MUNTAKHAB UL-LUBĀB, lit. selected (records) of the wise and pure, is a history of India written in Persian with an Arabic title by Muhammad Hāshim or Hāshim 'Alī Khān, better known as Khāfī Khān. Completed in 1722, the work was edited and printed by Maulawī Kabīr ud-Dīn in Calcutta sometime during 1768-74. Extensive extracts translated into English are included in H.M. Elliot and J. Dowson, The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, vol. VII, as also in William Erskine, History of India under Babar and Humayun.

         The author was the son of Khwājā Mīr, also historian, who had held a high station under Prince Murād, younger brother of Auraṅgzīb, and who continued service under the latter after the murder of his master. Muhammad Hāshim, as he came of age, was put on various civil and military assignments by Emperor Auraṅgzīb (1658-1707). He continued to serve until the reign of Farrukh-Sīyar (1716-19) and was later a dīwān or minister under Nawāb Chin Qilich Khān Nizām ul-Mulk, the founder Nizām of Hyderābād. The family is believed to have originally immigrated from Khwā, a country town near Nishāpur in Khurāsān, whence Hāshim adopted his title Khāfī (or more correctly Khwāfī) Khān.

         The contents of Muntakhab ul-Lubāb may be divided into three parts : the first deals with local dynasties up to the Lodhīs; the second comprises a brief chronicle of the house of Taimūr the Lame (d. 1405) up to Emperor Akbar including the Sūr interlude; and the third and the most important part of the work covers almost a century and a quarter following the death of Akbar in 1605. The author claims that the account of the last 53 years (1669-1722) was based on his personal observations or on the verbal testimony of people who had been witnesses to the events.

         The book is a valuable contemporary source of information about the period of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh and Bandā Siṅgh Bahādur. Upon Khafī Khān's evidence, Auraṅgzīb had ordered that the Gurū's deputies, i.e. masands, be removed and the Sikh temples razed to the ground; when Emperor Bahādur Shāh (1707-12) marched towards the Deccan, Gurū Gobind Siṅgh accompanied him with two or three hundred horsemen bearing spears; the death of the Gurū was caused by a dagger-stab. About Bandā Siṅgh, Khafī Khān uses very harsh and abusive language, but admits that the government forces were unable to stand the onslaughts of the Sikhs in several parts of the Punjab. He also alludes to Bandā Siṅgh's practice of writing to Mughal faujdārs to surrender before actually attacking them, to a code of conduct strictly followed by Sikh warriors, and to a proper; though short-lived, civil administration set up by Bandā Siṅgh in territories he had conquered. His contumelious tone notwithstanding, Khāfī Khān pays tribute to the Sikhs' determination and daring, especially during their nocturnal attacks on the imperial forces and their deadly sallies when besieged. He has also recorded the heroic story of a young Sikh captive who refused to be spared the fate his comrades had met with despite the fact that his mother had obtained a royal decree for his release.


  1. Khāfī Khān, Muhammad Hāshim, Muntakhab ul-Lubāb . Calcutta, 1874
  2. John Dowson, J. and Elliot, Sir Henry M., History of India as told by its own Historians . London, 1877

Bhagat Siṅgh