The History of Hindustan by ALEXANDER DOW, ESQ. Second Edition, was published in the year 1770-72 Dow had succeeded his father in his office as the Private Secretary of Aurangzeb the last Mogul Emperor His study of Persian led him to the works of Muhammad Kasim Ibn Hindu Shah Astarabadi Ferishta and of several other Persian writers and he was persuaded to bring the historical account of the Moguls to the knowledge of his fellow countrymen. His work was primarily a translation of Ferishta's works into English while retaining the structural aspect of the original as closely as possible. In the second edition he had added dissertations concerning the ancient history of Indians and on the customs, manners, language, religion and philosophy of Hindus. Besides elaborating upon the magnificence of the Imperial House of Timur, the book reflects the prejudices of the Muslim invaders against the followers of the Brahmanical religion.
The book has been meticulously edited by Dahiva who rendered the onginal Anglo-Nordic script in modern English without disturbing the original diction and structure and has relied upon the works of Charles Johnston's The System of Vedanta and on Lawrence H Dawson in The Nuttall Encyclopaedia for transliteration and standardization of spellings of proper names.
This book is must for all Research Centers, Institutes. Universities and Libraries and gives a contemporary account of the Muslim period in India.
Though, in an advanced stage of society, the human mind is, in some respects, enlarged, a ruinous kind of self-conceit frequently circumscribes its researchors after knowledge. In love with our own times, country and government, we are apt to consider distant ages and nations, as objects unworthy of the page of the Historian. These prejudices are not confined to the vulgar and illiterate Some men of genius and reputation for Prilosophy, have entertained.
sentiments upon that subject, too narrow and confined for the Goths of a much darker age Had the translator of the following history thought so meanly of the affairs of the east, as these men affect to do, he might have saved a great deal of time and labour. To unlock the springs, from which he has derived his knowledge was not so easy a task, that he would have undertaken it, without an opinion, that the domestic affairs of India were, in some degree, worthy of being related. He has the satisfaction to find, from the encouragement given to the former edition, notwithstanding the uncouth form in which it appeared, that the history of Hindustan is an object of attention to many in Great Britain; and this has not been his least inducement to render it, now much less unworthy of the public eye. To translate from the Persian was not the primary view of the publisher of Ferishta's Epitome of the History of the Mohammedan princes of India. To qualify himself for negotiation, was this first object in learning the language. As he proceeded, in his studies, other motives for his continuing them arose. Though the manner of eastern composition differs from the correct taste of Europe, there are many things in the writings of Asiatic authors worthy of the attention of literary men. Their poetry it must be confessed, is too turgid and full of conceits to please, and the diction of their historians very diffuse and verbose yet amidst the redundancy of the latter. we find that scrupulous attention to truth, and that manliness of sentiment, which constitute the very essence of good history.
The works of Muhammad Kasim Ferishta of Delhi, who flourished in the reign of Jehangir, about the beginning of the seventeenth century, were put into the translator's hands, by his teachers. As he advanced, a new field gradually opened before him. He found, with some degree of astonishment, the authentic history of a great empire, the name of which had scarcely ever travelled to Europe. Being, at the same time, honoured with the particular friendship of the emperor, at whose court he had for some time lived, he was induced to listen to that prince's solicitations, for giving to the English some idea of his predecessors on the throne of India.
Though our author has given the title of the history of Hindustan to his work, yet it is I rather that of the Muhammadan empire in India, than a general account of the affairs of the Hindus. What he says concerning India, prior to the first invasion of the Afghan Mussulmen, is very far from being satisfactory. He collected his accounts from Persian authors, being altogether unacquainted with the Sanskrita or learned language of the Brahmins, in which the internal history of India is comprehended. We must not therefore, with Ferishta, consider the Hindus as destitute of genuine domestic annals, or that these voluminous records they possess are mere legends framed by the Brahmins.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages