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.[1][2][3]

K. S. Lal
Kishori Saran Lal

Alma materUniversity of Allahabad
OccupationHistorian, Academic
Known forAuthoring books about Indian history


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. He started his career as a Lecturer of History in the Allahabad University, though he served in this position only for a brief period.

From 1945 to 1963 he was with Madhya Pradesh Educational Service and taught at the Government Colleges at Nagpur, Jabalpur, and Bhopal. In 1963, he joined University of Delhi as a reader and taught Medieval Indian history in its History Department.

For the next ten years, starting 1973, he was the Professor and Head of the Department of History, first at the University of Jodhpur (1973–79), and then at the Central University of Hyderabad (1979–83).

Besides his mother tongue Hindi, he was fluent in Persian, Old Persian, Urdu, and other languages.

In 2001 he was appointed 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.[4]


  • 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
  • Indian Muslims: Who are they (1990) [5] ISBN 81-85990-10-7
  • The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India. New Delhi, Aditya Prakashan, 1992.[6] (ISBN 81-85689-03-2)
  • Muslim Slave System in Medieval India (1994) [7] 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)
  • The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims (2005) Ed. by Andrew Bostom ISBN 1-59102-307-6. Chapters by K. S. Lal: 'Muslims Invade India', 'Jihad Under The Turks and Jihad under the Mughals', 'The Origins of Muslim Slave System', 'Enslavement of Hindus by Arab and Turkish Invaders', 'Slave Taking During Muslim Rule'.


Lal's early books were not controversial, but some of his later works were criticised by Irfan Habib. The criticism mainly included allegation of being a spokesman for the RSS.[4] Lal noted: "As usual [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."[8] 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,[9] 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".[10]

Recently, historian Jeremy Black in his book Contesting History: Narratives of Public History (2014), remarked his writings to be "recent good works".[11]

See also


  1. 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
  2. Times Literary Supplement, London, 19 December 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.
  3. Meenkakshi Jain 2002 Medieval India
  4. Delhi Historian's Group, Section 2. Part 3
  5. "Indian Muslims - Who Are They". Bharatvani.org. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  6. "The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India". Bharatvani.org. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  7. "Muslim Slave System in Medieval India". Bharatvani.org. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  8. Lal, K.S. Theory and Practice of Muslim State
  9. India: International Religious Freedom Report 2005
  10. The Hindutva takeover of ICHR,Frontline (4 July 1998)
  11. Contesting History: Narratives of Public History, p. 183, A&C Black, 13 March 2014


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