THIS is a compilation by Ghulám Básit, undertaken at the sug­gestion of an English officer. The title is the one borne by the copy at Bombay which I have had the opportunity of consulting. [But there is a work bearing the title of Táríkh-i Básit, which is probably the same as this.]

The author tells us of himself, that he had no excellence of person or mind, and was long living on the income of a few acres of land which had descended to him from his ancestors, when, to his misfortune, his tenure, along with the other rent-free tenures in the province of Oudh, was resumed, and he was consequently reduced to the greatest distress and embarrassment. The author in this emergency wished that, like his ancestors, who for about three hundred years had been in the service of the Emperors of Hindústán, he also might enter the service of the same family. But although, he observes, there were thousands and hundreds of thousands of people as insignificant as himself, who, notwithstanding the decline of the empire, subsisted upon the bounty of that house, he through his bad luck was disap­pointed in that expectation, and was obliged to seek employment under the English, who were noted for their generosity and courage. He assumed the name of a munshí in order to secure his daily bread, and through the grace of God and the kindness of his masters, he at last obtained a sufficient provision for himself and children, and prayed God for the welfare of the English who had supported him.

In the year 1196 A.H. (1782 A.D.) he went to Calcutta, in com­pany with I'tikádu-d daula Nasíru-l Mulk General Charles Burt, who one day requested him to write a brief account of the Rulers of Hindústán, whether Musulmán or Hindú, on the authority both of books and of oral testimony. As he considered grati­tude paramount to all other obligations, he abstracted preceding authors, and noted down all that he had heard from his father Shaikh Saifu-llah of Bijnor, who had been during his whole life in the royal service, and had attained the great age of one hundred and five years. Although he abridged the accounts derived from other historians, he did so without the omission of any material points; and on the conclusion of his work, delivered one copy to his patron, and retained one for himself.

He does not state from what works he compiled his history; but in the course of it he mentions incidentally, amongst others, the Mahábhárat, Matla'u-l Anwár, Táríkh-i Bahadúr-sháhí, Táríkh-i Yamíní, the histories of Hájí Muhammad Kandahárí and Nizámu-d dín Ahmad. As these are all mentioned by Firishta, it is probable that he only quotes them at second-hand.

He appears to have taken a very short time about the com­pilation, for he brings it down to the 10th of Ramazán of the same year in which he commenced it, namely, 1196 A.H. (1782 A.D.), the twenty-fourth year of Sháh 'Álam's reign, upon whose head he invokes a blessing.

The work is not divided into regular Books and Chapters. He begins with the Creation, proceeds from the Patriarchs, Hindú Demigods and Rájas to the Ghaznívides and Sultáns of Dehlí down to the reigning monarch. Before treating of the Tímúrian Sovereigns, he introduces an account of the Rulers of Sind, Multán, Kashmír, Bengal, Jaunpúr, the Bahmanís, the Kings of Bíjápúr, Ahmadnagar, Birár, Gujarát, Málwá, Khándesh and Malabár.

I know of only two copies of this history. One belonged to the late Mullá Fíroz of Bombay, and another I saw at Kanauj with the title Zubdatu-t Tauáríkh.

[The Extract was translated by a munshí, and revised by Sir H. M. Elliot.]

SIZE—8VO., 612 pages of 17 lines each.


In 1020 A.H. (1611 A.D.), the Emperor Núru-d dín Jahángír made over the fort of Súrat, in the province of Gujarát, to the English, against whom the Firingís of Portugal bear a most deadly enmity, and both are thirsty of each other's blood. This was the place where the English made their first settlement in India. Their religious belief is contrary to that of the Portu­guese. For instance, they consider Jesus Christ (may the peace of God rest on him!) a servant of God and His prophet, but do not admit that he was the Son of God. They are in no wise obedient to the King of Portugal, but have their own king. At present, A.H. 1196 (1782 A.D.), these people have sway over most parts of Hindústán.

The people of Malíbár are for the most part infidels, and their chief is called Ghaiár (Ghamyár?). Their marriage ceremony consists in tying some writing round the neck of the bride, but this is not of much effect, for women are not restricted to one marriage. One woman may have several husbands, and she cohabits every night with one of them by turns. The carpenters, blacksmiths, dyers, in short, all except Brahmins, form connexions with each other in this fashion.

Originally the infidel Khokhars of the Panjáb, before embrac­ing Islám, observed a very curious custom. Among them also polyandry prevailed. When one husband went into the house of the woman, he left something at the door as a signal, so that, if another husband happened to come at the same time, he might upon seeing it return. Besides this, if a daughter was born, she was taken out of the house immediately, and it was proclaimed, “Will any person purchase this girl, or not?” If there ap­peared any purchaser, she was given to him; otherwise she was put to death.

It is also a custom among the Malíbárís, that in case of there being several brothers, none except the eldest is allowed to marry, because in that case there would be many heirs, and dis­putes might arise. If any of the other brothers desires a woman, he must go to some common strumpet of the bázár, but he can­not marry. If the eldest brother die, the survivors are to keep mourning for him during a whole year; and so on in propor­tion for the other brothers. Amongst them women make their advances to the men.

The Malíbárís are divided into three classes. If a person of the highest class cohabit with one of the lowest, he is not allowed to eat until he has bathed, and if he should so eat, he is sold by the governor to the people of the lowest class, and is made a slave; unless he manages to escape to some place where he is not recognized. In the same manner, a person of the lowest class cannot cook for one of the highest; and if the latter eats food from the hands of the former, he is degraded from his class.