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Tajul Maasir


Tajul Maasir first official history of the Delhi Sultanate. Written in Persian by Sadruddin Hasan Nizami, it is the earliest among the historical literature produced in India. Details about Hasan Nizam's life and career are not available. According to one account he was the son of Nizami Aruzi Samarqandi, the author of the Chahar Maqala; the family belonged to Ghur and they were favourably disposed to the Ghurid rulers.

A contemporary writer, Hasan Nizami started writing the history by order of Sultan Qutbuddin Aibak. He begins his book with the battle of Tarain (1191 AD) which was an epoch-making event in the history of the subcontinent. It covered the period upto the receipt of investiture by Sultan Shamsuddin iltutmish in 1229 AD from the Khalifah of Baghdad. The author deals with the formative period of the Delhi Sultanate; he writes the history to a stage when the Sultanate passed from its nebulous state and became a powerful centralised monarchy. He undertook to write the history of the conquests of Muizzuddin Muhammad bin Sam and Qutbuddin Aibak, but after the sudden death of Aibak, he decided to continue his narratives upto the consolidation of the Sultanate by Iltutmish. But Hasan Nizami does not refer to bakhtyar khalji's conquest of Bengal at all, though this event had taken place in the lifetime of Sultan Qutbuddin Aibak.

Tajul Maasir was noticed first by Hammer-purgstall for reconstructing the history of Qutbuddin Aibak in his Gemaldesaal der Lebensbeschreibungen grosser Moslemischer Herrscher. W Nassan Lees gives an account of this work in his article 'Materials for the History of India' published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1868, and Elliot gives translation of extracts in his History of India as Told by its Own Historians, vol. II. Professor WHA Shadani discusses the merit of the book in a long article published in the Proceedings of the Idara-i-Maarif-i-Islamia, Lahore session 1936 and Professor Syed Hasan Askari in the Patna University Journal, Arts, vol 18, no 3, 1963. [Abdul Karim]

Bibliography Elliot and Dowson, History of India as Told by its Own Historians, II; IH Qureshi, Administration of the Sultanate of Delhi, Lahore 1944; KA Nizami, On History and Historians of Medieval India, New Delhi, 1983.