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Tazkirat-ul-Waqiat


Tazkirat-ul-Waqiat is a contemporary history of the Mughal emperor humayun by Jauhar Aftabchi (ewer-bearer), who served the emperor in this menial capacity for 25 years and wrote his book by the order of akbar when materials were collected for Abul Fazl's akbarnamah. Jauhar's book was known by several names, viz, Tazkirat-ul-Waqiat, Tarikh-i-Humayuni, Tarikh-i-Humayunshahi. The author asserts that he was in attendance upon the emperor Humayun on all occasions, and it occurred to him that he should put down in writing all events of the emperor's life, of which he had been an eyewitness. He commenced writing the book in 995 AH/ 1587 AD, about thirty-one years after the death of the emperor.

Jauhar Aftabchi wrote in simple language, and expressed truth in plain manner. His account of Humayun's life and conduct reveals the emperor's charming personality and equanimity of his temper even under most trying circumstances. The value of Jauhar's book lies in the fact that he writes from personal observation, and so he sometimes supplements and corrects the writings of others.

Humayun came to Bengal chasing Sher Khan (sher shah), and stayed in the capital city of gaur for nine months. Jauhar's account of this period, particularly Humayun's stay in Bengal (city of Gaur), is very important, because his is an eyewitness account. He says that when Humayun marched towards Gaur, Sher Khan pillaged the city and burnt it. Entering the fort, Humayun took steps to bring it back to life, he repainted the walls, cleansed the roads and took residence at the palace. He apportioned the different parts of the country to his officers, posted garrisons at strategic places and gave himself up to pleasure. He did not come out of his private apartments for one month, even the men of his army could not see him. Gaur was given the name of 'Jannatabad' (the heavenly city). [Abdul Karim]

Bibliography Charles Stewart (tr), Tazkirat-ul-Waqiat, London, 1832; S Moinul Huq (tr), Tazkirat-ul-Waqiat, Karachi; Ishwari Prasad, Life and Times of Humayun, Calcutta, 1955.