Sindh Under the Mughals: Origin and
Development of Historiography (1591-1737 CE)

Recommended Read

By Sara Danial | June 2023

Sindh Under the Mughals: Origin and Development of Historiography (1591-1737 CE), authored by Humera Naz, is a book that will become an integral part of the history of Sindh, and largely of Pakistan and South Asia. With brilliant research, endorsed by Michel Boivin, Director, Centre for South Asian Studies CNRS-EHESS, Paris, the book is an excellent trajectory of the Mughal rulers in detail. It relays from the centers of power that took birth in Northern India. However, Naz has dared to steer away from this focus to form an innovative standpoint on how the Mughals executed power in areas that were relatively and geographically far away from the epicenters.

Humera Naz is an Assistant Professor, at the Department of History, University of Karachi. Having completed her Ph.D. in History from the same university in 2009, she has been teaching there for the last fifteen years. Her works have been published in both local and international peer-reviewed journals.

The primary focus of the book remains the fact that the Mughals played a chief role in developing and maintaining historiography by way of literary elements. The book not only renews interest in Mughals’ role, their studies, and works, but also brings together a cohort of social scientists interested in Sindh, a region located in southern Pakistan, and its diaspora, mainly in India.

I believe the goal of the book has been well-achieved: to share and disseminate a wide range of information on the evolution of Sindhi society while exploring the interrelated dynamics in the religious, political, and cultural arenas.

The Mughal period (1592-1737) has richly produced an abundant amount of literature on the history and culture of Sindh. This book highlights the impact of Mughal rule on the politics, administration, and society of Sindh. There have been many authors who have dealt with a plausibly adequate picture of the Mughal administration. Their narrations have been qualified by the quality and expanse of available information.

Studies of the Mughal administration in Sindh, for the most part, relied upon notable works significantly, including some indigenous historical sources. But they were largely dominated by a conventional representation of history, focusing on power, imperial cities, courts, and the capitals. This is because the reign of the Mughals was the only era that was marked by a rare moment when South Asia was at its most unified. All of us are aware that the Mughal era entailed an enormous empire with great diversity, a strength that eventually led the emperors into warfare from all four corners in a struggle to main its unity.

The book is divided into 6 sections:
1. Indian Historiography in Retrospect
2. Mughal Rule in Sindh: The Period of Origin and Development of Historiographical Trends
3. Political Literature/Chronicles
4. Tadhkira and Malfuz Literature
5. Insha Literature (Epistolography)
6. Conclusion

The importance of the Mughals has always been reflected in the splendors of the empire: Akbar, Humayun, etc. Naz has also delved into different literary traditions: political chronicles, writings about saints, and those concerning epistolography. She has laid special emphasis on mulfuzats, and tadhkiras, something that genuinely necessitates critical analysis according to set criteria. To appreciate the quality of Naz’s writing, it is important to observe her methodology, which takes great care in defining that this book is non-political. A recommended read for history buffs