General introduction by FWP

If this were a published series of texts, I'd be acting here as the series editor, with Deanna as the editor of this particular volume. Instead, this is an evolving, freewheeling project, gradually being developed by me and some of my students, with a little help from various technologically adroit friends. Its goal is to provide convenient, accurate sets of excerpts from some valuable and fascinating primary sources, for the use of students and teachers around the world.

The text presented here is The History of Humayun: Humayun Nama by Gul-badan Begam, translated with Introduction, Notes, Illustration and Biographical Appendix and reproduced in the Persian from the only known MS. of the British Museum, by Annette S. Beveridge (1902).  This text is easily and cheaply available in modern Indian reprints, from Low Price Publications, of Delhi, and other publishers. But that doesn't suffice to make it readily accessible to the general reader. Half of the book consists of the original Persian text, and the rest is full of diacritics, complex footnotes in tiny print that refer in abbreviated form to obscure reference sources, and other kinds of apparatus that delight the hearts of scholars but cause many other people's eyes to roll back in their heads.

So Deanna Ramsay, a graduate student here at Columbia, volunteered to go over this 118-page text, and select and digitize from it some excerpts that she felt would be of the greatest general interest. Since the text has no chapter breaks, she's also created her own divisions (which thus appear within square brackets), together with her own descriptive titles for them. All this is real work, and Deanna's doing such an excellent job of it is greatly appreciated. Of course, we hope this small taste will make you curious for more-- we hope you'll want to get the book and look it over in more detail; or of course you can use the online edition from the *Packard Institute*.

Fran Pritchett
July 2005

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