Ziauddin Barani was born on 1285 in Barn. He was a noble by birth. His father was the deputy of Arquli Khan—the son of Sultan Alaudin Khilji. His uncle Ala’ul Mulk was a son of a minister and Kotawal of Delhi. He was a favorite courtier and companion of Muhammad Bin Tughluq for seventeen years. However, he was out of favor with the new Sultan Firuz Tughluq who was the greatest champion of orthodox Islam before Aurangzeb. He banished him from the court and even imprisoned him for some time. Then during his exile he wrote his well-known literary chronicle Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi in which Barani records events from the reign of Balban to that of Firuz Tughluq. His other important work Fatawa-i-Jahandari is a book on political philosophy that deals with the techniques and rules of government.
His book Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi is the first hand account of his times. Although there are other historians like Fakhr-i-Mudabbir, Hasan Nizami, Minhaj al-Siraj, Yahya and Ismai who recorded history from personal knowledge in a distinguished style, he is the most interesting among them and forms an important source of research emphasizing the characteristics of various rulers and different reigns. With a definite political philosophy that he tried to propagate he was biased due to his complex of Turkish supremacy. Moreover, he was not particular about dates, which had been normally the strong point of Muslim historians. Despite these defects, he arranged his material carefully and wrote history in an artistic manner. He deals not only with the monarchs and their political philosophies but also the leading personalities, religious leaders, men of letters and all those matters that attract the ordinary people.
Ziauddin Barani lived an unprivileged life after he was dismissed from his job of the royal court. He died in 1357.
This article was last updated on Monday, Jan 03, 2005