KHULĀSAT UT-TWĀRĪKH, a chronicle in Persian by Munshī Sujān Rāi Bhaṇḍārī of Baṭālā, completed in the 40th year of Auraṅgzīb's reign (A.H. 1107/AD 1695-96), edited by Zafar Hasan and published at Delhi in 1918. Sujān Rāi was a professional munshī and had served as such under various Mughal nāzims or provincial governors. His work became instantly popular. Numerous manuscript of it exist --- in the Punjab State Archives, Paṭiālā (No. M-428); Bibiliotheque Nationale, Paris, France (No. 544); Asiatic Society, Calcutta (No. D-156); 'Alīgaṛh Muslim University Library, 'Alīgaṛh (No. 954/10); National Library, Calcutta (No. 183, Bb, 91.9); and elsewhere. For its style and tone of sobriety in dealing with historical events, the Khulāsat ut-Twārīkh became a model for future writers. Sohan Lāl Sūrī, the celebrated author of the 'Umdāt ut-Twārīkh, openly acknowledges his debt to this work.
The Khulāsat ut-Twārīkh covers the period from the early Hindu kings of Delhi to the war of succession among the sons of Emperor Shāh Jahāṅ, cursorily dealing with the reign of Auraṅgzīb also. Broadly, the work is divided into three parts : the geographical description of Hindustān, the Hindu kings of Delhi, and the Muslim kings of Delhi. In the part dealing with the divisions of the Mughal empire, Sujān Rāi gives a detailed account of the province of Lahore within which fell his own native town of Baṭālā. He describes the annual fair at the nearby Achal, and as he refers to Gurū Nānak's place (makān) on the bank of the River Rāvī, he inserts a whole section embracing the lives of the founder of the Sikh faith and his successors. At a few other places in the text is also given some incidental information about the Gurūs and their followers. According to the author, Gurū Nānak was a great mystic who depicted the reality and the truth of the Supreme Being in his compositions and emphasized the unicity of the Godhead. He was born at Talvaṇḍī Rāi Bhoe in the reign of Bahlol Lodhī and, through God's grace, he was endowed with the power of working miracles at an early age. He travelled in many parts of the world, got married in Baṭālā and eventually settled down in a village on the bank of the Rāvī, in the parganah of Baṭālā. People from all directions used to come in large numbers to become his disciples. Between the age of 70 and 80, in the reign of Salīm Shāh, Gurū Nānak departed this life. At the time of his death he chose Lahiṇā, a Trehaṇ Khatrī, as his successor and installed him on his seat as Gurū Aṅgad.
About Gurū Nānak's successors, Sujān Rāi provides scanty detail. Gurū Aṅgad remained on the spiritual gaddī for thirteen years and nominated before his end Amar Dās, a Bhallā Khatrī, as his successor. Sujān Rāi errs when he says that Gurū Aṅgad had no sons and that Amar Dās was his son-in-law. Gurū Amar Dās guided his people for twenty-two years and, though he had sons, chose his son-in-law, Rām Dās, a Soḍhī Khatrī, as his successor, who adorned the seat for seven years. After him, came his son Gurū Arjan. Akbar, who had once visited him, was greatly pleased to listen to the compositions of Gurū Nānak. On Gurū Arjan's suggestion, the Emperor had reduced the rate of land revenue chargeable from farmers. Gurū Arjan's son and successor, Gurū Hargobind spent some of the thirty-seven years of his life at Kīratpur. His son, Gurdittā, having died in his lifetime, he nominated his grandson, Har Rāi, as his successor. Gurū Har Rāi lived at Kīratpur. When Dārā Shukoh, pursued by Auraṅgzīb, came towards the Punjab, Gurū Har Rāi went to him with a large contingent. Gurū Har Rāi nominated his young son, Har Krishan, who was succeeded by Tegh Bahādur, a younger son of Gurū Hargobind. Gurū Tegh Bahādur was imprisoned by some amīrs (nobles) and executed in Shāhjahānābād in the seventeenth regnal year of Auraṅgzīb under royal orders. At the time of completing the Khulāsat ut-Twārīkh, the son of Gurū Tegh Bahādur, named Gobind Rāi, had held the spiritual office at Mākhovāl for twenty-two years.
Sujān Rāi's account is not free from errors, but its overall accuracy is really striking. He gives the impression of care and diligence in the collection of his information. Of special significance is his impression of the Sikhs of his day. "Most of the followers of Gurū Nānak," observes Sujān Rāi, "have an exalted state, with the spiritual status of those whose prayers are accepted. Polite in conversation, they lead austere lives. In the recitation of their Gurūs' verses and reflection upon them lies the essence of their worship. Playing on musical instruments, they sing these verses in fascinating melodies. They have purified their hearts of worldly affections and attachments, and have thus cast away the dark veil of temptations. A kinsman and a stranger, a friend and a foe are alike in their eyes. In harmony with their friends, they have no quarrel with their enemies. The kind of faith which they repose in their Gurū is not witnessed among any other group of people. For them, one of the best forms of worship is the service of a wayfarer in the Gurū's name which is constantly on their lips. If a person arrives at midnight and mentions the name of Bābā Nānak, they feed him and lodge him as a brother and friend to the best of their means, though he may be a total stranger or even a thief, a highway man or a profligate."
A Punjabi translation of the work was published by Punjabi University, Paṭiālā, in 1972.
J. S. Grewāl