THIS work was written 1688 A.D. by Mirzá Muhammad Kázim, son of Muhammad Amín Munshí, the author of the Pádsháh-náma , previously noticed as No. LXI. It contains a history of the first ten years of the reign of 'Álamgír Aurangzeb. It was dedi­cated to Aurangzeb in the thirty-second year of his reign; but on its being presented, the Emperor forbad its continuation, and, like another Alexander, edicto vetuit ne quis se pingeret, but not for the same reason. The Mughal Emperor professed as the cause of his prohibition that the cultivation of inward piety was preferable to the ostentatious display of his achievements. Elphinstone observes of this strange prohibition that the Emperor not only discontinued the regular annals of the empire, which had before been kept by a regular historio­grapher, but so effectually put a stop to all records of his trans­actions, that from the eleventh year of his reign the course of events can only be traced through the means of letters on business and of notes taken clandestinely by private individuals.*

This prohibition is the more extraordinary from its incon­sistency with orders previously issued for the preparation of the 'Álamgír-náma. The Preface of that work shows not only the encouragement which the author received in the prosecu­tion of his work, but also the little reliance that can be reposed in the narrative when any subject is mentioned likely to affect the personal character of the monarch. It is much the same with nearly all the histories written by contemporaries, which are filled with the most nauseous panegyrics, and

With titles blown from adulation.

The historian was to submit his pages to the interested scrutiny of the Emperor himself, and to be guided in doubtful questions by information graciously given by the monarch re­specting what account was to be rejected or admitted. As the royal listener was not likely to criminate himself, we must bear perpetually in mind that such histories are mere one-sided accounts, and not to be received with implicit reliance.

After an encomium of the powers of eloquence, the author says that it was solely owing to the reputed charms of his style that he was introduced to the great monarch 'Álamgír, and, after a long obscurity, was suddenly raised from insignificance to the high situation of His Majesty's munshí in the year of the coronation. His style being approved by the King, he was ordered to collect information about all the extraordinary events in which the King had been concerned, and accounts of the bright conquests which he had effected, into a book; and ac­cordingly an order was given to the officers in charge of the Royal Records to make over to the author all such papers as were received from the news-writers and other high functionaries of the different countries concerning the great events, the monthly and yearly registers of all kinds of accidents and marvels, and the descriptions of the different súbas and countries.

The author was further instructed, that if there were any such particulars as were omitted in any of the above papers, or not witnessed by himself, he should make inquiries regarding them from such trustworthy officers as followed the royal camp, who would relate the exact circumstances; and if there were anything which particularly required the explanation of His Majesty, the author was graciously permitted the liberty of making inquiry from the King himself.

He was also ordered to attend on His Majesty on proper occasions, to read over whatever he had collected, and had written from the above authorities, and to have His Majesty's corrections incorporated. It is to be regretted that Aurangzeb did not here again imitate the example of Alexander, of whom Lucian gives an anecdote which shows that conqueror to have been less compliant with his flattering historians. “Aristobulus, after he had written an account of the single combat between Alexander and Porus, showed that monarch a particular part of it, wherein, the better to get into his good graces, he had inserted a great deal more than was true: when Alexander seized the book and threw it (for they happened at that time to be sailing on the Hydaspes) directly into the river: ‘Thus,’ said he, ‘ought you to have been served yourself, for pretending to describe my battles, and killing half a dozen elephants for me with a spear.’”

The value of the Royal Records may be known from the narra­tive of an English traveller who visited the Court in A.D. 1609. Captain Hawkins says, “During the time that he drinks his six cups of strong liquor, he says and does many idle things; yet whatever he says or does, whether drunk or sober, there are writers who attend him in rotation, who set many things down in writing; so that not a single incident of his life but is re­corded, even his going to the necessary and when he lies with his wives. The purpose of all this is that when he dies all his actions and speeches worthy of being recorded may be inserted in the chronicles of his reign.”

“As the history regarding His Majesty's birth and minority up to the time of his ascending the throne has already,” says our author, “been fully detailed in the book called Bádsháh-náma , it was at first resolved that this book should begin with the accounts of His Majesty's return from the Dakhin towards his capital (which took place in 1068 A.H., 1657 A.D.), and it will contain an account of the undertakings and conquests achieved by His Majesty during the period of eighteen years. But the author subsequently thought of writing, in an Introduction, a brief account of the King's minority, because it was replete with wonderful events, and because many conquests were effected during that period. It accordingly commences with Dárá Shukoh's assumption of authority upon the illness of his father Sháh Jahán, and the means employed by Aurangzeb to cut off his brothers and obtain the Imperial Crown.

[The style in which this work is written is quite in accord with the courtly panegyrical character of the book. It is strained, verbose, and tedious; fulsome in its flattery, abusive in its censure. Laudatory epithets are heaped one upon another in praise of Aurangzeb; while his unfortunate brothers are not only sneered at and abused, but their very names are perverted. Dárá Shukoh is repeatedly called Be-Shukoh, “the undignified;” and Shujá' is called Ná-shujá', “the unvaliant.” The work seems to have obtained no great reputation in India. “Subsequent authors,” says Colonel Lees “do not express any very decided opinion upon the qualifications of Muhammad Kázim as an his­torian. The author of the Mir-átu-l 'Álam, however, speaks of him as an author of great erudition; the author of the Ma-ásiru-l 'Álamgírí has made an abridgment of his work the first portion of his history; and Kháfí Khán, the author of the Muntakhabu-l Lubáb, has made the 'Álamgír-náma a chief authority,” though he occasionally controverts its statements. It is well that the book has been so well worked up by later writers, for a close translation of it into English would be quite unreadable. A few passages have been translated by the Editor, but in them it has been necessary to prune away a good deal of the author's exuberance of language and metaphor.]

The history of the conquest of Assam has been translated from this work by Mr. Vansittart, in the “Asiatic Miscellany,” vol. i., and in “Asiatic Researches,” vol. ii. [The whole of the original work has been printed in the “Bibliotheca Indica,” and occupies more than 1100 pages.]