Medieval literature

Date: December 10, 2014

Contemporary writers and their works

Chachnama (An unknown Arabic writers)

Chach, seems to be a local or dialectical form of the word “Jajja”, which is the Prakrit formof the Sanskrit word “Yayati”. Indian history has known some people who bore the name Jajja, there was one Jajja a brother of Jaypida, the king of Kashmir who revolted and was killed by the latter.


            This text was composed by Abu Raihan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Bairuni al-Khwarizm.

Tarik-i-Yamini or Kitab-ul-Yamini

  • It was composed by Utabi (an officer of Mahmud Gajini). It was written in Arabic language.
  • Utabi had a first hand knowledge of the character and activities of sultan Mahmud and his officers.
  • It gives the story of rise of the Gajni Ghaznavid power under sabuktagin and describes the character and military exploits of Mahmud’s upto 1020 AD.
  • Utabi was ignorant of Indian language and his knowledge of Indian tropography was also very poor.
  • Being an orthodox Sunni Musalman, Utbi applauds the achievements of Mahmud as NASR AMIR UL MOMNIN who carried the banner of Islam to the land of the Idol worshippers by the order of Allah and the friends of Khuda committed slaughter of the unfields wherever they went.

Abul Fazl Baihaqi

  • Abul Fazl Baihaqi (1996-1077) was an officer of Sultan Masud the successor of Mahmud of Gazni. He was wrote a ten-volume comprehensive history of the Ghaznavid rulers upto 1059 AD entitled Tarikh-i-Baihaqi or Mujalladad-i-Baihaqi, its component volumes were captioned –
  1. Tarikh us Sabuktagin 2. Tajul Futuh (History of Sultan Mahmud)     3. Tarikh-i-Masudi (History of Sultan Masud)

“In his introduction of the tenth volume Baihaqi writes “Historical knowledge can only be obtained with difficulty, rather by traveling round the world and undergoing trouble or searching in trustworthy books and ascertaining the real accurrences from them.

It was written in Persian language

Hasan Nizami – Taj-ul-Masir

  • Taj-ul-Masir was composed by Hasan Nizami (the court Historian of Qutubuddin Aibek), it throws light on the history between 1192 and 1206 AD.
  • It medium of expression is a unique mixture of Arabic and Persian language is poetry as well as prose. The book comprises twelve thousand lines of which above seven thousand are in verse, both Arabic and Persian.
  • Taj-ul-Masir is partly history and partly fiction.


  • It was composed by Fakra Mudabbir in 1228, it throws light on war tacties.


  • It was written by Alauddin Atamalik Jurani, it throws light on Mangol rulers. It contains the story of Jallaluddin Manbarni chased by Chengiz Khan.


  • It was written by Nizam-ul-Mulk-Tushi.

Amir Khusro (1252-1325)

  • He has to his credit about half a dozen historical works including prose chronicles and masnavis (poetic composition) like Qiranus Saadain, Miftahul Futuh, Khazainul Futuh, Dewal Rani Khizer, Nuh Sipher and Tughlaq Nama.
  • Four collection of Shaikh Nizamuddin Sufi philosophy and sayings, besides numerous treatises in prose as well as poetry. On theology, philosophy, art, literacy criticism and various cultural themes.

Qiran us Saadain

  • Qiran-us-Saadain of Amir Khusrau is an historical Masnavi which gives an eye witness account of the meeting that took place in Oudh between sultan Kaiqubad and his father Bughra Khan, the governor of Bengal.

Miftahul Fuluh

  • Futuh contains an account of the military campaigns of Jalaluddin Khalji is poetry.

Khazaniul Futuh

  • Khazaniul Futuh or Tarikh-i-ilahi is an histrographical composition in prose which describes the conquest and other achievements of Alauddin Khalji. His military campaigns in Deccan have been given in detail. The description of Mangal invasions on India and the strong policy adopted by Alauddin to combat them.


  • The masnavi, entitled Ashiqa or Deval Rani Khizr Khani narrates the romantic story of Khizr Khan, son of Alauddin Khalji and Deval Rani the daughter of Rana Kuran of Gujarat.

Nuh Sipihr

  • The poetic composition of Nuh Sipihr deals with the reign of Mubarak Shah Khalji unworthy and incompetent successor of Alauddin Khalji.

Tughluq Nama

  • Tughluq Nama also an historical Masnavi was composed by Amir Khusrau to Commemorate the victory of Ghiasuddin Tughlaq over Khusrau Khan.

In addition to the abov, one of the Amir Khusrau compilation entitled “Ijaz-i-Kusravi” is a massive collection of diverse types of document personal letters and treaties written by him to his friend or masters or just to satisfy his literary and intellectual hunger.

Firoze Tughluq’s Autobiography

  • Sultan Firoze Tughlaq has left a brochure of thirty two pages in autobiographical writing called Futuhat-i-Firoze Shahi it gives a brief summary of his military campaigns.

Amir Timmur’s Autobiography

  • Amir Timur – The seourge of God on earth, who took Delhi by storm in 1398-99 has also left an autobiography account of his exploits in the Tuzuk-i-Timuri or Malfuzat-i-Timuri.
  • It is said to have been written originally in Chaghatai (Turki) which was translated into Persian during the reign of Shershah (Shahjahan) by Abu Talib Husaini.

Khwajah Abdullah Malik Isami

  • Isami a scholar and poet of the fourteenth century wrote an historical Masnavi. Futu has Salatin in 1349-50 on the Turkish rule in India from the Ghazanavids to Muhammad Bin Tughlaq.

Mir Khwand

Mir Khwand was an Arab. He wrote the History of Central Asia entitled – 1. Rauzat us Safa        2. The garden of purity, in two volumes divided into seven books. The works gives a detailed treatment to carrer and achievement of Chengiz Khan, Amir Timur and there descendants.


  • His original name was Ghiasuddin. He produced a standard work on the history of the Muslim world. Entitled Khulasat-ul-Akhba in his early twenties.
  • After the death of Babar Khondamir was attached to the court of Humayun for whom he wrote a treatise entitled Qanun-i-Humayuni.

Mughal Historians of Early Medeival India

Some contemporary works, primarily related to the Mughal period also throw light on certain aspects of the early medieval history.

  1. Tuzuk-i-Baburi 2. Abul Fazl’s Akbar Nama (including Ain-i-Akbari)
  2. Badauni’s Muntakhabut Twarikh 4. Tabaquat-i-Akbari of Nizamuddin Ahmad and Tarikh-i-Farishta


  • Ahmad Yadgar wrote Tarikh-i-Salatin-i-Afghana or Tarikh-i-Shahi in the last quarter of the sixteenth century. It gives an authentic accountof the Lodhi and the Sur dynasties which is to on all the literary sourcs than available on the subject. It gives a refreshing account of the struggle carried on by the Afghan Princs against Babaur and Humayun for the re-establishment of their Political ascendancy in Hindustan.


  • Abdullah of Koil (Aligarh) wrote Tarikh-i-Daudi in the time of the Emperor Jahangir (1605-27) it gives a account of the Afghan rulers of India including the Lodhi and the Surs. The book starts with the rise to power of Behlal Lodhi, the first Afghan rulers of India and carries the narrative to the reign of Adil Shah Sur. It contains some interesting stories and of the Sultan, particularly Sikandar Lodhi. About the discipline of history the author writes – “History is not simply information regarding the affairs of Kings who have passed away, it is a science which expands the intellect and furnishes the wise with examples.”

Tarikh-i-Khan Jahani

  • Khwaja “Niamatullah Haravi” completed Tarikh-i-Khan Jahani in 1613 at Burhanpur during the reign of Jahangir. He was an official histiriographer (Waqiah Navis) of Jahangir till 1608-09. Later on, joined the personal staff of Khan Jahan Lodhi whom he accompanied in the Deccan campaign various Afghan tribes with special to the Lodhis and the Surs who gained political ascendancy in early medieval India.


  • The Tarikh-i-Sindh written by Mir Muhammad Masum of Bhakhar in about 1600 AD during the reign of Akbar. Also known as Tarikh-i-Masumi after its author the book gives the regional history of Sindh. Since its conquests by the Arabs to the time of Akbar.

Riyazus Salatin

  • Riyazus Salatin of Gulam Hussain Salim, written by in 1788 outlines the history. Bengal since the invasion of Muhammad Bin Bakhtiyar Khalji to date.
  • Mirat-i-Sikandari of Sikandar Bin Muhammad (completed in 1611), the Mirat-i-Ahmadi of Ali Mohammad Khan (1756-61) and Tarikh-i-Gujarat of Mir Abu Turab Vali.

Kingdom of Bahmani and Nizamshahi Dynasty of Ahmadnagar

  • The history of the Bahmani Kingdom and that of the Nizamshahi dynasty of Ahmadnagar has been well preserved in Buhan-i-Maasir of Sayyid Ali Tabataba written between 1591-96.
  • The “Tazkirat-ul-Muluk” written by Rafiuddin Shirazi between 1602-12, deals with the history of the Bahmani kingdom and its subsequent offshoot, the state of Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Golconda, Berar and Bidar. The author was Governor of Bijapur under Sultan Ali Adil Shah II (1557-79).
  • ‘Riyazul Insha’ is a valuable collection of letters, documents and dispatches of Mahmud Gawan. The most celebrated Prime Minsiter of the Bahmani Kingdom.

Indigenous Literature


  • Kalhana Pandit was the pioneer historiographer who who the first ajatarangini and described in it the history of Kashmir from the earliest time to 1148-49.
  • Two centuries later the thread of the narrative was picked up by Jyots-Nakara popularly known as Jonaraja. He wrote the history of Kashmir from 1149-1459 AD and gave the same title Rajatarangini to it. Jonaraja work thus the earliest contemporary history of Kashmir during the Sultanat period.
  • Jonaraja’s pupil Srivara, who also rose to be a distinguished scholar, poet and musician and engaged the patronage of Zanul Abidin and his successors, produced yet another historical composition in Sanskrit poetry, under the title Jaina Rajatarangini. His work contains the history of the ruling house of Kashmir from 1459-1486.
  • The tradition of writing the history of Kashmir under the title Rajatarangini was continued by “Prajyabhatta and Suka whose works help us to some extent, in reconstructing the history of the reign upto 1596 AD. Kashmir was conquerted by Akbar in 1585.

Note – The only Persian source book for the history of Kashmir for the period 1420-1440 AD is “Tarikh-i-Rashidi” by Mir-a-Hyder Dughlat.