K. S. Lal

K. S. Lal

Kishori Saran Lal (1920 – 2002) was an Indian historian. He wrote many historical books, mainly on medieval India. Many of his books, such as "History of the Khaljis" and "Twilight of the Sultanate", are regarded as standard works. [Comment by Muhammad Habib on the jacket of the book "History of the Khaljis AD 1290-1320" by K.S. Lal. K.S. Lal: Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India] [Times Literary Supplement, London, December 19, 1968. A.A. Powell, Review of The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 58, No.2, (1995), pp. 397-8. Peter Jackson in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, Third Series, Vol. 4, Part 3, November 1994, pp. 421-23.] [Meenkakshi Jain 2002 Medieval India]


He obtained his Master's degree in 1941 at the University of Allahabad. In 1945 he obtained his D.Phil. with a dissertation on the history of the Khaljis. This dissertation formed the basis for his book History of the Khaljis. From 1945 to 1963 he taught at Government Colleges in Madhya Pradesh. After 1963, he was a professor at the University of Delhi in Medieval Indian history.

He was fluent in Persian, Old Persian, Urdu and other languages.

Andrew Bostom's book The Legacy of Jihad contains several chapters written by K. S. Lal.


*The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India. New Delhi, Aditya Prakashan, 1992. [http://www.bharatvani.org/books/tlmr/] (ISBN 81-85689-03-2)
*History of the Khaljis (1950, 1967, 1980)
*Twilight of the Sultanate (1963, 1980)
*Studies in Asian History (edited - 1969)
*Growth of Muslim Population in Medieval India (1973)
*Early Muslims in India (1984)
*The Mughal Harem (1988) ISBN 81-85179-03-4
* (1990) [http://www.bharatvani.org/books/imwat/] ISBN 81-85990-10-7
*Muslim Slave System in Medieval India (1994) [http://www.bharatvani.org/books/mssmi/] ISBN 81-85689-67-9
*Historical essays
*Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India (1999) ISBN 81-86471-72-3
*Growth of Scheduled Tribes and Castes in Medieval India (1995)
*Studies in Asian History: Proceedings of the Asian History Congress, 1961


Lal's early books were not controversial, but some of his later works have earned him a lot of criticism by historians such as Peter Jackson and Irfan Habib (despite the fact that Irfan Habib's father, the historian Muhammad Habib, wrote a foreword to "History of the Khaljis"). The criticism included allegations of being a spokesman for the RSS.Delhi Historian's Group, Section 2. Part 3] . Lal noted: "As usual these [my books] have been reviewed in journals in India and abroad, bestowing both praise and blame as per the custom of the reviewers. However, during the last fifteen years or so, some of my books have received special attention of a certain brand of scholars for adverse criticism." [Lal, K.S. Theory and Practice of Muslim State]

In the midst of a Hindu-Muslim antagonism he is allegedly oft-cited and patronized by various right-wing proponent groups of Hindutva. He was both placed by the RSS (as part of the NDA 2005 government of India), and made the chairman of the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) and also placed on the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) Committee to draft the model school syllabus on Indian History. The controversy surrounding these events is reflected in the theme of the discourses of his books which allegedly describe Muslims as foreigners, destructive barbarians and immoral degenerates, thereby placing him among a controversial group of authors charged by the left-leaning political parties with the "saffronized" (i.e., make lessons consonant with the Hindu world view)India: International Religious Freedom Report 2005] re-writing of history, with a negative portrayal of Muslims and a pro-Hindu bent.Lal himself disputes these allegations, citing, in turn, that the ICHR has always been dominated by historians with a strong leftist bias and that the current controversy is "merely the outcome of an exaggerated sense of pique on the part of the excluded Left wing". [ [http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1514/15141050.htm The Hindutva takeover of ICHR] ,"Hinduonnet"]

ee also

*Romila Thapar
*Koenraad Elst
*Andrew Bostom



* [http://www.friendsofsouthasia.org/textbook/NCERT_Delhi_Historians__Group.pdf "Delhi Historians Group's Publication "Communalization of Education: The History Textbooks Controversy", A report in 2002, New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University, India]
* [http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2005/51618.htm Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor "India: International Religious Freedom Report 2005", US Department of State]

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