THIS is a history of the reign of 'Álamgír (Aurangzeb). The first ten years is an abridgment of the work last noticed, the 'Álamgír-náma; the continuation till the death of Aurangzeb in A.D. 1707 is an original composition. It was written by Muhammad Sákí Musta'idd Khán, munshí to 'Ináyatu-lla Khán, wazír of Bahádur Sháh. He had been a constant follower of the Court for forty years, and an eye-witness of many of the transactions he records. He undertook the work by desire of his patron, and finished it in A.D. 1710, only three years after the death of Aurangzeb. [Kháfí Khán, in his Muntakhabu-l Lubáb, informs us that “after the expiration of ten years (of Aurangzeb's reign) authors were forbidden from writing the events of that just and righteous Emperor's reign; nevertheless some competent persons (did so), and particularly Musta'idd Khán, who secretly wrote an abridged account of the campaign in the Dakhin, simply detailing the conquests of the countries and forts, without alluding at all to the misfortunes of the campaign.”*]

The Ma-ásir-i 'Alamgírí contains two Books and a short Appendix.

Book I.—An abridgment of Mirzá Muhammad Kázim's history of the first ten years of the Emperor's reign and the events preceding his accession.

Book II.—The events of the last forty years of the Emperor's reign, with an account of his death.

Appendix.—Several anecdotes of the Emperor, which could not be included in the history; and a minute account of the Royal family.

The history is written in the form of annals, each year being distinctly marked off.

Stewart, in his “Descriptive Catalogue,” observes of the writer of this work, that “although his style be too concise, I have never met in any other author with the relation of an event of this reign which is not recorded in this history.”

It is differently spoken of by the author of the “Critical Essay,” who shows a discrimination rarely to be met with in Indian critics. The omissions he complains of will not appear of much importance to a European reader.

“Muhammad Sákí Musta'idd Khán, who composed the chronicle named Ma-ásir-i 'Álamgírí, has not by any means rendered his work complete; for he has omitted to record several matters of considerable importance. Thus, he has not mentioned the dignities and offices of honour accorded to Royal princes, and their successive appointments to different situations, such as might best qualify them for managing the affairs of government. Some he has noticed, but he has omitted others. Neither has he informed us in what year the illustrious Sháh 'Álam Bahádur Sháh (now gone to the abode of felicity) and Muhammad 'Ázam Sháh were invested with the high rank of Chihal-hazarí (40,000); and of many other circumstances relating to these two princes, some are mentioned, and many have been altogether unnoticed. In the same manner also he has treated of other Royal princes.

“Respecting likewise the chief nobles and their removals from different offices or appointments and dignities, some are men­tioned, but several are omitted; thus he has neglected to notice the dates and various circumstances of the appointment of Haft-hazarí (7000) of Ghází'u-d dín Khán Bahádur Fíroz Jang, and the Shash-hazarí (6000) of Zulfikár Khán Bahádur Nusrat Jang, two distinguished generals.

“On the other hand, he relates with minute precision some very trifling occurrences little worthy of being recorded in history, and by no means interesting, such as particulars concerning chapels or places of prayer, the merits of different preachers and similar topics, which had been subjects of discussion among his intimate companions. On this account his work is not held in high estimation among those learned men who know how to appreciate historical compositions.”

[This verdict of a native critic is worthy of record, although it cannot be accepted. Muhammad Sákí has a style of his own which is not difficult, and yet has some pretensions to elegance. The early part of the work is little better than a Court Circular or London Gazette, being occupied almost exclusively with the private matters of the royal family, and the promotions, appoint­ments, and removals of the officers of government. Farther on he enters more fully into matters of historical record, and gives details of Aurangzeb's campaign in the Dakhin, and his many sieges of forts.]

The work was edited and translated into English by Henry Vansittart in 1785, and published in a quarto volume. [The complete text has been printed in the Bibliotheca Indica, and fills 541 pages. A translation of the last 40 years, Muhammad Sákí's own portion of the work, was made for Sir H. Elliot by “Lieut. Perkins, 71st N.I.,” and from that translation the following Extracts have been taken.]


[Text, p. 73.] On the 1st Zí-l hijja, 1078 A.H. (3rd May, 1668), the intelligence arrived from Thatta that the town of Samájí had been destroyed by an earthquake; thirty thousand houses were thrown down.

Prohibition of Hindú Teaching and Worship.

[Text, p. 81.] On the 17th Zí-l ka'da, 1079 (18th April, 1669), it reached the ear of His Majesty, the protector of the faith, that in the provinces of Thatta, Multán, and Benares, but especially in the latter, foolish Bráhmans were in the habit of expounding frivolous books in their schools, and that students and learners, Musulmáns as well as Hindús, went there, even from long distances, led by a desire to become acquainted with the wicked sciences they taught. The “Director of the Faith” consequently issued orders to all the governors of provinces to destroy with a willing hand the schools and temples of the infidels; and they were strictly enjoined to put an entire stop to the teaching and practising of idolatrous forms of worship. On the 15th Rabí'u-l ákhir it was reported to his religious Majesty, leader of the unitarians, that, in obedience to order, the Govern­ment officers had destroyed the temple of Bishnáth at Benares.

[Text, p. 95.] In the month of Ramazán, 1080 A.H. (December, 1669), in the thirteenth year of the reign, this justice-loving monarch, the constant enemy of tyrants, commanded the destruc­tion of the Hindú temple of Mathura or Mattra, known by the name of Dehra Késú Ráí, and soon that stronghold of falsehood was levelled with the ground. On the same spot was laid, at great expense, the foundation of a vast mosque. The den of iniquity thus destroyed owed its erection to Nar Singh Deo Bundela, an ignorant and depraved man. Jahángír, before he ascended the throne, was at one time, for various reasons, much displeased with Shaikh Abú-l Fazl, and the above-mentioned Hindú, in order to compass the Shaikh's death, affected great devotion to the Prince. As a reward for his services, he obtained from the Prince become King per­mission to construct the Mattra temple. Thirty-three lacs were expended on this work. Glory be to God, who has given us the faith of Islám, that, in this reign of the destroyer of false gods, an undertaking so difficult of accomplishment* has been brought to a successful termination! This vigorous support given to the true faith was a severe blow to the arrogance of the Rájas, and, like idols, they turned their faces awe-struck to the wall. The richly-jewelled idols taken from the pagan temples were trans­ferred to Ágra, and there placed beneath the steps leading to the Nawáb Begam Sáhib's mosque, in order that they might ever be pressed under foot by the true believers. Mattra changed its name into Islámábád, and was thus called in all official documents, as well as by the people.

[Text, p. 100.] In Shawwál information reached the King that Sháh-záda Muhammad Mu'azzam, under the influence of his passions, and misled by pernicious associates and flatterers, had, notwithstanding his excellent understanding, become imbued with a spirit of insubordination. Prompted by his natural benevolence, His Majesty wrote several letters replete with advice to the Prince, but this alone did not satisfy him—the Nawáb Ráí, the Prince's mother, was sent for to go to her son, and lead him back into the right path if any symptom of rebellion should appear in him. Iftikhár Khán Khán-zámán, a wise and discreet man, was directed to repair to the Prince, charged with much beneficial advice. He soon reached his destination, and delivered himself of the King's messages. Prince Muhammad Mu'azzam was a fountain of candour; there was moreover no truth in the report; so his only answer was to bow his head in submission. He wrote to his father letters expressive of humility and shame. Unwilling to ever transgress the obedience due to his King and to his God, he insured him­self happiness in both worlds. The King, slow to anger and prompt to forgive, lavished presents and kind words on his son.