Humayun in a New Light
Amar Farooqui
THE PLANETARY KING: HUMAYUN PADSHAH INVENTOR AND VISIONARY ON THE MUGHAL THRONE by Ebba Koch Aga Khan Trust for Culture/Mapin Publishing, Ahmedabad/New Delhi, 2022, 384 pp., ₹3950.00
May 2023, volume 47, No 5

There is an impression that Humayun has not received adequate attention in historical writings on the great Mughals. However, there is an earlier scholarship in which Humayun figures quite prominently. The pioneers were SK Banerji, whose study, based on his doctoral thesis of 1925, was published in 1938; Sukumar Ray, whose detailed essay on the ruler’s Persian sojourn was published in 1948; Ishwari Prasad, who published a voluminous work on Humayun in 1955, inspired by lectures on the subject delivered several decades earlier by Laurence Rushbrook-Williams at Allahabad University; and Baini Prashad, whose English translation of Khwandamir’s Qanun-i Humayuni or Humayun-nama was published in 1940. Khwandamir’s account is a major source for the early years of the reign of Humayun, and Ebba Koch has used it extensively to shed light on some of the key themes discussed in The Planetary King, especially the inventions of the Badshah, his buildings, and his interest in astronomy. Later, Iqtidar Alam Khan explored the era of Humayun in writings published 1964 onwards, particularly in his study of Mirza Kamran, Babur’s second son who remained a formidable opponent of his brother almost throughout the latter’s reign.

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