(Sir) Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-98), the founder of Aligarh Muslim University, was also a scholar of history. He was greatly interested in the monuments of Delhi, on which subject he authored a work "Athar'al-Sanadid" in Urdu. It contained immensely useful historical and architectural material for the study of the monuments of Delhi, built over a long span of time, from c.1192 to 1846 A.D. Its Arabic and Persian inscriptions were meticulously collected by the author himself, while its sketches were made by his artist Mirza Shah Rukh Beg Musawwir.
It was first published in 1846 A.D. and soon became popular in India and abroad. The British and French scholars depended upon it. Almost the whole of it was reproduced in French by M.Garcin de Tassey in the Journal Asiatique. Edward Thomas, the author of the classical work: 'The Chronicles of the Pathan Kings of Delhi' (London 1871) largely drew on the Athar'al-Sanadid. It was almost a base book to Alexander Cunningham, the father of Indian Archaeology, and guided him in the preparation of his Report for the year 1862-65 (A.S.I. Vol-I). His assistant J.D. Beglar who prepared his Report on Delhi separately (A.S.I. Vol-IV) also relied upon Sayyid Ahmed, whose work, in fact, laid the foundation of the study of this subject and who was the basic authority for all later works. There always was the need of a faithful and comprehensive translation of his work into English. Though several Urdu editions were published subsequently, it was not translated, for more than a century.
This Urdu work: 'Athar'al-Sanadid' was translated into English by Prof. R. Nath and was first published under the title: Monuments of Delhi: A Historical Study in 1978. It was popularly received and the first edition was sold out by 1990, and though it is needed and is in great demand, it was out of print for more than two decades.