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Mir Syed AzizullahHaqani:The Golden Leaf in History Writing

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By: Prof. Bashir Ahmad Dar

Kashmir has earned the fame of being the centre of learning since ages. Almost in all the spheres of knowledge, the scholars have contributed immensely while asthe tradition of history writing commenced here in the eleventh century when Kalhana penned down the ‘Rajtarangni’ which has hardly any parallel in the subcontinent.

This tradition was followed and even improved by the succeeding scholars. One such illustrious scholar of modern Kashmir is Mir Syed AzizullahHaqani This luminary occupies a conspicuous position and holds a high rank in the religious, spiritual and literary circles. But more than that, he has also distinguished himself as a versatile historian.

As a historian he has to his credit LatifulHaqani, Naar Nama, SailabNaama, Dervish Naama, Fathui sham. But his chief contribution in the domain of history writing is TawarikhAalam, also called as Taufatul Kubra, which the author undertook in the beginning of the twentieth century and it took him twenty long years to compile this mammoth document.

The Twarikh has remained in the personal possession of the Haqqanis and luckily in good conditiontill the present day. Due to the vicissitudes of the times nobody has paid attention to the editing, printing and publishing of the chronicle. Thus, on the one side the enormous labour of the author has gone to the winds and on the other the students and scholars in the field of history could not avail it so far.Now, the Trust taking care of these manuscripts as also the shrines and other belongings of Haqani Sufis known as ‘Haqani Memorial Trust’ has commenced the editing and translation of  the work recently.

Aziz ullahHaqani was born in 1861 AD (Abdul Ahad Azad mentions it as 1854) and breathed his last in 1928. He belonged to the widely known Haqani dynasty whose ancestors migrated to Kashmir along with Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (RA).He has a number of works to his credit. These include RouzutuShuda, Mumtazi Be Nazir, Guldastai Be Nazir, Chandra Badun, AuratDala, Burhanul Muslimeen, JauhariIshq, SamratulArifeen and a large number of Hamud, Naat and Ghazals. Though as a poet and particularly as one having penned down Naats, Haqani is renowned in the literary circles, but as a historian he is yet to be discovered.

Some of his poetic compilations like Mumtazi Be Nazir, RouzutushShuda, Guldastai Be Nazir, Chandra Badun, AuratDala, JauhariIshq have been published during the Dogra regime by the well known publishers of Kashmir -Gulam Mohammad Noor Mohammad TaajraniKutub and LatifulHaqani and ArmaganiHaqani in the recent past by the Haqani Memorial Trust but his voluminous work alongwith some others is still unpublished.

TawarikhAlam is divided into five volumes. The author calls these volumes as Burhan and these are further divided into chapters.

The author begins his first volume with the description of the creation of the universe. He narrates the anecdote of Prophet Adam’s (AS) coming into being and his journey on the earth. Rest of the first volume has been devoted to the prophets that followed Hazrat Adam (AS).

The second volume is exclusively devoted to Prophet Muhammad (SAW).The author introduces the location and geography of the Arabia and the conditions prevailing in Arab before Prophet Muhammad(SAW). The auspicious birth of Hazrat Muhammad(SAW), Hijrat (migration to Medina) and the expeditions which prophet led occupy the place in this volume.

In the third volume the life and achievements of the KhulfaiRashideen – the caliphs of Islam- Hazrat Abu Bakr(RA), Hazrat Umar (RA), Hazrat Usman (RA) and Hazrat Ali (RA) have been deliberated upon. Abbasid and Ummayid empires come next and the Tarikh furnishes us with the account of the reign of the rulers that followed in succession. The volume closes with the account of the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid.

It may be of interest to add here that in comparison to the traditional chroniclers who restrict their account just to the political developments or events connected with the rulers, Aziz Ullah Haqani furnishes the description of socio-economic conditions of the times and administrative measures of the rulers having a bearing on the life and conditions of the people. In this context he provides us with the account of the medical institutions and the libraries constructed and developed by the Abbasid and the Ummayid rulers.

The account of the rulers of India forms the theme of the fourth volume of the Tawarikh. Besides the narration of the rulers at Delhi, the author adds the details of the independent provinces emerging after the disintegration of the Mughal Empire.

Aziz ullahHaqani has elaborated the history of Jammu and Kashmir in the fifth volume of the Tarikh Alam. Here he begins with the account regarding the origin of Kashmir which is followed by the description of the ancient period (Hindu Rajas).

The spread of Islam, establishment of the Sultanate by Shams ud Din Shamir and the flourishing of the Sultanate come next. The fall of the Sultanate, coming of Chaks and the establishment of the Chak rule follows then. The Mughal invasion of Kashmir and the extension of the Mughal rule to the subah are described in the next chapter. The author has dealt with every aspect of the period – the rule of the Mughal Kings, their sojourns in Kashmir, the reign of the Subedhars or governors.

The chapter closes with the description of the Afghan and Sikh rule in Kashmir. The description of flora and fauna, the soil and its attributes, the crops, herbs, plants produced in Kashmir, their medicinal significance, animals and birds found here, professionals and their instruments and equipment, architectural monuments, gardens has been added to the chapter on history of the state.

Haqani does not restrict himself to the doors of Sultans and Rajas; he traverses every nook and corner, searches for men of letters, being himself in the pursuit of spiritual uplift introduces the Sufi luminaries. As such the history of every region is accompanied with the account of the men of letters and the sufis and saints of that area.

Haqani has presented history not merely “as a graphic chart of the events but as a detailed map in which the events are located with reference to the contemporary values. We do not simply get a narration of events but their interpretations according to the culture of the time”. Moreover, it may be of interest to note that while there are many mythological events in Kalahana’sRajtarangni, the Tawrikh of Aziz ullahHaqani is based on true historical settings and hardly an iota of doubt generates while perusing this unpublished history. While there is an omission of many rulers in kalhana’s history, the history of Haqani is chronologically speaking by and large accurate and fit.

It is high time that the institutions connected with the preservation of culture in the state and outside should come forward to strive earnestly so that the writings of this great son of the soil are preserved and printed to enable all to avail these writings which would be the greatest homage to this great writer.

The author is a writer associated with Haqani Memorial Trust and can be contacted at email id: [email protected]

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