Survey of India: Specimens of Map Drawing

The Survey of India was established in 1767 to assist the British East India Company in carrying out survey work and to map territory for the purposes of administration, taxation, and defense. By the end of the 19th century, the survey had succeeded in mapping most of British India. This volume, published in 1904 under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel F.B. Longe, Surveyor-General of India, was intended as a guide to the styles of drawing employed in the Survey of India. The “Note for Guidance” on the opening page states that “lines must be sharp and clean, and the ink used must be perfectly black.” Meticulous care was needed in drawing maps that would be reproduced by photozincography, a process involving the use of zinc plates developed in Britain in the 1850s for the national Ordnance Survey, but which was little used in Britain after the 1880s. Officers were warned that “lines or names which are gray or in any way faint or broken, entail much labour in touching up on the plates,” and that “before submitting any map for publication it should be examined under a magnifying glass.” The work contains 44 specimens, for the most part taken from existing departmental maps produced by the Survey of India.

Black Waters: The Strange History of Port Blair

Tavarikh-i ‘ajib (Black waters: The strange history of Port Blair) is an account of the British penal colony of Port Blair, located in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean. The British first established a naval base and penal colony on the islands in 1789, which they had abandoned by 1796 because of disease. Following the Uprising of 1857 (also known as the Sepoy Rebellion), the British authorities in India saw a new need for a secure prison in a remote location, and construction began in Port Blair later that year. In subsequent decades, many political prisoners were housed in the Cellular Jail, also called Kala Pani (Black Waters). Muhammad Jafar (1838–1905) was deported to the Andaman colony for his part in the 1857 uprising. In this book, he describes the life and customs of the islanders, the rules and regulations for the management of the convicts in the period 1858–79, and the people in authority at the penal colony. He also highlights major events, such as the 1872 assassination at Port Blair of Governor-General Lord Mayo. The book includes a table of Hindi and Urdu words and phrases and Arabic equivalents. Other tables detail the many languages spoken in the colony. The work is illustrated with drawings of the inhabitants and of local flora and fauna. It was first published in 1890; this copy is the second, revised and expanded, edition of 1892.

A History of Sindh: Volume I

The prolific Urdu author and journalist Abdulhalīm Sharar (1860–1926) was born in and spent much of his life in Lucknow (in present-day Uttar Pradesh, India). He produced biographies, historical novels, romantic novels, histories, essays, and other works. Tarikh-e-Sindh (A history of Sindh) is one of Sharar’s major historical works. Permanent settlement in Sindh, a province of present-day Pakistan, dates back to about 7000 BC. The Indus Valley civilization, one of the world’s oldest cultures, flourished in Sindh in 3300–1750 BC, rivaling those of Egypt and Mesopotamia in size and sophistication. Sindh became a Persian province in the sixth century BC, and was conquered by Alexander the Great in about 326 BC. In the ensuing centuries, Buddhist Greco-Bactrians, Scythians, Persians, and Rajputs held sway in the region. In 711 AD, the Umayyad general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh with a force of 20,000 cavalry and five catapults. The Arab conquest was followed by widespread conversion to Islam, the building of Mansura as the capital, and development of a port city at Debal. Muslim geographers, historians, and travelers over the centuries wrote about or visited the region, sometimes using the name "Sindh" for the entire area from the Arabian Sea to the Hindu Kush.

The History of the Urdu Language

This work, published in Delhi in 1920, is a history of the Urdu language from its origins to the development of an Urdu literature. Urdu and Hindi share an Indo-Aryan base, but Urdu is associated with the Nastaliq script style of Persian calligraphy and reads right-to-left, whereas Hindi resembles Sanskrit and reads left-to-right. The earliest linguistic influences in the development of Urdu probably began with the Muslim conquest of Sindh in 711. The language started evolving from Farsi and Arabic contacts during the invasions of the Indian subcontinent by Persian and Turkic forces from the 11th century onward. Urdu developed more decisively during the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526) and the Mughal Empire (1526–1858). When the Delhi Sultanate expanded south to the Deccan Plateau, the literary language was influenced by the languages spoken in the south, by Punjabi and Haryanvi, and by Sufi and court usage. The earliest verse dates to the 15th century, and the golden period of Urdu poetry was the 18th–19th centuries. Urdu religious prose goes back several centuries, while secular writing flourished from the 19th century onward. Modern Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and is also spoken by many millions of people in India.

Family Practitioner

Homeopathy was introduced to India in the 1830s by John Martin Honigberger (1795–1869), a Romanian-born student of Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843), the German physician regarded as the founder of homeopathic medicine. Honigberger spent some 15 years in Lahore, where his early patients included Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab and the son of the Maharaja’s military advisor, General Jean François Allard. Homeopathy first flourished in Punjab and Bengal, before spreading to other parts of British India. In this book, Mirza Allah Baig Lakhnavi gives concise instructions for the purchase and safekeeping of homeopathic medicines. He describes homeopathic treatments, in which practitioners use highly diluted preparations to induce symptoms similar to those needing a cure, a principle Hahnemann called “let like be cured by like.” The author discusses such remedies in relation to a wide range of ailments, from minor dermatological problems and stomach upsets to serious diseases of the heart, kidneys, and liver.

The Drama of Akbar

Muḥammad Ḥusain Āzād (also called Ehsan Azad, circa 1834–1910) was a successful Urdu poet and a writer of vivid prose, particularly in his historical writing. He was born in Delhi, where his father, Muhammad Baqir, edited the first Urdu newspaper, Delhi Urdu Akhbar. Muhammad Baqir’s involvement in the Uprising of 1857 (also known as the Sepoy Rebellion) led to his execution by the British. His son moved to Lahore several years later, where he taught Arabic at Government College and was subsequently professor of Urdu and Persian at Oriental College. Āzād wrote about 20 books, some published posthumously, and he is acclaimed as a master of Urdu prose style. His most important books include a history of Urdu poetry, his tales of medieval Indian history, his allegorical essays, and this work, Darbar-e-Akbari (The drama of Akbar), a history of the times of Akbar the Great (1556–1605). The drama, in 12 parts, was first published in 1910 and focuses particularly on Akbar’s son, Salim, who as Jahangir (Persian for “Conqueror of the World”) ruled the Mughal Empire from 1605 until 1627. Mehr-un-Nisaa, the beautiful and intelligent widow of a rebel officer, came to court where, several years later in 1611, the emperor married her and gave her the title of Nur Jahan, meaning "Light of the World." She was devoted to Jahangir, and he was so absorbed in her that he entrusted to her most of the work of governing the empire. In the drama, the dialogue brings the characters to life and love is portrayed as a magical force.

Earthquakes of India: Volume I

This work describes the events before, during, and after a massive earthquake that struck early in the morning of April 4, 1905, at Kangra, a town in the Himalayan foothills in the northern region of India historically known as Punjab (in the present-day state of Himachal Pradesh). Before the quake, seismic activity had extinguished the flames of combustible gas that usually jetted out at the nearby Hindu temple of Jawala Mukhi, and worshippers thought the gods displeased. The earthquake and its aftershocks killed between 20,000 and 25,000 people and caused major damage to Kangra Fort, first mentioned in the fourth century BC in the annals of Alexander the Great. Most buildings in Kangra were flattened, with great destruction in other more distant parts of the region. The accounts included in this book were compiled and edited by Muhammad Abdul Qadir, also called Ta’ib Baduwi, about whom little is known beyond his authorship of another book concerning warfare between Turkey and Greece and his ownership of the Army Press at Simla.

Sound Advice

Muḥammad Ḥusain Āzād (also called Ehsan Azad, circa 1834–1910) was a successful Urdu poet and a writer of vivid prose, particularly in his historical writing. He was born in Delhi, where his father, Muhammad Baqir, edited the first Urdu newspaper, Delhi Urdu Akhbar. Muhammad Baqir’s involvement in the Uprising of 1857 (also known as the Sepoy Rebellion) led to his execution by the British. Āzād moved to Lahore several years later, where he taught Arabic at Government College and was subsequently professor of Urdu and Persian at Oriental College. He wrote about 20 books, some published posthumously. This work includes many of his allegorical stories about the society of his day and moral lessons for the young. The book also discusses and promotes women's education. Āzād claimed that he found the manuscript of this work in an old bag of his father’s, but the book appears to have been written by Āzād around the time of his move to Lahore.

History of Babylon and Nineveh

Tarikh e Babul Wa Nainawa (History of Babylon and Nineveh) is a history in Urdu of these two ancient cities. Babylon was founded early in the third millennium BC, at a site between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, south of present-day Baghdad, Iraq. It became important under Hammurabi (ruled 1792–50 BC), was ruled by the Neo-Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar II (circa 634–562 BC, reigned circa 605–562 BC), and was conquered by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. Nineveh was on the east bank of the Tigris in ancient Assyria, across the river from the modern city of Mosul, Iraq. Settlement at Nineveh first occurred by about 6000 BC, and by 2000 BC the city was a center of worship of the fertility goddess Ishtar. Sennacherib (ruled 704–681 BC) transformed Nineveh into a magnificent city with new streets, squares, and a canal system within a walled area and built a vast and splendid palace. After Nineveh fell to the Medes and Babylonians in 612 BC, the city was destroyed and never regained its earlier significance. Besides giving the early history of Babylon and Nineveh, the author details natural disasters and discusses the religious, socio-political, and cultural aspects of life in the two cities.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Main Facade (Southern). Beginning. Inscription along the inside of the Main Niche and Its Upper Part

This photograph of the main entrance to the Tillia Kari Madrasah in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) is from the archeological part of Turkestan Album. The six-volume photographic survey was produced in 1871-72 under the patronage of General Konstantin P. von Kaufman, the first governor-general (1867-82) of Turkestan, as the Russian Empire’s Central Asian territories were called. The album devotes special attention to Samarkand’s Islamic architecture, such as 14th- and 15th-century monuments from the reign of Timur (Tamerlane) and his successors. In the center of Samarkand is the Registan ensemble, composed of three major examples of a madrasah (religious school). The third Registan component, the Tillia Kari Madrasah, was built in 1646-60 on the site of a former caravanserai. The entrance to the rectangular courtyard is framed by a great iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open). This view shows a polychrome majolica panel on the upper part of the right face of the iwan niche. The main part of the panel, recessed within a pointed arch, contains a pattern formed of interlocking Kufic script. The arch is surrounded by ceramic work with intricate geometric and botanical patterns. Above the pointed arch is an inscription band in a cursive style. The panel is framed by a raised decorative strip with geometric figures that culminates in another horizontal inscription band. The corner has an attached “rope” column.