New Delhi, Oct 26 (PTI) The illustrated manuscript of “Tarikh-e-Khandan-e-Timuriyah” was among the rarest and most valuable books from Patna’s Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Library displayed at an exhibition here last week.
The exhibition was part of India International Centre’s ‘The IIC Experience’ that showcased photography, folk and installation art, dance, music and theatre performances, and screenings of award-winning international films.
The ‘Treasures of Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library’ included texts, reproductions of archival photographs, facsimiles of rare books, digitised copies of illuminated and illustrated manuscript and other digital reproductions from the collection of the iconic library in Patna.
One of the ‘treasures’ on display was the “Tarikh-e-Khandan-e-Timuriyah”, written and created 22 years (1577-78 AD) into the reign of Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar.
The manuscript is the “only extant copy” that deals with the history of Timur and his descendants in Iran and India, including the Mughal rulers Babur, Humayun and Akbar.
“It was the history of the Timurids, right from the time of Timur to that of Akbar. It has textual material and also paintings made by artists from Akbar’s court. More than 100 paintings are there by 60-70 artists. One artist would sketch it and another would paint it,” Dr Shayesta Bedar, director of the library, told PTI.
Attesting to its authenticity and status as a royal copy, Mughal emperor Shah Jehan inscribed a note in his own handwriting at the beginning of the manuscript.
“This is a brief account of Hazrat-e Sahib Qiran (Timur) and his great descendants and a history of Hazrat-e Arsh Ashyani up to the twenty-second year of his reign. It was composed during the time of Shah Baba (Akbar),” a translation of the brief note reads.
Also known as “Timur Nama”, it was listed by the National Mission for Manuscripts in 2006 among the ‘Manuscript Treasures of India’.
While it is one of the most valued possessions of the library, it is not the only one. Adorning the walls at the exhibition was “Mirat-ul-Quds”, written in 1602 on the request of Akbar, a rare manuscript based on the life of Jesus Christ.
The manuscript contains 54 folios and 11 miniatures with Persian text written in Nasta’liq style on Samarqand paper.
The exhibition also showcased “Diwan-e-Hafiz”, an illuminated Persian manuscript of the collected works of Persian poet Hafiz. The manuscript is rare in its nature as it carries handwritten notes on the margins by Mughal emperors Humayun and Jahangir.
The exhibition also featured “Sirat-i-Firuz Shahi”, “Hisab-e-Fauji” of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, “Sirr-i-Akbar” (the first translation of 50 Upanishads ordered by Mohammed Dara Shikoh), manuscripts of Hindu religious scriptures, including Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit and Persian.
“With this exhibition, I wanted to create awareness about this cultural heritage which has specimen of Hindu holy scriptures as well as Muslim art and culture. We have a number of copies of Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata, both in Sanskrit and Persian. This library is preserving the holy scriptures of various other religions, including Christianity,” Dr Bedar said. PTI MAH SZM
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