JAHANGEER AHMAD KUMAR
In the centuries between 1400 and 1800, visitors to India wrote a number of travelogues in Persian. At the same time, Indian visitors to central Asia, Iran and the Ottoman Empire also sometimes wrote about their experiences. These writers followed in the footsteps of Albiruni and Ibn Battuta.
Ibn Battuta was born in 1304 at Morocco in Africa. His full name was Sheikh Fak Abu-Abdulla Mohammad-bin-Battuta. This unparalleled luminary was born in Tangier into one of the most respectable and educated families known for their expertise in Islamic religious law. Experience taught Battuta that travel was a more important source of knowledge than books. He made pilgrimage trips to Mecca and travelled extensively in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Oman and a few trading ports on the coast of East Africa. He travelled overland through Central Asia and reached Sind in 1333. He had heard about Mohammad bin Tughlaq as a generous ruler. Tughlaq was so impressed by Battuta’s scholarship that he appointed him as the “Qazi” or Judge of Delhi.
In 1342, Tughlaq ordered Battuta to proceed to China as the sultan’s envoy to the Mongol ruler. Battuta also visited some famous places such as Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Bengal and Assam.
Ibn Battuta’s description of Indian cities was most authentic. He said they were full of exciting opportunities for those who had the necessary drive, resources and skills. He described the cities as densely populated and prosperous except for the occasional disruptions caused by wars and invasions. He said Delhi was a vast city, with a great population, the largest in India.
In simple, Ibn Batutta was a great geographer and explorer. He returned home in 1354, about 30 years. He died in 1369 at the age of 65. His accounts are enjoyable and valuable to this day.
–The writer is from Nagri Malpora, Kupwara