[THIS work was written by order of the Emperor Akbar, and its author bestowed upon it the title Tuhfat-i Akbar Sháhí; but Ahmad Yádgár, who wrote the Táríkh-i Salátín-i Afághana a few years afterwards, calls it the Táríkh-i Sher Sháhí, and so it con­tinues to be known.* The author of the work was 'Abbás Khán, son of Shaikh 'Alí Sarwání. Nothing is known of the author beyond the little which he incidentally mentions in the course of the work, that he was connected by marriage with the family of Sher Sháh, and so had peculiar sources of information as to the life and character of that adventurous and successful chief, whose craft and valour won a crown. 'Abbás Khán certainly had high connexions, but he attained no great distinction in his own person. He received the command of 500 horse from the Emperor Akbar, of which, by the intrigues of his enemies, he was soon deprived. This so wounded his feelings that he resolved to “return to the country of his fathers.” But the Khán Khánán took compassion on him, and being informed of his own history and that of his ancestors, procured for him “a clear 200 rupees a month,” which he appears to have lost soon afterwards.

The work is valuable as the production of a contemporary writer who had excellent means of obtaining information, although its literary merit is but slender. It is a biography, not a history, and its method is one that requires a vigorous and versatile writer. The various actors are made to describe the scenes which occurred under their observation, and to set forth their own views and opinions. This is all done in a very prolix and tedious style, without the slightest diversity of character or expression. All the persons concerned talk in the same strain; and their ostensible speeches, and the ordinary narrative of the author, are alike verbose and wearisome. In the following Extracts the expressions of opinion and sentiment have been greatly curtailed, but the narrative and records of events have been left intact. The dates given are few and far between, but there is nothing peculiar in this, as all other works of the period are similarly deficient.

Sher Sháh has obtained a great reputation for his administra­tive ability, and this work has fortunately preserved the means of forming a judgment of his character and talents. Upon this part of the work Sir H. Elliot says: “The conclusion of the work containing the regulations is very valuable, though over­laudatory. The account which he gives of what the governors did and did not, shows a fearful state of existing anarchy. Much of this matter is also given in the Wáki'át-i Mushtákí.”

Copies of the work vary very much, and, in some, long passages are omitted. Sir H. Elliot's own copy has been considerably abbreviated, but judgment has not always been shown in the work of excision. Sir H. Elliot is, no doubt, right in remark­ing “that the most long-winded probably best represent the original.” The whole of the translation which follows is the work of Mr. E. C. Bayley, B.C.S., who had three MSS. to work upon, but he appears to have afterwards received and used a fourth copy, “fuller and better, which probably belonged to the Nawáb of Tonk.” The Editor has had at his command Sir H. Elliot's MS., and a better copy procured by General Cunningham.

Subsequent writers upon this period of history made great use of this work. Ahmad Yádgár and Ni'amatu-llah acknow­ledge their obligations in the Táríkh-i Salátín-i Afághana, and in the Makhzan-i Afghání translated by Dorn. It has come down to us in an incomplete state, for the second chapter, containing the history of Islam Khán, and the third, containing the history of the princes descended from Sher Sháh, are not contained in the known MSS.; but it seems tolerably certain that they were really written. Ni'amatu-llah (Dorn, 151) quotes our author for an anecdote of Islam Khán which is not contained in the first chapter of the work; and Sir H. Elliot thinks that “the pro­siness of the speeches in Dorn seems to render it highly probable that 'Abbás Sarwání is the author of them.”

This “first chapter was translated into Urdú by one Mazhar 'Alí Khán, at the request of Captain James Mowatt or Mouat, and in the preface the Marquis of Wellesley and Lord Corn­wallis are praised. The translation, which has the title of Táríkh-i Sher Sháhí, is easy and flowing.”* M. Garcin de Tassy* says that a translation into Urdú was made by Mirza Lutf 'Alí, of Dehlí, in 1805, and he adds, “Il semble, d'après une note de M. Shakespear que cet ouvrage a été traduit en Anglais,” but of this English translation nothing more is known. There is probably some mistake about the name of the Urdú translator, for it is not likely there are two translations. The date 1805 is just the time when the Marquis of Wellesley and Lord Cornwallis would receive a writer's laudation.

The following chronological table was drawn up by Sir H. Elliot, and has not been altered in any way. It differs in some respects from the Table given by Mr. Thomas in his “Chronicles of the Pathán Kings,” page 393.]

The chronology of this period is very difficult and various. I will put down the dates—the most trustworthy are those of Abú-l Fazl. The others each give only a few.


932. Death of Ibráhím.—Prince Humáyún goes to Jajmau and Jaunpúr.

933. Re-called.—Takes Kalpí.—Sanka.—Kol.—Mewát.

934. Sambal.—Kanauj.—Muhammad 'Alí Jang-Jang against Báyazíd.—Bábar to Chánderí.—Ganges.—Gogra.

935. Bábar to Gwálior.—After return to Ágra.—Again Ágra.— Boats on Jumna.—Etawa.—Kora.—Karra.—Chunar.— Benares.—Chaunsa.—Gogra.—Arrives at Ágra.

936. Humáyún returns to Ágra.

937. Bábar dies Jumáda 1st.

938. Humáyún to Kálinjar.

939. Humáyún to eastward against Ben and Báyazíd, Jaunpúr and Chunar.

940. Humáyún builds Dínpanáh.—To Bhojpúr, where Muhammad Zamán was captured.

941. Humáyún to Kalpí and Gujarát viâ Ráísín and Sárangpúr.

942. Gujarát.—Returns to Ágra.

943. Again to Jaunpúr, and then Chunar (Firishta); Dehlí, accord­ing to Elphinstone, meaning perhaps Ágra.

944. Jaunpúr, Chunar (Elphinstone).

945. Humáyún takes Gaur, and remains there.

946. Chaunsa.—Action on the Ganges, in Safar.—Sher Sháh again acquires Bengal and Jaunpúr.—Kutb Khán goes to Kalpí, where he is killed. Humáyún at Ágra.

947. Action at Kanauj, in Muharram.—Immediate flight from Ágra viâ Dehlí and Rohtak to Lahore, where all brothers as­semble Rajab 1st, and leave Jumáda 2nd.


949. Sher Sháh to Bengal? Gwálior, Málwá.

950. Ráísín, Ajmír, Nagor, Maldeo.—As Muharram, 950, began in April, 1543, he may have gone down to Ráísín in the hot weather, then returned to Ágra and had all next cold season for Rájputána.

951. Elphinstone says Marwar in this year. I have disproved him in a note. Chitor and Kálinjar.

952. Sher Sháh dies, Rajab 1st, at Kálinjar. Much may perhaps be settled by the Tabakát-i Akbarí, Badáúní, and the Táríkh-i Alfí.