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A Multifaceted Life


Tabir Kalam

CHINGIZ KHAN: THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF AN EMPIRE BUILDER
By Sonia Faleiro
Primus Books, Delhi, 2010, pp. 326, Rs.995.00

VOLUME XXXV NUMBER 3 March 2011

Syed Anwarul Haque Haqqi’s book is a revised and enlarged version of his doctoral dissertation approved by the Aligarh Muslim University under the supervision of the great historian of the time, Professor Muhammad Habib. The author mentions Ata Malik Juwaini’s Tarikh-i-Gusha as the most contemporary work on Chingiz Khan. He translated this work and later on he got access to the Secret History of the Mongol Dynasty through Wei Kwei-Wei, a Chinese scholar, who came to India to work with Professor Habib. Haqqi found this source exciting as Chingiz Khan came through as a loyal friend, a loving family man, cruel to his enemies but generous to his own.’ He skillfully uses original Persian sources, translation of Chinese sources, thirteenth century travellers’ accounts and classical studies by the modern leading Mongolists to provide details of Chingiz’s early life, his conduct and character as a family man, a friend, a hero and a military general and more on his administration and his contribution as a law giver. In the introduction the author describes vividly the political condition of Central Asia and each of the contending powers, the Qara-Khatais, Khwarazm Shah, Ghoris and Ghaznivids and their tussle for the control and mastery of the vast region. Haqqi gives a brief sketch of the origin of the Mongols including myths regarding their origin and ancestral history of Chingiz Khan. ‘The Making of the Man’ deals with the early life and hardship faced by Chingiz Khan, his imprisonment and escape, making of friends, marriage, his enterprise to become the real master of the entire region and his rise from Timuchin to Khan to getting the title of Chingiz (mighty). While dealing with the struggle for supremacy, Haqqi emphasizes that Chingiz Khan always kept the doors of negotiation and good relationship with the neighbouring chiefs open unless he was convinced that peaceful negotiations and parleys could not secure his aim. Chiefs and clans thus joined Chingiz Khan, who knew how to welcome them, and how to hold his men together. The news of reconciliation between Wang Khan and Chingiz Khan, however, created panic among the ruling chiefs of the region and ultimately in the year 1201, eleven tribes assembled at Ulhui River and formed a confederation to fight against the Wang-Chingiz axis. In this fight Chingiz Khan was injured by a poisoned arrow but was saved by his own companion. With the elimination ...


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