TWĀRĪKH-I-PAÑJĀB, by Ghulām Muhaiy ud-Dīn Ludhiāṇavī, popularly known as Būṭe Shāh, is an unpublished Persian work on the history of the Punjab from ancient times to the end of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh's reign. Copies of the manuscript are preserved in the British Library, London; India Office Library; Pañjāb University, Lahore; Department of Punjab Historical Studies, Punjabi University, Paṭiālā Khālsā College, Amritsar; and the Punjab State Archives, Paṭiālā. Būṭe Shāh was a munshī or clerk in the service of the British Political Agency at Ludhiāṇā, enjoying confidence enough to be one of the emissaries sent to wait upon Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh on behalf of the Political Agent in October 1837. Written at the instance of Mr (later Sir) George Russell Clerk (1800-89), who succeeded Lieut-Colonel (later Sir) Claude Martin Wade (1794-1861) as the Governor-General's political agent at Ludhiāṇā in 1840, the work was completed in 1848. It is divided into five daftars or sections with an introduction and a conclusion. The introduction gives an account of Punjab's geographical conditions and its important places and towns. Daftar I deals with the Hindu rulers up to Rāi Pithorā (Prithvi Rāj Chauhan), the account being based, According to the author, on the religious books of the Hindus. Daftar II carries the History of the Punjab from the Ghaznavids to Emperor Auraṅgzīb. The author's sources for this section are historical chronicles such as Habīb us-Sayyār, Tārīkh-i-Yaminī, Tārīkh-i-Alfī, Jama 'ul-Hikāyāt, Tabqāt-i-Nāsirī and Tarīkh-i-Guzīdah. Daftar III contains short life-sketches of the ten Gurūs of the Sikhs. For this section, Būṭe Shāh claims to have utilized the traditional sources particularly the Janam Sākhīs. This part also contains the names of some of Gurū Nānak’s disciples with brief notes on a few of them, description of the Sikh institutions of laṅgar and mañjīs and the bāolī at Goindvāl, and a somewhat detailed account of events such as the martyrdoms of Gurū Arjan and Gurū Tegh Bahādur, Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's battles, the creation of the Khālsā and Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's death in the Deccan. Daftar IV deals with the rise, growth and achievements of Sikh misls and their polity and administration. Būṭe Shāh's approach in this section is more factual and critical. Daftar V, forming nearly one-half of the entire volume, is devoted to Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh, his conquests and consolidation of power. Here Būṭe Shāh, with his personal knowledge of contemporary events and his probable access to official records and correspondence at the Ludhiāṇā Agency, is more authentic. He also appears to have had access to Sohan Lāl Sūrī's 'Umdat ut-Twārīkh of which a copy was presented by the author to Claude Wade. In fact, Būṭe Shāh's account in this daftar appears to be an intelligent summary of Sohan Lāl's diary; at places even the text of his manuscript is the same as that of the latter's work. However, in contrast to the official diarist of the Lahore Darbār, Būṭe Shāh has a more critical historical sense. He records only the more important events of the time, omitting much that is of little historical value. Because of his closer contact with the British, his use of English names is more correct. His dates follow the Christian calendar.


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

Bhagat Siṅgh