Mukhtasiru-t  Tawarikh

Mukhtasiru-t Tawarikh. n.a. A general account of India. A general history of India.
In The History of India as Told by its own HistoriansThe Posthumous Papers of the Late Sir H. M. Elliot. John Dowson, ed. 1st ed. 1867. 2nd ed., Calcutta: Susil Gupta, 1956, vol. 22, pp. 1-4.

  1. Overview

No author or date of composition is known for this text.  It does, however, contain references to other works, the latest of which is Mu’tamad Khan’s Ikbal-nama Jahangir, which indicates that the work was probably written during the early years of Shah Jahan’s reign (c. 1630).  The work deals with the Sultans of Delhi, who ruled much of Northern India (under various dynasties) from 1175 CE until their overthrow by the Mughals in 1526 CE.  He also discusses their rival Hindu kingdoms; the sources drawn upon for this text are largely histories of the same period; this text is simply, as the title indicates, an abridgement (muktasir) of these sources.  The following account of India is probably drawn from one of them.

  1. Excerpt

[p. 3]

A Description of Hindustan

India is a very large country, and it is so extensive that other countries are not equal to a hundredth part of it.  Notwithstanding its extensive area, it is populated in all places.  It abounds in all quarters and every district with cities, towns, villages, caravanserais, forts, citadels, mosques, temples, monasteries, cells, magnificent buildings, delightful gardens, fine trees, pleasant green fields, running streams, and impetuous rivers.  On all the public roads  and streets strong bridges are made over every river and rill, and embankments are also raised.  Lofty minarets are made at the distance of each kos to indicate the road, and at every two parasangs inns are built of strong masonry for travelers to dwell in and take rest.  Att each inn can be obtained every kind of food and drink, all sorts of medicine, and all kinds of necessary instruments and utensils.  On all roads shadowy and fruitful trees are planted on both sides. Wells and tanks are dug which contain fresh and sweet water in abundance.  The passengers go along the roads under the shadow of trees, amusing themselves, eating the fruits and drinking cold water, as if they were taking a walk among the beds of a garden.  The merchants, tradesman and all travelers, without any fear of thieves and robbers, take their goods and loads safe to their distant destinations.  The whole of this country is very fertile, and the products of Iran, Turan, and other climates are not equal to those of even one province of Hindustan.  In this country there are also mines of diamonds, ruby, gold, silver, copper, lead, and iron.  The soil is generally good, and so productive that in a year it yields two crops, and in some places more.  All kinds of grain, the sustenance of human life, are brought forth in such [p. 4] quantities that it is beyond the power of pen to enumerate.  Of these productions the sukhdas rice is the best.  It is equally palatable to kings and common people.  It has an incomparable tenderness and sweetness, and has a very agreeable smell and taste.  The rich and great men, and those who are fond of good living, think that no other food is so excellent.  Men of refined and delicate taste find great relish in eating the fruits of Hindustan.  A separate book would have to be written if a full detail were given of all the different kinds of fruits which are produced in spring and autumn, describing all their sweetness, fragrance, and flavour.