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Historiography in Mughal period
By Manzar Imam

Department of Persian Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi held a lecture on Historiography in Mughal period on 15 October.

Prof Harbans Mukhia of Jawaharlal Nehru University, while talking about Indian Medieval historiography, said that the association of history with date or chronology came as late as in 3rd century. Before that there was almost no concept of history except individual history or family history. He said that medieval Indian history has two sections: dynasty and individual narration which was based on human will or nature so to say.

While talking about the medieval European history he said that earlier only priestly classes used to write history because they only were the educated people. In other words historiography was confined to churches. Since priests had no personal experiences of events and occurrences, the reasoning behind any event that took place was given as to be the will of God with no arguments or logical proofs.

While talking about Islamic history the professor said that historians divide it into two sections: pre-Islamic history and history after the rise of Islam. He further said that the pre-Islamic history was family narrative. While throwing light on medieval Indian history he said that Abul Fazal, the author of Akbarnama, was a great historian, the one who has no predecessor or successor. He is the only medieval historian who does not divide history in sections. It is one which starts from Allah then Adam and descends serially. While talking about division of history he said that James Mill is the first historian who divided history into Hindu, Muslim and British periods. Before that though there existed the concept of dominance but there was no concept of denominational period, he added.

Prof Mushirul Hasan stressed the need of development of Persian and said that there should a thorough comparative research on Indian and Persian medieval history.

Prof Shahid Hasan Mehdi, vice chancellor of Jamia Millia said that if we go deep into any history we find that some way or the other it has links with religion. He cited the chain of hadith in Islam to be the beginning of Islamic history.

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