Firishta

Firishta

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Firishta or Ferishta, full name Muhammad Qasim Hindu Shah (Persian: محمد قاسم ہندو شاه), was born in 1560 and died in 1620 and he was a Persian historian. The name Firishta means angel or one who is sent in Persian.

Life


Firishta was born at Astrabad to Gholam Ali Hindu Shah, on the shores of the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. While he was still a child his father was summoned away from his native country into Ahmadnagar
Ahmadnagar
Ahmadnagar is located in Gujranwala DistricTt, Punjab, Pakistan.-References:...

, Hindustan
Hindustan
Hindustan or Indostan, literal translation "Land of River Sindhu ", is one of the popular names of South Asia. It can also mean "the land of the Hindus"...

, to teach Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 to the young prince Miran Husain Nizam Shah with whom Firishta studied.

In 1587 Firishta was serving as the captain of guards of King Murtuza Nizam Shah when Prince Miran overthrew his father and claimed the throne of Ahmadnagar
Ahmadnagar
Ahmadnagar is located in Gujranwala DistricTt, Punjab, Pakistan.-References:...

. Having been a former friend, Prince Miran spared Firishta's life who then left for Bijapur to enter the service of King Ibrahim Adil II
Ibrahim Adil Shah II
Ibrahim Adil Shah II , of the Adil Shahi dynasty, was the king of Bijapur Sultanate.-Early life:Ali Adil Shah's father, Ibrahim Adil Shah I's had divided power between the Sunni nobles, the Habshis and the Deccanis...

 in 1589.

Having been in military positions until then, Firishta was not immediately successful in Bijapur. Further exacerbating matters was the fact that Firishta was of a Shia origin and therefore did not have much chance of attaining high positions in the dominantly Sunni courts of Deccan kings. In 1593 Ibrahim Shah II ultimately implored Firishta to write a history of India with equal emphasis on the history of Deccan dynasties as no work thus far had given equal treatment to all regions of the subcontinent.

Overview of work


The work was variously known as the Tarikh-i Firishta and the Gulshan-i Ibrahim. In the introduction, a resume of the history of Hindustan prior to the times of the Muslim conquest
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 is given, and also the victorious progress of Arabs through the East. The first ten books are each occupied with a history of the kings of one of the provinces; the eleventh book gives an account of the Muslims of Malabar
Malabar Coast
The Malabar Coast is a long and narrow coastline on the south-western shore line of the mainland Indian subcontinent. Geographically, it comprises the wettest regions of southern India, as the Western Ghats intercept the moisture-laden monsoon rains, especially on their westward-facing mountain...

; the twelfth a history of the Muslim saints of India; and the conclusion treats of the geography
Geography of India
The geography of India describes the physical features of India, a country in South Asia, that lies entirely on the Indian Plate in the northern portion of the Indo-Australian Plate. The country lies to the north of the equator between 8°4' and 37°6' north latitude and 68°7' and 97°25' east...

 and climate of India
Climate of India
Analyzed according to the Köppen system, the climate of India resolves into six major climatic subtypes; their influences give rise to desert in the west, alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, humid tropical regions supporting rain forests in the southwest, and Indian Ocean island territories...

. It also includes graphic descriptions of the persecution of Hindus during the reign of Sikandar Butshikan
Sikandar Butshikan
Sikandar Butshikan also known as "Alexander the Iconoclast" in Indian History was the second Sultan of the Gabari Tajik Dynasty of Kashmir 1389-1413 CE...

 in Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

.

Tarikh-i Firishta consists primarily of the following books:
  1. The Kings of Ghazni and Lahore
  2. The Kings of Dehli
  3. The Kings of Dakhin - divided into 6 chapters:
    1. Kulbarga
    2. Bijapur
    3. Ahmadnagar
    4. Tilanga
    5. Birar
    6. Bidar
  4. The Kings of Gujarat
  5. The Kings of Malwa
  6. The Kings of Khandesh
  7. The Kings of Bengal and Bihar
  8. The Kings of Multan
  9. The Rulers of Sind
  10. The Kings of Kashmir
  11. An account of Malabar
  12. An account of Saints of India
  13. Conclusion - An account of the climate and geography of India


Contemporary scholars and historians variously write that the works of Firishta drew from Tabaqat-i-Akbari by Nizamud-din, Tarikh-i-Rashidi by Mirza Haider and Barani's Tarikh. At least one historian, Peter Jackson, explicitly states that Firishta relied upon the works of Barani and Sarhindi, and that his work cannot be relied upon as a first hand account of events, and that at places in the Tarikh he is suspect of having relied upon legends and his own imagination.

Reception


According to the scholar T.N. Devare, Firishta's account is the most widely quoted history of the Adil Shahi
Adil Shahi
The Adil Shahi or Adilshahi dynasty ruled the Sultanate of Bijapur in the Western area of the Deccan region of Southern India from 1490 to 1686. Bijapur had been a province of the Bahmani Sultanate , before its political decline in the last quarter of the 15th century and eventual break-up in 1518...

, but it is the only source for a fabricated story asserting the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 origin of Yusuf Adil Shah
Yusuf Adil Shah
Yusuf Adil Shah , referred as Adil Khan or Hidalcão by the Portuguese, was the founder of the Adil Shahi dynasty that ruled the Sultanate of Bijapur for nearly two centuries...

, the founder of the Adil Shahi
Adil Shahi
The Adil Shahi or Adilshahi dynasty ruled the Sultanate of Bijapur in the Western area of the Deccan region of Southern India from 1490 to 1686. Bijapur had been a province of the Bahmani Sultanate , before its political decline in the last quarter of the 15th century and eventual break-up in 1518...

 dynasty (Devare 67 fn2, 272). Other sources for Deccani history mentioned by Devare are those of Mir Rafi-uddin Ibrahim-i Shirazi, or "Rafi'", Mir Ibrahim Lari-e Asadkhani, and Ibrahim Zubayri, the author of the Basatin as-Salatin (67, fn 2). Devare observed that the work is "a general history of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 from the earliest period up to Firishta's time written at the behest of Ibrahim Adilshah II and presented to him in 1015 AH/1606 CE. It seems however that it was supplemented by the author himself as it records events up to AH 1033 (1626 CE)" (Devare 272).

On the other hand, Tarikh-i-Farishti is said to be independent and reliable on the topic of north Indian politics of the period, ostensibly that of Emperor Jehangir where Firishta's accounts are held credible because of his affiliation with the south Indian kingdom of Bijapur
Adil Shahi
The Adil Shahi or Adilshahi dynasty ruled the Sultanate of Bijapur in the Western area of the Deccan region of Southern India from 1490 to 1686. Bijapur had been a province of the Bahmani Sultanate , before its political decline in the last quarter of the 15th century and eventual break-up in 1518...

.

Despite his fabricated story of Yusuf's Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 origin, Firishta's account continues to be a very popular story and has found wide acceptance in Bijapur today. Firishta's work still maintains a high place and is considered reliable in many respects. Several portions of it have been translated into English; but the best as well as the most complete translation is that published by General J. Briggs under the title of The History of the Rise of the Mahometan Power in India (London, 1829, 4 vols. 8vo). Several additions were made by Briggs to the original work of Firishta, but he omitted the whole of the twelfth book, and various other passages which had been omitted in the copy from which he translated.