Asrar i Samadi

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ASRAR - I - SAMADI, a Persian chronicle by an anonymous writer who is now identified as MunshiJot Prakash attached to the court of Nawab 'Abd usSamad Khan, the governor of Lahore from 1713 to 1726. Written around 1728, the work. which the author claims to be an eyewitness account of the events described, deals with the military expeditions of the Nawab. The only two extant manuscripts of the work, written in nasta'liq hand, are lying at the Panjab University Library, Lahore. The author describes himself as a muns/nat the court of Nawab 'Abd usSamad Khan, and states that he belonged to Kalanaur, now in Gurdaspur district of the Punjab, the beauty of the landscape of which he sketches in ecstatic terms. The work was edited by Muhammad Shuja' udDin and Dr Mohammad Bashir Husain and published at Lahore in 1965. Besides the preface, wherein the author sings glory of the Lord Almighty in elegant and florid Persian, the work has seven short chapters describing the Nawab's victories in a series of battles. In the first chapter occurs an account of the stubborn resistance offered by Banda Singh and his Sikhs from inside the fortress of GurdasNangal. The author showers unreserved praise on the Sikhs for the exemplary courage they displayed in battle and during the fierce siege they faced. He records how they thwarted capture of the fortress either by assault or by rash entry. The Nawab promised safe conduct to the besieged Sikhs on condition that they evacuate, but he broke his word and Banda Singh and his companions were seized and despatched to Delhi where they were put to death with the harshest torments. The remaining chapters deal with the rebellion of Isa Khan Manjh of Chakia Sirhind, the revolt of the Afghans of Kasur, the Nawab's Kashmir campaign, his transfer to Multan and his expeditions to Jammu and Kangra. The work throws light on the policy of Nawab 'Abd usSamad Khan and his son Zakariya Khan and is singularly free from any personal prejudice on the part of the author. It castigates the erring and tyrannical fauJdars who persecuted the people and rackrented the peasantry. The author's appreciation of the Sikhs' spirit of heroic courage and fortitude is expressed equally strongly. A Punjabi translation of the book was brought out by Punjabi University, Patiala, in 1972.

References

1. Janak Singh, trans., Asrar-J`-5amadJ. Patiala, 1972

2. M. Shuja` ud-Din, ed., Asrar-i-Samadi. Lahore, 1965