[THIS is a history of the first twenty years of the reign of Sháh Jahán, composed by 'Abdu-l Hamíd Láhorí. Little is known of the author, but Muhammad Sálih, in his 'Amal-i Sálih (No. LXIV.), informs us that 'Abdu-l Hamíd was celebrated for the beauty of his style, and that he died in 1065 A.H. (1654 A.D.). 'Abdu-l Hamíd himself says in his preface, that the Emperor desired to find an author who could write the memoirs of his reign in the style of Abú-l Fazl's Akbar-náma; and that he, 'Abdu-l Hamíd, had studied and greatly admired Abú-l Fazl's style. He was recommended to the Emperor for the work, and was called from Patna, where he was living in retirement, to undertake the composition. His patron was the excellent minister 'Allámí Sa'du-lla Khán.

The contents of the work are: A Preface, in which the author dedicates his work to Sháh Jahán. A description of the Emperor's horoscope. A concise account of his ancestors, com­mencing with Tímúr. A brief review of the proceedings of Sháh Jahán before his accession to the throne. A detailed history of the first twenty years of the reign divided into two cycles of ten years each. The work comprises, also, an enumera­tion of the princes of the blood royal; of the nobles of the Court, arranged according to their respective ranks, from those commanding 9000 to those of 500 horse; and an account of the shaikhs, learned men, physicians and poets who flourished during the period embraced by the history.

The Bádsháh-náma is the great authority for the reign of Sháh Jahán. Muhammad Sálih, a younger and rival writer, speaks of the author in the highest terms, and “Kháfí Khán, the author of the Muntakhabu-l Lubáb, has based his history of the first twenty years of Sháh Jahán's reign almost entirely on this work. The greatest objection to the work is the author's style, which is of that adulterated kind introduced into India apparently by the brothers Abú-l Fazl and Faizí.”* 'Abdu-l Hamíd was, as he himself states, a professed admirer and imitator of Abú-l Fazl's style; and when he is dealing with a subject demanding his eloquence, his style is as verbose, turgid and fulsome as that of his master. Happily, however, he is not always in a magniloquent vein, but narrates simple facts in simple language, blurred only by occasional outbreaks of his laboured rhetoric.

The work is most voluminous, and forms two bulky volumes of the Bibliotheca Indica, containing 1662 pages. It enters into most minute details of all the transactions in which the Emperor was engaged, the pensions and dignities conferred upon the various members of the royal family, the titles granted to the nobles, their changes of office, the augmentations of their mansabs, and it gives lists of all the various presents given and received on public occasions, such as the vernal equinox, the royal birthday, the royal accession, etc. Thus the work contains a great amount of matter of no interest to any one but the nobles and courtiers of the time. But it would not be fair to say that it is filled with these trifles; there is far too much of them: but still there is a solid substratum of historical matter, from which the history of this reign has been drawn by later writers.

MSS. of the Bádsháh-náma are common, and some fine copies are extant. Mr. Morley describes one belonging to the Royal Asiatic Society as “a most excellent specimen of the Oriental art of caligraphy,” and Col. Lees says: “The copy of the second part of the Bádsháh-náma which has been used for this edition (Bibliotheca Indica) is the finest MS. I have ever seen. It is written by Muhammad Sálih Kambú, the author of the 'Amal-i Sálih, and bears on the margin the autograph of the Emperor Sháh Jahán.” The following Extracts have all been selected and translated by the Editor from the printed text.]*