February 11, 2008

A Storehouse of Primary Sources (Persian) on Medieval India

One can find a store of original sources on Medieval India translated into English from Persian, and Urdu at The Packard Humanities Institute, Persian Literature in Translation. The site of Packard Humanities Institute declares, “The Packard Humanities Institute (PHI) is a non-profit foundation dedicated to archaeology, music, film preservation, historic conservation, and early education. PHI is located in Los Altos, California.”

There are some of the established sources like the book by Eliot and Dowson titled “The History of India, as Told By Its Own Historians” also available on the site.

I had not studied any major work on Medieval India for sometime by now. I have copies of works by Irfan Habib, J. N. Sarkar and Alam with me but most of my time is taken by Modern India and American history. I have many questions on Medieval Period of India which have remained answered because I did not have access to original sources or some better book. I have just studied one of the chapter by Abbas Khan Sarwani in his book Tarikh-i Sher Shahi”. From there I found the answer to a question which had remained in my mind since my graduation years. I had studied A. L. Srivastva and then J. L. Mehta in detail. I was highly impressed by the personality of Sher Shah Suri. However, in A. L. Srivastva, it was written the ancestors of Sher Shah Suri had come from Afghanistan in search of employment. I was never satisfied with the explanation given in there. Now, after reading Sarwani account I have learned that how Behlol Lodhi encouraged that migration.

One can find nearly 140 authors starting from 1100 A. D. to 1750 A. D. Khafi Khan is not included but there are Abu Fazal, Utbi, Yahya Ahmad Sarhindi, Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi, Nurul Haq Dehlvi, Muhsin Fani (it is a pseudo Name, I did not know.), Sultan Jahangir, Harcharan Das, Gulbadan Begum, Farishta, Firdawsi, Fayzi, Faqir Delhvi, Munsi Sujan Rai Bhandari, Budh Singh Hatri, Barani and many more.

I acknowledge that I have located this source on the site of Wikipedia.

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