This is a very detailed and scholarly study of a minute but not uninteresting corner of mediaeval Indian history, namely Humayun's doings in Persia and Afghanistan as a discrowned fugitive from India. After the throne of Delhi had been recovered and the Indian empire had attained to undreamt of splendour under his son Akbar, the Mughal Court historians deemed it politic to slur over this temporary eclipse of their royal house, because Humayun in exile had not been treated as a full equal by his royal host in Persia. To this was added the eternal antagonism between the Shi'as and the Sunnis. Did Humayun in Persia find it expedient to make a confession of the Shi'a faith, and if so did he go to the full length of it? That is a question which the Delhi Court historians naturally try to ignore or leave clouded in vague rhetoric-while the Iranian writers on the other hand, very politely remain silent on the subject.
This question has been critically investigated in Professor Sukumar Ray's book. He has taken infinite pains in settling the dates and place-names of the Mughal Emperor's movements outside India, and he has for the first time brought all the known Persian and Indian writers on the subject together in one comprehensive review and judgment.
It is a sound and painstaking production, though the nature of the subject has denied to our author any brilliant episode or splendid personality, such as abound in the history of the reign of Akbar. A piece of honest scholarly work like this deserves to be printed and thus make available to students as a standard authority on one particular bit of Indian history.
Professor S. Ray has undertaken a full study of Bairam Khan, young Akbar's Lord Protector and of his son Abdu'r-Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, the brightest star of Hindustani poetry and Sufi philosophy at the Mughal Court. The present book is the necessary first step to the accomplishment of that most interesting work. I have gone through the book with the young author and heartily recommend it to those who love to read our country's past history.
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