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Medieval India: Studies in Polity, Economy and Society Fourteenth-Nineteenth Centuries

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Item Code: HAN879
Author: Zakir Husain
Publisher: Primus Books, Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9789352907267
Pages: 554
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.5x6.5 INCH
Weight 832 gm
Book Description
About the Book

This volume contains wide-ranging surveys of various aspects of the history of India's medieval past. Based on a close scrutiny of the documents at the National Archives of India as well as private collections, the volume explores the Persian archival material, from the mid-fourteenth to the mid- nineteenth centuries, highlighting important (but little known) aspects of our past. Sufi texts are scanned for original administrative documents of the Tughluq period. A manual for the treatment of birds, and ecclesiastical positions under Firoz Shah Tughluq are some other rare finds. These essays also explore Humayun's wanderings around Kabul and the meticulous details of the preparation for the first Mughal expedition to Qandhar under Shahjahan. Some rare and unexplored material on the uprising of 1857 has also been included here for the first time.
The essays in the volume will be of immense significance to students of Medieval and early Modern Indian history. They have unearthed valuable information, generally missing from chronicles and other works of this period, thus providing a much needed corrective to much of current historical writing.

About the Author

Zakir Husain retired as Assistant Director (Oriental Records), National Archives of India, New Delhi. He is an alumnus of the Centre of Advanced Study, Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University, from where he obtained his higher education, training in shikasta script and archival research.
Besides contributing several research papers, based on the hitherto unknown Sultanate and Mughal official documents, he has edited several Catalogues of the Oriental Records and Acquired Documents at the National Archives of India. He has also published (in collaboration with Iran Culture House, New Delhi) critical editions of Shigurfnama-i Velayet, Razmnamah, Ilaju-ut Tuyur and Selections from Inayat Jang Collection.


Dr Zakir Husain has spent a whole career in tracking down and deciphering medieval documents, including such as have found their way into the National Archives of India as well as those that are still in private hands. Many of his personal finds have been of outstanding importance, shedding light on matters where formal historical sources are silent. Over the years he has written a series of papers on documents, mainly of Mughal provenance, but also some that have survived from the Delhi Sultanate. With eight exceptions, all of these papers were presented at the Medieval India section of the Indian History Congress and majority of them duly published in its annual Proceedings. I am very happy that he has brought them together and is making them available in a single volume with the addition of some illustrations.
I believe that this volume shows with remarkable success how vital archival sources are to add to, and sometimes correct, the information conventional texts supply us with. Sometimes they open an altogether new window for us. I am sure all readers would join me in commending Zakir Husain's dedication to the cause of archival research and savour some of its rich results.


The essays, spanning 665 years of medieval and modern Indian history, closely look at the dynamic cultural and social development of India in the Turko-Afghan and the Mughal periods. We have also examined the role of the Turko-Afghan and Mughal diplomatic pattern in the Appendix.
We have divided into nine sections the essays in this volume, which have been presented at various seminars and conferences.
Section I comprises chapters on antecedents during the Turko- Afghan period in India following the Ghaznavaids. 'Documents of the Tughluq Period in the Sururu's Sudur', 'Some Original Tughluq Documents and their Significance', "Ilaju't Tuyur. A Fourteenth Century Text on the Treatment of Birds', 'The Office of Sadarat-i Adalat under Firoz Shah Tughluq', as well as 'Facets of Agrarian Relations and Economy under the Turko-Afghans in a Region of Uttar Pradesh: Fourteenth to Sixteenth Centuries' have been of intrinsic value.
Section II illuminates the Mughal diplomatic, grantees, and the agrarian society. This is done by careful analyses of the suyurghal grants to the qazis through the significant documents of Babur and Humayun, which reached its zenith in the sixteenth century under Akbar. 'A Unique Farman of Mirza Kamran: Its Historical Significance' has been properly analysed together with surviving three unpublished farmans of Babur and Humayun.
Section III studies the documents of 'A Zamindar Family of Sarkar Mandu, Suba Malwa in the Seventeenth Century' side by side with 'A Family Collection of Documents from Mughal Times', which belongs to a family of the ninth imam who migrated in early thirteenth century from the Arabian Peninsula as the father and son duo, Saiyid Sharafuddin Ali died on 2 August 1250 of the ninth Imam, the renowned Shaikh Alauddin Asuli tutored Hazrat Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya in the early qawaid of Arabic as well as intricacies of Islamic sciences and jurisprudence respectively.

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