Literary & historical aspects of Tarikh-e-Rashidi

‘Tarikh-e-Rashidi’ is a book written in Persian by the ruler of Kashmir, Mirza Haider Dughlat. The writer of the book was the cousin of Babur, the founder of Mughal dynasty in Indian subcontinent in the first half of the 16th century AD. This book which is originally based on the political history of Mughals and Turks is considered as one of the best master pieces of literary classic also because of its special style of narrating and writing. Besides the political and diplomatic events of his own time, he likes to talk about several different things like culture, weather, literature, great people of his time and tribe as well as many other different topics and thus keeps his book before the readers more than a book of political history only. The language used in writing of this book is also a matter of attraction for being so eloquent & charming that gives the literary colour to the history events. The real aim of producing this research paper is to catch the eyes of the academicians, historians of the Turkish world, researchers, social scientists etc. over the book “Tarikh-e-Rashidi” of Mirza Haider Dughlat to pertain an academic exploration of this book that can enrich the Turkish history by revealing astonishing fact hiding in itself. The present research paper is an attempt to emphasize the literary aspects and the language used in the writing of this book besides sketching its historical aspects as these two are the major characteristics of the book which were less discussed & researched yet.

‘Tarikh-e-Rashidi’ is a book written in Persian language based on the political history of Mughals. Mirza Haider Dughlat, born in 1499 or 1500 A.D is the author of this book. His father was Muhammad Hussain Mirza Kurkan, one of the Dughlat Amirs of Kashgaria region and his mother was Khub Nigar Khanum, the sister of Babur’s Mother Kutluk Nigar Khanum.Thus, he was the first cousin of Babur (the founder of Mughal dynasty of India) and after the death of his father when he was only eight years old, he was brought up under the supervision of Babur.

This book is the personal memoir of Mirza Haider written in Persian that explains the history of Mughals. He wrote this book from 1541 to 1546 A.D in two parts and devoted it to “Rashid Khan” who was the founder of Saidiya state in Kashgaria in 1514 AD.

Despite of having the historical nature and background, this is the book of high literary value too. It provides very authentic and eye witnessing accounts of the Mughal history and also proves the authenticity of some events and incidents which were under doubt by some other historians.

He was only eight years old when brought up under the supervision of Babur and thus got the chance to stay long in touch with him and thus he was well aware and familiar even knew the reason and background of the events and incidents mentioned by Babur in his famous memoir ‘Tuzuk-e-Baburi’ and in some places he verifies them also and gives his comments over them and gives an interesting explanation on Babur’s event mentioned in his memoirs. So ‘Tarikh-e-Rashidi’ is an essential reference to understand ‘Tuzuk-e-Baburi’ in a better way [2; 3].

A research paper that was written by an Iranian expert analyzes “Tarikh-e-Rashidi” and finds its writing style and base very similar and close to Babur’s memoirs “Tuzuk-e-Baburi.”

شکلی، کتاب به دو بخش "تاريخ اصل" و " مختصر" تقسيم شده است. از نظر

216]. [8, در تاريخ اصل رويداد ھای تاريخی مربوط به ...

Translation: A structural form of the book is divided into two parts “The Real History” & “The Summary.” In “The Real History” the incidents of the history related to…

يادآور آثاری مانند تزوکات تيموری و تزوکات بابری است که ھر کدام به دو بخش "تزوکات" و "واقعات" تقسيم اين تقسيم بندی




ھر دو اثر، در در

شده اند.

result and follows the events taking place step by

شده و در بخش "تزوکات" به زندگينامه و ديدگاه ھای شده است. اين ترتيب را در تاريخ رشيدی مطرح شخصی مؤلّفان پرداخته

step and appears like a very talkative person who is very eager to examine every minute point and fact

می توان ديد.

[8, 217].

of the incident & that’s why this book is very

Translation: This division (of the book) remembers the works like “Tuzuk-e-Timuri” and “Tuzuk-e-Baburi” that each of them are also divided into two parts “Tuzukaat” and “Waqeat”. In each of these two works in “Waqeat”, the historical incidents have been explained and in “Tuzukaat”, the biographies and the personal viewpoints of the writers have been mentioned. This arrangement can be seen in “Tarikh-e-Rashidi” too. This point of the writer of the research paper appears right and appropriate in some extend as Mirza Haider was in deep influence of “Babur” and by his notes it appears that “Babur” was like a role model for him so following his style in his writing is not a surprising factor and he is also considered the one who copied the large portion of Babur’s memoirs ‘Tuzuk-e-Baburi’ and later used them in his book ‘Tarikh-e-Rashidi’. Perhaps, this is the first book written in Persian that furnishes the first hand detail information of the rapid changes in the political scenario of central Asia as well as the rise

and fall of great personalities exponentially.

This book makes us available very edifying facts about the rising political powers in Central Asia and their outlook towards India. It also tells the uncertainty of time when the book was written [4; 5].

The author of the book draws a very clear and minute sketch of Humayun’s struggling period and his attempt to regain his lost empire set up by his father Babur and also provides the valuable account of Humayun’s character and personality. He explains the Humayun’s psychological condition after losing the battle against Sher Shah and analyzes every major term and condition in that he lost his empire. Besides providing the valuable information of the contemporary events took place, this book emulates them and conducts a minute analysis and tells its reader the genuine reasons and conditions of their occurrence.

As the author himself was a ruler belonged to the Mughal family and his upbringing was done in a political atmosphere, his analysis and emulation to the events enhances the value of the book and keeps the book distinguished from other historical book.

Apart from the other medieval historians, he appears as a curious witness of the event who is eager to know the next reflection and waiting for the

important that talks almost over the all the reasons and condition of the unstable period of Central Asia. Another quality of the book is that the author never misses any chance to talk about his friends and close ones to the reader in detail and during the description of his friends and close ones he reaches very far and talks about every little event of them. Thus, today this book has been the important source of huge and reliable information of them who have been penned down by Mirza Haider.

This book kept the high importance and value among the historians and European Orientalists of old time and the frequent citations of as well as quotations from this book can be seen easily in the works of old historians even still today, it deserves the same high esteem among the men of letters and researchers and is considered a very reliable and authentic source book to know Turks and Mughals of Central Asia, their history, culture, politics and policy etc. as well as the history and the happenings of early Mughal days in India.

This book brings high fame to Mirza Haider and attracted many European scholars to persuade a research upon the different events, matters and points mentioned in the book.

Mr. Anooshahr Ali says in his article that only those Mughal elites and rulers related to Indian subcontinent and around Afghanistan have been given preference by the author in his book and he demands in his article for the re-evaluation of the book.

“By reading the Tarikh-i-Rashidi, the historical composition of Mirza Haydar Dughlat (d.1551) and the main literary source for the period, modern scholars have developed two distinct historiographical strands of scholarship. Those mainly focused on Mughal India have used the text to argue for the absence of a meaningful political culture among the Central Asian elite” [1, 559].

But the book is also very unique in respect of Central Asian Turks and Mughals and the very important one to know their political activities and planning which were mainly focused to India and its surroundings and as the author himself was the ruler of Indian region Kashmir and some of his military partners and family members were also spread and settled in India and its surroundings, so of course the books furnishes the valuable information about of

then India but at the same time is of the same high value of narrating the Central Asia especially in Persian. Mirza Haider narrates several contemporary political activities of his Kashghar region and other Central Asian regions too.

The book is unavoidable for those who are doing their research of around 1500 to 1600 AD as the information provided here is of high value, detailed, reliable and authentic and also this book was approved by many European Orientalists too.

One of the most important and authentic information the book furnishes is the conversion of Mughals to Islam about which still very few authentic records are found and most of the things have been written based on hearsay and by the indirect sources as some scholars of Mavara-unNahr, Khurasan and Iraq talk about that but very indirect way and only to those Mughals to whom they used to belong, thus in this regard this book is of high value that provides the detail description of the Mughals belonged to Indian subcontinent and the history and their conversion to Islam.

In his book he mentions the names of some very important and famous books related to the history of Mughals like ‘Majma-utTawarikh’ of “Khwaja Rashiduddin”, ‘Tarikhe-Guzideh’ of “Khwaja Hamidullah Mustawafi”, ‘Zafar Nameh’ of “Maulana Sharafuddin Ali Yazdi”, ‘Tarikh-eManzum’ of “Maulana Abdurrazzaq” and ‘Ulus Arabaa’ of “Mirza Ulugh Beg” [6; 7].

The author says in his notes that he studied all of these books but didn’t find anywhere things related to Mughals in a duly arranged and chronicle form; so he decided to write such a book that furnishes the whole information of Turks & their history in a proper detailed way gathered in a single book. Further he says that he had also a strong desire to draw the history of Turks and his forefathers and also make available the accounts of his contemporary noblemen as well as of some just before a century ago from his time.

Being a close relative of the Mughals, he was well aware of the causes and reasons behind the events and incidents taking place as well as with the strength and limitation of the rulers.

If he appears in praising any ruler for his any particular characteristic, at the same time he never hesitates to condemn the same one for his any particular mistake too. For instance, he admires Humayun for his individual characteristics and as a human what he was but he condemns him severely for his political decisions and leading manners to the

army and finds him very less, immature and inadequate in compare of his father Babur who was much better than Humayun in army and literary skills as well as in social and personal behaviour too.

This is the book of political history but contains a high level of literary beauty and adoration of sentences in the explanation and narration. The frequent usage of Persian verses and idioms as well as the strict linguistic innovations brings this book in the category of literary book also. Besides these, the author talks about the famous men of letters, their lives, literary works, place of their literary works among mass etc. Mirza Haider gives a long description of famous Turkish and Persian poets and talks with a high interest even about the little events related to them.

His writing style is clear to understand, spellings are without any mistake and his verses are clear what they mean and in what context they have been mentioned.

The language of the book is very clear and logical with a scholarly style but never becomes a barrier for the common readers too and explains the developments and the events of his contemporary period in a very smooth flow without creating any lingual pressure over reader.

Mirza Haider describes in his book that in their heyday, Mughals provided royal patronage to many prominent scholars, writers and poets etc. in their royal courts.

The book is full of frequent references of Persian poets, critical appreciation of their writings, their composing style and the analysis of their couplets etc.

Mirza Haider Dughlat has mentioned many scholars, poets and authors belonged to Persian in his book. Some of them are following.

Zahiruddin Mohammad Babur.

The author of the book describes Babur very magnificently in his book and seems to be under his great influence. Mirza Haider illustrates Babur as the master of many qualities among them his bravery and human aspects were more emphasized in ‘Tarikh-e-Rashidi’ with several examples what he himself witnessed or heard. Mirza Haider is very happy to talk about Babur in detail and analyzes his virtues and deeds magnificently.

He talks Babur’s human aspects, generosity and literary aspects in a very detailed way in his book. He gives very important and detailed information regarding to Babur’s literary aspects, taste, style and

standard etc. as well as about the literary trends fashioned in Persian and Turkic world during that age. He compares Babur one of the best Turkic poets of his time and finds only Amir Ali Shir Nawai better than he was.

Babur had invented a new script “Khat-e Baburi” and a new style of verse “Mubaiyan”. He copied the holy Quran in Khat-e-Baburi’ and sent its one copy to Mecca. He was the author of many useful treatise having literary and political value as well as full of important information.

Mirza Haider gives a very minute and detail description of Babur, his nature, personality, generosity, talents, political and literary skill, small and big events of his life etc. He also compares him with his forefathers anddd progenies as Humayun & Kamran etc. but finds Babur the best of them. He says that neither Babur’s forefathers nor his progenies ever could have such qualities as he had especially being a warrior and men of letter together.

He talks about the ‘Rasala-e-Validiyyah’ of Babur and his deep inclination towards Turkish arts and music. The Vakai (memoirs) written in Turkish by him is very elegant and in florid style.

The book gives very important information about the memoirs of Babur that its original copy was under his own supervision till after the ten years of Babur’s death.

As Babur died in 937A.H (26 Dec.1530) and Mirza Haider was present in India from 943 A.H to 947 A.H, thus it is considered that he got the original copy during any of this time period but it is very strange and unexpected that Mirza Haider who is very detailed narrator & talkative over every small and big points remains silent to tell anything about the lost chapters of Babur’s memoirs and the gaps occurred in the book.

He gives us information about the Babur’s affection for Persian poetry. Babur liked Persian language & literature especially its poetry and used to quote well known Persian quotes and couplets frequently during his conversation from the famous Persian poets Firdowsi, Nizami, Sa’adi, Hafiz & Jami etc. as well as composed some of Persian verses too.

It is said that when he fell sick, considered this a punishment from Allah for composing some of luxurious Persian couplets and asked pardon from Allah and broke his pen.

Khwaja Tajuddin.

He is another man of letters mentioned in this book. He was from the race of Maulana

Arshaduddin. In the book ‘Tarikh-e-Rashidi’ the author describes his family background completely, his study period, his preceptors and his journey to India via Gujarat after Mecca. He was the disciple of Abdur Rahman Jami and his literary conversation with Jami that is of high level literary value and importance has been mentioned in detail by Mirza Haider Dughlat.

Maulana Abdur Rahman Jami.

He was the great Sufi poet of his time composing in Persian. He is known as “Imamuddin” and “Nuruddin” too. His complete description was mentioned by Mirza Haider Dughlat in a very detailed way and some of his information related to him available in this book is not found anywhere. Some of his couplets which were in doubt among the scholars whether those are really of Jami or not is verified by this book.

Maulana Sa’aduddin Kashghari.

He belonged to the noble & pious family of Kashghar where many Sufi and Islamic scholars come from. The author talks in detail about him and describes his and his family’s all the major characteristics, literary service to Islam as well as to the people to educate. His family tree and the residing places of his family members were also described in this book that is of high value.

Maulana Nizamuddin Khamush.

He wrote about him that he was the disciple of Khwaja Alauddin.

Sharafuddin Ali Yazdi.

He was the famous Persian historian of 15th century from Yazd but very little is known about his life and this is the book that makes available the maximum and authentic information about him. His closeness with the Timurid ruler “Shahrukh” and his son “Mirza Ibrahim Sultan” was explained in detail in this book. Sharafuddin Ali Yazdi was the author of ‘Zafar Nama’, the book dedicated to history of Timurid dynasty, got completed in 1425AD. Mirza Haider quoted some events from the ‘Zafar Nama’ into ‘Tarikh-e-Rashidi’ too.

Alauddin Malik Ibn Babauddin Muhammad Juwaini.

He was the author of the famous book ‘Jahan Kushai’. The description and the reference of the book has been seen many places in ‘Tarikh-eRashidi’. The family background of Malik Juwaini, his status, his job that he was the governor of Baghdad and accompanied “Halaku” during the Mongol campaign against the Ismailis and the other major incidents of his life like felling in prison and

then revealed from etc. are the incidents of highly historical importance which were explained in detail in ‘Tarikh-e-Rashidi’. Many incidents and events were also copied from ‘Jahan-e-Kushai’.

Mirza Ulugh Begh.

His real name was Mirza Mohammad Taregh Bin Shahrukh Ulugh Begh. He was the great Astronomer, Mathematician and the expert of Astronomical Mathematics, Trigonometry and Spherical Geometry. He was known as “Amir-e-Kabir” too. He was the grandson of Timur (Tamerlane) and the eldest son of Shahrukh. His mother was Persian named “Goharshaad”. Many scholars flourished during his time were also mentioned in the book like “Husain Waiz Kashifi”, “Mulla Saifuddin Ahmad Taftazani”, “Khwandmir” etc. but “Mir Ali Shir Nawai” got the special attention in the book.

Suleman Shah.

He was Babur’s cousin and ruled in Badakhshan. He was the great admirer of Persian poetry and composed some of them in Persian and Turkish too. One of his quatrains was composed at the death of his son “Ibrahim”. The description of his rivalry with a Turkish admiral Seydi Ali Reis who was called the Second Mir Ali Shir by Humayun was also appeared in the book “Tarikh-eRashidi” and is one of the best incidents recalled by Mirza Haider.

Khwand Mir.

His real name was Muhammad bin-e-Khwand Shah bin-e-Mahmud commonly known as “Mir Khwand” is the writer of ‘Rauzatussafa’ dedicated to his patron “Mir Ali Shir Nawai’. Mirza Haider describes his life and important events in his life in detail.


Although Mirza Haider Dughlat was an expert political historian with a deep & precise knowledge in his field & his book ‘Tarikh-e-Rashidi’ was also written on the historical background of Turks & Mughals in Persian language, it keeps literary colour and lingual adoration.

Of course the author provides the high value information based on the political history of Turks

in a very detail way but in order to escape the book being a boring one like other history books, he talks about literature also & thus brings literary ting in his writing and sometimes in order to change his own taste and changing topics, he begins to talk over culture, literature, weather, customs, and the examines the characteristics of people, their decisions and their comparison etc. in his book.

The authors according to his own taste talks about other things also in the book like poetry, poets, sufis, culture and customs etc. but at the same time he also doesn’t leave the main background of the books that is history.

The book “Tarikh-e-Rashidi” deals with the historical events of contemporary period but at the same time this book touches the literary world too and makes available the chronciles of the famous Persian poets, Sufis and historian etc.

Even in the description of dry and long chronoicles of historical and political matters, it never loses the literary beauty, linguistic innovation. He also describes some very important information of the Persian scholars of his own time that is a very valuable. The work produced by Mirza Haider Dughlat that is the history notes in Persian with lingual beauty will be remembered by the world as a great reference book of Mughals with great admiration and value undoubtfully.

What inanition will this research paper fulfill? This research paper will fulfill the following inanitions of the literary field. This research paper shows the importance of the book in Indian perspective which were never been discussed seriously by any eastern scholar. The literary value and aspects of the book which have never been discussed in English, Persian, Hindi, Urdu or Turkish etc. This paper talks about the political situation faced by Babur and Humayun in India.

The most hidden aspect of the book is the first hand valuable and authentic information about the condition of Humayun and his struggle to regain his lost empire. This aspect of the book is very less discussed and still not explored by any scholar. This research paper signifies this hidden aspect of the book.



  1. Anooshahr Ali. Mughals, Mongols, and Mongrels: The Challenge of Aristocracy and the Rise of the Mughal State in the Tarikh-i-Rashidi // Journal of Early Modern History, Leiden. The Netherlands. – Vol. 18. – Issue 6. – Р. 559-577.
  2. Elias Ney. Tarikh-I-Rashidi. An English Version. – Sampson Low, Marston & Company, Ld., 1895, reprinted by Forgotten Books, 2013.
  3. Elias, Ney. Tarikh-I-Rashidi. Karakoram Books, ebook version. Mohammed Murad Butt.
  4. Ghaffari Fard Abbas. Muarfie Kitab: Tarikh-e-Rashidi, Kitab-e-Maah-e-Tarikh wa Joghrafia. – Iran, Winter, 1378. – № 28. – P. 23–24.
  5. Ghaffari Fard Abbas. Dar Aastane Tehqiq wa Nasr: Tarikh-e-Rashidi, Aayine Miraas. – Iran, Summer, 1379. – № 9. –Р. 100–102.
  6. Ghaffari Fard Abbas. Tarikh-e-Rashidi, Miras-e-Maktoob. – Tehran, Iran, 1383. – Р. 23–25.
  7. Mohammad Ali. Zarurate Baaz Negariye Tarikhe Rashidi, Aayine Miras. – Iran, 1388. – №45. – P. 253–272.
  8. Munfard Farhad Mahdi. Naqd wa Barrasi: Chand Yaddasht Darbare Tashihe Tarikh-e-Rashidi, Aayin-e-Miraas, Dore Jadid. – Tehran, Iran, Issue: Spring & Winter, 1384. – № 30&31. –P. 213–229.
Magazine: KazNU BULLETIN
Year: 2015
City: Almaty
Category: Philology