Rare literature on Islam, Hinduism in Tipu's collection

A rare Persian translation of Mahabharat prepared on the order of Emperor Akbar, religious literature both on Islam and Hinduism and manuscripts from the huge collection of Tipu Sultan's library are some of the items which have been catalogued for future generations.

The National Archives of India has catalogued these manuscripts for the use of academicians and scholars and seven volumes of the acquired documents will be released by Vice President Hamid Ansari tomorrow.

The catalogues from Persian were translated into English with the help of the Iran Culture House which extended its technical support regarding digitisation of the manuscriptsThese catalogues have also been translated by them in Persian and published in English as well as in Persian.

The descriptive catalogue comprises of more than 190 manuscripts which throws light on the Oriental life and culture, covering different faiths and religions, manners, arts, custom and philosophy practiced in the world.

The catalogue has been classified in five groups -- Religion, History, Language, Literature and General. The first group of the catalogue deals with religious and Sufi literature, both on Islam and Hinduism and a copy of the Persian translation of Mahabharata, prepared on the order of emperor Akbar under the supervision of Abul Fazal.

Besides, Su' al-o- Jawab-i-Dara Shikoh Wa Baba Lal, a treatise containing the conversation between Prince Dara Shikoh and Baba Lal Das of Kaithal on the life and doctrines of Hindu Faqirs and Kashf al-Mahjub, the oldest systematic work on the theoretical and practical doctrines of Sufism by Abul Hasan Ali bin Uthman bin Ali al-Hujwiri are some of the highlights of the catalogue.

The history group covers outstanding works of historians and litterateurs including works on India like Tawarikh-i-Firuz Shahi by Shams-i-Siraj Afif, Akbarnama and Ain-I Akbari by Abul Fazal, Majmu’a-i-Khuwrrami and Shah Jahan Nama by Bahadur Singh.

The accounts of the neighbouring countries of Iran and Afghanistan and the European people have also been covered in the group and Tarikh–i-Alam Ara–Ara-i-Abbasi, a history of the life and region of Abbas of Safawi dynasty of Iran by Iskandar is very important work of the period.

The catalogue of Manuscripts of the Fort William College Collection in the National Archives of India comprises several rich manuscripts, including a large number of invaluable books and rare manuscripts from the plunder of the huge collection of Tipu Sultan's rich library.

The collection was brought to Calcutta in 1799, following his defeat and death at Srirangapatnam.

This rich collection has 8 sections which contain 17 sub-sections, ranging from eastern and western religions, language, literature, history, medicine, animal husbandry, astrology etc.

In this catalogue, only Persian and Arabic manuscripts have been included although manuscripts in Bangla, Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu are also available in the collection.
Besides, these publications, the Iran Culture House would hand over digital copies of 400 Arabic and Persian Manuscripts in the C.D. form to National Archives of India during the book release function. 

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