Sayyid Ahmad Shah, the author, came of a well known religious family of Batala, in Gurdaspur district of the Punjab. He was known to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who gave audience to him at Batala in 1814 and, after some time, again at Lahore. He had cordial relations with Captain (later Lieut Col Sir) Claude Martin Wade (1794-1861) and Lieut Murray of the British Agency at Ludhiana, and kept up regular correspondence with them providing them useful information about the court of Ranjit Singh. Twankhi Hind was compiled by him at the request of Lieut Murray. He died around 1835 ; the exact year of his death is not mentioned in his family records. The Twankh begins with a geographical description of India.
Among the provinces listed, Lahore takes precedence in the amount of detail provided. 144 folios are devoted to the author`s home town Batala and the history of the family. Especially valuable for the historian are the accounts of the invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durrani) and of the tussle for supremacy between the Sikhs and the Afghans in northern India. Ahmad Shah`s chapter on the "Sikh Gurus and the emergence of the Sikhs and their faith," however, has some glaring inaccuracies. He describes Sikhism as a sect of the Hindus. He regards only Guru Nanak as the real Guru and calls the remaining Gurus as his Khalifahs or deputies. His account of Banda Singh Bahadur also suffers from the bias common to Muslim historiographers. Although a contemporary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, his account of his rule is brief and sketchy.
1. Kirpal Singh, ed., A Catalogue of Persian and Sanskrit Manuscripts. Amritsar, 1962