His preface deplores or excuses the delay that had already oc- curred in the translation of the volume then issued, and could not have omitted mention of the early completion of the whole were the manuscript of the remainder ready for publication. The enumeration of the difficulties which stood Digitized by ^Qle iv PBEFA. in his way is expressed in terms which imply that they had not been overcome, else his silence, when silence might he interpreted to his prejudice, is inexplicable. of the Geographie d ’Abulfeda, as it accurately represents its nature and worth and the style and quality of its literary composition. L ’Inde musulmane nous offre, dans les commencements du xvii* si&cle, un ouvrage de compilation, qui est d’un grand infcrgt pour la g Eographie; c’est le traits persan, compos4 par Aboul-Fazel, ministre de 1’ empereur mogol Akbar, et intitule Ayyn-Akbery ou Institutes d’ Akbar, par suite de 1’ int Er^t qu’ Akbar avait apport E h sa composition. L’ empire fond4 dans 1’ Inde par Babour, un des descendants de Tamerlan, avait pris, sous le r&gne d’ Akbar, une grande extension et s’ Etendait depuis 1’ Afganistan jusqu ’au fond du golfe du Bengale, depuis 1’ Himalaia jusqu’au Dekhan. HARVARD LAW SCHOOL LIBRARY Received JUL 2 9 1938 Digitized by ^Qle Digitized by ^Qle THE e-f Al N I AKBARI BY A BUL FAZL, A L I i TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL 1 L A M I, PERSIAN. Though the reason that has compelled a change of author- ship in the continued translation of the Ain i Akbari is doubtless universally known, the regretful duty of its for- mal announcement is imperative in the introduction of this volume. JARRETT, 8ECRETARY AND MEMBER, BOARD OF EXAMINERS, CALCUTTA, m PUBLISHED BY THE ASIATIC SOCIETY OF BENGAL. Digitized by Google JUL 2 9 1938 Digitized by ^Qle PREFACE. V court and service enhanced the reputation of all that he wrote, and his great industry in a position which secured wealth and invited indolence, fully merited the admiration of his countrymen.
But whatever the verdict of those competent from linguistic knowledge and acquaintance with the abrupt, close and enigmatic style of the original to judge of the merits of the translation, no pains at least have been spared to render it a faithful counterpart consistently with a clear- ness of statement which the text does not everywhere show.
But these epistles which form one of his monuments to fame, consist of interminable sentences involved in frequent parentheses difficult to unravel, and paralleled in the West only by the decadence of taste, soaring in prose, as Gibbon justly remarks, to the vicious affectation of poetry, and in poetry sinking below the flatness and insipidity of prose, which characterizes Byzantine eloquence in the tenth century.
A similar affectation, and probably its prototype, is to be found in the most approved Arab masters of florid com- position of the same epoch, held by Ibn Khallikan’s crude and undisciplined criticism to be the perfection of art, and which still remains in Hindustan the ideal of every aspiring scribe.
What- ever its merit as a faithful representation, in a restrict- ed sense, of a reign in which he was a capable and distin- guished actor, it lacks the interesting details and portraiture of the life and manners of the nation which are commonly thought to be below the dignity of history but which brighten the pages of Eastern historians less celebrated than himself, and are necessary to the light and shade of a perfect picture.
His statistical and geographical survey of the empire which this volume comprises is a laborious though somewhat lifeless compilation, of the first importance indeed as a record of a past and almost forgotten administration to guide and in- struct the historian of the future or the statesman of to-day, but uninformed by deductive comment and illustration which might relieve the long array of bald detail.