TAZKIRAH (lit. memoir) by Ānand Rām Mukhlis, a manuscript of much historical value containing an account of events that took place in North-West India during the second quarter of the eighteenth century. The manuscript deals mainly with the Punjab,. Nādir Shāh's invasion (1739), Zakarīyā Khān's governorship of Punjab (1726-45), condition of the Punjab under his sons and successors, Yahīyā Khān (1745-47) and Shāh Nawāz Khān (1747-48), and Ahmad Shāh Durrānī's first invasion (1748). The manuscript is still unpublished as a whole; an English translation of only a part of it relating to Nādir Shāh's invasion is found in Elliot and Dowson, The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, Vol. VIII. A brief account of the life of Ānand Rām Mukhlis is contained in Dr. Syad 'Abdullah, Adabīāt-i-Fārasī meṅ Hindūoṅ kā Hissā published by Añjuman-i-Taraqqī-i-Urdū (Hind), Delhi, 1942. Copies of the manuscript are preserved in Sir Jadunath Sarkār's Library, Calcutta ; libraries of Khālsā College, Amritsar and Muslim University, 'Alīgaṛh ; and in the Department of Punjab Historical Studies, Punjabi University, Paṭiālā. Ānand Rām, the son of Hridai Rām Khatrī of Sodhrā in Siālkoṭ district of Pakistan, was a highly learned man and author of several works in Persian besides the Tazkirah. Mukhlis was his pen name. He served as vakīl or secretary of Wazīr Qamar ud-Dīn "I'timād ul-Daulah, prime minister of the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shāh from 1724 to 1748. "Earlier he had also worked as vakīl of 'Abd us-Samad Khān, the governor of Punjab from 1713 to 1726. He had thus access to first-hand information about the events he recorded and to most of which he was an eye-witness.

        The Tazkirah is divided into three parts : (i) Nādir Shāh's invasion, (ii) expedition to Bāngaṛh, and (iii) the first invasion of Ahmad Shāh Durrānī. Nādir Shāh's progress towards Delhi and general massacre in Delhi, and his return to Iran are described in detail. There is, however, no reference to the Sikhs who according to some other sources are said to have attacked the invader's baggage train. In the third part, the author, while giving an account of the struggle between Yahīyā Khān and Shāh Nawāz, records that there were revolts everywhere in the province. While zamīndārs (feudal farmers) of Jammū deviated from the path of obedience and loyalty, the Sikhs created conditions of lawlessness and chaos, and rebellions were rampant all over the Punjab. During the invasion of Ahmad Shāh Durrānī and his battle with the Mughals at Mānūpur near Sirhind, the Sikhs remained neutral watching the situation with keen interest, but during Ahmad Shāh's retreat homewards after his defeat, they fell upon the Afghān rearguard at many places and kept harassing him right up to Attock, acquiring considerable booty of stores, arms, camels and horses. Even during his incoming journey, Ahmad Shāh's camp had been attacked by the Sikhs at Sarāi Nūrdīn between Lahore and Amritsar.

        Ānand Rām is very objective in the treatment of his subject. Though he was very intimately associated with the royal house of Delhi as a responsible courtier, he was not unduly biased in favour of his patrons or hostile towards the opponents of the imperial government nor was he hostile to foreign invaders nor to the Sikhs who were emerging as a new power. His vivid account of several towns, the climate, flora and fauna of different parts of north India, and of bridges and boats is very interesting and useful to historians.



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

Bhagat Siṅgh