The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians

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The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians is a book comprising translations of medieval Persian chronicles based on the work of Henry Miers Elliot. It was originally published as a set of eight volumes between 1867-1877 in London. The translations were in part overseen by Elliot, whose efforts were then extended and edited posthumously by John Dowson.


  • The few glimpses we have, even among the short Extracts in this single volume, of Hindus slain for disputing with Muhammadans, of general prohibitions against processions, worship, and ablutions, and of other intolerant measures, of idols mutilated, of temples razed, of forcible conversions and marriages, of proscriptions and confiscations, of murders and massacres, and of the sen- suality and drunkenness of the tyrants who enjoined them, show us that this picture is not overcharged, and it is much to be regretted that we are left to draw it for ourselves from out the mass of ordinary occurrences, recorded by writers who seem to sympathize with no virtues, and to abhor no vices. Other nations exhibit the same atrocities, but they are at least spoken of, by some, with indignation and disgust.
    • The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians
  • These deficiencies are more to be lamented, where, as sometimes happens, a Hindu is the author. Prom one of that nation we might have expected to have learnt what were the feelings, hopes, faiths, fears, and yearnings, of his subject race ; but, unfortunately, he rarely writes unless according to order or dictation, and every phrase is studiously and servilely turned to flatter the vanity of an imperious Muhammadan patron. There is nothing to betray his religion or his nation, except, perhaps, a certain stifihess and affectation of style, which show how ill the foreign garb befits him. With him, a Hindu is " an infidel," and a Muhammadan " one of the true faith,' and of the holy saints of the calendar, he writes with the fervour of a bigot. With him, when Hindus are killed, " their souls are despatched to hell," and when a Muhammadan suffers the same fate, " he drinks the cup of martyrdom." He is so far wedded to the set phrases and inflated language of his conquerors, that he speaks of " the light of Islam shedding its refulgence on the world," of " the blessed Muharram," and of "the illustrious Book." He usually opens with a " Bismillah," and the ordinary profession of faith in the unity of the Godhead, followed by laudations of the holy prophet, his disciples and descendants, and indulges in aU the most devout and orthodox attestations of Muhammadans.
    • The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians

Quotes about the book[edit]

  • Lanepoole opined: 'To realize Medieval India there is no better way than to dive into the eight volumes of the priceless History of India as Told by its Own Historians' a revelation of Indian life as seen through the eyes of the Persian court annalists.
    • Lanepoole, quoted in K.S. Lal, The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India
  • Elliot and Dowson's great work, in spite of a chorus of disparagement by some modern Indian historians, still holds the field even now for more than a hundred years, against any translations in Urdu or Hindi. Scholars are still learning from and working on Elliot's meritorious volumes....Elliot's original work is still going through repeated reprints. This in itself is indicative of its importance.
    • K.S. Lal, The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India

External links[edit]