TARĪKH-I-MUZAFFARĪ, by Muhammad 'Alī Khān Ansārī, is the title of a Persian manuscript of much historical value copies of which are preserved in several libraries in India and abroad. The author belonged to a prominent family of Arab extraction, long resident at Pānīpat, in present-day Haryāṇā state. His grandfather, Lutfullah Khān Sādiq, a haft-hazārī mansabdār, had been a minister under emperors Farrukh Sīyar and Muhammad Shāh and was the governor of Delhi at the time of Nādir Shāh's invasion (1739). His father, Hidayātullah Khān had held a Pañj-hazārī mansāb. Muhammad 'Alī Khān himself was daroghāh-i-adālat faujdārī (superintendent of criminal court) of Tirhūt and Hājīpur in Bihār. The work, completed in 1225 AH/AD 1810, is a history of the Indian Timurides, i.e. the Mughals, from the beginning to Emperor Akbar II (1806-37). The account, sketchy in respect of the period from Bābur to Auraṅgzīb, is more detailed in respect of the later Mughals and Nādir Shāh and Ahmad Shāh Durrānī. The author had already written a much larger book, Bahr ul-Mawwaj in nine parts. The Tarīkh-i-Muzaffarī corresponds to the last part of that work, at places reproducing passages verbatim. Of special interest to students of Sikh history are references in the Tarīkh to the Sikhs at two places --the imperial campaign against Bandā Siṅgh Bahādur and the role of the Sikh misls as allies of Jāṭs and Zābitā Khān Ruhīlā against the imperial prime minister Najaf Khān (d. 1782). Unlike Some other Muslim chroniclers of the period, Muhammad 'Alī Khān's language is restrained and free from calumny when writing about the Sikhs. The campaign of 'Abd us-Samad Khān and his son Zakarīyā Khān against Bandā Siṅgh Bahādur is described in detail As the imperial forces besieged the Sikh stronghold (at Gurdās Naṅgal), they set up an alaṅg, a virtual wall of fortifications around the fortress. Yet Sikhs, says the author, remained undaunted. They came out in day time and they made sallies by night, falling fiercely upon the besiegers and returning to their place of refuge after the attack. The Tarīkh-i-Muzaffarī does not contain the harrowing details of the massacre of Bandā Siṅgh, his infant son and his followers, but it does narrate the story of a Sikh youth yet in his teens whose widowed mother had managed to secure orders for his release but who, when asked to leave, refused to do so and insisted that he be executed like others, too.


    Kirpal Singh, A Catalogue of Persian and Sanskrit Manuscripts. Amritsar, 1962

Syad Hasan Askarī