Story of Shams Abad


This work is the first installment of Qiṣṣah-i Shams Ābād (Story of Shams Abad) by Qamar al-Din Akbar Abadi. The author was the editor of Asʻad al-akhbār (The most propitious news), an early Urdu periodical published at a printing house of the same name in Agra, India, in circa 1840. (The appellation Akbar Abadi refers to Akbar Abad, the name of Agra during the Mughal Empire.) Qamar al-Din was a scholar of hadith and Islamic history and had mastery of Persian as well as Arabic. He wrote several books, including Tārīkh-i ḥukamā’ (The history of learned men), Lamaʻāt-i Qamar (Glimmers from the Moon, the title of which references the name of the author), Inshā’-i khirad afrūz (The wisdom illumining composition), and Muntakhabāt-i Būstān (Selections from the Būstān), which is a partial translation into Urdu of this well-known work of Persian literature. Qiṣṣah-i Shams Ābād does not appear to address overtly political themes and focuses instead on a group of landowners in the town of Shamsabad, located to the southeast of Agra. However, the timing of its publication in the years leading to the first Indian Rebellion of 1857 and references on the cover to the lieutenant governor of the Northwest Provinces as well as to the “visitor general” (i.e., the colonial inspector) lend the work a certain historical interest. The first installment of Qiṣṣah-i Shams Ābād was printed at the Asʻad al-akhbar printing press in an edition of 3,000 copies.

Last updated: September 30, 2016