The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians/V. Táríkh-i Táhirí
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Sir H. M. Elliot, Edited by John Dowson, 1867, Volume I
- 1 Introduction
- 2 The Destruction of Alor
- 3 Destruction of Bráhmanábád
- 4 The Dynasty of Súmra
- 5 History of Gangá and 'Umar Súmra
- 6 The dynasty of Samma
- 7 Strange customs of the Tribes
- 8 Depopulation of the country of the Súmras
- 9 The foundation of Tatta
- 10 Sack and burning of Thatta3 by the Firingís
- 11 Extermination of the principal Inhabitants of Thatta
- 12 The Mirzá sends his daughter, Sindí Begam, to the Emperor
[p.253]: THIS work is named after the author, Mír Táhir Muhammad Nasyání, son of Saiyid Hasan, of Thatta. The author, his father, and grandfather, were intimately acquainted with the affairs of the Arghúns and Tarkháns, and were dependants of the members of the former family. Táhir Muhammad, indeed, dedicates his work to, and writes it at the instigation of, Sháh Muhammad Bég 'Ádil Khán, son of Sháh Bég 'Ádil Khán Arghún, governor of Kandahár. The Tuhfatu-l kirám (p. 74), styles Sháh Bég a Tarkhán, not an Arghún, and states that it was to him that the Táríkh-i Táhirí was dedicated.
The author, independent of what he says in his rambling preface of twenty pages, which is replete with the most fulsome adulation, gives us several incidental notices of himself and family in the course of his work.1 We learn that in 1015 H. (1606 A.D.), when Kandahár was beleaguered by the Persians, he went to Thatta to complete his education, and that he was then twenty-five years old. He placed himself under Maulána Ishák, a celebrated teacher, who was well instructed in Sufyism by an attentive perusal of Shaikh Sa'dí, Jámí, Khákání, and Anwarí.
His maternal grandfather, 'Umar Sháh, and his son Dáúd Sehta, Chief of the Pargana of Durbela, afforded such effective aid to Humáyún, in his flight from Shír Sháh, that the Emperor wrote a document expressive of his satisfaction, and of his determination to reward their fidelity with a grant of their native district of Durbela, should he succeed in his enterprises and be
[p.254]: restored to his throne. At the instigation of Mahmúd Khán, the governor of Bhakkar, they were both put to death for this injudicious zeal; one being sewn up in a hide and thrown into the river from the battlements of Bhakkar; the other flayed alive, and his skin sent, stuffed with straw, to Mirzá Sháh Hasan Arghún. The family fled to Ahmadábád in Guzerát. The document above alluded to was unfortunately destroyed, when Mírzá Jání Bég ordered Thatta to be fired on the approach of the imperial army. The author, nevertheless, hoped to meet with his reward, should it ever be his good fortune to be presented to the reigning Emperor Jahángír. In one part of his work he calls 'Umar Sháh by the title of Jám, from which we may presume that he was a Samma. Dáúd, 'Umar's son, is also styled Sehta, and, from a passage in the Extracts, it will be seen that Jám Sehta, one of the descendants of the Samma refugees, is spoken of as one of the Chiefs of Kach.
Táhir Muhammad informs us that, notwithstanding all the enquiries he made, he was not able to procure any work which dealt with the periods of history which he had undertaken to write. There might, perhaps, have been some written in the Hindí character, but on that point he was ignorant. This is disingenuous, for his early history must be derived from some written source, though he does not choose to declare what it was. He quotes a poem by Mír Ma'súm Bhakkarí, and is, perhaps, indebted to his prose also, but to no great extent, for in describing the same events, our author is fuller, and his credulity induces him to indulge in strange anecdotes, which the other rejects. His later history, in which he is very copious, is derived not only from his father, who was himself an actor in some of the scenes which he describes, but from other eye-witnesses, as well as his own observations. His residence seems to have been chiefly at Durbela, but we hear of his being, not only at Kandahár and Thatta, as previously mentioned, but at Multán and Lahore; so that, for a Sindian, we may consider him what Froissart calls a "well-travelled knight."
[p.255]: The Táríkh-i Táhirí was completed in 1030 H. (1621 A.D.), in the fortieth year of the author's age. Its style is bad and confused, and occasionally ambitious. We are told that it is divided into ten chapters (tabka), but they are not numbered beyond the fourth, and only seven can be traced altogether.
The first, consisting of sixteen pages, is devoted to the Súmra dynasty.
The second, of ten pages, to the Samma dynasty.
The third, of 30 pages, to the Arghúns.
The fourth and all the others, comprising 172 pages, to the Tarkháns-so that it is evident that to them he directs his chief attention, bringing their affairs down to the latest period, when Mirzá Ghází Bég was poisoned at Kandahár, in 1021 H. (1612 A.D.), and the power of the Tarkháns was brought to a close even as Jágírdars-a title they were suffered to retain after their entire loss of independance under Mirzá Jání Bég.
We have nothing on the subject of the Arab dominion in Sind, and the chapters upon the Súmras and Samma form no continuous narrative of their transactions. Even the later chapters are very deficient in dates, though there is no break in the history of the Arghúns and Tarkháns. Where dates are inserted they are not always correct.
Besides the present history, it would appear from one of the Extracts given below, that the author composed another work upon some of the Legends of Sind. The name of "Nasyání1" is not a patronymic, but, as we are informed in the Tuhfatu-l kirám (p. 192), a mere poetical designation, assumed by the author. The same passage gives us also some information respecting his descendants.
This work is rare out of Sind, where it is procurable without much difficulty. The Amír ofKhairpur and the Saiyids of Thatta have a copy. I have not met with it anywhere else in India, and I believe there is no copy in Europe. Size, quarto (12 × 9 inches) containing 254 pages, each of 17 lines.
The Destruction of Alor
[p.256]: From the year of the Hijrí 700 (1300 A.D.), until 843 (1439 A.D.), that is to say, for a period of 143 years, the Hindu tribe of Súmra were the rulers of Sind; and that portion which is now flourishing was then a mere waste, owing to the scarcity of water in the Sind or Panjáb river, which is known by the above name below Bhakkar.1 No water flowed towards those regions, and water is the very foundation of all prosperity. The capital of this people was the city of Muhammad Túr, which is now depopulated and ís included in the pargana of Dirak. Not I alone but many others have beheld these ruins with astonishment. Numbers of the natives of that city, after its destruction, settled in the pargana of Sákúra, which was peopled in the time of the Jáms of Samma, and there they founded a village to which they also gave the name of Muhammad Túr.2 In this village resided many great men and zamíndárs, disciples of the Shaikh of Shaikhs and defender of the world, Makhdúm Shaikh Baháu-d dín (Zaka-ríya) Mullá Khalífa Sindí, so well known in Hind, who sprang from them and that village. The cause of the ruin of the above-named city, and of its dependencies, which had flourished between nine hundred and a thousand years, was as follows:-
Below the town of Alor flowed the river of the Panjáb, which was indefinitely called by the three names of Hákra, Wáhind, and Dáhan, and by others- for its name changes at every village by which it flows. After fertilizing the land, the river pours its waters into the ocean. Dalú Ráí governed the country between the two above-mentioned cities (Muhammad Túr and Alor). He was a tyrant and an adulterer: every night he possessed himself of a maiden. From the merchants who brought their goods that way in boats from Hind to the port of Déwal,4 he levied a toll of half their property; traders thus suffered incalculable injury. At length, a certain merchant4
[p.257]: reached the place with a vast amount of goods, and was much astonished at this tyrant's proceedings. When the customs' officers perceived the valuable nature of his merchandise, and found him to be a traveller from distant parts, they resolved to exceed their usual demands. The merchant had also with him a handmaiden, young, and beautiful as the full-moon. When the impious tyrant was informed of this, he determined, according to his odious habit, to get her into his possession. The traveller, who was a wise and God-fearing man, said to himself that it was impossible to escape from the tyrant with honour and without distress, and hence it would be better to make some bold effort; in which, by God's help, he might succeed, and which would stand recorded on the page of destiny until the day of judgment. He prayed for and obtained three day's grace to forward the amount of duties along with his beautiful damsel. During this time he collected a number of skillful and expert artizans, men who excelled Farhád in piercing mountains, and could close a breach with a rampart like Alexander's. To these men he gave whatever they desired, and rewarded their labour with gold, jewels, and stuffs. His intention was to erect a strong embankment above1 the town of Alor, and turn the course of the waters towards Bhakkar. Night after night these strong and able workmen laboured to dig a new channel and erect an embankment. The river was thus turned from its old course and flowed towards Síwán and the Lakkí Hills, with such force that the merchant was, by God's mercy, quickly carried with his ships and goods far away beyond the oppressor's reach. When the people of the tyrant's country awoke in the morning, instead of several fathoms of water, they found nothing but mud and muddy water. All were amazed, and informed their master of the mode of the merchant's escape, and of the ruin that had come on the country. He ordered them to turn the river into its old channel, but they all replied that it could not be done now the water had flowed elsewhere.
[p.258]: The Rájá's regret and repentance were all too late. "When the evil is done, oh fool! what avails your regret? Stuff not cotton in your ears, but be alert-sleep not at the hour of action." In short the scarcity of water soon caused the grass and the fields to wither, and death laid its grasp on men and cattle, but the tyrant paused not in his evil career, until his crimes destroyed both himself and his people.
Destruction of Bráhmanábád
It is related by old historians that this Dalú Rái had a brother called Chhata1 Amraní, whom it had pleased God to dispose, from his youth upwards, to virtue. Amrání often remonstrated with his brother against his evil ways, but without success; he, therefore, left his country and applied himself to the study of the Kurán. When, having learned the holy book by heart, he returned to his home, his friends urged him much to marry; but he was displeased with their wicked ways, and therefore refused. His relatives repudiated and derided him, exclaiming that he had turned Turk, that is to say, Musulmán, and would next be going to Mecca to marry the daughter of some great man there. Amrání's star was in the ascendant, and his heart inclined to God, so their taunts took effect on him, and he resolved to proceed to the Kaa'ba. When he reached the place of his destination, he beheld a woman standing with a loaf in her hand. After he had looked at her several times the maiden perceived him and asked him what he sought in that town. He replied that by her means, he hoped to be able to read the Kurán. She told him that the daughter of a certain venerable man was much better acquainted than herself with the holy book, and was in the habit of teaching many young girls, and that if he changed his dress and attended upon her with the girls, he might obtain the wish of his heart. Amrání answered that all would be accomplished through her kindness. He made her a small present, and joined the scholars. After a time he became again perfect in the Kurán, when, one day, a woman came to see the teacher, who
[p.259]: was also skilled in astrology. The visitor said: "I have a young daughter whom I wish to marry to a certain person; pray see if the match will prove a happy one; for if not, I will wed my daughter elsewhere." The fates were consulted, a favourable answer was returned, and the woman departed. Chhata who, in woman's disguise, had been taught by the fair sage, without her knowing his sex, now said that, as she could ascertain other people's destiny, he begged she would also consult the stars on her own account, and find out who should be her husband. "This enquiry," she replied, "will be very pleasing to me; up to this moment I have never thought of what concerns myself." The fates were again consulted, and the answer which she delivered was: "a person called Chhata will come from Sind, and I shall be given unto him." Amrání asked if the person had as yet left Sind, and proceeded towards Mecca or not. She answered, that he had arrived in the city. "Where is he?" "In this house," was the reply, "and you are he." Chhata left off questioning and began to read.
The girl informed her mother of these events. The relatives gave their consent, and the two were united. Amrání dwelt there some time, after which he returned to his own country to Páín-wáh where his brother ruled.1 Between Chhata and his wife Fátima, in their devotion to God, nothing was concealed, and they looked upon each other with fond affection. One day Chhata's brother sent him away on some business, with the intention of getting a look at his wife in his absence. This virtuous woman was in her bath, and there the wicked man saw her. At the same moment, Fátima and Chhata, who was far away, became cognizant of this fact. Chhata immediately returned, and, abandoning his relatives, left the country with his wife, and proclaimed that whoever remained in the city would ignominiously perish. The very night they left, destruction hovered over the city, but was kept off by the watching of an old widow, who was spinning. The second night they were saved by the watching of Gunígír,2 but on the third night, which was the time appointed for the destruction of those wicked people, the whole
[p.260]: place was swallowed up by the earth,-men, buildings and all,- the only sign of them left was a minaret, which stands there to this day. Chhata Amrání and his wife Fátima reached in safety the town of Síwistán, which is now known as Síwán. There he passed his days in prayer and worship. When he left this transitory dwelling-place to seek a wished-for and eternal home beyond the chambers of death, as during his life-time, he had performed miracles, and his prayers had been granted, so was it still after his decease. Whoever approached his shrine obtained the wish of his heart. His tomb is to be found in the city of Síwán; many people flock to it on Fridays, and place full belief in its powers.
The Dynasty of Súmra
Be it known to wise and intelligent men who can solve knotty points, that the history of this ignorant Hindu tribe has been related by old chroniclers as follows:-
"Every man of them considered himself a chief and leader, but 'Umar Súmra was their ruler. It is not known over how long a period his reign extended, but in all his years this chieftain, unworthy of his sacred name,1 practiced unworthy acts. He was in the habit of laying violent hands on the females of his subjects. Among other married women he seized a beautiful woman named Márúí, who belonged to the tribe of the Márúis,2 who resided near the forts of 'Umar-kot. She had been betrothed to a person named Phog,3 but was, by her parents, when her beauty had developed itself, united to another of her relatives. Phog laid a complaint before 'Umar,-"I have given up all hope," said he, "of obtaining her, but she is well fitted for your own harem. If you could but once see her, you would never wish to part from her again." This speech of that dweller in the desert induced the chieftain to change his dress, and to mount an active camel,4 fleet as the wind, on which he repaired to the woman's residence. He was captivated at first sight, and remained there some days. At
[p.261]: length, finding an opportunity, he placed the woman on his own camel, and returned to the seat of his government. But all praise to the virtue and chastity of Márúí, for though gold and jewels, robes and apparel were offered her, and though she was made to taste of severity and anger, nothing could induce her to listen to his proposals. "In what creed," said she, "is it considered lawful that we should, for the sake of a little brief authority and worldly riches, which avail us not when all is over, put aside the duty owing to a husband, and thus at last, heap infamy on our heads. The tenderness of her language took effect on the abductor; for a year he detained her and beheld her fidelity. He then sent for her husband and returned her to him, with as much gold and jewels as he could give, and told him of his wife's chastity. Doubt, however, remained in the husband's mind; he kept aloof from her, and constantly addressed reproaches to her. 'Umar was one day informed of this conduct, of the doubts which the husband retained of Márúí's chastity, and the disgrace which was thus reflected on himself. An army was ordered to attack and plunder the tribe, but they fled on receipt of the news. When the fact became known, he ('Umar) said "Why does the husband of this chaste woman seek to distress her, and in suspicion of a wrong which has not been committed, why does he injure both her and his ruler, causing a personal and general scandal-instigating all this disturbance." That paragon of fidelity, comforted the women of her family, and, strong in her own virtue, went to 'Umar and spoke as follows: "You are the Lord of this country. If before this you had not conceived such designs, you would not have entailed such disgrace on yourself and on me; but, you have kept a man's wife confined for a twelvemonth in your own house, and after exposing her to suspicion, have sent her away. What wonder is there then that people, who know not right from wrong, should entertain doubts, and what wonder if her husband kill her through jealousy. The redress were worse than the fault itself, should you punish the oppressed family. Consider your own errors, be just, and say at whose door lies the blame." This was said with so much earnestness that it took effect. 'Umar, ashamed of his misdeeds, recalled his army, and caused the husband to be brought to his presence, when he sought by an oath, according to the Hindu
[p.262]: custom, to remove all doubt from his mind. But that pattern of excellence anticipated him, and urged that she was the proper person to take the oath, for thus the foul stain would be washed away from herself and from her whole family. So it was settled that a fire should be kindled and an iron heated therein. As soon as the fire burned and flames like lightning issued from the iron, the woman raised it, and came out pure from the trial, and in the eyes of the Hindus all stain on her honour was removed. The thought now entered 'Umar's mind that it was not easy to clear himself of the guilt of the abduction. God is just; injustice pleaseth him not, and never has he, nor will he ever, disgrace any but the guilty. This cruel obstinate husband, thought he, has abased me in the eyes of the world; is it not better that I should pass through the fiery ordeal and truth be brought to the light of day! He did as resolved. Glory to God who maketh truth to triumph! Not a hair of his head or a thread of his garments was singed, and he issued scathless from the raging flames-which consume alike friend and foe. 'Umar and the relatives of the virtuous wife, whom idle talkers had calum¬niated and reviled, were now raised in public opinion; the doubts, which day and night had tormented the husband, vanished, and his unkind treatment ceased.1
Account of this event as related in the presence of the Emperor Akbar.
When the powerful Nawab Mirzá Khán-i Khánán had made himself master of Tatta, he summoned to his presence the great men of the country, and amongst others selected the most noble of them, Mirzá Jání Beg Tarkhán, 'Áriz of the Tarkhanía, to be presented at the court of his majesty, and he proceeded thither with a party of Sindí friends. At an interview the conversation happened to turn upon Márúí, which induced the Emperor to enquire of Jání Beg the particulars of this story. The latter replied that he had with him a poet named Mukím, conversant with both Persian and Sindí, who was well acquainted with the whole story, and whom he would send for if permitted to do so. Mirzá Jání Beg himself was perfectly
[p.263]: informed of all the circumstances, but he wished to bring the poet to the notice of his majesty. The bard was introduced, but he knew so little of the case, that, contrary to the fact, he said the heroine had a child by that tyrant, misnamed 'Umar.1 His Highness was much displeased at this misrepresentation, and the bard withdrew crestfallen. Jání Beg then related the story correctly, and some of the auditors repeated verses in the Sindí language in praise of the Márúí. The late Mír Saiyid Ma'súm Bhakkarí, of blessed memory, has recorded in verse the story of Sassaí and Pannú and called his work "Husn o Náz," (beauty and coquetry); Mír Abú-l Kásim, (son of Sháh Abú-l Kásim, son of Sháh Kásim Arghún) has likewise versified the story of Chanesar and Lílá and called it "Chanesar;"2 I also have written (these legends) in prose and named my work "Náz o Niyáz" (coquetry and supplication). May men of genius view it favourably!3
History of Gangá and 'Umar Súmra
I write for the information of men of enlightened minds,-friends to literature, and delighting in the sweets of learning. A maiden named Gangá, of the tribe of Tamím, had been betrothed to 'Umar. The latter happened to see her at a time when the spring of youth had not filled the cup of her beauty, and the unopened bud of her cheeks was as yet without fragrance. She did not please him, and his heart was averse to her, so he relinquished all thought of making her his wife, and gave permission that she should be united to any one they chose. 'Umar Tamím, a relative of the girl's, and a companion of 'Umar Súmra, without whom the latter never drank (or eat), became her husband. After a few years, this unopened bud, fanned by the zephyr of youth, became a very stem of blooming roses. She imported such fragrance to the breeze, that fascination penetrated the core of every heart.
[p.264]: One day, when the washerman had put out her clothes to dry near the road, the chief happened to pass by the scented garments. Such perfume hung in the breeze that for miles it entered the brains of the wayfarers. The scent of the musk caused blood to flow from his nostrils, and he wondered whose garments these could be. He enquired of the washerman, and ascertained, after a good deal of trouble, as the man had been ordered not to mention the owner's name, that they belonged to a certain woman married to 'Umar Tamím, and whom his highness had formerly rejected. Longing and regret now took possession of his soul, and so great was his fascination that he proceeded to the woman's house, intending, if the master should not be within, to delight his eyes and heart with a glimpse of that heart-enthralling creature. The husband was not at home. Deceivers employ many stratagems, so 'Umar found nothing better than to pretend that he had discharged an arrow at some pigeons, and only entered the house to pick one up. The fair lady, who knew nothing of all this, being suddenly disturbed, rose to screen herself from view, and enquired what the intruder sought, but the latter obtained what he had come for and departed. A dart of love from the bow of her eyebrows had pierced his heart and he writhed like a wounded snake. The love which had suddenly been implanted in the innermost recesses of his heart disturbed him so much that he threw himself madly on his couch, abandoned food, drink, and sleep, and spoke to no one. His ministers were much astonished at this conduct, but having learned the cause of it, they respectfully informed him that the difficulty could very easily be overcome; that he should be of good cheer and not grieve. The ministers agreed that it was necessary, by some means, to separate the woman from her husband, and bring her to their master's palace. To further this scheme, it was settled by these godless men that 'Umar should make a show of more than usual cordiality and affection to that young man. The husband was astonished at these unwonted demonstrations, and one day asked his confidential friends what could be the object of them. Being all in the plot, they answered that a wish seemed to have entered the chieftain's mind to give him his sister in marriage, and by this connection, bind him more closely to himself in the bonds of fraternity and love, for he
[p.265]: was highly pleased with his services, and placed great reliance on him. 'Umar Tamím heedlessly believed this falsehood; he was transported with delight by these tidings, which ought to have saddened him, and he expanded like a rose, so that his robe could scarcely contain him. The simpleton dreamed not that his friends were foully conspiring to deprive him of his wife. One day the friends met. Wine, that source of so much evil, was administered in such quantities to the unhappy husband, who had not strength to bear it, that he quite lost all mastery over himself. The associates perceived that they would never find an opportunity more favourable for the execution of their designs, so in furtherance of their scheme, they spoke to this foolish and helpless being of that impossible marriage. At length, he agreed that he would divorce his present wife, in order to obtain that higher object of his wishes; and he did so. The plotters having so far succeeded, now told him that this divorce alone was not sufficient, that he must offer the woman as tribute to 'Umar. The drunkard hesitated not to give away his cast-off wife. Then, as a finish to the business, he himself was turned out of the assembly, and his wife conveyed to the house of him who had instigated this vile proceeding. On the morrow, when the husband shook off the sleep of intoxication, he thought of his spouse, and remembered the sad events of the past day. Then, uttering cries of grief, he rent his garments, and proceeded to Dehli to lay a complaint before 'Aláu-d dín Sultán.
The people of this country relate, that when the husband laid his complaint before the Sultán, this guardian of justice sent that very night an order to 'Umar to appear before him, stating that if he came and satisfied the complainant, he might escape punishment, otherwise, an avenging force should be sent to plunder and overrun the country, and his wives and children should fall a prey to the soldiery. 'Umar prepared to depart the moment the messenger arrived. After a journey of some days, he reached the royal presence, and made numerous offerings. When the complainant and defendant were confronted, the Sultán's anger rose to such a pitch that he caused the guilty man to be thrown into a prison to end his days, in order that his fate might be a salutary warning to all wicked doers. For a long time he suffered in prison, but at length
[p.266]: obtained his liberty through the intercession of his friends, on the payment of a heavy fine, and by binding himself to pay an annual tribute. He now returned to Sind, and from that time the rulers of this country have been tributary to the kings of Hind. 'Umar soon forgot his imprisonment and sufferings, and stretched forth the hand of tyranny over the people of Samma, the ancient tenants of the soil. Many families were driven by his exactions to abandon the land of their birth and seek refuge in Kach,1 which lies between Guzerát and Sind, and this land by God's mercy they have occupied to the present day.
The dynasty of Samma
Old story tellers relate that when God resolved to destroy the people of Súmra (who occupied the city of Muhammad Túr and its vicinity, where ruin had followed the erection of the band of Alor) so utterly that not a sign of them should be left in the land, he decreed that their lives should be passed in the commission of unworthy acts and of crimes. Young and old became intent on violence and mischief. They belonged to the Hindú faith, yet they ate the flesh of buffalos, although eating the flesh of the cow is held in abhorrence according to that religion. The labouring classes and landholders of the Sammas also held the same belief, yet never drank wine without partaking of a young buffalo calf. One of these animals was taken openly and forcibly by the Súmras from the house of a Samma at a time when the latter had gone out, and the wine cup passed freely. When the owner returned, his wife taunted him with what had occurred; "To-day," said she, "they have seized a young buffalo to roast, and to-morrow they will take away your women in the same disgraceful way. Either give us, your wives, freely to these men or quit the place." This person was a man of rank and honour; so collecting his friends and relatives, he raised a great cry and sallied forth. A number of the people of Súmra were assembled at the time; he fell on this body and killed several of them; then, packing up all his valuables, he set out for Kach with as many of his relatives as could accompany him.
[p.267]: They had hardly reached the Rann, or desert, which extends from the ocean between the countries of Sind and Guzerát, when a powerful army of Súmras overtook them and tried to pacify them, but the fugitives dreaded them too much to have any wish to return. Fighting commenced, and many fell on both sides. The fugitives nevertheless reached the land of Kach, which was occupied by the tribe of Cháwara, and they settled there in the desert with their property. After a time, when they had ascertained who were the chiefs in those parts, they represented to them that they were numerous and had come there for protection, that they craved a portion of land to cultivate, the produce of which would suffice for their wants, and free the community from all expense on their account. A small tract of uncultivated land was given to them by the Cháwaras under the conditions that whatever grain they grew thereon should be theirs, but that all the grass should be sent into the government forts, as the former would suffice for them. The agreement was entered into, and the land was brought into cultivation.
It appears that finally the settlers became masters of the soil by the following stratagem, For some years after their immigration, they went on settling and cultivating the land faithfully, according to treaty; they sending the grass grown on their lands to the forts of the chiefs of this country of desert and hills.1 When they had got a firm footing and become thoroughly acquainted with the state of the country and the resources of its chiefs, it appeared to them that, if, with one accord, they managed their affairs with discretion, they might succeed in getting the upper hand. They therefore resolved to put into execution some carefully matured stratagem for this purpose. This was the plan: that in every cart-load of hay two armed men should be concealed and sent into the fortress. Five hundred loads formed the yearly contribution. This hay was now conveyed in that number of carts; in each were concealed two armed men, and a third sat on the top; so that about fifteen hundred men were all sent off together, and those who remained outside held themselves in readiness and listened for the shouts of the others. At the fort gate was always kept a learned astrologer, whose duty
[p.268]: it was, from time to time, to warn the guards of coming events. As soon as the leading carts reached the entrance, the astrologer dis-covered that raw meat was concealed in them and proclaimed it with loud cries. The guardians of the gate jumped up and drove their spears into the hay in such a manner that the points entered the breasts of the enterprising youths within. But, oh, the heroism they displayed! As the spears were withdrawn they wiped the bloody points with their clothes, so that not a speck of blood appeared upon them; and all the day that truthful soothsayer was disbelieved, no further search was made, and all the carts entered the fort. When night came on, these resolute men, both within and without the walls prepared for action as had been previously concerted. Sword in hand, those who were inside fell upon the commandant of the fort and slew him. They then beat the drums to announce their triumph. Their friends without, hearing the signal, and knowing all was right, rushed at the gate and smote every one of its defenders who had the bravery to resist them. So great was the carnage, that words cannot describe it.1
Thus the country which lies along the sea became subject to the people of the Samma,2 and their descendants are dominant there to this day. Ráí Bhára and Jám Sihta, the Rájás of both Great and Little Kach, are descended from the Samma tribe. Among these people the tíka is conferred upon the Ráí. When one of the Jáms of Little Kach dies, another is appointed in his place, but the sovereignty and the tíka are not bestowed upon him until such times as the Ráí of Great Kach dies. When a successor has been appointed he is obeyed by all; and all those who assemble to appoint the Ráí present to him horses, honorary dresses, and many other things, according to ancient custom. Whenever a well or a tank is dug in either of the divisions of Kach, the Cháwáras-formerly the masters of the soil, now the ryots-are consulted and brought to approve of the project before it is carried into execution.
Strange customs of the Tribes
Be it known to men of enlightened minds that these people had many strange customs, such as the strong branding the stamp of slavery upon the shoulders of the weak. As an instance of this, a man named Dúda Súmra attempted to enslave his own brothers, and when any one of them resisted, sought means to kill him. Such was the prevailing stupidity of these people, that whenever they placed themselves in the barber's hands, they had the nails of their hands and feet extracted by the roots, and this violent process caused such distress, that they lost all recollection for a time. A sensible man one day enquired why they inflicted such tortures on themselves. They replied, that there was this wide difference between them and other people, that they did what others could not.1 The clothes which they had once worn were never again put on. To wear them a second time would have been held highly improper. A woman who had brought forth a child was no longer allowed to share her husband's bed. At length, one of them, a fond and clever wife, becoming pregnant, revolved in her mind that, after the birth of the child, she would lose the society of her husband, and that she must therefore think of some means to convince him that childbirth did not render a female impure, and to banish all such ideas from his mind. This was her plan: whatever clothes her husband took off she gave to the washerman, with orders to wash them most care¬fully. One day the husband took a bath, and asked for cloths wherewith to dry his limbs. He was supplied with some of those which had been washed and put aside. These appeared to him so unusually soft, that he enquired what kind of fresh cloth it was. His wife told him, and he so much approved of what she had done, that he declared his intention of wearing washed clothes for the future. The wife, on hearing this, exclaimed that such also was the condition of women; why, then, should men cast them off? The husband abandoned both of these foolish practices, and all the tribe followed his example.
[p.p.270]: All that remain of them at the present day are good Muhammadans and God-fearing men; so much so, that Darwésh Dáúd, Míán Hamúl and Míán Ismáíl Súmra, who were among the chief men of the town of Akham, in the Pargana of Samáwátí, entertained five hundred students of the Kurán, in the college, feeding and clothing them all, for the love of God, at their own expense. The late Mírzá Muhammad Bákí Tarkhán, notwithstanding his parsimony and economy,1 which will be described when I speak of him, gave away, in charity, the produce of his husbandry. His collectors once complained to him, that a certain darwesh, not content with having tilled every bit of land in the district, sought to appropriate all their lord's possessions to his own use. Find therefore, said they, some other employment for the present cultivators. The Mírzá replied: "that he should till my lands is but little, were he to drive a plough over my head, I should deem it a favour." Fakírs, widows, and the poor were the recipients of his bounty. A well-provided table was at all hours spread for his guests,-but he himself constantly fasted. When the hour came to break the fast, a barley-loaf, without salt, constituted his only food. A guest coming to him one day, a sumptuous meal was ordered for him, but the guest did not partake of it. "Why," asked the Mírzá, "do you not like the food?" "I wish," replied the stranger, "to eat off the same plate with your majesty." "Oh, what happiness," exclaimed the latter. When evening came, he bid his guest to come and share with him the barley-loaf-that being all his meal. "Oh," said the man, "I thought your own meal would have been better than what you gave your guests; this was the cause of my indiscretion, but pray pardon me; I am satisfied to partake of the former repast." The host replied: "Yes, the dainty repast is best suited to your taste, the mere loaf is plenty for mine; for it is no light task to conquer the flesh and abjure the world-the world, that faithless creature, that slays her husband and devours her sons-in-law. No true man will give her a place in his heart. To do so is the act of the mean-spirited. Renounce the faithless harlot in the four extremities of the universe, and cleanse the skirt of your robe from all desire of her."
- Religious men love not the world, For they seek not women.
- If you are bound in the chains of a woman,
- Boast not again of your manliness.
- Have you not read in the ancient book,
- What befel Husain and Hasan, owing to a woman?
- A woman, be she good or bad, should be thus treated:
- Press your foot upon her neck.
Depopulation of the country of the Súmras
When through the tyranny of Dalu Ráí, the river of the town of Alor became dry, the passage of the river of the Panjáb came to be made near Síwán, and that town, which is still flourishing, became populated. The want of water ruined the lands of the tribe of Súmra, and the tyranny of Dúdá Súmra drove many complaining to the Sultán 'Aláú-d dín, at Delhi. This monarch sent back with them a powerful army, under the command of the royal general named Sálár. The men of Súmra prepared themselves to die, and sent off their children in charge of a minstrel, to be placed under the protection of Ibra Ibrání-This Ibra was one of the very Sammas who had fled from the persecutions of the men of Súmra, and had made themselves masters of Kach in the manner which has been related above. It is a custom of these people to hold in high respect their minstrels, such as the Katriyas, the Chárans, the Dóms and the Márats (?). After the departure of their families, numerous engagements took place between the men of Súmra and the Sultán's army. Sahar Sultání, the Súmra commander, was slain in the field of battle, and the remainder sought safety in flight. The royal army advanced in pursuit of the women and children. From the capital, Muhammad Túr, to Kach they proceeded march by march, digging every night a deep trench round their camp, through fear of their foes.1 Such was the extent of these trenches, that, to this day, great pools still remain. When they reached the confines of Kach, Ibra Samma, the ruler of the country, fought stoutly in defence of the children and fugitives, but fell at last in the field. The women, whose countenances no stranger had ever beheld, were now surrounded on all sides. These virtuous women saw that the royal army had come to carry them into captivity,
[p.272]: and that there was no refuge for them but in God's mercy; then, raising their hands in supplication, they exclaimed: "We have no other help, oh God! but in thee. Cause this mountain to protect us, poor helpless creatures, and save us from the hands of our cruel enemies." The prayer of these women was heard by Him, the nearest and dearest friend: the rock burst asunder, and showed openings, through which they all entered, and before the enemy could reach the spot they were all hidden; but fragments of their garments remained without, showing where they had passed. The pursuers were struck with awe, and retraced their steps. That mountain, and traces (of this event) may be seen to this day, in the land of Kach. In short, as no man was left in Sind, among the Súmras, of sufficient power to govern the country, the Samma people set to work to cultivate new territories on another part of the river.
The Sammas, after the expulsion of the tribe of Súmra, found the town of Sámúí-ábád.
After the destruction of the power of the above-named tribe the dynasty of the Samma ruled from the beginning of the year 843 H. (1439 A.D.) until the date of the total ruin of Sind.1 The Samma people, who had been subject to the Súmras in the days of their rule, founded a town and fort below the Makalí mountain. The former they called Sámúí,2 and the latter Taghurábád, of which Jám Taghur had laid the foundation, but had left unfinished.3 Other towns and villages, still flourishing, were also built by them,-but the spots cultivated during the dominion of the former masters of the soil soon ran to waste for want of water. Lands hitherto barren, were now carefully cultivated; there was hardly a span of ground untilled. The divisions into súbas and parganas, which are maintained to the present day in the province of Tatta, were made by
[p.273]: these people. When the labour and skill of each individual had brought the land to this state of prosperity, Jám Nanda bin Bábiniya was acknowledged by all, great and small, as their chief, and received the title of Jám, which is the name of honour among these people. Such splendour spread over what had been but dreary solitudes, that it seemed as if a new world had sprung into existence. Before his time, there was nothing worthy of being recorded, but his reign was remarkable for its justice and an increase of Muhammadanism. I have omitted none of the events which occurred in his reign and in after years, as they have been related to me by old residents of those parts. This chieftain passed his days and nights in devotion. He permitted no one man to tyrannise over another; the poor were so happy that all the day long his name was on their lips. Peace and security prevailed to such an extent, that never was this prince called upon to ride forth to battle, and never did a foe take the field against him. When, in the morning, he went, as was his custom, to his stables to look at his horses, he would caress them, kiss their feet, and exclaim: "Heaven forbid that an invader approach my dominions, or that it ever be my fate to saddle these animals, and engage in war! May God keep every one happy in his place!"
The foundation of Tatta
After he had dwelt some time in the city of Sáí, the thought entered his mind to build, at some auspicious moment, a new town, where happiness might remain for ever. Brahmans and astrologers having settled a lucky day, and having sought a spot in the neighbourhood of Sámúí, they selected an eligible place, where now stands the city of Tatta, and there, with the assent of the Jám, the foundation was laid. A division of the land having been made, mansions and houses were constructed. In truth, at such a fortunate moment was the foundation of this place laid, that trouble and affliction have never visited its inhabitants. Contented with what they possess, they carry on their affairs in luxury and ease. The cheerfulness and happiness which reigns among these people has never yet been, nor ever will be found elsewhere. Each month has several 'Íds for
[p.274]: them; the first Friday after the new moon, they call in their Sindí language, Máh-pahra Jum'a. Such a crowd of men and women flock, on this day, to the Makalí mountain, that there is scarce room to stand. It has become a custom, among many classes, to consider the similar festival of Máh-pahra Somár-or the first Monday in each month-a great day for making pilgrimages. The pleasure of visiting each other, induces them to go in large parties, taking with them abundance of sweet river water and food such as they can afford. The day is spent in amusements, and visits to the shrines. The reason why they take water with them is, that the rain-water found in the tanks contiguous to the tombs is brackish, owing to the nitrous nature of the soil, and consequently, though fit for oblations, is not fit to drink. When evening puts a close to these pleasures, they seek their own abode. Besides the shrine of the Shaikh of Shaikhs, Shaikh Patta, there are some ten or twelve other places, where darweshes perform their dance. These excitable men often work themselves into such a state of holy ecstacy, that they cast themselves on the rocks of the mountain of Makalí; but by the blessing of their learned doctors and teachers, no harm befalls them. This custom, however much opposed to the laws of Islam, has been transmitted from generation to generation, and all the attempts of wise teachers and just governors have never succeeded in putting a stop to it More wonderful still, is the fact that, during the rainy months, only a few showers fall on the mountain. At its summit is a pond, which they call "Kíra tal," or sweet tank; so long as the water of the heavens fills it, men and women of all classes, Hindús and Musul-máns, crowd there from morning till night; there they cook their meals, and feast, What 'íd, what wedding can ever boast of so numerous an attendance? He alone, who has seen and tasted of these pleasures, can understand this! The custom has long prevailed among these people, and what time has sanctioned they never relinquish. Other nations possess greater wealth, and greater skill; but such light-heartedness and contentment, as to labour for one day and repose for the rest of the week, to have but moderate desires and enjoy boundless ease, this has been reserved for the people of Tatta alone.
Elevation of Daryá Khán by Jám Nanda, who had purchased him from Lakzhír.
[p.275]: When Jám Nanda, son of Bábiniya had to the gratification of his friends, become the occupant of the throne of Tatta, he embellished the new city and ruled with so much justice and moderation that every citizen found happiness at his own hearth.
- "That spot is Elysium where oppression comes not Where no one interferes with another."
One day he went out to hunt, taking with him his minister Lakzhír.1 The latter had with him a young slave named Kabúla, to whom was entrusted the care of his master's drinking-water. This boy was in reality the son of a Saiyid, but having fallen into captivity, he had been purchased by the minister. The Jám, becoming thirsty during the chase, called for water. His own water-carrier not being on the spot, the minister ordered his boy to fill a cup for the king. The lad, young in years but old in wisdom, filled the cup and threw in it some small blades of grass. The Jám put down the cup, and asked him what grass had to do in drinking water. The slave replied: "I saw your highness was very thirsty, and I feared lest you should drink too large a quantity and suffer from it in riding; I therefore put in the water these small obstacles, that you might drink in moderation." There was nothing so wonderful in this, but the boy's destiny befriended him, and the Jám was much pleased. He took Kabúla from the minister and made him one of his personal attendants. Day by day his affection for the youth increased, and finding him possessed of sufficient abilities to administer the affairs of the kingdom, or even to govern one, he soon conferred upon him the title of Mubárak Khán and employed him in all difficult matters. He loved him better than his own children and relatives. The Jám had many good men around him, such as Wazír Dilshád, who in the year 912 H. (1506 A.D.) carried his victorious arms from Tatta as far as the city of Úch, yet Mubárak carried off from all of them the ball of good fortune, and was honoured by the king with the management of the affairs of the State in preference to his own son, Jám Fíroz. He brought the country, from Multán to the borders of Kandahár and
[p.276]: from Kach to Makrán, into such subjection, that if at midnight one of his officers carried an order to any of the Zamíndárs and Búmiyas of these territories, it was instantly and gratefully obeyed. Such was the terror of his name in these turbulent provinces, that a pregnant woman miscarried if she heard of his approach. So far had spread the fame and dread of his incursions, that the words- "Silence, the terrible chieftain is coming," were enough to stop the crying of a wayward child.1
When at length, after a reign of seventy-three years, Jám Nanda passed from this perishable world to the abodes of immortality, he confided the care of the kingdom, of his treasures, his family, and his son Jám Fíroz, to Daryá Khán. "The management of the affairs of this kingdom," said the dying ruler, "devolves on thee. Discharge thy duty to Jám Fíroz with zeal and self devotion."2
Sack and burning of Thatta3 by the Firingís
In the year 973 H. (1565 A.D.) near the end of his life, Mirzá 'Isa Tarkhán, proceeded with his son, Mirzá Muhammad Bákí, in the direction of Bhakkar. As they drew near the town of Durbela, a dependency of Bhakkar, Mahmúd Khán, having strengthened his stronghold, sent forth his army to meet them, for, thought he, what breach of contract is this? They bring an army into my territory! What can be their object? It was the intention of Muhammad Bákí, to detach the Parganah of Durbela, from the province of Bhakkar, and to incorporate it in that of Síwán; but he was frustrated in this design by the army of Mahmúd Khán, which was powerful, and was everywhere prepared for fight. Blood had not yet been spilled, when, suddenly, news came from Thatta, that the Firingís had passed Láhorí Bandar, and attacked the city, The gates
[p.277]: were closed, said the despatch; if the army returned without delay, the place would be delivered; otherwise, the enemy was strong, and would effect his object. This intelligence caused the Mirzá to desist from prosecuting the quarrel any further. Leaving the country under the rule of the Khán, he speedily embarked in his boats, and departed. Before he could arrive, the Firingís had sacked the city, and filled it with fire and slaughter. Many of the inhabitants had found an asylum in the Jáma' Masjid of Mír Farrukh Arghún, which they quitted, on hearing of the Mirzá's approach. The mode of the Firingís coming was as follows:-Between the town of Thatta and Láhorí Bandar is a distance of two days journey-both by land and by water; beyond this, it is another day's march to the sea. There is a small channel, (called nár in the language of Thatta), communicating with the port; it is in some places about ten tanábs wide, in others, something more. It is unfordable. Between the port and the ocean there is but one inhabited spot, called Súí Miání. Here a guard belonging to the Mír Bandar, or port-master, with a loaded piece of ordnance, is always stationed. Whenever a ship enters the creek, it intimates its approach by firing a gun, which is responded to by the guard-house, in order, by that signal, to inform the people at the port, of the arrival of a strange vessel. These, again, instantly send word of its arrival to the merchants of Thatta, and then embarking on boats, repair to the place where the guard is posted. Ere they reach it, those on the look-out have already enquired into the nature of the ship. Every vessel and trader must undergo this questioning. All concerned in the business, now go in their boats, (ghrábs) to the mouth of the creek. If the ship belong to the port it is allowed to move up and anchor under Láhorí Bandar; if it belong to some other port, it can go no further, its cargo is transferred into boats, and forwarded to the city. To be brief, when these Firingí traders had got so far, and learned that the king of the country was away on a distant expedition, they felt that no serious obstacle could be made to their advance. The Mír Bandar wished to enforce the regulations, but he was plainly told by the foreigners that they had no intention of staying at the Bandar, but that they intended to proceed on to Thatta, in the small boats (ghrábs) in which they had come. There they would take some relaxation, sell
[p.278]: their goods, buy others, and then return. The ill-provided governor, unable to resist them by force, for their plans had been well laid, was fain to give in; so, passing beyond the Bandar, the Firingís moved in boats, up the river Sind towards Thatta, plundering as they went all the habitations on the banks. The ruler of the country being away, no one had sufficient power to arrest the progress of the invaders. They reached the city unmolested; but here the garrison, left by the Mirzá, defended the place with the greatest gallantry. A spirited contest with artillery took place on the banks of the river. In the end the defenders were overpowered; the enemy penetrated the city, and had made themselves fully masters of it, when the Mirzá arrived in all haste. As soon as they heard of his being near, with a powerful army, they loaded their boats with as much spoil as they could contain, and withdrew.* The Mirzá, who had previously laid the foundation of a citadel for protection against the Arghúns, now deemed it necessary to encircle his palace and the whole city, with fortifications.
His reign ended with his life in the year 984 H. (1576 A.D.) His wealth and kingdom passed into the hands of his son-Muhammad Bákí.
Extermination of the principal Inhabitants of Thatta
Mirzá Muhammad Bákí ruled with a strong hand, and ruin fell upon the houses and property of the people. No one dared to oppose his improper proceedings. He did not consider it expedient, that any one with pretensions to eminence, learning, or genius, should be left in undisturbed tranquillity. Nobles and plebeians, men of rank, and men without rank, Saiyids, Shaikhs, Kázís and Judges, were all driven from their time-honoured abodes, and ordered to dwell without the city, as the Mirzá was of opinion that they were disaffected. To the eldest son of Míyan Saiyid 'Alí, although married to the daughter of Muhammad's brother, Mirzá Sálih, no more leniency was shown; he experienced the same treatment as the rest. Tyranny became the rule. Of the travellers from all parts who passed through the country, those whom he deemed worthy of notice were
[p.279]: summoned to his presence. So affably were they received, and such the apparent kindness shown to them, that it served as a balm to the weariness of travel. The beguiled stranger was deluded into the belief, that, in the wide world, there could not exist so benevolent a patron to travellers. When the visitors were preparing to depart, the Mirzá would say to his Mír Bahr, or superintendent of his Boat Department, that, as the breezes of his kingdom were soft and balmy, and river-excursions tended to cheerfulness, he must place a handsome boat at their disposal. As soon as they had been thus politely enticed into the middle of the stream, a plank was taken out of the bottom of the boat, and the unhappy travellers were drowned. This was done to provent the chance of anyone talking of this favoured land elsewhere, so that the country, which had required such labour and pains to subdue, should find another conqueror. Any poor traveller, not considered fit to appear in the presence, was simply put to death.1 Such was the meanness of this prince, that, only once a week, on Thursdays, was a meal prepared in the Díwán -khána; beyond this, he gave away nothing. If he heard of any person living generously in his own house, it mattered not whether he were a relative or otherwise, a citizen or a soldier, he laid the hand of tyranny on his possessions, nor withdrew it so long as a thing was left to take. Cunning showed itself in every word he spoke. Seated in the audience-tent, hardly a moment passed, but he said to his nobles: "Bring me gold, bring me grain; let this be your sole occupation, for these form the basis of power." The privations which he had formerly endured led him to heap treasure upon treasure, and grain upon grain. Not a corner of the citadel of Thatta but was filled with rice. Often the grain got clotted, and the heat arising therefrom occasioned spontaneous combustion, but the Mirzá would not have it removed from the fort, nor allow it to be given away. At harvest-time he held a revenue audit, and collecting all his dependents, he paid them, according to their dues, by assignments, partly in grain and partly in money. At length, one day his
[p.280]: officers respectfully informed him that the fort was so full of old and new grain, that no room could be found for the produce of the coming harvest. The grain was getting clotted and burnt, so that it was best to assist the people with it, for, by this means, something would be saved at all events. The Mirzá replied, that they should have his answer on the morrow. During the night, he ordered some loaves to be made of clay. When the nobles came in the morning to pay their respects, the Mirzá ordered the cloth to be spread, and, contrary to custom, invited them to eat. They screwed up their courage, and wondered what evil was impending. For any officer of the state who incurred the ruler's displeasure was usually cut into pieces, which were placed in dishes, and carefully sent to his officers' houses, as a warning, to keep up a perpetual dread of his punishment. As the wondering and terrified nobles removed the dish covers, and beheld the strange-looking loaves laid out for the woeful meal, they cast glances from one to another, as if to say, what can this mean? Their host asked why they did not partake of the food before them. "You have all I can give you," said he; "perchance you are wealthy men, and do not like my simple fare." Impelled by fear, some of the ministers took the burnt rice-loaves. The Mirzá angrily enquired why they did not also partake of the other loaves. They replied: "Sire, your prosperity and wisdom are great: but to eat clay is difficult. In his fierce anger he became abusive, and exclaimed, "Oh! ye simpletons, how long will your wisdom ensure the welfare of my kingdom? Useless grain may at times render good service, for is it not better than clay? It may serve as food for the maintenance of life. Of what good are you, since the mere sight of clay-bread has half killed you! and you give me unsuitable advice! Have you not heard, how, when Humáyún came into this country, and Mirzá Sháh Husain Arghún laid waste the whole land, and gave orders for the sowing of grain,1 what hunger and misery were endured; how raw hides and old skins were cooked in hot water and eaten?*"
These are facts:-It is indeed related that, at the time of the
[p.281]: Emperor's flight and the devastation of the country by the Mirzá, extreme misery drove the men of Sind to eat their own kind. A man, having lost a cow, went with some friends to seek for it. They reached a plain where some youths, who had just come there, had placed a pot on a fire and were cooking meat. The owner of the cow and his friends took these people for thieves, and felt convinced that they were cooking some portion of the lost animal, which they had stolen. So they seized and bound them, asking what meat they were preparing, and whence they had procured it. These youths could not answer for fear, but, when the whip was applied, they found power to say that they were brothers and once had a mother. They had been dreadfully pinched with hunger. The mother, in her love, said that death was preferable to such an existence. She could not bear to see her children perish before her eyes, and besought them to kill her and satisfy the cravings of their hunger. They refrained as long as they could from such a cruel expedient, but at length, unable to contain themselves, they killed their mother, and this was her flesh in the pot. The story was not believed. The villagers said, that before they would credit it, their own eyes must have some proof. The unhappy brothers took their captors to the spot where the entrails had been thrown; this sight caused them to be more firmly bound, for the villagers maintained that some other person must have been sacrificed to their cravings, and that this was not their mother. The wretched lads supplicated and swore in vain; their punishment began; and the blows they received drew forth screams and lamentations. Then suddenly those entrails moved rapidly from the spot where they lay, and curled themselves around the feet of their tormentors. This was a warning. Suspicion at once fled before this miracle. What could it portend? An old man of the party spoke:-"These youths told us the truth. How great is the tender love of a mother, since even after death her remains come and cling to your feet pleading for the deliverance of her offspring!"
The Mirzá sends his daughter, Sindí Begam, to the Emperor
[p.282]: When the possession of the province of Bhakkar had been secured to the Emperor, by the valour of Mujáhid Ghází, the relatives of Mahmúd Khán became favourites with him. Mirzá Muhammad Bákí-who had, even before this event, entertained most extravagant fears for his own dominions-resolved to strengthen the alliance by giving his daughter in marriage to the monarch. The Mullá, whom I have previonsly mentioned, related to me, that he was one day secretly sent for by the Mirzá, who addressed him as follows:-"I have often thought, and still think, that Hazrat Jalálu-d dín Akbar Sháh is a mighty monarch. The pettiest of his officers-Mujáhid- with only fifty horsemen, has overcome Mahmúd Khán Kokaltásh, a man who can boast of an iron frame, and of strength equal to that of Isfandyár, who possesses, moreover, a strong fortress, situate between two wide rivers. What if the Emperor should send an army in this direction? desolation would spread over this peaceful land! The province of Bhakkar has been, to this time, a solid barrier against his encroachments, but it is so no longer. It will be wise, ere an army march hither, to send the Begam, accompanied by some of the chief men of this country, to wait upon the Emperor. Such an union may perhaps preserve us from the grasp of these fierce fire-eating warriors. What think you of this plan?" Being entirely and sincerely devoted to the Mirzá, the Mullá replied, that this vain proposal would certainly be attributed to want of courage and manliness. This speech proving anything but agreeable, the chieftain drew his sword, and advanced angrily towards the speaker, asking, how he dared to use such disrespectful language to him? The Mullá replied, with sincere feeling, that the Mirzá was at liberty to kill him, but that he had spoken advisedly. "Did his lord suppose the Emperor had any thought of him? What if the maiden were so little liked, as to be excluded from the royal harem, and sent back again! What shame, what dishonour would be the result! Would the prince, for the sake of a kingdom, bring disgrace upon his whole family." At these words, the Mirzá's anger flashed like lightning; he grew restless as quicksilver, and foaming at the mouth, he exclaimed: Remove this wretch from before my eyes, lest I shed his blood this very day." As the Mullá withdrew from his presence, he unburdened his mind
[p.283]: of what still remained there. "To represent the true state of a case was," he said, "the duty of a loyal servant. He had incurred his master's anger by so doing, but, even in this he felt himself happy and honoured. What imported it to him, if the Emperor sent back the princess! What recked he, if he gave her away to one of his favourites, better men than the Mirzá himself! You, he exclaimed, are a prince. You know no law but your own will: do that which shall be most pleasing to you." This advice, bitter withal, was heard, but not heeded. The opinion of other friends, and his own prevailed. That light of the eyes was sent to the Imperial court, escorted by Saiyíd Jalál, son of 'Alí Shírází, and son-in-law of Mirzá Sálíh, Muhammad Bákí's own brother, and by Khwájá Mír Beg Diwán, provided with rich presents, and a suitable dowry. Having reached the Emperor's presence, the messengers kissed his feet, and displayed to view what they had brought. The valuables were then made over to the treasurer, but that most precious gem of all, that paragon of virtue, was introduced into the seraglio. There, the powerful monarch, prince of all things, cast but once a momentary glance on the countenance of this fair and nobly-born maiden, after which he would not see her again. He said to himself, that the daughter of Muhammad Bákí was not1 of a good disposition, and that he would send her to some other person's harem. Some Arghúns, of the same descent as the Begam, and who had sought to escape from death at the emperor's court, endeavoured, notwith¬standing her father and brothers' enmity, to avert an event which would, they thought, lower the dignity of their family. In defence of the honour and good name of their kinswoman, they represented to the Emperor, that never, to that day, had any member of their house experienced such unkind treatment from former rulers. Let the monarch of the world honour them with his universal benevolence, and send back the maiden to that wretch athirst for the blood of his brethren-who, if the monarch acceded to their wishes, would be under an obligation to them. The order of the Emperor, irresistible as the decree of fate, went forth, that Sindí Begam should be sent back to her father at Thatta.
How Sindí Begam returned from the Emperor's court to her Father's. [p.284]:
At the time the Emperor was taking leave of the Begam, he ordered an elephant for her use, and bid her return to her father, whose ancestors, from father to son, had been vassals of the crown. He also added, that a small tract of land had been assigned to the princess; who, he hoped, would, at the appointed hour of prayer, pray for his welfare and the increase of his prosperity. The party left. A despatch had already been forwarded to the Mirzá, in which all these events had been detailed. He might, it was said, consider them as arrived. They had been placed in most critical circumstances, but providence had vouchsafed to preserve his name from disgrace. The Mullá relates that he was sent for by the Mirzá, who threw him the document itself, saying: "Read this sad news; what you foretold has come true." He perused the despatch of the nobles escorting the Begam, and found it was even so. He said, "Peace be with you, oh mighty lord! bow down your head humbly before the One incomparable Being; render thanks unto God, who has vouchsafed to maintain your honour, and be grateful to your blood-thirsty brethren, the Arghúns, as long as you live. Be kind to those of them still left here, and thus dispel the old enmity subsisting between you. The Mirzá, rendered wise and devout at length, was pleased with this speech, and said a few words which he deemed appropriate in thanksgiving. He also sent epistles to the Arghúns, wherever they could be heard of, calling upon them to lose no time in returning; and promising that compensation for their former sufferings should be afforded them to the utmost of their wishes. Some of them were slow to return, being doubtful of the chief's intentions; others, in whose hearts still lived the recollections of their fatherland, were content to brave even death. The excessive kindness they experienced proved a balm to the wounds of past persecutions, and surpassed their expectations.
About this time the Jágírdárs of the province of Bhakkar, owing to the Emperor's approach, resolved to send their army into the province of Síwán. This territory often suffered from their depredations, but they now sought to take it from the Mirzá. Fat'h Khán, a slave, ruled that province, but he had made a Hindú called
[p.285]: Júna his agent; and to any person wishing to address him on affairs of the state, he stupidly said: "I know nothing of this: go to Júna." His son Abú-l Fat'h led a most dissipated life. He clothed his companions in female apparel, with bracelets on their arms, and kept them hidden in his own abode. He would not eat of food on which a fly had lighted. His associates were usually made to bring many kinds of dishes, and by this means, he plundered them. From the 13th to the 16th of every month his friends were called together, and the time was spent in debauchery. Whole nights passed in the enjoyment of sweetmeats, fruit, and wine; he gave presents to his guests and attendants. But of all his absurdities this was the greatest: if a flight of birds happened to be pointed out to him, he commenced counting them, throwing in the air either a larí* or a Firingí gold coin as each passed by. In short, as this miserable state of things prevailed, the Mirzá resolved, in order to put a stop to it, to remain himself at the head of affairs in the capital, and send away his children to the frontier and the provinces.
Arrival of Nawwáb Mirzá Khán, in Síwán, and his wonder at the Lakkí mountain.
When the illustrious Khán, leaving Bhakkar behind him, arrived in Síwán, his first though was to invest and capture the fort before proceeding any further; but, after-consideration showed him that no substantial benefit could accrue from the possession of a few mud walls, until both the capital Thatta and the ruler of the country were in his hands. The root is the support, not the branches. The Nawwáb thought it best to leave a detachment behind and move onwards in person with the remainder. This plan was carried into execution. Leaving under his officers some ships which he considered equal to the destruction of the fort, the Khán marched against Mirzá Jání Beg.
When he drew near the Lakkí mountain, which wise men hold to be the key of the country, what a sight opened upon him. From the river Sind, stretching away towards the setting sun, rose the above-
[p.286]: named mountain, its summits high as the star Aiyúk, and along the face of it ran a path narrower than a hair. Those who pass over climb like a string of ants. If ten resolute men defended this passage, not the world combined could dislodge them, without suffering severely from the stones they could throw down.
Adjoining these mountains are many others, on which dwell the tribes of the Bulúch and Nahmrúí, of the Jokiya and Jat, extending as far as Kích (Kíz?) and Makrán. To the eastward of the river are the Mawás and the Samíja tribes, spread as far as the sand-hills of Amarkot; and these are men who have never acknowledged a master. For an army to pass in either of these directions is impracticable. The Nawwáb made enquiries about the country and was greatly troubled with what he heard, for if an ambuscade were laid in the valley it would be exceedingly difficult for him to proceed, this being the key of the whole country. Just as orders had been issued for this post to be fortified (as by this means, and by well-laid plans, a secure advance might be made) it was discovered that the enemy had taken no measures to defend the pass. The Khán was delighted, and exclaimed that the star of the monarch of the world had indeed outshone that of these people, since they neglected to make a stand in so formidable a position; of a certainty now the country had passed away from their hands. When this saying reached the ears of the Mirzá (Jání Beg), keen indeed was his regret for the neglect he and his counsellors had been guilty of. "Truly," said he, "have we committed a great fault of generalship. In short, the Khán advanced without meeting with any obstacle, and, in presence of the Mirzá, threw up an intrenchment and constructed batteries. Morning and evening, valiant, lion-hearted youths, worthy descend¬ants of Mars, came forth from both sides. With such activity did destiny send forth death to do its work in the field, that no symptom of backwardness appeared there; energy filled every breast, as the warriors strove their utmost. The happy star of the Emperor, and his own genius, inspired the Nawwáb to send detachments against various places in the same way that he had encompassed Mirzá Jání Beg and the fort of Síwán. Sháh Beg Khán was selected to act against the fort of Sháhgar, in the province of Nasrpúr, where resided Abú-l Kásim. Another party of veterans was told off to
[p.287]: march into the Jágir country, against the fort of Nírankot. In this war, for every province of the country a force was appointed, although it was not despatched.
Mirzá Jání Beg Sultán made this agreement with his soldiers, that every one of them who should bring in an enemy's head should receive 500 gabars, every one of them worth twelve mírí's, called in the Mirzá's time, postanís, of which seventy-two went to one tanka. The poor people of Sind, already prepared to give their lives for their lord, were pleased with this show of kindness, and went out daily to bring in heads or lose their own. This style of warfare continued for several months. Giriya, the Hindú, who well knew how matters stood, and the state of the treasury, and had a regard to future exigencies, gradually reduced the reward from 500 to fifty gabars. Even for this small sum, the starving people were content to throw themselves without hesitation against the scimitars of the foe. The greater number fell in these contests, and the treasury became empty, so that day by day, the state of the people and of the country grew worse. Mirzá Jání Beg found his only safety in protracting the struggle, and sent forth his young men on all sides to distract the enemy. Hearing that treasure was on its way by land to the Nawwáb Khán's camp, he sent Abú-l Kásim, son of Sháh Kásim Arghún, with a body of spirited youths, Moghals and Sindís, to attack it. This chieftain, when he drew near the convoy, about the middle of the night, hid himself with his men, and sent a small party to fall upon the enemy's rear with a great clamour. The enemy all turned against these men, but Abú-l Kásim, with the remainder, entered their camp, carried off the treasure, and slew the foremost of the foe. Sultán Khusrú Charkas likewise attacked them with his boats, according to a previously concocted scheme, by which a body of picked men was to remain on board, whilst another advanced by land, The Nawwáb also had made suitable dispositions. The Mirzá's chieftains, who were anxious for Khusrú's defeat, sent the armed force in the boats, but kept back the party which had been selected for the land attack. The hostile fleets drew up in the opposite lines, and a discharge of cannons and muskets, shells, and rockets, wheels, and every kind of fire missiles commenced on both sides. The scattering flames and
[p.288]: sparks shone on the water like a fiery mountain, and such clouds of smoke ascended, that the vaulted heavens became as it were the roof of a furnace. The sun sheltered itself in the smoke from the fierceness of the heat, and was eclipsed. Sight could not pierce the thick clouds, and breath failed from the density of the atmosphere. At length the boats ran foul of each other. The rings and grapnels, which were made in order to drag away the enemy's boats, now began to be used. So violent a struggle ensued, that the waves were crimsoned with the blood of those whom the guns had destroyed. By the help of their friends on shore the Khán's party triumphed, and their adversaries fled. Khusrú Charkas was taken in his boat along with several other vessels, when, at that moment, Charkas Daftír, the chief of the merchants of Firang, who repaired yearly to Thatta from Hurmúz, came fluttering like a moth around this furnace, and running his boat into the midst of the fray, succeeded in rescuing Khusrú from his captors; but the attempt cost both of them their lives. When both sides were satiated with blood they withdrew to their tents, and applied balm to their wounds. It was at length resolved to abandon stratagem and fight in the open plain, where victory would fall to the brave.1