ʿABD-AL-KARĪM B. ḴᵛĀJA ʿĀQEBAT MAḤMŪD B. ḴᵛĀJA BOLĀQĪ KAŠMĪRĪ, a noted chronicler of Nāder Shah’s military campaigns. Little is known of his birth or early life. A Kashmiri by origin, ʿAbd-al-Karīm was living in Shahjahanabad (old Delhi) when Nāder Shah entered the city in 1151/1739. Being keen to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca and to visit the tombs of Muslim saints, he joined the service of Nāder Shah as a clerk (motaṣaddī) and accompanied him on his return journey to Persia. When Nāder Shah finally reached Qazvīn in 1154/1741, after successive campaigns in the Panjab, Sind, Afghanistan, Khorasan, Transoxania, Ḵᵛārazm, and elsewhere, ʿAbd-al-Karīm took leave of him to go to Mecca. On the way he visited Karbalā, Ḥalab , and other places. He performed the pilgrimage and then took a boat from Jidda to the port of Hugly (Calcutta), finally returning to Delhi in 1156/1743. He died in 1198/1784.
ʿAbd-al-Karīm is the author of Bayān-e vāqeʿ, also called Tārīḵ-e Nāderī or Nādernāma (K. B. Nasīm, ed., Lahore, 1970). It deals primarily with the life and campaigns of Nāder Shah but also includes some interesting accounts of the countries visited by the author. Part of the work is devoted to the history of the later Mughals down to 1198/1784 or 1199/1785. Bayān-e vāqeʿ is a frank and objective account of the life of Nāder Shah. It is rich in geographical, social and economic information, e.g., the hourly reckoning of distances from Baghdad to Mecca and the Turks’ use of European watches (Gladwin’s translation, pp. 114-20); the exhibition of Nāder Shah’s wealth in Herat (ibid., pp. 26-28); and the European settlements in Pondicherry (ibid., p. 142). It is also speculated that India became a wealthy nation in comparison with Turan because large quantities of gold and silver were brought to India on European ships at the same time that the Europeans had ready money to buy Indian manufactured goods and other products (ibid., pp. 42-43).
None of the existing translations of Bayān-e vāqeʿ is complete. Another manuscript exists in the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, ms. no. 18975. According to the preface, the work is divided into five chapters and a conclusion; this last is not found in any of the extant manuscripts.
Storey, II/2, pp. 326-27.
M. Shafi, “ʿAbd-al-Karīm Kashmīrī,” EI 2 I, pp. 71-72.
F. Gladwyn, tr., Memoirs of Khojeh Abdulkurreem, London, 1793.
L. Lockhart, Nadir Shah, London, 1938, passim.
(S. Marble Ahmad)
(S. Maqbul Ahmad)
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, p. 125