Rājataraṅgiṇī (Akbar) | Monography or Translations of known period | Survey | Perso-Indica

Monography or Translations of known period
Šāhābādī, Rājataraṅgiṇī (Akbar)

[Preliminary Entry] The Rājataraṅgiṇīs are a series of Sanskrit chronicles from Kashmir written in the style of poetry (kāvya). According to the Ā’īn-i Akbarī of Abū al-Fażl (1551-1602), a famous Muslim intellectual who took part in the translation projects at Akbar’s court, a manuscript of the Rājataraṅgiṇīs was dedicated to the emperor soon after his first visit to Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, on June 15, 1589. Out of interest for its contents, he ordered its translation into Persian. A Muslim intellectual named Mullā Šāh Muḥammad Šāhābādī completed the translation within a couple of months (Abū al-Fażl 1872–77, vol. 1, p. 578). In 1591, ‘Abd al-Qādir Badā’unī, a Muslim chronicler and current head of the translation bureau in Fatḥpur-Sīkrī, revised Šāhābādī’s original translation into a simplified style (Badā’ūnī 1864-69 vol. 2, p. 374).

We know little about the life of the translator Mullā Šāh Muḥammad Šāhābādī. In his Ṭabaqāt-i Akbarī, Niẓām al-Dīn Aḥmad briefly states that he was quite knowledgeable about mathematics and astronomy (Nizām al-Dīn 1913–41, vol. 2, p. 464.). In contrast with the famous translators at Akbar’s court such as Abū al-Fayż Fayżī and Naqīb Ḫān, Šāhābādī’s name does not appear in any other Persian translations of Sanskrit works. Presumably, Šāhābādī was not an officer at Akbar’s translation bureau, but was a little known Muslim intellectual of Kashmiri origin, who by chance was hired during Akbar’s stay in Srinagar because he knew Sanskrit. If so, his nisba may be related to Šāhābād, a town located south of Anantnag at the southern end of the valley of Kashmir.

Thus far, three manuscripts of the Persian translation of the Rājataraṅgiṇīs related to Akbar’s court have survived. One is in the Asiatic Society in Calcutta, and the others are in the British Library. As for the Asiatic Society manuscript no. 1698 and the British Library, India Office Islamic no. 2442, the date of translation is attested by the counterpart of Kalhaṇa’s Rājataraṅgiṇī, verses 1.48–56. At this point, the translator verifies the calendar calculation by Kalhaṇa who refutes the traditional view of Indian astrologers’ opinion that the Mahābhārata war broke out at the end of Dvāpara, claiming instead that it began in the year Kali 653. From the account of the translator’s verification, it becomes clear that he translated these verses on July 14, 1589, which is earlier than the date of Badā’ūnī’s revision. Therefore, we can safely say that the author of the text of these two manuscripts is Muḥmmad Šāhābādī, not Badā’ūnī. Although the British Library manuscript Add. 24, 032 contains neither the most part of the counterpart of Kalhaṇa’s Rājataraṅgiṇī nor the textual overlap with the other two manuscripts, it seems reasonable to conclude that the author of this text is also Muḥammad Šāhābādī, because of the consistent and quirky explanations found in all three manuscripts. These surviving three manuscripts contain the counterparts of the Rājataraṅgiṇī of Kalhaṇa canto 1 to canto 8 verse 135 and from canto 8 verse 2770 to the end, the whole of the Rājataraṅgiṇī of Jonarāja, and the Zaynataraṅgiṇī of Śrīvara from canto 1 to canto 2 verse 140. Relying on these manuscripts, Ṣābir Āfāqī published a critical edition of the part of Kalhaṇa in Šāhābādī’s translation from Rawalpindi in 1974.

S. O.

i) Place of copying; ii) Period of copying; iii) Copyist; iv) Commissioner;
v) Information on colophon; vi) Description of miniatures/illustrations; vii) Other remarks; viii) Information on catalogue(s)

Calcutta, Asiatic Society, Persian Society Collection, 1698, ff. 88

, vii)

The whole of this text is of Kalhaṇa’s part, corresponding from canto 1 to canto 7, verse 340

, viii)

Ivanow 1924, pp. 771–772


London, British Library, India Office Islamic, 2442, ff. 143

, vii)

This manuscript includes the translation of the Rājataraṅgiṇī of Kalhaṇa from canto 1 to canto 8 verse 135

, viii)

Ethé 1903, pp. 201–202


London, British Library, Add. 24,032, ff. 131

, vii)

This manuscript includes the translation of the Rājataraṅgiṇī of Kalhaṇa, canto 8 verse 2770 to 3449, the whole of of the Rājataraṅgiṇī of Jonarāja, and the Zaynataraṅgiṇī of Śrīvara from the beginning to canto 2 verse 140



Abū al-Fażl, ‘Allārmī, 1872–77, Ā’īn-i Akbarī, 2 vols., H. Blochmann, ed., Calcutta, Asiatic Society of Bengal.
Badā’ūnī, ‘Abd al-Qādir, 1864-69, Muntaḫab al-tawārīḫ, 3 vols., A. ‘Alī – W. N. Lees, eds., Calcutta, Asiatic Society of Bengal.
Ethé, Hermann, 1903, Catalogue of Persian manuscripts in the Library of India Office, Oxford.
Ivanow, Wladimir Alexseyevich, 1924, Concise descriptive catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the collection of Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, Asiatic Society of Bengal.
Kalhaṇa, 1989, Rājataragiṇī, 3 vols., Marc Aurel Stein, ed., Delhi, Motilal Banarsidas.
Nizām al-Dīn, Aḥmad Harawī, 1913–41, Ṭabaqāt-i Akbarī, 3 vols. B. De and M. H. Husain, eds., Calcutta, Asiatic Society of Bengal.
Šāhābādī, Mullā Šāh Muḥammad, 1974, Rāğ-tarangīnī, Ṣābir Āfāqī, ed., Rawalpindi, Iran–Pakistan Institute of Persian Studies.

Main Persian Title: Rājataraṅgiṇī (Akbar)
Original Sources:

Kalhaṇa - Jonarāja - Śrīvara - Śuka


Year / Period of Composition: 997/1589
Place: Kashmir
Dedicatee: Akbar 
Commissioner: Akbar