AḤMAD B. BAHBAL KANBŌ, Mughal historian and author of a Persian work, Maʿdan-e aḵbār-e Aḥmadī, also known as Maʿdan-e aḵbār-e Jahāngīrī. Nothing is known of his life. Neʿmatallāh Heravī, a contemporary historian, describes Aḥmad’s work as invaluable because of its sources. According to Neʿmatallāh (Tārīḵ-eḴānǰahānī va maḵzan-e afḡānī, ed. S. M. Emām-al-dīn, Dacca, 1960, p. 7), it was compiled in 1020/1611; two later dates found in its text (1022/1613 and 1023/1614) might indicate that in 1611 Neʿmatallāh consulted only that part of the text dealing with the Afghans, while the work was actually completed three years later. Another Afghan, Aḥmad Yādgār, also used Aḥmad’s history as a source (Tārīḵ-ešāhī, ed. M. Hidayat Hosain, Calcutta, 1939, p. 130).
The work comprises two volumes, each divided into a number of sections. The first volume includes an account of the early kings of Persia, the Omayyads, the ʿAbbasids and other contemporary dynasties, kings of China and Europe, Čingiz Khan and his successors up to 754/1353, Byzantine rulers, the Safavids, the Uzbeks, the Ghaznavids and Ghurids, and the sultans of Delhi down to Ebrāhīm Lodī with a separate account of the independent Muslim rulers of Bengal. The second volume is devoted to the Timurids. Beginning with Tīmūr and his descendants, it deals at length with the Mughal sovereigns of India from Bābor to Jahāngīr, including the Sūrs. It appears that Aḥmad’s account of the Afghan rulers of the Lodī and Sūr dynasties and their supersession by the Mughals was of particular interest to other writers of his time. The only extant copy of volume II (India Office Library, ms. no. 171) breaks off in 999/1590-91, leaving even Akbar’s reign incomplete. Likewise, the two known copies of the first volume are fragmentary (British Museum mss. Or 1766, 188).
See also Rieu, Pers. Man., p. 888-1034. Ethé, Cat. Ind. Off., p. 46.
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: July 28, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 6, pp. 639-640
Hameed ud-Din, “AḤMAD B. BAHBAL,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/6, pp. 639-640; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ahmad-b-4 (accessed on 16 March 2014).