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Shah Alam II and His Court

Shah Alam II and His Court


Item Code: NAB801

by Pratul C. Gupta

Hardcover (Edition: 2010)

The Asiatic Society, Kolkata

Size: 8.7 Inch X 5.7 Inch
Pages: 116
Weight of the Book: 275 gms
Price: $22.00   Shipping Free
Viewed times since 19th Dec, 2013



This valuable historical work, the manuscript of which was found in a box, preserved in the Asiatic Society, was first edited by Professor Pratul Chandra Gupta and published by the Society in 1947. It was reprinted in 1989. Considering its historical value it is now being printed for the third time. The biographical sketch of Polier, an Engineer, given in the Introduction, is very interesting. We believe that students and researchers will find this historical work highly valuable.

Preface to the First Edition

In the nineteenth century manuscripts and books were often presented to learned societies and libraries in India by servants of the East India Company returning home after retirement. Some books of Indian history in the Imperial Library, Calcutta, bear stamps of the library of Fort William and names of previous owners. It occurred to me that old manuscripts might have similarly found their way to the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal. About four years ago, a search was made and a box which evidently had not been opened for a long time was found to contain a number of manuscripts on various subjects. One such manuscript which I hoped might be used as a source for the history of North India during Shah Alam II’s reign is published.

In Buckland’s Dictionary of Indian Biography there is a short sketch of Antoine Louis Henri Polier’s career in India. There is a fuller account in a recently published volume of Hodson’s Officers of the Bengal Army. For obvious reasons Polier does not find a place in Dictionary of National Biography, but it is a pity that he has been left out by Philippart. There is, how- ever, a short biographical sketch in the Bengal: Past and Present, 1910. Occasional mention of Polier will also be found in Grier’s Letters of Warren Hastings to his Wife, Hodges’ Travels in India, Rennel’s Memoir of a map of Hindoostan, Broome’s History of the Rise and Progress of the Bengal Army and Forest’s Life of Clive. In recent years, a number of articles appeared in the Proceedings of the Indian Historical Records Commission. When this book was ready for the press, Colonel Phillimore’s Historical Records of the Survey of India was brought out. It contains an interesting note based on official records and Polier’s autobiography published in the Calcutta Gazette, l8l8.

In print, old spellings of the manuscript are retained. It will be seen that some proper names are spelt in more than one way. But the very frequent use of capital letters had to be discouraged and some liberty taken with the punctuation in order to make sense. The biographical sketch of Polier in the Introduction has been prepared mainly from materials in the Archives of the Government of India. All documents referred to in this volume are from the Imperial Record Department, New Delhi, unless otherwise stated.

I am grateful to the Council of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal for permitting me to edit the manuscript. I owe thanks for facilities and help to Dr S N Sen, Director of Archives, Government of India and Mr. H N Randle, Librarian, India Office. I am also indebted to Sir Jadunath Sarkar, Sir Patrick Cadell, Professor Somnath Maitra, Dr N K Sinha, Mr. Sourin- dranath Roy and Mr. Nirmal Chandra Sinha. Mr. N N Das Gupta has very kindly helped me in seeing the book through the press.


Preface v
Introduction 1
A Narrative of Transactions at the Court of Delhy From 1771 to the Present Time 21
Notes 79
1. Some account of the celebrated adventurer Sombre or Samroo 93
2. A view of the present situation of the Emperor Shah Alam97
3. Some account of the transactions in the Province of Oud 105
4. Note on Picture 111
Index 113
Claude Martin and his friends -----Frontispiece
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