intimate friend of Akbar. Commissioned by
his style, though brilliant, is too rhetorical and involved to make a direct
appeal to the reader. It is also marked by the flattery of his patron whom he
considered a superman. On the whole, Abul Fazl cannot be regarded as a
fully objective and impartial historian.
MAJOR WORKS OF ABUL FAZL
Abul Fazl’s Akbar Namah is a voluminous work. After narrating the
history of the Mughal royal family from Timur to Humayun in the first
part, it deals with the history of Akbar’s reign, year by year, down to 1602
in the second part. It explains the reasons behind the measures taken by
the Emperor and covers every aspect of the history of the period.
Abul Fazl’s Ain-i-Akbari, which is sometimes seen as the third and most
important part of Akbar Namah, is the principal source for Akbar’s
administrative institutions. It deals primarily with Akbar’s regulations in
all departments and on all subjects and includes, besides some extraneous
matter, a valuable and minute statistical account of his empire with
historical and other notes.
There is a collection of Abul Fazl’s letters, Ruqqat-i-Abul Fazl, to Akbar
and members of the imperial family. This collection has been useful in
throwing light on several historical events.
Merits of Abul Fazl’s Works Very painstakingly, he laboured to collect
the material, interrogated a number of officials, nobles and other dignitaries
in order to collect first hand information on administration, social conditions
and on the economic life. His house became a huge record office. He took
care in getting almost all the official documents, reports of the ministers and
personally consulted the emperor on various matters. He was so keen that he
revised the original draft five times. The part on administration (Ain-i-Akbari)
was completed in 1593. In terms of the authenticity of information, the
variety of topics covered, the critical and analytical method adopted, the
sincerity of purpose displayed and the analysis and interpretation, it forms a
class by itself. It is a mine of information and deals with resources,
conditions, population, industry, trade and commerce, administrative
divisions of the empire into various subahs, etc. Abul Fazal attempted to