His father, Hidayatullah Khan had held a panjhazan mansab. Muhammad `All Khan himself was daroghahi`adalat faujdan (superintendent of criminal court) of Tirhut and Hajipur in Bihar. The work, completed in 1225 AH/AD 1810, is a history of the Indian Timurides, i.e. the Mughals, from the beginning to Emperor Akbar II (1806-37). The account, sketchy in respect of the period from Babur to Aurangzib, is more detailed in respect of the later Mughals and Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Durrani. The author had already written a much larger book, Bahr ul Mawwaj in nine parts.
The Tankhi Muzaffan corresponds to the last part of that work, at places reproducing passages verbatim. Of special interest to students of Sikh history are references in the Tarikh to the Sikhs at two places the imperial campaign against Banda Singh Bahadur and the role of the Sikh misis as allies ofJats and Zabita Khan Ruhila against the imperial prime minister Najaf Khan (d. 1782). Unlike some other Muslim chroniclers of the period, Muhammad `Ah Khan`s language is restrained and free from calumny when writing about the Sikhs. The campaign of `Abd us Samad Khan and his son Zakariya Khan against Banda Singh Bahadur is described in detail.
As the imperial forces besieged the Sikh stronghold (at Gurdas Nangal), they setup an alang, a virtual wall of fortifications around the fortress. Yet Sikhs, says the author, remained undaunted. They came out in day time and they made sallies by night, falling fiercely upon the besiegers and returning to their place of refuge after the attack. The Tankhi Muzaffari does not contain the harrowing details of the massacre of Banda Singh, his infant son and his followers, but it does narrate the story of a Sikh youth yet in his teens whose widowed mother had managed to secure orders for his release but who, when asked to leave, refused to do so and insisted that he be executed like others, too.
1. Kirpal Singh, A Catalogue of Persian and Sanskrit Manuscripts. Amritsar, 1962