and of fancy in their additions; all these, added to the ordinary sources of error attributable to the well-known difficulty of deciphering Oriental manuscripts, present many obstacles sufficient to damp even the ardour of an enthusiast. Besides which, we have to lament the entire absence of literary history and biography, which in India is devoted only to saints and poets. Where fairy tales and fictions are included under the general name of history we cannot expect to learn much respecting the character, pursuits, motives, and actions of historians, unless they are pleased to reveal them to us themselves, and to entrust us with their familiar confidences; or unless they happen to have enacted a conspicuous part in the scenes which they describe. Even in Europe this deficiency has been complained of; how much more, then, is it likely to be a subject of regret, where despotism is triumphant; where the active elements of life are few; and where individual character, trammelled by so many restraining influences, has no opportunity of development.
It must be understood, then, that this Index has not been constructed on account of any intrinsic value in the histories themselves. Indeed, it is almost a misnomer to style them histories. They can scarcely claim to rank higher than Annals. "Erat enim historia [S. xix] nihil aliud, nisi annalium confectio. Hanc similitudinem scribendi multi secuti sunt, qui, sine ullis ornamentis, monimenta solum temporum, hominum, locorum, gestarumque rerum reliquerunt. Non exornatores rerum, sed tantummodo narratores fuerunt."1 They comprise, for the most part nothing but a mere dry narration of events, conducted with reference to chronological sequence, never grouped philosophically according to their relations. Without speculation on causes or effects; without a reflection or suggestion which is not of the most puerile and contemptible kind; and without any observations calculated to interrupt the monotony of successive conspiracies, revolts, intrigues, murders, and fratricides, so common in Asiatic monarchies, and to which India unhappily forms no exception. If we are somewhat relieved from the contemplation of such scenes when we come to the accounts of the earlier Moghal Emperors, we have what is little more inviting in the records of the stately magnificence and ceremonious observances of the Court, and the titles, jewels, swords, drums, standards, elephants, and horses bestowed upon the dignitaries of the Empire.
1 De Orat. II. 12.
If the artificial definition of Dionysius be correct, that "History is Philosophy teaching by examples," then there is no Native Indian Historian; and few have even approached to so high a standard. Of examples, and very bad ones, we have ample store, though even in them the radical truth is obscured by the hereditary, official, and sectarian prepossessions of the narrator; but of philosophy, which deduces conclusions calculated to benefit us by the lessons and experience of the past, which adverts on the springs and consequences of political transactions, and offers sage counsel for the future, we search in vain for any sign or symptom. Of domestic history also we have in our Indian Annalists absolutely nothing, and the same may be remarked of nearly all Muhammadan historians, except Ibn Khaldūn. By them society is never contemplated, either in its conventional usages or recognized privileges; its constituent elements or mutual relations; in its established classes or popular institutions; in its private recesses or habitual intercourses. In notices of commerce, agriculture, internal police, and local judicature, they are equally deficient. A fact, an anecdote, a speech, a remark, which [S. xx] would illustrate the condition of the common people, or of any rank subordinate to the highest, is considered too insignificant to be suffered to intrude upon a relation which concerns only grandees and ministers, "thrones and imperial powers."
Hence it is that these works may be said to be deficient in some of the most essential requisites of History, for "its great object," says Dr. Arnold, "is that which most nearly touches the inner life of civilized man, namely, the vicissitudes of institutions, social, political, and religious. This is the τελαιοτατον τελος of historical enquiry."1 In Indian Histories there is little which enables us to penetrate below the glittering surface, and observe the practical operation of a despotic Government and rigorous and sanguinary laws, and the effect upon the great body of the nation of these injurious influences and agencies.
1 Lectures on Mod. Hist., [S. 123
If, however, we turn our eyes to the present Muhammadan kingdoms of India, and examine the character of the princes, and the condition of the people subject to their sway, we may fairly draw a parallel between ancient and modern times, under circumstances and relations nearly similar. We behold kings, even of our own creation, sunk in sloth and debauchery, and emulating the vices of a Caligula or a Commodus. Under such rulers, we cannot wonder that the fountains of justice are corrupted; that the state revenues are never collected without violence and outrage; that villages are burnt, and their inhabitants mutilated or sold into slavery; that the officials, so far from affording protection, are themselves the chief robbers and usurpers; that parasites and eunuchs revel in the spoil of plundered provinces; and that the poor find no redress against the oppressor's wrong and proud man's contumely. When we witness these scenes under our own eyes, where the supremacy of the British Government, the benefit of its example, and the dread of its interference, might be expected to operate as a check upon the progress of misrule, can we be surprised that former princes, when free from such restraints, should have studied even less to preserve the people committed to their charge, in wealth, peace, and prosperity? Had the authors whom we are compelled to consult, portrayed their Caesars with the fidelity of Suetonius, instead of the more congenial [S. xxi] sycophancy of Paterculus, we should not, as now, have to extort from unwilling witnesses, testimony to the truth of these assertions. From them, nevertheless, we can gather, that the common people must have been plunged into the lowest depths of wretchedness and despondency. The few glimpses we have, even among the short Extracts in this single volume, of Hindūs slain for disputing with Muhammadans, of general prohibitions against processions, worship, and ablutions, and of other intolerant measures, of idols mutilated, of temples razed, of forcible conversions and marriages, of proscriptions and confiscations, of murders and massacres, and of the sensuality and drunkenness of the tyrants who enjoined them, show us that this picture is not overcharged, and it is much to be regretted that we are left to draw it for ourselves from out the mass of ordinary occurrences, recorded by writers who seem to sympathize with no virtues, and to abhor no vices. Other nations exhibit the same atrocities, but they are at least spoken of, by some, with indignation and disgust. Whenever, therefore, in the course of this Index, a work is characterized as excellent, admirable, or valuable, it must be remembered that these terms are used relatively to the narrative only; and it is but reasonable to expect that the force of these epithets will be qualified by constant advertence to the deficiencies just commented on.
These deficiencies are more to be lamented, where, as sometimes happens, a Hindū is the author. From one of that nation we might have expected to have learnt what were the feelings, hopes, faiths, fears, and yearnings, of his subject race; but, unfortunately, he rarely writes unless according to order or dictation, and every phrase is studiously and servilely turned to flatter the vanity of an imperious Muhammadan patron. There is nothing to betray his religion or his nation, except, perhaps, a certain stiffness and affectation of style, which show how ill the foreign garb befits him. With him, a Hindū is "an infidel," and a Muhammadan "one of the true faith,’ and of the holy saints of the calendar, he writes with all the fervour of a bigot. With him, when Hindūs are killed, "their souls are despatched to hell," and when a Muhammadan suffers the same fate, "he drinks the cup of martyrdom." He is so far wedded to the set phrases and inflated language of his conquerors, that he speaks of [S. xxii] "the light of Islām shedding its refulgence on the world," of "the blessed Muharram," and of "the illustrious Book." He usually opens with a "Bismillah," and the ordinary profession of faith in the unity of the Godhead, followed by laudations of the holy prophet, his disciples and descendants, and indulges in all the most devout and orthodox attestations of Muhammadans. One of the Hindū authors here noticed, speaks of standing in his old age, "at the head of his bier and on the brink of his grave," though he must have been fully aware that, before long, his remains would be burnt, and his ashes cast into the Ganges. Even at a later period, when no longer "Tiberii ac Neronīs res ob metum falsae,"1 there is not one of this slavish crew who treats the history of his native country subjectively, or presents us with the thoughts, emotions, and raptures which a long oppressed race might be supposed to give vent to, when freed from the tyranny of its former masters, and allowed to express itself in the natural language of the heart, without constraint and without adulation.
1 Tacitus, Annal., I.1.
But, though the intrinsic value of these works may be small, they will still yield much that is worth observation to any one who will attentively examine them. They will serve to dispel the mists of ignorance by which the knowledge of India is too much obscured, and show that the history of the Muhammadan period remains yet to be written. They will make our native subjects more sensible of the immense advantages accruing to them under the mildness and equity of our rule. If instruction were sought for from them, we should be spared the rash declarations respecting Muhammadan India, which are frequently made by persons not otherwise ignorant. Characters now renowned only for the splendour of their achievements, and a succession of victories, would, when we withdraw the veil of flattery, and divest them of rhetorical flourishes, be set forth in a truer light, and probably be held up to the execration of mankind. We should no longer hear bombastic Bābūs, enjoying under our Government the highest degree of personal liberty, and many more political privileges than were ever conceded to a conquered nation, rant about patriotism, and the degradation of their present position. If they would dive into any of the volumes mentioned [S. xxiii] herein, it would take these young Brutuses and Phocions a very short time to learn, that in the days of that dark period for whose return they sigh, even the bare utterance of their ridiculous fantasies would have been attended, not with silence and contempt, but with the severer discipline of molten lead or empalement. We should be compelled to listen no more to the clamours against resumption of rent-free tenures, when almost every page will show that there was no tenure, whatever its designation, which was not open to resumption in the theory of the law, and which was not repeatedly resumed in practice. Should any ambitious functionary entertain the desire of emulating the "exceedingly magnifical" structures of his Moghal predecessors,1 it will check his aspirations to learn, that beyond palaces and porticos, temples, and tombs, there is little worthy of emulation. He will find that, if we omit only three names in the long line of Dehli Emperors, the comfort and happiness of the people were never contemplated by them; and with the exception of a few sarāīs2 and bridges,—and these only on roads traversed by the imperial camps—he will see nothing in which purely selfish considerations did not prevail. The extreme beauty and elegance of many of their structures it is not attempted to deny; but personal vanity was the main cause of their erection, and with the small exception noted above, there is not one which subserves any purpose of general utility. His romantic sentiments may have been excited by the glowing imagery of Lalla Rookh, and he may have [S. xxiv] indulged himself with visions of Jahāngīr's broad highway from one distant capital to the other, shaded throughout the whole length by stately avenues of trees, and accommodated at short distance with sarāīs and tanks; but the scale of that Emperor's munificence will probably be reduced in his eyes, when he sees it written, that the same work had already been in great measure accomplished by Sher Shāh, and that the same merit is also ascribed to a still earlier predecessor; nor will it be an unreasonable reflection, when he finds, except a ruined milestone here and there, no vestige extant of this magnificent highway, and this "delectable alley of trees," that, after all, that can have been no very stupendous work, which the resources of three successive Emperors have failed to render a more enduring monument.3 When he reads of the canals of Fīroz Shāh and 'Alī Mardān Khān intersecting the country, he will find on further examination, that even if the former was ever open, it was used only for the palace and hunting park of that monarch; but when he ascertains that no mention is made of it by any of the historians of Tīmūr, who are very minute in their topographical details, and that Bābar exclaims in his Memoirs, that in none of the Hindūstānī Provinces are there any canals (and both these conquerors must have passed over these canals, had they been flowing in their time), he may, perhaps, be disposed to doubt if anything was proceeded with beyond the mere excavation. With respect to 'Alī Mardān Khān, his merits will be less extolled, when it is learnt that his canals were made, not with any view to benefit the public, but for an ostentatious display of his profusion, in order that the hoards of his ill-gotten wealth might not be appropriated by the monarch to whom he betrayed his trust. When he reads that in some of the reigns of these kings, security of person and property was so great, that any traveller might go where he listed, and that a bag of gold might be exposed on the highways, and no one dare touch it,4 he will learn to exercise a wise scepticism, on ascertaining [S. xxv] that in one of the most vigorous reigns, in which internal tranquillity was more than ever secured, a caravan was obliged to remain six weeks at Muttra, before the parties who accompanied it thought themselves strong enough to proceed to Dehli;5 that the walls of Agra were too weak too save the city from frequent attacks of marauders; that Kanauj was a favourite beat for tiger-shooting, and wild elephants plentiful at Karra and Kalpī;6 that the depopulation of towns and cities, which many declamatory writers have ascribed to our measures of policy, had already commenced before we entered on possession; and that we found, to use the words of the Prophet, "the country desolate, the cities burnt, when the sons of strangers came to build up the walls, and their kings to minister."
1 This was the grandiloquent declaration of a late Governor-General [Lord Ellenborough] at a farewell banquet given to him by the Court of Directors. But when his head became turned by the laurels which the victories of others placed upon his brow, these professions were forgotten; and the only monument remaining of his peaceful aspirations, is a tank under the palace walls of Dehli, which, as it remains empty during one part of the year, and exhales noxious vapours during the other, has been voted a nuisance by the inhabitants of the imperial city, who have actually petitioned that it may be filled up again.
2 The present dilapidation of these buildings is sometimes adduced as a proof of our indifference to the comforts of the people. It is not considered, that where they do exist in good repair, they are but little used, and that the present system of Government no longer renders it necessary that travellers should seek protection within fortified enclosures. If they s to be considered proofs of the solicitude of former monarchs for their subjects' welfare they are also standing memorials of the weakness and inefficiency of their administration. Add to which, that many of the extant sarāis were the offspring, not of imperial, hut of private liberality.
3 Coryat speaks of the avenue, "the most incomparable I ever beheld." -- Kerr, ix. 421.
4 It is worth while to read the comment of the wayfaring European on this pet phrase. Bernier, describing his situation when he arrived at the Court of Shājahān, speaks of "le peu d'argent qui me restoit de diverses recontres de voleurs." -- Hit. des Estats du Gran Mogol, [S. 5.
5 Captain Coverte (1609 - 10) says that people, even on the high road from Surat to Agra, dared not to travel, except in caravans of 400 or 500 men -- Churchill, viii. 252. Se Jahāngir's Autobiography, 117. Journ. As. Soc. Beng., Jan. 1850, [S. 37.
6 Elphinstone's Hist. ii. 241.
If we pay attention to more general considerations, and wish to compare the relative merits of European and Asiatic Monarchies, we shall find that a perusal of these books will convey many an useful lesson, calculated to foster in us a love and admiration of our country and its venerable institutions.
When we see the withering effects of the tyranny and capriciousness of a despot, we shall learn to estimate more fully the value of a balanced constitution. When we see the miseries which are entailed on present and future generations by disputed claims to the crown, we shall more than ever value the principle of a regulated succession, subject to no challenge or controversy. In no country have these miseries been greater than in India. In no country has the recurrence been more frequent, and the claimants more numerous. From the death of Akbar to the British conquest of Dehli—a period of two hundred years—there has been only one undisputed succession to the throne of the Moghal Empire, and even that exceptional instance arose from its not being worth a contest; at that calamitous time, when the memory of the ravages committed by Nādir Shāh was fresh in the minds of men, and the active hostility of the Abdālī seemed to threaten a new visitation. Even now, as experience has shown, we should not be without claimants to the pageant throne, were it not disposed of at the sovereign will and [S. xxvi] pleasure of the British Government, expressed before the question can give rise to dispute, or encourage those hopes and expectations, which on each occasion sacrificed the lives of so many members of the Royal Family at the shrine of a vain and reckless ambition.
It is this want of a fixed rule of succession to the throne, which has contributed to maintain the kingdom in a constant ferment, and retard the progress of improvement. It was not that the reigning monarch's choice of his successor was not promulgated; but in a pure despotism, though the will of a living autocrat carries with it the force of law, the injunctions of a dead one avail little against the "lang claymore" or the "persuasive gloss" of a gallant or an intriguing competitor. The very law of primogeniture, which seems to carry with it the strongest sanctions is only more calculated to excite and foment these disturbances, where regal descent is not avowedly based on that rule, and especially in a country where polygamy prevails; for the eldest prince is he who has been longest absent from the Court, whose sympathies have been earliest withdrawn from the influence of his own home, whose position in charge of an independent government inspires most alarm and mistrust in the reigning monarch, and whose interests are the first to be sacrificed, to please some young and favourite queen, ambitious of seeing the crown on the head of her own child. In such a state of society, the princes themselves are naturally brought up, always as rivals, sometimes as adventurers and robbers; the chiefs espouse the cause of one or the other pretender, not for the maintenance of any principle or right, but with the prospect of early advantage or to gratify a personal predilection; and probably end in themselves aspiring to be usurpers on their own account; the people, thoroughly indifferent to the success of either candidate, await with anxiety the issue, which shall enable them to pursue for a short time the path of industry and peace, till it shall again be interrupted by new contests; in short, all classes, interests, and institutions are more or less affected by the general want of stability, which is the necessary result of such unceasing turmoil and agitation.
These considerations, and many more which will offer themselves to any diligent and careful peruser of the volumes here noticed, will [S. xxvii] serve to dissipate the gorgeous illusions which are commonly entertained regarding the dynasties which have passed, and show him that, notwithstanding a civil policy and an ungenial climate, which forbid our making this country a permanent home, and deriving personal gratification or profit from its advancement, notwithstanding the many defects necessarily inherent in a system of foreign administration, in which language, colour, religion, customs, and laws preclude all natural sympathy between sovereign and subject, we have already, within the half-century of our dominion, done more for the substantial benefit of the people, than our predecessors, in the country of their own adoption, were able to accomplish in more than ten times that period;1 and, drawing auguries from the past, he will derive hope for the future, that, inspired by the success which has hitherto attended our endeavours, we shall follow them up by continuous efforts to fulfil our high destiny as the rulers of India.
1 I speak only with reference to my own Presidency, the North-Western Provinces. Bengal is said to be a quarter of a century behind it in every symptom of improvement, except mere English education. To the North-Western Provinces, at least, cannot be applied the taunt, that we have done nothing, compared with the Muhammadan Emperors, with respect to roads, bridges, and canals. Even here, in the very seat of their supremacy, we have hundreds of good district roads where one never existed before, besides the 400 miles of trunk-road, which is better than any mail-road of similar extent in Europe, and to which the Emperors never had anything in the remotest degree to be compared. The bridge of Jaunpūr is the only one that can enter into competition with our bridge over the Hindun, and would suffer greatly by the comparison, to say nothing of those over the Jūa, the Khanaut, and the Kālī-nadī. In canals we have been fifty times more effective. Instead of wasting our supply of water on the frivolities of fountains, we have fertilized whole provinces, which had been barren from time immemorial, and this even on the lines of which much was marked out by themselves, leaving out of consideration the magnificent works in progress in the Doāb and Rohilkhand. The scientific survey alone of the North-Western Provinces is sufficient to proclaim our superiority; in which every field throughout an area of 52,000 square miles is mapped, and every man's possession recorded. It altogether eclipses the boasted measurement of Akbar, and is as magnificent a monument of civilization as any country in the world can produce. Finally, be it remembered that six centuries more have to elapse before any thing like a comparison can be fairly instituted. It is to be hoped we shall not be idle during that long period."
[Quelle: The history of India, as told by its own historians : The Muhammadan period / edited from the posthumous papers of the late Sir H. M. [Henry Miers] Elliot [1808 - 1853], by John Dowson [1820 - 1881]. -- London : Trübner, 1867-77. -- 8 Bde. ; 23 cm. -- Bd. 1. -- S. xv - xxvii]
Wo mir die moderne Transliteration bzw. die Wiedergabe in Originalschrift leicht zugänglich war, habe ich sie hinzugefügt, sonst musste ich leider darauf verzichten.
Die Bandangaben beziehen sich auf das genannte Werk.
Abb.: Weltkarte des Al Idrīsī, Süden ist oben
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia, Public domain]
Āsāru-l Bilād (Athar al-bilad wa-akhbar al-‘ibad / اثار البلاد واخبار العباد) / von Zakarīya Al Kazwīnī (1203 - 1283) (Abu Yahya Zakariya' ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini /أبو يحيئ زكريا بن محمد القزويني)
Abb.: Lage von Sindh, Pakistan
[Bildquelle: CIA, Public domain]
ʻAlī ibn Ḥāmid, al-Kūfī: The Chachnamah,
an ancient history of Sind. / translated from the Persian by Mirza Kalichbeg
Fredunbeg. -- Karachi : The Commissioner’s Press, 1900-02. -- 2 Bde. --
http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-09
Babur <1483-1530>: Memoirs of Zehīr-Ed-Dīn Muhammed Bābur, emperor of Hindustan / written by himself, in the Chaghatāi Tūrki and translated by John Leyden [1755 - 1811], esq., M. D., and William Erskine [1773 - 1852], esq.; annotated and revised by Sir Lucas King [1856 - 1925]. -- London, New York [etc.] : H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1921. -- 2 Bde. -- Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-09
Abb.: Babur auf der Jagd, Miniatur von ca. 1605
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia, gemeinfrei]
Übersetzung: Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-09
Abb.: Humāyūn, Shāh-Jahan-Album
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia, Public domain]
Jawhar <fl. 1554>: The Tezkereh al vakiat; or,
Private memoirs of the Emperor Humayun / written in the Persian language by
Jouher. Translated by Major Charles Stewart [1764 - 1837]. -- Calcutta, N.
Roy, 1904. -- 186 S. ; 21 cm. -- First edition, 1832. -- Online:
http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-09
Muntakhabu-t Tawārīkh oder Tārīkh-i Badāūnī / von Mullā 'Abdu-l Kādir Badāūnī gest. A. D. 1615)
Abū al-Faz̤l ibn Mubārak <1551-1602>: The Akbar nāma of Abu-l-Fazl : history of the reign of Akbar including an account of his predecessors / translated from the Persian by H. [Henry] Beveridge [1837 - 1929]. Calcutta : Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1902-1939. -- 3 Bde. -- Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-09
Abū al-Faz̤l ibn Mubārak <1551-1602>: The Āʾīn-i Akbarī / by Abū ʾl-Faẓl ʾAllāmī ; translated from the original Persian by H. [Henry] Blochmann [1838 - 1878] and H. S. Jarett. -- Calcutta : Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1873 - 1894. -- 3 Bde. -- Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-09
Abb.: Akbar hält Hof, Akbarnāma-Mss
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia, Public domain]
Jahangir <1569-1627>: The Tūzuk-i-Jahāngīrī, or, Memoirs of Jahāngīr ... Translated by Alexander Rogers [1825 - 1911] ... Edited by Henry Beveridge [1837 - 1929] ... London : Royal Asiatic Society, 1909-14. -- 2 Bde. -- Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-09
Abb.: Darbar Jahangirs, Aus Jahāngīr-nāma MS.
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia, Public domain]
Pādshāh-nāma (Pādšāh-nāma) / von 'Abdu-l Hamīd Lāhorī ('Abd al-Ḥamīd Lāhaurī) (gest. A. D. 1681)
Abb.: Shah Jahan (شاه جهان)
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia, Public domain]
'Amal-i Sālih ('Amal-i Ṣāliḥ) / von Muhammad Sālih Kambū (Muḥammad Ṣāliḥ Kanbūh) (gest. ca. A. D. 1674/5)
Abb.: Durbar von Alamgīr I. / عالمگی (= Aurangzeb / اورنگزیب)
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia, Public domain]
Aurangzeb <1618-1707>: Rukaʾat-i-Alamgiri; or, Letters of Aurangzebe. With historical and explanatory notes. / translated from the original Persian into English by Jamshid H. Bilimoria. -- Londdon : Luzac, 1908. -- Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-09
Muntakhabu-l Lubāb / von Khāfī Khān (Ḥāfī Ḥān) (gest. ca. A.D. 1731/2)
Abb.: Shah Alam Bahadur (بهادر شاه) (regierte 1707-1712), circa 1675
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia, Public domain]
Siehe Übersetzung des Kapitels XVII daraus:
Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858. -- 14. Quellen auf Arabisch, Persisch und in Turksprachen. -- 1. Zum Beispiel: Abū 'r-Raiḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī (973 - 1048) (ابوریحان بیرونی): Kitāb tarich al-Hind ("Ινδικα"), Kap. XVI. -- Fassung vom 2008-05-15. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen141.htm
"Abū 'r-Raiḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī (persisch ابوریحان بیرونی; arabisch ابو الريحان محمد بن احمد البيروني) ( 4. September 973 in Kath heute Xiva [Хива], damals Teil der persischen Provinz Chorasan (خراسان); † 9. Dezember 1048 in Ghazni [غزنة]) war persischer Universalgelehrter, Mathematiker, Kartograph, Astronom, Astrologe, Philosoph, Pharmakologe, Forschungsreisender, Historiker und Übersetzer aus Choresmien [خوارزم].
Leben und Werk
Biruni wurde schon in sehr jungen Jahren von dem Samaniden-Prinz und Mathematiker Abu Nasr Mansur ausgebildet, mit dem er dann viele Jahre zusammenarbeitete. Die ersten 20 Jahre lebte er in Kath und Köneürgenç. Dort wirkte zu dieser Zeit der vor allem als Mediziner bekannte Ibn Sina.
Bürgerkriege zwangen ihn zur Flucht. Er lebte in ärmlichen Verhältnissen in Ray nahe dem heutigen Teheran. Dank der Aufzeichnungen seiner astronomischen Beobachtungen kennt man einige Stationen seines bewegten Lebens. Die Beobachtung einer Mondfinsternis am 24. Mai 997 in Khat zeigt, dass er wieder in die Heimat zurückgekehrt war. Er hatte mit Abu'l-Wafa verabredet, dieses Ereignis in Bagdad zu beobachten. Durch Vergleich der beobachteten Eintrittszeiten des Erdschattens konnten sie die Differenz in den geographischen Längen von Kath und Bagdad bestimmen. Er beschäftigte sich in dieser Zeit mit Astronomie, Chronologie und Kartographie. 1017 eroberte der Ghaznawiden-Herrscher Mahmud von Ghazna Kath und nahm Al-Biruni und Abu Nasr Mansur als seine Gefangenen mit nach Ghazna. In der Folgezeit erhielt er von Mahmud finanzielle Zuwendungen für astronomische Aufgaben. Die Beobachtung einer Sonnenfinsternis am 8. April 1019 in Lamghan nördlich von Kabul zeigt, dass er sich zumindest im Herrschaftsbereich Mahmuds frei bewegen konnte. Er bestimmte auch die genaue Geographische Breite von Kath.
Ab 1022 beherrschte Mahmud Teile von Nordindien. Al-Biruni begleitete ihn auf diesen Feldzügen. Er war der erste Muslimwissenschaftler, der sich mit der brahmanischen Wissenschaft beschäftigte und darüber im Kitâb-al-Hind umfassend berichtete. Er übersetzte zahlreiche arabische und griechische Werke ins Sanskrit, darunter die Elemente des Euklid. 1023 ermittelte er mit einem von ihm erfundenen neuen Messverfahren den Radius der Erdkugel zu 6339,6 km. Der Radius am Äquator der Erde beträgt tatsächlich 6378,1 Kilometer. Somit errechnete Biruni den Radius der Erde am Ufer des Kabulflusses - damals Indus genannt - (beinahe am Äquator) mit 6339,6 km ziemlich genau. Abu Raihan Mohammad Al Biruni konstruierte das erste Pyknometer. Damit bestimmte er die Dichte (spezifische Gewicht) von Elementen.Ehrungen
Sein Geburtsort wurde in Biruni umbenannt. Die Universität Schiraz benannte ihr astronomosches Observatorium Abu Reihan Observatorium. Die Internationale Astronomische Union (IAU) ehrt ihn mit dem Mondkrater Al-Biruni.
Al-Biruni schrieb etwa 146 Bücher mit geschätzten 13000 Seiten Umfang und tauschte sich mit Kollegen wie Avicenna (Ibn Sina) per Briefverkehr aus. Etwa ein Fünftel seines Werkes ist erhalten geblieben, darunter:
- Buch der Unterweisung in die Anfänge der Kunst der Sterndeutung
- al Qânûn al-Mas'ûdî, ein Sultan Mas'ud gewidmetes Handbuch der Astronomie
- Pharmakognosie, ein alphabetisches Verzeichnis von Heilpflanzen und Nahrungsmitteln
- Kitâb al-djamâhir fî ma'rifat al-djawâhir, ein Buch über Mineralien
- URL: das Buch über Mineralien (English), Online Version
- Kitâb tahdîd nihâyât al-amâkin li-tashîh masâfât al-masâkin, Geodäsie
- Kitâb tarich al-Hind, Geschichte Indiens
- Al-Athaar al-Baaqia fil-Umamil Khalia (Hinterlassenschaften früherer Nationen), ein Geschichtswerk, das er dem Emir Kabus widmete.
- Karl Schoy: Die trigonometrischen Lehren des persischen Astronomen Abu'l-Rai.hân Mu.h. Ibn A.hmad al-Bîrûnî: dargestellt nach Al-qânûn al-masûdî. Nach dem Tode des Verfassers herausgegeben von Julius Ruska und Heinrich Wieleitner. Hannover, Orient-Buchhandlung Lafaire, 1927
- Wassilios Klein: Abu Rayhan al-Biruni und die Religionen. Eine interkulturelle Perspektive. Bautz, Nordhausen 2005, ISBN 3-88309-317-3 (Interkulturelle Bibliothek 119).
- Strohmeier Al-Biruni, Spektrum der Wissenschaft Mai 2001
- al-Biruni: In den Gärten der Wissenschaft. Ausgewählte Texte aus den Werken des muslimischen Universalgelehrten. Übersetzt und erläutert von Gotthard Strohmaier. Reclam: Leipzig 1991.
[Quelle: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Biruni. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-10]
Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad <973-1048>: Alberuni’s India : An account of the religion, philosophy, literature, geography, chronology, astronomy, customs, laws and astrology of India about A.D. 1030. / an English ed., with notes and indices. By Dr. Edward C. Sachau [1845 - 1930]. -- London : Trübner, 1888. -- 2 Bde. ; 22 cm. -- Online: Bd. 2: http://www.archive.org/details/alberunisindiaac02biruuoft. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-10
Eduard Sachau (1845 - 1930) charakterisiert im Vorwort zu seiner Übersetzung Autor und Werk:
Mahmūd and Firdausī.
The literary history of the East represents the court of King Maḥmūd at Ghazna, the leading monarch of Asiatic history between A.D. 997–1030, as having been a centre of literature, and of poetry in particular. There were four hundred poets chanting in his halls and gardens, at their head famous Unsurī, invested with the recently created dignity of a poet-laureate, who by his verdict opened the way to royal favour for rising talents; there was grand Firdausī, composing his heroic epos by the special orders of the king, with many more kindred spirits. Unfortunately history knows very little of all this, save the fact that Persian poets flocked together in Ghazna, trying their kasīdas on the king, his ministers and generals. History paints Maḥmūd as a successful warrior, but ignores him as a Maecenas. With the sole exception of the lucubrations of bombastic Utbī, all contemporary records, the Makāmāt of Abū-Naṣr Mishkānī, the Ṭabakāt of his secretary Baihaḳī, the chronicles of Mullā Muḥammad Ghaznavī, Maḥmūd Warrāk, and others, have perished, or not yet come to light, and the attempts at a literary history dating from a time 300–400 years later, the so-called Tadhkiras, weigh very light in the scale of matter-of-fact examination, failing almost invariably whenever they are applied to for information on some detail of ancient Persian literature. However this may be, Unsurī, the panegyrist, does not seem to have missed the sun of royal [S. viii] favour, whilst Firdausī, immortal Firdausī, had to fly in disguise to evade the doom of being trampled to death by elephants. Attracted by the rising fortune of the young emperor, he seems to have repaired to his court only a year after his enthronisation, i.e. A.D. 998. But when he had finished his Shāhnāma, and found himself disappointed in his hopes for reward, he flung at him his famous satire, and fled into peaceless exile (A.D. 1010)1. In the case of the king versus the poet the king has lost. As long as Firdausī retains the place of honour accorded to him in the history of the world’s mental achievements, the stigma will cling to the name of Maḥmūd, that he who hoarded up perhaps more worldly treasures than were ever hoarded up, did not know how to honour a poet destined for immortality.
1 Cf . J. Mohl, Le Livre des Rois, traduit, &c. Publié par Mme. Mohl, 1876, préface, pp. xi. seq.
And how did the author of this work, as remarkable among the prose compositions of the East as the Shāhnāma in poetry, fare with the royal Maecenas of Ghazna?
Mahmūd and Alberuni.
Alberuni, or, as his compatriots called him, Abū Raiḥān, was born A.D. 973, in the territory of modern Khiva, then called Khwārizm, or Chorasmia in antiquity2. Early distinguishing himself in science and literature, he played a political part as councillor of the ruling prince of his native country of the Ma’mūnī family. The counsels he gave do not seem always to have suited the plans of King Maḥmūd at Ghazna, who was looking out for a pretext for interfering in the affairs of independent Khiva, although its rulers were his own near relatives. This pretext was furnished by a military émeute. [S. ix]
2 There is a reminiscence of his native country, i. 166, where he speaks of a kind of measure used in Khwārizm.
Maḥmūd marched into the country, not without some fighting, established there one of his generals as provincial governor, and soon returned to Ghazna with much booty and a great part of the Khiva troops, together with the princes of the deposed family of Ma’mūn and the leading men of the country as prisoners of war or as hostages. Among the last was Abū-Raiḥān Muḥammad Ibn Ahmad Alberuni.
This happened in the spring and summer of A.D. 1017. The Chorasmian princes were sent to distant fortresses as prisoners of state, the Chorasmian soldiers were incorporated in Maḥmūd’s Indian army; and Alberuni—what treatment did he experience at Ghazna? From the very outset it is not likely that both the king and his chancellor, Aḥmad Ibn Hasan Maimandī, should have accorded special favours to a man whom they knew to have been their political antagonist for years. The latter, the same man who had been the cause of the tragic catastrophe in the life of Firdausī, was in office under Maḥmūd from A.D. 1007–1025, and a second time under his son and successor, Mas‘ūd, from 1030–1033. There is nothing to tell us that Alberuni was ever in the service of the state or court in Ghazna. A friend of his and companion of his exile, the Christian philosopher and physician from Bagdad, Abulkhair Alkhammār, seems to have practised in Ghazna his medical profession. Alberuni probably enjoyed the reputation of a great munajjim, i.e. astrologer-astronomer, and perhaps it was in this quality that he had relations to the court and its head, as Tycho de Brahe to the Emperor Rudolf. When writing the Ινδικα, thirteen years after his involuntary immigration to Afghanistan, he was a master of astrology, both according to the Greek and the Hindu system, and indeed Eastern writers of later centuries seem to consider him as having been the court astrologer of King Maḥmūd. In a book written five hundred years later (v. Chrestomathie [S. x] Persane, &c., par Ch. Schefer, Paris, 1883, i. of the Persian text), there is a story of a practical joke which Maḥmūd played on Alberuni as an astrologer. Whether this be historic truth or a late invention, anyhow the story does not throw much light on the author’s situation in a period of his life which is the most interesting to us, that one, namely, when he commenced to study India, Sanskrit and Sanskrit literature.
Historic tradition failing us, we are reduced to a single source of information—the author’s work—and must examine to what degree his personal relations are indicated by his own words. When he wrote, King Muḥmūd (sic) had been dead only a few weeks. Le roi est mort—but to whom was Vive le roi to be addressed?
Two heirs claimed the throne, Muḥammad and Mas‘ūd, and were marching against each other to settle their claims by the sword. Under these circumstances it comes out as a characteristic fact that the book has no dedication whatever, either to the memory of Maḥmūd, or to one of the rival princes, or to any of the indifferent or non-political princes of the royal house. As a cautious politician, he awaited the issue of the contest; but when the dice had been thrown, and Mas‘ūd was firmly established on the throne of his father, he at once hastened to dedicate to him the greatest work of his life, the Canon Masudicus. If he had been affected by any feeling of sincere gratitude, he might have erected in the Ινδικα a monument to the memory of the dead king, under whose rule he had made the necessary preparatory studies, and might have praised him as the great propagator of Islam, without probably incurring any risk. He has not done so, and the terms in which he speaks of Maḥmūd throughout his book are not such as a man would use when speaking of a deceased person who had been his benefactor.
He is called simply The Amīr Maḥmūd, ii. 13 (Arabic [S. xi] text, p. 208, 9), The Amīr Maḥmūd, may God’s mercy be with him, i. 116 (text, p. 56, 8), The Amīr Maḥmūd, may the grace of God be with him, ii. 103 (text, p. 252, 11). The title Amīr was nothing very complimentary. It had been borne by his ancestors when they were simply generals and provincial governors in the service of the Sāmānī king of Transoxianan and Khurasan. Speaking of Maḥmūd and his father Sabuktagīn, the author says, Yamīn-aldaula Maḥmūd, may God’s mercy be with them, i. 22 (text, p. 11, 9). He had received the title Yamīn-aldaula, i.e. The right hand of the dynasty (of the Khalif), from the Khalif, as a recognition of the legitimacy of his rule, resembling the investiture of the German Emperor by the Pope in the Middle Ages. Lastly, we find at ii. 2 (text, p. 203, 20) the following terms: "The strongest of the pillars (of Islam), the pattern of a Sultan, Maḥmūd, the lion of the world and the rarity of the age, may God’s mercy be with him."
Whoever knows the style of Oriental authors when speaking of crowned heads, the style of their prefaces, which attains the height of absurdity at the court of the Moghul emperors at Delhi, will agree with me that the manner in which the author mentions the dead king is cold, cold in the extreme; that the words of praise bestowed upon him are meagre and stiff, a poor sort of praise for a man who had been the first man in Islam, and the founder of Islam in India; lastly, that the phrases of benediction which are appended to his name, according to a general custom of Islam, are the same as the author would have employed when speaking of any acquaintance of his in common life who had died. He says of Maḥmūd (i. 22): "He utterly ruined the prosperity of the country (of India), and performed those wonderful exploits by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people." To criticise these words from a Muslim point of view, the passage of [S. xii] the ruining of the prosperity of the country was perfectly out of place in the glorification of a Ghāzī like Maḥmūd.
That it was not at all against the moral principles of Alberuni to write such dedications to princes is shown by two other publications of his, with dedications which exhibit the customary Byzantinism of the time. In the preface of the "Chronology of Ancient Nations" (translated, &c., by Edward Sachau, London, 1879), he extols with abundant praise the prince of Hyrcania or Jurjān, Shams-alma‘ālī, who was a dwarf by the side of giant Maḥmūd. The studied character of the neglect of Maḥmūd in the Ινδικα comes out more strongly if we compare the unmerited praise which Alberuni lavishes upon his son and successor. The preface of his Canon Masudicus is a farrago of high-sounding words in honour of King Mas‘ūd, who was a drunkard, and lost in less than a decennium most of what his father’s sword and policy had gained in thirty-three years. The tenor of this preface, taken from the manuscript of the Royal Library in Berlin, is as follows:—
[S. xiv] To put the phrases of this preface into plain language, the author was in favour with King Mas‘ūd; he had access to the court—living, probably, near it—and received an income which enabled him to devote himself entirely to his scientific work. Besides, all this appears as a new state of things, the reverse of which had been the case under the king’s predecessor, his father, Maḥmūd. We do not know the year in which this change in the life of Alberuni was brought about. Perhaps it was in some way connected with the fact that the chancellor, Maimandī, died A.D. 1033, and that after him one Abū-Naṣr Aḥmad Ibn Muḥammad Ibn ‘Abduṣṣamad became chancellor, who before, i.e. from 1017 to 1033, had administered Khwarizm, the native country of Alberuni. He and Maimandī had been political antagonists—not so he and ’Abduṣṣamad.
The difference of the author’s condition, as it appears to have been under Mas‘ūd, from what it was under Maḥmūd when he prepared the Ινδικα is further illustrated by certain passages in the book itself. When speaking of the difficulties with which he had to grapple in his efforts to learn everything about India, he continues [S. xv]: "What scholar, however, has the same favourable opportunities of studying this subject as I have? That would be only the case with one to whom the grace of God accords, what it did not accord to me, a perfectly free disposal of his own doings and goings; for it has never fallen to my lot in my own doings and goings to be perfectly independent, nor to be invested with sufficient power to dispose and to order as I thought best. However, I thank God for that which He has bestowed upon me, and which must be considered as sufficient for the purpose" (i. 24). These lines seem to say that the author, both at Ghazna and in India, at Multān, Peshāvar, &c., had the opportunity of conversing with pandits, of procuring their help, and of buying books; that, however, in other directions he was not his own master, but had to obey a higher will; and lastly, that he was not a man in authority.
In another place (i. 152) he explains that art and science require the protection of kings. "For they alone could free the minds of scholars from the daily anxieties for the necessities of life, and stimulate their energies to earn more fame and favour, the yearning for which is the pith and marrow of human nature. The present times, however, are not of this kind. They are the very opposite, and therefore it is quite impossible that a new science or any new kind of research should arise in our days. What we have of sciences is nothing but the scanty remains of bygone better times." Compare with this a dictum quoted (i. 188): "The scholars are well aware of the use of money, but the rich are ignorant of the nobility of science."
These are not the words of an author who basks in the sunshine of royal protection. The time he speaks of is the time of Maḥmūd, and it is Maḥmūd whom he accuses of having failed in the duties of a protector of art and science imposed upon him by his royal office. Firdausī, in his satire (Mohl, i. préf. p. xlv.), calls [S. xvi] him "un roi qui n’a, ni foi ni loi ni manières" (royales); and he says: "Si le roi avait été un homme digne de renom, il aurait honoré le savoir," &c. It is most remarkable to what degree Firdausī and Alberuni agree in their judgment of the king. To neither of them had he been a Maecenas.
In the absence of positive information, we have tried to form a chain of combinations from which we may infer, with a tolerable degree of certainty, that our author, during the thirteen years of his life from 1017 to 1030, after he had been carried from his native country to the centre of Maḥmūd’s realm, did not enjoy the favours of the king and his leading men; that he stayed in different parts of India (as a companion of the princes of his native country?), probably in the character of a hostage or political prisoner kept on honourable terms; that he spent his leisure in the study of India; and that he had no official inducement or encouragement for this study, nor any hope of royal reward.
A radical change in all this takes place with the accession of Mas‘ūd. There is no more complaint of the time and its ruler. Alberuni is all glee and exultation about the royal favours and support accorded to him and to his studies. He now wrote the greatest work of his life,3 and with a swelling heart and overflowing words he proclaims in the preface the praise of his benefactor. Living in Ghazna, he seems to have forgotten India to a great extent. For in the Canon Masudicus he rarely refers to India; its chapter on Hindu eras does not prove any progress of, his studies beyond that which he exhibits in the Ινδικα, and at the end of it he is even capable of confounding the era [S. xvii] of the astronomers, as used in the Khaṇḍakhādyaka of Brahmagupta, with the Guptakāla.
3 The Canon Masudicus, extant in four good copies in European libraries, waits for the patronage of some Academy of Sciences or some Government, and for the combination of two scholars, an astronomer and an Arabic philologist, for the purpose of an edition and translation.
The author’s interest in India.
If the author and his countrymen had suffered and were still suffering from the oppression of King Maḥmūd, the Hindus were in the same position, and perhaps it was this community of mishap which inspired him with sympathy for them. And certainly the Hindus and their world of thought have, a paramount, fascinating interest for him, and he inquires with the greatest predilection into every Indian subject, howsoever heathenish it may be, as though he were treating of the most important questions for the souls of Muhammadans,—of free-will and predestination, of future reward and punishment, of the creation or eternity of the Word of God, &c. To Maḥmūd the Hindus were infidels, to be dispatched to hell as soon as they refused to be plundered. To go on expeditions and to fill the treasury with gold, not to make lasting conquests of territories, was the real object of his famous expeditions; and it was with this view that he cut his way through enormous distances to the richest temples of India at Taneshar, Mathurā, Kanoj, and Somanāth.
To Alberuni the Hindus were excellent philosophers, good mathematicians and astronomers, though he naïvely believes himself to be superior to them, and disdains to be put on a level with them (i. 23).4 He does not conceal whatever he considers wrong and unpractical with them, but he duly appreciates their mental achievements, takes the greatest pains to appropriate them to himself, even such as could not be of any use to him or to his readers, e.g. Sanskrit metrics; and whenever he hits upon something that is noble and grand both in science and in practical life, he never fails to lay it before his readers with warm-hearted words of approbation. Speaking of the construction of the ponds at holy bathing-places, he says: "In this [S. xviii] they have attained a very high degree of art, so that our people (the Muslims), when they see them, wonder at them, and are unable to describe them, much less to construct anything like them" (ii. 144).
4 For a similar trait of self-confidence cf . i. 277, last lines.
Apparently Alberuni felt a strong inclination towards Indian philosophy. He seems to have thought that the philosophers both in ancient Greece and India, whom he most carefully and repeatedly distinguishes from the ignorant, image-loving crowd, held in reality the very same ideas, the same as seem to have been his own, i.e. those of a pure monotheism; that, in fact, originally all men were alike pure and virtuous, worshipping one sole Almighty God, but that the dark passions of the crowd in the course of time had given rise to the difference of religion, of philosophical and political persuasions, and of idolatry. "The first cause of idolatry was the desire of commemorating the dead and of consoling the living; but on this basis it has developed, and has finally become a foul and pernicious abuse" (i. 124).
He seems to have revelled in the pure theories of the Bhagavadgītā, and it deserves to be noticed that he twice mentions the saying of Vyāsa, "Learn twenty-five (i.e., the elements of existence) by distinctions, &c. Afterwards adhere to whatever religion you like; your end will be salvation" (i. 44, and also i. 104). In one case he even goes so far as to speak of Hindu scholars as "enjoying the help of God," which to a Muslim means as much as inspired by God, guided by divine inspiration (ii. 108). These words are an addition of the author’s in his paraphrase of the Brihatsaṃhitā of Varāhamihira, v. 8. There can be scarcely any doubt that Muslims of later times would have found fault with him for going to such length in his interest for those heathenish doctrines, and it is a singular fact that Alberuni wrote under a prince who burned and impaled the Karmatians (cf . note to i. 31).
Still he, was a Muslim; whether Sunnī or Shī‘a [S. xix] cannot be gathered from the Ινδικα. He sometimes takes an occasion for pointing out to the reader the superiority of Islam over Brahmanic India. He contrasts the democratic equality of men with the castes of India, the matrimonial law of Islam with degraded forms of it in India, the cleanliness and decency of Muslims with filthy customs of the Hindus. With all this, his recognition of Islam is not without a tacit reserve. He dares not attack Islam, but he attacks the Arabs. In his work on chronology he reproaches the ancient Muslims with having destroyed the civilisation of Eran, and gives us to understand that the ancient Arabs were certainly nothing better than the Zoroastrian Eranians. So too in the Ινδικα, whenever he speaks of a dark side in Hindu life, he at once turns round sharply to compare the manners of the ancient Arabs, and to declare that they were quite as bad, if not worse. This could only be meant as a hint to the Muslim reader not to be too haughty towards the poor bewildered Hindu, trodden down by the savage hordes of King Maḥmūd, and not to forget that the founders of Islam, too, were .certainly no angels.
The author’s character.
Independent in his thoughts about religion and philosophy, he is a friend of clear, determined, and manly words. He abhors half-truths, veiled words, and wavering action. Everywhere he comes forward as a champion of his conviction with the courage of a man. As in religion and philosophy, so too in politics. There are some remarkable sentences of political philosophy in the introductions to chapters ix. and lxxi. As a politician of a highly conservative stamp, he stands up for throne and altar, and declares that "their union represents the highest development of human society, all that men can possibly desire" (i. 99). He is capable of admiring the mildness of the law of the Gospel: "To offer to him who has beaten your cheek the other cheek also, to bless your enemy and to pray for him. Upon [S. xx] my life, this is a noble philosophy; but the people of this world are not all philosophers. Most of them are ignorant and erring, who cannot be kept on the straight road save by the sword and the whip. And, indeed, ever since Constantine the Victorious became a Christian, both sword and whip have ever been employed, for without them it would be impossible to rule" (ii. 161). Although a scholar by profession, he is capable of taking the practical side of a case, and he applauds the Khalif Mu‘āviya for having sold the golden gods of Sicily to the princes of Sindh for money’s worth, instead of destroying them as heathen abominations, as bigoted Muslims would probably have liked him to do. His preaching the union of throne and altar does not prevent him from speaking with undisguised contempt of the "preconcerted tricks of the priests" having the purpose of enthralling the ignorant crowd (i. 123).
He is a stern judge both of himself and of others. Himself perfectly sincere, it is sincerity which he demands from others. Whenever he does not fully understand a subject, or only knows part of it, he will at once tell the reader so, either asking the reader’s pardon for his ignorance, or promising, though a man of fifty-eight years, to continue his labours and to publish their results in time, as though he were acting under a moral responsibility to the public. He always sharply draws the limits of his knowledge; and although he has only a smattering of the metrical system of the Hindus, he communicates whatever little he knows, guided by the principle that the best must not be the enemy of the better (i. 200, 6–9), as though he were afraid that he should not live long enough to finish the study in question. He is not a friend of those who hate to avow their ignorance by a frank "I do not know" (i. 177), and he is roused to strong indignation whenever he meets with want of sincerity. If Brahmagupta teaches two theories of the eclipses, the popular [S. xxi] one of the dragon Rāhu’s devouring the luminous body, and the scientific one, he certainly committed the sin against conscience from undue concessions to the priests of the nation, and from fear of a fate like that which befell Socrates when he came into collision with the persuasions of the majority of his countrymen. Cf. chapter lix. In another place he accuses Brahmagupta of injustice and rudeness to his predecessor, Aryabhaṭa (i. 376). He finds in the works of Varāhamihira by the side of honest scientific work sentences which sound to him "like the ravings of a madman" (ii. 117), but he is kind enough to suggest that behind those passages there is perhaps an esoteric meaning, unknown to him, but more to the credit of the author. When, however, Varāhamihira seems to exceed all limits of common sense, Alberuni thinks that "to such things silence is the only proper answer" (ii. 114).
His professional zeal, and the principle that learning is the fruit of repetition (ii. 198), sometimes induce him to indulge in repetitions, and his thorough honesty sometimes misleads him to use harsh and even rude words. He cordially hates the verbosity of Indian authors or versifiers,5 who use lots of words where a single one would be sufficient. He calls it "mere nonsense—a means of keeping people in the dark and throwing an air of mystery about the subject. And in any case this copiousness (of words denoting the same thing) offers painful difficulties to those who want to learn the whole language, and only results in a sheer waste of time" (i. 229, 299, 19). He twice explains the origin of the Dībajat, i.e. Maledives and Laccadives (i. 233; ii. 106), twice the configuration of the borders of the Indian Ocean (i. 197, 270).
5 Cf . his sarcasms on the versifying bias of Hindu authors, i. 137.
Whenever he suspects humbug, he is not backward in calling it by the right name. Thinking of the horrid practices of Rasāyana, i.e. the art of making gold, of [S. xxii] making old people young, &c., he bursts out into sarcastic words which are more coarse in the original than in my translation (i. 189). In eloquent words he utters his indignation on the same subject (i. 193): "The greediness of the ignorant Hindu princes for gold-making does not know any limit," &c. There is a spark of grim humour in his words on i. 237, where he criticises the cosmographic ravings of a Hindu author: "We, on our part, found it already troublesome enough to enumerate all the seven seas, together with the seven earths, and now this author thinks he can make the subject more easy and pleasant to us by inventing some more earths below those already enumerated by ourselves!" And when jugglers from Kanoj lectured to him on chronology, the stern scholar seems to have been moved to something like a grin. "I used great care in examining every single one of them, in repeating the same questions at different times in a different order and context. But lo! what different answers did I get! God is all-wise" (ii. 129).
The tendency of his work.
In the opening of his book Alberuni gives an account of the circumstances which suggested to him the idea of writing the Ινδικα. Once the conversation with a friend of his, else unknown, ran on the then existing literature on the history of religion and philosophy, its merits and demerits. When, in particular, the literature on the belief of the Hindus came to be criticised, Alberuni maintained that all of it was second-hand and thoroughly uncritical. To verify the matter, his friend once more examines the books in question, which results in his agreeing with our author, and his asking him to fill up this gap in the Arabic literature of the time. The book he has produced is not a polemical one. He will not convert the Hindus, nor lend a direct help to missionary zealots. He will simply describe Hinduism, without identifying himself with it. He takes care to inform the reader that he is not responsible [S. xxiii] for whatsoever repugnant detail he has to relate, but the Hindus themselves. He gives a repertory of information on Indian subjects, destined for the use of those who lived in peaceable intercourse with them, and wished to have an insight into their mode and world of thought (i. 7; ii. 246).
The author has nothing in common with the Muhammadan Ghāzī who wanted to convert the Hindus or to kill them, and his book scarcely reminds the reader of the incessant war between Islam and India, during which it had been prepared, and by which the possibility of writing such a book had first been given. It is like a magic island of quiet, impartial research in the midst of a world of clashing swords, burning towns, and plundered temples. The object which the author had in view, and never for a moment lost sight of, was to afford the necessary information and training to "any one (in Islam) who wants to converse with the Hindus, and to discuss with them questions of religion, science, or literature, on the very basis of their own civilisation" (ii. 246).
The author and his readers.
It is difficult to say what kind of readers Alberuni had, or expected to have, not only for the Ινδικα but for all his other publications on Indian subjects. Probably educated, and not bigoted or fanatical Muslims in Sindh, in parts of the Panjab, where they were living by the side of Hindus and in daily intercourse with them; perhaps, also, for such in Kabul, the suburb of which had still a Hindu population in the second half of the tenth century, Ghazna, and other parts of Afghanistan. When speaking of the Pulisasiddhānta, a standard work on astronomy, he says: "A translation of his (Pulisa’s) whole work into Arabic has not hitherto yet been undertaken, because in his mathematical problems there is an evident religious and theological tendency"6 (i. 375). He [S. xxiv] does not tell us what this particular tendency was to which the readers objected, but we learn so much from this note that in his time, and probably also in his neighbourhood, there were circles of educated men who had an interest in getting the scientific works of India translated into Arabic, who at the same time were sufficiently familiar with the subject-matter to criticise the various representations of the same subject, and to give the preference to one, to the exclusion of another. That our author had a certain public among Hindus seems to be indicated by the fact that he composed some publications for people in Kashmīr; cf . preface to the edition of the text, p. xx. These relations to Kashmīr are very difficult to understand, as Muslims had not yet conquered the country, nor entered it to any extent, and as the author himself (i. 206) relates that it was closed to intercourse with all strangers save a few Jews. Whatever the interest of Muslims for the literature of and on India may have been, we are under the impression that this kind of literature has never taken deep root; for after Alberuni’s death, in A.D. 1048, there is no more original work in this field; and even Alberuni, when he wrote, was quite alone in the field. Enumerating the difficulties which beset his study of India, he says: "I found it very hard to work into the subject, although I have a great liking for it, in which respect I stand quite alone in my time," &c. (i. 24). And certainly we do not know of any Indianist like him, before his time or after.
6 Alberuni does not seem to have shared these scruples, for he translated it into Arabic (cf . i. 154).
The author’s method.
In general it is the method of our author not to speak himself, but to let the Hindus speak, giving extensive quotations from their classical authors. He presents a picture of Indian civilisation as painted by the Hindus themselves. Many chapters, not all, open with a short characteristic introduction of a general nature. The body of most chapters consists of three parts. The first is a précis of the question, as the author understands it. [S. xxv] The second part brings forward the doctrines of the Hindus, quotations from Sanskrit books in the chapters on religion, philosophy, astronomy, and astrology, and other kinds of information which had been communicated to him by word of mouth, or things which he had himself observed in the chapters on literature, historic chronology, geography, law, manners, and customs. In the third part he does the same as Megasthenes had already done; he tries to bring the sometimes very exotic subject nearer to the understanding of his readers by comparing it with the theories of ancient Greece, and by other comparisons. As an example of this kind of arrangement, cf . Chapter v. In the disposition of every single chapter, as well as in the sequence of the chapters, a perspicuous, well-considered plan is apparent. There is no patchwork nor anything superfluous, and the words fit to the subject as close as possible. We seem to recognise the professional mathematician in the perspicuity and classical order throughout the whole composition, and there was scarcely an occasion for him to excuse himself, as he does at the end of Chapter i. (i. 26), for not being able everywhere strictly to adhere to the geometrical method, as he was sometimes compelled to introduce an unknown factor, because the explanation could only be given in a later part of the book.
The author’s critical mind.
He does not blindly accept the traditions of former ages; he wants to understand and to criticise them. He wants to sift the wheat from the chaff, and he will discard everything that militates against the laws of nature and of reason. The reader will remember that Alberuni was also a physical scholar, and had published works on most departments of natural science, optics, mechanics, mineralogy, and chemistry; cf . his geological speculation on the indications of India once having been a sea (i. 198), and a characteristic specimen of his natural philosophy (i. 400). That he believed in the [S. xxvi] action of the planets on the sublunary world I take for certain, though he nowhere says so. It would hardly be intelligible why he should have spent so much time and labour on the study of Greek and Indian astrology if he had not believed in the truth of the thing. He gives a sketch of Indian astrology in Chapter lxxx., because Muslim readers "are not acquainted with the Hindu methods of astrology, and have never had an opportunity of studying an Indian book" (ii. 211). Bardesanes, a Syrian philosopher and poet in the second half of the second Christian century, condemned astrology in plain and weighty words. Alberuni did not rise to this height, remaining entangled in the notions of Greek astrology.
He did not believe in alchemy, for he distinguishes between such of its practices as are of a chemical or mineralogical character, and such as are intentional deceit, which he condemns in the strongest possible terms (i. 187).
He criticises manuscript tradition like a modern philologist. He sometimes supposes the text to be corrupt, and inquires into the cause of the corruption; he discusses various readings, and proposes emendations. He guesses at lacunae, criticises different translations, and complains of the carelessness and ignorance of the copyists (ii. 76; i. 162–163). He is aware that Indian works, badly translated and carelessly copied by the successive copyists, very soon degenerate to such a degree that an Indian author would hardly recognise his own work, if it were presented to him in such a garb. All these complaints are perfectly true, particularly as regards the proper names. That in his essays at emendation he sometimes went astray, that, e.g. he was not prepared fully to do justice to Brahmagupta, will readily be excused by the fact that at his time it was next to impossible to learn Sanskrit with a sufficient degree of accuracy and completeness. [S. xxvii]
When I drew the first sketch of the life of Alberuni ten years ago, I cherished the hope that more materials for his biography would come to light in the libraries of both the East and West. This has not been the case, so far as I am aware. To gain an estimate of his character we must try to read between the lines of his books, and to glean whatever minute indications may there be found. A picture of his character cannot therefore at the present be anything but very imperfect, and a detailed appreciation of his services in the advancement of science cannot be undertaken until all the numerous works of his pen have been studied and rendered accessible to the learned world. The principal domain of his work included astronomy, mathematics, chronology, mathematical geography, physics, chemistry, and mineralogy. By the side of this professional work he composed about twenty books on India, both translations and original compositions, and a number of tales and legends, mostly derived from the ancient lore of Eran and India. As probably most valuable contributions to the historic literature of the time, we must mention his history of his native country Khwārizm, and the history of the famous sect of the Karmatians, the loss of both of which is much to be deplored.
On the origines of Arabic literature.
The court of the Khalifs of the house of Omayya at Damascus does not seem to have been a home for literature. Except for the practical necessities of administration, they had no desire for the civilisation of Greece, Egypt, or Persia, their thoughts being engrossed by war and politics and the amassing of wealth. Probably they had a certain predilection for poetry common to all Arabs, but they did not think of encouraging historiography, much to their own disadvantage. In many ways these Arab princes, only recently emerged [S. xxviii] from the rocky wilderness of the Hijāz, and suddenly raised to imperial power, retained much of the great Bedouin Shaikh of the desert. Several of them, shunning Damascus, preferred to stay in the desert or on its border, and we may surmise that in their households at Rusāfa and Khunāsara, there was scarcely more thought of literature than at present in the halls of Ibn Arrashīd, the wily head of the Shammar at Hāil. The cradle of Arabic literature is not Damascus, but Bagdad, and the protection necessary for its rise and growth was afforded by the Khalifs of the house of Abbās, whose Arab nature has been modified by the influence of Eranian civilisation during a long stay in Khurāsān.
The foundation of Arabic literature was laid between A.D. 750 and 850. It is only the tradition relating to their religion and prophet and poetry that is peculiar to the Arabs; everything else is of foreign descent. The development of a large literature, with numerous ramifications, is chiefly the work of foreigners, carried out with foreign materials, as in Rome the origines of the national literature mostly point to Greek sources. Greece, Persia, and India were taxed to help the sterility of the Arab mind.
What Greece has contributed by lending its Aristotle, Ptolemy, and Harpocrates is known in general. A detailed description of the influx and spread of Greek literature would mark a memorable progress in Oriental philology. Such a work may be undertaken with some chance of success by one who is familiar with the state of Greek literature at the centres of learning during the last centuries of Greek heathendom, although he would have to struggle against the lamentable fact that most Arabic books of this most ancient period are lost, and probably lost for ever.
Persian element in Arabic literature.
What did Persia, or rather the Sasanian empire, overrun by the Arab hordes, offer to its victors in literature? [S. xxix] It left to the east of the Khalifate the language of administration, the use of which during the following centuries, till recent times, was probably never much discontinued. It was this Perso-Sasanian language of administration which passed into the use of the smaller Eastern dynasties, reared under the Abbaside Khalifs, and became the language of literature at the court of one of those dynasties, that of the Sāmānī kings of Transoxiana and Khurāsān. Thus it has come to pass that the dialect of one of the most western parts of Eran first emerged as the language of literature in its farthest east. In a similar way modern German is an offspring of the language used in the chanceries of the Luxembourg emperors of Germany.
The bulk of the narrative literature, tales, legends, novels, came to the Arabs in translations from the Persian, e.g. the "Thousand and One Nights," the stories told by the mouth of animals, like Kalīla and Dimna, probably all of Buddhistic origin, portions of the national lore of Eran, taken from the Khudāināma, or Lord’s Book, and afterwards immortalised by Firdausī; but more than anything else love-stories. All this was the fashion under the Abbaside Khalifs, and is said to have attained the height of popularity during the rule of Almuḳtadir, A.D. 908–932. Besides, much favour was apparently bestowed upon didactic, paraenetic compositions, mostly clothed in the garb of a testament of this or that Sasanian king or sage, e.g. Anushirvān and his minister Buzurjumihr, likewise upon collections of moralistic apothegms. All this was translated from Persian, or pretended to be so. Books on the science of war, the knowledge of weapons, the veterinary art, falconry, and the various methods of divination, and some books on medicine and de rebus venereis, were likewise borrowed from the Persians. It is noteworthy that, on the other hand, there are very few traces of the exact sciences, such as mathematics and astronomy, among the Sasanian Persians. [S. xxx] Either they had only little of this kind, or the Arabs did not choose to get it translated.
An author by the name of ‘Alī Ibn Ziyād Altamīmī is said to have translated from Persian a book, Zījalshahriyār, which, to judge by the title, must have been a system of astronomy. It seems to have been extant when Alberuni wrote his work on chronology; vide "Chronology of Ancient Nations," translated, &c., by Edward Sachau, London, 1876, p. 6, and note p. 368. Perhaps it was from this source that the famous Alkhwārizmī drew his knowledge of Persian astronomy, which he is said to have exhibited in his extract from the Brahmasiddhānta, composed by order of the Khalif Ma‘mūn. For we are expressly told (vide Gildemeister, Scriptorum Arabum, de rebus Indicis loci , &c., p. 101) that he used the media, i.e. the mean places of the planets as fixed by Brahmagupta, whilst in other things he deviated from him, giving the equations of the planetary revolutions according to the theory of the Persians, and the declination of the sun according to Ptolemy. Of what kind this Persian astronomy was we do not know, but we must assume that it was of a scientific character, based on observation and computation, else Alkhwārizmī would not have introduced its results into his own work. Of the terminology of Arabian astronomy, the word jauzahar = Caput draconis, is probably of Sasanian origin (gaocithra), as well as the word zīj ( = canon), i.e. a collection of astronomical tables with the necessary explanations, perhaps also kardaj, kardaja, a measure in geometry equal to 1/96 of the circumference of a circle, if it be identical with the Persian karda, i.e. cut.
Indian elements in Arabic literature.
What India has contributed reached Bagdad by two different roads. Part has come directly in translations from the Sanskrit, part has travelled through Eran, having originally been translated from Sanskrit (Palī? Prākṛit?) into Persian, and farther from Persian into [S. xxxi ] Arabic. In this way, e.g. the fables of Kalīla and Dimna have been communicated to the Arabs, and a book on medicine, probably the famous Caraka. Cf . Fihrist, [S. 303.
In this communication between India and Bagdad we must not only distinguish between two different roads, but also between two different periods.
As Sindh was under the actual rule of the Khalif Mansūr (A.D. 753–774), there came embassies from that part of India to Bagdad, and among them scholars, who brought along with them two books, the Brahmasiddhānta to Brahmagupta (Sindhind), and his Khaṇḍakhādyaka (Arkand). With the help of these pandits, Alfazārī, perhaps also Yakūb Ibn Tārik, translated them. Both works have been largely used, and have exercised a great influence. It was on this occasion that the Arabs first became acquainted with a scientific system of astronomy. They learned from Brahmagupta earlier than from Ptolemy.
Another influx of Hindu learning took place under Harun, A.D. 786–808. The ministerial family Barmak, then at the zenith of their power, had come with the ruling dynasty from Balkh, where an ancestor of theirs had been an official in the Buddhistic temple Naubehār, i.e. nava vihāra = the new temple (or monastery). The name Barmak is said to be of Indian descent, meaning paramaka, i.e. the superior (abbot of the vihāra?). Cf . Kern, Geschichte des Buddhismus in Indien, ii. 445, 543. Of course, the Barmak family had been converted, but their contemporaries never thought much of their profession of Islam, nor regarded it as genuine. Induced probably by family traditions, they sent scholars to India, there to study medicine and pharmacology. Besides, they engaged Hindu scholars to come to Bagdad, made them the chief physicians of their hospitals, and ordered them to translate from Sanskrit into Arabic books on medicine, pharmacology, toxicology, philosophy, [S. xxxii] astrology, and other subjects. Still in later centuries Muslim scholars sometimes travelled for the same purposes as the emissaries of the Barmak, e.g. Almuwaffak not long before Alberuni’s time (Codex Vindobonensis, sive medici Abu Mansur liber fundamentorum pharmacologiae, ed. Seligmann, Vienna, 1859, pp. 6, 10, and 15, 9).
Soon afterwards, when Sindh was no longer politically dependent upon Bagdad, all this intercourse ceased entirely. Arabic literature turned off into other channels. There is no more mention of the presence of Hindu scholars at Bagdad nor of translations of the Sanskrit. Greek learning had already won an omnipotent sway over the mind of the Arabs, being communicated to them by the labours of Nestorian physicians, the philosophers of Harrān, and Christian scholars in Syria and other parts of the Khalifate. Of the more ancient or Indo-Arabian stratum of scientific literature nothing has reached our time save a number of titles of books, many of them in such a corrupt form as to baffle all attempts at decipherment.
Among the Hindu physicians of this time one ابن دهن is mentioned, i.e. the son of DHN, director of the hospital of the Barmaks in Bagdad. This name way be Dhanya or Dhanin, chosen probably on account of its etymological relationship with the name Dhanvantari, the name of the mythical physician of the gods in Manu’s law-book and the epos (cf . A. Weber, Indische Litteraturgeschichte, pp. 284, 287). A similar relation seems to exist between the names Kaṅka, that of a physician of the same period, and Kāṅkāyana, an authority in Indian medicine (cf . Weber, l.c., pp. 287 note, and 284 note, 302).
The name اطر, that of an author of a book on drinkables, may be identical with Atri, mentioned as a medical author by Weber, l.c., ح. 288.
There was a book by one بيدبا (also written بيدباة ) on [S. xxxiii] wisdom or philosophy (cf . Fihrist, [S. 305). According to Middle-Indian phonetics this name is = vedavyāsa.7 A man of this name, also called Vyāsa or Bādarāyaṇa, is, according to the literary tradition of India, the originator of the Vedānta school of philosophy (cf . Colebroke, Essays, i. 352), and this will remind the reader that in the Arabian Sufism the Indian Vedānta philosophy reappears.
7 Benfey in Kalilag und Damnag, Einleitung, p. xliii, note 3. The word has received currency? in the form Bidpai.
Further, an author سادبرم Sadbrm,8 is mentioned, unfortunately without an indication of the contents of his book. Alberuni (i. 157) mentions one Satya as the author of a jātaka (cf . Weber, l.c., [S. 278), and this name is perhaps an abbreviation of that one here mentioned, i.e. Satyavarman.
8 Cf . Benfey, l.c., Einleitung, p. xl.
A work on astrology is attributed to one صنحهل , SNGHL (vide Fihrist, [S. 271), likewise enumerated by Alberuni in a list of names (i. 158). The Indian equivalent of this name is not certain (cf . note to i. 158).
There is also mentioned a book on the signs of swords by one ناحهر , probably identical with Vyāghra, which occurs as a name of Indian authors (cf . i. Fihrist, [S. 315).
The famous Buddha legend in Christian garb, most commonly called Joasaph and Barlaam, bears in Fihrist, p. 300, the title بوباسف و بلوهر . The former word is generally explained as Bodhisattva, although there is no law in Indian phonetics which admits the change of sattva to saf . The second name is that of Buddha’s spiritual teacher and guide, in fact, his purohita, and with this word I am inclined to identify the signs in question, i.e. بلوهد.
What Ibn Wād. iḥ in his chronicle (ed. by Houtsma) relates of India, on pp. 92–106, is not of much value.
His words on [S. 105, "the king كوش = Ghosha, who [S. xxxiv] lived in the time of Sindbād the sage, and this Ghosha composed the book on the cunning of the women, are perhaps an indication of some fables of Buddhaghosha having been translated into Arabic.
Besides books on astronomy, mathematics, astrology, chiefly jātakas, on medicine and pharmacology, the Arabs translated Indian works on snakes (sarpavidyā), on poison (vishavidyā), on all kinds of auguring, on talismans, on the veterinary art, de arte amandi, numerous tales, a life of Buddha, books on logic and philosophy in general, on ethics, politics, and on the science of war. Many Arab authors took up the subjects communicated to them by the Hindus and worked them out in original compositions, commentaries, and extracts. A favourite subject of theirs was Indian mathematics, the knowledge of which became far spread by the publications of Alkindī and many others.
The smaller dynasties which in later times tore the sovereignty over certain eastern countries of the Khalifate out of the hands of the successors of Mansūr and Harun, did not continue their literary commerce with India. The Banū-Laith (A.D. 872–903), owning great part of Afghanistan together with Ghazna, were the neighbours of Hindus, but their name is in no way connected with the history of literature. For the Buyide princes who ruled over Western Persia and Babylonia between A.D. 932 and 1055, the fables of Kalila and Dimna were translated. Of all these princely houses, no doubt, the Samanides, who held almost the whole east of the Khalifate under their sway during 892–999, had most relations with the Hindus, those in Kabul, the Panjab, and Sindh; and their minister, Aljaihānī, probably had collected much information about India. Originally the slave of the Samanides, then their general and provincial governor, Alptagīn, made himself practically independent in Ghazna a few [S. xxxv] years before Alberuni was born, and his successor, Sabuktagīn, Mahmūd’s father, paved the road for the war with India (i. 22), and for the lasting establishment of Islam in India.
The author’s study of India before he wrote the present book.
Some of the books that had been translated under the first Abbaside Khalifs were extant in the library of Alberuni when he wrote the Ινδικα, the Brahmasiddhānta or Sindhind, and the Khaṇḍakhādyaka or Arkand in the editions of Alfazārī and of Yakūb Ibn Tārik, the Caraka in the edition of ‘Alī Ibn Zain, and the Pañcatantra or Kalila and Dimna. He also used an Arabic translation of the Karaṇasāra by Vitteśvara (ii. 55), but we do not learn from him whether this was an old translation or a modern one made in Alberuni’s time. These books offered to Alberuni—he complains of it repeatedly—the same difficulties as to us, viz., besides the faults of the translators, a considerable corruption of the text by the negligence of the copyists, more particularly as regards the proper names.
When Alberuni entered India, he probably had a good general knowledge of Indian mathematics, astronomy, and chronology, acquired by the study of Brahmagupta and his Arabian editors. What Hindu author was his teacher and that of the Arabs in pure mathematics is not known. Besides Alfazārī and Yakūb Ibn Tārik, he learned from Alkhwārizmī, something from Abulhasan of Ahwāz, things of little value from Alkindī and Abū-Ma‘shar of Balkh, and single details from the famous book of Aljaihānī. Of other sources which he has used in the Ινδικα, he quotes:
A Muhammadan canon called Alharḳan, i.e. ahargaṇa. I cannot trace the history of the book, but suppose that it was a practical handbook of chronology for the purpose of converting Arabian and Persian dates into Indian ones and vice versā, which had perhaps been necessitated by the wants of the administration under Sabuktagīn and Mahmūd. The name of theauthor is [S. xxxvi] not mentioned.
Abū Ahmad Ibn Catlaghtagīn, quoted i. 317 as having computed the latitudes of Karlī and Tāneshar.
Two other authorities on astronomical subjects are quoted, but not in relation to Indian astronomy, Muhammad Ibn Ishāk, from Sarakhs, ii. 15, and a book called Ghurrat-alzījāt, perhaps derived from an Indian source, as the name is identical with Karaṇatilaka. The author is perhaps Abū-Muhammad Alnāib from Āmul (cf. note to ii. 90).
In India Alberuni recommenced his study of Indian astronomy, this time not from translations, but from Sanskrit originals, and we here meet with the remarkable fact that the works which about A.D. 770 had been the standard in India still held the same high position A.D. 1020, viz., the works of Brahmagupta. Assisted by learned pandits, he tried to translate them, as also the Pulisasiddhānta (vide preface to the edition of the text, § 5), and when he composed the Ινδικα, he had already come forward with several books devoted to special points of Indian astronomy. As such he quotes:—
A treatise on the determination of the lunar stations or nakshatras, ii. 83.
The Khayāl-alkusūfaini, which contained, probably beside other things, a description of the Yoga theory, ii. 208.
A book called The Arabic Khaṇḍakhādyaka, on the same subject as the preceding one, ii. 208.
A book containing a description of the Karaṇas, the title of which is not mentioned, ii. 194.
A treatise on the various systems of numeration, as used by different nations, i. 174, which probably described also the related Indian subjects.
A book called "Key of Astronomy," on the question whether the sun rotates round the earth or the earth round the sun, i. 277. We may suppose that in [S. xxxvii] this book he had also made use of the notions of Indian astronomers.
Lastly, several publications on the different methods for the computation of geographical longitude, i. 315. He does not mention their titles, nor whether they had any relation to Hindu methods of calculation.
Perfectly at home in all departments of Indian astronomy and chronology, he began to write the Ινδικα. In the chapters on these subjects he continues a literary movement which at his time had already gone on for centuries; but he surpassed his predecessors by going back upon the original Sanskrit sources, trying to cheek his pandits by whatever Sanskrit he had contrived to learn, by making new and more accurate translations, and by his conscientious method of testing the data of the Indian astronomers by calculation. His work represents a scientific renaissance in comparison with the aspirations of the scholars working in Bagdad under the first Abbaside Khalifs.
Alberuni seems to think that Indian astrology had not been transferred into the more ancient Arabic literature, as we may conclude from his introduction to Chapter lxxx.: "Our fellow-believers in these (Muslim) countries are not acquainted with the Hindu methods of astrology, and have never had an opportunity of studying an Indian book on the subject," ii. 211. We cannot prove that the works of Varāhamihira, e.g. his Bṛihatsaṃhitā and Laghujātakam, which Alberuni was translating, had already been accessible to the Arabs at the time of Mansūr, but we are inclined to think that Alberuni’s judgment on this head is too sweeping, for books on astrology, and particularly on jātaka, had already been translated in the early days of the Abbaside rule. Cf . Fihrist, pp. 270, 271.
As regards Indian medicine, we can only say that Alberuni does not seem to have made a special study of it, for he simply uses the then current translation [S. xxxviii] of Caraka, although complaining of its incorrectness, i. 159, 162, 382. He has translated a Sanskrit treatise on loathsome diseases into Arabic (cf . preface to the edition of the original, p. xxi. No. 18), but we do not know whether before the Ινδικα or after it.
What first induced Alberuni to write the Ινδικα was not the wish to enlighten his countrymen on Indian astronomy in particular, but to present them with an impartial description of the Indian theological and philosophical doctrines on a broad basis with every detail pertaining to them. So he himself says both at the beginning and end of the book. Perhaps on this subject he could give his readers more perfectly new information than on any other, for, according to his own statement, he had in this only one predecessor, Aleranshahrī. Not knowing him or that authority which he follows, i.e. Zurḳān, we cannot form an estimate as to how far Alberuni’s strictures on them (i. 7) are founded. Though there can hardly be any doubt that Indian philosophy in one or other of its principal forms had been communicated to the Arabs already in the first period, it seems to have been something entirely new when Alberuni produced before his compatriots or fellow-believers the Sāṃkhya by Kapila, and the Book of Patañjali in good Arabic translations. It was this particular work which admirably qualified him to write the corresponding chapters of the Ινδικα. The philosophy of India seems to have fascinated his mind, and the noble ideas of the Bhagavadgītā probably came near to the standard of his own persuasions. Perhaps it was he who first introduced this gem of Sanskrit literature into the world of Muslim readers.
As regards the Purāṇas, Alberuni was perhaps the first Muslim who took up the study of them. At all events, we cannot trace any acquaintance with them on the part of the Arabs before his time. Of the literature [S. xxxix] of fables, he knew the Pañcatantra in the Arabic edition of Ibn Almukaffa.
Judging Alberuni in relation to his predecessors, we come to the conclusion that his work formed a most marked progress. His description of Hindu philosophy was probably unparalleled. His system of chronology and astronomy was more complete and accurate than had ever before been given. His communications from the Purāṇas were probably entirely new to his readers, as also the important chapters on literature, manners, festivals, actual geography, and the much-quoted chapter on historic chronology. He once quotes Rāzī, with whose works he was intimately acquainted, and some Sūfī philosophers, but from neither of them could he learn much about India.
His Sanskrit sources.
In the following pages we give a list of the Sanskrit books quoted in the Ινδικα:—
Sources of the chapters on theology and philosophy: Sāṃkhya, by Kapila; Book of Patañjali ; Gītā, i.e. some edition of the Bhagavadgītā.
He seems to have used more sources of a similar nature, but he does not quote from them.
Sources of a Paurānic kind: Vishṇu-Dharma, Vishṇu-Purāṇa, Matsya-Purāṇa, Vāyu-Purāṇa, Āditya-Purāṇa.
Sources of the chapters on astronomy, chronology, geography, and astrology: Pulisasiddhānta; Brahmasiddhānta, Khaṇḍakhādyaka, Uttarakhaṇḍakhādyaka, by Brahmagupta; Commentary of the Khaṇḍakhāyaka, by Balabhadra, perhaps also some other work of his; Brihatsaṃhitā, Pañcasiddhāntikā, Bṛihat-jātakam, Laghujātakam, by Varāhamihira; Commentary of the Brihatsaṃhitā, a book called Srūdhava (perhaps Sarvadhara), by Utpala, from Kashmīr; a book by Āryabhaṭa, junior; Karaṇasāra, by Vitteśvara; Karaṇatilaka, by Vijayanandin; Srīpāla; Book of the Rishi (sic) Bhuvanakośa; Book of the Brāhman Bhaṭṭila; Book of Durlabha [S. xl], from Multan; Book of Jīvaśarman; Book of Samaya; Book of Auliatta (?), the son of Sahāwī (?); The Minor Mānasa, by Puñcala; Srūdhava (Sarvadhara?), by Mahādeva Candrabīja; Calendar from Kashmīr.
As regards some of these authors, Śrīpāla, Jivaśarman, Samaya (?), and Auliatta (?), the nature of the quotations leaves it uncertain whether Alberuni quoted from books of theirs or from oral communications which he had received from them.
Source on medicine: Caraka, in the Arabic edition of ‘Ali Ibn Zain, from Tabaristan.
In the chapter on metrics, a lexicographic work by one Haribhaṭa (?), and regarding elephants a "Book on the Medicine of Elephants," are quoted.
His communications from the Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa, and the way in which he speaks of them, do not give us the impression that he had these books before him. He had some information of Jaina origin, but does not mention his source ( Āryabhaṭa, jun.?) Once he quotes Manu’s Dharmaśāstra, but in a manner which makes me doubt whether he took the words directly from the book itself.9
9 The places where mention of these books occurs are given in Index I. Cf . also the annotations on single cases.
The quotations which he has made from these sources are, some of them, very extensive, e.g. those from the Bhagavadgītā. In the chapter on literature he mentions many more books than those here enumerated, but does not tell us whether he made use of them for the Ινδικα. Sometimes he mentions Hindu individuals as his informants, e.g. those from Somanāth, i. 161, 165, and from Kanoj, i. 165; ii. 129.
In Chapter i. the author speaks at large of the radical difference between Muslims and Hindus in everything, and tries to account for it both by the history of India arid by the peculiarities of the national character of its inhabitants (i. 17 seq). Everything in India is just [S. xli] the reverse of what it is in Islam, "and if ever a custom of theirs resembles one of ours, it has certainly just the opposite meaning" (i. 179). Much more certainly than to Alberuni, India would seem a land of wonders and monstrosities to most of his readers. Therefore, in order to show that there were other nations who held and hold similar notions, he compares Greek philosophy, chiefly that of Plato, and tries to illustrate Hindu notions by those of the Greeks, and thereby to bring them nearer to the understanding of his readers.
Greek and other parallels.
The rôle which Greek literature plays in Alberuni’s work in the distant country of the Paktyes and Gandhari is a singular fact in the history of civilisation. Plato before the doors of India, perhaps in India itself! A considerable portion of the then extant Greek literature had found its way into the library of Alberuni, who uses it in the most conscientious and appreciative way, and takes from it choice passages to confront Greek thought with Indian. And more than this: on the part of his readers he seems to presuppose not only that they were acquainted with them, but also gave them the credit of first-rate authorities. Not knowing Greek or Syriac, he read them in Arabic translations, some of which reflect much credit upon their authors. The books he quotes are these:—
Timaeus, an edition with a commentary.
Leges. In the copy of it there was an appendix relating to the pedigree of Hippokrates.
Proclus, Commentary on Timaeus (different from the extant one).
only short references to his Physica and Metaphysica.
Letter to Alexander.
Johannes Grammaticus, Contra Proclum.
Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentary on Aristotle’s φυσικη ακροασις.
Apollonius of Tyana.
Porphyry, Liber historiarum philosophorum (?).
Ammonius. [S. xlii¦
Aratus, Phaenomena, with a commentary.
περι συνθεσεως φαρμακων των κατα τοπους.
περι συνθεσεως φαρμακων κατα γενη
Commentary on the Apophthegms of Hippokrates.
De indole animae.
Book of the Proof.
Pseudo-Kallisthenes, Alexander romance.
Scholia to the Ars grammatica of Dionysius Thrax.
A synchronistic history, resembling in part that of Johannes Malalas, in part the Chronicon of Eusebius. Cf . notes to i. 112, 105.
The other analogies which he draws, not taken from Greek, but from Zoroastrian, Christian, Jewish, Manichaean, and Sūfī sources, are not very numerous. He refers only rarely to Eranian traditions; cf. Index II. (Persian traditions and Zoroastrian). Most of the notes on Christian, Jewish, and Manichaean subjects may have been taken from the book of Erānshahrī (cf . his own words, i. 6, 7), although he knew Christianity from personal experience, and probably also from the communications of his learned friends Abulkhair Alkhammār and Abū-Sahl Almasīḥī, both Christians from the farther west (cf. Chronologie Orientalischer Vlker, Einleitung, p. xxxii.). The interest he has in Mānī’s doctrines and books seems rather strange. We are not acquainted with the history of the remnants of Manichaeism in those days and countries, but cannot help thinking that the quotations from Mānī’s "Book of Mysteries" and Thesaurus Vivificationis do not justify Alberuni’s judgment in this direction. He seems to have seen in them venerable documents of a high antiquity, instead of the syncretistic ravings of a would-be prophet.
That he was perfectly right in comparing the Sūfī philosophy—he derives the word from σοφια, i. 33—[S. xliii] with certain doctrines of the Hindus is apparent to any one who is aware of the essential identity of the systems of the Greek Neo-Pythagoreans, the Hindu Vedānta philosophers, and the Sūfīs of the Muslim world. The authors whom he quotes, Abū Yazīd Albistāmī and Abū Bakr Alshiblī, are well-known representatives of Sufism. Cf . note to i. 87, 88.
As far as the present state of research allows one to judge, the work of Alberuni has not been continued. In astronomy he seems by his Canon Masudicus to represent the height, and at the same time the end, of the independent development of this science among the Arabs. But numerous scholars toiled on in his wake, whilst in the study of India, and for the translation of the standard works of Sanskrit literature, he never had a successor before the days of the Emperor Akbar. There followed some authors who copied from his Ινδικα, but there was none who could carry on the work in his spirit and method after he had died, eighteen years after the composition of the Ινδικα. We must here mention two authors who lived not long after him, under the same dynasty, and probably in the same place, Ghazna, viz., Gardēzī (cf . note to ii. 6), who wrote between A.D. 1049 and 1052, and Muhammad Ibn ‘Uḳail, who wrote between A.D. 1089 and 1099 (cf. note to i. 5). Of the later authors who studied Alberuni’s Ινδικα and copied from it, the most notorious is Rashīd-aldīn, who transferred, e.g. the whole geographical Chapter xviii. into his huge chronicle.
India at the author’s time.
When Alberuni entered India, times were not favourable for opening friendly relations with native scholars. India recoiled from the touch of the impure barbarians. The Pāla dynasty, once ruling over Kabulistan and the Panjab, had disappeared from the theatre of history, and their former dominions were in the firm grasp of King Mahmūd and under the administration of his slaves, of Turkish descent. The princes of North-Western [S. xliv] India had been too narrow-minded, too blind in their self-conceit, duly to appreciate the danger threatening from Ghazna, and too little politic in due time to unite for a common defence and repulse of the enemy. Single-handed Ānandapāla had had to fight it out, and had succumbed; but the others were to follow, each one in his turn. All those who would not bear the yoke of the mlecchas fled and took up their abode in the neighbouring Hindu empires.
Kashmīr was still independent, and was hermetically sealed to all strangers (i. 206). Ānandapāla had fled there. Mahmūd had tried the conquest of the country, but failed. About the time when Alberuni wrote, the rule passed from the hands of Sa ˙ ngrāmadeva, A.D. 1007–1030, into those of Anantadeva, A.D. 1030–1082.
Central and Lower Sindh were rarely meddled with by Mahmūd. The country seems to have been split into minor principalities, ruled by petty Muslim dynasties, like the Karmatian dynasty of Multan, deposed by Mahmūd.
In the conditions of the Gurjara empire, the capital of which was Anhilvāra or Pattan, the famous expedition of Mahmūd to Somanāth, A.D. 1025, in some ways resembling that of Napoleon to Moscow, does not seem to have produced any lasting changes. The country was under the sway of the, Solanki dynasty, who in A.D. 980 had taken the place of the Cālukyas. King Cāmuṇda fled before Mahmūd, who raised another prince of the same house, Devaśarman, to the throne; but soon after we find a son of Cāmuṇḍa, Durlabha, as king of Gurjara till A.D. 1037.
Mālava was ruled by the Prāmāra dynasty, who, like the kings of Kashmīr, had afforded a refuge to a fugitive prince of the Pāla dynasty of Kabulistan. Bhojadeva of Mālava, ruling between A.D. 997 and 1053, is mentioned by Alberuni. His court at Dhār, [S. xlv] where he had gone from Ujjain, was a rendezvous of the scholars of the time. Kanoj formed at that time part of the realm of the Pāla princes of Gauḍa or Bengal, who resided in Mongīr. During the reign of Rājyapāla, Kanoj had been plundered and destroyed by Mahmūd, A.D. 1017, in consequence of which a new city farther away from the mlecchas, Bārī, had been founded, but does not seem to have grown to any importance. Residing in this place, the King Mahīpāla tried about A.D. 1026 to consolidate and to extend his empire. Both these rulers are said to have been Buddhists. Cf . Kern, Geschichte des Buddhismus in Indien, ii. 544.
The centres of Indian learning were Benares and Kashmīr, both inaccessible to a barbarian like Alberuni (i. 22), but in the parts of India under Muslim administration he seems to have found the pandits he wanted, perhaps also at Ghazna among the prisoners of war.
The author and Buddhism.
India, as far as known to Alberuni, was Brahmanic, not Buddhistic. In the first half of the eleventh century all traces of Buddhism in Central Asia, Khurāsān, Afghanistan, and North-Western India seem to have disappeared; and it is a remarkable fact that a man of the inquisitive mind of Alberuni knew scarcely anything at all about Buddhism, nor had any means for procuring information on the subject. His notes on Buddhism are very scanty, all derived from the book of Eranshahrī, who, in his turn, had copied the book of one Zurkān, and this book he seems to indicate to have been a bad one. Cf. i. 7, 249, 326.
Buddha is said to be the author of a book called Cūḍāmani (not Gūḍhāmana, as I have written, i. 158), i.e. Jewel, on the knowledge of the supranaturalistic world.
The Buddhists or Shamanians, i.e. śramaṇa, are called Muḥammira, which I translate the red-robe wearers, taking it for identical with raktapaṭa. Cf . note to i. 21. [S. xlvi]
Mentioning the trinity of the Buddhistic system, buddha, dharma, saṅgha, he calls Buddha Buddhodana, which is a mistake for something like the son of Śuddhodana. Cf . note to i. 40 and i. 380, which latter passage is probably derived from the Vishṇu-Dharma (on which vide note to i. 54).
Of Buddhistic authors there are mentioned Candra, the grammarian, i. 135 (cf . Kern, Geschichte des Buddhismus in Indien, ii. 520), Sugrīva, the author of an astronomical work, and a pupil of his, i. 156.
Of the manners and customs of the Buddhists, only their practice of disposing of their dead by throwing them into flowing water is mentioned, ii. 169.
Alberuni speaks (ii. 11) of a building erected by King Kanishka in Peshavar, and called Kanishkacaitya, as existing in his time, most likely identical with that stūpa which he is reported to have built in consequence of a prophecy of no less a person than Buddha himself. Cf . Kern, l.c., ii. 187. The word bihār, i.e. vihāra, which Alberuni sometimes uses in the meaning of temple and the like, is of Buddhistic origin. Cf . Kern, l.c., ii. 57.
Among the various kinds of writing used in India, he enumerates as the last one the "Bhaikshukī, used in Udunpūr in Pūrvadeśa. This last is the writing of Buddha," i. 173. Was this Udunpūr (we may also read Udannapūr) the Buddhistic monastery in Magadha, Udaṇḍapurī, that was destroyed by the Muslims, A.D. 1200? Cf . Kern, l.c., ii. 545.
The kosmographic views of the Buddhists, as given by Alberuni, i. 249, 326, ought to be examined as to their origin. Perhaps it will be possible to point out the particular Buddhistic book whence they were taken.
He speaks twice of an antagonism between Buddha and Zoroaster.
If Alberuni had had the same opportunity for travelling in India as Hiouen-Tsang had, he would easily have collected plenty of information on Buddhism. [S. xlvii ] Considering the meagreness of his notes on this subject, we readily believe that he never found a Buddhistic book, and never knew a Buddhist "from whom I might have learned their theories," i. 249. His Brahman pandits probably knew enough of Buddhism but did not choose to tell him.
Lastly, India, as known to Alberuni, was in matters of religion Vishnuitic (vaishṇava), not Sivaitic (śaiva). Vishṇu, or Nārāyaṇa, is the first god in the pantheon of his Hindu informants and literary authorities, whilst Śiva is only incidentally mentioned, and that not always in a favourable manner. This indicates a remarkable change in the religious history of those countries. For the predecessors of Mahmūd in the rule over Kabulistan and the Panjāb, the Pāla dynasty, were worshippers of Śiva (cf . Lassen, Indische Alterthumskunde, 3, 895), as we may judge from their coins, adorned with the image of Nanda, the ox of Śiva, and from the etymology of their names. Cf . note to ii. 13, and Lassen, l.c., 3, 9 15. The image of Nanda reappears a second time on the coins of the last of the descendants of King Mahmūd on the throne of Ghazna.
It was in the summer of 1883 that I began to work at the edition and translation of the Ινδικα, after having fulfilled the literary duties resulting from my journey in Syria and Mesopotamia in 1879 and 1880. A copy of the Arabic manuscript had been prepared in 1872, and collated in Stambul in the hot summer months of 1873.
In order to test my comprehension of the book, I translated it into German from beginning to end between February 1883 and February 1884. In the summer of the latter year the last hand was laid to the constitution of the Arabic text as it was to be printed. [S. xlviii] In 1885–86 the edition of the Arabic original was printed. At the same time I translated the whole book a second time, into English, finishing the translation of every single sheet as the original was carried through the press.
In 1887 and the first half of 1888 the English translation, with annotations and indices, was printed.
My work during all these years was not uninterrupted.
Translating an Arabic book, written in the style of Alberuni, into English, is, for a person to whom English is not his mother-tongue, an act of temerity, which, when I was called upon to commit it, gravely affected my conscience to such a degree that I began to falter, and seriously thought of giving up the whole thing altogether. But then there rose up before "my mind’s eye" the venerable figure of old MacGuckin de Slane, and as he had been gathered to his fathers, I could not get back the word I had given him. Cf. preface to the edition of the Arabic text, p. viii. Assuredly, to do justice to the words of Alberuni would require a command over English like that of Sir Theodore Martin, the translator of "Faust," or Chenery, the translator of Harīrī.
As regards my own translation, I can only say I have tried to find common sense in the author’s language, and to render it as clearly as I could. In this I was greatly assisted by my friend the Rev. Robert Gwynne, Vicar of St. Mary’s, Soho, London, whose training in Eastern languages and literature qualified him to cooperate in revising the entire manuscript and correcting the proof sheets.
Perhaps it will not be superfluous to point out to the reader who does not know Arabic that this language sometimes exhibits sentences perfectly clear as to the meaning of every single word and the syntactic construction, and nevertheless admitting of entirely different [S. xlix] interpretations. Besides, a first translator who steers out on such a sea, like him who first tries to explain a difficult, hardly legible inscription, exposes himself to many dangers which he would easily have avoided had kind fortune permitted him to follow in the wake of other explorers. Under these circumstances, I do not flatter myself that I have caught the sense of the author everywhere, and I warn the reader not to take a translation, in particular a first translation, from Arabic for more than it is. It is nothing absolute, but only relative in many respects; and if an Indianist does not find good Indian thought in my translation, I would advise him to consult the next Arabic philologist he meets. If the two can obtain a better insight into the subject-matter, they are very likely to produce a better rendering of the words.
My annotations do not pretend to be a running commentary on the book, for that cannot be written except by a professed Indianist. They contain some information as to the sources used by Alberuni, and as to those materials which guided me in translating. On the phonetic peculiarities of the Indian words as transcribed by Alberuni, the reader may compare a treatise of mine called Indo-Arabische Studien, and presented to the Royal Academy of Berlin on 21st June of this year.
My friend Dr. Robert Schram, of the University of Vienna, has examined all the mathematical details of chronology and astronomy. The results of his studies are presented to the reader in the annotations signed with his name. All this is Dr. Schram’s special domain, in which he has no equal. My thanks are due to him for lending me his help in parts of the work where my own attempts at verification, after prolonged exertions in the same direction, proved to be insufficient.
Of the two indices, the former contains all words of Indian origin occurring in the book, some pure Sanskrit, some vernacular, others in the form exhibited by the [S. l] Arabic manuscript, howsoever faulty it may be. The reader will perhaps here and there derive some advantage from comparing the index of the edition of the Arabic original. The second index contains names of persons and places, &c., mostly of non-Indian origin.
It was the Committee of the Oriental Translation Fund, consisting at the time of Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx, Edward Thomas, James Fergusson, Reinhold Rost, and Theodore Goldstücker, who first proposed to me to translate the Ινδικα. Thomas, Goldstücker, and Fergusson are beyond the reach of human words, but to O. de Beauvoir Priaulx, Esq., and to Dr. Rost, I desire to express my sincerest gratitude for the generous help and the untiring interest which they have always accorded to me, though so many years have rolled on since I first pledged to them my word. Lastly, Her Majesty’s India Office has extended its patronage from the edition of the Arabic original also to this edition of the work in an English garb.
Of the works of my predecessors, the famous publication of Reinaud, the Mémoire géographique, historique et scientifique sur l’Inde, Paris, 1849, has been most useful to me. Cf. on this and the labours of my other predecessors § 2 of the preface to the edition of the Arabic original.
The Sanskrit alphabet has been transliterated in the following way:—a, ā, i, ī, u, ū—ṛi, ai, au—k, kh, g, gh, ṅ—c, ch, j, jh, ñ—ṭ, ṭh, ḍ, ḍh, ṇ—t, th, d, dh, n—p, ph, b, bh, m—y, r, l, v—ś, sh, s, h.
BERLIN, August 4, 1888."
[Quelle: Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad <973-1048>: Alberuni’s India : An account of the religion, philosophy, literature, geography, chronology, astronomy, customs, laws and astrology of India about A.D. 1030. / an English ed., with notes and indices. By Dr. Edward C. Sachau [1845 - 1930]. -- London : Trübner, 1888. -- 2 Bde. ; 22 cm. -- Bd. 1. -- S. vii - l.]
Über den Herausgeber und Übersetzer:
"Sachau, Eduard, Orientalist, geb. 20.7.1845 Neumünster, gest. 17.9.1930 Wien
Das Studium der orientalischen Sprachen in Kiel und Leipzig schloss Sachau 1867 in Halle mit der Promotion zum Dr. phil. ab, ging 1869 als a. o. Prof. der semitischen Philologie nach Wien und wurde 1871 Ordinarius. Seit 1876 lehrte er in gleicher Stellung in Berlin und gründete 1887 ein Seminar für orientalische Sprachen zur Ausbildung von Beamten des diplomatischen Dienstes, das er bis 1920 selbst leitete. Sachau war seit 1887 ordentliches Mitglied der Preußischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und gehörte u. a. der British Academy und der Akademie der Wissenschaften in St. Petersburg an."
[Quelle: Deutsche biographische Enzyklopädie & Deutscher biographischer Index. -- CD-ROM-Ed. -- München : Saur, 2001. -- 1 CD-ROM. -- ISBN 3-598-40360-7. -- s.v.]
Siehe Übersetzung <Auszug>:
Payer, Alois <1944 >: Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858. 14. Quellen auf Arabisch, Persisch und in Turksprachen. 1. Zum Beispiel: 2. Kūfī, ʻAlī ibn Ḥāmid <13. Jhdt. A.D:>: The Chachnamah <Auszug>. Fassung vom 20080515. http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen142.htm
Kūfī, ʻAlī ibn Ḥāmid <13. Jhdt. A.D:>: The Chachnamah, an ancient history of Sind giving the Hindu period down to the Arab Conquest. / ranslated from the Persian by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg [1853-1929]. -- Karachi : The Commissioner’s Press, 1900. -- Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-15. -- Alle Zitate aus dieser Übersetzung.
"Chachnāmah is a Persian translation of an Arabic manuscript on the conquest of Sind by Arabs, written by Alī son of Muhammad Kūfī, originally of Kūfah (in Syria), but subsequently a resident of Uch, in 613 A. H. (1216 A. D.)"
[a.a.O. S. i.]
The Chachnāmah is the oldest history of Sind. It was at one time thought a romance, but ever since Elphinstone rehabilitated its real character, there has been no doubt as to its being a history. There have been, however, conflicting opinions as to the weight to be attached to it, and, it was, therefore, thought desirable to translate the whole of the book, as literally as possible, in order to enable historical students to settle this question for themselves.
The so-called translation by Lieutenant Postans in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (No. LXXIV, 1838 and No. CXI, 1841) is really no translation at all, as Sir H. Elliot has pointed out, (vide the History of India as told by its own Historians, Vol. I, p. 137); and Elliot's own extracts, though copious, are a very small part of the book. The present translation, therefore, is really the first, and in order to make it completely independent, the translator has not even looked at Postans' work or Elliot's.
The Chachnāmah is a valuable record for various reasons. It shows us, in the first place, that Buddhism was the dominant religion in Sind, in the 7th century. The word Samānī (originally Shrāman) occurs several times, and we are told of Buddha temples, Buddha monasteries, and even of Buddha extremists, who considered it against their religion to take up arms in their own defence against the Mussalmans. We, moreover, read of Buddhia "a district conterminous with that of Siwistan on the North" (vide Haig's work on the Indus Delta Country, p. 57), and a village in the Sukkur Taluka is still called Buddhia. We see also that the Buddhists and the Brahmans lived in amity, and the importance of this fact cannot be overestimated.
The Buddhistic records now available to us show that Asoka did not make Buddhism a State Religion. "There never was such a thing as a State Religion in India. Asoka certainly extended his patronage, formerly confined to Brahmans only, to the new brotherhood founded by Buddha, but there was nothing in India corresponding to a Defender of the Faith." (Vide "The Six Systems of Indian Philosophy" by Max Müller p. 34). The testimony of Megasthenes, who visited India in the third century B. C.—that is the century in which Asoka lived—points to the same conclusion. (Vide "Ancient India" by J. W. Mc Crindle 1877, p. 97, et seq.)
The Chinese pilgrim Fa-hian was in India from 399 to 414 A. D., and the celebrated Hiouen-thsang was there from 629 to 645 A. D. The fourth century of the Christian era has been called by Max Muller the century of the Renaissance of Sanskrit Literature, under Buddhist kings. The 7th was the century which saw the decay of Buddhism. But even in that century, Shilāditya Harshavardhana, (called also Harsha) of Kanyakubja, was a patron—according to Hiouen-thsang—alike of those who adhered to the Vedas and of those who worshipped Buddha; and his religious assemblies were attended not only by Shrāmans but also by Brahmans.
Hiouen-thsang is corroborated by the Harsha-charita of Banā who was not a Buddhist, and by the original author of the Chachnāmah, who was an Arab. We have thus Brahman, Buddhist, Greek, and Arab testimony as to the amicable relations subsisting between the followers of the two religions, up to the 7th century; and the testimony of the Arab, now given to the English-knowing world, for the first time, is, to my mind, of the greatest value.
The Chachnāmah further bears out all that has been said by Muir, in his History of the Khalifate, as to the principles followed by Mussalman rulers in the government of conquered nations. One of the most remarkable edicts mentioned in this book is that in which Hajjāj informed Muhammad Kāsim that, the subject population were not to be interfered with, in the exercise of their own religion, even if they worshipped stocks and stones. The Muhammadan rulers welcomed converts, but if any person chose to follow his own religion, he had merely to pay the usual poll-tax (Jizia), and, on such payment, was free to follow it. Of course it not seldom happened that this law was not loyally carried out, but Muhammad Kāsim at least appears to have been true to it.
The Mahabharata and the ancient Smritis show that, in Hindu times, whatever wars took place, the tillers of the soil, were never injured; and it is pleasing to find that Muhammad Kāsim also, in his memorable campaign, made an exception in favour of the peasantry and of artisans. He, moreover, re-employed the Brahman revenue-collecting establishment of his Hindu predecessor, and allowed them a liberal percentage of their collections as their remuneration. The Brahman Prime Minister of Dāhar was installed as the Prime Minister of Muhammad Kāsim, and several Hindu chieftains, whose principalities had been guaranteed to them, became Muhammad Kāsim's allies and counsellors.
It is extremely doubtful if Sind could have been conquered at all, had these chiefs remained true to their king, and, curious as it may seem, it was ostensibly astrology that made traitors of them. For they said: "Our wise men have predicted that Sind will come under the sway of Islam. Why then should we battle against Fate." They thus indulged in that "excellent foppery of the world," by which "we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon and the stars, as if we were villains on necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves and treachers by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on." The result of course was disastrous.
But though these chiefs were very much to blame, the king himself was undoubtedly a greater sinner. It was he who, by the advice of a credulous minister, solemnised his marriage with his own sister, to prevent the working of a prediction. The marriage was not intended to be consummated, and, as a matter of fact, it was not consummated; but the impious ceremony nevertheless alienated from Dāhar not only his brother but all the best and bravest men in the land. The act was one of crass stupidity, and we have now in Sindhi, thanks to Dāhar, a word, Dāhiri, which signifies an unmitigated fool. The "juggling fiends" did not even "keep the word of promise" to his ear, and it was a just retribution that the very astrology which made him violate the sacred law, was pleaded by his faithless feudatories as a justification for deserting his cause.
It was, however, not merely the king and his nobles who failed to keep to the strait path of duty: the masses appear also to have degenerated. We have only a few passages in the Chachnāmah which give us a glimpse of the people, but these few record nothing creditable to them. At Debāl, a Brahman came forward to betray his countrymen; the Samānī of Nirankot, to save his precious head, entered into a private treaty with Hajjāj, and helped the Mussalmans, without the least compunction; and other Samānīs persuaded the people to submit, because, forsooth, the religion of Buddha was a religion of peace. We also read of a very large class, I mean the Lohana Jats, labouring under extraordinary disabilities. General Cunningham has identified the Jats "with the Xanthii of Strabo and the Iatii of Pliny and Ptolemy," and even fixed their parent country; but whether they came from the Oxus or from Kandahar, or from the steppes of Central Asia, and whether they and the Meds were descended from Ham the son of Noah as Muhammadan historians allege, or were the Jartikas and Madras of the Mahabharata, or the Dasyus of the Rig-Veda whom the Aryas called niggers in their day, it is certain that there were very large numbers of them in Sind, the Panjab, Cutch and Rajputana. In the 7th century, Sind and the Panjab formed a single kingdom, and the Chachnāmah records that, Chach, the great Brahman king, planted deodar and poplar trees on the northern frontiers of his dominions near Kashmere, and that Muhammad Kāsim saw those trees and planted some more. We also read that, the deceased husband of the fair but false Suhandi, the predecessor of Chach, had relations in Rajputana; and the ancient ballads of that country as well as Gujerat tell of many Rajput Chiefs who had kinsmen in Sind. There appears, indeed, to have been an ancient federation of Rajputs, a remnant of which we still have in the Kathiawar States. The attitude of Rajput Princes towards the Jats and the Meds does not appear to have been hostile, but Chach who was opposed by these tribes not only disarmed them but degraded them. They were not at liberty to wear silks or satins, or to ride on saddled horses, or even to wear shoes or a turban. They were to work as hewers of wood, and as spies and caravan-guides, and were always to have a dog at their heels. Under such treatment these tribes waxed so unruly and turbulent that Muhammad Kāsim compared them to "the wild men of Fars and of Mount Payeh."
As to the condition of women, we learn from the Chachnāmah that Chach married the widow of a Lohana Prince whom he had subjugated, that Suhandi, though she was the wife of a Rajput, kept some sort of pardah, and that Dahār's sister and other women of his family burnt themselves to death, in the good old fashion introduced by Rajput heroines. We are also told of a sorceress, who could "put a girdle round about the earth" in somewhat more than forty minutes, could bring fresh nutmegs from Ceylon in the twinkling of an eye, and, by means of her weird second sight, discover whether a person was alive on the face of the earth. The story of the tragic fate of Dāhar's daughters, after they wreaked their vengeance on Muhammad Kāsim, is well known. It has been considered apocryphal, but I do not propose to go into such debateable questions, in this introduction."
The Chachnāmah tell us next to nothing of the daily life lived in those ancient days, though we can gather from its pages that, besides Shrāmans and Brahmans, there were rich merchants, at least at Alor, that there were workers in marble who could make life-like statues, even equestrian statues, that the very powerful discus used by Dāhar with signal effect was probably of home manufacture, that there was a large class of artisans, and that the bulk of the population lived by agriculture. We read of a Buddhist monk who apparently knew the art of war, and there is little doubt that almost all the officials were Brahmans, even before Chach usurped the throne. There were also numerous temples, Buddhistic as well Brahmanic, which were frequented by the people, especially, on holidays, and which had large revenues. There was not a rack left behind of them, when the English assumed the government of the country.
The geographical information given by the Chachnāmah is of great value. But it would require a volume to do justice to that information, and to discuss the various theories that have been advanced as to the situation of the numerous places mentioned in this book. For the same reason, I do not propose to discuss the historical accuracy of the various events narrated in the Chachnāmah, or to choose between the conflicting versions of one and the same event occasionally given by the author, or, rather by the authors: for there can be little doubt that the original work in Arabic was composed by the Sakifī family, which settled down at Bakhar, and the pedigree of which is given in the Persian Translator's preface.
The Sakifī family appear to have been very industrious in collecting information about their kinsman Muhammad Kāsim's campaign. The sources of their knowledge may be classified as follows:—
- Arab historical lays, and ballads.
- Family traditions of the Sakifīs, recorded and unrecorded.
- Stories told by individuals whose names were forthcoming.
- Stories traceable to individuals of a certain class, e.g., Brahmans.
- What may be called the Flotsam and Jetsam of hearsay.
In addition to these, they probably had some memoranda of the correspondence between Muhammad Kāsim and Hajjāj, and perhaps the whole correspondence. All these materials appear to have been worked up into a consecutive narrative in Arabic, and that narrative was placed at the disposal of Ali Kūfī in the begining of the 13th century, by the Sakifī family. Ali Kūfī dealt with the narrative, to a certain extent, in the way in which the author of the Anwāri Suheli dealt with what are called Pilpay's fables. The story of Suhandi's love-making is an instance in point; and, perhaps, the analogue to the story of Potiphar's wife, in connection with Jaisiah's adventure is another. But if we except these two instances, and the metaphors used to describe sunrise and sunset, the language of Ali Kūfī is very simple, and I have little doubt that, though he paraphrased some passages, and added a few Persian "purple patches," he has faithfully rendered into his vernacular the bulk of the old Arabic manuscript.
Ali Kūfī's embroideries have the great merit of being transparent; and the historical student is, therefore, not likely to be misled by them. It is quite likely that he amplified the memoranda of Muhammad Kāsim's correspondence into long letters, but he could not have invented the Arabic verses which form an important part of the book. It may be noted here that, with the exception of the verses in the tale of Suhandi's courtship, which are in Persian, all the rest are in Arabic, and but for Mufti Sachedino's help could not have been translated at all. Ali Kūfī has besides preserving these memorabilia, stated fully who were responsible for certain stories. He has also indicated, in many places, by the heading "tradition," what I have called the Flotsam and Jetsam of hearsay. The natural bias of the Sakifī family and the inaccuracies almost inseparable from hearsay are, thus, the two great drawbacks, for which the fullest allowance must be made in appreciating the historical evidence now placed before the public.
Like many an old history, the Chachnamah is a "chronology of selfishness and pride." The only sturdy and earnest persons we come across are Muhammad Kāsim and Jaisiah. It has been said: "Time and space are but physiological colours which the eye makes, but the soul is light; and history is an impertinence and an injury, if it be anything more than a cheerful apologue or parable of my being and becoming." The Chachnāmah, most certainly, does not come up to this high standard, but it does enable us to see how "the whirligig of time brings in his revenges." It shows also that eventually we get the government we deserve.
Dhulia, 20th November 1900."
[a.a.O. S. iii ff.]
Teile der Übersetzung siehe:
Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858. -- 14. Quellen auf Arabisch, Persisch und in Turksprachen. -- 3. Zum Beispiel: Abū 'l-Faẓl ibn Mubārak <1551 - 1602> (ابو الفضل): Ā’īn-i-Akbarī (آئین اکبری)
- I.31-32. --http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen143.htm
- I.34 <Auszug>. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen144.htm
- II.19. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen145.htm
- III.5 - 14. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen146.htm
- III.15 <Auszug>. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen147.htm
Abū 'l-Faz̤l ibn Mubārak <1551-1602>: The Ā'īn- Akbarī / [by] Abū 'l-Faẓl 'Allāmī; translated into English by H. Blochmann [1838 - 1878]. -- 2nd ed. / revidsed and ed. by D. C. Phillott. -- Calcutta : Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1927-1949. -- 3 Bde : Ill. ; 25 cm. -- (Bibliotheca Indica ; work no. 61,270,271). -- Vol. 2-3: translated into English by H. S. Jarrett [1839 - 1919]; corrected by Jadu-Nath Sarkar. -- Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-15
The Ā'īn-i-Akbarī is the third volume of the Akbarnāma, by Shaykh Abū 'l-Faẓl, and is by far the greatest work in the whole series of Muhammadan histories of India. The first volume of this gigantic work contains the history of Timūr's family as far as it is of interest for the Indian reader, and the reigns of Bābar, the Sūr kings, and Humāyūn, whilst the second volume is devoted to the detailed history of nearly forty-six years of the reign of the Great Emperor. The concluding volume, the Ā'īn-i-Akbarī, contains that information regarding Akbar's reign which, though not strictly historical, is yet essential to a correct understanding of the times, and embodies, therefore, those facts for which, in modern times, we would turn to Administration Reports, Statistical compilations, or Gazetteers. It contains the ā'īn (i. e., mode of governing) of Akbar, and is, in fact, the Administration Report and Statistical Return of his government, as it was about 1590 A. D. The contents, therefore, of the Ā'īn are naturally varied and detailed.
The first of its five books treats of Akbar's household and court, and of the emperor himself, the soul of every department, who looks upon the performance of his duties as an act of divine worship, and who enters into the details of government, in order to create a harmonious whole. Vouchsafed as king with a peculiar light from on high, his person is prominently put forward as the guide of the people in all matters temporal and spiritual; in whose character and temper the governed find that rest and peace which no constitution can give, and in whom, as the author of a new and advanced creed, the dust of intoleration is for ever allayed.
The second book treats of the servants of the throne, the military and civil services, and the attendants at court whose literary genius or musical skill receives a lustre from the encouragement of the emperor, and who in their turn reflect a brilliant light on the government.
The third book is entirely devoted to regulations for the judicial and executive departments, the establishment of a new and more practical era, the survey of the land, the tribal divisions, and the rent-roll of the great Finance minister whose name has become proverbial in India.
The fourth book treats of the social condition and literary activity, especially in philosophy and law, of the Hindus, who form the bulk of the population, and in whose political advancement the emperor saw the guarantee of the stability of his realm. There are also a few chapters on the foreign invaders of India, on distinguished travellers, and on Muhammadan saints and the sects to which they respectively belong.
The fifth book contains the moral sentences and epigrammatical sayings, observations, and rules of wisdom of the emperor, which Abū 'l-Faẓl has gathered as the disciple gathers the sayings of the master.
In the Ā'īn, therefore, we have a picture of Akbar's government in its several departments, and of its relations to the different ranks and mixed races of his subjects. Whilst in most Muhammadan histories we hear of the endless turmoil of war and dynastical changes, and are only reminded of the existence of a people when authors make a passing allusion to famines and similar calamities, we have in the Ā'īn the governed classes brought to the foreground: men live and move before us, and the great questions of the time, axioms then believed in and principles then followed, phantoms then chased after, ideas then prevailing, and successes then obtained, are placed before our eyes in truthful, and therefore vivid, colours.
It is for this reason that the Ā'īn stands so unique among the Muhammadan histories of India, and we need not wonder that long before curious eyes turned to other native sources of history and systematically examined their contents, the Ā'īn was laid under contribution. Le Père Tieffentaller, in 1776, published in his‘Description Géographique de l'Indostan long extracts from the rent-roll given in the Third Book; Chief Sarishtahdār Grant used it largely for his Report on Indian Finances; and as early as 1783, Francis Gladwin, a thorough Oriental scholar, dedicated to Warren Hastings his "Ayeen Akberi," of which in 1800 he issued a printed edition in London. In his translation, Gladwin has given the greater part of the First Book, more than one-half of the Second and Third Books, and about one-fourth of the Fourth Book; and although in modern times inaccuracies have been discovered in the portions translated by him— chiefly due, no doubt, to the fact that he translated from MSS., in every way a difficult undertaking—his translation has always occupied a deservedly high place, and it may confidently be asserted that no similar work has for the last seventy years been so extensively quoted as his. The magnitude of the task of translating the Ā'īn from uncollated MSS. will especially become apparent, when we remember that, even in the opinion of native writers, its style is "not intelligible to the generality of readers without great difficulty."
But it is not merely the varied information of the Ā'īn that renders the book so valuable, but also the trustworthiness of the author himself. Abū 'l-Faẓl's high official position gave him access to any document he wished to consult, and his long career and training in various departments of the State, and his marvellous powers of expression, fitted him eminently for the composition of a work like the Akbarnāma and the Ā'īn. His love of truth and his correctness of information are apparent on every page of the book, which he wished to leave to future ages as a memorial of the Great Emperor and as a guide for enquiring minds; and his wishes for the stability of the throne and the welfare of the people, his principles of toleration, his noble sentiments on the rights of man, the total absence of personal grievances and of expressions of ill-will towards encompassing enemies, shew that the expanse of his large heart stretched to the clear offing of sterling wisdom. Abū 'l-Faẓl has far too often been accused by European writers of flattery and even of wilful concealment of facts damaging to the reputation of his master. A study, though perhaps not a hasty perusal, of the Akbarnāma will shew that the charge is absolutely unfounded; and if we compare his works with other historical productions of the East, we shall find that while he praises, he does so infinitely less and with much more grace and dignity than any other Indian historian or poet. No native writer has ever accused him of flattery; and if we bear in mind that all Eastern works on Ethics recommend unconditional assent to the opinion of the king, whether correct or absurd, as the duty of man, and that the whole poetry of the East is a rank mass of flattery, at the side of which modern encomiums look like withered leaves,—we may pardon Abū 'l-Faẓl when he praises because he finds a true hero.
The issue of the several fasciculi of this translation has extended over a longer time than I at first expected. The simultaneous publication of my edition of the Persian Text, from which the translation is made, the geographical difficulties of the Third Book, the unsatisfactory state of the MSS., the notes added to the translation from various Muhammadan historians and works on the history of literature, have rendered the progress of the work unavoidably slow.
I am deeply indebted to the Council and the Philological Committee of the Asiatic Society of Bengal for placing at my disposal a full critical apparatus of the Ā'īn and entrusting me with the edition of the text, for which the Indian Government had most liberally sanctioned the sum of five thousand Rupees. My grateful acknowledgments are also due to Dr. Thomas Oldham, Superintendent of the Geological Survey of India and late President of the Asiatic Society, for valuable advice and ever ready assistance in the execution of the work; and to Col. H. Yule, C. B., and to H. Roberts Esq., of the Doveton College, for useful hints and corrections.H. BLOCHMANN.
Calcutta Madrasah, 23rd September, 1873."
[Quelle: Abū 'l-Faz̤l ibn Mubārak <1551-1602>: The Ā'īn- Akbarī / [by] Abū 'l-Faẓl 'Allāmī; translated into English by H. Blochmann [1838 - 1878]. -- 2nd ed. / revidsed and ed. by D. C. Phillott. -- Calcutta : Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1927-1949. -- 3 Bde : Ill. ; 25 cm. -- (Bibliotheca Indica ; work no. 61,270,271). -- Vol. 2-3: translated into English by H. S. Jarrett [1839 - 1919]; corrected by Jadu-Nath Sarkar. -- Bd. 1. -- S. v - ix. -- Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-15 ]
"But whatever the verdict of those competent from linguistic knowledge and acquaintance with the abrupt, close and enigmatic style of the original to judge of the merits of the translation, no pains at least have been spared to render it a faithful counterpart consistently with a clearness of statement which the text does not everywhere show. The peculiar tone and spirit of Abul Fazl are difficult to catch and to sustain in a foreign tongue. His style, in my opinion, is not deserving of imitation even in his own. His merits as a writer have, in general, been greatly exaggerated. Omitting the contemporary and interesting memoirs of Al Badāoni, whose scathing comments on the deeds and motives of king and minister have an independent value of their own, the accident that Abul Fazl's works form the most complete and authoritative history of the events of Akbar's reign, has given them a great and peculiar importance as state records. This they eminently deserve, but as exemplars of style, in comparison with the immutable types of excellence fixed for ever by Greece and Rome, they have no place. His unique position in Akbar's court and service enhanced the reputation of all that he wrote, and his great industry in a position which secured wealth and invited indolence, fully merited the admiration of his countrymen. Regarded as a statistician, no details from the revenues of a province to the cost of a pine-apple, from the organisation of an army and the grades and duties of the nobility to the shape of a candlestick and the price of a curry-comb, are beyond his miscrospic and patient investigation: as an annalist, the movements and conduct of his sovereign are surrounded with the impeccability that fences and deifies Oriental despotism, and chronicled with none of the skill and power, and more than the flattery of Velleius Paterculus: as a finished diplomatist, his letters to recalcitrant generals and rebellious viceroys are Eastern models of astute persuasion, veiling threats with compliments, and insinuating rewards and promises without committing his master to their fulfilment. But these epistles which form one of his monuments to fame, consist of interminable sentences involved in frequent parentheses difficult to unravel, and paralleled in the West only by the decadence of taste, soaring in prose, as Gibbon justly remarks, to the vicious affectation of poetry, and in poetry sinking below the flatness and insipidity of prose, which characterizes Byzantine eloquence in the tenth century. A similar affectation, and probably its prototype, is to be found in the most approved Arab masters of florid composition of the same epoch, held by Ibn Khallikan's crude and undisciplined criticism to be the perfection of art, and which still remains in Hindustan the ideal of every aspiring scribe. His annals have none of the pregnant meaning and point that in a few masterly strokes, exalt or brand a name to all time, and flash the actors of his drama across the living page in scenes that dwell for ever in the memory. The history of nearly forty-six years of his master's reign contains not a line that lives in household words among his own countrymen, not a beautiful image that the mind delights to recall, not a description that rises to great power or pathos, nor the unconscious simplicity redeeming its wearisome length which lends such a charm to Herodotus, and which in the very exordium of Thucydides, in Lucian's happy phrase, breathes the fragrance of Attic thyme. His narrative affects a quaint and stiff phraseology which renders it often obscure, and continues in an even monotone, never rising or falling save in reference to the Emperor whose lightest mention compels the adoring prostration of his pen, and round whom the world of his characters and events revolves as its central sun. Whatever its merit as a faithful representation, in a restricted sense, of a reign in which he was a capable and distinguished actor, it lacks the interesting details and portraiture of the life and manners of the nation which are commonly thought to be below the dignity of history but which brighten the pages of Eastern historians less celebrated than himself, and are necessary to the light and shade of a perfect picture. His statistical and geographical survey of the empire which this volume comprises is a laborious though somewhat lifeless compilation, of the first importance indeed as a record of a past and almost forgotten administration to guide and instruct the historian of the future or the statesman of to-day, but uninformed by deductive comment and illustration which might relieve the long array of bald detail. His historical summaries of dynasties and events in the various Sūbahs under their ancient autonomous rule, are incoherent abridgments, often so obscurely phrased as not to be understood without a previous knowledge of the events to which they relate and his meaning is rather to be conjectured than elicited from the grammatical analysis of his sentences. The sources from which he drew his information are neven acknowledged. This of itself would have been of no moment and their indication might perhaps have disturbed the unity of his design had he otherwise so incorporated the labours of others with his own as to stamp the whole with the impress of originality, but he not seldom extracts passages word for word from other authors undeterred by the fear, or heedless of the charge, of plagiarism.
Such, in my opinion, is the reverse of the medal which represents Abul Fazl unrivalled as a writer and beyond the reach of imitation. The fashion of exaggerating the importance and merits of a subject or an author by those who make them their special study, especially when that study lies outside the common track of letters, inevitably brings its own retribution and ends by casting general discredit on what in its place and of its kind has its due share of honour or utility. The merit and the only merit of the Aīn i Akbari is in what it tells and not in the manner of its telling which has little to recommend it. It will deservedly go down to posterity as a unique compilation of the systems of administration and control throughout the various departments of Government in a great empire, faithfully and minutely recorded in their smallest detail, with such an array of facts illustrative of its extent, resources, condition, population, industry and wealth as the abundant material supplied from official sources could furnish. This in itself is praise and fortune of no common order and it needs not the fictitious ascription of unparalleled powers of historiography in its support. The value of the Aīn in this regard has been universally acknowledged by European scholars and it may not be out of place to quote here the opinion of the learned Reinaud on this work in his 1st vol. of the Geographie d 'Abulfeda, as it accurately represents its nature and worth and the style and quality of its literary composition.
L 'Inde musulmane nous offre, dans les commencements du xviie siècle, un ouvrage de compilation, qui est d'un grand intérêt pour la géographie; c'est le traité persan, composé par Aboul-Fazel, ministre de l' empereur mogol Akbar, et intitulé Ayyn-Akbery ou Institutes d' Akbar, par suite de l' intérêt qu' Akbar avait apporté à sa composition. L'empire fondé dans l' Inde par Babour, un des descendants de Tamerlan, avait pris, sous le règne d' Akbar, une grande extension et s' étendait depuis l' Afganistan jusqu 'au fond du golfe du Bengale, depuis l' Himalaïa jusqu'au Dekhan. Grâce à l'excellent gouvernement établi par Akbar, les provinces, pendant longtemps ravagées par les guerres intestines, avaient acquis une physionomie nouvelle. D'un autre côté, les vues libérales de l'empereur et de son ministre n'avaient rien de commun avec l'esprit étroit et exclusif qui caractérise l'islamisme, et ils avaient fait traduire en persan les meilleurs livres de la littérature sanscrite. Aboul-Fazel, se mettant à la tête d'une société de savants, entreprit une description géographique, physique et historique de l'empire, accompagnée de tableaux statistiques. Chacun des seize soubah ou gouvernements dont se composait alors l'empire mogol, y est décrit avec une minutieuse exactitude; la situation géographique et relative des villes et des bourgs y est indiquée; l'énumération des produits naturels et industriels y est soigneusement tracée, ainsi que la nomenclature des princes, soit idolâtres, soit musulmans, auxquels les soubah avaient été soumis avant d'être enclavés dans l'empire. On trouve ensuite un exposé de l'état militaire de l'empire, et l'énumération de ce qui composait la maison du souverain, etc. L'ouvrage se termine par un précis, fait en général d'aprés les sources indigènes, de la religion brahmanique, des divers systèmes de la philosophie hindoue, etc.
L'auteur, par une recherche d'érudition deplacée, a effecté le style des anciens auteurs persans; on a souvent de la peine à le comprendre. En 1783, Francis Gladwin, encouragé par le gouverneur général Hastings, publia une version anglaise abrégée de l'ouvrage.
H. S. Jarrett
[Quelle: Abū 'l-Faz̤l ibn Mubārak <1551-1602>: The Ā'īn- Akbarī / [by] Abū 'l-Faẓl 'Allāmī; translated into English by H. Blochmann [1838 - 1878]. -- 2nd ed. / revidsed and ed. by D. C. Phillott. -- Calcutta : Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1927-1949. -- 3 Bde : Ill. ; 25 cm. -- (Bibliotheca Indica ; work no. 61,270,271). -- Vol. 2-3: translated into English by H. S. Jarrett [1839 - 1919]; corrected by Jadu-Nath Sarkar. -- Bd. 2. -- S. vi - viii. -- Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-15 ]
Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858. -- 14. Quellen auf Arabisch, Persisch und in Turksprachen. -- 8. Zum Beispiel: ʻAbd al-Qādir ibn Mulūk Shāh, Badāʾūnī <1540 - >: Muntaḵhab ut-tawāriḵh <Auszüge>. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen148.htm
Badāʾūnī, ʻAbd al-Qādir ibn Mulūk Shāh <1540 - >: Muntaḵhab ut-tawāriḵh / by ʻAbdul Qādir bin-Mulūk Shāh, known as al-Badāonī ; translated from the original Persian and edited by George S. A. Ranking [1852 - 1934]. -- Calcutta : Baptist Mission Press, 1884 - 1925. -- 3 Bde. ; 22 cm. -- Vols. 2 and 3 translated and edited by W. H. Lowe [1848 - 1917] and Sir Wolseley Haig [1865 - 1938] respectively. -- Originaltitel: Muntakhab al-tawārīkh. -- Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-16.
Über dieses Werk:
"MUNTAKHABU-T TAWĀRĪKH; OR, TĀRĪKH-I BADĀŪNĪ OF MULLĀ 'ABDU-L KĀDIR BADĀŪNĪ.
THIS history, by Mullā 'Abdu-l Kādir Mulūk Shāh of Badāūn, is called by the author Muntakhabu-t Tawārīkh; but many others have compiled works under that title, and the name most frequently given to it in Hindūstān is Tārīkh-i Badāūnī.
Is is a general history of India from the time of the Ghazniīvides to the fortieth year of Akbar; and, in the reign of the latter, it is especially useful, as correcting, by its prevalent tone of censure and disparagement, the fulsome eulogium of the Akbar-nāma . Despite this systematic depreciation, it has been observed that 'Abdu-l Kādir's narrative conveys a more favourable impression of the character of Akbar than the rhetorical flourishes of the Court journalist. It concludes with lives of the saints, philosophers, physicians, and poets of Akbar's reign.
['Abdu-l Kādir, poetically styled Kādirī, was born at Badāūn in 947 or 949 H. His father, whom he lost in 969, was called Shaikh Mulūk Shāh, and was a pupil of the saint Bechū of Sambhal. 'Abdu-l Kādir, or Badāūnī as he is familiarly called, studied various sciences under the most renowned and pious men of his age, most of whom he enumerates in the third volume of this work. He excelled in music, history, and astronomy; and [S. 478] on account of his beautiful voice he was appointed Court Imām for Wednesdays. Early in life he was introduced to Akbar by Jalāl Khān Kūrchī, and for forty years he lived in company with Shaikh Mubārak, and Faizī and Abū-l Fazl, the Shaikh's sons. But there was no real friendship between them, as Badāūnī looked upon them as heretics, and his notices of them are couched in bitter sarcastic terms.] Badāūnī died at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The Tabakāt-i Shāh-Jahānī gives A.H. 1024 (1615 A.D.) as the year of his death.
Badāūnī was a very learned man, and was frequently employed by the Emperor to make translations into Persian from the Arabic and Sanskrit, as in the case of the Mu'jamu-l Buldān, Jāmi'u-r Rashīdī, and the Rāmāyaṇa; yet, notwithstanding this employment, for which he acknowledges he received, in one present only, 150 gold mohurs and 10,000 rupees, besides a grant of rent-free land, his distinguished patron receives no favour at his hands. He wrote a work on the Hadīs called Bahru-l asmār, and he composed a moral and religious work, entitled Najātu-r Rashīd, which he wrote at the suggestion of his friend Nizāmu-d dīn Ahmad, the historian, and which he must have completed very late in life, because the Muntakhabu-t Tawārīkh is mentioned in it. He also informs us that he translated two out of the eighteen sections of the Mahābhārata, and abridged a history of Kashmīr, which, under the annals of A.H. 998, is said to have been translated from the original Hindī by Mullā Shāh Muhammad Shāhābādī, —but apparently not the Rājā-taraṅginī, for the translation of that work is usually attributed to Maulānī 'Imādu-d dīn. According to Professor H. H. Wilson, there were frequent remodellings or translations of the same work, but amongst those which he notices he does not mention one by Mullā Shāh Muhammad Shāhābādī.
Many of the translations from the Sanskrit which were made [S. 479] about this period, and those of 'Abdu-l Kādir, probably, among the rest, appear to have been executed under the superintendence of Faizī, the brother of the minister Abū-l Fazl, and he is usually supposed to have been the first Musulmān who applied himself to the language and literature of the Brahmins; but this seems to be a mistake.
The aversion with which 'Abdu-l Kādir Badāūnī regarded the Emperor and his able ministers arose, as he himself frankly confesses, from his own bigoted attachment to the most bigoted of religions, in which it was apprehended that Akbar, with their aid and countenance, was about to introduce some dangerous innovations. He acknowledges, however, that he temporized, and never hesitated to make his own religious views subordinate to the primary consideration of self-interest [and it is evident that envy of his fellow-courtiers, and discontent with the amount of favour bestowed upon his own unappreciated merits, were ever present in his mind, and embittered his feelings].
Though the author of the Tārīkh-i Badāūnī professes to derive his information chiefly from the Tārīkh-i Mubārak-Shāhī and the Tabakāt-i Akbarī,—indeed, in a passage in the Najātu-r Rashīd, he calls his work a mere abridgment of the Tabakāt,—yet, contrary to the usual Indian practice, there is much more original matter in it than such a declaration would lead us to suppose, and the whole narrative, even when avowedly taken from his predecessors, is tinged with his peculiar prejudices, of which many traits will be found in the extracts which are subjoined.
The history ends with the beginning of the year 1004 A.H. 1595-6 A.D. ["The book was kept secret, and according to a statement in the Mir-ātu-l'ālam, it was made public during the reign of Jahāngīr, who showed his displeasure by disbelieving the statement of Badāūnī's children, that they had been unaware of the existence of the book. The Tūzak-ī Jahāngīrī unfortunately [S. 480] says nothing about this circumstance; but Badāūnī's work was certainly not known in A.H. 1025, the tenth year of Jahāngīr's reign, in which year the Ma-āsir-i Rahīmī was written, whose author complains of the want of a history beside the Tabakāt and the Akbar-nāma."]
The author gives the following account of his own work: "The writer, 'Abdu-l-Kādir Mulūk Shāh Badāūnī, in obedience to the orders of His Majesty King Akbar, finished the abstract of the history of Kashmīr in the year A.H. 999, which, at the request of the same monarch, was translated from Hindī into Persian by one of the learned men of his time; but as I cherished a great love for history from my very childhood, and as it was seldom that my hours were not employed either in the reading or writing some history, I often thought of compiling a brief account of the kings of Dehlī, beginning from the commencement of the Muhammadan rule in India to the present time. But circumstances gave me little opportunity of executing my design, and day after day I encountered numerous obstacles. Moreover, the scantiness of the means of subsistence obliged me to leave my country and friends, and thus the performance of the work was for a time suspended, until my excellent and beloved friend Nizāmu-d dīn Ahmad Bakhshī went to Paradise. Excellent as is the history composed by this individual, yet I reflected that some additions could possibly be made to it; and I accordingly commenced to abstract briefly the accounts of some of the great kings of India, from the historical works called Mubārak-Shāhī and Nizāmu-t Tawārīkh Nizāmī, sometimes adding my own observations. Great brevity has been observed in the style, and the use of figurative and flowery language throughout avoided. I have named this work Muntakhabu-t Tawārīkh. It is hoped that this history, the object [S. 481] of which has been to place upon record the deeds of the great Muhammadan kings, and to furnish the means of transmitting my own reputation to posterity, will rather prove a source of my lasting happiness, than tend to aggravate my misfortunes.
"As it is my intention to write only what is true, I hope that God will forgive me, if I should ever allow myself to descend to the relation of minute and trivial particulars."
At the conclusion, he says that it was at one time his intention to have added a history of Kashmīr, Gujarāt, Bengal, and Sind, and an account of the wonders of India; but as they had no necessary connexion with the history of the Dehlī Emperors, he changed his determination, and concluded his labours, in the year of the Hijra 1004, and as Nizāmu-d dīn died in 1003, it would appear that he was only one year employed upon this history. But the preface is not very explicit upon this point, and the meaning must be conjectured.
This is one of the few works which would well repay the labour of translation; but it would require a person to bring to the task a greater degree of knowledge of the Persian language than most Indian histories demand, as well as a thorough acquaintance with contemporary historians; for the author not only uses some uncommon words, but indulges in religious controversies, invectives, eulogiums, dreams, biographies, and details of personal and family history, which interrupt the unity of the narrative, and often render it a difficult matter to restore the broken links of connexion. Nevertheless, it must be confessed, that these digressions are the most interesting portion of his work; for rarely do the other obsequious annalists dare to utter their own sentiments, especially such as would be ungrateful to a royal ear, or to confess their own errors and foibles, as 'Abdu-l Kādir does with so much complacency and indifference. His own extensive knowledge of contemporary history also induces him very often to presume that his reader cannot be ignorant of that with which he himself is so intimately acquainted. He consequently slurs over many facts, or indicates them so obscurely, as frequently to compel a translator to supply the omissions from his own resources and conjectures.
The abstract of Indian history, from the Ghaznivide Emperors to Akbar—Akbar's history—and the Biographies of holy and wise men, physicians, and poets—each occupy about one-third of the volume, as will be seen from the subjoined abstract. Almost all the headings have been added on the margin by a copyist, the author giving very few, except the names of kings and others whose lives he records; yet these must be of some antiquity, as many copies concur in giving them in the same language and form."
[Quelle: The history of India, as told by its own historians : The Muhammadan period / edited from the posthumous papers of the late Sir H. M. [Henry Miers] Elliot [1808 - 1853], by John Dowson [1820 - 1881]. -- London : Trübner, 1867-77. -- 8 Bde. ; 23 cm. -- Bde. 4-8 Titel: " ... The posthumous papers of the late Sir H. M. Elliot ... edited and continued by Professor John Dowson." -- Bd. V. -- S. 477 -481. --Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-06]
Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858. -- 14. Quellen auf Arabisch, Persisch und in Turksprachen. -- 9. Zum Beispiel: 'Alī Ibrāhīm Khān: Tārīkh-i Ibrāhīm Khān (A.D. 1786) <Auszüge>. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen149.htm
"TĀRĪKH-I IBRĀHĪM KHĀN.
[ACCORDING to the author's statement in his Preface, “These wonderful events, forming a volume of warning for men of sagacity, are chronicled by the hasty pen of the humblest of slaves, 'Alī Ibrāhīm Khān, during the administration of the illustrious noble of celestial grandeur, the centre of the circle of prosperity, the ally of foe-crushing victory, the sun of the firmament of wisdom, the unfurler of the standards of pomp and dignity, the excellent prince bearing the highest titles, the privy councillor of His Majesty the King of England, the chief of mighty and magnificent rulers,—the Governor General, Charles, Earl of Cornwallis, may his good fortune last for ever!”
At the end of the volume we are informed that “this book, composed by the illustrious Nawāb Ibrāhīm Khān Bahādur, was completely written from beginning to end by the pen of Mulla Bakhsh at the town of Benares, and was finished in 1201 A.H. (1786 A.D.).
This work is very valuable for the clear and succinct account it gives of the Mahrattas. The whole of it was translated for Sir H. M. Elliot by the late Major Fuller, and is here printed with the exception of some unimportant passages, and the account of the battle of Pānīpat, which has been previously drawn from another work written by one who took part in the battle.
SIZE—6 inches by 4: 219 pages of 9 lines each.]"
[Quelle: The history of India, as told by its own historians : The Muhammadan period / edited from the posthumous papers of the late Sir H. M. [Henry Miers] Elliot [1808 - 1853], by John Dowson [1820 - 1881]. -- London : Trübner, 1867-77. -- 8 Bde. ; 23 cm. -- Bde. 4-8 Titel: " ... The posthumous papers of the late Sir H. M. Elliot ... edited and continued by Professor John Dowson." -- Bd. 8. -- S. 257. -- Online: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-06]
Es gibt eine unüberschaubare Anzahl von eigentlichen Geschichtsquellen, vor allem in Persisch:
"FIRMAN (an adaptation of the Per. fermān (فرمان), a mandate or patent, cognate with the Sanskrit pramāṇa, a measure, authority), an edict of an oriental sovereign, used specially to designate decrees, grants, passports, &c., issued by the sultan of Turkey and signed by one of his ministers. A decree bearing the sultan's sign-manual and drawn up with special formalities is termed a hatti-sherif, Arabic words meaning a line, writing or command, and lofty, noble. A written decree of an Ottoman sultan is also termed an irade, the word being taken from the Arab, irādā, will, volition, order."
[Quelle: Encyclopaedia Britannica. -- 11. ed. -- Vol. 10. -- 1910. -- S. 423]
Diese Quellen sind in den verschiedensten staatlichen und privaten Archiven, Bibliotheken und Museen verstreut oder befinden sich sonst in Privatbesitz. Vieles ist noch nicht ausgewertet.
Eine große Anzahl von Übersetzungen hierher gehöriger Quellen ist online zugänglich unter:
Persian Literature in Translation / The Packard Humanities Institute. -- URL: http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-06
Conermann, Stephan <1964 - >: Historiographie als Sinnstiftung : indo-persische Geschichtsschreibung während der Mogulzeit (932 - 1118/1516 - 1707). -- Wiesbaden : Reichert, 2002. -- XIII, 500 S. -- (Iran - Turan ; 5). -- ISBN 3-89500-291-7. -- Zugl.: Kiel, Univ., Habil.-Schr.
Conermann wertet folgende Quellen als repräsentativ aus:
"Übrig blieben etwa 40 Chroniken. Um das der Abhandlung zugrundeliegende Material für den Leser noch überschaubarer und für den Bearbeiter übersehbarer zu machen, habe ich in einem zweiten Schritt die Zahl der Texte auf insgesamt 23 reduziert. Neben den Arbeiten der im Bewusstsein der Zeitgenossen wichtigsten Chronisten sollte aus jeder historiographischen 'Gattung' - Memoiren, Reichschronik, historia universalis, von Akbar erbetenes Erinnerungsbuch, Geschichte der Muslime in Indien, Herrscher- und Notabelnbiographie - zumindest ein repräsentatives Werk Berücksichtigung finden. Insofern bildet die Quellengrundlage dieser Arbeit folgendes Schrifttum:
- Alle verfügbaren 'Reichschroniken':
- Ḥ'āndamīrs (gest. ca. 942/1535-6) Humāyūn-nāma
- Abū l-Fazl 'Allāmis (gest. 1011/1602) Akbarnāma
- Jalāl ad-Din Ṭabāṭabā'is (gest. nach 1045/1636) Pādšāh-nāma
- Muhammad Amin Qazvinis (gest. nach 1056/1646-7) Pādšāh-nāma
- 'Abd al-Ḥamīd Lāhauris (gest. 1065/1654-5) / Muhammad Vāriss (gest. 1091/1681) Pādšāh-nāma
- 'Ināyat Ḥāns (gest. 1077/1666-7) Šah Jahān-nāmā
- Muhammad Kāzims 'Ālamgīr-nāma
- Musta'idd Ḥāns (gest. 1136/1724) Ma'āsir-i 'Ālamgīrī
- Eine herrscherliche Autobiographie:
• Jahāngīrs (reg. 1014-1037/1605-1627) Tūzuk-i Jahāngīrī
- Die auf uns gekommenen vier 'Erinnerungswerke' aus der Zeit Akbars (reg. 963-1014/1556-1695):
• Gulbadan Bīgums (gest. ca. 1011/1603) Humāyūn-nāma
• Jauhars (gest. nach 995/1586-7) Tazkirat al-vāqi'āt
• Bāyazīd Bayāts (gest. 1000/159-2) Tazkira-yi Humāyūn va Akbar
• 'Abbās Ḥān Sarvānis (gest. bald nach 944/1586) Ta'riḥ-i Širšāhī
• Muhammad Baḥtāvar Ḥāns (gest. 1096/1685) Mir'āt al-'ālam
- Vier Darstellungen der 'Geschichte der Muslime in Indien':
• Nizām ad-Dīn Aḥmads (gest. 1003/1594) Ṭabaqāt-i Akbarī
• 'Abd al-Qādir Badā'ūnĪs (gest. 1006/1597-8) Muntaḥab at-tavārīḥ
• Firištas (gest. nach 1033/1623-4) Gulšan-i Ibrāhīmī
• Ḥafi Ḥāns (gest. ca. 1144/1731-2) Muntaḥab al-lubāb
Vier von den Reichschroniken unabhängig verfasste Herrscherviten:
• Mu'tamad Ḥāns (gest. 1049/1639-40) Iqbāl-nāma-yi Jahāngīrī
• Kāmgār Ḥusainīs (gest. 1050/1640-1) Ma'āṣir-i Jahāngīrī
• Ṣāliḥ Kanbūhs (gest. ca. 1085/1674-5) 'Amal-i Ṣāliḥ
• Īsardās Nāgars (gest. nach 1102/1691) Futūḥāt-i 'Ālamgīrī und schließlich
- Eine Notabelnbiographie:
• 'Abd al-Qādir Nihāvandis (gest. nach 1046/1637) Ma'āṣir-i Raḥīmī"
[a.a.O., S. 29 - 31; die Diakritika wurden hier teilweise vereinfacht]
Conermann, Stephan <1964 - >: Das Mogulreich : Geschichte und Kultur des muslimischen Indien. -- München : Beck, 2006. -- 128 S. : Ill. -- (Beck'sche Reihe ; 2403 : C.H. Beck Wissen). -- ISBN 978-3-406-53603-8
Schimmel, Annemarie <1922 - 2003>: Im Reich der Großmoguln : Geschichte, Kunst, Kultur. -- München : Beck, 2000. -- 459 S. : Ill. -- ISBN 3-406-46486-6. -- Hervorragende Darstellung aufgrund einer umfassenden Quellenkenntnis.
Zu: 1. Zum Beispiel: Abū 'r-Raiḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī (973 - 1048) (ابوریحان بیرونی): Kitāb tarich al-Hind ("Ινδικα"), Kap. XVI.