PREFACE

Eastern Bengal, lying outside the beaten track of the tourist and making no insistent claim to notice, has long failed to attract the attention it deserves. The much-discussed question of the Partition of Bengal, however, has recently brought it prominently before the general public, both in India and at home, and it is hoped that the story of its Capital, which the following pages attempt to relate in popular form, will be of special interest at the present time. The task of setting forth something of its history in a manner calculated to appeal to the general reader has not been without difficulty. Of the record of its earlier years, during Buddhist and Hindu supremacy, little that is authoritative has survived; while so fast did events move, and so rapid were the changes that occurred in later days, that Muslim[1] annals are apt to degenerate into a confusing medley of unfamiliar names, or a bare recital of the doings of Kings and Governors. Such authorities as these, moreover, are often hard to reconcile with one another, adding to the difficulty of the writer who strives for accuracy. It would have been out of place in a work of this kind to enter at length into controversial points, but, while much has been necessarily omitted, the aim throughout has been to give a connected readable account of the old Muslim city in the heart of Eastern Bengal, which now, after the lapse of two hundred years, has once more attained the dignity of a Capital. To Moulvi Sayid Aulad Hasan, who has done much to revive interest in old Dacca, my thanks are due for kindly reading the proofs and for many valuable suggestions. To him I owe the portraits of the Viceroy Shaista Khan, of Guru Nanak, and of the Emperor Farrukh Siyar and his consort. A list of some of the more important authorities consulted is given at the end of the book.

Simla: June 25th, 1906

[1] Bradlay-Birt wotes Mussulman.

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