Mirza Kamran (blinded and deported to Mecca in 1553) and Mun‘im Khan (d. 1575), whose political biographies this volume carries, are known for their prominent roles in the early Mughal state, over the time it was struggling to consolidate itself over North India.
This was the crucial period which saw a process of gradual change in the structure and cultural ethos of the ruling establishment that Babur had brought with him. It came to be popularly known in India as Sultanat-i Mughlia (the Mughal Empire). One of its distinguishing features was the plurality of persuasions from which it drew its military personnel: Turkish-speaking Sunni Turanis, Irani or Khurasani Shias, Indian Muslims (the so-called Shaikhzadas), and Hindu Rajputs. The political lives of Mirza Kamran and Mun‘im Khan provide vital insights into the changing formation and character of early Mughal rule.
Most modern histories of this period, says Iqtidar Alam Khan, centre on Babur, Humayun, and Sher Shah. The trajectories and careers of the upper echelons of the nobility were never thoroughly assessed, and in some ways these two early classic studies have served as founding pillars for Mughal prosopography. Long out of print, they are reprinted here with a new Introduction by the author and remain indispensable for an understanding of the politics of Mughal India.
Iqtidar Alam Khan retired as Professor of History, Aligarh Muslim University, in 1994. He was President of the Indian History Congress in 1997. He has authored several books on medieval India, including India’s Polity in the Age of Akbar (2015); Gunpowder and Firearms: Warfare in Medieval India (2004); Historical Dictionary of Medieval India. He is the editor of Akbar and His Age (1999).