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Full text of "Tales of Ahmednagar"

OF 



AHMEDNAGAR 



CAfiAiN CECIL COWLEY, m.c, ; 

I 

Ind GARRISON BATTALION, NORTHUMBERLAND | 
FUSILIERS I 



All Rights Reserved ] 



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y^^ 



THACKER Hr COMPANY I IMI 

B O M B A N 



M '-W 



TALES 

OF 

AHMEDNAGAR 

BY 

Captain CECIL COWLEY, m.c. 

2nd GARRISON BATTALION, NORTHUMBERLAND 
FUSILIERS 



[4// Rights Reserved] 






THACKEK &- COMPANY, LIMITED 
BOMBAY 

I9I9 



LOAN STACK 



INDEX J)^4^4 

^29^^^ 

Page /^/^ 
Introduction. MATt 

Chap. I. Early History 1 

„ II. The Last of the Yadavs 4 

„ III. TheTagluks 6 

„ IV. The Afghan Soldier 8 

„ V. The Kingdom of Ahmed Nizam . . 12 

„ VI. The Founding of Ahmednagar . . 19 

„ VII. The First Siege 24 

„ VIII. The Second Siege 26 

„ IX. Fort built of Stone: Third and 

Fourth Sieges . . . . . . 31 

„ X. The largest Gun in the World . . 36 

„ XI. A Decisive Battle 38 

„ XII. Great Men 44 

„ XIII. Chand Bibi 50 

„ XIV. The Fifth Siege: Chand Bibi's 

Defence . . . , . . . . 61 
„ XV. The Sixth Siege: Chand Bibi's 

Death .. .. .. ..67 

„ XVI. The Seventh Siege: Moghula, 

Ma hrattas and British .. ., 72 



INTRODUCTION 



On my arrival at Ahmednagar I was much 
impressed by its noble fort, and was curious 
to learn its history. I asked questions. The 
repUes were vague and fanciful. I have now 
made some sUght research, and have found 
very interesting the life of the Deccan Queen, 
Chand Bibi, contemporary of Queen Eliza- 
beth, and also the other simple tales narrated 
here. As no work of this nature has hitherto 
been published, and the facts are undoubtedly 
of local interest, I have been induced to 
place them in bookform. For my facts, I 
have relied largely on the ''Bombay Gazet- 
teer," which refers freely to the history by 
Ferishta, written at Bijapur (a.d. 590-600). 

I have a^so referred to Meadows Taylor's 
books, kindly lent to me by the Regimental 
Munshi. For the photographs, I am indebted 
to Mr. A. C. Wild, i.c.s., Bijapur. 

Ahmednagar, cecil cowley, 

I4th December, 1918, 



OHAPTER I 



EARLY HISTORY 



The Sign Post outside Ahmednagar Post 
Office indicates the road to Paithan, an 
almost ruined city and fort about 50 miles 
distant. 

In the era before Christ, Paithan was the 
capital of the kings of the Andliabritya 
Dynasty, who ruled the Deccan. 

Greek Chroniclers refer to '* Paithani " as 
fine silks and muslins to which the city early 
gave its name. The industry still exists 
there, but the manufacture of the modem 
material is principally carried on at Poona. 

In the neighbourhood of Paithan are the 
hewn caves of Ellora, which are the finest of 
their kind in the world. They exceed in size 



2 Tales of Ahmednagar 

and number the Elephanta Caves at Bombay. 
It has been estabUshed by rock inscriptions 
that the caves date back to about 240 B.C. 
Other inscriptions record that some of the 
. pillars were the gift of two men of Paithan, 
one of whom was the king's physician. 

Ahmednagar City was not founded till 1494, 
but for several hundred years before then, 
the country around was the home of a people, 
the outHnes of whose history has reached us. 

It is said that the city of Bhingar, about two 
miles outside Ahmednagar, is almost as 
ancient as Paithan, and this may be true, as 
it is on the caravan route from Paithan, and 
is situated on a stream which bears its name, 
and is about two days' journey from 
Paithan. 

Following the Andhrabhrityas, came two 
successions of the Rashtrakuta kings, who 
ruled from about a.d. 400 to 973, with a break 



Early History 3 

from 550 — 670, and gave their names to Maha- 
rashtra and the Mahrattas. The caves 
at Parner and elsewhere with their excellent 
workmanship and inscriptions, are attributed 
to their period, and also ancient coins found 
at Nasik. Govind III. was one of their kings 
and was a mighty ruler over immense 
territory. 

Chaluky kings reigned from 550-670, and 
again from 973-1190, and to their period 
belong the caves and temple at Harish- 
chandrayad in Akola. 

They were succeeded by the Deogiri Yadav- 
as, who were invaded and conquered by the 
Mahomedans, under Mohamed Tuglak in 
1294. For a great many years the country 
was then ruled by Mahomedan Dynasties, 
and under them attained splendour and 
power. 



CHAPTER II 



LAST OF THE YADAVS 



One of the last kings to rule before the 
Mahomedan invasion of the Deccan was 
Ramchandra, 1271-1310, who was contempor- 
ary with Edward I, 

A book written in 1290 by a Brahman 
saint is still preserved and refers to Ram- 
chandra in the following words: "At Niwas 
. . • . there is a ruler of the earth Ram- 
chandra, who is an ornament to the Yadav 
Race, the abode of all arts, and the supporter 
of Justice." The city of Niwas is to-day 
known as Nevasa, and is 35 miles north of 
Ahmednagar. Ramchandra's prime minister 
was an able administrator named Hemadri, 



Last of the Tadavs 5 

who was of Persian origin, andwas an engineer 

of considerable skill. Scattered over the 

District there still exist twenty-six " He- 

madpanti'' walls and temples built and 
named after him. They are made of huge 
blocks of stone, placed upon each other 
without any mortar, and defy the ravages 
of time. 



CHAPTER III 



THE TUGLAKS 



At first the Mahomedan emperors, who 
were already estabUshed at Delhi, were con- 
tent to accept tribute from the kings of the 
Deccan. As, however, this tribute was not 
regularly paid, Ala-ud-din's general Malikka- 
fur proceeded several times to enforce pay- 
ment at the point of the sword. He led several 
campaigns with this object, and succeeded 
in placing Mahomedan garrisons in many 
of the chief forts and towns, and finally 
took up his own residence at Devgiri. 
The Devgiri Yadavs, however, fought on 
spiritedly for many years, and on Malikkafur 
being recalled to Delhi during Ala-ud-din's last 
illness in 1318, they rose in a well-organised 
revolt, in which they almost recovered Maha- 
rashtra, driving out many garrisons. Ala-ud- 



The Tuglaks 7 

din's son then took the field personally, and 
succeeding in capturing and flaying alive 
the last of the resisting chiefs. Governors 
were appointed from Delhi for a time, and 
in 1338 Ala-ud-din's grandson Mohamed 
Tuglak, then Emperor of Delhi, came to the 
Deccan with a vast quantity of elephants, 
material, nobles and their women, and 
established his Court at Devgiri, the name 
of which he changed to Daulatabad, or the 
Abode of Wealth. He built the cemetery of 
saints called Roza at Khuldabad, just outside 
Daulatabad, where Aurangzebe, the last of 
the Delhi sovereigns to reign in Ahmednagar, 
was buried in 1707. Daulatabad is not far 
from Paithan. 

After a while Tuglak considered the securi- 
ty of his Court to be doubtful and took it 
back to Delhi, 



CHAPTER IV 



THE AFGHAN SOLDIER 



For a period of 50 years or so after the 
first Mahomedan invasion there was great 
unrest in the Deccan. For centuries the 
wealth of the country had been increasing. 
Gold and precious stones had been amassed 
by the wealthier classes and the nobility, 
and there was a plentiful supply of fine 
and richly wrought clothing and orna- 
ments. The Mahomedan conquerors did not 
scruple to use the fruits of conquests to the 
full. They plundered and laid waste the 
land. Their exactions, instead of leading 
to a subdued spirit in their newly acquir- 
ed territories, tended to maintain a spirit 
of discontent and non-acquiescence. 



The Afghan Soldier 9 

Among the Delhi troops was an Afghan 
named Hasan. He had been born in Delhi, 
the capital of the Empire, and being of very 
low rank, became a soldier in the natural 
course of events. As was the custom in those 
days, he was also a tiller of the soil, and had 
farmed a plot of land which he rented from 
a friend of the Emperor. One day he had 
accidentally found a treasure in the land, and 
had the honesty to report it to his landlord, 
a Brahmin named Gangu, who rewarded his 
honesty by using his interest at court for 
the advancement of the soldier. By aid of 
this interest, and his own ability, Hasan 
rose to considerable station in the Deccan, 
and his character and love of fair-play in- 
clined him to join a movement to cast aside 
the misrule of the Delhi authorities, and to 
restore law and order. His merit singled 



10 Tales of Ahmednagar 

him out as a leader, and assisted by a 
number of other Mahomedans, and by the 
nobles of the Deccan, he was successful 
in his attempt. He established a govern- 
ment, and treated local chiefs and authori- 
ties in a fair and friendly way. He granted 
a measure of independence to the Koli 
chiefs, so long as they remained quiet. 
It is said of one of these chiefs, Paperakoli, 
of Jawah, that his yearly revenue was nine 
lakhs of rupees. Gradually the greater por- 
tion of Maharastra came under Hasan*s 
influence. He assumed the title of king, and 
the name Gangu Bahamani, in honour of the 
astrologer who had first assisted his for- 
tunes. The reign of Ala-ud-din Hasan 
Gangu Bahamani lasted only 12 years, 
(1347-1358), but he was succeeded by his 
son, and subsequently by eighteen other 



The Afghan Soldier 11 

kings of his line, known as the Bahamani 
kings. Under this dynasty the country 
prospered. The bandits who had for ages 
harassed the trade of the Deccan were sup- 
pressed, and the people enjoyed peace and 
good government. 



CHAPTER V 



THE KINGDOM OF AHMED NIZAM 



Towards the latter end of the 15th century 
the Bahamani kings had their capital at 
Beedur. Their kingdom was mainly ruled 
by a number of governors, who exercised 
authority on their behalf. The four largest 
provinces of the kingdom had their centres 
at Bijapur, Berar, Daulatabad and Gol- 
konda, and the great authority vested in 
the governors of these places, became a 
source of weakness to their kingdom. In 
1480 the prime minister, a man named Maho- 
med Gawan, proposed a scheme to the king 
to remedy this. His plan was to subdivide 
each of the great provinces into two, to leave 
only one fort in the hands of the governor 



The Kingdom of Ahmed Nizam 13 

of each province, and to garrison and officer 
the other forts direct from the capital, and 
to pay these garrisons direct from head- 
quarters. Such a system would undoubtedly 
have destroyed the power of the four great 
governors. They were filled with alarm at 
the prospect, and managed to induce the 
king to have Gawan put to death (1481). 
He was succeeded as prime minister by 
Nizam-ul-Mulk Bhairi, a man of great ability, 
who had had a curious history. His origin- 
al name was Timapa, and he was the son 
of a Brahmin village accountant, and was 
taken prisoner during a punitive expedition, 
and brought as a slave to Mohamed Shah 
Bahamani I., the father of the present 
king. His royal master was so struck with 
his abilities that he made him playmate to 
his son, and allowed him to be educated 



14 Tales of Ahmednagar 

and reared with him, and on Mohamed 
Shah Bahamani II. ascending the throne, 
Timapa had taken his place as a great man 
in the kingdom. He had a miHtary com- 
mand, and was granted large estates in the 
district stretching from Poona to Daulata- 
bad, and covering the area of modern 
Ahmednagar. As he had reached manhood 
he had adopted the Mahomedan faith, 
and been given the name Nizam-ul-Mulk 
Bhairi, the latter being his father's name. 

On being appointed prime minister, he sent 
his son Ahmed to manage his estates, and 
nominated to the governorship of Daulata- 
bad, two brothers,MalikwajiandMalekashraf, 
from whom he exacted promises of fidelity 
to his son Ahmed. These brothers are 
referred to in the next chapter. In 1486 
Nizam-ul-Mulk was assassinated, and his son 



The Kingdom of Ahmed Nizam 15 

assumed his father's titles under the name of 
Ahmed-Nizam-ul-Mulk Bhairi, and remain- 
ed in his country estates, which he adminis- 
tered with great abiHty. He rapidly obtain- 
ed a reputation as a general and as a civil 
administrator. In 1489 the governors of 
Bijapur and Berar declared themselves 
independent kings, and the king of the 
Bahamanis became anxious to reduce the 
power of Ahmed, who in the meantime 
had attacked and captured Shivna, and had 
secured to himself 5 years' revenue of Maha^ 
rastra, together with all the places of greatest 
strength in West and South- West Poona. A 
general named Shaik Movallid Arab was 
first sent against him, but his forces were 
routed by Ahmed near Paranda, and all his 
elephants, heavy baggage and tents were 
taken by Ahmed back to Junna. A second 



16 Tales of Ahmednagar 

Bahamani force was then despatched against 
Ahmed, who avoided a general action, but 
by a flank movement with 3,000 horse, 
captured the camp of the rearguard at 
Bedar, and seized all the women 
of the officers of the Bahamani force. 
These women he treated with proper respect, 
and took them to his fortress at Paranda. 
As a result of his courteous conduct, many 
of the officers of the Bahamani army declined 
to fight further against Ahmed, and on his 
sending the women back, the officers with- 
drew from action. At the same time, the 
governor of Paranda also withdrew from the 
Bahamani army, and sent his son to join 
Ahmed, who took up a position in the hills 
about 10 miles west of modern Ahmednagar. 
Jahangir Khan, the general commanding the 
Bahamani forces, marched to Bhingar, two 



The Kingdom of Ahmed Nizam 17 

miles from Ahmednagar, where he was over- 
taken by the rains. During the continuance 
of the rains, Jahangir Khan and his army, 
fancying themselves secure, gave them- 
selves up to luxury and pleasure. On 28th 
May, 1490, Ahmed, being well informed of 
the state of affairs in his enemy's army, 
made a forced night march, and suddenly 
attacked his camp at day-break. The attack 
was completely successful. The Bahamani 
troops were utterly routed. Many officers 
of distinction were slain. Others were taken 
prisoners, and after being led about on buffa- 
loes in Ahmed's triumphal march, they were 
sent as prisoners to Bedar. Ahmed gave 
thanks for his victory and built a palace 
and laid out a garden on the site of the 
battle, which was thereafter called the 
Victory of the Garden. During the same 



18 Tales of Ahmednagar 

year Ahmed reduced Dauda Rajapur in the 
Central Konkan, and thereby secured un- 
broken communication between his Deccan 
territories and the sea coast. His power 
and dominions were now so great that his 
people urged him to take upon himself the 
title of king, and in 1490 he did so, and his 
name was read in the public prayers. His 
capital was still at Junna. 



CHAPTER VI 
THE FOUNDING OF AHMEDNAGAR 



King Ahmed, by ceaseless activity and 
able administration, and by guile, threat and 
force, consolidated his kingdom. After the 
Victory of the Garden, he had felt that it 
would be well for him to cement more 
firmly to himself the brothers Malik Waji 
and Malik Ashraf whom his father had appoint- 
ed to the governorship of Daulatabad, the 
ancient capital of the Moghuls which was 
only a little more than 100 miles from 
Junna and was in a position to render in- 
secure the east of his territory. With this 
end in view, he gave his sister Bibi Zanat in 
marriage to Malik Waji, and in due course 
a son was born. Malik Ashraf, however, 



20 Tales of Ahmednagar 

was desirous of establishing a kingdom for 
himself, and in order to avoid counter- 
claimants, assassinated both his brother and 
his son, the nephew of Ahmed, and pro- 
claimed himself king of Daulatabad. Bibi 
Zanat escaped back to her brother, who 
vowed vengeance against Malik Ashraf, and 
for many years devoted himself to the ful- 
filling of the punishment. In 1490 and 1494 
he marched against the fort and besieged it, 
but raised the siege each time. 

By this time he realised that the neigh- 
bourhood of the Victory of the Garden was 
of great strategical value. The country 
around was open, fertile, and free from jungle, 
and the position commanded the passes from 
Kandesh, Gujarat and Berar into Central 
Deccan. He selected a site close by between 
two rivers, and decided to found his capital 



The Founding of Ahmednagar 21 

there. It was commenced late in 1494. He 
built a fort and several palaces, and called 
the place Ahmednagar, or the fort of Ahmed. 
Such was the success and eclat of the 
new king, that his capital grew apace, and 
according to Ferishta, the great Ahmednagar 
historian, within two years of the founding 
of the city, it was equal in splendour to 
either Baghdad or Cairo. 

Ahmed's chief object at this time was 
the punishment of the murderer Malik 
Ashraf, and twice a year Ahmed sent his 
armies, at the early and late harvests, to lay 
waste his crops and besiege the fortress of 
Daulatabad. Finally in 1499 the soldiery in 
the fort decided to surrender to Ahmed, and 
on hearing this Malik Ashraf fell ill and died. 
Ahmed then placed his own garrison in the 
city, and added its territories to his own. 



22 Tales of Ahmednagar 

Ahmed died in 1508. He had once built a 
tomb for himself in the Roza or Cemetery of 
Saints at Khuldabad outside Daulatabad, 
founded by the Emperor Tagluk, but learning 
that permission would be denied for his 
burial there, he built another tomb for 
himself a few hundred yards outside the 
Nalegaon gate of Ahmednagar, and called 
it the Bagh Roza. This tomb is at the 
present day one of the finest of the build- 
ings of the city, and is again referred to in 
Chapter X. 

Ahmed was a great man. His life deserves 
to be kept in memory. The way in which 
he quietly and firmly established his 
kingdom, placed him on a level with the 
great Afghan soldier from whose dynasty 
he seceded. He is reported to have been 
a quiet man, of great continence, kindness 



The Founding of Ahmednagar 23 

and modesty, and firm and strong. He 
was also a great swordsman, adminis- 
trator and general, and by these qualities 
commanded and kept the allegiance of his 
nobles, of the foreigners who served under 
him, and also of his sturdy Mahratta 
peasantry, who made such excellent soldiers. 



CHAPTER VII 
THE FIRST SIEGE 



Burhan Nizam Shah, 1508-1553, was the 
second king of Ahmednagar. He was 
endowed with much political sagacity, and 
was an able general. His Court contained 
many Turks, Arabs, Persians, and Central 
Asians. Following on the fall of the Baha- 
mani dynasty, there was much international 
intrigue in Central and Southern India, and 
there was constant campaigning, as many as 
four or five different armies being in the 
field at one time. Burhan was drawn into 
the vortex, but successfully steered his kingdom 
till the end of his long reign of 45 years. In 
1525 he three times beat armies of Bahadur 
Shah, a mighty king of Gujarat, but Bahadur 



The First Siege 25 

was too strong to accept defeat, and 
personally marched against Burhan who 
retreated to Junna, leaving Bahadur to lay 
siege to the fort of Ahmednagar which then 
consisted of mud and stone. For three 
months Burhan from a position in the hills, 
harrassed the besiegers of the fort, which held 
out, but ultimately Burhan sued for peace, 
and the Gujarat king raised the siege and 
withdrew, leaving the fort intact. 



CHAPTER VIII 



THE SECOND SIEGE 



These were indeed stirring days. As in 
the Occidental world, great wars and events 
were taking place, so too in India. There was 
much marching and counter-marching. Ele- 
phants were used in vast numbers, cannons 
were made by the thousand. There were 
many tens of thousands of matchlock-men, 
armed with the ancient type of long-barrelled 
matchlock, but their number was exceeded 
still by the number of archers and swordsmen, 
armed with swords of curious types. The 
sturdy peasantry were industrious tillers of 
the soil, and there has rarely been a period of 
greater agricultural prosperity. But they were 
all trained to the use of arms, and war was 



The Second Siege 27 

second nature to them. The nobles indulged in 
sword practice as a pastime, duelling was 
common, and the ordeal of single combat 
was still a recognised method of settling 
disputes. Many people were skilled in the 
reading and writing of various languages, 
and there were many learned men. Archi- 
tecture was on a high level. Magnificent 
buildings were being erected everywhere* 
Under the domes and minarets of the Juma 
Mosque in Bijapur, sister-city to Ahmed- 
nagar, six thousand men could kneel in 
prayer under one roof, and in the same city 
was then completed the dome of the mau- 
soleum of Sultan Mahomed (nowadays 
commonly known as the Ibrahim Roza, the 
glory of the architecture of the Deccan,) which 
huge structure is second only to the Pantheon 
in outward diameter. During his reign King 



28 Tales of Ahmednagar 

Ahmed I. was engaged in 21 campaigns, 
his son Burhan I. fought 18 campaigns, 
and his son Husain nine campaigns. In 1559 
during the latter's reign, the kingdom was 
subjected to a formidable invasion by a 
combination of three armies, those of Ram 
Raja, the warrior king of Vijaynagar, of 
Ibrahim Kutub Shah, the king of Golkonda, 
and of Ali Adil Shah, the king of Bijapur. 
Husain, whose generals had hitherto been 
everywhere victorious, looked for further 
strength in an alliance with Imad-ul-Mulk, 
the king of Berar, to whom he made over- 
tures, and to whom he married his daughter. 
The three allied sovereigns in the mean- 
time reached Ahmednagar, to which they 
laid siege. Their armies were vast, and 
according to the translation of Ferishta's 
History by Major-General Briggs, their 



The Second Siege 29 

Infantry alone numbered 900,000 men. 
Husain, however, was not inside the fort, and 
was at large with the major portion of his 
army and established his head-quarters at 
Paithan, whence he got into communication 
with Kutb Shah, the king of Golkonda, 
one of the besiegers who, jealous of the 
Bijapur king's army, convived at passing 
supplies to the garrison, which was exceedingly 
strong. Kutb Shah eventually quarrelled with 
both his allies, and withdrew his army, and 
returned to Golkonda with a promise of 
Husain's second daughter in marriage, leaving 
only two enemies for Husain to deal with. 
Imudul-Mulk, Husain's new son-in-law, sent 
a large force to assist him, and he was able 
to so thoroughly cut off the besiegers' supplies 
and harass their forces, that they were glad 
to conclude a peace with him, under which 



30 Tales of Ahmednagar 

he made certain concessions, the chief of 
which was the cession of the fortress of 
Kalliani to Bijapur. 



CHAPTER IX 



FORT BUILT OF STONE : THIRD 
AND FOURTH SIEGES. 



The fort of Ahmednagar had thus for- 
tunately escaped inviolate from its second 
siege. And its good fortune was in great 
measure due to the political and military 
sagacity of the king, as well as his great 
strength. Husain resolved to at once make 
this fort impregnable, and commenced to 
build it of stone, and to surround it with a 
deep ditch. The work wpcS commenced in 
1559 and was practically completed by 
1562, but was improved in later years. 
Husain was fortunate in his design in 
having at his Court two great men, Salabat 
Khan— architect, engineer, general political 
administrator and reformer, and Chulbi 



32 Tales of Ahmednagar 

Rumi Khan, General and Master of Ordi- 
nance. He was also in close touch with the 
Portuguese who had established a Colony at 
Revandra, at the edge of his dominions, 
and was in his task assisted by their advice. 
As time wore on, Husain chafed under 
the compulsory cession of the fortress of 
KaUiani, and in 1562 endeavoured to retake 
it from Bijapur. Ali Adil Shah at once re- 
called Ram Raja to his aid, and also obtained 
the assistance of the kings of Bedar and 
Berar in punishing the disturber of the peace. 
Husain, with 700 guns and 500 cannon, 
marched to meet them, but heavy rain fell 
and rendered his cattle and guns useless, and 
he was forced to retreat, taking with him only 
40 out of the 700 guns. He threw supplies 
into the fort of Ahmednagar, and withdrew 
to Junna, where he rallied and reformed 



Fort Built of Stone : Third db Fourth Sieges 33 

his army. The allies in the meantime laid 
siege to the fort and followed Husain. After 
several weeks the allies found that Husain's 
army was attaining such strength that they 
withdrew the investing forces from the fort 
to assist in an action against Husain. The 
fort thus escaped uncaptured from its third 
siege. Husain, however, avoided a general 
action. In several minor engagements he 
inflicted loss on the allies, and on the rains 
of 1563 setting in, the allies returned to 
Ahmednagar and settled down to its fourth 
siege, the main portion of Ram Rajah's army 
being to the south of the fort, on the bank 
of the Sina River. During the night heavy 
rain fell in the hills, and the river came down 
in flood so suddenly that it swept away 
25,000 of Ram Raja's men, 300 horses, and 
practically the whole of his transport. The 



34 Tales of Ahmednagar 

allies, disturbed by this disaster, and con- 
sidering the new fort to be wellnigh impreg- 
nable, determined to raise the siege, (the 
fourth), and withdrew their armies. The 
fort was not again invested by neighbour- 
ing states until the Moghuls marched 
against Queen-Regent Chand Bibi, but it 
was a factor of importance in many subse- 
quent internal disturbances. 





1^ 






1| 


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\\9^H 





CHAPTER X 



THE LARGEST GUN IN THE WO RLD 



Among the foreigners who entered king 
Burhan's service was a Turk named Chulbi 
Rumi Khan, who was an expert artillery 
man, skilled in the manufacture and use of 
cannon. In the reign of king Burhan, he 
made two enormous cannons, the larger of 
the two being named " Malik-i-Madan " 
(Master of the Plain) and the second ''Dhuldan" 
— or "Destroyer/' These cannon were cast in 
the garden outside the tomb of Chulbi Rumi 
Khan in Ahmednagar, and a large depression 
in the garden is still pointed out as being the 
site where they were moulded. The larger 
of the two weighs 40 tons, and is the largest 
piece of cast brass ordnance in the world. 



36 TaUs of Ahmednagar 

They were lost by King Husain in 1562 in 
the battle before the third siege of Ahmed- 
nagar, when owing to the difficulty of 
movement in the wet clay Husain 
abandoned them together with 700 other 
guns and 500 elephants to Ali Adil Shah of 
Bijapur and Ram Raja. Malik-i-Maidan 
was dragged by elephants to Bijapur, and 
mounted on a bastion of the fort, where it 
remains to this day, a much prized trophy, 
and proof of the prowess of the nation. 
Dhuldan met with a less splendid fate. It 
was capsized in the River Krishna, near 
Bijapur, where it can still be seen when the 
water is low. 

In 1553 Chulbi Rumi Khan had been 
advanced to the command of an army which 
moved against the Portugese fort and settle- 
ment. The campaign was successful, the 



The Largest Gun in the World 37 

Portuguese promising not to molest or 
encroach on Ahmednagar's dominions. 

After the severe losses of 1562 and 1563, 
Khan, as Master of the King's Ordnance, 
devoted all his energies to the creation of 
fresh Artillery, and the whole kingdom 
roused itself to effort, the king and Court 
being guided by his mature experience and 
advice. 

In two years time, five hundred brass 
cannon were cast in Ahmednagar. 



CHAPTER XI 



A DECISIVE BATTLE 



King Husain realised the futility of fight- 
ing against so strong a combination as that 
which had operated against him in 1562-63, 
especially when the heart and soul of the 
combine was a strong and astute monarch 
and general such as Ram Raja, king of 
Vijaynagar. By clever diplomacy he regained 
the sympathy of his son-in-law, the king 
of Golkonda, and also that of the king of 
Bedar. He also entered into an alHance 
with Ali Adil Shah, king of Bijapur, to 
whom he gave his beautful daughter, the 
Princess Chand Bibi, in marriage. This union 
he further strengthened by a marriage 
between Ali Adil Shah's sister Princess of 
Bijapur and Murtaza, Prince Royal of 
Ahmednagar. 



A Decisive Battle 39 

In 1564 Ram Raja decided to again 
invade Ahmednagar, and moved against it 
with an army of 70,000 cavalry, 90,000 
infantry, chiefly armed with matchlocks, and 
a large force of artillery and archers. 

Husain called for and received the sup- 
port of the kings of Golkonda, Berar and 
Bijapur and their forces, and the allies 
marched to meet Ram Raja. 

The armies approached each other near 
the Hukeri River, south erf the Krishna. 

Ram Raja had a certain amount of moral 
ascendancy over the kings of Bijapur and 
Bedar, both of whom had previously served 
with him. He was also held in fear by 
Golkonda, whose forces had fled from him 
the previous year. Husain also did not 
under-estimate him as he had previously had 
him as adversary. 



40 Tales of Ahmednagar 

The allies therefore, on the near approach 
of battle, gave pause, reconsidered their 
position, and came to the conclusion that 
they were unable to cope with their enemy, 
skilled as he was, and supported by such 
formidable forces. 

They thereupon made overtures of peace, 
but Ram Raj a refused to listen to their offers, 
and the allies, of whom Husain was the 
strongest in character, resolved to fight to 
the death. The allies were all Mahomedan 
kings. Their enemy was Hindoo, and it ap- 
peared that the supremacy of Mahomedanism 
as well as the temporal power of the allied 
kings was at stake. The armies therefore 
placed themselves in battle array. Ahmed- 
nagar decided to take the post of honour in 
the centre of the line, with Ali Adil Shah on 
his right, and Bedar and Golkonda on his left. 



A Decisive Battle 41 

Expecting to receive the weight of the 
attack in the centre, Husain entrusted the 
command of his guns and the disposition of 
his forces to Chulbi Rumi Khan. This astute 
artilleryman following the device recently 
adopted by the king of Sweden in the Euro- 
pean wars, covered his front with his artillery, 
300 pieces in all, which he placed in three 
lines — the smallest in front, the medium 
sized in the middle, and the largest behind — 
a wise plan, as rapid loading was then un- 
known. To make the fire of the guns dead- 
ly, he loaded each with hundreds of copper 
coins, and had the fuses of the whole ready 
to be lighted at a word of command. He 
further covered his artillery by a strong 
force of archers, and awaited the advance 
of the enemy. 



42 Tales of Ahmednagar 

Ram Raja moved to the attack. The de- 
fending archers maintained a heavy discharge 
as he approached. On the enemy arriving 
close, the archers withdrew, and disclosed 
the front line of guns which let go their 
murderous charges at close range. The front 
line of gunners then withdrew, and the 
second line of guns was discharged with 
deadly effect. Their gunners withdrew, and 
the third line of guns was instantly fired. 
The slaughter in the ranks of the enemy was 
terrific. The attack was broken, and the 
allies' horse and foot, charged into the masses 
of Hindoos, who broke and fled utterly routed 
leaving vasty booty in the hands of the allies. 
Ram Raja was overtaken by an officer 
mounted on an elephant. The elephant 
seized him in its trunk, and he was carried 
prisoner to the allied kings, who immediately 



A Decisive Battle 43 

had him beheaded and Ram Rajah's head 
and body were taken to Ahmednagar. His 
skull was preserved, and is still treasured in 
the little city of Bhingar by the descen- 
dants of his executioner, and his tomb at 
Ahmednagar is still in good repair. 

The driver of the elephant was buried 
beside the tomb of Ahmed I. in the Bagh 
Roza, and his grave is denoted by a monu- 
ment resembling a howdah. 

The elephant on its death was also honour- 
ed by burial just outside the Bagh Roza, 
and its grave is still distinguished by a 
mound of earth. 



CHAPTER XII 



GREAT MEN 



King Husain died after the Battle of 
the Hukeri, and was succeeded by his son 
Murtaza Nizam Shah (1564-1588) whose 
reason appeared to become slightly affected 
as he aged. The kingdom, however, was 
fortunate in possessing at this time several 
men of great intellect and administrative 
ability, and the country under their guidance 
was maintained for a few years at the 
pinnacle of prosperity and power to which 
it attained in Husain's day. 

CHANGIZ KHAN. 



Changiz Khan, a noble of Turkish origin, 
was a minister and general of great 
integrity and attachment to the throne, and 



Great Men 45 

managed public affairs for some time. The 
king, however, filled with suspicion, pres- 
cribed a draught of poisoned medicine for 
him, which he quietly accepted and drank 
in his own home. The palace he built 
and occupied in the city is still in good 
repair, and is now used as the District Judge's 
Court. 



SALABAT KHAN. 



Salabat Khan (1519-1589), to whom 
reference has already been made, was also one 
of the greatest men of the Nizam Shah 
dynasty. Born in 1518, he was of good 
family, and served his apprenticeship in the 
Court of Burhan. He early proved himself 
an expert engineer and architect, and was 
at the height of his profession when the fort 
was built of stone, and no doubt took a 
considerable part in its construction. The 



46 Tales of Ahmednagar 

building of the pleasure palace of Farah Bag, 
just outside the city, at one time entrusted 
to his uncle, Salabat Khan I. by Burhan 
L, was finally completed by the nephew, 
who erected a number of other palaces 
and public buildings, both within and without 
the fort. His chief usefulness, however, lay 
in the large public works instigated by him. 
He cut seven large aqueducts to bring water 
to the city and fort from perennial supplies 
in the hills. In some places these aqueducts 
were carried 60 ft. underground. Four of 
them, with slight alterations, are used for 
supplying the modern city and cantonment 
with water. Over a million fruit trees are 
said to have been planted by him throughout 
the kingdom. He took office under Murtaza, 
and in his reign became Minister without a 
rival^ and continued in power for several 



Great Men 47 

years, it being popularly said that the king- 
dom had never been so well governed for 
over a hundred years. 

Murtaza was a difficult king to serve. 
At one time he suffered from religious 
enthusiasm, at another was overwhelmed 
with remorse and lived in privacy, and at 
other times he sought the companionship of 
profligates. At one period he had as favour- 
ite, a dancing girl to whom he gave grants 
of land and gifts of royal jewels. At last 
he ordered the two most valuable necklaces 
from Ram Raja's plunder to be given to the 
girl, but Salabat Khan, unwilling that such 
priceless gems should be lost to the royal 
family, tried to prevent it. The king, in a 
paroxysm of rage threw the whole lot into a 
large fire. He again crossed the king when 



48 Tales of Ahmednagar 

the latter, suspicious of the heir-apparent, 
attempted to put him to death. 

Eventually the king upbraided him with 
treachery, and Salabat Khan immediately 
begged the king to appoint a place for his 
confinement, and submitted himself to the 
king's guards, and was carried to prison, 
where he remained till the troublous times 
which followed the king's death. He then 
emerged for a few months, but was broken in 
health and spirit and died in 1589 at the age 
of 70 years, and was buried in a tomb which 
stands out prominently on the rocky summit ■ 
of the eastern extremity of a range of hills ' 
six miles from Ahmednagar. From this site 
can be seen great stretches of the country i 
for the material prosperity of which he did^ 
so much, and the tomb itself can be seen; 
from many miles around. 



Oreai Men 49 

FERISHTAH 



Ferishtah, the historian, was brought by 
his father from the Caspian Sea to Murtaza's 
court while still a young boy. He served there 
in a military capacity during the troubles 
which occurred at the end of Murtaza's 
reign, and finally, with many other foreigners 
who were expelled from the kingdom, took 
refuge at the court of Bijapur, where he 
was favourably received, and where he wrote 
the famous history, in connection with which 
he testifies that the king of Bijapur spared 
no expense in supplying him with materials. 

Ferishtah's History narrates many of the 
facts related in this book. 



CHAPTER XIII 



CHAND BIBI 



Chand Bibi (1550-1594) is the favourite 
heroine of the Deccan, and is the subject 
of many legends. Born at Ahmednagar, she 
was the daughter of King Husain, and the 
sister of Murtaza and his brother Burhan 
II., both kings of Ahmednagar. In 1564 she 
was married to Ali Adil Shah, king of the 
sisterkingdom of Bijapur, and on his death 
was regent for four years for his nephew 
Ibrahim. She was also aunt to Ismail and 
Ibrahim, kings of Ahmednagar, and was 
related to many other of the ruling houses 
of the Deccan. Descendant of a line of able 
kings, she inherited their intellect and ability. 
During her married life she was the constant 



Chand Bibi 51 

companion of her husband in all his 
doings, and was present at the battle of 
the Hukeri, when Ram Raja was defeated 
and slain. Thereafter during a tour of 
several years in which her husband was 
engaged in the settlement and pacification 
of the territories which had fallen to him 
under the terms of partition, by her tact and 
charm she was of great value in securing the 
loyalty of the Chieftains of the Beydurs 
and other spirited tribes. 

After her husband's death, her personal 
heroism and generalship during the siege 
of Bijapur (approx. 1582) undoubtedly 
saved that city from capture, and in 1590, 
at the siege of Ahmednagar, her dauntless 
courage saved the fort from the Moghuls. 

Her wisdom and self-reUance, her pure 
administration and noble deeds in critical 



52 Tales of Ahmednagar 

days deserve their lasting place in the people's 
affection. 

Of remarkable beauty, she was unblessed 
by children, and retained her grace of figure 
until the day of her violent death. 

Always elegantly dressed, she used to ride 
astride on a richly caparisoned steed, whether 
to the field, on tour, or hunting. In deference 
to custom, her face used to be slightly con- 
cealed by a wisp of some fine material, but 
she never wore a formal veil. 

At Bijapur there is a portrait taken of her 
by a Persian artist before her husband's death. 
It is a profile, exquisitely painted in body 
colour, with none of the stiffness which usually 
accompanies Oriental pictures. The features 
are regular and very beautiful. The com- 
plexion fair, with a faint tinge of carnation 
through the cheeks. The eyes blue-grey, 




The Deccan Heroine: CHAND BIBI, 

Princess of Ahmednagar and Queen of Bijapur. 

From an excellent water colour in Bijapur 

Museum, Painted about 1585. 



Chand Bibi 53 

with long dark eyelashes. The mouth is very 
gentle and sweet in expression, and bears 
a slight smile, but there is a decided tone of 
firmness about the full round chin and grace- 
ful throat, and the forehead has a breadth and 
power which must have been very remarkable. 

Her education proceeded for many 
years after her marriage, and she became 
skilled in Persian, Arabic, Turkish and 
Toorki, and spoke the dialects current in the 
army with fluency. She drew and painted 
flowers with ease and delicacy, played upon 
the vina with skill, and had a great many 
other accompUshments. With her husband, 
she fostered trade, literature and the arts of 
peace, and prosecuted those works for the 
defence and adornment of his capital which 
still remain as monuments of his enlightened 
liberality. The city of Bijapur at this 



54 Tales oj Ahmednagar 

period had a population of 1,500,000, and the 
kingdom was powerful and prosperous. 

On her husband's death, her independent 
political life began as regent for the minor 
king. In those times it was a rare thing 
to find nobles, ministers, and generals of a 
native kingdom true to their allegiance for 
long, and serious dissensions occurred between 
powerful factions and encouraged the inva- 
sion of the kingdom by the kings of Berar, 
Beedu and Golconda, and the close invest- 
ment of the city. The queen, accompanied 
by her nephew the king, used to go from 
post to post at night, cheering, encouraging 
and directing all. The weather was the 
severest of the rainy season, and after days of 
drenching rain and bombardment by the 
enemy, a portion of the city wall gave way. 
Notwithstanding the torrential downpour 



Chand Bihi 55 

the queen guarded the breach in person, 
collected the masons of the city, and person- 
ally superintended the work of repair, leaving 
the spot neither by day nor night till it was 
safe against attack by storm. Her devotion 
and spirited personal valour inspired confi- 
dence in all, which now amounted to positive 
enthusiasm. The leaders of the various 
factions went to her in a body, and sub- 
mitted themselves to her authority. In less 
than a month many thousands of the followers 
of the different nobles were collected under 
proper command within and without the city, 
and the besieging armies thought it advisable 
to raise the siege. It had lasted a year. 

By her personaUty Chand Bibi main- 
tained perfect order till Ibram Adil Shah, 
the young king, came of age and her regency 
terminated. 



56 Tales of Ahmednagar 

Meanwhile the armies of the Moghuls began 
to move southwards. Though no act of 
invasion occurred, the queen became uneasy, 
and in 1585 Murtaza being king of Ahmed- 
nagar, and Salabat Khan his minister, in 
order to consolidate the two kingdoms, she 
arranged a marriage between Mirain Hussein, 
Prince Royal of Ahmednagar, and the sister 
of Ibrahim Adil Shah. Being aunt to both 
contracting parties, she decided to accom- 
pany the bride-elect to Ahmednagar, her 
own native town, from which she had been 
absent for over 20 years. The splendour and 
pomp of the wedding were magnificent. 

King Murtaza, however, was in his dotage, 
and shortly after her arrival at Ahmednagar 
occurred the incident of the burning of Ram 
Raja's jewels, and two attempts on his son's life 
by the king. The prince thereupon went into 



Chand Bihi 57 

rebellion, and the garrison of the fort being 
favourable to him, he entered it with his 
troops, and seizing the king, placed him in a 
bathroom of the fort and had a huge fire 
lighted under it, so that the king was 
suffocated by the steam. The new king 
(Mirain Hussein) proved headstrong, suspicious 
and cruel. In one day, for fear of treason, 
he put to death 15 princes of the line of 
succession. The Queen Chand decided to 
stay on in Ahmednagar. The threat of the 
Moghuls was ever present to her vision, and 
she feared internal poHtical dissension would 
weaken her two beloved kingdoms, and prove 
an inducement to invasion. 

Mirain Hussein (1588) only reigned for six 
months. He declared in a fit of drunkenness 
that he would have his prime minister (a Turk) 
beheaded, and made plans to do so, but the 



58 Tales of Ahmednagar 

minister by a clever ruse captured the king 
and declared him deposed. In the disturbances 
that followed both the king and the minister 
were slain. The troops and the mob put to 
death every foreigner they could find in the 
fort or the city. The massacre lasted for 
seven days, and only a few escaped. 

Ismail Nizam Shah (1588-1589), nephew 
of Queen Chand, and son of her brother 
Burhan, was then declared king. All sorts 
of factions arose, both political and religious, 
and the king of Bijapur sent an army to 
secure safety. Jamal Khan, the strongest man 
in the kingdom, marched to meet it. For 15 
days the two forces lay facing each other 
without action, and finally a peace was 
concluded, under which Jamal Khan remained 
regent, and agreed to pay £850,000 (270,000 
huns) to Bijapur. Queen Chand returned to 
Bijapur. 



Chand Bibi 59 

Burhan (1589-1594), brother of the late 
King Murtaza, and father of Ismail Nizam 
Shah, then marched from the north, where for 
many years he had sheltered under the 
Moghuls, and wrested the throne from his son. 
He only lived a short while, and on his death 
he was succeeded by his son Ibrahim Nizam 
Shah (1594) who was killed the same year. 

On his death the kingdom was in a hopeless 
state, and was largely spUt up among the 
nobles. In the absence of an heir of mature 
age, different parties nominated different 
kings. 

Mian Manju Dakhani supported the cause 
of a lad named Ahmad, whom he alleged to 
be a son of Shah Kassim, second brother of 
Murtaza. 

Another faction supported the claim of 
Bahadur (an infant in arms), son of Ibrahim 



60 Tales of Ahmednagar 

Nizam Shah, and proposed Queen Chand as 
regent. 

Nehang Khan approached Shah Ah, the son 
of Burhan Nizam Shah I., then upwards of 
70 years of age, and induced him to leave 
his retirement and assume the royal canopy. 

In the meantime the Moghuls moved their 
armies still further south, and awaited an 
excuse to invade the wealthy country. 



CHAPTER XIV 



THE FIFTH SIEGE: CHAND BIBFS 
DEFENCE 



In this condition of chaos, an appeal was 
made to Queen Chand, to come and use her 
personal influence and ascendancy in the 
cause of law and order. She thereupon left 
the Bijapur court and returned to her palace 
in Ahmednagar fort (1594) in the hope that 
she might be able to unite the country. 

Malek Umbar, an Abyssinian who had 
risen from slavery to become Governor of 
Daulatabad, and who was a shrewd man and a 
capable administrator, and who had held his 
hand till he could decide on what would 
be the best course for the country, welcomed 
her. A number of other chiefs did the same. 



62 Tales of Ahmednagar 

In the meantime Mian Manju had entered 
into correspondence with Prince Murad, son 
of the Emperor Akbar, and had invited him 
to bring the Moghul forces to Ahmednagar. 
Prince Murad seized the opportunity, and 
marched on Ahmednagar, laying siege to the 
fort on 14th December 1594, having with 
him a vast army of foot and 30,000 cavalry. 

Queen Chand had rallied a considerable force. 
She took command of the defence personally 
and used daily to inspect the guns, sentries, and 
troops, and by her calmness and serenity main- 
tained a spirit of confidence in the defenders. 
She also sent a successful appeal to Mian Manju, 
Yeklas Khan and Nehang Khan to lay aside 
their differences for the common cause, and to 
unite their strength against the invaders. The 
kings of Golconda and Bijapur also sent assist- 
ance at her request, and the friendly forces 



The Fifth Siege 63 

united their armies. Though they did not 
advance to attack the Moghuls, they were able 
to restrict the activities of their foraging 
parties, and kept them very short of suppUes. 

The besiegers slowly but methodically 
closed in on the fort. They advanced by 
means of saps and trenches and by the night 
of 19th February, 1596, had laid five mines, 
which it was their intention to explode at 
dawn the next morning. During the night, 
however, the defenders were made aware 
of the plans of the enemy, and under 
the personal direction of the queen, began 
to counter-mine. They discovered and 
destroyed two of the mines, and were in 
the act of removing the powder from the 
largest mine, when Prince Murad gave 
orders for it to be sprung. A tremendous 
explosion blew a large breach in the 
wall of the fort, and put fear into 



64 Tales of Ahmednagar 

the defenders, who commenced to flee, but the 
queen, clad in armour, with a veil on her head, 
and a drawn sword in her hand, leaped into 
the breach and stayed the panic. The Moghuls 
did not immediately attack, and the defenders, 
taking advantage of the delay, hurriedly put 
the breach into a rough state of defence, and 
trained on to it all their available artillery, 
loaded as on a previous occasion, with copper 
coins. The Moghuls stormed the breach at 
four o'clock in the afternoon, but the garrison 
resisted with heroism, inspired by the wonder- 
ful example of the queen. Time after time 
was the attack repeated, and time after time 
repelled, and it was not till nightfall that 
the carnage ceased, by which time thousands 
of dead lay in the ditch. Under cover of 
the darkness the queen repeated her deed of 
Bijapur, and personally superintended the 



The Fifth Siege 65 

repairs to the breach. Working at feverish 
heat, by dawn she had had the wall rebuilt to 
a height of seven feet, and felt prepared to 
resist another attack. But the army of Prince 
Murad was short of suppHes. Daunted by the 
splendid defence, and harassed by the allied 
cavalry behind and around him, he made an 
offer to withdraw his forces provided that 
Ahmednagar agreed to cede back to the 
Moghuls the disputed territory of Berar. 

At first the queen declined these terms, 
but on reflection decided that if the allies 
were beaten in a general action, equally good 
terms might not again be offered. She therefore 
signed a treaty in the name of Bahadur, the 
infant king, and Prince Murad marched away, 
leaving the fort uncaptured. Historians differ 
as to the merits of the action of the allies who 
came to her assistance but only hovered 



66 Tales of Ahmeclnagar 

around and failed to attack the Moghuls, but 
all are agreed in according to the queen the 
greatest praise for her magnificent defence 
of the fort. 



CHAPTER XV 



THE SIXTH SIEGE : CHAND 
BIBFS DEATH. 



For three years the Queen- Regent ruled 
the kingdom, but the Moghuls were restless 
on her borders. One by one the kingdoms 
of Gujarat, Malwa and Khandesh fell to their 
arms, and they began to occupy districts much 
to the south of Berar. The kings of Golconda 
and Bijapur, assisted by troops from Ahmed- 
nagar, gave them battle on the Godavery River. 
After a bloody general engagement which 
lasted two days, victory rested with the 
Moghuls. Queen Chand still hoped that she 
would be able to induce the Moghuls to abide 
by their treaty, but to complicate matters 
Nehang Khan, rash and untrustworthy, went 



68 Tales of Ahmednagar 

into rebellion against the queen, and laid 
siege to the town of Bid, which the Moghuls 
had occupied. This rash action speedily drew 
the wrath of the Moghuls. Prince Murad being 
dead, the Emperor Akbar sent his second son. 
Prince Danyal, to the relief of the city. 
Nehang Khan fled and sought refuge at 
Ahmednagar. Queen Chand realised that 
the Battle of the Godavery and Nehang's 
action had probably decided the fate 
of the Nizam Dynasty, but still hoped 
that by discreet diplomacy she might be able 
to save it. She refused Nehang Khan admis- 
sion to the fort, and he fled further. Prince 
Danyal, however, followed in his wake with 
a large army and a powerful siege train 
specially equipped, and manned by skilled 
and daring miners from the North, and laid 
siege to the fort, which was again bravely 



The Sixth Siege 69 

defended by the Queen-Regent. The Emperor 
Akbar had however set his mind on the 
reduction of the fort and proceeded to Bur- 
hanpur to direct it. Operations were unceas- 
ingly pressed forward. Mines were formed 
from the trenches of the prince, but the 
besieged broke into them and filled them. 
One mine was carried under the palace in the 
fort before being discovered. The queen 
began to despair of success by arms. The 
armies of Golconda and Bijapur dare not 
assist her, and practically no troops were 
operating on her behalf outside the fort. 
After four months' gallant defence she came 
to the conclusion that she could no longer 
hold the fort, and that it would be policy to 
surrender it on the condition that the Moghuls 
allowed her to move with the young king and 
the garrison to Junna. By this means she 



70 Tales of Ahmednagar 

hoped to maintain an independent kingdom 
even without Ahmednagar. On hearing this, 
Hamid Khan, the commander of the fort, 
rushed into the streets crying " Treason 
treason, the queen will betray us." The 
Dekhanis, wrought to a high pitch of nervous 
tension by 16 weeks of strain and anxiety, 
and forgetful of all their past debts to the 
queen, rushed in a mob to her private 
apartments, where Hamid Khan cut her 
down with his drawn sword. Thus ended 
the life of Chand Bibi, in the palace where she 
was born. She was doubtless buried within 
the fort. No tomb marks her grave, but she 
still lives in the memory of the people, beloved 
and honoured. 
***** 
The fort held out only four days longer. 
On the fourth day several mines were 
sprung. A huge crack began to show in one 



TU Sixth Siege 71 

bastion. The besiegers placed 180 mans of 
gunpowder therein, and on it being exploded 
the bastion and many yards of the wall were 
thrown into the air. The breach was stormed. 
Fifteen hundred of the defenders were put 
to the sword. The guns and ammunition 
captured were beyond compute and a 
valuable booty, treasure and jewels fell to 
the victors. The boy king was taken prisoner, 
and the Moghuls reigned in Ahmednagar 
(1599). 



CHAPTER XVI 



THE SEVENTH SIEGE: MOGHULS, 
MAHRATTAS AND BRITISH. 



Malik Umbar for some years endeavoured 
to maintain the claims of the Nizam Shah 
Dynasty to the Ahmednagar Kingdom. Wise 
and courageous, he to some extent succeeded, 
but on his death, in the absence of a strong 
champion or claimant, the kingdom expired. 
During the century that followed, the 
Mahratta chieftains in outlying forts began to 
grow strong and bold. The Emperor Aurang- 
zebe moved his court to Ahmednagar, and 
died there in 1707, and on his death the 
dissensions among his sons weakened the 
Moghul power in the Deccan. In 1716 a 
bloody battle was fought near Ahmednagar 
between Khanderav Dabhade, a Mahratti 



The Seventh Siege 73 

leader, and Husain Ali, of the Moghuls, in 
which the advantage lay with the Mahrattas, 
and the fall of the Moghul power was com- 
pleted in 1748 when the fort and district 
passed to the Chin Kilich Khan, Nizam-ul- 
Mulk, Governor of Malwa. In 1759 the fort 
was betrayed by a bribe of a large sum of 
money by the Nizam's Commandant to the 
Mahrattas. There was much fighting in the 
Deccan, in which French and the East India 
Company troops participated. In 1795, for 
services rendered, the Peshwa ceded to his 
general Daulatrav Scindia, the fort of Ahmed- 
nagar and certain lands. In 1802 the British 
entered into a treaty with the Peshwa for 
mutual defence. In 1803 Scindia commenced 
to march against the Peshwa, and on being 
called on to desist by General Wellesley 
(afterwards the Duke of Wellington), he 



74 Tales of Ahmednagar 

cynically advised the General to withdraw to 
Madras, Seringapatam, or Bombay. Wellesley 
however moved against Ahmednagar, and 
on 7th August, 1803, attacked and took 
the town, which was held by a large number 
of troops, and then proceeded to invest the 
fort. He seized a position to the east of the 
wall, 400 yards distant, and opened fire with 
a battery of guns. The fire was maintained 
without pause, and with deadly effect, and after 
two days' battering, the commander of the fort 
offered to surrender the fort on condition 
that the garrison should be allowed to depart 
with their private property. To this General 
Wellesley agreed, and on the morning of 12th 
August, 1803, the garrison marched out and 
General Wellesley took possession. On 
marching in he found the fort in excellent 
repair, with a vast amount of stores and 
gunpowder of good quality. The interior 



The Seventh Siege 75 

of the fort was crowded with palaces and 
buildings, which led to confusion. The General 
thought they should be removed, and in later 
days the material taken from these buildings 
was utilised in the erection of the Wellesley 
Barracks, to the east of the fort. The fort 
was handed to the Peshwa, who ceded it to 
the British under the treaty of Poona, in June 
1817. During the Mutinies of 1857, about 
7,000 Bhils rose in rebellion ; they were 
suppressed almost entirely by the PoUce 
and a special Koli corps: except for this there 
has been no war in the land. On account of 
its strategic position the fort has been main- 
tained in good repair, and for over a century 
it has been garrisoned by British troops. 
Day by day the 12 o'clock gun booms out 
from on its stately walls, carrying a message 
of peace and security to the distant hills. 



Printed by B. Miller, Superintendent, British India Press, 

Mazgaon, Bombay, and Published by Messrs. Thacker and 

Company, Limited, Bombay. 



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