Memoirs of Babur


This book is a lithograph edition of the Persian translation of Bāburnāmah (Memoirs of Babur), the autobiography of Ẓahīr al-Dīn Muḥammad Bāburshāh (1483–1530), the first Mughal emperor of India. Bāburnāmah originally was written in Chagatai Turkish and was translated into Persian during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar. The translation was undertaken by Bairam Khan (died 1561), an Afghan bureaucrat and military commander who served under Emperor Humayun and who was briefly appointed regent over his successor, Emperor Akbar, when Akbar was a child. This book was printed in 1308 AH (1890–91) in Bombay (present-day Mumbai), India, from a 19th-century manuscript. The print bears the stamp of the Cheetra Prabha Press and has on its last page the seal of Mirzā Mohamed Shīrāzī Malik al-Kuttāb, the scribe of the manuscript. A few explanatory lines in Persian are in the colophon, presumably written by Mirzā Mohamed Shīrāzī. He notes that he used a unicum (a unique example) and tried to “correct” the renderings of the Turkish nouns before producing the book. The manuscript reproduced here is written by one hand in the Nasta`liq script popular in Central and South Asia from the Mughal period onward, with 27 lines per page. Lithographic printing was invented in Europe in the late 18th century and spread widely on the Indian subcontinent from the early 19th century onward, its popularity stemming from the relative ease with which it could be used to reproduce different scripts not based on the Latin alphabet. The new technology was so successful during the Raj that many more Persian lithographic books were printed in India than in Iran.

Last updated: September 30, 2016