Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 835 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The first of two volumes, together with Persian MS 836, of a Persian ornate prose paraphrased translation of the Mahābhārata, completed by the Mughal poet Fayz̤ī (ca. 1547–1595). He derived his work in turn from an earlier literal translation entitled Ramznāmah completed by a team of four scholars to which his younger brother, the Mughal minister Abū al-Faz̤l (1547–1595), added a preface. An unidentified Mughal-era scribe probably completed this volume, apart from the second by another hand, which contains the first six of eighteen Parva, in the late 18th century CE.
Author: Vyāsa
Language(s): Persian

For two sets of the earlier literal translation with a preface composed by Fayz̤ī's younger brother Abū al-Faz̤l held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 1004 to 1007 and Persian MS 1008 to 1010.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of cross-grained, externally sized and polished, ivoury-coloured paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent .


Written in 1 column with 20 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in hasty black nasta‘līq with red subheaders.

Bookplates: The left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/B’, and an earlier class Mark ‘Persian MS No. 41’, with the number crossed out and ‘835’ written aside.


Origin: Completed in the Mughal Empire; undated, but probably late 18th century CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly part of the collection of orientalist and Kings College Professor Duncan Forbes (1798–1868), who describes the volume in his published catalogue, before he sold his manuscript collection to his publisher W. H. Allen & Co. in exchange for an annuity. Subsequently sold by that firm to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) in 1866

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford (1847–1913).

Bequeathed by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1908 to the John Rylands Library.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s and his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2023.


To book an in-person or online appointment to consult the manuscript, visit Using the Special Collections Reading Rooms. For any other enquiries please email uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk.


    H. Ethé, Catalogue of Persian manuscripts in the library of the India Office, Vol. 1 (London: Printed for the India Office by H. Hart, 1903), cols. 1087–1088, 1587, nos. 1945–1946, 2922 [British Library, IO Islamic 1408, etc.].
    D. Forbes, Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts, Chiefly Persian, Collected Within the Last Five and Thirty years (London: W. H. Allen., 1866), pp. 5–6, nos. 15–16.
    D. N. Marshall, Mughals in India: A Bibliographical Survey. Vol. 1. Manuscripts (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1962), p. 144, no. 468(ix).
    S. H. Qasemi, A Descriptive Catalogue of Persian Translations of Indian Works (New Delhi: National Mission for Manuscripts, 2014), pp. 80–81, nos. 953-993.
    M. Rahman, 'Fayżī, ʿAbū'l-Fayż' Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. IX, Fasc. 5 (1999), pp. 457–459.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. I (London: British Museum, 1879), pp. 57–58 [British Library Add. 5638–5640, &c.].
    E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Vol. I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), col. 812, nos 1313–1314 ] [Bodleian MS Walker 87, &c.].
    C. A. Storey [Online] (2021), Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. III, Pt. 3 Tales no. 709(ii).

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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