Taḏkira al-umarā’ | Monography or Translations of known period | Survey | Perso-Indica

Monography or Translations of known period
James Skinner, Taḏkira al-umarā’

[Preliminary Entry] Taḏkira al-umarā’ is an account dated 1830, containing historical notices of some noble families in the Sikh and Rajput territories. The author of this treatise is an Anglo-Indian military named James Skinner (1778-1841). He was the son of Lieutenant-colonel Hercules Skinner and a Rajput lady. Also known as Sikandar sahib, James Skinner served in the Maratha army of the Maharaja Sindhia of Gwalior from 1796 to 1803. He founded the regiment of irregulars known as Skinner’s Horse and received the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the British army in 1821. Skinner is also the compiler of Tašrīḥ al-aqwām, a Persian treatise on the Indian castes and professions. Tadkira al-umarā’, dedicated to Sir John Malcolm (d. 1833), is a remarkable source of information on princely families’ biographies of Rājputāna and the Punjab and contains thirty-seven portraits of elites, noble men and their representatives in the nineteenth century.

P. S. 

i) Place of copying; ii) Period of copying; iii) Copyist; iv) Commissioner;
v) Information on colophon; vi) Description of miniatures/illustrations; vii) Other remarks; viii) Information on catalogue(s)

London, British Library, Add. 27,254, 289 ff

, vi)

Richly illuminated Unwan and gold-ruled margins, with portraits of the contemporary princes

, viii)

Rieu 1881, p. 302a


London, British Library, Add. 24,051, 234 ff

, viii)

Rieu 1881, p. 303b 


London, British Library, Or. 1846

, viii)

Rieu 1881, p. 958



Marshall, D. N., 1967, Mughals in India a Bibliographical Survey, Bombay, Asia Publishing House, vol. I, p. 565. Military Memoir of Lieut-Col. James Skinner, C. B.: For Many Years a Distinguished Officer Commanding a Corps of Irregular Cavalry in the Service of the H. E. I. C. : Interspersed with Notices of Several of the Principal Personages who Distinguished Themselves in the Service of the Native Powers ..., trans. by James Baillie Fraser, 1851, Smith, Elder and Co., 2 vols. Rieu, C., 1881, Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the British Museum, vols. I & III. Storey, C. A, 1939, Persian literature A bio-bibliographical Survey, II, 3, London, Luzac & Co., p. 688. 

Illustrated work
Main Persian Title: Taḏkira al-umarā’
English Translation of Main Persian Title: The Treatise of Kings
Year / Period of Composition: 1830
Dedicatee: Sir John Malcolm (d. 1833)