Introduction Table of contents - Volume 1 Table of Contents - Volume 2
Tabaqat-i-Nasiri is the only authentic source for the history of Bengal from the conquest of Muhammad bakhtiyar khalji till 1259 AD, when it comes to an end. Other contemporary sources are a few inscriptions and coins. The Tabaqat-i-Nasiri is not only a contemporary book, it is important for two reasons. First, the author had come to Bengal and stayed there for about two years collecting materials for his book and also taking interest in the political matters; and secondly, because he devoted a section (tabaqat) in his book in discussing the history of the foundation of Muslim rule in Bengal. Besides this particular section dealing with the Khalji Maliks of Lakhnauti (from Bakhtiyar to Ghiyasuddin iwaz khalji), he also discussed the history of Bengal under Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish and his successors. He also devoted sections to the Shamsi Maliks, ie the nobles of Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish, some of whom acted as governors of Bengal. In fact the history of Bengal from the Turkish conquest upto 1259 AD is available only in the Tabaqat-i-Nasiri of Minhaj-i-Siraj.
Minhaj met Malik Izzuddin tughral tughan khan at Kara in about 1242 and thence came to Bengal capital lakhnauti. He stayed in Bengal for about two years and witnessed some important events. He joined Tughan Khan in his wars against Orissa, and acted as a mediator between his patron (Tughan Khan) and Malik Tamar Khan Qiran, governor of Oudh when both were quarrelling among themselves for the possession of Lakhnauti. During his stay at the Bengal capital he collected information about Bakhtiyar Khalji's conquests from his surviving associates. He also utilised the information that he could collect from people at Delhi who took part in battles of the Delhi sultans against the Bengal rulers.
In the Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, the author also gives an idea about the development of Muslim society in Bengal. He says that Bakhtiyar Khalji built mosques, madrasas and khanqahs in the capital, and the nobles also followed his example. Sultan Ghiyasuddin Iwaz Khalji also built mosque and madrasas, he also arranged lectures on Islamic subjects (tazkir), which was delivered by Muslim divines coming from Muslim cultural centres of Central Asia. One such Muslim divine was Jalaluddin son of Jamaluddin Ghaznavi who delivered lectures in the assembly hall of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Iwaz Khalji.
Tabkat-e-Nassiri Vol 1-2