Filling in some historical blanks

DESPITE ITS importance, little is known about this Moghul province -- the last of Emperor Akbar's conquests. The military base for Moghul operations in the Deccan -- the Khandesh Subah -- was the centre of a prolonged Moghul-Maratha contest for power in the Deccan.

Filling in the gaps in history is a new book "Khandesh under the Moghuls 1601-1724 A.D.'' which was released in Delhi on Thursday by the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Kasturi Menon. Authored by the Director (Epigraphy), ASI, Muhammad Ilyas Quddusi, the book touches upon the administration of the Subah, its cultural mosaic, education, art and architecture, language and literature.

It also describes the Moghul policy in the Deccan region through their stronghold in Khandesh -- the Moghul territory constituting the northernmost part of the Deccan Plateau.

``Khandesh under the great Moghuls had not been a subject of intensive research as other areas under the same rulers had been. That is why I wanted to work on this topic. The annexation of this area was of great economic and military importance in the history of Moghul India,'' says the author.

The study is drawn mainly from original and contemporary Persian sources -- manuscripts, court chronicles, hagiological and epistolary works -- Moghul documents, Persian biographical works and inscriptions, English Factory Records and accounts of European travellers, commentaries on original Persian sources, Marathi documents, archaeological reports and numismatic journals.

``Historically, it was through Khandesh that Moghuls carried out their expansion policy in the Deccan. It was the main connection point between the North and the South and for its strategic location, economic resources and cultural distinctiveness, Khandesh held an important place in the Moghul empire,'' informs the author.

Started as a study as a part of his Ph.D research programme, it has now taken the shape of a book. "I have been working on this since 1976. But the major work was done between 1987-91. And it was finally completed this April,'' says Dr. Quddusi.

By Anjali Malhotra

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