THIS work, which the author himself styles Muntakhabu-l Lubáb Muhammad Sháhí, is frequently called Táríkh-i Kháfí Khán. It is a highly esteemed history, commencing with the Invasion of Bábar, A.D. 1519, and concluding with the fourteenth year of the reign of Muhammad Sháh. It contains also an Introduction, giving an outline of the history of the Mughals and Tartars from Noah to Bábar. It is chiefly valuable for containing an entire account of the reign of Aurangzeb, of which, in con­sequence of that Emperor's well-known prohibition, it is very difficult to obtain a full and connected history. It is, however, to that very prohibition we are indebted for one of the best and most impartial Histories of Modern India.

Muhammad Háshim, also called Háshim 'Alí Khán, is better known as an author by the designation Kháfí Khán. He was a man of a good family residing at Dehlí, and he privately com­piled a minute register of all the events of this reign, which he published some years after the monarch's death. His father, Khwája Mír, also an historian, was an officer of high rank in the service of Murád Bakhsh; but after that Prince's confine­ment and murder, he passed into the employment of Aurangzeb. Muhammad Háshim Khán was brought up in Aurangzeb's service, and was employed by him in political and military situations. He himself gives an interesting account of a mission on which he was sent by the Viceroy of Gujarát to the English at Bombay; on which occasion, while commending them in other respects, he accuses them of levity in laughing more than befitted the solemnity of political intercourse. [He frequently speaks in his own person, reporting what he had himself seen or heard. In the reign of Farrukh Siyar, he was made a díwán by Nizámu-l Mulk (the first of the Nizáms of Haidarábád), and writes with interest and favour in all that concerns that chief. For this reason he is sometimes designated Nizámu-l Mulkí.]

His work is a complete history of the House of Tímúr, giving first a clear and concise account of that dynasty, from the founder down to the close of Akbar's reign. This portion of the work is condensed, the events having been so fully detailed by previous writers. The great body of the work is occupied with the hundred and thirty years that succeeded the death of Akbar, of which period the author states that the last fifty-three years were written from his own personal observation, and the verbal ac­counts of men who had watched the occurrences of the time. It is considered probable that he had composed the first half of the work before he was compelled to stop by Aurangzeb's orders, but, being anxious to bring down his history to the close of his own life, he continued his labours in secret. It is represented that Muhammad Sháh was so pleased with the history that he ennobled the author with the title of Kháfí Khán, the word kháfí meaning “concealed.” This origin of the designation is the one ascribed by all modern writers, and has been fully accredited by our English historians; but I am disposed to dispute the correct­ness of this story, and to consider Kháfí as a gentilitious name denoting the country whence his family sprung. Kháf, or more correctly Khwáf, is a district of Khurásán near Naishápúr, and Khwáfí so applied is by no means unfamiliar to Asiatics. Thus we have the famous doctor Shaikh Zainu-d dín Khwáfí,* Imám Khwáfí, the Khwáfí Saiyids, etc., and what is confirmatory of this opinion is that not only does Ghulám 'Alí Sháh style our author Muhammad Háshim the son of Khwája Mír Khwáfí, but he himself gives his father's name as Mír Khwáfí. It is not impossible that Muhammad Sháh may have indulged in a joke upon the author's original name, and may have expressed himself in some such phrase to the effect that the author was now really Khwáfí. [Mr. Morley, in his Catalogue of the MSS. of the Royal Asiatic Society, adopts the former explanation, and says: “From the fact of the work having been so long concealed (kháfí), its author received the title of Kháfí Khán.” Colonel Lees, on the other hand, arrived independently at the same conclusion as Sir H. M. Elliot. He shows that the patronymic Khwáfí was one in very common use, and thinks that the interpretation “concealed” “had its origin in an imperfect and somewhat ludicrous misrepresentation of what Kháfí Khán himself says, to which has consequently been given a sense the very opposite of its true meaning. Kháfí Khán certainly says that he kept all these things locked up in a box, but it was the box of his ‘memory.’* There might have been some reason for Kháfí Khán concealing his work for a year or two after the death of Aurangzeb; but there seems no sound or apparent reason for his concealing his work for nearly thirty years after that event.”*]

The author of the “Critical Essay,” translated and published for the Oriental Translation Fund, speaks of this history as con­taining a detailed and particular statement of various transactions which the author himself had actually witnessed, regretting at the same time that he had never seen it. When Colonel Dow wrote his History of Hindústán, he was obliged to conclude at the end of the tenth year of Aurangzeb's reign, because there were no documents calculated to throw light upon the subsequent period. Mill also complains that we have no complete history of Aurangzeb. This defect has since been remedied by the Honourable Mountstewart Elphinstone, who has judiciously availed himself of Kháfí Khán's history, and thus has been enabled to give us a complete narrative of the reign of Aurang-zeb and his immediate successors. Elphinstone confesses himself indebted to Major A. Gordon, of the Madras Army, for a MS. translation of Kháfí Khán's history down to near the end of Jahángír's reign; and he expresses his regret (Book X. Ch. I.), “that this excellent translation has not been carried on to the end of the history, which comes down to recent times, and affords the only full and connected account of the whole period which it embraces.” Grant Duff acknowledges the same obliga-tíon in his History of the Mahrattas (vol. i. p. 118), and states that Mr. Erskine had translated the portion relating to Sháh Jahán's transactions with the Dakhin. [Inquiries have been made for this MS. translation of Major Gordon, but without success.]

[Sir H. M. Elliot had made no provision for the translation of this work. The lengthy translation which follows is entirely the work of the Editor. The Text used is that published in the Bibliotheca Indica; but two MSS. containing the history of Aurangzeb's reign, one belonging to the Library of the East India Office, and the other to the Royal Asiatic Society, have been occasionally referred to. A greater number of copies has not been sought for, because, according to Colonel Lees, the MSS. differ very much. “Copies (of Kháfí Khán's history) are very numerous; but, strange to say, no two copies that I have met with—and I have compared five apparently very good MSS. —are exactly alike, while some present such dissimilarities as almost to warrant the supposition that they are distinct works, some passages being quite accurate, and others again entirely dissimilar. In the copies to be found of other well-known MSS., which have been copied and recopied repeatedly, we find omissions and a variety of readings, but not such broadcast discrepancies as I have found in some of the copies of Kháfí Khán which I have consulted.”]