Exploration Activities

For Professor Syed Hasan Askari, research was not a passive activity undertaken in the comparative comfort of a library or one’s office. Rather, research called him on often arduous adventures in rural Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. He was an archaeologist and explorer, thus pursued rumors of rare manuscripts, carefully examined crumbling collections held for generations in private hands, studied forgotten inscriptions in archeological ruins, and listened to the testimony of local residents, whose memories and commentary sometimes made their way into his scholarship. (Dr. H. L. Archambault, 2020)

Professor Syed Hasan Askari was associated with Regional Records Survey Committee, Bihar, India since 1945. He was elected as Honorary Secretary, Regional Records Survey Committee, Bihar, India in 1962 for a period for five years (1962-1966). In 1981, Askari sahib was elected as Honorary President, Regional Records Survey Committee, Bihar, India and served from 1981-1988.

 

Following IIHRC excerpt dated 1930 and survey reports (1945-1962) were obtained from different university libraries in USA and Canada.

  • 1945-1953

  • 1955-1957

  • 1961-1962

 

Report excerpts highlighting the list of manuscripts, located by Prof. Askari have been posted below.

1930 Exploration IHRC Title 04 13 2021.j
1930 Exploration IHRC Excerpt Text 04 13
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Excerpts from Report of The Work of The Regional Records Survey Committee in Bihar (1945-1947), By the Late K. K. Datta, Government of Bihar, Department of Higher Education, Republished & Reprinted in Reports of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna (1945-1956) by Dr. Bijoy Kumar Choudhary, Secretary of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna, Bihar, India 2000. pp 4-5.

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Excerpts from Report of The Work of The Regional Records Survey Committee in Bihar (1947-1948), By the Late K. K. Datta, Government of Bihar, Department of Higher Education, Republished & Reprinted in Reports of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna (1945-1956) by Dr. Bijoy Kumar Choudhary, Secretary of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna, Bihar, India 2000. pp 16-21.

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Excerpts from Report of The Work of The Regional Records Survey Committee in Bihar (1949-1950), By the Late K. K. Datta, Government of Bihar, Department of Higher Education, Republished & Reprinted in Reports of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna (1945-1956) by Dr. Bijoy Kumar Choudhary, Secretary of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna, Bihar, India 2000. pp 64-65.

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Excerpts from Report of The Work of The Regional Records Survey Committee in Bihar (1951-1952), By the Late K. K. Datta, Government of Bihar, Department of Higher Education, Republished & Reprinted in Reports of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna (1945-1956) by Dr. Bijoy Kumar Choudhary, Secretary of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna, Bihar, India 2000. pp 99-103.

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Excerpts from Report of The Work of The Regional Records Survey Committee in Bihar (1955-1956 & 1956-1957), By the Late K. K. Datta, Government of Bihar, Department of Higher Education, Republished & Reprinted in Reports of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna (1945-1956) by Dr. Bijoy Kumar Choudhary, Secretary of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna, Bihar, India 2000. pp 211-213.

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Excerpts from Report of The Regional Records Survey Committee in Bihar (1961-1962) by Dr. K. K. Datta, Vice Chancellor, Magadh University and Secretary of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna, Bihar, India, 1963. pp 1-2.

The goal is to locate the following survey reports for a comprehensive overview of the exploration activities.

  • 1953-1955

  • 1957-1961

  • 1962-1966

  • 1966-1981

  • 1981-1988

Excerpts from Proceedings of the Thirteenth Session of the Indian Historical Records Commission held at Patna on the 22nd and 23rd, December 1930.

Page -16:

The Historical Exhibition organized in connection with the Patna session of the Commission was opened by His Excellency the Governor of Bihar and Orissa at 4-40 p.m. on the same day in the presence of a large and distinguished gathering of ladies and gentlemen. His Excellency and Lady Stephenson were, on their arrival at the Patna Museum, photographed with the ordinary and co-opted members of the Commission. The members of the Commission were entertained at a tea party in the Museum premises by the Honorable Sir Saiyid Muhammad Fakhr-ud-din, Khan Bahadur, Minister of Education to the Government of Bihar and Orissa. The exhibits, which came from Government archives, Indian States, public institutions and private individuals belonging to various parts of India, were remarkable both as regards variety and antiquity. These comprised modern, state papers of first-rate importance, valuable farmans & sanads, and other documents of the Mughal and Maratha periods, inscriptions, coins, grants, etc., of the ancient and latter Hindu kings, medieval weapons, historical paintings, rare books, manuscript works and fine specimens of calligraphy. The Commission was grateful to Dr Azimuddin Ahmad, Ph.D., Dr S, C. Sarkar, M.A., Ph.D., M.R.A.S., Mr. K. K. Datta, M.A., P.R.S., and Mr. H. Askari, M.A., of the staff of the Patna College, for securing a good number of choice exhibits belonging to several public and private collections both in and outside Patna. A complete list of the exhibits will be found in Appendix J.

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.281555/page/n7/mode/2up?q=askari

Report of The Work of

THE REGIONAL RECORDS SURVEY COMMITTEE IN BIHAR,

1945-47

III

While guiding a trip of the Patna College Archaeological and Historical Society, and also during three subsequent visit, to Hajipur, Prof. Askari noticed some documents at Jaruha near Hajipur relating to the grants of Madad-i-Mash made from time to time to the keepers of the mausoleum of Mir Sayid Md. and Mir. Syed Ahmad as Shaheeds and Pir Mamu Bhanja. The earliest documents is a valuable sanad of Shri Maharaj Adhiraj Raja Man Singh granting 14 bighas of land to Shaikh Baksh and other keepers of the mausoleum of Mamu Bhanja. The Hindi version of the Persian text gives the date and some additional information and contains some lines which may be taken to be the earliest specimen of Hindusthani prose.

(12) Other documents in the Hajipur finds worth noting are-

A. Copies of sealed sanads duly certified by officers concerned and bearing their seals too:-

(1) of Amir Khan, Governor of Bihar, d.17 Shawwal 1086- 24 December, 1675.

(2) Safi Khan, Governor of Bihar, Muharram 1088 Fasli.

(3) (a) Buzurug Umed Khan, Governor of Bihar dated 30th Muharram, year 26th 1094 A.H. = 1683 A.D.

(b) Buzurug Umed Khan d. 10 Moharram year 33, 1101 A.H. = 14th October, 1869.

(4) Parwanah of Muhammad Sohrab, sadar of the sarkar of Muhammad Azim-us-shan, 14 Safar 49 year, 1117 A.H. = 26th May, 1705.

(5) Parwanah of Murshid Quli Khan and the Wazir, 7 Jamadi year 5. 1073. A.H. = 8th December, 1662 A.D.

(6) Sanad Ghairat Khan, Governor of Biha, in the time of Emperor Farrukhsiyar, d.27 Ramzan year 3 1126 A.H. = 26th September, 1714.

(7) Sanad of Shaikh Abdullah, son of Muhammad Usman, d. 7 Shawwal year 21 of Aurangzeb =1088 A.H. 22nd December, 1677.

(8) Husbulhukm of Shah Alam II issued through Syed Nejabat Ali Khan, Shujaul mulk Shahamat Jang, d. 27 Zikad year 8 = 1174 Fasli = 26th April 1767.

(9) Faujdari orders containing the seals of Abduls Shakur, faujdar of sarkar Champaran, one of these being dated 1 Zilhaja year 7 of Shah Alam II =1766 A.D. : date of 2nd one being 2nd Rabi 1 year 7 of Shah Alam II =1766.

(10) Surathal or statement of facts by Shaikh Bayazid and some others. We know from these that they were the custodians of the mausoleum of Pir Mamu Bhanja to whom a grant of 50 bighas of land had been made by the previous rulers.

 

Excerpts from Report of The Work of The Regional Records Survey Committee in Bihar (1945-1947), By the Late K. K. Datta, Government of Bihar, Department of Higher Education, Republished & Reprinted in Reports of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna (1945-1956) by Dr. Bijoy Kumar Choudhary, Secretary of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna, Bihar, India 2000. pp 4-5.

Report of The Work of

THE REGIONAL RECORDS SURVEY COMMITTEE IN BIHAR,

1947-48

III

Our search for Persian manuscripts and records like Firmans, Sanads, etc has been very fruitful. For this I am grateful to Prof. S.H. Askari, a colleague of mine and a member of the Regional Records Survey Committee and Mr. F. Balkhi, a Research Assistant of the Patna University working under my guidance. Eighty-seven manuscripts, twenty-eight Firmans and Perawanahs bearing seals of Mughal Emperors, their Diwans, Subahdars and other officials, and seven inscriptions have been examined up till now. We have obtained copies of some of these.

On getting information through Mr. F. Balkhi that a bundle of books was once received by the headmaster of a local H.E. School M.A. School, (Patna City) and these were still lying in the school library unutilized, I asked him to approach the school authorities for permission to examine them. He did so and found that there were 226 books out of which 93 were manuscripts. The first volume that he laid his hand upon was the manuscript copy of the famous Masnavi Yusuf Zulaikha of Jami and the last 27 pages of the manuscript contained copy of a dispatch of Raja Jugal Kishore about the invasion of Nadir Shah.

It was headed thus:-

Raja Jugal Kishore was then (vakil) representative of the Bengal Government in the Durbar of the Mughal Emperor.

Inspection of all books showed that the following 37 volumes were historical and literary value:-

1.         Masnavi Yusuf Zulaikha with the copy of despatch of Raja Jugal Kishore about Nadir Shah’s invasion.

2.         Jahangir Namah (History of Jahangir).

3.         Mukatabat Allami or letter of Allami (By Allami Abul Fazal) collected by Abdus Samad Afzal Mohamed. 

At the end of the volume is the following passage:- manuscripts of letters of Abul Fazal copied in unskilled hand-writing by Chhakkan Lal, inhabitant of village kolindi-Parganah in the district of Azimabad, by order and desire of Sheikh Sahib the provider of amenities Sheikh Riyasat Ali Saheb son of Sheikh Fazlali Saheb ‘may his prosperity perpetuate,’ dated the 7th Zilhajja month 1242 A.H (1824 A.D.).

4.         Masnavi Kala Kam

5.         Shah Alam Namah

History of Shah Alam I from his accession to the throne till his death.

6.         A Persian translation of the Mahabharat.

7.         Ajaibul Buldan or wonders of the Universe.

The book is a translation in Persian prose from the original Arabic verses by Sheikh Azari. The text of page 4 shows that the copy was made in the reign of Emperor Farrukhsiyar. The translator was one Hasan-ul-Husaini.

8.         Zafar Namah Taimuri or Conquests of Taimur.

It contains an account of the conquest of Delhi and Meerut also. The volume consists of nearly 1000 pages.

9.         Zafar Namah

It appears to be an abridged copy of the above.

10.       Favaid Safuiyah by Sultan Mohammed Safavi.

History of the Safavi dynasty of Persia. It contains account of about 300 years. This manuscript was copied in 1211 A.H.

11.       Majmua Diwan-wa Qasaid Farhat.

Complete poetical work of Ramchand Farhat, a Persian poet of the 18th Century, most probably in the author’s own handwriting.

12.       Diwan-Anam-ullah Khan Yaqin, a well-known Urdu poet of the 18th Century. The manuscript bears the date 8th December 1796.

13.       Diwan Fidvi.

Fidvi was a famous Urdu Poet of Patna. The volume of his poetical works is almost rare.

14.       Diwan Sultan.

The author Khwaja Sultan Jan was a famous Urdu poet. He was the son of Khaja Husain Ali who was suspected of being in league with the mutineers in Bihar in 1857.

15.       Diwan Mansha.

The author Mirza Ahmed Mansha was a well-known poet and this poetical work is rare now.

16.       Sharah Sheikh Abu Ali.

This volume was apparently copied in 754 A.H. and is therefore more than 600 years old. The author Sheikh Abu Ali is one of the greatest Muslim philosophers and physicians.

17.       Baital Pachchisi.

Persian translation of the well-known Hindi story book.

18.       Tota Kahani (Persian).

Written by Haider Bakhsh of Shah Jehanabad (Delhi).

19.       Mirat-ul-Khiyal.

The book deals with poetry, music and fine arts. It consists of 456 pages copied in 1229 A.H. and is rare.

 

20.       Lataif-ut-Tawaif (Persian).

The manuscript seems to be rare.

21.       Tuhfatul Iraqin.

Copied in 1112 A.H. Contains biographical notes about sages and Sufis etc.

22.       Mujizat Murtazviah

It deals with the miracles of the fourth successor of the Prophet of Islam and is believed to be a rare manuscript.

23.       Majma-us-Sanaya.

A book on the method of forming riddles in Persian by Sheikh Nizamuddin Ahmed s/o Mohamed Saleh, Al-Husaini.

24.       Risala Sarf-wa-Nahv.

The pamphlet deals with the grammar of Turkish, Persian Qazulbashi and Rumi languages. It is in damaged condition but seems to be rare.

The remaining manuscripts are also equally valuable if not rare. I have succeeded in making an arrangement to shift them to Patna University for better preservation in exchange of some modern publications which would be useful to the students of the school.

Two inscriptions noticed were:-

(1)        One at Siris Village about 11 miles to the west of Aurangabad, in the Gaya district. The inscription is on a stone slab (approximately 3’x’) fixed over the central door of the village mosque and says that the building was erected during the ‘amal’ or administration of Nawab Kamgar Khan. Identity of Kamgar Khan (1071A.H. or 1662 A.D.) is yet to be accurately determined.

(2)        An inscription of Husain Shah of Bengal (dated 12th Rajab 900 A.H.) at the Dargah of Shah Shabbaz Sahib, in Mahala Mulna Chak of Bhagalpur.

Sayed Shah Fakhr-i-Alam of Khalifabagh, Bhagalpur, has in his possession a number of Imperial Firmans dating from the reign of Akbar. Akbari firmans bear the seal of Khan-i-Jehan Husain Quli Khan, who vanquished Daud Kararani, the last independent King of Bengal and Bihar. The date of the Firman is 982 A.H. or 1575 A.D. The second bears on the top seal of Azam Shah, son of Alamgir, and mentions the grant of 200 bighas of land as Madad-i-Mash to Syed Amanullah, a descendant of Pir Damaria. It bears the date 1092 A.H. and also 24th year of Aurangzeb’s reign.

The third Firman is of the period of Muhammad Shah and bears the seal of Askar Khan. The date is 1131 A.H. it contains a complaint of one Syed Sultan Ahmed regarding enhancement of the assessed revenue from 1690 to 8000 rupees within a period of 10 years. In response to it the revenue was reduced to 4250/- rupees.

M. Syed Izhar Husain of Arrah showed an old manuscript to Mr.Balkhi. It was a thick volume in a damaged condition. In the beginning and at the end of it were many Persian odes, poems and stories. But a thorough examination of the book revealed that in the middle of the volume were a copy of a letter of Nizamul Mulk to Emperor Muhammad Shah, and also a copy of the letter of appointment (as Governor of Bengal) of Shujauddin Muhammad Khan. Copies of these were obtained with the consent of the owner.

At Sasaram in the possession of Maulana Hakim Fakhrul Hasan there are some Persian manuscripts, one of these being a copy of the Diwan (collection of poems) of Pundit Chander Bhan, a secretary at Shah Jehan’s court, and his duty was to examine and correct drafts of Imperial Firmans etc. Another manuscript is a history of the wars among Shah Jehan’s sons for succession to the throne. The first 17 pages and a number of pages towards the end of the said manuscript is missing. Mention might be made of a copy of Mishkat Sharif (Religious book), more than 600 years old, a copy of Bardai’s treatise on logic in Arabic which was prepared in 1033 A.H. In Patna City we have noticed a copy of Bahar Danish. The manuscript itself is not important for historical details, but there are 185 illustrations by a well-known artist, Sheikh Inayatullah. These pictures seem to be very good specimens of the Mughal art. The book is the property of Syed Habibullah (c/o. S. Mobarak Hosain) of Muhalla Patna City. In the 2nd page of the book the artist Sheikh Inayatullah says that he began the work in 1081 A.H. (1671 A.D.)

At Islampur near Patna there were some old religious books and manuscripts containing memories of the Saints from whom Shah Mohammad and Shah Ayyub claim their desent.

At Lakhminia and Bariballia in Monghyr district there are some private libraries. In the former place there are copies of Mukatabat Allami (Abul Fazl) and Waqai Nemat Khan Ali or Aurangzeb’s campaign in Deccan in the 30th year of his reign. There is also a very rare manuscript copy of the Holy Qoran, written in coloured papers some 500 years back. These manuscripts are in the private library of late Prof. Kalim-ur-Rahman. The collections of the deceased gentlemen are still in Calcutta. At Lakhmenia S.Shah Afzalur Rahman has got some old manuscripts and Firmans but we have not yet been able to examine them.

Among other manuscripts discovered by us, I would like to mention here particularly the following:

(1)        Copy of Shaikh Muhammad Wafa’s History of Alivardi Khan’s rule in Bengal and Bihar. Besides being historically important as a contemporary work it is a master piece of literary style, as every sentence of the book is a chronogram of the event described. The author has carefully formed sentences with word whose letters possess the numerical values which when added together tally with the year of the occurrence. The chronology has been given in red ink at the end of every sentence in the book.

 

(2)        The other rare manuscript is “Ibrat Nama-i-Arbab-i-Basar” by Rai Balmakund. This is also a history of Bengal and Bihar from the time of arrival of Alivardi Khan from Delhi till the murder of his successor Sirajudaullah and accession of Mir Jafar; Rai Balmakund has written in the same style as Muhammad Wafa and every sentence of his book also gives the chronogram of the events described. He seems to be a more conscientious writer as flattery which is a prominent feature of Wafa’s style is conspicuous by its absence in Balmakund’s work.

 

(3)        Risala-e-Tauwhid by Hazrat Syed Amir Abul-ula founder of the Abul Ulaya order of the Sufis.

 

(4)        Azkar-ul-Ahrar, recollections of Ahrars, a sect of Sufis founded by Hazarat Obaidullah Ahrar, by Syed Lutfullah.

 

(5)        Hujjat-ul-Arifin by Shah Hayatullah Al-Husaini-Al Munami (Biographical notes and sufistic teachings).

 

(6)        Ruqaat Alamgiri by Sidhmull.

 

(7)        Rukhsat Namah by Hazrat Shaikh Najibuddin Firdausi, founder of the Firdausia order of the Sufis.

 

(8)        Mukatabat-i-Bisto Husht or 28 letters of Makhdum Sharfuddin Ahmed Behari to Maulana Mozaffar Bulkhi.

 

(9)        Maktubat Hazrat Qutb Alam of Pandua or writings of Hazrat Nur Qutb Alam, a well-known saint of the 14th century.

 

(10)      Tibb-e-Akbar, a book on pathology and treatment of diseases by Ismail-bin Ahmad Alhosini.

 

(11)      Malakh Khas-i-Khwasul Jawahir, a book on the effects of wearing of gems or precious stones by Hakim Mohammad Sharif Khan. This book was written in the reign of Shah Alam Bahadur Shah I and was dedicated to him.

 

(12)      Tawarikh Nadri, history of Nadir Shah from 1127 A.H. to 1147 A.H. by Mirza Wahid Lari.

 

(13)      Reazul Manshatat, specimen of letter completed by Mohammad Ali Tamanna s/o. Khwaja Abdullah Tayeed.

 

(14)      Muktabat Allami, letters of Abul Fazl collected by Abdus Samad.

 

(15)      Ruq-aat Abul Fazl, letters of Abul Fazl collected by Shaikh Nur Mohammed.

 

(16)      Ahwal-i-Bano Begum, description of Tajmahal with names of the architects and value of the materials (stones) etc.

Copies of 8 Firmans found in possession of M. Sadiq Ali Khan, a descendant of Nawab Daud Khan Daudnagar in the Gaya district, have been secured by us. One of the Firman s is of Prince Dara Shikoh and is dated 1067 A.H. The second Firman is of Aurangzeb and is dated 1069 A.H. The third one is of Prince Azam Shah, son of Aurangzeb, is dated the 38th year of Aurangzeb’s reign. The fourth is of Emperor Farrukhsiyar, dated 1125 A.H. The fifth is of Emperor Muhammad Shah, dated 1131 A.H. The sixth is also of Muhammad Shah, dated 1153 A.H. The seventh too is of Muhammad Shah, dated 1173 A.H. The eight is of Shah Alam II, dated 7th year of his reign.

At Chewara village, situated at a distance of 8 miles from Sheikhpura in the Monghyr district, there is a tomb of Geti Ara Begum, a granddaughter of Shah Alam II, with an inscription on it, and also on two other graves in the same enclosure; one of which is of her husband Shujauddin Ali Khan and the other of her father, Tayamullah. These 3 inscriptions bear the dates 1256 A.H., 1237 A.H. and 1222 A.H. respectively. Copy of a Firman of Aurangzeb’s time which bears the seal of Amin Beg Khan Bahadur, was obtained here. An inscription on the mausoleum of Shah Makhdum, found at Champanagar in Bhagalpur district, mentions the time of viceroyalty of Prince Parwez (1036 A.H.). We have noticed an inscription of Darya Khan Lohani, an Afghan Ruler of Bihar (902-924 A.H.). I am attempting to prepare a list of inscriptions on Muslim tombs in Bihar.

 

Excerpts from Report of The Work of The Regional Records Survey Committee in Bihar (1947-1948), By the Late K. K. Datta, Government of Bihar, Department of Higher Education, Republished & Reprinted in Reports of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna (1945-1956) by Dr. Bijoy Kumar Choudhary, Secretary of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna, Bihar, India 2000. pp 16-21.

Report of The Work of

THE REGIONAL RECORDS SURVEY COMMITTEE IN BIHAR

1949-50

 

Of the Persian manuscripts, which have come to my notice, two deserve special mention. One of these entitled Zu-i-Hind is a gazetteer of the districts of U.P and Delhi. It is partly in Persian and partly on Urdu and covers more than 800 pages. The manuscript contains important historical and biographical information and also descriptions of important places and buildings based on the authors personal experiences. There is an incidental note on the top of the first page to the effect that “according to Government letter no. 997, dated the 29th December 1873, this book was included in the list of books to be rewarded. Evidently it was prepared under Government orders.

Another Persian manuscript is Manaqib-i-Mohammadi. It describes the life and travels of a saint who came from Baghdad to Amjhar, a village in the district of Gaya in the 15th century. The author Ali Sher Shirazi was a disciple and constant companion of the saint. He mentions herein the route from Baghdad to India, time spent in the journey through it, and the date of arrival in the Gaya district. Besides describing Gaya and some other places like Sasaram, Palamu and Shaikhpura (in the districts of Arrah, Palamau and Monghyr respectively) he refers to Dariya Khan Lohani, the Afghan ruler of Bihar and to one Jivan Kol, then a powerful Zamindar in the Gaya district. Both these manuscripts have been purchased for the Manuscript section of the Patna University Library. For the discovery and study of these Persian documents I am deeply obliged to my friends and colleagues Prof. S.H. Askari and Mr. F. Balkhi.

 

Excerpts from Report of The Work of The Regional Records Survey Committee in Bihar (1949-1950), By the Late K. K. Datta, Government of Bihar, Department of Higher Education, Republished & Reprinted in Reports of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna (1945-1956) by Dr. Bijoy Kumar Choudhary, Secretary of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna, Bihar, India 2000. pp 64-65.

Report of The Work of

THE REGIONAL RECORDS SURVEY COMMITTEE IN BIHAR,

1951-52

III

I am highly grateful to my friend and colleague Prof. S.H. Askari and to Shri F. Balkhi, a Research Assistant of mine, for bringing to my notice the following Persian manuscripts.

1.         Nature of Document – Historical memoirs, Tuzuki Timuri-Persian Translation from  Turkish of the memoirs written by Emperor Timur.

2.         Date & place of writing – Date not found, the writer says that the translation was made from the copy found in the library of the Governor of Yemen.

3.         Character – Written in Nastaliq character-name of scribe not found.

4.         Provenance – Purchased from M. Abdul Ghafur of Diwan Mohalla, Patna City, who had it from his master, Rai Shyam Bahadur, a Zamindar.

5.         Approximate length – Size 10” X 6” 378 pages.

6.         Make-up – Written on desi white paper in ordinary book form.

7.         State of preservation – Partly worm-eaten in side.

8.         Language – Persian.

9.         Subject – Deals with the system of Administration and Government of Emperor Timur.

 

II

1.         Nature of Document – History-“Tazkerat-us-Salatin”, Vol. II

2.         Date and place of Writing – Not found.

3.         Character – Written in Nastaliq character-name of writer not found.

4.         Provenance – Purchased from M. Abdul Ghafur of Diwan Mohalla, Patna City, who had it from his master, Rai Shyam Bahadur, a Zamindar.

5.         Approximate length – Size 10” X 6” covers 521 pages.

6.         Make-up – Written on desi white paper in ordinary book form.

7.         State of Preservation – Slightly worm-eaten but fair.

8.         Subject – This is numbered as Vol. II of the history and deals with events of the reigns of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb.

 

III

1.         Nature of the Document – History, Khulasat-ul-Ahwal by Munshi Asaram.

2.         Date and place of writing – Date of copy 1206 Hijri year, compiled probably in Bihar.

3.         Character – Written in Nastaliq character.

4.         Provenance – Purchased from M. Abdul Ghafur of Diwan Mohalla, Patna City, who had it from his master, Rai Shyam Bahadur, a Zamindar.

5.         Approximate length – Size 9 ½” X 5 ¾” covers 178 pages.

6.         Make-up – Written on desi white paper in ordinary book form.

7.         State of Preservation – Old but not damaged.

8.         Language – Persian.

9.         Subject – History of India from the earliest time up to the reign of Shah Alam II.

 

IV

1.         Nature of document – History, ‘Imadus-Saadat’, by Ghulam Ali Naqvi.

2.         Date and place of writing – Date 1269 Hijri year.

3.         Character – Written in Nastaliq character.

4.         Provenance – Purchased from M. Abdul Ghafur of Diwan Mohalla, Patna City, who had it from his master, Rai Shyam Bahadur, a Zamindar.

5.         Approximate length – Size 10” X 7”- covers 430 pages.

6.         Make-up – Written on desi white paper in ordinary book form.

7.         State of Preservation – Condition fair, not damaged.

8.         Language – Persian.

9.         Subject – History of the rule of Nawab Saadat Khan of Oudh.

 

V

1.         Nature of document – History, ‘Alam aria Abbasi’, Vol. II.

2.         Date and place of writing – Not found, but originally compiled in Persia.

3.         Character – Written in Nastaliq character, name of scribe not found.

4.         Provenance – Purchased from M. Abdul Ghafur of Diwan Mohalla, Patna City, who had it from his master, Rai Shyam Bahadur, a Zamindar.

5.         Approximate length – Size 14” X 8”-covers 404 pages.

6.         Make-up – Written on desi white paper in ordinary book for.

7.         State of Preservation – Condition fair, not damaged.

8.         Language – Persian.

9.         Subject – Purchased from M. Abdul Ghafur of Diwan Mohalla, Patna City, who had it from his master, Rai Shyam Bahadur, a Zamindar.

 

VI

1.         Nature of document – History, ‘Alam aria Abbasi’, Vol. IV.

2.         Date and place of writing – Not found, but originally compiled in Persia.

3.         Character – Written in Nastaliq character, name of scribe not found.

4.         Provenance – Purchased from M. Abdul Ghafur of Diwan Mohalla, Patna City, who had it from his master, Rai Shyam Bahadur, a Zamindar.

5.         Approximate length – Size 14” X 8”, covers 468 pages.

6.         Make-up – Written on desi white paper in ordinary book form.

7.         State of Preservation – Condition fair, not damaged.

8.         Language – Persian.

9.         Subject – Purchased from M. Abdul Ghafur of Diwan Mohalla, Patna City, who had it from his master, Rai Shyam Bahadur, a Zamindar.

 

VII

1.         Nature of document – Copy of collection of letters, “Khulasatul-Insha” by Lachhmi Ram Pandit of Delhi.

2.         Date and place of writing – Date 1834 A.D., written probably in Jhajjar.

3.         Character – Written in Nastaliq character-Name of Scribe-Daulat Ram S/o Sidhmall.

4.         Provenance – Offered for sale by M. Mukhtaruddin Arzoo, an acquaintance of Prof. S.H. Askari of Patna College.

5.         Approximate length – 10 ¾” X 7”- covers 90 pages.

6.         Make-up – Written on desi white paper with red and black marginal lines and red headings.

7.         State of Preservation – First page missing-otherwise in fairly good condition.

8.         Language – Persian.

9.         Subject – Collection of letters addressed to Naimullah Khan, Munshi of Emperor Muhammad Shah, Ahmad Bukhsh Khan, Najaf Khan and some others. The scribesays that the copy was made while he was appointed moharrir of Thana Jhajjar by order of Nawab Faiz Mohammad Khan Bahadur Hizabre Jang.  

 

Excerpts from Report of The Work of The Regional Records Survey Committee in Bihar (1951-1952), By the Late K. K. Datta, Government of Bihar, Department of Higher Education, Republished & Reprinted in Reports of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna (1945-1956) by Dr. Bijoy Kumar Choudhary, Secretary of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna, Bihar, India 2000. pp 99-103.

Report of The Work of

THE REGIONAL RECORDS SURVEY COMMITTEE IN BIHAR,

1955-56 AND 1956-57

 

Prof. S.H. Askari, Mr. F. Balkhi and Mr. Qeyamuddin Ahmad visited Koath (Dist. Shahabad) inspect valuable collection of Persian manuscripts belonging to Mr. Abu Mohammad Bilgrami. The collection is a very big and valuable one.

A brief descriptive list of some of the manuscripts is given below.

1.         Masnavi Shoris-i-Ishq and Samar-i-Murad and Dewan of Mr Imami Bilgrami, dated 1263 Fasli (1856).

2.         Zadul-Akhirat (Urdu) by Mir Md. Hadi, a contemporary of Sher Ali Afsos.

3.         Diwan-i-Nusrat (Persian), dated 1177.

4.         Volume containing (1) Alif-i-Kasrat, (2) Dastural Amal Wasaiq, (3) Resala Namaz, (4) Resala Anwar-i-Hikmat, (5) Dur-i-Bebaha, (6) Ilm-i-Tasawidiuf, (7) Rauzatul-Waizin, (8) Doha Bhat. (9) Majmaul Masadir, (10) Ruqaate-Alamgir, (11) Munazirab Dukhtari Shah Rum, (12) Sharah Sikandar Nama, (13) Irshad-ut-Talibin, (14) Hasanat-ul-Arifin.

5.         Tuhfat-ul-Ahrar An old and authentic copy, dated 1998 A.H.

6.         Manshaat-i-Jalal Khan Kakar- Some of the letters refer to Patna and Bihar.

7.         Biaz Ashar Mutafarreqat (Urdu).

8.         Diwan-i-Md. Tahir Alvi written in 46th years of Aurangzib.

9.         Masnavi Nal Daman by Faizi, copy dated 1090 A.H.

10.       Sharah nuzhat-ul-Arwab by S. Abdul Wahid Bilgrami also Sharah Kalam Ibn-i-Hajib in the same volume.

11.       Diwan Mir Khadim Ali, Gulshan, Jaunpur, dated 1206 A.H.

12.       Insha-i-Yusuf, a valuable work containing copy of letters of the authors.

13.       Diwan-i-Baligh- Poetical work of Baligh, rare (incomplete).

14.       Dah Majlish (Urdu) by Muhsin, rare.

15.       Diwan-i-Fashihi (Persian) very old and rare.

16.       Rubiyat-i-Dard (Persian) rare.

17.       Diwan-i-Ghalib (Urdu) dated 1254 A.H. Volume also contains Diwan-i-Ahqar Maraharavi. slightly wormeaten.

18.       Risala-Manasik-i-Haj, dated 1175. Illustrated and beautifully written in verse.

19.       Bayan-i-Waqe by Hazrat Md. Mir, dated 1219 A.H.

20.       Kashkaul contains specimens of Persian Poetry and extracts from biographical work of Azad Bilgrami.

21.       Qissa-i-Husn-o-Ishq (Urdu) by Shah Hasan.

22.       Diwan-i-Kashifi, dated 1107 A.H. Persian.

23.       Rawayaul Bayan or Tazkirat-Zangishah. Written in 1156. Authentic and rare copy, (Probably autograph). Pages loose and somewhat damaged.

24.       Volume containing (a) Yasuf Zulekha of Jami, (b) Laila Majmn (c) Salamanwa Ahsal- Copy, dated 965 A.H., very beautifully written with golden marginal lines.

25.       Tuhfat-ul-Majalis-Malfuzat of H. Shakh Ahmad Maghrebi, rare.

26.       Anisut-Tahqiq –A rare and valuable work on Sufism.

27.       Anisut-Tahqiq –A rare and valuable work on Sufism. Volume also contains a falnamsh and author MSS on Insha, somewhat damaged.

28.       Farhang-i-Bostan by Mulla Md. Saad Azimabadi, dated 1190 A.H. Very few copies of this are known to exist, somewhat damaged.

29.       Masnaviat Allama by Abdul Jalil Bilgrami, authentic copy.

30.       Volume containing Ruqaat-i-Allamgir and Inshai Chandar Bhan, dated 1117 A.H.

31.       Diwan-i-Khalis (Persian), dated 1181 A.H. Said to be the poetical works of Imteaz Khan Khalis, father of Mir Qasim.

32.       Diwan-i-Bezan (Persian) rare.

33.       Diwan-i-Soz (Urdu). Very few copies of this are known to exist.

34.       Masnavi-meher-o-Mushtari by Maulana Isar Tabrezi. Very old and rare.

35.       Makhub Mir Ashraf Jahangir, letters of the famous 14th century Saint of Kuchhawchha. Contains some valuable informations about the period and also about his contemporaries.

36.       Maadan-ul-Jawahir.

37.       Diwan-i-Dard. Poetical works of famous Urdu poet of Delhi in the 18th Century.

38.       Dastur-ul-Amal.

39.       Haqaiqul Asrar.

40.       Awarif-i-Hindi

41.       Masnavi Zenat.

42.       Majmua-i-Intekhab-i-Diwan Selection of poetries of famous Persian poet.

43.       Ketab-i-Insha.

44.       Badai-ul-Insha by Yusufi – A valuable work on the mode of addressing letters etc, to persons of Rank as in vogue during Mughal Rule.

45.       Tazkira-i-Qadria.

46.       Kimya-i-Saadat. A well-known work of the famous philosopher, All Ghazzali.

47.       Hulyat-ul-Muttaqin.

48.       Maarijul-Ulum.

49.       Tazkira-i-Sarkhush.

50.       Rasal-i-Nematullah.

51.       Reaz-un-Naem.

52.       Shoresh-i-Ishq.

53.       Beyan-Qasaid.

54.       Diwan-i-Kamal.

55.       Diwan-i-Maghabir.

56.       Reazush Shuaara.

57.       Gul-e-Raana.

58.       Majmua-i-Qasaid.

59.       Kullequt-i-Sauda.

60.       Dewan

61.       Padmavat.

62.       Beaz-i-Ashaar

63.       Taadibuz Zindiq.

64.       Anjuman-i- Bedil.

65.       Dewan-i-Abli Sherazi.

66.       Dastur-i-?

67.       Saqi Nama,

68.       Masnavi Furrukhsiyar.

69.       Beaz

70.       Beaz Anis-i-Tanhai.

71.       Beaz Ashaar.

72.       Dewan-i-Waheed.

73.       Dewan-i-Ibn-i-Yamin.

74.       Akhluq-i-Mohsini – A well-known literary Persian work by Hiusain Kashifi.

75.       Dastur-ul-Amal.

They also visited at Koath the collections of Mr. Syed Nabi. This collection, although not so large as the other one, contains some very important and rare manuscripts, including a copy of the Tarikh-i-Bashidi, and also a copy of the Shah Nama, which is older than the copy available in the Oriental Public Library.   

 

Excerpts from Report of The Work of The Regional Records Survey Committee in Bihar (1955-1956 & 1956-1957), By the Late K. K. Datta, Government of Bihar, Department of Higher Education, Republished & Reprinted in Reports of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna (1945-1956) by Dr. Bijoy Kumar Choudhary, Secretary of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna, Bihar, India 2000. pp 211-213.

REPORT OF THE

REGIONAL RECORDS SURVEY COMMITTEE, BIHAR,

1961-62

 

During the year under review the State Government were pleased to reconstitute the Regional Records Survey Committee by their Notification No. 2775, dated the 10th October, 1961 and the following members were appointed for 3 years:-

1.         Dr. K.K. Datta, Director of the K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna,

2.         Dr. H. R. Ghosal, Head of the Deptt. of History, Bihar University, Muzaffpur,

3.         Prof. S.H. Askari, Prof. of History, Patna College, Patna,

4.         Dr. P.N.Ojha, Head of the Deptt. of History, Ranchi University,

5.         Sri Panchanan Mishra, Head of the Deptt. of History, T.N.B College, Bhagalpur.

6.         Dr. J.N. Sarkar, Dy. Director of Education (General), Bihar,

7.         Special Officer Incharge, Dist. Gazetteer Revision.

8.         Curator, Patna Museum, Patna,

9.         Dr. Jata Shanker Jha, Research Fellow, K.P.Jayswal Research Institute, Patna,

10.       Dr. Qeyamuddin Ahmad, Research fellow, K.P.Jayswal Research Institute, Patna,

11.       Dr. Bimla Prasad, Lecturer in History, Patna University,

12.       Dr. V.A.Narain, Lecturer in History, Patna University.

 

The newly constituted Committee held its first meeting on the 2nd December, 1961, to discuss ways and means to expedite the work of the National Register of Private Records. Accordingly it was resolved to distribute the several districts among the members for greater concentration of their activities 

 

Excerpts from Report of The Regional Records Survey Committee in Bihar (1961-1962) by Dr. K. K. Datta, Vice Chancellor, Magadh University and Secretary of The Bihar Regional Records Survey Committee, Patna, Bihar, India, 1963. pp 1-2.

Corpus of Arabic & Persian Inscriptions of Bihar (A.H. 640-1200), Qeyamuddin Ahmad, K. P. Jayaswal Research Institute, 1973

(Edited Excerpts)

 

PREFACE

The K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna, undertook, towards the end of 1961, a scheme for the collection and publication of the texts of all the available Arabic and Persian inscriptions of Bihar. Qeyamuddin Ahmad was a Research Fellow in the Institute, and the work was allotted to him. The preliminary work of collecting the estampages of the inscriptions took long as it was done in the course of tours undertaken at different times and often at long intervals. Soon after the estampages were photographed and the texts partly edited, my services were transferred to the Post-graduate Department of History, Patna University. The matter would have perhaps ended there, but Prof. S. H. Askari, the then Honorary Joint Director of the Institute, desired that Qeyamuddin Ahmad should complete the work. However, Qeyamuddin Ahmad’s preoccupation with his new assignment forced him to put aside the work for some time. Qeyammuddin Ahmad was happy that he was able to complete the work and hand over the press-copy to the Institute during the tenure of Prof. Askari as the Honorary Joint Director. (PAGE XVIII).

Qeyammuddin Ahmad received much help and cooperation from different individuals and institutions in the preparation of this work. The guidance of his constant benefactor, Prof. S. H. Askari, was readily available to him during all stages of the work. (PAGE XIX)

 

INTRODUCTION

Inscriptions are, in a way, the footprints of the preceding generations on the sands of Time. The wind of change has played havoc with these imprints and has obliterated many of them. It is our duty, and in our interest, to protect and preserve the few which have survived, because they often are our only dependable guides in the less-frequented bye-lanes of history.

Much useful and pioneering work in the field of epigraphic studies was done by H. Blochmann. His articles on the history and geography of medieval Bengal, in which he published and edited the texts of many unnoticed inscriptions and coins, will always remain a valuable source of information to students of the regional history of Bengal and Bihar. Blochmann’s work is primarily concerned with the pre-Mughal history of Bengal, but he also edited and published some of the earliest inscriptions belonging to Bihar. The real pioneering work in the medieval epigraphy of Bihar has been done by Prof. S. H. Askari. On the basis of epigraphic sources, he first surveyed in a paper the history of Bihar in the Turko-Afghān period. Unlike Blochmann, to whom many of the inscriptions were sent by the workers in the field and local officers, Prof. Askari combines in himself the roles of the explorer and the scholar. During the course of his extensive tours in the interior of the State he has discovered and brought to light numerous inscriptions and published their texts, though mostly without plates. (PAGE XXI).

Chapter 1: Inscriptions of Some Early Mamluk Chiefs and Sultans of Bengal

Like the two previous inscriptions of Ruknu’d-Dīn Kaikā’ūs Shāh, these inscriptions, taken together, provide valuable historical information. Blochmann, who first noticed them, observed on the basis of the epigraphs that Ḥātim Khān was the Governor of Bihar at least from A.H. 709 to 715. Blochmann’s inference is confirmed by a reference – culled out by S. H. Askari – in a rare Malfūz̤, entitled Munisu’l-Murīdīn (which was compiled by one S̤alāḥ Mukhlis̤ Dā’ūd Khān, a disciple of the saint, and its text is being edited by M. Zahirul Hasan under the auspices of the Postgraduate Institute of Arabic and Persian Studies, Patna),  of Sharfu’d-Dīn Yaḥyā Manerī. It refers to king S̲h̲amsu’d-Dīn of Sonargaon and two of his sons, Ḥātim Khān, governor of Bihar, and Bahādur Shāh, the governor of Kamrup, and to the fratricidal struggle for succession in which both were worsted – the former due to his excessive generosity and mildness and the latter because of his haughtiness and ruthlessness. It is evident from this reference that Ḥātim continued to be the governor of the province of Bihar till A.H. 722, the date of death of Shamsu’d-Dīn Fīrūz. (Page 16).

 

Chapter 2: Inscriptions of the Tughluq Sultans

8. INSCRIPTION DATED 732 FROM BIHAR SHARIF.

The inscription, so long lying unidentified in the Calcutta Museum, was ‘discovered’ and identified by Prof. Q. Ahmad during a visit to the Museum in December 1963 in connection with the preparation of the present work. Blochmann first published the text but did not mention anything about the inscription except that it belonged to the Sakunat building which was the palace of Governor of Bihar and was already in ruins (JASB, xlii, 1873, p. 251; see also EI, ii, p. 292). S. H. Askari, writing a century later, added the information that a broken piece of the Sakunat inscription, once on the gateway of the Residency, had been set in the wall of a mosque in the Mohalla (CS, 1954, P. 11) of that name. (Page 26)

 

10. INSCRIPTION DATED 747 FROM BEDIBAN, DISTRICT CHAMPARAN.

The inscription, now preserved in the Patna Museum (Bearing Archaeology number 10841), is very important, being the earliest of the extant Tughluq inscriptions in north Bihar. It was first noticed by Cunningham (ASI, xvi, 1880-1, pp. 25-6, pl. iv.) who found it in village Bediban (Champaran district). It lies in the s̤adar subdivision of Champaran district, and is half a mile north-east of Pipra railway station of N.E. Rly. where it was kept in a temple and used as an object of worship-Bhagwān kā charan pad. Cunningham published a lithographic print of the text [pl. 5(b)] and a partial reading of it. He deciphered its date as A.H. 847 and ascribed it to Maḥmūd Shāh of Jaunpur (A.H. 844-63). It was ‘re-discovered’ in the same place and same position by the late F. Balkhi and Pandit V. Shastri, Research Assistants, Manuscripts Section of the Patna University Library, in 1952, and brought to Patna Museum by the efforts of S.V. Sohoni, then Divisional Commissioner of Trihut. The text has been edited by S.H. Askari and Z.A. Desai. S. H. Askari (CS, p.12, note 7) improved Cunningham’s reading, and corrected the reading of the date and the name of the king. Subsequently, Dr. Desai (EIAPS, 1961, p. 26, pl. vi (a) also clarified the portion naming the object of construction, namely, a well. However, even now a few points are not fully clear.  (PAGE 30).

 

14. INSCRIPTION DATED 761 FROM BIHARSHARIF.

The inscription is fixed in the northern wall of the chamber of the Sajjādah Nashīn of the dargāh of Shāh Qumais in Biharsharif (It was first noticed by S.H. Askari (CS, 1954, pp. 14-5) and subsequently edited by Dr. Desai, EIAPS, 1961, pp. 26-7, pl. vi(b)). The slab, partly broken on the right hand side, measures 2’.6”x1’.3”. The text, written in Thulth script, consists of two Persian couplets, inscribed in two lines, and records the construction of a domed dargāh of a saint whose name cannot be made out because of the slab being fragmentary. The slab contains some rosettes and other decorations. (PAGE 41 - NOTE 1)

Missing words (S. H. Askari in CS, 1954, p. 14, note 5 suggests the missing words as عدل افتاب (Sun of Justice) of the Persian text is given in the book. (PAGE 41 - NOTE 2)

 

 

16. INSCRIPTION DATED 765 FROM BIHARSHARIF.

The inscription is fixed below a chirāghdān by the side of a pucca grave in the courtyard of the Ambēr dargāh in Biharsharif. It was first noticed by S. H. Askari, (CS, 1954, p. 16, note 7. Surprisingly, it is not noticed by Blochmann. Perhaps, it was brought and set up in the dargāh later) who published its text in Roman characters. Subsequently it was edited by Dr. Desai (EIAPS, 1961, pp. 28-9, pl. vii(b)). The slab measures 3’.2”x1’.7”, and it contains three lines of Persian prose, written in an elegant Thulth style, recording the construction of a mosque by Khwāja Bangāl Khānī [sic] during the governorship of Asadu’l Ḥaq wa’d Dīn Dā’ūd Khān and the reign of Fīrūz Shāh on Rabi’l, 765 (8 December 1363). (PAGE 44)

 

 

 

The main point of interest is the date of the inscription. An old printed work, Irshādu’s Sālikīn read it as A.H. 760. The text partly is being reproduced as given by S. H. Askari, in Roman letters, (CS, 1954, p. 14, note. 3). However, the possibility of there being some other word before ستىن (60) cannot be ruled out; it will be safer to date it in the sixties of the 8th century A.H. We know about Fīrūz Tughluq’s visits to Bihar and, particularly, Kako. We also have an inscription of Maḥmūd Tughluq in Kako dated A.H. 799 (no. 29). Knowing the state of affairs under Maḥmūd Tughluq supremacy in Bihar took place during his reign. Obviously, Kako, like other parts of Bihar, must have been under Tughluq rule since the time of Fīrūz Tughluq, if not earlier. (PAGE 50)

 

 

21. INSCRIPTIONS DATED 774 FROM BIHARSHARIF.

This fragmentary inscription (CS, 1954, p. 16. It was published subsequently by Dr. Desai (EIAPS, 1961), pp. 29-30, pl. viii(a)) is fixed in the wall of the inner apartment of a private house situated opposite the S̤ughrā Waqf Estate building in Biharsharif. It was discovered, like so many others of the Tughluq period in Bihar, by S. H. Askari. The tablet is fragmentary, the right-side portion being lost. It measures 1’.8”x10” and the text consists of two lines of Arabic prose written in elegant Thulth style. The slab being fragmentary the purport of the epigraph cannot be determined; only the date and the name of the king is available. (PAGE 56).

 

25. FRAGMENTARY INSCRIPTION OF FĪRŪZ TUGHLUQ FROM BIHARSHARIF.

The last inscription of Fīrūz Shāh is a small fragmentary one let in the northern wall of the enclosure containing Fad̤lu’llāh Gosāīn’s tomb in maḥalla Baradari of Biharsharif. It was lying embedded in the plaster but was scratched out by S. H. Askari (CS, 1954, p. 15). (PAGE 62)

 

26. INSCRIPTION DATED 792 FROM BIHAR SHARIF.

The inscription, now preserved in the Calcutta Museum, originally belonged to a mosque in maḥalla Kabiruddinganj, Biharsharif. Blochmann, who first published the text in 1873 (JASB, xlii, 1873, p. 303) found the mosque extant, and has thus described it: ‘the mosque has three cupolas, the centre one circular the other octagonal. Two of its lofty minarets have fallen down.’ The inscription was subsequently studied by S. H. Askari and Dr. Desai (CS, 1954, p. 17; EIAPS, 1955-6, pp. 10-1, pl. ii (c)), who slightly improved Blochmann’s reading (PAGE 64)

 

28. INSCRIPTIONS DATED 799 FROM BIHARSHARIF.

The inscription was first published by Blochmann1, and, subsequently, edited by Dr. Desai. Originally belonging to a dargāh, to the construction of which it refers, Blochmann found it, “in cluster of religious buildings known in Bihar as Chota Takiya, ‘the small cloister’ in which there is the tomb of Shah Diwan Abdu’l Wahhab who is said to have died in 1906.”

It was there till 1954 when S. H. Askari wrote about it (CS, 1954, p. 17). but it is now lying in the compound of the house of Shāh Zaka Husain of maḥalla Daira, Biharsharif.. (PAGE 68)

 

30. INSCRIPTION DATED 810 FROM BIHARSHARIF.

The inscription was discovered by S. H. Askari, in village Chandpura, near Biharsharif, who published its text (CS, 1954, p. 17). It has since been published with a plate by Dr. Desai (EIAPS, 1961, p. 34, pl. x(b)). Fixed over the central miḥrāb of the local mosque (which itself is a modern structure) the slab measures 2’.8”x10”. It is partly broken on the left side, but the relevant historical information, names of the builder and the king, and the date, is available in the existing portion of the text. It comprises two Persian couplets recording the reconstruction of a mosque by Ḥājī Bū Bakr, son of Maḥmūd, in the reign of Maḥmūd Shāh on the 25 Jumada I, 810 (28 October 1407). (PAGE 71)

 

Chapter 3: Inscriptions of the Sharqi Sultans

32. INSCRIPTION DATED 807 FROM BIHARSHARIF.

The inscription is fixed on the wall of small open mosque attached to the mausoleum of Sayyid Muḥammad Seīstānī in Biharsharif. First noticed by S. H. Askari (CS, 1954, pp. 17-8), subsequently edited along with some other Sharqī inscriptions in Bihar by W.H. Siddiqi, EIAPS, 1962, pp. 42 ff, pl. xii (a) and (c).The slab measures 3’.5”x10”, and contains two Persian verses recording the construction of a structure by Qut̤b Aḥmad ‘Ārid̤ (Siddiqi, op. cit., reads the name as Qut̤b (son of) Aḥmad ‘Ārid)  (Reporter) in the reign of Ibrāhīm Shāh in A.H. 807 (1404-5).

(PAGE 78 - NOTE 4)

 

The name of the builder is not specifically mentioned, but most probably the mosque was constructed by the maqt̤a’, Nas̤īr, whose name is mentioned in the preceding inscription, and also in the next one of this very date. As regards Aḥmad, the composer of this text, Blochmann took it as an appellation (Praised One) of the Prophet. However, S. H. Askari rightly identifies him with Aḥmad Balkhī Langar Dariyā (See biographical sketch in Wasila-i-Sharf-wa-Zariya’-i-Daulat, ed. M. Taiyyab Abdali, Allahabad, 1965, pp. 115-9) one of the important saints of the Firdaūsīa order in Bihar. He was also a poet and a copy of the diwān of his Persian verses and of his Malfūz̤, entitled Mūnisu’l Qulūb, is present in a valuable local collection of manuscripts (It belongs to Hakim Taqi Balkhi Sahab of Alamganj, Patna City). (PAGE 84)

 

 

INSCRIPTION DATED 859 FROM BIHARSHARIF.

The inscription originally belonged, according to Blochmann, to the ‘ruinous Paharpur Jami Masjid’ (JASB, xlii, 1873, pp. 306-7. The 4th and 5th verse and the second hemistich of the 6th verse were not deciphered by Blochmann. S. H. Askari with the help of Maulana Nur Alam Saheb of Biharsharif made considerable improvement on the previous reading, CS, 1954, p. 18, note 6. It is very difficult to decipher the text because the letters have become indistinct and also because of the peculiar manner in which the letters have been inscribed one upon another), but at present it is fixed horizontally on two short ornamented pillars of black stone in the courtyard of the dargāh Ambēr in Biharsharif. The text consists of Bismi’llāh, a Ḥadīth and seven Persian verses spread over two lines, each divided into 4 lined frames. It records the construction of a Jāmi’ mosque by Ashrafu’l-Ḥaq at the instance of Nas̤īr, son of Baha, the maqt̤a’ of the shiq of Bihar during the reign of Maḥmūd Shāh, son of Ibrāhīm Shāh, on 27 Ramad̤ān 859 (10 September 1455). (PAGE 85)

 

 

37. INSCRIPTION DATED 892 FROM BIHARSHARIF.

The inscription was first brought to light by S. H. Askari (CS, 1954, p. 18, note 9; JBRS, xli, pt. iii, 1955, p. 359. Siddiqi did not include it in his article on the Sharqī inscriptions in Bihar, but it has been edited, recently, by Dr. Z.A. Desai, EIAPS, 1968, pp. 25-7.), who found it set on the eastern gate of the dargārh of Fad̤lu’llāh Gosāīn in Biharsharif. The tablet is now, unfortunately, lost but its estampage, taken by S. H. Askari, is preserved in the Patna Museum. It is measured 3’.4”x9”. The extant text, written in two lines, consists of four Persian verses. It records the construction of a dome over some building during the reign of Ḥusain Shāh Sharqī in A.H. 892 (1486-7). (PAGE 87)

 

The inscription is historically important because it provides some definite information about the political geography of Bihar in the closing decades of 15th century. The period witnessed the fluctuating struggle between the Lodīs and Sharqīs. At the end of first round Bahlūl Lodī succeeded in driving out Ḥusain Shāh from his capital but the latter still retained the eastern part of his kingdom, including Chunar, Chaund and Bihar. The situation continued till the end of Bahlūl’s reign (1489) and during the early years of Sikandar Lodī’s. He was willing to maintain status quo provided Ḥusain Shāh did not harbor or encourage his enemies. But the latter, bent on recovering his kingdom, provoked the Lodī ruler with disastrous results for himself and the remaining part of his kingdom. (See also article by S. H. Askari in JBRS, xli, pt. iii, 1955). This inscription, along with that of Daryā Khān (no. 52), confirms the sequence, for they show that Bihar was under the control of Ḥusain Shāh in A.H. 892 (1486-7) but was annexed by Sikandar Lodī and put in charge of Daryā Khān in A.H. 901 (1495-6). (PAGE 89 - NOTE 2)

 

    

 

Chapter 4: Inscriptions of the Bengal Sultans in Bihar

40. INSCRIPTION DATED 897 FROM BHAGALPUR.

The inscription was first brought to light by S. H. Askari who found it lying detached in the Jāmi’ mosque in Champanagar in Bhagalpur. The slabs measure 2’.5”x10”, and is damaged at a few places. The text, in two lines of Arabic prose, records the construction of a mosque by Khān-i-Āz̤am Mu’tabar Khān, the Kārfarmān (officer in charge?) of Bazurai Hāṭ (?), in the reign of Muz̤affar Shāh on the 10 Muḥarram 897 (13 November 1491). (PAGE 98)

 

In the second line, the words after خان معتبر have been read differently by different writers. S. H. Askari reads it, tentatively, as وھا باز فرمان كار Ahmad asن بازوا فرمان كار (‘valiant commander’) and Kadiri as ھت راى بازو   فرمان كار (‘agent of Bazurai Hāṭ’). (PAGE 99)

 

43. INSCRIPTION DATED 907 FROM BHAGALPUR.

It was first noticed by S. H. Askari who published its text in Roman characters[1] (CS, 1954, p. 19).and was subsequently edited by Q. Ahmad (Ahmad, op. cit., 160) and Kadiri (EIAPS, 1961, p. 40). The slab, measuring 3’.9”x1’, is fixed over of the tomb of a 17th century saint, Shahbāz, in maḥalla Mullachak in Bhagalpur. The text consists of a single line of Arabic prose, recording the construction of a mosque by Sar-i-Lashkar, Majlis Maḥmūd, son of Yūsuf, in the reign of ‘Alāu’d-Dīn Ḥusain Shāh on the 12 Rajab in the year 907 (21 January 1502). (PAGE 103)

 

46. INSCRIPTION DATED 909 FROM NARHAN, DISTRICT SARAN.

Although an estampage of the inscription was obtained in 1906, when it was fully intact, it had remained unnoticed till S. H. Askari (JBRS, xli, pt. iii, 1955, p.364) brought it to light in 1955. It has recently been edited by Kadiri (EIAPS, 1961, p.41, pl. xiv (a)).  who has been able to establish the date, too, with the help of the old rubbing taken in 1906. It is quite similar in design, arrangement and the text to the previous one. (PAGE 109)

 

50. UNDATED INSCRIPTION FROM BEGUSARAI, DISTRICT MONGHYR.

The detached slab was discovered in village Matihani, P.S. Begusarai, district Monghyr. It was transferred to the Patna Museum (Archaeology, no. 10733) through the efforts of S. H. Askari who also published (CS, 1954, p. 20, note 1) its text in Roman characters. It has recently been edited by Kadiri (EIAPS, 1961, pp. 43-4, pl. xv (b)), who has made some improvement on the previous reading. Unlike the great majority of inscriptions of the Bengal Sult̤āns, its paleography as well as material is of an inferior quality. The slab measures 2’.2.5”x1’.2”, and the text written in three lines of Arabic prose records the construction of a Jāmi’ mosque by Nās̤ir Shāh, son of Ḥusain Shāh. (PAGE 114-115)

Chapter 5: Inscriptions of the Pathan Sultans

Many of these inscriptions were discovered recently, between 1955-62, by S. H. Askari and Q. Ahmad. No attempt has yet been made to publish and edit them as a whole with reference to the history of the period. (S. H. Askari published partial readings, in Roman script, of the texts of two of these. Four others (nos. 52-4, 56) have recently been edited and published by W.H. Siddiqi, EIAPS, 1967, pp. 25-32, pl. vi-vii). As stated above, they represent a period in the history of Bihar when she asserted her independent status and provided the base for the Sūr regime, one of the most formative in the history of medieval India. (PAGE 122)

 

 

52. INSCRIPTION DATED 901 FROM BIHARSHARIF.

The inscription was discovered by S. H. Askari some time in 1955; it is fixed in the northern wall of the enclosure containing the tomb of Fad̤lu’llāh Gosāīn in Biharsharif. The slab measures 3’x1’, and the text consisits of four Persian verses, arranged horizontally in two lines. The writing has become defaced at some places; some of the letters have peeled off, while some others have been rendered illegible by coats of white-wash which have filled up the space inside the raised surface of the letters. The (Persian) text, which has been read largely with the help of S. H. Askari and Dr. Desai. (PAGE 122)

 

The inscription is not in situ, there being two other inscriptions (nos. 25, 37) of two different kings on the same wall. But it is clear from the text itself that the epigraph belonged to the town. However, its presence does not seem to fit in with the two inscriptions of Alāu’d-Dīn Ḥusain Shāh in Barh and Patna (nos. 47, 48), and it raises some doubts about political geography of Bihar in the first quarter of the 16th century. The question was discussed by S. H. Askari (JBRS, xli, pt. iii, 1955, pp. 363 ff. Siddiqi refers briefly to the ‘complicated’ political situation of Bihar at that time but does not discuss this aspect), but he found it difficult to come to any definite conclusion. (PAGE 123)

 

 

The text is written in Naskh script on a sandstone slab, measuring 2’.2.5”x6”. It comprises three lines of Arabic-Persian prose, and records the construction, probably, of a mosque by Bā(ya)zīd Nūḥānī in the month of Sha’bān 942 (1536). Some of the letters have become indistinct, rendering an exact decipherment of the full text difficult. Q. Ahmad thanked S. H. Askari, Dr. Desai and Prof. Kazimi for their help in deciphering the Persian text. (PAGE 125 - NOTE 2)

 

Some doubt has been raised about the identity of Daryā Khān mentioned in the inscription, particularly because of the rather loose use of the word barāwarda (Meaning ‘raised’, ‘brought up’, ‘carried out’).. If it is taken to mean that Daryā Khān carried out the repair (in 1543) he would obviously be a different person from the famous Nūḥānī ruler of Bihar who died much earlier. S. H. Askari, and Siddiqi too, also consider the possibility that barāwarda refers to Sher Shāh (that he was a protégé of Daryā Khān and was brought up by him). However, this is rather unlikely; it is to be noted that Sher Shāh is styled as the reigning emperor and it is difficult to imagine anyone mentioning him as having been ‘brought up’ by someone. The most likely meaning, as Siddiqi too suggests, is that the dome was originally constructed by Daryā Khān and was repaired in the reign of Sher Shāh. (PAGE 133).

 

 

63. INSCRIPTION DATED 962 FROM BIHARSHARIF.

The inscription, first discovered by S. H. Askari (CS, 1954, p. 22), is fixed on the wall of an Imāmbāṛa (used as a hotel!) in maḥalla Baradari in Biharsharif. The tablet measures 1’x10”, and the text consists of three lines of Persian prose. The letters on the right side of the third line being rather indistinct, it is difficult to determine exactly the building constructed; the legible portion indicates the construction of a dome over some building by Aḥmad T̤āhir in the reign of Z̤afaru’d-Dunyā wa’d-Dīn Abu’l Muz̤affar Muḥammad Shāh in 962 (beginning 26 November 1554). (PAGE 146)

 

 

65. INSCRIPTION DATED 975 FROM BIHARSHARIF.

The inscription is at present kept in the compound of Shāh Zaka Ḥusain of maḥalla Baradari, Biharsharif (It was found by S. H. Askari in an agricultural field near maḥalla Baradari, and was brought over to Shah Zaka’s house; CS, 1954, p. 22 note 4). The slab measures 2’.4”x1’.4”, and the text consists of five lines of mixed Arabic and Persian prose, recording the renovation of some shrine by Sayyid Nas̤īru’d-Dīn, son of Mīrān Sayyid Qut̤bī Gosāīn in 975 (1567-8) (Not 875 as mentioned in ARIE 1953-4, c. 95. The date is not clear, but the time sequence makes 975 more likely). (PAGE 150-51 - NOTE 1)

 

 

Chapter 6: Inscriptions of the Mughal Emperors

The inscription is in a much-damaged condition, and the tentative reading, given below, has been prepared largely with the help of S. H. Askari and Dr. Z.A. Desai. The slab measures 2’.10”x2’.5”. (PAGE 170)

 

75. INSCRIPTION DATED 1007 FROM MONGHYR.

The inscription was ‘discovered’ by S.H. Askari and Q. Ahmad during the course of an exploration tour of Monhgyr district in 1958. (One, J.H. Rainey, ‘a zamindar of Khulna, Jessore’, had sent a rubbing of the slab to Blochmann, who just published its text in PASB, December, 1877, p. 257, but since then no one seemed to know whether the slab was extant.

Rainey wrote to Blochmann that ‘the slate slab which is placed on the west side of the interior of a large well situated a short distance beyond the southern gateway of the Monghyr fort and to the south western side of the Station Racket Court on one side of which building is a Bath to which the well supplies water’).  The slab, measuring 2’x1’.4”, is fixed on the inner wall of a well, just off the main road near the southern gateway of the Monghyr fort. (It is fixed fairly down the ‘mouth’ of the well, and it was with much difficulty that we could obtain an estampage. It was in a precarious position even then – some of the bricks around it had become loose and its upper part was leaning out. It should be immediately taken out and removed to the Patna Museum for preservation – if it is still there) The text consists of five Persian couplets, and records the construction of a well for a garden during the ‘time’ of Makhs̤ūs̤ Khān in 1007 (1598-9). (PAGE 178)

 

76. INSCRIPTION DATED 1013 FROM HILSA, DISTRICT PATNA.

It was (the inscription) ‘re-discovered’ by S. H. Askari and the late Fas̤īḥu’d-Dīn Balkhī in 1947, when they found it lying upside down in a toddy shop in Hilsa! (No information was available about its existence since it was noticed in 1902).  When Q. Ahmad obtained its estampage in 1959 it was still lying in the same place and position. It is now reported to be kept in the house of the mutawallī of the local dargah (ARIE, 1960-1, p. 23). (PAGE 180)

 

 

91. INSCRIPTION DATED 1026 FROM KHURRAMABAD, DISTRICT SHAHABAD.

This unnoticed inscription was discovered by me in September 1968. (On receiving some unconfirmed reports about this old mosque, S. H. Askari desired Q. Ahmad to go and see it. Q. Ahmad did accordingly and was amply rewarded by the discovery of this important historical site of the 17th century). It belongs to a ruined mosque in village Khurramabad, situated on the Grand Trunk Road, 12 miles west of Sasaram. Even in its ruined condition the mosque gives some idea of its original grandeur; it seems to have been a massive, lofty, mosque of some architectural significance. The roof and the domes are now lost and the high façade, too, is now partly ruined; only the left part of the very high central arch, about 40 feet from the ground, is extant. It still has some trace of a red-coloured flowered design running along its sides. The other two arches flanking the central one seems to have been smaller. Along the outer side of the boundary wall there were small rooms, which perhaps served as lodging-rooms and which have now been submerged by the rise in the road surface, but are partly visible. Nearby is a big stone well and a tomb. (PAGE 208 - NOTE 1)

 

Ḥabīb Khān Sūr’s name is mentioned in the list of mans̤abdārs of Shāhjahān’s reign appended to the Shāhjahān Nāma (OPL, MS. copy, no. 565, I, fo. 213); he held a rank of 1000, 200 sawārs. It may be pointed out that the S̤ūbahdār of Bihar during this period was ‘Abdullāh Khān who was appointed in Dh i’l Qa’da, 1041 (May 1632) and was succeeded by Shaista Khān in February 1639. Apart from the fact that an un-interrupted posting for seven years in one province was rather unusual, we have references to ‘Abdullāh Khān’s absence from Bihar during these seven years. S. H. Askari in his above-mentioned article (IHC, Progs. Vol., vii, 1944) mentions the details of his absences at different dates between 1043-5 (1633-6), and states that ‘we do not know who acted as a deputy in Bihar during his absence’. It is recorded that ‘Abdullāh Khān presented himself before the Emperor in Sha’bān, 1045 (January 1636), and in Rabi’l, 1046 (August 1636), he received orders to return to Bihar (IHC, Progs. Vol., vii, 1944). (PAGE 241)

 

110. INSCRIPTION DATED 1056 FROM PATNA CITY.

The detached slab, now preserved in the Patna Museum (Archaeology, No. 10966), originally belonged to a mosque situated, on the main road, in maḥalla Balkishunganj, Patna City. The main structure of the mosque, the three-domed prayer-hall, still stands intact (As the second earliest, dated, building of the Mughal period extant in Patna, it deserves the attention of the State Department of Archaeology. See also Introduction). Its inscription, which had fallen down and was lying in the debris, was removed some time ago to the Patna Museum through the efforts of S. H. Askari and S.V. Sohoni, then Divisional Commissioner, Patna. (PAGE 245)

 

 

 

Two persons commonly referred to as Māmōn Bhānja, near whose tombs the mosque was built, may be identified with Sayyid Aḥmad, a brother of a 12th century S̤ūfī saint, Mīrān Ḥusain Khingsawār, who is said to have come to India with Shihābu’d-Dīn Muḥammad Ghōrī, and his sister’s son, Sayyid Muḥammad. The mausoleum is said to have been built by Rāja Shiva Singh, a ruling chief of Trihut in the early 15th century, and the patron of the celebrated Vidyāpatī. A large number of farmāns and sanads – including a rare bi-lingual (Persian and Hindi) sanad of Rāja Mān Singh, dated 999 (1590-1) – granting extensive jāgirs for the maintenance of the shrine were discovered and published by S. H. Askari in 1946-7. (PAGE 264-265).

But there is some confusion about the subsequent phase of his career, particularly about his appointment as the S̤ūbahdār of Bihar, the period of his s̤ūbahdārī and the date and place of his death. The date of the commencement of Buzurg Umeed Khān’s s̤ūbahdārī of Bihar has been suggested by S. H. Askari as some time before 1094 (1682-3). In an article entitled ‘Bihar in the time of Aurangzeb’ (JBRS, xxxi, pt. iv, 1945; ibid, xxxii, pts. I-ii, 1946) S. H. Askari has sorted out some of these confusions with the help of contemporary evidence. However, Buzurg Umeed Khān being one of the so many s̤ūbahdārs to be dealt with, S. H. Askari could not discuss the problems relating to him in greater detail.  However, the Akhbārā) furnish some additional information on the point. An entry, dated 6 May 1682, throws light on an attempt made by Shāista Khān to get his son appointed as the S̤ūbahdār of Bihar. It states that on the occasion of Gangā Rām’s rebellion in Bihar, Shāista Khān reported to the Emperor some of the preventive efforts made by him, including the deputation of Buzurg Umeed to Bihar with 2000 men, as desired by the Emperor. But Shāista Khān went on to write, in a rather presumptuous and informal manner, that the Emperor had appointed such worthless persons to the post (governorship of Bihar) that they could not cope with such emergencies. (Being the uncle of Aurangzēb, he could perhaps afford to write in this manner. Nevertheless, it is an interesting instance of behind the scene influences in matters of higher appointments). It was advisable, he added, that the s̤ūbahdārī of Bihar be conferred on Buzurg Umeed Khān and Safī Khān be appointed as S̤ūbahdār of Orissa. The entry concludes with the remark that the Emperor read the report and kept quiet. This interesting information shows that attempts were being made, at least from the middle of 1682, to get Buzurg Umeed appointed as the S̤ūbahdār of Bihar. The efforts did not take long to succeed for we find that a farmān was issued in August, 1682, addressed to Shāista Khān, regarding the appointment of Buzurg Umeed Khān as the S̤ūbahdār of Bihar. Although an entry of October 1682 refers to Buzurg Umeed as the S̤ūbahdār of Bihar, he does not seem to have assumed charge till December 1682. An entry dated December 1682 states that a petition was received from Buzurg Umeed Khān, the S̤ūbahdār of Bihar, that he had reached there and acquainted himself with the settlement; that the zamīndārs had not paid their dues since the last year, but by the grace of the Emperor’s fortune he would subdue them. Thus we find that the date of assumption of office by Buzurg Umeed Khān, as the S̤ūbahdār of Bihar, can be established a little more precisely. (PAGE 289-90)

 

Chapter 7: Inscriptions of the Later Mughal Emperors

It may be pointed out that S. H. Askari, quoting a reference in Calendar of Persian Correspondence, mentions 11 October 1773 (24 Rajab 1187) as the date of Munīru’d Dawla’s death. (For a detailed biographical study see article, entitled ‘Nawab Munir-ud-Dowla a Minister of Shah Alam’ by S. H. Askari, JBORS, xxvii, pt. ii, 1941, pp. 187-220). This date (1187) can be obtained if we include اواز as part of the keywords of the chronogram (1173+ 15) and deduct 1 (1188-1) which, according deaths. However, the inclusion of اواز is not indicated in the hemistich, as it should normally have been, nor does it seem very justified or apt. (PAGE 332)

 

Citation Details:

*JBORS, xxvii, pt. ii, 1941, pp. 187-220: Nawab Munir-ud-Dowla a Minister of Shah Alam’

*JBRS, xxxi, pt. iv, 1945; ibid, xxxii, pts. I-ii, 1946: ‘Bihar in the time of Aurangzeb’

*CS, 1954: Bihar during the Turko-Afghan Period (A review of Bihar during the Turco  - Afghan period based on epigraphical sources)

*JBRS, xli, pt. iii, 1955: Bihar in the time of the last two Lodi Sultans of Delhi (or Bihar in the time of later Lodis)

(Draft Typing: N. Ahmad & Editing/Formatting: S. A. Raza 02 01 2021)