Calendar of Persian Correspondence

Calendar of Persian Correspondence a series publication made by the Imperial Record Department, Calcutta and published from 1911 to 1953. It is a selection of correspondence passed between the English east india company's servants and the Indian rulers and notables during the period of transition.

The Calendar of Persian Correspondence (CPC) had its origin in 1891 when the Government of India established the Imperial Record Department under the supervision of GW Forrest who found out that among the Records received from the Foreign Department there was a huge collection of Persian records. These included farmans, sanads, Treaties and above all Persian letters issued and received. Forrest's successor, Dr Wilson decided to organise the Persian documents as a separate whole and took steps to have those classified and published. In 1906, ED Ross, Wilson's successor, was able to create a special Persian section within the Record Department. Four maulvis, well versed in Persian and interested in historical research, were appointed to make the selection. Thus was founded the Oriental Section of the Imperial Record Department and Maulvi Zaif Muhammad, a distinguished graduate of Aligarh, shouldered the responsibility of preparing the first volume of the CPC. However, a list of the Persian Records kept in the Imperial Record Department was printed in 1909. The aforesaid Persian documents, which are mines of information, were published in 9 volumes. A summary of these volumes are as follows:

Vol-I covers the period l759-1767 and was published in l911. It narrates the circumstances leading to the transfer of power in Bengal to the English East India Company and its gradual consolidation. Vol-II deals with the period 1767-1769 and came out in 1914. The volume starts with Ahmad Shah Abdali's invasion of India, then reeling under the traditional occupation of plunder and rapine by the Marathas. It also informs of Capt J Rennell's survey of Bengal, the currency reforms and the appointment of amins in all the important districts to supervise the revenue administration. Vol III covers the period from 1770 to 1772 and was published in 1919. It deals with John Cartier's Governorship of fort william. By this time, the English East India Company had overpowered its most poweful enemy, the French. Vol. IV covering the time 1772-1775 was published in 1925. This volume gives an account of the first four years of warren hastings' administration. Vol. V deals with the period 1776-1780 and it came out in 1930. This volume records the momentous events of Hastings' tenure as the Governor General. Vol. VI covers the period 1781-1785 and came out in 1938. It chronicles the events of last five years of Hastings' rule. Vol VII deals with the period 1785-1787 and was published in 1940. This volume gives detailed information on the Lalsot (a town in Jaipur State of Rajputana) campaign and the complicated politics in the South. The correspondence calendered here also illustrates the political problems, the economic changes, the social disorder, and the spiritual revolution that characterized the transition from the 18th to the 19th century. Vol VIII was published in 1953. The events recorded here took place in 1788-1789, the 3rd and the 4th years of the administration of charles cornwallis. Vol- IX deals with the years 1790-1791 and came out in 1949. This last volume provides a proper comprehension of the 3rd Mysore War and the diplomatic activities preceding it.

Some of the letters calendered in Volume I appeared before in Long's Selection from the Unpublished Records of Government (1748-1767). The importance of the CPC also lies in the fact that the Persian correspondence can be one very important contemporary source for the reconstruction of the early history of British rule in Bengal. [Shirin Akhter]