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Padshahnamah


Padshahnamah an official history of the reign of shahjahan, who following the example of akbar, appointed several court historians, one after another. Muhammad Amin Qazvini wrote Padxahnamah covering the history of the first ten years of Shah Jahan's reign. Jalaluddin Tabatabai wrote another Padshahnamah, but the extant portion of the book covers only four years, from 5th to 8th, of the reign of the emperor. The third official historian, and the author of the most important official history, the Padshahnamah, was Abdul Hamid Lahori. He wrote the history of the first twenty years and completed the book in 1648. The author Lahori died a few years later, his pupil Muhammad Warith continued the history till the end of Shah Jahan's reign.

Abdul Hamid Lahori's Padshahnamah is a voluminous work containing 1662 printed pages, each page of 22 lines. The first half of the book, ie the history of first ten years, is also covered by Qazvini's Padshahnamah, but Lahori gives more details in his book.

Lahori's book is very important for reconstruction of the history of Bengal, because some important events in Bengal have been more or less elaborately discussed in this book. The first is the expulsion of the portuguese from hughli. The Portuguese trade prospered so much that their power in Hughli was being considered to be a menace to the country. Lahori minutely observes the growth of the port of Hughli in place of satgaon of the sultanate period. He also gives a comprehensive account of the Mughal warfare in the northeast frontier of Kuch Bihar and Assam. These accounts are also available in the Portuguese writings (for the expulsion of the Portuguese from Hughli) or Ahom Buranjis (local history of Assam, for Mughal-koch and Mughal-Ahom relations), but the accounts in the Padshahnamah are more detailed and comprehensive.

Another important event that has been discussed by Lahori is the repulsion of an Arakanese attack on the coastal districts of Bengal. At that time islam khan (Mashhadi) was the subahdar of Bengal. He was then busy in setting the affairs in the northeast frontier. After much fighting he was just able to force the enemies to sign a peace-treaty. But the Arakanese, taking the advantage of the pre-occupations of the subahdar, sent a strong naval force. The root cause of this conflict was a civil war between the king of Arakan with his governor of Chittagong. The king of Arakan usurped the throne by killing the lawful king, so the governor of Chittagong, who was uncle of the murdered king, declared independence. In the fight the governor was defeated who took shelter with the Mughal subahdar at Dhaka. To take retaliation, the king of Arakan attacked the Mughal territory. The subahdar Islam Khan took prompt action, and sent his war-boats to meet the challenge. The Arakanese got scared and retreated to their own country. The history of this event has received attention of the author of the Padshahnamah. [Abdul Karim]

Bibliography AH Lahori, Padshahnamah, Bibliotheca Indica, Calcutta, 1867-68. JN Sarkar (ed) History of Bengal, II, Dhaka University, 1948; Abdul Karim, History of Bengal, Mughal Period, II, Rajshahi, 1995.