The exemplar of Indo-Persian history, at once a biography of Emperor Akbar and a chronicle of sixteenth-century Mughal India.
Akbarnāma, or The History of Akbar, by Abu’l-Fazl (d. 1602), is one of the most important works of Indo-Persian history and a touchstone of prose artistry. Marking a high point in a long, rich tradition of Persian historical writing, it served as a model for historians across the Persianate world. The work is at once a biography of the Mughal emperor Akbar (r. 1556–1605) that includes descriptions of his political and martial feats and cultural achievements, and a chronicle of sixteenth-century India.
The second volume details the turbulent reign of his father Humayun, his years in exile, his return to power, and his untimely death that brought Akbar to the throne as a youth.
The Persian text, presented in the Naskh script, is based on a careful reassessment of the primary sources.
As with the first volume, the second volume is readable and interesting, with many tidbits that delight the reader…All in all, the second volume of The History of Akbar is an interesting and valuable primary source narrative on the origins of one of history’s most consequential empires.
Of all the great monarchs to have ruled over India—a land whose history is richer and more turbulent than that of almost any other—the one who most retains our modern-day attention is Akbar, Mughal emperor from 1556 to 1605…[The History of Akbar] includes accounts of his court and his governance, as well as of the wars, alliances and intrigues of his time…Thackston’s translation is the first complete rendition into English of Abu’l-Fazl’s Persian text since Henry Beveridge, a British orientalist and imperial civil servant, completed his version in 1921…Thackston’s English is modern and…[his] translation…is impressively meticulous.
At a time when Hindutva historians are eager to distort the history of Muslim invasions in order to deepen religious cleavages and consolidate vote banks, [Abu’l-Fazl's] elaboration of Akbar’s legacy as a tolerant Muslim ruler of a non-Muslim majority is an important reminder of how Indian society has evolved.
We can only welcome an undertaking like the Murty Classical Library of India, which intends to inject fresh blood directly into the circulatory system of the English language. Any intelligent reader cannot fail to be favorably impressed in the presence of the variegated offerings of the series’ first titles…The Murty Classical Library offers a surprising array of texts that are in any case capable of broadening the all-too-restricted horizons of the average Western reader.
- 592 pages
- 5-1/4 x 8 inches
- Harvard University Press
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