AT THE beginning of the 2nd volume of Mughalnama, published from Ahmed Publishing House, the young historian Mahmudur Rahman confesses to the reader that he is not going to present a typical history book while he would like to invite a journey to explore the heights and depths of the great Mughal Empire with him.
And yes, it is a pleasurable tour at Mughal Empire with the guidance of Mahmudur in an attention-grabbing way.
Mughalnama (2) has written with a historian's understanding of power and a novelistic eye for detail. So the reader can get a fictional test in it. Mahmudur tells the remarkable story of how one of the world's most magnificent empires fragmented interestingly. The book describes archival details of the emperor to shed light on the history, debates, and political dynamics and social structure.
What makes Mahmudur so noticeable is his ability to absorb vast amount of data and provide a framework for understanding. The book is delightful read about an enthralling period of Indian history. Mahmud brings to life the characters and the events masterfully. His style of storytelling makes this a very pleasurable read. So, readers can easily complete the 250-page history book with the smell of fiction.
Though most of the readers know about the key Moghul emperors such as Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shajahan, and Aurangzeb, Mughalnama (2) draws a blank when it comes to the period after that. Readers may not be familiar with the name of Muazzam, Azam or Kam Bakhsh who were also Mughal emperors. After Aurangzeb, Mughal Empire continued 150 more years and 13 rulers from this descent sit on the throne. But this is not a popular history. Mahmud tries to reinvent and digs more deeply into this part. This is an outstanding narrative of the period following the death of Aurangzeb. It is the story of Mughals but Mughals are not the only characters of this book. So the reader can get a chance to meet Balaji Biswanath or Shivaji or the other Maratha kings.
One of the things that have always puzzled many of us that why the great Mughals have collapsed. The book can quench the thirst with some interesting interpretation. There have been numerous attempts to explain the fall of the Mughal Empire. Mahmud explained the decline in terms of all of these possible points behind the reasons including the harem influence grew — and women, obvious the personal deterioration in the quality of the kings and their nobles, their love for luxury.
The book is written in a simple style. Like other history books, Mughalnama (2) does not focus only on political and military history. It is also a description of Mughals’ lifestyle, social order and pictorial views of India in the early 17th century. Apart from this, the book also includes the miserable story of Bahadur Shah Zafar II, the last Mughal emperor, who was a mystic and accomplished poet. But while his Mughal ancestors had controlled most of India, Zafar was king in name only who did not have any political power. It was a hazy afternoon of November 7, 1862 in Rangoon when his shrouded corpse was escorted by a small group of British soldiers to an anonymous grave in a prison enclosure. No evidence will remain to distinguish where the last of the great Moghuls rests.
This book is the history of the Mughal Empire and the tales of Mughal emperors for 332 years. The young researcher Mahmudur traces the history of the greatest empire from its foundation in the early 1500s through its control at the Indian subcontinent and its termination in the 1700s. He has focused not only on the territorial expansion of Mughals but also he considered their ideology, patronage of arts from the perspective of a human being.
Those who love history and want an in-depth insight into the Mughal Dynasty, Mughalnama (2) is a must-have book for them. The author makes the reader to see how a historical event unfolds in a fictional way.
ASM Riad Arif is an independent researcher and media person.
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