Persian Historical Works
New Type of Historical Writing There is a marked change in the Muslim
historiography when we come to the Mughal period. A transformation in
outlook, treatment, technique and in the theme appears to have taken place.
The Sultanate period was one of probation which assumed a more or less
mature, sober and dignified objective turn in Mughal period. A new type of
history, dealing with the institutions of the people, the progress of civilization
and the growth of ideas emerged. Not merely professional historians but also
the main actors, namely the emperors themselves, emerged in writing a new
kind of history.
There is hardly any work in the Turkish language which could match Tuzuk-
i-Baburi or Babur’s own memoirs.
Likewise, we have his daughter writing Humayun Namah where Gulbadan
Begum excelled herself in bringing about an excellent piece of history about
her brother. Both these books are elegant in language, knowledge and in
Perhaps the most frank memoir was that of Jahangir, where he openly accepts
his follies and weaknesses in his own biography Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri.
Categories of Historical Literature Historical literature of this period is
prolific. Specialised and general histories were written close to chronicling.
The other types of literature of the period were: (1) Official records, (2)
Government records, (3) Biographies and memories, (4) Non-official
histories, (5) Local histories, (6) Collection of papers, (7) Gazzetteers and
official manuals, and (8) Literary works.
Abul Fazl The most important historical writer of the age of the Great
Mughals is Abul Fazl Allami. Born in 1550, he was murdered by Bir Singh
Bundela at the instigation of Prince Salim in 1602. His father, Shaikh
Mubarak, was a famous scholar and Sufi; he played an important role in the
development of Akbar’s religious views and policy. His brother Faizi, was a
poet-laureate in Akbar’s court. He was himself a first-rate scholar and writer,
a firm believer in eclecticism, an able and loyal servant of the state, a man of
extraordinary industry, and an