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Though the Mughal kings were Sunnis, their belief in the divine right of their power was as strong as that of the Shia kings of Persia. They regarded themselves as the chosen representatives of God, supernaturally gifted and divinely appointed leaders whose right to the allegiance of their subjects was derived directly from heaven. The idea of popular and democratic election which was current among the Arabs never obtained prominence under the Mughals. The agreement of the church to the succession of a king was theoretically essen tial, but the church being entirely under the state never offered any opposition except in the case of Aurangzeb who was not considered fit to ascend the throne as his hands were soiled in the blood of his brothers. However the objection raised by the kazi-ul-kazzat was very feeble and quite ineffective. The church always acquiesced in the succession of the most powerful clai mant. No divine under Akbar or Aurangzeb ever wielded the power which was wielded by Anselm under Henry I or Becket under Henry II of England. The guardianship of the people was a trust committed to the king by God as Aurangzeb wrote to his sons in his last letter. When Aurangzeb took possession of the throne he proclaimed that it was with the design of insisting upon the law of the Prophet being observed in all its strictness, as it had been relaxed during the reigns of Shah Jahan, his father, and Jahangir, his grandfather; but even he never allowed the exponents of that law to grow too powerful a body. He kept them as much in check as any of his predecessors. The ulama issued a fatwa in September 1659 proclaiming Dara guilty of heresy, but it was in accordance with the wishes of the reigning sovereign. The Mughal system of government was never a theological system, and Aurangzeb was wise enough not to allow spiritual or religious considerations to stand in the way of his political ambitions, He certainly tried to serve Islam according to his lights, but he never allowed the Mubam,
Dara was put to death apparently because he had apostatized from the law, had vilified religion, and had allied himself with heresy and infidelity; but really because he was an unsuccessful claimant to the throne.
madan clerics to put any limit on his temporal power. He never recognised the church as an authority to which political power should be subordinated. He never tolerated a state within a state. The Mughal kings as well as their subjects regarded an all-powerful monarchy as the most perfect form of government, if the monarch was benevolent. Its antiquity and universality strengthened that view and invested the king with a dignity and charm most irresistible. Under the circumstances the only check on the power of a Mughal king was the danger of a successful rebellion; and the government was so centralised that a successful rebellion was not possible so long as the emperor was not an imbecile or a fool. Rebellions there were many, but they were mostly abortive and had no chance of success so long as a powerful personality occupied the throne.
In this secularisation of the state the Mughal kings showed themselves to be good statesmen. In a country where the bulk of the population consisted of non-Muslims the views of the orthodox ulama would not have proved very helpful in matters of state craft, and any successful insistence on the observance of the ulama's views would have been followed by disastrous results for the stability of the state. Thus the state never became the mere handmaid of an ecclesiastical corporation, and the supreme direction of politics was never placed in the hands of the rulers of the church. The policy of the government during the greater part of the Mughal period was not regulated in the interests of a theological system. The Mughal kings never bowed their heads before the clerical power. Any departure from this policy of maintaining the supremacy of the secular power would have placed the action of the state under the control of a body of persons who were not experts in statesmanship and whose acquaintance with the intricacies of the governmental machinery was not very intimate. The supremacy of the temporal power was on the whole good for the state and ensured its stability.
V.-The Tarikh-i-Mubarak Shahi
By Prof. Kamal Krishna Basu, M.A., T. N. J. College, Bhagalpur
Táríkh-i-Mubárak Shahi, called after Mubárak Shah (r. 14211435 A.D.) of the Saiyid dynasty of Delhi, is the work of Malík Ghulánı Yahya, the son of Ahmad Abdullah Sirhindí and is admitted to be the chief and original source of our knowledge relating to the Saiyids. Professor J. Dowson, the editor of the posthumous papers of Sir H. M. Elliot, relates1 that there was a copy of this work in Elliot's library, but it was defective inasmuch as it had lost a leaf here and there. This manuscript, we are further informed, was a small octavo consisting of 263 pages of thirteen lines in a page.
Professor J. N. Sarkar has a copy of Táríkh-i-Mubárak Shahi. In size it is 9" x 5", consisting of 295 pages with fifteen lines in a page. We learn from the concluding portion of this MS. that, its transcription was completed in midday on the 21st Ramzán, 1037 H. corresponding to 1629 A.D2 Excepting the opening page, which has been lost, all other pages of the work are intact, and as such, is of more interest and value to the historian than Elliot's copy, the missing portions of which have been supplied, as the translator himself admits, from Tabakát-i-Akbari.3 Professor Sarkar's MS. is in clear and bold handwriting, but its only defect lies in its being eaten up at places by white ants, occasionally rendering the text 1 History of India, Elliot, Vol. IV. p. 7.
تمت هذ الكتاب تواريخ مبارک شاهي تصنيف شيخ يعي سرهنهي بوقت ظهر تاريخ بيست و و یکم رمضان المبارك سنه ١٥٣٨ تمام شد .
History of India, Elliot, IV. p. 7.
unintelligible. We have in our work closely followed the MS. as far as it is possible in translating into one language from the other. The sense has been maintained throughout and at places it is a close translation, so far as the English style and idiom did permit. Besides, the transcription of this MS. having taken place so early as 1629 A.D., more reliance has been placed on it than on the translation of Dowson.
Of himself and his whereabouts the author is totally reticent, mentioning in the opening pages nothing more than the name of his father, a native of Sirhind. Reluctant though the writer was to reveal himself and let us know of his antecedents, we shall not be far from the truth in our surmise that, he was in some way connected with the court of Mubárak Shah, after whom the book has been named and in whose praise he is so eloquent. The opening lines of the work are full of high sounding and big phrases, and verily, as Elliot has suggested, Yahiyá was no historian but a chronicler, narrating merely the events as they happened, and giving a bare record of sieges and campaigns,
The first few lines of the book which have been lost, probably begins, as is the wont with Persian writers and their writings, with the eulogy of the Prophet; the second page of the M.S. opens with the benedictions upon Amir-ul-mu-min' Amr, Ali, the son of Ali Talib, and lastly upon Hasan and Hussain.
The author then
passes on, relates a very insignificant and meagre account of his own self, till he informs us as to how and why the book had been composed.
It is represented by Malik Ghulam Yahya, the well-wisher of all mortals, the humblest slave (of the
Author's Intro- king), and the son of Ahmad Abdullah of Sirhind (who was noted for his) knowledge of religion and law and obedience to God, the Protector of the sinful that, when the Great and Glorious God granted the sovereignty of Hindustan and the divinely blessed authority (over it) to Mu'izzu dunya wa ud-din Mubarak Shah, the powerful lord of the universe, the ruler over the sons and daughters of Adam, the lord of the Persian and Arabian kings
2 Res. J.
the potent royal personality befriended by the Merciful, the magnifier of the world and of religion, the father of conquest and the son of Khizr Khan of revered memory, the great and the bountiful, the protector of the country and the faith, the illustrious and the innocent, the builder of heavenly mansionshe (Mubarak Shah) installed himself upon the throne of Delhi, which had been the chief seat of many a great and noteworthy ruler. The world and its denizens, owing to the immense benignity and justice of the heavenly exalted king, were honoured with the gift of law and order. The recalcitrants and the infidels for fear of the sharp-edged sword and the vast army (of His Majesty), walked into the corner of ruin and wretchedness. May God, the Great and the Glorious, cast perpetually, till the continuance of the progeny of Adam, the shadow of the state and of the imperial umbrella, and may he protect it from misfortunes and disasters.
O! that thou mayest avail yourself of the throne, fortune, prosperity and youth,
(And) as a good king, thou mayest scatter wealth to fulfil your desires.
This well-wisher had the intention of being honoured by kissing the ground of His Auspicious Majesty, but owing to the dearth of any suitable present worthy of the royal dignity, let him narrate the history of the late emperors, the light of God, who obtained from Him the guardianship over events (i.e., whose period of sovereignty is reminiscent of various incidents).
The facts (of this work) have been gathered from various histories and trustworthy historians and recorded up to the coronation of the powerful Firoz Shah, the deceased (Emperor); and after that period whatever was witnessed (by the author) has been related.
What gift can the earth make to the sky?