Of the four works available on the reign of Humayun only one had been commissioned by him in 1533 and this was Khwandamir's Qanun-I-Humayuni. The other three were written at the behest of Emperor Akbar who had ordered Abul Fazl to compile a history and who in turn got relations and officers of the royal family to provide him with written material for his work. A manuscript of Khwandamir's book was available in the Asiatic society of Bengal which was translated into English by Sudasukh Lal, the munshi of Sir Henry Elliot and is preserved in the British Museum in London. The original manuscript also found its way to London and another copy is believed to be in the oriental Languages. St. Petersbourg.
Khwandamir's manuscript was obtained from the British Museum and a carefully edited with a detailed life of the author was published in May 1940 by Shams-ul-Ulma'M. Hidayat Hossain in the Bibliotheca Indica Series. Written in highly ornate Persian, it deals with the first four years of Humayun's rule and restricts itself largely to observations on the life style of that era. He gives detailed accounts of the festivals, though the dates cannot be fully relied upon, and also of building activities including the laying of the foundation of the new city, Dinpanah, in Delhi. Dinpanah was demolished by Sher Shah but the Mosque, Jama Masjid, remains as also the library and observatory. Sudasukh Lal's translation, however, was a greatly abridged effort and Baini Prashad's translation of 1940 was an entirely new version prepared with help from, among others, the late H. Beveridge and Mrs. Beveridge's monumental works on the history of the Moghuls.
The book has been long out of print and at the request of several eminent scholar the Society has decided to bring out a reprint of the work originally published in 1940 as Work No. 263 of the Bibliotheca Indica.
19 March, 1996
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