A Chronicle of Mediaeval Kashmir
Translated by Prof. Kashi Nath Pandita
a Persian Manuscript history of Kashmir by anonymous author and brought
down to A.D. 1614, has served as an important reference work for historians
from the 17th century to the present day. But it has been inaccessible
to the non-Persian knowing scholars and historians. Its first English translation
is made from a collated text of the two extant manuscripts preserved in
the India Office Library and the British Museum. Exhaustive footnotes have
been added to it to make it readable and useful.
The chronicle begins with a legendary account
of the creation of Kashmir and a summary treatment of the Hindu period.
It is followed by a detailed account of the Shahmiri and Chak Sultans of
Kashmir taking the narrative to the year A.D. 1614. The historical work
gives considerable attention to Baihaqi Sayyids, a group of Sayyids of
Iranian origin who played a significant role in the affairs of the kingdom.
Baharistan-i-Shahi is essentially a political history of mediaeval Kashmir,
though a few aspects of Kashmiri society, such as its feudalistic character,
group and factional alignments, communal tensions and recurrent internal
power struggles can also be gleaned from it. The concluding portion of
the book throws considerable light on relations between the ruling Chak
Sultans of Kashmir and the Mughals, and the final annexation of Kashmir
by Akbar in A.D. 1587 in somewhat confusing circumstances. The chronicle
is also rich in topographical detail.
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This book is published with financial
assistance from the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development,
Department of Education, vide. Sanction No. F. 4-50/86-L G-cell dated 12.2.1988