ʿABD-AL-QĀDER KHAN, MĪRZĀ (better known as MĪRZĀ MOḤAMMAD ĀḠĀ JĀN), author of Avīmāq-e Moḡol. His ancestors had served Nāder Shah and Aḥmad Shah Dorrānī; his grandfather, Mīrzā Shah Moḥammad Khan Birlas, entered the service of the British after the fall of Shah Šoǰāʿ. Eventually, after the Indian Revolt of 1857, he settled at Sonkhara in Gwailor. His son, Mīrzā Aḥmad Jān, spent most of his life in the same town, marrying the daughter of a Mughal noble of Jawara, where Mīrzā Shah had a revenue assignment (ǰāgīr). According to ʿAbd-al-Qāder, his father was a Hanafite and a disciple of the Qāderī Sufi Sayyed ʿAbd-al-ʿAzīz Kašmīrī; Mīrzā Aḥmad also wrote poetry.
Mīrzā Moḥammad ʿAbd-al-Qāder Khan was born at Sonkhara and received his primary education from his father. He married an Afghan lady in 1895 and had two sons, Mīrzā Khan Moḥammad Jān alias Ḵānī Mīrzā and Mīrzā Solṭān Moḥammad Khan. In 1897 he was entrusted with the task of surveying Gwalior State, which, in spite of his illness, he accomplished successfully. After the death of his father in 1897, he became a favorite of Thakur Lal Singh, the ruler of Sonkhara. In 1899 he was employed by Maharaja Madhu Rao Sindhia of Gwalior, who granted him a number of certificates, acknowledging his merits as an author.
History was his favorite subject. His Avīmāq-e Moḡol (completed in 1900, published at Amritsar in 1902) is an important source of Mughal history. ʿAbd-al-Qāder traced the genealogy of the Mughals, devoting 388 pages to their history in Transoxania and Turkestan before the accession of Bābor. He also dealt with Mughal rule in India and with regional dynasties (e.g., the Rohillas and, most distinctively, the Rajput rulers of Sonkhara). He traced the invasions of Aḥmad Shah Abdālī and the struggle for power between the Marathas and the Dorrānīs in northern India, adding an account of the establishment of the British rule in India. He was well aware of the political events of the Deccan and recorded the wars of Ḥaydar ʿAlī and his son Tīpū Solṭān against the British. He also recorded the struggle between the Neẓām and the Marathas in the Deccan and Carnatic.
Like earlier historians, ʿAbd-al-Qāder gives a survey of scholars and poets of particular periods at the end of each chapter. A list of his historical sources is appended at the end of the work.
Bibliography : See also Storey, I/1, pp. 528-29.
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, pp. 133-134