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The Mughal period has been appraised by scholars as one of the most prolific and creative eras of Persianate1 literary and historiographical production.2 Among the many works produced from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries, Abu’l-Faẓl’s Akbarnāma [The Book of Akbar] stands as an exemplary product of this epoch. As the court-sponsored “biography”3 and encyclopedic chronicle of the reign of the third Mughal emperor Jalal al-Dīn Akbar, its literary style was cherished and studied by Mughals and other scholars for generations. While the Akbarnāma is readily acknowledged as an Indo-Persian chronicle, little critical attention has been paid to the details or contours of Abu’l-Faẓl’s historical project in the text. Empirical data – dates, places, events – is couched within Abu’l-Faẓl’s elaborate, eulogistic prose, indicative of its location as a court-sponsored text which attempted to portray Akbar as the confluence of full political and spiritual authority on earth. What are the implications of this? How can we evaluate the historical material of the Akbarnāma, given its rich literary style? This calls for new, and creative, historical analyses of not only the text, but Abu’l-Faẓl’s project of historical writing.