AḤMAD YĀDGĀR, 10th/16th century historian of the Afghans in India. The details of his life are not known. The only information he gives about himself is that he was a courtier of the Afghan ruler of Bengal, Dāʾūd Shah Karrānī (980-84/1572-76), who ordered him to write a history of Afghan rule in India along the lines of Jūzǰānī’s Ṭabaqāt-e Nāṣerī and Baranī’s Tārīḵ-eFīrūzšāhī. The work he compiled, called Tārīḵ-ešāhī or Tārīḵ-esalāṭīn-e afāḡena, gives an account of the reigns of the Lōdī and Sūr sultans, together with brief notices of the Mughals Bābor and Homāyūn; it also describes Akbar’s arrival in Delhi and the end of his rival, Hīmū. The oldest extant manuscript was transcribed in 1054/1644, and the work was published by the Asiatic Society of Bengal (ed. M. Hidayat Husain, Bib. Ind., Calcutta, 1939).
Aḥmad Yādgār has recorded his indebtedness to such earlier works as Neẓām-al-dīn’s Ṭabaqāt-e Akbarī (compiled 1002/1594), and Aḥmad b. Bahbal’s Maʿdan-e aḵbār-e Aḥmadī (1020/1611). This would indicate that the Tārīḵ-ešāhī was completed after 1611, probably in Emperor Jahāngīr’s reign (1014-37/1605-27). Although some pertinent information regarding Bābor and the Sūrs is very useful, the mostly anecdotal description of historical events is unreliable, especially in its account of the Lōdīs. It appears to have been carelessly written, and is deficient in providing correct dates of events. It does not achieve the level of the Ṭabaqāt-e Nāṣerī or the Tārīḵ-eFīrūzšāhī, and it would not be fair to compare it with either of these two works, as was done by Nassau Lees (JRAS N.S. 3, 1868, pp. 447-48). H. M. Elliot (History of India V, p. 1) erred in remarking that Aḥmad Yādgār’s father was employed by Emperor Homāyūn’s brother, Mīrzā ʿAskarī. The statement in the Tārīḵ-ešāhī (text, p. 43) on which this remark was based is copied verbatim from the Ṭabaqāt-e Akbarī (II, p. 37) and concerns its author, not Aḥmad Yādgār himself. This mistake has been repeated by many other modern writers (e.g., Marshall, Mughals in India, p. 51. and Storey, I/1, pp. 515-16).
Bibliography : See also Hameed-ud-Din, “Historians of Afghan Rule in India,” JAOS 82, 1962, pp. 49-50. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bombay N.S. 12, 1916, p. 289.
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: July 28, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 6, p. 663
Hameed-ud-Din, “AḤMAD YĀDGĀR,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/6, p. 663; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ahmad-yadgar-10th-16th-century-historian-of-the-afghans-in-india (accessed on 19 March 2014).