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Or. 2. The Romance Hira by Mukabala in Panjabi.

Paper. 125 x 170mm. 116 fos. Punjab late 18th or early 19th century.

A bound volume, chain stitch binding, leather on pasteboard boards with embossed patterns and end flap. Cream coloured native paper, 9 lines of 100mm per page, text and headings in black ink, margins in red and black ink, fair Gurmukhi script. Complete. Copied by Mohara Singha for Sahaba Singha. Undated, late 18th or early 19th century.

A fine complete copy of this Panjabi work. It is a version of the popular Panjabi romance of Hira, a princess from Jhang, and Ranjha, a cowherd from Hazara. The date of the composition of this work is not known but it was probably during the reign of Muhammad Shah, the 14th Mughal emperor who ruled from 1719 to 1748. It is therefore an earlier version of the romance than the famous version by Varis Shah which was composed in 1766. The author Mukabala, or Makbul Ahammad, was a Muslim court poet who attended the court of Muhammad Shah. He was also known as 'Shah Jahan Mukabala' due to the fact that he, like Shah Jahan, became blind. He is a well known author and his works include a Janga-nama and this version of the romance of Hira and Ranjha. Both of these works are said to provide an important insight into Mughal culture during the reign of Muhammad Shah.

There is a note on the verso of the front flyleaf in a 19th century hand which reads 'Drummer William Prior HMs10th Regt. got in Judgerat on the 21st of Febary. William Prior.' This indicates that it probably passed into this person's possession after the final battle of the Sikh war of 1849 which took place at Gujrat (Punjab) on 21 Feb. 1849.

A note pasted onto the front flyleaf reads '152856 - MS of one of the religious books of the Sikhs probably an extract of the Adi Granth, in the old Punjabi language and Gurmukhi character. 116 pages; about 1700.'

Formerly in the Newberry Library, Chicago (ORMS 401). De-accessioned 1993.

A label inside the front cover reads 'Eames Collection No. 1958.'

Purchased from Sam Fogg Rare Books and Manuscript, London, Sept. 2001.

Bibliography

Blumhardt, M. A catalogue of the Hindi, Panjabi and Hindustani manuscripts in the library of the British Museum. London, 1899, part II, p.59.

Lala Singha (ed.). Panjabi Sahita da Itihasai, Bhaga, Pahila, Bhasa Vibhaga Panjaba. Patiala, 1971, pp.633-642.

Samsera Singha, Asoka (ed.). Panjabi Hatha likhatam di Suci, Bhaga duja, Bhasa Vibhaga Panjaba. Patiala, 1963, p.493.

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