Sources of Mughal History

There is no scarcity of material sources of Mughal History. In fact, there are various types of sources such as autobiographies, court chronicles, historical works, and the accounts of the foreign travelers.

Regarding autobiographies the memorials of Babar and Jahangir to works of Jauhar and Gulbadan Begam contain valuable information about the Mughals.

The court chroniclers of the Mughal India become quite important from the reign of Akbar the Great and they were shown respect even in the days of Aurangzeb. The two most outstanding productions in the field of historical studies during Akbar’s regime were Abul Fazal’s Akbarnama and Ain-i-Akbari. Abdul Kadir Badaoni, a courtier of Akbar, wrote Muntakabat-i-Tarikhi which dealt with matters like the Emperor’s religious belief. Besides, official chronicles like Padashahnama, Alamgirnama and Maasir-i-Alamgiri, Khafi Khan’s Muntakhabd-ul-Lubad have their importance as source material for the later Mughal age.

Apart from these another important source relating to Mughal India can be collected from Rajput literature in the form of ballads and bardic chronicles. At the same time we can also depend on the Marathi chronicles for the later Mughal period. In this connection we can refer to the Sabhasad Bakhar as a quite dependable historical work. Similarly Gurumukhi works and more particularly the famous Granth Sahib are of considerable help.

Many European traders, travelers, and missionaries visited India during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Among these foreign people the names of the Portuguese Barbosa (1500-1516), Ralph Fitch, Jerome Xavier, Tavernier, Francois Bernier, Manucci are quite important. They have enriched the historical literature about India for the period of the Mughal rule.

The monuments of this period are far more numerous than those of the Sultanate era. Besides, several coins, inscriptions, works of art and architectures have been found. They are valuable aid for understanding the artistic cultural and even economic history of the land.

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