TAZKIRAH (lit. memoir) by Anand Ram Mukhlis, a manuscript of much historical value containing an account of events that took place in North-West India during the second quarter of the eighteenth century. The manuscript deals mainly with the Punjab, Nadir Shah`s invasion (1739), Zakariya Khan`s governorship of Punjab (1726-45), condition of the Punjab under his sons and successors, Yahiya Khan (1745-47) and Shah Nawaz Khan (1747-48), and Ahmad Shah Durrani`s first invasion (1748). The manuscript is still unpublished as a whole ; an English translation of only a part of it relating to Nadir Shah`s invasion is found in Elliot and Dowson, The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians, Vol.
VIII. A brief account of the life of Anand Ram Mukhlis is contained in Dr. Syad `Abdul lah, Adabiati Farasi men Hinduon ka Hissa published by Anjumani Taraqqii Urdu (Hind), Delhi, 1942. Copies of the manuscript, are preserved in Sir Jadunath Sarkar`s Library, Calcutta ; libraries of Khalsa College, Amritsar and Muslim University, Aligarh ; and in the Department of Punjab Historical Studies, Punjabi University, Patiala. Anand Ram, the son of Hridai Ram Khatri of Sodhra in Sialkot district of Pakistan, was a highly learned man and author of several works in Persian besides the Tazkirah. Mukhlis was his pen name. He served as vakil or secretary of Wazir Qamar udDin “Itimad ul Daulah, prime minister of the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah from 1724 to 1748.”
Earlier he had also worked as vakil of Abd us Samad Khan, the governor of Punjab from 1713 to 1726. He had thus access to firsthand information about the events he recorded and to most of which he was an eyewitness. The Tazkirah is divided into three parts : (i) Nadir Shah`s invasion, (ii) expedition to Bangarh, and (iii) the first invasion of Ahmad Shah Durrani. Nadir Shah`s progress towards Delhi and general massacre in Delhi, and his return to Iran are described in detail. There is, however, no reference to the Sikhs who according to some other sources are said to have attacked the invader`s baggage train. In the third part, the author, while giving an account of the struggle between Yahiya Khan and Shah Nawaz, records that there were revolts everywhere in the province.
While zammdars (feudal farmers) of Jammu deviated from the path of obedience and loyalty, the Sikhs created conditions of lawlessriess and chaos, and rebellions were rampant all over the Punjab. During the invasion of Ahmad Shah Durrani and his battle with the Mughals at Manupur near Sirhind, the Sikhs remained neutral watching the situation with keen interest, but during Ahmad Shah`s retreat home wards after his defeat, they fell upon the Afghan rearguard at many places and kept harassing him right up to Attock, acquiring considerable booty of stores, arms, camels and horses.
Even during his incomingjourney, Ahmad Shah`s camp had been attacked by the Sikhs at Sarai Nurdin between Lahore and Amritsar. Anand Ram is very objective in the treatment of his subject. Though he was very intimately associated with the royal house of Delhi as a responsible courtier, he was not unduly biased in favour of his patrons or hostile towards the opponents of the imperial government nor was he hostile to foreign invaders nor to the Sikhs who were emerging as a new power. His vivid account of several towns, the climate, flora and fauna of different parts of north India, and of bridges and boats is very interesting and useful to historians.
1. Kirpal Singh, A Catalogue of Persian and Sanskrit Manuscripts. Amritsar, 1962