Introduction by FWP

I first seriously explored the Akbar-namah and the A'in-i Akbari when I wanted to use them in teaching. I found that they were simultaneously very available, and very inaccessible.

On the one hand they were very easily available in printed form. For the Akbar-namah, there is a classic translation:

The Akbar Nama of Abu'l-Fazl: history of the reign of Akbar including an account of his predecessors, translated from the Persian by Henry Beveridge (1837-1929). Published 1902-39, 3 vols. Asiatic Society of Bengal: Bibliotheca Indica, work no. 138. 
Nowadays this work is available in various extremely inexpensive Indian reprint editions: There is one by Ess Ess Publications (Delhi), 1977; there is another by Low Price Publications (Delhi), 1989 (and later reprints); there may well be more.

The final part of the Akbar-namah is the A'in-e Akbari, the "Institutes of Akbar." This work is itself three volumes long. Here is the  original translation of volume 1, which was sponsored by the Asiatic Society of Bengal:

The A'in-i Akbari by Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami, translated from the Persian by H(enry) Blochmann (1838-78). Calcutta: Rouse, 1873. Vol. 1.
Later this first volume was edited by D. C. Phillott (1860-1930), at the request of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and published in 1927, in a form that Phillott described as only slightly revised and modernized from Blochmann's original work.

Because Blochmann died so young (he was only forty), the Asiatic Society of Bengal had to find another translator for the remaining two volumes:

The A'in-i Akbari by Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami, translated from the Persian by H(enry) S(ullivan) Jarrett (1839-1919). Vols. 2 (1891) and 3 (1894). Published in Calcutta; Bibliotheca Indica, work no. 61.
Later, extensively revised editions of both volumes 2 and 3 were issued:
The A'in-i Akbari by Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami, translated from the Persian by H. S. Jarrett, revised and edited by Sir Jadunath Sarkar (1870-1958). Calcutta, 1949.
All three volumes of the A'in-i Akbari, in their revised forms, are available in inexpensive reprint editions: there is Classical Publishing Company (New Delhi) 1996; and Low Price Publications (Delhi) 1989 (and later reprints); and possibly others as well.

These reprint editions are available widely and cheaply, but they remain somewhat inaccessible to students; they're bought and read mostly by scholars. They're often poorly printed and cheaply bound, and the thick volumes full of small smeary print look erudite and intimidating. This present website does NOT aim to put these six substantial volumes, with all their wonderfully esoteric footnotes and careful diacritics, online. 

Rather, this website aims to offer some interesting little tidbits, some samples of the fascinating, complex, and sophisticated contents of the original. These small excerpts are meant to be useful for classroom purposes, and of course for study by anybody interested (since at present apparently nothing by Abu'l-Fazl is online).

The material from the Akbar-namah has all been selected from the Beveridge translation and slightly edited for classroom use by FWP. (This means a few modernized spellings, or inconsistent spellings rendered more intelligible; a little correction of punctuation; a very few replacements of archaic or technical words by more current ones, and the like.) Diacritical marks, and almost all footnotes, have been omitted. Page numbers in double brackets are those of the original translation. All material in square brackets has been added by FWP; the original translators and editors used only parentheses, and all parenthesized material is theirs. The original translations inevitably contain many small internal inconsistencies (Maryam in one place, Miriam in another; words with and without italics, etc.), and mostly these have not been smoothed out.

While very much has been omitted from the original translations, nothing additional has been incorporated (except in square brackets), so you can use these versions with confidence in their accuracy. Please remember that I'm not seeking to provide any special degree of representativeness, or any kind of globally coherent overview. I'm just choosing particular passages here and there that I think are especially enticing, thought-provoking, vexatious, and/or revelatory. If you get hooked, obviously you'll want to get hold of the books themselves, and check out all the things I've omitted. 

The material from the *A'in-i Akbari* has been selected and edited mostly by *Zachary David Jones*, whose careful and thoughtful work is greatly appreciated.

Fran Pritchett
April 2005

AUGUST 2005: I've just learned of the *Packard Humanities Institute* complete versions, a wonderful resource for serious researchers. Links to this version will be included as appropriate within the website.


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