Tarikh-I Sher Shahi by Abbas Khan Sarwani, 1580
During the second half of the sixteenth century, the Mughal emperor Akbar commissioned the Tarikh-I Sher Shahi (history of the reign of Sher Shah) to be written. Interested in the history of administrative apparatuses during the reign of Afghan empire builder Farid Khan or Sher Shah (r.1540 – 1545), Akbar commanded Abbas Khan, an Afghan newswrite (waqia-navis) in his employ, to complete this work. The author of this source claims to have been related to the family of Sher Shah by marriage. This allegedly gave him an access to authentic information concerning the aspects of Sher Shah’s administration. The author also interviewed those who were contemporary to Sher Shah or had witnessed some important events. According to the editor, John Dowson, the work is “a biography, not a history.”
Although this source is in the form of a biography, it contains valuable historical information on political developments and state formation in northern India during the first half of the sixteenth century. The fluid political situation of this period, which witnessed the political transition from the Afghans to the Mughals, offered excellent opportunities to the sturdy warlords who staked claims at forming their own kingdoms. One of these warlords, Farid Khan succeeded in concentrating the resources and power, recruited militia, expanded his sphere of influence and eventually ousted the Mughals to form his own empire. Farid Khan achieved this by his political ingenuity and administrative skills that he learnt while managing his father’s jagir (revenue bearing land) in southern Bihar.
This is a valuable source for the South Asian history. The politically unsettled conditions of the first half of the sixteenth century remind of the similar circumstances in the first half of the eighteenth century. The region that had given rise to Sher Shah once again harbored many warlords cum state-builders who were accumulating more wealth and power. Taking cue from these warlords and after an initial foray into zamindari, the EIC expanded militarily and politically and formed its own Indian empire.
Táríkh-i Sher Sháhí; or, Tuhfat-i Akbar Sháhí, of 'Abbás Khán Sarwání
[Praise of God and the Prophet.]
*[This passage is not in Sir H. Elliot's MS., in which the mention of Chapter III. comes immediately after the doxology.] The First Chapter contains the history of the reign of Sher Sháh Súr. The Second relates the history of the reign of Islám Sháh, son of Sher Sháh Súr. The Third Chapter concerns the history of the princes who were descended from Sher Sháh, and who, subsequent to Islám Khán, laid claim to the sovereignty, and struck coin and read the khutba in their own names; and who dethroned the son of Islam Sháh.
I, the humble sweeper of the threshold of the dweller in the palace the Second Alexander, the author of the history of the reigns of the Afgháns—'Abbás, son of Shaikh 'Alí Sarwání— write by order of the Emperor Akbar.
I derive my information from trustworthy Afgháns, skilled in the science of history and in rhetoric, who accompanied the king from the beginning of his fortunes to the end of his reign, and were employed in his confidential service. I have written also what I have well ascertained from others. Whatever was opposed to the information thus acquired, and could not stand the touchstone of truth, I have rejected.
When Sultán Bahlol, of the family of Sáhú-khail, of the tribe of Lodi Afghán, possessed the throne of Dehlí, there were many persons in the various kingdoms of Hind who struck coin, and had the khutba read in their own names, and who were hostile to him.
Sultán Mahmúd bin Sultán Ibráhím Sharkí possessed the throne of Jaunpúr, Sultán Mahmúd Khiljí reigned in Málwá, Sultán Kutbu-d dín in Gujarát, Sultán 'Aláu-d dín Ahmad Sháh in the Dekhin, and Sultán Zainu-l 'ábidín in Kashmír; but the names of the rulers of Bengal *[The writer of Gen. Cunningham's MS. remarks that this is an extraordinary statement, considering that the author, in the course of his work, gives the history of the wars of Sher Sháh and his sons with the kings of Bengal.] and Tatta are not known to me. The ruler of Multán was Shaikh Yúsuf, the spiritual successor of Shaikh Makhdúm Baháu-d dín Zakariyá Kuraishí. As long as Sultán Bahlol remained within the great city of Dehlí, the capital, no one of these Sultáns placed the foot of presumption in the plain of opposition.
Ráí Síhar Langáh, Zamíndár of Zábírí,*["Bari," Gen. Cunningham's MS.] having expelled Shaikh Yúsuf from the city of Multán, himself assumed the kingdom, with the title of Sultán Kutbu-d dín. Shaikh Yúsuf came to Dehlí and entreated the Sultán's aid. Sultán Bahlol and his veteran army having accordingly set out for Multán, in company with Shaikh Yúsuf, Sultán Mahmúd of Jaunpúr came to Dehlí and besieged it.
Sultán Bahlol was at Dípálpúr when he heard the distressing intelligence of the siege of Dehlí, and he said to his nobles and ministers: “The countries of Hind are broad and rich, and their kings are of Indian extraction. In my own land I have many kinsmen renowned for their valour and strength, who are pressed for a livelihood. Were they here they would be relieved from the contempt of poverty, and I could grasp Hind and destroy my enemies.”
His chiefs replied: “*** It is expedient under present circumstances that His Majesty the Sultán should send letters to the chiefs of the tribes in the Roh country to this effect: ‘God in his goodness has granted the kingdom of Dehlí to the Afgháns, but the other kings of Hind wish to expel them from the country. The honour of our women is concerned; the lands of Hind are broad and rich, and can afford maintenance to many. Come, then, to this country; the name indeed of sovereignty shall remain with me, but whatever countries we may conquer shall be shared between us as brothers. Sultán Mahmúd of Jaunpúr is now besieging Dehlí, where the families of the Afgháns are. If you feel disposed to assist me, you must do so now, and with a large force.’” ** The king, approving of this advice, issued farmáns to the chiefs of the various Afghán tribes. On receipt of the farmáns, the Afgháns of Roh came, as is their wont, like ants and locusts, to enter the king's service.
When they drew near to Dehlí, a force was sent by Sultán Mahmúd Sharkí to give them battle. Fath Khán Hirawí, Sipah-sálár of Sultán Mahmúd, had with him a large force, and elephants like mountains; but the Afgháns, in a moment, overthrew his army and levelled it with the dust. When Sultán Mahmúd heard of the death of Fath Khán, he fled without fighting, and of the countries of Hind a considerable portion fell on this occasion into the possession of Sultán Bahlol.
Kálú Khán, chief of the Mahmúd-khail, of the family of Sáhú-khail Bahlolí, was wounded in the engagement above mentioned, and Sultán Bahlol sent him a present of money by way of recompense; but he refused it, saying, “I did not come here to sell my wounds.” At the same time, many of the chiefs of name besought the king for leave to depart. The king entreated them to remain, but they said:—“We came on this occasion to succour and assist you, to save the reputation and honour of your women. Dismiss us now we entreat of you, hereafter we will again return to your service.” The king loaded them with presents of money and goods of all kinds, beyond their utmost expectations, and provided them with everything they could possibly want. Such Afgháns as chose to remain in his service he ennobled, and gave them jágírs to their full content. Kálú Khán, however, said:—“Your Majesty must excuse my declining to accept anything, as I did not come to this country from any worldly motives.”
When the chiefs of the tribes of Roh had gone, the king commanded his nobles, saying:—“Every Afghán who comes to Hind from the country of Roh to enter my service, bring him to me. I will give him a jágír more than proportioned to his deserts, and such as shall content him; but if he for reasons of kindred or friendship prefers remaining in the service of any one of you, do you provide for him to his satisfaction; for if I hear of one Afghán from Roh returning thither again for want of a livelihood or employment, I will resume the jágírs of that noble who may have refused to entertain him.” When the Afgháns of Roh heard of this, and saw the favour and affection of the king towards them, they began every day, every month, and every year, to arrive in Hind, and received jágírs to their heart's content.
It was at the time of this bounty of Sultán Bahlol, that the grandfather of Sher Sháh, by name Ibráhím Khán Súr,*The Súr represent themselves as descendants of Muhammed Súr, one of the princes of the house of the Ghorians, who left his native country, and married a daughter of one of the Afghán chiefs of Roh. with his son Hasan Khán, the father of Sher Sháh, came to Hindu-stán from Afghánistán, from a place which is called in the Afghán tongue “Shargarí,”*[Var. "Zaghari," "Zhaghari."] but in the Multán tongue “Rohrí.” It is a ridge, a spur of the Sulaimán Mountains, about six or seven kos in length, situated on the banks of the Gumal. They entered into the service of Muhabbat Khán Súr, Dáúd Sáhú-khail, to whom Sultán Bahlol had given in jágír the parganas of Hariána and Bahkála, etc., in the Panjáb, and they settled in the pargana of Bajwára.
Sher Sháh was born in the reign of Sultán Bahlol, and they named him Faríd Khán.*The Táríkh-i Khán Jahán Lodí (MS. p. 151) says he was born in Hisár-Fírozah.
After some time had elapsed, Ibráhím Khán left Muhabbat Khán, and entered the service of Jamál Khán Sárang-kháni, of Hisár-Fírozah, who bestowed on him several villages in pargana Nárnaul for the maintenance of forty horsemen. And Míán Hasan Khán, the father of Faríd Khán, entered the service of Masnad-i 'álí 'Umar Khán Sarwání Kalkapúr, who bore the title of Khán-i 'azam, and was a counsellor and courtier of Sultán Bahlol. After the death of Masnad-i 'álí Tátár Khán, Bahlol gave (the government of) Láhore to this 'Umar Khán, who held as jágírs, in the sirkár of Sirhind, Bhatnúr, Sháhábád, and Páelpúr; and 'Umar Khán gave several villages in the pargana of Sháhábád as a jágír to Hasan Khán.
After some time, Faríd Khán said to his father Hasan Khán, “Take me before Masnad-i 'álí 'Umar Khán, and say for me: ‘Faríd Khán wishes to serve you—order him on any duty of which he is capable.’” Hasan Khán declined compliance on account of his tender age, recommending him to wait some time longer. Faríd Khán then spoke to his mother, and his mother said to Hasan Khán—“Since he desires to see the Masnad-i 'álí, take him with you—perhaps he may be pleased at the request of so young a boy, and give him something” Hasan Khán, to please Faríd and his mother, took him with him before Masnad-i 'álí 'Umar Khán, and said:—“Faríd wishes to serve you.” 'Umar Khán replied—“Faríd is now a little boy; when he is fit for my service I will employ him. For the present I give him Balhú, a hamlet of the village of Maháwalí.*[Var. "Háni."]” Hasan Khán and Faríd Khán were exceedingly delighted, and when Faríd got home he said to his mother—“My father would not take me but at your request, and Masnad-i 'álí has given me a village in pargana Sháhábád.”
Several years after this, Ibráhím Khán, the father of Hasan Khán, died at Nárnaul. Hasan Khán, when he heard of his father's death, left Sháhábád, and coming before 'Umar Khán, who was with Sultán Bahlol's army, requested leave of absence to condole with the members of his father's family and retainers, saying he would return with them, for that he would not quit 'Umar Khán's service for any worldly advancement. 'Umar Khán replied: “You are aware that I have already given you your share of the jágírs which I possess, nor can I entertain more men. Your father's retainers now all look to you. You will be able to obtain you father's jágír, or even a larger one than your father's was. I am not so unjust to my own tribe as to keep you on a small jágír.” Such were the Afghán nobles, and such their favour towards their own race and kindred, that if they saw their Afgháns could elsewhere obtain more than they themselves were able to give, they at once sent them with recommendations in search of better employment.
Hasan Khán was well pleased, and the next day Masnad-i 'álí sent for Jamál Khán, and strongly recommending Hasan Khán to him, persuaded him to bestow on him his father's jágír, with several villages in addition to it, and said, “Whatever kindness you show to Hasan Khán, you will be doing a favour to me.” Then giving Hasan Khán a horse and a dress of honour, he dismissed him. After this, Hasan Khán did such service for Jamál Khán as satisfied and pleased him.
After Sultán Bahlol's death, Sikandar his son succeeded, and conquered Jaunpúr from his brother Baibak, and conferred the súbah on Jamál Khán, and ordered him to keep up 12,000 horse, and to assign them jágírs. Jamál Khán, who was much pleased with Hasan Khán's good service, took him with him, and gave him in jágír the parganas of Sahsarám, Hájípúr, and Tánda,*The other historians, as Nia'matu-lla, are more specific, and call it Kháspúr Tánda, which is one of the parganas attached to the sirkár of Janpúr. near Benares, to maintain 500 horsemen.
Hasan Khán had eight sons. Faríd Khán and Nizám Khán were born of one Afghán mother; 'Alí and Yúsuf of another mother; Khurram *Some copies, as well as the Makhzan-i Afghání, read Mudáhir instead of Khurram, and make him own brother to Sulaimán and Ahmad. and Shádí Khán of a third; Sulaimán and Ahmad of a fourth.
Hasan Khán did not care for or love the mother of Faríd and Nizám, but was very fond of his slave-girls, and was especially attached to the mother of Sulaimán and Ahmad; and she gained such influence over Hasan Khán, that she entirely ruled him. Angry words often passed between Hasan and Faríd. When he was assigned jágírs, Míán Hasan showed little partiality to Faríd, and did not give him a jágír which contented him. Faríd Khán, annoyed with his father, went to Jamál Khán at Jaunpúr. When Míán Hasan discovered that Faríd had gone there, he wrote to Jamál Khán thus: “Faríd Khán, being annoyed with me, has gone to you without sufficient cause. I trust in your kindness to appease him, and send him back; but if refusing to listen to you, he will not return, I trust you will keep him with you, for I wish him to be instructed in religious and polite learning.”
Jamál Khán sent for Faríd, and advised him in every possible way to return to his father; but he refused, and said, “If my father wants me back to instruct me in learning, there are in this city many learned men: I will study here.” Jamál Khán made no further objection. Faríd employed himself in studying Arabic at Jaunpúr. He also studied thoroughly the Káfíá,*A work on grammar. with the commentaries of Kází Shahábu-d dín, and the biographies of most of the kings of ancient times. He had got by heart the Sikandar-náma, the Gulistán, and Bostán, etc., and was also reading the works of the philosophers. Subsequently, whenever, during his reign, learned men came to ask him for a maintenance (madad-ma'ásh), he used to ask them about the Háshia-i Hindia, and he still retained his liking for books of history and the lives of ancient kings.
It happened after some years, that Hasan Khán came to Jamál Khán, when all his kinsmen who were in Jaunpúr reproached him for having sent Faríd away from his presence for the sake of a slave-girl; and they remarked that Faríd Khán, young as he was, gave promise of future greatness; that he bore the marks of excellence on his forehead, and that in all the tribe of Súr there was none who possessed learning, talent, wisdom, and prudence like him; and he had qualified himself so well, that if Hasan Khán would entrust him with the charge of a pargana, he would discharge it excellently well, and perfectly perform all his duties. Hasan Khán assented to what his kindred said, and replied, “Pacify him and bring him to me; I will agree to whatever you say.” His friends replied, “As you are generally in Jaunpúr in attendance on Jamál Khán, it is advisable you should entrust the administration of your two parganas to Faríd.” Hasan Khán agreed to his kinsmen's request. In great glee they came to Faríd, and said, “Míán Hasan has agreed to everything we have said in your behalf, and has dissented from nothing. It behoves you also to assent to what we say to you.” Faríd Khán replied, “I will agree to anything you may say, nor will I ever draw back from it; but as soon as Hasan Khán sees the face of the slave-girl, he will do whatever she tells him.” His kinsmen rejoined: “Do you nevertheless agree; if he departs from his agreement with us, we will remonstrate with him.”
When Faríd heard these words of his kinsmen, he said, “To please you I accept the management of the two districts. I will not fail to do my duty to the best of my power.” Faríd Khán, much pleased, accompanied his relatives to his father's presence. His father also was much gratified, and kept him for some months with him. Afterwards, Hasan Khán wished to send Faríd to the parganas; but Faríd representing to Hasan Khán that he wished first to speak with him, he obtained leave to do so, and thus began: “Many soldiers and subordinates, our kinsmen, have jágírs in these parganas. I shall devote myself to increase the prosperity of the district, and that depends on a just administration; for it has been said by the learned:” *** When Hasan Khán heard his son's speech he was much gratified, and said:—“I will give you the power both to grant and to resume the soldier's jágírs, and I will not reverse anything you may do.” He accordingly sent Faríd Khán to his two parganas, with every mark of favour.
When he got to his jágírs, he said:—“Let all the head men, (mukaddamán) and the cultivators (muzárí'án) on whose labour the prosperity of the district depends, and all the village accountants (patwárís), attend my presence. When they came, he summoned also the soldiery, and thus addressed them:—“My father (abú) has committed to me the power of appointing and dismissing you. I have set my heart on improving the prosperity of the district, in which object also your own interests are concerned; and by this means I hope to establish my reputation.” *** When he had finished exhorting the soldiery, he turned to the peasantry, and said:—“This day I give you your choice as to your mode of payment. Do whatever is most advantageous to your own interests in every possible way.”
Some of the head-men asked for written agreements for a fixed money rent;*In two copies jarib ; in one, patta-kabúliyat. others preferred payment in kind (kismat-í ghalla). Accordingly he gave leases and took agreements, and fixed the payments for measuring the fields (jaríbána), and the fees for the tax-collectors and measurers (muhassilána); and he said to the Chaudharis and head-men:—“I know well that the cultivation depends on the humble peasants, for if they be ill off they will produce nothing, but if prosperous they will produce much. I know the oppressions and exactions of which you have been guilty towards the cultivators; and for this reason I have fixed the payments for measurements, and the tax-gatherers' fees,—that if you exact from the cultivators more on this account than is fixed, it may not be credited to you in making up your accounts. Be it known to you, that I will take the accounts of the fees in my own presence. Whatever dues are rightly taken I will sanction, and compel the cultivators to pay them; and I will also collect the Government dues for the autumn harvest in the autumn, and for the spring harvest in the spring; for balances of Government dues are the ruin of a pargana, and the cause of quarrels between the cultivators and the Government officers. It is right for a ruler to show leniency to the cultivators at the period of measurement, and to have a regard to the actual produce; but when the time of payment comes he should show no leniency, but collect the revenue with all strictness. If he perceives the cultivators are evading payment, he should so chastise them as to be an example to others not to act in the same way.” He then said to the peasantry:—“Whatever matter you have to represent, bring it always yourselves to me. I will suffer no one to oppress you.”
Having thus addressed them, he dismissed them with honorary dresses to carry on their cultivation. After dismissing the cultivators, he said to his father's officers:—“The cultivators are the source of prosperity. I have encouraged them and sent them away, and shall always watch over their condition, that no man may oppress and injure them; for if a ruler cannot protect humble peasantry from the lawless, it is tyranny to exact revenue from them. There are certain zamíndárs who have been behaving contumaciously in these parganas, who have not presented themselves at the Governor's court (mahkama-i-hákim), do not pay their full revenue, and harass the villages in their neighbourhood—how shall I overcome and destroy them?” They replied:—“Most of the troops are with Míán Hasan; wait a few days and they will return.” Faríd said, “I cannot have patience while they refuse to come to me, and continue to oppress and injure the people of God; do you consider what I can contrive against these rebels, and how I may chastise them.”
He ordered his father's nobles to saddle 200 horses, and to see how many soldiers there were in the pargana, and he sent for all the Afgháns and men of his tribe who were without jágírs, and said to them,—“I will give you subsistence and clothing till Míán Hasan returns. Whatever goods or money you may get from the plunder of these rebels is yours, nor will I ever require it of you; and whoever among you may distinguish himself, for him I will procure a good jágír from Míán Hasan. I will myself give you horses to ride on.” When they heard this they were much pleased, and said they would not fail in doing their duty under his auspices. He put the men who had engaged to serve him in good humour by all sorts of favours, and by gifts of clothes, etc., and presented them also with a little money.
He then sent to the cultivators for horses, saying, “Bring your horses to me as a loan for a few days, as I particularly require them. When I return after finishing this business, I will give you back your horses.” They willingly and cheerfully agreed to lend their horses, and from every village they brought one or two horses, and put on the saddles which they had ready in their houses, etc. Faríd gave to every one of his soldiers who had not one of his own, a horse to ride, and hastened against the rebels, and plundered their villages, bringing away the women and children, cattle and property. To the soldiery he made over all the property and quadrupeds which came into their possession; but the women and children and the peasantry he kept himself in confinement, and sent to the head-men, saying:—“Pay me my rights; if not, I will sell your wives and children, and will not suffer you to settle anywhere again. Wherever you may go, thither will I pursue you; and to whatever village you may go, I will command the head men to seize and make you over to me, or else I will attack them also.” When the head-men heard these words, they sent to say: “Pardon our past offences, and if hereafter we do anything you do not approve, punish us in any way you choose.” Faríd Khán sent to say in reply, “Give security, in order that if you offend and abscond, your security may be held responsible for your appearance.” So the head-men, whose wives and families he had in confinement, paid what was due from them to Government, and gave security for their appearance, and so released their wives and families.
There were some zamíndárs who had committed all sorts of offences, such as theft and highway robbery, and refusing to pay revenue, never came to the Governor's presence, but were insolent from confidence in their numbers. Although these were often warned, they took no heed. Faríd Khán collected his forces, and commanded that every one of his villagers who had a horse should come riding upon it, and that he who had not a horse should come on foot. And he took with him half his own soldiers, and the other half he employed in collecting revenue and other local duties.
When the soldiers and peasantry were assembled, he marched towards the villages of the recusants, and at a distance of a kos threw up an earthen entrenchment; and ordered them to cut down the neighbouring jungle. His horsemen he directed to patrol round the villages; to kill all the men they met, and to make prisoners of the women and children, to drive in the cattle, to permit no one to cultivate the fields, to destroy the crops already sown, and not to permit any one to bring anything in from the neighbouring parts, nor to allow any one of them to carry anything out of the village, and to watch them day and night; and he every day repeated the order to his force to invest the village, and not to permit a soul to go out. His footmen he also ordered to cut down the jungle. When the jungle was all cut down, he marched from his former position, and made another entrenchment nearer the village, and occupied it. The rebels were humbled, and sent a representative saying, that if Faríd Khán would pardon their fault, they would submit. Faríd Khán replied that he would not accept their submission, and that there could be nothing but hostility between him and them; to whichever God might please, he would give the victory.
Although the rebels humbled themselves in every way, and offered to pay a large sum of money, yet Faríd Khán would not accept the money, but said to his men:—“This is the way of these rebels: first they fight and oppose their rulers; if they find him weak, they persist in their rebelliousness; but if they see that he is strong, they come to him deceitfully and humble themselves, and agree to pay a sum of money, and so they persuade their ruler to leave them alone; but as soon as they find an opportunity, they return to their evil ways. ***
Early in the morning, Faríd Khán mounted and attacked the criminal zamíndárs, and put all the rebels to death, and making all their women and children prisoners, ordered his men to sell them or keep them as slaves; and brought other people to the village and settled them there. When the other rebels heard of the death, imprisonment, and ruin of these, they listened to wisdom, repented of their contumacy, and abstained from theft and robbery.
If any soldier or peasant had a complaint, Faríd would examine it in person, and carefully investigate the cause, nor did he ever give way to carelessness or sloth.
In a very short time, both parganas became prosperous, and the soldiery and peasantry were alike contented. When Míán Hasan heard of this, he was much pleased; and in all companies used to make mention of the prosperity of his parganas, the gallantry of his son, and the subjection of the zamíndárs.
The fame of Faríd's wisdom was noised abroad over the kingdom of Bihár, and all the nobles of that country who heard of it praised it. He gained a reputation among men, and satisfied and pleased all his friends and others, except a few enemies, such as the mother of Sulaimán.
When, after some time, Míán Hasan came to his home from attendance on Masnad-i 'álí Míán Jamál Khán, all the vassals and soldiery with one voice unanimously proclaimed their wellbeing, and he witnessed himself the prosperity of the country and replenishment of the treasury, and was extremely delighted with Faríd. The dislike which he formerly entertained was dispelled, and he distinguished both brothers with all kinds of favours. “I am now old,” he said, “nor can I bear the labour and trouble and thought of governing the parganas and the soldiery while I live; do you manage them.”
This speech displeased Sulaimán and his mother, and they made all kinds of lying and false complaints to Míán Hasan, and the money which Faríd had, for his sister's wedding, given to Sulaimán, they changed, and showed to Míán Hasan, declaring it was bad. Every day they complained and railed against Faríd Khán, but Míán Hasan gave ear to none of them. Sulaimán and his mother perceived that Míán Hasan was not incensed against Faríd by their lying complaints, but said to them, “It is not right that you should always rail at Faríd. Except you two, there is not a person among my friends, soldiers, or vassals, who complains of him; and I also am satisfied and grateful for his conduct and excellent behaviour, for both my parganas are prosperous.”
When the mother of Sulaimán heard Míán Hasan thus speak, she was overcome with grief, and discontinued complaining to Míán Hasan, but from that day seldom held any intercourse with Míán Hasan. She publicly displayed her grief, and the love and the intimacy which Míán Hasan had previously enjoyed with her were interrupted. Míán Hasan perceived her great affliction, and one day said to her, “What is the cause of your grief? and what is the reason of your shunning me?” She replied, “I was once your humble slave, you distinguished me by your love and affection, and the rest of your family, from envy, are little affectionate towards me; nor yet, to the best of my ability, have I failed in my duty to them. He (Faríd) is your eldest son, and looks to succeed to your position, and if, during your life, you do not distinguish my sons as well as Faríd, nor give them the management of a pargana, I will in your presence kill myself and my sons; for in your lifetime they should acquire property. Faríd and your kindred, who are my enemies, after your death will insult and turn us out of the parganas. Therefore, it is better for us to die in your presence, than to survive dishonoured among our enemies.”
Míán Hasan, bound in the chain of her love, and helpless from the force of his affection (from which to the lover there is no escape), was persuaded by her, and withdrew his fickle affections from his eldest son, and sought to remove him from the country, and to place his other sons in his room. The mother of Sulaimán said, “I hope much from your love, but your relatives will not permit you to take away the management of the parganas from Faríd.” Míán Hasan, who was entangled in the noose of her love, swore a solemn oath to her and appeased her.
After this Míán Hasan sought to discover some fault in Faríd, and to remove him, and employed himself in examining his actions. Excessive aversion was kindled and angry words passed between Míán Hasan and Faríd. When Faríd discovered that Míán Hasan had promised the mother of Sulaimán that he would give the management of both parganas to her sons, and had violated the promise which he had given to his kinsmen, Faríd threw up the management of them, and sent to Míán Hasan, saying, “So long as I saw my father's affections and kindness turned towards me, I carried on the business of the parganas—now make anybody manager you like. Certain persons from envy and enmity have conveyed to your hearing reports which have grieved you. My father, inquire into them, as I shall show you how.” ***
Míán Hasan sent to Faríd in reply, saying, “There is no reason that I should make inquiries; for while I was even absent with the army, I understood the real state of the parganas, and that you doubled the prosperity of the country. And if you have appropriated anything, well and good. It is your own property, and it is no reproach. *** Your degenerate brothers, Sulaimán and the rest, give me daily annoyance. I do not think they are able to manage the country. However much I advise, it makes no impression on them: they have taken away my rest and peace, and their mother is interfering perpetually in my affairs on behalf of her sons. I am obliged to permit Sulaimán and Ahmad to act for a short time as shikkdárs of the parganas, that I may be freed from this daily and nightly vexation.” When Faríd heard these words from his father, he said, “The two parganas are my father's, let him give their management to whomsoever he will.”
When Míán Hasan's relations heard that he had taken away the management of the two parganas from Faríd, and was intending to confer it on Sulaimán and Ahmad, and that Faríd was preparing to go to Ágra to gain his livelihood (for in those days Ágra was the capital city), they came to Míán Hasan, and said:—“It is not right for you to take away the management of the parganas from this son, and give it to Sulaimán and Ahmad; for Faríd, by his care, has doubled their prosperity, and has so established his authority in them, as no one ever before did, nor has he committed any fault for which he ought to be removed. It is not right to quarrel with such an able son in your old age; especially in these times, when the authority of Sultán Ibráhím is shaken, and every Afghán of influence is aiming at power and independence.”
Míán Hasan replied to his relatives, “I know it is not right to grieve Faríd; but what can I do? for Sulaimán and his mother have driven me into a strait, nor do they give me a moment's rest. *** I am an old man, the time of my death is near at hand. I cannot break my promise. I give the management of the parganas to Sulaimán and Ahmad during my life. If they govern well, so that the parganas prosper, the people are happy and the soldiery content, well and good; for then during my lifetime they will acquire a good name. For thus Faríd has gained a name among men, and has gladdened my heart. Wheresoever he may go, he will be able to gain his own livelihood. But if they prove unfit, they will (at any rate) be for some time during my life laying up worldly goods. Of this I am certain, that after my death the government of the parganas will be conferred on Faríd, who is deserving of it.” ***
When his kinsmen heard this reply of Míán Hasan, they said, “You send Faríd away from you to please a slave-girl! It is wrong in these times to stir up strife for a slave-girl's sake. For from the proceedings of the Lohánís in Bihár, it appears that they will shortly throw off the king's yoke, and declare their independence. It has been said, ‘it is wrong to place confidence in women,’” etc. *** But in spite of what his relatives said, Míán Hasan, who was a captive in the bonds of his love for the slave-girl, did not assent to their representation.
When Faríd entertained no longer any hope from Míán Hasan, he took leave of his friends, and set off for Ágra, by way of Káhnpúr (Cawnpore), which pargana then belonged to the jágír of 'Azím Humáyún Sarwání, who there maintained a large number of followers. Most of the Sarwánís were settled in that neighbourhood. When Faríd reached Káhnpúr, the Sar-wánís who were connected by marriage with Míán Hasan entertained Faríd. Among them, one Shaikh Isma'íl was present. Faríd asked who he was. The Sarwánís at first said that he was a Sarwání; but afterwards that he was a Súr of Faríd's own tribe, but that his mother was a Sarwání. Faríd said to him, “Why did you not tell me you were a Súr?” Shaikh Isma'íl said, “I did not tell you that I was a Sarwání, but if they said so, what fault is it of mine?” Faríd said to Shaikh Isma'íl, “Come with me.” Shaikh Isma'íl and Ibráhím both accompanied Faríd, and in the battle in which Faríd defeated Kutb Sháh, King of Bengal, Isma'íl greatly distinguished himself. Habíb Khán Kákar, who was his sister's son and lived in his house, slew Kutb Sháh with an arrow, and as Habíb Khán was a follower of Shaikh Isma'íl, the latter got the credit of having killed Kutb Sháh. On that occasion, Faríd gained the surname of Sher Sháh, and he bestowed that of Shujá'at Khán on Shaikh Isma'íl. When Sher Sháh Súr gained the kingdom of Hindustán, he bestowed the government of Mandú on him, and gave to Ibráhím Khán, who also attained to great consideration, the title of Sarmast Khán.
It so happened that when Faríd arrived at Ágra, Daulat Khán, the son of Budhú (who had been brought up in 'Azím Humáyún Sarwání's house), held the command of 12,000 horse, and was in great favour with Sultán Ibráhím. Faríd Khán chose Daulat Khán for his patron, and did him such good service that Daulat Khán often said: “I am ashamed to look Faríd Khán in the face; if he will only say what I can do for him, I will not fail to use my utmost endeavours to accomplish his desire, only let him say what he wants.”
When Faríd understood that Daulat Khán took an interest in his affairs, he wrote saying, “Míán Khán is old, and his senses are failing him, and he is spell-bound and infatuated with a Hindu slave-girl. Whatever she tells him he does, and has permitted her to manage his districts, and she has trampled on all his relatives, and disgusted his soldiery and the people he rules. Both parganas are falling to ruin from the folly of this slave-woman. If the king will confer on me the two parganas, I and my brother will, with 500 horse, serve him in any place or way he orders, in addition to the service Míán Hasan now renders. When Daulat Khán heard his request, he encouraged him in every possible way, and said, “Be of good heart, for I will tell the king the truth about Míán Hasan, and will get the parganas taken from your father and given to you.”
Daulat Khán, on representing the state of Míán Hasan's case to the king, said:—“Faríd is the ablest of his sons, and has long managed the parganas. The soldiery and inhabitants are content with him. If the king will bestow on him the management of the two parganas, he and his brother will do whatever duty you may command with 500 horse.” The king replied, “He is a bad man who complains against and accuses his own father.” Daulat Khán informed Faríd, and said:—“This reply came from the king's own mouth, but do not you be cast down. God willing, I will get for you the management of these two parganas, and will, moreover, watch over your interests.” When Faríd heard the matter, he was grieved, but to please Daulat Khán remained with him. He assisted Faríd with money, and indeed gave him such a daily allowance as to enable him to accumulate somewhat.
After some time Míán Hasan died. On the third day after his death Sulaimán placed Míán Hasan's turban on his own head, and was sitting among his friends when Míán Nizám came, accompanied by his partisans, and took the turban from off Sulaimán's head, saying, “It does not become you, in the absence of your elder brother, who is celebrated for every excellent quality, and is on service with the king, to place the turban of Míán Hasan on your own head. Have a fear of God! Have you no shame before the people of the Lord, that you thus act in contravention of law and custom, and create a cause of contention? During our father's life you acted ungenerously to Faríd through your mother's influence; on my father's account I could say nothing. Had it been otherwise, your strength and courage should have been tried; but now such conduct is no longer right. It behoves you to act to Faríd in a very different manner from what you have in times past; and abandon strife, for it is not good to contend with your elder brother. Míán Hasan in his lifetime assigned separate jágírs to his sons; be content with this, and resign your superiority; for it is your elder brother's right. If you will not give up fighting, you will become dependent on others; nor will any one speak well of you. Contention will only get you a bad name and ruin the parganas.” Sulaimán said, “If my brother treats me with any kindness, I cannot choose but serve him.”
After this Míán Nizám wrote to Faríd, telling him of the death of Míán Hasan, and of the whole affair. When Faríd got the news, he performed the usual mourning, and told Daulat Khán the posture of affairs as regarded Sulaimán. Daulat Khán said, “Do not be anxious. Please God, the king will give you the government of the two parganas.” Daulat Khán told the king the news of Míán Hasan's death, and procuring farmáns for the two parganas, gave them to Faríd, and procured him also leave to go to his jágír, that he might establish his possession and authority over them, and console his family and followers; after which he was again to present himself before the king. When Faríd arrived, all his relations and all the soldiery came out to meet him, and yielded obedience to the farmán. Sulaimán, unable to oppose him, went away to Muhammad Khán Súr Dáúd-Sháh-khail, governor of the pargana of Chaundh, etc., who commanded 1500 horse. As there had been some little ill-feeling between this Muhammad Khán and Hasan Khán, he desired nothing better than that the brothers should quarrel, and both become dependent on him. He said to Sulaimán, “Have patience for a short while, for Faríd has got a royal farmán for the government. But Sultán Ibráhím has maltreated the nobles of Sultán Bahlol and Sultán Sikandar, and they have all retired to their own districts, and remain there. And the Khán-khánán Yúsuf-khail, who was governor of the Panjáb, etc., has sent his son Diláwar Khán to Kábul, to fetch the Emperor Bábar, and he is now coming back with the Mughals. There will be war between the two monarchs. If Sultán Ibráhím prevails, you must go to him, and I will write to him on your behalf, and describe Faríd as hostile to Míán Hasan, as well as yourself, and that Míán Hasan preferred you. Whatever assistance your fortune gives you, you will get; and if the Mughals conquer, I will by force take the parganas from Faríd, and give them to you.” Sulaimán replied, “I have taken refuge with you from fear of Faríd. Because there is none like you in the tribe of Súr, I place myself in your hands.” Shortly after Muhammad Khán sent his vakíl to Faríd with this message: “Listen to my advice, and have respect to my interference. I come to mediate between you; whichever of you declines my mediation will bring shame on his kindred.” Faríd Khán wrote in reply, “You are, indeed, very great and powerful, and the Dáúd-Sháh-khail is the most exalted among the tribes of Súr; the chieftaincy of the tribe is therefore yours of right. ** The truth is not hid from you, my lord; which is, that in my father's lifetime he was always disputing with me. Even after his death, I offered to give my three brothers a larger jágír than had been assigned to them during my father's lifetime, and I said to Sulaimán, ‘Let us put aside the ill-feeling that existed between us during our father's life, and let us pass the rest of our lives in amity and affection.’ *** I send my brother Nizám to bring him to me, and I will give him such a jágír as will satisfy him; but let him put aside the desire of sharing as his portion in (the government of) my pargana; for while I live he shall never obtain this.” When Muhammad Khán's vakíl reported what Faríd Khán had said and written, Muhammad Khán said to Sulaimán, “Faríd Khán will not give you a share quietly. I will make him do so by force.” ***
Sulaimán was much delighted; but the matter was reported to Faríd Khán, who consulted with his brother Nizám and his other adherents, and said, “I must ally myself with some one who will be able to oppose Muhammad Khán, and there is no one within reach except Bihár Khán, son of Daryá Khán Lohání. However, it is best to wait a little. If Sultán Ibráhím prevails, no one will be able to say a word against me; for do I not hold the Sultán's farmán? And if (which God avert) the Mughals should defeat Sultán Ibráhím, then indeed I must of necessity ally myself to Bihár Khán, and remain in his service.” After some time news came that the two monarchs had joined battle on the field of Pánípat, and that after a severe contest Sultán Ibráhim had been slain, and that the kingdom of Dehlí had fallen into the hands of the Emperor Bábar, in the year 932. **
Faríd Khán, being thus compelled, went to Bihár Khán, and entered into his service, and employed himself day and night in his business; nor did he rest one moment from it, and from this good service he gained Bihár Khán's favour; so that he had access to him in public and in private, and became one of his most intimate friends. In consequence of his excellent arrangements, he became celebrated throughout the country of Bihár. One day he went out hunting with Bihár Khán, and a tiger (sher) having been started, Faríd Khán slew it. Bihár Khán, who on the death of Sultán Ibráhím had assumed the title of “Sultán Muhammad,” and had caused coin to be struck, and the khutba to be read in his own name throughout the country of Bihár, gave to Faríd Khán, on account of this gallant encounter, the title of “Sher Khán,” and made him the deputy to his son Jalál Khán.
He performed the duties of deputy for a long time, but at length went on leave to visit his own parganas, where he delayed for some time. On account of his long absence, Sultán Muhammad used to talk reproachfully of him, and said, “Sher Khán promised to return very shortly, but has remained a long time away.” Those were days of confusion, no man put entire confidence in another.
Muhammad Khán Súr came to Sultán Muhammad and spoke detractingly of Sher Khán, saying, “He sees some probability of the advent of Sultán Mahmúd, the son of Sultán Sikandar, to whom many of the nobles and Afgháns have given in their adhesion. If Your Majesty commands me, I will contrive to bring Faríd Khán here without any stir. His brother Sulaimán is an able young man, to whom Hasan Khán during his lifetime made over the management of both his parganas, when he banished Sher Khán from his districts, who even formerly preferred an accusation against his own father, and of whom the Sultán said, ‘This is a bad man who complains even against his own father.’ When Hasan Khán died, Faríd Khán, through his patron Daulat Khán, obtained a grant of both parganas from Sultán Ibráhím. Sulaimán was also desirous of going to Sultán Ibráhím, to show the recommendatory letter which Míán Hasan when dying had written to the Sultán. But disturbances arose, and he was unable to go, and has now come to you to complain of his brother. If Your Majesty will confer these parganas on Sulaimán, Faríd Khán will very quickly come unto your presence again. It is now long since that Sulaimán, flying from him, sought refuge with me; and if he attains his rights, he will ever be your obliged servant.” Sultán Muhammad replied, “He has done me much good service, how can I give away his jágírs to another, and that for a trifling fault, and without inquiry? However, to please you they shall both bring their cause before you. Both are similarly related to you—do you favour neither, that the right may be established, and the dust of the enmity which exists between them may be allayed.”
Muhammad Khán, when he was dismissed, returned to his own jágír, and sent Shádí Khán, his confidential servant, to Faríd Khán with a message to this effect:—“It is not right for you to take possession of both parganas and to disinherit your brothers, and lay the foundation of strife among your own kindred. I have sent Shádí Khán to you, and I hope you will take heed to what he will say to you. Your brothers have now been a long time with me, and the laws and customs of the Afgháns are no secret to you.”
When Shádí came to Sher Khán, and delivered at full length Muhammad Khán's message, Sher Khán replied:—“Do you, Shádí Khán, tell the Khán from me, that this is not the Roh country that I should share equally with my brothers. The country of India is completely at the disposal of the king, nor has any one else any share in it, nor is there any regard to elder or younger, or to kindred. Sikandar Lodí thus decided: ‘If any noble dies, whatever money or other effects he may leave should be divided among his heirs according to the laws of inheritance; but his office and his jágírs and his military retinue let him confer on whichever of the sons he thinks most able; and in these no one else has a right to share, nor is any remedy open to them.’ Whatever goods and money my father left, Sulaimán with my brothers appropriated before he sought refuge with you. Hitherto, out of regard for my relationship to you, I have said nothing; but whenever he may quit you, I shall reclaim my share of my patrimonial inheritance from him. The jágír and office were conferred on me by Sultán Ibráhím; in them no one has any share. But I said to my brothers, ‘The jágírs which you enjoyed in my father's lifetime I will continue, nay increase to you; but no one can participate in my office.’ It does not become you to say, ‘Give up Tánda and Malhú to Sulaimán.’ I will not willingly yield them. If you take them by force, and give them to him, it is in your power to do so. I have not another word to say.”
When Shádí returned from Sher Khán, and reported the whole affair to Muhammad Khán, he was much enraged, and said to Shádí, “Take all my forces with you, seize parganas Tánda, and Malhú, and make them over to Sulaimán and Ahmad. If he resists you, fight him with all your might; and if you defeat and put him to flight, make over both parganas to Sulaimán, and, leaving your army to assist him, return to me, lest when he sees Sulaimán with few followers he will attack him.”
When this news reached Sher Khán, he wrote to Sukha, his slave (father of Khawás Khán), the shikkdár of Tánda and Malhú, near Benares, and with whom the greater part of Sher Khán's forces were, apprising him that Sulaimán, accompanied by Shádí Khán, was advancing against him, and directing him not to yield up Tánda and Malhú without resistance. When the army of Muhammad Khán approached, Sukha came out of the city to meet it. In the engagement which followed, Sukha was slain, and his army were defeated and fled to Sher Khán, at Sahsarám, nor did they even rally there.
Some persons advised Sher Khán to go to Sultán Muhammad, but he did not agree to this, saying, “These are uncertain times, the Sultán will not quarrel with Muhammad Khán for my sake. He will endeavour to bring about some compromise; but it is not my interest to enter into a compromise.” Míán Nizám Khán said, “If it be not your interest to make a compromise, I think it will be best to go to Patna; thence, through the intervention of some proper person, to procure an interview with Sultán Junaid Birlás, at Ágra, and to offer to enter his service. Perhaps this might afford an opportunity not only of vengeance on Muhammad Khán, but even of driving him out of Chaundh.” Sher Khán agreed to this, and went to Patna, and sent an agent to Sultán Junaid, at Ágra, saying, “If Sultán Junaid will give me his parole, and promise not to molest me, I will come and wait upon him, and serve him loyally with all my heart and soul.” Sultán Junaid agreeing to this, Sher Khán came to him, bringing with him a very large present. Sultán Junaid was much pleased, and gave him the aid of a large force to recover his parganas. Muhammad Khán and Sulaimán, unable to resist, fled to the hill of Rohtás, and Sher Khán got possession not only of his own parganas, but also of Chaundh and of several parganas which had formerly appertained to the crown. To many of the Afgháns and his kindred who had fled to the mountains, he wrote, promising to double their former jágírs, and said, “The honour of our women is one (to us all); I have accomplished my revenge, and have regained my parganas.” Consequent on the acquisition of these parganas, many Afgháns came to him. When he perceived that many of the Afgháns were collecting round him, he became at ease; gaining confidence, he dismissed the army which Sultán Junaid had sent to his aid with very handsome presents. Sher Khán then wrote to Muhammad Khán Súr, the former ruler of Chaundh, who had fled to the hills, to this effect: “Do not let any fear find its way to your heart, but make your mind quite easy, and come and take possession of your pargana. I have acquired several parganas which formerly paid revenue to Sultán Ibráhím, and do not covet the possessions of my kindred. This is a time of sedition and misfortunes. Every Afghán who has any forces is coveting my government and country, and it therefore behoves those who have the means in such a time to collect for their aid and assistance soldiery of their own tribe, so as to preserve their own dominion, and even gain fresh territory. This, therefore, is the wisest course; let us put away our former envy and hatred, and in place of it let us plant the young tree of love and kindness in our hearts, that it may bring forth the fruit of friendship; and this may be the means of our collecting our friends, and so of attaining high station and dignity.” On receiving Sher Khán's letter, Muhammad Khán came down from the hills, and again took possession of his own parganas of Chaundh, etc.; and he and Sher Khán forgave each other their previous enmity; and Muhammad Khán thus came under obligations to Sher Khán.
Sher Khán, being relieved from all apprehension as regarded Muhammad Khán, went to Sultán Junaid Birlás, at Ágra, and thence accompanied him to the presence of the Emperor Bábar; was admitted to his Court, was present during the affair of Chánderí, and remained for some time amongst the Mughals, and acquainted himself with their military arrangements, their modes of governing, and the character of their nobles. He often said among the Afgháns, “If luck aided me, and fortune stood my friend, I could easily oust the Mughals from Hindustán.” When people heard him speak thus, they ridiculed him, and used to say behind his back, “What vain boasting is this of Sher Khán's; he talks about a thing far beyond his power.”
I, 'Abbás, the writer of the adventures of Sher Khán, have heard from the mouth of Shaikh Muhammad my own uncle, whose age was nearly eighty years, the following story: “I was at the battle of Chánderí, with the force of the victorious Emperor Bábar, the second Farídún, and in attendance on the Khán Khánán Yúsuf-khail, who brought the Emperor Bábar from Kábul, and Shaikh Ibráhím Sarwání said to me, ‘Come to Sher Khán's quarters, and hear his impossible boastings, which all men are laughing at.’ And accordingly we rode over to Sher Khán's quarters. In the course of conversation, Shaikh Ibráhím said: ‘It is impossible that the empire should again fall into the hands of the Afgháns, and the Mughals be expelled from the country.’ Sher Khán replied: ‘Shaikh Muhammad, be you witness now between Shaikh Ibráhím and myself, that if luck and fortune favour me, I will very shortly expel the Mughals from Hind, for the Mughals are not superior to the Afgháns in battle or single combat; but the Afgháns have let the empire of Hind slip from their hands, on account of their internal dissensions. Since I have been amongst the Mughals, and know their conduct in action, I see that they have no order or discipline, and that their kings, from pride of birth and station, do not personally superintend the government, but leave all the affairs and business of the State to their nobles and ministers, in whose sayings and doings they put perfect confidence. These grandees act on corrupt motives in every case, whether it be that of a soldier's, or a cultivator's, or a rebellious zámíndár's. Whoever has money, whether loyal or disloyal, can get his business settled as he likes by paying for it; but if a man has no money, although he may have displayed his loyalty on a hundred occasions, or be a veteran soldier, he will never gain his end. From this lust of gold they make no distinction between friend and foe, and if fortune extends a hand to me, the Shaikh shall soon see and hear how I will bring the Afgháns under my control, and never permit them again to become divided.’”
After some time, Sher Khán waited upon the Emperor one day at an entertainment, when it happened that they placed before him a solid dish, which he did not know the customary mode of eating. So he cut it into small pieces with his dagger, and putting them into his spoon easily disposed of them. The Emperor Bábar remarked this, and wondered at Sher Khán's ingenuity, and said to Khalífa, his minister, who was at his elbow, “Keep an eye on Sher Khán; he is a clever man, and the marks of royalty are visible on his forehead. I have seen many Afghán nobles, greater men than he, but they never made any impression on me; but as soon as I saw this man, it entered into my mind that he ought to be arrested, for I find in him the qualities of greatness and the marks of mightiness.” When Sultán Junaid took his leave, he had recommended Sher Khán strongly to the minister.*Mír Khalífa was the elder brother of Sultán Junaid. Sher Khán had also made him a very handsome present. So he replied to the Emperor: “Sher Khán is without blame, and does not command a sufficient force to become a cause of uneasiness to Your Majesty. If you arrest him, the Afgháns who are present with you will all become suspicious, nor will any other Afghán trust your faith and promises, and hence will arise disunion.” The Emperor was silenced; but Sher Khán sagaciously perceived that the Emperor had spoken something concerning him.
When Sher Khán got to his own quarters, he said to his men: “The Emperor to-day looked much at me, and said something to the minister; and cast evil glances towards me. This is not a fit place for me to remain—I shall go away.” Mounting at once, he left the army. Shortly afterwards the king missed Sher Khán from among the courtiers, and sent for him. The man who was despatched in search of him came to his quarters, but Sher Khán was gone. The Emperor said to the wazír, “If you had not hindered me, I would have arrested him at once; he is about to do something, God only knows what!”
When Sher Khán reached his jágír after leaving the army, he sent a handsome present to Sultán Junaid, and wrote to say, “I was necessitated to quit the king without taking leave. If I had asked for leave, he would not have given it to me. I was compelled to come to my jágír, for my brother Nizám wrote to say that Muhammad Khán and Sulaimán had represented to Sultán Muhammad that I had allied myself with the Mughals, by whose aid I had seized their parganas, and they offered, if ordered, to retake these districts. Sultán Muhammad, however, gave them no answer. When I heard this news, it was impossible for me to remain where I was. I am His Majesty's grateful servant; I will do whatever he desires.”
After this, Sher Khán took counsel with his brother Nizám and others, saying, “I have no longer any confidence in the Mughals, or they in me; I must go to Sultán Muhammad Khán.” He decided on this plan, and when he came to Sultán Muhammad, in Bihár, the latter was much delighted, for he had had experience of his great talent. He entrusted his son Jalál Khán to him, and said: “I make you my son's lieutenant. Do you instruct him with all your care, for he is of tender age.” Sher Khán was much pleased, and took great pains in the discharge of his office. When Sultán Muhammad died, his son Jalál Khán succeeded him, whose mother's name was Dúdú, a concubine; and being himself very young, his mother Dúdú ruled the kingdom, and she made Sher Khán her deputy in the Government of Bihár and its dependencies. After the death of Dúdú, Sher Khán also discharged the duties of the State as deputy for Jalál Khán.
An intimate friendship sprang up between Sher Khán and Makhdúm 'Álam, ruler of Hájípúr, a noble in the service of the King of Gaur and Bengal. The King of Bengal became displeased with Makhdúm 'Álam; for he (the king), having conceived a design of conquering Bihár from the Afgháns, despatched Kutb Khán with a large force for that purpose. Sher Khán earnestly and repeatedly remonstrated. *** Nevertheless, Kutb Khán gave no heed to his remonstrances. Sher Khán therefore said to his Afgháns, “With the Mughals on one side and the army of Bengal on the other, we have no resource save in our own bravery.” The Afgháns replied, “Be of good cheer, for we will fight to the utmost; we will never yield the field until we either conquer or die, nor will we be ungrateful to those we have served so long.” Sher Khán having prepared for a sturdy resistance, met the enemy. A severe action ensued, in which the Bengal army was defeated. In that engagement Shaikh Isma'íl much distinguished himself, and Kutb Khán and Habíb Khán Kákar were with him. Kutb Khán, leader of the Bengal army, was struck by an arrow, and falling off his horse, expired. Shaikh Isma'íl gained the victory, and Sher Khán bestowed on him the title of Shujá'at Khán.*The Táríkh-i Khán-Jahún Lodí says that when he was appointed governor of Málwa, the people called him "Shujáwal Khán." Of the treasure, horses, elephants, etc. which fell into his hands, Sher Khán did not give any part to the Lohánís, and so he became a man of wealth.
The Lohánís were much angered at this, and hostile feelings sprang up between them and Sher Khán; but they did not openly manifest them. Now Makhdúm 'Álam had not assisted Kutb Khán, and as this misfortune had befallen the latter, the King of Bengal sent an army against Makhdúm 'Álam. I, who am the author of the Tuhfa Akbar Sháhí, reckon among my ancestors 'Abbás Khán. Very many sons of 'Abbás Khán were in Sher Khán's service; (of these) he gave to Míán Hasnú the title of Daryá Khán. Among the Khán's nobles, none were equal to him, and he had married Sher Khán's own sister. This Daryá Khán died in the beginning of Sher Sháh's reign. My object in this detail is as follows: Since a connexion exists between Sher Sháh and myself, I am thus better acquainted with his history, which I have learnt from my ancestors. To be brief, Sher Khán was prevented by the hostility of the Lohánís from assisting in person Makhdúm 'Álam, but he sent Míán Hasnú Khán to his assistance. Makhdúm 'Álam made over all his property and worldly possessions to Sher Khán, saying, “If I am victorious, I will reclaim my property; if not, better you should have it than any other.” Makhdúm 'Álam was killed in battle, but Míán Hasnú Khán returned alive, and Makhdúm 'Álam's property fell to Sher Kkán.
The enmity between Sher Khán and the Lohánís increased daily, until the latter at last plotted to kill Sher Khán, and they thus took counsel among themselves, saying, “Sher Khán waits every day upon Jalál Khán with a very small retinue; let us pretend that Jalál Khán is ill. Sher Khán will go inside the palace to inquire after him. When he is returning, and has passed through one gate, and before he reaches the other, let us kill him, while thus inclosed between the two gates of Jalál Khán's palace.”
Some of the Lohánís, who were friends and connexions of Sher Khán, having heard of these machinations, told Sher Khán, who, before receiving the news, had, by his own penetration, discovered from the actions and motions of the Lohánís that they meditated some injury to himself. As he was a wise man he said nothing of the matter, but privately took precaution for his own safety; and all the land and property he had recently acquired he expended in enlisting fresh retainers, to whom he gave jágírs and maintenance to their heart's content; but to the Lohánís he gave nothing. When he perceived that he had got so large a number of new soldiers collected together that the Lohánís could not injure him or prevail against him in battle, he proclaimed the enmity of the Lohánís, and said to Jalál Khán, “You well know that the King of Bengal has the design to send an army and seize to-morrow, if not to-day, the kingdom of Bihár. The Lohánís for three or four descents have enjoyed jágírs, and live at their ease; nay, they even now covet all the newly acquired land. But I, who am your well-wisher, think it fit to entertain fresh men with the money and districts newly acquired; so that your power may be strengthened, and that when the enemy (i.e., the King of Bengal) sees our large force, he may abandon his designs on the kingdom. On this account the Lohánís are dissatisfied with me, and complain of me, and are plotting to do me injury, and out of envy and hatred make all kinds of false complaints and accusations to you against me. If you believe me loyal, uphold that which I have in all loyalty done, and dissuade the Lohánís from their hostility to me, nor listen to what they say. You know that the Lohánís are a much stronger and more powerful tribe than the Súrs; and the custom of the Afgháns is, that if any man has four kinsmen more than another, he thinks little of killing or dishonouring his neighbour. These are troublous times; are you not anxious, and on your guard? For myself, I know the Lohánís are plotting my death. From to-day I shall come to you with every precaution. Excuse me from coming inside of the palace, or, if it be indispensable that I should go within, permit me to enter it with a strong guard.”
Jalál Khán and the Lohánís perceived that Sher Khán had found them out in their designs, and that their plots had failed; so Jalál Khán said to Sher Khán, “What power have the Lohánís that they should regard you with an evil eye? All the Afghán race know that the Lohánís are a foul-mouthed people, and are without caution or prudence, and that their tongues are not under their control. They speak whatever comes to their lips, but they do not act upon it. Come to me, accompanied by your followers, in any manner that may reassure you, and permit no fear or anxiety to find a place in your mind. I will agree to whatever you do.”
Thus assuring Sher Khán in every way, Jalál Khán dismissed him. But after that, the Lohánís and Sher Khán distrusted each other, and there sprang up two parties; those of the Lohánís who had given intelligence to Sher Khán sided with him, and thus the Lohánís themselves became disunited. As enmity had arisen among them, a considerable number of the Lohánís bound themselves by vows and oaths to Sher Khán, who said to them, “I cannot choose but serve Jalál Khán loyally; his father and his mother both showed me kindness; when he was very young, I was appointed to educate him, and I did not fail to use my best endeavours in his education, as he well knows.” *** The Lohánís who had joined themselves to Sher Sháh replied: “The counsel which your heart has approved is very good; for between them and ourselves there has arisen deadly enmity: it is not fitting we should be in the same place.” *** Sher Khán said to the friendly Lohánís, “The scheme which I have devised for my own protection and the good of Jalál Khán is as follows: I shall say to Jalál Khán thus: ‘You have two matters in hand, one to oppose your enemy, the King of Bengal; the other, the preservation of the internal peace of the country, and the collection of revenue from the cultivators.’” *** The Lohánís answered: “You have now a large force with you; there is no necessity for retaining men who are seditious and ill-disposed. Say simply to Jalál Khán that he ought to send them away, and should give their jágírs to other soldiers.” Sher Khán replied: “My object is my own safety; out of regard for one's own life, it is not good to confirm the hostility of one's enemies.” *** All present assented, and afterwards Sher Khán wrote to Jalál Khán in the following terms: “When Sultán Muhammad exalted me to Your Majesty's deputyship, this was displeasing to the envious Lohánís. After Sultán Muhammad's death, your mother employed me in the administration of the kingdom. The envy of the Lohánís increased, and they constantly complained of me, both openly and secretly; but as my skirts were free from the contamination of dishonesty, how much soever they searched my conduct, they could find in my acts no opening through which they might effect my removal from the office of deputy. ** The Mughals who conquered the country from Sultán Ibráhím did not do so by the sword, but through the quarrels which the Afgháns had among themselves. It has become known to me from a great many sources that the Lohánís wish to assassinate me, and day and night employ themselves in contriving how to get me out of the way, and presume on the greater number of their tribe. And you also have two objects: one to oppose your enemy, the ruler of Bengal; the other, to preserve the kingdom against internal enemies, and to collect the revenues. Since your army is split into two parties, opposed to each other, it is impossible to keep them both in one place; therefore, whichever of the two it pleases you keep with yourself, send the other to their jágírs. I have spoken because it was incumbent on me. A man's life is dear to him, he will not part with it for nothing.”
When Jalál Khán was informed of this representation, he said to Sher Khán's vakíl: “Tell Sher Khán that he has right on his side. *** Let him wait a little, for I have powerful enemies: this sedition must be repressed by degrees. I will distinguish the truth from what is false.” When Sher Khán was informed of the reply to his letters, he again sent his vakíl to Jalál Khán's presence to say, “What Your Majesty has said is true. *** Whatever you do, I will obey you; nor will I transgress your orders.
After this, Jalál Khán sent for the Lohánís who sought to kill Sher Khán, and showed them Sher Khán's letters, and said: “Certain of the Lohánís who were aware of your designs went to Sher Khán and informed him, and have joined themselves to him, and they have sworn and vowed, whatever good or ill betide, never to separate from each other. What is to be done?” The Lohánís who sided with Jalál Khán*This expression would seem to imply that Jalál Khán was privy to their plot. As both private and public virtue were strangers to the hearts of these Afghán nobles, we have no reason to hesitate about the perfidy of any of them, especially as Jalál Khán was himself a Lohání. Indeed, Nia'matu-lla, in both his works, distinctly says that the scheme to out off Sher Khán was devised by the Lohánís in co-operation with Jalál Khan. See Dorn, p. 96. replied: “We did not in the least care that Sher Khán has become acquainted with our designs; but it has fallen out ill that so large a number of our brethren should have sided with him, and that disunion should have fallen on the tribe of Lohánís. *** Do you send Sher Khán to his jágírs, and station him there; and do you, with a cheerful and confident mind, go to the King of Bengal, and getting a jágír for yourself in Bengal, make over the kingdom of Bihár to him as a present, before any one else has attempted to seize it.” The advice of the Lohánís pleased Jalál Khán, who, instantly sending for Sher Khán, said: “The Lohánís, who, on account of your loyalty to me, bear enmity against you, will, please God, receive their deserts and punishment. Do you remain to oppose the Mughals, and also administer the affairs of the kingdom. I will go to attack the King of Bengal.” Sher Khán assented, and Jalál Khán, bestowing a horse and dress of honour upon him, sent him off at once.*The object of all this is not very evident; but Nia'matu-lla says it was a sort of strategem, by which it was devised to bring back the Bengális asauxilliaries for the expulsion of Sher Khán from Bihár. The whole counsel is worthy of the children who suggested and assented to it. See Dorn, p. 97. When Sher Khán had reached his jágír at Sahsarám, Jalál Khán went over to the King of Bengal, who attached to his person a division of the army under Ibráhím Khán, son of Kutb Sháh. As soon as Sher Khán heard that Jalál Khán had gone over to the King of Bengal, he was much pleased, and said: “Now the kingdom of Bihár has fallen into my hands. I felt certain that the army of the King of Bengal would assuredly come to attempt the conquest of Bihár, and as enmity existed in the army of Jalál Khán between the Lohánís and myself, I feared lest the enemy should be victorious, for the surest means of defeat are divisions in your own army. Now that the Lohánís are gone to Bengal, there are no quarrels in my army, and if there be no divisions among the Afgháns, how can the Bengal army compare with them in the day of battle? Even the Mughals cannot equal them. Please God, when I have dispersed the Bengal army, you will soon see, if I survive, how I will expel the Mughals from Hindustán.”*Nia'matu-lla tells is that one night about this time, while wandering in the bázár of Bihár, in which excursions he used secretly to deposit gold and clothes on the cushions of the sleeping who were oppressed by indigence,"— a darwesh unexpectedly raised his head and exclaimed, "God be praised! the Emperor of Dehlí has come." Which words Sher Khán regarded as a divine inspiration.- Dorn p. 98. After this, Sher Khán began to strengthen himself, and enlist more men. Wherever there were any Afgháns he sent to them, and gave them any money they asked. Having collected a very large force, and made every preparation, and having gained the good will of his whole army, he placed the country of Bihár in his rear, and proceeded against the army of the King of Bengal, fortifying his position with an earthen circumvallation.
The King of Bengal had appointed Ibráhím Khán the leader of his army, and despatched him to conquer the kingdom of Bihár.*Nia'matu-lla (ibid.) calls him eroneously Ibráhím Sháh, King of Bengal Ibráhím Khán had under him a large Bengal army, and many elephants, and a park of artillery (átish-bází). In the excess of his pride he altogether despised the army of Sher Khán. Sher Khán, keeping under the shelter of his entrenchments, skirmished every day; and in spite of all their endeavours, the army of Ibráhím could not inflict any injury on his forces, on account of the earthen embankments. The Afgháns behaved with great gallantry, and repelled the endeavours of Ibráhím Khán's army to penetrate their entrenchments. Every time the latter attacked, they were compelled to return unsuccessful; but neither army gained any solid advantage over the other. Ibráhím Khán, who was very confident in the prowess of the Bengális, thought that in the day of battle the Afgháns would be no match for them; whereas it was only from his superior numbers, his elephants, and his artillery, that he had up to that time maintained his ground against them: so he wrote to his sovereign to request reinforcements, saying that Sher Khán had taken up a fortified position, and that he was unable to dislodge him with his present force.
When Sher Khán heard that Ibráhím Khán had sent for reinforcements, he called his Afgháns together and said: “I have for some time abstained from meeting the Bengális in the open field, and have kept myself sheltered under entrenchments, and I have brought out only a few men to fight with them, and for this reason, lest they should be discouraged by the large numbers of the enemy. Now I am convinced that the Bengális are much inferior to the Afgháns in war. I have remained within entrenchments for some time without any general engagement, in order that the comparative prowess of the two nations might be manifested, and the presumption of the Bengális be abated, while the Afgháns might be no longer discouraged by the disparity of forces. I will now engage in open battle, for without a general engagement we cannot destroy and disperse our enemies. Praise be to God! whenever such an engagement occurs between Afgháns and Bengális, the Afgháns must prevail. It is impossible that the Bengális can stand against them. At present this is my purpose. To-morrow morning, if you concur with me, hoping in the mercy of the Protector, and trusting on this text, ‘By God's command the lesser number overcomes the greater,’ I will engage the enemy in open battle, for it behoves us not to delay or be backward in this matter, as reinforcements will soon reach them.” The Afgháns replied: “That which your noble mind has determined is extremely right.” ***
When Sher Khán saw the Afgháns were in good heart to engage the Bengális, and that Ibráhím Khán was daily pondering how much longer Sher Khán would yet remain in his entrenchments, and was anxious for an engagement, as he so presumed on the number of his forces that he had encamped them all round Sher Khán's entrenchment, and had not thrown up any works to protect them, he determined to give him battle; and to send his vakíl to tell Ibráhím Khán that it behoved him to be prepared the following morning, as he intended to come out of his entrenchments for that purpose. When Sher Khán told the message to his friends, it pleased them, and he sent his vakíl to Ibráhím Khan, saying, “You have often said to me, ‘Come out of your entrenchments, and let us meet in battle on the open field that we may test each other's prowess.’ I have purposely remained patiently in my entrenchments for a time, hoping that peace might be concluded with you; but if you will agree to no peace, to-morrow morning put your army in array and come out, so that we may meet in open battle.” Ibráhím Khán replied to the vakíl, “Say to Sher Khán, ‘Have all your forces present on the field of battle early to-morrow morning.’” When Sher Khán heard this reply, he was much delighted, and told the intelligence to his men. Ibráhim Khán also told Fath Khán to give orders that his men should be ready and present on the morrow.
When one watch of the night was yet remaining, Sher Khán arrayed his forces, and brought them out of their entrenchments; and after the morning prayers, he himself came out, and said to his chiefs, “In the enemy's army there are many elephants and guns, and a great force of infantry; we must fight them in such a manner that they shall not be able to preserve their original order.” The Bengáli cavalry should be drawn away from their guns and infantry, and the horses intermingled with the elephants, so that their array may be disordered. I have thought of a stratagem by which to defeat the Bengális. I will draw up the greater part of my forces behind the cover of that height which we see, but will retain for the attack a small number of experienced and veteran horse. Now, they will fight exactly in the same manner as they did on the former occasion, without any expectation of defeat. I will bring up my selected division, who, after discharging one flight of arrows into the Bengáli army, shall retreat. Ibráhím Khán still bears in mind the old feud regarding the death of his father, and is presumptuous on account of his superior force. He will think the Afgháns are beginning to fly; and, becoming eager, he will leave his artillery and foot in the rear, and press on with all expedition himself, and disorder and confusion will find their way into his order of battle. I will then bring out my force which had been concealed behind the eminence, who will attack the enemy. The Bengáli cavalry, deprived of the support of their artillery and infantry, are by themselves unable to cope with the Afghán horse. I hope, by the favour of God, that their force will be routed and put to flight.” All the Afgháns expressed their approbation of Sher Khán's plan of battle, and were much delighted, and observed there could be no better possible scheme devised.
After this was agreed upon, Sher Khán drew out, as described above, a picked force, and explained to them that they were to act as had been determined; and the rest of his force he drew up behind the shelter of the rising ground. When the army of Ibráhím Khán was descried, the horsemen, according to their instructions, coming up to the Bengáli army, discharged one volley of arrows, and then turned about. The Bengáli cavalry, supposing the Afgháns were flying, broke their ranks, just as Sher Khán had anticipated, and pursued the Afgháns. Accordingly, as soon as Sher Khán perceived that the Bengáli cavalry had advanced, and left their infantry and artillery in the rear, he appeared at the head of his force which had been lying in ambuscade, and advanced. The Bengális were panic-struck, and the Afgháns who had fled returned, and, joining the rest, they all stirrup to stirrup, after the manner of the Afgháns, fell upon the hostile army. The Bengális, however, rallied, and stood their ground, and the two armies became closely engaged. After warriors of note had fallen in the contest, the sun of victory rose in favour of Sher Khán from the horizon of the East, and the Bengáli army was defeated. Ibráhim Khán exerted himself much, and said to the Bengális, “Turn and exert yourselves, for the army of the Afgháns is small. What face can we show to the king?” But it was no use. *** Ibráhím Khán again said to his men: “What face can I show to the king? *** I will either be victorious or die.” He exerted himself much; but as his (term of) life had arrived, he was killed.
Jalál Khán fled to the King of Bengal. The whole of the treasure, elephants, and train of artillery (top-khána) fell into the hands of Sher Khán, who was thus supplied with munitions of war, and became master of the kingdom of Bihár, and of much other territory beside. Since God, the most holy and omnipotent, had pre-ordained from all eternity to give the kingdom of Hind to Sher Khán, and that the people of the Lord should live in ease and comfort under the shadow of his justice, and that he should be a zealous and just ruler, his wealth daily increased, and the whole country gradually came into his possession. He employed himself in the improvement of his provinces, so that, in a short time, they much surpassed their previous condition, and reached to perfection;—for this reason, that he personally superintended every business; nor did he show favour to any oppressor, even though of his own relations or dependents; and if any one entered his service, he said to him from the first: “The stipend and maintenance which I may agree to give you, I will pay you in full, and not diminish them a single falús; but you shall not oppress or quarrel with any one. If you do, I will visit you with such a punishment as shall be an example to others.” In a short season he acquired a good reputation among the people of God, and it was everywhere known that Sher Khán paid his troops regularly, and neither oppressed any one himself, nor suffered others to do so.
I, the author of this history of Sher Khán, 'Abbás Khán bin Shaikh 'Alí Sarwání, have heard from my kindred and connexions, who were great nobles and companions of Sher Khán, that he got possession of the fort of Chunár in the following manner. Sultán Ibráhím Lodí had entrusted the fort of Chunár to Táj Khán Sárang-khání, and the royal treasures were deposited in the fort. Now this Táj Khán was altogether a slave to his love for his wife Lád Malika, who was a woman of great sagacity and wisdom; and Táj Khán had made three Turkomán brothers his lieutenants, by name Mír Ahmad, Is'hak, and Mír Dád; they were own brothers, experienced, talented, and wise men. As they perceived that Táj Khán was completely under the control of his wife, they of course ingratiated themselves with her, and promised and swore to Lád Malika that they would not oppose her, and would be faithful to her.
Lád Malika had no sons, but Táj Khán had several sons by other wives. On account of his affection for Lád Malika, he did not give a fitting maintenance to his sons, and their mothers did not even receive a sufficiency of daily food. Although the sons often remonstrated, it was of no avail. Hence they continually laid up the seeds of enmity and hate against Lád Malika. One night Táj Khán's eldest son wounded Lád Malika with a sabre, but not severely. Her servants complained to Táj Khán, who drew his sword, and ran out to kill his son. He perceiving that his father was about to kill him for the sake of his wife, struck his father with his sabre, and escaped out of the house. Táj Khán died of the wound.
The sons of Táj Khán, although but young, were on bad terms with the greater part of his troops; but Lád Malika, being a clever woman, by the liberality and benevolence of her conduct, had ingratiated herself with them during Táj Khán's lifetime, and after his death also they adhered to her. A few ill-disposed persons adhered to Táj Khán's sons; but they daily quarrelled, and disputed among themselves over the treasure, and showed themselves so incapable, that their followers became disgusted with them. Sher Khán therefore sent secretly to Mír Ahmad, saying, “Send Mír Dád to me, for I have a message for you which I will send through him.” Mír Ahmad sent Mír Dád to Sher Khán, who said to him, “Tell Mír Ahmad that I am ready to confer great benefits on him.” Mír Ahmad, when he heard this, said to his brothers, “Lád Malika possesses talent for government, yet she is but a woman; and there are many who covet the fort and the treasure in it. Lád Malika will not be able to hold the fort, therefore it is best that I should surrender the fort to Sher Khán, and so lay him under an obligation to myself; it will be to our advantage.” The brothers approved of Mír Ahmad's counsel, and went to Lád Malika, and showing to her Sher Khán's letters, said, “We obey you, whatever you order us that we will do.” She replied, “You are to me as father and brothers; do what you like, I will agree to whatever you say.” They said, “If you will not be angry we will say what we consider to be most to your advantage.” She replied, “Fear not; speak without hesitation the purpose you entertain.” Mír Ahmad said, “Even if there should be no disturbance in the fort, still you would be unable to hold it, for you are a woman and have no sons, and there are many persons who seek to gain possession of it. It is a royal possession, and until some one assumes the sovereignty, it will be best to give the fort over to Sher Khán. You shall marry him, and thus find an asylum, and so no one shall deprive you of the fort and royal treasures.” Lád Malika said, “Send your brother Mír Dád to Sher Khán in order to arrange with him that I shall give up the fort; but on one condition, that he shall deprive of his ears and nose that miserable son who murdered his father, that he may be a warning to others.”
When Mír Dád came to Sher Khán, he made him agree that he would not hurt or injure Lád Malika or the mother of the three brothers. Sher Khán received him with all honour and hospitality, and using every endeavour to assure him, and making the utmost protestations of friendship and good feeling, said, “If Lád Malika gives me up the fort and will marry me, I shall be for ever indebted to your kindness.” And Sher Khán thus having employed himself in captivating the bud of his heart by kindness, Mír Dád said, “It is not fit to surrender the fort except to the king; but since I have come to you, you have shown me such kindness and goodwill, and have displayed such hospitality, that I have considered nothing but how, in return for this, to get the fort into your power. I will not fail to use my best exertions to this end. My hope in God is, that Lád Malika will not dissent from what I say; but when the business is performed to your heart's content, do not so act as to disgrace me.” Sher Khán swearing everything he wished, assured him and said, “While I live I will never cause you grief. *** Mír Dád recommended that they should start at once, and Sher Khán mounting with all haste set off. Mír Dád went on before and gave intelligence that Sher Khán was coming, and urged them not to delay giving up the fort, and got Lád Malika and his brothers to consent. So Mír Dád was sent back to bring in Sher Khán quickly, and to take possession of the fort before the sons of Táj Khán should be aware of their designs.
As soon as Mír Dád had come to Sher Khán, and had told him that it was agreed to give him up the fort and treasure, and that he should marry Lád Malika, and when he had admitted him at once into the fort, they immediately proceeded to celebrate the marriage between Lád Malika and Sher Khán. She gave him a present consisting of 150 of the most exceedingly valuable jewels, and seven mans of pearls, and 150 mans of gold, and many other articles and ornaments.*Ahmad Yádgár gives a different enumeration (MS., p. 262), but gives the total value at nine lacs of rupees. Sher Khán subsequently got into his power and possession the parganas near the fort of Chunár; and after this, he strengthened his resources still further by inheriting sixty mans of gold from Guhar Kusáín, widow of Nasír Khán.*Dr. Dorn, History of the Afgháns, p. 101, says, "600 mans of pure gold, besides many other rarities of various descriptions." This is not borne out by the Persian originals, which all read only "sixty," instead of "600." [Gen. Cunningham's MS. agrees with the translation. Literally it says, " Afterwards Guhar Kusháín, the wife (widow) of Nasir Khán, died, and sixty mans of her gold came into the hands of Sher Sháh." But Sir H. Elliot's MS. says, "After this he married Guhar Kusháín, the widow, and sixty mans, etc., etc.] His power was now firmly established, as he was master of a fort and of much of the treasure of the kingdom, and had collected a large force, both horse and foot. After this Sultán Mahmúd, the son of Sultán Sikandar, whom Hasan Khán Mewáttí and the Ráná Sángá*The "Rána Sanka" of Bábar's Memoirs. and certain Afgháns had set up as king, engaged the second Jamshíd the Emperor Bábar in an action near Síkrí, in which Hasan Khán, son of 'Ádil Khán Mewáttí, and the Rájá of Dúngarpúr, Ráwal by name, were slain, and Sultán Mahmúd and the Ráná Sángá being defeated fled to Chitor. Sultán Mahmúd remained for a season in that neighbourhood, and afterwards came towards Patna. Masnad 'Álí 'Azam Khán Humáyún Sání (whose son-in-law Sultán Mahmúd was), Masnad 'Álí Ísá Khán, son of Haibat Khán, the son of Masnad 'Álí 'Umar Khán Kalkapúria,*[Var. Kaktúr.] who had formerly been governor of Láhore, and Ibráhím Khán, son of Ahmad Khán, son of Mubáriz Khán Yúsuf-khail, and Míán Babin, son of Míán Atta Sáhu-khail, governor of Sirhind, and Míán Báyazíd Farmulí, had at that time assembled themselves together and threw obstacles in the way of the Mughals. Míán Babin and Míán Báyazíd were the leaders of a large force, and had very often fought against the Mughals, and had obtained a great name for their valour. These nobles invited Sultán Mahmúd to Patna, and made him king. When Sultán Mahmúd came with these nobles unto Bihár, Sher Khán found it impossible to offer any resistance, as they possessed so considerable a force, and he himself was not held in sufficient repute among the Afgháns to admit of such an attempt. He was therefore necessitated to present himself before Sultán Mahmúd. The Afgháns portioned out among themselves the kingdom of Bihár,*Nia'matu-lla adds, " except Sahsarám, which was the old jágír of Sher Khán." — Dorn, p. 101. but the king said to him, “When I get possession of Jaunpúr, I will give to you the kingdom of Bihár which you conquered after defeating the army of the King of Bengal. Be not at all uneasy, as Sultán Sikandar bestowed the kingdom of Bihár upon Daryá Khán, so will I bestow it on you.” Sher Khán requested a farmán to this effect, and Sultán Mahmúd assented, and ordered one to be executed, and so Sher Khán received a farmán for the kingdom of Bihár from the king; and having taken several months' leave, returned to his jágír to prepare his forces.
When Sultán Mahmúd had equipped his army, he marched towards Jaunpúr, and issued a mandate directing Sher Khán to join him immediately. On the receipt of this order, Sher Khán wrote back in reply, that he would come as soon as he could complete the arrangements about his force. When the nobles about the king knew the purport of Sher Khán's reply, they represented that Sher Khán was in confederacy with the Mughals, and was merely finessing and making pretences, and that the king ought not to trust what he wrote or said, but to compel him to accompany the army. 'Azam Humáyún Sarwání said: “It will be easy to bring Sher Khán along with us. Put your mind at ease. Let us march in the direction of his jágír, and go wherever Sher Khán may be. As punishment for his delay, let us exact from him a large and handsome reception, and then let us compel him to join us.” Sultán Mahmúd and his nobles were greatly pleased at 'Azam Humáyún's advice, and praised his sagacity. They proceeded by regular marches to Sahsarám, where Sher Khán then was. Sher Khán hearing that Sultán Mahmúd was come with all his followers, and would compel him to join them, whether he would or no, was much vexed, and said to his friends, “The plan I had devised has not succeeded. Of the nobles who are with the king, two—the one named 'Azam Humáyún, and the other 'Ísá Khán Sarwání—are clever and wise men, and have much experience in public affairs. They have joined this army for the honour of the Afgháns and from regard to their kindred; albeit, they are aware that the army will do no good, for the nobles who are in it are not at unity among themselves, and without unity they can accomplish nothing. *** I can no longer excuse myself, I must go along with the army. Do you tell your troops to prepare for marching with all haste, while I go out to meet the king and his army myself, and put them in good humour, make my own excuses, and bring them with me; for my guests are my own kin, and do you make all preparations for entertaining them.” Sher Khán then went out to welcome the king, and having prepared rich entertainments of divers kinds, sent them to the quarters of the various nobles and chiefs, who were his friends, according to their rank; and also gave large presents and a magnificent entertainment to Sultán Mahmúd, so that all parties were pleased and delighted with him.
Sher Khán requested Sultán Mahmúd to halt a few days, while he equipped his forces. Sultán Mahmúd acceded to this request, and after a halt of some days, Sher Khán having made his preparations, marched in company with Sultán Mahmúd. When they approached Jaunpúr, the Mughals who were there abandoned the place and fled. Sultán Mahmúd delayed some days at Jaunpúr, but sent on his army in advance and occupied Lucknow and other districts.
On hearing this intelligence, the Emperor Humáyún set off from Ágra*I concur with Elphinstone (History of India, vol. ii., 128), in considering this march to have commenced in Safar, 944 H. (July, 1537 A.D.) He says the Táríkh-i Sher Sháhí says 942. Which one? Not this. Firishta and Kákhí Shírází say 943; but there is impossibility in the former date, and great improbability in the latter. All the Afghán histories of the period are very deficient and contradictory in their dates. for Lucknow, whither Sultán Mahmúd arrived also from Jaunpúr. The two armies met near Lucknow, and daily skirmishes ensued. Warriors on either side came out and engaged one another. Sher Khán perceiving that there was no unanimity among the Afgháns, but that every one acted as he thought best, wrote to Hindú Beg, and said, “The Mughals raised me from the dust. These people have brought me with them by force; but in the day of battle I will not fight, and will go off the field without engaging. Tell the Emperor Humáyún the true state of my case, and that I will serve him in the day of battle, and will cause the defeat of this army.” When Hindú Beg showed Sher Khán's letter to the Emperor, the latter ordered him to write to Sher Khán, “Be at your ease as to your accompanying these people; act as you have written; if you do, it will be for your advancement.” After some days had elapsed, the two armies joined in a general engagement, and Sher Khán drew off his forces at the critical moment of the battle, and retreated without engaging. This caused Sultán Mahmúd's defeat. Ibráhím Khán Yúsuf-khail made desperate exertions, and showed great gallantry in that engagement, nor did he quit his post while life remained; he repulsed every Mughal force which was opposed to him; but was at last slain. As Mián Báyazíd had drunk more wine than than he could bear, and had got drunk and careless, he also was slain in that battle. Sultán Mahmúd and the other chiefs being defeated, fled to the kingdom of Bihár. The Sultán had neither money nor territory to entertain a force of his own, and his nobles who had placed him on the throne were most of them killed in the battle at Lucknow, while the few who remained were from their quarrels dispersed. Sultán Mahmúd was greatly given to dancing women, and passed most of his time in amusing himself; and as he had no power to oppose the Mughals, he abdicated his royalty, and went and settled himself in the province of Patna, and never again attempted the throne. He died in A.H. 949. *The Tárikh-i Khán Jahán (MS. p. 165) says that he died in Orissa in 944 H. The Tárikh-i Dáúdí (MS. p. 211) says in Orissa in 949 H.
When Humáyún had overcome Sultán Mahmúd, and had put the greater number of his opponents to death, he sent Hindú Beg to take Chunár from Sher Khán, but Sher Khán declined to give it up to him. When he heard this, Humáyún commanded his victorious standards to be set in motion towards Chunár. Sher Khán leaving Jalál Khán (who after the death of Sher Khán succeeded him under the title of Islám Sháh), and another Jalál Khán, son of Jalú, in Chunár, withdrew with his family and followers to the hills of Nahrkunda.*[Var. " Bahrkunda."] The army of Humáyún besieged Chunár, and daily fighting ensued, in which both Jalál Khans displayed valour great beyond description, and from their gallantry gained great renown. Sher Khán's custom was to despatch spies to all the neighbouring countries, in order to inquire into their actual condition.
Sher Khán knew that the Emperor Humáyún would be unable to delay long in those parts; for his spies brought him word that Bahádur Sháh, the King of Gujarát had conquered the kingdom of Mandú, and was meditating the seizure of Dehlí, and would shortly declare war. Humáyún also having received this intelligence, Sher Khán sent his vakíl to him and wrote, saying: “I am your slave, and the client of Junaid Birlás. Moreover, the good service which I did at the battle of Lucknow is known to you, and as you must entrust the fort of Chunár to some one, make it over to me, and I will send my son Kutb Khán to accompany you in this expedition. Do you lay aside all anxiety as regards these parts; for if either I or any other Afghán do any act unbefitting or disloyal, you have my son with you; inflict on him such reprisals as may be a warning to others.”
When Sher Khán's emissary represented this to the Emperor Humáyún, he replied: “I will give Chunár to Sher Khán, but on this condition, that he sends Jalál Khán with me.” Sher Khán sent word in reply, “In the love and estimation of their father and mother, all sons are alike. Jalál Khán is not superior to Kutb Khán, but I have many opponents and I have vowed that I will not permit one to get a footing in the country, lest afterwards the Emperor should be compelled to war with him.” Just at this time news arrived that Mirzá Muhammad Zamán,*He was grandson of Sultán Husain Mirzá, and endeavoured to supplant Humáyún on the throne of India by two different schemes of assassination. After various other treacheries and machinations, he was again reconciled to Humáyún, and was killed at the battle of Chaunsa in 946 H., which was lost chiefly through his supineness and neglect. who had been sentenced to imprisonment in the fort of Bayána, had regained his liberty by producing a forged farmán for his release, and had created a disturbance in the country; and also that Bahádur Sháh of Gujarát was intending to march on Dehlí. So Humáyún said to Sher Khán's agent, that as Sher Khán was a loyal man, he would agree to this proposal, and that if he would send Kutb Khán, he would leave the fort of Chunár with Sher Khán. Sher Khán was delighted, and sent Kutb Khán his son, and 'Ísá Khán his chamberlain, to the Emperor, who set off for Ágra, and employed himself in suppressing the rebellion of Sultán Bahádur.*Nearly all the other authorities inform us that Kuth Khán effected his escape from Humáyún's camp, Ahmad Yádgár (MS. p. 264) says that he succeeded in doing this at Ajmír. Sher Khán took advantage of this opportunity, and did not leave one enemy of his remaining throughout the kingdom of Bihár. He also began to patronize all Afgháns. Many of them, who had assumed the garb of religious mendicants on account of their misfortunes, he relieved, and enlisted as soldiers; and some who refused to enlist, and preferred a life of mendicancy, he put to death, and declared he would kill every Afghán who refused to be a soldier. He was also very careful of his Afgháns in action, that their lives might not be uselessly sacrificed. When the Afgháns heard that Sher Khán was eagerly desirous of patronizing their race, they entered into his service from all directions.
Sultán Bahádur being defeated, went towards Súrat, and the whole of the Afgháns who were in his service, whether chiefs or common soldiers, came to Sher Khán. Several powerful chiefs, who had at first scorned to enter Sher Khán's service, when they saw his power day by day increasing, put aside their pride, and volunteered to serve under him. Accordingly 'Azam Humáyún Sarwání, and Masnad 'Álí 'Ísá Khán son of Masnad 'Álí Haibat Khán Sáhú-khail, and Míán Babin Sáhú-khail, Kutb Khán Mochí-khail, Ma'rúf Farmulí, and 'Azam Humáyún, eldest son of Sultán 'Álam Khán Sáhú-khail, and in short every Afghán of high rank joined him, and he assumed the title of Hazrat 'Álí.
Bíbí Fath Malika was exceedingly wealthy; she was the daughter of Míán Kála Pahár*[Or " Bihár."] Farmulí, sister's son to Sultán Bahlol. This Mián Muhammad was a very prudent man; he entertained but few soldiers, and gave his chief attention to the accumulation of wealth. Sultán Bahlol gave him in jágír the whole sarkár of Oudh, and several parganas besides. He inherited also wealth from his father. During the reigns of Sultáns Bahlol, Sikandar, and Ibráhím, his jágírs were never disturbed, and during all this time he gave his attention to nothing else except the accumulation of wealth. I have heard from persons of veracity that he had amassed three hundred mans of red hard*This word appears variously, "háshi," "jáshí," and "cháshí." gold, and he did not purchase any other but golden jewelry. He had no child save Fath Malika, and he married her to a lad named Shaikh Mustafa.
When Míán Muhammad died, towards the end of the reign of Sultán Ibráhím, he left one boy of uncertain parentage, who was called Míán Nia'mú. His parentage was for this cause uncertain, as Míán Kálá Pahár had bestowed one of his concubines on a servant. When the girl had been some time in the servant's house, she bore a male child, whom she declared to be the offspring of Míán Muhammad Kálá Pahár. When Míán Muhammad heard this, he took the girl away from his servant, and brought her into his own house, and acknowledged the child as his own son. The child grew up an able man. Sultán Ibráhím made Shaikh Mustafa, the husband of Fath Malika, and who was also her father's brother's son, the successor to Míán Muhammad Kálá Pahár; but gave a small portion of Kálá Pahár's treasury to Míán Nia'mú, and also bestowed one or two par-ganas of the sarkár of Oudh in jágír on him; but the greater portion of Kálá Pahár's treasure came into the possession of Fath Malika.
This Mustafa, during the time of Sultán Ibráhím and afterwards, distinguished himself in action.*He will be found mentioned under that reign. I have heard from various relators of history, that during the lifetime of Sultán Ibráhím, Míán Mustafa and Míán Ma'rúf Farmulí quarrelled regarding some territory, and fought about it. It was Míán Mustafa's custom, when about to engage, to prepare sundry mans of sweetmeats in commemoration of his father Míán Muhammad, and distribute them to fakírs. This done, he used to set off to fight. Míán Ma'rúf employed himself in reading prayers and supplications.
When Míán Mustafa died, he left a young daughter, by name Mihr Sultán. Fath Malika, being a very able woman, had educated Míán Báyazíd, a younger brother of Mustafa. She said to him, “Do you look to the soldiery, I will provide money.” Míán Báyazíd with this money collected a very large force, and greatly distinguished himself, gaining several victories over the troops of the Emperor Bábar; so that the names of Míán Bábin and Míán Báyazíd became famous; but since the death of Báyazíd has been already described, there is no need for repeating the story here. When he was slain, Fath Malika was in Bihár, and collecting a number of men to protect the treasure, she proceeded to the hills adjoining Bihár, intending to go to Patna; for the Rájá of Patna had shown great favour to the more wealthy Afgháns. When Báyazíd was killed, and Sultán Mahmúd had given up striving for the Empire, the Rájá of Patna considered that the fortune of the Afghán connexion was on the decline, and stretched out the hand of oppression against the possessions of the Afgháns to whom he had given shelter. Fath Malika, on hearing this news, abandoned her intention of going to Patna. When Sher Khán heard that the Bíbí, from this apprehension, had abandoned her design of going to Patna, he was much delighted, and conceived the intention of getting Fath Malika, by means of some pretence or stratagem, into his own clutches, lest she should go into the territories of some other potentate, and the treasure should thus slip out of his grasp, which would have grieved him to all eternity. So he sent his vakíl to the Bíbí, and wrote to this effect: “The nobles and grandees of Sultáns Bahlol and Sikandar have come into these parts, and have honoured me by taking shelter with me, and are collected together for the honour of the Afgháns. Your servant also has girt up his loins in this cause and design, and you have strong claims on the consideration of the Afghán race, first because you are of the family of Shaikh Muhammad; secondly, there is your connexion with a descendant of Sultán Bahlol. What fault has your servant committed, that you delay in visiting his country? There is no trusting the promises of the unbelievers of these parts; and (which God forbid!) if any injury should occur to your people among these hills in which you now are, it would be an eternal disgrace to me. Men would say, ‘Because she could not trust Sher Khán, she would not enter his country.’” When the vakíl came to Fath Malika, and she heard what Sher Khán wrote, she wrote in reply, that if he would make a covenant with her, and confirm it by oaths, she would come to him. To this Sher Khán agreed, and she sent a trustworthy man to Sher Khán, in whose presence he swore, and pledged himself by the most solemn oaths. Bíbí Fath Malika being fully assured, came to Sher Khán, and remained some time with him.
When Nasíb Sháh, the ruler of Bengal, died, the nobles of Bengal made Sultán Mahmúd his successor; but he was not able to manage the kingdom, and it fell into disorder. Sher Khán conceived the desire of seizing the kingdom of Bengal, and took from the Bíbí 300 mans of gold to equip his army; and gave her two parganas for her support (madad-ma'ásh), besides leaving her some ready money for her immediate expenses.*Dr. Dorn (p. 105) says she had placed her "district under the protection of the Mughals. At this Sher Khán was so enraged, that he seized upon her whole wealth and effects. *** This treasure is said to have consisted of 600 mans of pure gold, besides specie and other valuables." This is not at all in accordance with any original MS. I have seen, which simply says: "Having escaped the violence of the Mughals, she sought refuge in this kingdom. *** They say, that amongst her property were sixty mans of red gold besides silver and valuables." Here the deliberate treachery of this belauded king is not attempted to be accounted for, as it is in Dr. Dorn's translation. The Táríkh-i Khán Jahán (MS. p. 174) has 300 mans. But Jalál Khán having, against the Bíbí's consent, wished to espouse her daughter Mihr Sultán, Sher Khán, on hearing of it, forbade Jalál Khán; and she married her daughter to one Sultán Sikandar, a relation of her own. This Sikandar proved very unworthy. During Mihr Sultán's life he lived in comfort; and in the reign of the Emperor Akbar, in the year 975 A.H., Mihr Sultán, on her way to the pargana of Kayat, in the direction of Sind, died in the house of Muzaffar Khán. Sher Khán having equipped his army with this money, attacked the kingdom of Bengal, and got possession of all of it on this side Gharí (Síkrí-galí).
When the Emperor Humáyún came back from Gujarát, the Khán-khánán Yúsuf-khail (who brought the Emperor Bábar from Kábul to Hindustán) said to him: “It is not wise to neglect Sher Khán, for he is rebelliously inclined, and well understands all matters pertaining to government; moreover, all the Afgháns are collected round him.” The Emperor Humáyún, relying on the vastness of his forces, and on the pride of Empire, took no heed of Sher Khán, and remaining the rainy season at Ágra, sent Hindú Beg to Jaunpúr, with directions to write a full and true report regarding Sher Khán.
When Sher Khán heard that the Emperor Humáyún intended himself marching towards Bihár, he sent magnificent presents to Hindú Beg, governor of Jaunpúr, and gained his goodwill. At the same time Sher Khán wrote thus: “From what I promised I have not departed. I have not invaded the Emperor's country. Kindly write to the Emperor; and assuring him of my loyalty, dissuade him from marching in this direction; for I am his servant and well-wisher.” When Hindú beheld Sher Khán's presents, he approved of them, and was well pleased, and he said to the vakíl, “So long as I live, let your mind be easy. No one shall injure you.” And in the presence of Sher Khán's vakíl, Hindú Beg wrote a letter to the Emperor Humáyún, saying: “Sher Khán is a loyal servant of Your Majesty, and strikes coin and reads the khutba in your name, and has not transgressed the boundaries of Your Majesty's territory, or done anything since your departure which could be any cause of annoyance to you.” The Emperor, on receipt of Hindú Beg's letter deferred his journey that year. Sher Khán, meanwhile, detached Jalál Khán, Khawás Khán senior, and other chiefs, to conquer Bengal and the city of Gaur. On their entering Bengal, Sultán Mahmúd, unable to oppose them, retired to the fort of Gaur. The Afgháns, having made themselves masters of the surrounding country, invested and besieged that fortress, before which daily skirmishes took place.
The following year the Emperor marched towards Bihár and Bengal. When he arrived near Chunár, he consulted his nobles whether he should first take Chunár, or march towards Gaur, which the son of Sher Khán was besieging, but had not yet taken. All his Mughal nobles advised that he should first take Chunár, and then march on Gaur, and it was so determined; but when Humáyún asked the Khán-khánán Yúsuf-khail for his opinion, he (having previously heard that the Mughal nobles had agreed it was advisable first to take Chunár) said, “It is a counsel of the young to take Chunár first; the counsel of the aged is, that as there is much treasure in Gaur, it is advisable to take Gaur first; after that the capture of Chunár is an easy matter.” The Emperor replied: “I am young, and prefer the counsel of the young. I will not leave the fort of Chunár in my rear.” The author has heard from the Khán-khánán's companions, that when he returned to his quarters, he observed: “The luck of Sher Khán is great, that the Mughals do not go to Gaur. Before they take this fort, the Afgháns will have conquered Gaur, and all its treasures will fall into their hands.”
Sher Khán left Ghází Súr and Buláki,*In other MSS. "Sultán Sarwání," and "Sultán Barolí." who was the commandant of Chunár, in that fortress, and removed his family and those of his Afghán followers to the fortress of Bahrkunda; but as he had many families with him, that fort could not hold them all. There existed a friendly connexion between Sher Khán and the Rájá of the fort of Rohtás, and Chúráman, the Rájá's náíb, was on particular terms of intimate friendship and alliance with Sher Khán. This Chúráman was a Bráhman, and was a person of the highest rank, and had formerly shown kindness to the family of Míán Nizám, own brother to Sher Khán, and procured them shelter in the fort of Rohtás; and when all danger had gone by, the family again quitted the fort, and made it over to the Rájá. On the present occasion, Sher Khán wrote that he was in great straits, and that if the Rájá would give him the loan of the fort for a short time, he would be obliged to him all his days, and that when all danger was past, he would again restore the fort. Chúráman replied, “Be of good cheer, I will manage it, so that the Rájá shall lend you the fort.” When Chúráman went to the Rájá, he said, “Sher Khán has asked for the loan of Rohtás for his family. He is your neighbour. This is my advice, it is an opportunity to show kindness; you should admit his family.” The Rájá agreed.
When Sher Khán sent his family from Bahrkunda, the Rájá retracted his promise, and said, “When I admitted Míán Nizám into the fort, they had but a small force. I was the stronger. Now they have the larger force, and I a small one. If I admit them into the fort, and they will not restore it, I cannot take it from them by force.” Chúráman wrote to Sher Khán, saying: “Certain persons, my enemies, have given very evil counsel to the Rájá, and persuaded him to violate his promise, and to decline giving you the fort.” Sher Khán, on receiving this news, was much grieved and anxious, and he wrote to the Rájá, and said: “On the faith of your promise, I have brought my family from Bahrkunda. If the Emperor Humáyún hears this news, he will send his army, and all the families of the Afgháns will be taken and enslaved. This misfortune will rest on your head.” Sher Khán also gave to Chúráman a bribe of six mans of gold, and said: “Persuade in any way you can the Rájá to give me the loan of this fort for a few days, for my family; but if he will not give it, then I will go and make my peace with the Emperor Humáyún, and will revenge myself on everything belonging to the Rájá.” Chúráman said, “Be of good heart, I will procure admittance for your women and children.” So Chúráman then went to the Rájá, and said: “It is not becoming your dignity to break your promise. Sher Khán, on the strength of it, has brought his family from the fort of Bahrkunda. If the Emperor hears that his family is not in safety, he will attack and destroy them, and the blame will rest on my shoulders. Moreover, if Sher Khán be in extremities, he will make peace with the Emperor, and will attack you, and you are not strong enough to oppose him. Why do you thus heedlessly provoke his hostility, and throw your kingdom into confusion? I am a Bráhman, and since Sher Khán came here relying on my word, if his family be slain, the blame will rest on me. If you do not admit him into the fort, I will take poison and die at your door.” When the Rájá saw Chúráman thus determined, he agreed to admit the family of Sher Khán into the fort. Sher Khán had not heard of the permission, when he received intelligence that Khawás Khán senior had been drowned in the ditch of the fort of Gaur, and that the fort of Chunár had surrendered to the Emperor Humáyún.*Respecting the capture of Chunár, and the cruelties perpetrated on the garrison by the Mughals, see the history of Humáyún. It is passed oyer very cursorily by all the Afghán writers, while the Tímúrians expatiate upon it. Elphinstone's date of ISth Sha'bán, 944 (8th January, 1S38), for the commencement of the siege, is the most probable one. He became very depressed and anxious, and bestowing on the younger brother of Khawás Khán, whose name was Musáhib Khán, the surname of Khawás Khán, detached him with urgent instructions, that since Chunár had fallen, and that the Emperor Humáyún would in a few days march towards Bengal, he was to press the siege of Gaur with all possible despatch.
Khawás Khán arrived at Gaur, and said to Jalál Khán, “My orders from the king*This title is now first applied to Sher Khán in the MSS. are to take the fort of Gaur without delay, as the Emperor is coming up in our rear.” Jalál Khán said: “Wait yet to-day.” But Khawás Khán replied, “I cannot disobey my orders; we must at once make the attack.” Jalál Khán said: “Be it so! go to your post.” Khawás Khán, taking his leave of Jalál Khán, came to his brother's post, and encouraged his brother's force, saying, “My orders are these: The instant I arrive to use every endeavour to take the fort and not in any way to delay.” He directed the heralds to command the army to prepare themselves with all haste, as there was no time to lose; and arming himself, he sent to Jalál Khán to say, “I am ready with my whole force in obedience to the orders of Sher Khán, and only wait for you. Do you array yourselves also; it is not good to delay. By God's grace we will be victorious.” Jalál Khán, Shujá'at Khán, and the rest were displeased, but, nevertheless, got ready. Khawás Khán personally displayed such energy and gallantry, that he succeeded in mastering the fortress even before Jalál Khán arrived. From that day his valour became celebrated, and after that he conquered wherever he went, so that in all Sher Khán's army there was none like him for intrepidity as well as liberality.
Gaur having fallen, Jalál Khán sent an account of the victory to his father, and attributed it to Khawás Khán. On hearing the news, Sher Khán was exceedingly delighted; and Chúráman also came to him, and said that the Rájá had consented to give him the fort of Rohtás, into which he might bring his women and children. Sher Khán brought his women and children near to the fort, and expressed his devoted friendship for and obligation to the Rájá, and gave him much money and goods of various kinds, saying: “If ever I am again prosperous, I will not consider myself absolved from my obligations to you.” The Rájá was much delighted, and said, “The fort of Rohtás is yours, order in your family.” Sher Khán had given orders to his men that none should go out who once went in; after this, Sher Khán himself went in and examined the fort. He thanked God, and said: “The fort of Chunár is no fort in comparison with this; as that has gone out of my possession, this has come into it. I was not so pleased at the conquest of Gaur as (I am) at getting possession of Rohtás.” And he said to the guards of the fort, “You had best go to the Rájá, and say, ‘You cannot remain in the same place with the Afgháns, or it will be the worse for you.’” And he ordered his own men, if the guards did not obey the order to leave the fort, to eject them by force. Sher Khán's men were all prepared, as, when they told the guards what Sher Khán had said, and these refused, they turned them out by force of arms. So Sher Khán placed his own guards and sentries in every part of the fort, and took the greatest precaution for its safe custody, and drove the Rájá away from the fort. In the manner thus described he got possession of the fort of Rohtás.
The commonly received report that Sher Khán put Afgháns into dolís, and sent them into the fort as women, is altogether erroneous and false.*Our author is strictly followed by the Makhzan-i Afghání ; but the Táríkh-i Khán-Jahán adheres to the dolí story. It says (MS. p. 168) that there were 1200 litters, in each of which were two Afghans armed, except in some of the foremost, in which there were old women. After the examination of some of the leading litters, Sher Khán, sent a message to the Rájá, to represent that the Rájá having now satisfied himself there were only women in the litters, and as it was highly indecorous to expose them to the gaze of the sentries, the search ought to be discontinued. The Rájá, readily assented, and when the litters had all been introduced, and discharged their burdens, the Afghans seized possession of the gates, and admitted Sher Sháh who was ready with his army outside, awaiting the successful result of his stratagem. Ahmad Yádgár (MS. p. 266) says that there were 300 litters, with two soldiers in each, and four Rohillas as bearers, that they killed the Rájá, and then made a general massacre of the garrison. Firishta also accredits (vol. ii. p. 115) the dolí story, and calls the Rájá, Harí Krishn Ráí, and says he escaped with a few followers by a private passage. By the Tímurian authors the seizure of Rohtás by treachery is spoken of with an indignation which they seldom bestowed upon their patrons for deeds of a much more heinous nature.- See Dorn, p. 109. For I, the writer of this history, Tuhfa-i Akbar Sháhí, the son of Shaikh 'Álí, have inquired of several chiefs and nobles who were with Sher Khán in the affair. For example, I inquired of the chief of great nobles Muzaffar Khán, and nephew of Masnad 'Álí 'Ísá Khán, and of Shaikh Muhammad, son of Míán Báyazíd Sarwání, and several others who were present on the occasion; and they said, “It is needful you should hear from us the history of your ancestors, for you are connected with Sultán Bahlol, Sultán Sikandar, Sher Sháh, and Salím Sháh. Take heed to our words, for after a lapse of many days, frequent errors and mistakes arise. We will tell you what we heard and saw.” I said to Khán-'azam Muzaffar Khán, son of Jalál Khán, the son of Haibat Khán, “It is commonly said that Sher Khán took Rohtás by introducing the Afgháns in covered litters, and you contradict this story. I do not know whom to believe.” He replied: “You know I was with the followers of Masnad 'Álí 'Ísá Khán, and my family was in Rohtás, while I accompanied Sher Khán to the hills.” When Sher Khán got possession of Rohtás, he left there his women and children, with his eldest son 'Ádil Khán, and Kutb Khán; and he himself went to the hills of Bahrkunda, and wandered about from place to place.*Ahmad Yádgár (MS. pp. 170-6) mentions an expedition against the Rájá of Jhárkand, in order to secure possession of a favourite white elephant, called "Syám Chaudar," which had the "peculiarity of never throwing dust upon its head." This was duly obtained, along with other plunder, and brought to Sher Sháh, who chose to consider it as an omen that he should one day obtain the Empire of Dehlí. [It is odd that a white elephant should have been called syám, i.e. black.]
After the Emperor Humáyún had got possession of Chunár, he halted in Benares, and sent an envoy to Sher Khán, having it in view to get possession of the country of Bihár. Sher Khán knew he had this design, and said to the envoy, “I have captured the fort of Gaur, and have collected about me a very large force of Afgháns. If the Emperor will abandon all design upon Bengal, I will surrender Bihár to him, and make it over to whomsoever he will depute, and will agree to the same boundaries of Bengal as existed in Sultán Sikandar's time; and I will send all the ensigns of royalty—as the umbrella throne, etc.—to the Emperor, and will yearly send him ten lacs of rupees from Bengal. But let the Emperor return towards Ágra.” The envoy came back to Humáyún, and reported what Sher Khán had said. The Emperor, on hearing about Bihár, became exceedingly glad, and agreed to what Sher Khán proposed, and gave a horse, and a peculiarly splendid khil'at to the envoy for delivery to Sher Sháh; and directed him to say to Sher Sháh that his proposals were accepted, and that he should not delay to put them in execution. The vakíl came to Sher Sháh, and gave him the horse and dress, and told him what the Emperor had said. Sher Khán was much delighted, and said, “I will fulfil the terms agreed upon, and will pray day and night to Almighty God that while life lasts no hostility may befall between the Emperor and myself, for I am his dependent and servant.”
Three days after this despatch the envoy of Sultán Mahmúd, the ruler of Bengal, came into the presence of the Emperor Humáyún, and made the following communication: “The Afgháns have seized the fort of Gaur, but most of the country is yet in my possession; let not Your Majesty trust to Sher Khán's promises, but march towards these parts, and before they have established and strengthened themselves, expel them from the country, and altogether suppress this revolt. I also will join you, and they are not powerful enough to oppose you.” As soon as he heard this request of Sultán Mahmúd, the Emperor ordered his victorious standards to be set in motion towards Bengal; and afterwards he ordered the Khán-khánán Yúsuf-khail, the Birlás chiefs, and some other nobles, to go on in advance, and with their force in battle array to move towards the hills of Bahrkunda, where Sher Khán was. Mirzá Hindál also was ordered to cross the Ganges with his division, and to move on Hájípúr. The Emperor himself went towards Bengal.
When Sher Khán heard this intelligence, he entirely gave up all trust in the promises and faith of Humáyún, and said to the envoy: “I have observed all loyalty to the Emperor, and have committed no offence against him, and have not encroached upon his boundaries. When I got Bihár from the Lohánís, and the King of Bengal formed a design to seize that country, I besought him most submissively to leave me as I was, and not to attempt to deprive me of Bihár. By reason of his large army and forces he would not attend to me, and since he thus oppressed me, the Almighty gave me the victory; and as he coveted the kingdom of Bihár, God wrested away from him also the kingdom of Bengal. The Emperor has only considered the word of the ruler of Bengal, and has overlooked the service I have rendered, and all the force of Afgháns which I have assembled for his service, and has marched against Bengal. When the Emperor besieged Chunár, the Afgháns urged me to oppose him, but I restrained them from declaring war, and said, ‘The Emperor is powerful; you should not fight with him for the sake of a fort, for he is my lord and patron, and when he perceives that, in spite of my powerful forces, I pay respect to him, he will understand that I am his loyal servant, and will give me a kingdom to maintain this large army. The Emperor desired the kingdom of Bihár, and I was willing to surrender it. But it is not the right way to govern a kingdom to separate so large a force from his service, and in order to please their enemies, to ruin and slay the Afgháns.’ But since the Emperor takes no heed of all this good service, and has violated his promise, I have now no hope or means of restraining the Afgháns from opposing him. You will hear what deeds the Afgháns will do, and the march to Bengal will end in repentance and regret, for now the Afgháns are united, and have laid aside their mutual quarrels and envyings. The country which the Mughals have taken from the Afgháns, they got through the internal dissensions among the latter.” So saying, he gave him a parting present, and dismissed him. The force he had with him Sher Khán sent to Rohtás, and he himself with a few horsemen, in order that he might not be traced, set off from that place towards Gaur secretly. From thence he proceeded, unknown to any one, to the hills, and lay hid there, and sent spies into the camp of the Emperor in order to discover his intentions. Humáyún was told, after he had made two marches, that Sher Khán had gone to the hills. He, therefore, returned; and the Khán-khánán Yúsuf-khail and Barrí Bírlas, who had been sent against Sher Khán, were halted in the pargana of Munír Shaikh Yahyá, where they heard that Sultán Mahmúd Barrí, the King of Gaur, was come. Bírlas went out to meet him. They had not yet escorted him to his encamping ground, when the Emperor himself arrived at Munír. They brought Sultán Mahmúd to the Emperor, who did not receive him kindly or pay him the respect he anticipated; so that Sultán Mahmúd repented that he had come, and shortly afterwards died from extreme grief. The Emperor issued orders for the arrangement of his army at the town of Munír.
Muyid Beg, son of Sultán Mahmúd, and Jahángír Kúlí, son of Ibráhím Báyazíd, Mír Núrká, Tardí Beg, Barrí Bírlas, Mubárak Farmulí, and other chiefs, with a force of 30,000 horse, were ordered to march seven kos in advance of the Imperial army. Sher Khán, on hearing that Humáyún had set off towards Bengal, departed himself secretly with only a few horsemen. When the Emperor reached Patna, the division which was seven kos in advance had not reached their ground, when their vedettes came to a village where what should they see but some cavalry in a garden. They asked of one of the villagers whose those horsemen were? He said, “It is Sher Khán himself.” The vedettes, when they heard the name of Sher Khán, were so alarmed, that they never examined what amount of force Sher Khán had with him, but returned and told to Muyid Beg that “Sher Khán was encamped at such and such a village.” Muyid Beg was of opinion that Sher Khán was there to oppose them, and sent to the Emperor to ask for orders; and encamped where he was, sending out a reconnoitring party to bring intelligence. When the persons sent to reconnoitre came near the place, they could not discover a single horseman there; on which the Mughals entered the village, and inquired of the head-man (mukaddam), who said, that Sher Khán had halted there with a few horsemen; but on seeing the advance of their cavalry had gone off with all speed on the road to Mungír. When the party returned from reconnoitring, it was nearly evening, and on this account they delayed the pursuit of Sher Khán.
When Sher Khán had crossed the defile of Gharí, he saw Saif Khán Acha-khail Sarwání, who was taking his family towards Rohtás. Sher Khán said, “Turn, for the Mughal army is near at hand.” When Saif Khán was apprised of the actual truth regarding the Emperor's army, he said to Sher Khan, “There are but few men with you, and the distance between the armies is small. The Emperor will pursue you with the utmost expedition, in the hope you may fall into his hands. Do you take my family with you, and go your way. Early to-morrow morning I will occupy the entrance of the pass, and while life remains in my body I will hold the Emperor's army in check, so that an ample distance may be placed between you and the Mughals.” Sher Khán said, “It is not right that to preserve myself I should cast you into the whirlpool of destruction.” Saif Khán replied: “All men are not equal; a man ought to sacrifice himself for his own household. *** My life and those of my brethren shall be expended in the service of my lord.” Although Sher Khán urged him repeatedly to go along with him, Saif Khán would not consent; so Sher Khán took his family with him, and relieved from all anxiety regarding the pursuit of the Mughals, proceeded on his course with all speed.
The next morning, when the sun was well risen, Saif Khán told his brethren to bathe, and be prepared for death. ** Saif Khán's brethren said: “Since you have decided to do this, we are ready to sacrifice a thousand lives for you; it is the time now to act, not to talk; we will not fail to do our best.” On this they put themselves at their several posts, and occupied the entrance of Gugárghar. When the army of the Emperor drew near, Saif Khán commenced the action. Notwithstanding great exertions on the part of the Mughals, they could not force the entrance of Gugárghar. The gallantry displayed by Saif Khán's brethren was beyond all description; they held the Mughals in check till a little after mid-day, when most of Saif Khán's brethren were slain, and he himself was severely wounded in three places; and becoming insensible, was taken alive by the Mughals. They took him before Muyid, who sent him to the Emperor; and he, when he heard his story, praised him very highly, saying, “Such it behoves a soldier to be, who should lay down his life to advance his master's interests.” He then said to Saif Khán, “I set you free, go whither you please.” Saif Khán said, “My family is with Sher Khán, I wish to go to him.” The Emperor replied: “I have given you your life, do as you will.” So Saif Khán returned to Sher Khán.
When Sher Khán arrived at Mungír, where Shujá'at Khán Níází*"Thána" in one MS. was, he ordered him, as Humáyún's army was approaching, to take Saif Khán's family to the fort of Gharí, and embarking in a swift sailing boat, went down the river towards Gaur. When he arrived there, he sent his son Jalál Khán with some of his nobles to occupy the pass of Gharí,*"Which," adds Nia'matu-lla, who calls it Garhí, "is the only passage to the countries of Gaur and Bengal ; there being, except by that gate, no other way of entry or exit." - Makhzan-i Afghání, MS. p. 202. It is now better known as "Sicly-gully", properly Sankrí-galí, the narrow pass about eight miles north-west from Rájmahál. It is incorrect to call it the only passage into Bengal, for the Mahrattas, in 1742, penetrated through another to the south-west, to say nothing of others. and to hold the Emperor Humáyún in check there, while he himself made all necessary preparations and arrangements, and conveyed to Rohtás the treasure which had fallen into his possession at Gaur. When Jalál Khán came to Gharí, the van of the Emperor's army was already near at hand. Jalál Khán proposed to attack it, but his chiefs dissuaded him, saying that he had not been sent by Sher Khán to risk an engagement, and that he ought merely to hold the pass against Humáyún's advance. Jalál Khán, however, did not assent to their counsel, but leaving 1000 horse to hold Gharí, and advancing himself with 6000, attacked the Imperialists, and after a sharp action defeated them.*One MS. has : "But although there was much fighting, did not defeat the Emperor's force." Mubárak Farmulí, Abú-l Fath Langáh, as well as many men on the side of the Mughals, fell in the engagement.*Some further details will be found among the extracts from the Makhzan-i Afghání.
Jalál Khán, returning to Gharí, fortified the pass. The night after the action it rained so hard, that the road was rendered impassable, for it was the commencment of the rainy season. The Emperor was delayed in this spot one month, and Sher Khán availing himself of the interval, and taking with him all the treasure which had come into his hands by the fall of Gaur, went by way of Jhárkand to Rohtás; and on arriving there, sent to Jalál Khán, directing him to abandon Gharí and to come to Rohtás. When the Emperor heard that Jalál Khán had abandoned and gone away from Gharí, he sent (on account of the excessive rain) a part of his force under Mirzá Hindál to Ágra, and proceeded himself to Gaur, the capital of Bengal, where he lay for three months, and admitted no one to an audience with him, A.H. 945 (A.D. 1538-9).
Meanwhile, Sher Khán came to Benares, and besieged the governor, and detached thence Khawás Khán to Mungír, where the Emperor had left the Khán-khánán Yúsuf-khail, when he himself went to Gaur. Sher Khán sent Khawás Khán with instructions to take Khán-khánán prisoner, and bring him to his presence, because this same Khán-khánán had brought the Emperor Bábar from Kábul to India. Khawás Khán came suddenly by night upon the city, and seizing the Khán-khánán, brought him to Benares. Shortly after this, Benares was taken, and the greater part of the Mughal garrison was killed. Subsequently, Haibat Khán Níází, Jalál Khán Jalú, Sarmast Khán Sarwání, and other chiefs were sent against Bahráích, and they drove out the Mughals from those parts until they arrived at and captured the city of Sambhal, and made slaves of the inhabitants, and spoiled the city. Another force was sent towards Jaunpúr, the governor of which place was killed in battle, and the same force was then sent in the direction of Ágra. Every governor on the part of the Emperor Humáyún, throughout the whole country, who offered any opposition, was killed, or was defeated and driven out of the country; so that all the districts as far as Kanauj and Sambhal fell into the possession of the Afgháns. Sher Khán also sent Khawás Khán against the city of Mahárta, zamíndár, with orders to cut down his jungle fastness, and to capture him. The officers of Sher Khán also collected the revenue of both the autumn and spring harvests of these parts.
When the Emperor heard that Mirzá Hindál had slain Shaikh Bahlol, and excited a sedition in the neighbourhood of Ágra, he became distracted,*Because, as stated in the Makhzan-i Afghání, the Shaikh was a man unequalled in erudition and piety, and the Emperor was personally much attached to him. The Shaikh had been sent by Humáyún to Hindál, to admonish him against his ambitious designs — See Dorn, p. 116. and started from Bengal (as the heat of the season had somewhat abated) towards Ágra. Sher Khán, summoning all his forces from Bihár, Jaunpúr, and other places, excepting only the division with Khawás Khán acting against Mahárta,*"Who, whenever Sher Khán was in any trouble, used to descend from his hills and jungles and harass the tenants around Bihar ; and taking to highway robbery, closed the road to travellers proceeding to Gaur and Bengal, and took every opportunity of plundering horses, camels and bullocks from the camp of Sher Khán. Therefore, his extermination being considered urgently necessary, Khawás Khán was not summoned." Makhzan-i Afghání, MS., p. 208. Dorn, p. 116.
When the Emperor Humáyún advanced in the direction of Sher Khán, thus encamped about Rohtás, Sher Khán assembled his chiefs, and addressed them thus: “The army of the Emperor Humáyún is in great disorder from his delay in Bengal; moreover, sedition has arisen in Ágra. It is on this account that he neglects me, and is taking his departure. If you agree with me, I will try my fortune, for my force at this moment is in perfect order. Before the Emperor marched against Bengal I made every submission, and agreed to pay a yearly tribute, if the Emperor would confer Bengal on me, that I might not be brought into hostilities with my patron. He agreed to give me Bengal, but when the envoy of the King of Bengal, Sultán Mahmúd, came to him, the king retracted his promise, and I was compelled to oppose him; and now that I have overthrown his armies which were in Bihár and Jaunpúr, and taken those countries, the way to peace is closed.” 'Azam Humáyún Sarwání (who had been one of Sikandar's nobles, and had now joined himself to Sher Khán) replied: “You ought not to take counsel with the nobles of Sultáns Bahlol and Sikandar as to fighting the Mughals, for this reason, that every plan we have devised has by our ill-fortune failed, and as often as we have fought, we have from our internal dissensions been defeated. Fortune has befriended you, in that the whole of the Afgháns have become united heart and soul under you, and have been always ready to engage the Mughals. Men of experience and sagacity have declared to me that the Afgháns are not inferior to the Mughals in warlike prowess, but fly away only because of their internal disunion. The Afgháns will drive the Mughals from India, whenever they obey one leader and are united under him. You are that fortunate man. Ask your other chiefs and act on their advice; as for us, victory has become your friend, and I have nothing to recommend.”
When Sher Khán heard these words of 'Azam Humáyún, he asked his other nobles, for example, Kutb Khán, Haibat Khán Níází, Jalál Khán bin Jaloí, Shujá'at Khán, Sarmast Khán Sar-wání, and others; and they unanimously declared that it was advisable to fight, for they would never have such an opportunity again.
When Sher Khán perceived that the Afgháns were united in his favour and in good heart to fight the Mughals, he quitted the hills of Rohtás, and marched to meet the Emperor's army. At every stage he entrenched himself with an earthwork, and going on entirely at his leisure, made very short marches. When the Emperor heard that Sher Khán was coming, he retraced his steps, and turned in the direction of Sher Khán's army. Sher Khán on hearing this, wrote to the Emperor, saying, that if the Emperor would give him the kingdom of Bengal, and be satisfied that the khutba be read and money struck in the Emperor's name, he would be the Emperor's vassal. Sher Khán then marching on, and selecting an advantageous place,—a large village with a stream of water intervening between himself and the Emperor,—entrenched himself there.*Nia'matu-lla indicates the place with greater exactness : "Sher Khán pitched his own opposite the royal camp, at a village called Shataya, between Jhúsa (Chaunsa) and Baksar, so that both armies were encamped on the same side of the Ganges. There was also a small stream flowing between the two camps, of which the banks were so steep, that it could not be crossed except at the usual ford." Makhzan-i Afghání, MS., p. 212 (Dorn, p. 118). The breadth of the stream was twenty-five yards.
Khawás Khán also, who had been sent against Mahárta, was summoned to come with all speed. The Emperor, on receiving Sher Khán's missive, agreed to give him the kingdom of Bengal, but on condition that whereas he had transgressed his boundaries, and had encamped himself in face of the Emperor on the other side the stream, he should show his respect to the Emperor by retreating, and leaving the passage of the river free to the Emperor; and that when the Emperor Humáyún had crossed, he would march two or three marches in the track of Sher Khán, and then turn back.*This silly manoeuvre is also mentioned by Nia'matu-lla ; it was to be a feigned pursuit, in order to save appearances. - Dorn, p. 120. Sher Khán agreed to these conditions, and leaving the passage of the river free, retraced his march. The Emperor bridging the river, crossed it with his whole camp and army and family, and pitched on the further side.
He then sent Shaikh Khalíl, a descendant*"The original has farzand, literally "a son". The Táríkh-i Khán Jahán (MS. p. 190) has nabira, "grandson." The latter work entirely exonerates Shaik Khalíl from the charge of the perfidy, by representing him as the agent, not of Humáyún , but of Sher Sháh, who was his spiritual pupil. So does Ahmad Yádgár (MS. p. 279), and Firishta (Briggs. vol. ii., p. 37). This is by far more probable than the statement in the text. of Shaikh Faríd Shakar-ganj (the pole of the world), on an embassy to Sher Khán, to urge him to march by regular stages back to Rohtás, and to delay nowhere, and to promise that the Emperor, after making some marches in his rear, would turn aside, and after that would give, as he had agreed, to Sher Khán's agent, a farmán for the kingdom of Bengal. When Shaikh Khalíl came to Sher Khán, he told him what the Emperor had said. Sher Khán ostensibly agreed to this arrangement, and received him with all honour and hospitality; nor did he omit the slightest point of customary etiquette. Shaikh Khalíl, in the presence of the Emperor's men who had accompanied him, debated earnestly and long with Sher Sháh, and strongly advised the proposed peace; and during the consultation the following words fell from Shaikh Khalíl: “If you do not agree to peace, away with you; declare war, and fight.” Sher Khán said, “What you say is a good omen for me; please God, I will fight.” After the consultation, Sher Khán gave to Shaikh Khalíl money and rich clothes and manufactures of Málda and of Bengal in enormous quantities, and captivated his heart by these presents and favours. Sher Khán then sent for Shaikh Khalíl in private, and speaking of the reverence the Afgháns entertained for the holy Shaikh Faríd Shakar-ganj, and of their mutual fatherland, and making him promises to his heart's content, said, “I wish you to give me advice regarding peace or war with the Emperor Humáyún, for the learned have said, ‘It behoves one to take counsel with the wise, with the intelligent, and with far-seeing holy men.’ Now, in you all these qualifications are united. Tell me, therefore, without diminution or reserve, what your mind, clear as the sun, thinks concerning my well-being. Is peace or war with the Emperor most to my advantage?” After much hesitation, Shaikh Khalíl said, “By asking my advice, you have in two ways placed me in a great difficulty: first, since I have come to you as an envoy from the Emperor, it is not right that I should say anything except to his advantage; and, secondly, you have asked advice from me, and those of old have said, ‘If even your enemy asks your advice, speak the truth.’ If I give advice contrary to my own opinion, I shall act dishonestly. The Afgháns for generations past have held my ancestors in reverence; and it appears from the miraculous precepts of the holy prophet Muhammad (may God's mercy rest on him!), that it behoves him who gives advice to do so in good faith. I am compelled, therefore, to speak the truth. War with the Emperor Humáyún is more for your advantage than peace; for this reason, that in his army the most complete disorder exists, he has no horses or cattle, and his own brothers are in rebellion against him. He only makes peace with you now from necessity, and will not eventually abide by the treaty. Look on this opportunity as so much gained, and do not let it out of your grasp, for you will never again have such another.” Sher Khán was wavering in his decision as to peace or war; but as Shaikh Khalíl advised against the peace, he abandoned all idea of it, and determined on war. He had before sent for Khawás Khán, and when he arrived he ordered the whole of his troops to arms, as if Mahárta was approaching to attack them. When he had gone four kos out of his encampment he returned, saying the spies had reported that Mahárta was yet distant.
The next day he again arrayed his army and moved out, and when he had gone several kos, returned, and said that Mahárta was not coming that day. A little before midnight he assembled all his chiefs, and said, “I have promised peace to the Emperor Humáyún; but I have considered that all the good service I have rendered has produced no good fruit; and after all my loyalty to him in producing the defeat of Sultán Mahmúd, he demanded from me the fort of Chunár. When I refused to yield it, he sent a force to take it; and when that failed, he came himself to seize the fort by force, but abandoned his intentions when he heard that Mirzá Muhammad Zamán had escaped from prison, and had raised a sedition in the country. Moreover, Sultán Bahádur, King of Gujarát, was coming to invade the country of Dehlí, and so he was compelled to return. I sent my son Kutb Khán with him throughout the Gujarát campaign.*"Accompanied by 5000 valiant horsemen skilled in the use of the sabre." — Makhzan-i Afghání, MS., p. 216. Others give the more probable amount of 500. Though I could have taken possession of the country of Jaunpúr, etc., yet I did not commit any act of hostility, for the Emperor is mighty; and though I had the power, I would not do any disloyal and evil act, that the Emperor might perceive I was his faithful servant, and desist from seeking to injure me. When he returned from Gujarát, he got his army in readiness, and without regarding my loyalty, did his best to expel me; but as my fortune was great, he did not achieve his desire. I made every submission, but it was all profitless. When, in violation of his promises, he attacked Bengal, I lost all hope in his goodness, and apprehending evil from him, was compelled to declare hostilities against him, and I expelled his governors and spoiled his country as far as Sambhal, and have not left a single Mughal in those parts. Now, with what hope can I conclude this peace with him? He makes peace and manifests a friendly disposition towards me, because his army is in want of horses and cattle and of every equipment, and because his brothers have rebelled against him. He is but playing with me, and eventually will not abide by this peace; but having appeased the rebellion of his brothers on his arrival at Ágra, and refurnished his army, he will not fail to uproot and destroy me. I have often experienced that the Afgháns are braver in battle than the Mughals, who only got the country from the dissensions of the Afgháns. If my brothers advise so, I will break off the peace, and will try my fortune.” They all replied: “By your blessing, dissension has been banished from among the Afghán nation, and we all have been cherished by you; we will not fail in devotion and gallantry to our utmost capability. Your purpose of breaking off the treaty is most wise.” Sher Khán said, “I break off the treaty. I have put my trust in the Protector, and will fight the Emperor Humáyún, as Míán Nizámí has observed.” *** When he dismissed the chiefs, he ordered them to array their men with all speed, as if they were still in alarm as to Mahárta; and when one watch of the night yet remained, the whole army, according to Sher Khán's command, marched two and a half kos in the direction of Mahárta's country. Sher Khán then halted, and addressed his army, saying, “For two days I have drawn out my army, and have returned to my encampment, that I might put the Emperor off his guard, and that he might not suspect that my army was coming towards him. Now, turn; set your faces towards the army of the Emperor, and let not the honour of the Afgháns out of your grasp nor fail to display your utmost devotion, for now is the time to regain the Empire of Hindustán.” The Afgháns replied: “Let not our lord allow any hesitation to find its way to his noble heart.” ***
Having read the fátiha, and drawn up his forces in order of battle, Sher Sháh with all haste marched towards the Emperor's camp. When the Afgháns were close at hand, news was brought to the Emperor that Sher Khán was coming with all speed to battle with him. The Emperor ordered out his army to resist the attack, saying that after a short delay, and having performed his ablutions, he also would follow. The Emperor was a lion (in valour), and in the excess of his gallantry and daring. ** So from the pride of youth, and confidence in the multitude of his forces and followers, who had no equals for intrepidity and gallantry, he despised the forces of Sher Sháh, who were all Afgháns, and did not even inspect his forces nor pay regard to what is necessary in an engagement; nor did he take into consideration the disorganization which the climate of Bengal had produced in his army. Sher Khán knew all the devices and stratagems of war, and knew how to commence and conclude an engagement, and had experienced both prosperity and misfortune. The army of the Mughals had not extricated themselves from their camp, before the Afghán army were already upon them, and coming boldly on, attacked the army of the Emperor without hesitation. In the twinkling of an eye they routed the Mughal forces. Humáyún had not completed his ablutions when the intelligence reached him that the Mughals were utterly scattered, so that to rally them was impossible. The confusion in the army was so great that he had no time to remove his family, but fled in the direction of Ágra, with the intention of collecting all his forces at that place, and returning again from thence to destroy his enemy.
Masnad 'Álí Haibat Khán told me 'Abbás Khán, the author of this book, that he was at Sher Khán's side when the Emperor Humáyún's queen, with other noble ladies and a crowd of women, came out from behind the parda. As soon as Sher Khán's eye fell upon them, he alighted off his horse, and showed them every respect and consoled them.*gSome further particulars respecting this defeat will be found among the Extracts from the Makhzan-i Afghání, and under the reign of Humáyún. The date assigned by Nia'matu-lla in Muharram, 946. He then performed a special ablution, and returned twofold thanks to the Lord of Eternity, and raising up his hands in prayer with all humility and with tears, said *** After this he sent the heralds to proclaim throughout the army, that no person should make captives of or keep a Mughal woman, child, or female slave in his tent one night, but should bring them all to the queen's encampment, and the strictness of his command carried such authority among the Afgháns that no person had any power to resist it; and the heralds before night brought all the wives and families of the Mughals to the queen's encampment and assigned rations to each person. Sher Khán some days afterwards sent the queen to Rohtás under charge of Husain Khán Nírak, and providing the families of the other Mughals with carriages and their necessary expenses, sent them on towards Ágra.*Ahmad Yádgár (MS. p. 284) says there were no less than 4,000 Mughal women.
Sher Khán, who had assumed the title of “Hazrat 'Álí,” since the star of victory had risen in the horizon of his good fortune, ordered his munshís to write letters descriptive of his victory to all parts of the country which were in his possession. Masnad 'Álí 'Ísá Khán, son of 'Umar Khán, whose title was “Khán-i 'azam,” and who during the time Sultán Bahlol, after the death of Tátár Khán Yúsuf-khail, held Lahore in jágír, said to Sher Khán, “You should write the letters describing your victory in the style of farmáns.” Sher Khán observed: “You, who formerly were nobles of Sultáns Bahlol and Sikandar, have, for the cause of the Afgháns, done me the honour of joining yourselves to me. It does not become me to send farmáns to you, and to seat myself on the throne while you stand around me. The King of Hindustán has escaped alive, and still holds most of the country in his possession.” 'Ísá Khán explained that he had a great desire to seat Sher Khán upon the throne, and said, “Sultán Sikandar and his descendants, who, out of regard to their clansmen, would not ascend the throne, acted in violation of the custom of kings. It behoves him whom God Almighty brings to empire, and elevates and exalts above the rest of mankind, to observe the rules of etiquette of former princes.” *** After this, 'Azam Humáyún Sarwání, said, “The Mughals have been kings for two descents; they despise the Afgháns, and consider them as not their own equals in the day of battle; yet by the excellence of your wisdom and your conquering fortune, the Afgháns have overthrown them.” *** Míán Bábin Lodí and the other Afgháns with one consent cried: “There are none like Masnad 'Álí Kalkapúr*[Var. "Kaknúr," "Kalnúr," "Laknúr."] Sarwání and 'Azam Humáyún Sarwání in the army of the Afgháns; what they have said is most right; it is not good to delay.” Sher Khán was much delighted, and said, “The kingly name is a very exalted thing, and is not devoid of trouble; but since the noble minds of my friends have decided to make me king, I agree.” He ordered the astrologers to fix an auspicious moment for his ascent to the throne. When they had consulted the calendar, they came with great delight and said, “An auspicious moment, by the good fortune of your birth hour, has now come. If you at this moment seat yourself upon the throne, defeat and rout will never show their face in your victorious army.” He seated himself on the throne, unfolded the umbrella over his head, and assumed the name of Sher Sháh, and struck coin and caused the khutba to be read in his own name; and he took also the additional title of “Sháh 'Álam.”*[The Wáki'át-i Mushtákí gives the same title, but from his coins it would appear that it was "Sultánu-l 'Ádil." See Thomas's Chronicles of the Pathán Kings, p. 395.] He said to 'Ísá Khán, “You are the son of Shaikh Malahi, and have induced me to strike coin and have the khutba read in my own name; write one letter descriptive of the victory with your own hand, the munshís will write the rest.” So 'Ísá Khán wrote one copy with his own hand, and the munshís wrote the rest. For seven days drums were beaten in token of rejoicing; and the young men of the Afghán army came in crowds from every tribe and danced, as is the custom of the Afgháns. ***
Sher Khán himself pursued the Emperor Humáyún, and got possession of the whole country as far as Kálpí and Kanauj. He again sent Khawás Khán against Mahárta Cherúh,*[Var. "Jarú."] to utterly destroy him. Jahángír Kúlí Beg, with 6000 cavalry, was in Bengal; him he ordered to be put to death,*The Makhzan-i Afghání adds, that Jalál Khán Jaloí and Hájí Khán Batni were sent to Bengal; and after defeating Jahángír Kúlí, the governor, who was at the head of 6,000 horse. Bengal fell again under the dominion of the Afgháns. and the chiefs of Hind who were with the Emperor Humáyún he let go free; but Shaikh Khalíl he kept, and made him one of his own friends and counsellors. He sent 'Ísá Khán towards Gujarát and Mándú, and to the chiefs of those parts he wrote, saying, “I am about to send a son of mine into your neighbourhood. When the Emperor Humáyún moves towards Kanauj, do you accompany my son, and seize and lay waste the country about Ágra and Dehlí. At that time a certain man, by name Mallú Khán, had made himself king in Mándú, Sárangpúr, and Ujjain, and had assumed the name of Kádir Sháh; and in Ráísín and Chanderí, Bhaiá Púran Mall ruled as deputy of the infant Rájá Partáb, son of Bhúpat Sháh, the son of Saláhu-d dín. In Sewás, Sikandar Khán Miána held sway; and Mahesar was Rájá of Bhopál. These rulers of Málwá wrote in reply, that when Sher Sháh's son came to those parts, they would not fail to assist and serve him. Mallú Khán put his seal at the head of the letter which he sent, and when the letter arrived, Sher Sháh tore up the letter and put the seal in his turban (by way of showing respect ironically).
When 'Ísá Khán went to Gujarát, Sultán Mahmúd was a minor; but his minister Daryá Khán wrote that the king was a minor, the chiefs at enmity among themselves, and that the Khán-khánán Yúsuf-khail had taken away with him all the army of Mándú and Gujarát. 'Ísá Khán observed to Sher Sháh that “wherever misfortunes have befallen the Afgháns from the Mughals, it has been through this man. The Khán-khánán Yúsuf-khail brought the Emperor Bábar into India from Kábul; and if the Emperor Humáyún had acted according to what the Khán-khánán advised, he would not have repented it, and would have utterly destroyed you; but your good fortune prevailed, so that the Emperor did not act upon his advice. He must be put to death, for it is not right to allow him to live, even though he be a prisoner (at Mungír).” Sher Sháh said, “Every Afghán whom I have consulted has said, ‘He is an Afghán of consideration, and it is not advisable to kill him.’ But my opinion has been that which 'Ísá Khán has expressed.” So he gave orders that the Khán-khánán, who had been kept in confinement since his capture at Mungír, and who had received a daily allowance of half a sír of unground barley, should be put to death; so he was slain. News arrived that the Emperor Humáyún purposed marching towards Kanauj. Sher Khán despatched his son, by name Kutb Khán, to Mándú, in order that he might, in concert with the chiefs of those parts, alarm and ravage the country about Ágra and Dehlí. When the Emperor Humáyún heard that Sher Sháh had sent his son towards Chanderí, that he might raise disturbances in those parts, he sent both his brothers, Mirzá Hindál and Mirzá 'Askarí, with other nobles, in that direction. When the Málwá chiefs heard that two brothers of the Emperor were coming to oppose Kutb Khán, they gave him no assistance. Kutb Khán went from Chanderí to the city of Chondha, and engaging the Mughals at Chondha,*[This name is a very doubtful one.] The Tímúrian authors put this engagement at Kálpí. was slain. Mirzá Hindál and Mirzá 'Askarí having gained this victory, returned to the Emperor.
When Sher Sháh heard that the chiefs of the country of Mándú had not assisted Kutb Khán, and that Kutb Khán was slain, he was extremely grieved and enraged; nevertheless, he did not openly manifest this by his conduct, but kept his grudge against the chiefs of Mándú concealed in his own bosom. The Mughals gained excessive confidence from this victory, and large forces having come also from their own country, the Emperor Humáyún arrayed his army and came to Kanauj (Zí-l ka'da, 946 A.H., April, 1540 A.D.). Sher Sháh also fortified himself on the opposite side of the river Ganges. At this conjuncture he received intelligence that Khawás Khán had slain Mahárta. There was great rejoicing in the Afghán army,*Great importance appears always to have been attached to this conquest. In the Wáki'át-i Mushtákí (MS. p. 110) we find it mentioned, towards the close of Sher Shah's reign, that the three great works accomplished by him were, the destruction of the infidel Mahárta, the massacre of the idolaters of Ráísín, and the re-establishment of Islam in Nágor, by the expulsion of Maldeo. "If God please! these three deeds will secure his salvation." The supineness of Sultán Ibráhím had occasioned the two latter to triumph for a time, but Sher Sháh had never ceased to pray for their extermination. and Sher Sháh wrote to Khawás, saying: “Come with all speed to me; for I and your other friends are awaiting your coming before we engage the enemy; we are looking anxiously in your direction.” And when he heard of the near approach of Khawás Khán, he sent a herald to the Emperor Humáyún, saying, “I have for some time entrenched myself here. The Emperor has the power to choose. If he will cross the river he may fight with me on this side; or, if he prefer it, I will cross the river, and fight with the Emperor on that side.” When the herald came to the Emperor, and reported what Sher Sháh had said, the Emperor, in utter contempt of Sher Sháh, replied: “Say to Sher Khán that if he will retreat some kos from the waterside, I will cross the river Ganges and give him battle.” The herald returned and told Sher Sháh what the Emperor had said. Sher Sháh retreated several kos from the river bank. The Emperor Humáyún, having prepared a bridge, crossed the river Ganges. Hamíd Khán Kákar, one of Sher Sháh's nobles, said, “You ought to attack the Mughal army before they have all crossed the river.” Sher Sháh replied: “I have never before had any advantages, and have been compelled to use stratagems in warfare. Now by the favour of the all-powerful, my force is not inferior to the Emperor's. I will not now, notwithstanding my advantages, break my promise in the face of day. With my army arrayed in the open field, I will give battle without fraud or stratagem. God's will, whatever it may be, will be manifested.” When Sher Sháh understood that the whole force of the Emperor was across the river, he returned towards it, and carefully throwing up, according to his custom, an earthwork embankment opposite the Emperor's army, encamped close by it.
After some days Khawás Khán also came; on the very day he arrived, Sher Sháh marched in fighting order, and captured all the supplies which were coming to the Emperor's army, and took 300 camels, and a large convoy of bullocks. On the 10th Muharram, 947 H., both armies drew out their forces. Sher Sháh thus arranged his army. In the centre was Sher Sháh himself, with Haibat Khán Níází, who bore the title of 'Azam Humáyún, Masnad 'Álí 'Ísá Khán Sarwání, Kutb Khán Lodí, Hájí Khán Jaloí, Buland Khán, Sarmast Khán, Saif Khán Sarwání, Bijlí Khán, and others. On the right were Jalál Khán, son of Sher Sháh, who after Sher Sháh's death succeeded him on the throne, and was entitled Islám Sháh, Táj Khán, Sulaimán Khán Kiráni, Jalál Khán Jaloí, and others. On the left, 'Ádil Khán, son of Sher Sháh, Kutb Khán, Ráí Husain Jalwání, and others. When Sher Sháh had drawn up his army in this order, he said to the Afgháns: “I have used my best exertions to collect you together, I have done my best in training you, and have kept you in anticipation of such a day as this. This is the day of trial; whoever of you shows himself to excel in valour on the field of battle, him will I promote above his fellows.” *** The Afgháns replied: “The mighty king has much protected and favoured us. This is the time for us to serve him and show our devotion.” Sher Sháh ordered each chief to return to his own followers and to remain with them; and he himself went through the army and set it in proper array.
The Emperor's forces were broken by Khawás Khán's division, but Sher Sháh's right, under his son Jalál Khán, was defeated four of the chiefs, however, kept their ground, such as Jalál Khán himself, Míán Aiyúb Kalkapúr Sarwání, and Ghází Mujlí. When Sher Sháh saw that his right was broken, he wished to go to its assistance; but Kutb Khán Lodí said: “My lord, do not quit your own post, lest men should think the centre also is broken. Go on into the midst of the enemy.” As Sher Sháh's division proceeded straight on, they encountered the Mughal force which had routed Sher Sháh's right; they defeated and drove it on the Emperor's centre division. Sher Sháh having driven away the Mughal force in front of his son Jalál Khán; and his left, in which was his other son 'Ádil Khán and Kutb Khán Banet, having repulsed the troops opposed to them, fell on the Mughal centre. Sher Sháh's right, which had been defeated, rallied at the same time, and thus the Afghán army completely surrounded the Mughal force. Sher Sháh's sons and other Afghán chiefs performed many gallant acts, especially Haibat Khán Níází and Khawás Khán, who drove back the Mughals with the stroke of the watered sabre and the point of the life-melting spear. The Emperor Humáyún himself remained firm like a mountain in his position on the battlefield, and displayed such valour and gallantry as is beyond all description. ***
When the Emperor saw supernatural beings fighting against him, he acknowledged the work of God, abandoned the battle to these unearthly warriors, and turned the bridle of his purpose towards his capital of Ágra. He received no wound himself, and escaped safe and sound out of that bloodthirsty whirlpool. The greater part of his army was driven into the river Ganges.*The Makhzan-i Afghání (MS., p. 229) and Táríkh-i Khán Jahán (MS., p. 161), represent that there was a bridge, which was broken by the excessive pressure upon it during the retreat. All authorities concur in saying there was a bridge by which the Imperialists crossed to the eastern side, but few mention it on the retreat. The Emperor himself fled on an elephant which swam the river with difiiculty. *** Sher Sháh being at his ease regarding the Mughals, wrote to Shujá'at Khán, whom he had left as faujdár, in the country of Bihár and Rohtás, to besiege the fort of Gwálior, and he told the bearer of the farmán: “The son of Shujá'at Khán, by name Mahmúd Khán, has been slain; do not tell him before he has quitted Rohtás, lest on hearing of the death of his son he delays and puts off his coming.” As soon as he received the farmán, Shujá'at Khán went and besieged Gwálior.*All the copies and many writers of the same period concur in reading Gwálír [which may also be read Gwáliyar]. From Kanauj Sher Sháh despatched Barmazíd Gúr with a large force in advance, but directed him not to hazard an engagement with the Emperor Humáyún, and he also sent another force under Nasír Khán towards Sambhal. Having speedily settled the country about Kanauj, he betook himself in the direction of Ágra.
The Emperor Humáyún, on reaching Ágra, told Amír Saiyid Amíru-d dín, that the Afgháns had not defeated his army, but that he had seen supernatural beings fighting his soldiers, and turning back their horses. When he arrived at Sirhind, he told the same story to Muhibu-d dín Sirhindí. When Sher Sháh approached Ágra,*The Táríkh-i Khán Jahán (MS., p. 194) says he was two years arranging preliminaries and trying his forces before he advanced on Ágra. the Emperor, unable to remain there, fled towards Lahore. Sher Sháh was greatly displeased at this, and reproached Barmazíd very much, and on his arrival at Ágra remained there for some days himself, but sent Khawás Khán and Barmazíd Gúr in the direction of Lahore, with a large Afghán force, to pursue the Emperor.*The Táríkh-i Dáúdí (M.S., p. 230) says the instructions were to remain fifty kos in the rear of the Mughals, as Sher Sháh only wished to expel them from Hindustan without coming to action. On arriving at Dehlí, the principal men and inhabitants of the city of Sambhal came and complained that Nasír Khán had oppressed and tyrannized over them in various ways. Sher Sháh said to Kutb Khán, “We must select some person endowed both with valour and justice whom to send to Sambhal, for in that sarkár are many lawless and rebellious persons, and the person selected should be able to keep them under.” Kutb Khán replied, “That for these qualities there was no Afghán like to 'Ísá Khán Kalkapúr.” Sher Khán replied, “Right, it shall be so. You yourself go to Masnad 'Álí 'Ísá Khán, and tell him, if he consents, I will appoint him.” Kutb Khán went to 'Ísá Khán, who readily assented. ***
In addition to sarkár Sambhal, Sher Sháh gave him the parganas of Kánt and Gola for his family, and ordered him to maintain five thousand horse, and placed also Nasír Khán under him. When Sher Sháh dismissed 'Ísá Khán to go to sarkár Sambhal, he said, “I am now at my ease regarding the whole country from Dehlí to Lucknow.” Masnad 'Álí, on his arrival at Sambhal, found Nasír Khán had seized Bairam Beg, the keeper of the seals to the Emperor, who afterwards in the time of the Emperor Akbar received the title of Khán-khánán. The reason of Bairam Beg being in Sambhal was as follows. When the army of the Emperor Humáyún was dispersed, Bairam Beg went to Sambhal, having formed an intimate friendship with Míán 'Abdu-l Waháb, son of Míán 'Azízu-lla Dánishmand, one of the chief men of the city of Sambhal. 'Abdu-l Waháb, from fear of Nasír Khán, dared not keep him in the city, but made him over to the Rájá of Lukhnor,*All the copies and corresponding passages in other works concur in reading "Lakhnau;" but I suspect "Lakhnór" is meant — an ancient native capital of the Kathárya Rájpúts, a little to the east of Sambhal, on the banks of the Rámgangá. More will be found respecting the place in my Supplemental Glossary (vol. ii., p. 136). It is observable that Dr. Dorn occasionally reads Lucknor where he should have said Lucknow. In this particular passage he is correct in reading Lucknor. — Hist. Afgháns, p. 128. by name Mitr Sen. The Rájá kept him for some time in the northern part of his country, where there is much jungle. Nasír Khán was informed that Bairam Beg was with Mitr Sen, so he wrote to the Rájá that he must bring Bairam Beg to him. The Rájá, from fear and dread of Sher Sháh, surrendered him to Nasír Khán, who was desirous of putting him to death. An old friendship had subsisted between 'Abdu-l Waháb and 'Ísá Khán from the time of Sultán Sikandar, so he went to 'Ísá Khán, and told him he ought to save Bairam Beg from the hands of the cruel Nasír Khán, who was desirous of putting him to death. 'Ísá Khán accordingly having rescued Bairam Beg from Nasír Khán, brought him into his own house, and kept him there for some time, and gave him an allowance for his support; and he took Rájá Mitr Sen's security that whenever he ('Ísá Khán) should go to Sher Sháh, thither Bairam Beg should accompany him.
When 'Ísá Khán joined Sher Sháh, during the campaign of Mándú and Ujjain, he brought Bairam with him, and introduced him to Sher Sháh in the town of Ujjain. Sher Sháh angrily asked where he had been up to that time. Masnad 'Álí said he had been in the house of Shaikh Malhí Kahál. Sher Sháh replied, “Since it is an established custom among the Afgháns that whatever criminal takes refuge among the relatives of Shaikh Malhí Kahál should be pardoned, I also pardon Bairam Beg. When Sher Sháh was about to leave the darbár, 'Ísá Khán said: “You have for Shaikh Malhí's sake given Bairam Beg his life; give him also for my sake, who have brought him to you, a dress of honour and a horse, and order that he shall pitch his tent with Muhammad Kásim, who surrendered the fort of Gwálior. Sher Sháh assigned him a place near Muhammad Kásim, when Sher Khán marched from Ujjain; but both Bairam Beg and Muhammad Kásim fled towards Gujarát. Muhammad Kásim was killed by the way, but Bairam Beg reached Gujarát. One Shaikh Gadáí was in Gujarát, to whom he did good service, and from Gujarát, Bairam Beg reached the Emperor Humáyún.
After the death of that Emperor, Bairam Beg, who had been dignified with the title of Khán-khánán, returned the kindness of Shaikh Gadáí, Shaikh 'Abdu-l Waháb, and Rájá Mitr Sen with every imaginable favour. 'Ísá Khán was still alive: his age then was ninety years. Many persons said to him that he ought to wait on the Khán-khánán. Masnad 'Álí said: “I will not for any worldly gain wait on the Mughal, nor is it the custom of the sons of Masnad 'Álí 'Umar Khán to ask for a return of their favours.” I have heard from Maulána Muhammad Binor and 'Abdu-l Momin, his son-in-law, who were among the intimates of the Khán-khánán, that they asked the Khán-khánán thus: “Did Masnad 'Álí 'Ísá Khán ever do you a kindness?” He replied: “He saved my life; if he will come to me, I shall feel myself honoured. If I cannot give him more than Sher Sháh, I at least will give him his own Sambhal.” I, 'Abbás Khán, the author of the Tuhfa-i Akbar Sháhí, and Masnad 'Álí 'Ísá Khán Kalkapúr came of the same tribe and family, and I am married to the daughter of his brother's son, whose name is Muzaffar Khán. Much of the history of the Afgháns which I describe I learnt from Khán-'azam Muzaffar Khán, whose ancestors were formerly nobles of Hindustán. When Sultán Sikandar banished Haibat Khán, the father of 'Ísá Khán, the latter went to Sultán Mahmúd, the King of Mándú, and became his chosen counsellor and associate; and when he left Sultán Mahmúd and went to Muzaffar King of Gujarát, he also became his counsellor and friend.
When the Sultán took the fort of Mándú from the unbelievers, he said to Masnad 'Álí: “Go to Sultán Muzaffar, and tell him he should visit the fort of Mándú, for it is a fine place.” Sultán Muzaffar said, “May the fort of Mándú bring Sultán Mahmúd good fortune, for he is the master of it. I, for the sake of the Lord, came to his assistance. On Friday I will go up to the fortress, and having read the khutba in his name, will return.” 'Ísá Khán brought this good news to Sultán Mahmúd. Afterwards, when he left Gujarát, and went to Sultán Ibráhím, he became also his associate and adviser. Sultán Ibráhím entrusted the city of Dehlí to him, when Sultán 'Aláu-d dín, son of Sultán Bahlol, was repulsed from it; for in spite of all his efforts, 'Ísá Khán would not surrender it. He afterwards went to Sher Sháh, became one of his attendant nobles, and after he had conquered Dehlí, Sher Sháh gave Sambhal to him, as has before been stated. Sher Sháh, entrusting Mewát to Hájí Khán, went himself towards Lahore. On arriving near Sirhind, he bestowed it on Khawás Khán. Khawás Khán entrusted it to Malik Bhagwant, who was his slave. When the Emperor Humáyún reached Lahore, certain Mughals, who had newly arrived from their own country, and had never yet encountered the Afgháns, said to the Emperor, “You should send us to fight the Afgháns,” and vaunted much, saying, “Who and what manner of men are these Afgháns, that they should be able to contend with us in the day of battle?” So the Emperor Humáyún sent these Mughals to make the attempt, and Khawás Khán and Barmazíd Gúr, who had marched in advance of Sher Sháh from Dehlí, met them at Sultánpúr, where they engaged. The Mughals were defeated, and retired to Lahore. Khawás Khán halted at Sultánpúr; but the Emperor and Mirzá Kámrán quitted Lahore, which was shortly afterwards occupied by Sher Sháh, who, however, made no halt there. On the third march beyond Lahore, he heard that Mirzá Kámrán had gone by way of the Júdh hills to Kábul, and that the Emperor Humáyún was marching along the banks of the Indus to Multán and Bhakkar. The King went to Khusháb, and thence despatched Kutb Khán Banet, Khawás Khán, Hájí Hhán, Habíb Khán, Sarmast Khán, Jalál Khán Jaloí, 'Ísá Khán Níází, Barmazíd Gúr, and the greater part of his army, in pursuit of the Emperor, towards Multán. He instructed them not to engage the Emperor, but to drive him beyond the borders of the kingdom, and then to return. When they had gone two marches, they heard that the Mughal army had divided into two portions. The Afghán army was in great anxiety, lest, as the force with the King was so small, the Mughals should make forced marches, and attack him. The Afghán army, therefore, also dividing itself into two divisions, the one under Khawás Khán, 'Ísá Khán, and others, crossed the river, and marched along the bank of the Jelam towards Multán; and Kutb Khán and the rest remained and marched along the nearer bank of the same stream. The Mughal division which had quitted the Emperor, and was marching towards Kábul, encountered Khawás Khán, and not being strong enough to fight, fled, leaving their drums and standards behind, which fell into Khawás Khán's hands,*The Táríkh-i Dáúdí, which is partial to the fabulous, represents (MS., p. 235) that Khawás Khán came up with Humáyún near Khusháb, when the Emperor, being hard up for supplies, sent to him for something to eat, which he readily furnished; upon which the Emperor went on towards Thatta. and the Afghán army returning from that place, rejoined Sher Sháh. Sher Sháh delayed some time at Khusháb. While there, Isma'íl Khán, Fath Khán, and Ghází Khán Bilúchí, came and waited on him. Sher Sháh ordered the Bilúchís to brand their horses. Isma'íl Khán said: “Other persons brand their horses—I will brand my own body.” Sher Sháh was pleased, and excused him from the branding, and confirmed to him the country of Sind. The chiefs of every tribe and family of Roh came to wait on Sher Sháh. The writer's grandfather, Shaikh Báyazíd Kalkapúr Sarwání, who was the successor to the very holy Shaikh Ahmad Sarwání, who was the grandfather of Shaikh Malhí Kayál, whose holiness and glory is famous all over the country of Roh, and whose disciples and followers most of the Afgháns are, and whose descendants are celebrated for their austerity and for the strictness of their devotional observances, and who are also known for their gallantry and wealth; nor does any person excel them in honour and consideration—the whole race of Afgháns acknowledge their greatness, and their own, and their ancestors' virtues: —this said Shaikh Báyazíd came to Sher Sháh at Khusháb, and had an interview with him.
Since the previous kings of whom I have treated in this history paid extreme respect to Shaikh Báyazíd, he was very anxious as to whether Sher Sháh would or would not show him the same civilities. The moment Shaikh Báyazíd came unto Sher Sháh's darbár, the latter came forward several steps to receive him; and abasing himself gave Shaikh Báyazíd precedence. My grandfather expected that Sher Sháh would give him his hand, but he said: “Embrace me.” When he took leave also, he showed every sign of respect and friendship. When he returned towards Bengal, Sher Sháh sent him back to Roh, and gave him one lac of tankas in cash, as well as Bengal silks and clothes of Hindustán. The Shaikh said:—“Since the time of the Langáhs the Bilúchís have possessed themselves of the rent-free tenures of my predecessors.” Sher Sháh ordered that Isma'íl Khán Bilúch should receive instead the pargana of Ninduna, in the Ghakkar country, and that the Bilúchís should be made to restore to Shaikh Báyazíd, the rightful owner, the land of the Sarwánís, which they had usurped. Isma'íl Khán dared not disobey the orders of Sher Sháh, so he took pargana Ninduna and the Ghakkar villages, and restored the Sarwánís' land to Shaikh Báyazíd. Shaikh Báyazíd came a second time to see Sher Sháh during the Ujjain and Sárangpúr campaign. *** Sher Sháh conferred on the Shaikh 2000 bighás of land in the pargana of Batnúr, which had been the settlement of his ancestors, and also fixed the amount of present he was to receive on visiting the king at a lac of tankas, and promised that after the fall of Kálinjar he would give him the provinces of Sind and Multán, the country of the Bilúchís.
When Shaikh Báyazíd surrendered his life to the Almighty, my father, Shaikh 'Álí, took his place in the country of Roh, and in those days he had an interview with Islám Khán, who also paid the customary respect and honour to Shaikh 'Álí without difference or diminution, and confirmed his assignments. In the reign of the Emperor Akbar I also enjoyed these as usual, until the twenty-fourth Iláhí year (corresponding to 987 A.H.), when the Emperor ordered that I should be advanced to the command of 500 horse, and brought to his presence. But the Kází-'álí did not give a true account of myself or of my ancestors, but spoke ill of us, and said, “Shaikh 'Abdu-l Nabí has given 2000 bighás of land to two Afgháns!” In short, my bad fortune so ordered it that my share of the assignment (madad-ma'ásh) was resumed. When the Khán-khánán, who was a follower of Saiyid Hámid, son of Saiyid Mirán, son of Saiyid Mubárak of Bukhára and Gujarát, became acquainted with my history and that of my ancestors, he said it was a pity I should remain unemployed; but I refused employ, and said that I would go to the country of my fathers. He then brought Mír Hámid to my house without invitation, and since Mír Hámid was so kind as thus to honour me, I could not act in contravention to his wishes. So I entered the service of the chief of the great Shaikhs, Mír Saiyid Hámid. He assigned to me a clear 200 rupees a month, and moreover showed me all manner of kindness. At last, by ill luck of the unpropitious heavens, he sent me to Bajwára on some urgent business, and a short time afterwards was himself slain, at which I remained immersed in grief and distress.
Sher Sháh gave to many of his kindred who came from Roh money and property far exceeding their expectations. *** Sárang Ghakkar did not come to wait on Sher Sháh. That monarch, therefore, marched with all his forces and retinue through all the hills of Padmán and Garjhák, in order that he might choose a fitting site and build a fort there to keep down the Ghakkars, in which he might leave a garrison on the Kábul road,*The Táríkh-i Khán Jahán speaks of it (MS. p. 176) as being built on the boundary of Hindustán and Kabul. when he himself returned. Having selected Rohtás, he built there the fort which now exists, and laid waste the country of the Ghakkars,*Some further details will be found lower down, and in the extracts from the Makhzan-i Afghání. and carried them into captivity, and having seized the daughter of Sárang Ghakkar, bestowed her on Khawás Khán.
In the midst of this, news came from Bengal that Khizr Khán Bairak, the governor of Bengal, had married the daughter of Sultán Mahmúd, late King of Bengal, and, after the manner of the kings of that country, sat on the “Tokí,” which means “an upper place.” Sher Sháh was much annoyed at this, and wishing to avert the evil ere it could take place, left Haibat Khán Níází, Khawás Khán, 'Ísá Khán Níází, Habíb Khán, Ráí Husain Jalwáni, in the fort of Rohtás, and set out himself for Bengal. On his arrival in Bengal, Khizr Khán Bairak came to give him a regal reception. Sher Sháh said to him: “Why did you without my order take in marriage the daughter of Sultán Mahmúd, and seat yourself on the “Tokí,” after the manner of the kings of Bengal? It becomes not a noble of the State to do a single act without the King's permission. Sher Khán ordered him to receive a severe punishment and to be put in chains, and said, that if any of his nobles should do anything without his leave, he should receive a similar punishment. And he divided the kingdom of Bengal into different provinces, and made Kází Fazílat, better known as Kází Fazíhat, manager (amír) of Bengal, and himself returned to Ágra.
When he arrived at Ágra, a letter arrived from Shujá'at Khán, saying that Muhammad Kásim had consented to the following terms:—that the Afgháns should be allowed to enter the fort; that the Mughals should have free access to the camp of Sher Sháh; and that as soon as Sher Sháh should come to Gwálior, Muhammad Kásim was to be introduced to the king's presence, when he would give up the fort to the king's commissioners. Sher Sháh replied that his standards would shortly move towards the country of Mándú, by way of Gwálior, in order to wreak on the rulers of Mándú his revenge for their backwardness in assisting Kutb Khán. At this time there were persons in the kingdom of Mándú who ruled independently. Mallú Khán, who had assumed the title of king, and the name of Kádir Sháh, held possession and rule of the city of Shádmábád, that is to say the fort of Mándú, and of Ujjain, Sárangpúr, and the fort of Rantam-bhor; secondly, Sikandar Khán Míána, who was ruler of the country of Sewás and Hindia; thirdly, Rája Partáb Sháh, the son of Bhúpat Sháh, son of Saláhu-d dín, who was a minor, and whose deputy Bhaiá Púran Mal held the districts of Chanderí and Ráísín; and, fourthly, Bhopál, who possessed the country of Bíjá-garh and Tamhá.*[Var. "Mabhár."] When the king came to Gwálior,*The Táríkh-i Khán Jahán (MS., p. 178) says the advance to Gwálior and Málwá occurred in 949 A.H. Muhammad Kásim, who was one of Humáyún's nobles, and governor of the fort, came and paid his respects to the king, and surrendered the fort to the royal commissioners. When he came to Gágrún, Shujá'at Khán sent Rám Sáh, Rájá of Gwálior, to bring Púran Mal of Ráísín to the king. Púran Mal wrote, saying he would come if Shujá'at Khán himself went to fetch him. So Shujá'at Khán went to the fort of Ráísín, and brought Púran Mal with him to the king's presence. Upon his setting out, the wife of Rájá Púran Mal, by name Ratnávalí, who was exceedingly beloved by him, sent to Shujá'at Khán, saying, “I will then break my fast when I shall see Púran Mal again, and the whole time he is away I will sit on a bastion of the fort, and watch for his return.” Shujá'at Khán sent to her to be of good cheer, for that Bhaiá Púran Mal would return to her next day. Shujá'at brought Púran Mal to the king's presence, with 6000 horsemen, none of whom were forty years of age. Sher Sháh instantly bestowed 100 horses and 100 splendid dresses of honour on Púran Mal, and allowed him to return. Bhaiá Púran Mal left to serve the king his younger brother, whose name was Chatur Bhoj.
When the king arrived at Sárangpúr, the agent of Mallú Khán came and made his obeisance, and said that Mallú Khán was coming to meet the king. Sher Sháh ordered Shujá'at Khán to go and receive him, and he went accordingly. Sher Sháh came, seated himself outside his tents, and held an open darbár. Shujá'at Khán brought Mallú Khán to him, and he asked where Mallú Khán had pitched his camp. He replied: “I have come alone into your presence, my place is in your darbár. My hope is, I may be permitted to perform the office of a sweeper therein.” Shujá'at Khán represented that Mallú Khán had brought 200 horsemen with him. Sher Sháh ordered that a scarlet tent, a bed, a canopy, and other conveniences, as well as a handsome entertainment, should be provided for him. When they marched from Sárangpúr, Sher Sháh showed the whole array of his army to Mallú Khán, who was astounded, for he had never anywhere seen such an army before.*The Wáki'át-i Mushtákí (MS., p. 102) and the Táríkh-i Dáúdí (MS., p. 254) record an interesting military spectacle which astonished Mallú Khán at this review. When the royal umbrella came in sight, the cavalry drew their sabres, galloped forward towards the umbrella, dismounted from their horses, and saluted the king in due form, "as was their habit on the day of battle." Each division did this in succession. At every stage they threw up an earthen entrenchment, and when he saw the labour and exertions of the soldiers, and the rigour of Sher Sháh's discipline, Mallú Khán said to the Afgháns, “You submit yourselves to wonderful labours and exertions, night and day you have no rest; ease and comfort are things forbidden to you.” The Afgháns replied—“Such is our master's custom. *** It behoves a soldier, whatever service his chief may order, or whatever labour or exertion he may require, not to consider it a hardship. Ease is for women, it is shameful to honourable men.”*On one of the marches between Sárangpúr and Ujjain, Sher Sháh communicated some of the early events of his life to Mallú Khán, who was riding with him. He told him how he had laboured hard in his youth, and went every day on foot fifteen kos in pursuit of game, armed with his bow and arrows. On one of these excursions he fell in with a party of thieves and highwaymen, with whom he associated for some time, plundering the country all round; till one day, when seated in a boat with his new comrades, he was pursued "by his enemies," who, after a conflict, were completely victorious. Upon this, placing his bow and arrows on his head, he plunged into the water, and after swimming for three kos escaped, with his wife, and from that period abandoned his new profession. — The Wáki'át-i Mushtákí (MS. p. 103) and the Táríkh-i Dáúdí (MS. p. 256). This is a novelty, and either Sher Sháh was "chaffing" his guest, whom he previously vowed to avenge himself upon for his premeditated insult about the seal, and who appears from all his sayings and doings to have been a great simpleton; or our author has, as usual, given too ready credence to an improbable story. Abú-1 Fazl, however, and other courtly Tímúrian authors, are very fond of representing that Sher Sháh's early life was devoted to plunder and robbery and every kind of enormity.
When Sher Sháh went to Ujjain, he encamped at Kalídah. Sikandar Khán Miána came and made obeisance. Sher Sháh assigned the country of Mándú to Shujá'at Khán; and when he reflected that Mallú Khán had submitted to him, *** he pardoned him, and bestowed on him the sarkár of Kálpí.*The Táríkh-i Khán Jahán says "Marehra." The Wáki'át-i Mushtákí and the Táríkh-i Dáúdí, "Lakhnau."
Mallú Khán, having brought his family out of Ujjain, considered that he was not equal to the labour and exertion which Sher Khán required, and that therefore it was better to escape by some contrivance from his camp.*The Wáki'át-i Mushtákí (MS. p. 104) and the Táríkh-i Dáúdí (MS. p. 257) say that he was inspired with alarm at seeing one day a party of respectable Mughals, who had been taken prisoners at Gwálior, working in the camp, as common labourers, at the circumvallation which was constructed every day, and that he apprehended the same fate awaited his own person. Accordingly, like a Hindú slave, he made up his mind to run away. Sher Sháh perceived his intention, and ordered Shujá'at Khan to arrest hím. Shujá'at Khán looked towards Mallú Khán, who, being an intelligent man, understood what was going on, and said to Shujá'at Khán: “Tell the king that I have no carriage to take my family to Kálpí.” When Shujá'at Khán represented this, it was ordered that 100 camels and 100 mules, with camelmen and mulemen, and several carts with drivers, should be given to Mallú Khán for the conveyance of his family. When he received the camels, mules and carriages, he took them, together with their drivers, to his own encampment, and gave them some very powerful wine, so that they got drunk and became insensible. Mallú Khán, taking his treasures and his family, absconded. When it was day, it became known that Mallú Khán had fled. Sher Sháh said: “Mallú Khán, the slave! Have you seen what a trick he has played me?” *** Sher Sháh was angry with Shujá'at Khán, and sent him in pursuit of Mallú Khán, saying: “Where-ever Mallú Khán may go, you go also and bring him to me. Did not I tell you to arrest him? But you did not, and acted negligently.”*The Wáki'át-i Mushtákí (MS., p. 104) and the Táríkh-i Dáúdí (MS., p. 259), on the contrary, say, that on Shujá'at Khán's representing that it was Mallú Khán's intention to fly, Sher Sháh replied, that he was anxious he should effect his escape, and had therefore thrown every facility in his way for that purpose. This, however, is scarcely consistent with the hot pursuit "by soldiers without number," which immediately followed his departure. The same passage teaches us a bit of royal and patrician morality amongst these Afghans: "As he now," said Sher Sháh, "intends to run away, say nothing to him, and pretend not to observe anything. If he offers you money in bribery, take it immediately, and let him run off. Shujá'at Khán consequently took from Mallú Kádir Sháh 700,000 tankas, and let him go his way, and at night-time finding his opportunity, he took to flight." This shameless prostitution, with the encouragement of the Shah, is mentioned by Ahmad Yádgár (MS. p. 197), but the persons are different. "If that black-face offer you a bribe, take it without scruple and let him go; so Ahmad Khán Súr and Fath Khán Niázi, who were in charge of him, took 1000 pieces of red gold and let him escape." Shujá'at Khán went in pursuit, but failed to overtake Mallú Khán, who went to Sultán Mahmúd at Gujarát,*Ahmad Yádgár's account is different. He says (MS. pp. 197-8) that Mallú Khán plundered Sárangpúr and other places, and was at last slain with all his adherents in a night attack by Haibat Khún, who on that occasion obtained his title of 'Azam Humáyún ; which our author, a little below, says was conferred for the conquest of Multán. and Shujá'at Khán returned from the frontier of Mándú. The whole of the kingdom of Mándú had been bestowed on Shujá'at Khán; but the king in his anger deprived him of it, and in lieu of it gave him Sewás, Hindia, etc., which had been in Sikandar Khán Míána's possession, equal to the maintenance of 4000 horse; and gave Ujjain to Daryá Khán Gujarátí, who had been wazír of Sultán Mahmúd, King of Gujarát, and who had fled to Sher Sháh; and Sárangpúr to 'Álam Khán Lodí, who also had been a noble of Sultán Mahmúd's court; and making Hájí Khán and Junaid Khán faujdárs of that country, he left them in the city of Dhár, and returned himself, by the fort of Ran-tambhor,*[Here called "Ranthúr."] on the road to which place Sikandar Khán Míána, who had been ruler of sarkár Sewás, fled. 'Usmán Khán, whose name was previously Abú-l Farra, was governor of Rantambhor, on behalf of Mallú Khán. When Sher Sháh approached, he came and submitted to him, and Sher Sháh, making over the fort of Rantambhor to his eldest son 'Ádil Khán, went himself to Ágra.*Ahmad Yádgár (MS. pp. 292-5) mentions during this campaign an expedition against Chanderí, commanded by Walídád Khán Kákar, which was successful "I through the treachery of the Rájá's nephew. Elephants, horses and treasures fell into the hands of the vistors on the capture of Chanderí, and the Rájá's beautiful daughter was sent to Sher Sháh. The treacherous nephew gained his ends by being made Rájá of Chanderí.
Sher Sháh left Mándú for Ágra, Násir Khán, brother of Sikandar Khán Míána, with 6000 horse, and 200 elephants, came against Shujá'at Khán. Shujá'at Khán had with him only 2000 horse. Násir Khán said to his men: “Seize Shujá'at Khán alive, that I may retain him as a hostage for Sikandar Khán.*From this it would appear either that Násir Khán did not know of Sikandar Khán's flight, narrated above, or that the latter had been again seized. When Sher Sháh releases Sikandar Khán, I will release Shujá'at Khán,” When Shujá'at heard that Násir Khán was approaching, he went out to meet him, and gave him battle at Nílgarh.*Or "Mahalkarra." When the two armies were commingled together, part of Násir Khán's and part of Shujá'at Khán's force were put to flight. Three men had sworn an oath to attack only Shujá'at Khán. One was Míán 'Umar, the second Saiyid Táhir, the third Koká. One of these wounded Shujá'at Khán in the neck with a dagger; the second wounded him in the nostril with a spear thrust, and broke his front teeth; the third, having wounded him with a sabre, caught hold of the hair of his head, to take him alive before Násir Khán. Shujá'at Khán struck him with his sabre on the hand and cut it off, and so freed himself. Jajhár Khán, who was of Shujá'at Khán's own tribe, slew the second horseman; and Mubárak Khán Shíríní killed the third. So Shujá'at was rescued, and raised again his standard which had fallen. Those of Shujá'at Khán's men who had fled returned, and rallying round him on all sides, gained the victory. Násir Khán fled, and the 200 elephants fell into Shujá'at Khán's hands. Almighty God made Shujá'at Khán victorious, and he returned from Nílgarh to Hindia.
After this, Shujá'at Khán heard that Mallú Khán was approaching, and had surrounded Hájí Khán, who had fortified himself in Mándú. Although Shujá'at's wounds were not well, yet, taking the 200 elephants with him, he went to the succour of Hájí Khán, and encamped outside the walls. The next day at sunrise the two armies, drawn out in battle array, engaged in the open field. The Afghán army displayed such gallantry as is beyond all power of description; the victory remained with Shujá'at Khán, and Mallú Khán fled to Gujarát. When Sher Sháh heard this intelligence, he called Hájí Khán to his own presence from Mándú, and bestowed on him the command of 12,000 horse, and gave to Shujá'at Khán Ujjain, Mándú, Sárangpúr, and Mansúr in jágír; and the country of Sewás he gave to Shams Khán, Bihár Khán, and Mír Khán Níází, who were of Shujá'at Khán's kindred; and Shujá'at Khán became ruler of all the country of Mándú.
Sher Sháh went from Ágra in the direction of Bihár and Bengal,*The Táríkh-i Dáúdí (MS. p. 264) says that after his return from Málwá, he remained two years at Ágra, going intermediately to Delhí, before he went towards Bengal. when he was attacked by fever and ague. During his illness he several times said: “I did wrong when I said I would go towards Bengal. If Almighty God will vouchsafe me a recovery from this fever, I will return with all speed; and Púran Mal, who has enslaved the families of the Musulmáns in Chanderí and has made dancing-girls of their daughters, and did not accompany my son Kutb Khán—him I will so punish that he may be a warning to others, that hereafter no unbelievers in Hind may oppress and injure the families of Musulmáns.*Ahmad Yádgár (MS. pp. 296-9) represents them chiefly as captured from the families of the Saiyids of Bilgrám. He also says that this occurred on bis load to Ráísín, and that before starting on this expedition he had been hunting in the neighbourhood of Sorín and Badáún. Almighty God vouchsafed to Sher Sháh a recovery from that fever, and he quickly turned back towards Ágra. When he arrived there, in all the pride of his state, he set off for the country of Mándú, in the year A.H. 950,*This expedition the Táríkh-i Khán Jahán (M.S., p. 180) also ascribes to the year 950. In that work Púran Mal is called the son of Ráí Salhadí Púrbiya, Gehlot Rájpút. and took the fort of Ráísín. He ordered his noble son, Jalál Khán, to go on in advance with his victorious troops. When Jalál Khán came to the stage of Bhílsa, Sher Sháh joined him. From this place Sher Sháh, by forced marches, brought his conquering army into the vicinity of the fort of Ráísín.*What follows until the resumption of the story of the capture of Ráísín is only in one MS. Bhaiá Púran Mal sent 600 elephants, but did not himself come out. Sher Sháh laid siege to Ráísín, when a report came from Khawás Khán that enmity had broken out between him and Haibat Khán, and requesting him to send for a representative from each of them. When Sher Sháh knew of the quarrel between Khawás Khán and Haibat Khán Níází, he sent for 'Ísá Khán and Habíb Khán, and confirmed Haibat Khán in the government of the Panjáb, attaching Fath Jang Khán to him. And whereas Fath Khán Jat had been in rebellion in Kayúla, and in the time of the Mughals had plundered the whole country and laid it waste as far as Pánípat,*The Makhzan-i Afghání (MS. p. 242) says, "Sher Sháh ordered Haibat Khán to seize Fath Khán. This Fath Khán was of Kob Kabúla (Kapúura ?), who had devasted the entire tract of Lakhí Jangal, and kept the high roads from Lahore to Delhí in a constant ferment." Then follows an incomprehensible passage, which has by no means been elucidated by Dr. Dorn's mode of translating it. The Táríkh-i Khán Jahán Lodí is unusually deficient in the corresponding passage, and does not help us in the least — Dorn, p. 134. and the Bilúchís had got into their power and possession the country of Multán, Sher Sháh ordered Haibat Khán to expel these people from the country, and to punish them, and to restore to prosperity the city of Multán. Instantly on the receipt of this farmán, Haibat Khán said to the vakíl of Chákar Rind, who at that time was ruler of Satgarh, “Go, tell Chákar Rind that I shall halt within his confines, and he must have his forces ready, for I am going to seize Mahla.” ***
Early in the morning news came that Haibat Khán had arrived. Chákar went out to welcome Haibat Khán, but was in a state of great alarm. As soon as Haibat Khán saw him, he said, “I shall take your muster at Dípálpúr, lest in the delay Fath Khán should escape.” Within two days Haibat Khán arrived at the Pattan*Pák-pattan of Kutb 'Álam Shaikh Faríd. Fath Khán fled, and Haibat Khán pursued him. As Fath Khán had his family and women with him, he perceived he was unable to escape from Haibat Khán. There was near Karor and Fathpúr a mud fort; he took possession of it, and Haibat Khán coming up in pursuit, laid siege to it. Fath Khán held out the fort for some days; at last, being reduced to extremities, he sent Shaikh Ibráhím, son of Kutb 'Álam Shaikh Faríd, to Haibat Khán as an intercessor. He came before Haibat Khán, who said to him, “I am a servant of Sher Sháh's, what my master orders that I must do.” He put Fath Khán in prison. In the night, Hindú Bilúch with 300 men came out of the mud fort, and attacking the besiegers fiercely, cut their way through by their valour. When it was day, the Afgháns occupied the fort. The women of the better sort had been mostly slain by the Bilúchís, and the rest the Afgháns made slaves; and they took Hindú Bilúch and Bakshú Langáh prisoners. Haibat Khán then went to the city of Multán, which the Bilúchís had laid waste. Haibat Khán restored it to its former state, and the inhabitants who were scattered abroad he again collected together, and he wrote letters to Sher Sháh reporting the true condition of the country, and concerning the capture of Fath Khán, Hindú Bilúch, and Bakshú Langáh. Sher Sháh was exceedingly rejoiced, and made him a Masnad 'Álí and gave him the title of 'Azam Humáyún. He also gave him a red tent, and wrote to him to repeople Multán, and to observe the customs of the Langáhs, and not to measure the land, but take a share of the produce.*The Makhzan-i Afghání says that orders were issued to take only a fourth of the produce of grain for the Government share. He ordered him to put Fath Khán and Hindú Bilúch to death, to keep Bakshú Langáh or his son always with him, but to confirm his districts to him. As soon as 'Azam Humáyún received this order at Multán, he left Fath Jang Khán in Mult n and came to Lahore, and put Fath Khán and Hindú Bilúch to death. Fath Jang Khán so repeopled Multán, and showed such benevolence to the people, that Multán flourished more than it had done, even under the Langáhs, and in the country of Multán he founded a city which he called “Shergarh.” Sher Sháh, while besieging the fort of Ráísín, gave orders that no Afghán should approach it; for that he would take the fort by the exercise of his skill and prudence.
One day, certain followers and retainers of the Afgháns were sitting together, when the conversation turned on the gallantry and valour of Bhaiá Púran Mal's soldiers. Most of those present said, that no one in those days was a match for Púran Mal's soldiers in these qualities, who daily came out of the fort and said: “There is no one in the army of Sher Khán who can fight with us,” and that it was from fear that none of the Afgháns approached them. When the Afgháns amongst these retainers pondered on these remarks, the reproach thus thrown upon Afghán honour overcame them, and they said, “Though Sher Sháh should cut our throats or banish us from his kingdom, yet we will for once encounter the soldiers of Púran Mal, that we may test their gallantry and valour.”
The next day before sunrise, 1500 horsemen assembled at an appointed place, and drawing up in order of battle, sent to Púran Mal, saying: “Your men every day boast of their valour. We, 1500 horse, against Sher Sháh's command, have come and are drawn up in order of battle; do you also collect your men, and come out of the fort, that we may fight, and the valour of either side may be made manifest.” Bhaiá Púran Mal had great reliance on the valour and gallantry of his men, and did not think the Afgháns were at all equal to them in bravery. He sent out to answer the challenge the most famous of his soldiers, veterans in battle, and he himself took his seat above the gateway. The Afgháns and Rájpúts joined battle, and the fight continued till the first watch of the day, up to which time neither party had succeeded in driving the other from their ground. At length the Afgháns got the advantage, and began to make the Rájpúts give ground, when such bravery was displayed on both sides as surpasses all description. In the end, Almighty God gave the victory to the Afgháns, and they drove the Rájpúts from their position to near the gate of the fort. The Rájpúts again made a stand near the gate of the fort, but the Afgháns made a headlong charge upon them, which they were unable to resist, and fled within the gate; and the Afgháns returned triumphant to their camp.
When Sher Sháh heard that the Afghán retainers had displayed such gallantry and bravery, he was much pleased; but in public severely reprimanded those who had risked an engagement in defiance of his orders. After some days, he gave fitting rewards to every one of them, and good appointments and jágírs, and said, “The gallantry you have displayed has been made known to me; now look at my work, and see what I shall do to this fort.” After this Sher Sháh issued an order that they should bring all the brass in camp and make mortars (deghá) of it. When, according to his order, they had brought all the brass that was in the bázár or in the tents of the soldiery, in pots, dishes, and pans, they made it all into mortars, and when they were finished he ordered them to bombard the fort from all simultaneously. When they had battered the fort and breached it in all directions, Púran Mal became alarmed, and after the lapse of six months, he came out himself to Sher Sháh, who said to him, “I grant you quarter, and the government of Benares; provided you give up the families of the Musulmáns whom you have enslaved.” Púran Mal replied: “I had none of these families in slavery, neither am I the Rájá; I am but his deputy. I will go to him, and I will say whatever you order me, and see what he replies.” Sher Khán permitted him to go. When he went up into the fort, he got together all his jewels, and sent to Sher Khán to say, “I dare not again face your presence, but do you first go away two marches from the fort. I will come out and give up the fort to your soldiers, and go myself to other countries. And if your eldest son 'Ádil Khán and Kutb Khán Banet will bind themselves by promise and oaths that I shall suffer no injury in property or person, I will come with my women and family out of the fort.” Sher Sháh told 'Ádil Khán and Kutb Khán Banet what Púran Mal said, and ordered them to satisfy him and bring him out. Kutb Khán Banet went up to the fort, and binding himself by solemn oaths, brought Púran Mal out of the fort of Ráísín with his family and wives. Kutb Khán requested that some encamping ground for Púran Mal might be selected, and Sher Sháh indicated a spot in the midst of his encampment, and Kutb Khán himself accompanied Púran Mal to the spot Sher Sháh had directed.
After some days the widows of the chief men of Chanderí and others waited for Sher Sháh by the road-side, and cried out to him. Sher Sháh asked who they were, and ordered them to be brought to him. They said: “We have suffered from this inhuman and malignant infidel all kinds of tyranny and oppression. He has slain our husbands, and our daughters he has enslaved, and has made dancing-girls of them, and has seized our lands, and all our worldly goods, for a long time past. *** If you do not give us justice, hereafter, in the day of resurrection, when the first and the last of all men shall be collected together, we will accuse you.” As Sher Sháh was a believing and just ruler, on hearing these zeal-stirring words of the oppressed, the tears dropped from his eyes, and he said: “Have patience, for I have brought him out by promises and oaths.” They replied: “Consult with your 'Ulamá, and act upon the decision they shall pronounce.” When Sher Sháh came back to his tent, he sent for all of the 'Ulamá who accompanied his victorious army, and related one by one the inhuman deeds Púran Mal had committed with respect to the wives and families of the Musulmáns, and asked them to give their decision. Amír Shaikh Rafí'u-d dín and the other 'Ulamá who accompanied the victorious army pronounced a decision for the death of Púran Mal.
At night orders were given to 'Ísá Khán Hájib, that he should desire his troops to collect with the elephants in all haste at a certain spot, for that Sher Sháh intended to make a forced march towards Gondwána. To Habíb Khán he gave secret orders that he should watch Bhaiá Púran Mal, and take care he did not fly, and not to speak a word of this to any living creature, for that he (Sher Shah) had long entertained this design. When the elephants and troops were at the appointed spot, they reported it. Sher Sháh ordered that at sunrise they should surround the tents of Bhaiá Púran Mal. Púran Mal was told that they were surrounding his encampment, and going into the tent of his beloved wife Ratnávalí, who sang Hindí melodies very sweetly, he cut off her head, and coming out said to his companions: “I have done this: do you also slay your wives and families.” While the Hindús were employed in putting their women and families to death, the Afgháns on all sides commenced the slaughter of the Hindús. Púran Mal and his companions, like hogs at bay, failed not to exhibit valour and gallantry, but in the twinkling of an eye all were slain. Such of their wives and families as were not slain were captured. One daughter of Púran Mal and three sons of his elder brother were taken alive, the rest were all killed. Sher Khán gave the daughter of Púran Mal to some itinerant minstrels (bázigarán), that they might make her dance in the bázárs, and ordered the boys to be castrated, that the race of the oppressor might not increase. He made over the fort of Ráísín to Munshí Sháhbáz Khán Acha-khail Sarwání, and returned himself towards Ágra, and remained at the capital during the rainy season.*Ahmad Yádgár (MS., p. 304) says that before Sher Sháh's return to Ágra, the Shaikh-zádas of Barnáwa represented that their country had been plundered, and their wives and daughters carried oft by Basdeo, a Rájpút. Dúdá Miána was sent to chastise him which he did so effectually that the captives were all released, and immense plunder accrued to the victors. This is followed by another expedition against some Rájkunwar Rájpúts, but the author's notions are so lax on geography, that it is quite impossible to fix the locality of either affair. The former, though with some variation in the details, is the same as that which was instigated by the Shaikh-zádas of Bhandner, as recorded in the Wáki'át-i Mushtákí (MS., p. 109).
After the conclusion of the rains, he consulted his nobles of name, and the wise among his courtiers, saying that he was quite at ease concerning the kingdom of Hind. *** The nobles and chiefs said, “*** It seems expedient that the victorious standards should move towards the Dekhin, for certain rebellious slaves have got the country out of the power of their master, and have revolted, and following the heresy of the people of dissent (Shía'), abuse the holy posterity. It is incumbent on the powerful and fortunate to root out this innovating schism from the Dekhin.” Sher Sháh replied: “What you have said is most right and proper, but it has come into my mind that since the time of Sultán Ibráhím, the infidel zamíndárs have rendered the country of Islám full of unbelievers, and have thrown down the masjids and buildings of the believers, and placed idol-shrines in them, and they are in possession of the country of Dehlí and Málwá. Until I have cleansed the country from the existing contamination of the unbelievers, I will not go into any other country. *** First, I will root out that accursed infidel Máldeo, for that he was the servant of the ruler of Nágor and Ajmír, who placed the greatest confidence in him. The evil-minded and ungrateful infidel slew his master, and by violence and oppression possessed himself of those kingdoms.” The chiefs and nobles assented, and it was so settled. In the year 950 A.H. (1543-4 A.D.),*Elphinstone (Hist. India, vol. ii., p. 149) says 951 H., but as 950 H., began in April 1543, Sher Sháh might easily have completed the conquest of Ráísín in the hot months, returned to Ágra for the rainy season, and set out for Marwar with the six best months of 950 H. before him. If he deferred his Márwár expedition to the cold season of 951 H, there would be no time for his subsequent return to Ágra and operations against Chitor and Kalinjar. The latter alone, according to the Wáki'át-i Mushtákí (MS., p. 110), and the Táríkh-i Dáúdí (MS., p. 285), occupied eight months. the king ordered that his conquering forces, beyond all calculation or numeration, should, under the shadow of his victorious standards, march towards the country of Nágor, Ajmír, and Júdhpúr. I have heard from the mouth of the respectably descended Shaikh Muhammad, and of the Khán-'azam, and of Muzaffar Khán, that in this campaign Sher Sháh had so great an army with him that the best calculators, in spite of all reflection and thought and calculation, were at a loss to number and reckon them, and we often ascended the tops of eminences that the length and breadth of the army might appear to us; but so exceeding was its magnitude, that its whole length and breadth were never visible together; and we asked old men of great age, whether they had ever seen or heard of so great an army, but they replied they had not.*The host of the Rájpúts could have been scarcely less, if we are to believe the extravagant statement of the Makhzan-i Afghání, which (MS., p. 249) sets it down at 50,000 cavalry and 300,000 infantry. The Táríkh-i Khán Jahán (MS., p. 182) modestly retrenches the 300,000 infantry altogether.
When Sher Sháh marched from the capital of Ágra, and arrived at Fathpúr Síkrí, he ordered that each division of the army should march together in order of battle, and should throw up an earthen entrenchment at every halting-ground. On the way they encamped one day on a plain of sand, and in spite of every labour, they could not, on account of the sand, make an entrenchment. Sher Sháh considered by what contrivance the entrenchment could be completed. Mahmúd Khán, grandson*One copy reads "son," but he was "grandson," being, according to the Makhzan-i Afghání (MS., p. 250) the son of Ádil Khán. Dorn (p. 138) calls him "nephew". The Táríkh-i Khán Jahán (MS., p. 182) makes out that he was a grandchild by a daughter, and only seven years old when he suggested this sagacious advice. It does not mention the name of this precocious child. of Sher Sháh, said: “Let my lord order that sacks should be filled with sand, and that they should make the entrenchment with the bags.” Sher Sháh praised his grandson's contrivance, and was greatly delighted, and ordered that they should make the fortification of bags filled with sand, and, accordingly, at that halting-place they did so. When he approached the enemy, Sher Khán contrived a stratagem; and having written letters in the name of Máldeo's nobles to this effect, viz., “Let not the king permit any anxiety or doubt to find its way to his heart. During the battle we will seize Máldeo, and bring him to you,” and having inclosed these letters in a kharíta or silken bag, he gave it to a certain person, and directed him to go near to the tent of the vakíl of Máldeo, and remain there, and when he went out to drop the kharíta on his way, and conceal himself. Sher Sháh's agent did as he was ordered; and when the vakíl of Máldeo saw the kharíta lying, he picked it up, and sent the letters to Máldeo. When the latter learnt their contents, he was much alarmed, and fled without fighting. Although his nobles took oaths of fidelity, he did not heed them. Some of the chieftains, such as Jaya Chandel and Gohá, and others, came and attacked Sher Sháh, and displayed exceeding valour. Part of the army was routed, and a certain Afghán came to Sher Sháh, and abused him in his native tongue, saying, “Mount, for the infidels are routing your army.” Sher Sháh was performing his morning devotions, and was reading the Musta'ábi-i 'ashr. He gave no reply to the Afghán. By a sign he ordered his horse, and mounted, when news of victory was brought, to the effect that Khawás Khán had slain Jaya and Gohá with all their forces. When Sher Sháh learnt the valour and gallantry of Jaya and Gohá, he said: “I had nearly given the kingdom of Dehlí for a millet (bájra) seed.”*An allusion to the barreness of Márwár. He left Khawás Khán and 'Ísá Khán Níází, and some other chiefs, in the country of Nágor, and himself returned. Khawás Khán founded a city in his own name near the fort of Júdhpúr, and called it “Khawáspúr,” and brought into his power and possession the whole country of Nágor and Ajmír, the fort of Júdhpúr, and the districts of Márwár. Máldeo went to the fort of Siwána, on the borders of Gujarát.
Sher Sháh's nobles represented to him that, as the rainy season was near at hand, it was advisable to go into cantonments. Sher Sháh replied, “I will spend the rainy season in a place where I can carry on my work,” and marched towards the fort of Chitor.*This makes it evident that he could scarcelyhave remained at all at Ágra on his return at the close of 950 or beginning of 951 H. Indeed, had not the Táríkh-i Dáúdí (MS., p. 284) mentioned his proceedings at Ajmír, and his visit to the shrine of Khwája Mu'ínu-d dín Chishtí, his return to Ágra at all might have been disputed. Shortly after the beginning of 951 H. he must have started for Chitor, marching during the hot weather, passing the rains in Kachwára, and then occupying the closing months of 952 and the beginning of 953 with the siege of Kalinjar. This makes the chronology very plain. When he was yet twelve kos from the fort of Chitor, the Rájá who was its ruler sent him the keys. When Sher Sháh came to Chitor, he left in it the younger brother of Khawás Khán, Míán Ahmad Sarwání, and Husain Khán Khiljí. Sher Sháh himself marched towards Kachwára. His eldest son 'Ádil Khán took leave to go and visit Rantambhor. Sher Sháh said: “I give you leave in order to please you, but come again quickly, and do not remain for a long time at that fort.” When Sher Sháh came near Kachwára, Shujá'at Khán went towards Hindia. Certain persons who were envious of Shujá'at Khán, said that Shujá'at Khán kept up no troops, though he had to maintain 12,000 horse, and on this account he dared not come into the presence, and made a pretext of going to Hindia. The sons of Shujá'at Khán, Míán Báyazíd and Daulat Khán, were with Sher Sháh, and wrote the true state of the case to Shujá'at Khán. On hearing the news, Shujá'at Khán came to Kachwára, to the king, and requested his horses should be branded. 7500 he passed under the brand, and he said that the rest were in his districts on duty, and if ordered he would send for them and pass them too under the brand. Sher Sháh replied: “There is no necessity for branding them, for your force is with you; and as to the persons who have defamed you, their faces are blackened.” When he dismissed Shujá'at Khán, he said: “As soon as you receive news that Kalinjar*So spelt in all the copies. It is more usual to write it "Kálinjar." has fallen, do you, without fail, set off for the Dekhin with all haste. Do not delay or linger at all.”
Sher Sháh himself marched from Kachwára towards Kalinjar. When he reached the stage of Sháhbandí, news came that 'Álam Khán Míána had created a disturbance in the Doáb, and having raised the province of Mírath (Meerut), had ravaged great part of the neighbouring country. Sher Sháh turned from Sháhbandí, and had gone two marches, when news arrived that 'Álam Khán had been conquered; for Bhagwant, the slave of Khawás Khán, and governor of Sirhind, had slain him near Sirhind. Upon this, Sher Sháh turned again towards Kalinjar.*Ahmad Yádgár (MS., p. 313) says that the reason for his advancing against Kalinjar was, that Birsingdeo Bundela, who had been summoned to Court, had fled and taken refuge with the Rájá of Kalinjar, who refused to give him up. The Rájá of Kalinjar, Kírat Sing, did not come out to meet him. So he ordered the fort to be invested, and threw up mounds against it, and in a short time the mounds rose so high that they overtopped the fort. The men who were in the streets and houses were exposed, and the Afgháns shot them with their arrows and muskets from off the mounds. The cause of this tedious mode of capturing the fort was this. Among the women of Rájá Kírat Sing was a Pátar slave-girl, that is a dancing-girl. The king had heard exceeding praise of her, and he considered how to get possession of her, for he feared lest if he stormed the fort, the Rájá Kírat Sing would certainly make a jauhar, and would burn the girl.
On Friday, the 9th of Rabí'u-l awwal, 952 A.H., when one watch and two hours of the day was over, Sher Sháh called for his breakfast, and eat with his 'ulamá and priests, without whom he never breakfasted. In the midst of breakfast, Shaikh Nizám said, “There is nothing equal to a religious war against the infidels. If you be slain you become a martyr, if you live you become a ghází.” When Sher Sháh had finished eating his breakfast, he ordered Daryá Khán to bring loaded shells,*Perhaps this may mean only "rockets." The words are "hukkahá púr az átish." It is to be remarked that there is no mention of deg, a mortar; and the shape of a hukka, or smoking bowl, is not unlike that of a loaded rocket. Moreover, if a shell had burst, except very close. It would not have ignited other shells, and shells do not usually rebound unexploded; whereas, it is a common occurrence for a rocket to retrace its path, especially, as appears here to have been the case, when the stick breaks. On the other hand, it is to be remembered that the shape of a hukka is still more like a shell; and that there is, and was, a specific word for rocket (bán) — a Hindi vocable in common use even in Persian authors, and which might easily have been introduced in this passage without any violation of usage or propriety. and went up to the top of a mound, and with his own hand shot off many arrows, and said, “Daryá Khán comes not; he delays very long.” But when they were at last brought, Sher Sháh came down from the mound, and stood where they were placed. While the men were employed in discharging them, by the will of God Almighty, one shell full of gunpowder struck on the gate of the fort and broke, and came and fell where a great number of other shells were placed. Those which were loaded all began to explode. Shaikh Halíl, Shaikh Nizám, and other learned men, and most of the others escaped and were not burnt, but they brought out Sher Sháh partially burnt. A young princess who was standing by the rockets was burnt to death. When Sher Sháh was carried into his tent, all his nobles assembled in darbár; and he sent for 'Ísá Khán Hájib and Masnad Khán Kalkapúr, the son-in-law of 'Ísá Khán, and the paternal uncle of the author, to come into his tent, and ordered them to take the fort while he was yet alive. When 'Ísá Khán came out and told the chiefs that it was Sher Sháh's order that they should attack on every side and capture the fort, men came and swarmed out instantly on every side like ants and locusts; and by the time of afternoon prayers captured the fort, putting every one to the sword, and sending all the infidels to hell. About the hour of evening prayers, the intelligence of the victory reached Sher Sháh, and marks of joy and pleasure appeared on his countenance. Rájá Kírat Sing, with seventy men, remained in a house. Kutb Khán the whole night long watched the house in person lest the Rájá should escape. Sher Sháh said to his sons that none of his nobles need watch the house, so that the Rájá escaped out of the house, and the labour and trouble of this long watching was lost. The next day at sunrise, however, they took the Rájá alive.*The Makhzan-i Afghání says that the first act of Islám Sháh's reign was to order him for execution.
On the 10th Rabí'u-l awwal, 952 A.H. (May, 1545 A.D.), Sher Sháh went from the hostel of this world to rest in the mansion of happiness, and ascended peacefully from the abode of this world to the lofty heavens. The date was discovered in the words az átash murd, “He died from fire.”
When fortune gave into the hands of Sher Sháh the bridle of power, and the kingdom of Hind fell under his dominion, he made certain laws, both from his own ideas, and by extracting them from the works of the learned, for securing relief from tyranny, and for the repression of crime and villany; for maintaining the prosperity of his realms, the safety of the highways, and the comfort of merchants and troops. He acted upon these laws, and it was proved by experience that they became the means of procuring tranquillity for the classes above mentioned. Sher Sháh often said, “It behoves kings to inscribe the page of their history with the characters of religion, that their servants and subjects may love religion; for kings are partakers in every act of devotion and worship which proceeds from the priests and the people. Crime and violence prevent the development of prosperity. It behoves kings to be grateful for the favour that the Lord has made his people subject to them, and therefore not to disobey the commandments of God.”
Sher Sháh attended to every business concerning the administration of the kingdom and the revenues, whether great or small, in his own person. Nor did he permit his temporal affairs to be unmixed with devotion; day and night he was employed in both works. He had his dependents in waiting to awake him when two-thirds of the night were passed; and bathing himself every night he employed himself in prayer and supplication until the fourth watch. After that he heard the accounts of the various officers, and the ministers made their reports of the work to be done in their respective departments, and the orders which Sher Sháh gave they recorded for their future guidance, that there might be no necessity for inquiry in future. When the morning had well broken, he again performed his ablutions, and with a great assembly went through his obligatory devotions, and afterwards read the Musta'áb-i 'ashr, and other prayers. After that his chiefs and soldiers came to pay their respects, and the “heralds” (nakíbs) called out each man by name, and said:—“Such and such a one, the son of such a one, pays his respects.” One full hour after sunrise, that is to say about the first hour of the day, he performed the Namáz-i ishrák.*These as well as some other of the observances noted above are supererogatory. — See Kánún-i Islám, p. 55. After this, he inquired of his chiefs and soldiers if any of them had no jágír, that he might assign them one before entering on a campaign; and said that if any asked for a jágír while engaged in a campaign, he should be punished. After that he asked if there were any who were oppressed or evil treated, that he might right them, for Sher Sháh was adorned with the jewel of justice, and he oftentimes remarked, “Justice is the most excellent of religious rites, and it is approved alike by the kings of infidels and of the faithful.” *** So he employed himself in personally discharging the administration of the kingdom, and divided both day and night into portions for each separate business, and suffered no sloth or idleness to find its way to him. “For,” said he, “it behoves the great to be always active, and they should not consider, on account of the greatness of their own dignity and loftiness of their own rank, the affairs and business of the kingdom small or petty, and should place no undue reliance on their ministers. *** The corruption of ministers of contemporary princes was the means of my acquiring the worldly kingdom I possess. A king should not have corrupt vakíls or wazírs: for a receiver of bribes is dependent on the giver of bribes; and one who is dependent is unfit for the office of wazír, for he is an interested personage; and to an interested person loyalty and truth in the administration of the kingdom are lost.”
When the young shoot of Sher Sháh's prosperity came into bearing, he always ascertained the exact truth regarding the oppressed, and the suitors for justice; and he never favoured the oppressors, although they might be his near relations, his dear sons, his renowned nobles, or of his own tribe; and he never showed any delay or lenity in punishing oppressors. *** Among the rules which Sher Sháh promulgated, and which were not before known in the world, is the branding of horses;*But the Táríkh-i Khán Jahán (MS., p. 187) says, that the practice was introduced by Sultán Sangar, and that the example was followed by other Sultáns ; that in Hindustan, it was observed by 'Áláu-d dín Khiljí, and that Sher Sháh merely renewed his ordinance. Abú-l Fazl contemptuously remarks, that he sought the applause of future generations, by mere revivals of 'Áláu-d dín's regulations which he had read of in the Táríkh-i Firoz Sháhí. Sher Sháh was such an admirer of the dagh system, that men, as well as cattle, on his register, had to submit to it. The Táríkh-i Dáúdí, (MS., p. 236) says that even the sweepers had the royal brand impressed on them; it omits to say on what part of the body. Allusion, however, may be made only to the horses of the sweepers, though it seems improbable that such a class should have had any. The passage in the Wáki'át-i Mushtákí (MS., p. 99) runs thus : "Even in the Haram establishment he gave a salary to no one unless his horses were branded, in so much that even a sweeper caused the stamp to be applied. This work, as usual, is the source of the information in the Táríkh-i Dáúdí, and all the trivial ancedotes which follow on the subject of the dagh are the same in both. and he said he ordered it on this account, that the rights of the chiefs and their soldiers might be distinct, and that the chiefs might not be able to defraud the soldiers of their rights; and that every one should maintain soldiers according to his rank (mansab), and should not vary his numbers. “For,” said he, “in the time of Sultán Ibráhím, and afterwards, I observed that many base nobles were guilty of fraud and falsehood, who, at the time when their monthly salary was assigned to them, had a number of soldiers; but when they had got possession of their jágírs, they dismissed the greater number of their men without payment, and only kept a few men for indispensable duties, and did not even pay them in full. Nor did they regard the injury to their master's interests, or the ingratitude of their own conduct; and when their lord ordered a review or assembly of their forces, they brought strange men and horses, and mustered them, but the money they put into their own treasuries. In time of war they would be defeated from paucity of numbers, but they kept the money, and when their master's affairs became critical and disordered, they, equipping themselves with this very money, took service elsewhere; so from the ruin of their master's fortunes they suffered no loss. When I had the good fortune to gain power, I was on my guard against the deceit and fraud of both chiefs and soldiers, and ordered the horses to be branded, in order to block up the road against these tricks and frauds; so that the chiefs could not entertain strangers to fill up their ranks.” Sher Sháh's custom was this, that he would not pay their salary unless the horses were branded, and he carried it to such an extent that he would not give anything to the sweepers and women servants about the palace without a brand, and they wrote out descriptive rolls of the men and horses and brought them before him, and he himself compared the rolls when he fixed the monthly salaries, and then he had the horses branded in his presence.
After the Namáz-i ishrák, he went through various business: he paid each man separately, mustered his old troops, and spoke to the newly-enlisted men himself, and questioned the Afgháns in their native tongue. If any one answered him accurately in the Afghán tongue, he said to him, “Draw a bow,” and if he drew it well, he would give him a salary higher than the rest, and said, “I reckon the Afghán tongue as a friend.” And in the same place he inspected the treasure which arrived from all parts of the kingdom, and gave audience to his nobles or their vakíls, or to zamíndárs, or to the envoys of the kings of other countries, who came to his victorious camp; or he heard the reports which came from the nobles who were his 'ámils, and gave answers to them according to his own judgment, and the munshís wrote them. When two hours and a half of the day were over, he rose up and eat his breakfast with his 'ulama and holy men, and after breakfast he returned and was engaged as before described till mid-day. At mid-day he performed the kailúla (which is a supererogatory act of devotion), and took a short repose. After his rest he performed the afternoon devotions in company with a large assembly of men, and afterwards employed himself in reading the Holy Word. After that he spent his time in the business described above; and whether at home or abroad, there was no violation of these rules.
The rules for the collection of revenue from the people, and for the prosperity of the kingdom, were after this wise: There was appointed in every pargana,*[The Wáki'át-i Mushtákí has this passage, and states that the parganas were 116,000 in number.] one amír, one God-fearing shikkdár, one treasurer, one kárkun to write Hindí, and one to write Persian; and he ordered his governors to measure the land every harvest, to collect the revenue according to the measurement, and in proportion to the produce, giving one share to the cultivator, and half a share to the mukaddam; and fixing the assessment with regard to the kind of grain, in order that the mukaddams, and chaudharís, and 'ámils should not oppress the cultivators, who are the support of the prosperity of the kingdom. Before his time it was not the custom to measure the land, but there was a kánúngo in every pargana, from whom was ascertained the present, past, and probable future state of the pargana. In every sarkár he appointed a chief shikkdár and a chief munsif, that they might watch the conduct both of the 'ámils and the people; that the 'ámils should not oppress or injure the people, or embezzle the king's revenue; and if any quarrel arose among the king's 'ámils regarding the boundaries of the parganas, they were to settle it, that no confusion might find its way amongst the king's affairs. If the people, from any lawlessness or rebellious spirit, created a disturbance regarding the collection of the revenue, they were so to eradicate and destroy them with punishment and chastisement that their wickedness and rebellion should not spread to others.
Every year, or second year, he changed his 'ámils, and sent new ones, for he said, “I have examined much, and accurately ascertained that there is no such income and advantage in other employments as in the government of a district. Therefore I send my good old loyal experienced servants to take charge of districts, that the salaries, profits, and advantages, may accrue to them in preference to others; and after two years I change them, and send other servants like to them, that they also may prosper, and that under my rule all my old servants may enjoy these profits and advantages, and that the gate of comfort and ease may be opened to them.”
And this amount of forces fully equipped and stored came yearly to the king's presence. His whole army was beyond all limit or numbering, and it increased every day. The rule regarding the army for guarding the kingdom from the disturbances of rebels, and to keep down and to repress contumacious and rebellious za-míndárs , so that no one should think the kingdom undefended, and therefore attempt to conquer it, was as follows: Sher Sháh always kept 150,000 horse and 25,000 footmen, either armed with matchlocks or bows, present with him, and on some expeditions took even more with him. Haibat Khán Níází, to whom the title of 'Azam Humáyún had been granted, had one force consisting of 30,000 horsemen in the neighbourhood of the fort of Rohtás, near to Bálnáth of the jogís, and held in check the country of Kashmír and of the Ghakkars. Díbálpúr and Multán were committed to Fath Jang Khán, and in that (latter) fort much treasure was stored; and in the fort of Milwat (which Tátár Khán Yúsuf-khail built in the time of Sultán Bahlol) was stationed Hamíd Khán Kákar, who held such firm possession of the Nagarkot, Jwála, Dihdawál, and Jammú hills, in fact the whole hill-country, that no man dared to breathe in opposition to him; and he collected the revenue by measurement of land from the hill people. The sarkár of Sirhind was given in jágír to Masnad 'Álí Khawás Khán, who kept in that sarkár his slave Malik Bhagwant, at the capital Dehlí. Míán Ahmad Khán Sarwání was amír, and 'Ádil Khán and Hátim Khán shikkdar and faujdár. And as the head-men and cultivators of the sarkár of Sambhal had fled from the oppression of Nasír Khán, Sher Sháh sent there Masnad 'Álí 'Ísá Khán, son of Masnad 'Álí Haibat Khán Kalkapúr Sarwání, who had the title of Khán-i 'Azam, and was a counsellor and adviser of Sultáns Bahlol and Sikandar; and he said to him: “I have given to you the parganas of Kánt, Gola, and Tilhar for your family and your old horsemen. Enlist five thousand new cavalry, for the sarkár of Sambhal is full of disaffected and riotous people, and the cultivators of that sarkár are for the most part rebellious and contumacious, and they are always given to quarrelling with and resisting their rulers.”
When Masnad 'Álí 'Ísá Khán came to that sarkár, he being a lion in valour and gallantry, so humbled and overcame by the sword the contumacious zamíndárs of those parts, that they did not rebel even when he ordered them to cut down their jungles, which they had cherished like children, but cut them with their own hands, though drawing deep sighs of affliction; and they reformed and repented them of their thieving and highway robberies, and they paid in at the city their revenue according to the measurements. Sher Khán said: “By reason of these two Sarwánís, that is to say, 'Ísá Khán and Míán Ahmad, I have no cause for anxiety from the sarkár of Dehlí to the sarkár of Lucknow.
And Bairak Níází, who was shikkdar of Kanauj, so subjected the contumacious and highway plunderers inhabiting the pargana of Malkonsah, that no man dared to draw a breath in contravention of his orders. Bairak Níází so established authority over the people of Kanauj, that no man kept in his house a sword, an arrow, a bow, or a gun, nay, any iron article whatever, except the implements of husbandry and cooking utensils; and if he ordered the head-men of any village to attend him, they obeyed his order, and dared not for one moment to absent themselves. The fear and dread of him was so thoroughly instilled into the turbulent people of those parts, that according to the measurement they paid their revenue to the treasurers.
And when the rebellion and disobedience of the zamíndárs who live in the parts about the banks of the rivers Jumna and Chambal became known to Sher Sháh, he brought 12,000 horsemen from the Sirhind sarkár, and quartered them in the pargana of Hatkánt and that neighbourhood, and they repressed the zamíndárs and cultivators of those parts; nor did they pass over one person who exhibited any contumacy. And in the fort of Gwálior, Sher Sháh kept a force to which were attached 1000 matchlockmen. In Bayána, he left a division, besides a garrison of 500 matchlocks; in Rantambhor, another division, besides 1600 matchlockmen; in the fort of Chitor, 3000 matchlockmen;*The Táríkh-i Dáúdí (MS., p. 229) says he had 8,000 matchlockmen in his service. He adds, that 1,600 were stationed in Chitor, 500 in Rantambhor, 1,000 in Bayána, 2,000 in Gwálior, and a due proportion in every other fort. Whether all these are included in the 8,000, or the 8,000 were a mere personal guard, is not plain. In no single instance does the enumeration correspond with that of our author. in the fort of Shadmábád, or Mandú, was stationed Shujá'at Khán, with 10,000 horse and 7000 matchlocks. He had his jágírs in Málwá and Hindia. In the fort of Ráísín a force was stationed, together with 1000 artillerymen; and in the fort of Chunár another force also, with 1,000 match-lockmen; and in the fort of Rohtás, near Bihár, he kept Ikhtiyár Khán Panní, with 10,000 matchlockmen; and Sher Sháh kept treasures without number or reckoning in that fort. And he kept a force in the country of Bhadauria,*It is to be regretted that the MSS. show a want of concurrence in the enumeration of these forces. The Táríkh-i Dáúdí, in the passage quoted above, says that there was also maintained a body of footmen, acting singly and independently, called paiks; and 113,000 horsemen distributed throughout the parganas for the protection of the district forts. and another under Khawás Khán and 'Ísá Khán in the country of Nágor Júdhpúr and Ajmír; another in Lucknow, and one in sarkár Kálpí. The kingdom of Bengal he divided into parts, and made Kází Fazílat amír of that whole kingdom. And in every place where it served his interests, he kept garrisons.
After a time he used to send for the forces which had enjoyed ease and comfort on their jágírs, and to send away in their stead the chiefs who had undergone labour and hardship with his victorious army. He appointed courts of justice in every place, and always employed himself in founding charities, not only for his lifetime, but even for after his death. May glory and blessings be upon his eminent dignity! For the convenience in travelling of poor travellers, on every road, at a distance of two kos, he made a saráí; and one road with saráís he made from the fort which he built in the Panjáb to the city of Sunárgáon, which is situated in the kingdom of Bengal, on the shore of the ocean. Another road he made from the city of Ágra to Burhánpúr, which is on the borders of the kingdom of the Dekhin, and he made one from the city of Ágra to Júdhpúr and Chitor; and one road with saráís from the city of Lahore to Multán. Altogether he built 1700 saráís*One MS. has 2,500 saráís, The Nawádiru-l Hikáyát (MS., p. 599) boldly says 2,500 saráís on the road from Bengal to the Indus alone. This arises from the double ignorance of rating that distance at 2,500 kos and a reckoning that there was a saráí at each kos, instead of at every second one. on various roads; and in every saráí he built separate lodgings, both for Hindús and Musulmáns, and at the gate of every saráí he had placed pots full of water, that any one might drink; and in every saráí he settled Bráhmans for the entertainment of Hindús, to provide hot and cold water, and beds and food, and grain for their horses; and it was a rule in these saráís, that whoever entered them received provision suitable to his rank, and food and litter for his cattle, from Government. Villages were established all round the saráís. In the middle of every saráí was a well and a masjid of burnt brick; and he placed an imám and a mua'zzin in every masjid, together with a custodian (shahna), and several watchmen; and all these were maintained from the land near the saráí. In every saráí two horses were kept, that they might quickly carry news.*We shall see below, that they are said to have amounted to 3,400. The Táríkh-i Khán Jahán (MS. p. 186) adds: "In order that every day news might be conveyed to him from the Níláb and Ágra, and the very extremities of the countries of Bengal." Sikandar Lodí has the credit of having established these dák chaukís before him. I have heard that Husain Tashtdar*In some copies he is called "Shikkdár"; but in others, and very plainly in the two works quoted below, he is called "Tashtdár" or ewer-bearer, a member of the royal household. once, on an emergency, rode 300 kos in one day.*The Wáki'át-i Mushtákí (MS., p. 97), followed by the Táríkh-i Dáúdí (MS., p. 225), has another account of this impossible feat, which would defy even a twenty-Osbaldistone power. Fifty miles an hour for twelve hours without intermission!!! "Husain Khán Tashtdár was sent on some business from Bengal. He went on travelling night and day. Whenever sleep came over him he placed himself on a bed (chahár-pái) and the villagers carried him along on their shoulders. When he awoke, he again mounted a horse, and went on his way. In this manner he reached Chitor from Gaur in three days; and think what a distance that is!" It is indeed, SOO miles, as the crow flies, over some of the most impracticable parts of India! Such senseless lying should be exposed; but the people's mind is at present so constituted as to put implicit credence even in such an averment as this. On both sides of the highway Sher Sháh planted fruit-bearing trees, such as also gave much shade, that in the hot wind travellers might go along under the trees; and if they should stop by the way, might rest and take repose.*The author of the Muntakhabii't Tawarikh says that he himself saw the high road from Bengal to Rohtás, which was in many places so ornamented, after it had stood for fifty-two years. It is strange tLat, at this period, no trace can be found of sarái, mosque, road, or tree. His beautiful mausoleum at Sahsarám is still a stately object, standing in the centre of an artificial piece of water, faced by walls of cut stone. If they put up at a saráí, they bound their horses under the trees.
Sher Sháh also built a fort, Rohtás, on the road to Khurásán, to hold in check Kashmír and the country of the Ghakkars, near the hill of Balnáth Jogí, four kos from the river Behat, and about sixty kos from Lahore, and fortified and strengthened it exceedingly. There was never seen a place so fortified, and immense sums were expended upon the work. I, 'Abbás Kalkapúr Sarwání, author of the Tuhfa-i Akbar Sháhí, have heard from the relators of the history of Sher Sháh, that, when building this fort, stones were not procurable. The overseers wrote in their reports that stone was not procurable, or only procurable at an enormous outlay. Sher Sháh wrote back in reply, that his order should not be allowed to fail from avarice, and they should go on with the building though they paid for the stone its weight in copper. He called that fort “Little Rohtás.”*The Táríkh-i Dáúdí (MS., p. 236) says "New Rohtás," and adds, that "it cost eight krors, five lacs, five thousand and two and a half dáms which means Bahlolís. All which is written over the gate of the fort."
The former capital city of Dehlí was at a distance from the Jumna, and Sher Sháh destroyed and rebuilt it by the bank of the Jumna, and ordered two forts to be built in that city, with the strength of a mountain, and loftier in height; the smaller fort for the governor's residence; the other, the wall round the entire city, to protect it;*Literally, that it might be a "Jahán-panáh," which was the name of one of the old cities of Dehlí. and in the governor's fort he built a jamá' masjid of stone, in the ornamenting of which much gold, lapis lazuli, and other precious articles were expended. But the forti-cations round the city were not completed when Sher Sháh died. He destroyed also the old city of Kanauj, the former capital of the Kings of India, and built a fort of burnt brick there; and on the spot where he had gained his victory he built a city, and called it Sher Súr. I can find no satisfactory reason for the destruction of the old city, and the act was very unpopular. Another fort, that of Bohnkundal, he also built, and ordered another fort to be built in these hills, and called it “Sher Koh.”*There is a notice of the fort of Patna, which was built by him, among the Extracts from the Táríkh-i Dáúdí. He said, “If my life lasts long enough, I will build a fort in every sarkár, on a suitable spot, which may in times of trouble become a refuge for the oppressed and a check to the contumacious; and I am making all the earthen-work saráís of brick, that they also may serve for the protection and safety of the highway.”
For the protection of the roads from thieves and highway robbers, he made regulations as follows: He strictly impressed on his 'ámils and governors, that if a theft or robbery occurred within their limits, and the perpetrators were not discovered, then they should arrest the mukaddams of the surrounding villages, and compel them to make it good; but if the mukaddams produced the offenders, or pointed out their haunts, the mukaddams of the village where the offenders were sheltered were compelled to give to those of the village where the crime occurred the amount of restitution they had paid; the thieves and highway robbers themselves were punished with the penalties laid down in the holy law. And if murders should occur, and the murderers were not discovered, the 'ámils were enjoined to seize the mukaddams, as detailed above, and imprison them, and give them a period within which to declare the murderers. If they produced the murderer, or pointed out where he lived, they were to let the mukaddam go, and to put the murderer to death; but if the mukaddams of a village where the murder had occurred could not do this, they were themselves put to death; for it has been generally ascertained that theft and highway robberies can only take place by the connivance of these head-men. And if in some rare case a theft or highway robbery does occur within the limits of a village without the cognizance of the mukaddam, he will shortly make inquiry that he may ascertain the circumstances of it; for mukaddams and cultivators are alike thieves, and they bear to each other the intimate relations of kinsmen: hence either the mukaddams are implicated in thefts and highway robberies, or can ascertain who perpetrated them. If a mukaddam harbours thieves and robbers unknown to the governor, it is fit he should be punished, or even be put to death, that it may be a warning to others to abstain from similar acts.*The Táríkh-i Dáúdí (MS., pp. 291, 247) mentions two instances in illustration of this enforcement of village responsibility. One was, that a horse was stolen one night from Sher Sháh's camp at Thánesar, for which all the zamíndárs for a circuit of fifty kos were summoned and held responsible, with the threat that if the thief and horse were not forthcoming within three days, the lives of every one of them would fall a sacrifice. Both were shortly produced, and the thief was immediately put to death. Another was a case in which a murder was committed near Etáwá, on a piece of land which had long been disputed between the neighbouring villages. In this instance, it being impossible to fix upon the responsible village, Sher Sháh duirected that two men should be sent to cut down a tree which was near the spot where the murder was committed, with orders that any man who came to prohibit them should be sent in to him. A mukaddam of one of the villages came forward to remonstrate, and was dealt with accordingly. He was tauntingly asked, how he could know of a tree being cut down so far from his village, and yet not know of a man being cut down. All the inhabitants of the village were then seized and threatened with death, if the murderer were not produced within three days. Under these circumstances there was of course no difficulty in getting the culprit, or at least a culprit, who was forthwith executed!
In the days of Sher Sháh and of Islám Sháh, the mukaddams used to protect the limits of their own villages, lest any thief or robber, or enemy of their enemies, might injure a traveller, and so be the means of their destruction and death. And he directed his governors and 'ámils to compel the people to treat merchants and travellers well in every way, and not to injure them at all; and if a merchant should die by the way, not to stretch out the hand of oppression and violence on his goods as if they were unowned; for Shaikh Nizámí (may God be merciful to him!) has said: “If a merchant die in your country, it is perfidy to lay hands on his property.” Throughout his whole kingdom Sher Sháh only levied customs on merchandize in two places, viz.: when it came from Bengal, customs were levied at Gharrí (Sikrí-galí); when it came from the direction of Khurásán, the customs were levied on the borders of the kingdom; and again, a second duty was levied at the place of sale. No one dared to levy other customs, either on the road or at the ferries, in town or village. Sher Sháh, moreover, forbad his officials to purchase anything in the bázárs except at the usual bázár rates and prices.
One of the regulations Sher Sháh made was this: That his victorious standards should cause no injury to the cultivation of the people; and when he marched he personally examined into the state of the cultivation, and stationed horsemen round it to prevent people from trespassing on any one's field. I have heard from Khán-i'azam Muzaffar Khán, who said he often accompanied Sher Sháh, that he used to look out right and left, and (which God forbid!) if he saw any man injuring a field, he would cut off his ears with his own hand, and hanging the corn (which he had plucked off) round his neck, would have him to be paraded through the camp.*The Wáki'át-i Mushtákí (MS., p. 101) and the Táríkh-i Dáúdí (MS., p. 252) record a barbarous punishment inflicted on a camel-driver during a march in Málwá for plucking some green chick-pea. Sher Sháh had a hole bored in his nose, and with his feet bound together he was suspended during a whole march with his head downward. "After that no one stretched out his hand upon corn." And if from the narrowness of the road any cultivation was unavoidably destroyed, he would send amírs, with a surveyor, to measure the cultivation so destroyed, and give compensation in money to the cultivators. If unavoidably the tents of his soldiery were pitched near cultivation, the soldiers themselves watched it, lest any one else should injure it, and they should be blamed and be punished by Sher Sháh, who showed no favour or partiality in the dispensation of justice. If he entered an enemy's country, he did not enslave or plunder the peasantry of that country, nor destroy their cultivation. “For,” said he, “the cultivators are blameless, they submit to those in power; and if I oppress them they will abandon their villages, and the country will be ruined and deserted, and it will be a long time before it again becomes prosperous.” Sher Sháh very often invaded an enemy's country; but on account of his justice the people remained, and brought supplies to his army, and he became known by the fame of his generosity and benevolence; and he was all day long occupied in scattering gold like the sun, in shedding pearls like a cloud; and this was the reason that the Afgháns collected round him, and that the kingdom of Hindústán fell to him. And if any want befell his victorious army, he did not suffer one soldier or any poor helpless person to be in despair or utterly unprovided for, but gave them something for their subsistence. Every day he enlisted men, to give them a subsistence.
His kitchen was very extensive, for several thousand horsemen and private followers, who in the Afghán tongue are called “Fiáhí,” fed there; and there was a general order, that if any soldier or religious personage, or any cultivator, should be in need of food, he should feed at the king's kitchen, and should not be allowed to famish. And places for the dispensing of food to the poor and destitute, and to all necessitous persons, were established in the camp, that they might feed every one as above described. The daily cost of these meals, and of these places for the distribution of food, was 500 gold pieces (ashrafís).
It became known to him that the imáms and religious persons had, since the time of Sultán Ibráhím, by bribing the 'ámils, got into their possession more land than they were entitled to hold; he therefore resumed their holdings, and investigating the cases himself, gave to each his right, and did not entirely deprive any man of his possessions. He then gave them money for their road expenses, and dismissed them. Destitute people, who were unable to provide for their own subsistence, like the blind, the old, the weak in body, widows, and the sick, etc., to such he gave stipends from the treasury of the town in which they were resident, and giving them the expenses of their journey sent them away. And on account of the fraudulent practices of the religious personages (imáms), he made this arrangement: he did not give the farmáns directing the assignments to the religious personages themselves, but ordered the munshís to prepare the farmáns relating to one pargana, and to bring them to him. Sher Sháh then put them all into a letter and put his seal on it, and gave it to a trustworthy man of his own, and said to him, “Carry these farmáns to such and such a pargana.” When the farmáns came to the shikkdár, he first made over to the holy personages their stipends, and then gave the farmáns into their possession. Sher Sháh often said, “It is incumbent upon kings to give grants to imáms; for the prosperity and populousness of the cities of Hind are dependent on the imáms and holy men; and the teachers and travellers, and the necessitous, who cannot come to the king, they will praise him, being supported by those who have grants; and the convenience of travellers and the poor is thereby secured, as well as the extension of learning, of skill, and religion; for whoever wishes that God Almighty should make him great, should cherish 'Ulamá and pious persons, that he may obtain honour in this world and felicity in the next.”
To every pious Afghán who came into his presence from Afghánistán, Sher Sháh used to give money to an amount exceeding his expectations, and he would say, “This is your share of the kingdom of Hind, which has fallen into my hands, this is assigned to you, come every year to receive it.” And to his own tribe and family of Súr, who dwelt in the land of Roh, he sent an annual stipend in money, in proportion to the numbers of his family and retainers; and during the period of his dominion no Afghán, whether in Hind or Roh, was in want, but all became men of substance. It was the custom of the Afgháns during the time of Sultáns Bahlol and Sikandar, and as long as the dominion of the Afgháns lasted, that if any Afghán received a sum of money, or a dress of honour, that sum of money or dress of honour was regularly apportioned to him, and he received it every year.
There were 5000 elephants in his elephant sheds, and the number of horses personally attached to him was never fixed, for his purchases and gifts of them were equally great; but 3400 horses were always kept ready in the saráís to bring intelligence every day from every quarter. 113,000 villages of Hind were included in the royal fisc.*The original has "113,000 parganas, that is, villages;" but the Wáki'át-i Mushtákí (MS., p. 98) says "113,000 parganas," without any such qualification. He sent a shikkdár to each of his parganas, which were all prosperous and tranquil, and there was not one place which was contumacious or desolated; the whole country was settled and happy; corn was cheap, nor during his time was there anywhere scarcity or famine. His army was beyond all reckoning, and every day increased. For the enforcement of the regulations which he had published for the protection of the people, Sher Sháh sent trusted spies with every force of his nobles, in order that, inquiring and secretly ascertaining all circumstances relating to the nobles, their soldiers, and the people, they might relate them to him; for the courtiers and ministers, for purposes of their own, do not report to the king the whole state of the kingdom, lest any disorder or deficiency which may have found its way into the courts of justice should be corrected.
I have heard from a trustworthy Afghán, who was with Shujá'at Khán, that when Sher Sháh gave him the government of the kingdom of Málwá, at the time of assigning jágírs, his ministers said to him: “It is time to assign jágírs to the solidery if it pleases your worship; keep a share for yourself from the portion assigned to the soldiery, and divide the rest among them.” Shujá'at Khán, from covetousness, agreed to his ministers' proposal. When his soldiers heard of it, 2000 of them, men of repute, both horse and foot, bound themselves together by an agreement, that if Shujá'at Khán permitted himself, from covetousness, to infringe their rights, they would represent the case to Sher Sháh, who showed no favour in dipensing justice to any one on account of the amount of his followers, or on account of his kindred; that they would unanimously expose the innovations of Shujá'at Khán and his ministers, and that they would stand by and assist each other in good or evil, and would not, for any worldly covetousness, scratch the face of friendship and alliance with the nail of disunion. After this agreement, they went on a march from Shujá'at Khán's forces, and sent a man of their own to him, saying: “Your ministers do not give us the full rights which Sher Sháh has bestowed on us, and it is contrary to his regulations, that the soldiery should be defrauded; nay, the nobles ought rather to encourage the poor among their soldiery with presents, over and above their monthly pay, that in time of action they may serve them with earnestness and devotion. If you covet our rights, the door will be opened to enmity and mutiny, and your army and your forces will become disunited and dispirited, which will be the cause of disgrace to your ministers.”
When Shujá'at Khán became aware of the request of his soldiers, he asked of his ministers what course it behoved him to pursue. They replied:—“Two thousand cavalry have turned aside from the path of obedience, and you are lord of 10,000; if you fully satisfy these impudent persons, people will think you have done so for dread of Sher Sháh, and dilatoriness and infirmity will find their way among the officers of your province and into the stability of your authority. It now becomes you to give a stern and peremptory reply, and such as shall leave no hope, so that others may not behave ill and may not disobey your commands.” Covetousness sewed up the far-seeing eye of Shujá'at Khán's sagacity, and made him forgetful of the justice and watchfulness of Sher Sháh. The soldiers, on receiving his harsh answer, took counsel together; some said that they ought to go to the presence of Sher Sháh the Just; but some Afgháns, who knew Sher Sháh's disposition, and were moreover possessed of some share of prudence and sagacity, said to their friends,—“It is not proper to go ourselves to Sher Sháh, for this reason: that he has posted us with Shujá'at Khán in this country of the Dekhin, and it is not right for us to move out of these parts without his orders. Let us send a vakíl to Sher Sháh, the protector of the oppressed, to represent the real circumstances of our case to him. Whatever he orders, let us act up to it; and if any business of the king's should meanwhile occur, it behoves us to exert ourselves in its settlement more than all others.” At length the opinion of these Afgháns was adopted by all, and they wrote an account of their state and sent it. Their vakíl had not yet arrived when Sher Sháh's spies reported the circumstances of Shujá'at Khán's quarrel with the 2000 remonstrants to Sher Sháh. On hearing the news, Sher Sháh was enraged, and sending for Shujá'at Khán's vakíl, said to him, “Write to Shujá'at, and say:— ‘You were poor, and I ennobled you, and put under you Afgháns better than yourself. Are you not satisfied with the revenue of your government, that you covet the rights of the soldiery? and are you without any shame before the people or any fear of God, and have you violated my regulations which I have enacted and promulgated for this very purpose, that the chief's rights and those of his soldiery might be distinct, and that the chiefs might respect the rights of the soldiers? If you were not a protégé of my own, I would strip off your skin; but I pardon you this first fault. Do you, before their vakíl reaches me, appease your soldiery, and give them a satisfactory answer; if not, and their vakíl comes and complains to me, I will resume your jágírs, and arrest and punish you severely. It does not behove nobles to disobey their master's orders, for this occasions the loss to him of his honour and authority.’”
When the vakíl's letter reached Shujá'at Khán, he was exceedingly confounded and ashamed, and disturbed with dread and apprehension; so reproaching his ministers, he said:— “Your counsel has been the cause of disgrace and distress to me. How shall I show my face to the king?” Then going himself to the encampment of the 2000 remonstrants, he made many excuses for himself, and appeasing the soldiery with promises and oaths that he would not do them any harm, and encouraging them with gifts and presents, brought them back to his own encampment. When the vakíl of the soldiers turned back again from his journey, and came to Shujá'at Khán, the latter returned many thanks to heaven, and distributed much money to the poor and needy, and gave him a horse and a princely robe of honour. Sher Sháh's authority, whether he was absent or present, was completely established over the race of Afgháns. From the fear, either of personal punishment or of deprivation of office, there was not a creature who dared to act in opposition to his regulations; and if a son of his own, or a brother, or any of his relatives or kin, or any chief or minister, did a thing displeasing to Sher Sháh, and it got to his knowledge, he would order him to be bound and put to death. All, laying aside every bond of friendship or respect, for the sake of the honour of the Afghán race, obeyed without delay his irresistible farmáns.
I, the author of this relation, 'Abbás Kalkapúr Sarwání, have heard that during the reign of Sher Sháh, 'Azam Humáyún Níází was ruler of the Panjáb and Multán, and had a force of 30,000 horse under him. No other of Sher Sháh's nobles had so great a force. Sher Sháh sent his own nephew, Mubáriz Khán, to govern the district of Roh, which was in the possession of the Níázís. Mubáriz Khán ordered Khwája Khizr Sambhali, chief of the Sambhals, to give him a mud fort which he had built on the Indian (i.e. eastern) bank of the river Sind. Mubáriz Khán lived in this fort, and the Sambhals were generally with him; indeed there was not a moment they were not employed in his service, and always obedient and submissive to him. The daughter of Allah-dád Sambhal had no equal in that tribe for beauty and comeliness. When Mubáriz Khán heard the fame and renown of her beauty, he became, without having seen her, desperately in love with her, and the bird of rest and quiet flew out of his hand. Actuated by the pride of power, he took no account of clanship, which is much considered among the Afgháns, and especially among the Rohilla men; and sending a confidential person to Allah-dád, demanded that he should give him his daughter in marriage. Allah-dád sent a civil reply, saying:—“My lord is of high power and rank, and has many sons, and many high-born wives and women servants are in his female apartments; besides, my lord has been bred and brought up in Hindustán, and is possessed of delicate breeding and graceful accomplishments: my sons have the habits and manners of Roh. Alliance between myself and my lord is altogether unadvisable, as there is so wide a difference between us.” When Mubáriz Khán heard Allah-dád's answer, he was convulsed with exceeding anger, and set himself to injure and persecute the Sambhals, in the hope that they, being driven to extremities by his violence and oppression, might give him Allah-dád's daughter. From fear of Sher Sháh, the Sambhals submitted to all the violence and oppression which Mubáriz committed; but when it reached beyond all bounds of sufferance, Faríd, Idrís,*This name is doubtful. and Nizám, three illegitimate brothers of Allah-dád, said to Mubáriz Khán,—“We three brothers have several daughters, and possess more influence in our tribe than Allah-dád. We will give you a daughter of any of us brothers you may wish, and do you then abstain from persecuting the Sambhals.” Mubáriz Khán replied:—“I do not require your daughters; give me Allah-dád's daughter.”
When the Sambhals perceived that Mubáriz Khán desired a thing which could never come to pass, they said undisguisedly to him,—“Intermarriages have continually taken place between our families and yours, but always those of pure descent have intermarried with those of pure descent, and the illegitimate with the illegitimate. Although, with regard to your station in life, such a marriage is not an equal one, yet, as the mother of us three was, as yours was, a slave, and respecting the royal authority, we have agreed to our daughters being given in marriage to you, in order that the rust of quarrel and contention might be effaced from between us. To this you have not consented, which we much regret: do not act in opposition to the fear of God and the customs of the Afgháns. Allah-dád is of pure birth, and he never will be compelled to connect himself with you by force and violence, or from fear of you; do not entertain so vain a desire.” When Mubáriz Khán heard these words, from presumption, arrogance, and the pride of power, his wrath overpowered him; he gave way to anger and enmity, and hastened to persecute the Sambhals; and, on account of his hatred, without any fault of theirs, laid waste their villages and their property, and made prisoners of many of the inhabitants. Among these he carried off to his own house the daughter of Kherú, who was a dependent of Allah-dád, and filled the post of shahna among the Sambhals. The chiefs of the Sambhals came in a body to Mubáriz Khán, and said: “The honour of our women and yours is one. Release the daughter of Kherú the shahna, and respect the honour of our women.” But although the Sambhals humbly and earnestly entreated him, he would not listen to them, for his predestined time was near at hand. When the Sambhals were driven to despair, they said to Mubáriz Khán:—“You were born in Hindustán, and do not understand the habits of the Afgháns. The crane has never yet overpowered or domineered over the hawk. We have paid the reverence due to the king and to yourself. Leave us alone, and do not oppress and injure us beyond all bounds, and let this helpless one go free.” Mubáriz Khán in a passion replied:—“You talk of the honour of this dependent of yours; you will know what it is when I tear Allah-dád's daughter by force from her house, and bring her away.” The chiefs of the Sambhals fell into a passion also, and said to Mubáriz Khán:—“Have respect to your own life, and do not step beyond your own bounds. If you so much as look towards our women, we will slay you; though, in return for your life, they will put several of our chiefs to death.” Mubáriz Khán, on hearing this angry reply of the Sambhals, told his Hindustání doorkeepers to beat the chiefs of the Sambhals out of his house, for they were insulting him. When the Hindustání doorkeepers lifted up their sticks to beat the Sambhals out of the house, a tumult arose. The gallant Sambhals, who had, by Mubáriz Khán's violence and oppression, been driven to extremities, grew enraged, and, in the twinkling of an eye, killed Mubáriz Khán and most of his followers.
When Sher Sháh heard the news, he wrote to 'Azam Humáyún, saying:—“The Súrs are a tribe the least quarrelsome of the Afgháns, and if every Afghán was to kill a Súr not one would be left in the world. The Sambhals are of your own tribe. Do you bring them to order, and chastise them, that they may not set a bad example to others, and may refrain from killing their governors for the future.” When this order reached 'Azam Humáyún Níází, he collected an army against the Sambhals. They hearing that 'Azam Humáyún was coming in person against them, left their country, and took to the hills, where they occupied fortified positions, intending to go with their families to Kábul.
When 'Azam Humáyún heard that it was the intention of the Sambhals to go to Kábul, he was overwhelmed with anxiety and grief, and took counsel with his people, saying:—“The Sambhals are my brethren, and a numerous tribe and race: we cannot seize them by force. If they go to Kábul, Sher Sháh will think that I have been negligent in seizing them, and that they have escaped from these parts by my connivance. We must get hold of them by some stratagem or contrivance.” He sent his vakíl to them, and said:—“I have ascertained you are not to blame. You were much injured and oppressed by Mubáriz Khán. I will send you to Sher Sháh, and beg him to forgive your fault. According to the Afghán custom, the Níázís shall give several of their daughters in marriage to the Súrs, or Sher Sháh may put to death two or three of your chiefs. It is not fitting that the whole tribe should be exiled, and compelled to go to other countries.” The Sambhals wrote in their reply:—“We are in difficulties. If the Súrs come to fight with us, we will do our best against them, that it may be remembered in the world, how the Níázís combated, and how they went into exile! If you come and fight with us, on both sides Níázís will be killed; and if we are cast out, you will even then be disgraced—for it was your own tribe who were driven out, and you had no pity. But if you will bind yourself by promises and oaths, that you will not seek to injure or persecute us, we will come in and make our submission. 'Azam Humáyún replied:—“Have I no regard for my kin, that I should injure or persecute you?” So 'Azam Humáyún made the most solemn promises and oaths to the Sambhals; and the whole tribe, with their wives and families, came to him. When he saw that he had deceived the whole tribe of Sambhals, and that they had come in with their wives and families, he took measures to prevent their escape, and slew 900 persons. While he was putting them to death, the Níázís said to several of their friends among the Sambhals, “We will let you escape, fly!” But the Sambhals maintained the Afghán honour, and said:—“It is better to die with our wives and families than to live dishonoured; for it is a well-known proverb, ‘The death of a whole tribe is a solemn feast.’” When 'Azam Humáyún had slain most of the Sambhals, he sent their wives and families to Sher Sháh. Sher Sháh, who wished no man evil, disapproved of 'Azam Humáyún's cruelty, and said: “Never before has such a shameful thing been done among the race of Afgháns; but 'Azam Humáyún in fear of the King has slain so many of his own tribe. It is only from his affection for the King that he would thus uselessly shed so much blood of his own tribe.” He had intended to remove 'Azam Humáyún from his government of the Panjáb, but had no time before he was glorified in martyrdom. After his death, 'Azam Humáyún displayed great loyalty, which shall be narrated in its proper place.
From the day that Sher Sháh was established on the throne, no man dared to breathe in opposition to him; nor did any one raise the standard of contumacy or rebellion against him; nor was any heart-tormenting thorn produced in the garden of his kingdom; nor was there any of his nobles or soldiery, or a thief or a robber, who dared to direct the eye of dishonesty to the property of another; nor did any theft or robbery ever occur in his dominions. Travellers and wayfarers, during the time of Sher Sháh's reign, were relieved from the trouble of keeping watch; nor did they fear to halt even in the midst of a desert. They encamped at night at every place, desert or inhabited, without fear; they placed their goods and property on the plain, and turned out their mules to graze, and themselves slept with minds at ease and free from care, as if in their own house; and the zamíndárs, for fear any mischief should occur to the travellers, and that they should suffer or be arrested on account of it, kept watch over them. And in the time of Sher Sháh's rule, a decrepit old woman might place a basket full of gold ornaments on her head and go on a journey, and no thief or robber would come near her, for fear of the punishments which Sher Sháh inflicted. “Such a shadow spread over the world, that a decrepit person feared not a Rustam.” During his time, all quarrelling, disputing, fighting, and turmoil, which is the nature of the Afgháns, was altogether quieted and put a stop to throughout the countries of Roh and of Hindustán. Sher Sháh, in wisdom and experience, was a second Haidar. In a very short period he gained the dominion of the country, and provided for the safety of the highways, the administration of the Government, and the happiness of the soldiery and people. God is a discerner of righteousness!
The History of India as Told by its Own Historians, Vol. IV: To the Year A.D. 1450. Translated by H.M. Elliot and edited by John Dowson. London: Trübner & Co. 1871; repr. Calcutta: Susil Gupta, 1957. pp. 301-433.
Annotated by Murari Jha