THE MISSING LINK IN DISCUSSION ON THE FIVE ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORIES OF RAJA JAI SINGH: KHAIRULLAH KHAN MUHANDIS SON OF LUTUFULLAH AHMAD

THE MISSING LINK IN DISCUSSION ON THE FIVE ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORIES,
OF RAJA JAI SINGH: KHAIRULLAH KHAN MUHANDIS SON OF LUTUFULLAH AHMAD
Raja Jai Singh

The objectivity of present western research (forget about the Indian) is questionable. So much is written about the five observatories of Raja Jai Singh and plentiful images of same, but one most important name stands missing in most research, and that is Mirza Khairullah, known also as Abu Khair, and carrying with his name, the addition of Muhandis as well as Khan, which denotes a title from the Royal Court of Emperor Muhammed Shah.

Delhi Observatory
Ujjain Observatory

The first credit goes to Emperor Muhammed Shah, who conceived the idea of laying the basis of modern astronomical tables, based on actual readings from observatories. Order was passed on to Raja Jai Singh for same and Raja Jai Singh was given the courtier Khairullah Khan Muhandis as adviser. Not only Khairullah Khan helped in the actual construction of the five observatories around 1724 AD, but was also part of the collection of the tables for same. Whereas ZIJ MUHAMMED SHAHI is famous as the tables of same, there is a SHARH written on same by Khairullah Khan. This Sharh is mentioned by various scholars,particularly Muhammed Hussain Jaunpuri in his JAMI BAHADUR KHANEE tables. The manuscripts of these researches are present in various libraries of the world. Pakistan also has a rich treasure of same as well as the archives of Chughtai Museum. As this is an exposition article, we need not go into the details here, but we will give some details of the various ZIJS later in another blog.

Benaras Observatory

The interesting part is written by analyst Jayant V Narlikar, when he says:

“Jai Singh’s edifice of science did not survive for long. In 1764, the observatory was severely vandalised when Jawahar Singh, son of Suraj Mal, the Jat Raja of Bharatpur, plundered Delhi. Perhaps the most telling commentary on Jai Singh’s dedicated but largely irrelevant scientific enterprise comes from the rather disconcerting fact that his grandson converted the Jaipur Observatory into a gun factory and used his ancestral 400 kg brass astrolabe for target practice.”
Jaipur Observatory

By observation only, in his commentary on Zij Muhammed Shahi, Khairullah asserts:

“We have found the orbits of the Sun as well as those of all deferents, of elliptical form. Our argument is that whenever ewe calculate the different positions of the Sun and other planets in accordance with equations of the circle, they do not conform with the actual observed ones. On the contrary, when the equations are derived taking the orbits elliptical and calculating the positions, they generally conform with observations. Hence the orbits must be elliptical.”
D N MARSHAL REFERENCE

By observation only Khairullah without ant knowledge of Keplers theory, is proving same with his intellectual prowess, in his commentary on Zij-e-Muhammed Shahi.​

C A STOREY REFERENCE

Khairullah was student of his elder brother Imamuddin Riazi, another Master scholar of his age, whose many books were text books in various madrassahs to this date. His many books are there in manuscript form in major libraries of the world. His father Lutufullah Ahmad Muhandis another marvel of his time. A gifted Lahori family in all ways.

Bayaz Khairullah

5 thoughts on “THE MISSING LINK IN DISCUSSION ON THE FIVE ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORIES OF RAJA JAI SINGH: KHAIRULLAH KHAN MUHANDIS SON OF LUTUFULLAH AHMAD”

  1. Lahore remains the cultural capital as well as scientific one. Lahore’s astrolabes famous all over the world.

  2. Bahadur Shah antique dealer of Lahore had a MS copy of Euclid dated 780 AH or 1378-9 means Lahore was early orientation of science.

  3. Governor Ayaz was responsible for the scientific, educational and cultural renaissance of Lahore. He still lies buried in Lahore, revered as a Saint today. People still love him so much that they commemorate his urs every year even to this day.

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