105) Colonial Scholars, Persian Historiographical Sources: … Intl
The importance or centrality of Persian histories (whether imperial, regional or universal) can be gauged from the deep reliance placed by British historians on them for their own understanding of India's past. The examples are numerous: Dow, Erskine, Elliot and Dowson explored Persian sources for their writings. Stewart also based his History of Bengal mainly on Persian materials; Mill did not know Persian and so wrote his History of India from Persian sources translated into English. Marshman
... o English. Marshman used published English translations of Persian texts in the compilation of his History of Bengal. Hunter also depended for his understanding of the insight into the history of Muslim rule in Bengal on Persian source materials translated for him into English. Elphinstone, Thomas, Wheeler, Keene, Blochmann and Berveridge were all good Persian scholars and used, in addition to Persian sources, coins, inscriptions and archaeological finding for 1. Visiting Professor, 84 their writings can be fitted with this group. The recent work of Kumkum Chatterjee alerts us to the twin activities of British scholars and historians: translating Persian histories, as well as writing new histories of India based on the already established Persian model. The former indicates a serious engagement of colonial scholars with older models of history writing (as the appreciation heaped on the A'in as a historical source in the preface to its published edition indicates); the latter proves the adage that imitation was indeed, in this context, a form of flattery, however unintended.