Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 897 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The first part of three complete volumes, bound in two (together with Persian MS 898), of the Siyar al-Mutaʼakhkhirīn (Review of Modern Times), a general history of India. The author, Ghulām Husain Khān Ṭabaṭāḅāī, a son of Patna Vice-Regent Sayyid ‘Alī Khān and cousin of Alīvardī Khān, Nawwab of Bengal (b. 1676 r. 1740–1756), composed this text in circa 1780–1784, and dedicated it to Governor-General of Bengal, Warren Hastings. This first volume includes an introduction and covers the history of the subcontinent from ancient times until the reign of the Mughal Emperor ‘Alamgīr I.
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): الحمد لله رب العالمین و نصلی علی نبیه الکریم و آله المعصومین اما بعد...
Explicit: برگ ۲۰۵آر (folio 205Aa): و خبت اقتدار ماذنا حقوق بین ندگی و نیکو خدمتی‌های او برده.
Colophon: برگ ۲۰۵آر (folio 205Aa): در سنه یکهزار و دوصد و بیست و چهار هجری صورت انجام و پیرایه یافت.
Colophon: 1224 AH (1809–10 CE)

The author subsequently added an introduction to the work, found in this volume, which he apparently largely plagiarized from either the anonymous Mukhtaṣar al-Tavārīkh or Khulāṣat al-Tavārīkh by Sūjan Rāʼi, active 1690–1698 (the former also likely the source of the latter). 'Nota-Manus' (pseudonym of M. Raymond, a. k. a. Haji Mustapha, d. 1791) published an English translation of the first volume in 1789, but apparently died before completing the entire work. Colonel John Briggs (d. 1875) later revised and expanded it for the Oriental Translation Fund, published in 1832.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Medium-weight, straight-grained ivory-coloured English handmade paper, with >1mm between the laid lines and ~26 mm between chain lines, with a Britannia watermark and countermarked ‘J. Whatman 1808 manufactured by the Whatman Paper Mill in Maidstone, Kent, then owned and operated by William Balston (1759–1849).
Extent: 305 folios (ff. i + 305 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 312 × 189 mm.
Dimensions (written): 260 × 157 mm.

Foliated on folios 1b to 233b in Hindu-Arabic numerals inscribed on the upper-right corners of the b sides in black ink.


Later European foliation in pencilled Arabic on the upper-right corners of the b sides from folios 134Ab to 205Aa, bcommence with 134 instead of 234, hence thereafter off by 100; however, they are followed for this record.


Possibly binions throughout. Catchwords thoughout on the lower left corners of the b sides.


Textblock in good condition.


Written in a single column with 22 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Copied in clear nasta‘līq script in black ink with subheaders and marks in red.

Some emendations and associated marginalia in nasta‘līq script in black ink.

  • Inscription: folio 305b ‘1st vol. 304 leaves Vol. 1 is very rare 3/? £2-10-0.’
  • Bookplates: the left paste-down bears the ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ bookplate with shelf mark ‘2/B’, and earlier class mark‘Persian 103–104’.


Sewn at three stations, probably on sawn-in cord supports, laced or frayed out onto the pasteboards. Edges finely speckled in blue and black. Folded striped red and white fabric stuck-on endbands applied at head and tail. Covered in an British-style, tight-backed binding in full British tan coloured calfskin leather, with a smooth spine and defined joints, untitled and untooled. Endleaves of comparatively heavy English handmade paper, >1mm between laid lines and 30 mm between chain lines.

Calf boards spattered and marbled to the book by the binder after covering.

319 × 199 × 54 mm.

Binding in good condition but restricted opening to the gutter margin.


Origin: 1224 AH (1809–10 CE)

Provenance and Acquisition

Acquired by Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880).

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 2021 with reference to the volume.


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.

Digital Images

Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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