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Full text of "Akbar, The Emperor Of India"

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THE student of India who would at the same time be
an historian, discovers to his sorrow that the land of
his researches is lamentably poor in historical sources. And
if within the realm of historical investigation, a more se-
ductive charm lies for him in the analysis of great per-
sonalities than in ascertaining the course of historical de-
velopment, then verily may he look about in vain for such
personalities in the antiquity and middle ages of India.
Not that the princely thrones were wanting in great men in
ancient India, for we find abundant traces of them in Hindu
folk-lore and poetry, but these sources do not extend to
establishing the realistic element in details and furnishing
life-like portraits of the men themselves. That the Hindu
has ever been but little interested in historical matters is
a generally recognized fact. Religious and philosophical
speculations, dreams of other worlds, of previous and fu-
ture existences, have claimed the attention of thoughtful
minds to a much greater degree than has historical reality.
The misty myth-woven veil which hangs over persons
and events of earlier times, vanishes at the beginning of
the modern era which in India starts with the Moham-
medan conquest, for henceforth the history of India is
written by foreigners. Now we meet with men who take
a decisive part in the fate of India, and they appear as
* This essay is an enlarged form of an address delivered on the occasion
of the birthday of King Wilhelm II of Wtirttemberg, on February 25, 1909.