History Optional Paper- 1 Solution – 1994: Q.5 (a)
Q.5 (a) Write a short essay on: “Ziauddin Barani as a historian”
Ziauddin Barani enjoys a distinguished place among historians in the medieval times. Barani wrote several texts, e.g., Inayatnama-i-llahi, Hasaratnama, Fatwah-i-Jahandari, Tarikh- i-Firuz Shahi, etc.
Among his works, Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi (1357) is the most important soure of the history of the Delhi Sultanate. It covers a century long period beginning with the accession to the throne by Sultan Balban to the first six years of reign of Sultan Firuz.
It covers the whole gamut of the consolidation, expansion and early phase of disintegration of the Delhi Sultanate, covering the reigns of rulers like Balban, Jalaluddin Khalji, Alauddin Khalji, Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, Md. Bin Tughlaq amd Firuz Shah Tughlaq whose policies, achievements and failures have been commented upon by Barani.
Barani described the contemporary policy, economy, society etc. in quite detail.
Fatwa-i-Jahandari (“Rulings on Temporal Government”)
His second major work “Fatwa-i-Jahandari” examines the principles and norms of governance under the Sultans.
It contains the political ideals to be pursued by a Muslim ruler in order to earn religious merit and the gratitude of his subjects.
Views on history
Barani appreciates the value of history. To him, the purpose of history is to impart lessons by citing examples from the past. He was thus the pioneer of the didactic method in medieval history.
Barani taught that history would benefit the Sultans, wazirs and nobles and not the evil, the base and the low borns who has no use of history. He considered history to be used to proclaim the glory of Islam and strengthening the stateand sternly put down all heterodox movements.
Barani considered history to be twin brother of the science of hadis.
Barani as an authentic narrator
Barani is an authentic narrator of events and had personal contact with Md. Bin Tughlaq and Firuz Shah Tughlaq, while his uncle Ala-ul-Mulk had been advisor and friend to Alauddin Khalji and worked as Kotwal at Delhi. He was able to gain authentic information.
Barani himself was provided a respectable place at the court of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq and Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq. Sultan Firuz Tughlaq, however, felt displeased with him and withdrew his patronage from him. Yet, Barani remained close to throne and the court for long years and, therefore, was witness of the events of his time.
Shortcomings in Barani’s account
(1) Barani preferred to be a court- writer, did not want to annoy any Sultan. So, he sometimes gives too much praise to Sultan.
(2) He was a orthodox Muslim and he also believed in the discrimination based on religion and class. Therefore, his account has been considered as biased in several occasions.
For example: In “Fatwa-i-Jahandari” Barani had condoned segregation of the Muslim ashraf upper classes and ajlaf low classes.
(3) He did not give his account in chronological order and he is also not careful about mentioning dates of various events described by him.