'IBRATNĀMAH, by Sayyid Muhammad Qāsim of Lahore, is a rare manuscript in Persian containing the history of the empire of Delhi from the death of Auraṅgzīb to the fall of the two Sayyid brothers, Abdullah and Husain 'Alī, known as bādshāhgar or king-makers. Its author was a protege of Amīr ul-Umarā Husaīn 'Alī, one of the Sayyid brothers, and was therefore a firsthand witness to contemporary affairs of State. Apart from some well-known episodes and the three wars of succession, he writes about the disturbed rule of Farrukh Sīyar, the effete rulers like Rafī ud-Darjāt, Rafī ud-Daulah and shadowy figures such as Ibrāhīm and Nekū Sīyar. The manuscript treats of the Sikhs and their religion in comparatively sympathetic terms. Bābā (Gurū) Nānak is portrayed as a faqīr or dervish who, born of a Hindu family, had assimilated much from Islam and who, turning aside from all name and fame, had advocated peace and justice for all. Gurū Nānak's formula describing the Divine, viz. "Ek oṅkār satnām, kartār (sic), nirbhau, nirbair, akāl mūrat, "was, according to Qāsim, on the lips of every Sikh. He passed on his high ideas not to any of his sons, but to a disciple of humble origin. Qāsim mentions other early Gurūs and notices the new developments under later Gurūs, Tegh Bahādur and Gobind Siṅgh, the latter having laid the foundation of the Khālsā Panth. 'Ibratnāmah also contains a detailed account of Bandā Siṅgh. Here, however, Qāsim becomes partisan. He refers to Bandā (Siṅgh) pejoratively as safāq-i-bebāk (reckless blood-shedder), dajjāl (impostor), shu'badahbāz (conjurer) and khirs (bear).

         He describes in detail his pillage of Samāṇā, Sunām, Mustafābād, Saḍhaurā, etc., his inroads upon the Gangetic Doāb, sack of Sirhind, escape from his besieged headquarters, Lohgaṛh, his last stand near Gurdāspur and ultimate capture and execution. The author could not however help admīring the zeal and desperate valour of the Sikhs. He states that when he was in the service of the deputy nāzim or administrator, 'Ārif Beg, he observed with his own eyes the superiority of these people and the cool courage that they displayed in sallying out of the Fort with swords, arrows, and guns in their hands and repelling the imperial army.


  1. Kirpal Singh, A Catalogue of Persian and Sanskrit Manuscripts. Amritsar, 1962
  2. Ganda Singh, A Bibliography of the Panjab. Patiala, 1966

Syad Hasan Askarī