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Reader in History in the University of Allahabad 

t The essence of royal protection consists in protecting 
I the life and property of the subjects. They (kings) should 
J use the principles of justice and equality in all their 
A dealings with all classes of people, and should in- 
Jstruct powerful officials so that they may try their best to 
Irefrain from cruelty and oppression in their jurisdiction. 



Stcond Edition 

*fd and published by K. Mittra at 
Indian Press, Ltd., Allahabad 



I. Pre-Muhammadan India . ..1 

II. The Arab Invasion of Sindh .. 29 

III. The Rise and Fall of the Ohaznavidefi . 43 

IV. The Conquest of Hindustan .. .66 
V. The Slave Dynasty ... ... 74 

VI. Khilji Imperialism . . ... 103 

VII. The Tughluq Dynasty ... ... 132 

VIII. Break-up of the Empire of Delhi ... .. 180 

IX. An Era of Decline ... .. , 227 

X Society and Culture in the Middle Ages ... 245 
XI. India at the Opening of the Sixteenth 

Century ... .. . . ... 279 

XII. Foundation of the Mughal Empire ... 293 

XIII. Humayun and Sher Shah ... ... 324 

XIV. Era of Reconstruction Akbar . 349 
XV. The Empire at its Zenith jahangir and 

Shahjahan .. ... ... ... 482 

XVI. The Turn in the Tide Aurangzeb 646 

XVII. Society and Culture in Mughal India J . . 739 


THE first edition of this book was very favourably received 
by students of Muslim history all over India. Its use- 
fulness is shown by the fact that a second edition has 
become necessary in such a short space of time. I regret 
that owing to other engagements of a pressing nature I 
have not been able to add a chapter on the later Mughals as 
I had promised in the first edition. But the index has 
been provided, and care has been taken to remove the 
errors and discrepancies suggested by scholars of history. 
I am fully aware of the imperfections that still exist, 
but 1 Lope kindly critics will continue to favour me 
with their valuable suggestions from time to time. In 
their appreciation lies my reward and in their well- 
informed criticism my chance of further improvement 


Dated August 24^ 1931 


HTHE purpose of the present book is to provide a. 
* general history of Muhammadan rule in India up 
to the death of Aurangzeb for the use of teachers 
in secondary schools and students in Indian Colleges. 
The want of a book of this kind has long been felt The 
older histories of the middle ages by European writers 
have now become inadequate and out of date owing to 
the rapid progress of knowledge in recent times, tytost 
of the errors based on imperfect acquaintance with the 
original sources are repeated in all text-books, and the 
student of history, who aims at precise knowledge,, 
demands more than what is contained in Elphinstone, 
Lane-Poole^ and Vincent Smith. Excellent as they are 
in their own way, they are found sketchy in these days* 
The author has kept the requirements of the modern 
student always in view, and he hopes he has done his best 
to meet them. 

The earlier portion of the book is largely an abridge- 
ment of the author's History of Mediaeval India with 
which students of history are already familiar. The 
sketch of Mughal history, which is new, is fairly full, and 
will be found useful by those wly> will consult it, whether 
for the purpose of passing an examination or acquiring 
a knowledge qf Indian history under the Mughals. The 
best authorities on the subject, original as well as 
secondary, have been utilised, and no topic of importance 
has been omitted. Attempt has been made to awaken 


the critical faculty of students by discussing controver- 
sial matters and by presenting the views of different 
^writers in regard to them. 

The advanced student for whom the book is not 
intended may find it inadequate for his purpose. He will 
be sadly disappointed, if he makes it a substitute for 
original sources into which he must dive deep himself, if he 
aims at specialised knowledge. The professed object of this 
volume is to present to the reading public a concise and 
readable narrative of the achievements of our Muslim 
conquerors, both Mughal and pre-Mughal, up to the death 
of Aurangzeb. The author hopes to add a chapter on 
later Mughals in a subsequent edition. 

An important feature of the book is that the 
narrative is not confined merely to political history. 
r An attempt has been made to describe the social and 
economic condition of the people at different periods. 
The life of a people must be viewed as a whole and to 
enable the reader to understand it fully, enough has been 
said about the growth of religion and literature. The 
interaction of political and cultural currents has been 
-explained with a view "to liberalise the student's concep- 
tion of history and to enable him to develop a sense of 
right perspective. 

Proper names have been generally spelt according 
to the method approved by the Royal Asiatic Society 
and diacritical marks have been placed over unfamiliar 
names and terms. 

My acknowledgments are due to my friend and pupv 
Mr. Ktinwar Bahadur, M.A., LL.B., who has helped me > 
various ways in preparing this book. Most ol the proo* 
sheets have been read by him, and hi the selection erf 


illustrations and maps, his atlvice has been of considerable 
help to me. Still there must be many imperfections 
which have escaped the author's notice. He will 
gratefully receive all corrections and suggestions for 
further improvement 



July 26, 1930. ] 


After Harga's death in 647 A.D. India broke up into a 
number of independent states, always fighting against one 
another. Most of these were founded by 
Break-up of Rajput chief s who were distinguished for 
m " 

their valour and devotion to the military art. 
Among these warring states Kanauj rose to 
the position of a premier state, but even her pre-eminence 
was not universally acknowledged in the country. 

Kashmir was not included in Harsa's empire, though 
the local ruler was compelled by him to yield a valuable 
relic of Buddha. It became a powerful state 
Kashmir. Muktaplda (725-52 A.D.) 

of the Karkota dynasty, He was a capable ruler 
arho extended his dominion beyond Kashmir and the 
neighbouring countries, and once led an expedition against 
*;he ruler of Kanauj. Towards the beginning of the ninth 
century the Krkot# dynasty declined in importance, and 
was succeeded by the Utpala dynasty. 

This dynasty produced two remarkable rulers, Avantivar- 
inan and 6ankaravarman. After the latte^'s death in 902, a 
aeries of worthless rulers followed, under whom the country 
suffered much from misrule and anarchy and finally passed 

nto the hands of a local Muhammadan dynasty in 1339. 

In 1640 Babar's well-known cousin Mirza Haidar Daghlfit, 


the historian, conquered the valley and established his 
sway. After his death in 1551 disorder ensued and puppet 
kings were set up by rival factions. This state of affairs 
was finally ended by Akbar when the kingdom was annex- 
ed to the Mughal empire in 1586. 

Kanauj rose early into prominence after the death of 

Harsa. Yasovarman was a powerful ruler, but his successors 

were unable to resist the aggressions of neigh- 


bounng states. It was the Gurjara chief 
(84090 A.D.) who retrieved the 
fortunes of Kanauj and built up an empire including 
the Sutlej districts of the Punjab, the greater part 
of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh and the 
Gwalior territory. His successor, M ahpnr * rfl PHla. kept his 
father's dominions intact, but the next ruler 

succumbed to the power of the Rastrakuta Indra in 916 
and although he recovered his dominions owing to the 
negligence of the latter, he suffered another defeat at the 
hands of the Chandela ruler of Jaijakbhukti. The process 
of decadence continued and the kingdom of Kanauj los^ 
one province after another. The repeated invasions of th 
Muhammadans further weakened it and in 1018 A.D. wh 
Mahmud of Ghazni appeared before the gates of Kanauj th 
Pratihar ruler, Raivapala. offered no resistance and made a 
abject submission. This cowardly act gave offence to h; 
fellow-princes and the Chandela Rsn'a Ganda n^ga*** 

Ganda's son Vidyadhai 

marched against him at the head of a large army, inflicted 
crushing defeat upon him and murdered him. Rajyapala' 
successors vainly struggled to retain their power until the. 
were finally subdued about 1090 A.D. by a Raja of thu 
GaharwSr clan. 


Another important Rajput clan was that of the Chohans 
2JL Sashay in Pfljpntfltin Ajm6r was included in the 
principality of Sambhar. The earliest ruler 
i)eihi. mer and ^ w hom we have an authentic record was 
Vigraharaja IV better known as Eiaal&- 
flpva n^mi, distinguished alike for his valour and learn- 
ing. He fought against the Muhammadans, wrested Delhi 
from the Pratihars and established a kingdom, extending 
from the base of the Himalayas to the Vindhyas in the 
Deccan. At his court were produced the two famous 
dramas, the Lalitaviqraharq ( jn- f nnfrb.a. and the Harakeli- 
which are still preserved in the museum gt 
He also founded a college at Ajmer which was 
destroyed by the soldiers of Muhammad Ghori. The 
most remarkable of the line was Prithvirajp whose deeds 
of valour are still sung by bards all over Northern 
India. In 1182 he invaded the Chandela territory and 
defeated Raja Parmal of Mahoba. He also nrg-anispd a f*on.- 
federacy of Rajput nrincea whir.h defeated the. Muslim Jbost 
inrl^r Mnhammad Ghori inJlgJ. But the latter reappeared 
lext year and inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Rajputs. 
Prithviraja wag captured and killed. The Hindu power 
suffered an irreparable blow, and yet Raja Jayachandra of 
Kanauj stood apart and refused to combine with the Chohans 
with whom he had a family feud. Next, Muhammad Ghori 
.urned against Jayachandra himself and defeated him. 
Several members of the Gaharwar clan left Kanauj and 
migrated to Rajputana, while the able generals of 
Muhammad Ghori completed the work of conquest by reduc- 
ing Gwalior, Anhil wa^and Kalanjar. Soon after Qutbuddin, 
the gallant slave of Muhammad, was enthroned at Delhi as 
the overlord of the princes of Northern India. 


Two other Rajput dynasties of importance in Northern 

India were the Chandelaa of Javjflkhhnkti (modern Bundel- 

khand) and the Kalachuris of Chedi (modern 

deias he han " Central Provinces). The country was called 

ti. i.e., the territory or bhukti of 

, one of the earliest kings of the Chandela dynasty. 
The Chandelas do not emerge into history until the 
ninth century when Nannuk Chandela established a small 
kingdom for himself. At first feudatories of the Gurjar- 
Pratihar kings of Kanauj, they became independent during 
the first half of the tenth century. Harsa Chandela raised 
the status of the family by helping the ruler of Kanauj 
against Indra, the Rastrakuta king of the Deccan, and by 
marrying a Chohan princess. His son Yasovarman was a 
great conqueror. He captured the fortress of Kalanjarand 
forced the ruler of Kanauj to surrender a valuable image of 
Visnu. He was succeeded by his son Dhanga. 

Dhanga extended the boundaries of his father's domi- 
nions and*joined the Rajput confederacy which was formed 
by Jayapala to repel the invasion of Subuktagin, king of 
Ghazni. After his death, his son and successor Ganda carried 
on the. warlike policy of his father. In 1018 when Sultan 
Mahmud of Ghazni advanced against Kanauj, its ruler 
Rajyapala made an abject submission. Enraged by this 
unworthy conduct of their suzerain, the chiefs of Northern 
India combined against RSjyapala under the leadership of 
Ganda's son Vidygdhara. Rajyapala could offer no resistance 
and was slain by Arjuna, the Kachchapaghata chief of 
Gwalior. When Sultan Mahmud heard of this inhuman 
murder, he set out from Ghazni in 1019 to punish the wrong- 
doers, hn|> -QaTTi^ a fl * H J" *hq "Jgh* without encountering 
Mahmud on the field of battle. A few years later Mahmud 


again marched against him and compelled him to sign a 
treaty by which Ganda ceded the fort of Kalanjar and 
acknowledged his suzerainty. 

After the death of Ganda the history of the Chandelas 
is a record of wars with the neighbouring states. The Kalfl- 
churis of Chprii ftefpatf>rl the Chandela king Kirt.ivarma- 
deva and deprived him of his kingdom, but the latter soon 
recovered his position through the assistance of his Brahman 
minister Gopala. The Chandela power once again rose 
to its highest point under Madanavarman who was a 
contemporary of Kumarapala of Gujarat and Govinda- 
chandra of Kanauj. Madana's eldest son died during 
his lifetime and he was succeeded by his grandson 

With Parmardin 's accession to power the Chandelas 
plunged into bitter and prolonged wars with the Chohans 
of Delhi. In 1182 he was completely defeated by 
Prithviraja who followed him into the heart of his kingdom 
as far as Madanapur. He offered no help to Prithviraja 
and Jayachandra when Muhammad of Ghor directed his 
arms against them. His own turn came in 1202 when 
Muhammad's general Qutbuddin attacked Kalanjar and 
inflicted a crushing defeat upon him. Parmardin hero- 
ically struggled to save his power but he fell in the fight. 
Henceforward the Chandelas ceased to have any political 
importance and a similar process of decadence overtook 
the Kalachuris of Chedi. 

The Parmar kingdom of Malwa was founded by Krisna 

Raja alias Upendra in the ninth century A.D. The kings 

of Malwa were originally feudatories of 

r iM- Infirm PITS 

of Malwa. the Gurjar-Pratihars of Kanauj but towards 

the close of the tenth century Slyak II 


established his independence. The kingdom of Malwa in- 
cluded a large part of the ancient kingdom of Avanti 
/up to the Narbada in the south. /Ceaseless wars were, 
I waged between the Parmars of Malwa, the Chandelas of 
Mahoba, the Kalachuris of Chedi, the Solankis of Gujarat 
and the Chalukyas of the Deccan./ Munja who came to 
the throne in 974 A.D. inflictea several defeats upon 
the Chalukyas of the Deccan, but was himself fatally 
wounded by them during the years 99397 A.D. He 
extended his patronage to men of letters, and authors 
like Padmagupta, Dhananjaya and Halayudha lived at 
his court. 

The most illustrious ruler of the dynasty was Munja 's 
Nephew Bhoia (101060 A.D. ) who is known in history 
as a great warrior and patron of learning. He was himself 
a scholar and a poet, and established a Sanskrit college 
at Dhara called the Saraswati Kanthabharan, the ruins 
of which exist to this day. In this college, he had several 
works on poetry, grammar, astronomy and other branches 
of learning incised on slabs of stone. The college was 
afterwards turned into a mosque by the Muhammad ans 
Bhoja also constructed a lake to the south of Bhopal which 
extended over an area of 250 miles, the waters of which 
were afterwards drained by the Muslim rulers. 

Towards the close of his life the enemies of Bhoja be- 
came very strong. He was defeated and slain in battle 
by Kama of Dahala and Bhima of Gujarat. The Parmar 
power steadily declined after Bhoja's death, and the last 
king of the dynasty was compelled to embrace Islam 
by the generals of Alauddin Khilji, who effected 
the complete conquest of the entire province in 
1310 A.D. 


After the fall of the kings of Vallabhi the Chapotakas 
or Chava^as ruled Gujarat for a long time, but towards the 

close of the ninth century it became a part 
of 1 Gufamt nklS of the empire of the Gurjar-Pratihars of 

Kanauj. The Chalukya princes at first became 
the vassals of the empire, but in 943 A.D. a Chalukya prince 
Mulraja (96095 A.D.) founded an independent dynasty 
called the Chalnfrva dvnaRt.ynfAnahilanat.aVR. The history of 
this dynasty is fully revealed in the works nf rnn temporary 
Jain afthnlara. Tftfllraja flonqnered the. Parmgrs of AbUj and 
fought against Vigraharaja(Blsaladeva II) who defeated him 
and devastated his kingdom. Better success attended his 
arms, when he marched against the combined forces of the 
chiefs of Sindh, Cutch and Vanthali in Kathiawad. Great 
valour was shown in this battle by the prince of Abu who 
fought on the side of Mulraja. Mfilraja hm'lt the prpaj; 
temple of %Hr^|^^Halaya which was dedicated to iva at 
but he did not live to finish it. The installation' 

of the deity in the tpmple was celebrated with great spjen- 
dnur, and Brahmans from Thanesar, Kanauj, and other parts 
of North India were invited to assist in the solemn ceremony. 
Mulraja died in 995 and was succeeded by his son Chamunda- 
raja whn pleiir mhqH-1eSinHhn|ffia. theParmar kin^of Malwa. 
which led to bitter animosities between the two kingdoms. 

Chamundaraja was succeeded by his son Vallabharaja, 
but he died after a short reign of six months. His son 
Durlabharaja, who was married to a Chohan princess of 
Nadol, reigned for 12 years (100921 A.D.), and after his 
death was succeeded by his nephew Bhima I who is welt 
known in the annals of Gujarat 

Bhima continued the bitter feud against the king of 
Malwa and invaded his territory. He humbled the Parmar 


ruler of Abu, and made his power felt by the Chohans of 

But a great calamity was in store for Bhlma. When 
Mflhmpri of Ghaani invaded Hnj^ygt in order to seize the 
vast wealth of the temple of Somnath, situated on .the sea* 
ygf ffgrytli nf ftflifriflYfc^ RhTma tied from his kingdom 
and sought refuge in a fortress in Cutch. After the depar- 
ture of the Turkish invaders he recovered his country and 
rebuilt the desecrated fpmplp nf Somnath. 

Bhima died in 1063 A.D. and was succeeded by his third 
son Kama I who established order in the country by subdu- 
ing the Kols and Bhils. His successor Java Singh, surnam^d 
ffiflflharsja, who came to the throne in 1093, is one of the 
most remarkable Solanki kings of Gujarat, He inflicted 
a crushing defeat on the ruler of Malwa, annexed the 
country to his dominions, and .assumed the title of king of 
Avanti. He fought against the Yadava prince of Girnar, 
suppressed the wild tribes, and defeated the Chohan prince 
of Ajmer with whom he afterwards made peace. J^iddhfl- 
rjrjfl was a just, kirul and sagacious ruler. He extended his 
patronage to learned men, and ah^wfld W m ' a] fay*'"" ** -T^'n 
scholars, the chief of whom was Hemachandra or Herpa- 
Shacya. He had no son, and therefore when he died in 1142, 
he was succeeded by Kumarapala, a descendant of Kama, the 
third son of Bhlma I, of whom mention has been made before, 
jiumarapala is by common consent the most remarkable 
of all Solanki kings of Gujarat. He showed great respect 
to Hemachandra Suri, the learned Jain scholar, whom he 
elevated to the position of chief minister. KumarapSla 
invaded the territory of Ajmer twice. The first expedition 
was a failure, but in the second the Gujarat forces obtained 
a victory over the Chohan prince. The rulers of Malwa and 


.Abu were defeated, and Mallikarjuna, the chief of Konkan, 
had to acknowledge the supremacy of Kumarapala. Thus the 
original kingdom of Gujarat was considerably enlarged, and 
certain portions of Malwaand Rajputana were included in it. 
Kumarapala was a patron of learning. Many scholars 
lived on his bounty, but those specially worthy of mention 
are the two Gujarati scholars Ramachandra and Udaya- 
His minister Hemachandra was a great scholar 
Sanskrit, and composed a number of works 

on history f-mf* roiiginyi xyhinfr were dedicated to the king. 
Kumarapala embraced the Jain faith through the influence 
of Hemachandra, and forbade any kind of kimsa (injury to 
living beings) throughout his wide dominions 

Kumarapala died after a reign of nearly thirty-one years 
in 1173, and was succeeded by his nephew Aiaya^ala. With 
Ajayapala's accession to the throne began the decline of the 
kingdom which was further accelerated during the reigns 
of his weak successors Mulraja II and Bhlma II. The last 
Chalukya king was Tribhuvanapala, a mere figurehead, from 
whom power was snatched by the Baghela branch of the 
Solankis sometime about 1243 A.D. This dynasty produced a 
number of kings who were constantly troubled by the new 
invaders of India- -the Muhammadans, The last king was 
who was overpowered by Ulugh Khan and Nusrat 
, the two famous generals of Alauddin Khilji, in 1296, 
and whose power was finally destroyed by Kafur in 
1310 A.D. With Kama's defeat and death the line of the 
independent Solankis of Gujarat came to an end. 

Besides Rajput kingdoms described before there were 
many others in Rajputana on the eve of Muhammadan 
conquest. The chief of them were 


Jesalmir. Bundi. Jalor anxL Nadol. The 


principality of Jodhpur was founded after MuhammacJ 
Ghori's conquest of Hindustan, and Amber (modern 
Jeypore) and Bikanir did not rise into prominence until the 
advent of Mughals in the sixteenth century. The Rajputs 
of Mewar, Jesalmir, Ranthambhor and Jalor struggled hard 
with the early Turks and bravely opposed them on the field 
of battle. An account of these struggles will be given in 
subsequent pages. 

Bengal as far as Assam was included in the empire of 
Harsa, but like other provinces it suffered after his 
death from anarchy and misrule In the 
ei S hth century, the people, tired of disorder, 

Bihar and elected Gopala as their king Gopala was a 
enga " Buddhist and he reigned for nearly 45 years 
over Magadha and South Bihar. His successor Dharmapala 
defeated the ruler of Kanauj, and his suzerainty was 
acknowledged by the kings of Afghanistan, Punjab, certain 
portions of Rajputana and the Kangra Valley. He built 
magnificent monastery of Vikramasila. which 

107 tpTflplpifl and fi ro) 1 ^ 00 fnr Hnrat.ifl!L-i n 
Devapala, the next ruler, is described as the 

most powerful ruler of the dynasty. He conquered Assam 
and Kalinga and waged ceaseless wars for the propagation 

Of his faith. He received a^ PT^hasf r gy frnm thp king nf 

Javajto obtain permission for building a temple of Buddha at 
Nalanda. Devapala received the mission well, and granted 
five villages in the districts of Patna and Gaya for the 
maintenance of the temple, built by the Javanese king. 

After a reign of forty years the Palas were tempo- 
rarily overpowered by the hill tribe of the Kambojas. But 
the Kamboja rule was short-lived. MahlpSla recovered 
the lost power of his house and sent a mission for the 


revival of Buddhism in Tibet. He was a staunch follower of 
Buddhism ; he built several buildings at Nalanda, Bodhgaya 
and Vikramaslla and repaired many Buddhist shrines. 
In 1084 Ramapala ascended the throne of his forefathers, 
and conquered Mithila, and reduced the kings of Assam 
and Orissa to the position of tributaries His son Kumara- 
pSla turned out a weak ruler, and he found it impossible 
to keep the power of his dynasty intact. Samanta Sena, 
who probably came from the Deccan, seized a large part 
of the kingdom of Palas, and laid the foundations of the 
new dynasty of Senas in Bengal towards the close of 
the eleventh century A.D. Samanta Sena's grandson, 
Vijaya Sena, conquered Western Bengal, and firmly establish- 
ed the power of his house. His successor 

came to the throne in ] 155, and besides maintaining the 
dominion of his father intact, promoted learning, and 
introduced the practice of Kulinism among the Brahmans, 
the Vaidyas and the Kayasthas of Bengal. Brahmanism 
regained its ascendancy under him, and missions were 
sent abroad for propaganda work. Ballala Sena was suc- 
ceeded by Laligmana^Sfiiis in 1170. He succumbed to 
the raid of ftlnhnnnmQH hin RalrfrHyar KlvIJ 1 ' in 1199, 
and a large part of Bengal passed into the hands of the 

The origin of the Rajputs is a matter of controversy. 

Historical ingenuity has been much exercised in determin- 

. ing with precision the origin of the Rajputs, 

Rajputs. e and the difficulty has been considerably 

aggravated by the lofty pedigrees assigned 

to them in Brahmanical literature and the bardic chronicles. 

The Rajputs claim to be the lineal descendants of the Ksatri- 

yas of Vedic times. They trace their pedigree from the 


sun and the moon, and some of them believe in the theory 
of ^qnikula. T hA wnrd Tfajpnt in common parlance, in 
Certain states of Rajnntana./fe used to rtennt.g f,hp illflgiti- 

nriftfP grnig nf n Kqgfn'yQ /hipf nr jfigfrdnr But in reality it 

is the corrupted form of the Sanskrit word 

* am'nn nf thp rnyal hlnpfL' The WOrd OCCUrS in the 

Puranas, and is used in Ra[pa f a Hgrsachgrita in the sense of 
high-born Ksatriya a fact which goes to show that the 
word was used in early times and in the seventh and eighth 
centuries A.D. 

Much has been written about the origin of the .Rajputs. 
Some hold them to be the descendants of the foreign settlers 
iff Indja, while others trace their pedigree back to the 
Ksatriyas of Vedic times. Tod, the famous historian of 
Rajasthan, started the theory that fop Rajputs w?re the 
descendants of tlje Scythians or Sakas who came into India 
about the sixth century A.D. 

European scholars have accepted Tod's view of the 
origin of the Rajputs. Dr. Vincent Smith in his Early 
History of India (Revised edition, p 425), speaking of 
the foreign immigration of the Sakas and the Yue-chi or 
Kushans in the second and first centuries B.C., writes : 

" I have no doubt that the ruling families of both the 
akas and the Kushans, when they became Hinduised, 
were admitted to rank as Kshatriyas in the Hindu 
caste system, but the fact can be inferred only from the 
analogy of what is ascertained to have happened in 
later ages it cannot be proved.'' 

Dr. Smith dwells at length upon the effects of the Hun 
invasions, and observes that they " disturbed Hindu institu- 
tions and the polity much more deeply than would be 


supposed from perusal of the Puranas and other literary 
works. " He goes on to add that the invasions of foreign 
tribes in the fifth and sixth centuries shook Indian society 
in Northern India to its foundations, and brought about a 
re-arrangement of both castes and ruling families. This 
view is supported by TV n R T^hanHflrkar, and the 
editor of Tod's Annals, Mr. William Crooke, who writes in 
his Introduction that the origin of many Rajput clans dates 
from the Saka or Kushan invasion, which began about the 
middle of the second century B C., or, more certainly, from 
that of the White Huns who destroyed the Gupta Empire 
about 480 A.D. 

But in recent times certain Indian scholars have attempt- 
ed in their researches to point out the error of Tod and 
other European scholars. Mr. Gaurishankar Ojha discusses 
the question at length in his History of Rajputana and 
comes to the conclusion that the Rajputs are the descendants 
of the ancient Ksatriyas, and that Tod was misled by the 
similarities in the manners and customs of the Rajputs and 
the foreigners who settled in India. 

One may or may not wholly agree with Mr. Ojha's 
view, but it is clear that the foreign tribes who settled 
in India made a fresh re-arrangement of social groups 
inevitable, and as possessors of political power they were 
connected with the ancient Ksatriyas by their Brahman 

The theory of Agnikula that four Rajput clans -the 
Jq war ( Py amflr) Pflrihftr (Prati'l^fir^ Chohan (Chahumana) 
inri Snlanki or Cfralukva sprang frorq Va6igt h>>g **"*&**** 

f fount nn -mnn^ g[Ki] jp ^^hoy-fl Hfljpntanfl. still finds 

credence among the Rajputs. Dr. Bhandarkar and others 
have found in this myth a confirmation of their theory of 


the foreign origin of the Rajputs. They hold that the 
Agnikula myth represents fr rite nf purgation bv fire, the 
-scene of which was in southern Rajputana, whereby the 
impurity of the foreigners was removed, and they became 
fitted to enter the caste system. The story of the Agnikula 
is related in the f^rithvlr 71 ^ Rnfinw The Rasau, whatever 
its date, contains many interpolations, and sometimes 
inextricably combines history with legend so that we cannot 
accept everything that it says as historical truth. The 
fictitious character of the story is obvious, and it is unneces- 
sary to adduce evidence to prove it. It represents only a 
Brahmanical effort at finding a lofty origiyi for tfrgjjgogle^ 
who stood very high in the pcial order, and whose 
munificence flowed in an unstinted measure to the priestly 
class, which reciprocated that generosity with great enthu- 
siasm. It will be absurd to contend that the Rajputs are 
the pure descendants of the Ksatriyas of the ancient Vedic 
times. The original Ksatriyas were mixed up with the hordes 
of immigrants who poured into India in the fifth and sixth 
centuries of the Christian era. Dr. Smith writes that some 
of the Rajputs are descended from the indigenous tribes 
such as the Gonds and Bhars a fact which is borne out by 
the distinctions that still exist among them. It is too large 
an assumption, and is scarcely justified by the historical 
data available to us. There are similar distinctions among 
the Brahmans also, but that does not prove that certain 
Brahmans are descended from the lower orders in the Hindu 
social system. To make such a generalisation would be 
against all canons of historical research. 

The various tribes of the foreign settlers became so 
deeply intermixed with one another in course of time 
that all marked dissimilarities were obliterated, and a 


-certain kind of homogeneity was developed by the adoption 
of similar social customs and religious rites. The tribal 
individuality vanished, and a process of amalgamation 
set in which made scrupulous differentiation impossible. 
A high feeling of chivalry and honour, of indepeTjd.. 
qnfte and patriotism animated all RaiDUtS. and this same- 
ness had much to do with the fusion of the various clans 
which had ethnologically stood apart from one another. 

The architectural activity of the Hindus during this 

period was mainly confined to the building of temples. 

u;The most famous temples of the period in 

Art and Northern India are those of Bhuvanesvara. 

Literature. , -i i i ^ ' A ^ * 

built in the seventh century A D. t of 
'Khajuraho in Bundelkhand, and of Puri in Orissa. The Jain 
at Abu was built early in the eleventh century, and 

is one of the most exquisite examples of Indian architecture 
of the pre-Musalman period. In the Deccan also numerous 
.temples were built, the most famous of which are those 
built by the rulers of the Hoysa)? dynasty. The first at 
Somanathapq? was built by Vinaditya Ballala in the 
eleventh century, the second at Belur by Visnuvardhana 
Hoysala in the twelfth century, and the third at Halevid 
built by another prince of the same dynasty towards the 
close of the twelfth century. The Pallavas, Chalukyas, and 
Cholas were also great builders. The Pallavas adorned their 
capital Kanchi with beautiful temples, some of which 
belong to the seventh century A.D The temple of Tan- 
jore, which was built by Rja R5ja Chola about 1090 A.D., 
bears testimony to the skill of the southern master-builders. 
The Chalukyas were also great patrons of art. They, 
adorned their capital Badami with magnificent temples 
-and one of them, Vikramaditya II (73347 A.D.), built the 


> famous temple of Virupaksa at Pattadakal which was prob- 
ably a recognised seat of learning in the South. The 
faindn architecture is an expression of the Hindu religJOIL 
(To the Hindu, his whole life is an affair of religion. It is 
his religion which regulates his conduct in everyday life, 
and its influence permeates through the various grades of 
the Hindu society. Nowhere is the religiousness of 
.the Hindu more clearly manifest than in his architecture 
and sculpture, for it was through these, as a distinguished 
Indian scholar points out, that he sought to realise the 
all-embracing notion of his faith. 

The temples, tanks and embankments of the Hindu 
kings were wonderful works of art. The Arab scholar 
Al-Biruni writes regarding them : 

" In this they have attained to a very high degree of 
art, so that our people (the Muslims) when they see 
them, wonder at them, and are unable to describe 
them, much less to construct anything like them." 

Even such an iconoclast as Mahmud of Ghazni was 
moved with admiration, when he saw the beautiful temples 
of the city of Mathura during one of his Indian raids a 
fact which is recorded by his official chronicler, Utbi. 

The triumph of Brahmanism was followed by an enor- 
mous growth of religious and secular literature. The 
religious controversies of the time produced an abundance 
of philosophical literature of which the most important are 
the qflynmentaries of aar^kara on the 

Brahmasutra. The court of DhSrS was 

adorned by such eminent literary men as Padmagupta, 

ari%irnf thf> NnvaAnhafintyfaeharitft., nhan R fij^ author of 

theDa&arupaka, phanifa^ commentator of the Dasarupaka^ 


commentator of Pinoalachhandahsutra and 
other works, and Amitag;ati, author of the Subhayi* 
taratnasandoh. Among the dramatists of the period are 
Bhavabhuti, author of the Malatlmadhava, the Mafya- 
vlracharita and the Uttararamacharita, who flourished 
in the eighth century A.D. ; VififtkhaHafi-a, ant.hnr of f.he 
and Bh flftQ NTsraya^fi, author of the Venl- 

samhara (800 A. D.) and Raiasekhara. author of the Kar( 
puramanjan and other works, who wrote in the early 
part of the tenth century A.D. 

'^ The Kavya literature also deserves a passing mention 

\. a well-known work which draws 

its materials from the Mahabharata, and describes the story 
of the destruction of 6isupala by Krisna. Another mahakavycn 
of importance is the Naisadhacharita of &ri JHarga (1150 
A.D.) who wrote probably under the patronage of Jaya- 
chandra of Kanauj. Besides the Kavyas proper there were 
written during this period historical Kavyas. Among them 
the most remarkable are the Navasahasankacharita of 
Padmapnpta who was a court poet of the king of Dhara, 
and of whom mention has previously been made and the 
Vikramankacharita of Bilhana written to commemorate 
the exploits of Vikramaditya VI, the Chalukya ruler of 
Kalyan. The most remarkable historical work in verse is 

composed in the middle of the 

twelfth century A.D. KalhaJljajvas a well-educated native 
of Kashmir who had taken part in the politics of his coun- 
try* and who was fully conversant with its affairs. He 
attempts to give his readers a complete history of Kashmir,. 
and, though like all mediaeval frifitaringrfrphers he combiner 
faf* with fif*tjnn T he sincerely endeavours to consult the 
varied sources of history. Among the lyrical poets the mqst 
F. 2 


remarkable is Jayadeva, the author of the Gita Govinda, 
who flourished in Bengal in the twelfth century, and of 
whom mention will be made in another chapter. 

The institution of caste existed. The superiority of the 
Brahmans was acknowledged and the highest honours 
Social Life were accorded to them by kings as well as 
the common people. But the Rajputs were 
no less high in the social scale. Brave and warlike, the 
Rajput was ever devoted to the championship of noble 
causes. Tod has in his masterly way delineated the 
character of the Rajput in these words : /" High courage, 
patriotism, loyalty, honour, hospitality and simplicity are 
qualities which must at once be conceded to them ; and 
if we cannot vindicate them from charges to which human 
nature in every clime is obnoxious ; if we are compelled 
to admit the deterioration of moral dignity from the 
continual inroads of, and their subsequent collision with, 
rapacious conquerors ; we must yet admire the quantum of 
virtue which even oppression and bad example have failed 
to banish. The meaner vices of deceit and falsehood, which 
the delineators of national character attach to the Asiatic 
without distinction, I deny to be universal with the 
Rajputs, though some tribes may have been obliged from 
position to use these shields of the weak against continuous 
oppression. " l / The Rajput had a high sense of honour and 
a strict regard for truth. He was generous towards his 
foes, and even when he was victorious, he seldom had 
recourse to those acts of barbarity which were the inevitable 
concomitants of Muslim conquest He never employed 

1 Tod's Annals and Antiquities of Raj as than, edited by Crooke, 
II, p. 744. 


deceit or treachery in war and scrupulously abstained 
from causing misery to the poor and innocent people. The 
test of the civilisation of a community, writes a great 
thinker, is the degree of esteem in which women are 
held in it. Tfr$ Rajput honnnrftd his women, and though 
their lot was one of " appalling hardship " they showed 
wonderful courage and determination in times of difficulty, 
and performed deeds of valour which are unparalleled 
in the history of the world. Their devotion to their hus- 
bands, their courage in moments of crisis and these 
were unfortunately many in a Rajput woman's life 
and their fearless example exercised a healthy influence 
on Rajput society in spite of the apnlnsjn^ fn whinh they we^p 
Jiapt. But their noble birth, their devotion to their husbands, 
their high sense of honour, and their conspicuous resource- 
fulness and courage all combined to make their lives highly 
uncertain. The custom of " Jauhar " or self-immolation 
though its cruelty seems revolting to us had its origin in 
that high feeling of honour and chastity, which led Rajput 
women to sacrifice themselves in the extremity of peril, when 
the relentless invaders hemmed in their husbands on all 
sides, and when all chances of deliverance were lost. 

But if the virtues of the Rajputs are patent, their 
faults are equally obvious. Their inconstancy of temper, 
their liability to emotion or passion, #LGJV oltH>fooling, 
their Cfjpf fvial frnffoj their UBS of opium, their incapacity 
to present a united front to the common enemy all these 
placed them in a highly disadvantageous position, when 
they were matched against foes of tougher stuff. The 
pjflf.Hn.ft nf infantifj(fa was common amongst them, and 
female children were seldom suffered to exist even in the 
/most respectable families. Equally baneful was the custom 


of Sati which resulted from time to time in the deaths* 
of a number of women in royal households which were 
universally polygamous. The practice became so common 
that even womeil_ nf nrdinnry status burnt themselves to 
death ao.mfftMea of t]lftir nwn f ree will, but more often 
under the pressure nf parents ^pfl kinsmen^obsessed by a 
false notion of family pride. The Rajput never had re- 
course to treachery or deceit in time of war and dealt fairly 
and honourably with his enemies. His wars did not disturb 
the ordinary husbandman in the peaceful pursuit of his 
occupation. Sieges, battles, massacres all left him un- 
moved with the result that he became completely indifferent 
to political revolutions, and readily transferred his allegiance 
from one king to another. 

The Hindu society was stirred by the religious move- 
ments of reformers like Ramanuiacharva, who preached 
the cult of bhaktL and whose teachings marked a reaction 
against Sahara's Advaita philosophy. He preached against 
Sankara's Vedanta and laid stress upon the attributes of a 
personal god who could be pleased by means of bhakti or 
^devotion. Hejgrmed a link between the nprtl) and south, 
and succeeded in establishing his spiritual hegemony over 
a considerable body of Hindus in both parts of the country. 
Pilgrimages became common, and men moved about visiting 
Isacred placesa fact which imparted a great stimulus to 
the deep religious fervour which was at this time a remark- 
able feature of Hindu society. Svayamvaras were not 
frequently held, the last recorded one of importance being" 
that of the daughter of Jayachandra of Kanauj, but Sati was 
common, and in beleaguered fortresses and cities no mercy 
was shown to the weaker sex, when it fell into the hands of 
the enemy. 


The government of the Rajputs was of a feudal charac- 
ter. The kingdom was divided into estates or fiefs held 

by JaglrdSrs, who were often of the same 
Go^mLeirt* family as the prince. The strength and 

security of the state depended upon their 
loyalty and devotion. The khalsa land of the state was 
directly under the prince and was administered by him. 
The nobles or their vassals were divided into several classes, 
and the etiquette of each class was prescribed by imme- 
morial usage which was scrupulously observed. The chief 
source of income was the revenue from the khalsa lands 
which was further increased by taxes on commerce and 
trade. The vassals or fief-holders of the prince had to 
render military service, when they were called upon to 
do so. They loved and honoured their prince and cheerfully 
followed him to the field of battle. They were bound 
to him by ties of pgr^opa} Devotion and service, and were 
ever anxious to prove their fidelity in times of difficulty 
or danger. No price could purchase them, and no tempta- 
tion could wean them away from their chief. These feudal 
barons, if we may so call them, had to make payments 
to their chief resembling very much the feudal incidents 
qf iriPdlflPval F.nrftpp The knight's fee and scutage were 
not unknown ; feudal obligations were mutually recognised, 
and we often find that greedy rulers had recourse to 
scutage to obtain money. Such government was bound 
to be inefficient. It fostered individualism, and prevented 
the coalition of political forces in the state for a common 
end. The king was the apex of the system, and as long as 
he was strong and powerful, affairs were properly managed, 
but a weak man was soon reduced to the position of a poli- 
tical nullity. The internal peace of the state often depended 


upon the absence of external danger. When there was no 
fear of a foreign foe, the feudal vassals became restless, and 
feuds broke out between the various clans with great 
violence, as* is shown by the feuds of the clans of Chondawat 
and Saktawat in the seventeenth century in the time of 

The Deccan 

The Chalukyas, who were a family of Rajput origin, 

entered the Deccan in the sixth century A.D. The most 

remarkable of the line was ^ilflkfiff 1 * 11 T { who 

lukyas 6 h a " ascended the throne in 611 A.D. He waged 

ceaseless wars against the rulers of Gujarat, 

Raj put an a, Malwa and Konkan and annexed the territories 

of the Pallavas of Vengi and Kanchipura. His brother, who 

was originally appointed as the viceroy of the conquered 

territories, founded a separate kingdom known in history as 

that of the Eastern Chalukyas. In fi2Q A.D. Pulakesin 

of Kanaii]. an achievement 

which was considered a remarkable feat of valour by his 

contemporaries. The Cholas and Pandyan nlnn mtfrpd into 

jjendly relations wfr.h Pnlnlcftain- The Chinese pilgrim 

iuen Tsang who visited the Deccan in 639 A.D. was 

much impressed by his power and greatness. 

But the perpetual wars of Pulakesin implied a heavy 
strain upon the military and financial resources of his 
empire. The Pallavas under Narasinhavarman inflicted 
a crushing defeat upon Pulakesin. Pulakesin's son Vikra- 
mSditya declared war upon the Pallavas and seized their 
capital K&nchl, and the struggle went on with varying 
success until a chieftain of the RSgtrakuta clan supplanted 
the jx>wer of the Chalukyas. 


The Rggtraknfas werfl originally inhfl.hitfl.nta nf 

and are mentioned in the inscriptions of Aoka 
Rasfcra- as ^ attas or Rathikas. Formerly they were 
a " ra subject to the Chalukyas of Bad ami, but 
Dantidurga had established his independence 
after defeating the Chalukya ruler Klrttivarman II. Danti- 
durga died childless, and was succeeded by his uncle Krisna 1 
who considerably increased the territories inherited from 
his nephew. Krigpa erected the beautiful rocWnt tfiT^P 1 ^ 
of &va at Ellnra. His successors further extended their 
dominions by their conquests. Amoghavara who came 
to the throne in 815-16 A. D. ruled over all the territories 
included in the kingdom of Pulakesin II. He defeated 
the Chalukyas of Vengi and founded the new capital 
Manyakheta or Malkhed in the Nizam's dominions. Amogha- 
varsa professed the Jain faith. He extended his pat- 
ronage to Jain scholars, and it is said that an important 
work on the philosophy of the Jains of the Digambara 
sect was written during his reign. Amoghavarsa retired 
from public work in his old age, and was succeeded by 
his son Krisna II who had married a daughter of the 
Chedis of Dahala. Krisna's successor Indra III allied 
himself with the Chedis by means of marriage, and with 
their aid he invaded the territories of the Gurjar-Pra- 
tihars. He invaded Malwa, conquered Ujjain, and his 
troops ravaged the Gangetic plain. The Ra?frakutas of 
Gujarat were reduced to submission, and the Gurjar- 
Pratihars lost their power owing to his ceaseless attacks. 

Under the successors of Indra III the power of the 
Rastrakutas declined. They exhausted their treasure on 
wars and thus crippled their resources. The Chalukyas 
gained fresh strength, and the last RStrakut monarch 


was defeated and killed in battle by Tailapa II in 982 

A new dynasty known as the Chalukyas of Kalyani 
was founded, and the house of Rastrakufras under whom 
the temple at Ellura and frescoes of Ajanta were built) 
and commercial relations with the Arabs were maintained 
came to an end. 

Tailapa II proved a powerful and energetic ruler. He 

brought all the territories over which the Chalukyas had 

once ruled under his sway, and defeated 

The Western Munja, the Parmar Raja of Dhara. Tailapa 

Ohalukyas of . 

found a formidable adversary in Raja R5ja 

Chola who harried the Vengi territory after 
his death. But Tailapa's successor Somesvara, 'the 
wrestler in battle/ defeated the reigning Chola king, and 
also made successful attacks upon Dhara and Ranch!. 
Vikramaditya VI who ascended the throne in 1076 had an 
unusually peaceful reign of fifty years. Art and literature 
flourished under him. Bilhana. the poet, and the famous 
jurist Viift5neshwara T the author of the Mitaksara. both 
wrote their works during his reign. After the death of 
Vikrama the power of the Chalukyas began to decline 
rapidly. Bijjala, a former minister of Tailapa, usurped 
authority and founded a new dynasty. 

The usurpation of BijjSla coincided with the revival of 
Jiva worship. Basava was the leader of the new movement. 
The Lingayat sect flourished, gathered strength and consi- 
derably weakened the hold of Buddhism and Jainism. The 
Chalukyas tried once again to grasp the sceptre, but were un- 
able to do so. The Deccan was divided between the Ysdavas 
with their capital atuDexagir* the KSkatiyas at Warangal 
and th$ HoxsalaJBall&la^who ruled at DwSrsamudra. 


These three powers contended for supremacy in the 
Deccan with the result that they weakened themselves 
paved the way for the Muhammadans. 

the famous general of Alauddin Khilji, defeated the 
powerful Yadava ruler and compelled the Kakatiyas and 
the Ballalas to render allegiance to Delhi. 

In the earliest times there were three important king- 
doms in the Far South, namely, the PanHva r th? flbpla and 

The Pandya kingdom 

m ^ _ t f 

The Par South. 

covered the area now occupied by the Madura 
and Tinnevelly districts with portions of Trichinopoly and 
Travancore state. The Chola kingdom extended over 
Madras and several other British districts on the east as 
well as the territory now included in the Mysore state. 
The limits of the principality of Chera or Kerala cannot be 
defined with precision, but scholars are of opinion that it 
included approximately the Malabar districts ajid the greater 
part of the Cochin and Travancore states. The three king- 
doms enjoyed a position of power and influence during the 
centuries before the Christian era, and had trade relations 
with ancient Rome and Egypt But in the second century 
A.D. a new power rose into prominence and that was of 
the Pallavas, who ruled over the Telugu and west-coast 
districts from Vengipura and Plakaddu (PalghSt) respec- 
tively. They gradually increased their power in South 
India, overpowered the ancient kingdoms, and came into 
conflict with the Chalukyas. The Chalukya king, Pulakesin 
II, inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Pallava ruler, 
Mahendravardhan I, and annexed the Vengi province to 
his dominions. Exasperated at the loss of an important 
part of their territory, the Pallavas organised their forces, 
and paid the Chalukya king in his own coin next year, 


These dynastic feuds were inherited by the R2$trakQts,. 
when they supplanted the Chalukyas in the Deccan in the 
middle of the eighth century A.D. Before the continued 
attacks of a youthful and vigorous dynasty, which had 
just emerged on the stage of history, the Pallavas found it 
difficult to defend themselves. Internal disorder together 
with the rebellion of the Southern Gangas accelerated the 
decline of the Pallavas ; and the supremacy of the South 
passed into the hands of the Cholas, and Raja Raja Chola, 
who assumed sovereign authority in 985 A.D., extended 
his conquests far and wide. By the end of 1005 A.D. he 
defeated all his rivals, and built for himself a magnificent 
empire. But the incessant strain of war proved too great 
even for this mighty ruler of the South, and in 1011 A.D. 
he sheathed his sword with pleasure, and devoted himself 
to the task of organising the administration. His son 
Rajendra Chqla (10181042 A.D.) was, in accordance with 
the Chola custom, associated with him in the administration 
of the affairs of the kingdom. He turned out an able ruler 
and vigorously carried on the warlike policy of his father. 
His arms penetrated as far as the territory now occupied 
by the provinces of Prome and Pegu in modern Burma, 
and Bengal in the east. Orissa was overrun, and the 
Andaman and Nicobar Islands were also conquered. 
The Gangas of Mysore, who had given much trouble to 
the Pallavas, were also subdued ; and this astute 
ruler consummated his policy of aggrandisement by 
forming a matrimonial alliance with the Chalukya ruler 
of Kalyaiil, who was a formidable rival. The offspring 
of this marriage was Kulottunga I (10701118 A.D.) wha 
united in his person the power of the Cholas and the 


After the death of Rajendra, the Chola kingdom began 
to decline ; and the neighbouring powers who had suffered 
much at the hands of its rulers now arrayed their forces 
against it. The Chola ruler was defeated by the Chalukya 
army, and this defeat led to the defining of the Chalukya 
and Chola frontiers. The Pandyas, the Cheras, and the 
Gangas withheld their allegiance, and the confusion into 
which the kingdom had fallen is illustrated by the fact 
that several rulers occupied the throne in quick succession 
only to be removed from power, either by military force 
or by assassination. In 1070 A. D. Somesvara II and his 
younger brother Vikramaditya contended for succession 
to the Chalukya throne, while Vlra Rajendra Chola had a 
powerful rival in Rajendra Chola of the Eastern Chalukya 
dynasty. Vikramaditya won a victory in this civil war ; 
he seized the Chalukya throne, and restored his brother- 
in-law 5dhi-Rajendra Chola to his patrimony. But Adhi- 
Rajendra who depended entirely upon Chalukya support 
failed to win the confidence of his subjects, and was shortly 
afterwards assassinated He left no male heir, and, there- 
fore, the crown passed to Rajendra Chalukya who is better 
known as Kulottunga I (10703118 A.D.). 

Kulottunga I, who was a capable ruler, established 
complete tranquillity throughout his wide dominions. He 
made large conquests, but he is distinguished from his 
predecessors by the care which he bestowed upon 
the organisation of the administration on a sound and 
efficient basis. Towards the close of his reign, the Hoysala 
Prince Bitti Deva, otherwise known as Vignuvardhana 
(11001141 A.D.), drove out the Chola governors from 
the Ganga territory, and before his death, established his 
sway over the country now covered by the Mysore state. 


The Pandyas, meanwhile, developed their power, and 
the Chola empire had to bear the blows of the Hoysalas, 
the KSkatiyas, and the Pandyas. The last powerful ruler 
of the Pandya dynasty was Sundaram Pandya, J who died 
in 1293 A.D. after having conquered the whole Tamil cpun- 
try and Ceylon. The great Venetian traveller Marco Polo, 
who visited South India in the thirteenth century, speaks of 
the great wealth and power of the Pandya king. But in 
1310 A.D. Kafur's raids, backed by the fanaticism of the 
entire Muslim community, destroyed the political system of 
the South, and plunged the whole country into a state of 
utter confusion. The Chola and Pandya kingdoms rapidly 
declined in power, and were finally destroyed by Muslim 
attacks. The Deccan was not united again until the rise 
of the Vijayanagar kingdom in 1336 A.D. 

Marco Folo found him ruling at Madura. 



The earliest Muslim invaders of Hindustan were not 
the yqrka hnt tha Amha r who issued out from their desert 
homes after the death of the great Arabian 
The Arabs. p rophe t to enforce belief at the point of the 
which was, according to them, " jhe kev of heaven 
Wherever they went, plunder, destruction and 
cruelty of a most wanton type marched in their train. 
Their virility and vigour enabled them to make them- 
selves masters of Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Persia within 
a short space of twenty years. The conquest of Persia 
made them think of their expansion eastward, and when 
they learnt of the fabulous wealth and idolatry of India 
from the merchants who sailed from Shiraz and Hurmuz 
and landed on the Indian coast, they recked little of the 
difficulties and obstacles which nature placed in their way, 
and resolved on an expedition to India. The first recorded 
expedition was sent from Uman to pillage the coasts of 
India in the year 636-37 A.D. during the Khilafat of Omar 

was t.hfl nhw.Hvft of these earlv 

raids, but the task was considered so difficult and dangerous 
that the Khalifa disapproved of such distant campaigns 
and prohibited all further attempts in this direction. He 
had a great repugnance to naval expeditions, which is said to 
have been caused by the description of the sea furnished tjo 



him by one of his lieutenants, as "a great pool which some 
senseless people furrow, looking like worms upon logs 
of wood." But Omar's successors relaxed the prohibition, 
and expeditions were planned and undertaken, so that 
every year the Muslims marched from their homes in search 
of new countries. In 643-44 A.D. Abdulla bin Amar bin 
Rabi invaded Kirman, and marched towards Sistan or 
Siwistan, and besieged the ruler of the place in his capital 
^nd compelled him to sue for peace. Peace being made, 
the victorious general proceeded towards Mekran, where 
he was opposed by the combined forces of the rulers of 
Sindh and Mekran, but the latter sustained a defeat in a 
night encounter. Abdulla wished to follow up his victory 
and to win further success on the other side of the Indus ; 
but the cautious policy of the Khalifa stood in his way 
and forbade all further progress. 

The arms of Islam achieved splendid success every- 
where. Egypt, Syria, Carthage, Africa, -all were reached 
within a few years, and jr^ 710 \ p. at the battle of G^ada- 
lete the Gothic kingdom WQQ dgatmypd hy the Moora r who 
established their own power in the country and introduced 
the elements of Arabian culture among the semi-civilised 
European rqces^ Persia had already been overrun as far 
as the river Oxus, and attempts had been made to annex 
the lands beyond that river to the Caliphate. These eastern 
-conquests greatly increased the power and prestige of the 
Khilafat which attained to its pinnacle of fame under the 
Omayyads. Under Hajjaj, the governor of IrSq, who 
practically ruled over the entire country formerly com- 
prised in the kingdom of Persia, and who was an imperialist 
to the core, the spirit of conquest found its fullest 
tfeope, and Bokhara, Khojand, Samarqand, and Farghana 


were conquered by Muslim arms. Qutaiba was dent to 
Kashgar where a treaty was concluded with the native 
Chinese. An army was also sent against the king of Kabul 
and another to chastise the pirates of Debal 1 IT? Sindh, who 
[had plundered eight vessels full of valuable prrnmts fifmt hy 
|the ruler nf (Tfiylnn fnr rh* ITVHJfc fln ri Hajjaj. But this 
punitive expedition against Debal, which the Khalifa had 
sanctioned at the special request of Hajjaj, failed, and the 
Arab general who captained it was defeated and put to 
death by the Sindhians. Struck with shame and humiliation 
at this disastrous failure, Hajjaj who was a man of 
sensitive nature vowed vengeance upon the Sindhians, and 
planned a fresh expedition, better organised and equipped 
than the previous one. It was entrusted toMuhanrp a ^ hm 
<3&fiim, who was pointed out by the astrologers as the 
luckiest man to be placed in charge of it. 

The story of Muhammad bin Qasim's invasion of Sindh 

flf thp rnmnn/off ^f hifltmj 7 HlS blooming youth, his 

dash and heroism, his noble deportment 
throughout the expedition and his tragic fall 

invasion of h ave invested his career with the halo of 

Bmdh, 712 _ , 

A.D. martyrdom. Buoyed up with great expecta- 

tions that were formed of him on account of 

his youthful and warlike spirit, this gallant prince started 

on his Indian expedition, well-accoutred, y>-h ft, 

Trftflimi Wftrrmrfl flpnf hy Haiifti, withlan equal 
number of armed camel-riders and a baggage train of 3,000 

1 Thatta is synonymous with Debal. Mr. Abbott discusses the 
whole question at length in his interesting monograph on Sindh 
(pp. 4366). Also see Major Raverty's translation of the Tab%at-i-Naairi, 
I, p. 395 (note 2). 


Bactrian camels. Nfto.Pftaftrjpg as well as luxuries 
amnlv supplied bv the Khaliffl. who had appointed Muham- 
mad bin Qasim more on the score of his kinship with him 
than mere personal merit. When Muhammad reached 
Mekran, he was joined by the governor, Muhammad 
HarGn, who supplied reinforcements and five catapulta 
which were sent to Debal with the necessary equipments. 
Besides these Arab troops, Muhammad bin Qasim enlisted 
under his banner a large'number of the discontented Jats 
and Meds, who had old accounts to settle with the intoler- 
ant Hindu government, which had inflicted great humi- 
liations upon them. They had been forbidden to ride in 
saddles, wear fine clothes, to uncover the head, and thia 
condemnation to the position of mere hewers of wood and 
drawers pf water had embittered animosities to such an 
extent that they readily threw in their lot with the 
foreigner. Though Muhammad bin Qasim treated them with 
scant respect as soon as he had gained a foothold in the 
country, this division of national sympathies was of incal- 
culable help to him in acquiring knowledge of the country 
with which his men were but imperfectly acquainted. 

Muhammad reached Debal in the spring of 712 A.D. 
There he was reinforced by a large supply of men and 
munitions. Forthwith Muhammad's men set themselves 
to the task of digging entrenchments defended by spear- 
men, each body of warriors under its own banners, and 
the manjnlq called the ' * bride " was placed with 500 
men to work it. There was a large temple at Debal on the 
top of which floated a red flag which was pulled down by the 
Muslims to the complete horror of the idolaters. A hard fight 
ensued in which the Hindus were defeated by the Muslims. 
The city was given up to plunder, and a terrible scene of 


carnage followed, which lasted for three days. The 
governor of the town fled away without offering any 
resistance and left the field clear for the victorious general, 
who laid out a Muslim quarter, built a mosque and entrusted 
the defence of the city to a garrison of 4,000 men. 

Having taken Debal by storm, Muhammad bin Qasim 
proceeded to Nirun, ' the inhabitants of which purchased 
their freedom by furnishing supplies and making a complete 
surrender. He then ordered a bridge of boats to be con- 
structed in order to cross the Indus. This unexpected move 
took Dffliir bv surprise, and with his men he fell back upon 
Rawar where he set his forces in order to fight against the 
enemy. Here the Arabs encountered an imposing array 
of war-elephants and a powerful army, thirsting to give 
battle to the Muslims under the command of 

Thakurs (chiefs). A naphtha arrow struck Dhir's howdah 
and set it ablaze. Dahir fell upon the ground, but he at 
once raised himself up and had a scuffle with an Arab, who 
" struck him with a sword on the very centre of his head 
and cleft it to his neck." Driven to despair by the death 
of their valiant king and leader, the Hindus assailed the 
Muslims with relentless fury, but they were defeated, and 
the faithful " glutted themselves with massacre." ffihiV^ 
wi ffi> pgnT RgT . and his son betook themselves to the 
fortress of Rfiwar, where the last extremity of peril called 
forth the shining qualities of those hapless men and women 
whom death and dishonour stared in the face. After the 
manner of her tribe, this brave lady resolved to fight the 
enemies of her husband. She reviewed the remnant of her 

1 Nirun was situated on the high road from ThattS to Haidrttb&d, a 
little below Jarak. (Elliot, I, pp. 896401.) 
F. 3 


garrison, 15 thousand in number in the fort, and forthwith 
stones from mangonels and balistas, as well as arrows 
and javelins, began to be rained down thickly upon the 
Arabs, who were encamped under the walls of the fort. But 
the Arabs proved too strong for the forlorn hope of RSwar 
and conducted the siege with great vigour and intrepidity. 
When the Rani saw her doom inevitable, she assembled all 
the women in the fort and addressed them thus : " God 
forbid that we should owe our liberty to those outcaste 
cow-eaters. Our honour would be lost. Our respite is at 
an end, and there is nowhere any hope of escape ; let us 
collect wood, cotton and oil, for I think we should burn 
ourselves and go to meet our husbands. If any wish to save 
herself, she may." They entered into a house, where they 
burnt themselves, and by means of this ghastly holocaust 
vindicated the honour of their race. 

Muhammad took the fort, qaassacred the 6.000 men 
whom he found there, and seized all the wealth , s and 
treasure that belonged to Dahir. Flushed with success, 
he proceeded to prghmq^qhaH ' where the people at once 
submitted to him. A settlement of the country followed 
immediately ; those who embraced Islam were exempted 
from slavery, tribute and the Jeziya, while those who 
adhered to the faith of their fathers had to pay the poll- 
tax, and were allowed to retain possession of their lands 
and property. The poll-tax was levied according to three 
grades. The first grade was to pay silver equal to forty- 
eight dirhams, the second grade twenty-four dirhams, and 

1 It is a ruined city in the Sinjhoro Taluka of Thar and Parkar, 
district Siudh, Bombay, situated in 26 52' N. and 68 62' B., about 11 
' miles south-east of Shahdadpur in HaidrSbad, and 21 miles from Hala. 
(Imperial Gazetteer, IX, p. 8.) 


the lowest grade twelve dirhams. When the people of 
Brahmanabad implored Muhammad bin Qasim to grant 
them freedom of worship, he referred the matter to 
Hajjaj, who sent the following reply : "As they 
have made submission and have agreed to pay taxes to 
the Khalifa, nothing more can be properly required 
from them. They have been taken under our protection and 
we cannot, in any way, stretch out our hands upon their 
lives or property. Permission is given them to worship 
ftbair goffe. Nobody must he forbidden or prevented from 
folio winy his f\^r\ feli^ipn. Tfrev may IJVP in t.hrir hnnya 

in. whatever manner thevlifre." 1 Muhammad bin Qasim 
then devoted himself to the settlement of the country. The 
-whole population was divided into four classes and twelve 
ydirhams' weight of silver was allotted to each man because 
their property had been confiscated. The Brahmans were, 
treated well and their dignity was maintained. They wertiu 
entrusted with offices in the administration and the 
country was placed under their charge. To the revenue * 
officers Muhammad said : " Deal honestly between the 
people and the Sultan, and if distribution is required, make 
it with equity, and fix the revenue according to the 
ability to pay. Be in concord among yourselves and 
oppose not each other, so that the country may not be 
distressed." Rp ( lig-inna fraeifopi wfr$ grante4 and in the 
matter of worship the wishes of the Brahmans were 

The victory of Brahmanabad was followed by the 
conquest of Multan, the chief city of the upper Indus. The 
garrison in the fort was put to the sword, and the families 

1 GhSchnSmSt Blliot, I, pp. 185*86. 


of the chief s and warriors of Multan were enslaved. The- 
people of Multan, merchants, traders, and artisans, together 
with the Jats and Meds of the surrounding country, whom 
the native government had persecuted, waited upon the 
conqueror and paid him homage. The usual settlement of 
territory followed, and Muhammad bin Qasim granted 
toleration to all unbelievers, and spared their lives on pay- 
ment of a poll-tax. Having conquered Multan he sent 
one of his generals, Abu Hakim, at the head of ten 
thousand horse towards Kanauj, but before he could 
open a fresh campaign, he received from the Khalifa the 
ominous decree of his doom. 

But all these glorious conquests spelled disaster for 

Muhammad, and nothing availed to save him from the tragic 

fate that awaited him. His fall was as sud- 

The death of den as his meteoric rise. When the captive 


bin Qasim. daughters of Raja Dahir. Parmal Devi and 

Snraj Devij were presented to the Khalifa 
to be introduced into his seraglio, the princesses, in order 
toavenpe their father's (foftth, invented tViA afrnry, that 
before sending them to the Khalifa Muhammad bin Qasim 
had dishonoured them both, suggesting thereby that they 
were unfit for the commander of the faithful. The Khalifa 2 
lost his temper, and peremptorily issued an order that 
Muhammad bin Qasim should be sewn in the raw hide of 
an ox and be sent to the capital. So great was the might 
and majesty of the Khalifa, that Muhammad, on receipt of 
this order, voluntarily sewed himself in raw hide, and Mir 
MBsOm writes that " three days afterwards, the bird of life 

I The Khalifa's name was Walid ibn- Abdul Malik. He became- 
f&alifa in 86 A.H. (706 A.D.) and died in 96 A.H. (715 A.D.). 


left his body and flew to heaven. " His dead body, enclosed 
in a box, was sent to the Khalifa, who ordered it to 
be opened in the presence of the daughters of Dshir. The 
princesses expressed unalloyed satisfaction at the death 
of their father's* murderer, but told the Khalifa that he was 
innocent. The Khalifa was struck with remorse ; but how 
could he make amends for his mistake ? He ordered the 
princesses to be tied to the tails of horses and be dragged 
until they were dead/ Thus perished the young hero, 
who had, in the short space of three years, conquered 
Sindh and established the Khalifa's sway on Indian soil. 
This story partakes of the nature of a myth. There is a 
great disagreement among our authorities on the point of 
Muhammad bin Qasim's death, but the account of Futuhu-i- 
Buldan, which says that Muhammad was seized,* put in 
chains and tortured to death by the order of the Khalifa, 
seems to be more probable than the rest. 

As a matter of necessity rather than of choice, the ad- 

ministration was left in the hands of the natives. The con- 

quest placed plenty of land in the hands of the 

The Arab oc- Arabs. The iqtUs were held by grantees on the 

cupation of ,_. - ...^ . , 

condition of military service and were exempt 

from all taxes except the alms (Sadqah). The 
Muslim soldiers were not allowed to cultivate lands, and 
therefore the main burden of agricultural labour fell upon 
the natives who were ' reduced to the condition of villeins 
and serfs/ Some soldiers held grants of land while others 
received fixed salaries. As laid down in the sacred law, 

1 MTr M3*8um writes that after two months, the princesses were 
presented to the Khalifa and an interpreter was called in. When the 
veil was removed from their faces, the Khalifa fell in love with them. 
They told him that Muhammad had kept them for three days in his 
haram. (Tarikh-i-M&sBmT, KhudRbakhsha, M8. F. 16.) 


four-fifths of the spoils was given to the troops and one-fifth 
was kept for the Khalifa and it appears that the Khalifas 
observed this rule, because they were afraid of the opposi- 
tion of these military men. Religious endowments were 
made, and land was given in waqf (free-gift) to holy men 
and heads of monasteries, The Arab soldiers settled in 
the country, married Indian women and thus slowly a 
number of small military colonies came into existence, where 
in the enjoyment of domestic happiness these men forgot 
the pain of exile. 

The Arabs were not so fanatical as the Turks who 
followed them later. They granted toleration to the 
Hindus. They did so not because they felt respect for 
other faiths, but because they were convinced of the im- 
possibility of suppressing the faiths of the conquered 
peoples. At first there was a fearful outbreak of religious 
bigotry in several places, and temples were wantonly 
desecrated. The temple of the Sun at Mult an was ravaged , 
and its treasures were rifled by Muhammad bin Qasim. 
The principal sources of revenue were the land-tax and 
the poll-tax. The land-tax was rated at two-fifths of the 
produce of wheat and barley, if the fields were watered by 
public canals, and one-fourth if unirrigated. Of dates, grapes 
and garden produce one-third was taken, either in kind or 
cash, and one-fifth of the yield of wines, fishing, pearls and of 
other produce, not derived from cultivation. Besides these, 
there were several other taxes, which were generally farmed 
out to the highest bidder. Some of the tribes had to comply 
with demands which carried much humiliation with thenu 
At one time the Jats living beyond the river Aral had to 
bring a dog when they came to pay their respects to the 
governor and were branded on the hand. Sumptuary law& 


were rigorously enforced, and certain tribes were forbidden 
to wear fine apparels, to ride on horses and to cover their 
heads and feet. Theft by the subject race was held to be a 
serious crime, and it was punished by burning to death the 
women and children of the thief. The native population 
had to feed every Muslim traveller for three days and nights, 
and had to submit to many other humiliations which are 
mentioned by the Muslim historians. The Jeziya wa& 
always exacted " with rigour and punctuality, and frequent- 
ly with insult." The unbelievers, technically called Zimmla, 
had to pay according to their means, and exemption waa 
granted to those who embraced Islam. There were na 
tribunals for deciding cases between the Hindus and Mus- 
lims. The amirs and chiefs, who still maintained their 
independence, exercised the right of inflicting capital punish- 
ment upon offenders within their jurisdiction. The Qazi 
decided cases according to the principles of the Quran, and 
the same practice was followed in cases between the Hindus 
and the Muslims, which, of course, resulted in great injustice 
to the former. In the matter of public and political 
offences, the law made no distinction between Hindus and 
Muslims, but all suits relating to d$bts, contracts, adultery, 
inheritance, property and the like, were decided by the 
Hindus in their panchayats or arbitration boards which 
worked with great efficiency. The public tribunals were 
to the EJindus " only the means of extortion and forcible 
conversion." They always fretted and chafed under the 
foreign tutelage, but their own disunion was responsible 
for it. The absence of that bond of sympathy between 
the conqueror and the conquered, which arises from mutual 
confidence, was a conspicuous feature of the Arab adminis- 
tration in Sindh. 


The conquest was accomplished by tribes who were so 

different in their habits and sentiments that they could 

never act in unison. When religious fana- 

The imper- ticism had subsided, they " showed them- 

manence of t . . , _ ._,. 

Arab conquest, selves as utterly incapable, as the shifting 
sands of their own desert, of coalescing into 
a system of concord and subordination." The hereditary 
feuds among the various clans further weakened their posi- 
tion, which was rendered worse by the persecution of the 
Shias and several other heretical sects. The Arab con- 
quest, as Stanley Lane-Poole rightly observes, was only " an 
episode in the history of India and of Islam, a triumph with- 
out Result s." The province of Sindh was well-known for the 
infertility of its soil, and the Arabs soon discovered that it 
was an unremunerative appanage of the Khilafat. The 
Hindu world, deeply conservative and philosophical, treated 
with supreme disdain the wealth and greatness of its 
physical conquerors, so that the even tenor of Hindu life 
was not at all disturbed by this " barbarian inroad.*' It 
was impossible for the Arabs to found a permanent power 
in India, for the Rajputs still held important kingdoms in 
the north and east, and were ever ready to contest every 
inch of ground with any .foreign intruder, who ventured 
to invade their territory, f Muhammad bin Qasim's work 
of conquest was left uncompleted, and after his death 
the stability of the Arab position was seriously shaken 
owing to the ineffectual aid, which the Khalifas sent, to 
their representatives in that inhospitable region. The 
decline in the power of the Khilafat seriously affected its 
possessions abroad, and the distant provinces gradually 
ceased to respect the authority of the imperial government 
SiiWhwas divided into several petty states which were 


practically independent. The Arabs who settled in Sindh 
established their own dynasties, and the chiefs of the 
Saiyyad families exercised authority over the upper and 
the lower Indus. Only a few settlements and a few families 
constituted the memorial of Arab conquest in India. The 
Arabs have left no legacy behind in the shape of buildings, 
camps, and roads. Language, architecture, art, tradition, 
customs, and manners were little affected by them, and 
all that remained was the dtbria of ancient buildings, which 
proclaimed to the world the vandalism of their destroyers. 
Out of the materials of the buildings which they demo- 
lished they built castles, cities and fortresses which have 
been destroyed by the ravages of time. 

It may be conceded at once that the Arab conquest of 

>Sindh, from the political point of view, was an insignificant 

event in the history of Islam. But the effects 

'effect e so1 lt The of this con Q uest upon Muslim culture were 
Arab conquest profound and far-reaching. When the Arabs 
came to India, they were astonished at the 
superiority of the civilisation which they found in the coun- 
try. The sublimity of Hindu philosophical ideas and the 
richness and versatility of Hindu intellect were a strange 
revelation to them. The cardinal doctrine of Muslim theology 
that there is one God, was already known to the Hindu 
saints and philosophers and they found that in the nobler 
arts, which enhance the dignity of man, the Hindus far ex- 
celled them. The Indian musician, the mason, and the painter 
were as much admired by the Arabs as the philosopher and 
the man of learning. The Arabs learnt from the Hindus 
a great deal in the practical art of administration, and the 
employment of Brahman officials on a large scale was due 
to their better knowledge, experience, and fitness for 


discharging efficiently the duties of administration. Muslim 
historians are apt to forget or minimise the debt which the 
Saracenic civilisation owed to Indo-Aryan culture. A great 
many of the elements of Arabian culture, which afterwards 
had such a marvellous effect upon European civilisation, 
were borrowed from India. The court at Baghdad extended 
its patronage to Indian scholarship, and during the Khilafat 
of Mansur (753-774 A.D.) Arab scholars went from India to 
Baghdad, who carried with them two books, the Brahma 
Siddhanta of Brahmagupta and his Khanda-khtidydMT 
which were translated into Arabic with teTielp"3f " 'Indian 
scholars. It was from them that the Arabs learnt the 
first principles of scientific astronomy. 1 The cause of 
Hindu learning received much encouragement from the 
ministerial family of the Barmaks during the Khilafat of 
HSrun (786-808 A.D.). They invited Hindu scholars to 
Baghdad, and appointed them as the chief physicians of 
their hospitals, and asked them to translate from Sanskrit 
into Arabic works on medicine, philosophy, astrology and 
other subjects. When the Khilafat of Baghdad lost its 
importance after the extinction of the Abbasid dynasty 
at the hands of HalagG, the Arab governors of Sindh became 
practically independent. The cultural connection was brok- 
en and the Arab scholars, no longer in contact with Indian 
savants, turned to the study of Hellenic art, literature, 
philosophy and science. We may endorse Stanley Lane- 
Poole's view that the conquest of Sindh produced no perma- 
nent political results, but it must be added that the Arabs, 
derived much benefit from the culture and learning of the: 

l Al-Biruni, India, translated by Sachau, Introduction, p. xxxi. 


The Arab invasion was a failure because it was directed 
against a barren and unproductive province. The progress 
of Islamic conquest was checked for the time, 
of the Turks. e but it was resumed with great zeal and ear- 
nestness in the tenth century by the Turks 
who poured into India from beyond the Afghan hills in 
ever-increasing numbers. After the fall of the Omayyads 
in 750 A,D., the A bbasides who succeeded to the Khilafat 
transferred the capital from Damascus to Al-Kufa, and 
removed all distinctions between the Arabs and the non- 
Arabs. The Khilafat now lost its sole spiritual leadership 
in the Islamic world ; and its authority was circumscribed 
by the independent dynasties that had lately come into exist- 
ence. The Arabs had now sunk into factious voluptuaries, 
always placing personal or tribal interests above the interests 
of Islam. The Abbasides accelerated the process of decadence 
by systematically excluding the Arabs from office. The 
provincial governors showed a tendency towards indepen- 
dence, as the central government became weaker and 
weaker. The barbarian Turkish guards whom the Khalifas 
employed to protect their person grew too powerful to be < 
controlled, and they became mere tools in their hands. The 



Turks grew in importance from Egypt to Samarqand, 
and when the Samanid kingdom was overthrown by them, 
they founded small principalities for themselves. The more 
ambitious of these petty chiefs turned to India to find 
an outlet for their martial ardour and love of conquest. 
In 933 A.D. Alaptagin seized Ghazni where his father had 
been governor under the SamSnids and established his own 
independent power. 

After his death in 976 A.D. he was succeeded by his 

slave Subuktagin. As he seemed to be a man of promise, 

. . Q , , Alaptagin gradually raised him to posts of 

Amir Hubuk- , - _ . 

tag in The trust, and conferred upon him, in course of 

5 r Hin T du8 a tan n time ' the title of Amir-uL-Umra. Subuktagin 
was a talented and ambitious ruler. Not 
content with the petty kingdom of his master, he organised 
the Afghans into a compact body, and with their help con- 
quered Lamghan and Sistan, and extended the sphere of his 
influence. The Turkish attacks upon the Samanid power 
further gave him the long-desired opportunity of securing 
the province of Khorasan for his son Mahmud in 994 A.D. 

Eager to acquire religious merit, Subuktagin turned toj 
the conquest of India, a country of idolaters and infidels. 
Jayapala, whose kingdom extended from Sarhind to Lam- 
ghan and from Kashmir to Multan, was the first Indian 
ruler likely to check his advance. When the Afghans encamp- 
ed on the border of the Lamghan territory, JayapSla, who 
was frightened beyond measure on seeing the heavy odds 
arrayed against him, sued for peace, and offered to pay 
tribute in acknowledgment of the conqueror's sovereignty. 
Mahmud dissuaded his father from acceding to these terms 
of peace, and urged battle for " the honour of Islam and of 
JkCttsalmaiis." JayapSla, however, renewed his overtures 


and sent the following message to Subuktagin : " You 
have seen the impetuosity of the Hindus and their indiffer- 
ence to death, whenever any calamity befalls them, as at 
this moment. If, therefore, you refuse to grant peace in 
the hope of obtaining plunder, tribute, elephants, and 
prisoners, then there is no alternative for us but to mount 
the horse of stern determination, destroy our property, 
take out the eyes of our elephants, cast our children into 
the fire, and rush on each other with sword and spear, so 
that all that will be left to you, is stones and dirt, dead 
bodies, and scattered bones.'* 

At this, peace was made, and Jayapala bound himself 
to pay a tribute of a million dirhams, 50 elephants, and 
some cities and fortresses in his dominions. But he 
soon changed his mind and cast into prison two officers 
sent by Subuktagin to see that he made good his promise. 
When the Amir heard of this breach of faith, he hastened 
with his army towards Hindustan to punish JayapSla for 
his ' wickedness and infidelity/ Jayapala received help 
from his fellow-princes of Ajmer, Delhi, Kalanjar, and 
Kanauj, and at the head of a hundred thousand men he 
advanced to meet the invader on the same field of battle. 

The issue of the battle was a foregone conclusion. 
Subuktagin urged his fanatical followers to fight as well as 
they could for the honour of the faith. The 
inTas e ion. eC nd Hindus were defeated in a sharp engagement. 
Subuktagin levied a heavy tribute and obtain- 
ed an immense booty. His sovereignty was acknowledged, 
and he appointed one of his officers to the government of 
Peshawar* India was not conquered, but the Muslims 
discovered the way that led to her fertile plains. After 
ruling his subjects with prudence and moderation for 


twenty years, Subuktagin died in August 997 A.D., leaving 

-a large and well-established kingdom for his son Mahmud J> 

After the death of Subuktagin, the sceptre of Ghazni 

passed into the hands of his eldest son, Mahmud, who 

quickly attained to the position of one of the 

G ha* 1 ? Hie mightiest rulers of Asia, famed in far-off 

early ambi- lands for his riches, valour, and justice. To 


the qualities of a born soldier, he added bound- 
less religious zeal which has ranked him among the great 
leaders of Islam. Mahmud was indeed a fierce and fanatical 
Muslim with an insatiable thirst for wealth and power. 
Early in life he formed the grim resolve for spreading the 
faith of the Prophet at the point of the sword, and his in- 
vestiture by the Khalifa further sharpened his zeal. To 
such a greedy iconoclast, India with her myriad faiths and 
fabulous wealth presented a favourable field for the exercise 
of his religious and political ambitions. Again and again, he 
led jihads against the Hindus, bringing back with him 
vast booty obtained by the plundering Turkish hordes 
who followed him into Hindustan. 

Having settled the affairs of his kingdom, Mahmud 
turned his attention towards Hindustan, and led as many 
as seventeen invasions during the years 
10001026 A. a The first expedition in 1000 

raid on fron- ^.D. resulted in the capture of several 
frontier fortresses and districts which were 
entrusted by Mahmud to his own governors. 

Next year he again set out from Ghazni at the head of 
ten thousand picked horsemen. Thereupon, JayapSla, the 
Raja of Bhatinda, mustered all his forces, and 
on the 8th Muharram, 392 A.H. (November 
28, 1001 A.D.), a severe action was fought at 


Peshawar, in which the Musalmans defeated the Hindus. 
Jayapala was captured with his kinsmen, and an immense 
booty fell into the hands of the conqueror. The former agreed 
to give fifty elephants and his son and grandson as hos- 
tages as a security for fulfilling the conditions of the peace. 
But Jayapala personally preferred death to dishonour, 
and perished in the flames to save himself from 
humiliation. ' 

The third expedition was aimed against the city of 
Bheera (1004-05 A.D.) on the left bank of the Jhelam, below 
the Salt Range, which was soon annexed to 
Against the kingdom of Ghazni. Abul Fatah Daud, 
. the heretic ruler of Multan, purchased a par- 

don by promising an annual tribute of twenty 
thousand golden dirhams, when he learnt of the defeat of 
JayapSla's son AnandapSla near Peshawar. Mahmud entrust- 
ed his Indian possessions to Sevakapala, a Hindu convert, and 
returned to Ghazni, but as soon as the conqueror turned 
his back, Sevakapala abjured Islam and withheld allegiance 
to Ghazni. Thereupon, Mahmud marched against him and 
defeated him. He was compelled to pay 400 thousand 
-dirhams as penalty for his disloyalty and bad faith. 

The sixth expedition (1008-09 A.D.) was aimed against 

AnandapSla for having assisted Daud of Multan in his 

treasonable designs. Anandapala like the 

AntndapaFa? * aslant RM San a of Mewar organised 

a confederacy of the Rajas of Ujjain, 

Gwalior, Kalanjar, Kanauj, Delhi and Ajmer and marched 

1 Firishta writes that a custom prevailed among the Hindus that 
when a Raja was overpowered twioe by strangers, he became disquali- 
fied to reign. (Briggs, I. p. 88.) Utbi also refers to this custom though 
with AS light variation. (Elliot* II, p. 97.) 


towards the Punjab to give battle to the invader. The* 
response to the appeal of the Punjab chief showed that the* 
Rajput princes were fully alive to the danger to their 
civilisation. The high and the low, the rich and the poor, 
were all stirrecTto "heroic action. The Muslim historian 
writes that Hindu women ' sold their jewels and sent the 
money from distant parts to be used against the Musalmans. 
The poorer women worked day and night at tha^spinnin^ 
wheel or as hired labourers to be able to send something to* 
the men of the army. The Khokhars also threw in their lot 
with the Hindus. 

Mahmud's archers were repulsed by the bareheaded 
and barefooted Khokhars who rushed fearlessly into the 
thick of the fight and slew and smote three or four thou- 
sand Musalmans. Dismayed by this furious charge, the 
Sultan was about to stop the fight, when suddenly Ananda- 
pSla's elephant took fright and fled from the field of battle. 
the~HIndus were panic-stricken and the Ghaznawide army 
pursued them for two days and nights. Many were put to 
death, and enormous booty fell into the hands of the victors. 

Flushed with success, Mahmud marched against the 

fort of Kangra, also known as Nagarkot or Bhimnagar. 1 

^ The fortress was reputed to hold untold 

est of Naglr- treasures, all dedicated to Hindu gods. Whea 

k<^t, ioos-09 th e Muhammadans besieged the fortress, 

the Hindus opened the gates out of fear,. 

and Mahmud easily became master of it and seized 

immense booty. The Sultan returned in triumph to 

1 Kangra is a most fertile plateau in the Himalayas with a snow-clad 
range at its back and with perennial streams running through it into* 
three OP four rivers. The fort of Kangra was permanently conquered 
by Jahangir in 1621. 


Ghazni with a vast collection of jewels which far exceeded! 
the treasures of the mightiest kings of the world. 

/ The acquisition of vast treasures whetted the rapacity 
of Mahmud's followers, and they repeated their raids with 
a remarkable frequency. The dissensions of 
the Hindus, though they were numerically 
superior to their invaders, made their task 
easy. There was little feeling of national patriotism in, 
the country. The masses were indifferent to political 
revolutions. Whenever a confederacy was organised^ 
its members often fell out among themselves, and the 
pride of the clan or the tribe interfered with the 
discipline of the coalition and paralysed the plans of leaders. 
Self-interest always predominated over the interests of( 
Hindustan, while the Muslims never experienced dearth 
of recruits owing to their boundless fanaticism. 

After the conquest of Ghor, Mahmud marched towards 
Multan in 1010 A.D., and defeated, and punished the rebel- 
lious chief Daud. Three years later he proceeded against 
Bhimapala, captured his fortress, and seized vast booty. 
The Muslims pursued the Raja who fled to Kashmir. 
Mahmud appointed his own governor, and after plunder- 
ing Kashmir, and forcing a great many people to embrace 
Islam he returned to Ghazni. 

But far more important than these raids was his expedi- 
tion against Thanesar in the year 1014 A.D. The Hindus 
fought desperately against the invaders, but 
TiineLi . n 8 * the y were defeated, and the fort of Thanesar 
with a large booty fell into the hands of the 

Ardent spirits offered themselves as volunteers to fight 
in the crusades against infidelity, and the armies of 



Mahmud soon swelled to enormous dimensions. Mahmud 
now determined to invade Kanauj, renowned 
in the East a 8 the imperial Kpatriya capital 
of Hindustan. In 1018 A.D. he started 
from Ghazni and crossed the Jamna on the 2nd December, 
1018 A.D. He captured all the forts that blocked his way. 
The Raja of Baran (Bulandshahr) tendered his submission, 
and according to Muslim historians with ten thousand 
men embraced Islam. The Sultan then marched against 
the chief of Mahawan on the Jamna. The Hindus put forth 
a gallant fight but they were defeated. The Raja killed 
himself to escape humiliation, and an enormous booty fell 
into the hands of the Sultan who now proceeded against 
Mathura, the sacred city of the Hindus, which, according 
to the Muslim historian, was unrivalled in population and 
edifices, and the wonderful things which it contained could 
not be described by the tongue of man. Muslim iconoclasm 
proved too much for the defenders, and the exquisite temples 
were razed to the ground by the orders of the conqueror 

Mahmud, then, proceeded against Kanauj and appeared 
before its gates in January 1019 A.D. Rajyapala, the Prati- 
har Raja of Kanauj, however, submitted without offering 
any resistance. The Sultan sacked the whole town and 
destroyed the temples, seizing an enormous amount of their 
wealth. Passing through the country of Bundelkhand 
Mahmud returned to Ghazni. 

The abject surrender of RajyapSla gave offence to his 

fellow Rajput princes, and Vidyadhara, son of the Chandela 

Raja of Kalanjar, attacked RajyapSla* and 

The Defeat of 8 i e w him in battle. Resenting the murder 

Prince of his vassal, Mahmud left Ghazni in 

1019 A.D. to chastise tfce Chandela Prince. 


The Chandela Raja was ready for battle with a huge army, 
but he was curiously struck with a panic, and luckily for 
Mahmud fled from the field of battle, leaving his entire 
baggage for the invaders. In 1021-22 A.D. Mahmud again 
returned to India and after compelling the submission of 
the chief of Gwalior proceeded towards Kalanjar. The 
Chandela Raja elected to conclude a peace with the Sultan. 
Having accepted immense riches and jewels, Mahmud vic- 
toriously returned to Ghazni. 

But the most momentous expedition was aimed against 

Somnath in the year 416-17 A.H. (1025-26 A.D.). Having 

Expedition heard of the fabulous wealth whictt this 

against Som- temple was supposed to contain, he resolved to 


proceed against it. Marching through diffi- 
cult country by way of Ajmer, the Sultan stood before the 
gates of Somnath ' in a few days. He invested the fortress 
which stood on the sea-shore, and was washed by 
the waves. The Rajput princes, from far and near, 
gathered to protect their cherished idol. When the 
Muslims began the attack, the Hindus repelled the assault 
with stubborn courage, and when the besiegers tried to 
scale the walls next morning, the defenders hurled them 
down with irresistible fprce. Mahmud was filled with 
dismay ; but when he addressed a fervent appeal to God for 
assistance, the hearts of the ignorant zealots of Islam were 
touched. With one voice they declared their resolve to 
fight and die for him. 

The battle raged loud and fierce, and a scene of terrible 
carnage followed, and about 5,000 Hindus were slain. 

1 The temple of Somnath was situated in Kathiawad in Gujarat. 
The old temple is in ruins and a new temple has been built by Ahalyabai 
near the site of the old, but the grandeur of the temple is still indicated 
toy the ruins that exist. 


Mahmud then entered the temple and broke the idol into 
Dieces. He ordered some fragments of the idol to be sent to 
Ghazni where they were thrown down at the threshold of 
the great mosque to give satisfaction to the true be- 
lievers. It is related that when Mahmud was thus breaking 
the idol, the priests offered him immense wealth, only if he 
spared what remained of their god, but he replied with 
callous indifference that he wished to be known in the world 
as Mahmud, the breaker of idols, and not as Mahmud, 
the seller of idols. 1 All appeals for pity, all offers 
of wealth made by the priests in charge of the temple 
produced no effect on this relentless fanatic, who by another 
blow broke the sacred lingam into pieces. The Muslim 
soldiers of Mahmud ruthlessly sacked the temple and easily 
obtained possession of a large heap of diamonds, rubies, and 
pearls of incalculable value. 2 

Thus did Mahmud figure, in the eyes of his followers, 
as a devoted champion of the faith. They followed him 
uncomplainingly wherever he led them. The Raja of 
JNehrwala was attacked next for taking part in the defence 
of Somnath. He fled, and his country was easily conquered. 
This was followed by the subjugation of the Bhatti Rajputs. 
On his return journey Mahmud was much troubled by 
Bhima Deva, the chief of Gujarat, and the troops suffered 
considerably in the Ran of Kutch. He adopted a more 
westerly route and proceeded to Ghazni by way of Sindh. 

1 Mr. Habib's statement that the offer of the Brahmans and Mah- 
mud's rejection of the offer is a fable of later days lacks confirmation 
by Muslim authorities. There is no improbability in the offer made by 
the Brahmans. (Habib, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, p. 53.) 

* Firishta's story that the idol of Somnath was hollow does not seen* 
"to be correct. Al-Biruni says the lingam was made o! solid gold. 


The last expedition of Mahmud was undertaken to 
chastise the Jats of the Salt Range as they had molested the 
Muslim army on its return journey from 
the Somnath. The Jats were defeated and many 

of them were put to the sword. 
Mahmud was a great king. It was no mean achievement 
to develop a small mountain principality into a large and 
prosperous empire by sheer force of arms. 
f chievement ft j s true, the fall of the Samanids, dissen- 

of Mahmud. __ 

sions of the Hindu princes, the waning power 
of Persia, and the boundless fanaticism of the Turks- 
callow converts to Islam all these were factors which 
favoured his rise and contributed to his success. The per- 
manent conquest of Hindustan was impossible, and that 
wasHnot the objective 'of the Sultan. Besides, the Turks 
still fondly looked back to their hilly native land, and 
found the sultry climate of India unbearable. All that 
Mahmud wanted was the vast wealth which India possessed, 
and when this was obtained, he returned to Ghazni, un- 
mindful of annexation or permanent conquest. But, still, 
the task was formidable, and Mahmud was made of the stuff 
of which martyrs are made. His expeditions testify to the 
boldness of conception, vigour of mind, and undaunted cour- 
age against heavy odds. A born military leader, he never 
shrank from war, always sustained in his endeavours by 
the thought that he was fighting for the glory of Islam. 
He died in April 1030 at Ghazni at the age of sixty, 
leaving untold treasures and vast possessions behind. 

Although a great conqueror, Mahmud was no barbarian. 

Himself illiterate, he appreciated the works 

Estimate of o f ar t, and drew around himself by means of 

-Mahmud. _ . _ . , . , . , 

t his lavish generosity a galaxy of pmmenjt 


poets and scholars among whom were some leading 
figures of the eastern world of letters, such as the 
^ersatil^AJ-Biruni, the mathematician, philosopher, as- 
tronomer *m<T^ scholar ^tJtbi, the historian, Parabi, 
ihe philosopher, and Baihaki, whom Stanley Lane-Pool $ 
aptly describes as the*"* 4 brieiital Pepys. " It was an age 
of poetry, and some of the poets who lived at Mahmud ? s 
court were well-known all over Asia. Among these were 
^ Ujpari, the poet-laureate of Ghazni, Farrukhi, and Asjadi 
who is the author of the following well-known quatrain : 

1 1 do repent of wine and talk of wine 
Of idols fair with chins like silver fine 
A lip-repentance and a lustful heart, 
God, forgive this penitence of mine/ 

But the most famous of all these was Firdausi, the- 
author of the world-famed Shahnama, whose great epic 
has placed Mahmud among the immortals of history, 
Mahmud gave him only 60 thousand silver dirhams for 
completing the Shahnama, though he had promised 
60 thousand mishkals of gold. At this the poet was 
so offended that he wrote a satire upon the king and 
left Ghazni for good. ' Mahmud at last made amends for his 

1 This is Browne's rendering of Firdausi' s satire in his " Literary 

History of Persia " : 


Long years this Shahnama I toiled to complete, 

That the king might award me some recompense meet, 

But naught save a heart writhing with grief and despair 

Did I get from those promises empty as air ! 

Had the sire of the king been prince of renown, 

My forehead had surely been graced by a crown I 

[ Were his mother a lady of high pedigree, 

t ln silver and gold had I stood to knee! 
3ut, being by birth not a prince but a boor, 
The praise of the noble he could not endure ! s 


mistake, but when the belated 60 thousand gold coins 
arrived, the poet's corpse was being carried in a bier to 
the grave. 

Mahmud was stern and implacable in administering 
justice and was always ready to protect the persons and 
property of his subjects. There is no need to repeat 
the charge of avarice brought against the Sultan, as it can- 
not be refuted. Mahmud loved money passionately, but 
he also spent it lavishly. He promoted learning by estab-[ 
lishing a university at Ghazni, a library, and a museum, 
adorned with the trophies of war, which he brought from 
conquered lands. It was through his liberality that beautiful 
edifices rose at his capital, making it one of the finest 
cities in Asia. 

It is not difficult to determine Mahmud's place in his* 
tory. To the Musalmans of his day, he was a Gha&i who 
tried to extirpate infidelity in heathen lands. To the Hindus, 
he is to this day a veritable Hun who destroyed their most 
sacred shrines and wounded their religious feelings. The 
impartial enquirer, however, must record a different verdict. 
To him, the Sultan was a born leader of men, a just and 
upright ruler, an intrepid and gifted soldier, a dispenser of 
justice, a patron of letters, and deserves to be ranked among 
the greatest personalities of the world. 

But his work did not endure. The mighty fabric 
that he had built up crumbled to pieces in the hands of his 
weak successors, as consolidation did not keep pace with 

Firdausi was born at Tus in Rhorasan about 960 A.D., and died 
in 1020 A.D. Mahmud had promised him a handsome reward, but he 
was deprived of it through the intrigues of Ayaz, one of Mahmud's 
favourites who entertained ill feelings towards the poet. (Elliot, IV* 
pp. 19092.) 


vMahmud failed to establish peace and order in the 
lands which he conquered by sheer dint of his valour. A 
Muslim mystic is reported to have said of him : " He is a 
stupid fellow. Without being able to manage what he 
already possesses he yet goes out to conquer new countries." 
Lawlessness prevailed in the empire, jand brigand chiefs 
practised their* nefarious trade with impunity. // There was 
no well-organised system of police to put down crime and 
check the forces of disorder. ^Mahmud devised no laws 
or institutions for the benefit of his subjects.^Local liberties 
were suppressed,7and men of different nationalities were 
formed into an empire by force, r No bond united them 
except their subordination or subservience to a common chief. 
I The officers of Mahmud who were all imperialists followed 
their master, and showed greater interest in the expansion 
of the empire than in the establishment of an orderly and 
methodical administration. Such a political organisation 
as Mahmud 's could not last long and as soon as his master- 
hand was stiffened in death, the elements of disorder 
asserted themselves with great vigour and undermined 
the imperial capacity for resistance. As Mr. Habib puts 
it when the Saljuqs knocked down the purposeless structure 
no one cared to weep over its fate. 

Mahmud came to India as a religious zealot ac- 
companied by men who were prepared to sacrifice 

themselves in what they deemed a sacred 
and cause. He fully exploited the religious 

sentiments of his followers, though he 
found no time to make conversions from among' the 
native population. The following observations of a 
modern Muslim writer will be found interesting in this 
connection : 


No honest historian should seek to hide, and no 
Musalman acquainted with his faith will try to justify 
the wanton destruction of temples that followed in 
the wake of the Ghaznavide army. Contemporary as 
well as later historians do not attempt to veil the nefari- 
ous acts but relate them with pride. It is easy, to twist 
one's conscience ; and we know only too well how easy 
it is to find a religious justification for what people 
wish to do from worldly motives. Islam sanctioned 
neither the van<Jalism^*ior the plundering motives of 
the invader ; no principle known to the Shariat justi- 
fied the uncalled for attack on Hindu princes who had 
done Mahmud and his subjects no harm ; the shameless 
destruction of places of worship * is condemned in 
law of every creed. And yet Islam, though it was 
not an inspiring motive, could be utilised as an 
a posteriori justification of what had been done. It 
was not difficult to mistake the spoliation of non- 
Muslim populations for a service to Islam, and per- 
sons to whom the argument was addressed found it 
too much in consonance with the promptings of their 
own passions to examine it critically. So the precepts 
of the Quran were misinterpreted or ignored and the 
tolerant policy of the second Caliph was cast aside, 
in order that Mahmud and his myrmidons might be 
able to plunder Hindu temples with a clear and un- 
troubled conscience. " l 

Abu RihSn better known as Al-Biruni was born in 973 
in the 'country of modern KhlvS and was captured by Mah- 

Al-Biruni mud ' When h6 Con( 31 uered {t in 1017 A - D - He 

came to India in the train of Mahmud and 

1 Habib, ' Sultan Mahmud of Ghaznin,' p. 79. 


stayed in the country for some time. He sympathetically 
studied the manners, customs, and institutions of the 
Hindus and has left us a vivid account of them which 
throws much light upon the conditions of those times. He 
writes that the country was parcelled out among petty 
chiefs, all independent of one another and often fighting 
amongst themselves. He mentions Kashmir, Sindh, Malwa, 
Gujarat, Bengal, and Kanauj as important kingdoms. 
About the social condition of the Hindus he writes that 
child marriage prevailed among them ; widows were not 
permitted to marry again, and Sati was in vogue. Idol 
worship was common throughout the land, and vast riches 
were accumulated in temples which fired the lust of 
Muhammadan conquerors. Al-Biruni studied and appre- 
ciated the philosophy of the Upania^. He writes that 
the vulgar people were polytheists, but the cultured classes 
believed God to be 'one, eternal, without beginning and 
end, acting by free will, almighty, all-wise, living, giving 
life, ruling and preserving.' 

The administration of justice, though crude and pri- 
mitive in many ways, was liberal and 'humane. Written 
complaints were filed, and cases were decided on the testi- 
mony of witnesses. The criminal law was mild, and Al- 
Biruni compares the mildness of the Hindus with the 
leniency of the Christians. Brahmans were exempt from 
capital punishment. Theft was punished according to the 
value of the property stolen, and mutilation of limbs was re- 
cognised as an appropriate penalty for certain offences. Taxa- 
tion was mild. The state took only one-sixth of the produce 
of the soil, and Brahmans were exempt from taxation. 

There is ample evidence in Al-Biruni's pages of India's, 
degeneracy and decay. Politically she was disunited, and. 


rival states fought against one another in complete dis- 
regard of national interests. Probably the word national 
had no meaning for them. Religion was encumbered by 
superstition, and society was held in the grip of a rigid 
caste system which rendered the unification of the various 
groups impossible. Indeed, in many respects India present- 
ed a parallel to mediaeval Europe, and as a distinguished 
writer observes, " Everything bore the appearance of dis-j 
integration and decay ; and national life became extinct." ! 
Masud, who proclaimed himself king in 1031 A.D. 
after his father's death by setting aside his younger brother. 

was a true son of his father, full of ambition, 
s^J. lesser. U d 9 courage, and warlike zeal. The magnificence 

of the court of Ghazni was unequalled in 
that age, and Baihaki relates in his memoirs how the 
Sultan passed his days in pomp and splendour. Though 
drunken orgies were not unusual for even the great 
Mahmud, Masud carried them to excess, and himself 
became the leader of a notorious party of drunkards and 

But Masud had an able minister in Khwaja Ahmad 
Maimandi, whom he had liberated from prison and restored 

to office with great honours. The Khwaja 
H E asnak tion f set himself to the task of organising his office, 

which had become notorious for delay and 
lack of promptness under his predecessor. Under his care 
the administration soon began to display a new vigour and 
activity. While the Khwaja was thus honoured, his pre- 
decessor in office, Hasnak, accused of Karmatian heresy, 
was put in chains, tried, and executed. After the execu- 
tion, Hasnak 's head was served up in a dish at a feast held 
by Bu'Suhal to the complete horror of the guests. Such 


was the uncertainty of life and tenure of office under the 
demoralised Ghaznawides. 

But Masud was no roi faineant. His contemporaries 
feared him both on the score of his physical prowess and his 
kingly dignity. He now turned his attention 

to the affairs in India > which had been left 

in charge of Ariyarak. 

Secure in the possession of a vast territory, the ambi- 
tious Ghaznawide commander of Hind had begun to behave 
as an autocrat and cared little for the fiats of his sovereign. 
Masud, though a slave to drink and dissipation, knew how 
to assert his dignity when his own authority was flouted 
or disregarded. Ariyarak was induced to proceed ,to 
Ghazni where he was cast into prison, and probably 
poisoned. Ahmad Niyaltgin was appointed to the command 
of the Indian province, though he had to leave his son at 
Ghazni as a hostage under a nominal pretext. The new 
viceroy was hardly less ambitious than his predecessor, 
and he too, in Baihaki's words, " turned away from the 
path of rectitude and took a crooked course." 

Ahmad Niyaltgin, on coming to India, found it difficult 
to get on with his colleague, Qazi Shiraz, and as he did not 
Trea son of consu ^ '^e latter in the discharge of his duties, 
Ahmad Niyait- a quarrel soon broke out between the two. 
* in * But when the matter was referred to 

Ghazni, the Qazi received a strong rebuff, and was ordered 
to leave military affairs alone. Thereupon, Niyaltgin 
undertook an expedition to Benares, tempted by the prospect 
of plundering the wealth of this ancient and venerated 
city of the Hindus. The expedition was a great success. 
The Qazi, however, could not bear the success of his 
rival, and sent spies to inform the Sultan that Niyaltgin 


gave himself out as the son of Sultan Mahmud, and 
aimed at independence. In every possible way, the 
enemies of Niyaltgin poisoned the Sultan's mind and im- 
pressed upon him the necessity of immediate interven- 

Official after official volunteered to go to Hindustan to 
restore order, but the choice, at last, fell upon Tilak, a 
Hindu of low birth, but of great ability and courage. As 
a mark of royal favour, he was granted a gold-embroidered 
robe, a jewelled necklace of gold, a canopy and an umbrella; 
and kettle-drums were beaten, and ensigns with gilded 
tops were unfurled at his residence, in accordance with 
Hindu fashion, to proclaim his elevation to high official 
dignity. The philosophical Baihaki wrote, "Wise men do 
not wonder at such facts, because nobody is born great- 
men become such." 

When Tilak reached Lahore, his presence struck terror 
into the hearts of the followers of Ahmad Niyaltgin, and 
the rebellious governor fled for dear life. He was, however, 
defeated in a sharp engagement, and a price of 500,000 dir- 
hams was set upon his head by Tilak, when the rebel eluded 
the grasp of his pursuers. The Jats, who were all familiar 
with the desert and the wilds, caught hold of Ahmad, and 
cut off his head. Masud was delighted at the news of vic- 
tory, and encouraged by this success he determined to fulfil 
his old vow of capturing the fort of Hansi. l In vain did the 
veteran Khwaja urge upon him the impolicy of such a step, 
but the obstinate Sultan replied: "The vow is upon my 
neck, and accomplish it, I will, in my own person/' The 

1 Hansi is a city with a ruined castle, eleven miles to the east of 


ministers bowed their heads in profound submission, and 
the Khwaja was invested with plenary authority at 

The Sultan started from Ghazni in October 1037 A.D., 
-and after a long march reached the town of Hansi. The 

invaders laid siege to the fortress hitherto 
e f deemed impregnable by the Hindus. Though 

the garrison heroically defended itself, the 
Muslims took the fortress by storm, and seized an enormous 
booty. Having placed the fortress in charge of a reliable 
official, the Sultan marched towards Sonpat, a place not far 
from Delhi. The Muslims easily captured it, as the chief 
offered no resistance and the victorious Sultan returned 
to Ghazni. 

The expedition to India turned out a blunder. Taking 
advantage of the Sultan's absence, the Saljuq Turks harried 
the territories of Ghazni, and sacked a portion of the capital. 
Masud marched against the invaders, but at Dandankan, 
near Merv, he was overpowered by them on March 24, 
1040 A.D. This crushing defeat at the hands of the 
Saljuqs compelled the Ghaznawides to withdraw towards 

The vanquished Sultan fled towards Hindustan in spite 
of the advice of the aged minister who vainly pleaded with 

him to remain at Ghazni. When the royal 
totoSu iflight Party reached Marigalah, 1 the Turkish and 

Hindu slaves mutinied, and placed upon the 
throne the Sultan's younger brother Muhammad. Masud 
was cast into prison and put to death in 1041 A.D. 

1 A pass situated between Rawalpindi and Attock, a few miles east 
of Hasan Abdal. 


Thus perished by the cruel hand of the assassin, a king 
who, like his father, extended his patronage to men of 
letters, built mosques, and endowed schools and colleges 
in the various cities of his wide dominions. Thus does Bai- 
haki observe in a characteristically fatalistic vein :" Man 
has no power to strive against fate.'* 

After Masud's death, his son Maudud ascended the 
throne, and defeated his uncle Muhammad in an engage- 
The weak ment > ^ UQ avenging the death of his father. 
successors of Maudud was succeeded by a series of weak 
Masud. rulers whose uneventful careers deserve little 

mention. TheSaljuq pressure continued, and the Ghaz* 
nawide empire lost much of its territory. The Saljuqs even- 
tually inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Ghaznawides, and 
the last independent ruler of Ghazni, Arslan, fled to Hindus- 
tan where he died in a state of misery in the year 1117 A.D. 
The Saljuqs thus established their influence at Ghazni, 
and dominated the titular Ghaznawide ruler, Bahram, 
who owed his crown to them. Bahrain's reign would 
have ended gloriously, had it not been for the quarrels that 
arose between him and the Maliks of Ghor, a small mountain 
principality between Ghazni and Herat. These warlike 
Afghans had fought under the banner of Mahmud, but when 
the sceptre of Ghazni passed into feeble hands, they treated 
them with scant respect. Matters came to a crisis, when a 
Suri prince was put to death by Bahrain's order. The brother 
of the deceased led an attack against Ghazni, but he was de- 
feated and killed. Alauddin Husain, another brother, swore 
to wreak vengeance upon the house of Ghazni. He marched 
upon Ghazni, at the head of a large army, and won a splendid 
victory in. 1150 A.D. Bahrain escaped to India, but he 
returned to Ghazni again and recovered his lost power. 


Bahrain died in 1152 A.D. and was followed by his soft 
Khusrau Shah who was quite unfit to deal with the new 
situation. The Ghuzz Turkomans advanced upon Ghazni, 
whereupon Khusrau Shah escaped to India. The implacable 
Alauddin destroyed the finest buildings of the city and 
massacred the whole populace. Khusrau Shah died in 
exile at Lahore in 1160 A.D. 

The condition of the empire grew worse, and under 
Khusrau Malik, the new pleasure-loving ruler of Ghazni, 
the administration fell into a state of utter chaos. The 
power of Ghazni rapidly declined, and the house of Ghor rose 
into prominence. Alauddin's nephew Ghiyas-ud-din brought 
Ghazni under his control, about the year 1173, and entrusted 
it with its dependencies including Kabul to the charge of 
his brother, Muiz-ud-din bin Sam, better known in history 
as Muhammad Ghori. Muiz-ud-din, who had an inborn apti- 
tude for war and adventure, led repeated attacks against 
Hindustan, and compelled Khusrau Malik to make peace and 
surrender his son as security for the fulfilment of treaty obli- 
gations. Later, even Khusrau was taken prisoner by strata- 
gems and false promises, and put to death in 1201 A.D. A 
similar catastrophe befell his son Bahram Shah, and the line 
of Subuktagin came to an inglorious end. The sovereignty 
of Ghazni now passed into the hands of the Ghori chiefs. 

Thus after nearly two centuries, the empire of Ghazni 
disappeared from history. An empire which rested purely 
upon a military basis, could not last long with- 
1 the out capable and warlike rulers. Mahmud had 
established no institutions which could hold 
his wide dominions together. The unwieldy empire had no 
principle of cohesion or unity, and speedily broke up after 
hjs death. The untold wealth obtained from Hindustan 


fostered luxury among his weak successors and rendered 
them unfit for the strenuous duties of war. Once the 
rotten character of the political system became known, 
disorders began on all sides. The profligate Ghaznawides 
were no match for their enemies who continued to seize 
large slices of Ghazni territory. As disorder increased in 
the Afghan regions, India also began to seethe with dis- 
content The multifarious troubles of the rulers of Ghazni 
made it difficult for them to deal properly with the Indian 
problem. But the chiefs of Ghor were men of a different 
stamp. They were better fitted to lead and command the 
unruly Turks, and knew how to employ their valour and 
zeal for purposes of self-aggrandisement. 


Muhammad Ghori's attempt to seize the Muslim prov- 
inces of Hindustan was a remarkable success. His expedi- 
Muhammad's tion to Uccha against the Bhatti Raj puts suc- 
indian Cam- ceeded on account of treachery. He took 
paigB ' Multan from the Karmatian heretics in 1174 

A.D. Bhima Deva, the Raja of Nehrwala, however, inflicted 
a crushing defeat upon the invaders who then captured 
Peshawar, and subdued the whole of Sindh down to the 
sea-coast. Having failed to capture the fortress of Lahore, 
Mohammad concluded a peace with Khusrau Malik, and 
returned to Ghazni. After his departure, Khusrau Malik 
laid siege to the fortress of Sialkot, assisted by the Khokhar 
tribes, but failed to capture it. When the news reached the 
Sultan, he again undertook an expedition against Lahore, 
and by a stratagem he captured Khusrau Malik in 1186 A.D., 
and put an end to the rule of the dynasty of Subuktagin. 
Lahore passed into the hands of the victorious chieftain. 

Muhammad was still far from being master of Hindu- 
stan. In the interior, lay Rajput kingdoms, wealthy and 
powerful, which were always ready to give battle to the 
foreigner who dared to invade their territory. The hillmen 
of Ghazni and Ghor had never encountered such dauntless 
fighters as the Rajputs. But Jthejeudal organisation of the 
.Rajput society was the principal cause of its weakness. 
The rivalries and feuds of the dans hampered unity of 


action, and the Invidious caste distinction prevent^ 
Inferior classes among the Ralputa from being 

with the prftfflj pohiPga* Only fh* moii-Knm could hold 
Heis, and this exclusive spirit tended to make the aristo- 
cracy hereditary and selfish. It was impossible for these 
Rajput governments, based as they were upon a system of 
feuds, to last long, and, no wonder, if the first shock of the 
Muslim invasion shook Rajput India to its foundations. 

Having organised his forces, Muhammad marched 
towards the frontier town of Sarhind, which had a greal 
strategic importance in the middle ages, and captured it 
The most powerful Rajput clans which exercised authority 
in Northern India were (1) the Gaharwars, afterwards 
known as the Rathors of Kanauj, (2) the^ChohSns of 
Delhi and Ajmer, (3) the Palas and Senas" of Bihar and 
Bengal, (4) the Baghelas of Gujarat, and (5) the Chandelas 
of Bundelkhand. The most powerful of these were the 
rulers of Delhi and Kanauj, whose rivalry made it impos- 
sible for them to stem the tide of foreign invasion. 

Prithviraja, who had succeeded to the kingdoms of 
Delhi and Ajmer, and who had established a great reputa-{ 
tion for chivalry and heroic exploits, marched 

viraja. a g a { nst fa e Qhori chief, and encountered the 

Muslim host atjarainj a village fourteen miles from 
Thanesar in 1191 A. D. Jayachandra, the Rathor Raja of 
Kanauj, was the only prince who kept aloof from this war ; 
for Prithviraja had insulted him by carrying off h?^ dfflif *****- 
by force. The Sultan followed the time-honoured tactics 
of the right, left, and centre, and himself occupied a posi- 
tion in the middle of his army. The Rajputs charged both 

1 In most histories it is written as Narain, which is incorrect, 
.Lane Poole too incorrectly writes Narain. (Mediaeval India, p. 61.) 


wings of the Muslim army with tremendous vigour and 
scattered it in all directions, while Govind Rai, the Raja's 
brother, inflicted a severe wound on the Sultan, who was 
luckily carried off the field of battle by a faithful Khilji 
warrior. This disaster caused a panic among the Muslims 
who immediately dispersed in all directions. Never before, 
had they experienced such a terrible rout at the hands of 
the Hindus. When the Sultan reached Ghor, he publicly 
disgraced those officers who had fled from the field of battle. 

With a large army, well-organised and accoutred, the 
Sultan marched from Ghazni towards Hindustan in 1192 
A.D. to wreak vengeance upon the Hindu 
f P rince s- The forces of the Sultan again en- 
camped near Tarain. Alarmed for the safety 
of Hindu India, Prithviraja called upon his fellow Rajput 
princes to rally round his banner to fight the Turks. His 
appeal met with an enthusiastic response, and as many as 
150 Rajput princes joined the colours of the Chohan 

From morning till sunset the battle raged fiercely. 
While the enemy was tired, the Sultan, at the head of 
12,000 horse, made a desperate charge and " carried death 
and destruction throughout the Hindu camp." The Rajput 
valour proved of no avail against these mounted archers, 
and a fearful slaughter ensued on all sides. The result 
of the battle was a foregone conclusion. The Hindus in 
spite of their numbers were defeated by the Muslims. The 
Muhammadan historians write that Prithviraja fled from 
the field, but he was captured near Sirsuti, ' and finally 
4 despatched to hell/ 

1 It vas a city on the banks of the ancient Saraswati. In Akbar's- 
me Sirsuti was one of the mahals of Sarkar Sambhal. 


The defeat of Prithviraja was an irreparable blow to 
Eajput power. The demoralisation caused by this defeat 
was great, and the Muslims easily captured Sirsuti, Saraana, 
Kuhram and Hansi. The Sultan proceeded towards Ajmer, 
which was given up to plunder, and some thousands of the 
inhabitants were put to the sword. The city was made 
over to a natural son of Prithviraja on promise of punc- 
tual payment of tribute. Having left his faithful 
lieutenant Qutb-ud-din Aibek in charge of his Indian 
possessions, the Sultan returned to Ghazni. Qutb-ud-din, 
in a short time, conquered Mirat (Meerut), Kol l 
and Delhi, the last of which he made the seat of his 

Beyond Delhi, in the heart of the Doab, lay the 
principality of the Rathor clan with its capital at 
Kanauj renowned all over India as a nur- 
f sery of warriors and statesmen. Its ruler 
Jayachandra, famous alike in legend and 
history, was reputed as one of the most powerful 
princes of the time. Jayachandra had, perhaps, hoped 
that, after the defeat of Prithviraja, he would become the 
paramount sovereign of all Hindustan, but his hopes were 
doomed to disappointment. In 1194 A.D. Sultan Muham- 
mad marched from Ghazni against the Raja of Eanauj. 
No confederacy seems to have been organised by the latter 
to withstand the Muslim attack ; probably the defeat of 
Prithviraja had cooled the enthusiasm and crushed the 
spirit of the Rajputs who might have otherwise rallied 
round his banner. The Muslims inflicted a crushing defeat 
upon the Rajput army encamped in the plain between 

1 Kol is a place near Aligarh. It has an old fortress which still 


Ghandwar and Etawah. Jayachandra received a mortal 
wound from an arrow and fell down on the earth. The 
Rathors, after this discomfiture, migrated to Rajputana, 
where they founded the principality of Jodhpur. The 
victorious Sultan now marched against Benares, where he 
destroyed temples and ordered mosques to be built in their 
places. He then returned to the fort of Kol, and, laden 
with the spoils of war, returned to Ghazni. 

Qutb-ud-din's career in Hindustan was one of unbroken 

triumph. He marched against Ajmer, and restored its 

lawful ruler, a vassal of Ghazni, but appoint- 

Other o n* i * . . 1* 

quests. e( * a Muslim governor to exercise control 

over him. From Ajmer, Aibek marched his 

forces against Bhima Deva, the Raja of Nehrwala, 

whom he defeated. Gwalior, Biyana, and other places 

were compelled to acknowledge the suzerainty of Ghazni. 

Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji, an ' intrepid, bold, 

and sagacious ' general, accomplished the conquest of 

Bihar with astonishing ease. He led an or- 

^Oonquest of ganiged attack aga i nst the province, probably 

in 1197 A.D., at the head of a small detach- 
ment of 200 horsemen, and quickly captured the principal 
fortresses. The Buddhist monasteries, or viharas, were 
demolished, and a large number of books were seized, 
and scattered by the invaders. It was the idolatry of 
latter-day Buddhism which stimulated the zeal of the 
Muslims, and the debris of Buddhist viharas and stupas 
that exist to this day, bear testimony to their iconoclastic 
zeal. The Muslim raid on Bihar gave a death-blow to 
Buddhism ; but it appears from an inscription of Vidya- 
dhara dated Samvat 1276 (1219 A.D.) that it did not 
wholly disappear from Northern India. 


The conquest of Bihar was followed by that of Bengal. 
The Muslim chronicler, relying upon the account furnished 
by a certain *\<iteT of Parghana in the ser- 


vice of Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar, writes 

that the intrepid general marched to the 
city of Nudiah at the head of a small party of 18 horse- 
men and that the aged Rai on hearing of his approach fled 
from a back door of his palace and sought shelter at 
Vikrampur near Sonargaon which was a place resorted 
to by all discontented men at Gaur. ' This is an exaggerated 
account of what actually happened. Muhammad des- 
troyed the city of Nudiah and made Lakhnauti or 
Gaur his capital. The khutba was read and coins were 
struck in the name of Sultan Muiz-ud-din. A large portion 
of the enormous booty seized by Muhammad was sent to 

In 1202 A.D. Qutb-ud-din marched against Parmardi, 

the Chandela Prince of Bundelkhand. The latter found it 

On t of * mposs *kle to resist effectively the Muslims, 

Ka^njaT! and the fort of Kalanjar fell into the hands 

of the victors. The forts of Kalpi and 
Badaon were subdued next, and in this way all the impor- 
tant places in Northern India were brought under the 
sway of Ghazni by Qutb-ud-din. 

The kings of Ghazni were not satisfied with their 
Indian possessions. They fondly looked towards the lands 

The tide f the XUS ' which the kin ^ s of Ghazni, ever 

turn* l e since the days of Mahmud, had tried in 

vain to annex. Muhammad followed the 

1 The account of the Tabqat-i-Naairi accepted in Mo by Dr. 
Vincent Smith is undoubtedly exaggerated. The old view has been 
modified in the new and revised edition of his Early History of India* 


same practice and invaded Khwarizm at the head of a 
large army in the year 1204 A.D., but the troops of Ghori 
were pressed so hard by the Shah of Khwarizm and 
his allies that they were completely routed, and the 
Sultan with difficulty escaped with his life. As soon 
as the news of this disaster was circulated abroad, the 
forces of confusion began to work. A Ghazni officer hastily 
went to India and declared hjmself governor of Multan by 
producing a forged royal order, and he was accepted by the 
army. Ghazni shut its gates against the unlucky Sultan, 
and the turbulent Khokhars stirred up strife and harried 
the districts of the Punjab. The Sultan was, however, not 
unnerved by this gloomy prospect. He quickly recovered 
Multan and Ghazni, and then marched towards Hindustan 
to chastise the Khokhars, who suffered a crushing defeat 
near a ford of the Jhelam. Having obtained this victory, 
the Sultan returned to Lahore. 

The Khokhar snake was scotched but not killed. Having 
failed in open engagement, the Khokhars had recourse to 
treachery. Some of their chiefs who burnt with rage to 
avenge the deaths of their kinsmen formed a conspiracy to 
take the life of the Sultan. On his way from Lahore to 
Ghazni, the Sultan halted at Dhamyak in the Jhelam district 
where he was stabbed to death by a fanatic in March, 
1246 A.D. 

Not so fanatical as Mahmud, Muhammad was certainly 

more political than his predecessor. He clearly perceived the 

rotten political condition of India, and made 

Estimate of i / i , . . 

Muhammad. U P his mind to found a permanent dominion. 
Mahmud's love of wealth had blinded him to 
the gains of far-reaching importance, which the Indian con- 
quest was bound to bring to the conqueror. Muhammad 


Ghori, from the outset, took a different course ; he tried to 
consolidate his conquests, and in this work he had the 
valued assistance and co-operation of his able lieutenant, 
Qutb-ud-din, who afterwards founded a dynasty of the 
kings of Delhi. 

Mahmud never aimed at permanent conquest ; he had 
come sweeping like a whirlwind and had returned to his 
native land after the acquisition of vast booty. Wealth 
-and the extirpation of idolatry were the objects of his 
raids ; but Muhammad was a real conqueror. He conquered 
the country and aimed at permanent settlement. A com- 
plete conquest of India was impossible as long as warrior- 
<blood throbbed within the veins of the Rajput race. But 
for the first time the Muslims had brought extensive terri- 
tory under their direct sway. Qutb-ud-din was appointed 
viceroy of Hindustan, and charged with the duty of extend- 
ing further the dominion of Islam a fact which clearly 
shows the object which Muhammad had in mind. It is 
true, he turned his eyes westwards for territorial expansion, 
but it would be wrong to blame Muhammad for following 
a traditional policy. His work in India was more solid. 
The Muslim power, which he founded in India, increased 
as time passed, and from humble beginnings the kingdom 
of Delhi gradually developed into one of the greatest 
-empires of the east. It was no mean contribution to the 
greatness of Islam. 


(1206-90 A.D.) 

Muhammad died without a male heir. Minhaj-us-Siw 
writes that on one occasion when a favourite courtier spoke 
to the Sultan about the default of male heirs, 
. Qutb-ud-din's he replied with absolute indifference : " Other 
thT throne * t0 monarchs may have one son, or two sons : I 
have so many thousand sons, namely, my Turki 
slaves, who will be the heirs of my dominions, and who, 
after me, will take care to preserve my name in the khutbU 
throughout those territories." After the death, of his 
,master, Qutb-ud-din Aibek naturally came to the forefront. 
He became the ruler of Hindustan and founded a dynasty 
of kings, which is called after his name. Originally Aibek 
was a slave. He was purchased by the Qazi of Nishapur, 
through whose favour he acquired a reputation for courage 
and manly bearing. After the Qazi's death he passed 
into the hands of Sultan Muiz-ud-din. Though ^ ugly in 
external appearance, Aibek was endowed with "laudable 
qualities and admirable impressions" ; and by sheer dint of 
merit he rose gradually to the position of Amir Akhur (mas- 
ter of the stables). During the Sultan's expeditions to Hin- 
dustan, Aibek loyally served him, and as a reward for his 

1 This dynasty has been miscalled the Blare dynasty. The slaves who- 
occupied the throne had been originally slaves but they were manu- 
mitted by their masters and raised to the rank of freemen 



services, he was left in charge of the Indian possessions. 
As viceroy of Hindustan, he secured and extended the 
conquests made by his master. He strengthened himself 
by matrimonial connections ; he married the daughter of 
Taj-ud-din Eldoz, and gave his sister in marriage to Qubai- 
cha f and his daughter to lltutmish, one of his own slaves. 
Aibek captured Hansi, Meerut, Delhi, Ranthambhor 
and Kol, and conquered the country as far as Benares. In 
1197 A.D. Qutb-ud-din led his forces against 
r^queT' f Nehrwala. The chief was defeated in a hotly 
contested engagement, and the whole country 
was ravaged by the Muslims. For six years, i.e., from 
1196 to 1202 A.D. there was cessation of warfare in India, 
but in 1202 A.D. Aibek marched against the fort of 
Kalanjar, captured it and seized enormous booty. Mahoba 
was occupied next. Bengal and Bihar had already been 
subjugated by Muhammad Khilji, son of Bakhtiyar, who 
had acknowledged the suzerainty of Qutb-ud-din. All Hin- 
dustan, from Delhi to Kalanjar and Gujarat, and from 
Lakhnauti to Lahore, was brought under the sway of the 
Muhammadans, though the distant lands comprised in the 
empire of Delhi were not thoroughly subdued. 

Qutb-ud-din was a high-spirited and open-handed mon- 
arch. He administered the country well, dispensed even- 
handed justice to the people, and exerted 
1 md 

himself to promote the peace and prosperity 
of the realm. The roads were freed from 
robbers, and the Hindus were treated with kindness, though 
the Sultan, like 'a mighty fighter in the way of God/ 
captured thousands as slaves during his wars. His generosity 
is praised by all writers who style him as lakhbakhaha or 
giver of lakhs. 


Aibek was a powerful and capable ruler who always 
maintained a high character. Brave and energetic, sagacious 
and just, according to Muslim ideas, Aibek was devoted to 
the faith, and as the founder of a large kingdom on foreign 
.soil among races whose martial grow ess was well-known, 
he ranks among the great pioneers of Muslim conquest in 
India. He gave proof of his religious zeal by building two 
mosques, one at Delhi and another at Ajmer. He died in 
1210 A.D., from a fall from his horse, while he was playing 
ohaugan, l leaving a large kingdom to his successor. 

. Aram succeeded his father, but after a brief reign of 
one year, Iltutmish, who was then governor of Badaon, 
1 Conf u s i o n defeated and dethroned him. At the time 
after Aibek's of Aram's death Hindustan was parcelled out 

eat ' into four principalities Sindh was held by 

Qubaicha ; Delhi and its contiguous country were in the 
possession of Iltutmish ; Lakhnauti was held by the Khilji 
Maliks ; Lahore was held alternately by Qubaicha, and 
Eldoz who was then supreme at Ghazni. 

Iltutmish who ascended the throne in 1210 A.D. is the 
greatest of the slave kings. He was the slave of a slave, 2 

Iitut m i a h's w ^ rose to em * nence ^y sheer dint of merit, 
accession to and it was solely by virtue of his fitness that 
-the throne. he superseded the hereditary claimants to the 

throne. But he did not find the throne of Delhi a bed of 
roses. He had to face a critical situation, as rivals like 
Eldoz and Qubaicha aspired to universal dominion, while 

1 Chang an was something like modern polo. In the early middle 
ages it was a favourite game in Persia and India. 

* Iltutmish was purchased by a certain merchant Jaraal-ud-din 
^who brought him to Ghazni. From there he was taken to Delhi and 

sold to Qutb-ud-din along with another slave named Bak. 

To face page 76 

Qutbi Mosque, Delhi 


some of the Muizzi and Qutbi amirs watched with sullen 
resentment the usurpation by a slave of the throne which 
lawfully belonged to the line of Aibek. Besides, there were 
numerous Hindu princes and chieftains whose recognition 
of the sovereignty of the Muhammadans was only nominal. 
But lltutmish was not the man to fail or falter in the face of 
difficulties, and in grim earnestness he set himself to the 
task of dealing with the situation in a bold and decisive 
manner ju^nvJLi. 

Having overpowered all thejgfcactfliy amirs, he brought 
the whole of the principality of Delhi under his control. But 
his safety depended upon the suppression of 
11 M S rivals, and he at once turned his attention 
towards them. 

Eldoz who had been purchased by Sultan Muhammad^ 
when he was young in years, won the confidence of the 
Sultan by his ability and courage, and after the death 
of his master, became ruler of Ghazni. But he was expelled 
by Qutb-ud-din who made himself master of the country. 
The people of Ghazni, however, soon got disgusted with the 
drunken orgies of Qutb-ud-din, and invited Eldoz to assume 
charge of the kingdom. Eldoz was a spirited soldier ; he 
ultimately defeated Qubaicha, governor of Sindh, and estab- 
lished himself in the Punjab. lltutmish, who could not 
afford to see a formidable rival established so near the 
northern frontier, marched against him, and inflicted a 
crushing defeat upon him in 1215 A.D. in the vicinity of 
Tarain. Eldoz was taken prisoner andj^juiin rtiulj^ The 
defeat of Eldoz was followed by an 
who, after an unsuccessful engag^ 
mission in 1217 A.D. But it 
he was finally subdued. 


This danger was nothing in comparison with the storm 
which burst upon India in 1221 A.D. The Mongols' under 

The invasion ^ingjz J^ an came down fr m their moun- 
oi h i n g i z tain steppes in Central Asia and ravaged the 
Khan ' countries that came in their way. The Mon- 

gol was a ferocious and blood-thirsty savage, and in fact the 
word Mongol itself is derived from the word Mone, mean- 
ing brave, daring, told.lL*>*^^^i^A*/^ 

Chingiz, who was a typical Mongol warrior, was born 
in 1155 A.D. at Dilum Boldak near the river Oman. His 
original name was Temujin. His father died when he was 
only 13 years of age. As a result of this calamity, the young 
lad had to struggle for years against adversity, and it was 
only in 1203 A.D. that he was proclaimed Khan. With light- 
ning speed he overran China, plundered and devastated the 
Muhammadan countries of Western Asia. Balkh, Bokhara, 
Samarqand, and many other famous, and beautiful cities 
were ruined by his predatory raids. When Chingiz attacked 
Jalal-ud-din, the last Shah of Khwarizm, he fled towards 
Hindustan, whither he was pursued by the invaders. He 
-encamped on the Indus and prepared to give battle to the 
Mongols. He sent an envoy to Iltutmish requesting him 
to grant a place for residence in Delhi for some time, but 
the latter excused himself on the ground that the climate 
of Delhi would not suit him, and had the envoy murdered. 
Jalal-ud-din was eventually defeated by the Mongols, and he 
had to escape with only a handful of followers. Having 
allied himself with the Khokhars, he fell upon Nasir-ud-din 

1 The forms Moghul and Mongol are used for one and the same 
When the Mongols separated themselves from their ancestral 
'dns and came to close quarters with the Musalman Inhabitants of 
weafeecn 'states of Central Asia, their neighbours mispronounced 
$ame qf their .original nation and called them Moghul* 


<iubaicha, whom he drove into the fortress of Multaru 
After a short time, however, he went to Persia, where he 
learnt that the army in Iraq was ready to help him, but 
he was murdered by a fanatic whose brother he had pre- 
viously slain. The Mongols found the heat of India intoler- 
able and went back to the lands to the west of the Indus, 
which had a great attraction for them. Thus was India 
saved from a great calamity, and Iltutmish now felt himseU 
strong enough to crush his native enemies, f: 

The Khilji Maliks had withdrawn their allegiance after 

the death of Qutb-ud-din. Some of them, like Ali Mardan 

n 4 and Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji, had also struck 

Conquests. ... J . j j ^ 

their own coins and caused their names tc 
be read in the khutba as independent rulers. In 1225 A.D, 
Iltutmish sent an army against Ghiyas who concluded 
a treaty and paid a large tribute. The khutba was read, 
and coins were struck in his name. When the Sultan's 
forces withdrew, Ghiyas expelled the governor of Bihai 
and seized the province. Nasir-ud-din Mahmud Shah wh< 
had the fief of Oudh marched against him. Ghiyas was 
defeated and slain, and the Khilji amirs were made captives 
The whole of Lakhnauti passed into the hands of th< 
prince. Ranthambhor fell in 1226 A..D. ; and Mandore in 
the Sewalik hills followed suit a year later. 

Qubaicha, another slave of Sultan Muiz-ud-din, was a man 
of intellect and sound judgment, and, through his master's 

favour, had acquired considerable influence. 
<iubaicha. He was appointed governor of Uccha, where he 

managed the affairs so well that in a short 
time he made himself master of the whole country of Sindh 
which now extended as farasSarhind, Kuhram, and Sirsuti. 
His successes aroused the jealousy of his rival chief fit 


Ghazni, and Lahore soon became a bone of contention be- 
tween him and Eldoz. When the Khalj and Khwarizam 
forces were defeated by Qubaicha, they found protection with 
Iltutmish who espoused their cause. He started from Delhi 
by way of Sarhind towards Uccha at the head of a large 
army. Hearing of the approach of the Sultan, Qubaicha 
entrenched himself in the fortress of Bhakkar. The royal 
army invested the fortress of Uccha and captured it after a 
protracted siege of two months and twenty-seven days in 
1227 A.D. The capitulation of Uccha so disheartened Qubai- 
cha that he embarked in a boat in order to save his life, but 
he was drowned in the Indus. 

In 1228 A.D. Iltutmish received a patent of investiture 

from the Khalifa of Baghdad, the highest pontiff of Islam, a 

recognition which enormously increased the 

b the^haHfa P res * J ^ the Indo-Muhammadan power in 

India. It legitimised the Sultan's authority 

and silenced those who challenged his claim to the 

throne on the score of his birth, and gave to his authority 

the sanction of a name, honoured and cherished by the entire 

J^lim_world._ The name of the Khalifa was inscribed on 

* the coins issued from the royal mints, and the Sultan was 

described as " Aid of the Commander of the Faithful Nasir 

Amir-ul-Mumnin. " The currency was remodelled, and 

Iltutmish was the first to introduce a purely Arabic 

coinage ; and the silver tanka weighing 175 grains became 

the standard coin. 

When Nasir-ud-din Mahmud Shah died in Bengal, the 

Khilji Maliks at Lakhnauti broke out into rebellion. The 

The Conquest Sultan marched against the rebels at the head 

of Bengal and of a large army and defeated them. The 

Gwahor. government of Lakhnauti was conferred upon 


Malik Alauddin Jani, and order was restored in the province. 
In 1231 A.D. the Sultan undertook an expedition to Gwalior 
which had thrown off the yoke of Delhi during the brief 
reign of Aram Shah. Mangala Deva, the ruler of the place, 
offered a desperate resistance, and it was after a prolonged 
fight, jpfrich continued off and on for eleven months, that 
the fortress was captured in 1232 A.D. Mangala Deva 
effected his escape but a large number of his followers 
were captured and slain. 

13 JfA year later, the Sultan marched against Malwa and 

captured the fort of Bhilsa, from which place he proceeded 

rn . . . to Ujjain which easily fell into his hands. 

The close of 

a successful , The temple of Mahakali, one of the most 
career. venerated shrines in that city, wasdemol^^ 

and the idols were^rneToirtoTJelhi. The Sultan had to 
abandon the projected expedition against Banian on account 
of his ill-health, which ultimately grew worse, and he 
expired in his palace in 1235 A.D. 

lltutmish is undoubtedly the real founder of the Slave 
dynasty. It was he who consolidated the conquests that 

had been made by his master Qutb-ud-duu 
f He brou ht under his sway the whole of 

Hindustan except a few outlying provinces 
and displayed extraordinary vigour and intrepidity in deal- 
ing with his foes. Though he was always busy in military 
campaigns, he extended his patronage to the pious and the 
learned. He was deeply religious, and his observance of the 
faith led the Mulahidas to form a conspiracy to take his life, 
but luckily it proved abortive. The 3ultan was a great 
builder, and the Qutb Minar, whose massive grandeur and 
beauty of design are unrivalled, still stands as a worthy 
memorial of his greatness. As long as he lived, he 
p. 6 


behaved like a great monarch, and the contemporary chro- 
nicler Minhaj-us-Siraj extols his virtues in these words : 
'"never was a sovereign of such exemplary faith, of such 
kindness and reverence towards recluses, devotees, divines 
and doctors of religion and law, from the mother of creation 
ever enwrapped in swaddling bands of dominio*" 

Iltutmish, who was well aware of the incapacity of his 
sons, had nominated his daughter Reziya as his heir. But 
the nobles, who had a prejudice against the 
successors of succession of a female, placed upon the throne 
Iitutmish. prince Rukn-ud-din, a son of Iltutmish, a 

notorious debauchee, addicted to the most degrading sensual 
enjoyments. While the young prince was immersed in 
pleasures, the affairs of state were managed by his 
mother Shah Turkan, an ambitious lady, who had an 
inordinate love of power. But when mother and son 
Brought about the cruel murder of Qutb-ud-din, another 
ttince of the blood royal, the maliks and amirs assumed 
an attitude of hostility towards them. The governors of 
Oudh, BadSon, Hansi, Multan, and Lahore became openly 
hostile, while the crisis was precipitated by an attempt 
of the Queen-mother to take the life of Sultan Reziya, the 
eldest daughter and heiress-designate of Iltutmish. The con- 
spiracy was nipped in the bud, and Shah Turkan was taken 
prisoner by the infuriated mob. Rukn-ud-din was also seized, 
and thrown into prison where he died in 1236 A.D. The nobles 
now rallied round Reziya and saluted her as their sovereign. 
When Reziya was formally nominated as heir-apparent 
by her father, the ministers of the Sultan felt scandalised 
Sultan Rezi- at the elevation of a woman to royal dignity, 
ya's accession an( j urged upon him the imprudence of 

tp the throne. ^ ^ ^^^ ^ he replMf M y SOM 


engrossed in the pleasures of youth, and none of them 
possesses the capacity to manage the affairs of the country. 
After my death it will be seen that not one of them will 
be found to be more worthy of the heir-apparentship than 
my daughter." The advocates of male succession were 
thus^lenced, and Reziya was acknowledged heir to the 
throne. * 

Muhammad Junaidi, Wazir of the kingdom, did not 
acknowledge her right to the throne, and the provincial 
governors too offered opposition. It was a 
critical situation for Reziya, but Nasrat-ud-din 
Tayarsi, the feudatory of Oudh, who owed his 
position to her, came to her rescue. By her courage and 
diplomacy, the queen soon put down the rebellious maliks, 
and restored order throughout the kingdom. In the words 
of the chronicler, " from Lakhnauti to Debal and Damrilah 
all the maliks and amirs tendered obedience and submission." - 

Reziya was a talented woman. The contempora 
chronicler describes her as a " great sovereign and sagacic 
just, beneficent, the patron of the learnc 

Htr policy 1-1 

causes d i s- a disposer of justice, the chensher of 
content. j^ su bjects, and of warlike talent, and was 

endowed with all the admirable attributes and qualifications 
necessary for a king ; but, as she did not attain the destiny 
in her creation, of being computed among men, of what 
advantage were all these excellent qualifications to her." 
She tried her best to play the King. She cast off female 
garments, abandoned the seclusion of the zenana, donned 
the head-dress of a man, and transacted business in open 
darbar. She took an active part in campaigns against the 
Hindus and the rebellious Muslim chiefs, and herself led 
-an expedition against the governor of Lahore, who was 


compelled to acknowledge her authority. But her sex: 
proved her worst disqualification. As Elphinstone remarks, 
her talents and virtues were insufficient to protect her 
from a single weakness. It was shown in extraordinary 
marks of favour to her master of the horse, who, to* 
make her partiality more degrading, was an Abyisinian 
slave, Jamal-ud-din YaqQt. The freeborn Khans, whom 
the corps of the Turkish mamluks known as "the 
forty'' had superseded in power, resented the preference- 
which the queen showed to the Abyssinian. The feeling 
against the queen was further accentuated by her public 
appearance which shocked the orthodox Muslims. 

The first to raise the standard of revolt was Altunia, 
the rebel governor of Sarhind. Reziya forthwith started 
from the capital to put down the revolt. 
n ' a 8 When she reached Tabarhindah, the Turkish 
amirs slew her favourite Yaqut and imprison- 
ed her in the fort. But the artful queen proved too clever 
for her captors. She cast her spell on Altunia who con- 
tracted a marriage with her, and marched towards Delhi to 
recover the kingdom. Muiz-ud-din Bahram Shah, brother 
of Reziya, who had been proclaimed king by the amirs, 
led an army against the queen and her consort, and defeat- 
ed them. The partisans of Altunia deserted him, and 
together with his spouse he fell into the hands of the 
Hindus who put them to death in 1240 A.D. Reziya's 
reign lasted for three and a half years. 

Bahram Shah, brother of Reziya, who succeeded her, 

was a prince "fearless, full of courage and sanguinary." 

The confusion His reign was full of murder, treachery, and 

after Reriya's intrigue ; and disaffection became widespread 

^ when he adopted drastic measures to put 


down conspiracies. The Mongols made their appearance In 
Hindustan in 1241 A.D. and captured Lahore, Shortly 
afterwards the Sultan was assassinated, and waft 
succeeded by Alauddin Masud Shah, a grandson of 
Iltutmish. In 1245 A. D., the Mongols appeared again in 
Indik, but they were repelled with heavy losses. During 
the latter part of his reign, the Sultan began to behave 
like a tyrant and became inordinately fond of pleasure. 
Disaffection grew apace; and the amirs and maliks invited 
Nasir-ud-din, another son of Iltutmish, to take charge of the 
kingdom. Masud was thrown into prison in May 1246 A.D., 
where he died shortly afterwards. 

The throne of Delhi now fell to the lot of Nasir-ud-din 
Mahmud Shah, a younger son of Iltutmish, in 1246 A.D. 
He was a pious, God-fearing and kind-hearted 
Mahmud ddin ruler who patronised the learned and sym- 
pathised with the poor and the distressed. 
He led the retired and obscure life of a darvesh, denied to 
himself the pleasures of royalty, and earned his living by 
copying verses from the Quran. By character and tempera- 
ment he was unfitted to rule the kingdom of Delhi at a 
time, when internal factions and Hindu revolts conspired 
to weaken the monarchy, and the Mongols hammered upon 
the gates of India. But fortunately the Sultan had an 
able minister ifl ( BalbaiL- who guided the domestic as well 
as the foreign policy of the state throughout his master's 

Balban was a Turk of the tribe of Ilbari, and his father 
was a Khan of 10,000 families. He was, in his youth, 
captured by the Mongols, who conveyed him 
to Baghdad, where he was purchased by 
Khwaja Jamal-ud-din of Basra* The latter 


took him to Delhi where he was purchased by lltutmish. 
Balban was appointed Khasah-bardar (personal attendant) 
to the Sultan, and was enrolled in the famous corps of 
forty slaves. Under Reziya he was Dromoted to the rank of 
Amir-i-Shikar (Lord of the Hunt). QBahram entrusted to 
him the fief of Rewari, to which was afterwards added 
the district of HanSK 

When the Mongols under their leader Mangu, invaded 
Sindh and laid siege to the fortress of Uccha in 1245 A.D., 
Balban organised a large army to repel their attack. It was 
his military vigour and intrepidity which inflicted a crushing 
defeat on the Mongols, and won such brilliant success for the 
arms of Islam. When Nasir-ud-din ascended the throne in 
1246 A.D., he was appointed principal minister of the state. 
r Balban crossed the Ravi in 1246 A.D., ravaged the Jud 
anckJilam hills, and suppressed the Khokhars and other con- 
tumacious tribes. He undertook several expeditions to the 
Doab to chastise the refractory Hindu Rajas. The Rana of 
Malaki, the country between Kalanjar and Kara, was 
subdued, and Mewat and Ranthambhar were ravaged. The 
rebellious Muslim governors were suppressed, and Gwalior, 
Chanderi, Malwa, and Narwar were subduedA 

Six months later, when the Sultan marched towards 
Uccha and Multan, Imad-ud-din Rihan, who was jealous of 
Balban's influence, excited the maliks and poisoned the ears 
of the Sultan against him. The great minister was con- 
sequently banished from the court in 1253 A.D., and 
Imad-ud-din was installed as Vakil-i-dar l at the capital. 

Imad-ud-din was a renegade Hindu, and his tutelage 
now galled, the pride of the maliks and nobles of the court, 

1 The principal duty of the Vakil-i-dar was to hold the keys of the 
gate of the king's palace. The office existed among the Mughals also 
abd was no doubt considered important by them. 


who were all " Turks of pure lineage and Tajziks of 
noble birth," and looked upon it as a disgrace to serve 
under him. The administration grew lax, and from all 
sides requests poured in upon the Sultan to dismiss the 
vile upstart. The powerful maliks eventually persuaded 
the Sultan to order the dismissal of Rihan. He was ordered 
to the fief of Badaon, and Balban returned to the capital 
in triumph in February 1254 A.D. 

When Qutlugh Khan, governor of Oudh, revolted in 
1255 A.D., Balban marched against him and obliged him 
to withdraw. The former was assisted by 
of RebenS a11 the disaffected maliks and Hindus, and 
was joined by Iz-ud-din Balban Kashlu Khan, 
governor of Sindh, who, also, following the evil example 
of Qutlugh Khan, revolted. The two maliks effected a 
junction of their armies near Saman# and marched towards 
the capital, but were unable to put into execution their 
ppf ar iong project. Towards the close of the year 1257 A.D. 
the Mongols again invaded Sindh, but when the royal 
forces marched against them, they retreated. 

The last expedition was against the hilly country of 

Mewat in the year 1259 A.D., where the rebels under their 

leader Malka, a Hindu, plundered and de- 

pedition 8t ex ~ stroyed villages, and harassed the peasantry 

in the districts of Hariana, Sewalik and 

Biyana. Ulugh Khan crushed the rebels and cleared the 

whole country of these pests. 

For full two decades Balban preserved the state from 
many a danger, and put down with an iron hand the ele- 
ments of disorder and- strife. The frontier 
posts were strongly garrisoned ; a large and 
efficient army was constructed, and the 


Mongols were successfully repelled. The rebellions of the 
refractory Hindus were effectively suppressed, and the 
disaffected amirs and maliks too were curbed. But for 
Balban's vigour and energy, the kingdom of Delhi would 
have hardly survived the shocks of internal revolts and 
external invasions. 

After Nasir-ud-din's death in 1266 A.D., the mantle of 
sovereignty devolved upon Balban. His first task was to 
reorganise the administration, and to take 
effective steps to prevent the recurring Mon- 
gol raids. Barani writes : "Fear of the 
governing power, which is the basis of all good government, 
and the source of the glory and splendour of states, had 
departed from the hearts of all men, and the country had 
fallen into a wretched condition. " By means of drastic- 
punishments and relentless measures the new Sultan, who 
was an adept in the art of government, suppressed the 
elements of disorder anjL taught people obedience and 

The first need of Balban was a large and efficient army. 
The cavalry and infantry, both old and new, were placed 
under maliks of experience, who had given 

proof of their coura ^ e and lo y alt y in man y 

battles. With the help of this army, he es- 
tablished order in the lands of the Doab and the environs 
of Delhi. The turbulence of the Mewatis had become a 
serious menace to the throne of Delhi. They carried their 
predatory raids in the vicinity of the capital, and at night 
" they used to come prowling into the city, giving all kinds 
of trouble, depriving the people of their rest/' So great was 
their audacity that the western gate of the capital had to 
be closed at the time of afternoon prayer, and even the 


rgarb of a mendicant was no protection against their high- 
handedness. The Sultan cleared the jungles and inflicted 
a crushing defeat upon them. rTo provide for the security 
-of the capital, he built outposts which were strongly 
garrisoned by Afghans, to whom grants of land were made 
for maintenance. The noblemen and officers, who were 
left in charge of the country, thoroughly subjugated it, and 
put to the sword thousands of these miscreants. In the 
heart of the Doab the greatest insecurity prevailed ; and 
Kampil, Patiali, and Bhojpur were the strongholds of 
robbers, who infested the roads and rendered impossible 
the transport of merchandise from one place to another. 
The Sultan^ proceeded in person to quell these disorders, 
anft posted strong Afghan garrisons to put down brigand- 
age) and lawlessness. " The den of the robbers was 
thus converted into a guard-house, and Musalmans and 
guardians of the way took the place of highway robbers/' 
so that sixty years afterwards Barani was able to record 
with satisfaction that the roads had been freed from robbers 
and the lives of the wayfarers rendered secure. 

y Having suppressed the outlaws, the Sultan led an 
expedition into the mountains of Jud and chastised the 
hill tribes. Two years later he proceeded against the fort 
which had been destroyed by the Mongols. The whole 
country was laid waste, and order was restored. This 
brief campaign once again revealed to the Sultan the 
unfitness of the old Shams! veterans, who had enjoyed 
liberal grants of land for the last thirty or forty years. 
It appeared that about 2,000 horsemen of the army of 
-Shams-ud-din held villages in the Doab in lieu of salary. 
Many of the grantees were old and infirm, and many had 
<died, and their sons had taken possession of their lands 


and caused their names to be entered in the records of 
the Ariz (muster-master). These holders of service lands 
called themselves proprietors and professed to have received 
the lands in free gift from Sultan Shams-ud-din. Some 
of them performed their military duties in a leisurely 
manner, others stayed at home making excuses, and bribed 
the Deputy Muster-master and his officials to condone 
their neglect of duty. The Sultan at once issued an order 
for holding an enquiry into the condition of these service 
tenures, and a list of all grantees was prepared. This 
order caused a feeling of dismay among the members of 
the military oligarchy, which had held so far a monopoly 
of all favour and privilege in the state. Some of these 
old Khans approached Fakhr-ud-din, the Kotwal of Delhi, 
who was supposed to have influence with the Sultan, and 
requested him to intercede in their behalf. The Kotwal 
eloquently pleaded the cause of these aged veterans, and 
the Sultan was moved with compassion to cancel the 
resumption of their estates. Though the original order 
was revoked, the Khans lost much of their former influence 
and tamely submitted to Balban's dictation. 

( Balban organised the internal administration on a most 
efficient basis. It wasjfralf civil, half military. He was 

himself the fountain of all authority, and 
government! 1 enforced his commands with the greatest 

rigour. Even his own sons who held import- 
ant provinces were not allowed much initiative, and had to 
refer to the Sultan all complicated matters on which he 
passed final orders, which were to be strictly enforced. In 
administering justice he never showed partiality even 
towards his own kith and kin, and when any of his relations 
or associates committed an act of injustice, he never failed 


to grant redress to the aggrieved party. So great was the- 
dread of the Sultan's inexorable justice that no one dared 
to ill-treat his servants and slaves. When Malik Barbak, 
one of the courtiers, who held a jSglr of 4,000 horse and 
the fief of Badaon, caused one of his servants to be scourged 
to death, his widow complained to the Sultan. He ordered 
the Malik to be flogged similarly in the presence of the 
complainant, and publicly executed the spies who had 
failed to report his misconduct. A well;_est^ 
tern of espionage iaJnseparable from despotism, and Bal- 
ban with a view to make the administration of justice 
more efficient appointed spies in his fiefs, who reported 
to him all acts of injustice. To make these reports 
accurate and honest, he greatly restricted the field of 
individual observation, and when the report was made, he 
showed no indulgence on the score of rank or birth. Even 
Bughra Khan's movements were watched by the spies, 
and it is said that the Sultan took great pains to keep himself 
informed of his activities. These spies no doubt checked 
crime and protected innocent persons against the high- 
handedness of those in power, but their presence must have 
demoralised the community and led to the suppression of even 
the most legitimate and harmless amenities of social lif&j). 
But the one all-absorbing pre-occupation of the Sultan 
was the fear of the recurring Mongol invasions. Although 

he possessed a large and disciplined army, he 
goiT M " " never left Delhi, and devised measures to 

safeguard his dominions against the raids of 
these nomad hordes. The Mongols had seized Lahore and 
every year harried the lands of Sindh and the Punjab. The 
Sultan never moved from the capital, and kept a vigilant 
watch upon the vulnerable parts of the empire. The 


provinces of Multan and Samana, which were most exposed 
to attack, being near to the northern frontier, were 
-entrusted to his own sons, Muhammad and Bugrhra Khan, 
who maintained large and well-trained armies to fight against 
the Mongols. But this constant fear greatly influenced the 
foreign policy of Balban. He never attempted the conquest 
of any distant country ; his whole attention was concen- 
trated upon measures to guard himself and his kingdom 
-against the Mongols. Even the administrative organisation 
was carried out with a view to strengthen the government 
to cope with these calamitous raids. IFrom Amir KhusrauV 
description of these nomad savaglj, which is somewhat 
tinged by the poet's own feelings, for he had on one occasion 
fallen into their hands, we can form some idea of the horrors 
which their recurring raids implied. He writes: "There" 
were more than a thousand Tartar infidels and warriors of 
other tribes, riding on camels, great commanders in battle, , 
^11 with steel-like bodies clothed in cotton ; with faces like 
fire, with caps of sheepskin, with heads shorn. Their eyes' 
were so narrow and piercing that they might have bored 
4 hole in a brazen vessel. . . Their faces were set on 
their bodies as if they had no neck. Their cheeks resembled 
soft leathern bottles, full of wrinkles and knots. Their noses 
extended from cheek to cheek, and their mouths from 
cheek-bone to cheek-bone. . . Their moustaches were of 

1 Abul Hasan, better known by his now de plume of Amir Kbusrau 
by far the greatest Muslim poet of India, was born at Patiali in 651 A.H. 
(1263 A.D.), and died at Delhi in 726 A.H. (1324-26 A.D.) While yet a 
boy, he became a disciple of Shaikh Nizam-ud-din Aulia. He entered the 
service of Balban as an attendant on his son Prinoe Muhammad, who 
was fond of the society of the learned. Gradually he rose into promi- 
nence and was elevated to the Fflflifr' " f fl *\ft nnnfi fa""!^ He died of 
flffcf at th d^h of hifl ffl-vmirite saint Nizam-ud-dinAulia. He Has 
Written numerous works' brie! notices of which are fWen Iff Elliot, III, 
pp. 67 92, 62367. 


extravagant length. They had but scanty beards about their 
chins . . . They looked like so many white demons, and the 
people fled from them everywhere in affright/ 1 1 Hardy and 
heartless invaders such as these, coming from the cooler 
regions beyond the Hindukush, could not be trifled with, 
and Balban was led by the instinct of sheer self-preserva- 
tion to ignore all other things and keep his army ever on, 
the war-path to repel their oft-repeated incursions. 

Tughril Khan, the governor of Bengal, 2 who had beea 
appointed by Balban, was led astray by his evil counsellors. 

Tughril's Be- They tol(i him that the Sultan was old and hi S 

r beiiioD, 1279 two sons were occupied in dealing with the 
AlD - Mongol attacks, and the leaderless nobler 

possessed neither men nor munitions to march to Lakhnauti 
to frustrate his attempt at independence. Tughril readily 
listened to this false and mischievous advice ftnd " allowed 
the egg of ambition to be hatched in his head. " He attacked 
Jajnagar, carried off a large booty consisting of valuable 
goods and elephants, and kept it all for himself. This act 
of disloyalty was consummated by a formal declaration of 
independence, when he assumed the royal title of Sultan 
Mughis-ud-din, struck coins, and caused the khutba to be 
read in his own name. The possession of vast wealth en- 
abled him to bestow large gifts upon his associates. As 
Barani writes, money closed the eyes of the clear-sighted, 
and greed of gold kept the more politic in retirement. 
Sedition became so rife that the soldiers as well as the 

1 For further account of these savages, see Elliot, III, Appendix, 
pp. 528-29. 

* Tughril was originally a Turkish slave who had been purchased 
, by Balban. Being a brave and warlike man, he subdued the Rajas of 
; the neighbouring countries and compelled them to pay tribute. 



citizens ceased to fear the sovereign power, and gave their 
adhesion to the rebellious governor. 

The Sultan was much disturbed by the news of this 
revolt. A royal army crossed the SarjQ and marched to- 
wards Lakhnauti, but when it reached Bengal, it Was opposed 
and defeated by Tughril, who had drawn to his banner by 
means of his liberality numerous adherents frpm the country 
districts. The troops of Delhi fled, and many of them 
deserted their colours and went over to the enemy. 

Another expedition met with a like fate. Emboldened by 
his success, Tughril marched out of Lakhnauti, fell upon the 
army of Delhi, and completely defeated it. The news of this 
defeat overwhelmed the Sultan with shame and anger, and 
he swore vengeance upon the rebels. Having entrusted the 
affairs of Delhi to Malik Fakhr-ud-din, he proceeded towards 
Samana and Sunnam, and asked his son Bughra Khan to 
accompany him to Bengal. Prince Muhammad was asked to 
take care of the province in his charge, and to keep a vigilant 
eye upon the Mongols. At the head of a large army, the 
Sultan started for Lakhnauti in spite of the rains. He order- 
ed a general levy in Oudh, and enrolled about two lakhs of 
men in his army. A large flotilla of boats was constructed, 
and the royal troops crossed the Sarju, but their passage 
in the marshy land of Bengal was delayed by the rains. 
The royal army wended its way through mud and water 
to the capital of Bengal only to find that the rebel, deeming 
himself unable to withstand the Sultan, had fled towards 
the wilds of Jajnagar, taking with him treasure, elephants 
and a picked body of fighting men. He was pursued by 
the royal troops, and the Sultan publicly declared that he 
would never abandon the pursuit, cost him what time and 
trouble it might. He gave the soldiers some idea of his 


mighty resolve, when he told them that they were playing 
for half the kingdom of Delhi, and, if Tughril took to the 
water, he would pursue him and would never return to 
Delhi, or even mention it, until the 'blood of the rebel and 
his followers had been poured out. Many of them despaired 
<>f ever returning to their homes and made their wills. A 
large party of horsemen was sent in search of Tughril, but 
no trace of him was to be found. After a diligent search 
the camp of Tughril was discovered, and the royal horsemen 
rudely interrupted the joyous life led by him and his men 
in these bucolic surroundings. His army fled from the field 
panic-stricken, and he himself, mounted asaddleless horse 
^nd tried to gallop to a stream which ran hard by. He was 
pursued by the royalists, and an arrow which pierced him 
on the side at once brought him down. His head was 
severed from the body, which was flung into the river, 
and his women, children, and dependents were all captured 
by the victors. The Sultan was pleased to hear of the 
success of this expedition, and suitably rewarded the men 
who had risked their lives in his service 

Balban returned to Lakhnauti where gibbets were erected 
on both sides in the bazar, and the relations and accomplices 
of Tughril were hanged mercilessly. These terrible punish- 
ments went on for two or three days, and it is said that 
even the Qazis and Muftis obtained their pardon with great 
difficulty. When the work of slaughter was over, Balban 
made arrangements for the restoration of order in the 
country. He entrusted the province to his son Bughra Khan 
whom he asked to recove^and hold in peace the rest of 
Bengal and to eschew convivial parties. Then he asked 
the Prince with a stern look: M jD|dst thpusee?" The 
Prince did not understand what his father meant to convey 


by this enigmatical question. The Sultan again said, "Didst: 
tfiou see ? " The perplexed Prince returned no answer and 
the Sultan repeated the question for the third time and 
added, ''You saw my punishments in the bazar." The 
Prince bent down his head in profound submission, and 
the pitiless father addressed him in these words : "If ever- 
designing and evil-minded persons should incite you to- 
waver in your allegiance to Delhi and to throw off its 
authority, then remember the vengeance which you have 
seen exacted in the bazar. Understand me and forget 
not that if the governors of Hind or Sindh, of Malwa or 
Gujarat, of Lakhnauti or Sonargaon, shall draw the sword 
and become rebels to the throne of Delhi, then such punish- 
ment as has fallen upon Tughril and his dependents will 
fall upon them, their wives, their children, and all their 
adherents. " He called Bughra Khan again for a second 
interview and gave him valuable advice about political 
affairs. On the day of his departure, he embraced him 
affectionately and bade him farewell. On his return to 
Delhi he ordered gibbets to be erected again for the 
execution of those residents of Delhi and its environs, who 
had assisted in the late rebellion. It was with great 
difficulty that the Qazi of the army was able to persuade 
the Sultan to desist from such a frightful proceeding. 

The rebellion was effectively suppressed, but a great 
lomestic bereavement befell the Sultan. When the Mongols 
Death of under their lead^rjjajowu invaded the Punjab- 
in 1285 A.D., his son, Prince Muhammad, 
^Q was placed in charge of Multan, marched 
awards Lahore and Dipalpur to repel their attack. He was 
tefeated and killed in the encounter that followed, and hia 
jqprifiee won him the posthumous title of the " Martyr 


Prince." The Sultan was so stricken with grief that, 
shortly afterwards, he died in 1286 A.D., leaving a will 
in which he nominated his grandson Kai-Khusrau as his 
successor. No sooner were his eyes closed in death than 
the nobles and officers opposed his last testament and elevat- 
ed Kaiqubad to the throne, an unhappy choice, which ulti- 
mately led to the fall of the Slave dynasty. 
I^Balban's career, full of strenuous activity, extending 
over a period of forty years, is unique in the annals of 

mediaeval India. He enhanced the dignity 
of BaTb 8 ^ ahty * of the kingly office, and established peace and 

order by a policy of 'blood and iron/ He 
maintained a splendid court where he presented himself 
on public occasions with great magnificence. He always 
behaved like a well-bred oriental monarch ; his sense of 
kingly dignity was so great that he never appeared but in 
full dress even before his private servants. He never 
laughed aloud nor joked in his darbar ; nor did he permit 
any one to indulge in laughter or amusement in his presence. 
He despised the company of the low and the vulgar, and 
nothing could ever draw him into unnecessary familiarity 
either with friends or strangers. So punctilious was he in 
maintaining the prestige of his office that on one occasion 
he refused a proffered gift of some lakhs from a rich upstart 
who had accumulated a vast fortune, but who could not 
boast of a lofty gedjgcee. Low birth was the grea^e^ dis- 
qualification for public office, and the nobles and officers 
never dared to recommend any but a well-born man for 
employment in the state. Balban had been food of wine in 
his youth,, Jbjut he sswud&t^J jye it up H whaa he became 
king. He took delight in hunting excursiQRSl fuwi oftto 
went out on long expeditions. In his private life, he wad*a 
F. 7 


kind-hearted man. He loved his sons and relatives* and 
even towards strangers who sought shelter at his court, he 
behaved with great generosity. Though his lot was cast in 
stormy times* he took interest in letters and extended his 
patronage to literary men. All things considered* Balban 
was a most remarkable ruler who saved the infant Muslim 
State in India from the Mongol peril, and by establishing 
social order paved the way for the military and administra- 
tive reforms of Alauddin Khilji. \l 

Balban's death left a void thatVould not be filled. There 
was none among his survivors, who could wield the sceptre 
which he had swayed for twenty years with 
f such * bilit y and success. The personal factor 
counted for much in mediaeval politics, and 
as soon as the master-hand of Balban was removed by death, 
the affairs of the state fell into confusion, and the old 
confidence in the justice and strength of the administration 
was completely shaken. 

Kaiqubad who was only seventeen years of age was 
elevated to the throne through the intrigues of the Kotwal 
of Delhi. From his childhood, he had been brought up 
with such care that he was never allowed to have even a 
look at a fair damsel, or taste a cup of wine. Day and 
night he was watched by his tutors who taught him tfie 
polite arts and manly exercises, and never permitted him to 
do an improper act or utter an indecent word. Such a prince 
found himself all of a sudden in the possession of a mighty 
kingdom, the vast wealth of which could afford everything 
that was needed for personal enjoyment. He cast to the 
winds all lessons of prudence and self-restraint, and at once 
changed his enforced Puritanism for a life of debauch and 
pleasure. Balban's work was undone ; the example of the 


king was followed by the nobles and the ministers so that 
court life became notoriously corrupt, and men of all ranks 
gave themselves up to the pursuit of pleasure. 

While Kaiqubad spent his time in drunken revels and 
orgies, the business of government was carried on by Malik 
Nizam-ud-din, son-in-law of the influential Kotwal of Delhi, 
who had deftly wormed himself into the confidence of the 
Sultan. Nizam-ud-din was a highly ambitious man; his 
arrogance and ascendancy offended the veteran Khans, 
who had since the days of Aibek and lltutmish served the 
state with signal devotion. Bughra Khan's absence in 
Bengal, the decline of the power of the nobles, and the 
intemperance and licentiousness of Kaiqubad led Nizam-ud- 
din to harbour designs of usurping the throne at a favour- 
able moment. But this nefarious plan could not succeed 
unless Kai Khusrau, the heir-designate of Balban, who still 
commanded the respect and esteem of the nobility, was got 
rid of. With such thoughts in his mind the minister ap- 
proached his insensate master, and obtained his assent to the 
prince's murder in a state of intoxication. The unsuspecting 
young prince was called away from Multan, and on his way 
to Delhi was murdered near Rohtak. 

This murder sent a thrill of horror throughout the 
whole country. Parties were formed, and the Khilji Amir 
Jalal-ud-din Firuz, who held the office of the AriH-wcfc- 
malik (muster-master) placed himself at the head of a 
powerful faction. The power of Jalal-ud-din increased, and 
several Turkish Maliks and Amirs went over to his side, 
thinking that resistance was impossible. Two days later 
Sultan Kaiqubad was murdered in his .palace of mirrors by 
a Khilji Malik, and his corpse was thrown into the Jamna. 

Suck was the inglorious end of the Slave kings of Deity. 


Jalal-ud-din Firuz now obtained the support of friends and 
foes and ascended the throne at Kilughari. But the people 
of Delhi were hostile to the Khiljis ; they extended no wel- 
come to Firuz, and it took him some time to reconcile then* 
to his usurpation. 

The conquest of Hindustan accomplished with great 
ease by the Muslims was primarily due to the weakness of 
The causes ^ e Eti n( * u soc * et y which .had lost its old 
of Muslim sue- vigour owing to mutual jealousies and dis~ 
ce88 " sensions. The whole country was split up 

into a number of independent states, often fighting against 
one another. There was no dearth of military talent in the 
country, for the Rajputs were the finest soldiers and were 
scarcely inferior to the Muslims in courage and determina- 
tion. The Muslims came from the cooler regions beyond the 
Afghan hills and displayed much vigour and energy in actual 
campaign. They possessed better organisation, discipline 
and coherence. Islam is one great brotherhood in which the 
high and the low, the rich and the poor are all alike and no 
distinctions are made between man and man. The practice 
of proselytism ordained by Islam inspired its followers with 
the fanatical zeal of the missionary which made them stand 
united in a solid phalanx against their enemies. As Lane* 
Poole says, " the very bigotry of their creed was an instru- 
ment of self-preservation ; in mere self-defence they must 
hold together as God's elect in the face of the heathen, and 
they must win over proselytes from the Hindus, whether by 
persuasion or by the sword, to swell their isolated minority." 
ft was devotion to the faith which made them so violent 
and aggressive in dealing with non-Muslims. The Musal- 
man cheerfully risked his life in the service of his faith 
and made the heaviest sacrifices. As compared with the 


Muslims, the Hindus were weak and divided and had only 
clan or caste interests to uphold. The caste system created 
artificial barriers which prevented the unification of the 
various groups for purposes of common defence and safety. 
Even the most distinguished generals and warriors found 
it difficult to shake off the influence of caste, and were often 
arrayed in hostile camps even when they were confronted 
by a common enemy. 

The military system of the Hindus was out of date and 
old-fashioned. Their too much dependence upon elephants 
was dangerous when they had to fight against fierce and 
well-trained cavalry leaders. Experiei^ce furnished ample 
warning, but it was constantly disregarded by Hindu 
generals who adhered with great tenacity to their old 
methods of warfare. The Musalmans had an excellent 
recruiting ground in the countries beyond the Afghan hills, 
from where they could constantly bring fresh levies to fight 
against the Hindu hosts. Large numbers of men, attracted 
by the wealth of India and the love of adventure, enrolled 
themselves in the armies of men like Mahmud of Ghazni 
and Muhammad of Ghor, whereas the Hindus had to confine 
themselves to one country and very often to a single prin- 
cipality, whose dimensions were not greater than those of 
a modem province. The political system of the Hindus 
restricted military duties to a particular class, so that the 
great mass of the people were either unfit for military 
service or indifferent to the political revolutions which shook 
Indian society to its base. Every time, the Rajputs tried 
to check the advance of the foreigners, but unsupported by 
national will or national strength, they could not hold out 
long against such formidable foes. Thus, the Muslims, 
when they came in contact with the disunited and enfeebled 


faces of Hindustan, found little difficulty in obtaining* 
victory over them. The war between the two peoples was 
really a struggle between two different social systems, the 
one, old and decadent, and the other, full of youthful vigour 
and enterprise. 

Another great source of strength to the Muslims was 
their slave system. Sometimes it produced extremely 
capable men like lltutmish and Balban, who were infinitely 
superior to the average men who inherited crowns and 
kingdoms by the mere accident of birth. To be the slave 
of a great king or captain of war was looked upon as a 
privilege in the Islamic east, and often men of servile origin 
were deemed equal or even superior to the purest aristocrats. 
Stanley Lane-Poole's remarks on the efficacy of the slave 
system deserve to be quoted: "JiVhile a brilliant ruler'a 
qon is apt to be a failure, the slaves of a real leader of mep 
have often proved the equals of their master. The reason, 
of 66Uf86, IB that tbe son is a mere speculation, he may 
or may not inherit his father's talents : even if he does, the 

SUCCeSS and power ** thy fathAr or^atea an 

of luxury that does not encourage effort : and, gopd or 
Jifesonis an immovable fixture: op lv a fa ther with an 
exceptional sense of public duty would execute an incom- 
petent son to make room for a talented slave. On the 
other hand the slave is the ' survival of the fittest' ; he is 
chosen for physical and mental abilities, and he can hope 
to retain his position in his master's favour only by vigilant 
effort and hard service. Should he be found wanting, his 
fate is sealed/' 1 

* Medical India, p. 64 



The throne of Delhi now passed into the hands of the 
Khilji Turks, and in a public Durbar held at Kilughari 
T - p Uti ,,. the soldiers and citizens all tendered fealty 
the new Sultan. Gradually he established 

> an( j the " excellence of his 
character, his justice, his generosity and devotion gradual- 
ly removed the aversion of the people, and hopes of 
grants of land assisted in conciliating, though grudging- 
ly and unwillingly, the affections of his people. " Firug 
was a good old man of seventy, who was averse to bloocf 
shed and war, but his mildness and tenderness fostered 
sedition in the state and encouraged the spirit of rebel- 
lion and disorder. In the second year of the reigr 
Balban's nephew Malik Chajju, who held the fief of Kara, 
broke out into rebellion. He marched towards Delhi a1 
the head of a considerable force, but when the royal armj 
approached, his followers dispersed in fear. Those who 
were captured were brought before the Sultan who 
granted them a pardon and entrusted Kara to his 
nephew and son-in-law Alauddin. 

The Sultan's foreign policy was as weak and timid as 
his domestic policy. The expedition against Ranthambhor 
failed, and the Sultan's army returned in disappointment 
to the capital. Better. success attended his anna 



tiie Mongols invaded Hindustan under their leader HalSkEL 
They were defeated and massacred in large numbers. At 
last peace was made with them and they were allowed to 
settle near Delhi. This policy had disastrous consequences: 
for Mughalpur became a centre of intrigue and disaffec- 
tion and caused much anxiety to the rulers of Delhi. 

Alauddin, the Sultan's nephew and son-in-law, had 
been entrusted with the fief of Kara and Oudh. Removed 
from the control of the Sultan, Alauddin, 
expedition "to who was an ambitious man, conceived the 

Devagir, 1294 fc^ pro ject of making a raid upon Devagir, 
which is one of the most memorable feats 
in the annals of mediaeval India. He had heard of 
the fabulous wealth of Devagir, the capital of the 
Yadava Rajas of Maharashtra, and eagerly longed to 
obtain possession of it. 

He marched at the head of 8,000 horse and reached 
Elichpur not far from the frontiers of the Maratha king- 
dom. From Elichpur he proceeded towards Ghati-lajaura, 
at a distance of 12 miles from Devagir without encounter- 
ing any opposition. When Ramachandra, the Raja of 
Devagir, heard of the enemy's advance, he shut himself 
up in his fortress and resolved to face the attack of the 
Muslims. Meanwhile Alauddin's troops entered the town 
and levied a heavy contribution upon the merchants and 
bankers. Ramachandra was frightened by the rumour 
that the Sultan was also coming towards the Deccan at 
the head of 20,000 horse, and he offered to make peace. 
He agreed to pay a ransom of fifty mans of gold, seven 
man* of pearls, and other valuable things in addition to 
forty elephants, some thousands of horses, and the 
plunder which he had already collected from the city. 


When Ramachandra's son Sankara Deva heard of this 
peace, he hastened to the rescue of his father and asked 
Alauddin to restore whatever booty he had seized from 
his father and to leave the province quietly. Alauddin 
treated this demand as an insult and proceeded to attack 
&ankara, leaving a thousand horse to invest the fort, but 
in the encounter that followed, the Maratha army 
defeated the Muslims and dispersed them in all direc- 
tions. The arrival of the force which Alauddin had left 
to conduct the siege of the fort, infused a fresh hope 
into the Musalman army. A panic seized the Hindus, 
and they sustained a severe defeat. Enormous booty 
fell into the hands of the victorious general, who demand- 
ed the cession of Elichpur for the support of the garri- 
son which he intended to leave behind. These terms 
having been accepted by Ramachandra, Alauddin return- 
ed to Kara in triumph. 

The Sultan was delighted at the success of his 
nephew. Accompanied by a scanty retinue, he crossed 
the Ganges in a barge and met Alauddin with a few 
adherents. When the old man affectionately embraced 
him, he was murdered, and the royal party was put to 
the sword. The Sultan's head was paraded in the army, 
and Alauddin was proclaimed king of Delhi. 

On his accession to the throne Alauddin found himself 
confronted with a difficult situation. The Jalali nobles had 
Aiauddin'8 not y et completely forgotten the murder of 
early difficui- their good old chief, and secretly plotted to 
tie8 ' avenge it. The Queen-mother MalikaJahan, 

whomJBarani describes *' aa ong 9^ thfi-sillifist-QfJJie silly* n 
fomented intrigues to push forward the claims of her own 
aons Arkali Khan and Qadr Khan. The hostile nobles an{L 


bv laviflH gjftfl omotJQtifl 

hiyh office, while the common people were reconciled ta 
the new regime by scattering gold stars amongst them 
from mcmynia** Malika Jahan, who had raised to the* 
throne Qadr Khan under the title of Rukn-ud-din Ibrahim, 
wrote to Arkali Khan at Multan asking him to come ta 
Delhi, but he excused himself on the ground that the 
defection of the nobles had made the task of restoration 
absolutely impossible. When Alauddin reached near the 
capital, Rukn-ud-din Ibrahim came out of the city to op- 
pose his progress, but in the middle of the night, the left 
wing of his army went over to the enemy. The prince,. 
taking some bags full of gold tankSs and a few horses* 
from the stables, made off for Multan. Alauddin then 
made his triumphal entry into the plain of Siri, where he 
received the homage of all parties. K^rani- describes the 
situation in these words : "the throne was now secure, 
and the revenue officers and the keepers of elephants 
with their elephants, and the kotwals with the keys of 
the forts, and the magistrates and the chief men of the 
city came out to Alauddin, and a new order of things was 
established. His wealth and power were great ; so 
whether individuals paid their allegiance or whether 
they did not, mattered little, for the KutbS was read 
and coins were struck in his name." 

Having secured his power, Alauddin turned to combat 
the great danger of the ever- recurring Mongol raids. He 

completed the work of Balban and effectively 
** garrisoned the frontier outposts of the king- 

dom. The Mongols came again and again, 
tot they were repulsed with heavy tosses. In the second 
of the reign, Amir Daud, the ruler of Tranaoxian* 


advanced with an army of 100,000 Mongols with a view 
to conquer Multan, the Punjab and Sindh, but Ulugh 
Khan drove them back with heavy losses. The Mongols 
did.not mind this discomfiture and appeared again under 
their leader Saldj. Zaf ar Khan marched against them and 
QM^MpKiremongol Saldi and his 2,000 followers, and 
sent them in chains to Delhi. But the most dreadful* 
invasion of the Mongols occurred in the year 1298 A.D. r 
when flutlugfr Jfchwaia. at the head of a countless host, 
advanced against Delhi. A feeling of consternation 
spread among the population, and a war council was 
forthwith summoned by the Sultan fd devise means of 
repelling the attack of the enemy. Zafar Khan and 
Ulugh Khan proceeded against them, and the Sultan 
himself took the field in person at the head of 12,000 
well-equipped volunteers. The Mongols were defeated 
and dispersed, though Zafar Khan, the greatest warrior 
of the age, was slain in the thick of the fight. Just at 
this time, Targhi, another Mongol leader, appeared at the 
head of aTWnsfcterable force, but the danger was averted 
through the good offices of Nizam-ud-din Aulia. Notwith- 
standing these reverses, the Mongol raids did not cease, 
and in 1304 A.D. f jMiJBeg and Khwaja Tash, marching to 
the north of Lahore "and skirtffig13ie^walik hills, made 
an incursion into Hindustan, and penetrated as far as 
Amroha. Ghazi Tughluq, who was warden of the marches 
at Dipalpur, marched against them and inflicted heavy 
losses upon them. This was followed by other raids, but 
Ghazi Tughluq again rose equal to the occasion and 
repulsed the invading hordes. When Iqbalmandg came 
with a large force, the Sultan sent an army aganurt him. 
He was defeated and slain, and thousands of Mongda 


were massacred. Several of the Mongol Amirs who were 
commanders of one thousand or one hundred were 
captured alive, and were trampled under the feet of 
elephants by the order of the Sultan. The Mongols were 
30 frightened by his forays into their country that they 
never appeared again in Hindustan. To ^gSl&jtr his 
dominions against the Mongols, the Sultan adopteS*the 
frontier policy of Balban. All old forts that lay on the 
route of the Mongols were repaired, and veteran com- 
manders were placed in charge of them. The outposts of 
Samana and Dipalpur were garrisoned and kept in a state 
of defence. The royal army was considerably strengthen- 
ed, and in the workshops of the state engineers were 
employed to manufacture weapons of all kinds, to fight 
against the enemy. 

Having got rid of these nomad hordes, Alauddin turned 

his attention to foreign conquest Ulugh Khan and Nusrat 

Khan had conquered Gujarat and Nehrwala, 

The g r a n d an( j subjected the merchants of Cambay to 

designs of the , , , _, _ . . _. . ^ 

Sultan. a heavy blackmail. The Baghela Rajput, 

Karan, had fled from his country, leaving 
his wife and children to be captured by the invaders in 
1297 A.D. From all sides came the news of success, and 
enormous booty flowed into the coffers of the Sultan. 
Barani writes : "All this prosperity intoxicated him.* 
Vast desires and great aims far beyond him formed their 
germs in his brain, and he entertained fancies which had 
never occurred to any king before him. In his exulta- 
tion, ignorance and folly, he quite lost his head, forming 
the most impossible schemes and nourishing the most 
extravagant desires. He was bad-tempered, obstinate 
and hard-hearted, but the world smiled upon him, 


fortune befriended him and his schemes were generally 
iccessful, so he only became the more reckless and 
brrogaut." He became so presumptuous that he began 
to cherish the dream of founding a new religion and 
going out into the world in search of conquest like 
Alexander the Great. On these ambitious schemes he 
used to expatiate in the following manner : " God Al- 
mighty gave the blessed Prophet four friends, through 
whose energy and power the law and religion were estab- 
lished, and through this establishment of law and religion 
the name of the Prophet will endure to the day of judg 
ment. God has given me also four friends, Ulugh Khan, 
Zafar Khan, Nusrat Khan, Alap Khan, who, through my 
prosperity, have attained to princely power and dignity. 
If I am so inclined, I can , with the help of these four 
friends, establish a new religion and creed ; and my 
sword, and the swords of my friends, will bring all men 
to adopt it. Through this religion, my name and that of 
my friends will remain among men to the last day, like the 
names of the Prophet and his friends .... I have wealth, 
and elephants, and forces beyond all calculation. My wish 
is to place Delhi in charge of a vicegerent, and then I 
will go out myself into the world, like Alexander, in pur 
suit of conquest, and subdue the whole habitable world." 
Qazi Ala-ul-mulk, uncle of the historian Zia BaranL 
was consulted by the Sultan, who thus expressed his 
opinion on the subject: " Religion and law spring from 
heavenly revelation ; they are never established by the plans 
and designs of men. Prom the days of Adam till now they 
have been the mission of Prophets and Apostles, as rule and 
government have been the duty of kings. The prophetic 
office has never appertained to kings, and never will, so 


long as the world lasts, though some Prophets have dis- 
charged the functions of royalty. My advice is that Your 
Majesty should never talk about these matters. Your 
Majesty knows what rivers of blood Chingiz Khan made 
to flow in Muhammadan cities, but he never was able to 
establish the Mughal religion or institutions among: 
Muhammadans. Many Mughals have turned Musalmans 
but no Musalman has ever become a Mughal. " On the 
subject of conquest the Qazi thus expressed his opinion : 
" The second design is that of a great monarch for it is a 
rule among kings to seek to bring the whole world under 
their sway ; but these are not the days of Alexander, and 
where will there be found a Wazir like Aristotle. . . . 
There were two important undertakings open to the king, 
which ought to receive attention before all others. One is 
the conquest and subjugation of all Hindustan, of such 
places as Ranthambhor, Chittor, Chanderi, Malwa, Dhar 
and Ujjain, to the east as far as the Saryu, from the 
Siwalik to Jalor, from Multan to Damrila, from Palam to 
Lahore and Dipalpur ; these places should all be reduced 
to such obedience that the name of rebel should never be 
heard* The second and more important duty is that of 
closing the road of Multan against the Mughals. " Before 
closing his speech, the Qazi said : " What I have recom- 
mended can never be accomplished unless Your Majesty 
gives up drinking to excess, and keeps aloof from convivial 
parties and feasts. ... If you cannot do entirely 
without wine, do not drink till the afternoon, and then take 
it alone without companions. " The Sultan appreciated 
the Qazi's advice and richly rewarded him. 

With the full concurrence of his ministers and generals, 
Alauddin now resolved to capture the famous fortress of 


Hanthambhor in 1299 A.D. Ulugh Khan and N.usrat Khan 
marched from their respective fiefs towards 
BajpSt l a e na. f Rajputana at the head of a large army, 
and succeeded in capturing the fortress of 
Jhain. Ranthambhor was besieged, but during the siege 
the imperial commandant Nusrat Khan, while he was 
superintending the construction of a redoubt, was struck 
with a stone discharged from a catapult (maghribi) in the 
fort. The wound proved fatal, and the brave man suc- 
cumbed to it after a couple of days. Rana Hammir carne 
out of the fort, and in a short time drew to his banner 
200,000 well-equipped men, with whose help he delivered 
a tremendous attack upon the Muslims, and compelled 
Ulugh Khan to fall back upon Jhain with heavy losses. 
When the news of this disaster reached the Sultan, he 
proceeded in person towards Ranthambhor, but on his 
way he was attacked and wounded by his nephew Aqat 
Khan, who wished to seize the throne with the help of 
some disaffected new Muslims. But his attempt failed, 
and he was punished with death for his treason. There 
were other conspiracies to deprive the Sultan of his 
throne, but they were successfully put down. Freed 
from this danger, the royalists concentrated their full 
vigour upon Ranthambhor, and the siege was pushed 
on for a whole year. By means of bags filled with sand, 
the besiegers escaladed the walls of the fortress, and 
forcibly obtained possession of it. Hammir and his family 
were put to death, and so were the remnant of the garri- 
,son, who had heroically battled for their chief to the last. 1 

1 The frightful rite of *'Jauhar" was performed, and in Amir 
Khusrau's words, one night the Rai lit a fire at the top of the hill, and 
threw his women and family into the flames, and rushing on the enemy 
with a few devoted adherents, they sacrificed their lives in despair. 


Eanmal, the minister of the Rana, paid in full the penal- 
ty of his defection by suffering an ignominious death. 
But even in these bloody annals, we, now and then, come 
across men of true heroism and loyalty. When Mir 
Muhammad Shah, a Mongol general in the service of 
Hammir, lay wounded on the field of battle, Alauddin 
asked him what he would do if he ordered his wounds 
to be dressed and saved his life from peril. In scornful 
pride the vanquished hero replied, "If I recover from 
my wounds, I would have thee slain and raise the son of 
Hammir Deo upon the throne." Such fidelity was rare 
indeed in the Muslim camp, where an atmosphere of 
intrigue and self-seeking prevailed, and though the 
spirited warrior was thrown down under the feet of an 
elephant to be trampled unto death, the victor's heart 
was touched by his manliness, and he ordered a decent 
burial to be accorded to him. The fort was taken in 
July, 1301 A. D., and the palaces and other forts of the 
"stinking Rai" were razed to the ground. Having 
placed Ulugh Khan in charge of Ranthambhor and Jhain, 
the Sultan returned to the capital. 

Emboldened by this success, Alauddin directed his 
forces against Mewar, the premier state of Rajputana. 
No Muhammadan ruler had yet ventured to penetrate 
into that secluded region, protected by long chains of 
mountains and deep forests. The physical features of 
Mewar rendered it difficult for any conqueror to bring it 
under his effective sway, and the fort of Chittor, situat- 
ed on a hill-top, strongly fortified by nature, had always 
defied the foreign invader. Cut out of a huge rock, the 
famous fortress stood in its awful grandeur, overlooking 
the vast plain below, where the Hindu and Muslim hosts 


were to engage each other in a death grapple. But the 
impregnability of the fortress did not deter the ambitious 
Sultan from attempting its conquest, and in 1303 A.D. 
he marched his forces against Mewar. The immediate 
cause of the invasion was his passionate desire to obtain 
possession of Padmini, the peerless queen of Rana Ratan 
Singh, renowned for her beauty all over Hindustan. It 
is no longer necessary to repeat the story of the 
chivalrous manner in which the Rana agreed to gratify 
the Sultan's wish by allowing him to behold the 
princess through the medium of mirrors, and the foul 
treachery of Alauddin in capturing him, when he accom- 
panied him out of courtesy to the outer gate of the 
fortress. From his camp, he sent word to the Rani that 
her husband would be released if she chose to come into 
his harem. But how could the Rajputs brook this indelible 
stain upon their national honour ? They debated amongst 
themselves as to the course which was to be adopted. Like 
a brave Rajput matron, more anxious for the honour of 
her race than for her own safety, the queen expressed her 
willingness to abide by their decision. She consented to go 
to the Muslim camp, and Alauddin, whose reason was 
clouded by lust, permitted her to do so in a manner befitting 
her rank and dignity. Seven hundred covered litters 
containing brave Rajput warriors, well-equipped with arms 
proceeded to the royal camp and demanded the strictest 
privacy. They rescued the Rana and carried him off to 
Chittor. A deadly fight raged at the outer gate of the 
fort, where the Rajputs bravely resisted the invaders, but, 
at last, they were overpowered. When they saw that there 
was no chance of escape, they prepared to die after the 
manner of their race. The frightful rite ofjauhar was 

P. 8 


performed and the fairest ladies of the royal family 
perished in the flames. Amir Khusrau, who accompanied 
the Sultan during this expedition, gives a detailed account 
of the siege. He writes : ' The fort of Chittor was taken 
on Monday, the llth Muharram, 703 A. H. (August 26, 1303). 
The Rai fled, but afterwards surrendered himself. After 
ordering a massacre of thirty thousand Hindus he bestowed 
the government of Chittor upon his son Khizr Khan and 
named the place Khizrabad. He bestowed upon him a red 
canopy, a robe embroidered with gold and two standards 
one green and the other black and threw upon him rubies 
and emeralds. He then returned towards Delhi/ All 
accounts agree that the fight before Chittor was terrible. 

The fort was entrusted to Prince Khizr Khan and the 
town was re-named Khizrabad. Khizr Khan remained in 
Chittor for some time, but about the year 1311 he was 
obliged to leave it owing to the pressure of the Rajputs. 
The Sultan then made it over to the Sonigra chief Maldeva 
who held it for seven years, at the end of which period it 
was recovered by Rana Hammir by means of |reachery 
and intrigue. Under Hammir Chittor once more regained 
its former splendour and became one of the premier states 
in Rajputana. 

The fall of Chittor was followed by the submission of 
the Rai of Malwa, who fought against the armies of Islam 
at the head of a large force, but he was defeated and 
killed, and Malwa was placed in charge of a Muslim gover- 
nor. Soon afterwards the cities of Mandu, Ujjain, Dhara- 
nagari and Chanderi were conquered, and their rulers were 
compelled to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Khilji 
war-lord. By the end of 1305 A.D., practically the whole 
of Northern India came into the hands of Alauddin, and 


the policy of imperialism, of which he was the author and 
champion, gathered a fresh momentum with every new 
conquest and annexation. 

Having conquered Northern India the Sultan turned 
his attention to the Deccan. The physical features of 
The Deccen ^ e countr y> ^e hostility of Hindu Rajas, 
Conquest of the long distance from the capital of the 
evagir ' empire- all made its permanent subjugation 

difficult, if not impossible. But Alauddin was not the 
man to flinch back from his resolve. He invested his 
slave Kafur with the supreme command of the royal 
forces. On his way to the Deccan, Kafur passed through 
Malwa and Gujarat and inflicted a crushing defeat upon 
Karan, the Baghela ruler, who was obliged to surrender 
owing to shortage of supplies. Ulugh Khan, the Sultan's 
brother, forcibly seized Devaldevi, the daughter of Rai 
Karan, who was admitted into the royal seraglio, and was 
afterwards married to Prince Khizr Khan, the heir- 
apparent. Kafur laid waste the whole country, and 
secured the submission of Ramachandra Yadava who was 
sent to the court. He was well received by the Sultan who 
conferred upon him the title of Raya RaySw. 

The defeat of the Yadavas of Devagir prepared the 
way for the fall of the other Hindu princes of the south. 
In 1309 Kafur started on his expedition 
f a ainst the Kakatiya Rajas of Warangal 1 
in Telingana. Marching through difficult 
and inhospitable regions, he reached before the fort of 
Warangal. Raja Pratap Rudra Deva, caLte4- Xadar Deo 
by Muslim historians, shut himself ye&A itJUTQ />>t, and 

Warangal was the ancient capi 


offered stubborn resistance. The fort, in the words of 
Amir Khusrau, was so strong that a spear of steel could 
not pierce it, and if a ball from a western catapult were to 
strike against it, it would rebound like a nut, which 
children play with. After a prolonged siege, Pratap 
Rudra Deva Kskatiya submitted and sued for peace He 
agreed to pay annual tribute and " sent a golden image of 
himself, with a gold chain round its neck in acknowledg- 
ment of his submission " ; but Kafur refused to listen to 
his overtures* In vain did the Brahman plenipotentiaries 
of the Kakatiya prince plead for quarter for their master. 
The relentless general promised to desist from a general 
massacre of the Hindus, only on the condition that their 
chief should give up all his treasures, and agree to send 
tribute annually to Delhi. Driven to extremities, Pratap 
Rudra Deva accepted the humiliating conditions, and 
purchased his safety by offering a large booty. Kafur, 
with the laurels of victory on his brow, fc * left Warangal 
and returned to Delhi with a thousand camels, groaning 
under weight of treasure," in March 1310, by way of 
Devagir. Dhar and Jhain. 

The success which attended this expedition and the 
vast wealth that flowed into the coffers of the state, as 

the result of his enterprises, strengthened 
MdbLr! 168 * f Alauddin's belief in his destiny, and he 

resolved to extend the limits of hi$ empire 
to the farthest extremity of the South. Dvarasamudra 
and Mabar 1 still remained outside the pale of his empire. 

the name given to the strip of land which according to 
WassSf, Polo and Abul Peda extended from Kulam to Nils war (Nellore). 
Wassaf writes in his Tazriyat-ul-Amaar that Mabar extended from 
Kulam to Nilawar (Nellore), nearly three hundred parasangs along, 
the sea-coast. (Elliot, II Ir p. *32.) 


Under Vira BallSla III, the son of Nara Siihha, the 
Hoysala dominions above and below the Ghats had been 
reunited ; and this powerful ruler held sway over the 
whole of Kangu and a portion of the Konkan and the 
whole of what is now known as the Mysore country. l 
Ballala was a capable prince, who, like the other Hindu 
princes of his day, had consolidated his power by abolish- 
ing vexatious imposts and granting charitable religious 
endowments. Bitter rivalry existed between the Hoysalas 
and the Yadavas, and each tried to ruin the other. At last 
these mutual feuds and strifes disabled both of them and 
made room for a third power, namely, the Muslims. On 
November 18, 1310 A.D., the royal army under the leader- 
ship of Kaf ur left Delhi, and having crossed deep rivers, 
ravines, and mountain valleys, reached the country of 
M&bar. Vira Ballala suffered a crushing defeat and sur- 
rendered himself to the victorious general. But Kaf ur was 
not satisfied with mere surrender ; he informed the Rai 
that he must either embrace Islam or accept the position 
of a Zimmi. 2 The Rai accepted the latter alternative, 
paid a huge war indemnity, and became a vassal of Delhi. 
The Muslims captured a large booty, which consisted of 
36 elephants and an abundant quantity of gold, silver, 
jewels, and pearls. Vira Ballala was sent to Delhi along 
with the elephants and horses, and a reference to this 
visit occurs in his inscriptions. 

Kafur next turned against the Pandyas of Madura. 
What gave the Muslims their long-desired opportunity was 

1 Vira Ballala was crowned in 1292 A.D., and died fighting against 
the Turks in 1342 A.D. 

2 A Zimmi Is an unbeliever who does not accept Islam, but for a 
.monetary consideration is allowed security of life and property. 


a quarrel between the two brothers Sundara Pandya and 
Vlra Pandya, an illegitimate son of the ruler of the Pandya 
kingdom. He set out for the Deccan at the head of a 
large army. Amir Khusrau in his Tarikh-i-Alai gives a 
graphic account of the progress of this valiant general 
through the distant and inaccessible regions of the south. 
On his way he seized elephants and demolished temples at 
several places, and on the 17th of Zilqada, 710 A.H. 
(April 1311), he arrived at 'Kham' from where he marched 
towards Madura, the capital of the Pandya kings. The 
Rai fled on the approach of the invaders who captured 
elephants and destroyed temples. According to Amir 
Khusrau the booty seized consisted of 512 elephants, five 
thousand horses and five emeralds and rubies. It appears 
Kafur reached as far as Rame6varam, a well-known place 
of Hindu pilgrimage. The great temple was plundered, the 
idol destroyed, after which Kafur returned to Delhi to- 
wards the close of the year 1311 A.D. Having subdued 
the whole country, Kafur returned to Delhi on the 4th 
Zil-hijja, 710 A.H. (April 24, 1311 A. D.), laden with the 
spoils of war, and was accorded a cordial welcome by 
the Sultan. The victory was proclaimed from the pulpits, 
and rich rewards were distributed among the nobles and 
officers of the empire. 

After Rama Deva's death, his son Sankara Deva had 
ceased to pay the customary tribute and had refused to 

fulfil the obligations of an ally during 
6ank!la a Deva, f Kafur's expedition against the Hoysalas. 

Alauddin's wrath was kindled at this infideli- 
ty, and for the fourth time the slave- warrior was sent to the 
Deccan at the head of a large force in 1312 A.D. The 
whole of Maharashtra was ravaged, and the Yadava prince 


was, after a feeble resistance, defeated and beheadea.j 
The whole of South India now lay at the feet of Kafur, 
and the ancient dynasties of the Cholas, the Cheras, thej 
Pandyas, the Hoysalas> the Kskatiyas, and the YSdavasj 
were all overthrown, and made to acknowledge thcj 
suzerainty of Delhi. By the end of 1312 Alauddin's empirej 
embraced the whole of the north and the south and all 
the leading princes owned his sway. 

Alauddin was opposed to the interference of the ulama 
In matters of state, and in this respect he departed from the 
Alauddin's traditions of the previous rulers of Delhi. 
jheory of king- The law was to depend upon the will of the 
3 lp * monarch, and had nothing to do with the 

law of the Prophet -this was the guiding maxim of the 
new monarch. The Sultan's political theory is clearly set 
forth in the words which he addressed to Qazi Mughis-ud- 

whom he consulted about the legal position of the 
sovereign power in the state. He upheld the royal prero- 
gative of punishment and justified the mutilation of dis- 
honest and corrupt officers, though the Qazi declared 
it contrary to canon law. Then the Sultan asked him, 
"That wealth which I acquired while I was a Malik, 
with so much bloodshed at Devagir, does it belong to me 
or to the public treasury? " The Qazi replied, " I am 
bound to speak the truth to your Majesty. The treasure 
obtained at Devagir was obtained by the prowess of the 
army of Islam, aad whatever treasure is so acquired belongs 
to the public treasury. ' If your Majesty had gained it 
yourself alone in a manner allowed by the law, then it 
would belong to you." The Sultan flared up with wrath 
and asked the Qazi how such treasure could belong to the 

1 The public treasury is called the * Bet-ul-mal ' in legal language. 


state. The Qazi meekly answered, " Your Majesty has put 
to me a question of law ; if I were not to say what I have 
read in the book, and your Majesty to test my opinion 
were to ask some other learned man, and his reply, being 
in opposition to mine, should show that I had given a false 
opinion to suit your Majesty's pleasure, what confidence 
would you have in me, and would you ever afterwards 
consult me about the law ? ' ' 

The Qazi was confronted with a fresh question about 
the rights of the king and his children upon the public 
treasury, the Bet-ul-mal. Frightened by the Sultan's 
stern demeanour, the Qazi screwed up courage with 
great difficulty to return a reply and said, " If your 
Majesty will follow the example of the most enlightened 
Khalifas, and will act upon the highest principle, then 
you will take for yourself and your establishment the 
same sum as you have allotted to each fighting man, 
two hundred and thirty-four tankas. If you would 
rather take a middle course and should think that you 
would be disgraced by putting yourself on a par with the 
army in general, then you may take for yourself and your 
establishment as much as you have assigned to your chief 
officers, such as Malik Kiran and others. If your Majesty 
follows the opinions of politicians, then you will draw from 
the treasury more than any other great man receives, so 
that you may maintain a greater expenditure than any 
other, and not suffer your dignity to be lowered. I have put 
before your Majesty three courses, and all the crores of 
money and valuables which you take from the treasury and 
bestow upon your women you will have to answer for on the 
day of account." The Sultan was filled with wrath and 
threatened the Qazi with severe punishment When he 


again recounted his proceedings, the Qazi placed his fore- 
head on the ground and cried with a loud voice, " My 
liege ! whether you send me, your wretched servant, to 
prison, or whether you order me to be cut in two, all this 
is unlawful, and finds no support in the sayings of the 
Prophet, or in the expositions of the learned. " The expo- 
nentof the canon law knew that his fate was sealed, but to 
his utter astonishment when he went to the court the next 
day, the Sultan treated him kindly and handsomely reward- 
ed him. With a politeness, which was agreeably surpris- 
ing, he explained to the Qazi his doctrine of kingship in 
these significant words : " To prevent rebellion in which* 1 
thousands perish, I issue such orders as I conceive to be 
for the good of the state, and the benefit of the people.: 
Men are heedless, disrespectful, and disobey my commands ; 
I am then compelled to be severe to bring them into obe- 
dience. / do not knoiv whether this is lawful or unlawful ; 
whatever I think to be for the good of the state, or suitable 
for the emergency, that I decree and as for what may 
happen to me on the approaching day of Judgment that I 
know not." This new doctrine of sovereignty was the 
outcome of the circumstances of the time. The people 
readily acquiesced in it, and cared nothing for the claims 
-of the ulama. They tamely submitted to him because he 
gave them the much coveted gifts of peace and order. 
The support which he received from public opinion made 
him irresistible as long as he lived. 

Alauddin brought to bear upon his methods of admi- 
nistration ability and insight, which we rarely find in men 
endowed with mere military genius. Rebel- 
lions an<J conspiracies roused him from his 
lethargy, and convinced him of the necessity 


of undertaking drastic measures to put an end to sedition 
in the state. He calmly sat down to find out the causes of 
political disorders, and came to the conclusion that they 
were due to four things : (1) the Sultan's disregard of the 
affairs of the nation, (2) wine-drinking, (3) friendship and 
frequent social intercourse of the Maliks, Amirs, and 
grandees of the empire, and (4) superfluity of wealth 
which intoxicated men's minds and fostered treason andji 
disaffection. - 

This searching analysis led to a highly repressive legis* 
lation, and the first measure which the Sultan undertook 
was the confiscation of property. All gratuities, pensions, 
and endowments were confiscated to the state, and all 
the villages that were held as milk (in proprietary right) 
or inam (in free gift), or waqf <as charitable endowment) 
were resumed and incorporated with the crown lands. 
The fear of conspiracy and murder upset the Sultan, and 
he established an elaborate system of espionage, by which 
he tried to keep himself informed of the doings of his 
officials and subjects. The spies reported everything that 
took place in the houses of the nobles, and often in their 
zeal to win royal favour, they carried the silly gossips of 
the bazar to the ears of the emperor. Spirituous liquor was 
strictly forbidden ; and the Sultan himself set an example- 
by giving up the habit of drink. All the china and glass 
vessels of the Sultan's banqueting room were broken into 
fragments, and " jars and casks of wine were brought 
out of the royal cellars, and emptied at the Badayun gate 
in such abundance, that mud and mire was produced as in 
\ the rainy season. " But this regulation weighed too heaviljr 
! upon the people, and wine was secretly brought into the 
city by vintners, The nobles were permitted to drink 


individually at their houses, but all social intercourse was 
strictly prohibited. All festive gatherings and convivial 
parties were forbidden in private as well as public houses,, 
with the inevitable result that the amenities of social 
life disappeared, and, life became an intolerable burden. 

The Hindus were treated with special severity. In the 
Doab they had to pay 50 per c ent of the total produce oi 

their land witho ut making any deductions, 
f an( * M rigorous was the assessment that not 

even a biswah of land was spared. A grazing 
tax was imposed upon cattle, and a house-tax was alsa 
levied. The same regulations were applied to the khuts and 
the balahars } so as to save the poor from the heavy burden 
of taxation. So rigorously were the new rules enforced, 
' that the chaudhris, khuts, and muqaddams were not able 
to ride on horse-back, to find weapons, to get fine clothes, 
or to indulge in betel.' The policy of the state was that 
the Hindus should not have so much as to enable them to 
ride on horseback, wear fine clothes, carry arms and 
cultivate luxurious habits. They were reduced to a state 
of abject misery to such an extent that the wives of the 
khuts and muqaddams went and served for hire in the 
houses of the Musalmans. Barani speaks highly of the 
wazirof the empire and says that he brought all the 
provinces under one revenue law as if they were all one 
village. He investigated all cases of embezzlement and 
inflicted the severest punishment upon the wrong-doers. 
If the ledger of the patwari showed a single jital standing 
against the name of any officer, he was punished with 

1 Khut and Balahar are obviously used for landed classes. Most, 
probably they are used here for landlords and tenants. [Elliot, III 
(Appendix), p. 623.] 


torture and imprisonment. The post of revenue clerk 
came to be looked upon as dangerous, and only the bolder 
spirits offered themselves as candidates for it. l 

Alauddinwas a true militarist. He saw clearly that his 

empire could not be maintained without a permanent 

. standing army. With this object in view he 

Organisation , __ , 

of the army undertook military reform. He fixed the 

of the m^ket 1 pay of a soldier at 234 tankas a year and 
that of a man with two horses at 78 tankas 
more. But it was impossible to maintain a large army 
unless the necessaries of life were cheapened. For this 
reason the Sultan fixed the prices of all commodities 
required for daily use. Grain was to be stored in royal 
granaries and in the Khalsa villages of the Doab, the 
revenue of the state was realised not in cash but in kind. 
The prices of all;articles of food were fixed, and the shop- 
keepers were severely punished, if they did not observe 
these regulations. Spies and agents were employed who 
reported to the Sultan the condition of the market. 

All merchants, whether Hindus or Musalmans, had 
to register themselves and to enter into engagements 
by which they bound themselves to bring their articles to 
the Serai adl, an open space inside the Badaon gate, 
where all articles were exposed for sale. Advances were 
made from the treasury to these wealthy and respectable 
Multani traders, to enable them to purchase goods in large 
-quantities. The Diwan issued permits to those Maliks 

1 Barani writes (Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi, Bibliotb. Ind., p. 289) that 
the office of revenue clerk fell into such bad odour that nobody would 
ive his daughter in marriage to him and the post of mushrif was 
-accepted only by those who did not pay any heed to their lives. These 
me n^ we re frequently cast into prison. 


and Amirs who purchased costly articles. This device was 
adopted to prevent merchants from buying articles in the 
market at cheap rates and then selling them at higher 
rates in the country. 

The market was superintended by two officers the 
Diwan*i-riyasat and the Shahna-i-mandi. These officers 
performed their duties with the strictest honesty and 
regularity. The cattle market was also controlled, and the 
price of cattle fell considerably. Horses of the first class 
could be purchased for 100 to 120 tankas, of the second 
for 80 to 90, of the third for 65 to 70 tankas, while small 
ponies could be had for 10 to 25 tankas. A milch cow could 
be had for three or four tankas and a she-goat for ten or 
twelve or fourteen jitals. The prices of slaves and maid- 
servants fell considerably. The punishments for the viola- 
tion of the tariff laws were exceptionally severe. If the 
shopkeepers weighed less, an equal quantity of flesh was 
cut off from thejrhaunches to make up the deficiency in 
weight. The vendors i were frequently kicked out of their 
shops for dishonest dealings. The result of all this was 
that the bazar people became quite submissive, and ceased 
to practise deceit, and often gave more than the fixed 

These reforms succeeded well enough. The increased 
strength and efficiency of the army guaranteed security 
against Mongol invasions, and held in check 
the refractory Rajas and chieftains. All sedi- 
tion was stamped out, and men's habits were 
so disciplined that crime was considerably lessened. The 
cheapness of the necessaries of life increased the happiness 
of the people, and bound them more closely to the personal 
despotism of the emperor. Though the stress of war 


pressed too severely upon the resources of the state, nu- 
merous works of public utility were constructed, and the 
emperor extended his patronage to the learned and the 
pious. Amir Khusrau, the poet-laureate of the empire, 
shed lustre on his reign, and pious men like Shaikh Nizam- 
ud-din Aulia and Shaikh Rukn-ud-din did not a little to 
augment its prestige, but the most important result of 
these measures was the solidity which they imparted to 
the central government. The disorderly habits of the 
grandees of the empire were put down with a high hand, 
and all particularism was kept under firm control. The 
governors in the distant provinces obeyed the orders of 
the emperor with perfect obedience. The agents of the 
government were allowed no freedom of action, and the 
disregard of the royal will was treated as a grave offence 
for which severe punishments were laid down. 

\. The foundations of the political system which Alaud- 
jdin had built up were unsound. 3. /The new discipline which 

he had imposed upon the people drove discon- 
f tent deep underground }The Hindu Rajas, 

who had been deprived of their indepen- 
dence, sullenly brooded over their losses and waited for an 
opportunity to strike a blow for their freedom JfThe nobles, 
accustomed to a life of gaiety, were sick of the obnoxious 
laws which they had to obey ; the merchants resented the 
policing of the market, while the Hindus groaned under 
the humiliations inflicted upon them. C The new Muslims 
always plotted and intrigued against the Sultan, i Over- 
centralisation, repression, and espionage, all undermined 
the imperial authority. %.s the emperor advanced in years, 
he became violent and whimsical, and his suspicious nature 
estranged from him the sympathies of his leading nobles. 



To form a class of officials entirely dependent on himself, he 
Taised base-born men to positions of honour and eminence. 
Too much depended upon the personality of the Sultan in 
this age ; and Alauddin made the mistake of minimising 
the importance of this powerful factor in the politics 
of his day.l'He neglected the education of his sons, 
.and under Kafur's influence he treated them with great 
severity. Besides, Kafur secretly intrigued to obtain power 
for himself. j& He induced the emperor to execute a will 
nominating his son, Shihab-ud-din, heir to the throne. The-' 
authority of the emperor ceased to command respect, and 
insurrectionary movements were set on foot in the outly- 
ing provinces of the empirel^Jn the words of the Muslim 
chronicler, " Fortune proved, as usual, fickle; and destiny 
drew her poniard to destroy him," and the mighty monarch 
' bit his own flesh with fury/ as he saw the work of his 
lifetime being undone before his eyes. In the midst of 
these distressing circumstances, the emperor who was 
already in the grip of a mortal disease, died in 1316, and 
was buried in a tomb in front of the Jam-i-masjid. 

Alauddin was by nature a cruel and implacable despot. 
He swept aside the dictates of religious and canon law, if 

they interfered with his policy. He had no 
f re ard for kinship and inflicted punishments 

without distinction. He possessed the qua- 
? lities of a born military leader and a civil administrator and 
kept his vast possessions under firm control as long as he 
lived. He clearly saw the dangers of his time and guarded 
against them. He enjoyed the confidence of his soldiers 
and his example fired their zeal. In organising his civil 
administration he displayed great originality and mental 
^vigour, and his control of the market is one of the marvels 


of mediaeval statesmanship. He ruled with a strong hand 

and exercised personal supervision over the conduct of 

his officials. No one was allowed to take a pice from 

the cultivators, and fraudulent practices were sternly 

put down. He was himself illiterate, but extended his 

patronage to the learned and pious, and granted stipends- 

and lands for their maintenance. Among the early Muslim 

rulers he was the first who had the courage to oppose the 

orthodox policy of the ulama, and who represented in his 

person to the fullest extent the virility and vigour of Islam. 

Alauddin's death was a signal for civil war and the 

scramble of rival parties for power. Malik Kafur removed 

from his path the princes of the blood royal 

The weak one by one< an( j produced a spurious will of 

successors of , ^ . . _ 

Aiauddin. the late Sultan in which Omar Khan was 
nominated heir to the throne. As Omar was 
a little child of six years of age, Kafur himself became 
regent and began to manage the affairs of the state. The 
first thing he did was to destroy the survivors of Aiauddin 
All the princes except Mubarak Khan were put in prison 
orjnurdered/ and Kafur bestowed the highest offices on 
KIT favourites. This policy caused discontent among the 
supporters of the old regime. A conspiracy was formed, 
and the slaves of Aiauddin with the help of the army 
killed Kafur and his leading partisans. After Kafur ; s 
death Mubarak Khan succeeded to the throne under the 
title of Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah in 1316 A,D. 

Mubarak began his reign well. He released the 
political prisoners, restored the confiscated lands to their 
owners, and abolished the numerous taxes 
which clogged the progress of trade and 
industry. Barani writes that the regulations* 


of Alauddin fell into disuse, and men reverted to their old 
ways and habits. But there was no serious rebellion 
except that of Raja Harapala Deva of Devagir in 1318 ; it 
was quickly suppressed and the rebel was flayed alive. 
Khusrau, a man of low caste from Gujarat, who had 
become a special favourite of the Sultan, undertook an 
expedition to Telingana which met with great success. 
The Rai submitted and ceded to Khusrau five districts 
and promised to pay an annual tribute of ' more 
than a hundred strong elephants as large as demons, 
12,000 horses, and gold, jewels and gems beyond 

Good fortune spoiled Mubarak. He became proud, 
vindictive and tyrannical and indulged in the worst 
excesses. He lost all regard for decency and morality and 
often appeared in public in the company of harlots. There 
was a great demand for dancing girls, and the price of a 
boy or handsome eunuch, or beautiful girl varied from 50Q 
to 1,000 and 2,000 tankas. The Sultan cast all decency to 
the winds when he allowed his unworthy associates to 
insult in foul and obscene language the distinguished, 
nobles of the court. Khusrau's influence increased every 
day, and he conspired with his castemen to bring about 
the king's death. The Sultan was informed of Khusrau's 
evil intentions, but he paid no heed to the advice of hia 
well-wishers. One night the conspirators entered the 
palace and murdered the Sultan. A court was hastily 
improvised at midnight hour, and with the forced consent 
of the nobles and officers Khusrau mounted the throne 
in 1320 under the title of Nasiruddin. 

Khusrau began what the Muslim historians call a 
reign of terror. He seized the treasures of the state, and 


conferred lavish gifts upon the people at large to win 
their support. Islam was treated with con- 
tempt, and the old nobles and officers had to 
make room for Khusrau's kinsmen. The 
Alai nobles who had served the state in the past were 
filled with grief at this deplorable state of affairs. There 
was one among them who planned the overthrow of 
Khusrau. He was Fakhruddin Juna, who afterwards 
ascended the throne under the title of Muhammad Tughluq 
He communicated everything to his father Ghazi Malik, 
the Warden of the Marches at Depalpur. The veteran 
warrior was moved with indignation and swore vengeance 
upon the * unclean ' Parwans. He was joined by all the 
nobles of the empire except the governor of Multan who 
bore a personal grudge against him. 

The news of Ghazi Malik's approach alarmed Khusrau, 
and he began to organise his forces. The army of Delhi, 
demoralised by indolence and debauchery, was no match 
for the sturdy Muslims who followed the banner of Ghazi 
Malik. Lack of experienced generalship, added to the 
want of discipline, made the cause of Khusrau, from the 
outset, hopeless. When the two armies came face to face, 
^ach side began to plan dexterous manoeuvres to over- 
power the other. The rickety forces of Khusrau were 
routed, and fled in confusion. The cause of the Parwarls 
was doomed, and they were so frightened that ' hardly 
any life was left in their bodies/ 

Having seized considerable spoil, the victorious 
general commenced his march towards Delhi to deal a 
decisive blow. Driven to despair, Khusrau looked for 
help in all quarters. Like one ' despised by fortune or 
worsted in gambling/ he brought out all the treasures and 


distributed them among the soldiers to prevent defection 
in the royal army. But this prodigality proved of no 
avail ; the soldiers, who knew that Ghazi Malik's cause 
was just and righteous, accepted Khusrau's gold, but 
abandoned all intention of fighting under his colours. 
Once more the usurper made a desperate effort to save 
himself, and the forlorn hope of the Delhi army fought 
-a hotly contested engagement, in which they carried 
everything before them. Khusrau fled from the field of 
battle, but he was captured and beheaded. His support- 
ers were diligently traced out ; they were charged with 
treason and made to suffer the fate which they so richly 
merited. Ghazi Malik received the congratulations of the 
assembled nobles, who offered him the keys of the palace. 
The old leader shrank from the burden of the kingly 
office, and enquired if there was any survivor of the stock 
of Alauddin. The nobles answered in the negative and 
dwelt upon the confusion and disorder that prevailed in 
the empire owing to the abeyance of authority. With 
one voice they appealed to him to assume the insignia of 
royalty and placed him upon the throne. 7fe Rarani. 
who is an orthodox chronicler, writes with exultation: 
" Islam was rejuvenated and a new life came into it. The 
clamour of infidelity sank to the ground. Men's minds 
were satisfied and their hearts contented. All praise for 
Allah." The election of a plebeian to the kingly office 
demonstrated in an unmistakable manner the democratic 
spirit of Islam, and reaffirmed the principle of the survival 
t>f the fittest, which dominated and controlled the Muslim 
State in India in the 13th and 14th centuries. 



(13201412 A.D.) 

Ghazi Malik, the Warden of the Marches, ascended 

the throne under the title of Ghiyasuddin Tughluq. He 

was a man of humble origin ; his father was. 

Ghiyasuddin a QaraunS Turk, ' and his mother was a Jat 

Tughluq. 1820- - A . ' . . , , 

36 A.D. woman of the Punjab. He had risen to 

high position by dint of personal merit, and 
in the time of Alauddin had played an important part in 
wars against the Mongols whom he had chased out of the 
country again and again. When he assumed the reins of 
office, the empire of Delhi was in a state of confusion, 
and it was with great tact, prudence, and firmness that 
Ghiyas restored order and recovered the moral prestige 
of the monarchy. The magnanimity of his nature showed 
itself in the generous treatment which he meted out ta 
the relatives of Alauddin. He made a suitable provision 
for them and appointed them to high offices in the state. 
No just claim was ignored and no past service was for* 
gotten. The claims of rank and birth were respected, 
and many families that had been ruined were restored to 
their former dignity. 

1 Ibn Batmta writes that he heard from Shaikh Ruknuddin Sultan* 
that Sultan Tughluq was of the stock of QaraunS Turks who lived in the 
mountainous region between Sindh and Turkistan. In his early life he 
was very poor and was obliged to take up service under some merchant 
4n Sindh. Later he joined the army* and by sheer dint of merit rose ta 
high position. 



Having settled the affairs of the empire, Ghiyas order- 
ed an expedition against Warangal, the capital of the 
KSkatiya Rajas of Telingana. Pratap Rudra 
Expedition Deva II had greatly increased his power dur- 

agamst War- . _ . , rr . .... _,, - 

^ngai. ing the reign of Mubarak Khilji. The Crown 

Prince was sent at the head of a large force 
to deal with him. After a desperate fight the Raja surren- 
dered, and the whole country was subdued. The glory and 
greatness of the Kakatiyas ended, and henceforward they 
ceased to exist as a predominant power in Southern India. 
The administration of Ghiyas was based upon the 
principles of justice and moderation. The land revenue 
was organised, and the Sultan took great care 
to P rev ent abuses. The jagirs granted by 
Khusrau were resumed, and the finances of 
the state were set in order. The cultivators were treated 
well, and officials were severely punished for their mis- 
conduct. The departments of justice and police worked 
efficiently, and the greatest security prevailed in the 
remotest parts of the empire. The army was also organised. 
The soldiers were treated with kindness and liberality. 
Strict discipline was enforced, and arms and weapons were 
amply provided. 

Towards the close of his reign, in 1324, the Sultan 
marched towards Bengal to restore to the throne the 
Princes of Lakhnauti, who had been expelled 
GhiVas* * h f b y their brother Bahadur. Bahadur was pun- 
ished, and the dispossessed princes were rein- 
stated in their territory. When the Sultan returned to Delhi, 
he was killed by the fall of a pavilion which his son, Prince 
Juna, had erected near Afghanpur at a distance of six miles 
from the capital in 1325 A.D. The prince was suspected 


of having planned the emperor's death, for the hasty con- 
struction of such a palace was entirely superfluous. What- 
ever the real truth may be, there are strong reasons for 
thinking that the Sultan's death was the result of a con- 
spiracy in which the Crown Prince took part, and not of 

Ghiyas was a mild and benevolent ruler. He loved 
simplicity* and towards his quondam colleagues, he be- 
haved with the same frank joviality which 
hsd characterised him in his earlier days. 
A pious and peace-loving Muslim, he practis- 
ed rigidly the observances of his faith, and always tried to 
promote the welfare of his co-religionists. Unlike many 
other Muslim rulers he lived a pure life and eschewed 
every kind of pleasure. As long as he lived he took the 
best care of his subjects and ruled with a strong hand. ,A 
new life was infused into the administration which had 
been thrown out of gear during the reigns of the imbecile 
Mubarak and the ' unclean ' Khusrau. The following 
verse of Amir Khusrau is illustrative of the Sultan's 
excellent methods of government : 

'* He neyer did any thing that was not replete with wisdom and sense, 
He might be said to wear a hundred doctor's hoods under his crown." 

Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq was succeeded by his son, 
Prince Juna, under the title of Muhammad Tughluq, in 
1325 A.D. He was unquestionably the ablest 
:>f Muh&ww*. man amon * the crowned heads of the middle 
ages. Of all kings, who had sat upon the 
throne of Delhi since the Muslim conquest, he was undoubt- 
edly the most learned and accomplished. Nature had 
endowed him with a marvellous memory, a keen and pene- 
trating intellect, and an enormous capacity for assimilating 




knowledge of all kinds. The versatility of his genius took 
by surprise all his contemporaries. A lover of the fine arts* 
a cultured scholar and an accomplished poet, he was equally 
at home in logic, astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, and 
the physical sciences. No one could excel him in composi- 
tion and calligraphy ; he had at his command a good deal of 
Persian poetry, of which he made a very extensive use in 
his writings and speeches. He was an adept in the use of 
similes and metaphors, and his literary productions were 
saturated with the influence of the Persian classics. Even 
the most practised rhetoricians found it difficult to rival the 
brilliance of his imagination, the elegance of his taste, and 
his command over the subtleties and niceties of expression. 
He was a master of dialectics, well-versed in Aristotelian 
logic and philosophy, and theologians and rhetoricians 
feared to argue with him. Barani describes him as an elo- 
quent and profoundly learned scholar, a veritable wonder of 
creation, whose abilities would have taken by surprise such 
men as Aristotle and Asaf . f He was highly generous, and 
all contemporary writers are unanimous in extolling his 
lavish gifts to the numerous suppliants who crowded his 
gate at all times. He was a strict Muslim who rigidly 
practised and enforced the observances laid down in the 
Holy Book. But he was not an unrelenting bigot like some 
of his predecessors. His liberalism is reflected in his desire 
to be tolerant towardsjAie Hindus and in his humane attempt 
to introduce ameliorative reforms like the suppression of 
Sati, which was in vogue in the fourteenth century. 

The Moorish traveller, T frn P *"* 5 , who came to India 
in 1333 A.D., thus describes the Sultan : " Muhammad is 

1 Barani, Tarikh-i-Firua Shahi, Biblioth. Ind., p. 461, 


a man who, above all others, is fond of making presents and 
shedding blood. There may always be seen at his gate 
some poor person becoming rich, or some loving one con- 
demned to death. His generous and brave actions, and his 
cruel and violent deeds, have obtained notoriety among the 
people. In spite of this, he is the most humble of men, and 
the one who exhibits the greatest equity. The ceremonies 
of his religion are dear to his heart, and he is very severe 
in respect of prayer and the punishment which follows its 
neglect. He is one of those kings whose good fortune is 
great and whose happy success exceeds the ordinary limit ; 
but his distinguishing character is generosity. I shall 
mention among the instances of his liberality, some mar- 
vels, of which the like has never been reported of any 
of the princes who have preceded him. " 

' the Sultan seems to be an amazing 
But he is not really so. The 
charges of blood-thirstiness and madness, brought against 
him by later writers, are mostly unfounded. No contem- 
porary writer gives the barest indication of the Sultan's 
madness. The charge of blood-thirstiness was bolstered 
up by the members of the clerical party whom the Sultan 
treated with open disregard. It is true, he was, like all 
mediaeval despots, subject to greatjaroxysms of rage, 
and inflicted the most brutal punishments upon those who 
offended against his will, irrespective of the rank or order 
to which they belonged ; but this is quite a different thing 
from stigmatising him as a born tyrant, taking delight in 
the shedding of human blood. A close examination of the 
alleged murders and atrocities of the Sultan will reveal the 
unsoundness of the common view that he found pleasure 
in the destruction of human species and organised 


* man-hunts.' The truth is that the Sultan combined a 
head-strong temper with advanced ideals of administra- 
tive reform, and when his subjects failed to respond to 
his wishes, his wrath became terrible. His impatience 
was the result of popular apathy, just as popular apathy 
was the outcome of his startling innovations. 

The earliest administrative measure, which the Sultan 
introduced, was the enhancement of taxation in the Doab, 

Barani says that ' it operated to the ruin of 
<foe"oab? n in the country and the decay of the people/ 

while another historian, who is more cau- 
tious in his remarks, says that c the duties levied on the 
necessaries of life, realised with the utmost rigour, were 
too great for the power of industry to cope with/ 
The taxes in the Doab were raised, according to 
Barani, out of all proportion to the income of the people, 
and some oppressive abwabs (cesses) were also invented 
Avhich broke the back of the ryot, and reduced him to 
utter poverty and misery. All historians dwell upon the 
distress which was caused by this fiscal measure, and 
Barani, whose native district, Baran, also suffered from 
the effects of this enhancement, bitterly inveighs against 
the Sultan. He greatly exaggerates the suffering and 
misery caused to the population, when he says the ryots 
of distant lands, on hearing of the distress and ruin of 
the people in the Doab, broke out into open rebellion, and 
threw off their allegiance. Unfortunately, this measure 
was carried out at a time when a severe famine was pre- 
vailing in the Doab, and the distress of the people was 
-greatly aggravated by its disastrous effects. But this does 
not exonerate the Sultan altogether from blame ; for his 
officials continued to levy taxes at the enhanced rate with 


the utmost rigour, and made no allowance for famine. It 
was long afterwards, that he ordered wells to be dug 
and loans to be advanced to agriculturists to promote 
cultivation in the affected areas. The remedy came too late ; 
the famished population, whose patience was sorely tried 
by the long duration of the famine, failed to profit by it, 
andjraye up the ghost in sheer despair. Never were be- 
nevolent schemes of reform more cruelly frustrated by 
an evil fate than in the case of Muhammad Tughluq. 

Another measure, which entailed much suffering on 
the population, was the transfer of the capital to Devagir 
Transfer of w ^ich was re-christened Daulatabad. The* 
the capita], empire had grown to large dimensions fto- 
" 2T D * wards the north it embraced the Doab, the 
^plains of the Punjab and Lahore with the territories 
stretching from the Indus to the coast of Gujarat; towards 
the east it comprised Bengal, and in the centre it included 
such \ principalities as Malwa, Ujjain, Mahoba and 
Dhar/) The Deccan had been subdued, and its prin- 
cipal powers had acknowledged the suzerainty of Delhi. 
Having fully weighed in his mind the drawbacks of Delhi *" 
as an imperial capital, he decided to transfer it to 
Daulatabad which was more centrally situated. It was 
situated at a safe distance from the route of the Mongols 
who frequently threatened the neighbourhood of Delhi 
and made life and property insecure. It is clear that the 
change was not dictated by the mere caprice of a whim- 
sical despot. Obviously, considerations of safety and 

1 Barani mentions the following provinces of the empire at the 
beginning of Muhammad's reign : (1) Delhi, (2) Gujarat, (3) Malwa, 
(4) Devagir, (5) Telang, (6) Kampila, (7) Dhorsamundar, (8) Mabar, 
(9) Tirhul, (10) Lakhnaubi, (11) SatgSon, (12) SonSrgSon. 
' Barani, Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi, Biblioth. Ind., p. 468. 


better government alone urged the Sultan to take such a 
bold step. As regards his possessions in Hindustan, he 
hoped to exercise control over them with the aid of the 
simple means of communication which existed between 
the north and south. l 

This change might have been effected without causing 
much hardship, if the Sultan had remained satisfied onljr 
with the removal of the official machinery of the state. 
But he made an egregious blunder in ordering the people 
of Delhi, men, women and children, to go en masse to 
Daulatabad with all their effects. All sorts of facilities 
were provided ; a road was built from Delhi to Daulatabad 
and food and accommodation were freely supplied to the 
emigrants. Those, who had no money to feed themselves 
during the journey, were fed at the expense of the state, 
and the Sultan was ' ' bounteous in his liberality and favours 
to the emigrants, both on their journey and on their 
arrival." 2 But all these concessions and favours proved of 
no avail. The people, who had lived in Delhi for genera* 
tions, and to whom the city was endeared by numerous 
associations, left it with broken hearts. The sufferings 
attendant upon a long journey of 700 miles, were incal- 
culable, and a great many of them, wearied with fatigue 
and rendered helpless by home-sickness, perished in the 
way, and those who reached their journey's end found 
exile in a strange, unfamiliar land unbearable, and 

1 Ibn Batuta's statement that the people of Delhi dropped anony- 
mous letters full of abuse into the king's Diwan, and the king took 
so much offence at this that he ordered the capital to be changed, is 
based upon hearsay, for when the transfer took place in 1326-27 A.D.^ 
he was not present in India. 

2 Barani, Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi, Biblioth. Ind., p. 474. 

Elliot, III, p. 239. 


" gave up the ghost in despair/' Barani writes that the 
Muslims, struck with despondency, laid down their 
heads in that heathen land, and of the multitude of emi- 
grants only a few survived to return to their homes. l 

The unwarranted assumption of Ibn Batuta that a 
search was instituted in Delhi under a royal mandate to 
find out if any of the inhabitants still lurked in their 
houses, and that it resulted in the discovery of two men, 
one lame and the other blind, who were dragged to 
Daulatabad, is based upon mere bazar gossip, invented 
-afterwards to discredit the Sultan. It is true, the Sultan's 
orders were carried out in a relentless manner, but it is a 
calumny to assert that his object was to cause needless 
suffering to the population. It must be said to his credit 
that, when he saw the failure of his scheme, he ordered 
the inhabitants to go back to Delhi, and on the return 
journey treated them with great generosity and made 
full amends for their losses. But Delhi was a depopulated 
<rity. From far and near, the Sultan brought learned 
men, merchants, and landholders to take up their abode 
in the deserted capital ; but no inducement proved of any 
avail to reconcile them to the changed surroundings. The 
old prosperity did not return, and Delhi did not recover 
Tier former grandeur, for the Moorish traveller found it 
in 1334 A.D. uninhabited in some places and still bearing 
the marks of desolation. 

1 Barani, Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi, Biblioth. Ind., p. 474. 

Elliot, III, p. 239 

Zia Barani writes : "So complete was the ruin, that not a cat 
-or a dog was left among the buildings of the city, in its palaces or in 
its suburbs." A statement of this kind made by an oriental writer of 
the middle ages is not to be taken too literally. European scholars, 
unaccustomed to Indian forms of speech, have made this mistake. 
Dr. Smith uncritically accepts Ibn Batuta's story related above. Oxford 
History of India, p. 239. 


Daalatabad remained. aaLane-Poole remarks, a monu- 
ment of rnifl%P<ted gngrgy. The scheme of transfer 
failed disastrously. That it would have, in the event of 
success, enabled the Sultan to keep a firm hold upon the 
different parts of the empire, may well be doubted. He 
failed to see that Daulatabad was situated at a lone 
distance from the northern frontiers of the empire, which 
needed to be constantly watched with vigilance. He 
disregarded the warning, which experience amply fur- 
nished, that Hindu revolts and Mongol inroads might at 
any time jeopardise his possessions in the north. If 
such a contingency were to arise, it would have been 
an extremely difficult task for the Sultan, pressed by 
the half-subdued races of the Deccfcn and the nomad 
hordes of Central Asia, to cope with the forces of 

Muhammad Tughluq has rightly been called the prince 

of moneyers. One of the earliest acts of his reign was to 

reform the entire system of coinage, to* 

The token determine the relative value of the pre- 

currency, 1830 _ , ^ - , . ... 

A.D. cious metals, and to found coins which 

might facilitate exchange and form con- 
venient circulating media. But far more daring and 
original was his attempt to introduce a token currency. 
Historians have tried to discover the motive which led the 
Sultan to attempt this novel experiment. The heavy drain, 
upon the treasury has been described as the principal 
reason which led to the issue of the token coins. It can- 
not be denied that a great deficiency had been caused in 
the treasury by the prodigal generosity of the Sultan, the 
huge expenditure that had to be incurred upon the trans- 
fer of the capital, and the expeditions fitted out to quell 


armed rebellions. But there were other reasons which 
must be mentioned in giving an explanation of this 
measure. The taxation policy in the Doab had failed ; 
and the famine that still stalked the most fertile part of 
the kingdom, with the consequent decline in agriculture, 
must have brought about a perceptible fall in the revenue 
of the state. It is not to be supposed that the Sultan was 
faced with bankruptcy ; his treasury was not denuded of 
specie, for he subsequently paid genuine coins for the 
new ones, and managed a most difficult situation with 
astonishing success. He wished to increase his resources 
in order to carry into effect his grand plans of conquest 
and administrative reform, which appealed so powerfully 
to his ambitious nature. There was another reason : the 
Sultan was a man of genius who delighted in originality 
and loved experimentation. With the examples of the 
-Chinese and Persian rulers before him, he decided to try 
the experiment without the slightest intention of defraud- 
ing or cheating bis own subjects, as is borne out by the 
legends on his coins. Copper coins were introduced and 
made legal tender; but the state failed to make the 
issue of the new coins a monopoly of its own. The 
result was as the contemporary chronicler points out in 
right orthodox fashion, that the house of every Hindu 
of course as an orthodox Muslim he condones the offences 
of his co-religionists -was turned into a mint and the 
Hindus of the various provinces manufactured lakhs 
and crores of coins. Forgery was freely practised by 
the Hindus and the Muslims ; and the people paid their 
taxes in the new coin and purchased arms, apparels, and 
other articles of luxury. The village headmen, mer- 
chants, and landowners suppressed their gold and silver, 


-and forged copper coins in abundance, and paid their dues 
with them. The result of this was that the state lost heavi- 
ly, while private individuals made enormous profits. The 
-state was constantly defrauded, for it was impossible to dis- 
tinguish private forgeries from coins issued by the royal 
mint. Gold and silver became scarce ; trade came to a 
stand-still, and all business was paralysed. Great confusion 
prevailed; merchants refused to accept the new coins which 
became as "valueless as pebbles or potsherds." When the 
Sultan saw the failure of the scheme, he repealed his former 
edict and allowed the people to exchange gold and silver 
oins for those of copper. Thousands of men brought these 
<x>ins to the treasury and demanded gold and silver coins in 
return. The Sultan who meant no deception was defrauded 
by his own people, and the treasury was considerably 
-drained by these demands. All token coins were completely 
withdrawn, and the silence of Ibn Batuta who visited Delhi 
only three years later, proves that no disastrous results 
ensued, and the people soon forgot the token currency. 

The failure of the scheme was inevitable in the India 
of the fourteenth century. To the people at large copper 
was copper, however benevolent the intentions of the 
Sultan might be. The Sultan who pitched his expectations 
too high made no allowance for the conservative character 
of the people, whose acceptance of a token currency even 
in modern times is more in the nature of a submission to 
an inevitable evil than a willingness to profit by the use of 
convenient circulating medium. The mint was not a 
state monopoly ; qpd the Sultan failed to provide adequate 
safeguards to prevent forgery. Elphinstone's statement 
that the failure of the token currency was due to the king's 

Barani, Tarikh-i-Firuz Bhahi, Biblioth. lad., p. 486. 


insolvency and the instability of his government, is not 
justified by facts, for the Sultan withdrew all coins at 
once, and his credit remained unshaken. Mr. Gardner 
Brown has ascribed this currency muddle to the shortage 
in the world's supply of silver in the fourteenth century. 
Soon after his accession Muhammad Tughluq introduced 
a gold dinar of 200 grains and an adali or a silver coin of 
140 grains in place of the gold and silver tankas which 
had hitherto been in use, and which had weighed 17& 
grains each. The introduction of the gold dinar and the 
revival of the adali show that there was an abundance of 
gold and a relative scarcity of silver in the country. The 
prize money brought by Kafur from the Deccan consisted 
largely of jewelry and gold, and it was this which had 
brought about a fall in the value of gold. The scarcity of 
silver continued even after the death of Sultan Muham- 
mad. Only three silver coins of Firuz have come to light, 
and Edward Thomas mentions only two pieces of Muham- 
mad bin Firuz, one of Mubarak Shah, one of Muhammad 
bin Farid, and none of Alam Shah and his successors of 
the Lodi dynasty, and it is not until the middle of the 16th 
century that we come across a large number of silver coins,, 
issued from the mints of Sher Shah Suriand his successors. 
Regarding the failure of this scheme, Edward Thomas, a 
numismatist of repute, has rightly observed, " There was 
no special machinery to mark the difference of the fabric 
of the royal mint and the handiwork of the moderately 
skilled artisan. Unlike the precautions taken to prevent 
the imitation of the-Chinese paper notes, there was posi- 
tively no check upoq the authenticity of the copper token, 
and no limit to th^ power of production by the masses at 


Muhammad Tughluq adopted a policy which ran coun- 
ter to the cherished prejudices of the orthodox school. He 
levied many taxes in addition to the four legal 
character ^of ones 1 prescribed by the Quran, and showed 8 
totion. dmini8 " reater re a rd for the religious susceptibili- 
ties of the Hindus than his predecessors had 
ever done. Unlike his weak-minded cousin, Firuz, he was no 
unreasonable bigot. His culture had widened his outlook, 
and his converse with philosophers and rationalists had 
developed in him a spirit of tolerance for which Akbar is 
so highly praised. He employed some of them in high 
positions in the state, 2 and, like the great Akbar after him, 
tried to stop the horrible practice of Sati. The independ- 
ent Rajput states were left unmolested ; for the Sultan 
knew that it was impossible to retain permanent posses- 
sion of such strongholds as .Chittor and Ranthambhor a 
policy which was not liked by the clerical party. He con- 
tinued Alauddin's practice of appropriating four-fifths of 
the share of plunder to himself, leaving the rest -to the 
soldiers. But the feelings of the ulama were deeply embit- 
tered, when he deprived them of the monopoly of the 
administration of justice. His love of justice was so great 
that he personally looked into the details of the judicial 
administration, and submissively accepted the decrees of 
the courts passed against himself. 

He made himself the Supreme Court of Appeal, and 
when his judgment differed from that of tl^Muftis, he 

1 The four legal taxes are Khiraj, 

* Ibn Batuta speaks of a Hindu, 
Sultan's service. The traveller praises 
Paris ed., Ill, pp. 105-106. 


overruled them and adhered to his own view. To curtail 
the influence of the orthodox party, he invested some of 
the distinguished officers of the state with judicial powers 
in spite of the fact that they were not Qazis, Muftis, or 
professed canonists. He was very strict in administering 
justice. He laid his hapda freely npn^ the jgembers of 
the Prigstlvclass when they were found guilty of rebellion- 
open sedition, or embezzlement of public funds. Neither 
birth nor rank, nor piety availed aught to afford protec- 
tion to an offender from the pun ishment which his guilt 
merited, and that is why Ibn Batuta who had visited many 
lands and seen a great deal of men and affairs, recorded the 
verdict, when he was in his own country, no longer afraid 
of the Sultan's wrath, that "of all men this king is the 
most humble, and of all men he most loves justice." 

The Sultan organised the services of the State on an 
efficient basis. As there was a dearth of capable officers in 
the country, he employed foreigners in his service and 
bestowed rich rewards and gifts upon them. This policy 
caused discontent among the native nobility and led to 
rebellions in the empire. The Sultan's generosity knew no 
.bounds. He maintained several departments, two of which 
are specially worthy of mention the department of pre- 
sents which regulated the giving and taking of presents 
and the Industrial Department which managed the pre- 
paration of costly fabrics for the use of the royal ladies 
and the wives of the nobles. 

The Sultan like his great predecessor Alauddin cherish- 
ed magnificent schemes of foreign conquest. Early in 
The Sultan's *^ e re fe n he was induced by some Khorasani 
schemes of nobles who had sought refuge at his court to 
conquest. Attempt an invasion of their country. There 


was nothing fantastic or absurd in the plan. The condition 
of Khorasan under Abu Said had become highly unsatis- 
factory. The Chaghtai chief Tarmashirin Khan and the 
ruler of Egypt were eager to grab Persian territory. 
Muhammad who had established friendly relations with 
the ruler of Egypt collected a large army containing 
570,000 men who were paid for one whole year from the 
public treasury. But the scheme did not materialise. The 
task was beyond the strength of the armies of Delhi at 
this period. It was an act of wisdom on the part of 
Muhammad Tughluq to abandon the scheme and to 
concentrate his attention upon India 

Another project which has brought much odium upon 
the Sultan was the so-called Chinese expedition. All 
modern writers on Indian history, following the lead of 
Firishta, have made the mistake of supposing that the 
expedition was aimed against China. But the contempo- 
rary chronicler, Barani, says that the design of Sultan 
was to conquer the mountain of Qarachal or Qarajal which 
lies between the territories of Hind and China. Ibn Batuta 
states clearly that the expedition was directed against 
the QarSjal mountain, which is situated at a distance 
of ten stages from Delhi, This shows that the mountain 
meant was Himachal (the Himalayas), which constitutes 
-an impassable barrier between China and India. The 
expedition was obviously directed against a refractory hill 

1 Briggs, Piriahta, I, p. 416. 

Blphinstone, Historry of India, p. 396. 

Firishta writes: " Having heard of the great wealth of China, 
Muhammad Tughluq conceived the idea of subduing that empire; but 
in order to accomplish his design it was found necessary first to conquer 
-the country of Him&chal." He further says that the nobles and coun- 
cillors of the king tried to convince him of the futility of the scheme, 
but failed to do so. B a rani's testimony is, of course, more reliable. Ibn 
BatOta supports Barani. 


chieftain who had refused to own the suzerainty of Delhi. 
The first attack of the imperialists was a success, but when 
the rainy season set in, the troops became demoralised, 
and it became impossible to obtain supplies from the 
headquarters. The troops suffered heavily, and the entire 
baggage of the army was plundered by the wily mountain- 
eers. Only ten horsemen returned to tell the story of 
this terrible disaster. But the object of the expedition 
was realised ; the mountain prince made peace with the 
Sultan and agreed to pay tribute, for it was impossible 
for him to cultivate the low lands at the foot of the hills 
without acknowledging the authority of the ruler of 
Delhi, of whose kingdom they formed a part. 

From the year 1835 there was a perceptible decline in 
the fortunes of Muhammad Tughluq. It was due partly to 

his harsh policy in the latter years of his life, 

The disorders and partly to famine, which continued for 

Ahwn Shah's severa l years and produced enormous suffer- 

revolt. ing in all parts of Hindustan. When public 

revenue, the principal mainstay of the 
administration, decreased, rebellions broke out in all parts 
of the empire. The earliest rebellion of importance was. 
that of Jalal-ud-din Ahsan Shah in Mabar, which occurred 
in 1385 A.D. 1 Although Delhi was in a deplorable condition, 
owing to the famine and lawlessness prevailing in its 
vicinity, the Sultan marched in person to chastise the 
rebel ; but when he reached Telingana, cholera broke out 
and carried off a large number of men belonging to the 

1 The date 1388-39 given by Smith on page 242 in his Oxford History 
of India is incorrect. 

Ahsan Shah rebelled in 1335 A.D He began to issue his coins as 
an independent ruler in this year. Dr. Hultzsch who has examined these 
coins with care assigns this rebellion to 1335 A.D. 

J. R. A. 8., 1909, pp. 667 83. 


king's retinue. The expedition against Ahsan Shah was 
abandoned under the pressure of unforeseen troubles, 
and he was allowed to become independent. 

Bengal had never been a loyal appanage of the empire 
of Delhi since the days of Muhammad, son of Bakhtiyar. 
Fakhr-ud-din, the armour-bearer of Qadr 
Khan > the governor of Lakhnauti, slew his 
master and usurped his territories in 737-38 
A.H. (1337 A.D.). Taking advantage of the state of con- 
fusion into which the affairs of the kingdom of Delhi had 
fallen, he proclaimed himself independent ruler of Bengal 
and struck coins in his own name. The Sultan, who was 
busily occupied with greater troubles in other parts of his 
wide dominions, could not pay attention to this upstart 
rebel. As there was no interference from him, Fakhr-ud- 
din successfully overcame the local opposition to his 
assumption of royal power. He soon brought the whole 
country under his control and governed it with ability 
and vigour. 

The rebellion in Bengal was followed by others of less 

importance, but they were speedily put down. The most 

important rebellion, however, was that of 

Revolt of Ain-ul-mulk, the governor of Oudh andZafra- 

Ain-nl-mulk, 1-1.11 . j_i_ 10^ *<* 

1340-41 A.D. bad, which broke out m the year 1340-41. 
Ain-ul-mulk was a distinguished nobleman 
who had rendered great services to the state, and who 
was held in high favour at court. When the Sultan remov- 
ed his court to Saragdwari in the Farrukhabad district 
on account of famine, Ain-ul-mulk and his brothers ren- 
dered great assistance in mitigating its severity. Asingular 
lack of foresight on the part of the Sultan drove the 
Joyal governor into rebellion. Having heard of the 


misconduct of certain Deccan officers, the Sultan decided 
to appoint Ain-ul-mulk governor of that country, and 
ordered him to go there with his family and dependents. 
This peremptory order of transfer took the Malik 
by surprise. His ears were poisoned by those persons 
who had sought shelter in Oudh and Zafrabad to escape 
from the wrath of the Sultan. All of a sudden, 
Ain-ul-mulk, who suspected danger, revolted, and 
with his brothers seized the entire royal baggage which 
was in his charge. The Sultan was at first dumbfounded 
at the news of this revolt, but he at once devised measures 
to strengthen his forces. He paid special attention to the 
morale of the army, and himself superintended the opera- 
tions. After a prolonged and stubborn fight, Ain-ul-mulk 
was defeated and brought as a prisoner to the royal camp. 
His associates were cruelly put to death, but he was par- 
doned in recognition of his past services and appointed 
superintendent of the royal gardens. 

Destiny allowed no respite to this unlucky monarch, 

and no sooner did he quell disturbances in one quarter 

Suppression *k an trou " ) les of greater magnitude broke 

of brigandage out in another. This evil was the greatest 

in Bindh. in gindlu The Sultan marched thither W ith 

his forces and scattered the ruffians. Their leaders were 
captured and forced to embrace Islam. By the end of the 
year 1342 A.D., order was established in Hindustan, but 
disorders of greater magnitude soon afterwards broke 
out in the Deccan. They assumed formidable dimensions, 
and the Sultan found himself powerless to stamp out sedi- 
tion and overcome resistance to his own authority. 

The Deccan was a hot-bed of intrigue and seditious 
conspiracy. In the early part of the reign, the Sultan had 


effectively brought under his sway such distant provinces 
as Mabar, Warangal and DvSrsamudra, and 
his empire embraced practically the whole 
of the Deccan. But Mftbar became an independent princi- 
pality^jij 1335, and in 1336 Hari Kara and his brother 
Bukka founded the kingdom of Vijayanagar as a protest 
against the Muslim power, of which a full account will be 
given later. In 1344 Kanya Nik or Krigna Nayak, son of 
Pratap Rudra Deva Kskatiya, organised a confederacy of 
the Hindus of the south. The great Deccan revolt began, 
and through the efforts of Ballala IV, Hari Kara and 
Krisna Nayak, followed by many lesser leaders, it finally 
culminated in the disappearance of Muslim power in 
Warangal, Dvarsamudra and the country along the 
Coromandel coast. The fall of the Hoysalas in 1346 A.D* 
enabled Hari Hara to place his power upon a firm footing, 
and henceforward Vijayanagar became a leading state 
in the south and a bulwark against the Muslim invasions 
from the north. 

Gujarat and Devagir alone were left in the hands of 
Muhammad Tughluq. His many failures had soured hia 
temper, and he had lost that quality of human sympathy 
without which no conciliation of hostile people is possible. 
He removed QutlughKhan, theveterangovernorof Devagir, 
from his office, and appointed his brother in his place an 
arrangement which caused much discontent in the country. 
The revenue declined, and the officers of the state began 
to extort money for themselves from the hapless ryots. 
The recall of Qutlugh Khan was followed by a fresh blunder 
in the massacre of the foreign Amirs by the foolish vintner's 
son, Aziz Khummar, who had been entrusted with the 
fiefs of Malwaj and Dhar. The crime of Aziz produced 


a feeling of consternation among the Amirs and they took 
dp arms in self-defence. Disorder rapidly spread in the 
Dec can, and the troops became mutinous everywhere. The 
Sultan proceeded in person to suppress the rebellion in 
Gujarat, and from Broach he sent a message to Nizam-ud- 
din Alim-ul-mulk, brother of Qutlugh Khan, the new gover- 
nor of Daulatabad, asking him to send the foreign Amirs 
immediately to the royal camp. The Amirs of Raichur, 
Mudgal, Gulbarga, Bidar, Bijapur, Berar and other places 
obeyed the royal command and started for Gujarat, but on 
the way a sudden panic seized them, and they entertained 
the suspicion that the Sultan intended to take their lives. 
They attacked the royal escort, killed some of the men in a 
skirmish that followed, and returned to Daulatabad where 
they seized Nizam-ud-din and made him prisoner. The 
fort of Daulatabad fell into their hands ; they seized the 
royal treasure, divided the Mahratta country amongstthem- 
selves, and elected one of their leaders, Malik Ismail Makh 
Afghan, as their king. When the Sultan received intelli- 
gence of these developments, he marched towards Daulata- 
bad and defeated the rebels in an open engagement. Malik 
Makh Afghan entrenched himself in the fort of Devagir, 
and Hasan Kangu, another Afghan leader, with his 
followers went away in the direction of Gulbarga. The 
Sultan laid siege to Daulatabad and sent his general Imad- 
ul-mulk Sartez in pursuit of the rebels. Daulatabad was 
recovered ; but soon afterwards the Sultan had to leave 
the place on account of the rebellion of Taghi in Gujarat. 
As soon as the Sultan's back was turned, the foreign 
Amirs, once again, made a vigorous effort to recover 
their lost power. They besieged the fort of Devagir and 
baffled the attempts of the imperialists to recapture it. 


'The imperial general Imad-ul-mulk was defeated in an 
.action by Hasan, and the rebels occupied Daulatabad. 
Ismail Makh whom they had chosen as their king 
"voluntarily aud gladly " resigned in favour of Hasan, a 
young and high-spirited warrior, who had taken a 
prominent part in these campaigns. Hasan assumed 
sovereignty under the title of Alauddin wad-din Abul- 
MuzaffarBahman Shah on August 13, 1347 A J). Thus was 
founded the famous Bahmani kingdom, of which a full 
account will be given in another chapter. 

Hearing of the rebellion of Taghi, the Sultan left 
Devagir for Gujarat. It was a mistake on his part to 

resolve to put down the traitor Taghi before 
the h 8u d itan h f dealing effectively with the foreign Amirs. 

He pursued the rebel from place to place, 
but the latter succeeded in eluding his grasp. He subdued 
the Rai of Karnal and brought the entire coast under his 
sway. From there he proceeded to Gondal where he fell 
ill and was obliged to halt for some time. Having collected 
a large force he marched towards Thatta, but when he was 
about three or four days' march from that place, he got 
fever and died on March 20, 1351 A.D. 

Such was the end of this unlucky monarch. All his 
life, he battled against difficulties and never abandoned 

his task in despair. It is true, he failed, 
Mohammad. f but his failure was largely due to rirftiim- 

Stance&over which he had little or no control. 
A severe famine which lasted for more than a decade 
marred the glory of his reign and set his subjects against 
him. The verdict that declares him a cruel and blood- 
thirsty tyrant like Nam oy f! a ]jynifl dn* q little justice to 
his great genius, and ignores his conspicuous plans to cope 


with famine and his efforts to introduce ameliorative re- 
forms. There is ample evidence in the pages of Barani 
and Ibn BatutS to show that he was not fond of shedding 
blood for its own sake, and that he could be kind, generous 
and just even towards his enemies. He possessed an 
intellect and a passion for practical improvement, which 
we rMe ly^fe^lP mediaeval rulers. But his task was an 
extremely onferous one. He had to deal with the problems 
of an ever-growing empire with a staff of officers who 
never loyally co-operated with him. He had also to reckon 
with the orthodox Ulama who clamoured for privilege and 
who resented his attempt to enforce justice and equality 
r among his subjects. 

All modern writers repeat the charge of madness 
against the Sultan, but neither in the pages of Ibn Batuta 
nor in the history of Barani there is any mention of it. 
The charge of bloodthirstiness is equally untenable. The 
Sultan was no monster of iniquity who loved crime for 
its own sake. He inflicted severe punishments on the 
wrongdoers, but punishments were always severe in his 
day both in Europe and Asia. There is little point then 
in the denunciations of European writers, who are 
always severe in judging the actions of oriental statesmen 
and rulers. In pronouncing a verdict on Muhammad 
we must bear his difficulties in mind. 

A most interesting source of information regarding the 

reign of Muhammad Tughluq is the account of his travels 

given by the Moorish traveller, Ibn Batuta. 

Ibn Batuta. * _ 

Abu-Abdulla Muhammad, commonly known 
as Ibn Batuta, was born at Tangier on the 24th February, 
1304 A.D. He had an inborn liking for travel, and as soon 
as he grew to manhood, he made up his mind to fulfil his. 


heart's desire. At the early age of 21, he started on his 
journey, and after wandering through the countries of 
Africa and Asia, he came to India through the passes of the 
Hindukush. He reached the Indus on the 12th September, 
1383 A.D.; thence he proceeded to Delhi, where he was. 
hospitably received. He was appointed Qazi of Delhi by 
Muhammad Tughluq and admitted to his court, where 
he had close opportunities of acquainting himself with 
the habits, character, and acts of this most extraordinary 
monarch. He lived in India for eight years and left 
the service of the Sultan in 1342 A.D. He throws 
much light on the customs and manners of both Hindus 
and Muslims in those days and supplements Zia Barani 
in many respects. He was sent on an embassy to 
China on a diplomatic mission by Muhammad Tughluq, but 
he was prevented by unforeseen circumstances from 
fulfilling it He returned to his native land in 1349 
and recorded his experiences. He died at the age of 73 in 
1377-78 A.D. 

There can be no doubt about the general veracity of 
Ibn Batuta, for his statements are very often corroborated 
by other historians. He describes the gifts and 
punishments, the kindnesses and severities of his patron 
with considerable impartiality. His view of the Sultan's 
character is corroborated by Zia Barani who is more 
fulsome in his adulations and less balanced in his denun- 
ciations. The character of Ibn Batuta, as it is reflected in 
the pages of his narrative, is profoundly interesting. 
Full of freshness, life, daring, a kind of superstitious, 
piety, and easy confidence, Ibn Batuta is a man of extra- 
vagant habits, prone to fall into pecuniary difficulties, out 
of which he is more than once extricated by his indulgent 


patron, tp whom he clung like a veritable horse-leech, as 
long as he lived in India. 

The death of Muhammad Tughluq near Thatta plung- 

ed the entire royal camp into confusion, and a feeling of 

despair seized the leaders of the army as 

The accession we ll as the rank and file. The Mongol 

ofFiruz . ,,-, .,.,1 

"Tughiuq. mercenaries who had come to assist in the 

expedition against Taghi began to plunder 
the royal camp, and the army found it difficult to retreat 
in safety towards the capital. The situation was further 
aggravated by the fact that Muhammafl had left no 
male heir, and it was apprehended by the nobles that 
disastrous consequences might follow, if they did not at 
once proceed to choose a successor. Barani who was an 
eye-witness of these events writes that the late Sultan 
Finis aa his heir-apparent, a statement 

which is corroborated, by another contemporary writer, 
Shams-i-Sirai Afif. According to this testament of the 
late Sultan they offered the crown to Firuz and appealed 
to him to save the families of the generals and soldiers 
from the Mongols by accepting it. Piruz, who was utterly 
devoid of ambition and who wished to lead the life of a 
religious recluse at first demurred to the proposal, and 
said that he contemplated a pilgrimage to Mecca. But 
the pressure of the nobles became irresistible, and at 
last he had to concede to their wishes in the interests of 
the state. Firuz 's acceptance of the crown had a calm- 
ing effect on the army, and order was quickly restored. 
But in Delhi the Khwaja Jahan's attempt to set up a 
supposititious son of Muhammad had created a serious 
situation. The Khwajs cannot be charged with treason, for 
&e had done so in public interestlon receiving the news of 


the disappearance of Firuz and Tatar Khan, the principal 
leaders of the imperial army, from the field of battle. 
Firuz enquired of the nobles and officers of the state if 
the late Sultan had left a son, and received a reply in the 
negative The Khwaja repented of his conduct, and with 
every mark of abject submission appeared before Firuz 
to implore forgiveness. The latter was inclined to take a 
lenient view of his offence on the score of his past services, 
but the nobles refused to condone what they described as 
" unpardonable treason/' The Khwaja was asked to go 
to the fief of Samana, but on his way he was murdered. 
Thus did the weak and irresolute Firuz acquiesce in the 
murder of a trusted friend and colleague, of whose guilt- 
lessness he was probably fully convinced. 

Firuz Tughluq mounted the throne on the 24th March, 
1351 A.D., with little ambition and less fitness for that 
Jiigh position. l r he contemporary Muslim 
F ^ racter of chroniclers liave bestowed lavish praise 
upon him, for his reign marked the begin- 
ning of that religious reaction, which became a prominent 
feature of his administrative policy. Barani writes that 
since the days of Muiz-ud-din Muhammad bin Sam, 
there was no ruler of Delhi, so numoie, merciful, truth- 
loving, faithful ana pious. Shams'i-fciiraj Afif pronounces 
upon him a fulsome eulogy, and extols his virtues in terms 
of hyperbolical praise. He was a bigot who observed the 
Holy Law with great strictness, and on the occasion 
of^reiigious festivals behavedlike a pious Muslim. He 
encouraged his ' infidel ' subjects to embrace Islam and 
exempted the converts from the payment of the jeziya, 
The Brahmans were taxed, and their protests were con- 
temptuously disregarded. All decorations in the royal 


palace were forbidden. The Sultan himself used earthen 
vessels instead of plates of gold and silver for dining 
purposes. But his vaunted devotion to the Quran did 
not prevent him from seeking the gratification of his 
lower appetites. On one occasion, in the midst of a 
campaign, when Tatar Khan paid him a visit, he saw him 
lying half naked with wine cups concealed in his bed. The 
Khan reproached him for this depravity, and the Sultan 
promised to observe abstinence as long as Tatar Khan 
was with the army. But the weakness of will soon assert- 
ed itself, and the Khan was transferred to the neigh- 
bourhood of Hisar Firuza. 

Though riffidlv ortftQfiny. Firuz was generous^ and 
humane. He behaved towards his co-religionists with 
great generosity and liberally helped the poor and the un- 
employed. tiisldndness is reflected in his reform of the legal 
system. He abolished torture, simplified the legal proce- 
dure, and discouraged espionage. He extended his patron- 
age to learned men and established schools and colleges for 
theological instruction. Several measures were devised by 

him tO promote the welfflrft nf his 

the chief of which were the facilities of irrigatiop and a 
hospital at Delhi where medical aid was given free of cost. 

Firuz is well known in history for his administrative 
reform, but he had nothing of the ability, intrepidity, and 
vigour of Alauddin Khilji or Muhammad Tughluq.. He walT 
aTweak-mindefl map who listened too much to the advice 
-of muftis and maul vis. The results of this policy were 
seen after a generation in the complete disintegration of 
the Sultanate of Delhi. 

During the confusion that followed the death of 
-Muhammad Tughluq, Bengal completely separated itself 


from Delhi, and Haji Ilyas proclaimed himself an 
independent ruler under the title of Shams- 
The first ex- ud-din. The Sultan marched towards 
KSSTiast Ben al at the head of a large army, and 
$4 A.D' on reaching there issued a proclamation to 

his Bengali subjects, in which he explained 
the wrongs of Haji Ilyas and his own desire to do justice 
to the people and to govern the country well. 

When Haji Ilyas heard of his approach he entrenched 
himself in the fort of Iqdala. To induce him to leave the 
fortress Firuz had recourse to a clever strategical move ; he 
retraced his steps a few miles backwards in the hope that 
the enemy would come out of the fort in order to harass 
the retreating army. The expected happened, and Shams- 
ud-din followed the royal army at the head of a consider- 
able force consisting of 10,000 horse and 20,000 foot, 
-all eager to fight against the Delhwis. The Sultan arrang- 
ed his troops in battle array according to the time-honour- 
ed practice of mediaeval warfare in three divisions -the 
right, left, and centre, and 

organising the campaign* A terrible battle ensued in which 
the protagonists on either side fought with great valour 
and determination. When Shams-ud-din saw the day going 
against him, he fled from the field of battle and took shel- 
ter again in the fort of IqdalS. The royalists followed up 
their success and invested the fort in full vigour. But the 
shrieks and wails of women who pathetically demonstrated 
their grief, moved the compassionate heart of the Sultan, 
.and he forthwith decided to abandon the fruits of a hard- 
This is how the official historian of the 
incapacity to deal with a difficult 

situation : ' To storm the fort, put more Musalmans to the 


sword, and expose honourable women to ignominy, would! 
be a crime for which he could not answer on the day of 
judgment, and which would leave no difference between, 
him and the Mughals.' Tatar Khan, the imperial com- 
mandant, urged the annexation of the province, but with 
his characteristic weakness Firuz rejected his advice on 
tjie plea that Bengal was a land of swamps, andjhat it 
jwas not worth while^to retain possession^ it 

On his returrT f rom Bengal the Sultan devoted 
himself with great energy and vigour to the organisation 

of his administration. But a second expe- 

The d 8 *t nd dition to Bengal became necessary, when 

1359^60 A.D. ' Zafar Khan, the son-in-law of Fakhrud-din, 

the first independent ruler of Bengal, com- 
plained of the high-handedness of Shams-ud-din and 
begged the Sultan to intercede on his behalf. Zafar Khan 
was well received at the court, and his heart was elated 
with joy when the Sultan ordered the Khan-i- Jahan to 
make preparations for a second expedition to Bengal. 
Popular enthusiasm rose to such a high pitch thatjiumerous 
vnfaptftftrg enrolled themselves in the armv which consist- 
ed of 70.000 Tinrae. innumerable Jbpt, 470 elephants and 
a large flotilla of boats. Shams-ud-din had been dead for 
some time, and his son Sikandar had succeeded him. 
Following the example of his father, he shut himself up in 
the fort of IqdalS. The fortress was besieged, and the 
royalists made breaches in its walls, which were soon re- 
paired by the Bengalis, who displayed great courage and 
vigour. But the patience of both sides was soon exhausted 
by this interminable siege, and negotiations for peace 
began. Sikandar 's envoy conducted the negotiations with 
great patience, tact and firmness. He agreed to the 


restoration of SonargSon to Zafar Khan and sent 40 ele- 
phants and valuable presents to the Sultan to cement their 
friendship. But Zafar Khan who was the chief cause of 
all this trouble gave up the idea of retiring to his country 
and preferred to remain at Delhi. Once again Firuzj 
weakness prevented him from asserting his sovereijgaty 
over a province which was well-nigh within his grasp. 
""" On Ms returrTfrdm Bengal, the Sultan halted at Jaun- 
pur, from where he marched against Jajnagar (modern 

Orissa), which was in a flourishing condition. 
gation of the The Rai of Jajnagar fled at the approach of 
J&J " ^ e ro ^ arm Y andtook shelter in an island, 

whither he was pursued by the Sultan's 
forces. The temple of Jagannath at Puri was desecrated 
and the idols were thrown into the sea. At last, dismayed 
by the heavy odds arrayed against him, he sent his emis- 
saries to negotiate the terms of peace. To their utter sur- 
prise, the Sultan informed them that he was entirely 
ignorant of the cause of their master's flight. The Rai 
explained his conduct and agreed to furnish a fixed num- 
ber of elephants every year as tribute. The Sultan accept- 
ed these terms, and having obtained the submission of 
several other Hindu chieftains and Zamindars on his way, 
he returned to the capital. 

The fortress of Nagarkot had been conquered by Mu- 
hammad Tughluq in 1837 A.D. ; but during the latter part 

of his reign its Rai had established himself 
Na^r/kVtf as an ^dependent ruler. JThe temple ^f 
1860-61 A.D. ' Jwalamukhi in Nagarkot was an old and 

venerated shrine which was visited by thou- 
sands of Hindu pilgrims who made rich offerings to the 
i3oT Its sanctity was an additional reason which led the 


bigoted Firuz to undertake this expedition ; and the con- 
temporary cnromcier writes thai when the Sultan paid a 
visitto the temple, he addressed the assembled Rais, Ranas, 
and Zamindars in these words : " Of what avail is the 
worship of this stone ? What desire of yours will be ful- 
filled by praying to it ? It is declared in our Holy Law that 
those who act contrary to it will go to hell." The fort of 
Nagarkot was besieged, and manjniqs and arradas were 
placed on all sides. After a protracted siege of six months, 
which well-nigh exhausted the patience of the combatants 
on both sides, Firuz offered pardon to the Rai, who " came 
down from his fort, apologised, and threw himself at the 
feet of the Sultan, who placed his hand on his back, be- 
stowed upon him rich robes of honour and sent him back 
to his fort." 

The Thatta expedition is one of the most interesting 

episodes in the reign of Firuz Tughluq. It originated in 

adesjre to avenge the wrongs done by thg 

uL h ofThat n " peopl! Thatta to the late Sultan - Pw 
1871-72 A.D. tai parations for the campaign were made, and 
volunteers were enrolled in the army which 
consisted of 00,000 cavalry, numerous infantry and 480 
elephants. A large flotilla of five thousand boats was also 
constructed and placed under experienced admirals. Jam 
Babiniya, the chieftain of Sindb, arranged in battle array 
Ms forces which numbered 200,000 horse and 40,000 foot, 
and prepared for action. Meanwhile in the Sultan's camp 
provisions became scarce owing to famine and pestilence, 
which decimated the troops and swept away nearly one- 
fourth of ike cavalry. 

Reduced to sore straits, the Sultan retreated towards 
Gujarat mnd lost liis way in the Han of Kutch. Having 


reached Gujarat, he organised his army and spent about 
two crores in obtaining the sinews of war. The royal 
army was further strengthened by the reinforcements 
sent by the Khan-i-Jahan from Delhi. The Sindhians 
were frightened and expressed their willingness to 
surrender* The Jam offered submission ; he was taken to 
Delhi where a liberal pension was granted to him and his 
brother was reinstated in the Jamship. 

Firuz revived the Jaffir system which had been dis- 
continued by Alauddin. The whole empire was divided 
jntojfiefs and the fiefs into districts held 
d8trlt!on drain " *>y M officers. In addition to 

of land, the officers of the state were 
allowances which enabled them to accumulate large 
fortunes. The interests of the agriculturists were well 
protected. The Sultan constructed four canala which 
irrigated large areas of land and levied a small irrigation 
cess which amounted to 10 per cent of the produce of the 
fields. The system of taxation was reorganise^ and made 
to conformj*) the law^of Islam. All vexatious taxes were 
abolished and Firuz in his Fatuhat-i-Firuashahi takea 
-credit for abolishing 23 such taxes. He levied only four 
taxes allowed by theJHoly Law, namely, the Khiraj, 
ZakaL Jeziya andjham&. The spoils of war and conquest 
won by the arms of the faithful were to be aharad bv 
the army and the state in the proportion laid down in the 
flaeredjfts^ The new policy of taxation had a beneficial 
effect on the development of trade and agriculture Prices 
were low, and no scarcity of necessaries was ever felt. 

In administering law and justice Firuz actecTJIke an 
^orthodox Muslim. He followed thg Quran with the strict- 
est fidelity. The mu# Axpouztfed the law, and the 


judgment, the legal system waa reformed^ 

Torture was abolished, and leniency was shownjn award- 
ing punishments to wrong-doers. 

The Sultan was kindly disposed towards the poor and 
the unemployed. The Kotwals majj^jists of^ Jhqse who 
were in want and forwardM^hemTto i the Diwan where 
Suitable occupations were jroyided for thezrT ~ 

Himself acquainted with the science of medicine, the 
Sultan established a hospital (Dar~ul-Shafn) at Delhi 
where medicines were distributecf to the sick free of cost. 
The patients were supplied with food at the expense of 
the state, and competent physicians were appointed to 
look after them. 

The military organisation of the empire rested on a 

feudal basis. Grants of land were made to the soldiers 

mi. A .of the army for their maintenance while the 

The Army. ~ - 7 * _ . 

irregulars (ghairwajh) were paid from the 
royal treasury, and those who received neither salary nor 
grants of land were given assignments upon the revenue. 
The royal army consisted of 80 or 90 thousand cavalry in 
addition to tne retainers 01 tne feudal barons and grandees 
of the state, who numbered a little less than two hundred 
thousand. Horsemen were required to bring the right 
kind of animals to the registration office, and the corrupt 
practices that had formerly attended this business were 
put an end to by the vigilant Malik Razi, the N&ib Ariz-i- 
mamnlik (deputy muster-master). The soldiers were 
treated kindly and were provided with all sorts of com- 
f<ap. But the r Sultan's misplaced generosity, seriously 
impaired the efficiency of the army by allowing aged and 
infirm persons, no Jon^er fit for active service, to re~ 
main in it. A new regulation laid down that when a 


soldier became unfit on account of old age, his son, or 
son-in-law, or slave should succeed him, and in this way 
" the veterans were to remain at home in ease and the 
young were to ride forth in their strength/ 7 ""~ 

One of the principal features of the reign of Firuz 
was the unusual growth of the slave system. From the 
various parts of the empire slaves were 

* * V e were granted allowances bv 

the state. Owing to the Sultan's favour the 
number of slaves rapidly multiplied, so that in a few years 
in the metropolis and the provinces of the empire their 
total number reached the high figure of 180.000. For the 
proper management of this army of slaves, a separate 
department with a regular staff of officers was established, 
which must have caused a heavy drain upon the treasury. 
Firuz was a gre'at builder. He founded the towns 
,of Firuzabad, Fatahabad^ Jaunpur^and several others: 
built n>Q9cmea. palaces, monasteriea^Jid inna 
for tlie convenience of travellers, and re- 
paired numerous buildinfta which had 
suffered from the ravages of time. Numerous artisans 
were employed by the state, and 

dentjwas appointed to supervise the work of each class of 
artisans. The plan of every new building was examined 

in the finance ^office (Diwan 4- Wizarat) and then money 
was sanctioned for its construction. 

The Sultan was a great gardener. He rebuilt 30 old 
gardens of Alauddin and laid out 1,200 new ones in the vici- 
nity of DelhL Numerous gardens and orchards were laid 
. which yielded to the state a large revenue. Much waste 

land was reclaimed, and though the extent of the empire 
reduced. its revenue increased by several millions. 


Firuz took interest in **>* Pr? aflT Tat 1 'ftP "* 
msnumenta, and caused two monoliths of Afoka to be 
yed to his new city. Learned Brahmans were called 
to decipher the inscriptions on the pillars, but they failed 
to make out the script which was totally different from 
the language with which they were familiar. Some 

to please t* 1 * Sl1 W h .y 

recorded in the inscriptions that no one woi]]^ h^ flMfi ^ 
.remove the monoliths until the advent of Firuz. 

Though not a finished scholar like his cousin Muham- 
mad Tughluq, the Sultan was interested in the promotion 
^" " * of learning. He extended his patronage to 
ie P a? n ?ng! 0n f b* ikhs and learned men and accorded to 
them a most hearty reception in his Palace 
of Grapes. H^gHHlCTTeiiisions and .gratuities to them 
and made it a part of his state policy to encourage learn- 
ed men in all parts of the empire. He yasjond of his- 
tory, and the works of 2ia Barani and Shams-i-Siraj Afif, 
besides ^tlier works on law^and theology, were written 
during his reign. Numerous collects ^and. moaasterifia. 
were established, where men devoted themselves to study 
and meditation, and to each collecre was attached a 
mosque for worship. 

Ine MoBiri-i-Rahimi of Abdul Baqi states that he 
built fifty Madrasas. Nizamuddin and Firishta estimate 
the number to be thirty. Firuz speaks of such institu- 
tions in his FatuhaL The Firuzshahi Madrasa at Firuza- 
bad was liberally endowefl and surpassed in scfrplastto 
attdrnnfiyita fJi^ other Mad* nf thA tim^ The Sultan 
caused several works to be translated from Sanskrit 
info perakm. One of these was the Dalaml-i-Firuzshahi 
which was seized during the conquest of Nagarkot. 


No account of Firuz's reign would be complete with- 
out a mention of his able and energetic minister Khan-i- 
Jahan MaqbQl. He was originally a Hindu 
but had latterly embraceS 

Islam. HeHaad acquired much valuable 
experience of public affairs under Sultan Muhammad' 
Tughluq, who had entrusted to him the fief of Multian.. 
When friruz ascended the throne, Maqbul was elevated 
to the position of the Jirst minister of the realm after* 
the fall of Ahmad bin Ayaz. When he went on distant, 
expeditions, he left the minister in charge of the capital. 
and the Jatter managed the affairs of the state with 
such ability and vigour that., the. long absence of the 
Sultan had no effect upon the administration. Though a 
great statesman, devoted to the interests of the state, the 
minister was like most men of rank in ftis age addicted to 
the pleasures of the haram, It is said, he had two thousand 
women of different nationalities in his seraglio and a large 
number of children, who were all liberally provided for/ 
by the state. The Khan-i-Jahan lived up to a ripe old 
age. When he died in 1370 A.D. his son Juna Shah, 
who was born at Multan during the reign of Muhammad 
Tughluq, was confirmed in his office, and the title which 
his father had so long enjoyed was bestowed upon him. 

The last days of Piruz were clouded by sorrow and 
anxiety, and the even tenor of his life was disturbed by 

the dissensions of parties and factions. The 
olpira?* day8 infirmities of age had compelled him to dele- 

gate his authority to the minister Khan-i- 
Jahan, but the latter's overweening pride and insolence 
filled the old nobility with disgust. In order to put Prince 
Muhammad out of his way, the minister informed the 


Sultan that the Prince had entered into a confederacy with 
certain disaffected nobles and intended to take his life. So 
skilfully did the wily minister play upon the fears of the 
weak-minded Firuz that he readily granted him permission 
to arrest the conspirators. But the Prince proved too clever 
for him, and by a dexterous move foiled the intrigues of his 
enemy. Having secured permission for his ladies to visit 
the royal seraglio, he put on his armour and got into one of 
the palanquins. When he reached the palace, he threw 
himself at the feet of his father and begged forgiveness. 
He was pardoned and the Sultan declared him his heir- 
apparent. Secure in his position, the Prince spent his time 
in pleasure and appointed his own unworthy favourites to 
positions of honour. Opposition to the Prince grew apace, 
and civil war ensued. The nobles sought the protection of 
the old Sultan, and his^gpe^y^nce had a magical eflpQ^t pn 
the hostile troops. The Prince fled towards the Sirmur hills, 
and order was quickly restored. Piruz once more assumed 
sovereignty, but advancing age rendered him unfit for the 
proper discharge of kingly duties. The last public act 
of his life was the conferment of the royal insignia upon 
his grandson, Tughluq Shah bin Fatah Khan, to whom 
he delegated his authority. Not long afterwards the old 
Sultan, who was nearly eighty years old, died in the month 
of Ramzan, 790 A.H. (October 1388). His death was 
followed by the scramble of rival princes and parties for 
power which will be described in the next chapter. 

After the death of Firuz Tughluq the empire of Delhi 
which had shrunk to the dimensions of a small principality* 
rapidly declined in importance. It had been 
greasy disturbed by the convulsions of Mu- 
hammad's reign, and 


tejrecover the lost prcn '^ces. As a result of his policy the 
centrifugal tendencies, so common in Indian history, began 
to work, and province after pro vince separated itself from 
the empire. Ambitious chiefs and disloyal governors 
hoisted the flag of revolt, and defied the authority of the 
central power, which had become incapable of asserting 
itself. The basic principle of the Muslim State in the four- 
teenth century was force ; but the awe and fear in which 
the ruling class was held had disappeared owing to the 
relaxation of authority, and Firuz was loved and not 
feared by his subjects. The Muslims, accustomed to a 
life of ease at the court, lost their old vigour and man- 
liness, and behaved like a disorderly rabble in the midst 
of a campaign. The jagir system led to great abuses, 
and often the feudatories attempted to set up as inde- 
pendent rulers. ^ ne slaves of Firuz whose number had 
exceeded all reasonable limits were another source of 
weakness. The whole institution had undergone a radical 
change, and the slaves, no longer capable and loyal like 
their forbears in the time of Balban and Alauddin, 
embroiled themselves in disgraceful intrigues, and added 
to the disorders of the time. The incompetence of the 
later Tughluqs led to a recrudescence of Hindu revolts 
particularly in the Doab, where Zamindars and Khuts 
withheld tribute and began to play the role of petty 
despots. The revenue was not realised, and the whole 
administration fell into a state of chaos. A kingdom 
which depended for its existence mainly on military 
strength was bound to be pulled to pieces like a child's 
map, when its destinies were controlled by men who were 
neither warriors nor statesmen, and who could be utilised 
by self-seeking adventurers for their own aggrandisement 


By their incompetence, the successors of Firuz accelerated 
the process of disintegration, the seeds of which hadL 
been sown during his r eign. ' 

The successor of Firuz was his grandson Tughluq 
Shah, son of Prince Fatah Khan, who assumed the title of 

Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq II. This young and 
suc^ss^s 6 a o k f inexperienced ruler had no idea of the magni- 
Piruz. tude of the difficulties that surrounded him 

and the dangers that threatened the empire 
of Delhi. He gave himself up to debauch and pleasure, 
and neglected the affairs of the state. His conduct 
alienated the sympathies of the great officials and Amirs, 
and when he threw into prison Abu Bakr, son of Zaf ar 
Khan, they formed a conspiracy to overthrow him. The 
conspirators entered the palace, and the Sultan who 
knew that they had designs on him escaped with the 
wazir towards the river. But he was pursued and over- 
taken by one of the conspirators, just when he was about 
to cross the river, and was beheaded on the spot on 
February 19, 1389 A. D. Abu Bakr succeeded him ; gradual- 
ly he established his hold over Delhi, and his influence and 
authority began to wax from day to day. But the peace of 
the realm was disturbed by the news of the murder of the 
Amir ol Samana, who had been sent against Prince 

1 8tanley Lane-Poole mentions inter-marriage with the Hindus 
innnp.nft.bft o.a. V ftpa of d is migration. Tkia 18 narfllv norrect. P Irtig 
himself, who was born of a Hindu mother, never showed any Hindu pro- 
clivities. On the contrary, he was a bigot, who always deemed it an 
act of merit to persecute the " infidels. " Besides, Lane-Poole's state- 
ment is not borne out by subsequent history The great Mughal Emperor 
Akbar adopted the policy of matrimonial alliances with a view to streng- 
then the empire, and this policy succeeded remarkably well: The empire 
continued as vigorous as before under his two successors, and it broke up- 
only when Aurangzeb abandoned the policy of religious toleration which 
bis great-grandfather had inaugurated. 


Muhammad, the your ~<*r eon of Sultan Firuz Shah. The- 
latter readily grasped at this opportunity, and forthwith 
proceeded to Samana, where he proclaimed himself em- 
peror. Encouraged by the offers of help from some of the 
Amirs and nobles at the capital, he marched towards Delhi 
and encamped in its neighbourhood. A terrible civil war 
became imminent, and ambitious chiefs and slaves began 
to sway the scale on one side or the other. Bahadur Nahir 
of Mewat joined Abu Bakr, and with his help the armies 
of Delhi succeeded in inflicting a defeat upon Prince 
Muhammad in the battle of Firuzabad. The vanquished 
prince went into the Doab and began to make efforts to 
obtain fresh allies. His troops, mortified by their defeat, 
ravaged the lands of the Doab, and plundered the estates 
of the nobles and Amirs of Delhi. Sharp skirmishes with 
the Zamindars and petty chieftains followed and the lex 
talionis was freely resorted to. Abu Bakr's indifference 
to these depredations turned his nobles against him, and 
many of them went over to the side of the enemy. 
Having organised his forces, Muhammad returned ta 
Jalesar, where he encamped and busied himself in making 
preparations for battle. A battle was fought near 
Panipat, but fortune again favoured Abu Bakr, and 
Prince Humayun, Muhammad's son, suffered a severe 
defeat. Muhammad, who was assisted by a faction at 
Delhi, did not lose heart, and when Abu Bakr left for 
Mewat to seek the help of Bahadur Nahir, the disaffected 
nobles invited him to come to the capital. In response 
to this invitation Muhammad marched towards Delhi, 
where he was cordially received by his partisans. Having 
effected a safe entry into the capital, Prince Muhammad 
took his abode in the palace, and ascended the throne at 


Firuzabad under the title of Nasir-ud-din Muhammad in 
August 1390. In order to consolidate his power, the 
new Sultan deprived the old Firuzshahi slaves, who were 
partisans of Abu Bakr, of the custody of elephants. 
They protested against this step but in vain, and one 
night they fled with their wives and children to join Abu 
Bakr. The Sultan sent Prince Humayun and Islam Khan 
against his rival and the slaves of the old regime. Islam 
Khan's intrepid action overpowered Abu Bakr, and when 
the latter saw that his cause was lost, he made his sub- 
mission. The Sultan pardoned Bahadur Nahir and im- 
prisoned Abu Bakr in the fort of Meerut, where he died 

The Sultan returned to Delhi, but the good effect of 
his victory was marred by the rebellion of the Zamindars 
of the Doab. The revolt of Narasingh, Zamindar of 
Etawah, was successfully put down, but Islam Khan's 
treasonable conduct caused the Sultan much anxiety. 
On the evidence of a kinsman of his own, Islam was 
condemned to death without a trial. But more formidable 
in magnitude than all these was the rebellion of Bahadur 
Nahir of Mewat, who began to make inroads into the 
environs of Delhi. The Sultan, although in a state of 
feeble health, proceeded against him, and compelled him 
to seek refuge in his own fortress. His health declined 
rapidly, and he died on January 15, 1394. He was 
succeeded by his son Humayun, but his life was cut short 
.by a "violent disorder," and he died after a few days. 

JThe vacant throne now fell to the lot of Prince 
M ah mud, the youngest son of Muhammad, who assumed 
the sceptre under the title of Nasir-ud-din Mahmud 
Tughluq. The problems which confronted the new 


government were difficult and multifarious. At the 
capital, the scramble of parties and factions made the 
establishment of a strong administration well-nigh im- 
possible ; abroad, the Hindu chiefs and Muslim governors 
openly disregarded the authority of the central govern- 
ment. The whole country from Kanauj to Bihar and 
Bengal was in a state of turmoil, and many of the chiefs 
and Zamindars had begun to exercise de facto sovereignty 
within their territorial limits. Khwaja Jahan who had 
been created Malik-us-Sharq (Lord of the East) became 
independent at Jaunpur ; the Khokhars revolted in the 
north; Gujarat declared its independence, and Malwa 
and Khandesh followed suit. The government found it 
impossible to arrest the forces of disorder, which was 
aggravated by the acrimonious disputes of contending 
parties at Delhi Some of the nobles put forward Nusrat 
Khan, a grandson of Firuz Tughluq, as a rival claimant 
to the throne. The Amirs and Maliks at Piruzabad, to- 
gether with the slaves of the old regime, espoused the 
cause of Nusrat, while those at Delhi gave their support 
to Mahmud Tughluq. Thus, there were two Sultans 
arrayed in hostile camps, and the imperial crown was 
tossed to and fro like a shuttlecock between the contend- 
ing factions. A large number of party leaders arose, 
but the most distinguished among them were Bahadur 
Nahir, Mallu Iqbal, and Muqarrab Khan. Fighting went 
on ceaselessly ; and the protagonists on either side keenly 
contested for supremacy without any appreciable result. 
The provincial governors took no part in these civil wars ; 
but they vigilantly watched the fluctuations in the fortunes 
of rival parties. Towards the close of the year 1397, came 
the news that the army of Timur had crossed the Indus 


and laid siege to Uchha The effect of the advent of a 
foreign army was soon felt at the capital, where the 
parties began to shift their positions with astonishing 
rapidity. Mallu Iqbal went over to the side of Nusrat 
Khan, and the new allies swore fealty to each other, but 
the compact was too hastily formed to last long. Sultan 
Mahmud and his powerful allies, Muqarrab Khan and 
Bahadur Nahir, occupied old Delhi. Mallu Iqbal trea- 
<5herously attacked Nusrat, but the prince having got 
scent of his treasonable designs escaped to Tatar Khan at 
Panipat. Mallu Iqbal now turned against his irreconcil- 
able foe, Muqarrab, and determined to drive him out of 
the capital. A fierce fight raged between them, and it was 
after two months that a peace was patched up through 
the intervention of some noblemen. But Mallu was not 
the man to abide by his plighted word ; he attacked 
Muqarrab at his residence and had him cruelly put to 
death. Muqarrab's death broke, as it were, the right arm 
of Sultan Mahmud, who, deprived of all royal authority, 
became a tool in the hands of Mallu Iqbal. He made 
efforts to reorganise the administration, but the grim 
spectre of a foreign invasion stared him in the face. The 
ominous news flashed forth that Amir Timur was advanc- 
ing upon Hindustan with his myriad hosts. 

Timurwas born in 1336 A.D. at Kech in Transoxiana, 
fifty miles south of Samarqand. He was the son of Amir 

Turghav. chief of the Gurkan branch of the 
. Tim u r/8 Barias, a noble Turkish tribe, and a nephew 
A.D. 9 oFaaji Barias. At the age of 33 he became 

the head of the CfraghtIB Turks and con- 
stantly waged war against Persia and the adjoining lands. 
Having made himself master of the countries of central 


Asia, he resolved on the invasion of Hindustan, which 
was at the time in a state of anarchy. His motive in 
doing so was ' to purify the land itself from the filth of 
infidelity and polytheism, ' 

The advance guard of Timur 's army under Pir Muham- 
mad soon reached India. crossedjh^IlldU3, capturedUchha. 
and then advanced upon Multan, which also capitulated 
after a protracted siege of six months. Having collected 
a large army from all parts of his wide dominions, 
Timur marched across the Hindukushjtnd crossed the river 
Indus on September 24 f 1398. When he reached the neigh- 
bourhood of Dipalpur^ the people who had murdered 
Musafir Qabuli whom Pir Muhammad had appointed 
.governor of their city, fled out of fear and took refuge 
in the fort of Bhatnir, which was one of the most 
renowned fortresses irT Hindustan. The generals of 
Timur attacked the fort on the right and left and 
captured it. The Rai submitted, but the_Amir J!?fl!$te<l 
heavy punishments upon thelnhabitaiitg_of Bhatnir. Men 
id women were slain, their goods were forcibly seized. 
and the buildings and the fort were razed to the ground. 

From Iffiatnir Tjprmr parched tp Siranti which was 
easily conquered, and when he reached Kaithal which 
is at a distance of 34 miles from Samana, he began 
to make preparations for an attack upon Delhi. As the 
-army progressed in its journey, the inhabitants of the 
towns through whifeh it pasted flad fa 

houses and goods at the dianoaul of thP _ 

.after town surrendered^ and in a short time Timur reached 
the Jahanuma. a fine palace built by F 1 * 1 Shfl fr ftt ~ ft 
.distance of six miles from Delhi. The neighbour ing country 
was ravaged, and the soldiers were permitted to obtain 


food and fodder for themselves and their cattle by means 
of plunder. When Timur reached near Delhi, he ordered 
that the 100,000 Hindustwho were in his camp should be 
put to death, for he thought that on the great day of 
battle, they might 4 break their bonds ' and go over to the 
enemy. Even such a pious man as Maulana Naair-ud-din 
Omar, who had never killed a sparrow in his life, slew 
who happened to be his prisoners! 

Timur organised his forces in battle array and made 
ready for action. Sultan Mahmud and Mallu Iqbal collect- 
ed an army, which contained 10,000 well-trained horse, 
40,000 foot and 125 elephants. The two armies confronted 
each other outside Delhi. In the battle that followed, the 
Delhi army fought with desperate courage, but it was 
defeated, Mahmud and Mallu Iqbal fled from the field 
of battle, and Timur hoisted his flag on the ramparts of 
Delhj. The city was thorou^ljrsacked, and th(T iniiabi- 
tants were massacred. According to the Zafarnama men 
and women were madq slaves, and vast booty fell into 
the hands of the enemy, S^v^ya! tho^^an4 craftsmen 
and mechanics were brought out of the city and were 
divided among the jPrinceg^jLmirs, and Aghas, who had 
.assisted in the conquest. 

Timur halted at Delhi for a fortnight which he spent 
in pleasure and enjoyment. After that he moved towards 

Mgei^t r and thfin flronftftdftd tn Hard wnr where afierce fight 

raged between the Hindus and Muslims. This was follow- 
ed by a sucgfiasf ul raid in the Siwalik hills. The Raj waa 
defeated, and vast booty fell into the hands of the victors. 
\ Having completed the conquest of a Siwalik country, 
tlmur marched toward* Jamm^ Th^Bgjawasdefeated 
and takqn prisoner, and forced to embraceTsIaqa. ~* 



The task of conquest was now over, Timur felt that 
it was time to go. Having entrusted the fiefs of Lahore. 
Mul tan and Dipalpur to Khizr Khan, hejeftfor Samarqapd. 

Timur's invasion caused widespread anarchy in fTiir 

<lustan. The^government at Delhi was completely para- 
lysed, and in the vicinity of the capital as 
wel1 as in the Provinces of the empire, the 

greatest confusion prevailed. To the 

sufferings consequent upon a war, conducted by heartlesg 
ruffians, fired by a fanatical thirst for bloodshed and 
-plunder, were added the horrors of famine and pestilence. 
which destroyed men and Battle, and caused a_susEnsion 
of agriculture. The dislocation of the entire social 
systemT~coupled w ith the abeyance of political authority 
capable of enforcing peace and order, favoured the 
plans of the military adventurers, who harried the land and 
harassed thejagojale for their own aggrandisement. The 
small military cliques, working for their own selfish ends, 
became the chief curse of the time. In March 1399, 
Sultan Nusrat Shah, who had fled into the Doab, recovered 
possession of Delhi, but it soon passed into the hands of 
Iqbal Khan, whose sway extended over a few districts in 
the Doab and the fiefs in the neighbourhood of the capital. ' 

1 The rest of the empire was parcelled out into fiefs which were 

Tarikh-i-Mubarak Shahi, Elliot, IV, p. 37. 
The following were the principal fiefs of the empire : 
Delhi and the Doab ... .. Iqbal Khan. 

Gujarat with all its districts and 


Multan, Dipalpur and parts of Sindh 
Mahoba and Kalpi 
Kanauj, Oudh, Kara, Dalmau. Sandila, 

Bahraich, Bihar and Jaunpur, 

Zaiar Khan Wajih-ul- 


Khizr Khan. 
Mahmud Khan. 
Khwaja Jahan. 

.. Dilawar Khan. 
.. Ghalib Khan. 
~ Shams Khan. 


Iqbal gradually asserted his authority, and in 1401 he was 
joined by Sultan Mahmud, whom he formally received 
in the capital. But as real power was in the hands of 
Iqbal, Sultan Mahmud chafed against the restraint imposed 
upon him, and sought in vain the help of Ibrahim Shah 
of Jaunpur. Thus foiled in his efforts to effect a coalition 
against Iqbal, the Sultan settled at Kanauj, where the 
disbanded troops and retainers rallied round his banner. 
Iqbal marched towards Gwalior to chastise the local ruler 
Bhima Deva, but he was obliged to raise the siege and 
return to Delhi. His expedition against the Hindu chiefs 
of Etawah was more successful ; but when he marched 
towards Multan, Ehizr Khan, the governor, opposed him, 
and in a battle that ensued Iqbal was slain in 1405. The 
death of Iqbal removed from the path of Mahmud a formid- 
able opponent, and on being invited by Daulat Khan and 
other nobles, he proceeded to Delhi, but the imbecility of 
his character soon made him unpopular with the army, 
and prevented him from making a proper use of his restor- 
ed rights. The author of the Tg/nkh-i-Mubarak Sh&hi 
who has carefully chronicled the events of this troubled 
period, writes : " The whole business was fallen into the 
greatest disorder. The Sultan gave no heed to the duties 
of his station, and had no care for the permanency of the 
throne; his whole time was devoted to pleasure and 
debauchery. " 

Sultan Mahmud died in 1412, and with him, as Firishta 
writes, fell the kingdom of Delhi from the race of the 
Turks, who had mightily swayed the sceptre for more than 
two centuries. After his death the Amirs and Maliks 
chose Daulat Khan as their leader and gave him their 
adhesion. Daulat Khan received no honours of royalty ; 


he occupied only the position of the head of a military 
p%flrn.hv which was trying to save itself from a highly 
difficult situation. Shortly after his assumption of this 
quasi-royal office, Daulat Khan led an expedition to 
Katehar and received the submission of the Hindu 
chiefs. At this time came the disquieting news that 
Ibrahim of Jaunpur was besieging Qadr Khan in his 
fortress at Kalpi, but Daulat Khan had no forces at his 
command to march to his relief. Meanwhile Khizr Khan, 
the governor of Multan and Timur's deputy in Hindustan, 
who had been watching the disordered state of things, 
advanced upon Delhi, and after a siege of four months 
compelled Daulat Khan to surrender on May 28, 1414. 
Fortune befriended Khizr Khan ; he easily acquired pos- 
session of Delhi and laid the foundations of a new 


(i) The Rise of Provincial Dynasties 

In the tenth century the kingdom of Malwa fell into the 
hands of the Parmar Rajputs, and under their rule it 
attained to great prominence During the 
Malwa> reign of Raja Bhoja of Dhara, Malwa became 

very famous. In 1235lltutmish raided Ujjain and demolished 
the famous temple of MahakSli. Alauddin conquered it in 
1310, land from that time it continued to be held by Muslim 
governors until the break-up of the kingdom of Delhi after 
(the death of Firuz TughluQ. In 1401 Dilawar Khan, a des- 
cendant of Muhammad Ghori and one of the fief-holders of 
Firuz Tughluq, established his independence during the 
period of confusion that followed the invasion of Timur and 
made Dhar the capital of his kingdom. l DilSwar was suc- 
ceeded by his son, Alap Khan, under the title of Hushang 
Shah (14051434 A.D.), who transferred his capital to 
Mandu, which he adorned with many beautiful buildings. 
The situation of Malwa and the fertility of its lands involved 
it in wars with the neighbouring kingdoms of Delhi, Jaun- 
pur, and Gujarat, which greatly taxed her resources. Hush- 
ang was defeated in a war with Gujarat and was taken 
prisoner, but he was soon liberated and restored to his king- 
dom. He was succeeded by his son Ghazni Khan, a worth- 
Jess debauchee, who was murdered by his minister Mahmud 

1 Firishta has given a connected account of the kings of Malwa. See 
Brigge, IV, pp. 167279. 



Khan, 1 aKhilji Turk, who usurped the throne and assumed 
the honours of royalty. Under Mahmud Khilji (143669 
A.D.) Malwa rose to be a powerful and prosperous kingdom 
and its ruler established his fame as a great general and 
warrior all over Hindustan, by his unending wars against the 
rulers of Raj put an a, Gujarat, and the Sultans of the Bah- 
mani dynasty. Mahmud was a brave soldier ; his fondness 
for war was so great that his whole life was spent in the 
military camp. As an administrator he was just and gener- 
ous, and Firishta writes of him: "Sultan Mahmud was. 
polite, brave, just, and learned ; and during his reign, 
his subjects, Muhammadans as well as Hindus, were happy, 
and maintained a friendly intercourse with each other. 
Scarcely a year passed that he did not take the field, so that 
his teiftbecame his home, and the field of battle, his resting 
place. His leisure hours were devoted to hearing the his- 
tories and memoirs of the courts of different kings of the 
earth read." 

Mahmud Khilji greatly enlarged his dominion, which 
extended in the south to the Satpura range, in the west to 
the frontier of Gujarat, on the east to Bundelkhand, and on 
the north to Mewar and Herauti. In 1440 the ambitious'] 
Sultan proceeded against Delhi, which was in a state of de- 
cline, but Bahlol Lodi successfully resisted his advance. His 
war with Rana Kumbha of Chittor about the same time waa 
indecisive. Both sides claimed the victory. The Rana 

1 Mahmud Khilji was the son of Malik Mughis Khilji. Both fathei 
and son acted as ministers to Hushang Hushang's son, Ghazni Khan, 
who assumed the title of Muhammad Ghori, was married to the sister of 
Mahmud Khilji. Being a debauchee and a drunkard, he left the busi- 
ness of the state entirely in the hands of Mahmud Khilji, whose ambition 
led him to imprison his royal patron. Briggs, IV, pp. 186, 191, 193, 
Elliot, IV, pp. 56254. 


commemorated his triumph by building the " Tower of 
Victory " at Chittor, iwhile the Khilji war-lord erected a 
seven-storied tower at Mandu as a monument of his success. 

Mahmud was succeeded by his son Ghiy5s-ud-din in 1469 
A.D., who was poisoned to death by his son Nasir-ud-din, 
who ascended the throne in 1500 A.D. Nasir-ud-din's mur- 
der of his father does not seem to have shocked Muslim 
sentiment at the time it was committed, but nearly a cen- 
tury later it received a most scathing condemnation from 
Jahangir, who ordered the ashes of the parricide to be cast 
into the fire. 

Nasir-ud-din turned out a miserable sensualist and a brut- 
al tyrant, and Jahangir's informant told him, when he 
visited the place in 1617, that there were 15,000 women in 
his haram, accomplished in all arts and crafts, and that 
whenever he heard of a beautiful virgin, he would not desist 
until he obtained possession of her. In a fit of drunken- 
ness, when he fell into the Kaliyadaha lake, none of his 
attendants had the courage to pull him out, for he had mer- 
cilessly punished them for similar service on a previous 
occasion, and he was left to be drowned. He was succeeded 
in 1510 by Mahmud II, who called in the Rajputs to curb 
the turbulence of the Muslim oligarchy^ which had become 
powerful in the state. He appointed a Rajput nobleman, 
Medini Rao, to the office of minister with the result that 
Hajput influence became predominant at his court. Dis- 
trustful of the motives of his powerful minister, he called in 
the aid of Muzaffar Shah, king of Gujarat, to expel him 
and re-establish his power. A believer in the efficacy of 
the sword, Mahmud came into conflict with Rana Sanga, 
the redoubtable ruler of Mewar, who captured him, but 
with the magnanimity of a Rajput released him afterwards 

To face page 182 

Tower of Victory at Ohittor 


and restored him to his kingdom. The unwise Sultan, who 
ill-appreciated this act of generosity, again led an attack 
upon the Rana's successor, but he was captured by his ally, 
Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, who defeated and executed him. 
All the male members of the royal house were put to death, 
the sole survivor being one who was at Humayun's court. 
The kingdom of Malwa was annexed to Gujarat in 1531, and 
continued to be a part of it until it was conquered by Huma- 
yun. Humayun expelled Bahadur Shah from Malwa in 1535, 
and defeated him at Mandasor and Mandu. When the 
sovereignty of Delhi passed into the hands of Sher Shah, he 
entrusted the province to one of his co-ad jutors. Shujat 
Khan, who was succeeded on his death by his son, Malik 
Bayazid, known as Baz Bahadur, so famous in folk-lore and 1 
legend by reason of his passionate attachment to the beauti- 
ful and accomplished princess, Rupmati of Sarangpur. In 
1562 the conquest of Malwa was effected with terrible cruel- 
ty by Akbar's generals, Adam Khan and Pir Muhammad, 
and it was annexed to the Mughal empire. Baz Bahadur, 
after a futile struggle, acknowledged Akbar as his suzerain, 
and received the command of 2,000 horse as a mark of royal 

The province of Gujarat was one of the most fertile and 

wealthy provinces of India, and had always attracted the 

,, . , attention of foreign invaders. Mahmud of 


Ghazni was the first Muslim invader, whose 
famous raid upon the temple of Somnath was the prelude 
to further Muslim invasions. But the permanent conquest 
of Gujarat was not attempted until the reign of Alauddin 
Khilji, who annexed it to the Sultanate of Delhi in 1297. 
The province was henceforward held by Muslim governors 
who were subordinate to the rulers of Delhi, but whose 


loyalty fluctuated according to the strength or weakness of 
the central government. After the invasion of Timur, when 
the affairs of the Delhi kingdom fell into confusion, Zafar 
Khan, the governor, assumed the position of an independent 
prince in 1401, and formally withdrew his allegiance. His 
son Tatar Khan conspired with some of the discontented 
nobles to get rid of his father, who was an obstacle to his 
assumption of royal dignity. He threw him into confine- 
ment, and assumed royal honours under the title of Nasir-ud- 
din Muhammad Shah in 1403. But this glory was short- 
lived, for he was soon afterwards poisoned by Shams Khan, 
one of his father's confidants. Zafar Khan was brought 
from Asawal, and with the consent of the nobles and officers 
of the army, he assumed the honours of royalty under the 
title of Muzaffar Shah. He subdued Dhar and undertook 
several other expeditions to consolidate his power. But four 
years later, he was poisoned by his grandson Ahmad Shah 
who was anxious to usurp the throne for himself. 
A 4w&e was the true founder of the independence of Gujarat. 
A brave and warlike prince, he spent his whole life in wag- 
ing wars and conquering territories to en- 
lar e the boundaries of his small kingdom. 
In the first year of his reign, he built the 
city of Ahmadabad.on the left bank of the Sabarmati river 
near the old tpwn of Asawal, and adorned it with beautiful 
buildings, and invited artisans, and merchants to settle there. 
|He was an orthodox Muslim, and waged wars against the 
'Hindus, destroyed their temples, and forced them to em- 
brace Islam. In 1414 he marched against Girnar and defeat- 
ed the Rai who offered submission. He led an attack upon 
Malwa in 1421 and laid siege to Mandu. Hushang whose 
army was defeated in two skirmishes secured his pardon by 


promising fealty in the future. The last notable expedition, 
was undertaken by the Sultan in 1437 to assist Prince Masud 
Khan, grandson of Hushang of Malwa, who had fled from 
the tyranny of Mahmud Khilji, the murderer of his father 
and the usurper of his ancestral dominions. Mandu was 
besieged, and the usurper Mahmud Khilji was defeated in a 
hotly contested engagement. But the sudden outbreak of 
a severe epidemic spoiled the fruits of victory, and the Sul- 
tan was obliged to beat a hasty retreat towards Ahmadabad 
where he breathed his last in 1441. 

Ahmad Shah was a brave and warlike prince ; he was a 
zealous champion of the faith. As long as he lived, he 
practised the observances of Islam, and looked upon way 
against_the _ Hindus as a religious duty. His love of 
justice was unequalled. The claims of birth, rank, or 
kinship were nothing in his eyes, and on one occasion, he 
had^his son-in-law publicly executed in the bazar in cir- 
cumstances^of" exceptional barbarity for the murder of* an 
innocent person. The author of the 

justly observes that the ''effect of this exemplary punish- 
ment lasted from the beginning to the end of the Sultan's 
reign, and no noble or soldier was concerned in murder." 

Ahmad Shah was succeeded by his son Muhammad Shah 
who was styled as " Zar bakhsha " or " bestower^olgold." 
He marched against Champanir, but the Raja called in the 
aid of the ruler of Malwa, and the combined armies of Malwa 
and Ghampanir put him to flight. His nobles conspired 
against him and caused his death by poison in 1451. His 
son Qutb-ud-din, who was placed upon the throne, spent 
a large part of his time in expeditions against the Rana of 
Chittor. After a short reign of eight years and a half, he 
died in 1459, and was succeeded by his uncle Daud, a 


notorious profligate, who by his meanness of character so 
offended the nobles that, within a week of his accession to 
the throne, they deposed him and installed in his place Fatah 
Khan, a grandson of Ahmad Shah, under the title of Mah- 
mud, commonly known as Mahmud Bigarha, in 1458 A.D. 

Mahmud Bigarha may rightly be called the greatest of 

the Gujarat kings. The author of the Mirat-i-Sikandari 

M a h mud gives a highly amusing account of his habits 

Bigarha, 1458 . 

1611 A D. m these words : 

" Notwithstanding his high dignity and royalty, he 
had an enormous appetite. The full daily allowance of 
food for the Sultan was one man of Gujarat weight. 
In eating this he put aside five sirs of boiled rice, and 
before going to sleep he used to make it up into a pasty 
and place one-half of it on the right-hand side of his 
couch and the other half on the left, so that on 
whichever side he awoke he might find something 
to eat, and might then go to sleep again. In the 
morning after saying his prayers, he took a cup full of 
honey and a cup of butter with a hundred or a hundred 
and fifty golden plantains. He often used to say, ' If 
God had not raised Mahmud to the throne of Gujarat, 
would have satisfied his hunger ? ' " 

Mahmud was a brave and warlike prince. He rescued 
Nizam Shah Bahmani from Mahmud Khilji of Malwa and 
compelled the Rai of Junagarh to acknowledge his authority. 
He suppressed the pirates who infested the sea-coast of 
Gujarat, and secured the submission of the Hindu 
-chief. The Rajputs of Champanir were the next to submit, 
-and the fort was surrendered to the Muslims in 1484. 
Mahmud built a wall round the town of Champanir in 


commemoration of his victory, and renamed it Muhammad- 

Towards the close of his reign in 1507 he led an ex- 
pedition against the Portuguese, who had securely estab- 
lished themselves on the Western Coast, and 
cutoff the trade of the Muslims. He allied 
himself with the Sultan of Turkey, who with 
a view to put an end to the Portuguese interference with 
ovejland trade fitted out a fleet of twelve ships, and des- 
patched 15,000 men, commanded by Mir Hozem, to attack 
their possessions in India. The Portuguese at last obtained 
a victory which established their power on the sea-coast and 
gave them an undisputed command of the sea-borne trade. 

After a glorious reign of 52 years, the Sultan died in 
1511. He was a great monarch ; his personal habits be- 
came known even in Europe. As long as he lived, he 
ruled with great ability and vigour, and the Muslim chro- 
nicler speaks of his reign in these words : 

"He added glory and lustre to the kingdom of Guja- 
rat, and was the best of all the Gujarat kings, including 
all who preceded, and all who succeeded him ; and 
whether for abounding justice and generosity ; for suc- 
cess in religious war, and for the diffusion of the laws 
of Islam and of Musalmans ; for soundness of judgment, 
alike in boyhood, in manhood, and in old age ; for power, 
for valour, and victory. he was a pattern of^exceHence." 

The next ruler of importance was Bahadur Shah who 

-came to the throne in 1526. A.D. He was a brave and warlike 

B a h a d u r ro ^ er - Soon after his accession he entered 

*Shah, 1526 upon a brilliant career of conquest and an- 

1587 A.D nexation. He captured Mandu and Chanderi 


and stormed the fort of Chittor in 1534. Bahadur's ambition* 
alarmed Humayun who marched against him, captured 
Mandu and Champanir, and occupied Gujarat. But Bahadur 
who was a capable military leader soon collected a large 
force, and with its help defeated the imperialists, and reco- 
vered Gujarat. His attempt to expel the Portuguese from the 
island of Diu met with failure. They conspired against him 
and had him barbarously murdered on board ship, when he 
was barely 31 years of age. After Bahadur's death, Gujarat 
fell into a state of anarchy and disorder. Rival factions 
set up puppet kings who followed one another in rapid 
succession. Such disorders continued until the annexation 
of the province to the Mughal empire by Akbar in 1572. 

When Firuz undertook his second expedition against 

Sikandar Shah of Bengal in 1359-60 A.D., he was obliged to 

halt at Zafrabad l during the rains. It was 


there that he conceived the idea of founding 
a town in the neighbourhood which might serve as a 
2iMj?l appm for his military operations in Bengal. 
On the bank of the river Gumti he caused a new town 
to be built, which was named Jaunpur to commemorate 
the name of his illustrious cousin, Muhammad^Juna, 
and spared no pains to make it beautiful and attractive. 
After the death of Firuz in 1388, nothing of importance 

J Zafrabad was an old town. The inscription on the gate of the 
palace of Hazarat-i-Chiragh-i-Hind shows that the name was known 
in 721 A.H. in the time of Ghiy&s-ud-din Tughluq, king of Delhi. It is 
a mistake to think that the town was founded by Prince Zafar, governor- 
of Firuz Tughluq, in 1360 A.D. 

The last line of the inscription runs thus : <k As the city was acquir- 
ed by conquest and re-peopled, it was given the name of Zafrabad." 

Fasih-ud-din, "The Sharqi Monuments of Jaunpur," p. 105 (Inscrip- 
tion No. 1 ) 

Also see FQhrer's note on Zafrabad in 4 * The Sharqi Architecture ol" 
Jaunpur," pp. 6466. 


occurred in the history of Jaunpur until the rise to power 
of Khwaj5 Jahan in the reign of Muhammad. KhwSjS 
Jahan, whose real name was Sarwar, was a eunuch, who 
had attained to high position by sheer dint of merit. The 
title of Khwaja Jahan was conferred upon him in 1389, and 
he was elevated to the rank of a wazir. A little later, 
when the affairs of the fiefs of Hindustan fell into con- 
fusion through the turbulence of the "base infidels," 
Khwaja Jahan received from Mahmud Tughluq in 1394 the 
title of " Malik-us-sharq " or lord of the east, and the 
administration of all Hindustan from Kanauj to Bihar was 
entrusted to him. Forthwith, the new governor marched 
into the interior of the Doab, and suppressing the rebellions 
in Etawah, Kol, and Kanauj, proceeded to Jaunpur to 
assume charge of his office. In a short time he brought 
under his sway the fiefs of Kanauj, Kara, Oudh, Sandila, 
Dalmau, Bahraich, Bihar, and Tirhut, and subdued the 
refractory Hindu chieftains. So great was his power that^ 
/the Rai of Jajnagar and the ruler of Lakhnauti acknow^, 
ledged his authority, and sent him the number of elephants 
which they had formerly sent as tribute to Delhi. The 
confusion and anarchy caused by Timur's invasion favoured 
the KhwSja's ambitious plans, and he declared himself inde- 
pendent, and assumed the title of Atabak-i-Azam. 

The most remarkable ruler of Jaunpur was^Ibrahim, a 
man of versatile talents who called himself Shams-ud-din 
Ibrahim Shah Sharqi. Mahmud Tughluq who was a puppet 
in the hands of Iqbal Khan wished to escape from the latter's 
galling tutelage. While Iqbal was encamped at Kanauj, 
"Mahmud effected his escape under the pretext of going 
on a hunting excursion, approached Ibrahim, and solicited 
.his aid against Iqbal. But Ibrahim made no response to 


his appeal. Thus disappointed and humiliated, Mahmud re- 
turned to the Delhi army, and quietly took possession of 
Kanauj. Iqbal Khan made an attempt to recover the place, 
but Mahmud offered successful resistance in 1405. 

Iqbal's unexpected death in a battle against Khizr Khan, 
the governor of Multan, left the field clear for Mahmud, 
and some of the Amirs at Delhi invited him to take charge 
of government. Ibrahim judged it a favourable opportu- 
nity to recover his lost fief of Kanauj, but he was opposed 
by the Delhi army, and withdrew to Jaunpur. Mahmud 
returned to Delhi, but no sooner was his back turned than 
Ibrahim mobilised his forces, and captured Kanauj after a 
siege of four months. Success emboldened him to carry 
his inroads into the Delhi territory in H07, but the news 
of the advance of Muzaffar Shah of Gujarat, who had over- 
powered the ruler of Dhar, compelled him to abandon the 
conquered districts of Sambhal and Bulandshahar and to* 
return to Jaunpur. Soon afterwards Ibrahim marched against 
Qadr Khan of Kalpi, but he had to abandon the siege. Mean- 
while a great change was brought about in Delhi politico 
by Khizr Khan's elevation to the throne on May 23, 1414. 

Ibrahim was a great lover of art and letters. He 
extended his patronage to eminent scholars who made 
Jaunpur a famous seat of learning in the east. The insecur- 
ity of life which followed the invasion of Timur drove many 
distinguished literary men to his court, the most widely 
known of whom was Shihab-ul-din Malik-ul-ulama, who 
dedicated several of his works to his generous patron. The 
long interval of peace enabled the Sultan to construct 
beautiful buildings to adorn his capital. The Atala mosque 
was finished in 1408, which stands to this day as a 
monument of Ibrahim's magnificent tastes. 


But peace did not last long. The peculiar circumstances 
of the time rapidly brought about a collision between Delhi 
and Jaunpur, Ibrahim and his successors contended for 
years against the rulers of Delhi ; and these wars will be 
described in their proper place. 

It was the timid policy of Piruz Tughluq which had 

brought about the separation of Bengal from the empire of 

Delhi. The wars between Firuz and Shams- 

enga ' ud-din and his successor Sikandar Shah have 

been described before. Although these rulers occasionally 

sent presents to the Sultan of Delhi, they were in reality 


The establishment of the power of the Husaini dynasty 
opened a new era in Bengal. The first ruler of the dynasty 
Husain Shah (14931519) was a man of ability who governed 
the country wisely and well. He fully consolidated his 
authority in the various provinces of his kingdom so that not 
a single rebellion broke out during his reign. He built 
mosques, and founded other charitable institutions, and 
granted pensions to learned and pious men. His son Nusrat 
Shah who came to the throne after his death was an equally 
remarkable ruler. He enlarged the boundaries of his king- 
dom by conquest and annexation, and became a prince of 
substance in the country. 

Babar in his Memoirs mentions him among the power- 
ful princes of Hindustan. Like his father, Nusrat was fond 
of learning and took great interest in architecture. He built 
several mosques, which are known to this day for their 
beauty and massive design. After the decline of the inde- 
pendent dynasty of Bengal kings, power passed into the 
hands of the Afghans. Sher Shah made himself master of 
the east after defeating the Mughal Emperor Humayun* 


and fully established his authority in Bihar and Bengal. 
In the 10th and 15th centuries there was much religious stir 
in Bengal. Ibn Batutg, the Moor who travelled in Bengal 
in the fourteenth century, speaks of 150 gaddis of faqirs in 
Bengal in Fakhr-ud-din's time. It was during this period 
that the impact of Hinduism and Islam set in motion the 
new forces which tended to bring the Hindus and Muslims 
together, and gave a new colour to Hindu religion. The 
cult of Vaignavism made great progress in Bengal, and when 
Chaitanya appeared upon the scene it prospered wonder- 
fully. He preached the doctrine of Bhakti or personal devo- 
tion, and by his inspiring personality electrified the souls 
of his disciples and admirers. Krisna's name was chanted 
all over Bengal, and the numerous men and women who 
responded to the master's call ignored all social distinctions, 
and became united by the bond of love. 

The new forces, as has been said before, tended to 
bring about a rapprochement between the Hindus and 

Husain Shah of Bengal was the founder of a new cult 
called ^oiaflaziLwhich aimed at uniting the Hindus and the 
Muslims. Satyapir was co Hfi922S2 of ^ a ^ a a Sanskrit 
word, and PIT which is an rffaKftword. It was the name 
Df a deity whom both communities were to worship. 
There are still in Bengali literature several poems composed 
in honour of this new deity. 

The province of Khandesh was situated in the valley 

)f the Tapti river ; it was bounded in the north by the 

Khandesh Vindh y a and Satpura ranges and in the sduth 

by the Deccan plateau, in the east by Berar 

_md in the west by the subah of Gujarat. It was a part 

of Muhammad Tughluq's empire, and continued to be a 


feudatory of Delhi during the reign of Firuz, who entrusted 
it to Malik Raja Farrukhi, one of his personal attendants 
in the year 1370. After the death of Firuz, when the 
empire of Delhi broke up, Malik Raja, a man of adventurous 
and ambitious spirit, declared his independence. He was 
a broad-minded ruler, who treated the Hindus well, and 
tried to promote the welfare of his subjects. After his 
death in 1399, he was succeeded by his son Malik Nfisir, 
who captured the famous fortress of Asirgarh from AsS 
Ahlr, a chieftain of considerable power. Malik NBsir 
maintained a firm hold over the territories he had inherited 
from his father, and when he died in 1437, he left to his 
successor a united Khandesh. The princes who followed him, 
possessed no ability, and during their nftigns the fortunes 
of Khandesh rapidly declined. After the death of 5dil, 
one of Nasir's grandsons, in 1520, a series of weak rulers 
followed who found it difficult to resist the encroachments 
of foreign powers. The latter took full advantage of the 
weakness of the central power and the factious fights of 
the nobles. In 1601 the fortress of Asirgarh was conquered 
by Akbar, and Khandesh was annexed to the empire. The 
local dynasty ceased to exist. 

(ii) The Bahmani Kingdom 

The break-up of the empire during Muhammad's reign 
led the Amirs of the Deccan to revolt and set up an inde- 
pendent kingdom at Daulatabad with Ismail 
The rise of Makh as their king. Ismail, being a man of 
retired habits, resigned in favour of Hasan, a 
brave soldier who was elected king In 1347. 
Firishta relates that Hasan was originally employed in the 

F. 18 


service of Gangu, a Brahman astrologer of Delhi, yho gn- 
jpyed the confidence of Sultan Muhammad Tuqhfria. One 
day while Hasan was ploughing the land of his master, he 
came across & pot full nf gold coins whifth he at once made 
over to his master. The Brahman was so pleased with 
Hasan's honesty that he recommended him to Sultan 
Muhammad who employed hinn fr *" a*i<*f> The Brahman 
predicted a great deatfnv far Haa^ and expressed a wish, 
that when he was elevated to royal dignity, he should 
appoint him as his minister. To this Hasan agreed, and 
when he was elevated to the kingly office, he asa^mgd 
title Bahmani OUt of gratefulneaa to hia ol^ 

Modern research has exploded Firishta's error, and the 
view now generally accepted is that Hasan was descended 
from Bahman bin Isfandiyar, king of Persia. He called 
himself a descendant of Bahmanshah, and this name is 
inscribed on his coins. ' 

He chose Gulbarga as his capital. The whole country 
was divided into larafs which were assigned to the Amirs 
who had rendered him good service in the recent war. Each 
of these Amirs was granted a jagir on feudal tenure and 
had to render military service to the king. Hasan now em- 
barked upon a brilliant career of conquest. The fort of 
Qandhar was recovered, ana ms otricer, Sikandar Khan, 
reduced Bidarand Malkaid. Groa, Dab hoi, Kolapur, and 
Telingana were all conquered, and towards the close of his 
reign his dominions extended from the east of Daulatabad to 

1 The author of the Burhvn-i-Mdair clearly states that Hasan traced 
his pedigree from Bahman bin Isfandiyar. He is supported by Nizam- 
uddin Ahmad, the author of the Tabqot-i-Akbari, Ahmad Amin Raai, 
tbfe author of the Haft-lqUm and Haji-ud-Dabir, the author of the 
Arabic History of Gujarat. This statement is also supported by the 
eridenoe of inscriptions and coins, 


Bhongir now in the Nizam's dominions and from the river 
Wainganga in the north to the river KrisnS in the south. 
The pressure of unremitting exertions told upon his health, 
and he died m 1359. He was succeeded by Muhammad 
Shah I, whom he had nominated as his heir on his death-bed. 
He continued his father's policy of conquest. The 
principal event of his reign was the war with the neighbour- 
ing Hindu kingdoms of Vijayanagar and 
Telingana. He defeated the Hindus who 
fought with great courage and determination. 
Their country was plundered, and temples were razejd to the 
ground. Muhammad enjoyed peace for about a cl^caae. But 
the barbarous execution of the Telingana Prince for a trivial 
offence again lit up the flames of war. The Hindus would 
not tamely submit, and after a prolonged fight of two years 
a peace was made, and the Raja agreed to surrender the 
fort of Golkunda and to pay a huge war indemnity of 33 
lakhs. Golkunda was fixed as the boundary line between the 
two kingdoms. Soon afterwards war with Vijayanagar broke 
out, which assumed formidable dimensions. The humilia- 
tion of a Gulbarga messenger who had came to demand 
mone^r from Vijayanagar was the immediate cause of the 

The Raja of Vijayanagar took the offensive, marched 
into the Sultan's territory at the head of 30,000 horse, 
100,000 foot, and 300 elephants, and laid waste the country 
between the KrignS and the Tungabhadra. The fort of 
Mudgal was captured, and the Muslim garrison was put to 
the sword. Muhammad took an oath to take a terrible 
revenge, and marched at the head of a huge army upon 
Vijayanagar. He enticed the Hindu forces out of the fort 
by a clever stratagem, and inflicted a terrible defeat upon 


them. The Raja's camp was raided, though he effect- 
ed his escape, but his soldiers and officers as well as the 
inhabitants of the neighbourhood were butchered by the 
ruthless Muslim soldiers. Peace was at last made with the 
Raja of Vijayanagar, and the Sultan took an oath never to 
shed the blood of innocent men in the future?^ 

Muhammad Shah acted ruthlessly in carrying out his 
domestic policy. He ordered all public distilleries to be 
closed and put down lawlessness with a high hand. After 
a reign of 17 years and 7 months he died in 1373 and was 
succeeded by his son Mujfihid Shah. 

MujBhid showed a great preference for the Persians 
and the Turks, and thus by his policy of exclusion he re- 
vived the old feuds and jealousies between 
the Deccanis and the foreigners, which had 
wrecked the government of Muhammad Tugh- 
luq. But the most important problem of the time was, as 
usual, war with Vijayanagar over the possession of the 
Raichur Doab, and the forts of Raich ur and Mudgal. He 
marched twice on Vijayanagar, but had to retreat on 
both occasions on account of the combination of the Hindus. 
Peace was concluded, but the Sultan was murdered by 
his cousin, Daud, who usurped the throne in 1377. He 
in his turn was murdered in the following year by a 
slave, hired by Ruh Parwar Agha, the foster-sister of 

After Daud's death, Muhammad Shah II came to the 
throne in 1378. He was a man of peace. The cessation of 
war enabled him to devote his time to the pursuit of 
literature and science. He built mosques, established public . 
schools and monasteries, and never allowed anyone to act j 
against the Holy Law. No rebellion occurred during his 


reign, and the nobles and officers all loyally served their 
master. The Sultan evinced a great interest in the welfare 
of his subjects ; and once when famine broke out, he 
employed ten thousand bullocks to bring grain from Malwa 
and Gujarat to mitigate its severity. In the last year of 
his life his sons conspired to seize the throne. He died in 
1397 and was succeeded by his sons who were deprived of 
sovereignty after a brief period of six months by Firuz, 
a grandson of Sultan Alauddin Hasan Shah. Firuz came 
to Gulbarga, and with the help of the nobles and officers 
seized the throne in February 1397. 

The author of the Burhfin-i-Mcteir describes him as 
" a good, just and generous king who supported himself by 
copying the Quran, and the ladies of whose! 
haram used to support themselves by embroi- 1 
dering garments and selling them." The 
same authority further says : " As a ruler he was without 
an equal, and many records of his justice still remain on the 
page of time/' But this seems to be an exaggeration, for 
Firishta clearly states, that although he observed the prac- 
tices of his religion with strictness, he drank hard, was 
passionately fond of music,rgnd n^intairajL a large haram 
which included women of s^pt^niauoh^alit^s. It is said 
that about 800 women were daiiy^dmiitecr into the royal 
seraglio by means of muta marriage. Frank and jovial to a 
degree, Firuz took delight in social intercourse, and treated 
his companions without the slightest reserve, but he never 
allowed public matters to be discussed at such convivial 

As usual, struggle with Vijayanagar began for the pos- 
session of the fort of Mudgal in 1898. HariHar II marched 
an army into the Raichur Doab. Firuz also mobilised his 


forces, but he had also to check the Raya of Kehrla* 
who had invaded Berar. The Raya was defeated, and a 
treaty was made which restored the status quo, although 
the Raya had to pay a large sum as ransom for the 
release of the Brahman captives seized during the war. 

The war was renewed again, and in 1419 Firuz led an 
unprovoked attack upon the fort of Pangal, a dependency 
of Vijayanagar. The Sultan's troops were defeated owing 
to the outbreak of pestilence, and the victorious Hindus 
butchered the Musalmans mercilessly, ravaged their 
country, and desecrated their mosques. 

Firuz was obliged by his failing health to leave the 
affairs of state in the hands of his slaves. His brother 
Ahmad Shah became the most powerful man in the king- 
dom towards the close of his reign, and succeeded to the 
throne after his death in 1422. 

He ascended the throne without opposition. His 
minister advised him to put to death the late Sultan's son in 
order to ensure his safety, but he refused to 
U&IH46 Shab ' doso and provided him with a liberal jagir 
at Firuzabad, where the prince utterly devoid 
of any political ambition frittered away his time in the 
pursuit of pleasure. He waged war against Vijayanagar 
and mercilessly put to death men, women, and children to- 
the number of 20,000. This cruelty of Ahmad Shah so ex- 
asperated the Hindus that they determined to take his life ; 
and when he was engaged in a hunting excursion, they 
chased him with tremendous fury, but he was saved by 
his armour-bearer, Abdul Qadir. Ahmad Shah now reduced 
the people of Vijayanagar to such distress that Deva Raya 
was compelled to sue for peace. He agreed to pay all 
arrears of tribute, and sent his son with 30 elephants, laden 


with money, jewels and other articles of untold value to 
the royal camp. 

In 1424 he defeated the Raja of Warangal, and annexed 
a large portion of his territory to his own dominions. He 
also defeated the Muslim rulers of Malwa and the neigh- 
bouring states, massacred a large number of men, and 
captured rich booty. ^^iAJU *^X5UA <wlw ,^>. 

Hejajssumed the title pi JMFPoK ' and on his return laid 
the foundation of the city of Bidar, which afterwards became 
the recognised capital of the Bahmani kingdom. In 1429* 
he went to war with the chiefs of the Konkan, and fought 
an indecisive battle with the ruler of Gujarat. The 
last expedition of the reign was against Telingana to put 
down a Hindu revolt, after which he retired from public 
life and resigned the throne to his son, Prince Zafar Khan* 
He died of illness in 1435. 

Zafar Khan ascended the throne under the title of 
Alauddin II. He began his reign well, but later on his 
Aiauddin ji, character degenerated, and he spent his time 
14851467. j n debauchery an( j pleasure. 

His brother, Muhammad, whom he treated well, rose 
in rebellion and seized the Raichur Doab, Bijapur, and 
other districts with the help of Vijayanagar. But he was 
ultimately defeated, and pardoned, and allowed to hold the 
district of Raichur as jagir. But the hereditary enemy of 
Alauddin was the Raya of Vijayanagar who now led a 
wanton attack against the Sultan's dominions. At first 
the struggle was indecisive, but after a siege lasting for 
some time, Deva Raya agreed to pay the stipulated tribute. 
The administration was much disturbed by the feuds of the 
Deccani Muslims, who were mostly Sunnis and foreigners 
like the Arabs, Turks, Persians, and Mughals who 


professed the Shia faith and thus led to a serious crime. 
In 1454 Khalf Hasan Malik-ul-Tuj jSr suffered a crushing 
defeat at the hands of a Hindu chief in the Konkan. As 
the party were moving in order to save their lives, the 
Deccani chief led the Sultan to believe that they meditated 
treason. They were invited to a feast and treacherously 
murdered. Alauddin died in 1457. 

Alauddin was a profligate, but he did not wholly 
neglect the interests of his subjects. He built mosques, 
established public schools and charitable institutions. Order 
was maintained throughout the kingdom, and thieves and 
brigands were severely punished. Though not deeply 
religious himself, he strictly enforced the observances of 
the faith, and respected the feelings of his co-religionists. 

Alauddin was succeeded by his eldest son Humayun. He 
was a monster of cruelty. He might well be praised for his 
,- learning, eloquence and wit, but at the same 
' '" t * me we wou ^ regret his fierce disposition. 
He showed no compassion in shedding blood. 
But he was fortunate in securing the services of Mahmud 
GSwfin, who served the state with rare fidelity and devotion 
to the last day of his life. The main interest of his reign 
lies in the hideous forms of cruelty which he practised with 
savage brutality. After the conspiracy which resulted in 
the release of his brothers, Hasan and Yahiya, from prison, 
he caused Hasan in his own presence to be thrown before 
a Jerocious tiger who instantly killed and devoured him. 
The king's ferocity exceeded all bounds. 

In October 1461, Humayun died a natural death ; 
but according to Firishta the more probable account is 
that he was murdered by one of his servants in a state of 


After Humayun's death Nizam was selected as king 
by Khwajja Jahan^ Mahmud Gawan, and the queen-mother, 

who was one of the most remarkable women 
I46i-63, 8hah ' that have appeared in the east. Nizam, 

being a child of eight years, the government 
itfas in the hands of the Dowage^^ 

Aided by Mahmud GSwan, she set at liberty all the innocent 
persons who had been thrown into prison by her husband, 
and reinstated in their offices all the servants of the state 
who had been dismissed without cause. 

She repelled an attack led by the Rais of Orissa and Te- 
lingana ; but when Mahmud Khilji of Malwa occupied Bidar, 
the Deccan army under Mahmud Gawan and Khwaja Jahan 
suffered a crushing defeat in 1461. The queen-mother 
secured in this hour of need the assistance of the ruler of 
Gujarat on whose approach Mahmud Khilji retreated to 
his country. A second attempt by Mahmud Khilji was 
unsuccessful for the same reason. Nizam Shah died jdl of 
a sudden in 1463, when he was about to be marriedZJwj^^ 
Muhammad Shah, brother of the late king, was selected 
by the nobles. The new king had the KhwSjS JahBn 

murdered on account of the embezzlement 

of public funds, and Mahmud Gawan became 

82. ' the chief authority in the state. He had un- 

limited power. He loyally served the state 
for several years. He fought wars, subdued countries, and 
increased the Bahmani dominions to an extent never 
reached before. He was sent with a large force against 
the Hindu kingdom of Konkan, and compelled the chief to 
surrender the fortress of Kalna, the modern Visalgarh. 
He also compelled the Raja of Orissa to pay tribute, but 
the most remarkable exploit of the Sultan was the raid on 


Kanchi or Kanjivaram in the course of acampaign against 
Narasinha, Raja of Vijayanagar. The city was captured, 
and an immense booty fell into the hands of the 

In 1474 a severe famine occurred in the Deccan which 
is known as the Bijapur famine. InJ47p jVthnasius Niki^ 
tin, a Russian merchant, visited Bidar. He has made 
observations regarding the country, its government and the 
people. He also gives a description of the Sultan's hunting 
expeditions and his palace. 

Mahmud (jgwgir. wa s a_great administrator. In spite 
of the feuds between the Two parties in the kingdom 
the Deccanis and J;he Iranls which were a 
s^ 6 of reat tr uble, Mahmud Gw5n was 
able to carry out his work of reform with 
success. No department seems to have escaped his attention. 
He organised the finances, improved the administration of 
justice, encouraged public education, and instituted a survey 
of village lands to make the state demand of revenue just 
andjKjuitahte- Corrupt practices were put down ; the army 
was reformed ; better *%dl?lifl ft wqq Qr> ^ nr ^d T and the pros- 
pects of the soldiers were improved . 

But the Deccanis who were jealous of his influence 
formed a conspiracy against him and forged a letter of trea- 
sonable contents, purporting to have been 
written by him to Narasinha Raya. The king 
was persuaded to have him murdered as a 

traitor, in a fit of drunkenness. Thus passed away by the 
gruel hand of the assassin one of the purest characters of 
the age, and Meadows Taylor rightly observes that with him 
ieparted all the cohesion and the power of the BahmanI 


Mahmud GSwfin was one of the most remarkable 
nediseval statesmen. He was completely devoted to the 
state, and served it all his life with great 
- frkffity* an< * distinction. Much has already 
been said about his public career, which was 
s full of unremitting exertions for the benefit of 

t^e state. But the KhwajS shone better in private life. He 
loved simplicity^ and always felt for the poor. All Muslim 
chroniclers agree in saving that he was courageous, mag- 
nanimous, a lover of justice and free from the vices common 
to the great men of his jge~ His wants were few, and his* 
time was mostly passed in the company of scholars and 
divines. He possessed a fine library in his college_at^ 
'Bidarwhich Contained 3,000 books.. After the day's toil the 
learned Khwaja repairedTto the college in the evening, and 
there found his most favourite recreation in the company 
of learned men. He was well-versed in Mathematics, the 
gftjffliM of Medicine, literature, and was a mastgrof 
epistolary style A Firishta attributes to him the authorship of 
two works thp Rauzat-ul-Imha and the^iwan-i-ashr. But 
although the KhwSja was pious and learned, he found it 
difficult to rise above the religious prejudices of the age, and 
often took part in crusades against idolatry. All things 
said, the murder of such a devoted servant was a grave 
Jjlujldfir, and more than anything else it accelerated the 
ruin of the BahmanLdynasty. 

luhammad Shah died in 1482, and was succeeded by 
his son Mahmud Shah who was only 12 years of age. He 
The downfall * urnec ^ ou t an imbecile and spent his time in 
oftheBahmani merriment and revelry. Disorders increased 
kingdom. Qn a jj B ft ea ^ an( j provincial governors began 

to declare their independence. The Bahmani kingdom 


was now restricted to Bidar and the provinces near the 
capital. Amir Barid, the new minister, was the virtual ruler; 
he kept Mahmud in a state of humiliating dependence upon 
himself. After Mahmud's death in 1518 the Bahmani 
kingdom practically came to an end. 

The kingdom broke up into five independent principali- 
ties which were : 

1. The Imad Shahi dynasty of Berar. 

2. The Nizam Shahi dynasty of Ahmadnagar. 

3. The Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur. 

4. The Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golkunda 

5. The Barid Shahi dynasty of Bidar 

The Bahmani dynasty contained in all fourteen kings. 
Tney were with a few exceptions cruel and ferocious, and 

never hesitated in shedding the blood of the 
re- Hindus. The founder of the dynasty, Hassan 

Kanga, was a capable administrator, but he 
too was relentless in his attitude towards the Hindus. His 
successors were mostly debauched and unprincipled tyrants 
who were always hampered in their work by the dissensions 
of the Deccani and foreign Amirs. Attempts at making the 
administration efficient were made from time to time, but 
they never succeeded except perhaps during the ministry of 
Mahmud GawSn. The Hindus were employed by the state 
in the lower branches of the administration, but that was 
inevitable because they had better knowledge and expe- 
rience of revenue affairs. JMahmud GgwSn reformed^the 
system of revenue, and allowed the agriculturists to pay 
their dues in cash or kind. Athnasius Nikitin says that the 
^country was populous, the lands well cultivated, the roads 
safe from robbers, and the capital ofjthe kingdom, amagni- 
Acent city with parka and promenades. The nobles lived in 


great magnificence, but the lot of the people in the country 
was hard and miserable. It is from his remarks that Dr. 
Smith draws the conclusion that the country must have 
been sucked dry. But he forgets that mediaeval monarchs 
all over the world felt no scruples in spending the people's 
money with a light heart on personal pleasures. It is 
true the Bahmanids often plundered the property l>f their 
enemies, but they were never guilty of levying oppressive 
exactions even in the time of war. They provided facilities 
of irrigation for the development of agriculture in their 
dominions, and took interest in the welfare of the peasantry. 
Some of them were patrons of arts and education, and made 
endowments for the maintenance of the learned and pious. 
They were not great builders. The only things worthy of 
mention are the city of Bidar, which was full of beautiful 
buildings, and certain forts which exist to this day. 

In judging the Bahmanids it would be unfair to apply 
to their conduct the standards of today. Even in the 
West in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries religious 
persecution was the order of the day. Religion and politics 
were often mixed up, and ambitious rulers exploited 
religious zeal for their own advantage. If we keep this 
fact in mind, we can neither accept the unqualified praise 
which Meadows Taylor bestows upon the Bahmanids nor 
their wholesale condemnation which is to be found in 
Dr. Vincent Smith's Oxford History of India. 


The Jmad Shahi dynasty was founded by Fatah 

Ullah Imad Shah, onginaHy a Hindu from Carnatic. He 

made a name in the service of Khan-i- 

Berar * Jahan, the viceroy of Berar, and succeeded 


him. He was the first to declare his independence. His 
dynasty ruled till 1574, when it was incorporated in the 
Nizam Shahi dominions. 

The Adil Shahi dynasty was founded by Yusuf Adil 

Khan, a slave purchased by Mahmud Gawan. But 

according to Firishta he was a son of 

Bajapur. ^^ ^^ n Q Turkey who died in 14gL 

When his eldest brother Muhammad came to the throne 
he ordered the expulsion of all the male children of the 
late Sultan ; but Yusuf was saved by the tact of his 
mother. He rose to high rank through the favour of his 
patron, Mahmud Gawan* He declared his independence 
in 1489. 

His formidable enemy Qasim Barid incited the Raya 
of Vijayariagar to declare war upon Bijapur. But 
Narasinha suffered a defeat. In 1495 he helped Qasim 
Barid in defeating Dastur Dinar, the governor of 
Gulburga, who had revolted. But he managed to have 
Oulburga restored to him and saved his life. Yusuf 
was anxious to obtain Gulburga for himself. Qasim was 
defeated, and his defeat greatly enhanced the prestige of 
Ali Adil Shah. In 1502 he declared the Shia creed to be 
the religion of the state, but granted perfect toleration 
to the Sunnis. Nevertheless/ the neighbouring powers 
joined against him. He fled to Berar, restored the Sunni 
faith, and withdrew to Khandesh. 

Meanwhile Imadul-Mulk wrote to the allies that Amir 
Barid was using them for his own selfish end. So the 
Sultans of Ahmadnagar and Golkunda left the field. Amir 
Barid, left alone, was defeated by Yusuf, who entered 
Bijapu* in triumph. Yusuf Adil Shah is one of the most 
remarkable rulers of the Deccan. He was a patron of 


letters, and learned men from Persia, Turkistan, and Rum 
<came to his court and enjoyed his bounty. He was free from 
bigotry, and religion in his eyes was no bar to public employ- 
ment. Firishta says that he was 'handsome in person, 
eloquent in speech, and eminent for his learning, liberality, 
and valour.' 

Yusuf Adil was followed by Ismail who was only nine 
years of age at the time of his accession. The affairs of 

.1 01 ^ the state were managed by KamSl Khan, an 

Ismail Shah. 

officer of the late king, but he proved a 
traitor. His designs were frustrated by the queen-mother 
who had him assassinated by a slave. Ismail now took the 
reins of government in his own hands. But he had to fight 
against Vijayanagar and Ahmadnagar. He was victorious in 
all his wars, and recovered possession of the Raichur 
Doab from Vijayanagar. Ismail died in 1534, and was 
succeeded by Mallu Adil Shah, but he was blinded and 
dethroned. After him his brother Ibrahim was proclaimed 

He first restored the Sunni faith and replaced all 
foreigners in his service by the Deccanis and Abyssinians. 
He defeated the rulers of Bidar, Ahmadna- 
gar, and Golkunda and displayed commend- 
able energy, but debauchery soon brought 
about his ruin. He fell ill and died in 1557. , He was 
succeeded by Ali Adil Shah. 

The new Sultan restored the Shia faith and his policy 

caused discontent in the country. With the help of 

the Raya of Vijayanagar he ravaged the 

Bhih. A d * l Ahmadnagar territory in 1658. The Hindus 

perpetrated the most horrible excesses 

which disgusted even their ally Ali Adil. The growing 


power of Vijayanagar seemed to be a menace to the 
existence of the Muslim monarchies. Bijapur, Bidar, 
Ahmadnagar, Golkunda combined against Vijayanagar 
and defeated Ram Raya at Talikota in 1565. Ali Adil w as- 
assassinated in 1579. 

The heir to the throne was a minor, and the govern- 
ment was carried on by his mother Chand Bibi who is so 
famous in Indian history. Ibrahim was suc- 
cessful in a war with Ahmadnagar in 1594, 
when the Sultan was slain in battle. He died 
in 1626. He was the most remarkable ruler of his dynasty* 
The Adil Shahis fought long and hard against the 
Mughals, and Bijapur was finally annexed to the empire 
in 1686 by Aurangzeb. 

The Nizam Shahi dynasty was founded by Nizamul- 

mulk Bahri, the leader of the Deccan party at Bidar. 

After Mahmud Gawan's death, he was. 

Ahmadnagar. . , 

appointed minister. His son Malik Ahmad 
was appointed governor of Junir. He intended to join, 
his son, but his plans were foiled by the governor of Bidar, 
who had him strangled to death with the king's per- 
mission. Malik Ahmad declared his independence in 1498, 
and transferred his court to Ahmadnagar. He obtained 
possession of Daulatabad in 1499 after a hard fight. On 
his death he was succeeded by his son Burhan Nizam 

Burhan (150858) was a minor ; and so the affairs of the 
state were managed by his father 'sold officers. He married 
a Bijapur princess. He fell out with the 
kin of Bijapur and brought about almost a 
diplomatic revolution by concluding aa 
alliance with the Raya of Vijayanagar. 


In 1553 he laid siege to Bijapur, but he died shortly 
afterwards. The subsequent history of Ahmadnagar is> 
unimportant except for the heroic defence made hv ffiflnd 
Bibi against Prince Murad. Ahmadnagar was finally 
conquered by the imperialists in 1600. 

The Qutb Shahi dynasty was founded by Qutb-ul-mulk^ 

He was well educated, and was originally employed in 

~ , the secretariat of Mahmud Shah Bahmani. 


By dint of his ability he rose to be the 
governor of Telingana. He declared his independence in 
1518. On his death in 1543, he was succeeded by a series- 
of weak rulers who maintained their independence against 
the Mughals until 1687 when Golkunda was finally 
annexed to the empire by Aurangzeb. 

Amir Barid, son of Qasim Barid, assumed the title 
of king, and declared his independence in 1526, when 

Sultan, Kalimullah, fled to Bijapur. 


The dynasty lingered till 1609, when it was. 

supplanted by the Adil Shahis who annexed the province 
to their dominions. 

(iii) The RUe of Vijayana ? ar 

The rise of the kingdom of Vijayanagar dates from the 
time of the disorders which occurred during the reign of 

Muhammad Tughluq. Sewell, the historian of 
of the n E a mpi p re. the Vijayanagar Empire, gives seven tradition- 

ary accounts of the origin of the empire* l But 
the most probable account is that which attributes its origin; 
to two brothers, Hari Kara and Bukka, who were employed 
in the treasury of Pratap Rudra Deva KSkatiya of WarangaK 

1 Sewell, A Forgotten Empire* pp. 2022. 
F. 14 


They fled from their country in 1323 when it was overrun 
by the Muslims. They took up service with the Raja of 
Anagondi in the Raichur district, but they were taken to 
Delhi when that country fell into the hands of the Muslims. 
This excited the Hindus so much that they rose in rebellion, 
and the Sultan released the two brothers, and restored 
them to the country of Anagondi which they held as tri- 
butaries of the empire of Delhi. With the help of the 
famous sage and scholar Vidyaranya (literally, forest of 
learning) they founded in the year 1336 A.D. the imperial 
city on the bank of the Tungbhadra merely as a place of 
shelter against the persecutions and aggressions of the 
Muslim invaders, and Hari Hara became the first ruler of 
the dynasty. 

By the year 1340 Hari Hara had estab- 

arly lished his swa y over the valle y f the 

Tungbhadra, portions of the Konkon, and 
the Malabar coast. 

Hari Hara and his brothers never assumed royal titles. 
Muslim historians tell us that Hari Hara took part in the 
confederacy organised by Krigna Nayak, son of Pratap 
Hudra Deva of Warangal, in 1344, to drive the Muslims out 
'of the Deccan. The evidence of inscriptions also points 
to the fact that Hari Hara I assisted in this confederacy, 
and fought against the Muslim forces. The death of the 
last king of the Hoysala dynasty VirQpfik?a Ballala in 1346 
coupled with the disappearance of the power of the Sultan 
of Delhi enabled the valiant brothers to bring under their 
control the dominions of the Hoysalas. The brothers then 
embarked upon a brilliant career of conquest. Their efforts 
were crowned with success, so much so, that within the 
lifetime of Hari Hara, the kingdom extended from the KrifpK 


in the north to the neighbourhood of the Kaveri in the 
south, and comprised the whole country situated between 
the eastern and western oceans. Bat the northward ex- 
pansion of the rising kingdom was checked by the Bah- 
manids. Both tried to be supreme in the Deccan, and their 
ambitions led them to fight against each other with great 
ferocity and pertinacity. Hari Kara divided his kingdom 
into provinces, which he entrusted to scions of the royal 
family ana trustworthy viceroys, whose loyalty had been 
proved by long and faithful service. Hari Kara died about 
1353, and was succeeded by his brother Bukka who completed 
the building of the city of Vijayanagar, and enlarged its 
dimensions. He is described in the inscriptions as the 
master of the eastern, western, and southern oceans. This 
is no doubt an exaggeration ; but we might easily conclude 
that he was a remarkable ruler. He sent a mission to the 
emperor of China, and waged wars against the Bahmani 
kingdom. He was a tolerant and liberal-minded ruler ; and 
it is said that on one occasion he brought about a reconcilia- 
tion between the Jains and Vaignavas by his intervention.^ 
Bukka died in 1879^ and was succeeded by HarL JIara II 
the first king of the dynasty who assumed imperial titles 
and called himself Maharajadhiraj. He en* 
( *owed tern Pl es an( * tried to consolidate his 
vast possessions. Sewell writes that he 
was always a lover of peace, and Vincent Smith says that he 
had a quiet time so far as the Muslims were concerned, and 
enjoyed leisure which he devoted to consolidating his domi- 
nion over the whole of Southern India, including Trichinopoly 
and Conjeevaram (Kanchi). He turned his attention to other 
countries of the south, and his general, Gunda, conquered 
several new provinces. Hari Hara II die on the 90th 


August, 1404, and was succeeded by bis son who ruled only 
for a short time. He was succeeded by Deva Raya who 
had to fight again and again against the Bahmanids. 
Firishta says that on one occasion Firuz compelled him to 
give his daughter in marriage to the Sultan. But we may 
well doubt whether the marriage took place, for the author 
of the Burhan-i-MOsir, who is a detailed and accurate 
chronicler, does not make even a casual mention of this 
marriage, nor is there any mention of it in the inscriptions. 
Deva Raya died in 1410, and was succeeded by his son 
Vijaya Raya who reigned for nine years. He was succeeded 
by Deva Raya II.. 

Deva Raya followed the military traditions of his pre- 
decessors and declared war against the Bahmanids. Being 
impressed by the superior strength of the 
Muslim cavalry, he employed Muslim horse- 
men in his service, but even this somewhat 
unusual step proved of no avail. When the war broke out 
again in 1443, the Muslims defeated ihe Raya's forces, and 
compelled him to pay tribute. During Deva Raya H's reign 
Vijayanagar was visited by two foreigners one of them was 
Nicolo Conti, an Italian sojourner, and the other was Abdur 
Razzaq, an envoy from Persia. Both have left valuable obser- 
vations regarding the city and the empire of Vijayanagar. 
He visited Vijayanagar about the year 
Nicol Cont1 ' 1420 or 1421 and he describes it thus :- 

" The great city of Bizengalia is situated near very 
steep mountains. The circumference of the city is sixty 
miles ; its walls are carried up to the mountains and 
enclose the valleys at their foot, so that its extent is, 
thereby increased. In this city there are estimated to 
be ninety thousand men, fit to bear arms. 


The inhabitants of this region marry as many 
as they please, who are burnt with their dead 
husbands. Their king is more powerful than all other 
kings of India. He takes to himself 12 T QOO wives, of 
whom 4,000 follow him on foot wherever he may go, 
and are employed solely in the service of the kitchen. A 
like number, more handsomely equipped, ride on horse- 
back. The remainder are carried by men in litters, of 
whom 2,000 or 3,000 are selected as his wives, on con- 
dition that at his death they should voluntarily burn 
themselves with him, which is considered to be a great 
honour for them. 

^ "At a certain time of the year their idol is carried 
through the city, placed between two chariots, in which 
are joung women richly adorned, who sing hymns 
to the god, and accompanied by a great concourse of 
people. Many, carried away by the fervour of their 
faith, cast themselves on the ground before the wheels, 
in order that they may be crushed to death a mode 
of death which they say is very acceptable to their god, 
others making an incision in their side, and inserting a 
rope thus through their body, hang themselves to the 
chariot by way of ornament and thus suspended and 
half -dead accompany their idol. This kind of sacrifice 
they consider the best and most acceptable of all. 

3. " Thrice in the year they keep festivals of special 
solemnity. On one of these occasions the males and 
females of all ages, having bathed in the rivers or the 
sea, clothe themselves in new garments, and spend 
three entire days in singing, dancing and feasting. On 
another of these festivals they fix up within 
their temples, and on the outside on their roofs an 


innumerable number of lamps of oil of auaimanni which 
are kept burning ^ay- an d)night. On the third, which 
lasts nine days, they set up in all the highways large 
beams, like the masts of small ships, to the upper part 
of which are attached pieces of very beautiful cloth of 
various kinds interwoven with gold. On the summit 
of each of these beams is each day placed a man of 
pious aspiration, dedicated to religion, capable of endur- 
ing all things with equanimity, who is to pray for the 
favour of god. These men are assailed by the people, 
who pelt them with orange, lemons, and other odori- 
ferous fruits, all of which they bear most patiently, 
There are also three other festival days, during which 
they sprinkle all passers-by, even the king and queen 
themselves, with saffron water, placed for the purpose 
by the wayside. This is received by all with much 

Twenty years after Nicolo Conti, Abdur Razzaq, 1 

an envoy from Persia, visited Vijayanagar in 1442 He 

Abdur Raz- sta y e( * in the famous city till the beginning 

z&q's account of April 1448. He gives a detailed account 

>f Vijayanagar. 

are as follows : 

11 One day messengers came from the king to 

summon me, and towards the evening I went to the 

court, and presented five beautiful horses 

Tke Raya. - * . 

and two trays each containing nine pieces 
of 4mask and satin. The king was seated in 

J hr <H ^ * ./ < 

y J s 

1 A detailed account of Abdur-Razzaq is given in the Matta-us- 
Sadain. Elliot, IV, pp. 105120* He was born a* Herat in 1413. Shah Rukb 
of Persia sent him as an ambassador to Yijayanagar. He died in 1482. 


great state in the forty-pillared hall, and a great crowd 
of Brahmans and others stood on the right and left of him. 
He was clothed in a robe of Zaitun satin and he had- 
around his neck a collar composed of pure pearls of regal 
excellence, the value of which a jeweller would find it 
difficult to calculate. He was of an olive colour, of a 
spare body and rather tall. He was exceedingly young,, 
for there was only some slight down upon his cheeks and 
none upon his chin. His whole appearance was very 
prepossessing. . . The daily provision forwarded to me 
comprised two sheep, four couple of fowls, five mans of 
rice, one man of butter, one man of sugar, and two 
varahas gold. This occurred every day. Twice a week 
I was summoned to the presence towards the evening 
when the king asked me several questions respecting 
the Khakan-i-said, and each time I received a packet of 
betel, a purse of fanams and some miskals of camphor. 

4< TJie^city ofJBisanagar is such that eye has 
nor ear heard of any place resembling it upon the 

eartk It is so built that it has seven fortified 
walls, one within the other. Beyond the cir- 
cuit of the outer wall there is an esplanade extending 
for about fifty yards, in which stones are fixed near one 
another to the height of a man ; one-half buried firmly in 
the earth, and the other half rises above it, so that 
neither foot nor horse, however bold, can advance with 
facility near the outer wall. 

" Each class of men belonging to each 

profession has shops contiguous the one to the other ; the 
jewellers sell publicly in the bazar pearls, 
robieSt emeralds, and diamonds. In this 
agreeable locality, as well aa in the 


king's palace, one sees numerous running streams 
and canals formed of chiselled stone, polished and 

On the left of the Sultan's portico, rises the diwan- 
khana (the council house) which is extremely large and 
looks like a palace. In front of it is a hall, the height of 
which is above the stature of a man, its length thirty 
ghez, and its breadth ten. In it is placed the daftar- 
khana (the archives), and 'here sit the scribes. . . In 
the middle of this palace upon a high estrade is seated 
an eunuch, called Daiang who alone presides over 
the diWan. At the end of the hall stand tchobdars 
(hussars) drawn up in line. Every man who comes upon 
any business, passes between the tchobdars, offers 
a small present, grostratea himself with his face to 
the ground, then rising up explains the business which 
brought him there and the Daiang pronounces his opi- 
nion, according to the principles of justice adopted in 
this kingdom, and no one thereafter is allowed to make 
any appeal." 

Deva Raya II probably died in 1449, and was succeeded 

by his two sons one after the other. But they were too 

weak to manage the large empire which 

dy- he ^ j ft t() them The throne wag 

usurped by Saluva-Narasinha, the most 
powerful noble in KarnSta and Telingana. This is known 
as the first usurpation Saluva-Narasinha's power did not 
last long. His successor had to make room for his redoubt- 
able general Naresa Nayaka of Tuluva descent, who became 
the founder of a new dynasty. The most famous king of 
this dynasty was Kri?na Deva Raya. 


Kriijna Deva Raya is said to have ascended the throne 
Vijayanagar in 1509 A.D. Under him Vijayanagar 
attained ty the zenith of its greatness and 
char- prosperity. He fought the Muslims of the 
per " Deccan on equal terms, and avenged the 
wrongs that had been done to his predeces- 
sors. He was an able and accomplished monarch. Paes 
who saw him with his own eyes thus describes him : 

-/ " The king is of medium height, and of fair com-j 
exion and good figure, rather fat than thin ; he has on 
Tiis face signs of small-pox. He is the most feared and 
perfect king that could possibly be, cheerful of disposition 
and very merry ; he is one that seeks to honour foreign- 
ers, and receives them kindly, asking about all their 
affairs whatever their condition may be. He is a great 
ruler and a man of much justice, but subject to sudden 
fits of rage " 

The history of this period is a record of bloody wars. 
There is no ruler among the sovereigns of the Deccan, 
both Hindu and Muslim, worthy of comparison with Kri$na 
Deva Raya. Although a Vaisnava himself, he granted the 
fullest liberty of worship to his subjects. He was very 
kind and hospitable to foreigners, who speak highly of his 
liberality, his genial appearance, and his elevated culture. 
He was a brilliant conversationalist, and the inscriptions show 
that he was a great patron of Sanskrit and Telugu litera- 
ture. His court was adorned by eight celebrated poets, who 
were known as the o$a diggaja. He was not wanting 
in military prowess, and gave proof of his organising 
capacity and valour in the wars he waged against his 
-enemies. A fearless and renowned captain of war, Krigna 


Deva Raya was a man of charitable disposition, and he 
made numerous gifts to temples and Brahmans. All things- 
considered, he was one of the most remarkable rulers that 
have appeared in Southern India. Sew ell gives an in- 
teresting account of the king's position and personality : 

" Kri?na Deva was not only monarch de jure, was 
in the practical fact an absolute sovereign of extensive 
power and strong personal influence. He was the real 
ruler. He was physically strong in his best days, and 
kept his strength up to the highest pitch by hard bodily 
exercise. He rose early and developed all his muscles 
by the use of the Indian clubs and the use of the sword ; 
he was a fine rider, and was blessed with a noble presence 
which favourably impressed all who came in contact 
with him. He commanded his enormous armies in person,, 
was able, brave and statesmanlike, and was withal a 
man of much gentleness and generosity of character. He 
was beloved by all and respected by all. The only blot 
on his scutcheon is, that after his great success over the 
Muhammadan king he grew to be haughty and insolent 
in his demands/' 

Krigna Deva Raya's conquests extended far and wide. 
He defeated the Raya of Orissa and married a princess of the 
royal house. But his most important achieve- 

ment was the defeat of Adil Shah of Bfiapur 
in 1520. The Muslim camp was sacked, and 
enormous booty fell into the hands of the Hindus. Adil 
Shah's prestige was so completely shattered that for a time 
he ceased to think of further conquest in the south, and con- 
centrated his attention on organising his resources for a 
fresh and more determined struggle. The Hindus behaved so* 


haughtily in the hour of victory that their conduct gave 
terrible offence to the Muslim powers, and made them the ob- 
jects of universal hatred in all Muslim circles in the Deccan. 
The Portuguese had friendly relations with the Raya 
of Vijayanagar who greatly benefited by their trade in 

Rei a t i o n s ^ orses an< * other useful articles. In 1510 the 
with the Portuguese governor Albuquerque sent a 

ortuguese mission to Vijayanagar to obtain permission 
to build a fort at Bhatkal. This was granted when the 
Portuguese seized Goa, which has always been one of their 
valuable possessions. The mutual feuds of the Hindu and 
Muslim rulers of the Deccan increased the political impor- 
tance of these foreign traders, for their assistance was 
often sought by the contending parties. 

The conquests of Krigna Deva Raya considerably enlarged 

the extent of the empire. It extended over the area which 
. is now covered by the Madras Presidency, 

1 U 6 OX 

tent of the the Mysore and certain other states of the 
empire. Deccan. It reached to Cuttack in the east and 

Salsette in the west, and towards the south it touched the 
extreme border of the peninsula. The expansion of the 
empire and its great resources were a matter of supreme 
anxiety to the Muslim rulers of the Deccan, who always 
kept themselves in a state of readiness for war, and left 
no stone unturned to reduce its power or lower its prestige. 
After Krisna Deva Raya's death a period of decline 
began. The new ruler Achyut Deva, who was a brother 
of the late king, was an incompetent man 
* ' d e who found it difficult to guard the state 

against his jealous neighbours. The Sultan 
of Bijapur seized the fortresses of Raichur and Mudgal, and 
thus humiliated the Raya. After his death in 1542, Achyut 


was succeeded by Sadasiva Raya, the son of a deceased 
brother of his, but since he was merely a figure-head, all 
power passed into the hands of Rama Raya Saluva, son of 
Krishna Deva Raya's famous Minister Saluva Timma. 
Rama Raya was a capable man, but his pride and arrogance 
had given offence to his allies and opponents alike. In 1543 
with the help of Ahmadnagar and Golkunda, he declared 
war upon Bijapur, but it was saved by the diplomacy of 
Ali Adil Shah's minister Asad Khan, who detached the Raya 
from the coalition and made peace with Burhan. But a 
fresh shuffle of cards followed when in 1557 Bijapur, 
Golkunda, and Vijayanagar combined to attack 
Ahmadnagar. The whole country was laid waste by the 
Hindus and Firishta writes : 

"The infidels of Vijayanagar, who for many years 
had been wishing such an event, left no cruelty 
unpractised ; they insulted the honour of the 
Musalman women, destroyed the mosques, and did 
not even respect the sacred Quran." 

This atrocious conduct of the Hindus outraged Muslim 
sentiment and alienated their allies. They determined to 
crush the Hindu State, and giving up all their differences 
formed a grand alliance against Vijayanagar. In 1564 
Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Golkunda, and Bidar combined, but 
Berar remained aloof from the confederacy. The formidable 
coalition, called into existence by irreconcilable hatred, took 
a revenge which has no parallel in the history of the south. 

The allies began their southward march on December 
25, 1564, and met near the town of .. Talikota on the bank 
^ Battle of ^ *ke K^na. The Raya treated their move- 
Taiikota, 1566 ments with indifference. He used ' scornful 
A * D ~ language towards their ambassadors and 


regarded their enmity as of little moment.' But he soon 
discovered his mistake. He sent his youngest brother 
Tirumala with 20,000 horse, 100,000 foot and 500 elephants 
to guard the passages of the Kri?na at all points, and des- 
patched a brother with another force. The remaining troops 
he kept under his command and marched to the field of bat- 
tle. The allies also made mighty preparations. Such huge 
armies had never met each other before on a field of battle 
in the south. The fight began. At first the Hindus seemed 
victorious, but the tide turned when the artillery wing 
of the allied army charged the Hindu host with bags, 
filled with copper coins, and in a short time 5,000 Hindus 
were slain. This was followed by a fearful cavalry charge. 
Rama Raya was captured and was beheaded by Husain 
Nizamshah with the exclamation, "Now I am aveng- 
ed of thee. Let God do what he will to me." The army was 
instantly seized with panic. The battle ended in a complete 
rout. About 100.000 Hindus were slain, and the plunder 
was so great that "every man in the allied army became 
rich in gold, jewels, effects, tents, arms, horses, and slaves, 
as the Sultan left every person in possession of what he 
had acquired only taking elephants for his own use. 
Then the victorious allies proceeded towards the city of 
Vijayanagar which was thoroughly sacked. Its wealth 
was seized and its population was destroyed. No words 
can describe the horrors and misery which the people of 
Vijayanagar had to suffer at the hands of the Muslims. 
The scene is described by Sewell in these words : 

" The third day saw the beginning of the end. The 
victorious Musalmans had halted on the field of battle for 
rest and refreshment, but now they had reached, the 


capital, and from that time forward for a space of five 
months Vijayanagar knew no rest. The enemy had come 
to destroy, and they carried out their object relentlessly. 
They slaughtered the people without mercy ; broke down 
the temples and palaces and wreaked such savage venge- 
ance on the abode of the kings, that with the exception 
of a few great stone-built temples and walls, 

a h* a p " f in* tn mark thf 3 ! p^ where once 

stately buildings q*^ They demolished the statues, 
and even succeeded in breaking the limbs of the huge 
Jfarsinha monolith. Nothing seemed to escape them. 
They broke up the pavilions standing on the huge 
platform from which the kings used to watch the 
festivals and overthrew all the carved work. They lit 
huge fires in the magnificently decorated buildings 
forming the temple of Vitthalaswami near the river, 
and smashed its exquisite stone sculptures. With fire 
and sword, with crow-bars and axes, they carried on 
day after day their work of destruction. Never 
perhaps in the history of the world has such havoc 
been wrought, and wrought so suddenly, on so 
splendid a city ; teeming with a wealthy and industrious 
population in the full plenitude of prosperity one 
day, and on the next, seized, pillaged, and reduced 
to ruins, amid scenes of savage massacre and horrors 
beggaring description." 
The battle of Talikota is one of the most decisive 
Battles iq frdian history. It sealed the fate of the great 
Effect of the H * n< * u Empire of the South. Its fall was 
battle of Tali- followed by anarchy and misrule, and the 
%oto * Muslims who were elated at the ruin of their 

formidable rival soon began to lose their strength and 


vigour* The fear of Vijayanagar was to them a blessing 
in disguise. It had kept them alert and active. But as 
soon as this fear vanished, they quarrelled among them- 
selves, and thus fell an easy prey to the ambitious Mughal 
Emperors of the north. 

After the fall of Rama Raya his brother Tirumala 
exercised sovereignty in Sadasiva's name, but about the 

year 1570 he usurped the throne, and laid the 
dynasty * W foundations of a new dynasty. Tirumala's 

second son, Ranga II, was succeeded on the 
throne by Venkata I about 1586. He was the most 
remarkable prince of the dynasty, a man of ability and 
character, who extended his patronage to poets and learned 
men. The successors of Venkata were powerless to pre- 
serve intact the small dominion they had inherited from 
him, and under them the dynasty gradually dwindled into 
insignificance. The Muslims seized much of the territory 
of the Empire, and the Naiks of Madura and Tanjore built 
principalities for themselves out of its fragments. 

The empire was a vast feudal organisation, and the 
king was the apex of the whole system. He was assisted 

by a council composed of ministers, provincial 
toon. dmmiBtea " governors, military commanders, men of the 

priestly class and poets* But the govern- 
ment was highly centralised, and the king a perfect 
autocrat. His authority was unlimited. He looked after 
the civil administration, and directed the military affairs 
of the empire, and acted as judge in cases that were 
submitted to him for decision. The principal officers of 
the state were the prime-minister, ijhe chief treasurer, 
the Jkeeper of the royal jewels, thc^prefect of the police, 
who were assisted by a number of lesser officials. The 


prime-minister was the king's chief adviser on all im- 
portant questions* The prefect of the police was respon- 
sible for maintaining order in the city. The kings of* 
Vijayanagar maintained a splendid court on which they 
spent huge sums of money. It was attended by nobles, 
learned priests, astrologers and musicians, and on festive 
occasions fireworks were displayed, and various other enter- 
tainments were provided by the state. 

There was a well-regulated system of local government. 
The empire was divided into more than 200 provinces, sub- 
divided into Nadus or Kottams, which were again subdivided 
into small groups of villages and towns. Each province 
was held by a viceroy, who either belonged to the royal 
family or was a powerful noble of the state. The province 
was merely a replica of the empire. The viceroy kept his 
own army, held his own court, and practically acted as a 
despot within his jurisdiction. But he had to render account 
of his stewardship to the emperor, and in time of war he 
was liable to render military service. Though the tenure of 
the provincial governors was uncertain, they seem to have 
thoroughly enjoyed their time, while they were in office. 

The system of local government extended to vil- 
lages. The village was, as it had been from time immemo- 
rial, the TmTTof administration. The village moot managed 
its own affairs through its hereditary officers, called the 
Ayagars. Some of them decided petty disputes, collected 
revenues, and enforced law and order. The village com- 
munities served a great purpose. They kept the imperial 
government in touch with the people. 

The kings of Vijayanagar enjoyed a large income. The 
pain source was the land revenue. The Portuguese chro- 
nicler tells us.that theflcaptains held land from the king,, and 


they made it over to husbandmen who paid nine-tenths of 
their produce to their lords, who in their turn paid one-half 
to the king. This seems to be an exaggeration, for the 
peasantry could not live on barely one-tenth of the produce 
of their labour, v Besides the land tax, the state levied a 
large number of cesses which considerably augmented its 
income. Eygp prnaflt^tea were taxed, and the large in- 
come from this source was spent on maintaining a police 
force which was attached to the prefect of the city. The 
peasant was often rack-rented and heavily assessed, and 
the tax-collectors dealt with him harshly. 

The military organisation was also based on a feudal 

basis. Besides the king's personal troops, the provincial 

governors supplied their quota in time of war, and were re- 

v quired to give every kind of assistance. There is a differ* 

7 ence of opinion among historians regarding the total numeri- 

" cal strength of the Vijayanagar armies. One authority 

> writes that in 1520 Kri$na Deva Raya had at his disposal 

a huge army consisting of 703,660 foot, 32,600 horse and 

551 elephants and a large number of sappers and camp 

followers. These figures are considerably over-estimated, 

and it is highly improbable that the army of the Raya 

should have been so large. The army was organised like 

other Hindu armies of the middle ages. It consisted of 

elephants, cavalry, and infantry, but in fighting strength 

it was inferior to the Muslim armies of the north. Much 

reliance was placed upon elephants, but these were 

powerless against skilled archers and well-trained Muslim 

cavalry leaders. 

Justice was administered in a rough and ready fashion 
According to the discretion of the authorities. Petitions could 
be made to the king or to the prime-minister. Justice in 

F. 16 


civil cases was dispensed according to the principles of 
Hindu Law and local usage. The criminal law wag harsh 
and barbarous. Fines were levied, and torture was fre- 
quently resorted to A Theft, adultery, and treason were 
punished with death or mutilation. The members of the 
priestly order were exempt from capital punishment* 

There was a great contrast between the splendour of 
the court and the squalor and poverty of the cottage. 
Foreign visitors dwell at length upon the 
tbn ial C ndi " magnificence of royal processions and festivals 
at the capital and the wealth and luxury of 
the nobles. \ Duelling as looked upon was a recognised 
method of settling disputes. 2The practice of Sati was in 
vogue, and the Brahmans freely commended this kind of 
self-immolation. 3 But the position of women at the capital 
indicates a highly satisfactory state of affairs. There were 
women wrestlers, astrologers, soothsayers, and a staff 
of women clerks was employed within the palace gates 
to keep accounts of the royal household. This shows 
that women were fairly well educated and experienced in 
the business of the state. Great laxity seems to have pre- 
vailed in the matter of diet. Though the Brahmans never 
killed or ate any living thing, the people used nearly an 
kinds of meat. The flesh of oxen and cows was strictly 
prohibited, and even the kings scrupulously observed this 
rule/ JEvery animal bad to be sold alive in the markets. 

^ Brahmans were held in high esteem. They were 
according to Nuniz, honest men, very good at accounts, 
talented, welHformed but incapable of doing hard work. 
Bloody sacrifices were common. The wealth of the capital 
fostered luxury which brought in its train numerous vices. 



Khizr Khan had secured the throne of Delhi, but his 
position was far from enviable. He hesitated to assume 
publicly the title of king and professed to rule 
mer *ly as the yicegereflLof Timur. The 
empire had suffered in prestige, and lost in 
territory since the invasion of Timur owing to the ambition 
and greed of provincial governors, and the process of disinr 
tegration that had set in had not yet come to an end. At 
the capital, the parties scrambled for power, and changed 
their positions with astonishing rapidity, and their leaders 
acted according to the dictates of self-interest. The Doab 
had been, since the days of Balban, a most refractory part 
of the empire, and the Zamindars of Etawah, mostly Raj- 
puts of the Rathor clan, Katehar, Kanauj, and Badaon 
withheld their tribute and disregarded the central power. 
They stirred up strife with such persistence, that again and 
again punitive expeditionajiad to be undertaken in order to 
chastise them. The kingdoms of Malwa, Jaunpur, and 
'Gujarat were quite independent of Delhi. They were 
-engaged in fighting with their neighbours and amongst 
themselves, and of ten encroached upon the territory of Delhi. 
The rulers of Malwa and Gujarat fought among themselves 
and with Rajputs whom they prevented from taking 
any interest in the politics of Delhi. Not far from the capital, 
the Mewatis were seething with discontent ; they withheld 
tribute and wavered in their allegiance. Towards the 



northern frontier, the Khokhars carried on their depreda- 
tions at Multan and Lahore, and wished to profit by the 
general anarchy that was prevailing all over the country. 
The Turk-bacchas at Sarhind were equally restive. They 
fomented intrigues, and formed conspiracies to establish 
theirown influence. The Muslim governors in the provinces 
waged war against their neighbours, and acted as inde- 
pendent despots. The prestige of the monarchy was. 
gone, and the Muslim community had lost its old strength 
and vigour. There was no bond of sympathy between the 
Hindus and Muslims, and they often fought among them- 
selves. The political situation at the opening of the fifteenth 
century was full of anxiety, and the task of social recon- 
struction before the Saiyyads an exceedingly difficult one. 

The political confusion that prevailed at Delhi enabled 
Khizr Khan to acquire more power, and in 1414 he over- 
powered Daulat Khan, and took possession of 
ui^2i AJX* the capital. The most important problem 
before him was how to establish order in the 
Doab and in those provinces, which still acknowledged 
the suzerainty of Delhi. His Wazir Taj-ul-mulk marched 
into the district of Katehar in 1414 and ravaged the 

Rai Hara Singh fled without offering resistance, but he 
was pursued by the royal forces and compelled to surrender. 
The Hindu Zamindars of Khor, l Kampila, Sakit, 1 Parham, 

1 Khor is modern Shamsabad in the Fairukbabad district in the 
United Provinces situated on the south bank of the Buri Ganga river, 
18 miles north-west of Fatehgarh town. 

Farrukhabad Distt. Gaz., pp. 123-124. 

* Sakit lies between Kampila and Rapari, 12 miles south-east of 
Btah town. It was at Badoli in this par g ana that Bahlol Lodi died oa 
hie return from an expedition against Gwalior. 


Gwalior, Seori and Chandwar submitted and paid tribute* 
Jalesar 1 was wrested from the Hindu chief of Chandwar, 
and made over to the Muslims who had held it before. The 
countries of the Doab, Biyana, and Gwalior broke out into 
rebellion again and again, but order was restored, and the 
chiefs were compelled to acknowledge the authority of 

Having restored order in the Doab, Khizr Khan turned 
his attention to the affairs of the northern frontier. The 
rebellion of the Turk-bacchas at Sarhind was put down. 
Trouble broke out afresh in the Doab, but the leading 
Zamindars who stirred up strife were subdued. The Mewatis 
were also suppressed. The Sultan himself marched against 
the chiefs of Gwalior and Etawah who were reduced to 
obedience. On his return to Delhi, Khizr Khan fell ill and 
died on May 20, 1421 A.D. 

Khizr Khan lived like a true Saiyyad. He never shed 
blood unnecessarily, nor did he ever sanction an atrocious 
crime either to increase his own power or to wreak 
vengeance upon his enemies. If there was little adminis- 
trative reform, the fault was not his ; the disorders of 
the time gave him no rest, and all his life he was 
engaged in preserving the authority of the state in 
those parts where it still existed. Firishta passes a well- 
deserved eulogy, upon him when he says : " Khizr 
Khan was a great and wise king, kind and true to his 
word ; his subjects loved him with a grateful affection 
so that great and small, master and servant, sat and 
mourned for him in black raiment till the third day, when 

1 Jalesar is 88 miles east of Muttra in the United Provinces of Ajrn 
nd Oudh. 


they laid aside their mourning garments, and raised his son? 
Mubarak Shah to the throne/' 

Khizr Khan was succeeded by his son Mubarak who 

won the favour of ithe nobles by confirming them in their 

possessions. The most remarkable thing 

ShL^4a"w about the histoi> y of this Period isthewide- 
A.D. ' spread anarchy that prevailed in the country. 

As before, the Zamindars of the Doab revolted 
again, and the Sultan marched into Katehar in 1428 to 
enforce the payment of revenue. The Rathor Rajputs of 
Kampila and Etawah were subdued next, and Rai Sarwar's 
son offered fealty and paid the arrears of tribute. 

The most important rebellions of the reign were two of 
Jasrath Khokhar in 1428 and of Paulad Turk-baccha near, 
Sarhind. The Khokhar chieftain suffered a severe defeat 
and fled into the mountains to seek refuge. Paulad was 
more defiant ; he offered a stubborn resistance and remained 
at bay for more than a year. It was after persistent and 
prolonged fighting that he was defeated and slain in 
November 1433. 

In order to make the administration more efficient, the 
Sultan made certain changes in the distribution of the* 
highest offices in the state. This gave offence to certain 
nobles who conspired to take his life. When the 
Sultan went to Mubarakabad, a new town which he had 
founded, to watch the progress of constructions on the 20th 
February, 1434, he was struck with a sword by the conspi- 
rators so that he instantaneously fell dead on the ground. 

Mubarak was a kind and merciful king. The contem- 
porary chronicler records his verdict with touching brevity 
I in these words : ' A clement and generous sovereign, full 
I of excellent qualities.' 


After Mubarak's death Prince Muhammad, a grand- 
son of Khizr Khan, came to the throne. He found it 
difficult to cope with the forces of disorder and rebellion. 
Ibrahim Shah of Jaunpur seized several parganas belonging 
to Delhi, and the Rai of Gwalior along with several other 
Hindu chiefs ceased to pay tribute. Mahmud Khilji of 
Malwa advanced as far as the capital, but he soon 
retired after concluding a peace with Muhammad Shah, 
for his capital Mandu was threatened by Ahmad Shah 
of Gujarat. Bahlol Khan Lodi, the governor of Lahore 
and Sarhind, who had come to the rescue of Muham- 
mad Shah, pursued the retreating Malwa army, and seized 
its baggage and effects. He was given the title of 
Khani-Khanan, and the Sultan signified his affection 
towards him by addressing him as his son. But Bahlol's 
loyalty was short-lived. When Alauddin Alam Shah 
came to the throne in 1445, the prestige of the govern- 
ment declined further owing to his negligence and in- 
competence. Bahlol slowly gathered strength, and deriv- 
ed full advantage from the weakness of the central 
power. In 1447 the Sultan betook himself to Badaon, 
which he made his permanent residence in the teeth 
of the opposition of the entire court and the minister. He 
committed a serious blunder in attempting to kill his 
Wazir, Hamid Khan, who thereupon invited Bahlol to 
come to the capital and assume sovereignty. With a 
traitorous party at the capital itself, it was not difficult 
for Bahlol to realise his old dream, and by a successful 
coup d'etat he seized Delhi. Alauddin Alam Shah volun- 
tarily left to him the whole kingdom except his 
favourite district of Badaon. Bahlol removed the name 
of Alam Shah from the Khutba and publicly proclaimed 


himself ruler of Delhi. 1 The imbecile Alauddin retired to 
Badaon where he died in 1478. 

Having obtained the throne, Bahlol proceeded with 
studied caution and feigned humility to secure Hamid's 
Bahlol con- confidence. At first he treated him with great 
soiidates his respect but soon grew jealous of his power 
power and influence. In order to remove him from 

his path Bahlol had him arrested and thrown into prison. 

Though Bahlol's name was proclaimed in the Khutba, 
there were many malcontents who did not recognise his 
title to the throne. When the Sultan left for Sarhind to 
organise the North- West Provinces, they invited Mahmud 
Shah Sharqi to advance upon the capital. Mahmud 
marched at the head of a large army and laid siege to 
Delhi. On hearing of this disaster, Bahlol at once turned 
back and Mahmud withdrew to Jaunpur. 

1 It is written in the Tarikh-i-Ibrahim Shahi and the Tarikh-i- 
Nizami that Malik Bahlol was a nephew of Sultan Shah Lodi who 
was appointed governor of Sarhind after the death of Mallu Iqbal 
with the title of Islam Khan. His brothers, among whom was Malik 
Kali, the father of Bahlol, also shared his prosperity. Malik Sultan, 
impressed by the talents of Bahlol, appointed him his successor, and 
after his death Bahlol became governor of Sarhind. Firishta writes 
that Islam Khan married his daughter to Bahlol, and notwithstanding 
the existence of his own sons he nominated Bahlol as his heir, because 
he was by far the ablest of all. But Qutb Khan, the son of Islam 
Khan, dissatisfied with this arrangement went to Delhi and complained 
against Bahlol to the Sultan. Hasan Khan was sent against Bahlol 
at the head of a considerable force, but he was worsted in battle. 

An interesting anecdote is related of Bahlol, that one day when 
lie was in the service of his uncle, he went to Zamana where he paid 
i, visit to Saiyyad Ay en, a famous darvesh, with his friends. The 
larvesh eaid : ' Is there any one who wishes to obtain from me the 
empire of Delhi for two thousand tankas ?' Bahlol instantly pre- 
lented the sum to the holy man who accepted it with the words : * Be 
he empire of Delhi blessed by thee.' The prophecy of the darvesh 
uckily proved true. 

Dora, Makhzan-i-Afghana, p. 43. 

The Tarikh-i-Daudi has 1,300 tonkas instead of 2,000. 

Allahabad University MB., p. 8. 


This victory over the Sharqi king made a profound 
Impression upon friends and foes alike. At home, it 
strengthened his position and silenced the 
malicious detractors of the new dynasty ; 
abroad, it frightened into submission several 
provincial fief-holders and chieftains who had enjoyed vary- 
ing degrees of local autonomy. The Sultan proceeded 
towards Mewat, and received the willing homage of Ahmad 
Khan whom he deprived of seven parganas. The governor 
of Sambhal, who had taken part in the late war against 
the Sultan, was treated indulgently in spite of treason, 
and the only penalty inflicted upon him was the loss of 
seven parganas. At Kol Isa Khan was allowed to keep his 
possessions intact, and similar treatment was accorded to 
Mubarak Khan, the governor of Sakit, and Raja Pratap Singh 
who was confirmed in his possession of the districts of 
Mainpuri and Bhogaon. Etawah, Chandwar, and other 
districts of the Doab, which had caused so much trouble 
during the late regime, were also settled and made to 
acknowledge the authority of Delhi. 

The rebellious governors of the Doab were subdued but 
Bahlol was not yet free from danger. His most formidable 
enemy was the King of Jaunpur. At the in- 
stigation of his wife Mahmud Shah Sharqi 
made another attempt to seize Delhi, but 
peace was made through the mediation of certain nobles, 
and the status quo was restored. 

But the terms of the treaty were soon violated, and war 
with Jaunpur h^iame .a serious affair when Husain Shah 
succeeded to the(^ttarqinihr^e. Husain was a ruler of great 
ability and courage ; he was led by his courtiers to think that 
Bahlol was a usurper and a plebeian by birth, and that he 


himself had a valid title to the throne. He crossed the- 
Jamna, but after some petty skirmishes in which the 
Jaunpur forces had the advantage, a truce was concluded, 
and the river Ganges was fixed as the boundary between 
the two kingdoms. Husain retreated to Jaunpur leaving 
his camp and baggage behind. 

Bahlol soon broke the treaty and attacked the Jaunpur 
army on its return march. He seized Husain's baggage and 
captured his wife Malika Jahan. The Sultan treated his 
exalted captive with every mark of respect, and escorted her 
back with his Khwa ja Sara to Jaunpur. War broke out again, 
and Husain was defeated in a battle near the Ealinadi by the 
Delhi forces. Bahlol marched to Jaunpur and obtained pos- 
session of it. Husain made another attempt to recover his- 
kingdom, but he was defeated and expelled from Jaunpur. 
As the Sultan had little faith in the loyalty of the Afghan, 
barons, he made over Jaunpur to his son Barbak Shah. 

The conquest of Jaunpur considerably strengthened the 
hands of Bahlol, and he marched against the chiefs of Kalpi, 
Dholpur, Bari, and Alapur, who offered their submission. l 
An expedition was sent to chastise the rebellious chief of 
Gwalior, who was subdued and made to pay tribute. On his- 
return from the expedition, the Sultan was attacked by 
fever, and after a short illness died in 1488. 

As the founder of a new dynasty and the restorer of 

the waning prestige of the Delhi monarchy, Bahlol deserves 

a high place in history. In personal charac- 

whtevement. 8 ter ^ e was * ar su P er i r to h'is immediate 
predecessors ; brave, generous, humane, and, 

1 Kalpi is a city in the Jalaun district in the United Provinces of 
Agra and Oudh. Dholpur is a state between Agra and Gwalior. Bari is 
& town in the Dholpur State 19 miles west of Dholpur. Alapur is in the* 
Gwalior State near Morena. 


honest, he waa devoted to his religion, and followed the 
letter of the law with the strictest fidelity. He waft 
singularly free from ostentation ; he never sat upon the 
throne, bedecked with jewels and diamonds in gorgeous 
robes like other mediaeval rulers, and used to say that 
it was enough for him that the world knew him to- 
be a king without any display of royal splendour on 
his part. He was kind to the poor, and no beggar ever turned 
away disappointed from his gate. Though not a man of 
learning himself, he valued the society of learned men, and 
extended his patronage to them. His love of justice was 
so great that he 'used to hear personally the petitions of his 
subjects and grant redress. He kept no private treasure, 
and ungrudgingly distributed the spoils of war among his- 
troops. The author of the Tarikh-i-Daudi describes the 
character of Bahlol in these words : 

1 ' In his social meetings he never sat on a throne,, 
and would not allow his nobles to stand ; and even 
during public audiences he did not occupy the throne, 
but seated himself upon a carpet. Whenever he 
wrote a firman to his nobles, he addressed them aa 
Masnad Ali ; and if at any time they were displeased 
with him, he tried so hard to pacify them that he 
would himself go to their houses, ungird his sword 
from his waist, and place it before the offended 
party ; nay, he would sometimes even take off his 
turban from his head and solicit forgiveness, saying : 
'If you think me unworthy of the station I occupy,* 
choose some one else, and bestow on me some other} 
office.' He maintained a brotherly intercourse with 
all his chiefs and soldiers. If any one was ill, he 
would himself go and attend on him." 


After Bahlol's death, his son Nizam Khan was elevated to 

the throne under the title of Sikandar Shah by the Amirs 

and nobles, though not without a dissentient 

8 i k a ndar's vote While the question of succession was 

accession to ^ 

the throne. being mooted by the principal nobles and offi- 
cers of state, the name of Barbak Shah was 
suggested, but as he was far away, the proposal was 
rejected, and after some heated discussion among the 
nobles, the choice fell upon Nizam Khan mainly through 
the help of Khan-i-Jahan and Khan-i-Khanan Farmuli. 

Sikandar addressed himself to the task of organising 
the government with great energy and vigour. The first 
to feel the force of his arms was his brother 
Barbak Shah who had assumed the title of 
king. He was defeated and taken prisoner, 
and the country was entrusted to the Afghan nobles. 

The Zamindars of Jaunpur sent word to Husain Sharqi 
to make once more a bold bid for his ancestral dominions. 
At the head of a large army he marched to the field of 
battle, but he was defeated near Benares, and his army was 
put to flight. Husain Shah fled towards Lakhnauti where 
he passed the remainder of his life in obscurity. With his 
defeat, the independent Kingdom of Jaunpur ceased to exist. 
The whole country was easily subdued, and the Sultan 
appointed his own officers to carry on the government. 

Sikandar next turned his attention to the Afghan chiefs 
who held large jagirs. The accounts of some of the leading 
Afghan officers were inspected by the Sultan, 
the and there were startling disclosures. This 
policy greatly offended them, because they 
looked upon audit and inspection as an encroachment upon 
their privileges. The king's attempts to suppress them with 


a high hand led them to form a conspiracy against him, and 
having finished their nefarious plans, they induced Prince 
Fatah Khan, the king's brother, to join them. But the 
prince, realising the dangerous consequences of his 
conduct, divulged the whole plot to the Sultan who inflicted 
severe punishments on the wrong-doers. 

Experience had impressed upon the Sultan the necessity 
of making the place where the city of Agra now stands the 
headquarters of the army, so that he might 
be able to exercise more effective control over 
the fief-holders of Etawah, Biyana, Kol, 
Gwalior, and Dholpur. With this object in view, he laid the 
foundations of a new town on the site where the modern 
city of Agra stands in 1504 A.D. A splendid town gradually 
rose upon the chosen spot, and afterwards the Sultan also 
took up his residence there. 

Next year (911 A.H.=1505 A.D.) a violent earth- 
quake occurred at Agra, which shook the earth to its founda- 
tions, and levelled many beautiful buildings 
and houses to the ground. The chronicler of 
the reign writes that, 'it was in fact sa 
terrible, that mountains were overturned, and all lofty 
edifices dashed to the ground : the living thought, the day of 
judgment was come ; and the dead, the day of resurrection/ 
No such earthquake had occurred before, and the loss of 
life was appallingly heavy. 

The remaining years of Sikandar's life were spent in 

suppressing Rajput revolts and the attempts of provincial 

governors to establish independent kingdoms 

of their own * Dholpur ' Gwalior, and Narwar 
were subdued, and their chiefs were com- 
pelled to pay homage to the Sultan. The prince of 


banderi also submitted, and though allowed to retain 
nominal possession of the city, the administration was en* 
trusted to the leading Afghan officers. 

The last expedition was undertaken by the Sultan to 
secure the fortress of Ranthambhor which was entrusted 
to a nobleman who held it as a vassal of Delhi. The prince 
of Gwalior rebelled again. The Sultan put his forces in 
order, but in the midst of these preparations he fell ill and 
died on December 1, 1517 A.D., and was succeeded by his 
son Ibrahim Lodi. 

Sikandar was the ablest ruler of the Lodi dynasty. He 
kept the Afghan barons in check and strictly enforced his 
orders. He ordered an examination of the 
tiot dmini8tra " accounts of Afghan governors and fief-holders, 
and punished those who were found guilty 
of embezzlement. The provincial governors feared him 
and loyally carried out his orders. The Sultan took special 
care to protect the interests of the poor. He abolished 
the corn duties and took steps to encourage agriculture. 
The roads were cleared of robbers, and the Zamindars 
who had been notorious for their lawless habits were 
sternly put down. The author of the Tarikh-i-Daudi 
writes of Sikandar's administration : 

" The Sultan daily received an account of the prices 
of all things and an account of what had happened 
in the different districts of the empire. If he perceived 
the slightest appearance of anything wrong, he caused 
instant inquiries to be made about it. . . In his reign, 
business was carried on in a peaceful, honest, straightfor- 
ward way. The study of belles lettrea was not neglected. 
... Factory establishments were so encouraged that 
. ^11 the young nobles and soldiers were engaged in useful 


works. ... All the nobles and soldiers of Sikandar were 
satisfied : each of his chiefs was appointed to the 
government of a district, and it was his especial desire 
to gain the goodwill and affections of the body of the 
people. For the sake of his officers and troops he put 
an end to war and dispute with the other monarchs and 
nobles of the period, and closed the road to contention 
and strife. He contented himself with the territory 
bequeathed him by his father, and passed the whole 
of his life in this greatest safety and enjoyment, and 
gained the hearts of high and low." 

Sikandar was a man of handsome appearance, fond of 

base, and well-versed in the accomplishments suited to men 

^ of his rank. He was intensely religious, and 

kkandar. fcer f allowed himself to be guided and dominated 

by the ulama in every detail of government. 

He persecuted the Hindus and desired to banish 'idolatry 

from the land. So great was his zeal for the faith, that he 

once ordered the temples of Mathura to be destroyed, and 

sarais and mosques to be built in their stead. The Hindus 

were not allowed to bathe at the ghats on the bank of the 

Jamna, and an order was passed prohibiting barbers from. 

shaving the headland boards olthe Hindus in accordance 

with their religious customs. 

The Sultan loved justice. He listened to the complaints 
of the poor himself and tried to redress them. He kept 
himself informed of everything that happened in his empire. 
The market was properly controlled, and all cases of fraud 
or deceit were reported to the Sultan. 

The Sultan was well-known for his sobriety and wisdom, 
He never allowed men of dissolute character to come near 
Aim. Himself a man, of literary tastes, he extended his 


patronage to learned men, and often invited them to his- 
palace to listen to their discourses. 

During his lifetime Sikandar maintained order by his- 
firm policy and held the turbulent barons in check, but 
after his death when the crown passed to a man, who was- 
inferior to him in ability and character, the forces which 
he had controlled broke loose, and undermined the founda- 
tions of the empire. 

The character of the Afghan government changed under 
Ibrahim. He was a man of headstrong and irritable temper, 
who by his insolence and hauteur alienated 
sympathies O f t he Afghan nobles. The 

Afghan gov- Afghans looked upon their king as a comrade 
emmen . s ^ master, and willingly accorded to 

him the honours of a feudal superior. Men of the Lohanu 
Farmuli, and Lodi tribes held important offices in the state. 
They had always been turbulent and factious ; and their 
position and influence had enabled them to form conspiracies 
against the crown. Their loyalty to their king fluctuated 
according to the strength or weakness of the latter. Sikan- 
dar had kept them under firm control, 'and severely punished 
them when they flouted his authority. But when Ibrahim 
attempted to put down their individualistic tendencies with 
a high hand, in order to make his government strong and effi- 
cient, they protested and offered resistance. As Erskine ob- 
serves, the principal fief-holders looked upon their jagirs 'as 
their own of right, and purchased by their swords rather 
than as due to any bounty or liberality on the part of the 
sovereign.' Ibrahim was confronted with a difficult situation. 
The territory of the empire had increased in extent ; the 
feudal aristocracy had become ungovernable ; and the ele- 
ments of discontent, which had accumulated for years silently 


beneath the surface, began to assert themselves. The Hindus, 
dissatisfied with Sikandar's policy of religious persecution, 
heartily hated the alien government which offended against 
theirmost cherished prejudices. The problem before Ibrahim 
was somewhat similar to that which confronted the Tudors 
in England towards the close of the fifteenth century. But he 
lacked that tact, foresight, and strength of will which en- 
abled Henry VII to put down with a high hand the overween- 
ing feudal aristocracy, which tended to encroach upon the 
royal domain. His drastic measures provoked the resentment 
of the half-loyal nobility and paved the way for the disruption 
of the Afghan empire. But Ibrahim is not wholly to blame. 
The break-up of the empire was bound to come sooner or later, 
for even if Ibrahim had kept the nobles attached to himself, 
they would have tried to set up small principalities for them- 
selves, and reduced him to the position of a titular king, a 
mere figurehead in the midst of warring factions and cliques. 
Though Ibrahim was jealous of the influence of the 
barons and tried to crush them with a high hand, he never 
neglected the interests of the people. During 

prices? ne88 f his rei n the cr P s were abundant, and the 
prices of all articles of ordinary use were 
incredibly low. The Sultan took grain in payment of rent, 
and all the fief-holders and nobles were asked to accept 
payments in kind. No scarcity of grain was ever felt, and 
the author of the Tarikh-i-Daudi writes that a respectable 
man's services could be obtained for five tankGs a month, 
and a man could travel from Delhi to Agra on one Bahloli 
which was sufficient to maintain himself, his horse and his 
small escort during the journey. 

As has been said above, Ibrahim had by his indiscrimi- 
nate severity talienated the sympathies of the Lodi Amirs, 

P. 16 


who conspired soon after his accession to place his brother 
Prince Jalal upon the throne of Jaunpur. In 
Jaiai's pursuance O f th j s p i an t h e prince marched 

from Kalpi and assumed charge of the govern- 
ment of Jaunpur. But this arrangement was highly disap- 
proved by Khan-i-Jahan Lodi, one of the most high-minded 
Amirs of Sikandar. He sharply reprimanded the nobles for 
their impolitic conduct, and pointed out the dangers of a 
dual sovereignty to the empire. The Afghan nobles ac- 
knowledged their mistake, and tried to persuade Prince 
Jalal to withdraw from Jaunpur, but he refused to do so. 
Negotiations having failed, Ibrahim issued a farman in 
which he ordered the Amirs not to pay any heed to Jalal's 
authority and threatened them with severe punishments, if 
they failed to comply with the royal mandate. The more 
influential among the Amirs were conciliated by gifts and 
presents, and were detached from Prince Jalal. Deprived of 
this support, he allied himself with the Zamindars, and with 
their help improved the condition of his army Ibrahim 
confined all his brothers in the fort of Hansi, and himself 
inarched against Jalal, whose strength was considerably 
diminished by the desertion of Azam Humayun, his 
principal supporter. Kalpi was besieged ; the contest was 
carried on with great vigour for some time, and the fort was 
dismantled. Jalal fled towards Agra where the governor 
opened negotiations with him, and offered him the undis- 
turbed possession of Kalpi, if he waived all claims to 
sovereignty. When Ibrahim came to know of this treaty 
which was concluded without his consent, he disapproved 
of it, and issued orders for the assassination of the 
rebellious prince. Jalal fled to the Raja of Gwalior for 


Having set the affairs of the capital in order, Ibrahim 
sent his forces to reduce the fort of Gwalior. Jalal fled 
towards Malwa but he was captured by the Zamindars of 
Gondwana, who sent him in chains to Ibrahim. The Prince 
was conveyed to Hansi, but on his way to that abode of 
misery he was assassinated by the Sultan's orders. 

The Sultan dismissed Azam Humayun from command 
and deprived his son Islam Khan of the governorship of 
Kara Manikpur. His disgrace alarmed the 
Huma- other nobles who Joined his banner and 

run. incited him to raise the standard of rebellion. 

So great was the discontent caused by Ibra- 
him's policy that in a short time the rebels collected a large 
army which consisted of 40,000 cavalry, 500 elephants and a 
large body of infantry, while the royal forces numbered 
only 50,000. A desperate fight raged between the royalists 
and the rebels of which a graphic account is given by the 
author of the Makhzan-i-Afghana. 

" Dead bodies, heap upon heap, covered the field ; and 
the number of heads lying upon the ground is beyond the 
reach of recollection. Streams of blood ran over the plain ; 
and whenever for a length of time, a fierce battle took place 
in Hindustan, the old men always observed that with this 
battle no other one was comparable ; brothers fighting 
against brothers, fathers against sons, inflamed by mutual 
shame and innate bravery : bows and arrows were laid aside, 
and the carnage carried on with daggers, swords, knives 
.and javelins. " At last, Islam Khan lay dead on the field 
x>f battle ; Said Khan was captured, and the rebels were 
-defeated with heavy losses. 

Ibrahim now tried to destroy the feudal chieftains in 
his empire in order to strengthen his position, but the 


attempt recoiled on himself and led to his ruin. The cruel 
treatment he meted out to them has already 

Ibrahim and fa^ mentioned. The veteran Mian Bhua had 
barons. * & * fallen a victim to his wrath, and Azam Huma- 
yun had been treacherously assassinated in 
prison. Even the greatest barons trembled for their safety, 
and Dariya Khan, Khan-i-Jahan Lodi, and Husain Khan Far- 
muli, fearing lest a similar fate should overtake them, broke 
out into open rebellion. Husain Khan Farmuli was assassinat- 
ed in his bed by some holy men of Chanderi, and his tragic 
death made the Afghan nobles bitterly hostile to the Sultan 
and convinced them of his perfidious designs. Dariya Khan's 
son, Bahadur Khan, assumed the title of Muhammad Shah, 
struck coins in his name, and collected a large force with 
which he successfully resisted the attempts of the Sultan to 
crush him. The baronial discontent reached its climax when 
Ibrahim cruelly treated the son of Daulat Khan Lodi. The 
latter was summoned to the court, but he excused himself on 
the ground that he would come later with the treasure of 
the state, and sent his son Dilawar Khan to avert the wrath 
of the Sultan. He was taken to the prison where he was 
shown the victims of royal caprice, suspended from the walls. 
To the young Afghan who trembled with fear at this awful 
spectacle, the Sultan observed : "Have you seen the condition 
of those who have disobeyed me ? " Dilawar Khan, who under- 
stood the warning these ominous words conveyed, bowed 
his head in profound submission, and quietly escaped to his 
father to whom he communicated all that he had seen at 
the capital. Alarmed for his safety, Daulat Khan addressed 
through his son Dilawar Khan an invitation to Babar, the 
ruler of Kabul, to invade Hindustan. The story of Babar's- 
conquest of Hindustan will be related in another chapter*. 


Muslim state in India, as elsewhere, was a theo- 
jra'cv. The king was Caesar and Popejcombined in_ one, but 

his authority in religious matters was strictly 
sta b te. I9lami limited by the Holy Law. " He is the shadow 

of God upon earth to whose refuge we are to 
fly when oppressed by injury from the unforeseen occurH 
rence of life." But he is merely to carry out God's will, and; 
the civil law which he administers is to be subordinated to 
the canon law. In such a state, naturally, the priestly class 
will have a powerful voice. The Muslim kings of Hindus- 
tan were sovereign in their own person ; they struck coins 
and caused the Khutba to be read in their names, though 
some of them invoked the Khalifa's aid to cement their 
title as was done by Iltutmish, Muhammad Tughluq, and 
Firuz Tughluq. The state rested upon the support of the 
military class which consisted exclusively of the followers 
of the faith. Their fanaticism was stirred up by the Ulama 
who impressed upon them the duty of fighting under the 
sacred banner by telling them, that death on the field of 
battle will be rewarded with the honours of martyrdom. 
Apart from the love of adventure and the hope of material 
advantage, the prospect of posthumous canonisation in case 
they died in battle led many an ardent spirit to risk his life 
in the cause. The Ulama naturally came to possess enor- 
mous influence in such a state. The extirpation of idolatry. 
the extinction of every form of dissent from the accepted 
dogma, the conversion of the infidel population these came 
to be looked upon as the functions of an ideal Muslim state. ' 



Most of the Muslim rulers attempted to conform to 
ideal of the orthodox canonists according to their lights 
and opportunities. Those who tried to meet their wishes 
were praised lavishly by historians who were mostly mem- 
bers of the class of Ulama. But among the earlier kings 
in India Alauddin struck a new line. Like Akbar after 
him, he was opposed to the interference of the Ulama in 
matters of state. His political theory is clearly set forth 
in the words which he addressed to Qazi Mughis, whom he 
consulted about the legal position of the sovereign in the 
state. Fully aware of the evils of a church-ridden 
monarchy, he enunciated a new doctrine of sovereignty 
'and claimed to be " God's vicar in things temporal, as is 
(the priest in things spiritual." The people acquiesced in 
this doctrine, merely because the political situation of the 
time needed a strong man at the helm of the state, who 
would repel the Mongol attacks and keep order at home. 
Muhammad Tughluq's rationalism on which Barani pours 
his cold scorn brought about a war between him and the 
Ulama with the result that the latter conspired against 
him and th^rted a ll his plans. Under his weak successor 
they easily gained the upper hand, and persuaded him to 
adjust the institutions of the state in accordance with the 
principles laid down in the Quran. The taxes were reduced 
to the number prescribed in the Law ; and the official 
agency was freely used to put down heresy and infidelity. 
After the period of anarchy which followed the death of 
Firuz, when the empire regained a settled form, the E/Zawa, 
recovered their ascendancy ; and under Sikandar Lodi a cam- 
paign of bitter persecution was revived against the Hindus. 
On the whole, during this period the Ulama continued to 
exercise much influence on political affairs. Indeed, it 


required an extraordinary strength of will to discard their 
advice and follow a line of action in opposition to the tradi- 
tions and dogmas of the orthodox church. That the influ- 
ence of the priestly order was injurious to the interests of 
the state cannot be denied. 

The state imposed great disabilities upon the non- 
Muslims. Forcible conversions were ordered, but they were 
neither frequent nor systematic owing to the pressure of 
war and the recurrence of Mongol raids, which often com- 
pelled the suspension of all other activities of the adminis- 
tration. The non-Muslims, technically called the Zimmis, 
had to pay a poll-tax called the Jezi,ya for the protection of 
their lives and property. It was a sort of commutation money 
which they had to pay in lieu of military service. Humility 
and submissiveness are mentioned as their duties in the 
sacred law. The Quran says, ' Let there be no compulsion in 
religion. Wilt thou compel men to become believers ? No soul 
can believe, but by the persuasion of God.' 

It may be conceded at once that the Prophet for- 
bade conversion by force and enjoined preaching and 
persuasion as the sole method of propagating the faith, 
but his commands were not carried out by his zealous 

1 According to the Hanafi doctors Jeziya is paid by the Zimmis as 
a compensation for being spared from death. By the payment of the 
Jeziya the non-Muslims purchase their lives and escape death. Agh- 
nides, Muhammadan Theories of Finance, LXX, pp. 398, 407. This 
may not _be accepted on all bands. The correct view seems to be that 
the Jeziya was a military tax levied upon the Zimmis. 

The capitation-tax which is levied by a Muslim ruler upon subjects 
who are of a different faith* but claim protection (aman) is founded 
upon a direct injunction of the Quran : 

" Make war upon such of those to whom the scriptures have been: 

given as believe not in God or in the last day, and forbid not that which 

God and his apostles have forbidden, and who profess not the profession 

of truth, until they pay tribute out of their hand and they be humbled."" 

Hughes, Dictionary of Islam, p. 248. 


followers. Instances are not rare in which the non-Muslims 
were treated with great severity. They were not allowed 
to enlist in the army even if they wished to do so. The 
practice of their religious rites even with the slightest 
publicity was not allowed, and cases are on record of men 
who lost their lives for doing so. Some of these kings were 
so bigoted that they did not allow any new temple to be 
built or an old one to be repaired. There were others like 
Sikandar Lodi who were so intolerant of idolatry as to order 
a wholesale demolition of temples. Toleration under Muslim 
domination in India in the early middle ages was not the 
rule but the exception. A liberal-minded ruler like Muham- 
mad Tughluq would be traduced and condemned by the 
Ulama and charged with bartering away the honour of 
Islam. What the orthodox party wanted was conformity 
to their interpretation of the law, no matter what the 
consequences might be. 

The Islamic state fostered luxury among the members of 
the ruling class. The highest offices in the state were held 

by Muslims, and elevation to positions of 
n the honour was generally determined by royal 

will and not by merit. The easy acquisition 
of wealth and the participation in the festivities of the court 
led to great vices, and the Muslims towards the close of the 
fourteenth century lost their old vigour and manliness. The 
early Muslim Twho served Iltutm.ish, Balban, and Alauddin 
were soldier-martyrs who cheerfully braved risks for the 
glory of Islam, but their descendants who had no induce- 
ment to work degenerated into mediocres, who had neither 
the ability nor the enthusiasm of their ancestors. The 
partiality of the state towards them destroyed their spirit of 
independence, and the large Khanqahs or charity establish- 


merits reduced them to the position of the hangers-on of the 
state, utterly devoid of self-respect, energy, or initiative. As 
the Muslims were few in number, they escaped the rough 
toil which was the inevitable lot of the average non- 
Muslim husbandman. They held land and paid only one- 
tenth as tax (ashr) to the state, and could thus enjoy a 
degree of affluence to which non-Muslims in the empire 
could never aspire. The effects of Muslim domination upon 
the Hindus were of a different kind. They fretted and 
chafed against the disabilities imposed upon them. They 
were overtaxed, and Zia Barani writes that Alauddin took 
from the Hindus of the Doab 50 per cent of their produce. 
They had no inducement to accumulate wealth, and the 
bulk of them led a life of poverty, want, and struggle, earn- 
ing just sufficient to maintain themselves and their family. 
The standard of living among the subject classes was low, 
and the incidence of taxation fell mainly upon them. They 
were excluded from high offices, and in such circumstances 
of distrust and humiliation, the Hindus never got an oppor- 
tunity of developing their political genius to its fullest extent 
The Muslims were the favoured children of the state. 
As everything depended upon the valour and strength of 
* the faithful, the state accorded to them a pre- 

tion Cial C ndi " ferential treatment. From time to time con- 
cessions had to be made to their religious 
demands by the state, and their interests had to be consult- 
ed before all others. Social distinctions prevailed among 
the Muslims, and some of t^g kings <npv*r appoint^ any bvifr 
men of noble birth to high offices. Balban, who was highly 
punctilious in observing the etiquette of the court never 
encouraged upstarts, and on one occasion refused a large gift 
fipm a man of low origin who had amassed a large fortune 



by means of usury and monopolies. Wine-drinking and*, 
gambling seem to have been the common vices in the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Balban issued an edict 
prohibiting the use of liquor, "and the example of his son, 
Muhammad, who drank wine with moderation and never- 
encouraged any kind of foolish talk in his presence, had a 
salutary effect upon the manners and morals of the society 
which gathered round him at Lahore. Alauddin also adopt- 
ed drastic measures to combat the evil of drink, and for- 
bade gambling and all kinds of social intercourse among the 
nobles. As long as he lived, he strictly enforced his rules, 
but after his death the usual laxity prevailed. A small 
band of the old Alai nobles wondered at the depravity of 
Qutb-ud-din Mubarak's court ; and Barani writes that the 
price of a boy, or handsome eunuch, or beautiful girl varied 
from 500 to 1,000 and 2,000 tanJcas. But the social tastes 
improved considerably under Tughluq Shah and his illustri- 
ous son Muhammad Tughluq, both of whom were free from 
the grosser vices of the age. The character of the state did 
not wholly deteriorate even under Firuz Tughluq, though its- 
military vigour declined and, barring a few exceptions, me- 
diocrity took the place of genius in all departments of the ad- 
ministration. The pomp and magnificence of the state was 
fully maintained, and Afif tells us that on every Friday after 
public service musicians, athletes, story-tellers, numbering 
about two or three thousand used to assemble in the palace- 
and entertain the populace with their performances. Slav- 
ery was common, and slaves of ability like Khan-i-Jahan 
MaqbQl could rise to the highest position in the state. As ] 
wealth increased in Muslim society, the hold of religion 
became somewhat weaker, and superstition and ignorance 
began to gain ground. Firuz in his Fatuhat-i-Firuz Shahi 


speaks of a number of heretical sects which he suppressed 
with a high hand, and whose leaders he caused to be im- 
prisoned, or put to death. The liberty of women was re- 
stricted ; they were not allowed to go to visit the tombs oi 
holy men outside the city, and Firuz showed his intolerance 
by prescribing drastic penalties against those women who 
disobeyed his edict. 

The Hindus had becomejieggiigEate with the loss of poli- 
tical power. They were looked upon as the worst enemies 
of thejilien government that had been set up in their midst. 
With rare exceptions, they were invariably excluded from 
high offices, and toleration was granted to them only on con- 
dition of paying the Jeziya. During the reign of Alauddin 
the Hindus of the Doab were treated with severity, and the 
khuts, balahars, chowdhris and muqaddams were reduced 
to a state of abject misery. Qazi Mughis-ud-dinfo opinion 
about the position of the Hindus in a Muslim state, which 
has been explained in a previous chapter, was the view of 
the average mediaeval canonist and was acted upon by 
Muslim rulers in normal circumstances. Barani writes that 
no Hindu could hold up his head ; and in their houses no 
sign of gold or silver tankas or jitals was to be seen ; and 
chowdharis and khuts had not means enough to ride on 
horseback, to find weapons, to get fine clothes, or to 
indulge in betel. So great was the destitution of these people 
writes the same authority, that their wives went to serve 
in the houses of the Muslims. The state encouraged con- 
versions, and in describing the reign of Qutb-ud-din Mubarak 
Shah Ibn BatutS writes, that when a Hindu wished to be- 
come a Muslim, he was brought before the Sultan who gave 
him rich robes and bangles of gold. The orthodox party had 
such a great aversion for the Hindus that Barani on seeing. 


their slightly improved condition under Qutb-ud-din Mubarak 
Shah, which was due partly to the relaxation of the rules 
of Alauddin and partly to the pro-Hindu policy of Khusrau, 
laments that the " Hindus again found pleasure and happi- 
ness and were beside themselves with joy." There was no 
active persecution under the first two Tughluqs, but Firuz 
reversed the policy of his predecessors. He crowned his 
policy of bigotry by levying the Jeziya upon the Brahmans, 
who had hitherto been exempt. When the Brahmans re- 
monstrated against this step, the Sultan reduced the scale 
of assessment but retained the tax. The Hindus profited 
much by the disorders that followed the death of Firuz, but 
when the Lodis established their power, they were again 
persecuted by Sikandar, and although there was no econo- 
mic distress, they had to live like helots_within the empire. 
Ibn Batuta has given us an interesting picture of India 
in the fourteenth century, and from his narrative we learn a 
great deal about the social customs and manners of the 
time. The learned class had lost its prestige, and Mu- 
hammad Tughluq, who was terribly stern in administering 
justice, freely punished Shaikhs and Maulvis for their mis- 
conduct. Slavery was common, but the state encouraged 
the practice of manumission. ! To keep slave girls was a 
recognised fashion of the time, and Badr-i-Chach, the famous 
poet, had to offer on one occasion 900 dinars for a beautiful 
and accomplished girl. The traveller praises the hospitality 
of the Hindus, and observes that caste rules were strictly 
observed. The Hindus were treated as inferior to the Mus- 
lims. When a Hindu came to offer his presents to the Sul- 
tan in the Durbar, the Hajibs shouted out 'Hadnk AllahS 

1 Ibn BatUta, III, p. 236. 


or may God bring you to the right path. Moral offences 
were severely punished, and even members of the royal 
family were dealt with like ordinary men. Prince Masud's 
mother was stoned to death in accordance with the law for 
committing adultery. The use of wine was interdicted, 
and the author of the Masalik-al-absar writes that the in- 
habitants of India have little taste for wine and content 
themselves with betel leaves. l The same authority says, the- 
people love to hoard money, and whenever a man is asked 
about the extent of his property, he replies : " I do not 
know, but I am the second or third of my family who has 
laboured to increase the treasure which an ancestor deposit- 
ed in a certain cavern, or in certain holes, and I do not know 
how much it amounts to." 2 Men buried their wealth, as 
they do even now, and accepted nothing but coined money 
in their daily transactions. Ibn Batuta has given an interest- 
ing account of the law of debt as it prevailed in the four- 
teenth century, and he is supported by Marco Polo who- 
visited India before him. The creditors resorted to the court 
to seek the king's protection in order to recovertheir money. 
When a big Amir was in debt, the creditor blocked his way 
to the royal palace and shouted in order to implore the 
Sultan's help. The debtor in this awkward situation either 
paid or made a promise to pay at some future date. Some- 
times the Sultan himself interfered and enforced payments. 3 
Thejpractice of Sati and self-destruction was in vogue, but 

l Masalik, Elliot, III, p. 581. 
a Masahk, Elliot, III, p. 584. 
Moreland, India at the Death of Akbar, p. 284. 

He says, the accumulation of large hoards was essentially a 
feature of Hindu civilisation. 

8 Ibn Batuta, III, p.4 11. 
Yule, Marco Polo, II, pp. 279-80. 


no woman could become a Sati without obtaining the king's 
permission. 1 Riding on ass was looked upon with con- 
tempt as it is today, and a man was flogged and paraded on 
an ass when he was punished for some offence proved 
against him. a Men believed in witchcraft, magic, and 
miracles as they did in mediaaval Europe, and the per- 
formances of the Hindu ascetics called Jogis by'/Ibn BatutS 
were witnessed even by the Sultan. Charity was practised 
on a large scale, and men endowed large khanqahs (charity- 
houses) where food was distributed gratis to the poor. 
Though the Sultan's purity of character had a wholesome 
effect on Muslim society, it does not appear that the 
sanctity of the marriage tie was always recognised. A 
man like Ibn Batuta married more than four times in a 
most irresponsible manner and abandoned his wives one 
after another. 8 The education of women was not altogether 
neglected, and the traveller writes that when he reached 
Hanaur. he found there 13 schools for girls and 23 for 
t>oys a thing which agreeably surprised him. 

The customs and manners of the people of the Deccan 
were in many respects different from those of the 
north. The customs of self-immolation and Sati prevailed, 
^nd numerous stone obelisks are still found commemorating 
the latter practice. The Brahmans were treated with 
special respect, and the Guru was held in high esteem. 
The dues payable from Brahmans were touched and remit- 
ted. Polyandry prevailed among the Nairs of Malabar and 
excited no scandal. From Ibn Batata's account it appears 

1 Ibn Batuta, III, pp. 13789. 

Men drowned themselves in the Ganges and looked upon it as an 
act of piety. This was called Jal Samadhi. 
* Ibn BatUta, III, p. 441. 
8 Ibid., Ill, pp. 887-38. 


*that punishments were extremely severe in Malabar even 
for the most trivial offences. A man was sometimes punish- 
ed with death even for stealing a cocoanut 

During the early days of the Muslim conquest the 
inhabitants of India were robbed of their wealth by the 
Muslim invaders, and Firishta has mentioned 
condition. 1 " 1 " the vast booty which was carried off by 
Mahmud of Ghazni from this country. The 
early Muslim rulers were occupied too much with conquest. 
Balban was the first ruler who paid attention to the mainte- 
nance of internal peace and order. He cleared the neigh- 
bourhood of Kampila and,Patiali of robbers and highwaymen 
so that cultivation flourished, and merchants could take 
their goods from one place to another without much 
-difficulty. 1 Under the Khiljis the economic conditions 
radically changed. They have been mentioned in a previous 
chapter. A famine occurred in Firuz's reign, and Barani 
writes that grain in Delhi rose to a jital per sir. The 
appalling hardship caused by the scarcity of food and fodder 
was so great in the Siwalik hills, that the Hindus of that 
-country came to Delhi with their families, and twenty or 
thirty of them drowned themselves in the Jamna when 
they found life unbearable. 2 But it does not appear that 
the administration exerted itself to mitigate human suffer- 
ing. The next ruler, the greatest of the line, was a daring 
political economist and a bold tariff -legislator. His ambi- 
tion of world-conquest led him to build up an economic 
system which is one of the marvels of mediaeval statesman- 
ship. There was no scarcity of wealth in the country, and 
Alauddin's state entry into Delhi soon after his accession 

1 Elliot, III, p. 105. 
1 Barani, p. 212. 


was marked by the distribution of rich gifts among the- 
people. Five mans of gold stars were placed in a majniq 
and were discharged upon the spectators who had thronged 
in front of the royal canopy. * The revenue system was- 
thoroughly organised, and the distant provinces in the empire 
were correctly surveyed and assessed. The khuts, chowdhri* 
and muqaddams were reduced to a state of abject poverty, 
and Barani expresses great satisfaction at their miserable 
condition. The most remarkable achievement, however, 
of Alauddin was his tariff -legislation. The prices were so 
low that a soldier with one horse could live comfortably with 
234 tankas a year, i.e., less than twenty tankas per 
mensem, which will barely suffice to meet even the cost of 
a horse in these days. Grain was stored in royal granaries- 
and was sold to the people at low rates in times of scarcity. 
Ibn Batuta relates that he witnessed with his own eyes 
in Delhi rice which had been stored in the cellars of 
Alauddin. The economic system of Alauddin collapsed 
after his death, for it rested upon a complete disregard of 
the laws of political economy. The reaction began after 
his death. The bazar people rejoiced and sold their goods 
at their own price. The tariff laws fell into disuse, and 
Barani laments the disappearance of cheap prices ; but there 
was no deficiency of crops, and the state never experienced 
any financial break-down. Nasir-ud-din Khusrau squandered 
the treasures of the state in order to win adherents from 
among the nobles, and yet Muhammad Tughluq found 
sufficient money to enable him to embark upon costly ex- 
periments. Muhammad's economic measures failed disas- 
trously, but his financial position remained unshaken. The 

1 Barani, p. 245. 


failure of the token currency did not affect the stability 
of the state or destroy its credit, for the Sultan at once 
repealed his edict and permitted the people to exchange 
gold and silver coins for those of copper. For about a 
decade, famine stalked the land and reduced the people 
to a state of utter helplessness. A vigorous famine policy 
was adopted by the administration, and Barani writes that 
in two years about 70 lakhs of tankaa were advanced as 
Sondhar or Taqavi to the agriculturists. Ibn BatutS dwells 
at length upon the Sultan's famine policy and says that 
grain was supplied from the royal stores, and the faqias 
and qazis were required to make lists of needy men in 
each parish, which were submitted to the Sultan for orders. 
On another occasion when dire distress prevailed, the Qazis, 
clerks, and Amirs, went from parish to parish, and gave 
relief to the famine-stricken people at the rate of one and a 
half western ritals per day. Large khanqahs assisted the 
state in administering relief, and Ibn Batuta writes that 
hundreds of men were fed at the khanqahs of Qutb-ud-din,. 
of which he was the mutwalli, and which contained a staff 
of 460 men. The state gave liberal encouragement to 
industry. There was a state manufactory in which 400 silk 
weavers were employed, and stuff of all kinds was prepared. 
There were also 500 manufacturers of golden tissues in 
the service of the Sultan, who wove gold brocades for the 
royal household and the nobility. Trade was carried on 
with foreign countries ; and Marco Polo and Ibn Batuta 
both speak of ports which were visited by merchants from 
foreign countries. Broach and Calicut were famous centres 
of trade, and Ibn BatutS says of the latter that merchants 
from all parts of the world came there to buy 

F. 17 


The trade conditions were favourable in the thirteenth 
and fourteenth centuries. Wassaf describes Gujarat as a rich 
and populous country containing 7,000 villages and towns and 
the people rolling in wealth. The cultivation was prosperous. 
The vineyards yielded blue grapes twice a year. The soil was 
so fertile that the cotton plants spread their branches like 
willows and plane trees, and yielded crops for several years 
in succession. Marco Polo also speaks of extensive cotton 
cultivation, arid says that the cotton trees were full six paces 
high and attained to the age of twenty years. Pepper, ginger, 
and indigo were produced in large quantities. The local 
manufacturers prepared mats of red and blue leather, inlaid 
with figures of birds and beasts, and embroidered with gold 
and silver wires. Cambay is also described as a great centre 
of trade where indigo was produced in abundance. Merchants 
came with ships and cargoes, but what they chiefly brought 
into the country was gold, silver, and copper. The traveller 
writes : "the inhabitants are good and live by their trade and 
manufacture. " Mabar was full of wealth, but much of it, as 
Marco Polo says, was spent in purchasing horses which were 
very scarce in that country. Bengal is described by Ibn 
Batuta as a rich and fertile province. Prices were cheap, 
and men could live in ease and comfort with small incomes. 

From 1351 to 1388 the economic prosperity remained at 
a high level. The irrigation facilities provided by Firuz 
Tughluq gave a great stimulus to agriculture, and the 
revenue multiplied. The revenue of Delhi and its territories 
rose to six crores and 85 lakhs of tank&s, while the revenue 
of the Doab alone amounted to 85 lakhs of tankas. The 
cheapness of prices enabled officials of the state and Amirs 
to amass large fortunes. Prices were so cheap that men 
could go from one place to another with paltry amounts. 


A man going from Delhi to Firuzabad had to pay four 
silver jitals for a carriage, six for a mule, 12 for a horse, 
and half a tanka for a palanquin. Coolies were found ready 
for employment, and the contemporary chronicler writes 
that they earned a decent income. 

The age of economic distress began towards the close 
or the fourteenth century. The empire broke up into several 
independent states, and Timur's invasion in 1399 caused 
much confusion and drained the wealth of the country. 
Trade and agriculture were dislocated, and the cities that 
lay on the route of the invader were robbed of their wealth. 
The empire of Delhi lost its importance, and provincial 
kingdoms became famous for their wealth, military 
resources, and architectural activities, which have been 
described in their proper place. 

Art flourished remarkably in the early middle ages. 
The debt of Indo-Moslem art to India is a matter of contro- 
versy. There are some who hold that it is 


a variety of Islamic art, while others like 
Havel 1 maintain that it is a modified form of Hindu art. 
The truth lies midway between these two extreme views. 
There is no doubt that Islamic art was considerably 
modified by Hindu master-builders and architects, but it is 
wrong to suppose that it had no ideals of its own. By the 
time the Muslim power was established in India, the 
Muslims had acquired a fine taste for buildings and had 
developed their own notions about architecture* The condi- 
tions in which the Jndo-Moslem art grew up madte it 
necessary that there should be a fusion of tb*v two 
ideals. Hinduism recommended idolatry whiM . Islam 
forbade it; Hinduism favoured decoration and 
ness white Islam enjoined puritanical 


These different ideals, so strangely in contrast with each 
other, produced by their junction a new kind of art which 
for the sake of convenience has been called the Indo- Mos- 
lem art. Gradually as the Hindu master-builders and crafts- 
men began to express Islamic ideas in the shape of brick 
and stone, the process of amalgamation set in. Both learnt 
from each other, and though the Muslim's handling of 
ornament was not so exquisite, he derived the fullest advan- 
tage from the new ideas and materials supplied to him by 
the Indian conquest. Sir John Marshall describes with clear- 
ness the process of fusion in these words : 

" Thus, a characteristic feature of many Hindu 
temples, as well as of almost every Muslim mosque 
a feature derived from the traditional dwelling 
house of the East and as familiar in India as in other 
parts of Asia was the open court encompassed by 
chambers or colonnades, and such temples as were built 
on this plan naturally lent themselves to conversion 
into mosques and would be the first to be adopted for 
that purpose by the conquerors. Again, a fundamental- 
characteristic that supplied a common link between the 
two styles was the fact that both Islamic and Hindu art 
were inherently decorative. Ornament was as vital to 
the one as to the other ; both were dependent on it for 
their very being." 

The Arabs reared no buildings, but they 'appreciated 
Hindu culture and admired the skill of the Indian architects 
and craftsmen. Mahmud of Ghazni was so struck with the 
skill of Hindu architects that he carried to Ghazni thousands 
of masons and artisans whom he employed in building the 
famous mosque known as the 'celestial bride.' He was 


followed by other warriors of Islam like Muhammad of 
Ghor and his gallant slaves Qutb-ud-din and Iltutmish who 
accomplished the conquest of Northern India during the 
years 11931236 A.D. The principal monuments erected 
during the reigns of Qutb-ud-din and Iltutmish were the 
mosque at Ajmer, the Qutb mosque and Minar at Delhi 
and certain buildings at Badaon. Hindu craftsmen were 
employed to construct these buildings, and the influence of 
Hindu architecture is still traceable in them. The most 
striking thing in the Qutb mosque is the screen of eleven 
pointed arches of which Fergusson speaks in terms of great 
admiration. The Qutb Minar was begun by Qutb-ud-din 
who built the first storey, but it was finally completed by 
Iltutmish. It was named after the famous saint Qutb- 
ud-din who is popularly known as Qutb Shah. It is nearly 
242 feet high, and is still looked upon as a great work of 
art. The minar was struck by lightning in the time of 
Firuz Tughluq who ordered the fourth storey to be dis- 
mantled, and replaced by two smaller storeys as is shown by 
an inscription of the same king. In 1503 the upper storeys 
were again repaired by Sikandar Lodi. The adhai din ka 
jhonpara at Ajmer built by Qutb-ud-din was beautified 
by Iltutmish with a screen which still exists. The story 
that it was constructed in two and a half days seems to be 
a myth, for no amount of skill or industry could have reared 
a building of this kind in such a short time. Probably the 
name dates from the Maratha times when an annual fair was 
held there which lasted for two and a half days. Other not- 
able buildings of this period are the Hauz-i-Shamshi and the^ 
Shamsi Idgah built by Iltutmish during his governorship 
of Badaon (12039) and the Jami-masjid which was built 
in 1223 twelve years after his accession to the throne. 


Under Alauddin Khilji the power of the Sultanate of 
Delhi increased enormously. Though his time was largely 
spent in wars, he ordered the construction of several forts, 
tanks, and palaces. The fort of Siri was built by him near 
a village of the same name at a distance of two miles to 
the north-east of Qila Rai Pithaura. The walls of the fort 
were built of stone and masonry, and its fortifications were 
extremely strong. The palace of Hazar Situn (or thousand 
pillars) was built by Alauddin, and Barani writes that 
the heads of thousands of Mughals were buried in the found- 
ations and walls of this magnificent building. The Alai 
Darwaza which was built in 1311 is ' one of the most trea- 
sured gems of Islamic architecture ' ; other notable monu- 
ments are the Hauz Alai and the Hauz-i-Khas which are so 
famous in history. The fourteenth century was a period of 
great stress and storm in the history of the Delhi Sultanate. 
The Mongols constantly hammered at the gates of Delhi, and 
the Hindu Rajas defied the authority of the central power 
The result of this was that the architecture of the Tughluq 
period became massive and simple. The most typical build- 
ing of this style is the tomb of Tughluq Shah which still exists 
near the old fort of Tughluqabad. Firuz was a magnificent 
builder, who spent vast sums of money on towns, palaces, 
mosques, tanks, reservoirs and gardens. Many new build- 
ings were constructed, and old ones were repaired. He 
founded the city of Firuzabad, the ruins of which still- 
exist near the modern Shahjahanbad, and supplied it with 
abundant water by means of a well- managed canal system/ 
He built two other cities Fatahabad and Hisar Firoza, and 
laid the foundations of a third called Jaunpur on the bank 
of the Gomti to commemorate the name of his illustrious, 
cousin Muhammad Tughluq. He caused two Asokan pillars. 


to be removed to Delhi, one from Tobra in the Ambala 
district and the other from a village in the Meerut district. 
The contemporary chronicler Afif has given a highly in- 
teresting account of the transfer of these monoliths. The 
Sultan's interest in buildings was so keen that he never 
permitted the construction of any building unless its plan 
was carefully scrutinised by the Diwan-i-wizarat and finally 
approved by him. As Firuz was an orthodox Muslim, the 
austerity of the new style remained undisturbed, and it was 
left for the provincial dynasties which came into existence 
after his death to give an impetus to the development of 

The kings of Jaunpur were great patrons of art and 
literature Their buildings exist to this day, and are fine 
specimens of the Indo-Muhammadan art The Atala 
masjid which was completed in the reign of Sultan Ibrahim, 
the Jam-i-masjid, built under the patronage of Husain Shah, 
the Lai Darwaza mosque, and the broken fagade of the 
Jahangiri, the Khalis Mukhlis are some of the most remark- 
able specimens of Indian architecture. Similar interest in 
art was shown by the Sunni rulers of Gaur who developed a 
style different from that of Delhi and Jaunpur. The build- 
ings of Gaur are made entirely of brick, and seem to bear 
traces of the imitation of Hindu temple architecture. The 
most remarkable buildings are the tomb of Husain Shah, 
the greater and lesser Golden Mosques, and the Qadam 
Rasul built by Sultan Nusrat Shah. The small Golden or 
Eunuch's Mosque is a solidly constructed building whichi 
' is carved inside and out with beautifully chiselled designs, 
including the Indian lotus. ' But the most striking of all 
is the Adina Mosque at Pandua, twenty miles from 
which was built by Sikandar Shah in 1368 A.D. 


The most beautiful of all provincial styles of architecture 
was that of Gujarat. Before the Muslim conquest, Gujarat 
was under the influence of Jainism, and naturally when the 
country passed into the hands of the Muslims, the master- 
builders whom the Muslims employed to construct their 
buildings adopted Hindu and Jain designs with necessary 
modifications to suit the puritanical tastes of Islam Ahmad 
Shah was a great builder. He founded the city of Ahmada- 
bad in the first half of the 15th century and built mosques 
and palaces. Numerous buildings were erected during the 
15th century at Ahmadabad, Cam bay, Champanir and other 
important places. One of the most beautiful buildings is the 
mosque of Muhafiz Khan which was built towards the close 
of the century. Besides mosques and tombs Gujarat is fa- 
mous for its step-wells, irrigation works, and public orchards. 

Mandu was equally famous for its buildings in the 15th 
century. The massive buildings that exist to this day bear 
testimony to the power and magnificence of the Sultans of 
Mandu. Some of the most remarkable buildings are the 
Jam-i-masjid, the Hindola mahal, the Jahaz mahal, the 
tomb of Hushang Shah, and the palaces of Baz Bahadur 
and Rupmati. 

It was not only in North India that art made progress, 
but in the Deccan also it received encouragement from the 
Bahmani and Vijayanagar kings. The Bahmani kings found- 
ed cities and built mosques and fortresses. The mosques at 
Gulburga and Bidar are noble specimens of Deccan art. 
Some of the important buildings constructed by them are' 
the Jam-i-masjid at Gulbarga, built by Persian architects, 
the Ghand Minar at Dauiatabad, and the college of Mahmud 
GSwan, also built in the Persian style. But the Bahmanids 
are famous in history for their fortresses, the chief of which 



those of Gwaligarh, Narnala and Mahur in the Adilabad 
district which was built as an outpost against the Hindu 
-chiefs of the Satpura ranges. The fortresses of Parenda, 
Naldurg, and Panhala were built by them to consolidate 
their power. At Gulburga there are two groups of import- 
ant buildings. One group contains the tombs of Alauddin 
Hasan Bahman Shah, Muhammad Shah, Muhammad Shah 
II, and two others of a later date. The other group known 
-collectively as the Haft Gumbad or seven domes contains 
the tombs of Mujahid Shah, Daud Shah, Ghiyasuddin and 
his family, and Firuz Shah and his family. All these bear a 
great resemblance to one another The city of Bidar was 
laid out by Ahmad Shah. It has a fort and contains two 
other buildings of note, the tomb of Ahmad Shah Wali and 
the Sola mosque which was built in the reign of Muhammad 
Shah III. The most remarkable architecture is that of Bija- 
pur among the Deccan kingdoms. The tomb of Muham- 
mad Adil Shah, known as the Gol Gumbaj, is a stately 
edifice, scarcely inferior to any other building of the same 

The kings of Vijayanagar were in no way behind the 
Bahmanids in this respect. They had a great enthusiasm for 
building council chambers, public offices, irrigation works, 
aqueducts, temples and palaces which were richly deco- 
rated. There is evidence to prove that an excellent 
system of irrigation prevailed throughout the city, and 
large tanks were built for the storage of water. Numer- 
ous temples were built, the most famous of which was the 
Vithala temple described by Fergusson as a most characteris- 
tic specimen of the Dravidian style. Sculpture and painting 
were not unknown, and it appears that artists acquired 
considerable proficiency in these branches as is shown by 


the accounts of the Portuguese chroniclers and the Persian 
envoy Abdur Razzaq. 

It is impossible to give here an exhaustive account of 

the various branches of mediaeval literature, and all that can 

be done here is to give a succinct summary 

iterative, ^ ^ e wor k (j one by famous writers and 

scholars. Persian literature flourished remarkably under 
court patronage. Amir Khusrau, the poet laureate of the 
empire under the Khiljis and Tughluqs, was the greatest 
poet of the time. He wrote copiously, and his numerous 
works are still read with interest His contemporary, 
Mir Hasan Dehlvi, was also a poet of no mean order. 
He enjoyed the patronage of Muhammad, the martyr 
prince, and Sultan Muhammad Tughluq. He composed a 
Diwan and wrote the memoirs of his patron saint Shaikh 
Nizam-ud-din Aulia. The works of the court historians are 
too many to mention The most famous of them are the 
Tarikh-i-Firuzshahi of Zia-ud-din Barani and Shams-i-Siraj 
Afif and the Tarikh-i-Mubarakshahi of Yahya bin Abdullah 
and the works of Afghan historians. Jaunpur was a famous 
seat of learning in the middle ages, and Ibrahim Shah 
Sharqi was a generous patron of letters. Several literary, 
philosophical, and theological works were written during 
his reign. 

The Muslim scholars were not wholly unacquainted 
with Sanskrit. Al Biruni who came to India in the tenth 
century was a profound Sanskrit scholar who translated 
several works on philosophy and astronomy from Sanskrit 
into Arabic. His Tarikh-i-Hind is still a mine of information 
about Hindu civilisation. In the 14th century when Firuz 
Tughluq captured the fort of Nagarkot, he ordered a work 
on philosophy, divination and omens to be translated into 


Persian and named it Dalayal-i-Firuzshahi. Literary ac- 
tivity did not altogether cease under the Lodis. During 
Sikandar's reign a medical treatise was translated from 
Sanskrit into Persian. 

The Hindus were not behind the Muslims in literary ad- 
vancement. Though court patronage was denied to them, they 
continued to produce high class literature both in Sanskrit 
and Hindi in centres away from Muslim influence. Rama- 
nuja wrote his commentaries on the Brahma Sutras in 
which he expounded the doctrine of Bhakti. In the twelfth 
century Jayadeva wrote his Gita Govinda, a noble specimen 
of lyrical poetry which describes the love of Krisna and 
Radha, their estrangement and final union, and the sports 
of Krisna with the milkmaids of Vraj. The Drama flourished 
in those parts of India where the Muslim power was slow 
to reach. Some of the Dramas worthy of mention are the 
Lalita Vigraharaja Nataka, Harikeli Nataka, Parvati- 
parinaya, Vidagdha Madhava and Lalita Madhava. Re- 
garding legal literature it may be said that some of the best 
commentaries were written during this period. Works on 
astronomy were also written, but Hindu scholars paid little 
attention to history. The only work which has any claim to 
be called a historical treatise is Kalhana's Rajatarangini 
or * River of Kings * which was composed towards the 
middle of the twelfth century. 

A word may be said about the development of verna- 
cular literature during this period. The earliest writers of 
Hindi are Chandbardqj. Jagnayak. the author of Alahkhand, 
Amir Khusrau, the parrot of Hind, and Baba Gorakhnatb. 
who flourished in the fourteenth century. Later the BhaktL 
cult gave a great impetus to the Hindi literature. Jtabir, 
Nanak, and Miraba^composed their hymns and devotional 


songs in Hindi, and their contributions greatly enriched the 
literature of the language. The preachers of the Radha 
Krina cult wrote and sang in Vrajbha$a and consider- 
ably helped the growth of Hindi literature. In Bengal, Guja- 
rat, Maharashtra, and even in the distant south the verna- 
culars made much progress. In Bengal, a vernacular transla- 
tion of the Sanskrit Ramayana was prepared by Krittivasa 
whose work is ' in fact the Bible of the people of the Gange- 
tic valley. ' The Bhagwat and the Mahabharata were also 
translated under the patronage of the state. Namadeva, 
the Maratha saint, largely wrote in Marathi, and some of his 
hymns are still preserved in the Granth Sahib, the Bible of 
the Sikhs. In the South, the earliest works in Tamil and 
Kanarese were produced by the Jains, but in the 13th and 
14th centuries a great impetus was given to literary effort by 
the aiva movement. It was during this period that Sayana 
and Madhava Vidyaranya, two brothers, wrote their works 
which have placed them among the leaders of Sanskrit scho- 
larship. The former wrote his famous commentary on the 
Vedas, and the latter followed his brother's example by writ- 
ing several philosophical works. The Telugu literature 
received much encouragement from the kings of Vijayana- 
gar. Krisna Deva Raya took a keen interest in letters, and 
was himself the author of several works of merit. 

The advent of Islam wrought great changes in the 
religious and social outlook of the people of India. Hindu- 
ism failed to absorb the Muslims as it 
had abs o r bed the Greeks, Huns, Scythians 
and Sakas, who became completely merged 
in the native population. It was because the Muslim 
had a clear, definite faith of his own to which he 
adhered with a tenacity and enthusiasm unknown to 


the Hindus. He considered his religion to be in no way 
inferior to that hydra-headed Hinduism which he found 
prevalent among- the vanquished races in India, and this 
conviction of superiority further strengthened bis belief 
in the Quran and the Prophet. The idolatry and elaborate 
ritual of the Hindus suggested to him by contrast the 
value of his own religion, which mainly consisted in its 
simplicity and emphasis on the unity of the God-head. But 
in spite of these differences it was inevitable that the 
Hindus and Muslims should come in contact with each other 
Time applied its healing balm to old bitternesses, and culti- 
vated minds on both sides began to desire some sort of 
rapprochement between the two peoples The early Turks 
who invaded Hindustan did not bring their wives with 
them. They married in the country, and their offspring 
naturally became less Turkish and more Indian in their 
habits and sentiments. The Indian women who dominated 
the Turkish household exerted a potent influence in mould- 
ing the character of the future generation of Musalmans, 
and as Havel 1 puts it : ' the traditional devotion and tender- 
ness of Indian motherhood helped greatly to soften the 
ferocity of the Turki and Mongol nomad.' There were other 
factors which helped the process of reconciliation. Royal 
patronage and sympathy won the goodwill of the Hindus 
in certain cases, and improved the social relations between 
the two races. The Musalman realised the impossibility of 
completely crushing out the Hindus, while the Hindu learnt 
by slow and painful experience that it was useless to wage 
perpetual war against foes who had come to stay in the 
land. The Hindu converts who were obliged to renounce 
their faith from political pressure or economic necessity 
did not wholly give up their habits and usages. Their 


contact with Muslims naturally produced an intermingling 
of the two faiths and removed many angularities on both 
sides. It created a sympathetic frame of mind which 
greatly assisted the forces that were steadily working to 
bring about a better understanding between the two peoples. 
Islam held out a new hope of progress and social justice to 
the low caste Hindus, who were inclined to regard it with- 
out feelings of aversion or contempt. Then, there was the 
influence of Muslim saints like Parid Shakarganj of Pak- 
patan and Nizamuddin Aulia of Delhi in Northern India 
and of Ghisudaraz in the south. They counted their 
disciples among the members of both communities, and 
their teachings appealed to all men without distinction of 
caste or creed. All differences were overlooked in their pre- 
sence, and a new bond of sympathy was created which 
united those who offered homage to them. 

The Muslims introduced a new spirit into Hindu society 
by laying stress on the Unity of God. The doctrine of the 
Unity of God was not unknown to the Hindus, but its 
emphatic assertion in Islam had a great effect on teachers 
like Namadeva, Ramanand, Kabir and Nanak in whom we 
see a happy blending of Hindu and Muslim influences. 
Impressed by the simplicity of the Muslim creed and its 
insistence on the oneness of God, they denounced idolatry 
and caste and preached that true religion did not consist in 
meaningless ritual and empty forms but in Bhakti or true 
devotion to God. The Bhakti cult made great progress 
under the influence of the great masters who followed 
Ramanuja, and who dominated the religious mind of India 
during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 

The first great exponent of Bhakti was Ramanuja 
who lived in the twelfth century and preached the worship 


of Visnu in Southern India. His work marks a reaction 
against Ankara's advait doctrine. He maintained that 
individual souls are not essentially one with the Supreme, 
though they all emanate from him as sparks from fire, and 
that the Supreme is not purely abstract Being, but 
.possesses real qualities of goodness and beauty in an infinite 
degree. Thus he inculcated devotion to a Saguna I&vara 9 
endowed with a number of beautiful qualities, and his 
teachings appealed to large numbers of men in South India. 

Another teacher who laid stress on Bhakti was Rama- 
nand fifth in apostolic succession from Ramanuja who 
flourished in the fourteenth century in Northern India. 
The special feature of Ramanand 's teachings is that he 
entirely discarded caste rules, enjoined in the Brahmanical 
system. He wandered about the country, visiting holy 
places and establishing the worship of Rama and Sita. He 
admitted to his discipleship men of all castes, and is said 
to have twelve chief disciples (chelas) among whom were 
included a barber, a chamar and a weaver. Ramanand was 
the first reformer who employed Hindi, the chief vernacular 
of Northern India, to interpret his doctrines, and therefore 
acquired much popularity with the submerged classes among 
the Hindus. His followers worship Visnu under the form 
of Ramchandra with his consort Sita, and their chief centre 
^s Ajodhia, the ancient capital of Kosala in the United 
Provinces. Of all the disciples of Ramanand Kabir was 
the most famous. 

Another offshoot of Vaisnavism was the Krina cult of 

which Vallabhacharya was the most distinguished preacher. 

He was a Tailang Brahman and was born in 1479 in the 

Telugu country in the south. From his early boyhood he 

.showed signs of genius, and in a short time acquired an 


immense amount of learning. He visited Mathura, Brinda- 
ban, and many other sacred places, and finally settled in 
Benares where he wrote his philosophical works. Vallabha 
Swami taught that there is no distinction between the 
Brahma and the individual soul, and that the latter could 
get rid of its bondage by means of Bhakti. In one of his- 
works he says that the home, the centre of all worldly 
desires, should be renounced in every way, but if it be 
impracticable, one should dedicate it to the service of God, 
for it is He alone who can free man from evil. The wor~ 
ship of Krisna was inculcated, and the disciples were 
required to offer everything in his service. The formula of 
dedication had no other meaning except that the 
disciple should consecrate everything to his God. But 
those who came after Vallabhacharya departed from 
the true spirit of his teachings. They interpreted them in 
a material sense. And hence the system lent itself to- 
great abuse. They taught by precept and example that 
God should be pleased not by self-denial and austerities, 
but by sanctifying all human pleasures in his service* 
This interpretation appealed to their rich followers mostly 
of the commercial classes who lacked the necessary 
intellectual equipment to ascertain the true doctrines of 
the founder of the sect. A movement has recently been 
set on foot to reform the evil practices which have crept 
into the system, and a number of devoted workers have 
made efforts to restore it to its original purity and 

The great Vaisnavite teacher Lord Chaitanya of Nawa- 
dwipa was a contemporary of Vallabha Swami. Born in 1485, 
he renounced the world at the early age of 25, and became a 
Sanyasi. He wandered about the country, preaching the 


doctrine of love and the worship of Krisna. The mesmeric 
influence of his presence was felt wherever he went, and 
thousands of men fell at his feet in reverential devotion as 
they heard from his lips the thrilling message of love 
and peace. Love was so great a passion with him that the 
thought of Krisna playing upon his flute in the wild woods 
of Brindaban threw him into an ecstasy. He laid stress on 
humility and said that a Vainava should be absolutely 
without pride. ' Krisna dwells in every soul and therefore 
gives respect to others, without seeking any for himself.' 
As he uttered these words a feeling of humility over- 
powered his soul, and he broke forth : 

' Neither do I want followers, nor wealth, nor 
leartring, nor poetical powers, give unto my soul a bit 
of devotion for thee. Great pride never produces any 
good. How will He who is called the vanquisher of 
the proud bear with your pride ? ' 

His heart, full of compassion for the poor and the 
weak, melted with pity as he saw the sorrows of 
mankind. He denounced caste and proclaimed the universal 
brotherhood of man and the worship of Hari as the only 
means of attaining the highest bliss. Krisna's name knew 
not the barriers of caste and race. He asked his disciples to 
teach unto all men down to the lowest Chandala the lesson 
of devotion and love. He freely touched Haridas, one of 
his disciples, who was outcasted by his fellows. He 
begged the master not to touch him for he was unclean 
and outcasted. There was fire in the master's eye; his 
heart welled up with emotion ; and he rushed forward in 
wild joy to embrace the outcast and said : ' you have dedi- 
cated yourself to me ; that body of yours is mine in every 
respect ; an all-sacrificing and all-loving spirit dwells in it ; 

F. 18 


it is holy as a temple. Why should you consider yourself un- 
clean ? ' That is why the high and the low, the Brahman 
and the Sudra listened to his message and followed him. 
He was the very image of love and often exhorted his 
followers to sacrifice everything on the altar of love. A 
true devotee must show his love for Krisna by offering his 
services day and night to him as well as to the world. 
Vaisnavism was to be a living force, a rule of life and not 
merely a religion to be practised by ascetics and recluses. 
To religious teachers his advice was : 

11 Do not take too many disciples, do not abuse gods 
worshipped by other peoples and their scriptures, do 
not read too many books and do not pose as a teacher 
continually criticising and elucidating religious views. 
Take profit and loss in the same light. Do not stay there 
where a Vaisnava is abused. Do not listen to village 
tales. Do not by your speech or thought cause pain to 
a living thing. Listen to the recitation of God's name. 
Recollect his kindness, bow to him and worship him. 
Do what He wills as a servant, believe Him to be a 
friend and then dedicate yourself to Him." 
Chaitanya's name is a household word in Bengal, and 
there are millions of men who still worship him as an in- 
carnation of Sri Krina and utter his name with a feeling 
of devotion and love. 

The influence of Islam is clearly manifest in the teachings 
of Naraadeva, Kabir and Nanak, who all condemned caste, 
polytheism and idolatry and pleaded for true faith, sincerity 
and purity of life. The cardinal doctrine on which they laid 
stress was that God is the God of Hindus as well as Muslims, 
of Brahmans as well as of Chandalas and that before Him 
.all are equal. The trammels of caste and superstition must 


foe discarded, if the worshipper wants to know the true 
path. The first in point of time was Namadeva, the Maratha 
saint, a man of low origin, whose probable date of birth 
must be fixed sometime early in the 15th century. Nama- 
deva preached the unity of God, deprecated idol-worship 
and all outward observances. He feels his dependence on 
God and thus gives expression to it : 

" Of me who am blind thy name, O King, is the prop 

I am poor, I am miserable, thy name is my support. 

Bountiful and merciful Allah, thou art onerous ; 

Thou art a river of bounty, thou art the Giver, thou art 
exceeding wealthy ; 

Thou alone givest and takest, there is none other ; 

Thou art wise, Thou art far-sighted, what conception 
can I form of thee. 

Nama's lord, Thou art the Pardoner, God." 

Kabir was the greatest disciple of Ramanand. He was 
>born about 1398. His origin is shrouded in mystery. Tradi- 
tion says, he was born of a Brahman widow who cast him 
off near a tank in order to escape social odium. The child 
was picked up by a weaver, Niru, and was brought up by 
his wife with great affection and care. When he grew up, 
he took up his father's trade, but found time to moralise 
and philosophise. 

The whole back-ground of Kabir's thought is Hindu. 
He speaks of Rama. He seeks freedom from transmigration, 
and hopes to attain the true path by means of Bhakti. 
He has an aversion for theological controversy and con- 
demns all insincerity and hypocrisy, which are mis- 
taken for true piety. He makes no distinction between 
the Hindu and the Turk, who, he says, are pots of the 
/same clay, and who are striving by different routes to 


reach the same goal. He pointed out the futility of 
mere lip-homage to the great ideals of truth and religion. 
Of what avail is the worship of stone and bathing in, 
the Ganges, if the heart is not pure? Of what avail 
is a pilgrimage to Mecca, if the pilgrim marches towards, 
the Kaaba with a deceitful and impure heart? Men 
are saved by faith and not by works. None can under- 
stand the mind of God ; put your trust in Him and let 
Him do what seemeth Him good. He condemns idolatry 
and says : ' If by worshipping stones one can find God, 
I shall worship a mountain; better than these stones- 
(idols) are the stones of the flour mill with which men grind 
their corn/ He reproached Brahmans and Maul vis alike for 
their theological controversies and asked them to give up- 
their petty pride. He denounced caste and emphatically 
declared : 

"Vain too are the distinctions of caste. All 

shades of colour are but broken arcs of light ; all 

varieties in human nature are but fragments of 

humanity. The right to approach God is not the 

monopoly of Brahmans but is freely granted to all 

who are characterised by sincerity of heart/' 

No modern crusader against caste can equal the fervour 

of these inspiring utterances which came from the 

deepest depths of the master's soul. Caste could be no 

obstacle in the way of God. Forms of worship were 

immaterial to him for he says : 

"Suffer all men to worship God according to their 
convictions. Be not the slaves of tradition and love- 
not controversy for its own sake. Fear not to walk 
upon unbeaten tracks, if such tracks bring you near to 
Him who is the truth." 


Kabir's great disciple was Nanak, the founder of the 
Sikh religion, who was born in 1469 A.D. at Talwandi, a 
village in the Lahore district. From his boyhood Nanak 
showed a religious bent of mind and paid no attention to his 
studies. Like Kabir, he also preached the unity of God, 
condemned idolatry, and urged that the barriers of caste and 
race must give way before the name of God who transcends 
them all. He exhorted men to give up hypocrisy, selfish- 
ness, worldliness, and falsehood for "all men's accounts 
shall be taken in God's court and no one shall be saved 
without good works." He laid stress on love and purity of 
life and preached that good deeds were more efficacious 
in securing salvation than metaphysical discussions. His 
<crp*/ 1 i s summed up in these words : 

" Religion consisteth not in mere words ; 
He who looketh on all men as equal is religious. 
Religion consisteth not in wandering to tombs or 
places of cremation, or sitting in attitudes of 

Religion consisteth not in wandering in foreign 
countries, or in bathing at places of pilgrimage. 
Abide pure amidst the impurities of the world; 
^ Thus shalt thou find the way to religion." 
The movement of reform did not end with Nanak. The 
stream of thought continued to flow on ; a number of saints 
and reformers arose whose achievements will be discussed 
later. We may again emphasise the harmonising tendency 
of the social and religious movements in mediaeval India. At- 
tempts were made to bridge the gulf between the Hindus 
and Muslims, and although the Sultans of Delhi were mostly 
-cruel and bigoted tyrants, there were a few who listened 
to the voice of reason and tried to promote concord and 


co-operation between the two races. Religious teachers ren- 
dered a great service to the cause of unity. The Hindus 
began to worship Muslim saints, and the Muslims began to 
show respect for Hindu gods. And this mutual goodwill is 
typified in the cult of Satyapir, founded by Husain Shah of 
Jaunpur, which represents a synthesis of the two religions. 
But the age was not yet ripe for introducing political re- 
forms along these lines. For this a mighty man of genius 
was needed, and India had to wait till the advent of Akbar 
for the realisation of the dreams of her great teachers. It 
was only then that the Hindus and Muslims stood shoulder 
to shoulder in the service of a common empire, and shed their 
religious prejudices to an extent never reached before since 
the Islamic conquest of our country. It was the voice of 
Kabir and Nanak which spoke through the imperial lips 
and created a storm in orthodox circles. 



At the opening of the sixteenth century the kingdom 
of Delhi was considerably reduced in extent. Ibrahim's 
sway did not extend beyond Delhi, Agra, the 
India'* hern Doab > Bi yana and Chanderi. The Punjab 
was held by Daulat Khan and his son Ghazi 
Khan and Dilawar Khan who were alarmed at the un- 
bridled tyranny of Ibrahim, and who eagerly waited for 
an opportunity to deliver themselves from his yoke. Like 
other Afghan nobles they thought rebellion safer than 
subordination to a prince, whose capricious temper put 
their lives and property in peril. Sindh and Multan to- 
wards the west and Jaunpur, Bengal and Orissa towards 
the east had formed themselves into independent princi- 
palities. In the central region lay the kingdoms of Malwa 
and Khandesh, which were ruled by Muhammadan princes. 
Between the kingdoms of the north and the central region 
lay the Rajput states, whose strength had silently increas- 
ed owing to the decline of the power at Delhi and the 
unending quarrels of the Muslim states of the north. 

To the south-east lay the kingdom of Jaunpur, which 
corresponded roughly to the districts now included in the 
eastern portions of the province of Agra and Oudh. The 
resources of its kings were by no means inconsiderable. 
They possessed large armies and fought against the 
Afghan power at Delhi with great tenacity and vigour. In 
1491 Sikandar Lodi extended his conquests over the whole 
of Bihar and drove away Husain Shah, the last ruler of 
Jaunpur, to seek refuge with the ruler of Bengal. 



Ibrahim Lodi bungled as was his wont in the affairs of 
Jaunpur, where the Afghan vassals had always been very 
powerful. At the earliest exhibition of Ibrahim's haughty 
meddlesomeness in their affairs, the Afghan barons re- 
belled under the leadership of Nasir Khan Lohani of 
Ghazipur, Maruf Farmuli, and others. 

Darya Khan Lohani of Bihar became the leader of the 
confederacy of rebels, and inflicted several defeats upon 
the forces sent by Ibrahim to quell the rebellion. After 
his death his son was acclaimed as their leader by the 
rebels, who continued to fight as before against the ruler 
of Delhi. Bengal had separated from the empire of Delhi 
during the reign of Firuz Tughluq who had recognised 
its independence. Sikandar, son of Ilyas Shah, had 
brought nearly the whole of Bengal under his sway as is 
testified by hia coins. At the opening of the sixteenth 
century, the Husaini dynasty had well established its 
power, and its first ruler Alauddin Husain Shah (14931519 
A.D.) was a remarkable man who greatly enlarged his 
kingdom by conquest. His son Nusrat Shah maintained 
a splendid court and commemorated his regime by raising 
noble works of art. He is mentioned by Babar in his 
Memoirs as a prince of considerable substance in Hindus- 
tan. In the central region there were three important 
Muslim states which will be described below. 

The dynasty of the independent kings of Gujarat was 
founded by Zaf ar Khan who was appointed to the charge 
in 1391 A.D. The dynasty produced a num- 
ber of able and ambitious rulers like Mah- 
mud ' Ahmad Shah and Mahmud Blgafla, who 
Khan- greatly increased its power and influence. 
desh - After the death of Sultan Mahmud Blgafla, 


Muzaffar Shah II succeeded to the throne in 1511 A.D. 
He had to contend against formidable rivals, the prince 
of Malwa, Sultan Mahmud Khilji II (1510-31 A.D.), the 
last ruler of the independent Malwa dynasty, and the 
Rajput ruler of Mewar. In 1518 the ruler of Gujarat in 
response to the request of Mahmud, the legitimate ruler, 
who was thrown into the shade by his powerful minister 
Medini Rao, a Rajput chief, who had usurped all authority 
in the state marched into Malwa at the head of a large 
army and captured the fort of Mandu. The Rajputs offered 
a gallant resistance, and it is said that nearly 19 thou- 
sand perished in the final encounter with the Gujarat 
forces, and Medini Rao's son was among the slain. Medini 
'Rao lost his hard-won influence, but he was reinstated 
in Chanderi by Rana Sanga, the redoubtable chief of 
Mewar. His gratitude found expression in his adhesion 
to the Rana's cause, when the latter marched against 
Babar to fight the historic battle at Kanwah in 1527. 
Feelings of jealousy had existed between Gujarat and 
Mewar for a long time, and Rana Sanga got his long- 
' desired opportunity through the indiscretion of the Muslim 
governor of Idar. The latter used abusive language to- 
wards the Rana which was communicated to him. The 
Hana marched against Idar at the head of 40,000 brave 
Rajputs, and obtained a victory over the Gujarat forces. 
:Sanga's generals urged him to advance upon Ahmadabad, 
the capital of the Gujarat kings, but he felt reluctant to 
-do so and returned. We do not know what relations 
-existed at this time between the kingdoms of Delhi and 
-Gujarat. The author of Mirat-i-Sikandari writes (Bay ley , 
B>p. 276-77) in recording the events of the year 1525 that 
Alam Khan, uncle of Sultan Ibrahim of Delhi, paid a 


visit to Muzaffar and sought his help against his over- 
weening nephew. Apparently no help seems to have 
been given, and Alam Khan was dismissed with an escort 
courteously provided by his host. About the same time 
Prince Bahadur, the second son of Muzaffar, reached 
Delhi to seek protection against the hostile designs of his 
elder brother Sikandar. He was well received at the 
court, but when Ibrahim suspected him of siding with dis- 
affected persons he left for Jaunpur. Soon after came 
the news of his father's death, and the ambitious 
Bahadur hastened back to Gujarat. 

To the north of Khandesh lay the important kingdom 
of Malwa. The origin of the kingdom has been described 
before. The founder of the independent line of kings was 
Dilawar Khan Ghori who was a feoffee of Sultan Firuz 
Tughluq of Delhi. Dilawar Khan threw off the imperial 
yoke in 1398 during the anarchy which followed the in- 
vasion of Timur. The Ghori dynasty ended in 1435 A.D. 
when power was usurped by Mahmud Khan, the minister 
of the Ghori chieftain, who ascended the throne under 
the title of Mahmud Khilji. Mahmud was a remarkable 
ruler who ceaselessly fought against Gujarat and Me war, 
and passed during his life through vicissitudes of no mean 
order. Firishta rightly says that his tent was his home 
and the field of battle his resting place. During the reign 
of Mahmud II (1512-30), the fourth ruler of the Khilji 
dynasty, the Rajputs dominated the affairs of Malwa, and 
the gallant chief Medini Rao, who had helped him in 
securing the throne, had fully established his as- 
cendancy. But the Rajput influence was an eyesore 
to the Muslims, and they conspired to drive Medini Rao* 
from the position he occupied in the state. The Sultan. 


secretly escaped to Gujarat to seek help from the 
ruler of that country. Muzaffar received him well and 
promised assistance against the ' infidels/ He marched 
upon Gujarat at the head of a large army and reinstated 
Mahmud at Mandu. Soon afterwards Mahmud marched 
against Medini Rao who received assistance from Rana. 
Sanga of Chittor. A fierce battle raged between the 
Rajputs and the Malwa forces which suffered a total defeat, 
and the Sultan was himself wounded. The magnanimous 
Rana treated him with great kindness, took him to his tent 
where he ordered his wounds to be dressed, and released 
him from captivity, when he became convalescent. Such 
was the state of Malwa in the year 1525. Mahmud was dis- 
tracted by internal dissensions, and the country was torn 
by civil war. Meanwhile a fresh calamity came from an- 
other quarter. In 1526 Mahmud offered shelter to Bahadur's 
brother, Chand Khan, who had succeeded Muzaffar in the 
gaddi of Gujarat. He had listened also to the overtures of one 
Razi-ul-Mulk, a nobleman from Gujarat, who had espoused 
the cause of Chand Khan and had applied to Babar for aid. 
Bahadur advanced upon Mandu and inflicted a sharp defeat 
upon Mahmud and his forces. Mahmud was put in chains, 
and sent as a prisoner along with his sons to Champanir in 
the custody of Asaf Khan. Five days later the escort led 
by Asaf Khan was attacked by 2,000 Bhils and Kols in camp 
at Dohud. Asaf considered it an attempt to deliver the 
royal family from his custody, and ordered the king and 
his sons to be put to death. Thus ended the Khilji dynasty 
of Malwa, and the territories over which it held swajr 
became subject to the ruler of Gujarat. 

The other state lying in the central region was Khan- 
desh. Khandesh was formerly a province of the Delhi 


-empire, but it became an independent principality under 
Malik Raja FarQqi who was appointed governor of the place 
by Firuz Tughluq in 1370. After Malik Raja's death in 1399 
his more able and ambitious son Malik Nasir Khan suc- 
ceeded to the throne. The treacherous manner in which he 
overpowered Ssa Ahlr and his men has been described in 
a previous chapter. Asirgarh fell into the hands of Nasir, 
but he shrank from using the treasures found in the fortress. 
The last notable ruler of Khandesh was Adil Khan Faruqi 
(14571503 A.D.) who did much to increase the material 
prosperity of his kingdom. Under Adil Burhanpur grew to 
be one of the most beautiful cities in India. It was he who 
completed the fortifications of Asirgarh. The manufactures 
of gold and silver thread and brocaded silks and muslins 
reached a high degree of development under the Faruqi 
kings, and are still in a flourishing condition. The annals 
of the dynasty have no special importance. The Faruqi 
Kings allied themselves with the rulers of Gujarat by 
means of matrimonial connections, and often received 
support from them in their wars against the Muslim states 
of the south. At the time of Babar's invasion of Hindustan 
Khandesh was ruled by Miran Muhammad who had 
succeeded to the throne in 1520 A.D. The commonplace 
character of the history of this dynasty obtrudes itself 
upon our notice as we read through the pages of Firishta, 
and we feel relieved to see, in the words of a modern 
writer, Khandesh affording a good example of the manner 
in which the amenities of life may flourish under 
conditions which prohibit the exercise of the arts of 

Ever since the death of Alauddin Khilji the states of 
.Rajputana bad played no part in the affairs of the Delhi 


Empire. Alauddin had entrusted the fort of Chittor to, 
Rajputana. the Soni * ra <*feftain Maldeva of Jalor, but 
the latter seems to have lost all influence- 
after the death of the war-lord of Delhi. TheSisodia. 
Prince Hamir who had remained in a state of sulleiL 
hostility all this time increased his resources and began to 
seize portions of the Mewar territory during the lifetime 
of Maldeva. Gradually after the death of the latter 
Hamir defeated Maldeva's son, Jaisa, and acquired pos- 
session of the entire principality of Mewar. Hamir was a 
powerful prince, who, according to the Rajput chronicles 
seems to have encountered with success the forces of the 
Delhi Sultan. That may or may not be correct, but in an in- 
scription of Maharana Kumbha's time dated 1438 A.D. 
Hamir is described as the achiever of renown by slaying 
countless Muslims in the field of battle. ' There is other 
evidence to prove that Hamir conquered Jilwara from the 
mountaineers (Bhils) on whom he inflicted a crushing 
defeat, and similar success attended his arms when he 
marched against Jitkarna, the prince of Idar. Tod's state- 
ment that the ancestors of the present princes of Marwar 
and Jaipur brought their levies, paid homage, and obeyed 
the summons of the prince of Chittor as did the chiefs of 
Bundi, Gwalior, Chanderi, Raisin, Sikri, Kalpi, Abu, etc., 
is doubtless an exaggeration. Hamir died about the year 
1364 A.D. leaving Mewar a fairly large and prosperous 
kingdom. His son K?etra Singh worthily upheld the tradi- 
tions of his father and made his power felt by the neigh- 
bouring chieftains. His son Lskha who ascended the gaddi 
in 1382 A.D. distinguished himself by winning victories 

1 Bombay Branch A. 8. J., XXXIII, p. 50. 


-over his foes and by raising works of public utility. 

But when LakhS's grandson, Rana Kumbha, who is so 

famous in the annals of Mewar, succeeded to the 

throne in 1433 A.D. the position of Mewar was seriously 

affected by the rise of the Muslim states of Malwa and 

Gujarat. The Muslim rulers were eager to extinguish the 

independence of Mewar and left no stone unturned to reduce 

her power. It is needless to enter into a detailed account 

of the struggle between these rival powers in which victory 

rested sometimes with the Muslims and sometimes with the 

Rajput chieftain. The Rana was assassinated in 1468 A.D. 

by his son Uda who was probably impatient to obtain 

possession of the gaddi of Mewar. The people of Mewar 

rightly refused to see the face of the parricide and 

denounced his unfilial and inhuman conduct. Want of 

confidence made his task difficult, and the throne was 

seized by his brother Raimal after a period of five years 

in 1473. After his death in May 1509, Sangram Singh, his 

youngest son, succeeded to the gaddi of Mewar. His 

accession marked the dawn of a new era in the history of 

that country. 

The empire of Delhi had lost much of its former great- 
ness, and Sangram Singh had little to fear from Sikandar 
Lodi who had his own difficulties to overcome, but Malwa 
and Gujarat were ruled at this time by Nasir Shah and 
Muhammad Blga^a who were bound to come in conflict 
with him. During the early years of his reign, Sangram 
Singh established his prestige by defeating the forces of 
Gujarat, and by effective interference in the affairs of Idar. 
The Rana had been grabbing for several years small por- 
tions of the Delhi territory, but when Ibrahim Lodi came 
to the throne, he led an attack against Mewar at the head 


of a considerable force. Victory rested with the Rajputs, 
and the Rana ended the conflict with the seizure of certain 
districts of Malwa, which had been annexed to Delhi by 
Sikandar Lodi. 

Next came the turn of Malwa. The Sultan of Malwa 
Mahmud II had admitted the Rajput chief Medini Rao of 
Chanderi to his councils to act as a counterpoise to the 
influence of his turbulent amirs. The amirs appealed to 
the rulers of Delhi and Gujarat for help against the 
' infidels. ' But Medini Rao proved equal to the occasion. 
He defeated the allied forces of Delhi and Gujarat and 
re-established the authority of Mahmud. Thus foiled in 
their designs, the hostile amirs intrigued with success 
to poison the ears of Sultan Mahmud against Medini Rao. 
The Sultan appealed to Muzaff ar Shah of Gujarat for 
aid, and the latter escorted him back in triumph to 
Mandu and reinstated him in his throne. Medini Rao 
sought the help of Sanga who marched against Mahmud 
at the head of 50,000 men, and in the encounter that 
followed the Sultan of Mandu was badly wounded. The 
Rana conveyed the royal captive to his camp, and finally 
took him to Chittor where he was kept as a prisoner for 
three months. He was afterwards liberated on the 
payment of an indemnity (the expenses of war) and the 
surrender of a prince as a guarantee for his good behaviour 
in the future. This misplaced generosity aggravated the 
Rana's difficulties and afforded encouragement to his 
avowed enemies. 

Sultan Muzaffar of Gujarat combined with the Sultan 
of Malwa against the Rana to wipe out the disgrace of his 
former defeat. Malik Ayaz, the governor of Sorath, who 
had joined with 20,000 horse and some field pieces was 


placed in command. The Rana was put on his mettle byr 
the preparations of his allies, and marched against them 
at the head of a large army. Ayaz retreated to his charge- 
without risking an engagement with the Rana, and the 
Sultan of Mandu did likewise. What the Muslim historians- 
have described as a retreat compelled by the dissensions of 
the military officers was in all probability a defeat at the 
hands of the Mewar forces. 

These campaigns spread Rana Sanga's fame far andi 
wide. Foreign princes feared him, and Mewar became the 
refuge of dispossessed or disinherited heirs By the year 
1525 it had developed into a first class military state. Her 
resources were thoroughly organised, and it was clear that 
any foreigner who attempted the conquest of Hindustan 
will have to grapple with the warlike ruler of Mewar. 

The Haras of Bundi had begun to assert themselves 
against the dominant influence of Mewar, but they had no> 
connection with the Muslim government at Delhi. The 
Rathor monarchy at Jodhpur under Rao Ganga (151632) 
was weakened by internecine civil strife towards the begin- 
ning of the sixteenth century, but the sons of Jodha united 
their forces against the Chaghtai invader and joined the- 
confederacy of Rana Sanga. 

The province of Sindh was too far away from Delhi to 

exercise any influence on the politics of Hindustan. Early 

in the 14th century it formed a part of 

8indh< the empire of Alauddin Khilji, and Alaud- 

din's brother Ulugh Khan held the governorship of Multan. 

Later it was included in Muhammad Tughluq's empire, 

but towards the close of his life the Sumras had given 

shelter to Taghi who had rebelled against the Sultan. The 

latter pursued the rebel and died in Thatta. The Jama 


got their long-desired opportunity, and it is said that 
after the death of Muhammad Jam Khairuddin adopted a 
sulky attitude and refused to pay homage to Firuz. Piruz 
marched against his son Jam Babiniya and conquered 
Sindh, though he afterwards restored him to office. The 
Sumras soon lost their ascendancy, and their place was 
taken by the Samtna dynasty towards the middle of 
the fourteenth century. The fortunes of the Sammas 
were seriously affected by the turn affairs were tak- 
ing in the Afghan regions. In 1516 Babar marched 
against Shah Beg Arghun, the governor of Qandhar 
and laid siege to the fort. Unable to withstand the 
rising power of Babar, Shah Beg Arghun made a 
treaty with him by which he was compelled to 
surrender Qandhar to Babar's officers. The Shah ratified 
the cession by sending to the conqueror the keys of the 
fortress. The" loss of Qandhar obliged the Shah to seek 
another field of activity, and he turned towards Sindh. 
Thatta was occupied and given up to plunder in 1520. 
The Jam made his submission, and with every mark of 
abject humility implored the forgiveness of the con- 
queror. The Arghun dynasty was thus established in 
Sindh, and its power was considerably increased by Shah 
Beg's son Shah Husain, who annexed Multan and ex- 
tinguished the Langah dynasty. At the time Babar was 
planning his invasion of Hindustan, these two dynasties 
were grappling with each other in order to establish their 
ascendancy in Sindh. There seems to have been no 
connection between the decrepit empire of Delhi and 
the desert province. 

The history of the southern plateau is interesting only 
in ao far as it shows the growth of the imperialistic idea in 

F. 19 


the Deccan, while it was steadily declining in the north. 
m . _ The Afghan empire in Hindustan had 

The Deccan. , . ,. , ...../. , T . , . 

dwindled into insignificance under Ibrahim, 
but below the Vindhyas two formidable empires had risen 
into prominence, the empire of the Bahmanids and the 
Hindu empire of Vijayanagar. Their political designs 
brought them inevitably into conflict, and backed by their 
unlimited zeal they engaged in wars which caused much 
suffering and loss to the combatants on either side. They 
fought long and hard for supremacy but exercised little 
or no influence on the political affairs of northern India. 
The kingdom of Vijayanagar was founded as has been 
said before by two brothers Harihar and Bukka, who 
were in the service of the Raja of Telingana in 1336, 
and since then it had developed its territory and its 
prestige owing to the efforts of a series of remarkable 
rulers. {The reign of Krigna Deva Raya which lasted 
from 1509 to 1580 A.D. is a glorious period in the annals 
of the empire of Vijayanagar. Krisna De\/a Raya orga- 
nised a large army, and waged several wars against the 
Muslim powers of the south. His conquest of the Raichur 
valley greatly increased his prestige! and so weakened the 
power of Adil Shah that he ceased to think for the time 
being, at any rate, of any conquest in the south. It seared 
upon the minds of the Muslims the lesson that their 
separatist tendencies greatly injured their interests and 
that unity was essential for effectively curbing the 
" arrogance and insolence " of the Hindus. When Abdul 
RazzSq, the Persian ambassador, visited the Deccan in 
154244 the Hindu empire was at the height of its power. 
He has given an elaborate description of the glory and 
grandeur of the great city, which has been reproduced in 


a previous chapter in this volume. The empire was 
destroyed by the Muslims in 1565 at the battle of Talikota, 
but at the opening of the 16th century it was in the 
plenitude of power. It is true, it had no connection with 
the Muslim empire of the north, but as Professor Rush- 
brook-Williams suggests with great force it effectively 
prevented the states of the Deccan from acquiring such 
ascendancy as would have jeopardised the inde- 
pendence of the Rajput states. It checked the north- 
ward expansion of the Muslim states which in turn pre- 
vented it from seeking a field of conquest in the trans- 
Vindyan region like Indra and Tailapa, who carried 
their arms triumphantly into the territory of Malwa and 
Dhar. The Bahmani kingdom which was founded in 1347 
by Hasan Kangu, an Afghan officer in the service of 
Sultan Muhammad Tughluq of Delhi, broke up into five 
[independent principalities after the execution of tfre 
[famous minfofcr Mahmnd C5w5n in Uftl fl,]). The resour- 
ces of the Bahmanids enabled them to fight on equal terms 
with the empire of Vijayanagar, but notwithstanding 
their vast territories, riches, and power they failed to 
attain much political importance in the south. Surprising 
as it may seem, it was the result of the restraint which was 
imposed upon their activities by the rulers of Vijayanagar 
who vigilantly watched their movements and applied 
the break whenever it was felt necessary. The dismem- 
berment of the Bahmani kingdom reduced Muslim energy 
in the Deccan to fragments, and the small states which 
took its place could never acquire that eminence which 
concentration and consolidation alone can give to a vast 
dominion, acting under undivided leadership and follow- 
ing a common principle. 


Babar gives an account of Hindustan on the eve of 

his invasion. He speaks of five Muslim and two Hindu 

kings of substance. The greater part of 

Babar's ac- Hindustan, says he, was in the possession 

count 01 rim- 

duetan. of the empire of Delhi, but in the country 

there were many independent and powerful 
kings. The leading kingdoms noted by him are the 
Afghan kingdom which extended from Behreh to Bihar; 
of Jaunpur and Bengal in the east ; of Malwa in Central 
India ; of Gujarat with the Muslim kingdoms of the Deccan 
which arose out of the ruins of the Bahmani kingdom. 
The two pagan princes mentioned by him are the 
Raya of Vijayanagar and Rana Sanga of Chittor. Of 
these princes Babar writes : 

"The five kings who have been mentioned are 

great princes, and are all Musalmans, and possessed 

of formidable armies and rulers of vast territories. 

The most powerful of the pagan princes, in point of 

territory and army, is the Raja of Bijanagar. Another 

is the Rana Sanga, who has attained his present high 

eminence, only in these later times, by his own valour 

and his sword. His original principality was Chitur." 

India was thus a congeries of states at the opening 

of the sixteenth century and likely to be the easy prey 

of an invader who had the strength and will to attempt 

her conquest. 



Babar was born on Friday, the 24th of February, 
1483 A.D. He was descended from Timur, the Lame, in 
the fifth degree on his father's side, while 
through his mother he could trace descent 
from the great Mongol conqueror Chingiz, 
Khan. ' His father Umar Shaikh Mirza held the small 
kingdom of Farghana which is now a small province of 
Russian Turkistan about 50,000 square miles in extent. 
In 1494, after his father's death which was caused 
by an accident, Babar, though only eleven years 
of age, succeeded to the throne of Farghana. The early 
training of the young prince must have been exceptionally 
well managed, for in later years he had little time to 
devote himself to intellectual pursuits, During these 
years he acquired mastery over Turki and Persian, the 
two languages which he wrote and spoke with great ease 
and facility. His maternal grandmother, a lady of much 
sense and sagacity, moulded and shaped his character in 
early boyhood and instilled in him the love of virtue, 
valour and devotion. ' 

Though master of FarghSna, Babar who was only 
a tender stripling, was surrounded on all sides by formi- 
dable enemies. These were his own kinsmen and the 

1 Babar was not a Mughal. He was a Ohaghtai Turk descended 
from Ohingiz Khan on his father's side. His mother was a daughter of 
YUnus Khan, a Mongol or Mughal chief of Central Asia. The so-called 
Emperors of India were in reality Turks. 



Uzbeg chief Shaibani Khan with whom he had to fight 

for his very existence. Though young in years, Babar 

formed the resolve of conquering Samarkand and seating 

himself in the throne of the mighty Timur. He advanced 

upon Samarqand and was unsuccessfully opposed by 

Shaibani Khan, the Uzbeg chief. He entered the city 

in triumph and received the homage of 'nobles and braves, 

one after the other.' But these triumphal scenes were 

soon disturbed by the news that a conspiracy was formed 

in Farghan to deprive him of his patrimony. Babar 

hurried to the scene, but as soon as he turned his back 

Samarqand was lost. He again attempted an invasion of 

Samarqand and captured the city with a small force of 240 

men. Once more did he instal himself on the throne of 

Timur and received the homage of the nobles and grandees. 

But the throne of Samarqand was not a bed of roses. The 

f Uzbeg chief collected a large army and defeated Babar in 

y highly contested battle at Archian (June 1503). Babar 

^ucceeded with difficulty m saving his life and wandered 

as a homeless exile for about a year in great misery, but 

not even these reverses could destroy the serenity jand 

cheerfulness of his temper. - Farghana was also lost. 

Shaibani Khan had in the meantime acquired easy 
possession of the whole country of Khorasan, and there 
was none to check his rising power. Even Babar trembl- 
ed for his safety, and anxiously watched the movements 
of his foes, who had ravaged Transoxiana, Khwarizm, 
Farghfina and Khorasan, and had driven the Timurids 
from their thrones. The Uzbegs advanced upon Qandhar 
and their approach alarmed Babar who retired towards 
Hindustan. But luckily for him a rebellion occurred in 
another part of Shaibani's dominions which obliged him to 


raise the siege of Qandhar. This hasty retreat enabled 
Babar to return to his capital soon afterwards. It was at 
this time that he assumed the title of Padshah ' emperor, ' 
a title not yet adopted by any Timurid. Though his 
throne was far from secure, the adoption of this new 
title marked an important change in his political ideas. 

Having established himself firmly at Kabul, Babar 
once again tried to conquer Samarqand. The destruction 
of Shaibani Khan at the hands of Ismail, the founder of the 
Saf vi line of the kings of Persia, encouraged him in his 
designs. With his help Babar marched against the Uzbegs. 
His name worked like magic, and the people of town and 
countryside extended to him a cordial welcome. Bokhara 
was soon reached, and Babar acquired it without encoun- 
tering any resistance. From Bokhara he advanced upon 
Samarqand and entered it in triumph in October 1511, 
after an absence of nine-years. 

But his position was far from secure. The fates had 
ruled that Babar should not sway Timur's sceptre. His 
outward conformity to the Shia formulae, which was one 
of the conditions of his treaty with Shah Ismail, provoked 
the resentment of his subjects who lost confidence in him 
and began to look upon him as a heretic. For eight months 
he enjoyed himself in the capital of Timur, but he was soon 
alarmed by the news that the Uzbegs under Shaibani's 
son were about to march against Bokhara. Forthwith he 
proceeded against them ; but in the battle that followed he 
was utterly routed in 1512. Thus defeated, he withdrew to 
the fortress of Hisar, The Persian force sent by Shah 
Ismail to aid him was defeated by the Uzbegs, and its 
general was slain in battle. Babar was reduced to great 
straits and in despair he once again turned to Kabul. He 


was now convinced of the impossibility of gaining success 
in the west, and therefore made up his mind to try his. 
luck in the east. 

Babar's final invasion of Hindustan was preceded by a 
number of preliminary raids in Indian territory which 

deserve a passing mention. The fortress of 
Raid? Indian Bajour was captured after a gallant defence 

by the beleagured garrison and Babar right* 
ly regarded it as the first. He marched against Bhira 
(1519) on the Jhelam which he captured without encounter- 
ing any resistance. The people were treated kindly and 
the soldiers who were guilty of excesses were put to 
death. At the suggestion of his advisers he sent an 
ambassador to Sultan Ibrahim Lodi to demand the restoration 
of the ' countries which from old times had belonged to 
the Turks, ' but he was detained by DaulatKhan at Lahore 
so that he returned after five months without a reply. 
Having subdued Bhira, Khushab and the country of the 
Chenab, Babar returned to Kabul by the Kurram Pass. 
During this period he had a surfeit of pleasure and merri- 
ment. He became a hard drunkard and began to drug him- 
self with opium. In the cwnpany of his friends and generals 
Babar held drinking boufs which often grew so uproarious 
and noisy as to become ' burdensome and unpleasant. ' 

Though Babar frequently gave a free rein to mirth and 
excess, he was not a slave to his senses. The Bacchanalian 
revels of which the Memoirs speak with striking candour, 
did not interfere with the progress of his expeditions. In 
1520 Badakhshan was seized, and Prince Humayun was 
appointed to its charge. Two years later he wrested 
Qandhar from the Arghuns and entrusted it to his 
younger son Kamran Mirza. 


Freed from danger in the Afghan region, Babar again 
turned his attention towards Hindustan. The government 
of Ibrahim Lodi, the Afghan ruler at Delhi, was deservedly 
unpopular, and the leading Afghan barons were driven into 
revolt by his hauteur and policy of persecution. The dis- 
content of the barons reached its highest pitch when 
Ibrahim cruelly treated Dilawar Khan, son of Daulat Khan 
Lodi. Annoyed at this treatment, the latter sent through 
his son an invitation to Babar at Kabul to invade Hindustan. 

Such a proposal was welcome to Babar who had long 
cherished the dream of the conquest of Hindustan. Babar 
started from Kabul in 1524 and advanced upon Lahore 
where he routed an Afghan army The city fell into his 
hands, but Daulat Khan who had masked his allegiance 
under the cloak of ambition disapproved of these proceed- 
ings. Babar did not mind his murmurs and entrusted to 
him the fief of Jalandhar and Sultanpur, but Daulat Khan 
soon fell out of favour owing to his hostile intrigues. He 
was deprived of his jagir which was conferred upon 
Dilawar Khan who had revealed Daulat's hostile plans to 
Babar. Having made over Dipalpur to Alam Khan, 
Babar returned to Kabul 

Babar's departure brought Daulat Khan once more 
upon the scene. He wrested Sultanpur from his son and 
drove AlamKhan from Dipalpur. Alam Khan fled to Kabul 
and made a treaty with Babar by which he agreed to cede 
to him Lahore and the country to the west of it, if he were 
seated upon the throne of Delhi. Alam Khan, who was a, 
nerveless ad venturer, shortly afterwards, broke this treaty 
at the instigation of Daulat Khan, and both together made 
a joint attack upon Ibrahim Lodi, but the latter drove 
them from the field of battle with heavy losses. 


Babar was eager for the conquest of Hindustan but 

as Professor Rushbrook-Williams, rightly observes the 

intrigues of Daulat Khan and the faithless* 

PanlpaV I626 f ness of Alam Khan had jmodified ito 

~wKole situation. He could no longer act in 

collaboration with them, and therefore decided to striice 

unaided for the empire ofHindustan. When he reached 

Daulat Khan made fresh overtures and 
implored forgiveness. With his usual magnanimity he 
pardoned his offences and allowed him to retain possession 
of his tribal villages, but deprived him of the rest of his 
property. The Punjab easily came into his hands, but the 
more difficult task was to conquer Delhi His resources 
were inadequate for this enterprise ; he had to fight not 
only against frontier tribes but against the whole might of 
an organised empire in a country with which he was but 
imperfectly acquainted. These seeming disadvantages did 
not damp his enthusiasm, and he embarked on his task 
with his usual courage and optimism, as is shown by the 
following passage which we come across in the Memoirs : 
" Having placed my foot in the stirrup of resolu- 
tion and my hand on the reins of confidence in God, I 
marched against Sultan Ibrahim, son of Sultan Sikan- 
dar, son of the Sultan Bahlal Lodi Afghan, in whose 
possession throne of Delhi and the dominions of Hindus- 
tan at that time were. " l 

Babar 's approach was welcomed by the discontented ele- 
ments in the country. It appears that at this time he 
received a message from Rana Sangram Singh of Mewar, 
he afterwards accused of the non-fulfilment of his 

1 King, Memoirs II, p. 174. 


promise. 1 Hearing the news of Babar's approach, 
Ibrahim sent two advance parties to deal with him, but 
both of them were defeated and Babar advanced un- 
hindered as far as Sirsawah Here he busied himself in 
making preparations for a decisive contest with the 
Afghans. As the latter outnumbered him by thousands, 
he realised that he could defeat them only by an effective 
combination of his highly trained cavalry and his new 
artillery. His generals Ustad Ali and Mustafa could 
easily scatter an undisciplined host, if they were proper- 
ly assisted by infantry and cavalry men, and on this 
Babar concentrated his full attention He collected 700 
gun carts which, fastened together by twisted raw bull 
hides, were to form a laager for the protection of the 
musketeers and matchlockmen. Between each pair of 
waggons were constructed small breastworks (tura) in 
large numbers along that portion of the front which 
Ustad Ali and Mustafa were to occupy. 

Two marches brought Babar and his army to Panipat 
4 small village near Delhi, where the fate of India has been 
thrice decided, on April 12, 1526. He took up a position 
which was strategically highly advantageous. His right 
wing was to be sheltered by the town of Panipat; in the 
centre were posted cannon and matchlockmen, and he 
.strengthened it with the line of breastworks and waggons, 
which he had already prepared. The left was strengthened 

1 In recording the events which occurred after the battle of Panipat 
Babar writes : 

" Although Rana Sanga, the Pagan, when I was in Kabul* had sent me 
an ambassador with professions of attachment and had arranged with 
me, that* if I would march from that quarter into the vicinity of Delhi, 
the would march from the other side upon Agra ; vet when I defeated 
Ibrahim, and took Delhi and Agra, the Pagan, during all my operations, 
did aot make a single movement." King, Memoirs, II, p. 254. 


by digging a ditch and constructing an abatis of felled 
trees. The line which protected the centre was not conti- 
nuous, and Babar took care to leave gaps, at intervals of a 
bowshot, large enough for a hundred or hundred and fifty 
men to charge abreast. Such were the preparations which 
Babar made for his coming encounter with the enemy. 

Sultan Ibrahim had also reached Panipat at the head 
of a large army. Babar estimated that he had with him 
one hundred thousand men a formidably large number 
which must have included non-effectives also* He writes 
in his Memoirs that Ibrahim might have collected a large 
force still had he not been so niggardly in spending 
money, for in Hindustan, it is easy to obtain soldiers for 
hire. The Afghan side was weaker partly because 
Ibrahim's soldiers were mostly mercenaries and partly 
because the Sultan himself was an inexperienced man, 
' who marched without order, retired or halted without 
plan and engaged in battle without foresight. H 

The two armies faced each other for eight days but 
neitl er side took the offensive. At last Babar 's patience- 
was tired out, and he resolved on prompt action. He divided 
his men after the traditional manner of the east into three 
sections -the right, centre and left -and posted flanking 
parties of Mongols on the extreme right and left to effect 
the charge of the tulughmaa well-known Mongol ma- 
noeuvre in order to produce a deadly effect on the enemy. 
The army of Delhi advanced to attack Babar's right' 
whereupon he ordered the reserve to march to its rescue. 
The Afghans pressed on, but when they approached the- 
ditches, abatis and hurdles, they hesitated for a moment,. 

1 King, Memoirs II, p. 183. 


not knowing: whether they should attack or retire. The 
rear ranks pushed forward, and their pressure from 
behind caused some disorder of which Babar took full 
advantage. His flanking parties on both extremes wheeled 
round and attacked the enemy in rear, while the right and 
left wings pressed forward and the centre discharged fire 
with deadly effect. The battle raged fiercely, and the 
Afghan wings were driven into hopeless confusion by 
Babar's flankers. They were hemmed in on all sides and 
attacked with arrows and artillery. Ustad Ali and 
Mustafa, Babar's captains of artillery, poured death 
upon the disorderly Afghan crowd which was now unable 
to advance or retreat. The men fought with great cour- 
age but hopeless confusion followed. The carnage last- 
ed some hours, and the troops, pressed from all sides, 
sought refuge in flight. Ibrahim's army was utterly 
-defeated, and the losses on his side were appallingly 
heavy. According to the calculation of Babar's officers 
about 15 or 16 thousand men perished on the field of battle. 
Ibrahim died fighting like a valiant Afghan, and his 
xiead body was discovered amidst a heap of corpses that 
lay near him. Babar learnt afterwards at Agra that 
altogether forty or fifty thousand men had fallen in this 
battle. ! The success of Babar was due to skilled general- 
ship and a scientific combination of cavalry Hand artillery. 
IbrafimP's head was brought to Babar along with a large 
number of prisoners and spoils of all kinds. The battle 
lasted till mid-day and Babar writes that by the grace 
and mercy of Almighty God the mighty army of Delhi was 
in the space of half a day laid in the dust. 

1 Babar writes that on reaching Agra he found from the accounts 
of the natives of Hindustan that forty or fifty thousand men had fallen 
in the field. Memoirs II, p. 187. 


The battle of Panipat placed the empire of Delhi in 
Babar's hands. The power of the Lodi dynasty was shat- 
tered to pieces, and the sovereignty of Hindustan passed 
to the Chaghtai Turks. Babar distributed the vast booty 
that came into his hands among his kinsmen and officers.. 
Offerings were sent to Mecca and Medina, and so great 
was the generosity shown by the conqueror that every 
living person in Kabul received a silver coin as a token 
of royal favour. Immediately after the battle he sent 
Prince Humayun to capture Agra and followed himself 
soon afterwards. Humayun accorded to him a warm wel- 
come and presented to him the famous diamond which he 
had obtained from the Raja of Gwalior, but Babar with 
his usual generosity gave it back to his son. 

Babar was not yet firmly seated upon the throne of 
Delhi. He had to wrest the country from the Afghan 
barons who held large fiefs all over Hindustan. How 
was this to be accomplished ? His officers dreaded thejhot 
weather and felt anxious to get back to their homes. A 
war council was summoned and Babar appealed to his Begs 
to stay and to renounce their seditious purposes. The 
appeal produced the desired effect, and with the exception 
of one man all expressed their determination to remain 
with him. This decision of Babar was momentous for two 
reasons. In the first place, itjogened the eyes of the Raj- 
puts to^ the greatjangerjhat loomed on the horizon, and 

the submission of several 

notable chiefs in the Doab and elsewhere. His own chiefs* 
werTsaHsiie* tjr the grant of jagirs and helped him in 
reducing a large part of the country to submission. Biyana, 
Gwalior and Dholpur were all subdued. Jaunpur, Ghazipur 
and Kalpi were conquered by Humayun, while Babar 


remained at Agra thinking out ways and means of dealing 
with the Rajputs. It was at this time that an unsuccess- 
ful attempt was made to poison him by the mother of 
Ibrahim Lodi. Had- her nefarious design succeeded, the 
histORMtfJndfe would .have been different. 

)(The most formidable chieftain against whom Babar 
had still to fight was Rana Sangram Singh, better known 

to fame as Rana Sanga, of Mewar. ) He came 
the Rajput f the noble ^tock^of Sisodja andwasTe^ 

nownecT alFover RajastKan as a prince of 
great intellect, valour and virtue, and occupied a'premier 
position among his f ellow-princes.J His^gmi^exploits are 
commemoratecLJn the Rajput Saga, ^ndlhe^Dards of 

Rajasthan still relate the tale ofhis heroic achievements. 
He waged wars against his neighbours, and by his con- 
quests greatly enlarged the small principality of Mewar. 
He had undertaken several successful campaigns against 
the ruler of Malwa. He had conquered Bhilsa, Sarangpur, 
Chanderi and Ranthambhor and entrusted them to vassals 
of his own. The princes of Marwar and Amber acknow- 
ledged his preeminence and the Raos of Gwalior, Ajmer, 
Sikri,Raiseen,Kalpi, Chanderi, Bundi,Gagraon, Rampura, 

and Abu paid homage as his feudatories. MThe 


the Delhi empire and the constant quarrels of the Afghan 
Barons had indirectly strengthened Sanga by giving him 
an opportunity of developing his power unhindered.^ His 
military resources exceeded those of all other princes of 
his time, and Tod writes that eighty thousand horse, seven 
Rajas of the highest rank, nine Raos and one hundred 
and four chieftains bearing the titles of Rawal and Rawat 

1 Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, edited by Grooke, I, 
pp. 848-49. 


with five hundred war elephants followed him to the field 
of battle. ' He made his power felt in Central India and 
Gujarat and greatly added to the prestige of his house, so 
much so indeed, that even Bqbar. who found injiim a foe 
worthy ofjhisjgteel, ^admits that the position 'to* which he 
won by his valour and sword. Our 
admiration for him increases all the more when we learn 
how much his wars had cost his iron frame. He had lost 

one eye, one arm and one If^ in han-io all of which con- 
stituted proofs of his unremi^tijo^exertions in war. No 
wonder, then, if the spirits of Babar 's soldiers aricl officers 
sank before the men who swept like an avalanche towards 
the battlefield of Kanwah under the leadership of the 
greatest Hindu warrior of the age. 

The Rana had opened negotiations with Babar when 
he was at Kabul, but had not kept his promise. Erskinein 
his History of India puts forward the view that it seems to 
have been arranged between the parties that while Babar 
attacked Sultan Ibrahim from the Delhi side, Rana Sanga 
was to attack him from the side of Agra. 2 Both accused 
each other of bad faith, and the Rana claimed Kalpi, 
Dholpur, and Biyana which had been occupied by Babar's 
officers. The Rana advanced towards Biyana and was 
joined by Hasan Khan Mewati. One of his sons had been 
captured by Babar in the battle of Panipat and detained 
as a hostage. At Hasan's presistent entreaties he was 
released in the belief that this act of magnanimity will be 
appreciated by the Mewati chieftain. But it turned out a 
vain hope. No sooner was the young man released than 

1 Tod, 1, p. 848. 

1 History of India, Vol. I, p. 462. 


his father joined Rana Sanga and made common cause 
with him. 

The alliance of these two formidable antagonists 
greatly perturbed Babar and on the llth of February, 
1527. he marched out of Agra to take the field against 
na Sanga and encamped at Sikri, a village near Fateh- 
pur, the deserted city of Akbar. Hitherto he had fought 
against Muslims ; he had met the Uzbeg, the Afghan and 
the Turk in battle, but he had never encountered such 
dauntless fighters as the Rajputs who were asjainous for 
their chivajry^ pjid jg^lla,ntry as f^TK^^complete"3is- 
regard^o^Tlife. ItL 1 ^!!!^^-^^! 
Rajput defied death and destruction even when matched 

KT~^ || . ***- ^*~* - .- *- ?"* " v^ v*r -v^_ f ^*^^^^ 1 '^^^ 11 ^ 

agai^nstjxfiav^odds. The Rana was near "at hand, and the 
Rajputs succeeded in repelling an attack by one of Babar's 

Babar engaged himself in making preparations for 
battle, but his men were affrighted by the reports of 
Rajput strength and valour* Just at this time came an 
astrologer, whom Babar describes as a ' rascally fellow/ 
from Kabul who began to disconcert the army by his 
ominous predictions. Without heeding the forecasts of 
thi^bird of evil presage Babar took steps to^sj^lj^fragb 
hjfpe.and, ardpurjinto the hearts of Jus _ s^j.^rs. Hej 
renounced wine, poured out large quantities on the 
ground, broke all his costly vessels, and took a solemn vow 
not to indulge in liquor again. At the same time to mark 
his penitence he remitted the stamp dutv^ in case of 
Muslims and issued a farman in which he made several, 
important concessions to his co-religionists. 

Babar reinforced this act of abstinence with a direct 
appeal. Calling together his officers and men he spoke ia 

F. 20 


words which recall to our minds the melodramatic elo- 
quence of Napoleon Bonaparte on such occasions. This 
is what he said : 

" Noblemen and soldiers ! Every man that comes 
into the world is subject to dissolution When we are 
passed away and gone, God only survives, unchange- 
able. Whoever comes to the feast of life must, before 
it is over, drink from the cup of death. He who arrives 
at the inn of mortality must one day inevitably take 
his departure from that house of sorrow the world. 
How much better is it to die with honour than to live 
with infamy ! 

\ With fame, even if I die, I am contented ; 
\ Let fame be mine, since my body is death's. 
The Most High God has been propitious to us, and 
has now placed us in such a crisis, that if we fall in the 
field, we die the death of martyr ; if we survive, we 
rise victorious, the avengers of the cause of God. Let 
us, then, with one accord, swear on God's holy word, 
that none of us will even think of turning his face from 
this warfare, nor desert from the battle and slaughter 
that ensues, till his soul is separated from his body. " 
This appeal produced the desired effect and the officers 
as well as the men swore by the Holy Book to stand by 

Rana Sanga brought into the field an army which far 
jxceedecTthat of Jiis adversary in numerical strength. The 
menace ota foreign invasion had called into existence a 
powerful confederacy of Raiputchief a under the leadership 
of the redoubtable sanga. Silahadi, the chief of Bhilsa, 
joined the confederacy with 30 thousand horse, Hasan 
Khan of Mewat with 12 thousand, Medini Rao of Chanderi 


with 12 thousand and Rawal Udai Singh of Dungarpur with 
ten thousand, and Sultan Mahmud Lodi, a son of Sultan 
Sikandar Lodi, who had been acknowledged as king of 
Delhi by the Rana also came to take part in the battle at 
the head of ten thousand mercenaries. There were minor 
chiefs who brought their forces from four to seven 
thousand men to swell the ranks of the army. According 
to Babar's estimate the Rajput army numbered two 
hundred and one thousand. This is doubtless an 
exaggerated estimate The numbers are overrated so far 
as fighting men are concerned. There may have been 
numerous camp followers and others, but the main army 
consisted of nearly 120 thousand horse a figure 
mentioned in the Tabqat-i-Akbari and accepted by 
Erskine. Babar's army was encamped near Kanwah, a 
village at a distance of ten miles from Sikri. Preparations 
were vigorously made to put the troops in order. Babar 
divided them into three sections the right, centre and 
left. He entrusted the right wing to Humayun, the left 
to his son-in-law Saiyyad Mehdi Khwaja, both of whom 
were assisted by tried and capable officers. The centre 
was commanded by himself with his trusty Begs, and on 
the right and left were posted two flanking parties 
(tulughma) to charge on the enemy's flank and rear in the 
heat of battle. The artillery men and musketeers were 
posted along the front of the line protected by chained 
waggons and breastworks, and Ustad Ali was ordered to 
occupy a position in front of the centre with the heavy 

It was on Saturday the 16th of March. 1527. that the 
two armies came face to face with each other. The battle 
i>egan at 9 or d-30 in the morning and lasted till evening. 


Babar employed the same tactics as at Panipat and caused 
a terrible confusion in the Rana's army. But nothing could 
bend the spirit of the Rajputs who at first swept away the 
enemy by the sheer weight of numbers. Towards 
evening the day was decided. The Rajputs suffered a 
terrible defeat and broke up in panic. The field wag- 
strewn with human corpses and so were the roads to 
Biyana and Alwar. The slaughter was fearful, and 
among those who perished in the conflict were Hasan 
Khan Mewati, Rawal Udai Singh of Dungarpur and a 
number of lesser chieftains. Rana Sanga escaped from 
the field through the efforts of his followers and sought 
jrefuge in one of his hill fortresses. Babar ordered a 
tower of skulls to be built on a mound near the camp 
and assumed the title of Ghazi or champion of the faith. 
The Rajput annals ascribe Sanga's defeat to the 
treachery of a Rajput chief who had joined as an ally, 
but there is no foundation for this view. However that 
may be, the battle of Kanwah is one of the decisive 
battles of Indian history. Professor Rushbrook- Williams 
has described its importance in a passage which is worthy 
of reproduction : 

"In the first place, the InetiaW of Rajput 
supremacy which had loomed, large before the eyes of 
Muhammadans in India for~the last few years was 
removed once for all. The powerful confederacy, 
which depended so largely for its unity upon the 
strength and reputation of Mewar, was shattered by a 
single great defeat, and ceased henceforth to be a domi- 
nant factor in the politics of Hindustan. Secondly, the 
MughaUniEire ofjndia was soon firmly established? 
fiabaiThad definitely seated himself upon the throne of 


Sultan Ibrahim, and the sign and seal of his achieve- 
ment had been the annihilation of Sultan Ibrahim's^ 
most formidable antagonists. Hitherto, the occupation 
of Hindustan might have been looked upon as a mere 
episode in Babar's career of adventurel but from 
henceforth it becomes the keynote of his activities for 
the remainder of his life. His da^s of wandering in 
search of a fortune are now passed away : the fortune 
is Ms, jand^ he has but to show himself worthy ofltr 
And it is significant of the new stage in his career 
which this battle marks that never afterwards does he 
have to stake his throne and life upon the issue of a 
stricken field. Fighting there is, and fighting in plenty, 
to be done : but it is fighting for the extension of his 
power, for the reduction of rebels, for the ordering 
of his kingdom. It is never fighting for his throne. 
And it is also significant of Babar's grasp of vitJ 
issues that from henceforth the Centre of gravity _of 
his power is shijted,fs)i^^ l 

'The Rajput confederacy was broken up but Babar 
was not yet complete master of Hindustan. He must 
subdue several chieftains before he could 

<;on- claim to be a sovereign in the full sense of 
Kingship. the term. Professor Rushbrook-Williams in 

reviewing Babar's position after the battle 
of Kanwah argues that he had not merely to conquer a 
kingdom but to recreate a theory of kingship. He speaks 
of Ibrahim's failure to restore to the Sultanate of Delhi 
that absolute authority which it had possessed in the 
days of the Tughluqs. He found it impossible to do 

1 Empire Builder of the Sixteenth Century, pp. 156-57. 


so because his government was not a * divine inheritance ' 
but a * human concession. ' The Afghan ruler was only 
Primus inter vares, and the division of the empire into 
Heta managed by barons who were virtually independent 
further tended to undermine people's belief in the 
mysterious divinity that hedgeth round the person of a 
king. Babar discarded the title of Sultan and called 
himself a PadshajffT It is not that this declaration made 
the oriice sacrosanct in the eyes of ambitious men, for 
I only after ten years Humayun was expelled from the 
(throne in spite of his ' divine inheritance and Timurid 
descent/ But it served a great need of the time. It 
proclaimed to the world that Babar meant to be some- 
thing more than a mere Sultan, a full-fledged despot 
determined to sweep away all vestige of independence 
and co-ordinate authority It emphasised his appreciation 
of the need for a centralised government in the midst of 
warring factions and tribes. Ideas rule mankind- and 
subsequent generations wec^delighted to snatch a glimpse 
of their king from the Jhlrokha window with the same 
reverence and devotion as they showed towards the Deity. 
One of the chief strongholds of the Rajputs was Chan- 
deri which was in the possession of Medini Rao. Babar 
marched against him and reached Chanderi 
Reduces the on January 20, 152& Medini" Rao shut. 'him"- 

fort of unan- * T - 

deri. . self inj:hejfort with 5.QOQ pf his followers. 

' "BaBar^offered him a Jagir in lieu of Chan- 

deri but he refuse? to enter iffEoTa treaty with hmT Just 
at this time news came from the east that the Afghans 
had defeated the royal army and compelled it to leave 
Lakhnau (Lucknow) and fall back on Kanauj. Babar 
kept his head cool in spite of this disquieting news, 


and pushed on the siege of Chanderi. The fort was 
attacked on all sides with such vigour that the Rajputs, 
when they saw no hope of escape practised the usual 
rite of Jauhar^ and with great gallantry drove the 
enemy along the rampartg. A brilliant assault followed, 
ancPEKe Tort "was captured by Babar. Soon after this 
died the valiant Rana Sanga and his death marked the 
final collapse of the Rajput confederacy. The rebellious 
Afghan barogs were subdued, and Babar enjoyed an 
interval of quiet till the end of the year 1528. 

But the Afghan danger was not yet over. Mahmud 
Lodi, brother of Ibrahim, had seized Bihar and a large 
part of the eastern country had declared for 
l1 him. Babar sent his son Askari with a force 
- against the rebellious leader and himself 
followed a little later. On hearing of his approach the 
enemy melted away, and as Babar passed Allahabad, 
Chunar and Benares on his way to Buxar several Afghan, 
chiefs waited upon him and made their submission. Mah- 
mud, deserted by his chief supporters, found refuge in 
Bengal. The ruler of Bengal, NusratShah, had given Babar 
an assurance of his good-will, but his troops gave shelter 
to the fugitive Afghan prince. Babar marched towards 
Bengal, and defeated the Afghans in the famous battle of 
the Gogra on May 6, 1529. This victory ruined the hopes o 
trie jjoais, ana Drought to Babar the submission of several 
leacting AtghanHSarSfis. TTaBaFmarched back to Agra 
evidently satisfied with ihe result of his brilliant campaign. 

After the battle of Kanwah Humayun had been sent 

to Kabul wher trouble was apprehended, but his failure 

iastyars a ainst the Uzbegs greatly disappointed 

Babar, and he determined to set out in person 


to put in order the trans-Hindukush part of his empire. 
He proceeded as far as Lahore, but declining health pre- 
vented him from going further. About this time a plot 
was formed to place on the throne, to the exclusion of 
Babar's legitimate heirs, Mir Muhammad Khwaja, a 
brother-in-law of Babar's and a nobleman of high rank, 
who held the fief of Etawah. When Humayun learnt of 
this plot, he left Badakhshan in spite of the requests of 
the Badakhshanis to the contrary and arrived at Agra 
and successfully frustrated the attempts of the conspira- 
tors. He went to his Jagir at Sambhal where after some 
time in the hot weather of 1530 he fell seriously ill. Babar 
was much upset by this illness and ottered to sacrifice his 
life in order to save that of his son. His nobles implored 
him to desist from such a course and suggested that the 
precious diamond seized at Agra might be given away, 
but he held it a poor compensation for the life of his son. 
It is said he walked three times round the bed of Humayun 
and prayed to God to transfer the disease to him. Im- 
mediately he was heard to say, so strong was the force of 
will, "I have borne it away ! I have borne it away ! " From 
that moment, Muhammadan historians tell us, Humayun 
recovered his health and Babar declined more and more. 

A sudden disorder of the bowels completely pro- 
strated him and he felt certain of approaching death 
Calling his chiefs together he asked them to acknowledge 
Humayun as his successor and to co-operate with him in 
managing his kingdom. Then he turned towards Huma- 
yup and addressed to him the following words : 

" I commit to God's keeping you and your brothers 
and all my kinsfolk and your people and my people ; 
d all of these I confide to you." * 


Three days later he passed away on December 26, 
1530. His death was at first kept a secret, but after some 
time Araish Khan, one of the nobles of Hind, pointed 
out the unwisdom of such an act. He reminded the 
nobles of the practice of the bazar people to rob and steal 
in such circumstances and warned them of the conse- 
quences of concealment. He suggested that a man should 
be seated on an elephant, and he should go about the 
town proclaiming that the emperor had become a darvesh, 
and had given the kingdom to his son Humayun. Humayun 
agreed to this. The populace was reassured by the pro- 
clamation, and all prayed for his welfare. 1 Thus Humayun 
ascended the throne on December 29, 1530, and gave 
assurance of his sympathy and good-will by allowing every 
one ' to keep the office and service, and lands, and residence 
which he had enjoyed during his father's regime.' 2 

Babar's body was first laid in Rambagh or Arambagh 
at Agra on the bank of the Jamna, but later it was 
removed to Kabul according to his instructions and was 
buried in a place chosen by himself. 3 

Babar had no time to devise new laws or establish 
institutions for the governance of the wide dominions 
which he had won by the power of his 
sword. He accepted the system which he 

found in vogue in Hindustan, and parcelled 

1 Gulbadan, Humayunnaraa, pp. 109-10. 
8 Ibid ,p. ItO. 

3 Kabul was the place he loved most in his dominions. He 
was enthusiastic in its praise and wrote : ' The climate is extremely 
delightful, and there is no such place in the known world ' On another 
occasion he said : * Drink wine in the Citadel of Kabul, and send round 
the cup without stopping, for it is at once mountain and stream, town 


out his empire into fiefs which he entrusted to Jagirdar& 
dependent upon himself. It is true they did not enjoy the 
same degree of independence as they had enjoyed under 
the Lodis, but the defects of the system were obvious. 
What strikes us in Babar's reign is the financial Deficit 
caused by his lavish generosity and the unsettled condition 
of the country! H^ad remitted the stamp djt levied 
on the Muslims on the eve oFti^ He 

had so recklessly distributed the treasure founcTat Delhi 
and AgnTtihat he was obliged to have recourse to adiji- 
tional taxation in order to obtain the necessary equipment 
for the army?" Ev^yTn'anTia^fi^an office in the various 
departments of the state was required to bring to the 
Diwan a hundred and thirty instead of a hundred to help 
in procuring the right kind of arms and supplies for the 
^ army. 2 The results of this financial breakdown were seen 
in the reign of his successor and we may agree with Pro- 
fessor Rushbrook-Williams when he says that he * beque- 
athed to his son a monarchy which could be held together 
only by the continuance of war conditions, which in times 
of peace was weak, structureless and invertebrate ' ' 

Babar briefly dwells upon the political situation at the 
time of his invasion and gives a highly detailed and 
minute account of the flora and faun%_ of 
a r of Hindustan - He makes mention of moun- 

tains, rivers, jungles and the various kinds 
of vegetables, fruits and food-stuffs. He 
expresses a poor opinion of the people of Hindustan which. 

1 King, Memoirs II, p. 281. 

* Ibid., p. 345. 

3 Empire Builder of the Sixteenth Century, p. I6j. 


is wjiolly exaggerated. His stay in India was much too 
short to enable him to acquaint himself fully and accu- 
rately with the ideas and habits of the natives of the 
country. This is what he writes : 

"Hindustan is a country that has few pleasures to 
recommend it The people are not handsome. They 
have no idea of the charms of friendly society, of 
frankly mixing together or of familiar intercourse. 
They have no genius, no comprehension of mind, no 
politeness of manner, no kindness or fellow-feeling, no 
ingenuity or mechanical invention in planning or 
executing their handicraft works, no skill or knowledge 
in design or architecture ; they have no horses, no good 
flesh, no grapes or musk-melons, no good fruits, no ice 
or cold water, no good food or bread in their bazars, no 
baths or colleges, no candles, no torches, not a 
candlestick. Instead of a candle or torch, you have 
a gang of dirty fellows, whom they call divatis, who 
hold in their left hand a kind of small tripod, to the 
side of one leg of which, it being wooden, they stick a 
piece of iron like the top of candlestick ; they fasten a 
pliant wick, of the size of the middle finger, by an iron 
pin, to another of the legs. In their right hand they 
hold a gourd, in which they have made a hole for the 
purpose of pouring out oil, in a small stream, and 
whenever the wick requires oil, they supply it from 
this gourd. Their great men kept a hundred or two 
hundred of these divatis." l 

He goes on to add that they have no aqueducts or canals 
in their gardens or palaces and in their buildings there is 
neither elegance nor regularity. Their peasants and the 

1 King, Memoirs II, pp. 241-42. 

lower classes all go about naked and use only a langoti to 
cover their nakedness. The chief excellence of Hindustan 
consists in tfte fact that there is an abundance of gold and 
silver in the country. The climate is very pleasant during 
the rains. There is no dearth of workmen of every profes- 
sion and trade and they are always open to engagement. 
Occupations are mostly hereditary and for particular 
foinds of work particular sets of people are reserved. 

According to Babar the countries from Bhereh to 
Bihar which were included in his empire yielded a revenue 
of 52 crores of which parganas yielding about eight or nine 
crores are in the possession of Rajas and Rais who had 
always been loyal to the power at Delhi. ! 

Babar's autobiography (Babarnamah) originally writ- 
ten in Turki is a book of surpassing interest. Itjaithf ftlly 
describes the worlds in whlclTBabar lived and 

-. - - - . - _ " ^ .. . 

K > o 

a D a r B 

~ -. - ^ - - - , . ., ^ ^ 

autobio g r a- the persons with whom he came in contact. 
phy * As^wiT nc^ of his 

intejligent mind 

"grasping military situations with the acuteness of a 
consummate general. No eastern prince has written 

VV ! '"\^"*'" PI C *"""-"v p****<****> J "''^*~*-~^ """*~* w - 1 '' ^*>- u-n ____ 

such a vivid, interesting anqver'acipus account ; of his li&ajis 
BSgar" He describes his own shortcomings with a candour 
whicB greatly impresses us. His style is not pompous 
or ornate like that of the Persian writers. It is simple, 
clear and fpmbl<3 and its effect is considerably enhanced 

Jby the utter lack of cant and hypocrisy,, 

s' *- - ""- "*~ - - *" 

1 King, Memoirs I, pp. 2424. These figures are unreliable though 
Babar says (II, p. 425) he has verified them. The detailed statement of 
Babar's revenue, though not given in the Persian version of his 
Memoirs, is found in the Turki original and is reproduced in the French 
edition. King has given an English translation of it in his edition of the 
Memoirs. Vol. II, pp. 244-45. 


Babar had a great regard for truth for he writes : ' I 
do not write this in order to make complaint ; I have written 
the plain truth. I do not set down these matters in order 
to make known my deserts ; I have set down exactly what 
happened. In this history I have held firmly to it that the 
truth should be reached in any matter, and that every 
act should be recorded precisely as it occurred. ' Itjs thia 
whichhasjnade ihe Jfemoj^ a tjiii^^ 
4C^S^95l^PH^Jt_in his own felicitous languageTthe 
pom|^ dynasty are, gpne^ but tEe 

record oT^Jife-the littera scripta th^t^ra^cfis^f 
tSn^remains unaltered and imperishable - - 

Hie Merftoirs were * translated^ by Humayun from an 
original in Babar's own handwriting in 1553 and were 
afterwards translated into Persian by Abdur Rahim Khan- 
i-Khanan in the time of Akbar in 1590. The Persian 
translation is faithful and accurate, and the variations that 
occur are of idiom and not of detail Several translations 
of the Memoirs have appeared in European languages in 
modern times. 

Babar is one of the ^ most interestjjag^f^uyr^ 
whole rangej>f mediaeval history! "As a prince, warrior! 
~~~"^ and scholar he is fit to take rank with the 
of Babar aht7 greatest rulers of mediaeval times. The 
trials and adventures of his early life had 
strengthened every fibre of his bodily; frame and had 
developed in him the quaiities of patience^ endurance, 
courage and self-reliance^ XcTversTty" is a true school of 
greatness, and Babar had fully profited by the good and 
bad chances of life He loved game and hunting expedi- 
tions, and often in the coldest winter he rode long dis- 
tances in pursuit of wild animals, and fully enjoyed hia 


excursions with his comrades. So great was his physical 

strength that with one man under each arm_ he could run 

along the rampart without ~~tlie least inconvenience 

and risk. He wasTon3T6f river bath, and was once seen 

plunging recklessly into an ice-bound stream with tem- 

perature below zero. He was gifted by nature with an 

extraordinary amount of energy, self-confidence, and the 

power to instil hope anTenthusiasm into the hearts of his 

men, when they failed or faltered before a formidable foe. 

He loved field sports and was a skilful swordsman and 

archer. The elasticity of his mind enabled him to pass 

from the wine cup to the blockade of a fortress with the 

greatest alacrity and cheerfulness His methods of war 

were those that had been prevalent in Central Asia among 

the Mongols and Turks, but he had brought about altera- 

tions in them, and had so perfected his artillery branch 

that he was hard to beat in battle. His military discipline 

was severe, *and though .at times he burst into ferocity he 

was generally humane and kind-hearted. jHe did not 

allow his soldiers to devastate the conquered ^countries 

and severely punished 

He ^was he Jhappy compound^)? a^g^eat^ prince and a 
good^man. His temper was frank, jovial, and buoyaniFand^ 
it retained its buoyancy to the end of his life. No distress 
or misfortune could disturb its equanimity and whether on 
the field of battle or on the edge of a precipice in the hilly 
country hgjnoved forward with a merry heart. He strictly 
sred the sanctity of the plighted wordf and even in' 
ling with his enemies he never had recourse to treachery 
loul play* He hated ingratitude and expected all men 
to stand by their friends in time of need and to keep their 


He treated his enemies with a magnanimity rare> 

>*^^~^^^L**^~~-~-~^"'^^ f **^~- >. ' - - * - - . '-^ ** -s^/, fc , - 

among his ^contejg^oranes^ in Central ^.Asia. He was 
Mfid'^Tiis brothers and wHen urged to get rid of 
his brother Jahangir by one of his advisers he replied : 
' Urge it as he would, I did not accept his suggestion, 
because it is against my nature to do an injury to my 
brethren, older or younger, or to any kinsmen so ever, 
even when something untoward has happened.' HJJJ 
loyalty towards W^Jkinsmen^and , |riends was conspj- 
cuousT fie treated his Chaghtai kinsmen with great 
kincfness, and Mirza Haidar Daghlat effusively speaks o 
thejgenerous treatment which Jie^ received at his hands. 
The hardships of life had perhaps convinced him of the 
necessity of affection and of nurturing kindly sentiments 
wTthiiT Kim. "Prom his own v experience heJbad learnt 
tlrtf~yatue~of kindness^aiid fidelity, and recognised the 
importance of mutual good-will in social welfare. He 
writes of his father, mother, grandmothers, and sisters 
in terms of affection, and weeps for days together for a 
playmate of his earlier days. It is this humaixJtait.j3a 

W" tM^^"-**^ ..-r*~' *^*% w- --" - *^ l ""*" > ' 

rwe^mong^tlje^Mongols and Turfe^wmch, jn^keg^abar's 
personality a subject of^ absorbing interest 
1 A word might Be^saidliBout BaBa?sattitude towards 
the three common things in which the Muslim world of 
gaiety and fashion took delight wine, women, and song, 1 
Wine-drinking was a universal practice in Babar's day 
and the Memoirs speak with perfect frankness of Babar's 
own indulgence in liquor. But even in drink he observed 
decorum and asked his followers ' to carry their liquor 
like gentlemen. ' When they became senseless under the 
influence of liquor and * foul-mouthed and idiotic/ he 
disliked them and disapproved of their conduct. We find 


him at these drinking parties a strange, happy figure. 
jfle drinks copiously but never neglects his business and 
'is seen at a bound in his saddle when his services are 
needed in a raid or campaign. Several times he resolved 
to abstain from liquor, but such vows were more honour- 
*ed in the breach than in the observance. He would keep 
the vow for two or three days amTtlien break it at the 
sight of the crystal waters of a limpid stream or a moun- 
tain spring. It was at Sikri when he found himself 
against the Rajput odds that he made a vigorous effort 
of will to give up wine and asked his friends and follow- 
ers to do likewise. This was his final renunciation. Even 
as a drunkard Babar is i fascinating ri 

arid illustrious drinkers' who regarded wine as the 

ly acknowledged his debt to his grandmother 
and showed much filial devotion towards his parents, 
but like Napoleon Bonaparte he held in contempt those 
who allowed women to interfere in political affairs or in- 
volved themselves in feminine mtrigoes. He disliked 
termagant wbmerT anil favoured the repression^ of 

feminine loquacity. 

TheT Mongols and Turks of the fifteenth century 
were not very particular about their morals. Pederasty was 
a common vice among the Turks and Babar speaks oi the 
practice with his usual frankness. It was a fashion to 

1 About such women be endorsed the view expressed in 
words : 

" A bad wife in a good man's house 

Even in this world, makes a hell on earth." 

"May the Almighty remove such a visitation from every good Mus- 
lim ; and God grant that such a thing as an ill-tempered, cross-grained 
e be not left in the world." 

Kin*. Memoirs. I. D. 206. 


"keep concubine/ and prostitutes, but Babar *s life was so' 
occupied in sieges and battles that he had no timejto 
enjoy himself like other eastern rulers. The exigencies 
-of the situation at any rate in Hindustan enforced abs- 
tinence from sensual pleasures, and Babar always exer- 
-cised self-restraint when it was necessary to do so. He 
was fond of music both vocal and instrumental, and him- 
self composed songs,liome of w^iciymyg^come down to us. 

Babar was an orthodox SunnTiFhis religious viewg, but 
his culture saved him from beingj. zealot or a fanatic like 
Mahmud of GhazKTorlTruthless conqueror like his great 
ancestor Timur, the Lame. He looked upon Shias as 'rank 
heretics' and the ' followers of an evil belief opposed to 
the pure faith.' He writes of the Hindus with contempt 
and recognises Jihad as a sacred duty. In describing 
Rana Sanga's military resources and his gallantry in the 
field of battle he uses language which does little credit 
to his culture, but that was the usual practice of the age. 
He ordered towers of ' pagan skulls ' to be built both at 
Sikri and Chanderi and showed no quarter to the idolaters 
who opposed him. But there was no systematic persecu- 
tion of the Hindus during his reign and he never 
punished men merely on grounds of religion. Himself a 
great believer in Allah he ascribed all His success to Hia 
goodness and mercy and regarded sovereignty as a gift 
from Hii- In the heat of battle he looked to God for 
help for all his battles were fought in His cause. His 
belief in the efficacy of prayer was immense as is illus- 
trated by the manner in which he sacrificed himself to 
save the life of his son. 

He wflg ji^pasgionate lover of nature wh&_found jfre 
greatest pleasure m the streams^ "meaaows andj>asture 


lands of his native country. Springs, lakes, plants,. 
flowers and fruits all had their charm for him, so much: 
so indeed, that even when he was in Hindustan he- 
never forgot the melons of Fargkana, thejgape&_And 
pomegranates Of Kabul and the lands beyond the Oxus. 
Itwaslllly luvti 61 Rftture which called into play~"his. 
poetic powers. He possessed a fine intellect and a rich 
imagination which were utilised to the best advantage 
in depicting the scenes amidst which he moved and 
in portraying the persons whom he knew. 
was a poet of nomeajx^jorder. He had 

^ and his Diwan or collection 

of Turki poems is regarded as a work of considerable 
merit.. He wrote in a pure and unaffected style and 
composed odes and songs with great facility. He knew 
the sacred function of poetry, and writes that it would be 
a pity if the tongue is wasted on satirical or frivolous 
poems. HejilwaYg adhgredjp the viewJJiaLthe_foniniage 

vehicle of noble thought His 

mastery over prose was equally remarkableT^He could 
write with ease both in Turin and Persian, and like all 
cultured men of the east practised calligraphy. He was 
an adept in describing countries, their climate and peculiar 
geographical features, and his fastidiousness in valuing 
the compositions of others would call forth the blushes 
of a tutor in a modern university. On one occasion he 
reprimanded Humayun for writing his letters carelessly 
and advised him to cultivate a plain and unaffected 
style. The most remarkable of his prose work is the 
Memoirs of his own lire, whicli will remain for all time 
a first-rate authority on the history of Bazar's reign and 
a 'source of inspiration to those wno wisn to carve out 



a career for themselves notwithstanding adverse cir- 

Babar was unquestionably superior to the other 

"TirisTrueT he was sometimes 

le of human life, but such occasions 
were few and far between. As a rule he never slew 
men wantonly. Butjwhat endears him to us, in spite of 
the lapse of centunesHs his cfeei 

nobility of his 

i*-*y~*j ^-*t: ^*~ j.i - : H >.v^"^^r^v"7^^^r-^ 

Indeed, there are few princes in Asiatic history who can 

be ranked higher than Babar in genius and accomplish- 


yHumayun ascended the throne at Agra on the 29th 
December, 1530, in the midst of great public rejoicings. 
He had been charged by Babar on his death- 
be d to treat his brothers with affection and 
Humayun acted on this advice to his great 
detriment. Most of his troubles and misfortunes sprang 
from his brothers, and his own treatment was responsible 
for their sinister designs. The first thing which he did 
after the fashion of the Timurids was to divide his father 's 
dominions among members of the blood royal. Kamran 
was confirmed in his possession of Kabul and Qandhar ; 
fe>amphal was given to Mirza Askari, and Alwar and 

Mewat were allotted to Mirza Hindal, while Badakhshan 
was entrusted to the charge of his cousin Sulaiman Mirza. 
The leading nobles and military leaders were conciliated 
by means of large gifts and rewards. 

Soon after his accession Humayun discovered that the 
throne of Delhi was not a bed of roses. The difficulties 
which surrounded the new king were of no mean order. 
There was no law of primogeniture among the Muslims, 
and every prince of the royal house aspired to dominion. 
Often the claims of rival aspirants were settled by an 
appeal to the sword. The large gifts, granted to princes, 
stimulated their political ambitions and furnished them 
with the sinews of war which they freely employed against 
their opponents. The loyalty of the army could not always 



be relied upon. It was a heterogeneous mass of men be- 
longing to various nationalities. The Chaghtai, the Uzbeg, 
the Mughal, the Persian and Afghan soldiers fought well, 
but they were too pro^e to quarrel amongst themselves, 
and their counsels were almost always characterised by a 
woeful lack of unanimity. They plotted and intrigued to 
push forward their own men and frequently sacrificed the 
interests of the whole for the interests of the part. There 
were powerful Khans at court who did not consider the 
acquisition of a kingdom or empire beyond the scope of 
their ambitions. The intrigues of these men were bound 
to embarrass any ruler, however capable or vigilant. 

There were other difficulties. Babar had no time to 
consolidate his possessions, and the majority of his subjects 
who were Hindus looked upon their conquerors as success- 
ful barbarians. In the East the Afghans were fomenting 
strife, and Mahmud Lodi was wandering in Bihar trying 
to rally to his side the Afghan nobles who were anxious 
to regain their lost power. Sher Khan had already 
entered upon a military career of great promise and was 
making efforts to organize the Afghans into a nation. In 
Gujarat Bahadur Shah had greatly increased his po^er and 
was maturing his plans for the conquest of Rajputana. He 
possessed enormous wealth which afterwards enabled him 
to finance the anti-Mughal movement started in Bihar 
and Bengal by the great Afghan who finally succeeded in 
expelling Humayun from Hindustan. 

At the time of Babar's death Kamran was in Kabul. 

Having entrusted his territories to the care of Askari, he 

marched towards Hindustan at the head 

Kamrln! * of a considerable force and gave out that he 

was coming to congratulate his brother on 


the assumption of royal dignity. Humayun who knew 
him too well to be deceived by these effusive expressions 
of loyalty sent an envoy in advance to inform him that 
he had already decided to add Peshawar and Lamghan 
to the fief of Kabul. But Kamran was not satisfied 
with this offer and marched down to the Indus. He 
captured Lahore and brought the whole of the Punjab 
under his sway. Humayun who was not prepared for 
war acquiesced in this forcible seizure, and allowed him to 
enjoy the kingdom of Kabul, Qandhar and the Punjab. 
It was a mistake on Humayun' s part to make these 
concessions because they erected a barrier between him 
and the lands beyond the Afghan hills Kamran could 
henceforward, as Professor Rushbrook- Williams observes, 
cut the taproot of Humayun's military power by 
merely stopping where he was. Besides, the cession 
of Hisar Firoza was a blunder for it gave Kamran 
command of the new military road which ran from Delhi 
to Qandhar. 

One of the most formidable enemies of Humayun was 
Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. He was making vigorous efforts 
Bahadur to in< *ease his power. Early in ^531 he 
Shah ofGuja- invaded Malwa along with the Rana of 
Mewar on the ground that the ruler of that 
country had given shelter to his brother, Chand Khan, a 
rival claimant to the throne of Gujarat. Malwa was con- 
quered and the Sultan was sent as a prisoner to Cham 1 - 
panir. The kings of Khandesh, Ahmadnagar and Berar 
were humbled by him and made to acknowledge his 
supremacy. The Portuguese also feared his growing 
power and paid homage to him. With great resources at 
his command, Bahadur turned against the Rana of Chittor 


ivho was compelled to agree to terms which were ' ruinous 
alike to his pride and his pocket. ' 

Emboldened by this success Bahadur began to prepare 
himself for bigger enterprise. The Afghan chiefs like 
Alam Khan, the uncle of Ibrahim Lodi, who had sought 
refuge with him, solicited his aid in driving the Chaghtais 
out of India. Equally dangerous were the intrigues of 
the Mughal nobles who had fled to his court and who 
confirmed the view that the conquest ,of Hindustan could 
be easily accomplished. Humayun wrote to Bahadur to 
dismiss the fugitives but he refused to do so. This was 
the immediate cause of war. 

Humayun marched against the nobles of Gujarat and 
defeated them. Bahadur hurried back to the scene of 
action from Chittor on hearing this news but he was 
defeated and the Mughals captured immense booty. He 
fled to Champanir but Humayun followed close upon his 
heels with a powerful force. Bahadur then left for Diu 
without offering any resistance , and opened negotiations 
with the Portuguese. 

Humayun meanwhile laid siege to the fort of Cham- 
panir and captured it after four months' blockade. But 
the Mughals were so elated with success that they wasted 
their time in feasting and merriment. Bahadur profited 
by this supine^ inaction of his enemies and at once sent 
his officer Imad-ul-mulk who occupied Ahmadabad and 
collected a large army to fight for his master. The 
Portuguese governor also promised aid in return for the 
permission which he had given to fortify his settlement. 

This roused Humayun from his lethargy. He marched 
.against Imad-ul-mulk and defeated him. The country 
was made over to his brother Mirza Askari who proved 


an incapable and tactless governor. He quarrelled with his 
own officers and did nothing to effect a peaceful settlement 
of the country. Bahadur took advantage of these dis- 
sensions in the enemy's camp and advanced towards 
Ahmadabad. The Mughal general surrendered Champanir 
into his hands, and gradually the whole country came into 
his hands but he did not live to enjoy the fruits of his 
victory. He was invited by the Portuguese governor to a 
conference but in a scuffle which ensued between, 
the Portuguese and his men Bahadur who suspected 
treachery fell into the sea and was drowned in 1537. 
Humayun who was at Mandu withdrew to Agra, and as 
soon as he did so Malwa was also lost. 

Thus the emperor's own lethargy and indecisioa 
ruined his prestige in the north. The Afghans slowly 
increased their strength, and with the help of their leader 
Sher Khan began to prepare themselves fora trial of 
strength with the Mughals. 

/*Y The original name of Sher Shah was Farid. His 
father Hasan was a Jagirdar of Sasram in Bihar. The 
"^ exact date of his birtlTis not known, but it 
ShaiT * s P r bable that he was born some time 
about the year 1486A.D. In his early boy- 
Farid was neglected by his father who was $ alava 
to his youngest wife and showed a preference to his sons 
I>y the latter. But this petticoat influence proved a bless- 
ing in disguise. Disgusted by the conduct of his step- 
mother and infatuated father, Farid left his home and 
went to Jaunpur where he applied himself to the study of 
letters. Being a precocious lad, he devoted himself to the 
study of Arabic and Persian with great zeal, and soon 
acquired a mastery over these two languages. He- 


committed to memory the Gulistan, Bostan and Sikandar- 
namahand enriched his wonderfully quick mind with 
vast stores of polite learning. He studied literature 
and history and took a keen delight in reading of the 
noble deeds and virtues of great rulers in the past. 
Impressed by Farid 's talents his father's patron Jamal 
Khan, the governor of BiharT asked him to behave 

fU^^^fft^^ ...... JL[ 111 i __ - _- - -* 

better towards his son who held out ample promise of 
future greatness. 

Hasan was reconciled, and he entrusted his jagir to 
his ambitious son. Farid managed the jagir well, but the 
jealousy of his step-mother again drove him into voluntary 
He took service under Bahar Khan, son of Darya 

Khan Lohani, governor of Bihar, who was much impressed 
by his talents. On one occasion when Bahar went out on 
a hunting expedition Farid slew a tiger and in recognition 
of this brave deed his master gave him the title of Sher 
Khan. But differences having arisen soon afterwards be- 
tween him and Farid, the latter resigned his service and 
went to Agra where he was introduced to Babar by one of 
his leading nobles. When Babar undertook the subjugation 
of the Afghans in the east, Sher Khan rendered him great 
assistance and received in return his father's jagir. 

Babar had restored Jalal Khan, son of Bahar Khan, to 
his father's possessions after the death of the latter, but 
he was a minor and his affairs were managed by Sher 
Khan. When Jalal came of age he wished to free himself 
from the galling tutelage of the powerful Afghan chief 
who held him in leading strings. He sought the help of 
the ruler of Bengal in accomplishing his object but all hia 
efforts failed. Sher Khan defeated the forces of the two 
allies and Bihar easily came into his hands. 


Sher Khan was not.tlie^man to rest^gnjhi^^ He 
now turned his attention towarcls Bengal. He dashed 
through the country and easily overpowered the resistance 
offered by the Bengal troops so that by the end of February 
1536, he appeared before the walls of Gaur. Mahmud, 
the king of Bengal, offered no resistance and bribed Sher 
Khan to retire. Next year Sher Khan again marched 
towards Gaur, but the Bengalis showed little courage, and 
the Afghans entered the city in triumph. When Huma- 
yun heard of Sher Khan's success in Bengal, he advanced 
towards Gaur, but the wily Afghan retreated towards 
Bihar and eluded his pursuers. The Mughals captured 
Gaur and re-named it Jannatabad. Sher Khan tried tx> 
compensate himself for this loss by seizing imperial terri- 
tories in Bihar and Jaunpur and plundered the country 
as far as Kanauj. 

As soon as Humayun heard of Sher Khan's activities 
in Bihar and Jaunpur, he left Gaur and marching hastily 
along the bank of the Ganges crossed near Munghir. He 
was confronted with a difficult situation. Attempts were 
made to make peace with Sher Khan but in vain. The 
Afghans rallied round their leader in large numbers and 
defeated the Mughals at Chausa. The emperor fought 
with great gallantry but his example produced no effect 
on his followers. At last he plunged into the river on 
horseback and was about to be drowned when he was 
saved by a water-carrier, Nizam. r whom he afterwards 
allowed to sit on the throne for two days, and asked the 
nobles to make obeisance to him. 

The battle of Chausa was a clear advantage to Sher 
Khan^ He now took the title of SKer Shah and srdegal 
the coinsjtojse jstruckjandjfche Khqtba to bq read in hia 


own name. All thought of acknowledging the emperor's 
-suzerainty now vanished from his mind and in order to 
legalise his assumption of the royal title he went through 
all the formalities of kingship. 

Humayun was now convinced of Sher Shah's formid- 
able power. He saw clearly that success against him was 

impossible without unity of plan and purpose. 

Battle of He tried his best to win his brothers to his 

i540. aUJ ' ay side but they were so faithless that they not 

only refused him co-operation but positively 

hampered him in his preparations. Encouraged by the 
dissensions ol the brothers, Sher i^liah advanced to the 
bank of the Ganges and crossed it with his forces. Huma- 
yun also led his army to the Ganges near Kanauj and 
encamped opposite to Sher Shah. The two armies, the 
strength of which is estimated by Mirza Haider, the author 
of the Tarikh-i-Rashidi, at 200,000 men remained in this 
position for one month. But desertions in the imperial 
army added to the anxiety of Humayun, and he decided to 
risk a battle rather than allow the army to be destroyed 
without fighting. The Mughals employed their usual 
tactics but they were severely beaten by the Afghans. 
Mirza Haider who took part in the campaign writes : 
" . . . . Sher Khan gained a victory, while the Chaghtais 
were defeated in the battlefield, where not a man either 
friend or foe was wounded. Not a gun was fired and the 
chariots (Gardun) were useless." 

Now this statement of Mirza Haider may be exag- 
gerated, but there is no doubt that the battle was not half 
so bloody as the battles of Panipat and Kanwah. The 
imperialists were driven into the river, and the Afghans 
inflicted heavy losses upon them from behind. The 


Mughals failed disastrously to retrieve their position and 

Humayun was reduced to the position of a helpless fugitive. 

During his pursuit of the emperor in the 'Punjab Sher 

Shah turned his attention to the Gakkar country, a moun- 

tainous region between the upper courses of 

* er t S2 n< ' the rivers Indus and Jhelum. The occupa- 

queets of Sher 

Shah. tion of this tract of land was highly impor- 

tant for strategic reasons. An invader from 
the north-west could easily pass through this country and 
establish himself in the Punjab. Sher Shah's fears were 
well-founded, for Kamran and Mirza Haider, two of his 
important enemies, who held Kabul and Kashmir respec- 
tively, might combine at any time and jeopardise his safety. 
Sher Shah ravaged the country, but he was suddenly 
called away by the rebellion of the governor of Bengal. 
He left his able generals behind with 50,000 men to 
subdue the country of the Gakkars. 

Malwa, Raisin, and Sindh were conquered next and 
then Sher Shah turned against Maldeva of Jodhpur . It was- 
impossible for him to tolerate the existence of a powerful 
chieftain whose kingdom was situated not far from the 
capital. He marched towards Marwar at the head of a large 
army and pushed on to Mairta 42 miles west of Ajmer. 
' The Rajputs had gathered in large nurnhpr^ and ^re an 
well organized tJnttJSker Shah began to feel doubts. 
about his success in the campaign. Hefaad recourgfcto 


~~ ' He caused letters to be forged in the name of Maldeva's. 
nobles to the effect : ' Let not the King permit any anxiety 
or doubt to find its way to his heart. During the battle we 
will seize Maldeva and bring him to you. ' ' Having 

1 Elliot, IV, p. 406. 


enclosed these letters in a kharita (a silken bag) he gave it 
to a certain person and directed him to drop it near the tent 
of the vakil of Maldeva. When the contents of these 
letters became known to him he suspected treachery on the 
part of his nobles. He forthwith decided to retreat in spite 
of their assurances that their loyalty was as firm as a rock. 
But Maldeva who was seized with panic did not listen to 
their protestations. The pride of the Rajputs was touched 
to the quick and some of his chiefs felt this stain on their 
honour to be unbearable. With desperate courage they 
fell upon the enemy and according to Abbas * displayed 
exceeding valour. ' A deadly encounter followed (March 
J544) and though the noble band perished, the Afghans 
were slain in large numbers. The valour of the Rajputs 
deeply impressed Sher Shah who was heard to say, ' I 
had nearly lost the empire of Hindustan for a handful o? 
Bajra (millet!.' 

After this victory Sher Shah captured Mount Abp 
and from there proceeded against Marwar. Maldeva fled 
from Jodhpur and retired to the fort of Siwana whither 
he was not followed by the Afghans. The fort of Chittor 
was captured soon afterwards and was entrusted to an 
Afghan nobleman. In this way Sher Shah succeeded in 
establishing his hold on Rajputana. 

The last expedition in which Sher Shah took part 
was against the Raja of Kalanjar. The Rajputs rolled 
down stones upon the besiegers from the parapet of 
the fortress and made their task exceedingly difficult. 
The siege was pushed on but when victory was in sight, 
Sher Shah was suddenly burnt by an explosion of gun- 
powder, ^tie fort was captured and the Afghans entered 
it in triumph. Sher Shah's condition grew worse and 


he died on May 22, 1545, with the laurels of yjctorv on, 
his brojy. 

The government of Sher Shah, though autocratic was- 
vigorous and enlightened. He was not content merely with 
the establishment of peace and order, but 
Sh^r tur 8hah s f recon structed the machinery of administra- 
despotism. tion. In spite of the limitations which ham- 
pered a sixteenth century king in India he 
brought to bear upon his task the intelligence, the ability, 
the devotion of the enlightened despots of the eighteenth 
century in Europe. He did not listen to the advice of the 
Ulama and adopted a policy of religious toleration towards- 
the Hindus. He looked into the pettiest details of adminis- 
tration and steadily fixed his eye on the public weal. He 
kept a vigilant watch on his walls, iqtadars andrcai&s and 
freely punished them when they transgressed his rules. 
The Afghans fully appreciated his creative genius and 
looked upon him as a saviour of their race. It was this 
sense of thoughtful gratitude fortified and developed by 
his comprehensive and liberal administrative reforms 
which led them to render u$to him their sincere homage 
and goodwill. 

The whole empire, was jJJHded into 47 divisions each of 
which comprised a large number of par g anas. Abbas 
writes that there were 113,000 parganas, but he 
has Probably made a confusion between the 
parganas and villages. This figure represents- 
the number of villages in the empire and not ofparganaa, 
which could not have been so many at the time. Each 
pargana had a shiqdar, an amin f a treasurer, a munsif, a 
Hindi writer and a Persian writer to write accounts. Be- 
sides these officers of the state there were the Patwari, 


Chowdhri and the Muoaddamwho acted as intermediaries- 
between the people and the state. The shiqdar was a 
soldier, the amin a civilian whose main function was the 
assessment and collection of land revenue. The shiqdar's 
duty was to enforce the royal farmans and to give military 
assistance to the Amin when he needed it. The Amin 
was the principal civil officer and was responsible to the 
central government for his actions. The parganas were^ 
grouped into sarkars. each of which had a shiqdUr j- 
shiqdaran (Shiqdar-in-chief) and a Munsif-i-munsifdn 
(Munsif-m-chief) who looked after the w6^K 61 Ihe pargana 
officers throughout their division. Their duty was to watch 
,the conduct of both the amilg' and 'the people, to settle 
disputes regarding the boundaries of the parganas and to 
punish any acts of lawlessness on the part of the people. 
The amil$ were frequently transferred after one or two 
years from one place to another and loyal and experienced 
officers were treated with special favour. 

Before the time of Sher Shah, the land was not measured 
and the present, past and probable future state of a pargana 
was ascertained from the Qanungo. Sher 
venue!* Re " Shah ordered an accurate survey of all land , 
\ in the empire. The land was measured at bar- 

vest time and the state demand was fixed at one-third of 
the expected produce. ] It was j>ay able in cash or kind. The 
revenue was realised by the muqaddams who were given 
a share oi the produce, but "tHe" ryots' were sometimes 

1 It is stated in the Ain that cash rates were fixed for a few 
special crops, mainly vegetables, but for all the principal staples, the 
* good, ' * middling, ' and 4 bad ' yields per bigha were added up, one- 
third of the total was reckoned as the average produce (mahsul), and 
one-third of this was fixed as the state demand. In certain parts of 
the empire such as Mulfcan the state demand was fixed at one-fourth 
also. Moreland, The Agrarian System of Moslem India r p. 76% 


allowed to pay to the treasury direct. Sher Shah was very 
careful of the interests of the cultivators. The revenue 
officers were asked to be lenient at the time of assessment 
but they were to show no mercy at the time of collection. 
When there was drought or any other unforeseen calamity 
advances were made to the cultivators to relieve distress. 
Sher Shah was much impressed by Alauddin's military 
isystem and adopted its main principles. He wished to 
""" make the army efficient and truly imperial 

inspirit. The mansabdari system did not 
exist, for the Afghans were too proud to accept such 
gradations of service. The army was distributed over 
different parts of the country and was stationed in canton- 
ments of which Delhi and Rohtas were the most important. 
One such division was called fauj and was under the 
command of a faujdar whose duties were entirely military. 
As the clan-Feeling^ was very powerful among the 
Afghans, the more important tribal chiefs were allowed to 
keep large forces in their service. The king had also a 
large army under his direct command ; it amounted to 
150,000 cavalry and 25,000 infantry, well trained and ac- 
<x>utred with muskets and bows. The cavalry was highly 
efficient ; horses were trained and their descriptive rolls 
were prepared. The soldiers were directly recruited by 
the king himself and salaries were fixed after personal 
inspection,. Sher Shah treated his soldiers with kindness 
and supplied those who were poor with arms and horses. 
But his discipline was very severe. They were, during 
their marches, particularly enjoined not to do any injury 
to the crops of the cultivators. If the crops of any culti- 
vator were destroyed, he was recompensed by the state 
for his loss and the wrong-doers were severely punished. 


When the king accompanied the army, he used to look 
to the right and left and if he saw any man injuring the 
crops he cut off his ears with his own hand, and hanging 
the corn round his neck ordered him to be paraded in the 
camp, feven when the crops were damaged owing to the 
narrowness of the road, he sent his officers to estimate 
the value of the crop and give compensation in money. 

Sher Shah dealt out even-handed justice to the high 
and low, and no man could escape punishment by reason 
of hisHbirth or rank. There were courts 
and called the Darul-adalat in which the Qazi 

and the Mir Adi tried civil cases and adminis- 
tered justice. The Hindus probably settled their disputes 
relating to inheritance, succession and the like in their 
Pancfiayats^ but in criminal cases they were amenable tQ 
the law of jh7k*gjj^"'" The criminal law was severe; 
punishments were harsh and cruejLand their object was 
not to refornftHelcuIpiFit but * t(T~set an example.' Even 
tKett aridTlroBEery were treated as capital offences. 

The police organisation of Sher Shah though primitive 
in many respects was highly efficient. He tried to enforce 
the principle of local responsibility in the matter of pre- 
venting crimes. If a theft or robbery occurred within the 
jurisdiction of an amil or shiqdar, and the culprits were 
not traced, the muqaddams were arrested and compelled 
to make good the loss. When a murder occurred and the 
murderer was not traced, the muqaddams were seized as 
before and asked to produce him. If they failed to 
produce him or to give his whereabouts, they were them- 
selves put to death. Inanv case the responsibility of 

and the regulations of the state operated harshly upon 

B 1 . 22 


them. But the system resulted in the complete security 
<>f life and property. ~ The travellers andwayfarers slept 
"witnout the least anxiety even In a desert, and the 
Zamindars themselves kept watch over them for_fear of 
the king] Besides the regular police there were the 
censors of public morals, whose duty was 

to prevent* sudcrimes "as drinking and adultery and to 
^enforce tffe Observance of religious laws. Spies are in- 
evitable in a despotic state, and Sher Shah 

diligent spies whojcept him informed of all that happened 
in his dominions. 

The means of communication were very inadequate 
in the middle ages. Sher Shah was jhe first ^slini ruler 
The Means w ^ unSertooITth? construction of. rgads.-on 
of Communi- a/Jarg^^ The 

cation. longest road was that which ran from 

Sonargaon to the_jndug^^bout 1500 krohs in length. 
There were others, the chief of which were one from Agra 
to Burhanpur ; another from Agra via Biyana to the 
frontier of Marwar and to the fort of Chittor^and a fourth 
from Lahore to^litultan, a city of considerable military 
importance on the western frontier. Trees were planted 
on both sides of the roads, and saraig were built at inter- 
vals of every two krohs, and separate accommodation was 
provided for Hindus and Muslims. Brahmans were em- 
ployed for the convenience of thellindus to supply them 
with water and to cook their food. For the upkeep of the 
sarais villages were granted by the state. Every sarai 
had a well, a mosque and a staff of officers who were 
generally an imam, amuazzin and a number of watermen, 
;thtTSarat8._As MrTQanungo observes these saraiB became 


4 the_veritable arteries of the empire, diffusing a new 
life among its hitherto benumbed limbs."* Market towns 

grew"up around these sarais and a brisk trade developed. 
They served also the purpose of dak chowkis^ and through 
them news came to the emperor from the remotest parts 
of his dominions. 

Sher Shah made liberal grants for charitable purposes 

but he exercised a personal supervision over their manage- 

Charitabie ment - He often said that it was incumbent 

endowments upon kings to give grants to imams and holy 

and grants. men j or upQn t ^em depended the happiness 

: and prosperity of a state. He patronised art and letters 
and held that it was the duty of kingsTto ktfOf d rulfaf RT 
the poor and the destitute. The whole system of grants 
was carefully examined and the imams and holy men who 
had by bribing the amils acquired possession of more land 
than really belonged to them, were deprived of such illegi- 
timate acquisitions. To check the fradulent practices of 
the grantees he ordered the mwnshis to prepare the 
farman^^fimmed and sealed them himself and then sent 
them to his shiqdarsfpr distribution. All grants made by 
rulers other than the Afghans were cancelled, though the 
grantees were not wholly deprived of their lands. The 
principle which he generally observed was that no deserv- 
ing person should go unrewarded and no one should have 
a superfluity of state benefactions. JMadrasas and 
mosques were maintained and ^stipends were granted to 
teachers "and students. The state established a number 
of free kitchens the annual expenditure of which in those 
days, when the value of money was much higher than it 
is now, amounted to 180,000 asharfU.^Eut in dealing 
His own tribesmen Sher Shah adopted a policy of 


To the men of the Sur tribe and his own 
kinsmen his bounty flowed generously irrespective of 
desert, and every pious Afghan who came to Hindustan 
was granted an annuity from the royal treasury. This 
must have caused discontent among his subjects of which 
contemporary historians have given no account. 

Sher Shah has rightly been called one of the greatest 
rulers o j mediaeval India. He cherished a lofty ideal of 

kingship and used to say that 'it behoves the 
^Sh C er s r hah. r f jgreat to be always active.' He lived for the 

state and worked hard for the welfare of his 
subjects. He looked into every detail^ of government and 
supervised the activities of the various departments with 
incessant care. He rose every day ^arly in the morning 
before sunrise, took his bath and said his prayer. For 
tour hours he transacted the business of the state and 
then watched the branding of horses and the preparation 
of descriptive rolls. After breakfast he rested for a while 
and then again turned to business. The evenings were 
set apart for reading the Quran and for attending the 
public praysy.f No branch of the administration was 
neglected and the ministers were asked to report to him 
everything, He hated corruption and injustice and severely 
punished those who made unlawful gains. The interests 
of the peasantry were well protected and any damage to 
crops was visited with a drastic punishment. To the 
poor and the destitute he was particularly generous, and 
at all hours the royal kitchens distributed food to those 
who were in need of it. 

As a soldier he was superb. In strategy andjactics 
he outgeneralled the MughalaT His soldiers reposed confi- 
dence in him and served him with devotion and l&yalty. 


His methods of war were mild and humane, and the 
soldiers were never allowed to commit acts of rapine and 
plunder. At times he was cunning and perfidious, but 
probably because like other men of his age he believed 
that nothing was wrong in war. 

Although a strict Sunni, he was well disposed towards 
other sects and religions. The jeziya was not abolished, 
but the Hindus were treated with Justice and toleration. 
To encourage education among his Hindu subjects, he 
granted them wagfs and allowed them a free hand in 
tfieir management. For this liberal and beneficent policy 
he was liked by his subjects of all castes and creeds. 

Sher Shah deserves a high place in history. By his 
political^ reforms and the policy of religious tolera- 
tion, ieinconcousl of Akbar's 


greatness^ His organisation of theTaniT^evienue system 
was a precious legacy to the Mughals. They followed his 
plan and perfected it. Todarmal and others adopted his 
methods of administration, and modified them according to 
the needs of the situation. | Indeed, Sher Shah's achieve- 
ments place him in the forefront of mediaeval history, 
and his policy of religious toleration will ever remain a 
shining example of his far-sighted statesmanship. J 

Having crossed the Ganges, Humayun proceeded to- 
wards Agra, and taking his family and treasure went 

to Delhi, but when he found it impossible 
fli g b mayun ' 9 to recapture the city, he left for Sarhind. 

His brothers gave him no help, and Kamran 
proved a source of great trouble and anxiety. Humayun 
marched towards Sindh and laid siege to Bhakkar, but here 
too his ill-luck followed him. It was during this period that 
he married HamidS, daughter of Shaikh Ali Akbar Jami, 


who afterwards became the mother of Akbar. Disappoint* 
ed at the conduct of his brother, he sought the help of 
Maldeva of Jodhpur who had written to him promising 
to lend him a contingent of 20,000 Rajputs. But Maldeva 
did not keep his word. When Humayun reached the 
Raja's territory, he offered him no welcome, and the spies 
who were sent to fathom his mind brought the news that 
he meant treachery. Humayun's old librarian who had 
taken service with Maldeva sent a message to him in these 
words : ' March at once from wherever you are, for 
Maldeva intends to make you prisoner. Put no trust in 
his words.' This change in Maldeva's attitude was due 
to his fear of Sher Shah and the utter hopelessness of 
Humayun's cause. Amarkot was the next place of refuge 
where the royal party was treated well by Rana Prasad 
who promised to assist the emperor in conquering Bhak- 
kar and Thatta. It was here in a desert castle that the 
greatest of the Mughal emperors was born on November 
23, 1542 A. D. 

Soon after this happy event Humayun left Amarkot, 
and marched towards Bhakkar with ten thousand men. 
But Rana Prasad 's men deserted him one night owing 
to a quarrel between the Rana and the Muslim officers in 
the imperial train. The chief of Bhakkar was tired of 
war, and a treaty was made by which he agreed to furnish 
him with 30 boats, 10,000 miahkals, 2,000 loads of grain 
and 300 camels to enable him to proceed to Qandhar. 
Kamran had become master of the entire Afghan region, 
and was acting, to all intents and purposes, as an inde- 
pendent ruler. His brother Askari and Hindal had become 
his vassals and greatly feared him. Humayun found no 
shelter with these faithless men, and, leaving his one-year 


old child Akbar at Qandhar, he decided to leave for 
Persia where he hoped to obtain succour from the Shah. 
Humayun was hospitably received bv Shah Tah^pagn 
who was a young man of 27 years of age. He issued 
instructions to all the local governors and 
in officers in his kingdom to accord a warm 
welcome to Humayun. But the effect of 
his hospitality was marred by his desire to convert the 
emperor to the Shia faith. With becoming dignity, Huma- 
yun affirmed his belief in the Sunni doctrine, but the 
Shah continued to embarrass him with his importunities. 
Evasive replies proved of no avail, and since escape was 
impossible, the emperor's well-wishers advised him to 
enter into an agreement with the Shah, embodying a 
declaration of his acceptance of the Shia creed. A formal 
treaty was concluded through the intercession of the 
Shah's sister between the two sovereigns by which the 
Shah, agreed to help Humayun with a contingent in 
conquering Bokhara, Kabul, and Qandhar on condition 
that the last place should be ceded to him in the event of . 
success^ Humayun was to declare himself a Shia and 
tbiiave the Shah's name proclaimed in the khutba. a 
condition to which he agreed with considerable reluctance. 
Encouraged by the Shah's promise of help and its partial 
fulfilment in the supply of a force of 14,000 men, Huma- 
yun proceeded to invade the dominion of Kamran. 

Humayun reached Qandhar in March 1545, and laid 
siege to the town. The capture of Qandhar considerably 
improved his position, and having gathered 
a11 his forces he advanced upon Kabul. Kam- 
ran was defeated and the city fell into his 
hands. Prince Akbar whom Kamran had 


once exposed on the ramparts of the fort of Kabul was 
now restored to his father after a long separation. Though 
Kamran was defeated, he still entertained hopes of 
recovering his lost kingdom . He was defeated again, 
and in a night encounter Mirza Hindal was killed. The 
vanquished prince fled to the court of Salim Shah Sur, 
but the latter treated him so roughly that he was obliged 
to seek refuge in the Gakkar country in disgust. The 
Gakkar chief made him over to_Humayun who, in 
obedience to nla father's command, refusljcTtb put an 
end to ms lire. A consultatioiTWg^tiield^with the* ISmrs, 
ancTTt was finally decided that jiis life should be spargd 
but he should be rendered incapable of further mischjef 
'by being deprived .of _ji is jg^gsight. Kamran expressed 
ajwish tcTgo to Mecca^ which was granted. His wife 
accompanied him and served him with fidelity and 
devotion until his death in 1557. Mirza Askari who had 
frequently changed sides was also captured and allowed 
to proceed to Mecca! Having*' got rid of all his rivals in 
the north-west, Humayun began to make preparations for 
the reconquest of Hindustan. 

Sher Shah's death was an irreparable blow to the 

Afghans. He had nominated no successor and his young 

son Jalal Khan who happened to reach the 

Best<Siio ' 8 cam P in time was Proclaimed king under the 
title of Salim Shah. It was beyond the new 
monarch's power to control the turbulence of the Afghans, 
and therefore he was obliged to have recourse to drastic 
measures to strengthen his position. Several Amirs were 
imprisoned and put to death. The first victim of his 
wrath was Shuiaat Khan, governor of Malwa. whose chief 
offence was that he had hoarded enormous wealth and 


Affectively reduced the country to ordqr. Shujaat's infor- 
mants c6mmunicated to him the intentions of the court, 
and he managed to escape the wrath of Salim by sub- 
missive and respectful representations. But Azim Huma- 
yun, the governor of the Punjab, acted with little 
prudence and caution. When he was summoned by the 
king, he sent a substitute for himself which Salim regard- 
ed as an act of gross insubordination. Fearing drastic 
action on the part of the king, Azim broke out into open 
rebellion, but he was defeated by the royalists in the 
battle of Ambala. He fled for his life, and the Punjab 
was occupied by the Sultan. Again he gathered strength 
and fought an action with the royal forces but he was 
defeated. He fled to Kashmir where he was shot dead 
by certain tribesmen. 

Salim continued his policy of repression. He devised 
new laws and maintained an efficient army to curb the 
power of the nobles He deprived them of their war- 
like elephants, kept the revenues of the state in his own 
hands and abolished the practice of supplying money in 
exchange for a certain fixed -quota of mounted men. He 
established a system of espionage which enabled him to 
know all that happened in his kingdom. Justice was ad- 
ministered according to a new code of regulations which 
were interpreted by a Munsif and not by a Qazi or Mufti. 
To enforce these laws he stationed troops in the various 
parts of his dominions and exerted himself to the utmost 
to see that the machinery of government worked with 
efficiency and vigour. 

Salim died in November 1554. He was succeeded by 
his son Firuz Khan but the latter was soon murdered by 
his maternal uncle Mubariz Khan who ascended the 


throne under the title of Muhammad Shah 5dil. Muham- 
mad Shah 5dil was a worthless debauchee, but he had a. 
capable minister in Hemu, a Hindu, who manaped_his 
affairs with great ability and vigour^ But even he found 
it difficult to keep in check the forces of disorder which 
were slowly undermining the empire. Rebellions broke 
out on all sides, and Muhammad's cousin Ibrahim Khan 
Sur seized Delhi and Agra, but he was soon defeated 
by another brother Sikandar Sur who acquired pos- 
session of the whole country between the Indus and the 

Humayun was all along watching the chaotic con- 
dition of the Afghan empire. In November 1554, he 
marched towards Hindustan and the vanguard of the 
imperial army entered Lahore in February, 1555. Sikan- 
dar advanced to give battle at the head of a large army 
but he was defeated near Sarhind. He fled from the field 
of battle and Humayun was restored without further 

The emperor did not live long to enjoy the honours of 
royalty which he had won by the sheer force of his arms. 
One day as he was descending from the 
f terrace-roof of his library, he knelt down on 
the stairs on hearing the call for prayer, but 
his staff slipped on the polished marble, and he fell head- 
long on the ground. All medical aid proved unavailing, 
and he died on January 24, 1556. His death was con- 
cealed for some time, and it was after 17 days that the- 
Khutba was read in the name of Jalal-ud-din Muhammad 

Humayun was by nature a kind, gentle and affection- 
ate monarch. He was well disposed towards his kinsmen, 


and treated them with generosity and leniency even 
when they conspired to bring about his ruin. 
f When the nobles made an impassioned appeal 
to him to slay his arch-enemy Kamran 
he replied : * Though my head inclines to vonr wnrdjyHny 
heart does nflt, ' and refused to stain his hands with the 
murder of a brother. He was not lacking in physical 
courage, and had given a good account of himself during 
his father's campaigns. But his general indolence and 
quixotic generosity frequently spoiled the fruits of victory 
and deprived him lit times of his most valued acquisitions. 
He had not inherited from his father that invincible 
courage and strength ot" will which had led" him to attempt 
thrice the conquest oi Samarqand HOP was he ao skilled 
in adjusting his means tojiis endst? =r He~never ~made"~ftTe 
f uHest use of his victories and often began a new plan 
before executing the one he had already in hand. Besides, 
he wasaddicted to opium_which did not a little to impair 
his mental and bodily strength. But Humayun was not 
wholly devoid of noble' qualities. He possessed ability and 
intelligence of no mean order. He loved literature and 
extended his patronage to men of Fetters. Like his 
father he was fond of poetry and took delight in com- 
posing verses. He was interested in mathematics and 
astronomy, and his plan of constructing an observatory" 
at Delhi was interrupted by his sudden deatfc But what 
endears Humayun to us is his buoyancy o'f temper, his 
cheerfulness of spirit under desperate situations. Through 
all his vicissitudes he preserved his native goodness and 
remained a bon comrade Q his officers and men. His bro- 
thers played the traitor again and again, but he never dis- 
regarded his father's dying injunction, and treated them 


with a kindness which has few parallels in Mughal 
history. For fifteen years he was persecuted by the 
malice of destiny, but he never lost the equanimity of 
his temper and endured his misfortune with great patience 
and fortitude. Throughout his life Humayun behaved 
as an indulgent master, a warm-hearted friend and an 
amiable gentleman, always willing and prompt to show 
gratitude to those who rendered him service. 


At the time of Humayun's death Akbar was absent 
in the Punjab whither he had gone with Bairam Khan to- 
put an end to the misgovernment of Abdul- 
Alba* 881011 f mali the local ^vernor. As he was re- 
turning from there he received at Kalanur, 
an express informing him of the sad event. There was 
much commotion in the camp but the chiefs and nobles 
after the customary rites of mourning proceeded to the 
coronation ceremony which took place in a modest garden 
on February 14, 1556. As the Prince was a mere boy of 
thirteen, his father's old and faithful friend Bairam Khan 
undertook to act &s regent for him, and formally assumed 
charge of the affairs of the empire 

India was neither homogeneous nor well-governed in 
1556. The provinces of Hindustan were in a state of dis- 
order and the country round Delhi and Agra 

dft^n oflndil was in the throes of a terrible famine. The 
late emperor had all his life wandered 
from place to place and had found no time to organise 
and consolidate his empire. After his death the whole 
country was reduced to a congeries of states. Towards 
the north-west, Kabul with its dependencies was under 
Mirza Muhammad Hakim, Akbar's brother, who acted aa 
an independent ruler, and the empire of Hindustan did 
not lie beyond the scope of his "ambition. Kashmir had 
also become an independent state under a local 



Muhammadan dynasty, and the Himalayan states in the 
neighbourhood enjoyed a similar position. Sindh and 
Multan had separated from the empire of Delhi after 
the death of Sher Shah and formed themselves into 
independent kingdoms. Bengal was ruled by kings of 
the Sur dynasty ; Muhammad Adil ever since his 
expulsion from Delhi by his powerful relative Ibrahim 
Khan had retired to the east, but his indomitable minister 
Hemu was already in the field at the head of a large army 
to prevent Akbar from taking quiet possession of his 
father's dominions. Another Sur claimant was Sikandar 
who since his defeat by Bairam Khan in the battle of 
-Sarhind in 1555 was wandering in the Punjab, cherishing 
the hope that by a stroke of fortuitous good luck he might 
be able to recover the throne of Sher Shah. To the west 
of Delhi the Rajput princes exercised independent sway in 
their mountain fastnesses. The most important states at 
this time were Mewar, Jesalmir, Bundi and Jodhpur, ren- 
dered illustrious in the annals of Rajasthan by the heroic 
exploits of their warriors. Indeed, Humayun's reign had 
given the Rajput princes an opportunity of increasing the 
area of their influence, and since they had . no reason to 
fear the Mughal government at Delhi, they had developed 
their military resources to such an extent that they felt 
afterwards strong enough to try conclusions even with 
the empire. In the central region Humayun's efforts 
had failed owing to his own woeful lack of decision and 
promptitude. Malwa and Gujarat had become inde- 
pendent states with considerable territories included in 
their jurisdiction. Their rulers acted as independent 
kings, made wars and treaties on their own account, and 
established diplomatic relations with foreign powers. 


Gondwana was subject to a kind of tribal rulership but 
its affairs were efficiently managed by Rani Durgavati for 
her minor son. Across the Vindhyas, Khandeah, Berar, 
Bidar. Ahmadnagar, Bijapur and Golkunda were ruled by 
their own Sultans who had absolutely no concern with 
the rulers of Delhi. Ever since the break-up of the 
Bahmani kingdom towards the close of the 15th century 
these states had been pre-oecupied with their own affairs 
and had taken no interest in the politics of Hindustan. 
Further south, the whole country from the Krisna and 
Tungbhadra rivers to Cape Comorin was under the sway 
of the kings of Vijayanagar whose hostilities towards the 
Muhammadan sultanates are a matter of common know- 
ledge in Indian history. The Portuguese had established 
themselves on the western sea-coast and possessed a few 
ports like Goa and Diu. They were powerful in the 
Arabian sea and the Persian gulf, and could give trouble 
to Muslims starting on a pilgrimage to Mecca. 

But for the present Akbar's task was exceedingly 
difficult and to all appearance beyond the powers of a boy 
of thirteen. He was fortunate in having in his atallq a 
consummate general and administrator, who not only 
secured his throne from formidable rivals, but also held 
the elements of disorder in check at a critical juncture in 
the empire's history until the reins of office were snatched 
from him by his impatient and ambitious ward. 

Akbar had first to deal with the Sur Afghans. Muham- 

mad Adil had not yet given up the hope of regaining the 

empire over which Sher Shah had once ruled. 

A a and He had sti11 in his service Hemu, a consum- 

t h e 8 u r -.*,* . 

Afghans. 125,*? genera L??^ , stat ? l ? man > w ^ ^splayed 

orgahlsmg capacity " and valour of a high 


order. Originally a petty shopkeeper of Rewari in Mewat, 
Hemu was a man of humble origin. By sheer dint of merit 
he had risen from obscurity to high position and had 
become under Adali the chief minister. Gradually his 
influence grew at the Afghan court; he granted and 
resumed jagirs at will and assumed the title of Raja 
Vikramaditya. Even Abul Fazl admits that he managed 
the affairs of state with rare ability and success. He was 
one of the greatest men of his day and among Akbar's op- 
ponents throughout Hindustan there was none who could 
excel him in valour, enterprise, and courage. He had 
earned for himself unique military distinction by winning 
22 pitched battles, and had defeated his master's rival 
Ibrahim Sur. Humayun's sudden death aided by the 
circumstance that his son was a mere lad of 13, revived 
Hemu's hopes of securing the empire of Hindustan. He 
was sent by Adali, who was in the east at this time with a 
force consisting of 50,000 horse and 500 elephants 
towards Agra, which he occupied without encountering 
any serious resistance from the Mughal generals. Then he 
marched upon Delhi following close upon the heels of the 
retreating army, and then he was opposed by the veteran 
Tardi Beg who happened to be in charge of the capital at 
the time. Tardi Beg suffered severe defeat at the hands 
of Hemu who easily acquired possession of the capital. 
Tardi Beg fled to the imperial camp where he was 
put to death by the orders of Bairam Khan, and his 
action was approved by the youthful emperor. As Abui 
Pazl very pertinently observes, a disapproval of Bai ram's 
action would have caused disorder in the country and 
mutiny in the army. Whatever may be said about the 
effect produced by the murder of a general, who had 


been driven from the field of battle by a powerful enemy, 
the deed' is a stain on the memory of Bairam Khan. 
Akbar is not to blame, for he was still in statu pupillari, 
and it would have been an act of unexampled folly to 
override the wishes of the regent whose co-operation was 
needed to save the kingdom from ruin at such a crisis. 
There is great force in Dr. Vincent Smith's contention 
that those who condemn the execution as a mere murder 
do not sufficiently appreciate the usage of the times, nor 
do they fully understand the difficulties and dangers 
which confronted the regent and his youthful ward. ' But 
the manner in which Bairam brought about the murder 
admits of no palliation even on the ground that the 
interests of the state demanded the crime. 

Master of Delhi and Agra, Hemu set his forces in 
order, and made a bold bid for the empire of Hindu- 
stan. There was at this time a serious famine in Agra, 
Biyana, and Delhi, and Badaoni writes that one sir ofjwar 
sold for 2i tank as, and men of wealth and position closed 
their houses and died by tens or twenties or even more in 
one place, ' getting neither grave nor shroud/ ~ The Hindus 
also suffered miserably, and he saw with his own eyes 
man eating his fellow-man in sheer desperation. But 
Hemu whose heart was aflame with ambition cared nothing 
for the misery and Buffering around him and pushed on 
his preparations. At the head of a large army which 
included 1,500 war elephants, he proceeded to the field of 
Panipat. His superior numbers filled the Mughals with 
dismay, and in the first charge he routed the right and 

1 Akbar, the Great Mughal, p. 86. 
* Al-BadftonT, 1, pp. 54961. 
F. 23 


left wings of the imperial army. But before he could 
press on the centre with his elephants, he was struck in 
the eye with an arrow which made him sink in the howdah 
in a state of unconsciousness. Hemu's disappearance 
caused a panic in the army, and it fled in pell-mell confu- 
sion. The gallant leader whose * virile spirit ' is praised 
even by such a hostile writer as Abul Fazl was captured 
and brought before Akbar. ' Bairam asked the young 
emperor to smite the head of the infidel and earn the title 
of Ghazi, but the generous lad refused to do so, and 
observed that it was unchivalrous to slay a defenceless 
enemy. Thereupon Bairam Khan himself thrust his sword 
into Hemu's body and killed him. His head was sent to 
Kabul, and his body was gibbeted at Delhi by way of 
giving a warning to other like-minded persons. * 

Akbar entered Delhi in triumph and received a warm 
welcome from the inhabitants of all classes. Agra was 
soon occupied, and officers of the imperial army were 
deputed to seize the goods and treasures of Hemu in 

Hemu's death dashed to the ground the hopes of the 
Sur dynasty. Bairam and his royal ward after a month's 
stay in the capital marched towards Lahore in pursuit of 
Sikandar Sur who was still at large. He shut himself up 
in the fort of Mankot 9 which he surrendered after a long 
siege in May 1557. He was treated with generosity, and 
Bairam Khan respected his rank by assigning to him certain 
districts in the east where he died twelve years later. 

1 Akbaraama, II p. 69- 

* Akbar, the Great Mughal, p. 86. 

2 It it a fort in the lower hills now included in Jammu territory in 
Kashmir State. 


The defeat of Sikandar was followed by the conquest 
of Gwalior and Jaunpur, and the regent took vigorous mea- 
sures to consolidate the empire. But he soon came into 
conflict with his growing ward who had already begun to 
-chafe against his tutelage. The fall of Bairam Khan is one 
of the most interesting episodes in the early history of 
Akbar's reign. 

feairam Khan was left master of the situation after 

Hu may un's death, and was allowed to assume the office 

of the vakil-i-saltnat (chief minister) without 

rfm 1 Khai? ai " any PP os i^ on I He was an able and experi- 
enced man of affairs, who rose to the highest 
position in the state by sheer dint of merit. / He had 
retained his loyalty through trying times, and served his 
late master Humayun with a fidelity and devotion which 
elicited the admiration of such a man as Sher Shah. Even 
Badaonl who is an orthodox Sunni praises the Shia 
minister's upright character, love of learning and devout- 
ness, and expresses regret at his fall. I But excess of power 
leads to abuse, and Bairam adopted a harsh and barbarous 
policy towards his supposed and suspected enemies. He 
became oversensitive in matters regarding himself, and in 
trivial accidental mishaps saw the signs of a sinister con- 
spiracy to compass his ruin. Such a frame of mind is not 
likely to inspire confidence or smooth the difficulties which 
beset on every side a great public servant, whose career is 
.bound to be a series of studied compromises and cautious 
measures. Abul Fazl relates the causes which brought 
about estrangement between Bairam Khan on the one hand 
and the emperor and the court party on the other. Bairam 
had appointed Shaikh Gadai who was a Shia to the office 
of Sadr-i-Sadttr, and this was construed by the Sunnis as a 


concession to the creed professed by the regent. In addi- 
tion to this high office he allowed the Shaikh to endorse 
decrees with his seal, and exempted him from the 
ceremony of homage, and granted him precedence over 
the Saiyyads and the Ulama. He had conferred the titles 
of Sultan and Khan upon his menial servants, and showed 
an utter lack of propriety in disregarding the claims of 
the servants of the royal household. He granted the 
Panjhazari (5000) mansab to no less than 25 of his own 
favourites and ignored the just claims of others. He 
punished the emperor 's servants severely, when they were 
found guilty of the most trivial misconduct or dereliction 
of duty, while his own servants were allowed to escape 
scot free even when they committed grave offences. In 
a fit of rage he had ordered the emperor's own elephant- 
driver to be put to death without any fault. The execu- 
tion of Tardi Beg had also caused alarm among the nobles, 
who considered their position at court highly precarious 
as long as Bairam was in power. A more serious reason 
for the growing estrangement between Akbar and 
Bairam was the suspicion that the latter was harbour- 
ing the intention of placing on the throne Abul Qasim, 
son of Kamran. Lastly, Akbar had grown tired of his 
tutelage and wished to be a king in fact as well as 
in name. Like others he disliked Bairam's arrogance and 
unbridled exercise of authority, and desired to put an end 
to it, as is shown by the farman which he issued when 
the Khan-i-Khanan's rebellious intentions became mani- 
fest afterwards. 

A conspiracy was formed in which the principal part- 
nerd were Hamida B5nQ Begum, the dowager queen, 
MBham Ankah, the fostermother of Akbar, her son Adam 



Khan and her relative Shibabuddin, governor of Delhi. 
The plan was discussed with the emperor at Biyana 
whither he had gone on the pretext of hunting. 

It has been suggested that the emperor was too deeply 
immersed in hunting expeditions to give thought to such 
matters. These arguments are scarcely tenable in view 
of the fact that he had begun to take a keen interest in 
political affairs, and was fully alive to the importance of 
asserting his own authority. Hunting afforded a good 
pretext as it well might under such circumstances. The 
plot was carried out without the slightest slip from start 
to finish, and the perfect accordance of its execution with 
the original plan shows that the emperor was fully aware 
of it, and followed the details with his usual intelligence 
and alertness. 

It was arranged that Akbar should go to Delhi on the 
pretext of seeing his mother who was reported to be ill. 
When he was there, Maham Ankah employed all the arts 
of a clever and intriguing woman to foment ill-feeling 
against the Khan-i-Khanan, and magnified his indiscreet 
utterances into insults towards the royal authority. 
Bairam who soon discovered what was passing behind 
the scenes offered ' supplication and humility, ' but Akbar 
had resolved to end his unpopular regime. His friends 
advised him to seize the person of Akbar and crush the 
conspirators by a coup de main, but he refused to tarnish 
his record of faithful service by a seditious act. Akbar 
sent him a message that he had determined to take the 
reins of government in his own hands, and that he 
desired him to proceed on pilgrimage to Mecca. He 
offered him a jagir for his maintenance the revenue of 
which was to be sent to him by his agents. 


Bairam received Akbar's message with composure and 
prepared to submit to his fate. When he moved towards 
Biyana in April 1560, the court party, perturbed by the 
anxiety lest the Khan -i-Kh an an should rebel, induced Akbar 
to send a certain Pir Muhammad, a former subordinate of 
Bairam's, with a force ' to hasten the latter's departure 
for Mecca ' or as BadaonI puts it * to pack him off as quickly 
as possible* to Mecca without giving him any time^for 
delay. ' 1 Bairam was annoyed at the insult and decided to 
breakout into open rebellion. He proceeded towards the 
Punjab, and having left his family and goods in the fort of 
Tabarhindah, resumed his journey. Akbar sent his generals 
to deal with the insurgent minister, and in an action fought 
near Jalandhar he was defeated and driven to seek refuge 
in the Siwalik hills. The emperor himself started for 
the Punjab, and marched in pursuit of the Khan-i-Khanan. 
Driven to bay, Bairam offered submission and implored 
forgiveness. Akbar who fully appreciated his services to 
his dynasty readily agreed to pardon him, and received 
him * with the most princely grace, and presentedJum 
with a splendid robe of honour. ' a He was allowed to 
depart for Mecca wftlfsuitable dignity, and the emperor 
returned to Delhi. 

Bairam marched through Rajputana en route to Mecca, 
and reached Patan in Gujarat, where he stayed for a short 
time. The governor received him well, but made no 
arrangements for his safety. Probably he apprehended no 
danger as the minister had expressed contrition for his 
rebellious conduct. To the surprise of all, he was murder- 
ed by an Afghan, whose father had been killed in an 

1 Al-Badtonl, II, p. 33, 
f Elliot, V, p. 268. 



action with the Mughals under the command of Bairam 
Khan. Bairam's camp was plundered, but his son Abdur 
Rahim who was then a child of four years of age was 
rescued from the ruffians, and sent to court, where by hia 
great talents and devotion to the throne he rose to a position 
of great eminence and earned the title of Khan-i-Khanau 
in recognition of his valuable services to the empire. 

Bairam's fall cleared the way for the party of MSharo 
Ankah, a fostermother of Akbar, whose real capacity for^ 

intrigue soon, gained for her aa 

The so-caii 
ed petticoat important position in the state. Several 

e n *' historians write that she became the empe- 
ror's prime confidante in all matters and 
held the reins of government in her hands. Dr. Vincent ' 
Smith concludes his observations on the fall of Bairam by 
saying that Akbar shook off the tutelage of the Khan-i- 
Khanan only to bring himself under the 'monstrous 
regiment of unscrupulous women, ' and expresses the 
view that Maham proved unworthy of the trust reposed 
in her. He repeats the usual charge that she bestowed 
offices on her worthless favourites, and cared for nothing 
except her own interests. 

Now, this is not quite correct If she had really domi- 
nated Akbar, as is frequently supposed, she would have 
advanced the claims of her own son Adham Khan, who had 
distinguished himself as a soldier against the Bhadauria 
Rajputs at Mankot. Then, Akbar's treatment of Bairam 
after his rebellion militates against the view of Dr. Smith, 
MSham's party had planned the ruin of the Khan-i-Khanan, 
and no one would have been more gratified than Mfiham 
to see the old minister disgraced and condemned to death. 
But Akbar acted according to his own judgment, and 


granted pardon to his old tutor irrespective of the wishes 
of Maham and her associates. It has been seriously argued 
that her object was merely to further the interests of her 
own son and relatives. But facts do not warrant this view. 
No title or Jagir was conferred upon Adham Khan during 
this period. It is true, he was entrusted with the command 
of the expedition against Malwa, but after the conquest he 
was not appointed sole governor of the province. Again, 
when reports reached the emperor of his misappropriation 
of booty, he marched in person from Agra on May 13, 
1561, to punish him, but the culprit obtained a pardon 
through the intercession of his mother. Later, when 
Adham murdered Shamsuddin Atka Khan (May 16, 1652) 
on whom the emperor proposed to confer the office of 
vakil in spite of Maham's opposition Akbar ordered him to 
be thrown down twice the ramparts of his fort in a terrible 
rage so that his brains were dashed out and he was killed. 
The emperor himself broke the news to Maham who is 
reported to have uttered the words : ' Your Majesty did 
well. ' Life ceased to have any interest for Maham who 
followed her son to the grave within 40 days of his death. 
If Akbar had been under Maham's influence, Adham 
would not have suffered such a cruel fate. 

A few events of this period deserve to be noticed. An 
expedition against Malwa was sent (1560 A.D.) under 
Adham Khan and Pir Muhammad Sherwani who defeated 
Baz Bahadur, the ruler of the country, and seized much 
booty. The conquest was accompanied by acts of 
ruthless cruelty and the misappropriation of booty by 
Adham Khan. Akbar marched in person to punish him, 
but as has been said before, it was through his mother's 
intercession that he secured his pardon. 

I ; W-t *>'* JJ^E ^* * 

mjiMu*i*s, ~*w+*+'"** *vfC vV ^>' 
rwi^^ < . _ -; vi^v. *?* r/, 


After some time Adham Khan was recalled from Malwa 
"which was entrusted to Pir Muhammad. But the latter so 
hopelessly mismanaged things that war broke out again, 
and Baz Bahadur once more recovered his lost kingdom. 
He found it difficult to maintain his position, and was 
expelled from the country. He was finally sent to the 
court where the emperor conferred upon him a mansab 
of 1,000, which was afterwards raised to 2,000. Adham 
Khan was at this time thrown down the ramparts of the 
fort for the murder of Shamsuddin Muhammad Atka 
Khan, who had been appointed to the office of minister 
(vakil) in November 1561 A.D. 

Akbar was a man of strong imperial instinct, and wish- 
ed to make himself the supreme ruler of Hindustan. 

With this object in view he set himself to 
m " the task of destroying the independence of 

every state in India, and this policy was con- 
tinued until 1601 , when the capture of Asirgarh crowned 
his career of unparalleled military glory and conquest. 

He began by ordering an unprovoked attack upon 
the small kingdom of Gondwana in the Central Provinces 

which was then ruled by a remarkable 
^ondwfins^ f Queen, the gallant Rani Durgawati, so well 

known in history, who acted as regent for 
her minor son. Asaf Khan, the governor of Kara, 
inarched against her. The Rani bravely defended herself, 
but in a battle between Garh and Mandal in the modern 
Jabalpur district she was defeated by the imperialists 
who far exceeded her in numbers. Like queen Boadicea 
of the Celts, Durgawati preferred death to dishonour, 
and perished on the field of battle, fighting to the last. 
The country was laid waste, and immense .booty was 


captured by the invaders. Bir Narayan, the young Raja,- 
turned out a true son of her mother. Realising the impos- 
sibility of success against his enemies, he performed the 
rite of Jauhar, and then died fighting bravely in defence- 
of the honour of his house. 

The conquest of GondwSna synchronised with three 
important rebellions in Hindustan which were all effect- 
ively suppressed. Abdulla Kb an Uzbeg 
who had superseded Pir Muhammad 
rebelled in Malwa, but he was defeated and driven into' 
Gujarat. Early in 1565 broke out the rebellion of Khan 
Zaman, another Uzbeg leader of Jaunpur. Akbar 
himself marched to the east, and drove the rebels 
towards Patna. Khan Zaman made peace which he 
violated soon afterwards. 

More serious than these was the invasion of the 
Punjab by Akbar 's brother Mirza Hakim who was en- 
couraged in his designs by the Uzbegs. The half-subdued 
rebel Khan Zaman acknowledged his claim to the throne 
of Hindustan and caused the Khutba to be read in. 
Hakim's name. Mightily offended by his brother's 
hostile move, Akbar marched towards the Punjab. The 
news of his approach frightened Hakim, and he beat a 
hasty retreat across the Indus. Akbar returned to Agra 
in May, 1567, and resolved to deal with Khan Zaman. He 
rode across the Ganges on the back of his elephant at the 
head of a considerable force and inflicted a severe defeat 
upon the rebellious Uzbeg. He was killed, and his brother 
Bahadur was captured and beheaded. Their accomplices 
were severely punished, and several of them were trampl- 
ed under the feet of elephants. The emperor obtained a 
large number of the heads of the enemy by offering a 


gold mohar for the head of a Mughal rebel and a rupee 
for that of a Hindustani. 

Akbar was by nature a tolerant and broad-minded 

ruler. Born under the sheltering care of a Hindu, when hia 

father was wandering as an exile, disowned 

tife k Rajput8 nd b y those who had enjoyed his favour, Akbar 
sympathised with the Hindus and sought 
their friendship. The Rajputs were the military leaders 
of the Hindu community. They were the best fighting 
men of India, and must needs be subdued or conciliated, if 
his empire was to rest upon solid foundations. His associa- 
tion with cultivated men enlarged his natural sympathies- 
and convinced him of the futility of sectarian differences. 
Men like Todarmal and Birbal who joined his service 
impressed him with the genius and ability of the Hindus, 
and the Emperor became more and more inclined to 
extend his favour to them and to make them sharers in 
developing the grandiose plan of an empire, knowing na 
distinction pf caste and creed, which he was maturing in 
his mind. IThere could be no Indian empire without the 
Rajputs, no social or political synthesis without their 
intelligent and active co-operation. The new body politic 
must consist of the Hindus and Muslims and must 
contribute to the welfare of both. The emperor's lofty 
mind rose above the petty prejudices of his age, and 
after much anxious thought he decided to associate the 
Rajputs with him on honourable terms in his ambitious 
enterprises. The first Rajput to join the imperial court 
was BhSrmal, the KachwShS Raja of Amber. In January, 
1562, when the emperor was going to Ajmer to visit the 
holy shrine of Khwaja Muinuddin, he was informed that 
BhSrmal was hard pressed by Sharafuddin Husain, the 


Governor of Mewat at the instigation of Suj, son of his 
brother Puranmal. At Sgnganlr, Bharmal with his family 
waited upon His Majesty and was received with honour. 
He expressed a wish to enter the imperial service and 
strengthened his relationship by means of a matrimonial 
alliance. His wish was granted, and on his return from 
A jmer Akbar received at Smbhar the Raja's daughter 
whom he married. Bharmal with his son Bhagwan Das 
and grandson Man Singh accompanied the emperor to 
Agra where he was given a command of 5,000, and his 
son and grandson were granted commissions in the 
imperial army. This marriage is an important event in 
our country's history. It healed strife and bitterness, 
and produced an atmosphere of harmony and good will 
where there had been racial and religious antagonisms 
of a most distressing character. Dr. Beni Prasad rightly 
observes that ' it symbolised the dawn of a new era in 
Indian politics ; it gave the country a line of remarkable 
sovereigns ; it secured to four generations of Mughal em- 
perors the services of some of the greatest captains and 
-diplomats that mediaeval India produced.' 

The Rana of Mewar was the greatest prince in Raj- 
putana. He traced his descent from Rama, the hero of the 
great epic, Ramayana, and was the acknow- 

f led ed head of K*Wrt chivalry. Akbar, 
who had received the homage of the Raja 
of Amber, clearly saw that his aim of being the para- 
mount lord of Northern India could not be realised unless 
lie captured the famous fortresses of Chittor and Ran- 
thambhor. The conquest of Mewar was therefore part of 
.a larger enterprise, and the emperor intended to treat 
It as a stepping stone to his further conquest of the 



whole of Hindustan. Besides, the Rana had given offence 
to the emperor by giving shelter to Baz Bahadur, the 
fugitive king of Malwa, and by assisting the rebellious 
Mirzas. In August 1567, when the emperor was encamped 
at Dholpur on his way to 'Malwa, Shakti Singh, a son of 
the Rana of Mewar, who had fled from his father in 
anger, waited upon him. One day Akbar told the young 
prince in jest that all the important chieftains of India 
had offered submission, but Rana Udaya Singh had not 
yet done so, and therefore he proposed to march against 
him. The prince quietly escaped from the royal camp 
at night and informed his father of the emperor's inten- 
tions. Akbar, when he came to know of Shakti Singh's 
departure, was filled with wrath, and resolved to humble 
the pride of Mewar. 

In September, 1567, the emperor started for Chittor, 
and on October 20, 1567, reached near the fort 
and encamped his army in the vast plain that still sur- 
rounds it. The Rana had already left Chittor, and retired 
to the hills with the advice of his chiefs, entrusting the 
fort to the care of Jayamal and Patta with 8,000 brave 
Rajputs under their command. ' The names of these two 
warriors are, as Colonel Tod enthusiastically records, 
household words in Mewar, and will be honoured while 
the Rajput retains a shred of his inheritance or a spark 
of his ancient recollections. 

1 Colonel Tod speaks of two invasions of Mewar but this is prob- 
ably an invention of the bards. 

Udaya Singh did not runaway from Chittor as is sometimes suppos- 
ed. He called a council of his Chiefs when he heard of A k bar's intention 
to invade his country. They -told him that Mewar had exhausted her 
strength in fighting against Gujarat and it would be difficult to resist 
Akbar who was so powerful. They advised him to retire to the hills 
with his family. 

Gauri Shankar Ojha, Rajputana ka Itihas (Hindi), Pb. II, pp. 724-25. 


The imperialists laid siege to the fortress, and Akbar 
ordered Sabats to be constructed. The Rajputs fought 
with great gallantry, and the emperor himself narrowly 
escaped death several times. So gloomy was the prospect 
that the emperor vowed to undertake a pilgrimage on 
foot to the Khwaja's shrine at Ajmer, if God granted 
him victory in the war. Fighting went on ceaselessly 
until February 23, 1568, when Jayamal was shot in one 
of his legs by a bullet from the Emperor's gun. His fall 
was a great blow to the Rajputs but they did not lose 
heart. Suffering from a mortal wound, Jayamal called 
together his men and asked them to perform the last rite 
of jJauhar and to prepare for the final charge. The 
ghastly tragedy was perpetrated, and many a beautiful 
princess and noble matron of Mewar perished in the 

Next morning the gates were opened, and the Rajputs 
rushed upon the enemy like mad wolves. Jayamal and 
Patta bravely defended the honour of Mewar, but they 
were at last slain in the action. The entire garrison 
died fighting to a man, and when Akbar entered the 
city, he ordered a general massacre. Abul Fazl 
writes that 30,000 persons were killed, but this seems 
to be an exaggeration. Having entrusted the fort to 
his own garrison, the emperor returned to Ajmer 
and fulfilled the vow which he had made during the 
Biege. He was so struck by the valour of the Rajputs 
that when he reached Agra he ordered the statues 
of Jayamal and Patta to be placed at the gate of the 

A year after the conquest of Chittor, the emperor sent 
his generals against Ranthambhor, the stronghold, of the 


Hara section of the Chohan clan, deemed impregnable in 
Rajasthan. In December 1568, the emperor 

set out m person and ** r e& at the scene 
-and Kaiinjar. of action in February 1569. The fort was 

situated on a hill so high that ascent was 
impossible, and manjniqa were of little use. The imperi- 
alists managed to get some guns to the top of another hill, 
which existed very near When bombardment began 
from this hill, the walls began to give way, and the edi- 
fices in the fort crumbled down to the earth. The chief 
of Ranthambhor Surjana Kara, seeing the superior 
strength of the imperial army, came to the conclusion that 
further resistance was impossible. Through the inter- 
cession of Rajas BhagwSn Das and Man Singh he sent his 
sons Duda and Bhoja to the emperor, who granted them 
robes of honour and sent them back to their father. 
Touched by the emperor's magnanimity, Surjana Kara 
expressed a desire to wait on him. His wish was granted, 
and escorted by Husain Quli Khan, the Rai paid his res- 
pects to Akbar and surrendered to him the keys of the 
fortress. He accepted the service of the emperor, and was 
posted as a qiladar at Garhkantak, and w&s afterwards 
appointed as governor of the province of Benares and the 
fort of Chunar. 

When Akbar left Agra for Ranthambhor, he had sent 
Man jnu Khan QBqshSl at the head of a large army to re- 
duce the fort of Kaiinjar in Bundelkhand. The news of 
the fall of Chittor and Ranthambhor had already reached 
Raja Ramchandra and he surrendered the fort to the im- 
perial commandant in August 1569. Friendly greetings 
were sent to the Rana who was given a jagir near 
Allahabad, and the fort was placed in charge of the general 


whose valour had captured it. The conquest of Kalinjar 
g-ave to Akbar an important fort which considerably 
strengthened his military position in Northern India. 
Henceforward he could proceed with his other plans of 
conquest without fearing any trouble from the Rajputs. 

Several other Rajput chiefs offered their submission 

after these conquests. Chandra Sen, son of Raja Maldeva 

Submission of Jodh P ur > waited upon His Majesty at 

of their Nagor, but his friendship does not seem to 

chiefs. have laste(J long Chandra Sen defied the 

authority of the emperor afterwards and retired to the 
hill fort of Siwana. The emperor ordered an attack on 
Jodhpur, and gave it to Rai Rai Singh of Bikanir. Rai 
Singh's father Rai Kalyan Mai also came to pay homage 
to the emperor at Nagor with his son. The Raja presented 
tribute, and the loyalty of both father and son being 
manifest, the emperor married Kalyan Mai's daughter 
As Kalyan Mai was too fat to ride on horseback, he was 
permitted to go back to Bikanir, while his son remained 
at court, and received a mansab from the emperor. 

Akbar's policy towards the Rajputs originated in am- 
I bition, but it was more generous and humane than that of 
1 Reflection^ other Muslim rulers. His predecessors had 
, on A k b a r's < humiliated the princes whom they conquered 

Rajput Policy. md rayaged their lands . Akbar wag en . 

dowed with the higher qualities of statesmanship, and he 
resolved to base his empire on the goodwill of both Hindus 
and Muslims. He adopted a policy of conciliation, and 
refused to treat them as inferiors because they were 
* infidels ' or ' unbelievers. ' He waged relentless wars 
against them, but when they offered -submission, he 
sheathed his sword with pleasure. No desecration or 


religious persecution marred the glory of his triumphs, and 
he refrained from doing anything that might wound the 
feelings of his Rajput enemies. Equality of status with 
the Muslims steeled the loyalty of the Rajput chiefs and 
they shed their lifeblood in the service of the empire in 
distant and dangerous lands. The friendship was further 
cemented by matrimonial alliances which brought advan- 
tages to both sides, and opened new avenues of honour to 
the Rajput princes. They found scope for themselves as 
soldiers who might have otherwise lived out their life in 
glorious obscurity in their mountain or desert fastnesses. 
The rapid growth of the empire and the success of their 
mighty hero, a worthy object of devotion and loyalty, 
stirred their martial spirit, and led them on to new fields 
of glory and renown, and made them forget whatever 
humiliation their discomfiture or surrender implied. 
Many of them loved art and literature, and their presence 
added to the magnificence of the imperial court which be- 
came famous in Asia and Europe, and by their levies in- 
creased the strength of the legions of the empire. Most 
of them enrolled themselves as mansabdars, and fought in 
battles and sieges shoulder to shoulder with Mughal 
officers. They secured for the emperor the good will 
of Hindus of whom they were the acknowledged political 
leaders. Through them the millions of Northern India 
became reconciled to Akbar's government and prayed for 
its welfare. It was they who aided to a large extent the 
synthesis of religions and cultures in which the emperor 
took delight, and by their acceptance of Muslim 
ideas of political and social organisation they made 
possible the fusion of the Hindus and Muslims. No 
impartial historian can fail to give credit to these pioneers 


of Indo-Muharamadan culture, which is the greatest 
legacy of the Mughals to this country. 

Hitherto all the children born to Akbar had died in 
infancy, and it was his great desire to have a son on whom 

he would bestow the care and affection of 
Prhice s^iim? f a Iovin 2 father. Every year he paid a visit 

to the Khwaja's holy shrine at Ajmer, and 
vowed, as was his wont, to make a pilgrimage on foot, if 
he were blessed with a son. Many a time he went to 
Sikri where lived Shaikh Salim Chishti, the venerable 
sage whose saintliness and austere penances drew to him 
many admiring disciples from far and near. Early in 
1569 it was reported that his first Hindu wife, the daughter 
of Raja Bharmal of Jaipur, was with child. She was 
removed to Sikri for confinement with all her attendants, 
where on August 30, 1569, she gave birth to a boy, it was 
believed everywhere, through the prayers of the holy 
Shaikh. The child was named Salim after the saint, 
though Akbar always addressed him by his pet name Shai- 
khu Babg. The pious father fulfilled his vow by making 
a pilgrimage on foot to Ajmer in 1570, and presented his 
offerings at the shrine. 

The blessing of Shaikh Salim Chishti so filled the heart 
of Akbar with gratitude that he decided to leave Agra 

and transfer his court to Sikri. Here in 

course of time a lar * e ci *y *r ew U P> adorned 
and beautified by the emperor's lavish 
bounty. The constructions extended over nearly fourteen 
years and reached completion in 1574. The Shaikh died 
in 1572, and over his remains Akbar built a fine mau- 
soleum of pearls, which by reason of its elegance and deli- 
*cate design still excites the wonder and admiration of art 


-critics. The Great Mosque which is supposed to be a 
" duplicate of the holy place " at Mecca was finished in 
1572, and is one of the finest examples of Mughal archi- 
tecture. But nothing excels in grandeur and stateliness 
the Buland Darwaza or Lofty Gateway which was com- 
pleted in 1575-76, though designed in 1573, to commemorate 
the imperial conquest of Gujarat. 

It was after the conquest of Gujarat that the city 
came to be called Fatehpur though the emperor had given 
it the name of Fatehabad. The numerous buildings of 
this noble city, erected by the bounty of a generous 
monarch, are still visited by thousands of visitors from all 
parts of the globe. The palaces, baths, reservoirs, offices, 
halls and their huge corridors make the deserted city 
even in its ruins an abode of romance and wonder, which, 
while enabling us to form an idea of the greatness and 
glory of the Mughals, remind us forcibly of the ephemeral 
nature of worldly possessions and the emptiness of all 
our earthly vanities. 

The emperor lived at Fatehpur from 1569 to 1585 for 
about 17 years. In 1582 the dam of the lake of Fatehpur 
was broken, and the whole town was inundated. He 
decided to leave the beautiful city and transferred the 
court to Agra in 1585.. 

Having conquered Malwa and broken the power 
of the Rajputs, Akbar resolved to lead an expedition 
to Gujarat. The province had been con- 
f <l uered b y Humayun, but he had lost it 
owing: to his own lethargy and inaction. 
Akbar naturally felt desirous of recovering the lost 
province of his father's empire. Besides, Gujarat was a 
Jand of plenty whose prosperity, fertility and wealth had 


deeply impressed all European and Asiatic travellers who 
had visited it. The ports of Gujarat were the emporia 
of trade with the west and Broach, Cambay, and Surat 
had carried on lucrative trade with the countries of Asua 
and Europe since the earliest times. They are frequently 
mentioned in the literature of the ancient Hindus as. 
centres of sea-borne trade, and it was for this reason 
that ever since the days of Mahmud of Ghazni the 
Muslim rulers of Hindustan had sought the conquest 
of Gujarat. The ruler of Gujarat at this time was 
Muzaffar Shah II, a weak and incompetent man, 
whose authority was not respected even by his own 

Muzaffar was a king merely in name, and all real 
power was in the hands of certain nobles. The whole 
country was in a state of complete disorder, and its most 
important provinces were held by chiefs who were anxious 
to establish their own independent power. Then, there 
were the Mirzas who were related to the emperor, and 
who created strife and offered help by turns to rival 
chieftains. Muzaffar found it impossible to control the 
forces of disorder, and when Akbar marched against 
him, he fled from the capital and took refuge in a corn 
field. The emperor pitied him and granted him a paltry 
allowance of Rs. 30 per month. The chiefs of Gujarat 
offered their submission, and Akbar placed the town of 
Ahmadabad under Khan-i-Azam Aziz Koka, his favourite 
foster-brother. While he was engaged in settling the 
affairs of Gujarat, news came that one of the Mirzas had 
slain a certain amir, who wished to pay homage to Akbar. 
The emperor started forthwith to chastise the rebellious 
Mirza, and inflicted a crushing defeat upon him at 


SarnaL l This victory was followed by the siege of Surat 
which surrendered after a periopl of one month and 
seventeen days. The Mirzas again stirred up strife, but 
they were defeated by Aziz Koka, who was assisted by 
the chiefs of Malwa, Chanderi and other important states. 
Having subjugated the country, the emperor returned to 

No sooner did the emperor turn his back than trouble 
broke out afresh in Gujarat, and the imperial garrison 
suffered heavily at the hands of the local rebels. Akbar 
was mightily offended at this, and he resolved to finish 
the Gujarat affair once for all. He set out with a well- 
organized force for Ahmadabad where he reached after 
an arduous journey of eleven days. The Mirzas were up- 
set by the news that the emperor had come in person to 
deal with them. They were severely defeated along with 
their allies, and the emperor commemorated his victory 
by constructing a tower of human skulls which numbered 
about 2,000. 

Akbar was now complete master of Gujarat. There 
was no man of substance left to challenge his authority, 
and therefore he turned his attention to the work of civil 
organization. Arrangements were made forthwith for 
the settlement of the country, and Raja Todarmal was 
entrusted with the management of the finances, which 
had been in a state of disorder for a long time. He made 
a land survey, and reorganized the entire revenue system 
so that the country yielded a net annual income of five 
millions to the imperial exchequer. His work was after- 
wards continued by another able officer Shihab-ud-din 

1 It is five miles to the east of Kharia. 


Ahmad Khan, who held the charge of the province front 
1577 till 1584 A.D. 

With the laurels of victory on his brow, the emperor 
rode back to Sikri (October 5, 1573), where at the foot 
of the hill he was accorded a grand reception by his nobles 
and officers, whose vociferous greetings were drowned in 
the noise of the kettle-drums, which proclaimed from the 
portals of the newly-built Jam-i-masjid the happy news of 
the conquest of one of the richest and most fertile pro- 
vinces of Hindustan. The new city which the emperor had 
built near Sikri was henceforward called Fatehpur. 

Bengal had always been a most refractory province 

of the empire of Delhi. It was held by the Afghan chiefs 

in the time of Sher Shah, but in 1564 Sulai- 

f man Khan > chief of Bihar occupied Gaur, 
and became the ruler of both provinces. 
After his death he was succeeded by his son Bayazid, but 
he was murdered by his ministers who placed on the 
throne his ytmnger son Daud, whom the author of the 
Tabqat describes as a " dissolute scamp who knew nothing 
of the art of governing. " The possession of an immense 
treasure accumulated by his father and a large army 
turned the head of Daud, and he soon incurred the wrath 
of the emperor by seizing the fort of Zamania on the 
eastern frontier of the empire. 

The emperor sent Munim Khan, an old and experienced 
general, against Daud at the head of a large army, but in- 
fluenced by his friendship with the rebel's father he made 
peace with him. The emperor highly disapproved of his 
action, and ordered him to prosecute the campaign with 
greater vigour. When Munim's efforts failed against Patna* 
the emperor himself marched to the scene of action. Daud 


fled, leaving Patna to its fate, and the imperialists entered 
the city in triumph without encountering any opposition. 
Munim Khan was made governor of Bengal, and was 
invested with ample authority to deal with the situation. 
Daud was forced to make peace, but his restless spirit 
again got the better of him, and he began slowly to grab 
the territory which had been snatched away from him. 
Munim Khan who was already eighty years of age died 
in October, 1575, and his death gave Daud the opportunity 
which he so eagerly desired. He gathered his forces 
again, and taking advantage of the situation reoccupied 
the whole country. 

The emperor was enraged beyond all bounds at the 
news of Daud's audadty. He sent another general who 
routed the Afghans in a battle near Raj Mahal, and took 
Daud prisoner. His head was cut off, and was sent to the 
emperor, while the rest of his body was gibbeted at Tanda. 

With Daud fell the independent kingdom of Bengal 
which had lasted for nearly 240 years. The whole country 
of Bengal and Bihar became subject to Akbar, and was 
henceforward governed by the imperial viceroys. 

Ran a Udaya Singh died in 1572, and was succeeded by 
his son Pratap, who embodied in his person the spirit of 
Rajput freedom. He called to his mind the 
with deeds of R ana Sanga and Rana Kumbha, his 
great ancestors who had held aloft in their 
day the banner of freedom, and had made the force of 
their arms felt by their Muslim contemporaries. He 
was often heard to exclaim in bitterness and sorrow, ' Had 
Udai Singh never been or none intervened between him 
and Rana Sanga, no Turk should ever have given laws to 
Rajasthan. ' He saw the influence of the poison which 


was insidiously working its way into the Rajput society, 
and while his fellow-princes vied with one another in 
promoting the glory of the empire, he resolved to 
redeem the honour of his race. It was not an easy task ; 
in the event of war he will have against him not only 
the organised might of Akbar who was at this time 
' immeasurably the richest monarch on the face of this 
earth, ' * but nearly all the leading chiefs of Rajputana, 
who had considerable forces at their command, and who 
were desirous of seeing Rana Pratap humbled like them- 
selves. The chronicles of Rajasthan relate an anecdote 
which, whether true or not, illustrates the Rajput mental- 
ity of the time 2 On one occasion, when Raja Man Singh 
of Amber was returning from some campaign, he sought 
an interview with Rana Pratap on the bank of the Udaya- 
sagar lake. A feast was arranged in honour of the 
distinguished Kachwaha, but the Rana did not attend, and 
excused himself on the ground of indisposition. Raja Man 
divined the reason of his absence, and said, ' If the Rana 
refuses to put a plate before me, who will ? ' The Rana 
expressed his regret, but added that he could not dine with 
a Rajput who had married his sister to a Turk, and had 
probably eaten with him. Stung to the quick by this 
insulting remark, Raja Man left the dinner untouched, and 
observed as he was preparing to leave the place ; 'It was 
for the preservation of your honour that we sacrificed our 
own and gave our sisters and daughters to the Turk ; but 
abide in peril, if such be your resolve, for this country 
shall not hold you. ' As he leapt on the back of his horse, 

1 Akbar, the Great Mughal, p. 148. 

2 Annals, I, pp. 891-92. 


he turned to the Rana who appeared just in time to hear 
the remark and said : ' If I do not humble your pride, 
my name is not Man/ To this Pratap replied that he 
should always be happy to meet him, while some 
irresponsible person from behind whispered an undignified 
rebuke in asking the Raja not to forget to bring his 
Phupha (father's sister's husband) Akbar with him. 

The anecdote goes on to add that the ground on which 
the board was spread was washed, and Ganges water was 
sprinkled over it, while the chiefs who were present bathed 
themselves, and changed their garments to wash away the 
pollution caused by the presence of one whom they con- 
sidered an ' apostate/ Such were the sentiments of 
Rana Pratap and the other men of mighty resolve, who 
scorned the offers of wealth and power, and clung to their 
chief with a devotion the memory of which will ever 
remain a proud possession of their descendants. 

The Rana who foresaw the danger at once took steps 
to organise his government, and devised regulations to 
make his army more efficient and better equipped. He 
strengthened fortresses like Kumbhalmir and Gogunda, 
and decided to adopt the method of guerilla warfare in 
dealing with the Mughals. 

Abul Fazl speaks of the Rana's ' arrogance, presump- 
tion, disobedience, deceit and dissimulation, ' but it was 
impossible for a courtier like him to appreciate the great- 
ness of Rana Pratap and the loftiness of the purpose for 
which he waged a life-long war against the empire. 
Dr. Vincent Smith puts in a nutshell the casus belli when 
he says : 

"His (Rana Pratap's) patriotism was his offence. 
Akbar had won over most of the Rajput chieftains 


by his astute policy and could not endure the inde- 
pendent attitude assumed by the Rana who must be 
broken if he would not bend like his fellows. " 

Akbar resolved to destroy the Rana's independence 
and to annex Mewar to the empire, and in this task he was 
assisted by the Rajputs themselves. The Rana, who knew 
beforehand the danger that loomed on the horizon, vowed 
to preserve the purity of bis blood and once more ta 
uphold the traditions of the Sisodias by sacrificing himself 
in the service of the land that gave him birth. 

Akbar sent Man Singh and Asaf Khan in April, 1576, 
from Ajmer against the Rana. They arrived via Mandal- 
garh at the pass of Haldighat where a great battle was 
fought. The historian BadSonl has given a graphic account 
of this battle, which will be read with great interest. He 
was himself present on the field of battle, and writes, 
from personal observation. The Rana came out of the 
mountains with 300 horse, and in the first attack the 
vanguard of the imperial troops ' became hopelessly mixed 
up together, and sustained a complete defeat ' The 
Rajputs on the Mughal left ' ran away like a flock of 
sheep, and fled for protection towards the right wing/ 
It was on this occasion that the historian asked Asaf 
Khan how they were to distinguish between the hostile 
and friendly Rajputs in such a confused mass whereupon 
the general replied, 'on whichever side there may be 
killed, it will be a gain to Islam.' 

The Rana retreated into the hills but the Mughals did 
not pursue him. 1 Next day, the imperialists reached 

1 It is related by BadSont (Lowe II, p. 247) that the emperor was 
displeased with Man Singh because he did not pursue the Rana and 


Gogunda which was guarded by the Rana's men who 
died bravely fighting in their defence. 

The Mughals had gained a complete victory, and the 
bigoted Badaon! was commissioned by Man Singh to convey 
the gladsome tidings to the emperor at Fatehpur. Rana 
Pratap's spirit was not damped by this defeat. He soon 
recovered all Me war except Chittor, Ajmer and Mandal- 
garh, and the annals relate that he raided the state of Am- 
ber and sacked its chief mart of Malpura. The Rana died 
in 1597, and the final scene has been pathetically described 
by Tod. The dying hero is represented in a lowly dwelling ; 
his chiefs, the faithful companions of many a glorious 
day, awaiting round his pallet the dissolution of the 
prince, when a groan of mental anguish made Salumbar 
inquire, " what afflicted his soul that it would not depart 
in peace?" He rallied. "It lingered," he said, "for 
some consolatory pledge that his country should not 
be abandoned to the Turk"; and with the death-pang 
upon him, he related an incident which had guided 
his estimate of his son's disposition, and tortured him 
with the reflection that for personal ease he would 

because be being a Rajput himself, did not allow the troops to plunder 
the Rana's country When the news of the distressed condition of the 
army reached him, he sent for Man Singh, Asaf Khan and Qazi Khan 
from the scene of war and excluded them from the court for some time. 
Nizamaddin expresses a more balanced view when he says that what 
displeased the emperor was that they would not allow the troops to 
plunder the Rana's country. 

Elliot, V, p. 401. 

The cause of the emperor's displeasure is thus described by Abu! 

* Turksters and time-servers suggested to the royal ear that there 
had been slackness in extirpating the wretch, and the officers were- 
' ready incurring the King's displeasure.' But His Majesty understood 
the truth and attached little value to what the backbiters told him. 


forego the remembrance of his own and his country's 
ivrongs. At this time Prince Amar whose (Rana's 
son) turban was dragged off by a projecting bamboo 
in the hut experienced an emotion which was noticed with 
pain by the dying Rana who is reported to have said : 
' These sheds will give way to sumptuous dwellings, thus 
generating the love of ease ; and luxury with its con- 
comitants will ensue, to which the independence of 
Mewar, which we have bled to maintain, will be 
sacrificed ; and you, my chiefs, will follow the pernicious 
example." They gave the needed assurance and 
solemnly declared by the throne of Bappa Rawal, 
that they would not permit mansions to be raised until 
Mewar had recovered her independence. The soul of 
Pratap was satisfied, and with joy he expired. 

Rana Pratap was succeeded by his son Amar Singh 
in 1597. He reorganised the institutions of the state, 
made a fresh assessment of the lands, and regulated 
the conditions of military service. The Mughals took the 
offensive again, and in 1599 Akbar sent Prince Salim and 
Raja Man Singh to invade Mewar, The Prince frittered 
away his time in the pursuit of pleasure at Ajmer, but 
the v aliant Raja aided by other officers did a great deal. 
Amar led the attack, but he was defeated, and his country 
was devastated by the imperialists. The campaign came 
to an end abruptly, when Raja Man Singh was called 
away by the emperor in order to quell the revolt of 
Usman Khan in Bengal. Akbar contemplated another 
invasion of Mewar, but his illness prevented him from 
putting his plan into execution. 

Akbar 's alleged apostasy of which an account will be 
given later had caused alarm in orthodox circles. During 


the years 1578-79 debates were held at Fatehpur Sikri 

in the Ibadat Khana with great zeal among^ 

effeo 1 t8 C *f the protagonists of rival sects. Akbar 

had himself assumed the position of the 
Imam-i-jSidil, and read the khutba from the 
pulpit. The so-calledjr^l^lite^ 


and civil^raised a storm among the ulama.^ The emperor'a 
3isSre^Sr3 oForthodoxy , which was manifest in the rulea 
and regulations issued by him, further exasperated the 
learned in the law, and produced a great uneasiness in 
the minds of the Muslims. The more desperate began 
to devise ways and means of getting rid of the heretical 
emperor. It was in such a position that Akbar found 
himself in 1580-81. T^4??lf|^1^^ 
cwsed^jprofojandjdjsmay in orthodox quarters, and^$he 
history of the rebellion^^tbat_ fpltoTOcf is closelyboiuid 
up with the growth pi the religious policy 

emperor adopted under theJnfluence ol^EnsT advisers^ 

Ithan-i-Jahan, who was placed in charge of Bengal 
after the suppression of Daud, died in May, 1579, and was 
succeeded by Muzaftar Khan Turbati who is 

in degcribed by N i zamuddin as a man harsh 

in his measures and offensive in his speech. 
The imperial Diwan at this time was Shah Mansur, 
an expert account officer, who ordered a careful enquiry 
into all titles and tenures with a view to confiscate all 
unauthorised holdings. The new regulations were en- 
forced in Bengal with great severity. What caused dis- 
content among the Jagirdars was the evident injustice of 
the method of assessment followed by the administration. 
Each case was not examined on the merits but an average 


was fixed which meant that every Jagirdar, whether his 
title was valid or not, had to restore some extra land to 
the crown or to pay for it. The result of this was that the 
assessed value of Jagirs in Bengal rose by one- fourth and 
of those in Bihar by one-fifth. There was another 'griev- 
ance. Having regard to the bad climate of Bengal. 
Akbar had increased the allowances of soldiers serving in 
Bengal and Bihar. Mansur, who was a strickler for admi- 
nistrative uniformity, reduced these allowances by 50 per 
cent in Bengal and by 30 per cent in Bihar. Even the 
Sayurghnl lands were not exempt from this inquest, and 
the ulama were greatly agitated over what they regarded 
as an improper interference with their sacred rights. 

There was yet another cause which aggravated the 
turmoil in the east. It was the emperor's religious policy, 
and Abul Fazl clearly states that the establishment of the 
principle of universal toleration (Sulh-i-Kul) was looked 
upon by the unthinking people as an abandonment of Islam. 
TheQaziof Jaunpur, Mulla Muhammad Yazdi, had issued a 
fatwa (a solemn declaration) early in 1580, declaring it 
lawful for Muslims to take up arms against the emperor 
whose measures threatened the very existence of Islam in 
India. With these causes at work, the actual outbreak 
of rebellion could not be long delayed in the east. 

The immediate cause of the revolt was the harsh policy 
of Muzaffar. He deprived the amirs of their jagirs, and 
enforced the dagh system with needless severity. The first 
to revolt were the Qaqshals, an important Chaghtai tribe, 
whose leader-Bab^ Khan resented the demand of the dagh 
tax. Muzaffar's insulting language towards Baba Khan 
roused the ire of the whole clan, and the Turks advanced 
upon the city of Gaur with arms in their hands, and 


destroyed the property of the governor. They were joined 
by others who had their own grievances against the state. 
The emperor, on hearing the news of the revolt, sent Raja 
Todarmal with some other officers to restore order in the 
province, but they failed. Soon after Muzaff ar was put to 
death, and the whole country of Bengal and Bihar fell into 
the hands of the rebels. Todarmal tried to conciliate the 
rebels but failed. They gathered so much strength that the 
imperial general had to shut himself up for four months in 
the fort of Mungher which was besieged by them. The 
emperor sent Aziz Koka to Bengal, and the two generals 
with their combined forces crushed the Qaqshals. But soon 
after this a new danger appeared on the horizon. This 
was the rebellion of Masum Farankhudi, the - Jagirdar of 
Jaunpur. He was defeated by Shah Baz Khan, and com- 
pelled to seek refuge in the Siwalik hills. Through the good 
offices of Aziz Koka the emperor pardoned him, but he did 
not live long to enjoy the imperial favour. He was mur- 
dered by a man who had a private grudge against him. 
Fighting went on in the east, but the force of the rebel- 
lious movement was considerably weakened. 

More serious than the rebellion in the east was the 
invasion of Muhammad Hakim, Akbar's brother, who ruled 
at Kabul. Mirza Hakim's mind was inflam- 
^ p h ed e itio K n a a b nd * ** the ' idle talk of the rebels of the 
the execution eastern provinces ' who made no secret of 
Manser! WaJ * ^eir designs to place him on the throne of 
Hindustan in place of his heretical brother. 
Akbar was informed of Hakim's designs, but he had 
always overlooked his faults saying, "He is a memorial 
of H. M. Jahanbani (Humayun Padshah). A son can be 
acquired but how can a brother be obtained ? " The 


Bengal rebels were not alone in opening negotiations* 
with Hakim; they were joined by certain officials of Akbar'a 
court, one of whom was the Diwan of the empire, Khwaja 
Mansur. The conspirators had pledged their adhesion to a 
bad cause. Hakim was a debauchee and a drunkard 'wholly 
incapable of meeting his brother either in statecraft or in 
the field/ The court officials were opportunists or turn- 
coats, who will have no qualms of conscience in transfer- 
ring their allegiance to the man, who established his title 
to the throne by success in battle. 

What was Hakim's motive ? Nizamuddin clearly states 
that he set out from Kabul with the object of conquering 
Hindustan. In the middle of December 1580, Hakim sent 
one of his officers to invade the Punjab, but he was driven 
back. A second inroad followed under Shadman, but he 
l^as defeated and killed by Raja Man Singh. In Shadman '& 
baggage were discovered three letters from Mirza Hakim, 
one of which was addressed to Shah Mansur, purporting to 
be a reply to an invitation to invade Hindustan. Man 
Singh sent these letters to the emperor who did not disclose 
their contents to any one. 

After Shadman 's repulse, the Mirza himself marched 
into the Punjab at the head of 15,000 cavalry and advanc- 
ed upon Lahore. All attempts to induce the local chiefs to- 
join him having failed, the Mirza hastily withdrew to his 

On hearing the news of the Mirza's advance, Akbar 
reluctantly decided to march against him. He gathered a 
force consisting of about 50,000 cavalry, 500 elephants and 
countless infantry. To guard himself against conspiracy 
the emperor took Khwaja MansOr with him, and princes 
Salim and Mured also accompanied him. When the army 


reached Panipat, Malik Sani Kabuli, Diwan of Mirza 
Hakim came to the imperial camp, and stayed with the 
Khwaja and through him opened communications with 
the emperor against his master. The emperor's suspicions 
against the Khwaja were confirmed. Another batch of 
letters was discovered which convinced the emperor of the 
Khwaja's guilt, and he ordered him without further en- 
quiry to be hanged on a tree to the great joy of the officers 
of the state, who had their own grievances against him. 

Akbar continued his march towards Ambala and 
Sarhind, and crossed the Indus on his way to Kabul. 
Prince Salim entered the Khaibar Pass and marched upon 
Jalalabad, while Murad advanced towards Kabul. The 
Mirza attacked him, but he was defeated and put to flight. 
When the emperor heard that Hakim intended to take 
refuge with the Uzbegs, he pardoned his offences, and 
restored his kingdom to him on condition that he will 
remain faithful to his sovereign. ' The success of the Kabul 
expedition was a great blow to the orthodox rebels, and 
henceforward the emperor was free to deal with religion 
as he liked 

1 Dr. V. Smith relying upon Monserrate says (Akbar, p. 200) that 
Kabul was not conferred upon Hakim directly. As he did not wait on 
the emperor in person, it was offered to his sister the wife of Khwaja 
Hasan of Badakhshan, when she came to see him. She, however, allowed 
Hakim to recover quiet possession of the country. Abul Fazl does not 
mention this. Nizamuddin supports Abul Fazl by saying (Elliot, V, p. 426) 
that His Majesty having conferred Kabul rmmj frfiril" I! n 1~ Trn turned 
towards Hindustan. From Akbar's attitud^TO^|SiSa!^ think that 
the Indian historians are right. AgajX^tfofwWcvV^Sliave the 
statement of Abul Fazl (A. N. Ill, jpwffrjfa'ftogTJ^ 
emperor that he regretted that he coufil notllmng his sisteund IQrwaja 
Hasan to make apology for him, for ifteJ9pJB, out of /ear && on\eeing 
his evil day, gone to Badakhshan. 

There is no reason why Abul Fa 
the truth in a matter like this. 
Uzbeg further explains Akbar's lenid 


A word may be said about Khwaja Mansur's death. 
He was executed hastily without sufficient proof. The 
letters were not examined with care, and na 
attempt was made to identify the Khwaja's 
handwriting. The letters seized by Man 
Singh in Shadman's baggage do not seem to have been of 
a serious nature for on their discovery the emperor took 
no action against the culprit, and kept the contents to 
himself. The last letters which sealed the fate of the 
Khwaja were a clear forgery, as is proved by the 
evidence of Nizamuddin who was an eye-witness of 
these events. He was present in the royal camp. There 
is no evidence to prove that the earlier letters were 
genuine, and Dr. Smith uncritically accepts Monserrate's 

It is difficult to set aside Nizamuddin who positively 
states that the emperor regretted his execution of the 
Khwaja. Regarding the early letters, Abul Fazl, who is 
not in any way partial to the Khwaja, says that the 
sovereign regarded them as the work of forgers, and for 
this reason did not show them to the Khwaja Dr. Smith 
convicts the Khwaja on the evidence of the first batch of 
letters which Abul Pazl unequivocally describes as 
forgeries. We cannot accept Monserrate's account in the 
face of two contemporary writers one of whom says 
clearly that the first batch of letters (which Smith holds 
to be genuine) was a forgery and the other who asserts 
that the last batch of letters on the evidence of which the 
Khwaja was executed was forged by his enemies. The real 
explanation of the Khwaja's death is to be found in his own 
unpopularity and the jealousy of his fellow-officers. Abul 
Fazl says that from love of office and cupidity he waa 


always laying hold of trifles in financial matters and 
displaying harshness. Those who felt aggrieved by his 
harsh policy committed forgeries to bring about his fall. 
The emperor found himself in a difficult situation. He 
was threatened with the invasion of his kingdom, and 
hence no scrutiny was ordered into the correspondence of 
the Khwaja, and he was forthwith ordered to be hanged. 

It will be remembered that Akbar had granted a 
paltry allowance to Muzaffar, king of Gujarat, when he 
conquered that country. Muzaffar escaped 
Gujarat in f rom surveillance in 1578, and took refuge at 
Junagarh in Kathiawad. In a short time 
he collected a large force, and with its help captured 
Ahmadabad in September 1583, and proclaimed himself 
king of Gujarat He seized Cambay, and then marched 
to Baroda which he easily occupied. Broach followed suit, 
and the vast treasure which it contained was seized. 
Probably the whole of Gujarat fell into his (Muzaffar's) 
hands, and his force quickly numbered 30,000. 

The emperor was disconcerted by the news of Muzaf- 
far's success, and he appointed Mirza Abdur Rahim as 
governor of Gujarat. He defeated Muzaffar in the battle 
of Sarkhej in January 1584, and made amends for the 
mistakes of the previous governors. He entered the capi- 
tal in triumph, and pleased all by his urbanity, tolerance 
and culture. Muzaffar was pursued by the imperialists, 
and was again defeated at Nadot in Rajpipla. As a result 
of this battle the entire mainland of Gujarat fell into the 
hands of the imperialists except Baroda, which was also 
surrendered after a prolonged siege of seven months. 

The emperor was delighted to receive the tidings of 
victory, and bestowed lavish favours upon his officers, who 


had given proof of their loyalty and courage in Gujarat* 
Mirza Abdur Rahim was given the title of Khan-i-Khanan, 
and was promoted to the rank of 5,000. The emperor 
granted him also a horse, a robe, and a jewelled dagger 
as a mark of favour. But Abdur Rahim did not enjoy the 
emperor's bounty alone. Others who had bravely fought 
during the war were rewarded, and their services were 
duly recognised. The Khan-i-Khanan was recalled by the 
emperor in August 1585, and after his departure 
Muzaffar made frantic efforts to regain his power. But 
he was at last captured in 1592 by the imperialists. 
Finding it impossible to bear the humiliations which 
he thought were in store for him, he ended his life with a 
razor which he had kept concealed on his person. Aziz 
Koka, the imperial general, who had succeeded Abdur 
Rahim left for Mecca, and Gujarat was entrusted to 
Prince Murad. 

The North-West Frontier problem has always been a 

source of great anxiety to Indian governments. In the 

thirteenth and fourteenth centuries when 

North-West ^e jy[ on g O ls again and again invaded Hin- 
Po'iicy. * * * * dustan, the rulers of Delhi found it necessary 
to take effective measures to safeguard 
their frontier. There was an important military outpost 
at Dipalpur, which was once held by such a redoubtable 
general as Ghazi Malik, better known in history as Sultan 
Ghiyas-uddin Tughluq. Since Balban's day, the western 
frontier had always been guarded by distinguished officers 
and a chain of military outposts was erected to guard 
the route of the invader. It was quite natural for 
Akbar to establish his firm hold on the countries in the 


The elements of danger were two the Uzbegs and 
the wild and turbulent Afghan tribes who lived all along 
the north-west border. Abdulla Uzbeg was a formidable 
rival, and was likely to gain the sympathies of the ortho- 
dox Sunnis against the heretical emperor. The tribea 
were no less troublesome. They knew nothing of the 
sentiments of honour and chivalry, and cared nothing for 
treaties and engagements. Their restlessness always 
caused disturbance on the frontier, and Akbar was the 
first to curb their unruly habits. The task though 
extremely difficult was accomplished, when Mughal arms 
were reinforced by Rajput valour and skill. Mirza Hakim 
died of his excesses in July 1585, and Kabul was annexed 
to the empire. The government of the country was 
entrusted to Raja Man Singh, and the imperial generals 
were sent to subdue the ruler of Kashmir and the wild 
tribes of Swat and Bajaur. The Roshniyas 1 were defeated, 
and their enthusiastic leader, Jalal, who had planned an 
invasion of Hindustan was killed at Ghazni towards the 
close of 1600. His wives and children were captured, and 
his brother with other relatives numbering 14,000 was sent 
to the court 

Another tribe which caused much trouble was that 
of the Yusufzais, whom it was necessary to suppress, in 
order to deprive Abdulla Uzbeg of an opportunity of 
fishing in troubled waters. Zain Khan and Raja Birbal 
marched against them, but their mutual quarrels greatly 

1 The Roshmyas were the followers of Bayazid, a religious fanatic 
who preached doctrines subversive of the religion of the Prophet of 
Arabia. He claimed to be a prophet himself and attached no impor- 
tance to the teachings of 'the Quran. 


hampered the progress of military operations. The 
Afghans profited by the divided counsels of the imperial 
generals, whom they attacked with great force with 
arrows and stones. Nearly 8,000 soldiers were killed, and 
Raja Birbal was himself among the slain. The emperor 
was deeply grieved to hear of the death of his dear friend, 
and for two days and nights he did not eat or drink any- 
thing. After this disaster Raja Todarmal and Prince 
Murad were sent against the Afghans at the head of a 
large army. Todarmal succeeded in crushing the rebels 
completely, and Abul Fazl records : 

"A large number were killed, and many were sold 
into Turan and Persia. The country of Sawad (Swat), 
Bajaur and Buner which has few equals for climate, 
fruits and cheapness of food, were cleansed of the 
evil doers. " 

The success of the imperialists made a great impres- 
sion upon Abdulla Uzbeg who was now convinced of the 
impossibility of the Indian conquest. He opened friendly 
negotiations, and sent his envoy to wait upon the 

Raja Bhagwan Das was sent by the emperor at the 
head of 5,000 men to accomplish the conquest of Kashmir. 
The moment was opportune, for the Rosh- 
KasE? i68e! ni y s and * he Yusufzais had been, by this 
time, put down, and Abdulla' s party at 
Kabul was paralysed by the vigour and enterprise of the 
imperialists. The Raja along with Qasim Khan pressed 
on in spite of difficulties, and compelled Yusuf , the king 
of Kashmir, to submit. Yusuf 's son Yaqub escaped from 
custody, and desperately struggled in vain to check the 
advance of the invaders. He was defeated and compelled 


to surrender. Kashmir was annexed to the empire, and 
made a part of the Suba of Kabul. Yaqub and his father 
were sent as prisoners to Bihar, and were placed under 
the custody of Raja Man Singh who was transferred to the 
charge of Bengal. The emperor paid a personal visit to 
Kashmir in the summer of 1589, and made arrangements 
for the proper administration of the country. On his 
way back he received at Kabul the news of the deaths of 
Rajas Bhagwan Das and Todarmal 

In Northern India only Sindh and Bilochistan were 

still outside the pale of the empire. The island of Bhakkar 

had been subdued in 1574, but a large part 

Conquest of O f southern Sindh was still independent 

Sindh, 1691 , . , . . , , .... 

A.D. The emperor highly valued the acquisition 

of Sindh and Bilochistan, for they would 
furnish him with an excellent point d' appui for the con- 
quest of Qandhar. In 1590 Mirza Abdur Rahim was 
appointed governor of Multan, and ordered to extinguish 
the independence of the principality of Thatta, ruled at 
this time by Mirza Jani, the Tar khan. He was defeated 
in two well contested engagements, and was compelled 
to surrender both Thatta and the fort of Sehwan. Jani 
Beg was taken to the court, and through the good offices 
of the Khan-i-Khanan he was treated with consideration. 
The principality of Thatta was restored to him as a mark 
of royal clemency, and he was elevated to the rank of a 
grandee of 5,000. 

Akbar had long desired the possession of Qandhar 
which was the key to the north-western position. It was 
not difficult to conquer it as the Shah was 
troubled at this time by the Turks and the 
Uzbegs, who were constantly fomenting 


strife in his dominions. It was this weakness of the Shah 
which induced the emperor to send an expedition against 
Qandhar. The campaign was opened in 1590, but the 
final conquest was not accomplished until 1595, when 
Qandhar was annexed to the empire without disturbing 
the friendly relations with the Shah. It was undoubtedly 
a master-stroke of diplomacy. 

Towards the north-west the demonstration of the 
military strength of the empire had produced a good im- 
pression on Abdulla Uzbeg. He dreaded a combination 
of Akbar and Shah Abbas against himself, and the con- 
clusion of Akbar's campaigns must have given him 
much satisfaction. Henceforward, he tried to maintain 
friendly relations with the empire. There was no possibility 
of an Uzbeg invasion of India and of taking advantage 
of the emperor's difficulties with his own co-religionists. 

Having made himself master of the whole of Hindus- 
tan and the Afghan regions beyond the Hindukush, 
Akbar turned towards the Deccan. It was 
the dissensions of the Muhammadan king- 
doms which paved the way for the conquest. 
The first to bear the brunt of the imperial force was 
the small state of Ahmadnagar which was torn by internal 
dissensions. Taking advantage of these quarrels, the 
Mughals laid siege to Ahmadnagar, but they encountered 
a formidable resistance at the hands of the famous prin- 
cess Chand Bibi, sister of Burhan Nizam Shah. 1 The 

1 Burhan Nizam Shah II died on April 13, 1595, and was succeeded 
by his son Ibrahim Nizam Shah who was not liked by a majority of the 
Amirs, because he was born of an African woman. Ibrahim was slain in- 
a battle against the Bijapuris on August 7, 1505, and his Wazir Miyan, 
Manjhu raised to the throne a supposition son of Muhammad Khuda- 
banda, sixth son of Burhan Nizam Shah I (1509 53) and imprisoned 


gallant princess herself conducted the defence, and 
throughout the siege displayed uncommon powers of com- 
mand and organisation. Treachery at last brought about 
her fall. She was murdered, and the town was captured 
by assault in 1600, and Ahmadnagar was annexed to the 
empire. There are few examples of such heroism and 
self-sacrifice in Mughal history, and Chand Bibi is still 
remembered for her courageous attempt to roll back the 
tide of Mughal conquest in the deccan. 

Miran Bahadur, the new ruler of Khandesh, enter- 
tained no friendly feelings towards the Mughals, and 
felt anxious to shake off the imperial yoke. 
Aelrgarh. 6 f The emperor had already occupied Burhan- 
pur, but Miran relied for his safety upon the 
fortress of Asirgarh which was deemed impregnable in 
the south. It commanded the main road to the Deccan. 

There are three conflicting accounts of the siege 
given by Abul Fazl, Faizi Sarhindi, and the Jesuits of 
which the last has been accepted in its entirety by Dr. 
Vincent Smith But there is no reason why the account 
of the Jesuits should be preferred to that of the Muslim 
historians. There is an air of unreality about the Jesuit 
version, which will be easily understood by any one used 
to weigh historical evidence. 

Abul Fazl's version, shorn of its verbiage, establishes 
these facts. Some time after the siege sickness broke 
out in the fortress which caused many deaths. The 

Bahadur, son of Ibrahim Nizam Shah, in the fort of Jond. The African 
Amirs who knew Ahmad to be a boy of spurious origin refused to recog- 
nise him and broke out into open rebellion. They gave their support 
to Ohand Bibi, daughter of Husain Nizam Shah I and widow of AH AdiL 
Shah I of Bijapur, who had returned to Ahmadnagar after her husband's 
death and who now espoused the cause of the lawful heir, the infant 
Bahadur Nizam Shah. Unable to cope with this powerful coalition the* 
Wazir Solicited the aid of Prince Murad who was then in Gujarat. 


capture of Maligarh disconcerted the besieged garrison 
by stopping their exit and entrance. Through the efforts 
of certain imperial officers an agreement was made with 
Bahadur who presented himself at the court. The garri- 
son was tampered with by the besiegers, and Bahadur 
was pressed against his will to write a letter to his men 
asking them to make a surrender. Reading this with Faizi 
Sarhindi's narrative, we may be able to reconstruct a 
true account of the siege. Bahadur was induced to open 
terms with the enemy, and an agreement was entered 
into with him which was perhaps violated by the emperor. 
The garrison was seduced from loyalty to Bahadur by 
means of bribery and not by honeyed words as Abul 
Fazl characteristically puts it. Bahadur was coerced 
when he was in the hands of the emperor, to sign a 
letter to the garrison of which mention has already 
been made. The surrender was in part influenced also 
by the fall of Ahmadnagar in 1600, which must have 
greatly damped the spirits of Miran's captains and men. 
Dr. Smith charges the emperor with perfidy, and says 
that he employed treachery to capture the fortress. He 
disbelieves the Muslim chroniclers whom he accuses of de- 
liberate falsehood, and writes that they invented the story 
of the epidemic in order to hide the treachery of their 
patron. This is not quite correct. 

No attempt is made in the Akbarnamah to disguise the 
fact that Bahadur was induced to come out of his fortress 
and his troops were tampered with. Dr. Smith's statement 
that Abdul Fazl attributes the surrender of the fort to 
pestilence is wholly unfounded. The Akbarnamah does not 
say anything of the kind. It simply says, the garrison was 
attacked by a pestilence which killed 25,000 people. 


Dr. Smith looks upon the pestilence as an invention to hide 
Akbar's treachery, but it is not clear why all these writers 
should indulge in wanton falsehood. Firishta whose sources 
for the Deccan history are reliable supports Abdul Fazl, and 
says that on account of congestion in the fort a pestilence 
broke out which ' swept off several of the garrison.' 
Dr Smith attaches little value to the Akbarnamah of Faizi 
Sarhindi, because he uncritically accepts Prof. Dowson's 
view that it is nothing more than a compilation based in 
part on the Akbarnamah of Abul Fazl, Now, a comparison 
of the two texts will make it clear that they differ materially 
from each other. Faizi says many things which are omitted 
in Abul Fazl whose account of the siege is a highly condensed 
one. Dr. Smith condemns in strong language the action of 
the emperor, though at the end of his narrative, he adds 
that such practices were common in India and elsewhere 
in Akbar's age, and are still prevalent in Europe. There is 
no need to set up a defence of the emperor's conduct during 
the siege. It is true that Bahadur was detained in the 
imperial camp, that the garrison was enticed by means 
of bribery, and that the Sultan was coerced into writing 
letters of authority for the garrison to surrender against 
his will. Probably the emperor was excited to a high pitch 
by the stubborn resistance of the beleaguered garrison, and 
found the prolongation of the siege inadvisable in view of 
Salim's revolt in Northern India. The prestige of the 
empire also demanded that Asirgarh should be captured by 
any means. Considerations such as these urged the emperor 
to employ bribery to gain his end, and in apportioning blame 
we ought to bear in mind the difficulties and anxieties of a 
statesman, whose reputation was staked on the success or 
failure of a single siege. 


Akbar's whole career of conquest may be conveniently* 
divided into three periods, the conquest of Northern India 
from 155876, the subjugation of the North- 
W6St Fr ntier tribes fr m 158 96 and * h 

conquest of the Deccan from 15981601 A.D. 

The expansion of the empire began early in 
the reign (155860) with the reconquest of Gwalior in. 
Central India, Ajmer in the heart of Rajputana, and 
Jaunpur, the stronghold of the Sur Afghans in the east. 
The conquest of Malwa was effected in 1561-62 by Pir 
Muhammad and Adham Khan, and the fort of Mairta in> 
Rajputana which commanded an important military 
position was captured about the same time. In 1564 the 
country of Gondwana, ruled by the noble Rani Durgavati, 
was invaded by Asaf Khan, and its independence was 
destroyed. After his alliance with Bharmal of Amber, the- 
numerous chieftains of Rajputana came under his vassalage. 
The first to be conquered was the fort of Chittor in 1567, 
and its fall was followed by the surrender of Ranthambhor 
and Kalinjar, and the submission of the princes of Jesalmir, 
Bikanir, and Jodhpur. Gujarat was annexed to the empire 
in 1573 after an arduous military campaign, and was entrusted 
to Aziz Koka, the emperor's foster-brother and a nobleman, 
of great ability and distinction. This was followed by the: 
conquest of Bengal in 1576 and the extinction of the 
independent Afghan dynasty. Orissa long remained outside 
the empire, and was conquered sixteen years later by Raja 
Man Singh in 1592. Having mastered the Doab, the Punjab, 
Rajputana, Bengal, Gujarat and the central region, the em- 
peror turned his attention towards the north-west. Kabul 
passed under imperial control after the death of Mirza. 
Hakim in 1585, and the Yusufzais were suppressed in 1586. 

$:.: ..!?. ; M : r 

f^O^AOa^/1^^ ^ J *T* ^ I 

- 10, Malwi 

Lahore 11. Behar 
Mu/tan 12. Bengal 
Dolhi 13. Khandes 
Agra 14, Berar j 
Oudh 15. Ahmatfnagir 
Allahabad 16, Orissa | 


The frontier trouble was set at rest by the conquest of 
Kashmir in 1586 and the separation of the local Muham- 
madan dynasty. The imperial cordon was completed towards 
the north-west by the incorporation of Sindh in 1591, of 
Balochistan and the coast of Mekran in 1594 and the province 
of Qandhar in 1595. The danger from Abdulla Uzbeg was 
at an end, and Akbar felt completely secure in the pos- 
session of his dominions. The Uzbeg chief's death in 1598 
added further to his security by removing from his path a 
formidable rival, in whom were centred the hopes of the 
orthodox Sunni revivalists, and by the close of the year the 
empire included the whole of Kabulistan and Kashmir 
and the entire northern region north of the Narbada 
river, from Bengal and Orissa in the east to Sindh and 
Balochistan in the west. 

Having rid of all his rivals in the north-west, the 
-emperor set out to conquer the Deccan. The Nizam-Shahi 
kingdom found it difficult to resist the advance of the 
Mughals, and after the death of Chand Bibi Ahmadnagar 
was annexed in 1600. Finally, the capture of Asirgarh in 
1601 completed the process of imperial expansion which had 
begun in 1558, and the empire became the largest, the most 
powerful, and the richest in the world. 

Akbar was by nature a man of liberal ideas and his out- 
look on social and religious matters was considerably chang- 
ed by his marriage with the Rajput princesses 
forms"' 8 Ie "* an( * his constant association with Hindu 
officers, thinkers, and religious preachers. 
He introduced a number of regulations to mitigate the evil 
influence of the unwholesome social usages that had existed 
in India since the beginning of Muslim rule. He abolished 
the enslavement of the conquered enemies, and issued an 


order that no soldier of the victorious armies should in any 
part of his dominions molest the wives and children of the 
vanquished. ' Soon after his marriage with the princess of 
Amber he remitted in 1563 the pilgrim tax which yielded 
an income of crores. In 1564 the emperor abolished the 
jJeziya throughout his dominions, and by doing so soothed 
the hearts of the Hindus who disliked this tax more than 
anything else. 3 Knowing full well what the abolition 
of such an impost meant, the emperor described his edict 
as ' the foundation of the arrangement of mankind/ He 
carried the measure through in the teeth of the opposition, 
of his statesmen, and revenue officers and the ' chatter of 
the ignorant/ 3 The system of administration was consider- 
ably reformed, and the plans of improvement were formu- 
lated during the years 1573-74. With the advice of Todar- 
mal the emperor issued the branding regulations, and put 
an end to the evil of the Jagir system by converting the 
jagirs into crown lands and by paying salaries to his 
officers. * The imperial mint was thoroughly reorganised, 
and the new regulations ensured the excellence of the 
coinage. The coins were of pure metal and exact weight, 
and were manufactured by skilled workmen. 

The emperor did not neglect social reform. He condemn- 
ed the practice of Sati, and issued a decree that no woman 
should be burnt against her will, and in one case he per- 
sonally intervened to save the life of a Rajput lady, whose 
relatives forced her to perish in the flames along with her 

1 A. N., II, p. 246. 

* Ibid., p. 316. 
8 Ibid., p. 316. 

* A. N., Ill, p. 06. 


husband, l In every city and district * vigilant and truth- 
ful ' inspectors were appointed to distinguish between 
voluntary and forced Sati and to prevent the latter. 2 
The Kotwals were ordered to stop the evil, and one of the 
Ains clearly states that they were not to suffer a woman 
to be burnt against her inclination. 3 The emperor held 
highly progressive views on the question of marriage. He 
disapproved of marriage before the age of puberty. * He 
looked with disfavour on marriages between near relations 
and high dowries, though he admitted that they were 
preventives against rash divorce * In theory he condemned 
polygamy, for ' this ruins a man's health, and disturbs the 
peaceo the home. ' He looked upon tne marriage oFold 
women with young men as highly undesirable, and appoint- 
ed officers to enquire into the circumstances of the brides 
and bridegrooms/' His views on educational matters were < 
better and more tolerant than those of other Muslim 
rulers. He encouraged the study of Sanskrit, and extended 
his patronage to Hindu scholars. Among the 21 men of 
learning, placed by Abul Fazl in the first class, nine are 
Hindus 7 Hindu physicians are mentioned in the Ain> 
and one Chandra Sena who was patronised by the court 

1 When Jayamal, a cousin of Raja Bhagwan Das, died in the 
eastern provinces, his widow, a daughter of Udaya Singh or Mota Raja, 
refused to be a Sati. Akbar rode hastily to the spot, and prevented 
her relatives from compelling her to burn herself on the funeral pyre 
of her husband. 

a Jarrett, Ain, III, p. 42. 
3 Jarrett, II. p. 696. 

* Ain, I, p. 277. 
6 Ibid., I, p, 278. 

* Ain, I, p. 278. 
1 Ibid., p. 638. 


is described in the Tabqat as an excellent surge3l& Une 
innovation which was much disliked by the orthodro was 
the Sijdah or the ceremony of prostration which he 
encouraged among the members of the Din-i-Ilahi. 1 
Abul Fazl writes that as there was opposition to it on 
the ground that it savoured of ' blasphemous man- worship/ 
the emperor discontinued it, and did not allow even his 
private attendants to do it in the Durbar-i-am. z But 
even he admits that in the private apartments of the em- 
peror the Sijdah continued, and men were allowed ' to 
participate in the halo of good fortune/ 3 Besides these 
there were several ordinances relating to the religious and 
.social practices enjoined by Islam which will be discussed 
in giving an account of the emperor's religious views. 
The first Muslim ruler who proclaimed peace and good 
will as the foundation of his government was Sher Shah 
who effaced all distinctions between the 
otlheiTmdus. Hindus and Muslims. Akbar went farther 
than Sher Shah, and renounced the principle 
of Sulh-i~kul (universal toleration) which at once went to 
strike deep into the hearts of his subjects the roots of his 
empire. Under the influence of his Hindu wives, he 
tolerated the Hindu mode of worship, and openly listened 
to the teachings of Hindu saints and philosophers. His 
marriage policy left no bitterness behind in the minds of 
the Hindus, and proved a healer of ancient discords and 
deep-rooted antagonisms. The ladies admitted into the 

1 Ibid,, I, pp. 168-9. 
* Ibid., I, p. 159. 

The Sijdah was stopped but the taslim or Cornish continued 
throughout the reign. 

8 Ibid., p. 169. 


imperial haram were accorded the highest honours, and 
the emperor lavished his care and affection upon them 
without the slightest consideration of caste or creed. 
There had been marriages before between the Hindus and 
Muslims in the north as well as in the south, but they 
were not accompanied by a policy of conciliation, and their 
result was often to widen the breach between the two 
parties. Akbar'sjiolicy is in striking contrast with that 
of Ghiyasuddm"^!^ or theBahmam 

andfVijayanagar kings. The Rajputs, w1fu> entered into 

*~ *"' ' * m^a+f" ^^^"Hr 

marriage ^reflations with Akbar, were treated as equals for 
all practical purposes. They were admitted to the highest 
offices in the state. They were granted mansabs, and 
were entrusted with the command of the most important 
expeditions. RajaBirbal, Raja Todarmal, Raja BhagwSn 
Das, Raja Man Singh were the trusted servants and 
intimate friends of the emperor, who fully recognised 
their talents and conferred upon them the highest distinc- 
tions. The results of this policy were seen in the improved 
methods of administration and the willing homage of the 
non-Muslim population all over Hindustan. 

Uncler Akbar's patronage the Hindu JSSIUusjsoaredJx) a 
highpitch, ancl the Hmdu mindjleyelc^^ f ullestTex- 

tent. It \vas not only Hindu statesmen and generals 
who contributed to the glory of the empire but also the 
numerous poets, scholars, musicians and painters who 
flocked to his court and looked upon it as a privilege to seek 
his favour. Some of the greatest Hindi poets lived 
during his reign, and their works furnish evidence of the 
conditions which made them possible. Akbar's sympathy 
with Hindu religion and his patronage of Hindi literature 
made a deep impression upon the Hindus. The memories 

F. 26 


of the past were forgotten! and in their emperor they saw 
tKelirstTia^^ ^-~- ~ 

''"^''liVIieir^^ he placed Salim in 

charge of the capital and asked him to commence operations 
against Mewar along with Raja Man Singh 
a*" 1 Shah Quli Kh * n - But Salim did not carry 
out his father's orders. His impatience to seize 
the throne urged him to make an attempt at usurping the 
insignia of royalty before his time. When he was reproached 
for his misconduct by the dowager queen Mariyam MakSnl, 
he left Agra and went to Allahabad where he declared his 
independence and bestowed jagirs and titles on his asso- 
ciates and supporters. Akbar, on hearing the news of this 
rebellion in the Deccan, returned to the capital, and 
issued an order to Salim, who was advancing towards Agra, 
asking him to dismiss his men and wait upon him or to 
go back to Allahabad. Salim retreated to Allahabad, but 
there he set up as king, and opened intrigues with the 
Portuguese, and solicited their assistance in his designs 

The emperor in this crisis summoned Abul Fazl from 
the Deccan, but the latter was murdered on his way by Bir 
Singh Bundela whom Salim had hired for the purpose in 
August, 1602. Akbar's grief was terrible. He passed 24 
hours in a writhing agony and exclaimed, ' If Salim wished 
to be emperor he might have killed me and spared Abul 

Akbar sent his officers to punish the murderous Bundela 
chief, but he successfully eluded his pursuers. Salim escaped 
punishment through the good offices of Sultana SalimSS Be- 
gum, who brought about a reconciliation bet ween father and 
son. Out of his usual generosity the emperor pardoned his 
offence, and once again publicly declared him as his 


heir-apparent. But this kindness had no effect on Salim. He 
went to Allahabad, and again set up an independent state. 

Meanwhile the imperial court was the scene of the 
worst intrigues. A plot was formed to deprive Salim of 
succession to the throne, and was joined by 
against Salim 8 . suc h grandees of the empire as Raja Man 
Singh and Aziz Koka. They were actuated 
by personal and political reasons to set aside the claims of 
Salim in favour of Khusrau, Salim 's eldest son, a young 
lad of 17, who had married Aziz Koka's daughter. Khusrau 
keenly interested himself in the schemes of the con- 
spirators, and disregarded his mother's advice to give 
up his unfilial designs. Prince Daniyal died of the 
effects of intemperance in April 1604, and his death 
removed from Salim's path one more rival. But he 
did not desist from his evil course. ' At last Akbar started 
for Allahabad in person (August 1604) to chastise the 
prince, but he had not gone far when the news of 
the serious illness of his mother obliged him to come 
back hastily to Agra. Frightened by the emperor's 
decision to deal with him in person and by the news of the 
conspiracy of Man Singh and Aziz Koka, Salim also came 
to Agra with the ostensible purpose of expressing his 
sorrow at the death of his grandmother. A reconciliation 
was brought about by the ladies of the imperial haram, and 
Salim was pardoned and restored to the honours he had 
enjoyed before. But nothing served to heal the breach 
between the prince and his son Khusrau, who continued 
to thwart his father's wishes and indulge in acts of 
ungratefulness. The unworthy conduct of these princes 
greatly disturbed the emperor's peace of mind, and he 

1 Prince Murad had already died in May 1599 in the Deccan. 


fell ill. Fever accompanied by diarrhoea or dysentery 
confined the emperor to bed, and in a few days his condition 
became so bad that his physicians gave up all hope of 

Meanwhile the plot to supersede Salim had been going 
on. The leaders of the conspiracy tried to effect their pur- 
pose by arresting Prince Salim, but he proved 
too clever for them. Foiled in this attempt, 
they held a conference of the nobles and 
officers of the realm, and openly urged the supersession of 
Salim by Khusrau. The proposal was opposed by several 
officers on the ground that it was against the princi- 
ples of natural justice as also the laws of the Chagtai Turks 
to set aside a son in favour of a grandson The opponents 
of Salim gradually melted away, and many of them 
gave their adhesion to the prince whose claims they had 
so stoutly resisted a short time before. Aziz Koka himself 
acknowledged the prince's claim, and Raja Man Singh 
left for Bengal with Prince Khusrau. 

Having received the support of the nobles and grandees 

of the empire, Salim screwed up courage to wait on his 

father. Akbar's malady had far advanced, 

of an( j j t wag c j ear t j iat t jje en( j was not f ar 

off. He could not speak, but he retained 
enough consciousness to understand what was passing 
-around him. When Salim had apologised for his misconduct 
by prostrating before him, he beckoned to him to don the 
imperial robes, and to gird himself with the sword of 
Humayun which lay near his bed. Salim obeyed the 
-command, and left the room in accordance with the royal 
wish. Soon afterwards the emperor died early in the 
morning on October 17, 1605. A stately funeral was 


arranged in which the highest dignitaries of the empire 
took part, and Salim himself like a dutiful son carried the 
bier on his shoulders to some distance. The emperor's 
body was buried in a tomb at Sikandara which he had 
commenced to build during his lifetime. It was completed 
by his son, and still remains a striking example of Mughal 

Among all theJVIi^njJdn^ the scegtre 

in HinSu^iPTCtbar was the most liberfl^exponent of 
religious toleration. The^lGth cgntur^ waa 
tic? of r th c e e age" w^W^ an^kbarJ55S 

its most perf^rrepr^sentoUyC^The ground 
had already been prepared for him by Kabir, Nanak, Chai- 
tanya and other reformers who had inveighed against the 
tyranny of caste, emphasised the unity of the Godhead, and 
pointed out the utter hollowness of distinctions between 
man and man. AtterBjrtg Iradjbeen rogde jnjthe past to bring 
the Hindus and Muslims, in closer contact, and although 
they pai<yifi2ia^ 

sTirmesT noapp^ of "success was achieved 

in the^el^Df^olitics. T^g^still stoqii^ apart fiWjgach 
other, and the Muslim divines still i!QQl^endedhat any 
concession t(^]^ jrrfj^ 

frS[^ The IJlamsT dominated 

thTstate and acted as the guides of rulers and statesmen. 
Akbar who fully understood the centrifugal tendencies of 
Indian history saw the need of reconciling the Hindus to 
Muslim rule, and resolved to shake off the yoke of the 
canonical order and to evolve a policy which would ulti- 
mately lead to the fusion of the two races. 

Besides this political and mundane motive there was the 
eager craving of his soul to know the truth. BadSoni 


relates that often in the early hours of the morning he would 
sit on a large flat stone of an old building, 
. which lay near the palace at Fatehpur in 
a secluded spot with his head bent over his 
chest, and meditated on the eternal mystery.4lL.Jife. His 

The SunnT&T 

is, aridTS'ufis'*Tieid divergent doctrines and 
often quarrelled amongst themselves. He hoped to end 
their quarrels, and cherished the dream of arriving at a syn- 
thesis of the warring creeds and to unite into an organic 
whole the heterogeneous elements which constituted his 
vast empire. The bigotry of the Ulama disgusted him and 
alienated him from Islam. He developed eclectic ten- 
dencies, and began to indulge in metaphysical discussions, the 
result of which soon became manifest in a complete re- 
versal of the traditional policy of the Muslim State in India. 
It is interesting to trace the history of the development 
of the emperor's religious ideas. First, there was the 
influence of heredity which did not a little 
to make his attitude liberal in matters of 
faith. His father and grandfather were 
never orthodox; his mother was a Shia lady who impressed 
upon his imittLjn .eariy youth the value and necessity _of 
toS^nce. Then there was his marriage with the Rajput 
princesses whose- entry into the imperial haram by means 
of lawful nikah wrought a profound change in his life. 
The emperor continued to conform to the Sunni formulae 
in all outward observances until 1575* but a^eat_ghange 
camejN^^ SJ^&ikh JftfehaigJ^^^ sons Faizi 

and Abul Fazl, who ""were 

led him^js&tj$y from orthodox Islam, 


and opened to him a new_ wqrld^ of thought and action. 
Thgy w~ercT^^ the diverse creeds were 

only manifestations of ^^de^rejo^^lcnow ^ thejruth^nd 
stress upoiLthe^lK^ 
uponThe forffis jnjjh|cjhrthjg^^ The Sufi doc- 

trine "Imarfced a rebellion against the letter of the law, and 
its exponents urged free thought as the primary condition 
of spiritual advancement. Sufism i$ very much like Ved- 

" * ' * i> *& *K> ^ ^tr*"******^ t-f^iff tn&fi&tflt** I!" 

antic philosophy, which teaches that the individual souls 

Sufismlrom his early youth 
of Mubarak and his soj)& who were assisted in their endea- 
v^rs^^SEaikhlKjuddin of Delhi, who enjoyed the Emper- 
or's confidence. Like^Jiis, friends he^desired to attain 
eternal beatitude T>y having direct communion with the 

ve ^ n ^ ^^ e em P eror developed as time 

passed. In 1575 ^(TorBferedTa riew^BuiiHing obe construct- 
ed at Fatehpur-Sikri called the IbcLdat kkana 
at where the Professors of different faiths were 
to assemble and to hold religious discussions. 
Itjyas L to be ' a refuge for Sufis and a home^fpj*, hgl^^men 
into whiclx^none should __be allowed to enter but Sayyads 
ofj^h^j^^^learned men and^Shaikh^nfferie ftittie pro* 
fessors of different creeds, BrahmansT^ains, Parsis, Chris- 
tians and Muslims from all parts of the country to assist 
the emperor in finding a solution of the problem that 
oppressed his soul. The author of the Zabd-ut-tawarikh 
writes that he gave the most deliberate attention to all 
that he heard, for his mind was solely bent upon ascer- 
taining the truth. To the assembled doctors he said : "My 


sole object, Oh Wise Mullas! is to ascertain truth, to find 
out and disclose the principles of genuine religion, and to 
trace it to the divine origin. Take care, therefore, that 
through the influence of your human passions you are not 
induced to conceal the truth : and say nothing contrary to 
the almighty decrees. If you do, you are responsible 
before God for the consequences of your impiety. " The 
theological debate jgagedjk^^ and the prota- 

gonists olTnval sects tried to tear one another in argument. 
They found it difficult to control their passions which often 
burst out in highly undignified scenes. The leaders of the 
orthodox party were Shaikh Makhdum-ul-Mulk and Shaikh 
Abdunnabi whereas the^ free th]^JEe re ^represented 
by such men as Mubarak. AbiiTFaiz, Abul Fazl and gaia. 

**, ^ *,, - ,- . -"- ' -^ s.***yr . ^^^-^"^tiv^^^ . Df ^****^.U*#*f<*Lm***KK-r n '' j^T 

Blrbal. The orthodox quarrelleoamong themselves, and the 
most notable quarrel was that of these two Shaikhs, 
They engaged themselves in a violent controversy in which 
they used abusive language towards each other to the 
delight of their opponents. But more violent and bitter 
were the attacks made on the heterodox section by the 
canonists, who waxed eloquent with fury in denouncing 
their ways and practices. The Shias looked on with secret 
satisfaction, while the blows were delivered upon their 
Sunni opponents, and helped in the circulation of lampoons 
and satires. The Mullas expressed their disapproval of the 
manner in which the most solemn subjects were discussed, 
and notwithstanding the fact that the emperor was 
present throughout the discussions they often indulged in 
abusive and filthy language. Badfioni has described the 
scene in his own way ; 

" The learned men used to draw the sword of the 
tongue on the battlefield of mutual contradiction and 

Pillar in the Diwan-i-Khas, Fatehpur Sikn 
To /at e pa^e 408 


opposition, and the antagonism of the sects reached 
such a pitch that they would call one another fools and 
heretics. The controversies used to pass beyond the 
differences of Sunni and Shiah, of Hanafi and Shafi, of 
lawyer and divine, and they would attack the very 
bases of belief. "' 

His Majesty propounded ^ s^^-jquisgtipns Jo the 
Musjim doctors of, the orthodox 

did not satisfy him. He becam^onvip&d.of 
th futility. j>f jthfiir^doctriii^anC tonal to 
other^teach^^for li&ht. There were Hindu. 
spiritualists who* explained to him the tenets of their faiths^ 
and urged him on to pursue the quest of truth with great- 
er enthusiasm and determination. The emperor granted 
interviews to learned Brahmans, the chief of whom werfe 
Pursho ttjanL. ~andJPebi who were invited to explain the 
principles of their religion. Debi was pulled up the wall 
of the palace in a ckarpai to the balcony where the emperor 
used to sleep, and suspended thus between heaven and earth, 
the Brahman philosopher ' instructed His Majesty in the 
secrets and legends of Hinduism, in the manner of worship- 
ping idols, the fire, the sun and stars and of reverencing the 
chief gods of the Hindus Brahma, Vi?nu, Mahes, Krisna, 
Rama and the goddess Mahamai.' He expounded to him, 
the doctrine of metampsychosis which the emperor ap- 
proved by saying, * there is; w^jreligion in which the doc- 
trine of Jnmsn^ 

not Brahmanism alone to the doctrines of wfiich he lent a~ 
willing ear. Hejtgjj^equal interest in Jainism, Zoroastrian- 

and SilcKism 
he extended av^grm welcome. 

1 Al-Badaoni, II, p. 262. 


The_Jain teachers who are said to have greatly in- 
fluenced the emperor's religious outlook were Hlravijaya 

BhSnuchandra UpadKyaT 

l^ one or two Jain teachers 

always remained at the court of the emperor. From the 
first he received instructions in the Jain doctrine at Fateh- 
pur, and received him with great courtesy and respect. 
The last is reported to have converted the emperor to 
Jainism, but this statement cannot be accepted any more 
than the belief of the Jesuits that he had become a Chris- 
tian. Yet^the Jajnsjjxercisedji, far j[reater influencejyijhi 

^ Jesuits. _ InJ.582^ the_em- 

fo w hjsjCQiirt f and it was at 

* w 

his instance that hg ^released prisoner a^ 
proEIbitecf the slaughter of animals on certain days. 

*- % -' ***,,*-**!** -4 ^ ^v,* ,, ^ v -Sf ^ < , ^ ^ ^, v , .*,> ^^ ^ * 

Eleven years later another Jain teacher Siddhachahdra 
paid a visit to the emperor at Lahore, and was fitly 
honoured. He obtained several concessions for his 
co-religionists. The tax on pilgrims to the Satrunjaya 
hills was abolished, and the holy places of the Jains were 
placed under their control. In sljgrtj Akbar's giyin& up of 
meatjndjhg^^ due 

to the influence of Jain teachers. 

"^ The Parsis or followers lit Zoroaster also attended the 
imperial court and took part in the religious debates. 
BadSoni writes that they ' impressed the emperor so 
favourably that he learned from them the religious terms 
land rules of the old Parsis and ordered AbuLJfcz] to make 
'arrangements that sacred fire should be kept burning at 
the court at all hours of the day according to their custom. ' 
The Parsi theologian Dastur Meheijee Rana^who^ lived at 
Navasari in GuiaraL initiated tne emoeror in the mysteries 


-ofZoroastrianism. He was received well at court and 

(was granted 200 bighas of land as a mark of royal favour. 

f The emperoradopted^the worship of the sun, the principal 

fountamof_air^rg, and in this^he was^nciSuraged by Tiis 

friend ancf companion Ra^^Kllbal, His interest 

equally keen. He sent for the Chris- 
tian Fathers from Goa to instruct him in the tenets of their 
faith. But the Fathers^werejtactless enough to abuse the 
indulgence shown to themj>y the i emgeror by vilifying the 
Prophet, afTd^matcing ~un worthy ^ att^ks upp^h^^uran. so^ 
nauch so indeed,^aT^lone occasion the life of J?gther 
Rodolfo was in peril, and JJb&jBmperor ha(LJaj)rovide a 
spe'cian^jr^ It does not appear that 

the Jesuits Bid anything more than gjye intellectual 
satisfaction to the emperor, whose philosophical earnest 
knew no bounds, and who wished 

fs u^oubtedJFguity of exaggera- 

tion when he says that the contribution made by the 
Christians to the debates at Fatehpur-Sikri was an im- 
portant factor among the forces which led Akbar to 
renounce the Muslim religion. 

TbgjBmperor^felt a ^reat_regard for the^Sikh jGurus 
ajsp, and pn^ one jDccasion at the Guru ^request he "remitted 
a year's revenue for the benefit of The ryots injthe Punjab. 
He felt a great admiration for the GrantlTSahib, and once 
observed that it was ' a volume worthy of reverence.' 

The causes that have been mentioned before , shook 

t|ie emperor's ToyaKyTio ^~of tHo^FTsIanu He clearly saw 

the danger of allowinglbo much power to the 

Khu e tba mperial Ulama - He would not allow them to be the 

sole arbiters of disputed questions, and wished 

*to unite in his own person the power of the state, and the 


functions of the supreme Pontiff of the Muslim Church. 
He proposed to read the Khutba from the pulpit in the- 
Fatehpur mosque which was composed by Faizi for the- 
occasion. It ran as follows : 

''In the name of Him who gave us sovereignty, 
Who gave us a wise heart and a strong arm, 
Who guided us in equity and justice, 
Who put away from our heart aught but equity; 
His praise is beyond the range of our thoughts, 
Exalted be His Majesty 'Allah-u-Akbar !' " 

According to BadSoni, as the emperor began to read the- 
Khutba, he became nervous, and his voice trembled and he 
handed over the duties of the Imam to the royal Khatlb, 
but he is not supported by Abul Fazl who asserts that the 
emperor ' several times distributed enlightenment in the 
chief mosque of the capital and the audience gathered, 
bliss/ There was flutter in the orthodox circles at the 
incident, but the emperor was not to be deterred by 
the clamour of bigots and zealots from the path he had 
chosen for himself. The phrase AllSh-u-Akbar was con- 
strued to mean that Akbar is God, and the orthodox insist- 
ed on this interpretation with characteristic pertinacity 
in spite of the emperor's avowals to the contrary. 

But more objectionable than the reading of this Khutba 
was the emperor's assumption of the role of mujtahid at the 
The 8o-caii- suggestion of Shaikh Mubarak. As a result 
ed infaiiibili- of this step he was to become the supreme 
ty Decree. arbiter in all causes, whether ecclesiastical 
or civil, like Henry VIII of England, jn \$1$ frfreJfffluy 
Ulama agreed to declare Jbim the Imnm-i-Qdil (mujtahid), 
the final interpreter of Muslim Law. Shaikh Mubarak 


hastily drew up a document which he signed "with the 
utmost willingness.' An English translation of the docu- 
ment is given below : 

'Whereas Hindustan is now become the centre of 
security and peace, and the land of justice and beneficence, a 
large number of people, especially learned men and lawyers, 
*ave immigrated and chosen this country for their home. 

' Now we the principal Ulama who are not only well- 
versed in the several departments of the Law and in the 
principles of Jurisprudence, and well-acquainted with the 
edicts which rest on reason or testimony, but are also known 
for our piety and honest intentions, have duly, considered 
the deep meaning, first, of the verse of the Koran : 

"Obey God, and obey the Prophet, and those who 
have authority among you," and secondly, of the 
genuine tradition : 

" Surely the man who is dearest to God on the day 
of judgment is the Imam-i-dil ; whosoever obeys the 
Amir, obeys Thee, and whosoever rebels against him, 
rebels against Thee. " 

"And thirdly, of several other proof s based on rea- 
soning or testimony; and we have agreed that 
the rank of SultSn-i-adil is higher in the eyes of 
God than the rank of a Mujtahid." 

1 Further, wejieclaretljat the^. Jing_ J2|JtheJDslam f 
Amir of the FaithIi2^HaHow^ God in .thajworld, Abul 

(whose Tctngdoih God perjpetuate) is_jun^^ 

w}Sfi*-aiuLJ^ "* ~~ ~~ 

' Should, therefore, in future a religious question come 
up, regarding which the opinions of the Mujtahids are at 


variance, and His Majesty, in his penetrating understanding- 
and clear wisdom be inclined to adopt, for the benefit of the* 
nation and as a political expedient any of the conflicting- 
opinions which exist on that point, and should issue a decree 
to that effect - 

' We do hereby agree that such a decree shall be bind- 
ing on us and on the whole nation. 

1 Further, we declare that should His Majesty think 
fit to issue a new order, we and the nation shall likewise 
be bound by it; Provided always, that such order be not 
only in accordance with some verse of the Quran, but also 
of real benefit to the nation ; and further, that any opposi- 
tion on the part of his subjects to such an order passed by 
His Majesty shall involve damnation in the world to come 
and loss of property and religious privileges in this. 

4 This document has been written with honest intentions, 
for the glory of God and the propagation of the Islam, and 
is signed by us, the principal Ulama and lawyers, in the 
month of Rajab in the year nine hundred and eighty-seven 
(987).' ' 

This document acted like a bombshell in orthodox 
circles. It declared the emperor the spiritual as well 
as the temporal head of his subjects. Hence- 
forward he was to be the umpire in all 
religious disputes, and his interpretation was 
binding on all, if it was not in conflict with the Quran, and 
if it was not detrimental to the interests of the nation. 
It was this qualifying clause which really limited the 
emperor's authority, but the orthodox refused to notice it 

J BadSoni, II, p. 279. 
The year 987 began on February, 28, 1679. 


and levelled all kinds of charges against him. Dr. Vincent 
Smith, following Badaoni and the Jesuits, writes that in the 
course of a year or two Akbar definitely ceased to be a 
Muslim, and adopted a policy of calculated hypocrisy. 
There is no evidence to justify this assertion. The orthodox 
section didjiot^ 

" quest of trutK~asTa step" towar3s^^tbe 

of IslrnSSuFa cause of dissatis- 

faction with the emperor's policy when he says: 

" An impure faction reproached the caravan-leader 
of God-knowers with being of the Hindu (Brahman) 
religion. The ground for this improper notion was 
that the prince out of his wide tolerance received Hindu 
sages into his intimacy, and increased for administrative 
reasons the rank of Hindus, and for the good of the 
country showed them kindness. Three things supported 
the evil-minded gossips. First, the sages of different 
religions assembled at court, and as every religion 
has some good in it, each received some praise. Prom 
a spirit of justice, the badness of any sect could not 
weave a veil over its merits. Second, the reason of 
' Peace with all, (sulh kul} was honoured at the court 
of the Caliphate, and various tribes of mankind of 
various natures obtained spiritual and material success. 
Third, the evil nature and crooked ways of the base 
ones of the age." 1 

The truth of the matter is that the emperor was 
disgusted with the bigotry of the Ulama, and was planning 
a new synthesis of the conflicting creeds with a view to 
find a common basis which might be acceptable to all. 

1 Akbarnamah, III, p. 400. 


He did not claim to be a prophet nor did he approve of 

his own apotheosis. His^belief in Divine Rjght_ 

toe confounded with claim to be ^ 

all IBCh cffAtllry Kings heTield kTifgsHTp to be divinely 
ordained, and this belief was shared by his Hindu and 
Muslim contemporaries all over Hindustan. His real 
object was to unite the peoples of his empire into an 
organic whole by supplying a common bond. This he 
hoped to accomplish by founding the Din-i-Ilahi or the 
Divine Faith. 

The new religion was officially promulgated in the 

year 1581. It was an eclectic pantheism, containing the 

good points of all religions a combination^ 

Promulgation mysticism, philosophy and nature worsTiip. 

01 tne Dm-i- Tr--*^. -^* ~ ~ - .-____^-T __-- -- -. 
ilahi. ItBjtiSS^J^ 

jQ^r prophets, and the 

emperor^was its^chief exponent. Badaoni's description of 
tKenew faith by the phrase Tauhid-i-Ilahi, a divine 
monotheism, is incorrect, for as Count Von Noer says all the 
practices and observances of this new cult indicated that 
it was based upon a pantheistic idea. The emperor's Sufi 
leanings, his appreciation of Hindu religion, and his keen 
interest in rational enquiry and philosophical discussion led 
him to i^gard^n^eligions as different roads^leading to the 
goal. Abul FazTthus^atesTiis"pbsition : ~ ~ ~ 

" He now is the spiritual guide of the nation and sees 
in the performance of this duty a means of pleasing 
God. He has now opened the gate that leads to the 
right path, and satisfies the thirst of all that wander 
about panting for truth." 1 

* Aim I, P. 164. 


Again the following inscription penned by Abul Fazl 
for a temple in Kashmir expresses with great force the 
emoeror's attitude in religious matters. 

' O God, in every temple I see people that seek Thee, 
And in every language I hear spoken, people praise Thee ! 
Polytheism and Islam after Thee, 
Each religion says, " Thou art one without equal." 
If it be a mosque, people murmur the holy prayer, 
And if it be a Christian church, people ring the bell from love to 


Sometimes I frequent the Christian cloister, and sometimes the 

But it is Thou whom I search from temple to temple. 

Thy elect have no dealings with either heresy or orthodoxy ; for 

neither of them stands behind the screen of Thy truth. 
Heresy to the heretic, and religion to the orthodox, 

But the dust of the rose petal belongs to the heart of the perfume* 


Abul Fazl gives an account of the Divine Faith in Ain 
No. 77 and describes the rite of initiation and other observ- 

ances to which a person desiring to become 
S-iiahi the a member had to conform. The members 

of the Divine Faith on meeting each other 
uttered the words Allah-u-Akbar and Jalla Jallalhu. A 
dinner during lifetime was to take the place of the dinner 
usually given after a man's death. Members were fa 
abstain Jrom meat, although they were asked to allow 
others to eat it, but during the month of their birth they 
were not allowed even to approaclTmeSE'^ T^^i^re Act 
to Ulne TwltlrtKi" butcheTST^^ 

otESrTof sucVlow^ give ft fi?rty 

anaiyersary^of^is birthday ancJLjriye a 

to bestowlalms and prepare provisions 
long journeyT" There weiSTSur^aeiBSees of devotion to His 

. and A!D, 77. 
F. 87 


Majesty. BadSoni writes of them : ' The four degrees 
consisted in readiness to sacrifice to the Emperor, Property, 
Life, Honour, and Religion. Whoever had sacrificed these 
four things possessed the four degrees ; and whoever had 
sacrificed one of these four possessed one degree. All the 
courtiers now put down their names as faithful disciples of 
the Throne!' 

The emperor did not promulgate the new faith in the 

spirit of a nTiSsionary, zealous for obtaining recruits. His 

object wasfnot prbselytisation but a new 

The Emperor, synthesis of the warring creeds. He ap- 

not a mission- . , . . . . . . . . , 

ary. proachedthe whole question m what we might 

call a theosophical spirit, and inculcated no 
'rigid formulae ; instead he appealed to the judgment of 
those who listened to him. Itejas Bhagwan_DSL%nd Man 
Singh, if BadSoni is to be believed, gave a curt refusal when 
^^^S^h^mto .join the new cult. Tleliever compelledjais 
numerous oBJcenT IxT&jIow him thougTT nochmg^woiild have 

been easier for him to do. On thjM^irtn^^ 
the value of independent judgm^a^ and appealed to men's 
higher j5^sciences to ^see throj^h the veil of superstition, 
dogma^ and ecclesiastical form Qll ' ct Ttl The Ain mentions 18 
members^of the Din-i-Ilahi among whom th^jnost^gromi- 
nent are Abul JFazl, FaizT, Shaikh Mubarak, MirzaJani of 
Thatta and Aziz Itoka^wTTnse^raith in IslanTwas shaken by 
the greed of the harpies of the Meccan shrines. The only 
Hindu to join was Raja Birbal whose cosmopolitan views won 
forhim the confidence and ^affecli;^^ Accord- 

ing to BadSoni members had to signal? ecFafStion to the 
effect that they had abjured Islam for he says in one place : 
"Ten or twelve years later things had come to 
such a pass that abandoned wretches like Mirza 


Jam', Governor of Thatta, and other apostates wrote 
their confession to the following effect this is the 

" I, who am so and so, son of so and so, do voluntarily 
and with sincere predilection and inclination, utterly 
and entirely renounce and repudiate the religion of 
Islam which I have seen and heard of my fathers and 
do embrace the ' Divine Religion ' of Akbar Shah, and 
do accept the four grades of entire 
fice of Property. Life. Honou?- an 

Accord ing" to tire same writer this declaration was 
handed over to Abul Fazl and ' became the source of 
confidence and promotion/ 

The promulgation of the Din-i-Ilahi was followed by 
a number of decrees against Islam of which BadSoni has 
Ordinances given a detailed account. An orthodox Mus- 
against Islam ]j m> he looked upon the emperor's ways with 
great abhorrence and felt much 'heart-burning for the 
deceased religion of Islam/ It would be tedious to detail 
all the regulations issued by the emperor which BadSoni 
mentions, but it is necessary to refer to some of them in 
order to understand the ^charge of seeking to destroy 
Islam, brought^_against_ Ifim^^ orthodox 


s *^T?Ee Era of the Thousand was stamped on the coins, 
and a Tarikh-i-Alfi commencing with the death of the 
Prophet was to be written. 

Sijdah was to be offered to Kings. 

Circumcision was forbidden before the age of 12 and 
was then left to the will of boys. 

Beewas prohibitec 

wives hadcreated a 


prgj5d|cejnjiigjnind against garlic and onions which were 

The jgearing of beards was discouraged. 

The wearing of gold and silk dresses forbidden by the 
shariat was made obligatory. 

The flesh of the wild boar and tiger was permitted, 
and the emperor ordered swine and dogsjo be kept in the 

regaf&ejfihe going t 

at them every morning as a religious service. l 

PubHc_prayers and the azan (call to prayer) were 
abolished. MuslinTTlames such as AJlQlgd, MuhammaJTarffl 
*" ~" " " """ ^M^estj^that he got 

The fast of^R^nzSn and 

Arabic was looked upon as a 'crime' and Muslim Law, the 
Quran and the Hadis were all tabooed. Their place was 
taken by mathematics, astronomy, poetry, medicine, history 
and fiction which were assiduously cultivated. 

Rnya werg nnM^j^jmarri^ before tfag a ff e of *fi and 
girls before 14, because the offspring of^ such marriages 
o be wg^klmd aicklv, 

Mosques and prayer rooms were changed into store 
rooms and guard rooms. 

As the reader will easily perceive, some of these regu- 
lations are absurd. Is it conceivable that a tolerant and 
liberal-minded ruler like Akbar, who respected all religions, 
should have regarded the going to look at swine and dogs 
as an act of religious merit ? 

BadSoni's diatribe, couched in language worthy of a 
gloomy religious fanatic, Whose heart is entirely unillumined 

1 Al-Badioni, II, p. 314. 



by the light of reason, and whose intellect is cramped by 
sectarian studies as his own admissions so 
fiadsoni m f Profusely illustrate extends over hundreds 
of pages, and his narrative is frequently dis- 
figured by his ravings against the Hindus whom he cannot 
bear to see in positions of power and influence at court. 
The only other evidence which supports him is that of 
the Jesuits, but it should be borne in mind that they took 
their cue from the orthodox section, which had declared 
war against the . emperor. Most of BadSoni's statements 
are based upon hearsay, as is shown by the trend of his 
narrative. There is no evidence to prove that he had 
personal knowledge of all the facts which he relates, or that 
he ever tried to ascertain the truth. 

It is idle to discuss whether Akbar renounced Islam 

or not. /If P nrffiiysed ft hr^^yhgnd in whiqji tfeg intellectuals 

could join. It was an^ association J^gtudmts ~anc 

thinkers^fioTiaS "transcended the barriers of 
sect and" creed and shaken off the tyrannous 
yoke of age-long customs^ It is not necessary 
for us to probe too closely into the rules 
and regulations for its organisation and discipline. .Imper- 
fections are insepjaql^e J:ron^ of 
do well to keepm Tmi^tESnoft 

Din-i-Ilah i, 
a broth er- 
"h o o d of in- 


emperor and the steadfastness with which he pursued it. 
******& success or failure of the Din-i-llahi as a cult is not 
a matter of importance. Politically it produced wholly 
beneficial results* //Dr. Vincent 


I m p o r t- 
anoe of Din- 

monstr growKjf^ 

another Iglg^^^yry^s that it wag^ 4 monument 
of Akbar's folly, not of his wisdom^^o one will doubt that 


this, view is wholly erroneous, and no one acquainted with 
the history of Akbar's reign will endorse this unjust 
criticism of a great manrof highjaims and noble aspirations. 
The German historian of Akbar does him greater justice 
than Dr. Smith, and his estimate is well worthy of re* 
production. He concludes his well-known work with 
these words : 

" Badaoni certainly takes every <- opportunity of 
raking up the notion of Akbar's apotheosis for the 
purpose of renewing attacks, upon the great emperor. 
He however was never in intimate relation to the 
Din-i-Ilahi, he repeats the misconceptions current 
among the populace marred and alloyed by popular 
modes of perception. (_Akbar might justly have 
contemplated the acts of his reign with legitimate 
pride, but many incidents ofjus jife prove him to 
hqve been jimong the most nSbdest'^of_men.^ It 
w#s the people who made ^a GSdTlJF^the man who 
was the founder and head of an order at once poli- 
tical, philosophic and religious. One of his creations 
will assure to him for all time ft pre-eminent place 
among the benefactors of humanity greatness and 
universal tolerance in matters of religious belief. 
If in very deed he had contemplated the deification 
of himself, a design certainly foreign to his character, 
these words of Voltaire would serve as his vindica^ 
tion." " G&st le privilege du vrai gnie et surtoftt 
du gnie qui ouvre. une carr&re, de faire impund- 
ment de grandes fautes." ' 

' 1 Von Noer, I, p. 848. 


It was Akbar's interest in religious matters and his eager 
desire to know the truth that brought him in contact 
with the^Jesuits. Ttjgy were invited to take 
part in the debates at Fft*gh" **"'- and the 
emperor granted them interviews, treated*, 
them with kindness, and shbwed interest in the Christiani 
doctrine,^although Dr.^yincent^ Smith wrongly^ asserts that 
the contribution ma3e Jp""fiSe debates by the missionaries 
| was an T^Srtai^Jactor ^whichTecJ Akbar to renounce rhe- 
Musiilm^seligionr Akbar^l 1 ?^^ him ham, 

discussed before, and it will, therefore, suffice to remind the 
reader that the^^suitjpriests who came Jojijs court with- 
the avowed object of convertmgTnni to their faith fell, 
^1 religious^ fanatics, int^"tEe"erfor 
emperor was really willing to embrace th 
All their correspondence betrays their amazing credulity. 
Obsessed by religious zeal, they accepted every rumour cur- 
rent at Goa, Delhi or Lahore about the emperor, and gave it 
wide publicity without trying to ascertain the truth. |jhree 
missions were sent from Goa to the imperial court in the 
hope of persuading the emperor to introduce the Christian 
religion in his dominions.j The first mission started from 
Goa on November 17, 157$, and reached Fatehpur Sikri after 
a journey of a little mere than she weeks. The leaders of 
the mission were Father Rudolf Acquaviva and Father 
Monserrate 1 both of whom were distinguished by enthus- 
iastic devotion to their faith.f Akbar treated them with 
kindness and called them in his palace A where he talk- 
ed to them with great politeness.) When fte time came to 

1 Monserrate who was a scholar acted as the historian of the mission. 
His chief work is the Mongolical, Lagationis Commentarious, which; 
contains an account of Northern India and the Imperial Court. The world 
lias been translated into English by Mr. Hoyland of the Nagpur College. 


take leave of their royal host, the Fathers were offered a large 
quantity of gold and silver, which they refused on the ground 
that their calling did not allow the acceptance of such gifts. 
Two or three days later, they presented him with a copy of 
the Bible in four languages and also portraits of Jesus and 
Virgin Mary which he received with great reverence. The 
Fathers were full of proselytising zeal, so much so indeed, 
that they described the Prophet of Islam as Anti-christ, 
and Acquaviva wrote in his letter to the Rector of Goa that 
'in honour of this infernal monster they bend the knee, 
prostrate, lift up their hands, give alms, and do all they do/ 
They talked much against Islam and denounced its observ- 
ances, and by thgir_ind iscreet^^ 

iogges of discontent which, as Dr. Vincent Smith admits, 
f niinH j^prPfiaTmTiyTtwn fonflifiahTq j^fcell fo 

JigBerillef|KgTKro^ and life of Akbar. But in spite of 
their zeal and vilification of the Prophet in which they 
indulged to excess at times, they did not accomplish 
much, and When they asked the emperor to adopt 
the Christian law, he replied with his habitual courtesy 
that 'the matter was in the hands of God, who possessed 
the power to accomplish what they desired, and that for 
his part there was nothing in the world he desired more.' 
These polite refusals were interpreted by the Fathers as the 
emperor's willingness to embrace the Christian doctrine) 

' Negotiations were opened again in 1590. The emperor 

sent theMlciHdngJefteii^o the Fathers of the Society of Goa. 

" In the name of God. *" 

The exalted and invincible Akbar to those that are in 

God's grace and have tasted of his Holy Spirit 

and to those that are obedient to the spirit of the 

Messiah and conduct men to good, I say to you, 


learned Fathers, whose words are heeded as those of 
retired from the world, men who have left the 
pomps and honour of earth ; Fathers who walk by 
the true way, I would have your reverences know 
that have knowledge of all the faiths of the world, 
both of various kinds of heathen and of the Moham- 
medans, save only that of Jesus Christ which is the 
faith of God and as such recognised and followed by 
many. Now in that I feel great inclination to 
the friendship of the Fathers, I desire that by them 
I may be taught this faith. 

There has recently come to our court and Royal Palace 
one Dom Leo Grimon, a person of great merit and 
good discourse, whom I have questioned on sundry 
matters and who has answered well to the satisfac- 
tion of myself and my doctors. He has assured me 
that there are in India (Scil-Goa) several Fathers 
of great prudence and learning, and if this be so 
your reverences will be able immediately, on re- 
ceiving my letter to send some of them to my Court 
with all confidence, so that in disputations with my 
doctors I may compare their several learning atid 
character, and see the superiority of the Fathers 
over my doctors, whom we call Qazis, and whom by 
this means they can teach the truth. 

If they will remain in my court, I shall build them 
such lodging that they may live as nobly as any 
Father now in this country, and when they wish to 
leave, I shall let them depart with all honour. You 
would, therefore, do as I ask, and the more willingly 
because I beg of you the same, in this letter 
written at the commencement of the moon of June." 


This offer gladdened the hearts of the Fathers who wel- 
comed the opportunity of teaching: the emperor the tenets of 
their faith. A second mission consisting of Fathers Edward 
Leiton and Christopher de Yoga was sent which waited 
on the emperor at Lahore in 1591. He treated the Fathers 
with great courtesy, allotted to them quarters in his own 
palace and started a school in which the sons of nobles and 
the emperor's sons and grandson (Prince Khusrau) were 
taught to read and write the Portuguese language. But a 
few days' stay convinced them that ibe emperor had no 
intention to embrace the Christian faith. Dr. Vincent Smith 
says that Akbar was never perfectly sincere when he used 
expressions implying belief in the Christian religion, but he 
does not blame the Fathers for their childlike simplicity in 
mistaking the emperor's latitudinarianism for a desire to- 
change the faith. The Fathers ought to have known by this 
time that his expanding soul could not be confined within 
the strait waistcoat of a formula, nor could his eager and 
inquisitive mind, longing to know the truth, find satisfaction 
in the narrow sectarianism of the Jesuits. Thejangifiror's. 
^t^egLJII^iirisManity wjas^jnerely^Jj^llgctual, but the 
FatKers were obtuse enough to think that he seriously 
thought of declaring himself a follower of Christ. Their cre- 
dulity is revealed in their readiness to accept the orthodox 
gossip that was current in Hindustan about the emperor 
The following is an instance : 

" The emperor turned all the mosques of the city 
where he lived into stables for elephants or horses on 
the pretence of preparation for war. Soon, however,, 
he destroyed the Alcorans which are the turrets from* 
which the priests call with loud voices on Mohammed 
saying that if the mosques could no longer be used 


for prayer there was no need for the turrets, and 
he did in his hatred for the Mohammedan sect and 4 
in his affection for the Gospel. The sub-deacon 
also said that the name of Mohammed was as hated 4 
at the Mughal's court as in Christendom, and that 
the emperor had restricted himself to one wife, turn- 
ing out the rest and distributing them among his* 
courtiers. Moreover, that he had passed a law that no- 
Mohammedan was to circumcise his son before the 
fifteenth year of his age, and that the sons should: 
be at liberty on attaining years of discretion to* 
enribrace what religion they chose." 
It will be clear from the above extract that thejtesuit 
^ truths and^urv truths^ and yet Dr. 

Vijyjent ^j^xJooke^^ sources 

of information. antL b y placi ng too jmc h 

them gave to th^jworid a highly distorted Digtyrq of the- 
greatest Mughal ei^^rg^f 41iHduBfcan. 
"'* Aftersbrhe time the Fathers were called back, and the- 
mission abruptly came to an end. 

In 1574 the emperor sent another ambassador to Goa to* 
ask the Provincial to send a fresh mission to instruct him 
in the doctrines of the Christian faith. The Provincial who 
knew the fate of the first two missions did not feel inclin- 
ed to comply with the request, but after consultation with 
his colleagues agreed to do so. The leader of the new 
mission was Jerome Xavier, grand-nenhew of SjL Francis* 
Xavier, ancT^e^^as^'li^islEecr by others. The T5*atEers 
founff the emperor at Lahore in May 1595. They were- 
hospitably received, and the emperor treated them with a 
consideration which he did not even show to ruling chiefs. 
But like their predecessors, they also made the mistake of 


supposing that the emperor intended to accept the Christian 
faith, when they beheld him doing reverence to Christ and 
Virgin Mary and attending a litany service on bended knees, 
f nd with clasped hands after the fashion of the Christians. 
The^jscfijej^on disillusioned ; and Father Xavier j?JwjK?s 
greatly disappoiflte<ar "wrote jrf^ him tliat he was drifting 

make orl He listened to 

Christian faith, but showed no sign 
of abandoning his superstitious worship of the sun, which 
he adored every day at sunrise, and an image of which 
he constantly kept near him. He allowed the Fathers 
to build a church and to baptise all who desired to 
embrace Christianity of their own free-will, but when they 
asked him to publish broadcast this permission, he replied 
that it was unnecessary to do so. The idea of conversion 
was not likedjfry the people of Hindustan, and the Fathers 
soon despaired of securing a large number of converts. 
The members of the third mission also dwell upon the 
emperor's hostility to Islam, and their* remarks have an echo 
of Badaoni's diatribes against him. 
One of them writes : 

" This king has destroyed the false sect of Muham* 
mad and wholly discredited it. In this city there is 
neither a mosque nor a Quran, the book of their law, 
and the mosques that were there have been made 
stables for horses and store-houses and for the greater 
shame of the Mohammedans, every Friday it is 
arranged that forty or fifty boars are brought to 
iight before the king, and he takes their tusks and 
has them mounted in gold. This king has made a 
sect of his own, and makes himself out to be a 


'prophet. He has already many people who follow him, 
but it is all for money which he gives them. He 
adores God, and the sun, and is a Hindu (Gentile) ; 
he follows the sect of the Jains (Vertei)." 1 
No contemporary Muslim writer corroborates this account 
except Badaoniwhojtfas^ 

It appears, the Fathers heard from certain Muslims about 
these matters and accepted their statements without a critical 
examination. They fitted in so well with their hatred towards 
Islam that they readily put implicit faith in all the reports 
that reached them about the emperor's alleged apostasy. 

I^Akbar is one of the most remarkable kings not only 
in the history of India but of the whole world .J His great 
qualities are amply revealed in the pages of 
of Akbw nality the Ain-i-Akbari and the Atcbarnftmah, and 
even Badaoni's hostile pen has not succeeded 
injbglittlinfr the~lrrandeu^ Abul Fazl's 

account of the emperorV cEaracter and habits is very 
largely confirmed by Father Monserrate who was personally 
acquainted with him^) Jahangir also describes his father 
in the Memoirs, and his remarks deserve to be quoted, 
writes : 

" In his august personal appearance he was of middle 
height, but inclining to be tall ; he was of the 

1 Compare with the above Badioni's calculated misrepresentation 
of what the emperor did. He says : " The real object of those who 
became disciples was to get into office* and though His Majesty di<J 
reerything to get this out of their heads, he acted very differently in the 
case of Hindus, of whom he could not get enough, for the Hindus, of 
course, are indispensable ; to them belongs half the army and half the 
land. Neither the Hindustanis nor the Mughals can point to such grand 
lords as the Hindus have among themselves. But if other than Hin4uf 
came and wished to become disciples at any sacrifice His Majesty 
reprovf d or punished them* For their honour and zeal he did not Qfirev 
nor did he notice whether they fell in with his views or not." Comment- 
upon this is superfluous. The reader may be left to draw his own 


hue of wheat ; his eyes and eyebrows black 
and his complexion rather dark than fair ; he was 
lion-bodied, with a broad chest, and hands and arms 
long. On the left side of his nose he had a fleshly 
mole, very agreeable in appearance, of the size of 
half a pea. Those skilled in the science of physiog- 
nomy considered the mole a sign of great prosperity 
and exceeding good fortune. /[His august voice was 
very loud and in speaking and explaining had a 
peculiar richness. In his actions 

he WJISL nqj: li|lg tfrq p^^le^of^Jbhe world, and the 

glory of God mamfes^^ j 

""~~ rr Th^gooSTqualities otTn^revered father arfe beyond 

the limit of approval and the bounds of praise. If 

books were composed with regard to his commendable 

dispositions, without suspicion of extravagance, and 

he be not looked at as a father would be by his son 

even then but a little out of much could be said." 

The emperor's features were so majestic and impressive 

that one could easily recognise at the first glance that he 

was a king. His shoulders were broad, and his legs were 

somewhat turned inwards and were well-suited for exercises 

in horsemanship. His forehead was broad and open, and 

liis eyes so bright and flashing that they looked like 

the sea shining in the light of the sun. His nose was 

straight and small, and his nostrils were widely open. He 

was clean-shaven except for a moustache which he 

wore after the fashion of the Turkish youths who had hot 

yet attained to manhood* He was neither too stout nor 

too thin, and possessed a healthy and robust constitution. 

His countenance was highly dignified, and the Jesuit writer 

1 Kogers and Beveridge, I, pp. 88, 84, 37. 


-who saw him in his 38th year writes that his expression 
^was tranquil, serene and open and full of dignity and in 
moments of anger, of awful majesty. He laughed heartily, 
-cracked jokes and enjoyed every kind of entertainment, 
-but when he was offended, his wrath was terrible. He was 
^amiable, polite and accessible as few other monarchs in 
Muslim history have been. He granted audiences to the 
nobles and the common .people alike and spoke gently to 
them. His manners were highly pleasant, so much so 
-indeed, tha^ather Jerome Xavier writes of him that 'to 
*rutiasCTeat with the greatand^ 

^ towards him 

in^spite^of his heterodox views, and the Jesuit writer is 
surprised that he was not assassinated for his aberrations 
from orthodoxy. He was extremely intelligent, far-sighted 
and shrewd and was capable of understanding the most 
difficult problems of the state without much effort. No 
question, philosophical or political, could baffle his intellect 
*nd the astute statesmen in the realm found in him 
a rival in quickness of perception, industry and capacity for 
ready decision. He could manage a theological debate, a 
military campaign in a far-off province, and a reform in 
some branch of the administration with equal ease f and his 
highest officers always valued his advice and suggestions. 

In his dress he followed the fashion of Muslim kings. 
His garments were made of silk beautifully embroidered 
in gold. He was fond of jewellery and wore a great deal 
of it on ceremonial occasions. His headgear was a turban, 
tightly bound and decked with pearls and jewels. He liked 
European dress too and sometimes put it on in private. 
He always carried arms on his person, and was surrounded 
even in his private apartments by armed bodyguards. 


The imperial kitchen was a huge establishment, but the 
emperor wa^extremely temperate in matters of eating and 
drinking. He took only one meal a day^and left off before 
he was fully satisfied. No hours were fixed for his meals ; 
they were served whenever he called for them. He was sa 
gentle and unassuming that the words ' what dinner has been 
prepared today, 9 never passed from his lips. But his table 
was sumptuous, and great precautions were taken against 
poisoning. I^JHe gave up beef, garlic and onions in order to- 
avoid giving offence to his Hindu wives and friends.^e 
cared little for meat, and in his later years completely gave 
it up/ On the question of meat he expressed himself in 
these words : 

" Men are so accustomed to eating meat that were 
it not for the pain, they would undoubtedly fall to on 
themselves. Would that my body were so vigorous aa 
to be of service to eaters of meat who would thus forego 
other animal life, or that as I cut off a piece for their 
nourishment, it might be replaced by another. 

14 Would that it were lawful to eat an elephant, so- 
that one animal might avail for many. Were it not for 
the thought of the difficulty of sustenance, I would 
prohibit men from eating meat. 4lhe reason why I do 
not altogether abandon it myself is, that many others 
might willingly forego it likewise and be 'thus cast into 
despondency & 

Q" From my earliest years, whenever I ordered animal 
food to be cooked for me, I found it rather tastele^ 
and cared little for it. I took this feeling to indicate 
a necessity for protecting animals, and I refrained from 
animal food," 


" Butchers, fishermen and the like who have no 
other occupation but taking life, should have a separate 
quarter and their association with others should be 
prohibited by fine. 

"It is indeed from ignorance and cruelty that 

although various kinds of food are obtainable, men are 

bent upon injuring living creatures and lending a 

ready hand in killing and eating them ; none seems 

to have an eye for the beauty inherent in the prevention 

of cruelty, but makes himself a tomb for animals." 

(jle drank much in his early youth but in later years 

he rarely did so. The Jesuit writer says 4hat he quenched 

his thirst with poft or plain water!)He generally dined alone, 

reclining on an ordinary couch which .was covered with 

silk andushions stuffed with the soft fibres of some 

imported plant. 

He was a man of deep affections. iHe enjoined obe- 
dience to parents, and regretted that his father Humayun 
died so early that he could render him no faithful service 
Towards his mother and other relatives, he showed a great 
kindness and looked after their comforts. He treated his 
brother Hakim kindly even when the latter rebelled against 
him, and showed favour to his foster-brother Aziz Koka, 
whom he entrusted with important military commands. 
'He loved little children,)and used to say that love towards 
Ttem often turned the mind towards the Bountiful Creator. 
He had a great love for Bibi Daulat-ShSd's daughter \whora 
Tie gave the name of Aram Banu Begum. Often he said to 
his son Salim : Baba I for my sake be as kind as I am,~ after 
me, to this sister,) who in Hindi phrase is ' my darling.' 
He hated pride and arrogance and behaved as the humblest 

F. 28 


of men. When he organised his religious order, many ex- 
pressed a wish to become his disciples but he refused 
to admit them and said : ' Why should I claim to guide 
men, before I myself am guided/ 1 Jahangir writes in his 
Memoirs that notwithstanding his kingship and bound- 
less wealth he never ' placed his foot beyond the base of 
humility before the throne of God but considered himself 
the lowest of created beings and never for one moment 
forgot God.' 8 

His time was carefully mapped out so that not a minute 
was wasted. He slept only for a few hours in the night, 
and spent most of his time in philosophical discussions and 
listening to historians who related the events of bygone 
ages 'without adding or suppressing facts.' After day- 
break peasants, soldiers, tradesmen, merchants and men 
of other avocations gathered near the walls of the palace 
and were allowed to make the kornish. During the day 
the emperor was busy in transacting the business of the 
state. He himself looked into every detail of the adminis- 
tration which was greatly improved by his methodising 

Though himself illiterate, the emperor was endowed by 
nature with extraordinary intellectual powers. He had a 
marvellous memory which enabled him to store his mind 
with all kinds of useful knowledge. He knew a great deal 
of philosophy, theology, history and politics and could easily 
give his opinion on the most abstruse subjects. Never 
before in the history of Muslim rule in India had so many 
scholars, poets and philosophers gathered round a king and 

I, p. 165. 
Rogers and Beveridge, I, p. 87. 


-enjoyed his patronage. He had a large library in his palace 
which contained books on all subjects. Learned men were 
.asked to read these books to the emperor from the begin- 
ning to the end. He made a sign with his own pen every day 
at the place where his readers stopped and paid their wages 
according to the number of pages read. Thus he had acquir- 
ed a sufficiently wide knowledge of Asiatic literature which 
included a deep study of Sufi poets. He had heard the 
gospel from the lips of the Jesuit Fathers and seems to have 
greatly liked its teachings. His interest in art was keen ; he 
loved calligraphy and employed a large number of skilled calli- 
graphists in his service.fHe was fond of music and song, and 
a large number of musicians lived at his court. \ He was not 
devoid of a knowledge of architecture, and the buildings of 
his reign testify to his good taste. It is really a marvel that 
he should have drawn in so much knowledge through the ear. 
Even Dr. Vincent Smith who is in no way partial to him 
-acknowledges his great Tntellectual powers. He says : 

" Anybody who heard him arguing with acuteness 
and lucidity on a subject of debate would have credited 
him with wide literary knowledge and profound 
erudition, and never would have suspected him of 
illiteracy." ' 

-He knew the mechanical art and himself devised several 

He was possessed of incredible bodily strength. The 
Mongol and Turkish elements were mixed up in his nature, 
and he displayed the qualities of both races. He was devoted 
from his childhood to hunting excursions, and when he grew 

1 Akbar, p. 838. 


to man's estate, they became a passion with him. Sport was 
a source of delight to him, and nothing gave him greater 
pleasure than the chase of wild and ferocious animals. No- 
lion, tiger or elephant, however fierce, could frighten him, 
and no amount of fatigue could make him give up the pur- 
suit of his game. Fear was unknown to his nature, and 
whether he was in the thick of battle or in the breathless, 
chase of some wild animal, he dashed with full vigour, and 
never faltered or hesitated. He enjoyed elephant fights 
and gladiator combats, but had an abhorrence of bloodshed. 
He was at times so reckless of his own life that he plunged 
his horse into the Ganges, when it was in full flood during 
the rainy season, and successfully crossed to the other side. 

The emperor held a lofty ideal of kingship. Ever devot- 
ed to the service of God and the quest of truth, he had a 
real affection for his people and a genuine desire to establish 
a just and efficient government He exerted himself to the 
utmost to promote this end. His ideal of kingly duty is 
well reflected in his sayings : 

" A monarch is a pre-eminent cause of God. Upon his 
conduct depends the efficiency of any course of action. 
His gratitude to his Lord, therefore, should be shown 
in just government and due recognition of merit ; that of 
his people in obedience and praise." 

" Tyranny is unlawful in every one, especially in a 
sovereign who is the guardian of the world. " 

" Falsehood is improper in all men and most unseemly 
in monarchs. This order is termed the shadow of God, 
and a shadow should throw straight. " 

Dr. Vincent Smith, relying upon Jesuit sources, dwells 
at length upon Akbar's artfulness and duplicity in state craft 


and speaks of his ' tortuous diplomacy and perfidious 
action. ' But we feel much relieved to read in his work a 
little later that (Mgrtfljn amount A f fin Qgq * inflvltahlft in 
nd politics, and that(Jiis policy was not more 

tortuous than that of the European princes of his 
The same learned historian goes on to add that in all countries 
it is necessary for statesmen to practise an economy of truth, 
but the sense of racial superiority gets the better of his judi- 
cial fairness, and leads him to say that it would not be rea- 
sonable to expect an Asiatic potentate like Akbar to be in 
advance of his European contemporaries in respect of straight 
dealing. Dr. Vincent Smith forgets that Akbar's great con~ 
t^mporarv Elizabeth lied fthame1easly T and Green goes so far 
as to assert that in the profusion and recklessness of her lies 
she stood w 1 '* 1 ^ a pm* in Christendom. 

The vile methods and intrigues of other monarchs in 
France, Spain and elsewhere are too well known to need 
mention. Akbar was undoubtedly superior to his contem- 
poraries both in intellect and character, and his policy was 
far more humane than theirs. Against the few acts of 
inhumanity and breach of faith attributed to him by 
Dr. Smith, it is possible to mention a hundred deeds of 
generosity and benevolence. Accurate and impartial re- 
search by whomsoever conducted will reveal Akbar to 
have been in many respects a greater man thap his Euro- 
pean contemporaries. 

The greatest title of Akbar to fame is his policy of 
religious toleration. He was tolerant of other faiths. No 
doctrinal dissent could drive him into fury nor could 
differences of opinion make him lose his temper or disturb 
the natural serenity of his philosophical mind. He allowed 
JFathullah Shirazi who was a Shia to say his prayers in the 


hall of audience and connived at his practices, because he 
thought it good to encourage a man of talent. On the 
j&ygrgtri dav he helfl a meeting- O f Higflu ascetics and ate 
land drank with them. In the matter of worship he allowed 
the utmost freedom to non-Muslims. He never countenanced 
forcible conversions. On the other hand, if a Hindu had 
been converted to Islam by force in his childhood, he was 
allowed, if he liked, to go back to the religion of his fathers. 
JThere was a standing ordinance of the emperor to the 

effect that TIP nr^" afrnnld hp intPrforpd with rm jMwnfljt 

QfJiis-celigion, and every one should be free to settle his 
own convictions. \ Another "decree laid down thaCif the 
infidels built a church or a synagogue or an idol temple or a 
fire temple, no one should molest them.\ Himself a man 
of catholic views, he associated with the learned of all racea 
and religions and comprehended fully the meaning of their 
subtle doctrines. Abul Fazl tells us that though occa- 
sionally he joined public worship in order to hush the 
slandering tongues of the bigots of the age, his ardent 
feeling for God and his desire to know the truth led him 
to practise great inward and outward austerities. This 
intimate contact with the learned of the age developed 
his understanding and sharpened his intelligence to such 
an extent that nobody could believe that he was illiterate. 
He fully realised the weakness of human nature and used 
to say : 

" It is my duty to be in good understanding with all 
men. If they walk in the way of God's will inter- 
ference with them would be in itself reprehensible ; 
and if otherwise, they are under the malady of 
. ignorance and deserve my compassion/' 


He was sincerely religious and devoted to God, so much 
so indeed, that Abul Fazl writes that he ' passed every 
moment of his life in self-examination or in adoration of 
God/ Dr. Vincent Smith greatly underrates Akbar's 
attempt to organise a religious order with a view to 
unite his subjects of diverse races and creeds. One 
wishes that the distinguished historian had paid a just 
tribute to his genius for proclaiming the Sulh-i-kid _ (uni- 
versal peace) at a time when in Europe the principle 
enforced was cujus regio ejua religio. From the diet of 
Augsburg, which met a year before the imperial accession to* 
the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, Europe knew no peace, and 
the religion of the subjects was regulated by the state. The 
dissenter could only choose between submission to the dic- 
tation of the civil ruler or emigration from his territorial 
bounds. (JEven in Dr. Smith's own country during the reign 
of Elizabeth Protestantism was imposed by force upon the 
Irish people. Philip II of Spain who was a bigoted papist 
openly declared that it was better not to rule at all than to 
rule over heretics.^ A comparison of European monarchs 
with Akbar easily establishes the superiority of the latter 
both in genius and achievement, and there is no warrant for 
the disparaging remarks which Dr. Vincent Smith makes 
under the cloak of judicial impartiality. Qta mental power 

Akbar waSJIpdnnhfcedly thft pppr nf ^ 

All things considered, h^ will r^nk a^o^g th p 
Iginffs of historv.)and his claim to this pre-eminent position 
will always rest upon his grand and original intellect* 
force of character, and the solid results of his statesman- 

The Mughal system of administration was not original. 
The methods followed all over the Muslim world were 



those of the Abbasid Khalifas of Iraq or the Fatimid 
Nature of # balif5s of Egypt. But when the early 
iiughai Gov- Turfcs came to India, their ideas became inter- 
ernmen . fused with the customs and usages of the 

country. The Hindus continued to be employed in the 
revenue department, and their customs and practices 
exercised a powerful influence on administrative arrange- 
ments. Prhe Mughal administration was therefore a mixture 
of Indian a^jforeign elemerits,knd, to use Professor Sarkar's 
expressive phrase, it was ' Fe^o-Arabic^ systgiguii^Indian 
getting.* Its elaborate organization entailed much record- 
keeping, and required the monarch to be constantly vigilant. 
Butjtjvasnot who^Jbarajd on.. jgrce. (There was partial 
acquiescence^ the people, because the new government was 
more humane, tolerant and Beneficent. It respected social 
the villages to enjoy their time-honoured 

right^of ^elf :gp y ernment \ 

The head of the administration was the king himself. 

In theory he had unlimited powers, but in practice he always 

_, tr . deferred to the wishes of those who were 

The King. 

* near him or who were affected by his decrees. 
Even the most absolute monarch has to consult the wishes 
of the clique that supports him. (AJk^bar was an autocrat but 
~ ' ; did not ^ jmjfrte ^irresponsibility A His methods 

llffered" from Itlibse of the ~ rulers of tHe pre-Mughal days. 
At a very early age he was complete master of his kingdom^ 
and annomi^^a^dicy which w?is based_upon liberal and 
hiunamteri^^inciplesr The dis^iiiities imposed upon the 
UntJfeiievertirwere removed, and the admimstratfon!*^ 
the Hindus and Muslims alike in all matters.) There was no 
exclusion from the offices of the state on religious grounds, 
and the Hindusjvere granted complete liberty of worship. 


The principle of religious toleration glided the policy of 
Akbar and augmented the gloryjc)f his empire. Some of his 
ablest ministers " radln^rtSniii^ friends were Hindus, and 
the emperor always consulted them before taking action in 
important matters. 

| Never during his reign did he levy extra tax$&}although 
his pSpert^^rs^impliedTa heavy strain on his resources. 

It is true he tried jo repress the bigotry oi[the^ Ujama but 
he did so in order to ~end their interference in political 
affairs. Much of the careful organisation which he effected 
to govern his vast empire was the outcome of his own 
genius. He was often, as Dr. Vincent Smith says, the 
teacher rather than the pupifof his ministers^" Hisbureau- 

a^ttMUftMIUwM-* w.^v4-** *"- " ~ " ' ^ -fc...* -v_ t ,^~ ,., tww^.^ ,. ., KJ ,.. g^^BM I ml***m*mmi i n m 

^retcyT nal f-ci vil , half-military admirably seryed.his purpose, 
and . administrative efficiency reached its high, water-mark 
for the first time under Muhammadan rufe. /Th 

himself was the guiding spirit oj^^ll i^formsand policies, 
and it was his master-mind whichjjirasped the minutest 
details of government,^ and made possiWe^0^snioofIi 
working of the whole machinery. Below the kingjkhe. 
Vakil was Jthe_pJQ,ncigal executive officer. He was, as 
it were, tl^oltgf^o of the emperor and was consulted in 
all matters. This office was in the early years held by 
Bairam Khan, the tutor and guardian of the^emperor. f 

Organisation ^ he chief departments of the Mughal 
^f civil Go- government were : 


(1) Finance (under 

(2) The military, Pay and Accounts office (under 
JheMir Bakhshi). 

1 There were no departments like those of the British Government 
in those days. This is only a rough classification to assist clear under* 


(3) The Imperial Household (under the Khan-i-Snmnn 

or Lord High Steward). 

(4) Judicial (under the chief Qazi known as the 

ul-Quzm). ~ ~ 1 

(5) Religious endowments and charitable grants (under 

the Sadr-i-Sudur). 

(6) Censorship of Public Morals (under the Muhateify. 
Somewhat inferior to these were the following : 

(7) Artillery (under the Mir "Atish or Darogha-i-Top- 

khanah). J 

(8) Intelligence and Posts (under the 


(9) Mint (under its own 

Abul Fazl describes the Diwan as the emperor's 
lieutenant in all financial matters, who superintended the 
imperial treasuries and checked all accounts. 
f Se wai the head of the revenue department, 
ancTall questions pertaining to the assessment 
and collection of revenue were decided by himj All 
revenue papers, returns and despatches from the different 
parts of the empire were ^gceived in^ 

forjpaymftnt except those regarding petty sums of money 
^ereinade by him^(The Wazir was like other officers a. 
nwwabctor, i.e., holder of a military rank in the armyA&nd 
sometimes did actually command armies, though usually he 
had to remain at the capital by reason of the peculiar nature 
of his business.") 

standing. It would be proper to name the powerful officers of the- 
administration and to detail the duties assigned to them. 


f There was no clear division between_,the_ciyij smd 
military "branches of the administration. Every civil 
^rfficer jwras a mansabdar in the iingerial 
^army/and his Vnatwaft "determined his salary 
and position in the official hierarchy.) The 
salary bills of all officers had to be scrutinised and 
passed by the paymaster of the army. He assigned posts 
to several commanders in the van, centre wings and rear 
guards before battle. The Ain defines the Mir .Bakb&hi 
as an officer in charge of the personal army j>fjthe 
e exercised a general control ~oveF the whole 
"and^saw that the mansabdars kept their horses in 
the proper condition. He looked after the recruitment 
of soldiers also. 

He was the head of the emperor's household estab- 

lishment, and accompanied him during his journeys and 

campaigns. Blochmann translates him JOB 

c h x Kh ? n ' i : Superintendent of Stores. LHe was the head 

SSmSn or Lord - - - ^ -.w~~~~ -"-"* 

High steward. j>f ta&fijpaperor's personal fita&Lft& 

his food, tents and stores, and looked 
his messing arrangements. N According to Manucci he was in 
charge of the entire expenditure of the royal household in 
reference to both great and small things. (The office of the 
Khan-i-Sam&n was an important one, and only men of trust 
were appointed to it.S 

Qlejjrasjhe highest judicial officer of the realm CQffe-. 
sponxfingto the LoVd CHief Justice of England) The emperor 
^~" as the KhalifS of the age was the supreme 

hief in all cases, but generally he acted a& 

the highest court of appeal. \The 
the ChiefJudge in criminal cases which he decided accord- 
ing to Muslim. I^w, 



(3) The N5zir-i-Buyutat l 

This is a very old office. It had existed in the time of 
the Khiljis and Tughluqs. In old times the state^ was^the 
mu TUT i. ^-u custodian of men's life and property as well 

Tne Munateib. ^_--"^ . >***-* - -^-* r ~- . _ *-, ^ _ * 

as their morals. ---The Muhatsib's duties were 

"**^^ > ^*^*^* - ""* <Vs ^- x *"~"^^'-' ZZ-Jtllirff" 1 ^ "** " - i.Mgmr-- mi | - "i"" "^.l'"?* 

to see that the people led their lives in accordance with the 
law of the PropheU to put down the practices ''con53emned 
in ffife Shariat, ancf in general to prevent immorality. 

^Besides theseTKere i were many otEer officers^who held 
responsible positions in the stateS Some of these are : 

(1) TheMustaufi ... Auditor-General. 

(2) The Awarjah Nawis Superintendent of daily 

expenditure at the court. 
Superintendent of the 

Imperial Workshop. 
Revenue Secretary. 
Chief Admiral and Officer 

of the Harbours. 
Superintendent of Forests. 
Superintendent of the Royal 

Superintendent of the Royal 

Superintendent of the Royal 


The News-recorder, 
who presented all petitions 

to the emperor brought 

by suitors who wished to 

place them before His 

1 Buyutat is derived from the Arabic word bait meaning 4 house. 9 
This officer looked after the workshops and also registered the property 
of deceased persons in order to clear their accounts with the state. 



The Mushrif 
Mir Bahri 

Mir Barr 
Qur Begi 

<8) AkhtBegi 
(9) Khwan Salar 


The Waqa-i-Nawis 
Mir Arz 



Majesty. At one time 
Mirza Abdur Rahim was. 
appointed as the principal 
Mir Arz of the realm. 

The officer who was responsible for maintaining peace 
Kotwal.^His duties are enumerated at 
length in the Ain, [ the most important of 

Public peace. , . , 

which are: 

(1) to keep watch at night and patrol the city ; 

(2) to keep a register of houses and frequented roads ;. 

(3) to employ a spy from among the obscure residents 

and to observe the income and expenditure of 
the various classes ; 

(4) to discover thieves ; 

(5) to examine weights and measures ; 

(6) to make a list of the property of those who have 

no heir and of deceased and missing persons. 

(7) not to allow a woman to be burnt against her will 

and to prevent circumcision below the age of 12*. 
There are many other duties assigned to the Kotwal 
Indeed, the catalogue is so long that Professor Jadunath 
Sarkar is inclined to think that the passage in the Ain 
represents an ideal rather than an actual state of things* 
The Eotwal is still a familiar figure in big cities in Northern 
India,lind he still performs most of the duties entrusted to 
his Mughal prototype. At was the Kptwal's duty in Akbar's 
day tojprevent and detect crime, to trace the whereabouts 
oTbffenders ^ and to look after the daily life of the people in 
the town. Hejwas to discover stolen goods, and If he failed 
tcTdo so he hadTtolnaEe'good the loss.) He had to patrol at 

1 Jarrett, II, pp. 4148. 


night to note the movements of strangers, tosettheidleto work 
and to fix the places of men following different occupations 
in the town such as butchers, washermen, etc^^This'macte 
the^Kotwal unusually alerJ^nd he became a terror to all 
vagabonds and tramps, who roamed about without a$y 
jjjtensibleTm^ Espionage is an inevitable 

corollary of despotism, and "the Kotwal employed spies to 
obtain information about the doings of the people in the city. 
Bri^erj^was prevalent, but the dread of the emperor exer 
cised awE^som7estrainj^an Jin many cases the^Kotwals 

-discharged their (9^^s~w3r4gonis efficiency.^ Order and 
^security prevailed in cities. ^Business was_saf e, ^anJ^reign 
merchants were jy ell protects. JThe office of Kotwal existed 
throughout the Mughal ruJeriima Manucci has described its 
duties from personal observation. ' 

f The emperor was the fountain of all justice. He^waa 

I S^, ,-^^~- --- -"- -- - v _ ~- ~ . ,----- - . r _ -------- *~ ' - 

the higEest court of appeal, and the people had boundless con- 
" fidence in his jusfice^ ; HeTieard original suits 

biw* 106 and of a certain VmH"as well as appeals ^ent for dis- 
posal by provincial governments. I On a fixed 
day all people, the high and low, were permitted to enter the 
Court of Justice and lay their complaints before him. Even 
when His Majesty was on tour, he held his court reaularly 
^md received complaints against his officials also./ The 
Mir Arz had to be present at the palace all day ana night, 
<and at one time seven Mir Arzes were appointed with 
Abdur Rahim as the Head Mir Arz, because one mai) could 
Tiot cope with the increased volume of work. 

r BeloyL.t^q qpU^flO?a&lh Sadr-i-SudUr who decided 
-important civil cases especially of a religious character. 

1 Storia de Mogar, II, pp. 420-21. 


The yazi-ul-quz&t was^&jiig&e^ ~ia the 

realm, who was responsible for the efficient administration 
<xf justicO There were no law courts in those days with 
definite codes of law to guide the presiding officers. (The 
functionaries who were mainly concernejLgjth.the disposal of 
cases were ffiTRieQazi, (tythejdufti> 

tt expounded the law ; the Qazi investigated the 
eviHence ; and the Miradl delivered tfie "judgment.) The 

< ' *~*'V'MtHll**Hltt~<<'* >Jf 

Miradl was specially enjoined to look after the general 
interest of the state and to act as a counterpoise to the 
'Qazi's influence. There were no professional lawyers, 
trained in law and conversant with social usages and regula- 
tions of the state, and since the parties had to plead their 
cause in person, we may presume that justice was not 
always done to the simple villager who was helpless against 
a rapacious official or an influential opponent. The number 
of Miradls in Akbar's time was not very large. They 
were generally associated with the Qazis who were more 
conservative in their outlook and unresponsive to the 
larger considerations of public welfare. At one time the 
emperor dismissed all reactionary Qazis, not to destroy the 
Muslim law as is too readily assumed by his orthodox 
critics, but to induce a chastened mood in judges who 
considered themselves infallible. 

The Qazi's court had civil and criminal jurisdiction 

^i^M.pJyifaWI ----- ** """"" ' f-> H--" " **> . , ,, Vf**J <** 

tried cases of both Hindus and Muslims. Bat in deciding 
thosif cases in which the parties were Hindus, he was 

customYand usages 

oFthe Hindu community. It does not appear that he was 
supplied with any official agency to explain the Hindu 
customs, but there is evidence to show that such usages 
were respected by government. The 


to be just, honest, and impartial and to hold trials 
In the presence of parties at the .Beat of the court- 

House jmd not jnjuay~-priy,ate place. /He was ordered not 
to accept presents or to attenB^Mfetammerits given _hy 
"Sit Slid sundry, and was asked to be proud pf his poverty* 
Bui IfcEese Injunctions were more honoured in the breach 
than in the observance. Most of the Qazis were haughty 
and corrupt and gave perverse verdicts* 
*** There was no written code of law which the judges, 
had to administer in Akbar's empire. The Quran was the 
ultimate authority to which all questions had to be referred. 
But the Quran could not be applied to all conceivable cases, 
and therefore its provisions were supplemented by the 
Hadis or sayings of the Prophet. The Fatwa* or decrees 
of eminent judges or the Ulama constituted another 
source of law, but they were not binding upon the Qazi, 
who might or might not accept them.( The criminal law 
was the same for ally and in the matted of punishmenfTno 
distinctjpns were made on religious grounds". IrTcivil cases 
in which the parties were Hindus full regard was paid to 
their customary and traditional law, and the Qazi was 
expected to acquaint himself with Hindu usages. The 
courts had to follow the regulations laid down by the 
emperor in revenue cases. But the emperor was above the 
law. .-JBt^could^freely annul_or jeverse the decisions of his. 
judges-jyjio were always careful to avoid ~thfr"imperial 

fThejMnishments inflicted by courts were often severe^ 
Amputation ofllmBs~v^irer^ 
could not be inflicted without the em^or'sSSifioK^There 

Was no regl^fiLMLsySt^fn, an3H|nnj^1^ym^ pri'onnara ^rg^ 

Confined in forts; Those who were guilty of particularly 



heinous offences were thrown into dungeons, and 
were treated with great rigour. T Fjnesjvere jRQt^unknovn, 
^ndLirtjgertajr^ cases exorbitant demands were made to 
meet the ends JD jjistice., J 

Father Monserrate's account of the King's justice is 
well worth quoting. Here is a summary of his observa- 
tions : - 

The King's regard for right and justice in the affairs 
of government is remarkable. He takes a very strong view 
of errors and misdemeanours committed by his officials in 
discharging their duties. He is sincerely anxious that 
guilt should be punished without malice indeed but without 
undue leniency. All important cases he decided himself, 
and punishments were awarded after great deliberation. 
Moral offences were severely dealt with. Seducers and adul- 
terors were either strangled or gibbeted. He had such a 
hatred of debauchery and adultery that neither influence 
nor entreaties, nor the great ransom which was offered 
would induce him to pardon his chief trade commissioner, 
who had outraged the rhodesty of an unmarried girl. The 
wretch was remorselessly strangled. The chief executione 
was provided with many barbarous instruments to inflict 
punishments upon malefactors, but no one was actually 
punished with them, and they seemed to be intended rather 
to inspire terror than for actual use. 

( It; ma3 L be said that jinder Akb^^some^ol^th^ worst 
features 61 despotism ,were minimised.) It is the curse of 
despotism that the claims of men of merit are 
alwa y s ignored or neglected. But the guiding 
maxim of Akbar's government like that of 
Napoleon Bonaparte in France was 'career openjto- 
Able men from distant countries of Asia ttune 
"F. 29 


to India in search of employment, and found shelter at his 

court.C AlXthosewho were entitled to be called great or 
noble in the courftry^^^ 

Therewas no rank or dignity outside the pale of the im- 
perial service. Appointment to every post rested with the 
emperor. His will was law. He could elevate^ a.jna-4o 
.ppsitjprL straigfolway ^without jrafoTfTilg ^him 
lower ranks or degrade a man from the' 
highest office as he did in the case of Shaikh A&dunhabi. 3Br 
to qualifications there was no* hard and fast rule. There 
was no specialisation in the various branches of the ad- 
ministration, and the modern device of testing a candidate's 
fitness for public service by competitive examinations 
was altogether unknown.\The emperors judgment .was 
foe jaole jgRidgjr Aliens were admitted in the service, and 
in Akbar's ti(pe their number considerably increased. QNear- 
Iy_SKenty per cent of the officers were foreignersNdescend- 
ants of families, that had come to India with Humayun or 
afterwards, and only thirty per cent of them were Indians 
proper. There was no ban on the Hindus. Many of them 
entered the Imperial service, and the feverrue department 
was largely manned by them. (The higher posts were open 
only to the Rajputs^ the only exceptions being Todarmal, 
Birbal and their sons. Officers were not confined to duties 
of one kind only. They were transferred by the emperor 
to perform duties which were diametrically opposite to the 
duties of the office which they actually held. JRaja Birbal, 
a court wit, was sent by the emperor to command an ex- 
pedition agamst the Yusufzais with fatal results. Abul 
Fazl who was a literary man par excellence was sent to 
the Deccan against Bahadur of Khandesh, and Raja Todgtr- 
Was deputed to deal with the insurgents in Bengal and 



Bihar. Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan won his early spurs 
in Gujarat as a warrior, (jt segjatf^all offices were inter- 
changeable^* There were no rules of promotion or pension. 
Everything depended upon the emperor's sweet will. ^Once 
a man joined the service, he was sure of a rise and was 
rapidly promoted from grade to grade, sometimes at once 
from the lowest to the highest .\The highest ambition of 
every aspiring youth, Hindu oymuslim, was to Jget an 
opportunity of serving the state, because it meanThonqur^ 
prestige, and higR" emoluments, and tp men pf talent like 
ES'faTodarmal it afforded ample scope for the exercise gf^ 
their special genius. But there was one serious disability 
under which all officers of the state laboured. They could 
eat, drink and be merry and amass large fortunes 
during their lifetime, but they jsould nj>t Jransmit their 
accumulated hoards to their children after death. Almost 
inevitably, the son of ^a noble had .to begin life anew, for 
the property of^ his parent lapsed to the &feate, hy_the 
law of escheat Under such circumstances ' 

grandees^ lived luxurious and wasteful lives, and lavishly 
Bgen^mon^^in.gwmg^b/ibes to secure the emperor's, 
favourT As Mr. Moreland rightly observes money 
saved was money lost unless it could be concealed 
from the knowledge of the world. Corruption was 
rife, and other^ qualities than honesty .were needed /to 
ensure advancement in life. These were readineg/ of 
speech, capacity for ingratiating one's selL wftj{ the 
clique or coterie that was in power at court. AH these 
circumstancesjireyented the rise of an^ independent Jiere^ 
ditary ari^crac^j^hich ^erves JLS a, check^pn^autocracy. 
Tfie hope^that the law ~ of escheat would finally lead to 
-the survival of the fittest proved chimerical, and the 



mighty Muslim nobility, L depriyed of its patrimony, became 
selfish, unscrupuTous M^jnediocre. 

sense^ before .AkbaxJ ^tlncter Sher Shah the whole country 

was divided into Sarkars and Parganas with 

Provinc i a i their own officers of which an account 

A d m i nistra- , , . . , TTT., i 

tion. has been given in a previous chapter. With 

Humayun's restoration a fresh arrangement 
became necessary. He parcelled out the whole country 
among his generals, but the system did not work well in< 
practice and the fief holders increased their lands and made 
attempts to shake off the imperial yoke./Akbar abolished the 
systemof jagirs and divided the whole empire into twelve 
SubaHsTjLater when Ahmadnagar was conquered, three more 
Subahs -'were added thus raising the total to fifteen. /The 
Subah was a replica of the empire in every respect, aiuTthe 
^baTbdffwEo was officially styled as the Sipahsalar enjoyed 
unlimited powers, while he remained in office 

provinces, away from the capital, he behaved for all practical 
purposes like a miniature king./JThe Subahs were, further 
divided into sarkars and parganas, but the former seem to 
have been fiscal andj^ jidmjr^st^ The officers 

of the earkar are not mentioned in the Ain, and from the 
manner in which Abul Fazl speaks of the Sarkar we may 
reasonably conclude that it was an aggregation of pargana* 
having similar customs and usages for revenue purposes/T 
SipafaQl&r was the head of the Provincial 

1 The Subahs comprised in the empire were 

1- Agra 2. I la bas or Allahabad 3, Oudh 

j. Velbi 5. Lahore 6. Multan 7. Kabul 

o. Ajmer 9. Bengal 10 Bihar 

IL. Ah mad ab ad 12. Malwa 13 Berar 

14. Khandesh 16. Ahraadnagar 

The last three were added after the Deccan conquest. 


and had^Jbpth civil and military.. Juoisdictipn^ 
usually a favourite of the emperor who. had risenj 

by reason of his meritorious services to t&$ tate*^,Age did 
not matter, for Aziz Koka and Abdur Rahim were elevated 
to gubernatorial positions while they were quite young. 
The Sipahatilftr was the emperor's representative in the Su- 
bah, and the Persian writers described his position by employ- 
ing a significant metaphor. They said that just as the moon 
derives its light from the sun so did the provincial governor 
derive his authority from the emperor. Heh^ld.hiajowiLCOurt, 
but he could not sit in the jarokha or .declare war or peace 
withoutjthe Qmpjeror'^.pujrmiSjSion. Hgjyas the head of the 
Judicial and military . departments. He heard appeals from 

V ^~- ~ " " {7 

the decisions of theQazis and Miradls. \ As the highest mili- 
tary officer jiy;hejgro^ 

forces^ and was responsible ior their maintena^ce v and proper 
equipment. He could appoint and dismiss all his st^ except 
the officers Tri ' the higher gradjes/lSle was not aHowgdJo 
interfere jnj^i&i^ any religious 

question requiring settlement, it w^jreferrjed^tojbhe Sadr 
or other officers. Though head of the judiciary ^ 

inflict capital ^i^i^r^jjyj^pjgt^ sanction. 

He~TTeptTa large number of spies 

with information of all kinds about the people within his 


_ Below him were (1) the Diwan, (2) the Sadr, (3) the 

Amil or revenue collector, (4) the Bitikchi, (5) the Potdar or 

Khizandar, (6) the Faujdar, (7) the Kotwal, (8) the Waqa- 

i-naufl*, and (9) other officers of the revenue department 

like the qanungo and the patwari. 

(1) Diwan. Next in importance is the Diwan who 
was the rival of the SipahscLl&r. Formerly the provincial 


Diwans were selected by the governor himself, but in 1579* 
when the crown lands had greatly increased, the appoint- 
ments were made by the central government. The Diwan'& 
duty was to watch the conduct of the SipahsalUr and to 
co-operate with him in running the administration. He 
possessed the power of the purse, and all bills of payment 
were signed by him. He tried all revenue cases except 
those in which his department was concerned. Where 
there was a difference of opinion between the Subahdar 
and the Diwan. the matter was referred to the central 
government. The Diwan acted as a check on the governor 
and prevented the latter from becoming too powerful. 

(2) Sadr. The provincial Sadr was appointed by the 
central government and his chief duty was to govern the 
Sayurghals. He was more independent than the Diwan 
in his relations with the Sipahsalnr and had a separate 
office of his own. As the Sadr was generally a man of piety 
and learning, and could grant lands and allowances on his 
own initiative, he was held in great esteem by the people. 
The Qazis and Miradls were under him 

(3) The "Amil or the revenue collector. Probably the 
description of the collector in the Ain represents an ideal 
state of things, but his functions are clearly indicated. 
The ~Amil had multifarious duties to discharge. He was 
asked to deal with the refractory severely, without the least 
apprehension of the land remaining uncultivated. He was 
to ascertain the quality of the land actually under culti- 
vation and to reclaim the waste lands. He was also to as- 
sist in the maintenance of the general peace by punishing 
highway robbery and other like crimes, and was to show 
consideration to peaceful and law-abiding citizens. He was 
to take security from land surveyors, assessors, and other 


officers and was to see that in measuring the land not a 
bigha was concealed or overlooked. The revenue was to 
be collected in an amicable manner, and the treasurer was 
not to demand an extra coin from the husbandmen. The 
'Amil was to examine the registers maintained by the 
Karkun, the muqaddam and the patwari and to report, if 
any untoward event affecting cultivation happened in his 
jurisdiction. He was to submit monthly statements regard- 
ing the condition of the people, the jagirdars, the residents 
of the neighbourhood, the market prices, the current rates 
of tenements, etc. He was required to tour in the country 
and warned not to make his visits an occasion for exacting 
money or receiving presents from the peasantry. 

(4) The Bitikchi. He was of the same status as the 
"&mil and served as a check on him. He supervised the 
work of the Qanungos and was required to be a good 
writer and a skilful accountant. He was expected to be 
fully acquainted with the customs and regulations of the 
district in his charge and was to keep a record of all engage- 
ments entered into by the peasant with the government. 
It was also his duty to prepare detailed statements of 
arable and waste land and of income and expenditure. He 
made revenue abstracts every season and submitted an 
annual report to the court. 

(5) The Potdar or Khizandar.He was to receive 
money from the cultivators and to keep the treasure of 
the state securely locked. He issued receipts for every 
payment and kept a ledger to avoid mistakes in accounts. 
He was ordered not to make any payment without a 
voucher signed by the Diwan. 

(6) The Faujdar.-As a subordinate and assistant, 
writes Abul Fazl, the Faujdar holds the first place. 


He was the commander of the provincial forces and assist- 
ed the Subahdar in maintaining peace and discharging his 
executive functions. There were several Faujdars in a 
province, who held charge of a number of parganas. 
When the found difficulty in realising the state reve- 
nue from a defaulting or refractory village, the Faujdar 
was to furnish military aid but only on a written re- 
quisition. His appointment or dismissal rested with the 
Subahdar whom he was to assist in every way The 
Faujdar's duties were of a military character and as Prof. 
J. N. Sarkar writes, "he was the only commander of a 
military force stationed in the country to put down smaller 
rebellions, disperse or arrest robber gangs, take cogniz- 
ance of all violent crimes, and make demonstrations of 
force to overawe opposition to the revenue authorities or 
the criminal judge or the censor. 1 ' 

(7) The Kotwal. The KotwaVs duties are described 
at length in the Ain. He was essentially a police officer 
of the towns, but also exercised magisterial authority in 
certain cases. He was responsible for the maintenance of 
law and order in cities, and had several assistants under 
him to secure this end. His important functions have 
already been mentioned in discussing the central government. 

(8) The Waqa-i-Na/wis or recorder of occurrences. 
These were officers through whom the central govern- 
ment kept itself in touch with provincial administration. 
When the provincial viceroy held his court, this officer 
recorded the occurrences on the spot, and forwarded his 
letters to the imperial government. It was through these 
officers that the emperor kept himself informed of every- 
thing that occurred in the provinces. They continued 
throughout the Mughal period and acquired much 


importance under Aurangzeb. who booked upon them as 
his eyes and ears. The following advice given to a newly 
-appointed Waqa-i-Nawia will show what his duties 
were : 

Report the truth, lest the emperor should learn 

the facts from another source and punish you. Your 

work is delicate ; both sides have to be served. Deep 

sagacity and consideration should be employed so that 

both the Shaikh and the book may remain in their proper 

places. In the words of most of the high officers, forbidden 

things are done. If you report them truly, the officers 

will be disgraced. If you do not, you yourself will be 

undone. Therefore, you should tell the Lord of the Ward 

'In your ward forbidden things are taking place, stop 

them/ If he gives a rude reply, you should threaten 

the Kotwal of the ward by pointing out the misdeed. 

The lord of the ward will then know of it. Although 

the evil has not yet been removed from the ward, yet, 

if any one reports the matter to the Emperor, you can 

easily defend yourself by saying that you have informed 

the master of the ward and instructed the Kotwal. In 

every matter write the truth, but avoid offending the 

nobles. Write after carefully verifying your statement/' 

Besides these there were many other officers who 

* carried on the work of administration in the provinces. 

These were the KZrkuns, the Qanungos and the Patwaris 

who were all revenue officers. The Qanungo was a Par- 

.gana officer acquainted with all rural customs and rights of 

the peasantry. His pay ranged between 20 and 25 rupees. 

The parganas were divided into villages, and each village 

*had a muqaddam (headman) and a patwari who kept 

records of revenue. The muqaddam is an old officer 


well-known in Indian history. His function was to keep* 
order in the village and to help in the collection of the state 

The courts of justice were pretty much the same as 
at the capital. The Qazi assisted by the Mufti and the- 
Miradl administered justice to the people. 
titn^f Justlct ( The Subahdar was the highest court of appeal 
Mn the province. When there was a differ- 
ence of opinion between the judicial officers, the decision of 
the central government was final.) The Kotwal was to 
bring the offenders to the court, and trials were to be held 
promptly/ No culprit could be detained in prison for 
more than one night without a trial.f Appeals could be made 
to the emperor in important cases, but their number cannot 
have been very large. * 

fThe administration was a carefully devised system of 
checks and counterchecks, but most of these were in prac- 
tice illusory.) The long distances, the absence 
* means f communication, and the stress of 
war made it impossible for the emperor to 
exercise vigilant control over the provincial satraps. (They' 
acted on their own responsibility, and though theirvpower 
was limited in theory, they enjoyed ample discretion} Bri- 
bery was common, and offence's gilded hand not infre- 
quently succeeded in stifling justice even in cases where 
prompt redress was necessary. { 

The first Muslim ruler, who made a systematic /larfd 
was Sher Shahfyvho laid down the main principles^ 
jvjjfefr werg followed in the time of_Akbar. 
Revenue ^8y8- fhe state demand was fixed at one-thin}/ and* 
Akbar. regulations were devised for the collection of 

the revenue, of which an account has already 


been given* But Sher Shah's regime was too short-lived 1 
to put the whole system in working order. Much of the 
excellent work that had been done by him was upset during 
the anarchy that followed after his death, and the laws 
which he had made fell into disuse. (When Humayun was 
restored to the throne, the empire was divided into twa 
parts - the Khalsa or crown land and Jagir landA A large 
portion of the empire was cut up in jagirs held by his. 
nobles and amirs who paid a stipulated amount to their 
patron and emperor. The Khalsa land seems to have 
followed the time-honoured practice of crop division. 

difficulty was felt because the empire was rather small, 
and its problems were of a simple nature. ,; 

Akbar's accession to the throne marked a new era 
in the history of administrative reform. Like everything 

else the revenue department also felt the 
^ffort^' 8 earl7 master's touch. When Khwaja Abdul Majid 

Khan became Diwan, the total revenue was 
taken after estimate, and the assignments were increased 
as the caprice of the moment suggested. An attempt was 
made to fix roughly the revenue of the various aarkars, 
and to ascertain the prices of food-stuffs, but no appreciable 
success was achieved. (More definite steps were taken to 
settle the revenue, (when Muzaffar Turbati became Diwan 
in the 15th year of the reign. With the help of Todarmal 
he tried to organise the whole systemJ^Ten Qanungos 
were appointed to collect the data relating to the revenue 
matters and were asked to find out the exact nature of the 
land tenure^) The assessment was to be made on the basis 
of the estimates furnished by the provincial Qanungos, 
which were revised and checked by the ten Qanungos, 
at the imperial headquarters. These labours produced no- 


important results, because the whole scheme was interrupted 
by the Uzbeg rebellion. ^When Gujarat was conquered in 
1573, Todarmal was sent to bring about a peaceful settle- 
ment of the country.^ He carried out for the first time a 
regular survey of land, and the assessment was made after 
taking into consideration the area and quality of land. 
In 1575 the whole empire was brought under the exchequer 
with the exception of Bengal and Bihar, and the Jagirs were 
abolished. (The whole area included in the empire at that 
time was divided into 182 parganas, each of which yielded 
a crore a year as revenue. The officers placed in charge of 
these parganas were called Crories^ They seem to have 
been greedy and corrupt officers, and were severely punished, 
for their malversation by Todarmaly It appears that after 
some time their office was abolishedjor held in abeyance, for 
there is no mention of them in theZin. Abul Fazl is silent 
about them either because they had ceased to exist at the 
time when he wrote his work, or because they were corrupt 
officers, and therefore deserving of contemptuous omission. 
'But they are again mentioned in the time of Jahangiii which 
shows that they continued to serve in the revenue depart- 

(The revenue system was thoroughly reorganised, when 
Todarmal was appointed to the office of DiwQn-i-Ashraf 
in the year 1582. ^The increased size of 
Todarmai's the empire made some reform inevitable^ 

Reforms. The . , , . , , , . 

3abti system. Hitherto the practice had been to fix the 
assessment every year on the basis of yield 
and prices which made the demand variable from year to 
year. The collectors could not proceed with their work 
until the officers at the headquarters had fixed the rates to 
be demanded from the ryot. To obviate the difficulty and 


inconvenience caused by the yearly assessment, Todarma! 

laid down the following principles which Abul FazJ 
describes in these words : 

"When through the prudent management of the 
Sovereign the empire was enlarged in extent, it became 
difficult to ascertain each year the prices current and 
much inconvenience was caused by the delay. On the 
one hand, husbandmen complained of excessive exac- 
tions, and on the other hand, the holder of assigned 
lands was aggrieved on account of the revenue balances. 

His Majesty devised a remedy for these evils and 

in the discernment of his world-adorning mind fixed a 

settlement for ten years ; the people were thus made 

contented and their gratitude was abundantly manifested. 

From the beginning of the 15th year of the Divine 

Era (1570-71 A.D.) to the 24th (1579-80 A.D.), an 

aggregate of the rates of collection was formed and 

a tenth of the total was fixed as the annual assessment ; 

but from the 20th (1575-76) to the 24th, an aggregate 

of the rates of collection was formed, and a tenth of 

the total was fixed as the annual assessment ; but from 

the 20th to the 24th year the collections were accurately 

determined and the five former ones accepted on the 

authority of persons of probity. The best crops were 

taken into account in each year, and the year of the 

most abundant harvest accepted, as the table shows." 1 

To obviate the difficulty and inconvenience caused by 

the yearly assessment His Majesty ordered ' the ten-year 

assessment ' and not as Jarrett translates (Ain II, p. 88> 

the decennial settlement. There was no decennial settlement 

1 Ain II, p. 88, Ain, 16. 


as is generally supposed. What Todarmal did was to fix the 
assessment by averaging the assessments for ten years, i.e., 
from the 15th to the 24th year (157189) of the reign. 

The survey (Paimaiah) of the entire land under culti- 
vation was carefully done. Formerly hempen ropes were 
used which were liable to contract or lengthen, when the 
atmosphere was heated or moist. Todarmal used a Jarib 
of bamboos joined together by iron rings. ^Land was divid- 
ed into four classes) 

(1) Polaj which was annually cultivated for each 

crop in succession and was never allowed 
to be fallow. This was land under con- 
tinuous cultivation and yielded revenue 
from year to year. 

(2) Parauti which was occasionally left fallow in 

order to recover its strength. 

(3) Chachar which remained fallow for three or 

four years. 

(4) Ban jar which remained uncultivated for five 

years or more. 

The first two classes of land, namely, the Polaj and 
Parauti were divided into three grades good, middling and 
bad according to their yield. The average of the three was 
to be the estimated produce which was to be taken as the 
basis of the assessment. It will be clear by an illustration. 

Here is land Class (I) producing wheat : 
good : 20 mds. per bigha 
middling : 15 mds. per bigha 
bad : 10 mds. 24 srs. per bigha 
Total : 45 mds. 24 srs. One-third of this is 15 mds. 
8 srs. which was the estimated average produce 


, (mahaul) and of this one-third i.e., 5 mds. 2i srs. 

was to be fixed as the state demand. 

The other two classes of land were dealt with different- 
ly. As they were not on a par with the first two classes 
in point of quality or produce, their revenue was to be in- 
creased by progressive stages. 

Having ascertained the average produce, it was neces- 
sary to fix the state demand in cash or as we might say to fix 
the cash rates. It will be remembered that the old practice 
was to commute the produce into cash-rates according to 
the prices current at the time, but this was very trouble- 
some as the periodical ascertainment of cash-rates entailed 
much unnecessary expenditure and caused a lot of delay in 
collections, \odarmal's solution of this difficulty was to 
fix^ cash-rates on the average of ten years' actualg) Abul 
Fazl tells us in the Ain, how it was done. He says : 

' ' From the beginning of the 15tb year of the 
Divine Era to the 24th an aggregate of collection was 
formed and a tenth of the total was fixed as the 
annual assessment ; but from the 20th to the 24th year 
the collections were actually determined and the five 
former ones were accepted on the authority of persons 
of probity. 01 

(The share of the statef was unalterably fixed at one-third) 
It was no longer liable to fluctuation year after year. The 
farmer was given the option of paying (in cash or kind.^ 
The cash-rates were fixed by state officers, and they were 
different for different crops. The rates for sugarcane 
and indigo, for example, were different from the rates 
for wheat and barley. 

1 AinII,p.88. 


The process may be summed up thus : 
When the season arrived, a staff of officers toured in the 
villages to ascertain the exact area of land under cul- 
tivation with a view to prepare the crop-statement. 
The area of each crop in each holding having been found 
out, the Bitikchi applied the prescribed rates and cal- 
culated the revenue due from the cultivator. I/" 

\This was called the Zabti system of assessment.Jy It 

prevailed in the Subahs of Bihar, Allahabad, Multan, Oudh*. 

Agra, Malwa, Delhi, Lahore^ and in certain 

Various sys- par t s O f Ajmer and Gujarat. \ The essence of 

terns of reve- , V \ 

nue. it was^that each plot oX land was to be 

\ ~""\ 

Charged with a fixed assessment in cash) 

which was determined according to the nature of the crop. 
Besides, (there were other systems of assessment prevalent 
in the empire]) These were the Ghallabakhsha and Nasaq 
and certain others of which we find mention in the 
contemporary records. \The Ghallabakhsha was the old 
Indian system of assessment by crop division) and it 
prevailed in Thatta and parts of the Subahs of K!abul and 
Kashmir. \The Nasaq was a ryotwari rather than a 
Zamindari arrangementN In this system there- was no 
intermediary between tfie ryot and the state.\ None of 
these had the same elaborate organisation as the Zabti 
system which prevailed in the greater part of the 

1 The Zabti system prevailed very largely in Bihar, Allahabad, 
Oudht Agra, Malwa, Ajmer, Delhi, Lahore, Multan and parti of 

The reader will bear in mind that there was no uniform system 
of land revenue in the empire. But the administrative ideal is to be 
found in the Zabti system. 


^Farming was not allowed^ The government dealt 
directly with the agriculturists. The "Amil or the revenue 
Officers of c N e ctx>r was assisted by the Bitikchi, the 
Revenue De- Potdar, the Qanungo, the Patwari and the 
partment. Muqaddams, whose duties have been describ- 

ed before. The instructions issued to these officers reveal 
the emperor's solicitude for the well-being of the 
peasantry. Much of what Abul Fazl says may be an ideal, 
but there is no doubt that the peasant was looked upon 
as an object of tender care and sympathy A^In times of 
drought advances were made to the cultivators and 
public works were constructed to afford relief 
to the poor.^ Remissions were also made and there 
is a Sikh tradition that Akbar once remitted the revenue 
of the Punjab at the instance of Guru Arjuna. (The collec- 
tor was ordered to collect the revenue in an amicable 
manner, and ' not to extend the hand of demand out of 
season.'^) The peasant could pay his rent into the treasury 
himself, and the treasurer was not to demand a single extra 
coin. The Patwari was to give a detailed receipt stating 
the amount of rent and the area of land cultivated and 
the name of the village to which the cultivator belonged. 

Reviewing the revenue administration of Akbar 
. Dr. Vincent Smith writes : " In short, the system was an 

admirable one.} The principles were sound, 
re " and the Practical instructions to officials all 

that could be desired. But a person wha 
has been in close touch, as the author has been, with the 
revenue administration from top to bottom, cannot help- 
feeling considerable scepticism concerning the conformity, 
of practice.with precept. " l Now this is a mere surmise^ 

1 Akbar, pp. 866-67 
F. 80 


There are no specific instances cited by Dr. Smith to prove 
that the revenue administration worked to the detriment 
of the ryot, and in his anxiety to prove that Akbar's 
administration was in no way better or more beneficent 
than the Anglo-Indian administration of which he was such 
a brilliant member, he draws the inference that the 
benevolent intentions of the autocrat were commonly de- 
feated by his governors in the provinces. Dr. Smith 
may be excused this natural and perhaps legitimate vanity. 
But there is nothing to support the statement of Anglo- 
Indian historians that Todarmal's system was devised to 
prevent the state from being defrauded rather than to 
protect the interests of the ryot. The pages of the Ain 
are replete with information regarding the details of the 
revenue system, and it appears that on the whole it worked 
well, and took sufficient care of the interests of the people. 
An ounce of fact is worth a ton of theory. Born and bred 
among the peasantry of the United Provinces where 
Dr. Vincent Smith spent the best part of his life, the present 
Writer can affirm from his own experience that the con- 
dition, of the peasantry has considerably deteriorated 
during the last 40 years. There must have been abuses in 
Akbar's day as they are now, and(those who have any 
experience of village life must have seen people beaten and 
kicked by the underlings of the revenue department even 
in these days when the Taqavi loans are realisey-and that 
is one of the few occasions when the government officials 
come in direct contact with the bulk of the agricultural 
population and redress becomes impossible even in just cases 
owing to the cumbrous legal procedure that we have to 
follow and the indifference of the highest officials, whose 
trust in the man on the spot is simply pathetic. /The 


necessaries of life were cheap); and the Indian peasant 
lived under much better conditions, and enjoyed greater 
happiness than is possible to him under a ' low assessment 
and a well-organised administration/ The productivity 
of the soil was much greater than it is now. Social needs 
were simple, there was no false dignity to maintain, and 
what is now spent in upholding social prestige and in 
purchasing foreign articles of fashion was utilised in procur- 
ing things that helped to make life healthy and vigorous. 
Even the labourers lived in a state of comfort, and Mr. 
Moreland admits that towards the close of the 16th century 
a rupee purchased in the vicinity of the capital at least 
seven times as much grain as could be bought in Upper 
India in the years 191012. Things have grown worse 
since Mr. Moreland wrote. There was no dearth of 
grazing fields, and milk and ghee were obtainable cheaply 
and in plenty. The result of this is to be seen in the poor 
physique of our people and their utter inability to resist 
disease. Akfcar's system conferred a great boon on the 
peasantry. A^The state demand was fixed, and every peasant 
knew what he had to pay^ Adequate safeguards were 
provided, so far as human skill and statesmanship can go, 
to prevenL fraud and corruption on the part of officers of 
the state. VThe highest officials of the crown were honest, 
and the Argus-eyed Todarmal watched every detail 
of the management with a meticulous care/^Exactions and 
extortions, when brought to light were severely punished 
and offenders did not escape scot-free, as they often do now 
by engaging the services of clever counsels. The emperor's 
wishes may not have been wholly fulfilled, and there may 
have been abuse of power in the remoter provinces, but 
there is no evidence to warrant the conclusion that the 


assessment weighed heavily on the peasantry, and that 
the revenue officers habitually disregarded the instructions 
issued to them. 

QWhen Akbar ascended the throne, the condition of the 
army was far from satisfactory.^ The empire was divided 
into Jagirs, and the Amirs who held them 
were re Q u * re d to keep a certain number of 
horsemen, and were bound to serve the 
empire in time of need. The soldiers whom those fief- 
holders kept, were mostly inefficient men, absolutely 
unfit for active service. The state was constantly defraud- 
ed by its own officers. Whenever there was a muster, 
these men gathered together, as Badaoni says, lots of low 
tradesmen, weavers, cotton-cleaners, carpenters and green- 
grocers, both Hindu and Muslim, for review, and then they 
disappeared. They lacked discipline and equipment, and 
were at best a disorganised rabble. v^Akbar's attention was 
early drawn to the imperative necessity of military reform." 
In 1571 when Shahbaz Khan was appointed to the office 
of Mir Bakhshi, the emperor drew up a scheme of reform. 
The entire military organisation was based upon the 
Mansabdari system. Now, there is a great divergence 
of opinion regarding the actual working of this system, and 
all that can be done here is to state its broad features, 
What did the Mansab mean ? (jThe word Mansab means 
rank, dignity or office.^) Irvine who has made a close study 
of the military system of the Mughals writes, that its 
object was to settle precedence and fix gradation of pay. 
It only implied that the holder of a Mansab was in the 
service of the state, and was bound to render service 
military or otherwise, when he was called upon to do so. 
Abul Fazl states in the Ain that there were 66 grades of 


Mansabdars in all, but it does not appear that there were 
more than 33 grades in actual existence.-fejhe lowest 
Mansab was that of 20 men rising to 5,000, though towards 
the close of the reign there were created Mansabs of 7,000 
for officers highly honoured by the state. ^JThere was a 
special Mansabdari grade of 10,000, which was exclusively 
reserved for the scions of the royal family.^ The 7,000 
-grade was also reserved at first for royal princes', although 
an exception was made in the case of certain officers like 
Mansingh, Todarmal and Qulich Khan.N The appointment, 
promotion, suspension, and dismissal 01 Mansabdars rested 
entirely with the emperor. No portion of a Mansabdar's 
dignity was hereditary. ijHis children, as was the custom, 
had to begin life anew after their father's deathp A 
Mansabdar did not always begin at the lowest grade. If 
he happened to be a favourite of the emperor or a man 
whom the emperor was delighted to honour, he could be 
appointed to any rank open to him, which means that a 
man could get the highest Mansab without passing 
through the various grades by long and faithful service. 
Then the Mansab was not granted merely to military 
officers. As has been observed before, no such distinction 
was made between the military and civil departments. 
Officers both civil and military held Mansabs J and were 
frequently transferred from one branch of the admi^ist ra- 
tion to the other.^feach Mansabdar was expected to 
maintain a certain number of horses, elephants, beasts 
of burden, and carts according to his rank and dignity^) 
but whether the Mansabdars actually maintained the 
number indicated by their rank is a moot point. It 
appears that originally the emperor strictly enforced 
Jiis regulations, but later relaxed them to some extent, 


and the Manaabdars kept much less than their fixed 
quota. ] 

There is a difficulty in connection with the Mansabdari 

system which has baffled the ingenuity of scholars. It is 

the distinction between the Zat and Sawar 

Distinction ranks.} Attempts have been made to define 

of Zat and .,, "^ ^ , 

Sawar. with accuracy the two ranks, but it is im- 

possible in the state of our present knowledge 
to express final views in regard to them. \The Zat was the 
personal rank of Mansabdar, but to this was added a 
number of extra horsemen for which an officer was allowed 
to draw extra allowance, and this was called his Sawar 
rank^ A Mansabdar's rank according to this arrangement 
might be 2,000 Zat and 2,000 Sawar. On the basis of this 
distinction the officers excepting those who held mansabs of 
5,000 were placed in three classes, and the scale of Zat pay 
was reduced proportionately. A mansabdar belonged to 
the first class, if his rank in Zat and Sawar were equal, ta 
the second class, if his Sawar was half his Zat rank, and 
to the third class, if his Sawar were less than half the Zat, 
or there were no Sawar at all. Blochmann's view that 
Zat indicated the number of soldiers a mansabdar was 
expected to keep, and Sawar indicated the number actually 
maintained by him does not seem to be correct. The reason 
for this is that the Sawar rank was introduced by Akbar 
later in his reign some time about 1603-4 at the time of the 
Deccan war and the rebellion of Salim. The word occurs 

1 Irvine says that in spite of musterings and brandings we may 
safely assume that very few mansabdars kept up at full strength even 
the quota of horsemen fpr which they received pay. The same writer 
goes on to add that Lutfullah Khan who held the rank of 7000 never 
entertained even seven asses much less horses or riders on horses. 
The Army of the Indian Moghuls, p. 69. 

Ibid., p. 6. 



in the Ain, but it should be borne in mind that the Ain 
is not a chronological summary of Akbar's administrative 
measures. It seems probable that the Deccan campaigns 
drove home to the emperor the necessity of keeping the 
army satisfied, and therefore he devised this method of 
increasing their emoluments by granting an extra allow- 
ance. (The Sawar rank was an additional distinction, 
and there seems little doubt, that some allowance, which 
cannot be exactly determined, was paid to the officer 

Besides the Mansabdars^ihere were certain other sol* 
diers called the Dftkhilis and Ahadis.^fhe Dskhills are 

defined in the Ain as a fixed number of 
and e Ahad! 18 tro P s handed over to the Mansabdars, but 

paid by the state. 1 The A hadls , formed a 
class by themselves^ They were gentlemen troopers, re- 
cruited by the emperor himself to serve as his bodyguards. 
The Ain describes them as follows : 

"There are many brave and worthy persons whom 
His Majesty does not appoftifto a Mansab, but whom 
he frees from being under the orders of any one. Such 
persons belong to the immediate servants of His 
Majesty and are dignified by their independence/* * 
There was a separate office (DlwWri) and a paymaster 
(Bakhehl) for the Ahadis, and one of the distinguished 
nobles of the court was appointed as their chief. They 
were all horsemen, and the branding and muster regula- 
tions applied to them, as they did to the Mansabdars. The 

1 Ain I, p. 254. 
* Ibid., pp. 249-60. 

The word Ahadi literally means sinffe of*pJGbe. and it 1*J4?C Cjear 
why the term was applied to these soldiffstf* T 


process of admission to the rank of Ahadis was rather ela- 
borate and is set forth in the Zm in great detail. UThe 
Ahadis were better paid than common soldiers, and some- 
times they drew as much as Rs. 500 per month, j 

Qlhe usual mode of paying the officers before Akbar was 
by grant of lander assignment of the government revenue 
from land, (jhe state and the officers both 
g ? ay and Ja ~ liked the system)-the former because it escap- 
ed from the worry and bother of collecting 
its taxes in distant and intractable provinces, and the latter 
because they were sure of their income and rid of their 
dependence upon the court. Sometimes a noble got a valu- 
able jagir by bribing the officials, who had influence with 
the emperor. Akbar did not approve of the Jagir system, 
because a Jagir very often amounted to a kind of imperium 
in imperio or a state within a state. The Jagirs were turn- 
ed into Crown (Khalsa) lands and, so far as possible,(Akbar 
paid his Mansabdars in cash and not by grantgjajf/fcgu^d. JJMj 
system worked well^nd the Empero>found t"hedirec1 
administration of land more profitable and less fraudulent 
The salaries of officers were counted in dams, forty of whict 
went to make a rupee, but it is wellnigh impossible to deter- 
mine the exact salary of a Mansabdar. 

\ The Mansabdari system was open to great abuse./) Th( 

officers felt no qualms of conscience in cheating a government 

which did so much for them. False mustei 

xvw u f was a common phenomenon. On the day fixed, 

the Mansab- , . __ ._. * ' 

dan System. vagabonds, tramps, idlers, riding on small 
ponies and dressed in the uniform of soldiers, 
were brought for review. These passed for efficient soldiers 
and allowance were drawn with an easy conscience. To 
check this evil practice, the Emperor introduced branding 



' $nd the system of descriptive rolls of men and horses* 
Branding was not a new thing, It was first introduced by 
Alauddin Khilji when he reorganised his army, and was 
-continue^ by Ghiyasuddin Tughluq. Sher Shah also 
revived W and found it highly useful. (Akbar created a 
.separate department of branding under its ownBakhshi 
with a darogha, and issued rules and regulations for 
the guidance of his officers^ Nobles holding the rank of 
5,000 or more were exempted from the operation of 
these rules, but, if required, even they had to comply 
with the demands of the branding department. A des- 
criptive roll (Chihrah) of the officer was prepared in 
which were entered his name, his father's name, his tribe 
or caste, his place of origin and details of his personal 
appearance. L-Elaborate descriptions of horses were also 
prepared/} and the minutest details were .recorded in order 
to minimise the chances of deception. 1 VThe emperor did 
his best to check corruption in his service, but the purity 
which he desired ever remained a far-off adorable dream, 
The officers often misconducted themselves, pnd even those 
"who were highly placed connived at the Wickedness of the 
lower ranks'; The strict enforcement of the state regula- 
tions was a highly odious task, and, as Dr. Vincent Smith 
pertinently observes, the Bengal revolt of 1580 was partly 
due to the Emperor's insistence on the resumption of Jagirs, 

1 Here is a specimen of the descriptive rolls. 

Qamar Ali, son of Mir Ali, son of Kabir Ali, wheat complexion, 
broad forehead, separated eye-brows, sheep's eyes, prominent nose, 
beard and moustache black, right ear lost from a sword cut, total height 
about 40 Shanah. 

Horse colour Kabud (iron-grey); Mark on left breast ; Mark on 
thigh on mounting side ; Laskar (?) on thigh on whip side ; Brand of 
four-pointed stamp. 

Irvine, p. 48. 


the preparation of descriptive rolls and the systematic brand- 
ing of horses. Official greed and rapacity neutralised all 

CThe Imperial Army was composed of : (IMInfantry, 
(2) artillery, (3) cavalry, and (4) the navy} From the prefa- 
tory remarks in the Ain (6, Book II) it appears- 

Branches of ^ a ^ muc h importance was not attached to- 

the Imperial . * 

Army. the infantry arm. It was largely composed 

of a multitude of men, assembled together 
without regard to rank or file a mere rabble inadequately 
equipped with arms supplied in times of need by petty Zam- 
indars or forest chieftains. The word was not used in the 
same sense, as it is done in our times. It had a wider connota- 
tion. It included foot-soldiers, transport-bearers, camp-fol- 
lowers, and others utterly ignorant of the art of fighting. The 
principal parts of the infantry arm were the Banduqchis or 
match-Iockmen under the supervision of a separate Bitikchi 
and Darogha arranged in grades and the Shamsherbftz, who- 
fought with their swords. Besides these there were : (l)the* 
darbans or porters who were employed to guard the palace; 

(2) the Khidmatiyas who guarded the environs of the palace ; 

(3) the Pahalwans or wrestlers ; and (4) the Kahars or palki- 

(^The composition of the infantry reveals its character. It 
included all kinds of men, who simply swelled the ranks with- 
out adding anything to military efficiency. The only effective 
part was the Shamsherbaz who fought with swords and 

\ The Artillery was called by the name of Topkh&ncL\ It 

Artillery was introduced in Northern India by Babar 

who made extensive use of it. Humayun had' 

a good park of artillery, and Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, a 


contemporary and a rival of the former, also employed 
ordnance in his wars against his enemies. (Guns were not 
only imported into the country, but were also cast in the 
southJ^But they were too heavy to be K>rne Jfc&Veniently from 
one place to another.*} Akbar, , who was himself a skilled 
mechanic,^made these guns gfe light as possible j Detach- 
able guns were manufactured, which could be broken inta 
parts so as to be easily portable. This greatly improved the 
mobilization of the artillery, and made its extensive use in 
battles and sieges possible. 

4/The Mughals were not themselves much advanced m 
artillery f) They depended upon the help of the Rumis, ^.e. 9 
Muhammadans from Constantinople or Farangis mostly sailor 
refugees from Surat or Portuguese half-castes. They distrust- 
ed the Europeans, and treated them with contempt possibly 
because they did not like their ' abhorrent ways.' { The chief 
artillery officer was the Mir Atastyor DaroghcL-i-TopkhanH, 
(Superintendent of Ordnance Department), {who was a Man- 
sabdar of 5, 000.) The Mir ~Atash was assisted by a Mushrif 
in the discharge of his duties. His duties are defined as 
follows : 

" The Mir Atash laid before the Emperor all de- 
mands made on his department ; all orders to it pass- 
ed through him. He checked the pay bills and in- 
spected the diaries of the Arsenal before sending them 
on to the Khan-i-Saman or Lord Steward. He saw to 
the postings of the artillery force and received reports 
as to losses and deficiencies. The agent at the head of 
the artillery pay office was nominated by him. The 
descriptive rolls of artillery recruits passed through his- 
hands ; all new appointments and promotions were made 
on his initiative. " 


(The cavalry was the most important branch of the 
imperial army,y The Mansabdari system was notWng but 

Cavalry *^ e or an isation of the cavalry arm.v Akbar 

paid special attention to it^and strained every 
nerve to raise it to the highest pitch of efficiency. The 
branding regulations were devised for this purpose, that is, to 
compel the mansabdars to keep the required number of horse- 
men and to maintain horses of good quality. The import- 
ance of the cavalry is shown by the fact that Abul Fazl 
devotes several Ains to the discussion of the cavalry organi- 
sation and equipment. Minute rules are laid down regard- 
ing admission, muster, review, and the like, of horses, and 
officers of the state were strictly enjoined to look after them. 
The emperor personally inspected the horses in the royal 
stables, and cashiered his officers, if he found their manage- 
ment unsatisfactory.) 

(The Mughals were not a naval power. They had little 

experience of the sea except for purposes of traded But 

Akbar's struggles with the Portuguese show 

that he fully perceived the importance of 

building up his naval strength. Dr. Vincent Smith, who puts 

implicit reliance on the Christian sources of information, 

underrates the emperor's naval resources. But we learn from 

the Ain that (there was an Admiralty, department, which 

controlled and managed a fleet of boats.) This department 

performed important duties : (1) the fitting of strong 

boats capable of carrying elephants ; (2) the appointment of 

experienced seamen having knowledge of the ebb and flow 

of the ocean ; (3) supervision of the rivers ; and (4) the re- 

mission of tolls so as to enable boatmen to earn proper 

wages. ' We read of boats fitted with light guns and other 

1 Ain I, p. 270. 


necessary equipments which were used in fighting. The 
main rivers of Northern India were navigable in those days, 
and much of the traffic was carried on by boats. (jTh^ 
emperor gave encouragement to the shipbuilding industry^ 
There were shipbuilding centres at Lahore, Allahabad and 
Kashmir, but the best sailors came from Malabar and 
Cambay. ^There were ships of all kinds, and sizes, manned 
by trained sailors, whose grades and ranks were regulated 
like those of the other officers.} 

^Akbar maintained also all elephant corps. He was 
very fond of elephants and made much use of them in 

his battlesj The elephants used by him 
p h a n t personally were called Khasah (special) ; the 

rest were arranged in groups of ten, twenty or 
thirty called halqahs (or circles). The Mansabdars were 
required to maintain a certain number of - ^lephants, and 
Abul JG^u^atates in the Ain that the empercfc^ ' put several 
halqnhs in charge of every grandee, and required him to 

look after them.^J(All elephants had names, and the practice 
is still common in India j 

What was the total strength of the army ? It is a diffi- 
cult question to answer, and opinion is sharply divided on it 
rAs Dr. Smith says, Akbar did not keep a 
tbf A? f Iar ^ e standing army like the Mauryan kings 
of old, /and his forces consisted of three 
elements : 

(1) The retainers of the Mansabdars including the 

Dakhili and the Kumuki or auxiliary forces. 

(2) Ahadls or gentlemen troopers, mostly those who 

failed to secure a mansab. 

(3) The levies furnished by Rajput chiefs. These ren- 
dered active service in time of war, and Akbar was 


sure of their loyal support, because he always 
meted out to them a generous treatment. - 
Blochmann estimates the strength of the regular army 
paid directly from the royal treasury at 25,000, but this 
figure seems to be far short of the reality. Dr. Horn 
tried to calculate the strength of Akbar's army on the 
basis of the Zat list in the Ain, and reached the con- 
clusion that it contained 384,758 cavalry, and 3,877,557 
infantry, but these figures are rejected by Irvine. Accord- 
mg to Monserrate, who writes from personal observation, 
the imperial army which marched to Kabul against Mirza 
r Hakim, contained 45,000 cavalry, 5,000 elephants and 
tnany thousand infantry, paid directly from the royal 
treasury. ^ 

Von ^Noer, relying on the testimony of some Jesuit 
writer, estimates the strength of the cavalry at 40,000 
without specifying details. None of these writers helps us 
to determine with precision the actual numbers of the 
imperial army. (^ Dr. Vincent Smith's suggestion that in 
normal times Akbar did not incur the expense of keeping 
a force as large as that raised to defeat his brother's attack, 
does not seem to be warranted by facts) Then, the figures 
-are not abnormally high. (The Khiljis and Tu^nqs before 
him had maintained large armies!) Sher Shah* had done the 
same. (The military situation in Akbar's reign was serious 
enough, and the emperor was always engaged either in 
Duelling a revolt or in making a new conquest) How could 
he have done so without a large army ever ready for active 
service? Besides, Hawkins who held a mansab under 
Jahangir says that the army in his time numbered three to 
four lakhs. Such an abnormal rise in the figures would be 

1 Commentaries, pp. 88- 89. 


impossible, unless there were some extraordinary reasons 
for increasing the military strength of the empire. But 
we know that^ttie military problems of Jahangir's reign 
were far less serious than those of Akbar.^ It seems, there- 
fore, admissible on a modest computation that ijhe army 
inAkbar'sday was much larger~than 25,000 and that it 
could not have been less than three lakhs^ 

(j?he camp was a normal feature of Mughal military life. 
It was the result of the nomadic influences that had sur- 
rounded their ancestors in Central Asia. They 
amp ' (joved camp life^) and the Mughal camp 

became a moving city, where every comfort was provided, 
and the nobles vied with one another in displaying their 
wealth and splendour. The emperor was accompanied by 
his wives with their numerous female attendants, protected 
by a guard of fqin 1 hundred men commanded by able cap- 
tains. The carrip had several advantagesjlt brought the 
emperor into touch with his soldiers as well as his subjects, 
-and enabled him to acquire knowledge of the country at first 
hand. Encampment in open plains, away from the dirt and 
filth of cities, improved the health of the soldiers and in- 
creased their efficiency and vigour.C Everything was well 
looked after in Akbar's time.\ Discipline was strictly en- 
forced, and/the European travellers, who lived in Jahangir's 
i-eign, write that in the camp they felt as secure as in their 
homes^ But in later years the camp became unwieldy, and its 
leisurely movements made it a hindrance rather than a help 
to the emperor in time of war. (Women were allowed to 
accompany their husbandsjand Ufceir presence not only 
lowered the morale of the army, but also added to its anxiety, 
for the enemy could raid the camp and capture the womeiu 
The insidious poison of luxury undermined military vigour, and 


the ever-increasing fondness for the amenities of life inter* 
fered with the performance of duty. The evil became so 
serious in the time of Aurangzeb that his armies found it 
impossible to cope with the light Maratha horsemen and 
suffered irreparable ruin at their hands. 

We may sum up these observations by making a few 
general remarks about the Mughai army. Dr. Vincent 

Smith who describes Akbar's military organi- 
Re ~ sation as ' intrinsically weak ' expresses the 

view that his army could not have stood 
for a moment against the contemporary European troops. ' 
He does not mention specifically any trials of strength be- 
tween the Portuguese and the Mughal forces, although he 
overrates the military strength of the former. Such a sur- 
mise is unnecessary as well as irrelevant. We may ignore 
this usual device of proving the inferiority of orientals by a 
comparison with Europeans. The Portuguese were superior 
to the Mughals in naval equipment, but from this it would 
be unfair to generalise; about the efficiency of 
the army as a whole.^^n army which conquered 
Hindustan, a part of the Deccan and the Afghan regions, 
and which quelled formidable revolts in the most outlying 
provinces of the empire and overawed the Uzbegs and 
Persians, cannot have been so poor and incompetent as 
Dr. Smith supposes. Yet it was,not without defects. The 
loyalty of the soldier towards the emperor was not direct ; 
and he depended far too much upon the intermediate leader. 
The death of a general caused a panic in the army, and was! 
a signal for flight. (The success of the army was often 
hampered by dfvidea command. Two generals were en- 
trusted with the same expedition, and they often quarrelled 

1 Akbar, 3 pp. 68-67. 


between themselves) as happened during the campaign 
against the Yusiifzais. Then, there was(jjo common plan 
of action agreed to by the various sections of the army;) The 
Rajputs adhered "to their own manoeuvres, and at times 
greatly embarrassed their allies. /As years passed, the army 
became more and more cumbrous, and during the reigns of 
Shahjahan and Aurangzeb it became a huge, undisciplined 
rabble, incapable of^swjft actign o brilliant adventure/. 




All political intrigues having failed^ Jahangir ascended 
the throne o!4^xMher^^tetober 24, 1605) at Agra in the 
<^ v rhiclst^of "great rejoicings. He was at this 

f time 36 y ears of a g e and in the ful1 vi ur of 
manhood. yjlis liberal education, hip natural 

shrewdness, and his strong commonsense well qualified 
him to carry on the statesmanlike policy of his father 
Soon after his accession, he caused the famous chair 
of justice to be fastened between the Shahburj in 
the fort of Agra and a stone pillar fixed on the bant 
of the Jamna. ' His object in doing so was to 'enable 
aggrieved persons to lay their petitions before him 
and to obtain redress. The chain was doubtless prompt- 
ed by the emperor's high sense of justice, but it does not 
Beem to have been pulled frequently in practice by suppli- 
ants, who must have greatly dreaded the wrath of the auto- 
crat. This was accompanied by the celebrated twelve ordi- 
nances, which the emperor commanded to be observed as 
rules of conduct (da&tur-ul-amal) in his wide dominions/ 

1 Jahangir himself describes this chain. It was, says he, of pure 
gold, 80 gaz in length and contained 60 bells. It weighed 4 Indian 
maunds equal to 42 Iraqi maunds. R.B., I, p. 7. 

* Memoirs, I, pp. 710. 

Sir Henry Elliot (VI, pp. 498515) has commented upon these ordi- 
nances at length, but his criticism is not correct in every respect. It is 
true, some of these regulations were mere pious wishes, but there is no 
-reason to suppose that every one of them was a piece of futile legislation. 


The emperor freely showered his gifts both upon the 
Hindus and Muslims^ A general amnesty was granted to 
-all his former opponents, and they were restored to their 
titles and dignities. (Abdur Rahman, the son of Abul Fazl, 
was promoted to the rank of 2,000, and Aziz Koka who had 
conspired against him, was allowed to retain his rank and 
jagirsl] There were several other notable officers who shared 
in the royal bounty. ^Ghiyas Beg, the father of Nurjahan. 
was appointed to the rank of 1,500, and was given the title 
of Itmad-ud-dowlah.^ The officers of Akbar's time were 
treated with kindness, and Jahangir openly declared that a 
whole class should not be condemned for the faults of a few 
malcontents. But the most undeserved elevation was 
\hat of Cfeaja Bir Singh Bundela, the jiwrderer of Abul 
Fazl, who was raised to the rank of 3,000. 

u Securely seated on the throne, Jahangir celebrated the 
first fiauroz with great eclat and splendour in March 160() 
The festivities lasted for 17 or 18 days, and were finally 
closed by the bestowal of generous gifts on the loyal and 
distinguished servants of the state. 

It will be remembered that/Vhen Akbar lay on his 
death-bed, Raja Man Singh had formed a conspiracy to set 
1 Rebellion of as ^ e t^e claims of Salim and to place his son 
Prince Khus- Khusrau on the throne in his stead^ After 
Tau ' Akbar's death a reconciliation was effected 

between the valiant Raja and Salim, and Khusrau was pre- 
sented at court. The emperor treated him with affection, 
and granted a lakh of rupees to provide him with a suit- 
able mansion, befitting his high rank and dignity. But this 
reconciliation was merely on the surface. The father and 
son were completely estranged from each other, and no 
amount of diplomacy or persuasive pleadinc could heal 


their lacerated hearts. Jahangir thought that his son had 
irreparably wronged him, while Khusrau who was a fiery 
and impetuous youth, scarcely able to appraise the conse- 
quences of his own actions, still hoped to make an attempt to 
realise his dream of getting the throne. He looked upon the 
emperor's kindness and favours as a snare to catch him in 
his meshes, and longed to be free. His engaging manners, 
his lovely presence, and his high station, all made him a 
fit centre of political intrigue and disaffection. In no time, 
he gathered around him a few hundred adherents, who 
swore fidelity to him, and promised him aid in the desperate 
enterprise on which he had set his heart. 

It is true that Khusrau was much distracted. He spent 
days and nights in brooding over the misery and grief that 
lay in store for him. One night, he quietly stole away from 
the fort of Agra at the head of 350 horsemen on a pretence 
of visting the tomb of his grandfather. 

When he reached Mathura, he was joined by Husain Beg 
Badakhshani with nearly 3,000 horsemen. The prince and 
his adherents plundered and laid waste the neighbouring 
country, and the mercenaries who had joined his banner, 
tried to satisfy their greed for gold by practising tyranny 
and oppression upon those who came in their way. The 
prince marched on, and at Panipat he was joined by Abdur 
Rahim, Di^an of Lahore, who was coming towards Agra 
to wait ofl the emperor. The Diwan received a warm 
welcome from the prince who made him his Wazir, and 
conferred upon him the title of Malik Anwar. The imperial 
officers whom the prince encountered in his onward march, 
could not impede his progress, and at Taran Taran he received 
the blessing of Guru Arjuna. the Adifay_of the Granlh 
who took pity on him in his wretched and forlorni 


condition, and gave him some monetary help. From thence 
Khusrau marched towards Lahore, but the city was guarded 
by Dilawar Khan who had reached there in advance. The 
bastions of the fort were repaired, and cannon and swivel 
guns were kept in readiness for battle. Dilawar Khan 
was reinforced by Said Khan, who happened to be encamped 
at this time on the bank of the Chenab. 

Khusrau laid siege to the city, and burnt one of its gates 
in rage, and told his men that after the capture of the fort 
he would give the city up to plunder for seven days and 
throw the women and children into prison. 

The siege went on for nine days, when the prince was 
informed that the emperor had arrived in the vicinity of 
Lahore at the head of a cavalry force. 

The flight of the prince was a serious matter, and what 
Jahangir feared most was his junction with Raja Man 
Singh in Bengal or the Uzbegs and Persians towards the 
North-western border; having placed Agra in charge of 
Nazirulmulk and Itmad-ud-dowlah, the emperor started 
in pursuit of the prince, and reached the place with a consi- 
derable force. Negotiations were opened with the prince 
but to no purpose. He persisted in his evil course and pre- 
pared for battle. A battle was fought at Bharowal in 
which the rebels were severely defeated. About four hun- 
dred of them were slain in battle, and those that survived 
were terribly affrighted. Khusrau himself escaped from 
the field of battle, and his box, containing jewellery and 
other precious articles, fell into the hands of the imperialists, 
but Khusrau was not yet safe. The divided counsels of 
his own followers distressed him most. The Afghans and 
Hindustanis wished ' to double back like foxes into Hindus* 
tan' and to stir up strife there. Husain Beg whose family 



had already left towards the west suggested that they 
should betake themselves to Kabul. At last his advice was 
accepted, but when the party attempted to cross the 
Chenab, they were arrested by the imperialists. 

Jahangir received the news of Khusrau's capture with 
great delight. Little did he reck of the tie which bound 
him to the prince, and steeled his heart to vindicate the 
authority of the state and to safeguard its interests. The 
people of Lahore as well as the officers, civil and military 
of the empire, watched in anxious suspense the fate of 
the royal captive. Jahangir too was overcome with emotion, 
but he pulled himself up and ordered the prince to be 
presented in the open Darbar. XThe prince appeared 
before his august sire, handcuffed and enchained, weeping 
profusely, and trembling like a willow leaf. The pathetic 
scene moved the hearts of all who were present, but the 
emperor was implacable. He reprimanded Khusrau in 
strong terms, and ordered him to be thrown into prison 
without betraying the least emotion or perturbation. The 
prince's followers were punished with jn human barbarity, 
and he himself was subjected to unspeakable insults and 

indignities. X 

Guru Arjuna, who had shown compassion to Khusrau 
in his dire distress, was summoned to court to answer for 
his conduct. His property was confiscated, and he was 
ordered jo Jpgjput to, death. The murder of the Guru, 
although it was due to political reasons, was a heinous crime. 
It embittered the feelings of the Sikhs, and gave evidence 
of reaction against the tolerant policy of Akbar. Dr. Beni 
Prasad's statement that Guru Arjuna himself would have 
ended his days in peace, if he had not espoused the cause of 
a rebel, is a poor vindication of imperial high-handedness. 


He seems to regard the execution of the holy man, who 
was the recognised spiritual head of a large section of the: 
people, as a trivial matter. Bu^Jhe blcxy} of the martyrs * 
isjbhe-j cpmpint~o. the . church, and Jahangir made a great ', 
mistake in treating the Guru like an ordinary culprit. The] 
Sikh opposition to the Mughal empire began. 
A^$!Qandhar occupies a highly important and strategic- 
position towards the North-West Frontier. In the 17th 
century, it was an important gateway of com- 
f merce > an d Jt * s sai< * that every year nearly 
14 thousand camels, laden with merchandise, 
passed from India via Qandhar, into Persia. The strong 
and enviable position of this mart of the east made it a 
bone of contention between ^Persia and Hindustan. Babar 
had conquered Qandhar. and on his death it had passed to 
his son Kamran. Humayun wrested it from his brother 
Askari in 1545 with Persian aid, but after his death the 
Persian King again conquered it in 1558, when Akbar 
turned his attention towards the North- West Frontier. The 
Persian governor Muzaffar Husain surrendered it to the 
imperialists, and offered himself to be enrolled among the 
grandees of the empire. Qandhar remained a part of the 
Mughal Empire until the death of Akbar. 

But the Persians never forgot the loss of such a valu- 
able place. Jahangir writes in his Memoirs that the death 
of Akbar and the disturbance caused in the country by 
Khusrau's revolt ' put an edge on their design, ' and they 
resolved on reconquest. The kipg of Persia was at this 
time Shah Abbas, who ranks among 

Asiatic rulers ofjiis time. His vast resources encouraged him. 
to try conclusions with the Mughal Empire. The Persians, 
made the attack, but it was gallantly repelled by Shah Beg; 


Khan, who treated the enemy with contempt, and fortified 
his position against further venture. When the news 
reached Jahangir, he sent a reinforcement under the leader- 
ship of Mirza Ghazi, son of Mirza Jani TarkhSn, the ruler 
of Thatta. The Persians were frightened, and they raised 
the siege. Shah Abbas diplomatically expressed his 
'disapproval of the conduct of his subjects, and the emperor 
who was not inclined to take any further action was satis- 
fied with the explanation. 

The Persians, however, did not give up all hope of 
regaining Qandbar. Shah Abbas, having failed to win the 
place by open war, employed diplomacy to further his end. 
He sent several embassies to the Mughal court, and ex- 
changed the most fulsome and adulatory compliments with 
the emperor. Soft words and rich presents threw the 
Mughals off their guard, and they neglected the defences 
of Qandhar. sX 

In 1622 the Shah again attempted the conquest and laid 
siege to the fort Jahangir and Nurjahan who happened 
to be at this time in Kashmir, quitted the place immediate- 
ly, and began to make preparations for the campaign. The 
princes and generals of the army were ordered to put 
their troops in readiness and to march to the scene of action. 
But the imperial plan was unexpectedly frustrated by 
Shahjahan's refusal to accompany the expedition. He 
was alarmed for his own safety. He knew, that during 
his absence from the capital, Nurjahan and Asaf Khan 
would do their best to ensure his exclusion from the 
throne, and to push the claims of Shahariyar, his rival 
and opponent. There was another reason. He felt that 
unless he was given the chief command, he would not 
be able to make headway against the Persians who had 



-concentrated on the siege in full strength and vigour. His 

refusal gave Nurjahan her long-desired opportunity of 
inflaming her husband's mind against him. She convinced 
the latter that the prince meditated treason. An order 
was forthwith issued, asking the prince to send to court 
all the leading officers and the forces, which he had with 
him in the Deccan. Shahjahan did not promptly obey the 
royal command, and the crisis was aggravated when Nur- 
jahan secured from Jahangir the fief of Dholpur for Shah- 
arjyar,_ which Shahjahan had long coveted. Not content with 
this, she-persuaded l^er^dotuigJaiLsdMwid to raise her son-in- 
law's rank to 12,000 Zat and 8,000 Sawar and to entrust 
him with the supreme command of the Qandhar campaign. 
The hasty and ill-advised resumption of the prince's jagirs 
in the north proved the proverbial straw that broke the 
-camel's back. The prince made apologetic protestations of 
his devotion to the throne, but nothing served to allay the 
wrath, kindled by Nurjahan's backstair intrigues. How- 
ever hard the consequences, he found rebellion as bis 
inevitable choice in these circumstances. 

While the Nurjahan clique was planning the ruin of 
Shahjahan, Qandhar had been captured by the Persians after 
a siege lasting over a month and a half. This was followed 
by the despatch of a fresh embassy to convince Jahangir 
that the Persian King had a rightful claim to Qandhar. 

The Shah's effusive expressions of loyalty and friendship 
were taken at their proper value by the emperor, who 
rebuked him for his breach of faith, and accused him of 
duplicity and insincerity. An expedition was forthwith 
-ordered to punish the insolent and deceitful Persians, but 
no sooner was the command settled than the news came 
that Shahjahan had raised the standard of revolt. 


After the first capture of Qandhar, Jahangir spent a 
summer at Kabul for the benefit of his health. He left 
that place some time in August 1607, for 

the wnp^or? 8 Lahore, but on his way he received informa- 

tion that a plot was formed to assassinate 
him. Prince Khusrau was the centre of the plot. Hi& 
charming manners had won the hearts of his captors so 
much that they entered into a conspiracy to murder the 
emperor and to proclaim him as emperor of Hindustan. 
The plan was thoroughly ill-conceived ; it was known to 
many people long before it matured, and in no time the 
whole thing was divulged to the emperor. The ringleaders 
were arrested, but they were dealt with leniently. Only 
four were 6xecuted , and one was seated on an ass with his, 
face towards the tail and paraded in this sorry condition 
from house to house. Khusrau was blinded by Mahabat 
Khan, who was commissioned by Jahangir to do the ghastly 
deed. ' But his vision was not altogether destroyed, and 
later when his father relented, it was partially restored 
through the skill of a competent physician. 

Jahangir's marriage .with Nurjahan is one of the most 
important events in Mughal history. Few women in the 

1 Authorities differ as to the mode of blinding the prince. But we- 
read in the 2ntikhab-i-J ahangiri that 4 when jbhe wire was put in his 
6768, such pain was inflicted on him, that it is bj^ond all expression.' 

Experienced physicians were employed to cure the eyes of the- 
prince when paternal love asserted itself. A Persianphysician Sadra 
by name treated the prince, and we are told that in six months the 
original vision of one of his eyes was restored. The other remained 
defective and became somewhat shorter in size. The physician waa 
rewarded with the title of Masih-uz-Zaman^ Elliot, VI, pp. 448-49. 


world's history have displayed such masterful qualities: 
of courage and statesmanship as this extra- 
Quinary woman, who held her husband in 
leading strings and dominated the state for a 
number of years. Students of Indian history kre welF 
familiar with the romantic story of her birth, which has been 
related with great embellishments by Muslim chroniclers. 
But modern research has, discarded the legendary account, 
and placed before usjjie plam_iacta^ regarding her early 
Her father^Mirza^jGrhi^as Beg, son _ of 

^^ _ . 

MuhammaJ^Sliarif, was a native jofJTehran. Driven 
by the pressure 6f~ad verse ""circumstances, Ghiyas Beg 
turned his thought towards Hindustan whither he pro- 
ceeded with his wife, who was big with child, in search 
of employment. When he reached Qandhar, his wife- 
was delivered of a female child. As the family waa 
in great straits, a certain wealthy merchant named Malik 
Masud under whose protection they were coming to India 
took pity on them, and offered his help. It was a veritable 
God-send to Ghiyas, whose heart was broken by the suffer- 
ings and troubles through which he had passed. The 
merchant who had some influence at the Mughal court, 
introduced Ghiyas to Akbar, and got him a handsome 
employment in the state. By sheer ^\\{ of 

n ^ iy OT nf K Q N lT - Ghiyas's talents shone to the best 
itage, while he was in office. He cultivated after 
the fashion of the time calligraphy and poetry, and. 
acquired a reputation for elegant diction. He showed 
great skill in transacting public business, and came to be 

looked Upon as One Of jj)f ^^yproftf- nflgWrs nf the 


notwithstanding the fact that he was bgld and daring in 
lading, bribes- The little child who was named Miherun- 
nissa by her parents grew up in the meantime, and at the 
age of 17 was married to AHj^uH^jgojlu, a Persian adven- 
turer, who is better known in history as Sher Afgan. 

AH Quli IstSjlS was a man of humble^ origin, fie was 
a safarchi (table. -servant) of Shah Ismail II of Persia. 
A strange turn of fortune drove him from his native coun- 
try, and like many others of his kind, he also sought refuge 
in India. On reaching Multan, he met the Khan-i-Khanan 
through whose good offices he was granted a military rank 
at the Mughal court in the time of Akbar. When Prince 
Salim was ordered to march against the Rana of Mewar, 
Ali Quli was appointed to his staff. The proud and manly 

soldigrjpgased th^princr^yho con- 

o gher,Afgan for^ slay ing atiger. ' 

During thePrince's rebellion againstThis father, Tnost of 
his friends deserted him, and considerations of prudence led 
Sher Afgan also to follow their example. But after his 
accession, Jahangir forgave his offences, confirmed his jagir, 
and sent him to the Subah of Bengal. 

Bengal was at this time seething with discontent. 
The turbulent Afghans, who still hoped to revive their lost 
supremacy, gathered there from all parts of the country, 
and fomented intrigues against the state. Report came 
that her Afgan was ' insubordinate and disposed to be 
rebellious/ How could the emperor brook such designs 
on the part of one, whom he had rajafld ff" nhunriiy rn 
high military rank ? The governor Qutbuddin, who had 
-succeeded Raja Man Singh in August 1606, was commanded 

1 Sher Afgan dpfiMjA*) literally means one who ^jlls down a lion. 


j > 

to send the suspected officer to court. The .governor took 
the somewhat foolish step of making an attempt to arrest 
him. Sher Afgan's blood boiled at this indignity, and when 
he saw Qutbuddin's men surrounding him on all sides, he 
exclaimed with rage ' what proceeding is this of thine? ' 
He was so shocked by this treachery that when Qutbuddin 
advanced forward to explain his conduct, he attacked him 
with his sword, and inflicted mortal injuries on his person. 
This unexpected attack infuriated the Mughal retainers, 
of the governor, who fell upon Sher AfofliTi Hlf0 ^BPfTT 
wolves, and hacked him to pieces. Miherunnissa along with 
her daughter was sent to court, where she was entrusted ta 
the^custody of the dowager-Queen Sultap Saliipji JPqgupi 
In March 1611, i.e., four^years after the death of her 
hiisbandLuJahangir once chanced toTsee her at the fancy 
bazar, and^ was charmed by herjreautiful appearance. Time 
assuaged her grief, and she became reconciled to her 
imperial lover. Towards the close of May, ^he_bgcame the^ 
legally in5med jwifgjof_the lord of jiindustan. A new 
chapter ^openedjinj^ family Her father and 

weSfexalted to high positions, and were granted 
titles and jagirs. "" ~~ ~"~ "" ~~ 

WhetheFJahangir had a hand in the; mnrrtf^* 

Afcpan is a matter of (^1^^ Dr - Beni Prasad in 
able monograph on Jahangir seriously contends that the 
story of the murder is a pure myth invented by later 
chroniclers. 1 He argues that there is no confirmation of 
this story in contemporary writings, nor is there any 
mention of it in the accounts of European travellers, wha 
were too eager to seize upon scandals relating to members 

1 History of Jahangir, pp. 17888. 


of the royal family. The improbabilities of the story 
itself on which he dwells at length, are of little value 
in helping us to form a correct judgment. The evidence 
of the emperor^ , innocence adduced by Dr. Bern PrassiL 
is of a negative character, and we cannot lightly brush 
^side_Jlie- positive assertions of later historians, who were 
in a better position to state~the truth in a matter like 
"tHis than^ their predecessors. There are other considera- 
tlonTwhich militate against the theory of innocence. The 
chief offence of Sher Afgan is said to be that he was 
.guilty of treason, but no details of his participation in sedi- 
tious conspiracy are disclosed. The emperor. v had merely 
a suspicion, and all authorities agree in saying that Qutb- 
uddin was ordered to punish Sher Afgan, if the latter 
'showed any futile, seditious ideas.' It is not clear how 
<}utbuddin satisfied himself on his arrival in Bengal, that 
the Afghan officer actually harboured treasonable designs, 
The cause of royal displeasure was not even communicated 
to him, and our suspicions are confirmed by the suddenness 
with which his arrest was nttrmptrri /jghiinrcir wha in 
-usually so frank in relating his. Moratory, does not say a 
word.^bout this incident for the obvious reason t .tht jQQjpan 
wouldjpglgte scandals about himself j>ut his silencejregard- 
Jng the fact of his marriage with Nurjahan, jvhich j&as 

inf in his career, is 

whollyLiinintelligible. ' Why were royal commands issued to 
send Miherunnissa to court, when her father was living 

Nurjahan'a name _for_Jhe-^-fljfliL. iamfiL Jff 
j_ ear J6 1 4 tEreeyearg^after liis ^ajriage. 
There are many trivial details, but not a word is said about Nurjahan. 
BIB acfiouaii -ttt,.8h^T_A.fgani^.death j^entjrgl^jdgvoijLjQf^^mgptiQn of 
Nurjahari. B,B. Memoirs, I, p. 266* 


&t the capital, and held an important office in the state V 
There was no question about his loyalty, and, surely, he 
could be safely trusted to take care of his daughter and her 
little child in their sorrowful plight. Such a thing wag 
never done in the case of other noblemen and officers, 
charged with sedition. WhyjcUc^ take the 

somessJiaL _ unusual step of entrusting the widowed 
lady to the care of the dowager-Queen Jn the imperial 
K^qm? But it may be asked whzJJifi^em^erorxif- he_ was 
an impetuous lover, waited for.iom-lQWE .years, when the^ 
object of his desire was well within, hj^reach ? Probably 
he did so for two reasonsf HNuriahan was overpowered by 
the tragic death of her husband^and her sorrow-laden heart 
; for some time, from all thought of love~and 
perhaps the emperor did not interfere 

with her, because he wished to lull all suspicions regarding 
the^death of Sher Afgan,^ which was so unexpected an3 
precipitate. The T)utch writer De Laet says that Jahangir 
had been in love with Nurjahan, even when she was a 
maiden during the lifetime of Akbar, but her betrothal to 
Sher Afgan proved an obstacle -in the way of marriage. V A 

1 MutamSd Khan writes : " After the death of Kutub-uddin, the 
officials of Bengal, in obedience to royal command, sent to court the 
daughter of Ghiyas Beg, who had been exalted to the title of fc Itimad-J 
nd-do wlah/ and the King, who was greatly distressed at the murder of 
Kutub-uddin, entrusted her to the keeping of his own royal mother," 

Elliot, VI, p. 404. 

9 Description of India and Fragment of Indian History, p. 181. 
De Laet relates at some length the story of Jahangir's marriage 
with Nurjahan. He says : *' He (Jahangir) hadJtfteuiinlQv^ witfr hgg 
when shewas still a maiden.-tnn^ff ^ MhAinigTkf A^hahftr YAkbarl 

to theJi^rkChftej[_A8egbaP (She 
wouTd naotigTowTum 


he sfla^fjen^slT^oat hia ipye ror ner '* This is oorrogofaTect j>y"lJMnr 
mSSanrnsTonans also. If this were true, the motor e for the murder 


careful perusal of contemporary chronicles leaves upon our 
minds the impression, that the circumstances of Sher 
Afgan's death are of a highly suspicious nature, although 
there is no conclusive evidence to prove that the emperor 
was guilty of the crime. 

Atjthejtime^f Jier ^jnarriage wjth^Jaha^^ 
was in her thirty-fifth year, but ajdvancingjage LhaOone- 
"~ """ " nothing to mar fHfrPshnaarvf JiPr 


beauty of her early 

youth and the portraits that have come down. 
to us are indicative of her superb loveliness. Nature rein- 
forced by art had greatlyadded[to jier charms, and made her 
nafiuT famous ifafjgll that isjovable arid liftracti ve fif wbrffan- 
kind. She possessed a strong and virile intellect, and could 
understand the most intricate political problems without 
any difficulty. No political or diplomatic complication was 
beyond her comprehension, and the greatest statesmertand 
ministers bowed to her decisions. J3he was fond of .poetry 
and wrote verses which are still admired. Sh_e__was_a 
genumeJnvfir of beauty, and did much to increase the splen- 
dour and glory of the Mughal court. She set the fashions 
oTlEeTage, designed new varieties of silk and cotton fabrics,. 
and^suggested new mod^of jewellery , hitjierto unknow n 
in Hindustan 

of G^ajHerahle ^ physical 

Courage, ^nd^went out on hunting tnura wit^ 

. On more than one occasion, she shot ferocious tigers, and 
Jahangir was so pleased by her feat of valour that he gave 
her a pair of bracelets of diamonds worth 1,00,000 rupees, 
and distributed 1,000 asharafte among his servants and 
the poor to mark his pleasure. Her presence of mind was 
remarkable, as is illustrated by her rebuke to Asaf Khan, 


when the emperor was made a prisoner by Mahabat Khan. 
J4eyejii<ljier activity, resgurcefulness^nd^ 
more manifest^than in thejiour of danger. HeFspints 
rose in difficult situations, and experienced generals and 
soldiers were amazed to see her seated on an elephant in 
the thick of the fight, discharging a shower of arrows at 
She worked hard, and no detail of administra- 

tion escaped her^ vigilant eye. ^Although she meddled 
in~~pn1iHpg. plotter and int.ri>iud to obtainjjower. she was 
not devoid of human feelings. She was generous and 
o a fault-. She was the ref^g^irP the tyior and 

her kindness towards. ]&&p- sex manifested 

itself in numberless acts_of^ charitg. Sjxe J?Y l^fl J? ftTI A y 
J2LJ 11 ? ma ^ of *p hgn M"1"rn gi r ljV qgj* extended 
herprotection to the weak and the oppressed. Towards 
her kith and kin, she entertained the warmest feelings. 
Her father and brother rose to the highest positions in the 
state mainly through her influence, 

She loved him with alljthe intensity 

charms that he became a submissive tool in her hands. The 
(fogh^^dignitaries of the empire sought her good offices 
and a word from her jsouldjnake or mar the career of*x*y~ 
one of them. Rebels againstTthe state implored her "Help 
in securing royal forgiveness, as is illustrated by the case of 
Jagat Singh, the hill chieftain of the Punjab. It was 
through her intercession that the 'pen of pardon_jgas 
drawn tjij&ughjjie record j>f jiis faults v ~ 

/But Nurjahan's influence wasfnSt^all for the good of 
the state. Her inordinate loye-ef powe^, **** ^romanly 
''MnitiYr ^nd her g^htle ^fiyiV^a f:o to^ke the emperor her 

slave jglLto troubles^ which seriously threatened the peace 

p 3a - -- "~ 


ofjthejsmiBEe* ^It is true, she had a fine intellect, but she 
lacked that-jeapacjty foLJudgment and correct decision, 
which is a sine qua non of success in public affairs.^ She. 
went too farjn_jdealing with her enemies, and j^either. jrank 

/ nor birth could shield a man against her revengeful spirit. 
Itwas her arrogance, her natural habit of suspicion,. Jier 
constant desire to humble the ablest officers of the crown 
that goaded Mahabat Khan into rebellion, and produced 
disorder in the country. The haram and the court ali^e 

I became centres of intrigue, and it was her machinations 
that drove Prince Khurram to unfurl the banner of revolt 
against his father. ' The loss of Qandhar in 1622 was due 
to her mischievous influence. Despite her knowledge that 
KHiirram was the acknowledged heir to the throne, and 
was the ablest among Jahangir's sons, she put forward 
in preference to him the claims of her own creature 

was destitute of brains and character, and 
whom his contemporaries rigfitly gave the nickname 
of Naqhudani or 'good for nothing." The prince refused 
to march to Qandhar, because he knew that the imperious 
Begum had spread the net of her intrigue wide, 
and swept into it the leading nobles of the court. 
Even Dr. Beni Prasad admits that during his absence 
Nurjahan was sure to push her creature Shahariyar to the 
front, and undermine his own (Khurram's) power by replac- 
ing his adherents with hers in high offices of state, by 

1 Professor J. N. Sarkar puts the blame entirely on Nurjaban, 
He writes : 

"From 1622 till almost the end of his father's reign Shahjahan 
<vras under a cloud ; the infatuated old emperor, entirely dominated by 
his selfish and imperious consort Nurjahan, deprived Shahjahan of his 
posts and fiefs, and at last drove him into rebellion in self-defence." 

History of Aurangzeb, Vol. I, p. 2. 


playing upon the feelings and fancies of her husband and 
toy taking full advantage of any opportunities, which 
might present themselves in the meanwhile. 1 It was 
under her influence that Jahangir hegfimp. SL thorough-bred 
pleasure-seeker, and so far forgot the duties of his exalted 
office as to say that Nurjahan was wise enough to conduct 
the matters of state, and that ^ w ntp ^ only hnH-.l* of 
yine and a PIPPP of meat to kqep himself merry. The 
remark may have been made in jest, , but it indicates 
well enough the easy-going habit of the man, who was 
by no means lacking in intelligence, and who had given 
proof of his far-sightedness by proclaiming that he meant 
to adhere to the policy of his great father. His innate 
fondness for pleasure was developed by Nurjahan to a 
perilous extent, and if Jahangir^ f qjgn fnrma 
period in the annals nF t f h p Mughal dynasty. 

the responsibility in no small measure. The new fashions 
and tastes which she fostered, are a poor compensation for 
the lack of military achievement or administrative reform, 
which must always remain the supreme test of the great- 
ness of rulers and statesmen. The dominating_Begum 

made her husband travel fast on the path of ease^ jiixtil.Jie 

. ^ _.,- ^~~~-~ ~" ~- . - _ - "~ ~ -^"" ^^ * '".' ...... *" * 

ceasea to take all interest in pubHc^.business, jnd bej&n to 
look upon alcohol as a 'prudent friend/ Most of his 
regulations remained in abeyance, and the Nurjahan clique 
managed or mismanaged, as it chose, the affairs of the 
empire. The era, of brilliant or heroic enterprise^ was 
clqsedJEor the June, and the vanous paffiSf and fectionF 
at court were consumed with a feverish activity to 
-oust their rivals from positions of power and influence. 

1 History of Jahangir, p. 849. 


Akbar had annexed Bengal to the empire in 1575 
after the defeat of Daud but the Afghans were not com- 
UsmSn's Pl ete ly crushed. They found an able and 
Rebellion in ambitious leader in Usman who, though out- 
Bengal. W ardly loyal to the Mughals, cherished the 
dream of restoring Afghan independence. He had rebelled 
once before in 1599 in the reign of Akbar, but he was sup- 
pressed by Raja Mansingh. The rapid change of governors 
in Bengal encouraged him in his hostile designs/ and 
when Islam Khan was appointed to the office of governor 
after the death of Jahangir Quli who had succeeded 
Qutbuddin, 1 the Afghans and Zamindars of Bengal showed 
open hostility to the central government. The Afghans 
rallied under the banner of Usman, and prepared them- 
selves for a trial of strength with the imperialists. Both 
sides engaged each other in battle, and after a strenuous 
day on the field, he was fatally wounded on the head, but 
so great was his composure that even in this condition he 
contmued to direct the movements of his men for six hours. 
The battle ended in the defeat of the Afghans who retreat- 
ed to their entrenchments. Here Usman died, leaving his 
followers in a state of disorder. 

The news of this victory was received at court 
(April 1, 1612), with great delight, and Jahangir suitably 
rewarded the officers, who had distinguished themselves in 
the campaign. Islam Khan's rank was raised, and the 
other officers who had rendered him loyal assistance 
were fitly honoured. The political power of the Afghans 
was destroyed, but they were treated well by Jahangir, who 

* This Qutbuddin is the same person who lost his life in the scuffle- 
with Sher Afgan, the first husband of Nurjahan. 


allowed them with pleasure to enter the service of the 
state. As a result of this humane policy, writes the 
author of the Makhzan-i- Afghan, the Afghans abolished 
all treasonable designs from their minds, and considered 
it their duty to remain subservient and loyal to the throne 
even at the sacrifice of their lives. 

Soon after his accession to the throne, Jahangir 
resumed his father's policy in regard to the principality of 
Mewar. Prince Parwez was appointed to the 
of U M^S n command, and with him were associated well- 
tried officers who had given proof of their 
valour in several campaigns. The first battle was an in- 
decisive one, and ended in a truce between the two parties. 
Two years later, the emperor sent Mahabat Khan at the 
head of a considerable force, and the latter succeeded in 
inflicting a defeat on the Rajputs. Frequent changes in 
command seriously hampered the progress-of operations, 
*nd nothing substantial was achieved until prince 
Khjjrram was placed at the head of the expedition. 
Assisted by some of the ablest military officers, the prince 
opened the campaign in full vigour. The Mughal soldiers 
who were exasperated by prolonged Rajput resistance, 
carried fire and sword in their train, and rendered large 
tracts of land desolate. The prince established military 
posts in -favourable localities in order to cutoff the supplies 
of the enemy and to starve them into submission. 
Still the Rajputs did not desist from fighting, and their 
reckless daring made an impression on the Mughals. But 
the tactics of the latter succeeded. The moving columns 
of the Mughal army captured the families of several chiefs, 
And reduced the Rana to such straits that he began to 
desire the termination of the campaign. From all sides came 


t ; 

the demand that peace should be made. The Rana sent 
his maternal uncle Shubh Karap and his trusty^^gerJJma 
Das Jla to settle the terms of the treaty. He agreed to> 
payliomage to the emperor and to send his son to the 
imperial court, but himself begged to be excused from 
personal attendance on account of old age. Jahangir gladly 
accepted the terms of peace for he writes: *JMy loftyjnind 
was always desirous, as far as possible, not to destroy the 
ojdjamilies." 1 Chittor was restored to the Rana, but he 
was asked not to fortify it. No matrimonial alliance was 
forced on him ; he was simply asked to supply a contingent 
of 1,000 horse, and his son was enrolled as a mansabdarof 
5,000. A meeting was arranged between Prince Khurram 
and the Rana at which they exchanged greetings, and 
offered valuable presents to each other. 2 

The Rana's heir-apparent Prince Karan also waited on 
Prince Khurram, and received as a mark of favour a 
superb dress of honour, a jewelled sword and dagger, and 
horse with a gold saddle and a special elephant. ' 

Jahangir's conduct in this affair is wholly worthy of 
praise. Mewar had given the Mughals no small amount of 
trouble, but the emperor forgot the past and adopted a con- 
ciliatory policy in dealing with the Rana. He was so 
pleased at this achievement, that heordered two full-sized 
mublejstatues of the Bana and his son to be made in order 
to be placed at Agra in the garden below the Jharokha. 

1 B. B., I, pp. 273-74. 

Jahangir says (B. B., I, p. 276) that the Rana clasped his (Khur- 
ram s) feet and asked forgiveness for his faults. This does not seem to 
be likely. In the first place no Bajput however humbled, would con- 
descend to show such servility, and secondly, it was not a recognised 
mode of paying respect to kings or princes. 

3 According to the Bajput usage the prince did not go with his. 
father to pay respects to the prince. 


' These elephants were removed from Agra by Aurangzeb 
in 1668, but no trace is to be found of them now. 

When the emperor was returning from a tour in 
Gujarat, news came that the bubonic plague had broken 
out in Hindustan. ' Jahangir briefly describes 
f the disease by saying that ' under the arm- 
pits, or in the groin, or below the throat, 
buboes formed, and they died.' 2 The contemporary 
chronicler Mutamad Khan writes that the fell disease first 
began in the Punjab, spread to Sarhind, and then through- 
out the Doab as far as Delhi and its neighbouring cities 
and villages. His account of the disease is as correct today 
as it was when he wrote it. This is what he says : 

f " When it was about to break out, a mouse would 
run out of its hole as if mad, and striking itself against 
the door and the walls of the house, would expire. If, 
immediately after this signal, the occupants left the 
house and went to the jungle, their lives were saved; if 
otherwise the inhabitants of the whole village would 
be swept away by the hand of death. 

If any person touched the dead, or even the clothes 
of a dead man, he also could not survive the fatal 
contact. The effect of the epidemic was comparatively 
more severe upon the Hindus. In Lahore its ravages 
were so great, that in one house ten or twenty persona 
would die, and their surviving neighbours, annoyed by 
the stench, would be compelled to desert their houses 
full of habitations. The dead were left locked, and 
no person dared to go near them through fear of his 

1 The author of the Iqbalnama-i-Jahangiri calls this epidemic 

2 R. B., II, p. 66. 


t ( 

life. It was also very severe in Kashmir, where its 
effect was so great that (as an instance) a darvesh, 
who had performed the last said offices of washing 
the corpse of a friend, the very next day shared the 
same fate. A cow, which had fed upon the grass on 
which the body of the man was washed, also died. 
The dogs, also, which ate the flesh of the cow, fell dead 
upon the spot. In Hindustan no place was free from 
this visitation, which continued, to devastate the 
country for " l 

It broke out again in 1618-19 in Agra, and spread to 
all the villages and towns in the neighbourhood, although 
Fatehpur was quite free from it. The emperor was inform- 
ed by loyal persons that the daily average of deaths was 
nearly 100. 2 The houses of the rich and the poor were 
equally affected, and thousands of lives were destroyed. 
The people were simply bewildered by the appearance of 
this fell disease, but there is nothing to show that the state 
devised any preventive measures against its deadly visi- 
tations. Mutamad Khan, the historian of Jahangir's 
reign, writes that it exceeded everything known and 
recorded in former ages. 

Captain William Hawkins came to Jahangir's court in 

1608 from England with a letter from James I in order to 

obtain facilities for trade. In spite of Por- 

Sb awk T n h 8 oma8 tuguese opposition, he succeeded in having 

8oe. an audience of the emperor, who received him 

graciously, and accepted the costly presents 

offered by him. He was apppintedjo. Jie^ajnanagbdar^of 

400 with a nominal salary of l&TOOO. The emperor liked 

1 Elliot, VI, p. 406. 
B. B. II, p. 65. 


him much, and invited him to be present at his drinking 
parties. The trade facilities which he sought were readily 

Hawkins writes at length about the enyaergoi^sjiajjits^ 
the^tiguette of the court^ and the system of administration 
and the social condition of the people. The emperor drank 
hard, kept a sumptuous table, and gave feasts, the most 
important of which was the feast of Nauroz. T 


JSacheat was prevalent in the country, jand the emperor 
was thej^y^^ grandeesT^^^racquisi- 

tidns "after deathlpassed to him, andfin this^ way his trea- 
sures mulljpIie^L^beyo^fl reckoning. Tie ^mentions four 
causes of this abundance of wealth : (1) the treasure and 
jewels of tfs ancestors ; (2) the property of nobles passing 
into his hands after their deaths ; (3) money brought into 
the country by foreign merchants, and (4) the possession 
of land. Deeds of cruelty were common at court, and] 
Hawkins observes that he saw with his own eyes the 
victims of royal wrath, destroyed in a savage manner by 
heartless ruffians. 

Sir Thomas Roe was the accredited representative of 
the King of England, who visited Jahangir's court in 
1615 with the object of obtaining some concession for the 
English trade. When he camejp Imlifr, Jie ; was Jiulhe 
prime of life, of pleasing manners and a prepossessing 

and diplomatice3cence, eminently 

lim for the^asE^Tnereal object ofTiis 

-gmum a, i-nu _ r. \ v _ -p ** -.^ - - _.,^ *.^~~* - 

'cSlfimerciaTTreaty wilH the ruler of 

jntrigues of rival parties and the misgivings of the imperial 
court, yet Sir Tfionifcs Roe (JiaTiotlfincIi f romhis duty, 



in spite of refusals and disappointments persevered in his- 
attempts to^^curej^va^ forjbis nation. The 

Nurjahan clique was in power at thlslime, andTit was im- 
possible to get anything done, without the help of Asaf 
Khan, the chief minister of Jahangir, and Prince Khurram. 
The^a^bassadorjiadjo sellji valuable pearl to Asaf Khan 
ajt^a reducecT price and to offer similar presents to his- 
sister, who was won over to the side qf^the English. 
T|i^u^h AsafltKIn^s "help, an interview was arranged 
with Khurram, ^d^EReTPrinC^ promised to~ obtain^ for 
fee not only aJ^jmaij^^jBengal but jL^QS^^iJommgnd 
andTgranfloffree privileges in all the Mughal dominions, j 
A hope was also held out that the prince would make over 
the port of Surat to the English^jyhen he assumed charge 
o^e^rovi^^j)j^Gujarat. The^ Portuguese were great 
rivals of the English, and their intrigues hampered the 
British ambassador considerably in persuading the emperor 
to grant his terms. The draft of the treaty, which Roe 
submitted, was rejected with scorn, and it was after long 
delay and evasions that a farman was granted, allowing 
some concessions to the English. The Prince adopted a 
friendly attitude to wardsjthe British mercEantsT^ind in- 
formed them, that in case they^were attacked by the 
Portuguese, the local governor would assist them with 
boats and any other requisites. They were allowed to trade 
freely, and^abi^esjofjthe customs houses were put an end 
to. No tolls were to be levied on goods, entering into a 
port, and the merchants were permitted to hire any housfc 
they pleased for establishing a factory. They were to en- 
joy the right of self-government, and no English refugee 
was to be detained, even if he accepted the Muslim faith. 
The Mughal government was so Hiatrnstfial nf the- 



intentions of th^EpgUabJthat-itdid not allowthem to build 

orTm;Fa^ the nujBB^fof Englih- 

men, who could weaFamsJnJthe city. Roe strongly ob- 
jec^^jEfie^inserfion of the clause,, and 
hyyjgrsi^nt remonsteancea^tbat it was dropped. 
^ i 

of the English relations with India. Roe fought hard 
against adverse circumstances, and in the long run succeed- 
ed in partially gaining his object. His countrymen^ at 
Suratjtrmde light of his diplomatic servicesTbut jbjlj^aver- 
looked the fact that though SirTJhomas ^e_couWjiot 
achieve what he desired, lie enhanggd,|jxe^ REfiatige .of the 
English in^Injifa, ancTwon resgggt for_ thenpuat titieji|ughal 
court. Tfie Portuguese were humbled, and the provincial 
governors were askeiaTto" stay the hand of oppression, 
which resulted in giving time to the English to establish 
their influence on a secure basis. 

Roe's Journal gives us a vjyid^picture^of the court 
and faithful character! alcetchesjf jail the p^mmeiiLmem*- 
bers of the royal f amil^^ whoni^ Jie joeyer 

saw. He^dwells^at length^ upon the pomjj^.aiuL magnifi- 

^ de- 

scribes the festivities and pleasure parties in which the 
grandees took part. But he dpjs_Jiot_fprget tqjdescribe 
the squalor and ^misery^of the, ^easaiitry, 

of th p^blicLhiglmays^nd the generaL-Utegciejxcy and 
supineness of the local administraitqns. Corruption was 

prevalent, ana^uTTi^ of the state were 

not above reproach. There was _ no written^law in 
the, jpountry, ajnd . the ^JT^T^Ikdr hv ^ hia ward. Jhf 
Sus$Ol-3!ji^ but the Jmperjal 

supervision over provinces was lax, and the provincial 


< | 

governorsbehaved as despots. The emperor was every 

man > g1iei5^ by the law oflEscheat the property of a 
noble passed to him. The greatjnen about him were jnot 
men of noble birth^liiltJayourites often raisecfto eminence 

-^t. 0f I, _,,, *~"~~~~-~~"* '" ** -" -^. .,. * .^_. ' * I--" " -" 

By caprice. He des^ribesjahangir as ajsheerful. amiable 
man^entirelyj ree^jfrom : J>rid^ and jsfincfiit^ He praises the 
"Inanner in which he was received at court, and goes on to 
add that no ambassador, Turkish or Persian, was ever re- 
ceived with so much courtesy. Roe^was invitedjnQEe than 
<op g^tobepresent in tjie Durbar j)y Jahangir, and on one 
occasion he presented him with a picture, which the king 
greatly appreciated. Writing about court, the ambassador 
says that he jvitnessed inter^stingjfcenes of drunkenness 

nd reyelr^duringln^site aiTnight. "" ^^ralEi^mperor 
became dead^rlu^ wejg^putj^ut anCthe tipsy 

^olirtiefs welfE T^y'toT^eirliomes. At oneof the drinking 
bouts Roe was^offervBcTTiquoKT)ut^it wasTso^ strong that it 
maaeTuSTsneeze, on whichjthe ^mperbfjlaughed heartily 
tmJ^engun^^ SirYhomasRoe was a dex- 

terous diplomatist, endowed ._with plenty ^of naturaLghrewd- 
S^Jt^^business^ ^ capacity, "and ^KIs Journal is full of 
interestingdetaiTs about court fife during Jahangir's reign. 
"jAikbar had captured^the fort^oO^sffgarhrbut he was 
obliged to leave suddenly for the north owing to Salim's 
rebellion. His departure seriously affect- 

TheDecoan. e d the Mughal position in the Deccan, and 
nothing, substantial was achieved by the imperialists. 
After the death of the emperor in 1605, when Jahangir 
succeeded to the throne, he resumed his father's policy, 
but he was confronted by JO&ry able statesman L _and . Jtnili- 
tary leader in Malik Ambar, the Abyssinia^ miBfetet. and 
general of the Nizamshahi kings of A,hraadnagar. 


Malik Ambar^was _not_ ,a man of ordinary .talents. 
Possessed of rare mtellectual powers and force of charac- 
ter, he was equally at home in civil and miTitary"~ai0PiairsT 
Long experience of administrative work had ripened his- 
judgment, and given him an insight into matters of high 
state policy, which had secured for him a position of con- 
siderable influence in the state. He had introduced sever- 
al reforms, but the most notable of them was his organ- 
isatipnjxf the revende system after the model followed by 
JRaja Todarmal in the north. Even the Mughal historians 
who speak of him in terms of contempt, praise him for his- 
ability, political acumen, and resourcefulness in times of 
danger and difficulty. His activities were not confined to 
the civil administration alone. He was a_general of jao 
mean repute. He developed the military strength of the 
Nizamshahi kingdom, and revolutionised the methods of 
warfare in the Deccan. He was the first to train the 
Marathas in the guerilla method of warfare, which they 
carried to perfection afterwards, and which greatly helped 
them in destroying the Mughal empire. To fight with 
such a formidable enemy was no easy task, and Malik 
Ambar taxed to the uttermost the military resources of 
the empire for well-nigh two decades. 

Malik Ambar speedily began to recover the lost terri- 
tory, and sharply checked the Mughal advance, which was. 
partly due also to the inaction of the officers themselves. 
To retrieve the position, Jahangir sent the Khan-i-Khanan, 
at the head of a large force, consisting of 12,000 men, ta 
carry on the war in the Deccan. The supreme command 
was entrusted to Prince Parwez, and with him were asso- 
ciated other military officers of renown. As no improve- 
ment in the situation was effected, the emperor despatched 



Khan Jahan Lodi. who was accompanied by several distin- 
guished generals, both Hindu and Muslim. On reaching 
the Deccan, they came to know that the Mug Jmls. had, been 

an< * were compelled to beat a 

dishonourable retreat. The generals accused each other of 

bad plans and defective strategy, and Khan Jahan urged 
the recall of the Khan-i-Khanan. He implored the emperor 
to place him in chief command, and added that he 
would not show, his face to the servanfc of the court, if h 
failed in the enterprise. v In the face of such opposition, 
the emperor considered it advisable to withdraw the 
Khan-i-Khanan from the scene of operations. With Khan 
Jahan as their chief commander, the Mughals assumed the 
Offensive in full vigour in 1611, but they were forced to 
retreat towards Gujarat by the Maratha horsemen who 
inflicted heavy losses on them. On hearing the news of 
tfils mishap, Jahangir himself resolved to go to the Deccan 
and ' destroy root and branch those servants, who had 
become masters,' but the nobles were not agreeable 
to the proposal. The Khan-i-Khanan was reappointed to 
the command. Ever loyal to the empire in which he had 
risen to such eminence, the veteran warrior forgot past 
insults and injuries and proceeded to the Deccan. He de- 
feated the Deccanis in a hotly contested engagement, but 
even this brilliant success failed to silence his enemies 
wlia accused him of having accepted the Deccan gold. 
Once again, he was called back, and the command was 
entrusted to Prince Khurram. 

The prince marched to the Deccan via Ajmer and 
reached Burhanpur on March 6, 1617, accompanied by 
the most valiant imperial generals. He offered terms of 

1 R. B. f I, pp. 179-80. 


*peace to the enemy, which were immediately accepted. 
Adil Shah waited on the prince in person with presents 
worth 15 lakhs, and promised to restore all the territory, 
which had been seized by Malik Ambar. The treaty was 
ratified by the emperor who bestowed the title of Farzand. 
(son) upon, ^dil Khan, and expressed niiicITsatisfaction at 
his submission. The officers of the state who had taken 
part in the war were suitably rewarded, and Prince 
Khurram was given the title of Shahjahan, and his mansab 
was raised to 30,000 Zat and 20,000 Sawar. Other gifts 
followed, and j^a jmark of special honour the emperor 
himself came down from the Jharokha, and ' poured over 
his head a small tray of jewels and a tray of gold (coins). ! 
Wealth was heaped in abundance upon the prince, and his 
triumph was celebrated in the right Roman fashion. 

Nurjahan Begum also shared in the rejoicings ; she 
held a feast in honour of the prince, and conferred upon 
him dresses of honour and jewels, and pearls of great 
value. The total cost of this entertainment according to 
Jahangir was 3,00,000 rupees. 2 Behin4jall^thee ^profjjse 
gifts and rewards lay the hard fact, that the Deccan was 
not conquered, and that the spirit of Malik Ambar was 
as unbroken as ever. 

The most remarkable exploit of Jahangir 's reign is 
the conquest of the famous fortress of Kangra in Novem- 
ber 1620. The fort was situated on a lofty 
Kangra e8t ' hffl and was strongly fortified by nature. 
It was surrounded by a number of fortresses 
which were in the possession of hill chiefs. Near by was 
the famous Jberagle of JwalaiauldaL^t; Nagarkot, where 
thousands of devotees came from all parts of the country 

1 B. B I, p. 896. * K. B., I, p. 397. 


to offer worship. The temple was plundered by Mahmud' 
of Ghazni in 1009, but as soon as the whirlwind of his- 
invasion was over, the Hindu Rajas of the Kangra region 
again recovered their lost power. Firuz Tughluq led an 
expedition to Kangra, but its natural fortifications baffled 
all his efforts, and he had to be content with the nominal 
homage of the local chieftain. During Akbar's reign, an 
attempt was made to conquer the fortress, but the imperial 
generals accomplished nothing, though the siege lasted 
for a long time. When Jahangir came to the throne, he 
also thought of the conquest of Kangra. Murtaza Khan, 
governor of the Punjab, was appointed to the command* 
but his efforts failed owing to the jealousy and opposition 
of the Rajput chiefs, who were associated with him. After 
some time he died, and Shahjahan was entrusted with the 
command of the expedition. The imperialists assumed the 
offensive in full vigour, and the hill chiefs were thoroughly 
humbled. The siege of Kangra was pushed on for weeks- 
together ; the supplies were cut off, and the beleaguered 
garrison had to live on boiled dry grass. Death and 
starvation stared them in the face. After a prolonged 
siege of 14 months, when they saw no hope of deliverance, 
they surrendered on November 16, 1620. : 

Khusrau remained a solitary prisoner in his gloomy 
dungeon, and his soul sank under the accumulated weight of 

sorrow and misfortune. The ladies of the 
f haram, moved to pity by the prince's miser- 

able plight, requested the emperor that the 
repentant sinner deserved to be forgiven. Permission was 

1 A fall account of this campaign will be found in Sash Fatah-i- 
Kangra extracts from which are given in Elliot, VI, pp. 61781. 
The Memoirs also contains an account, B. B M II, pp. i 8386. 
For a d ascription of the fort see Memoirs, II, pp, 223-24. 


given him to attend the Durbar in 1613, but Khusrau's 
appearance " showed no signs of openness and happi- 
ness and he was always mournful and dejected in mind/* 
Nothing availed to brighten up his life, which seemed to 
him a cheerless blank. The emperor cancelled his previous 
order in disgust, and forbade his entry into the durbar. * 
Nurjahan's plans succeeded well enough, and in October 
1616 the hapless prince was entrusted to the custody of 
his mortal enemy Asaf Khan, who made him over to his 
rival Shahjahan. 2 The latter took him to the Deccan, when 
he marched against Malik Ambar, the Abyssinian, Luckily 
peace was made, and the cessation of hostilities enabled 
Shahjahan to organize the territories under his control. 
As Khusrau was still popular, Shahjahan thought it pru- 
dent to remove him from his path. ^AjMBurhanpj^ 
prince was murdered by Shahjahan's order early in 1622, 
and the emperor was informed that he had died of coli 

There is no doubt that Sha.hjahan was the 
.Khusrau's death. Jahangir in his Memoirs gives us no 
clue to the tragic event and simply writes : 'At this time 
a report came from Khurram that Khusrau on the 8th 
(20th of the month) had died of the disease of colic pain 
(Qulanj), and gone to the mercy of God. 3 Several years 
agqjifc Beveridge expressed the view, that there was no 
-evidence worthy b? the name, that Khusrau was murdered 
or strangled/ There is a mass of evidence to prove that j 
Khusrau was killed by Shahjahan's orders. Besides the 

E. B., I, p. 261. 

R. B I, p. 336. 
! B.B., II, p. 228. 
J. B. A.8., 1907, p.699. 



testimony of the later Muslim chroniclers and European 
travellers there is contemporary evidence, which holds- 
Shahjahan responsible for the crime. 

The murdered prince was liked by all classes of men 
\ of him : 

" For that prince, he was a gentleman of a very 
lovely presence and fine carriage, so exceedingly 
beloved of the common people, that as Saetonigs 
writes of Titus, he was amor et deliciae, etc., the 
very love and delight of them, aged then about thirty- 
five years. He was a man who contented himself 
with one wife, who with all love and care accompanied 
him in all his straits, and therefore he would never 
take any wife but herself, though the liberty of his 
religion did admit of his plurality " 

Khusrau was given a second burial. By the command of 
his father, whose wrath seems to have been allayed in the 
awful presence of death, his remains were conveyed to 
Allahabad, where they were interred by the side of his 
mother in a garden near Khuldabad. The walled garden 
known asJKhusrau _Bagh still stands^in its melancholy 
gr&ndeur to remind the visitor of those unhappy events, 
which led to the tragic end of the prince, who has been 
rightly described as one of the most interesting jypd 
pathetic figures in Indian history. """ 

M<< ^TCsTasTeen said before, Nurjahan's^backstair intri- 
gues had driven Shahjahan into revolt His hostility to the 

imperious Begum was no longer a Secret, 
* *'* and ' lt was kn wn to all that the prince would 

have to take prompt action, if he wished to 
safeguard his person and property. Both sides prepared 


Shahjahan had several 

prominent nobles to back up his cause, white Nuriahati 
could j?ounjL<^ veteran officers liHjuAaaf 

MgJiaJ>gJL_ Khun. und fM*f a %* *hp P rin ^ g , nf 
Marwar. Kptft, Rnnrii anrl Raja Kir Singh Rnni 

dela, jtfa^jtnurderer gf AbuLEazI, along with several 
others. The entire military and financial resources of th< 
empire were at her disposal, and even the supporters oi 
the prince felt that their patron had embarked upon 
hazardous enterprise. 

The first decisive battle between the imperialists and 
Shahjahan was fought at Bilochpur to the south of Delhi 
(1623) in which the rebels were defeated. Raya Rayan 
Raja Bikramajit, ' the gallant soldier, whose valour had 
been proved in many an arduous campaign, fell in battle, 
and his hgadjvas cut off by the imperialists. It was sent 
to Jahangir who is reported to have expressed much grati- 
fication at the death of such a deaclly enemy. Shahjahan 
was pursued by the imperialists, and skirmishes took 
place between him and Mahabat's troops. The situation 
was deemed so serious that Jahangir Jiimself proceeded to 
Ajmer to direct the campaign in person. The prince 
betook himself to Asir, which he captured without striking 
a blow, but desertions in his army filled him with anxiety. 
He, turned to Malik Ambar foj; help, but thejatter returned 
a curt refusal. Pressed hard by the imperialists, he crossed 
theTapti, although it was in heavy floods, and sought 
refuge in Golkunda. But the Sultan af Golkunda offered 
him jiq help^ land asked him to quit his country vrithout 

1 He was deputy of Bhahjahan and was once appointed viceroy of 
Gujarat by biin. He, was known aa Sundar. This is Brahman 8 and**. 


delay. Greatly disappointed, the prince marched across 
Telingana into Orissa which was a Mughal province. He 
reduced the whole of Bengal and Bihar, and brought them 
under his sway. Master of a valuable province, he attempted 
to seize Oudh and Allahabad, but he encountered stubborn 
resistance at the hands of the imperial garrison. When 
valour proved unavailing, treachery was employed. The 
Zamindara who had espoused the prince's cause were made 
to desert him by means of bribes and deceitful representa- 
tion^ ' " Reduced to sore straits, Shahjahan made one more 
desperate attempt to beat the enemy, but he was severely 
defeated. He retreated hastily to the fortress of Rohtas, 
and thence proceeded to the Deccan. 

I Malik Ambar, the old enemy of the empire, who was 
waging war against Bijapur, and who had just stormed 
the fort of Sholapur, accorded a cordial welcome to the 
fugitive prince, and formed an alliance with him against 
the emperor. Shahjahan laid siege to Burhanpur, but he 
abandoned it when Parwez and Mahabat Khan appeared 
on the scene. He retired to Rohangarh, and his valiant 
general Abdullah Khan renounced the world and buried 
himself in penance and prayer. 

Shahjahan found himself in an unfortunate predica- 
ment. It was difficult for him to make headway against 
the imperialists with their undoubted superiority in numbers 
in spite of Ambar's alliance. His generals had gone over 
to the side of the enemy, and Abdullah on whose fidelity 
he could always count had taken to the life of a recluse 
and a hermit. It is true he still held the forts of Rohtas 
in the north and Asir in the Deccan, but these could hardly 
stand a prolonged and concentrated siege by the 
imperialists. Reduced to sore straits, Shahjahan was 


nothing but failure starinfe him fa the face. He wrote 
to Jahangir to forgive his unfilial conduct. Nurjahan 
who feared Mahabat's growing influence and his 
alliance with Parwez readily grasped at the opportunity* 
and agreed to the proposal advanced by the rebellious 
prince (March 1626). He was asked to surrender the 
forts of Rohtas and Asir, and as a guarantee of frfc ff<*** 
behaviour he was to send his two sons Para and Aurangz&b* 
boys of ten and eight respectively, to court a* hftfttagg g 
Shahjahan made due obeisance to the royal farman and 
offered rich gifts valued at ten lakhs of rupees. He him- 
self repaired to Nasik with his wife and his youngest son 

It will be remembered that Nuriahan was anyinna tn> 

secureMbhe succession Jor. her aon-in-law Shahriyar t He was 

a good-for-nothing mediocrity, but the death 

* a b a b of Khusrau and the humiliation of Shahjahan 

once again encouraged the empress to revive 
Tier plans. The only other rival was Parwez, who was at 
this time closely associated with Mahahat K^an, the most 
redoubtable general and diplomatist, " f *** *pi> It is 
easy to imagine what Mahabat could do with Parwez as a 
tool in his hands, particularly, when the emperor was 
rendered incapable of exertion by continued ill-health. 
Nurjahan kept quiet as long as Mahabat's services were 
needed to cope with Khurram's rebellion, but the moment 
it was suppressed, she renewed her intrigues and attempt- 
ed to deprive Mahabat Khan of all power and influence. 
He was asked to resign the imperial command and to go 
over to Bengal to assume charge of the governorship of 
that province. Prince Parwez expressed his unwillingness. 
to allow him to go, and Nurjahan issued an order in wrath 


that Mahabat Khan must return to court, and the prince 
'should stay at Burhanpur. Fearing his brother's fate 
Parwez yielded, and Mahabat Khan also bowed to the royal 

Nurjahan did not rest content with the recall of 
Mahabat. She had the audacity to bring against him 
charges pf embezzlement and corruption. A royal message 
required him to send to court the elephants he had seized 
in Bengal and to account for the moneys which had come 
into his hands by reason of the dismissal of fief-holders. 
Another charge the preposterousness of which is obvious 
was that Mahabat had affianced his daughter without royal 
permission to the son of Khwaja Umar Nakshabandi. The 
emperor disapproved of the betrothal, sent for the young- 
man, and treated him with studied insults. His hands were 
tied to his neck, and he was escorted bareheaded to prison. 
An officer of the crown, Fidai Khan, was deputed to bring 
to the imperial exchequer all the wealth which had been 
given by Mahabat to his prospective son-in-law. Failing 
this, he was asked to send him to court. Mahabat was 
mortally offended by this outrageous treatment. Jt brought 
into clear relief jhejpaneful results of petticoat influence 
in affairs of great pith and moment, and strengthened the 
general's convictions, regarding the inefficiency of the pres- 
ent regime. Jahangir was too enfeebled in health to look into 
these matters, and blindly assented to the wishes of his 
imperious wife. Mahabat was taken aback, as any man 
would have been in his position, by the ingratitude shown 
by the powers-that-be in dealing with him. As he looked 
back to his relations with Nurjahan in the past. a L jnoment'8 
reflection convinced him that his life and honouFwgBJD 
and that nothing short of a drastic and timely move 


could save him from imminent ruin. Fully prepared for 
any contingency, Mahahat rollfvt^d four or five thousand 

fiajptitsy and jrtftrtgj Hrnr court. 

The emperor had just returned from Kashmir, and after 
a few months' stay at Lahore started for Kabul in March 
1626. He was encamped on the bank of the Jhelam when 
Mahabat arrived with his sturdy and well-armed Rajputs. 
How was he to secure his position ? He could only do so 
by seizing the emperor and weaning him completely away 
from the sinister influence of Nurjahan and Asaf Khan. 
When the emperor's party was to cross the Jhelam, Mahabat 
Khan came quietly with his men, and surrounded the 
imperial camp, and made His Maiestv a captiv r e. 

Nurjahan whom the general was anxious to catch 
crossed the bridge on the Jhelam in jlisguise, and escaped 
his clutched Shahariyar too disappeared in the confusion 
that followed Mahabat's coup. Nurjahan, on reaching the 
other bank, called a council of war to devise means of 
releasing the emperor. She rebuked her 

Khan and said to him : "All this has happened througl 
your neglect and stupid arrangements. What never enterec 
into the imagination of any one has come to pass, and n 
you stand stricken with shame for your conduct before 
God and man. You must do your best to repair the evil 
and advise what course to pursue.^ There could be bu 
one answer to this passionate reproach. All agreed with 
her that they should go to the other bank to overpower 
Mahabat and release the emperor from his custody. 

When Jahangir heard of this resolution, he felt anxious 
for his own position. The Mughals were no match to the 
Rajputs who could easily give them a short shrift in open 
-battle. They were well armed and disciplined, and it was 


an act of utter folly to go to fight against them. Messages 
were exchanged with the emperor who tried to dissuade 
his adherents from attack, but they paid no heed to his 
advice. Fidai Khan's dash to rescue the emperor failed, 
but his example served to inflame the ardour of the im- 
perialists. Next morning they resolved on attack come 
what might. Nurjahan's masculine qualities shone to tfa^ir 
fullest advantage in this hour of crisis. Regardless of her 
own life, the high-spirited lady attempted to cross the river 
on the back of ar^ elephant, with the infant daughter of 
Shahriyar in JheiLarmsi But the ford proved a treacherous 
one. It contained several deep pits in which men were 
drowned so that "all order was lost, and each party got 
over as best it could." On the other side of the river the 
Rajputs who were lined in battle array discharged their 
arrows at the imperialists. The great need of the hour was 
to cross to the opposite bank and keep off the enemy, but 
the greatest confusion prevailed, and the panic-stricken* 
officers rushed off in disorder, not knowing whither they 
went, or where they led their men. 

wifh Pytranrrijnarv courage and 

coolness in thi> <riaig T but her men could offer only feeble 
resistance to organised and disciplined Rajput valour. The 
imperialists lost their nerves and fled in all directions. 
Asaf Khan himself sought refuge in the fort of Attock with. 
nearly 3,000 soldiers, some camp followers, and attendants. 
Such was the courage olthe moat Baited gran rfp^nf the 

The Begum had no option but to surrender to Mahabat 
who allowed her to join her husband in captivity, fllahabat 
Kfran'q ftq/fndancy was fully established, and there was- 
none to dispute his authority in the empire. A punitive 


'force was sent against Asaf Khan who surrendered without 
much opposition. Though a prisoner in the hands of 
Mahabat, Nurjahan busied herself in devising means of 
escape from the clutches of her captors and finally suc- 
ceeded in the attempt. Mahabat Khan was asked to proceed 
to Thatta to counteract the plans of Shahjahan who had 
gone in the same direction. The general turned off in the 
direction of Hindustan, where he hoped 'to push his 
fortune.' But he was rendered powerless by royal party 
which plundered the rich convoy of treasure, he ha& 
received from Bengal to aid him in his plans. 

After Mahabat 's recall, Nurjahan appointed Khan 
Jahan Lodi to the Deccan command, but he was no match 
to Malik Ambar and would have suffered* 
Demean Ware. 6 heavy losses, had not the latter died in May 
1626. Malik Ambar's death was an irre- 
parable blow to the Nizamshahi dynasty. The official 
chronicler, who is in no way partial to the Abyssinian, 
writes of him /' Ambar was a slave, but an able man. In< 
warfare, in command, in sound judgment, and in adminis- 
tration, he had no rival or equal. He well understood that! 
predatory warfare, which in the language of the Dakhin] 
is called bargi giri. He kept down the turbulent spirits of 
that country, and maintained his exalted position to the 
end of his life, and closed his career in honour. History 
records no other instance of an Abyssinian slave arriving at 
such eminence. 1 

War broke out again in the Deccan and went on for 
some time with varying fortunes. Ambar's place was taken 
by another slave HBmid Khan who was equally able and 

1 Iqbaluamah, Elliot, VI, pp. 428-29. 


unscrupulous. The imperial t commandant Khan Jaham 
Accepted a huge bribe from Hamid and left to him the 
whole country of Balaghat as far as Ahmadnagar. Jahan- 
gir's Deccan policy had miserably failed, 

When Shahjahan heard of Mahabat's revolt in the 
Deccan, he marched towards the north and reached Thatta 
in Sindh. He tried to capture the fort which 
was ably defended by the governor who was 
a supporter of Nurjahan. Foiled in these at- 
tempts, he thought of going to Persia, but he was too 
fatigued by his ceaseless marches to start on such a long 
and arduous journey. 

Once more he went to the Deccan, disappointed and 
crest-fallen, and was obliged by ill-health to travel in a 
palanquin. The route followed by him was the same as 
adopted by Mahmud of Ghazni, when he marched against 
the temple of Somnath in Kathiawad. 

Meanwhile Mahabat's treasure Kor * KaQn Hwute^ hv 
thejnujfirialiste. Deprived of his money, he betook himself 
to the woods and hills of Mewar, and from thence proceed- 
ed to the Deccan. There he concluded an alliance with 
Shahjahan which was cemented by rich presents and gifts 
on both sides. 

The emperor's health was now completely shattered. 
On his return journey from Kashmir whither he had gone 
with Nurjahan and Asaf Khan in March 
Jahangir h * 1627, he stopped at Bairamkala 1 to indulge 
a angir. gportg< ^he death of an unfortu- 

nate foot-soldier here stirred him to his deepest depths. He 
lost his peace of mind and felt as if he had seen the angel 

1 Bairamkala is now known as Bahramgulla. It was the emperor's 
-hunting ground on the Kashmir route. 


t>f death- The cleverest physicians failed to effect a cure. 
Towards the close of day he sent for a glass of wine, but 
was unable to send it down his throat. During the night 
his condition grew worse, and he expired early in the next 
morning on October 28, 1627. 

Who was now to succeed to the throne ? garwez^who 
had become a hopeless decrepit at the early age of 37 
The ques- had died of excessive drink in October 1626. 
tions of sue- Shahriyar was still alive, and with a few 
cession. other princes of the royal family might be 

a serious rival of Shahjahan. Soon after the emperor's 
death Asaf Khan^sent a courier named Banarasi with his 
signet ring to the Deccan to inform Shahjahan of the sad 
event^ Meanwhile Asaf 's natural diplomacy suggested to 
him a means of easing the situation. He brought out of 
prison Dawarbakhsh^son of the ill-fated Khusrau, and pro- 
claimed him emperor Nurjahan made frantic efforts to 
see her brother, but the latter evaded her on one pretext 
or another. After this, the funeral rites of the emperor 
were performed, and he^was buried in Shahdara near Lahore 
in the Dilkusha garden of Nurjahan. The devoted lady 
afterwards erected a mausoleum, which lies in the open 
without a dome in obedience to the wish of her husband, 
who was a greatjover of natural beautv. 

While the body of the emperor was being interred at 
Shahdara, the fate of the empire hung in the balancg. 
Nurjahan had sent word to Shahriyar to make a bold bid 
for the throne. He was egged on by his wife to proclaim 
himself emperor at Lahore and to seize the royal treasure. 
This he did, and his efforts were seconded by one of the sons 
of Prince Danyal. Asaf Khan did his best to thwart the 
plans of Shahriyar and marched towards Lahore at the 


head of a considerable force. Lahore was besieged, and the 
craven-hearted prot6g6 of Nurjahan surrendered without 
resistance. He was thrown ipto prison anfl Minded 

Shahjahan on receiving the news hurried towards 
the north, and sent a farman to Asaf Khan that 
all his rivals * should be sent out of the world/ Anxioua 
to secure the position of his son-in-law, the wily minis- 
ter readily carried out his behest and rid him of all 
his rivals. This being done, Shahjahan made hjs^jatate 
entry into the capital on January 24. 1628. In recognition 
of his great services Asaf Khan was loaded with honours 
and distinctions ; he was created Yamin-ud-dowlah and 
his rank was raised to 8,000 Zat and 8,000 Sawar. Great 
honours awaited him in the future, and he lived to reach 
the summit of official greatness in the Mufthal empire. 

Nurjahan retired from public life. Although she had 
plotted and intrigued against Shahjahan the latter treated. 
her well and granted her a pension of two lakfrfi * y par 
Now she ffave up pll invnry and pnjnyfflgnt and dressed in 
plain white cloth, passgd_her daysjn Jjgrrow_at T^hore. 
Tier ^nly^companion being her daughter, the widow of 
J3hahrixr. She died on Shawwal 29, 1055 A.H. (December 
8, 1645 A.D. ), and was-kuried beside her husband in the 
m^ianlpnTyi which had been built by hen ~~ 

/ Jahangir is one of the most interesting figures in 
Jlughal history. The ordinary view that he 

pleasure-seeker and a callous tyrant does him 
oF 6 jlhang b ir. less'lEanjustice. All accounts agree that he 

was^Jnteyignt^..shrewd, and capable ^of_ 
understanding the most complex l>roHm 
without anynaiificiilty. Though not so great fn Intellect 
an9 character as his illustrious father, he had unconsciously 


2 I 

imbibed the influences, which surrounded him in early youth. 
The brilliant court of Akbar to which flocked the greatest 
wits, philosophers, religious leaders, statesmen and generals 
from all parts of India and Central Asia could not fail to 
leave its impress upon the ductile mind of the prince. He 
acquired much practical knowledge, though he had never 
shown the assiduity of a pupil. 

He had no cabinet or council to guide him. He 
^cted as his own guide in matters of state and was 

latterly ipfrplftrant. nf nppnaitirm. No minister Could brOW- 

foeat or deflect him from the course he had fixed for 
himself. He was anjenthusiastic hunter, a_Jme 


pa[gns, though in later Tifelie lost much -of the physical 
vigou^^d^hardihpod, which had characterjsedMhun in his 
early days. As he advanced in age, the old impetuosity 
of his temper was sobered down, and his outlook was modi- 
fied by the appreciation of the responsibilities of his exalted 

Kg was .stern in administering justice^aud^pllLjdown 
tyranny with a high hand. Law ; jand oirdgr were not 
neglected^ even in the ..remote 4>artaL of the_empire_as is 
sKown bxjus. efforts, to suppress. ;theJ3ewras in Gujarat. 
Punishments w^r pfte" sfcvfirfii and in impiSfEant cas<BS~that 
called for redress the emperor himself intervened. Capital 
punishment was not rashly or hastily carried out. 

When an order for the execution of a culprit was issued, 
the officers were required to wait till sunset before putting 
him to death. Though fair-minded and considerate to a 

&nd one writer who failed to understand his contradictory 
^qualities describes him as the " mixture of opposites." He 



was needlessly cruel at times and inflicted punishments- 
entirely disproportionate to the offences committed. But 
it would^be wrong to conclude that he had^a^thirst for 
hloodshgd^ he tppk delight Tri "tormenting the humB 

species. There Ts 'evidence to prove that he wasTTnghly 
generous and charitable. He rewarded^jri^^ 
service moS^suitebly , "and l^eTMemoirs relate numerous- 
mstianc^iof hislginevolence and good will. ' A slight claim 
olHservice is a great thing with us, f he used to say, and 
men of all grades and vocations were honoured by him, 
when he was convinced of their loyalty or worth. Jfe was 
kind to therpoor and was pleased to Jresto^jgjfts^. on . them. 
in_gggat^esteem and freely associated with 
to them, as is illustrated by his 
several visits to Jadrup, the famous Hindu ascetic of Ujjain. 
On one occasion at Ajmer he fed 5,000 people to their hearts* 
content, and then distributed money with his own hand. 1 

and affectionate heart ; towards 

his kinsmen he behaved with kindness, althc^gE~he ruth- 
le^ly^gu^heiiheir political off ericesV T5ut in every j^ase 
he_gaye an. opportunity of -xep^ftncCTSuT correction, 
though disobedient during hjs Jifetinofi,, Jahangir j&peaks 
ofjiisJaJtiier jn. terms of gretjreverencejind lovingly dwells 
di^tjbg., excellence of jils ^character. More^than once he 
walked barefooted to the sepulchre at Sikgftdara and duti- 
fully offered homage. 2 He was a doting father and devoted 

1 R. B., i, p. 266. 

Once he gave to faqirs and deserving people 44,786 bighas of 
land and two entire villages, with 320 ass-loads of grain from Kashmir 
and seven ploughs of land in Kabul. R. B., II, p. 84. 

8 Referring to the tomb he says: *I rubbed the head of suppli- 
cation on the threshold, the abode of angels, and presented 100 rnuhur* 
as nazar.' R. B., I, p, 101. 


husband* He forgave Jhis sons foy their treason, and j| 

ffhnaran's fatp was tragic, thejilairi-^^ 

with the emperor. Shahjahan's rebellion greatly mortified 

him, andjhe^aiHetic lament in wWch/helbe^ 

dutiful behaviourjs^hje^outppuijbig^of the gentle heart of agi 

injuredpareijt. To Nurjahan he was passionately attached, 

tcT6e1;o the day of his death his greatest friend and 
He allowed her to share with him the sovereignty of 
Hindustan, aSdTnevef heeded the pTOtest^mafte^gS^ 
ascendancy by her enemies. 

These noble qualities of his charactej Jahangii: owed 
in no small mggsure to his^eiiuPJdtiQli. He had learntjt 
great jdeal of. Persian lij-.eratnj-e and made himself an 
aSejpt in the art of composition. He could speak Turki, 
although he could not write it He tnnk 

songs and munificently rewarded HindLBafits.- .He 
loved poetry and himself composed odes. Besides the 
cultivation of belles lettres, he interested himself in a 
number of other subjects. He studied history, 
and biography, and his intima^ kngwleflgq of fog flfff^ 

other parts of Hindustan will cause 

surprisejto a naturalist in these. days* Any one. who reads 
fijs Memoirs .wiJLb^.coavinc^i of his pw^^^f-expression. 
his scienUfic^ spirithis inquisitivene 

aesthetic f acultiesaTaoTFTft IftyftirrSwlnrif^ot.nrft and paiy>t[ng 

and bad points of a work of art 

with the confidence of a professional connoisseur. Painters 
were generously rewarded at his court^ They receive*! 


titles from him and considered it an honour, if he condes- 
cended to scan with care their productions. 

But these noble qualities were to some extent neutra^ 
lised by his habit of drink. He had never tasted liquor 
until he was 15 years of age. He began it in .yojitii, and 
as hje^adva^ced in years, the appetite grew by what it fed 
on. His potions during nine years rose to 20 cups of doubly 
distilled liquor, fourteen of which he drank during the day- 
time, and the remainder at night. Later, he reduced his 
potions and observed the highest decorum during the day. 
But intemperance ^aflEgcted his health to such an extent 
that JiiLCOuld-iiot drink with his own hand and had to be 
helped by others. 

This evil habit contracted in early youth stuck to him 
to the end of his life. Once he resolved to abstain from 
liquor altogether, but he could not keep his vow. His 
constitution was completely undermined, but ~it must be 
said to his credit that he behaved with greater decency 
than Mnrad. Danval r and Parwez who had ftll 

Another weakness which seriously interfered with the 
efficiency of the administrationjpv^s^his willingness to allow 
himself to be controlled by others. N^Rh^rT^^Sn^ 
yghftTi dominated him an rwnpioihgiy that he delegated all 
his powers and functions to them, and accepted their 
-decisions without reservation. LQVP nf P^QP and indifferent 
fo PB h lfc frfa*f^ *** *" , and^mor^Jndolent^ until 

and energetic action, the 

-decline of physical and mental vigour was~the chief cause 
-of two formidable rebellions of the reign. 

It is sometimes asked what was Jahangir's religion. 
Was he an orthodox Sunni or an eclectic pantheist like 


his father ? It is not easy to state his positive religious 
beliefs. The opinion which his contemporaries formed of 
him was strongly coloured by their own predilections. 
Some looked upon him as an athejstj or an eclectic or a 
dyout31uslinu while others thought that he believed in 
Ther were yet others who considered 

hiyn & mnfkpr at all religinna after the fashion nf Vnlf.aire. 

None of these opinions is wholly true* 

Though pledged to maintain Sunni orthodoxy, Jie^never 
persecuted the Shias or Hindus. It was impossible for a 
man like him, nurtured amidst the most liberal influences 
to subscribe to a dogma or creed. But^ he retained intact 
Ijis^ith^m God* and said ,his_Bray f rs_likfi^a Muslim. He 

tnnlf a IfQPn intfttwrt in thq tiftpchiflga of 

and found delight in the company of those who were 
conversant with them. Still, he was not loth to punish 
those who interfered with orthodox Sunnism. Once when 
he came to know that certain Muslims had become attached 
to a Sanyasi, whose words made a great impression upon* 
them, he laid his hands heavily on them and enforced the 
Divine Law. J 

He had a feeling of contempt for .the^ Hindu ^isIigioBr- 
of which he knew little. Once at Ajmer he caused the 
image of Varah, the boar avatar of the Hindus to be broken 
and thrown i into the tank. Again on visiting the temple 
of Jwalamukhi at Kangra in 1622 he observed : 'A world 
has here wandered in the desert of error.' HeJid4jbhe 
Christians in esteem and allowed them to preach^jtheir 
religion in his dominions. Hajadh^ed.^ his lather'a policy 
ofJhilh-i,-Kul (PgacjBjmtQjaUIandJ: except in a few 
cases, to give effect to the policy of religious toleration." 
-^ TZ. B"., ;f, p. 171. 
F. 34 



Jahangir as revealed in the Memoirs is a typical auto- 
crat, a warm-hearted, friend and generous patron, a lover 
of nature and its wonderful beauty, a cherisher of ease 
and indolence with faults and virtues strangely intermixecf, 
jys'gjratjinces^^ he la "a" TbYer^ of filings 

_i and feel^e%htjn^ Indian surroundings?^ There*"ifi 
much in his character that deserves* to rbe^rondemned, but 
there is a great deal that entitles him to be placed among 
the most fascinating personalities of Indian History. C^ 
Shahjahan was the third soft of the emperor Jahangir. 
He was born of the Rajput princess Jagat Gosain in 1592. 
when his grandfather Akbar was still alive. l 
cru evi if ^ v, ? f Akbar had a great liking for Khurram as he 

o n a n 3 anan s 

Early Career. was then called, and considered him superior 
to the other sons of Jahangir. The prince 
was given a liberal education such as his high station 
deserved, and in a short time stored his mind with plenty of 
useful knowledge. He was naturally possessed of a strong 
will and character, and ^yhile t;he other princes drank hard 
and indulged in detach r Prinr>P TChnrram ^jpypd a reputa- 
tion for being a total abstainer from Alcohol. Since Khurram 
had lost favour with the emperor and Parwez was a brain- 
less and sottish mediocrity, the world looked upon him 
as the future emperor of Hindustan. Circumstances 
strengthened the belief that Jahangir intended Khurram to 
be treated as the heir-apparent to the throne. In 1607 the 
prince's mansab was raised to 8.000 Zat and 5,000 Sawarand 

1 She was the daughter of Raja Udaya Singh of Marwar. Prince 
Khurram was born on the last day of Rabi I in the year 1000 A. H. 
(January) 4, 1592, at Lahore. Abul Pazl says in the 36th year of Akbar's 
reign and the year 1000 A. H. a son was born to Salim of the daughter 
of Mota Raja. Rejoicings and festivities were performed and the Prince 
was christened 8ultan Khurram, i.e., * Joyous/ 

Akbarnamah, III, p. 603. 


^a year later the aarkar of Eisar Firoza was conferred upon 
him. Three years later the emperor signified his good will 
by raising his rank to 10,000 Zat and 5,000 Sawar. When 
the Prince grew to man's estate, he was married in April 
1612, to Arjumand Banu Begum, better known to fame as 
Mumtaz Mahal or thejady of the Taj, who was the daughter 
<>Asaf Khari^ one of the noblest grandees of the empire, 
It was a time when Nurjahan was fast rising into promi- 
nence. The astute lady soon formed an alliance with Khur- 
ram, who seemed to be a formidable rival, for the further- 
ance of her ambitious projects. To win him to her side, 
she persuaded the emperor in 1617 to raise the prince's 
mansab to 30,000 Zat and 20,000 Sawar, an honour usually 
reserved for men whom His Majesty especially delighted to 
honour. He had distinguished himself in the Mewar 
campaign against-^ the Rajputs, and had succeeded in 
dictating terms to the valiant Abyssinian who had long 
defied the imperial generals. These successes gained in 
difficult regions against heavy odds, convinced Jahangir 
of the prince's aptitude for military generalship, and to 
mark his pleasure, he bestowed upon him the title of 
Shah jahan^ and allotted to him a chair near the throne in 
the Durbar a favour which Shahjahan afterwards extended 
to his son Dara Shukoh. It was a lucky moment in 
Khurram's life. The emperor heartily lavished his affection 
on him, and loaded him with honours and distinctions. 

But a dark shadow cast its gloom on the prince's career. 
Jealous of his growing fame, Nurjahan wished to oust 
lim from the throne, and began secretly to push forward 

When Khurram learnt of her 

! secret design, he refused to qo to Qandhar. whither the 
peror had ordered him to proceed, and 


open rebellion. The 'empiref was convulsed by this* 
unhappy event, and Jahangir was grieved at the unfilial 
behaviour of the most promising of his sons. A slave to 1 11 ? wnnn wlift n ft W W ig1d<aH fho qpppfofl flf 1 

ffipdngten he did nothing to remove the just grievance 
of Khurram, and readily believed what she told him. 
War began, but the prince was soon tired of resisting the 
might and majesty of the empire, and offered an apology 
to the emperor, which was readily accepted. 

Jahangir's health was rapidly declining, and Nurjahan 
knew that her supremacy would come to an end, if she 
did not stir betimes to exclude Shahjahan from the 
succession. It was a_ highly dangerous move, but the 
ambitious lady found it impossible to reconcile herself to 
Shahjahan, whom she knew to be both able and unscrupu- 
lous. After Jahangir's death in October 1627. she formed 
a definite plan to give effect to her wishes. She put 
forward Shahriyar as her candidate for the throne in the 
belief that he would be a pliable instrument in her hands, 
while Asaf Khan pressed the claims nf gffrfthjahan, and by 
every means in his power tried to obtain recognition for 
them. Once more Nurjahan , whose mordinatejove_of 
power blinded her to the most obvious prudential con- 
siderations, decidedjbfiLjglunge the er gPJJnto the throes of 
a civil wai\ What did it matter to heFTmpeiHf^ 
if blood was shed in profusion and the treasure of the state 
wasted in abundance to back the claims of an imbecile 
aspirant to the throne ? Luckily Asaf Khan successfully 
checkmated his sister's plans, and made the field clear 
for his son-in-law by removing his rivals from the path. 
The princes of the royal family were Jbutchgre^ w friinn^ 
ruth, and ra&nj of their partisans and^upporters were 


killed. Some of the royal ladies who were deeply affected 
by jhese ghastly tragedies, ended thdr lives by commifr* 
tjng suicid^Troly; Shaft] atian~~wadea" to tne thrdfte 
through thel)lood of his own kinsmen, and this will ever 
remain an indelible stain on his memory. He formally 
ascended the throne on February 6, 1628^ and assumed the 
title^of Abul Muzaffar. Shihab^uddin Muhammad Sahib-i 
Qiran II Shahjahan Badshah Ghazj. The Khutba was 
read, and the coins were struck in his name, and Nur jahan 
was asked with becoming dignity to quit the political 
field. All coins bearing her jiame wgrejmmediatelv with- 
drawn. Odes and panegyrics were showered upon the 
new emperor by literary wits and others from far and 
wide. The ceaseless round of festivities and the grant of 
liberal promotions and rewards to the nobility proclaimed 
to the world amidst the beat of drums that a new era had 
begun in the history of the Mughal dynasty. 

The chronicler of the reign, Abdul Hamid Lahori, 

highly praises Shahjahan's orthodoxy, and writes that 

soon after his accession he devoted his atten- 

Early * a? 6 ?" ti n to ' the strengthening of the foundations 

sures of onah- 

jahan. of the Law of the Prophet, -which was in a 

sta te of decline. '*-<The first imperial decree 
consequently modified the calendar. The solar computa- 
tion was lookeJ upon by the orthodox as a religious 
innovation (**>>), and was therefore stopped. All official 
events and transactions were to be recorded according to 
lunar years, and preference was to be given to the Hijri 
era. The Sijdah (prostration) which had been in vogue 
during the reigns of Akbar and Jahangir was discontinu- 
ed, because the new emperor regarded it as contrary to 
the Shariyat. Mahabat Khan Khan-i-Khanan, one of 


the leading nobles, urged that Zanfinbos^ (kissing the 
ground) might be substituted for the Sijdah, for it was 
necessary to maintain the distinction between the sover- 
eign and subject, the patron and client, and the noble and 
the humble, on which the stability of the state depended. 
The emperor agreed to this, and ordered that they should 
touch the ground with their right hand and then kiss its 
back as a mark of obeisance. 1 The Saiyyids of high 
rank, learned men, pious saints, and those who had taken 
to solitude for prayer and meditation were exempted from 
this mode of salutation. But after some time it was felt 
that the Zaminbos also resembled the Sijdah, and there- 
fore it was abolished. Its place was taken by the Chahnr 

(V/"The city of Agra was renamed AkbarabacL in honour 
of his grandfather for whom Shahjahan always cherished 
a deep regard. Certain changes were effected also in the 
administration of the provinces of the empire. 

The nobles and grandees of the empire were munifi- 
cently rewarded, and generosity was shown even towards 
opponents. Asaf Khan became the recipient of unparal- 
leled honoui^nd^dignitles. His mansab was raised to 
8,000 Zat and 8,000 Sawar, and he was given the title of 
unqje (^) as a special piark of royal iagonr. With charac- 
teristic ardour the emperor devoted himself to the 
business of the state, and looked minutely into the details- 

1 Abdul Hamid (Padshahnama, Biblioth. Ind., I, p. 112) says that 
they were to touch the ground with both hands, but Amin Qazwim 
(All. U. MS., f. 36b) who compiled the history of the first ten years of 
the reign writes that only the right ban d (lA-J^i^td) was to touch the- 

* Abdul HamTd, Biblioth. Ind., I, p. 112. 

The Chahar taslim literally means ' four bows/ 


of administration. He began his reign well, and his re- 
actionary tendencies in religious matters gladdened the 
hearts of the orthodox party, which had been neglected 
by the state for more than half a century. 

Soon after the coronation of the emperor, the peace 
of the realm was disturbed for a short time by the rebel- 
lion of the Bundela clan. The Bundelashad risen to power 

The Bundela an( * ^ ame un( * er Bir Singh Deva, the murder- 
Rebellion, 1628 er of Akbar's famous minister Abul Fazl* 
' on whom Jahangir had lavishly bestowed 

honours and jagirs. The lax supervision of the central' 
government towards the close of Jahangir's reign enabled 
the Bundela chieftain to increase his power and riches by 
blackmailing his neighbours, who patiently endured the 
wrongs ihflicted on them by the imperial protkgk. After 
Bir Singh's death in 1627, his vast wealth and possessions 
passed to his son Jujhar Singh, who gave offence to 
Shahjahan by leaving the capital without permission. 
According to Qazwini he felt afraid lest he should be 
called upon to account for his misdemeanours, and this 
led him to entertain evil fancies. Knowing full well that 
his country was inaccessible, and that he had considerable 
money and forces at his disposal, he found no difficulty in 
coming to the conclusion that he could easily defy the 
Mughal power. Abdul Hamld Lahori writes that "the 
wealth and property which Bir Singh had amassed 
without labour and without trouble unsettled the mind of 
his worthless successor Jujhar, and at the accession of 
Shahjahan ... he left the capital Agra and proceeded to 
Undcha (Orcha), his stronghold where he set about raia- 
ing forces, strengthening the forts, providing munitions 
of war and closing the roads. " 


Shahjahan lost no time in making preparations to 
deal with the rebels. The imperial army marched against 
him from three directions. Mahabat Khan Khan-i-Khanan 
started at the head of 10,000 horse, 2,000 musketeers and 
500 sappers, and he was assisted by Saiyyid MuzaffarKhan 
of BSrha, Raja Ram Das of Gwalior, Habib Khan Sur and 
many other feudatories and mansabdars of high rank. 
As the Khan-i-Khanan was a man of headstrong and 
irritable temper, the emperor associated with him in 
command Islam Khan with a view to maintain harmony 
among the generals. Khanjahan proceeded from Malwa 
ma Chanderi at the head of 8,000 horse, 2,000 musketeers 
and 5,000 sappers, and he was also assisted by Hindu 
chiefs and mansabdars of the state. Another contingent 
consisting of 7,000 horse, 2,000 musketeers and 500 
sappers under Piroz Jung, the fief-holder of Kariauj, 
marched into Bundelkhand from the east. The entire 
royal force, including Asaf Khan's cavalry, consisted of 
27,000 horse, 6,000 foot, and 1,500 musketeers. Jujhar 
Singh, who had hopelessly miscalculated the situation, was 
frightened out of his wits at the sight of this army. He 
made desperate efforts to avert the disaster but in vain. 
His fort was captured, and in the battle nearly two or 
three thousand of his men were slain. At last he offered 
submission, and presented himself before the emperor. 
He was required to pay 1,000 gold muhars as present 
and 15 lakhs of rupees as fine, and had to yield 40 
elephants. He was allowed to retain as much jagir as 
would have enabled him to enjoy the rank of 4,000 SSat 
And 4,000 Sawars, and the rent was distributed among 
Khanjahan Lodi, Abdulla Khan, Saiyyid Muzaffar Khan, 
and Raja PahSr Singh Bundela. JujhSr Singh was ordered 


'to Tceep in readiness 2,000 cavalry and 2,000 infantry to 
.-aid the Deccan expedition of the emperor. 

Another rebellion which deserves to be noticed was 

that of Khanjahan Lodi in the second year of the reign. l 

He had counted on the uncertainty of suc- 

Khanjahan cession to the throne after Jahangir's 

Lodis rebel- 
lion, death, but Shahjahan's rapid and triumph* 

ant march from Ajmer to Agra convinced 
him of the futility of his intentions, and he implored for- 
giveness. His offence was pardoned, and a royal farman 
confirmed him in the governorship of the Deccan. After 
some time he was summoned to court, but it was found 
that he still harboured mischievous designs. 

For seven or eight months he remained at court, and 
was treated well by the emperor, but he always remained 
gloomy and dejected, and found no pleasure in the life of 
the court. He was terribly affrighted, when a certain 
stupid royal officer informed his sons that they would be 
thrown into prison along with their father in a short 
time. At Asaf Khan's suggestion, the emperor issued a 
letter of assurance bearing his own signature, but nothing 
served to allay Khanjahan 's suspicions. He was alarmed 
for his safety and once again sought refuge in flight. 

The emperor despatched Hindu and Muslim generals 
to deal with him, and they overtook him near Dholpur. 
But Khanjahan hastily crossed the Chambal, and passing 
through the Bundela country and Gondwana, proceeded 

1 Khanjahan Lodi was originally called Pir Khan Lodi. He was 
the second son of Daulafc Khan Lodi, one of Akbar's officers, Abdul 
Hamld contemptuously calls him Pira. He was an able man. His 
^military talents won him the title of Salabat Khan. In 1608 he became 
Khanjahan and was promoted to the rank of 5,000. He was sent by 
Jahangir to fight in the Deocan. 


to the Deccan, where he joined his old friend and ally- 
Nizamulmulk. The imperialists followed him thither and 
defeated him in a number of skirmishes. But Khanjahan 
was still as undaunted as ever. He turned back, and 
crossing the Narbada reached the outskirts of 
Ujjain, where he engaged himself in plundering 
the inhabitants. The imperialists again drove him into- 
the Bundela country, where a well-contested engagement 
was fought in which both sides suffered heavy losses, 
Khanjahan fled to Kalinjar, but there also he suffered a 
defeat at the hands of the local qiladar. In great despair 
he betook himself to Tal Sehonda, ' where the final 
encounter took place in which he was completely defeated 
by the imperialists. His head was cut off and sent to the 
imperial court. The same fate was shared by nearly a 
hundred of his followers. The heads of the victims were 
suspended from the gate of the fort to serve as a warning 
to othdr like-minded miscreants in the country. Abdulla 
and Muzaffar, the imperial generals, who had acquitted 
themselves with great distinction in tedious and ceaseless 
campaigns, were fitly rewarded by the emperor for their 
patience, courage, and endurance. Abdulla 's mansab 
was raised to 6,000 Zat and 6,000 Sawar, and the lofty 
title of Firoz Jung was conferred upon him. Muzaffar's 
services too were duly recognised ; he was promoted to- 
the rank of 5,000 Zat and 5,000 Sawar and became the 
recipient of the title of Khanjahan. 

In the month of Rajab Shahjahan held the feast of 
Nauroz with great pomp and splendour. A magnificent. 

1 It is north of Kalinjar on the bank of the river Ken. 


canopy was constructed in ^the courtyard of the Daulat 
Khana, and the ground was covered with 
carpets of variegated hues. No effort wa 
spared in making the place look gram 
and beautiful. The four princes stood on the fou 
corners of the throne, and Asaf Khan and other noble 
occupied the places allotted to them. The emperor made 
liberal gifts to the members of the royal family. He gave 
fifty lakhs to Mumtaz Mahal, twenty lakhs to Jahanara 
Begum, five jakha^to^aushanara Begum, and five lakhs to 
each of the princes. Asaf Khan 's mansab was raised to 
9 ,"000 Zat and 9,000 Sawar. Altogether from the day of 
coronation to the Nauroz, the emperor spent from the 
public treasury 1 crore and 60 lakhs in granting rewards- 
and pensions. 

During the year 1630 a terrible famine occurred in the* 
Deccan and the countries of Gujarat and Khandesh. Thou- 
sands of people died of starvation, and 
and parents consumed their own children allr 

Gujarat, 1630 feeling of parental love being destroyed by the 
pangs of hunger. Mirza Amin Qazwini, who 
was an eye witness of these lieart-rending sufferings, 
writes thaFTinspeakable distress prevailed everywhere, 
and that in the bazar the grocers and traders mixed 
powdered bones with flour, .and sold dog's flesh which 
was mistaken for meat by the poor and ignorant. Pesti- 
lence followed in the wake of famine. It raged with suck 
fury that whole_yillages became desolate. Streets and 
lanes were glutted with human corpses, and the high- 
ways were so covered with filth that they became im- 
passable. Many people fled towards Hindustan to save 
their lives, and many gave up the ghost in despair in their 


own country, when they failed to procure anything to eat. 
Abdul Hamld Lahori writes : 

" Destitution at length reached such a pitch that 
men began to devour each other, and the flesh of a 
son was preferred to his love. The numbers of the 
dying caused obstructions in the roads, and every man 
whose dire sufferings did not terminate in death and 
/who retained the power to move wandered off to 
^the towns and villages of other countries. Those 
lands which had been famous for fertility and plenty 
now retained no trace of productiveness/' 1 
The emperor was moved to pity by this widespread 
human suffering, and he ordered langars or public kitchens 
to be opened in Burhanpur,jAJhmadabad, and the province 
of Surat^where fcwcTwas distributed every day gratis to 
the poor and the indigent. 

On every Monday at Burhanpur 5.000 rupees were 
distributed among jhe famished population. ThusTln 
twenty weeks the emperor spentTa lakh of rugees. For 
the relief of the sufferersTin Ahmadabad where misery 
.exceeded all bounds, he sanctioned another 50,000 rupees. 
Besides this charity, the emperor was pleased to remit 
70 lakhs of government revenue in the crown lands 
which amounted to nearly one-eleventh of the total 
revenue of the empire. 2 His benevolent example was 
followed by the mansabdars, who made similar remissions 
in their jagirs. 

Pe^er IjJundy. the European traveller, who happened 
to be in the Deccan in November 1630, describes the 

1 Elliot, VIi; p. 24. 

2 Elliot, VII, p. 25. Qazwini says 50 lakhs of rupees which amounted 
to one-fifth of the assessment. 


horrors of this calamitous yisitation. The highways were- 
strewn with corpses which emitted intolerable stench. In 
the towns especially they drag them (dead bodies) out by 
the heels stark-naked, of all ages and sexes, till they are 
out of the gates, and then they are left, so that the way 
is half barred up. l Mundy is supported by other European 
writers. The dearth of provisions was so great that even 
the English factors felt the pinch. Their correspondence 
reveals the dire distress that prevailed in the country. 
Prides rose seven-fold, and the poorer classes trades- 
men, artisans, mechanics, washermen, and dyers left their 
homes jn despair and perished in the fields for want of 
sustenance. Pestilence destroyed hundreds of lives, and 
large numbers of people were found in the streets dead 
or dying. The English and IJutch settlements jvgre 

affected. Eleven English factors and three Dutch factors 

"*- i - ~ - 

died, and the President of the English Factory Rastall 
also succumbed to te "fell "disease. The streets" Became 
impassable on account of the crowds of famished people, 
who cried out to the passers-by, ' Give us food or kill us.' 
The floods greatly aggravated their misery, and whole 
tracts of land became desolate. 

Dr. Vincent Smith discounts the efforts of the state to 
afford succour to the famine-stricken people. He says that 
the remission of one-eleventh of the assessment implies 
that attempts were made" to collect ten-eleventh, a 
burden which could not be borne by a country reduced 
to ' th& w direst extremity' and retaining ' no trace of 
productiveness. ' a Dr. Smith relying obviously on Elliot's, 

1 Travels of Peter Mundy, II, p. 44. 

2 Oxford Histou,p. 394. 


imperfect translation- of the Padshahnamah thinks 
that a remission of a little more than an anna in the 
rupee was allowed. This view is not in agreement with 
the text. Abdul Hamld clearly states that nearly 70 lakhs 
-of rupees, out of the 80 crore dams (2 crores of rupees) 
which were equal to one-eleventh of the total assessment 
(880 crores of dams according to the same writer) of the 
empire, were remitted. It means that the remission 
amounted to nearly one-third of the total demand, i.e., 
five annas four pies in the rupee, which is not so baa as 
Dr. Smith supposes. It is true, the concession was not com- 
mensurate with the appalling misery that prevailed in the 
country, but it was not altogether insignificant. Even if 
we assume, as the chronicler suggests, that larger remis- 
sions were made by mansabdars and jagirdars, the relief 
could not have been sufficient to cope with the terrible 
situation. But the charity flf thg pmpm>r dpfmrvffi tin 
be commended. He was not unmindful of the interest of 
the poor people, and tried to mitigate human suffering 
-according to mediaeval methods. It would be unfair to 
apply to his conduct the standards which we must employ 
in judging the British administration, rightly regarded 
as one of the most scientific, efficient, and well-organised 
systems of the world. 

No woman of high rank has acquired such celebrity 

jn hjsiQiy. as Shahjahan's dearly loved queen Arjumand 

Banu Begum, familiarly known as Mumtaz 

? a r e e r of Mahal or the lady of the Taj. She was the 

Mumtaz Ma- * , , , . . i 

bai. daughter of Asaf Khan who had risen high 

enough by his talents to mould a mighty 

state's decrees. She was born in 1594 A.D. and was 

.betrothed to Prince Khurram in 1606-7, when he was not 


*full 16 years of age. 1 The* Prince* was already married to 
<Jandhari Begum, but that was no obstacle to a fresh 
marriage according to Mughal custom. Arjumand Banu 
was well educated by her father. 

thejaualjties and accomplishments which add to 
of womanhood. The a| game of her beauty had jpread far, 
and wide, and was the^uBjec'foT talk in tHeTamily circles 
of the dignitaries of the empire, Jahangir also heard of the 
superb loveliness and charms of Asaf 's daughter, and was 
induced to give his consent to-he^niarriage with his 
favourite son Khurram. The jiuptiaLrwere celebrated 
with great pomp and splendour in April 1612 A.D. and the 
emperor and empress took a leading part in marriage 
festivities. Fewjnarriages in polygamous households have 
resulted in soltnuch happiness as the marriage .oJE Shabiahan 
"with Arjumand Banu. Like her aunt, she captivated her 
fiusband^^sTeaftby her charms. She loved him passionate- 
ly, and he fully reciprocated her love. She continued to 
enjoy in the fullest measure his confidence to the day of 
her death. Through sunshine and storm/ through good 
and evil days, she always behaved like a dutiful wife, 
cheerfully sharing her husband's joys and sorrows. When 
Shahjahan was a homeless exile for eight years during his 
father's reign, the Begum weathered the buff ets of poli- 
tical life with a serenity which is fully deserving of our 
admiration. She always acted as his best friend and 
guide. Her advice he valued most, and even in matters of 
high policy he never took any initiative without consult- 
ing her. With his accession to the throne she rose to 
the full zenith of her fame. 

2 Shahjahan was born on 30th Rabi, I, 1000 A.H.=5th January, 1592. 


Her allowances and jagirs were increased, and she 
was given precedence over all the other ladies of the- 
imperial household. The title of Malik-i-Zamap was con- 
ferred upon her, and as the prime confidant of the Mughal 
sovereign, she was entrusted with the custody of the royal 
seal, which was afterwards transferred to her father at 
her own request. 

Mjn&taz's character never shone more brilliant than, 
in the heyday of prosperity. Weal^nSHjj^^md^Bel^ 
like Marie Antoinette of Prance, toTTiuman misery and 
want. Her tender heart was moved to pity wheifshe 
saw poor widows and orphans in distress. There was no 
miserable and oppressed man or woman in the empire, 
but appealed to her with success. She gave away large 
sums in charity and provided money for the marriages of 
many a poor orphan girl. Her mercy rescued many a 
criminal who had despaired of life, and restored to their 
rank and dignity officers of the state, who had incurred 
royal displeasure, fn theharamshe was a warmth diff ua- 
ing^bliss all round. Herliumberless acts of kindness and 
generosity had won her the love, respect, and devotion of 
other ladies in an unequalled measure. She was encouraged 
and assisted in her humanitarian endeavours by her lady- 
in-waiting, Sati-un-nissa Khanum. ! who retained her native 
virtue in spite of the allurements of the Mughal zenana. 
After her death, the noble lady was honoured by being 
buried near the grave of her adored mistress. For jigr 

religion. Mumtaz cherished a deep regard. She said her 

"*" ~- ~~ j~ 

1 Sati-un-nissa Khanum belonged to a noble family of Mazandaran, 
in Persia. Her brother was a poet at Jahangir's court and was given 
the title of Malik-al-Shaura. Sati-un-nissa Khanum entered the service- 
of Mumtaz Mahal, and by her abilities and accomplishments gained her 
favour and confidence. 



prayers and observed her fafsts regularly, and the Muslim 
chronicler warmly speaks of her piety, because her reli- 
gious views were strongly tinged with orthodoxy. Shah- 
jahan's harsh measures against Christians and idolaters 
must be ascribed in part to her influence, although he was 
astute enough to realise the disastrous consequences of a 
wholesale crusade against infidelity. But this was a petty 

in the hfeartTof her husband andthe 

affections ofhjs subjects, she did so by the nobility of her 

! 5Kari^^ 

emperor fully requited her devotion by building the Taj, 

which will remain for all time to come as the noblest 

monument of conjugal love and fidelity. ' 

In 1630 when Shahjahan was conducting operations 
against Khanjahan Lodi from his camp at Burhanpur, 
Mumtaz gave birth to a daughter, her fourteenth child. 
The delivery was neither easy nor safe ; some internal 
disorder brought on fainting fits, and the queen felt that 
the remorseless iron hour had arrived. She asked her 
daughter Jahanara to call the emperor from his apart- 
ments. As the emperor entered the room and seated 
himself by her side, she piteously gazed at him with 
tearful eyes and whispered that lie would be pleased to 
take care of her children and her aged parents, when 
she had passed into the other world. 8 With these words 

1 Dr. Vincent Smith writes (Oxford History, p. 395) that little is 
known of the personal character of Mumtaz Mahal. He did not utilise 
the Persian sources. The contemporary chroniclers Mirza Amin Qae- 
wini and Abdul HamTd write at length about the noble qualities and 
accomplishments of the queen. 

8 Abdul Ham! d Labor! writes (I, p. 885) X^U felt, only. 
P. 85 


1 (\ ' 

the Begum closed her eyes in death (17th Zilqada 1040 A. H. 

7th June, 1681 A.D.) leaving the emperor in a state of 
stupefaction. ! 

Pate could not have dealt ajnore cruel blow to Shah- 
jahanT ^Kege^was^no" dearth oF wives, but Mumtaz's 
death causedja void in his life which coufiTnot be filled. 
bacTTtoTlie past, his sense of loss increased 

a hundredfold, and the recollection of her constant love 
and devotion made his grief more poignant and bitter. 
The entire court went into mourning, and the emperor did 
not appear in the Jharokha for one week and transacted no 
public business. Often did he exclaim in bitter anguish 
of the soul, that it was only his regard for the sacred trust 
of empire, which no one can throw aside at his pleasure, 
that prevented him from renouncing the world and 
taking to a life of secluded asceticism. Whenever he 
went to pay a visit to the Begum's tomb, streams of tears 
came out of his eyes, and he expressed his grief by saying, 

life itself has no relish left for 

found nothing irf the haFamThat couIcTafford 
him pleasure, and he returned saying, ' nobody's face can 
delight me now.' He gave up costly dress, jewellery, 
and perfumes, and eschewed every kind of pleasure for a 
period of two years. Sorrow proved jto him a cruel 
-companion indeed ; he had so farps^s^the SJuslim chro- 
nicler, only a few grey hairs in his beard, but now it 

1 Abdul HamTd Lahori gives the age of the queen at this time as 
8 years and 2 months Shamsi. 

Padshahnamah, Vol. I, p. 889. 

Elliot's statement that the queen was in her 40th year is not in 
.agreement with the text History of India, VII, p. 27. 


all became silver grey in a sliort time. l Mumtaz's remains 
were brought to Akbarabad after six months and were 
provisionally interred in the gardens of the Taj. Later, 
they were removed to the place where the mausoleum now 
stands. In the palace her place was taken by Jahanara 
Begum. 2 

The Portuguese had established themselves at Hugli 
with the permission of the former rulers of Bengal, In 

Wa* with the course ' ^ me the y developed their power 
Port uguese, and influence, and built a number of sub- 
1631-32. ^ s tantial buildings which they fortified with 

cannon, muskets and other fighting material. Surrounded 
on one side by the river and on three sides by a 
deep moat full of water, the port of Hugli occupied a 
strong position and could successfully hold at bay an 
invading army. Foreigners took the lease of the villages 
on both sides of the river at a low rent, and thus gave 
them an opportunity of tyrannising over the poor people. 
Besides, they levied customs duties through their own 
officers to the great detriment of the revenue of the state 
and engaged in slave trade, which 

much cruelty and torture. With such nefarious practices, 
they were bound sooner or later to draw down upon them 
the wrath of the imperial government. 

The misbehaviour of the -Portuguese at Hugli was not 
-a solitary instance of their highhandedness. They had 

1 A.H., Padshahnama, I, p. 388. 

Qazwini says the emperor had not more than ten or twelve grey 
hair in his beard, but nearly one-third of it became completely white. 

3 Jahanara henceforward held a position of pre-eminence in the 
royal palace. Mumtaz's tarkah ( & ) was divided among her chil- 
dren. Half of it was given to Jahanara Begum and the rest to the 
other children. Her allowance was increased by four lakhs a year. 


been making mischief for some time past not only in 
Bengal but also in other parts of India. Their Jesuit 
priests tried to impose their beliefs on the people in a 
most fanatical spirit and caused much embarrassment to 
their government. In 1629 the Archbishop of Goa wrote 
to the king of Portugal complaining in strong terms of the 
conduct of the ecclesiastics who invariably disregarded 
the civil power. Sometimes they intrigued with the Dutch 
and the Muhammadans even against their own govern- 
ment, and did more harm to their country than its 
avowed enemies. They behaved in like manner at Hugli, 
and when their insolence reached its highest pitch, the 
emperor took vigorous measures to suppress them. 

The Portuguese had shown much audacity in seizing 
.two slavejrirls belonging to Mumtaz Mghgtl, when Shah- 
jahan was in retelliorfagainstTiis father, and refused ta 
release them. Mumtaz was greatly offended and resolved 
to chastise them. The misdeeds of the Portuguese had 
been brought to Shahjahan's notice even before his 
accession, and he was only waiting for an opportunity 
to root out their power. 

Soon after his accession, the emperor appointed Qasim 
Khan as governor of Bengal in 1631, and ordered him to 
take steps to exterminate the infidels. The royal forces 
marched into Bengal by land and sea under Qasim's son 
Inayat-Ullah and another general Bahadur Kambu. When 
all the forces had reached the mouth of the river, the 
imperialists assumed the offensive on the 2nd Zil Hijja, 
1041 A.H. The Portuguese living in the villages on both 
sides of the river were attacked and ' sent to hell' The 
capture of Bengali boatmen led to serious defections in 
their ranks, and about 4,000 men went over to the enemy. 


The siege of Hugli lasted for three and a half months. 
The crafty Portuguese feigned submission and offered a 
lakh of rupees and tribute, but secretly they put their 
forces in order and arranged that 7,000 gunners should 
open fire on the Mughals. After a good deal of strenuous 
fighting their tactics were foiled, and they were over- 
powered. Many rushed into the waters and were drown- 
ed, and those that escaped were captured by the enemy. 

.The Portuguese losses were heavy; about 10,000 of 
their men, women, and children were jkUled, and about 
4^400 were made captives, while on the Mughal side, the 
chronicler remarks that, nearly one thousand men * ob- 
tained the glory of martyrdom/ The Portuguese tyranny 
was thus ended, and about ten thousand inhabitants of 
the neighbouring country who had been confined by 
them in prison were set at liberty. 

What displeased the emperor most was the fanaticism 
of the Portuguese. To the captives a choice was offered 
between Islam and life-long imprisonment or slavery. 
They had been used to make conversions by force, and 
now the imperial government paid them back in their 
own coin with compound interest. Some who valued 
their lives more than their beliefs readily embraced Islam, 
but there were many who suffered torture and cruelty 
with undaunted courage and "passed from prison to 
hell." Their idols were either thrown into the Jamna or 
broken into pieces. Those who survived this cruel treat- 
ment were permitted to occupy Hugli again, but the port 
never recovered its former prosperity despite the efforts 
of the local administration. 

A word must be said about the manner of this 
campaign. The emperor was ruthlessly vindictive in 


bis attitude towards the Christians, and the punishments 1 
which he inflicted upon them were disproportionate to 
their guilt. It is true, they had grossly misbehaved, 
their audacity and insolence were reprehensible in the 
highest degree, but to impose upon helpless men, women, 
and children the choice between Islam and death was 
a proceeding of which there can be no justification. If 
the emperor had been more tolerant and generous, he 
might have achieved his end with a lesser sacrifice of 
innocent lives. His treatment of , the vanquished took 'the 
colour of a religious persecution, but in criticising the 
emperer's policy we should bear in mind the impertinences 
of the Portuguese not only in Bengal but all over India. 

Shah jahan's reign marks a reaction against the liberal 
policy of Jahangir. The contemporary Muslim chronicler 

describes him with pleasure as Shahanshah 
Orthodox^!' 8 Din-i-Panah r and speaks with approbation 

of kis measures against Hindu orthodoxy. 
In 1682 the etnperor was informed that the * wealthy^ 
infidels ' in Benares were desirous of completing the idol 
temples which had begun during the reign of his predeces- 
sor. An order was issued that in Benares and in other 
parts of the empire the temples, whose construction had 
commenced, should be razed to the ground. The local 
officers perhaps literally carried out the imperial command, 
and shortly afterwards news* came from Allahabad that 
in the country of Benares seventy-six temples had been 
completely demolished. 1 This was a foretaste of that 
fanaticism which afterwards wrecked the empire. Shah- 
jahan's bigotry manifested itself in his dealing with the 


ruler of Golkunda. As an prthodox Sunni, he forbade the 
tabarra (fe)_or the abuse of the first three Khalifas in 
the dominions of the Qutb Shah. l A clause to this effect 
was included in the treaty, and henceforward the names- 
of the first three Khalifas were to figure in the Khutba. 
of the ruler of Golkunda. The imperial farman clearly 
states that the emperor regarded this as a sacred duty. 

Shahjahan like his predecessors was anxious to con- 
QUQT the Muslim kingdoms of the Deccan, and he waged 
wars against them pertinaciously for a num- 
^ Deccan P - ber of yearg A ^bar and Jahangir -were 7 

actuated by political motives in their Deccan 

campaigns. But a change came over Mughal policy i& 
Shah jahan's time. Asa champion of , Sunni ^orthodoxy,, 
he^fglt ,it his duty to exterminate the Shia heresy in the 
south. Hence his wars were prompted by political and 
religious "motives. His spn.AuranggebLl olio wed the same 
policy on a more comprehensive scale. 
"""** Before entering on a discussion of Shahjahan's plans 
and policies in the Deccan it would be well to examine the 
relations, which subsisted between the Deccan states and 
the Mughals prior to his accession to the throne. 

Akbar had conquered Khandesh (1599) and Ahmad- 
nagar (1600), and annexed them to the empire. When he 

A. H. Padshahnama, I, p. 402. 

1 Tabarra literally means complete dissociation from something 
that is bad or highly objectionable. The Shias were in the habit of 
abusing the first three Khalifas, Abu Bakr* Omar, and Osman and oi 
introducing the name of the Persian king in the Khutba. The emperor 
as a champion of Sunni orthodoxy strongly objected to this and asked 
the Deccan Sultans to give up this practice. A clause to this effect 
was added in the treaty. A. H. Pad shah nama, Vol. II, p. 131. 


was at A sir gar h, Salim revolted in the north, and thd 
operations had to be suspended. Though Ahmadnagar 
was a part of Akbar's dominion, it was never effectively 
brought under his sway, and in many districts ambitious 
men acted as they pleased. Taking advantage of the 
distracted condition of Ahmadnagar, the rulers of Gol- 
kunda and Bijapur enlarged their territory at its expense. 

During Jahangir's reign, the Mughals made no sub- 
stantial progress. Their advance was checked by Malik 
Ambar, the Abyssinian minister of the Nizam Shahi 
kings, of whom some account has been given before. He 
employed the light Maratha cavalry, and with its help 
recovered the lost Ahmadnagar territory, and drove the 
Mughals back to Burhanpur. It was seriously feared at 
onetime that the Mughal frontier might again recede 
backwards to the Vindhyas. To manage this disquieting 
state of affairs, Jahangir sent Shahjahan to the Deccaru 
The Prince succeeded by his gallantry in the^Jd^fJbattle 
in^ dictating tenasjto^ aaved Jthe 

prestige of the empire tfomj^im. But this was a short- 
lived triumph. Shahjahan's rebellion and Mahabat's 
disgrace, which followed soon afterwards, convulsed the 
empire, and seriously interrupted the activities of the 
Mughal generals in the Deccan. The Sultanates got their 
opportunity and again began to defy the imperial power. 

With Shahjahan's accession to the throne commenc- 
<<^ a^Sew era of TDecca&^jOlicy. Fully aware of the 
strong and weak points of the Deccan States, he was quali- 
fied to undertake operations on a large scale. In 1629 
ghanjahan I^di'sjrebellioirwas suppressed, but a year 
later the combined~efforts of Bijapur and Ahmadnagar 
gave Shahjahan an opportunity to interfere effectively in 


W * '.?'. 

Deccan politics. Fatah Khan^the son of Malik Ambar. 
who had taken his faEEeSpi^ce after Jiis death, inform- 
ed Asaf Khan that the fear for his own life had led him 
to throw into prison the Nizam Shahi king. A reply was 
sent to him that he ' should rid the world of such a worth- 
less and wicked being.' "Tafah Khan promptly carried 
3ut the atrocious suggestionTandplaced on the throne 
NizanijShjd^^ a boy of ten years. In this 

scEame he had the full support of the Mughal govern- 

The presence of a roi faineant at Ahmadnagar once 
again emboldened Bijapur and Golkunda to enrich them- 
selves at the expense of their neighbour. Shahjahan 
'called upon the Sultan of Bijapur who 'had shown 
himself unfaithful to the imperial throne ' to renew his 
allegiance to the Mughals, and deputed Asaf Khan to 
awaken him to a sense of his duty. The general forthwith 
proceeded to execute his mission, and laid siege to Bijapur 
(1631 A.D.). The Mughals enjoyed a ' warm interchange 
of rockets, arrows, and musketry ' with the enemy, and 
the siege went on for 20 days. But the exhaustion of 
supplies alarmed Asaf Khan, and his anxiety increased 
considerably, when he learnt that grain had risen to one 
rupee per sir, and that men and cattle had already begun 
to die of hunger. The siege was raised, and the Mughal 
army started in search of provisions. It freely engaged in 
plunder, and ' on whatever road they (the soldiers) went 
they killed and made prisoners and ravaged and laid 
waste on both sides/ The Bijapuris were made to feel 
the hoofs of Mughal horses, and the most flourishing part 
of their country was 'trodden under/ The royal forces 
withdrew to Mughal territory, and the emperor left for 


the north on the 24th*Ramzan, 1041 A.H. (=4th April* 
1632 A.D.). As Asaf Khan had not been able to manage- 
the Deccan affairs properly, Mahabat Khan was directed 
to take his place. 

Malik Ambar's son Fatah Khan had received from 
the emperor in lieu of his submission certain districts 
^ x- A - * which had really belonged to him, but had 

Extinction of . . _ . _ 

the Nizam latterly been given to ShjtfyiL Deeply in- 

Shahi king- censed a t thig> Shah j { calle(J in the aid of 

Adil Shah to assist him in wresting the fort 
of Daulatabad from the Nizam Shahis. Fatah Khan, 
who was alarmed for his safety, wrote to Mahabat Khan 
that he intended to deliver the fortress to the imperialists 
on which Mahabat sent his son with a force, and himself 
followed a little later. The Bijapuris were defeated in a 
well-contested engagement, and a bastion of the fort was 
stormed by a mine. A breach was effected in the walls 
of the fort, but the brave men of Bijapur ' kept up such a 
rain of arrows, bullets, and rockets, that the storming 
party was obliged to take refuge in the trenches/ 
Urged by the Khan-i-Khanan, the imperialists rushed to 
the breach, forceffTheSerilry into the fort, and applied 
their swords with deadly effect. The fortifications of 
Ambar, 14 gaz in height and 10 in thickness, were destroy- 
ed by the besiegers. 

The imperialists laid another mine under the fortress, 
and Fatah Khan was so alarmed that he removed his 
family to a place of safety. He sent word to the Khan-i- 
Khanan to postpone the explosion of the mine for a day 
to give him time to consult the Bijapuris about terms. 
The Khan-i-Khanan who was now convinced of his 
duplicity and bad faith, replied that he should send his* 


as a hostage, if he desired the explosion to be post- 

Fatah Khan certainly did not mean to keep his word. 
He was simply temporising with his opponents. When a 
fresh breach was effected in the wall, he realised that 
further resistance was impossible. He wanted a week'& 
time to remove his own and the royal family out of the 
danger zone, and sent his eldest son as a security for the 
fulfilment of his word. His request was granted, and the 
Khan-i-Khanan showed his kindness by sending him ten 
lakhs and fifty thousand rupees as desired. It was_an act 
of sbarfeful. cowardice on the part of Ambar's son to- 
accetsuch aTiuglTHrl^^ 

^ theTraysTTx) " tHeTKfia^j^KHan an ^and^ ^withj JLI& 
pockets full of imperial j^ld*,^ 
exit from"the fort on thVTgth Zifhijjah, 1042 A.H. (=18th 

The Mughal banner was planted on the ruined ram- 
parts of Daulatabad, and the Khutba was read in the 
emperor's name. Husain Shah* the puppet king whom 
Fatah Khan had placed upon the throne, was handed over 
to the Mughals. He was condemned to imprisonment, 
and sent to the fortress of Gwalior to sigh out his life 
in deep despair. The kingdom of Ahmadnagar came to 
an end. 

The Bijapuris again laid siege to Daulatabad, but 
they were compelled to withdraw by the imperialists. The 
baffled the attempts of the Khan-i- 

Khanan to reduce it. The siege went on for seven months- 
with heavy losses on both sides. At last the advent of the 
rains obliged the Mughals to retreat to Burhanpur. The 
veteran Mahabat Khan died on 14th Jamad I, 1044 A.H. 


=26th October, 1634 A.D. Aa a temporary measure the 
Khan-i-Dauran, the governor of Malwa, was appointed to 

Jujhar Bundela rebelled a second time. His offence 

<3onsisted in slaying the Raja of Chauragarh and in for- 

cibly seizing the vast treasures of the latter. 

J a j bar' s The murdered Raja's son appealed to Shah- 

second rebel- . _ _ , , . . - - . . . , , 

lion, 1635-36. jahan for help, but instead of bringing the 
offender to book the latter demanded, of 
Jujhar a share of the booty. This was refused and war 
became inevitable. 

The emperor sent three armies, numbering* nearly 
28,000 men, into Bundelkhand territory, ostensibly to back 
up the cause of Devi Singh, a rival claimant to the 
Bundela throne, but in reality to humble Jujhar. Jujhar 
and his son Bikramajit fled from the field of battle and 
were killed by the Gonds. Their heads were cut off and 
sent to the emperor (December, 1635). 

An unhappy tragedy followed the deaths of Jujhar 
and his sons. Juj bar's mother Rani Parbati, Bir Singh's 
widow, who had been hit by the Mughals during her son's 
flight, died of her wounds, but the other ladies- 
daughters of proud chiefs and warriors of ancient lineage 
were captured and introduced into the Mughal haram to 
pass their lives in gilded misery. Two sons of the rqbel 
were converted to Mainland a third Udavabhan was but- 
chered in cojd^blQfld, because he had the effrontery to 
persist in his beliefs. ThoJjemple of Orchha was tucned 
into a mosoue. and the hidden treasures of Jujhar were 
taken possession of by the victors. Devi Singh got the 
crown of Orchha as the reward of his treachery, but all 
the other Bundela chiefs refused to acknowledge him as 


their overlord. 1 Champat*Rao of Mahoba, who disap- 
proved of Devi Singh's disgraceful conduct, did not submit 
to him and remained aloof. His son Chatrasal turned out 
a chip of the old block ; he carried on the the war of inde- 
pendence against the empire for years, though he failed 
to organise the Bundelas into a solid union. 

Shahjahan's wars in the Deccan which have been 
described before did not result in a complete conquest of 

the Muslim States of Bijapur and Golkunda. 

i636- C 36 n His Sunni heart was disappointed to find 
that heresy was still faffipSnf ^^In"theT)eccian, 
and he* must needs employ his vast resources inputting 
an end to it. Besides, he was deeply enraged at Shahjj!s_ 
attempts to create trouble in Ahmadnagar. The Maratha 
leader had set up a boy of the Nizam Jihs^irfamily as. 
king in direct opposition to the imperial government. 
The emperor sent his generals to chastise the rebels and 
ravage the country of Shahji. Soon after it transpired 
that the king of Bijapur had sent men and money to aid 
the Ahmadnagar rebels in their designs. These intrigues 
accelerated the emperor's decision to launch a vigorous 
campaign in the Deccan. He called upon Bijapur and 
Golkunda to acknowledge his suzerainty, to pay Khiraj as a 
mark of submission, and abstain from every kind of inter- 
ference in the affairs of Ahmadnagar. The emperor 
himself proceeded to Daulatabad in February, 1636, and 
mobilised a host of 50,000 men to deal with the hostile 
powers. Thejgiler of Golkunda, j>venyhelixied 
presence of such a powerful armyTjudged discretion 

1 The reader will do well to read Sir J. N. Sarkar's account of the 
war. History of Aurangzeb, I, pp. 1326. . 


the better part of valour, an* made his_submi$sion. Tne 
imperial envoy AbduTXatif was received at a distance 
of ten miles from the capital by the Qutb Shah, who 
acknowledged the suzerainty of the Mughal emperor, 
and agreed to have the Khutba read and the coins struck 
in the latter's name. With a servility which did little 
credit to his high rank, the Qutb Shah accepted all the 
humiliating terms proposed by the emperor. He agreed 
to the inclusion of the first three Khalifas in the Khutba 
and the removal of the name of the Persian ruler, to 
whom the Shias had turned for help and guidance. 

The emperor informed the Sultan of Bijapiir of the 
consequences of defiance and disobedience, but no reply 
was received. Three imperial generals marched into 
Bijapur territory from three sides Khan jahan by way of 
Skolapiir, Khan-i-Zaman by way of Ind^i^ 
i-Baurati from the side of Bidar in the 
The country was encircled on all sides by the Mughal 
soldiery and was ruthlessly devastated. Thousands of 
men were captured and killed, and many forts were 
wrested from the enemy's possession. Both sides soon 
grew tired of war, and negotiations for peace began. 
The terms of the treaty were settled. A^i^Shah^acknow- 
ledged the suzerainty of the emperor, and promised to 
abstain from all interference in the affairs df Ahmad- 
nagar, the territory of which was divided between the two 
parties the share of Bijapur being 50 parganas yield- 
ing an income of 20 lakhs of huns (=80 lakhs of rupees). 
A sum of 20 lakhs of rupees in cash and kind was de- 
manded as tribute, and the Sultan was warned not to 
molest the sister kingdom of Golkunda which had accept- 
ed the imperial vassalage. Both sides recognised the 


importance of faithful service and 'bound themselves not 
to tamper with the loyalty of their respective officers and 
men. A clause was embodied in the treaty defining the 
relations of the Sultan towards Shahji. He was not to be 
admitted in the service of the Bijapur State, nor was any 
favour to be shown to him, if he refused to abandon the 
Nizam Shahi forts which he had seized during the war. 

The Sultan felt much disturbed by the emperor's 
presence near the scene of action, and prayed that his 
Majesty be pleased to depart from the place so that the 
fears and anxieties of his subjects might be set at rest 
His wish was granted, and the emperor set out for Mandu 
on July 11, 1636. 

This treaty sealed the humiliation^fijMBijapur. God 
and the Prophet were made witnesses to its solemn con- 
tents which were never to be departed from by either party. 
The Sultan showed his obsequiousness further by request- 
ing the jemperor to send him a portrait of his, adorned 
with jewels, rubies, and precious diamonds. Before the 
Mughal envoy, who conveyed to him this token of imperial 
favour, the Sultan swore on the Quran that he would 
always adhere to the stipulations of the treaty. The 
ruler of Golkunda followed the example of the ' elder 
brother/ and sent a rich tribute in gold. Aurangzeb, 
the third son of Shahjahan, who was merely a lad of 18 
years, was appointed as viceroy of the Deccan. ^/ 

first Viceroy- A . , , . J , - , , 

aity of the Aurangzeb's charge consisted of the 

PK* ^n (July, following provinces : 

163 6 May? 

(1) Daulatabad with Ahmadnagar and other districts 
with its capital first at Ahmadnagar and later at 


Daulatabad. This was called the Subah of the 
Dec can. 

(2) Telingana situated in the country of Balaghat 

extending from the Chand and the Wainganga 
river to the north and north-eastern frontiers 
of Golkunda. 

(3) Khandesh or the Tapti valley with its capital at 

Burhanpur and fort at Asir. 

(4) Berar, south-east of Khandesh, with its capital at 

Elichpur and fort at Gwaligarh well-known for 
its natural strength and solidity. 

These four provinces contained 64 forts, and their total 
revenue amounted to two arab dams which was equal to 
five crores of rupees. 

The imperial generals sent by Shahjahan reduced the 
Ahmadnagar forts and Khan-i-Zaman succeeded in com- 
pelling Shahji's submission. The supposititious heir to 
the Nizam Shahi kingdom was made over to the Mughals 
who threw him into prison. 

The district of Baglana with its 34 parganas was sub- 
dued by Aurangzeb, and its forts of Salir and Malir which 
enjoyed a position of great advantage were captured by 
the enemy. The ruler of the place Bharji submitted and 
offered to join the imperial service, if the pargana of 
Sultanpur was left to him, The emperor made him a 
mansabdar of 3,000 Zat and 2,500 Sawar and confirmed 
him in the possession of the fief of Sultanpur. 

A strange mishap occurred at the capital which 

furnished the occasion for Aurangzeb 's resignation of the 

Aurangzeb's viceroyalty of the Deccan. Shahjahan's 

resignation. daughter Jahanara styled as the Begam 

Sahib, a kind-hearted and generous lady, was badly burnt 


on the night of March 26, 16J14, her 'fine garment of muslin- 
richly perfumed with attar, having caught fire from the 
flame of a candle in one of the passages. At one time 
there was no hope of her life, and physicians from all 
parts of the empire gathered at the capital to save the 
life of the princess. Shahjahan stopped all public business, 
and bestowed his best care and attention on her. He 
himself attended her sick-bed, and applied the medicine 
with his own hands. Every night a purse of one thou- 
sand* rupees was placed below the pillow of the princess, 
and was in the morning distributed among the poor and 
the indigent, so that their united prayers might assist 
the speedy recovery of the royal patient. Officers 
who had been thrown into prison on the charge of 
embezzlement of public funds were released, and their 
liabilities amounting to seven lakhs of rupees were paid 
by the emperor. Every day, with tears in his eyes, the 
emperor sighed out prayers from sunset till midnight for 
his dearly loved daughter's recovery. But she remained 
in a critical condition for four months and was not 
completely cured until after nine months. The medicines 
of the most competent physicians failed to produce any 
effect. At last a slave named 5rif prepared an ointment 
which healed the sores, and afforded her much relief. 
The recovery of the princess was celebrated with great 
pomp and magnificence by her affectionate father, and 
festivities continued for eight days. Huge sums of money 
were distributed to the poor, and large gifts were made to 
the nobles and officers of the state. 5rif, the healer of the 
princess's wounds, was weighed in gold, and the emperor 
gave him an amount of money equivalent to its value 
together with robes of honour, horses, and elephants. 

F. 36 


Aurangzeb went tb Agr^ in May to see his sistel 
who was in such a dangerous condition. Three weeks after 
his arrival, he was dismissed and deprived of his rank 
and jagir by his father. What was the cause of this 
sudden dismissal ? The Muslim chroniclers write that he 
was punished, because Ve had taken to the life of ajiermit 
of which the emperor thoroughly disapproved. This may 
or may not be a cause of his resignation. It is not entire- 
ly improbable in view^pf the fact that Aurangzeb was a 
gloomy f anattej who lived throughout his life like a faqir. 
But injthis case the deciding factor was Djara's jgalojjsy 
and distrust of his able and intrepid brother. He. had in- 
sulted him on more than one occasion, poisoned the ears of 
the emperor against him, thwarted his measures, and su- 
perseded his orders indignities which had sunk deep into 
his heart. He felt that he was treated unjustly and un- 
generously by his brother, who was misusing his position as 
the emperor's right-hand man, and that he could no longer 
govern the Deccan under such humiliations. Thoroughly 
disgusted with Dara's veiled hostility and "stuctted 
insults^ the high-spjrited viceroy resigne<^mJMay 1644. 

Through Jahanara's good offices he was again restored 
to favour, and was appointed to the governorship of 
Gujarat on February 16,1645, where he gave proof of his 
ability and energy, and two years later he was sent as 
governor to the province of Balkh and Badakhshan. 

During Jahangir's reign Qandhar had been seized by 

Persians In 1622. Shahjahan was asked to guard the fort 

against the Persians, but he r