Key Islamic archival text to be released

New Delhi: The process of archiving ancient Islamic manuscripts will get a boost as a comprehensive publication, listing important documents collected by Indian vice-president M. Hamid Ansari will be released by the National Archives Feb 16, the culture ministry said Wednesday.

The documents include a Persian translation of the ‘Mahabharata’, commissioned by Emperor Akbar under the supervision of Abul Fazl, a noble in Akbar`s court.

The National Archives of India has been regularly acquiring manuscripts of historical value since 1957. The endeavour has resulted in the acquisition of thousands of old manuscripts in Turkish, Urdu, Persian and Arabic languages.

The government has been cataloguing the manuscripts for use by academicians and in course has published seven volumes.

The Iran Culture House in the capital has extended its technical support to digitise manuscripts available in two collections in the Oriental Division of National Archives of India. These catalogues listing the publications have been translated in Persian and published in English as well as in Persian.

The catalogues comprise more than 190 manuscripts which throw light on the oriental life and culture, covering different faiths and religions.

It has been classified in five groups - religion, history, language, literature and general - for the convenience of the users.

Besides the Persian "Mahabharata", the documents in the catalogue include ‘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.

The section on history covers ‘Tawarikh-i-Firuz Shahi’ by Shams-i-Siraj Afif, ‘Akbarnama’ and ‘Ain-i-Akbari’ by Abul Fazal, ‘Majmu`a-i-Khuwrrami’ or ‘Shah Jahan Nama’ by Bahadur Singh, ‘Shash Fath-i-Qala-i-Kangra’ by Jalalai Tababtabai, ‘Maathir-i-Alamgiri’ by Muhammad Saqi Mustaid Khan and Mirza Sangi Beg`s ‘Sair-al-Manazil’, which is a topographical account of the principal buildings of Shahjahanabad and Old Delhi, a statement from the culture ministry said.