Ibratnamah

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IBRATNAMAH,by Mufti 'All udDin of Lahore

A Persian workcompleted on 13 September 1854, deals with the history as well as with the social and economic life of the people of the Punjab. It also contains an account of the Sikhs from their origin to the battle of Gujrat fought against the British in 1849. The book was originally conceived and planned by Mufti 'Alt udDin's father. Mufti Khair udDin. Mufti 'Alt udDin, who had obtained an appointment in the British Political Agency at Ludhiana, served in various capacities at Firozpur, Bahawalpur, Sindh and Multan, eventually settling down at Lahore. A manuscript of 'Ibratndmah carrying the author's autograph, preserved in the India Office Library, London, contains 376 folios written in bold nasta'Uq hand. It was Colonel Wade, the British political agent at Ludhiana, who had assigned the author's father, Mufti Khair udDin, to the work. The author, Mufti 'Alt udDin, dedicated it upon completion to Mr Charles Raikes, the Commissioner of Lahore. According to a note prepared by Charles Raikes, the manuscript was sent to the Imperial Exhibition held in Paris in 1855. Subsequently, it found its way into the India Office Library. In 1961, Dr Muhammad Baqir edited it, and it was published at Lahore in two volumes. The work is divided into three main sections. Section I deals with the physical conditions of the Punjab, its rivers, mountains and fauna and flora, and section II with the political history and topography of Lahore. In section III the author has narrated the history of the Punjab from the rise of Sikhism to the annexation of the Punjab in 1849. To these three bdbs or daftars there is added, on ff. 326a376b, a kind of khdtimah (without a general heading), dealing in detail with the customs and usages as well as with the prevalent philosophic and religious ideas of the people of the Punjab, beginning with a sketch of the sect of the Qadiris. Among the numerous short chapters of this pan the most prominent ones are: the great days of the Muhammadan (Hijri) year, on fol. 331b, last line; the faqirs of the three principal creeds, the Muhammadans, Hindus, and Sikhs, on fol. 333a; manners and customs of the Muhammadans, from the cradle to the grave, on fol. 334b; of the Hindus, on fol. 342b; of the Sikhs, on fol. 352a; scientific attainments of these three creeds, on fol. 353a; practices in eating, on fol. 356b, last line; in dress, etc., on fol. 360a; the court officials under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, on fol. 364b, etc., etc. In writing this book the author seems to have made a close study of the preceding works. From among these he is highly critical ofSohan Lal Suri's 'UmddtutTwdnkh which he calls partisan and onesided, Bute Shah's TdnkhiPanjdb which is described as complex in style and narration, and Diwan Amar Nath's Zafar NdmahiRanjit Singh dismissed as "full of confusion and unintelligible in diction."


IBRATNAMAH by Kamraj

one of several chronicles in Persian bearing this title, is a manuscript of 71 folios, preserved in British Library, London. A transcribed copy of it is available in some libraries in India such as Kashi Prasad Jaiswal Research Institute, Patna. The chronicle is a contemporary record of events covering the period from Aurarigzib's death in 1707 to the accession of Muhammad Shah in 1719. Kamraj's father, Brindaban, was a peshadast or advance guard in the imperial artillery and his ancestors had served the Mughals for three generations. Kamraj himself had been in the service of Prince A'zam, the third son of Aurarigzib. In fact 'Ibratndmah is a portion of a bigger book, A 'zamulHarb which he wrote as a mark of his debt of gratitude to the prince. He must have been an eyewitness to many of the events he has described, yet the account is disjointed, circumstantial and incidental, lacking in fulness of detail and the style is too laboured and ornate. Sikhs are described in this work as Ndnak Prastdn, worshippers of (Guru) Nanak. The author's language is highly vituperative. According to him, a Dogra Sannyasi or recluse originally named Lakshman Das or Madho Das went to the South where he met the saint of Nanded (Guru Gobind Singh) from whom he claimed to have got a hukamndmah (lit. written order) for punishing the oppressive Mughal officials, Hindus as well as Muslims. He described himself as a bandd or slave of the Guru and called upon the Sikhs to join him in his crusade. The manuscript goes on to describe the campaigns of Banda Singh Bahadur, the siege ofLohgarh, Banda Singh's escape, his ultimate capture and execution along with hundreds of his devoted followers.

IBRATNAMAH,by Khair udDin Muhammad Allahabad

("The Book of Warning") a Persian manuscript copies of which are preserved in Oriental Public (Khuda Bakhsh) Library, Bariklpur, Patna; Asiatic Society, Calcutta; British Library, London; and Khalsa College, Amritsar, is a detailed history of the reigns ofAlamgir II (175459) and Shah Alam II (17591806), with a summary account of their ancestors beginning with Taimur (d. 1405). Khair udDin was a teacher and historiographer who along with his three brothers had been in the service of the British. He spent his last days atJaunpur enjoying government pension which he had earned principally by the assistance rendered to James Anderson, British resident with Mahadji Scindia in 178485, in his negotiations with the Marathas. The 'Ibratndmah is primarily concerned with the life of Shah Alam II and dwells extensively upon his earlier life as Prince 'Ali Gauhar; his stay at Allahabad as a protege of the British; his restoration to the throne of Delhi; and treatment he received at the hands of Ghulam Qadir Ruhila. The author is concerned more with the Emperor and his heir apparent and their relations with the Marathas, Jats, Rajputs and the Ruhilas than with the Sikhs. There are references in the work to the capture of Mughlani Begam, widow ofMu'm ulMulk (Mir Mannu of Sikh chronicles), in 1756 by the Delhi Wazir, Imad udMulk Ghazi udDin, who entrusted the government of Lahore and Multan to Adina Beg Khan for an annual tribute of Rs 30 lakhs. There are occasional references to Sikh chiefs of the cisSutlej region such as Raja Amar Singh of Patiala and Gajpat Singh of Jind in connection with the imperial campaign of 1779 in these parts led by Abd ulAhd Khan Majd udDaulah.


'IBRATNAMAH, Mirza Muhammad Harisi

in the short invocation at the beginning as "TazkirahiAhwalKhud ba TarziRoznamchah" (lit. an account of events concerning himself in the style of a diary), is an oftquoted Persian manuscript copies of which are preserved in Oriental Public (Khuda Bakhsh) Library, Barikipur, Patna, and Asiatic Society, Calcutta. A third copy was known to be in the personal library of the late Sir Jadunath Sarkar.The manuscript, a book of memoirs, is of great historical importance because of the author's firsthand account of events in the Punjab/northern India from 1703 to 1776. It is of special interest to students of Sikh history for its account of the capture of Banda Singh Bahadur and his companions and their execution at Delhi. After referring briefly to Guru Nanak, described as a perfect religious faqir, and his successors, Harisi states that one of the successors, Govind (Guru Gobind Singh), introduced new rules and instituted a fresh organization called the Khalsa. His growing opulence, modes and behaviour attracted the notice of local officials, especially of Wazir Khan, the faujddr of Sirhind, who sought the royal permission to deal with him. In the fighting that ensued two sons of Guru Gobind Singh were killed. But the next emperor Shah 'Alam (Bahadur Shah), continues the author, received the Guru well during his march towards the Deccan. After the Guru had been killed unexpectedly by an Afghan, his adopted son Ajit (Singh) became an object of royal favour. Not long after, an obscure person (Banda Singh Bahadur) assembled a large number of Sikhs in the Punjab and established control over a vast tract in the Punjab from the Gangetic Doab on one side and western borders of Lakkhi jungle on the other. WaxTr Khan of Sirhind was killed; 'All Hamid Khan, faujddr of Saharanpur ran away; Shams Khan, faujddr ofJalandhar Doab, put up a stout resistance but was worsted; so was Aslam Khan. governor of Lahore. Shah 'Alam (Emperor Bahadur Shah) on his return from the Deccan deputed Amin Khan and Rustam Dil Khan to recover the lost possessions and eliminate the Sikhs. Banda Singh fell back upon his newly built stronghold of Gurdaspur [GurdasNarigal], taking advantage of the confusion which followed the death of Bahadur Shah. Later, Emperor FarrukhSiyar sent Abd usSamad Khan and his son, Zakariya Khan, to annihilate Banda Singh. A total lack of food and other provisions compelled Banda Singh and his companions to surrender. They were first taken to Lahore and then marched in a procession to Delhi. The progress was slow for they had to be paraded in all the places they were taken through. Harisl's account of what he calls a tamdshah (fun, show) is that of an eyewitness. Banda Singh, he narrates, was mockingly attired in a colourful dress and seated in an iron cage on the back of an elephant. Preceding him was a cavalcade of camelriders with bamboo poles each having stuck at the top a severed head [of a Sikh] with hair flowing in the wind. Taken along this triumphal procession was the dead body of a cat, also tied to the top of bamboo pole, signifying that not even a quadruped had been left alive in Gurdaspur. According to Harisi, although 740 prisoners were presented before the Emperor, the number brought from the GurdasNarigal fortress was much smaller and had to be augmented by others taken from villages that lay on the way. They were all slaughtered on the Kotwali Chabutrah (platform of the police post). At last the Guru [Banda Singh] was despatched in the same manner. Mirza Muhammad Harisi's language where he writes about the Sikhs is highly vituperative, but he is also very lavish in his praise of their qualities of courage and daring, their complete indifference to death and their submission to the Will of God.


IBRATNAMAH, by Sayyid Muhammad Qasim of Lahore

It is a rare manuscript in Persian containing the history of the empire of Delhi from the death of Aurarigzib to the fall of the two Sayyid brothers, Abdullah and Husain 'All, known as bddshdhgar or kingmakers. Its author was a protege of Amir ulUmara Husain Ali, one of the Sayyid brothers, and was therefore a firsthand witness to contemporary affairs of State. Apart from some wellknown episodes and the three wars of succession, he writes about the disturbed rule of FarrukhSTyar, the effete rulers like Raff udDarjat, Raff udDaulah and shadowy figures such as Ibrahim and Ncku Siyar. The manuscript treats of the Sikhs and their religion in comparatively sympathetic terms. Baba (Guru) Nanak is portrayed as oa.faqlror dervish who, born of a Hindu family, had assimilated much from Islam and who, turning aside from all name and fame, had advocated peace and justice for all. Guru Nanak's formula describing the Divine, viz. "Ek onkdr satndm, kartdr (sic), nirbhau, nirbair, akdl mural, "was, according to Qasim, on the lips of every Sikh. He passed on his high ideas not to any of his sons, but to a disciple of humble origin. Qasim mentions other early Gurus and notices the new developments under later Gurus, Tcgh Bahadur and Gobind Singh, the latter having laid the foundation of the Khalsa Panth. 'Ibratnamah also contains a detailed account of Banda Singh. Here, however, Qasim becomes partisan. He refers to Banda (Singh) pejoratively as safdqibebdk (reckless bloodshcddcr), dajjdl (impostor), shu'badahhdz (conjurer) and khirs (bear). He describes in detail his pillage of Samana, Sunam, Mustafabad, Sadhaura, etc., his inroads upon the Gangetic Doab, sack of Sirhind, escape from his besieged headquarters, Lohgarh, his last stand near Gurdaspur and ultimate capture and execution. The author could not however help admiring the zeal and desperate valour of the Sikhs. He states that when he was in the service of the deputy ndzim or administrator, 'Arif Beg, he observed with his own eyes the superiority of these people and the cool courage that they displayed in sallying out of the Fort with swords, arrows, and guns in their hands and repelling the imperial army.