KAIFIYATHS (BAKHAIRS) (LOCAL TRACTS)
Kaifiyat is a Persian word meaning ‘news’. Even today, the documents of the evidence given by the witnesses in a court of law are referred to as ‘kaiPItu’. However, the word has acquired different connotations in the Indian context. In some ways, this term is equivalent to the word ‘sthaLapurANa’ in Sanskrit. ‘bakhair’ and ‘naamaa’ are other variants with similar connotations. These documents are very useful in the reconstruction of regional and local history. These tracts are collected in small towns and villages by knowledgeable people. Many Persian scholars and scribes in Srirangapattana, who lived during the regime of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were deeply interested in local history and contemporary events. They went in search of many small-time kings and chieftains who were leading lackluster lives in the capital and documented the histories of their lineage. In course of time this body of information was translated into Kannada and Marathi. They were also called ‘kaipiyAtu’.
rulers and their officers who were keen to reinvent the historical and artistic
Mckenzie collection is the largest among these efforts. It contains no less than 264 kaifiyats. Among them G.Varadaraja Rao lists about 99 documents dealing with places such as Ajjampura, Arikuthara, Kampli, Kolluru, Gokarna, Gerusoppe, Daroji, Nagara, Banavasi, Nagamangala, Sirsi etc. There are about nineteen tracts delineating the history and customs of various castes and tribes such as Konakani, Korama, Banjara, Banajiga, Mannu Vadda and Halepaika. Some other tracts deal with religious institutions and temples. Few of them contain local knowledge relating to medicinal plants et al. They contain abundance of fast-vanishing indigenous knowledge bases. Kaifiyaths are veritable mines of information about historical events, local customs and description of every day events. They are of immense help in reconstructing the lifestyles of a bygone era.
A study of these manuscripts from a linguistic point of view yields information about the changing patterns in morphology, syntax, vocabulary and script and calligraphy.
Mark Wilks was
assigned the task of writing the history of the princely state of
1. ‘karnal mekenji kaifiyattugaLu’ By Purushottama Bilimale.
2. ‘karnATakada kaifiyattugaLu’ edited by M.M. Kalburgi, 1994, Kannada Vishvavidyalaya, Hampi.
‘Srīkanṭhikā’; Dr. S. Srikantha Sastri
Felicitation Volume, 1973, Geetha Book House,