Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. I. - The History of British India, vol. 2
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CHAP. I. - James Mill, The History of British India, vol. 2 
The History of British India in 6 vols. (3rd edition) (London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1826). Vol. 2.
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From the first Invasion of India by the Nations in the North, till the expulsion of the Gaznevide dynasty.
AT the time when the nations of Europe openedBOOK III. Chap. 1.their communication with India, by the Cape of Good Hope, the people whom we have now described had for a number of ages been subject to a race of foreigners. That subjection, though it had not greatly altered the texture of native society, had introduced new forms into some of the principal departments of state; had given the military command to foreigners; and had mixed with the population a proportion of a people differing from them considerably, in manners, character, and religion. The political state of India, at this time, consisted of a Mahomedan government, supported by a Mahomedan force, over a Hindu population.
It appears that the people of Hindustan have at all times been subject to incursions and conquest, by the nations contiguous to them on the north-west. The Scythians, that is, the rude nations on the east of Persia, conquered, we are told by Justin, a great part of Asia, and even penetrated as far as Egypt, about BOOK III. Chap. 1.1,500 years before Ninus, the founder of the Assyrian monarchy. And we know that in the vast empire of Darius Hystaspes as much of India was included, as constituted one, and that the most valuable, of his twenty satrapies. The exact limits of the Indian satrapy are unknown; but from the account which Herodotus gives of its tribute, far exceeding that of any of the rest, the extent of it cannot have been small. Major Rennel supposes that it may have reached as far as Delhi, and have included the whole of the Punjab, or country watered by the five branches of the Indus, together with Cabul, Candahar, and the tract of country which lies along the Indus to the sea.1
The conquests of Alexander the Great, which succeeded to those of the Persian monarchs, seem not to have extended so far in India, as the previous possessions of Darius; since his career was stopped on the banks of the Hyphasis, or modern Beyah, the last of the five branches of the Indus; whence returning to the Hydaspes, he passed down the Indus to the sea. Seleucus, the successor of Alexander in Upper Asia, not only received, but endeavoured to augment, the acquisitions made by that conqueror in India. He gained victories over Sandracottos, the sovereign of a people living on the Ganges. But, as he wasBOOK III. Chap. 1.recalled to the defence of another part of his dominions against Antigonus, he made peace with the Indian: and the limits established between them are not ascertained.1
Among the kingdoms, formed out of the vast empire of Alexander, by the dissensions of his followers, was Bactria. This district was part of that great range of country, on the eastern side of Media and Persia, extending from the lake Aral to the mouths of the Indus, which the power of the Persian monarchs had added to their extensive dominions. The people of this intermediate region seem to have possessed an intermediate stage of civilization between the Tartar or Scythian tribes which bordered with them on the east, and the people of the Assyrian or Persian empire which was contiguous to them on the west. Among these people there is some reason for believing that the Bactrians were distinguished, and at an early period, by superior progress in the knowledge, and other acquirements of civilized men. Among the numerous Zoroasters, with whom Persian story abounds, one is said to have been king of Bactria, contemporary with Ninus; and to have invented magic; that is, to have been the object of admiration on account of his knowledge. Of the eastern nations added to the subjects of the Persian kings, the Bactrians were the nearest to India, and were only separated from it by that range of mountains, in which the Indus and the Oxus find their respective sources. Bactria as well as India were among the parts of the dominions of Alexander BOOK II. Chap. 10.which fell to the share of Seleucus. In the reign, however, of his son or grandson, the governor of the Bactrian province threw off his dependence upon the Seleucidæ; and a separate Greek kingdom was erected in that country, about sixty-nine years after the death of Alexander. The Persian dominions in India seem to have shared the fate of Bactria, and to have fallen into the hands of the same usurper. The Greek sovereigns of Bactria became masters of an extensive empire; and assumed the proud title of King of Kings; the distinctive appellation of the Persian monarchs in the zenith of their power. They carried on various wars with India; and extended their conquests into the interior of the country. The limits of their dominions in that direction we have no means of ascertaining. One of those great movements in central or eastern Tartary, which precipitates the eastern barbarians upon the countries of the west, brought an irresistible torrent of that people across the Jaxartes, about 126 years before the Christian era, which, pouring itself out upon Bactria, overwhelmed the Grecian monarchy, after it had lasted nearly 130 years.1
About the same period that the successors ofBOOK III. Chap. 1.Alexander lost the kingdom of Bactria, the misconduct of a governor in the distant provinces bordering on the Caspian Sea, raised up a military chief who excited the rude and turbulent inhabitants to revolt, and laid the foundation of the Parthian kingdom; a power which soon possessed itself of Media, and finally stripped the descendants of Seleucus of almost all that they possessed from the Tigris eastwards. The rebellion of the Parthians is placed about the year 256 before Christ; and the kings of Syria maintained from that time a struggling and declining existence, till they finally yielded to the power of the Romans, and Syria was erected into a province sixty-four years before the commencement of the Christian era.1
The descendants of the Parthian rebel, known under the title of the Arsacides, held the sceptre of Persia till the year of Christ 226. The possession of empire produced among them, as it usually produces among the princes of the East, a neglect of the duties of government, and subjugation to ease and pleasure; when a popular and enterprising subject, availing himself of the general dissatisfaction, turned the eyes of the nation upon himself, and having dethroned his master, substituted the dynasty of the Sassanides to the house of Arsaces. As usual, the first princes BOOK III. Chap. 1.of this line were active and valiant; and their empire extended from the Euphrates to the Jaxartes, and the mountainous ridge which divided the kingdom of Bactria from the Scythians of the East. To what extent their power was carried over the ancient soil of the Hindus, does not appear; but it is more than probable that the territory west of the Indus, from the time when it was first established into a Persian satrapy, in the reign of Darius, owned no more the caste who sprung from the arm of the Creator. Bactria was numbered as one among the four provinces of the great Chosroes, who reigned from the year 531 of the Christian era to the year 571, and was denominated King of Persia and of India. The grandson of Chosroes, who was deposed in 628, may be considered as closing the line of the Sassanides; for, after a few years of tumult and distraction, the irresistible arms of the successors of Mahomet were directed toward Persia, and quickly reduced it under the power of the Caliphs.1
In the year 632, Caled, the lieutenant of Abubeker, entered Persia. In a few years the standards of the Faithful were carried to the furthest limits of Bactria, and pushing once more the shepherds of the East beyond the Jaxartes, rendered the empire of the Caliphs in that direction conterminous with the Persian monarchy in its proudest days.2
The possession of empire required, as usual, but a few generations to relax the minds of the successors of Mahomet, and render them as unfit as their predecessors for any better use of power, than the unrestrainedBOOK III. Chap. 1.indulgence of themselves in the pleasures which it commands.
The tribes of Tartar, or Scythian shepherds, from the centre of Asia, unsettled, fierce, and warlike, had from the earliest ages proved dangerous and encroaching neighbours to the Eastern provinces of Persia. Pushed beyond the Jaxartes and Imaus, by Cyrus, and the more warlike of the successors of Cyrus, they were ever ready, as soon as the reign of a weak prince enfeebled the powers of government, to make formidable incursions, and generally held possession of the provinces which they over-ran, till a renewal of vigour in the government made them retire within their ancient limits. We are informed by Polybius that a tribe of Nomades or shepherds, whom he calls Aspasians, forced their way across the Oxus, and took possession of Hyrcania, even in the reign of Antiochus. We have already seen that a body of Tartars overwhelmed Bactria about 120 years before Christ. And about 100 years subsequent to the Christian era, a portion of the great nation of the Huns, who had been forced by a victorious tribe from their native seat behind the wall of China, penetrated into Sogdiana, the country between the Oxus and the Jaxartes, towards the shores of the Caspian Sea; and there established themselves under the titles of the Euthalites, Nephthalites, and White Huns. After these irruptions, the more vigorous of the princes of the Sassanian dynasty reduced Sogdiana, as well as Bactria, to occasional obedience; but without expelling the new inhabitants, and without acquiring any permanent dominion. In the cultivated provinces in which they settled, the savage Tartars acquired a degree of civilization; and when obliged to yield to the followers of Mahomed, felt so little attachment to their BOOK III. Chap. 1.ancient religion, as immediately to recommend themselves to the favour, by adopting the faith, of their conquerors.1
When the government of the Caliphs began to lose its vigour, a tribe of Tartars, originally situated in the Alti mountains, and known by the name of Turks, had acquired extraordinary power. They had, in a series of wars, subdued the neighbouring tribes, and extended their sway, that species of sway which it is competent to a pasturing people to exercise or to sustain, over a great portion of the Tartars of Asia.2 When the military virtues of the Arabians sunk beneath the pleasures which flow from the possession of power, the Caliphs sought to infuse vigour into their effeminate armies, by a mixture of fierce and hardy Turks. Adventurers of that nation were raised to the command of armies, and of provinces; and a guard of Turkish soldiers was appointed to surround the person of the monarch. When weakness was felt at the centre of the empire; the usurpation of independence by the governors of the distant provinces was a natural result. The first, by whom this usurpation was attempted, was Taher, Governor of Chorasan, the province extending from the Caspian Sea to the Oxus. He and his posterity, under the title of Taherites, enjoyed sovereignty in that province from the year 813 to the year 872. The son of a brazier, called in Arabian Soffar, who rose (a common occurrence in the East) through the different stages of military adventure, to be the head and captain of an army, supplanted the Taherites, and substituted his own family, called from their origin Soffarides, in theBOOK III. Chap. 1.government of Chorasan and Transoxiana. The Soffarides were displaced by a similar adventurer, who established the house of the Samanides, after a period, according to the varying accounts, of either 34 or 57 years, from the elevation of the Brazier. The Samanides are celebrated by the Persian historians for their love of justice and learning; they extended their sway over the eastern provinces of Persia, from the Jaxartes to the Indus, and reigned till after the year 1000 of the Christian era.1
The Taherites, the Soffarides, and Samanides usurped only the eastern provinces of the empire of the Caliphs, the provinces which, being the nearest to the turbulent and warlike tribes of shepherds, and most exposed to their incursions, were of the least importance to the sovereigns of Persia. Three adventurers, brothers, called, from the name of their father, the Bowides, rose to power in the provinces extending westward from Chorasan, along the shores of the Caspian Sea, about the year 315 of the Hegira, or 927 of Christ. This dynasty consisted of seventeen successive and powerful princes, who reigned till the year 1056. They conquered the provinces of Gilan, Mazenderan, Erak, Fars, Kerman, Khosistan, Ahvaz, Tabarestan, and Georgian; and rendered themselves masters of the Caliphs, to whom they left only a shadow of authority.2
About the year of Christ 967, Subuctagi, a servant of the Samanides, was appointed governor of the Indian province of Candahar, or Ghazna, as it is called by the Persian writers; from the name of the capital Ghizni. Having raised himself from the condition BOOK III. Chap. 1.of a Turkish slave to such a degree of power as made it dangerous to recall him from his government, he left it to his son Mahmood, who asserted his independence; and founded the dynasty of the Ghaznevides. Mahmood subverted the throne of the Samanides, reduced to a shadow the power of the Bowides, and reigned from the Tigris to the Jaxartes. He also made extensive conquests towards the south; and as he was the first who in that direction bore the crescent beyond the furthest limits of the Persian empire, and laid the foundation of the Mahomedan thrones in India, we are now arrived at the period when the Mahomedan history of India begins.1
The northern provinces of India, Cabul, Candahar, Multan, and the Punjab, appear, from the days of Darius Hystaspes, to have followed the destiny of Bactria, Chorasan, and Transoxiana, the eastern appendages of Persia, and, excepting some short intervals, to have been always subject to a foreign yoke. Even the White Huns, who established themselves in Sogdiana, on the river Oxus, and in Bactria, about the end of the first century of the Christian era, advanced into India, and in the second century were masters as far as Larice or Guzerat.2 Mahmood was already master of the dominions of the Samanides, and of all the eastern provinces that had occasionally owned allegiance to the Persian throne; when he first, says the Persian historian, “turned his face to India.” This expedition, of which the year 1000 of the Christian era is assigned as the date, seems to have been solely intended to confirm or restore theBOOK III. Chap. 1.obedience of the governors who had submitted to his father, or been accustomed to obey the masters of eastern Persia; and few of its particulars have been thought worthy of record. He renewed his invasion the succeeding year; and proceeded so far as to alarm a prince who reigned at Lahore; a city, on one of the most eastern branches of the Indus, which gave its name to a small kingdom. This prince, called by the Persian historians Jeipal, or Gepal, met him, with his whole army, and was defeated. It was, according to the same historians, a custom or law of the Hindus, that a prince, twice defeated by Mahomedan arms, was unworthy to reign; and as this misfortune had happened to Jeipal, who had formerly yielded to Subuctagi, he resigned the throne to his son Anundpaul, and burnt himself alive in solemn state.1
In the year 1004 Mahmood again marched into India to chastise, for defect of duty, a tributary prince on the Indus. His presence was still more urgently required the following year; when the king of Multan revolted, and was joined by Anundpaul. Mahmood was met by Anundpaul as he was descending through the pass in the intervening mountains. Anundpaul was conquered and obliged to fly into Cashmere: when the king of Multan endeavoured, by submission, to save what he could. As Mahmood had received intelligence that a body of Tartars had invaded his northern provinces, he was the more easily softened; and leaving Zab Sais, a Hindu who had embraced the Mahomedan religion, his lieutenant, or governor in India, marched to repel the invaders.2
BOOK III. Chap. 1.During this expedition against the Tartars, Zab Sais revolted; resumed the Brahmenical faith; and was on the point of being joined by a confederacy of Rajahs, or Hindu sovereigns, when Mahmood hastened back to India, took Zab Sais unprepared, and made him prisoner for life; after which, the season being far advanced, he returned to Ghizni. Early, however, in the following spring, some movements of Anundpaul recalled him to India, when the princes of Oogeen, Gualior, Callinger, Kanoge, Delhi, Ajmere, the Guickwars, and others, joined their forces to oppose him. A general battle was fought, in which the Ghiznian monarch prevailed. He then reduced the fort of Nagracote or Nagarcote; and, having plundered the temple of its riches, very great, as we are told, returned to his capital. As the king of Multan still continued refractory, Mahmood returned to that province in the following year, and having taken the Rajah prisoner, carried him to Ghizni, where he confined him for life.1
“In the year 402,2 the passion of war,” says the historian, “fermenting in the mind of Mahmood,” he resolved upon the conquest of Tannasar or Tahnesir, a city about thirty coss north-west from Delhi; the seat of a considerable government; famous for its sanctity and subservience to the Brahmenical religion. Having taken Tannasar, and demolished the idols, he marched to Delhi; which he quickly reduced; and thence returned with vast riches.”3
Two years afterwards, he drove from his dominions the king of Lahore, and overran Cashmere, compelling the inhabitants to acknowledge the prophet.
In the beginning of the year 1018, the Sultan (Mahmood was the first on whom that title was bestowed)BOOK III. Chap. 1.with a large army, raised chiefly among the tribes who possessed, or bordered upon, the northern provinces of his empire, marched against Kanoge, the capital of a kingdom, situated on the Ganges, about 100 miles south-east from Delhi.1 “From the time of Gustasp, the father of Darab, to this period, this city (says the Persian historian) had not been visited by any foreign enemy; three months were necessary to complete the march between this kingdom and the capital of Mahmood; and seven mighty streams rushed across the intervening space.” The conqueror having with much difficulty forced a passage through the mountains, by the way of Cashmere, arrived at Kanoge, before the Rajah was prepared for resistance. Placing his only hopes in submission, he threw himself upon the mercy of the invader. The magnitude and grandeur of the city is celebrated in poetic strains by the Persian historians. Mahmood, remaining but three days, proceeded against a neighbouring prince, inhabiting a city called Merat; thence to another city, on the Jumna, named Mavin, and next to Muttra, which is still a city of considerable extent, at a small distance from Agra. This last city was full of temples and idols, which Mahmood plundered and destroyed; and from which, according to the usual story, he obtained incredible treasure. Several other forts and Rajahs being subdued, Mahmood returned from his eighth expedition into India, laden, we are told, with riches; and began to adorn and improve his capital. He built a mosque, so beautiful and magnificent, that it was called the BOOK III. Chap. 1.Celestial Bride, and “struck every beholder with astonishment and pleasure. In the neighbourhood of this mosque he founded an university, which he furnished with a vast collection of curious books, in various languages: and with natural and artificial curiosities. He appropriated a sufficient fund for the maintenance of the students, and the learned men who were appointed to instruct the youth in the sciences.”1
Mahmood’s ninth expedition in 1021, was for the purpose of protecting the Rajah of Kanoge, who now held the rank of one of his dependants. The Rajah of Callinger, a city in the province of Bundelcund, situated on one of the rivers which fall into the Jumna, was the most guilty of the assailants. As the Rajah avoided Mahmood in the field, he plundered and laid waste the country, and, this done, returned to his capital.
Here he had not reposed many days, when he was informed that two districts on the borders of Hindustan refused to acknowledge the true prophet, and continued the worship of lions.2 The zeal of the religious sultan immediately took fire. Having speedily brought to reason the disrespectful provinces, he marched to Lahore, which he gave up to pillage. According to custom, it afforded enormous riches. Mahomedan governors were established in this and several other districts of Hindustan.
The twelfth expedition of the Ghiznian monarchBOOK III. Chap. 1.was undertaken in the year 1024. He had heard not only of the great riches and supposed sanctity of the temple of Sumnaut, but of the presumption of its priests, who had boasted that other places had yielded to the power of Mahmood, by reason of their impiety; but if he dared to approach Sumnaut, he would assuredly meet the reward of his temerity. Mahmood, having arrived at Multan, gave orders to his army to provide themselves with water and other necessaries for crossing a desert of several days’ march, which lay between this city and Ajmere. The Rajah and people of Ajmere abandoned the place at his approach. They were invited to return, and experience the clemency of the victor; but not complying, beheld their country desolated with fire and sword. Arrived at Sumnaut, which was a strong castle, situated on the promontory of Guzerat, near the city of Diu,1 washed on three sides by the sea, Mahmood met with a more serious resistance than any which he had yet encountered in Hindustan. Not only did the priests and guardians of the temple defend it with all the obstinacy of enthusiasm and despair; but a large army collected in the surrounding kingdoms was brought to its defence. Having triumphed over all resistance, the religious sultan entered the temple. Filled with indignation at sight of the gigantic idol, he aimed a blow at its head, with his iron mace. The nose was struck from its face. In vehement trepidation the Brahmens crowded around, and offered millions,2 to spare the god. The BOOK III. Chap. 1.Omrahs dazzled with the ransom ventured to counsel acceptance. Mahmood, crying out that he valued the title of breaker, not seller of idols, gave orders to proceed with the work of destruction. At the next blow, the belly of the idol burst open: and forth issued a vast treasure of diamonds, rubies, and pearls; rewarding the holy perseverance of Mahmood, and explaining the devout liberality of the Brahmens. After this Mahmood took vengeance on the rajahs who had confederated to defend the temple, and reduced all Guzerat to his obedience. It is said that he was so captivated with the beauty of the country, the richness of the soil, and the salubrity of the climate, that he conceived the design of making it the place of his residence, and resigning Ghizni to one of his sons. Diverted from this design by the counsels of his friends, he placed a Hindu governor over the province, and after an absence of two years and six months returned to Ghizni. A people whom the translator of Ferishta calls the Jits, afterwards better known under the name of Jaats, who inhabited part of the country bordering on the Indus, southward from Multan, either failed in respect, or gave molestation, as he marched from Guzerat. Returning in the same year to chastise them, he defeated 4,000 or 8,000 (so wide are the accounts) of their boats, launched on the river to defend an island to which, as the place of greatest safety, they had conveyed the most valuable of their effects, and the most cherished of their people.1 This was the last of the exploits of Mahmood in India, who died at Ghizni in the year 1028. Mahmood, the son of Subuctagi the TurkishBOOK III. Chap. 1.slave, is one of the most celebrated of eastern princes. He was supposed to possess in the highest perfection almost every royal virtue. He patronized learning, and encouraged the resort of learned men. Ferdosi, the author of the Shah Namah, the most celebrated poem of the East, was entertained at his court.
After a short contest between Mahommed and Musaood, the sons of Mahmood, Musaood mounted the throne of Ghizni, and the eyes of Mahommed were put out. Musaood entered India three times, during the nine years of his reign; and left the boundaries of the Ghaznevide dominions there in the situation nearly in which he received them. His first incursion was in the year 1032, when he penetrated by the way of Cashmere; and his only memorable exploit was the capture of the fort of Sursutti, which commanded the pass. In 1034, he sent an army which chastised a disobedient viceroy. And in 1035, he marched in person to reduce Sewalik, a kingdom or rajahship lying at the bottom of the mountains near the place where the Ganges descends upon the Indian plains. He assailed the capital, of great imputed strength; took it in six days; and found in it incredible riches. From this he proceeded against the fort of Sunput, a place about forty miles distant from Delhi on the road to Lahore, the governor of which abandoned it upon his approach, and fled into the woods. He proposed to march against another prince, called Ram; but Ram, understanding his intentions, endeavoured to divert the storm, by gifts and compliments, and had the good fortune to succeed. Musaood was recalled from India to oppose an enemy, destined to render short the splendour of the house of Ghizni.
BOOK III. Chap. 1.During several centuries, the movements westward of the hordes of Turkmans had been accumulating that people upon the barriers of the Persian empire. In the reign of Mahmood, three brothers, sons of Seljuk, solicited permission to pass the Oxus, with their flocks and herds, and to enjoy the unoccupied pastures of Chorasan. Mahmood, disregarding the advice of his best counsellors, granted their request. The example set, the number of Tartars in Transoxiana and Chorasan continually increased. During the vigilant and vigorous reign of Mahmood, the Turks behaved so much like peaceable subjects, that no complaint against them seems to have been raised. But in the days of his son and successor Musaood, the inhabitants of Chorasan and Transoxiana complained that they were oppressed by the strangers, and Musaood at last resolved to drive them back from his dominions. Togrul Beg, however, the son of Michael, the son of Seljuk, offered himself as a leader and a bond of union to the Turks; opposed Musaood; triumphed over him in the field; rendered himself master of the northern provinces of his empire, and established the dynasty of the Seljukides. Having baffled the power of the Sultan of Ghizni, Togrul found nothing remaining to oppose to him any serious resistance, from the Oxus to the Euphrates; he extinguished the remaining sparks of the power of the Bowides; and took the Caliph under his protection. Togrul was succeeded by his nephew Alp Arslan, and the latter by his son Malek Shah; both celebrated warriors, who pushed the limits of their empire beyond the Euphrates and the Jaxartes, and made deep inroads upon the Roman provinces and the Tartar plains. The provinces of Zabulistan or Candahar, of Segistan or Seistan, and Cabul, with the provinces in India beyond theBOOK III. Chap. 1.Hydaspes, were all that at last remained to the Ghaznevides.
Musaood returning from the defeat which he, deserted by his troops, had sustained at the hand of the Turkmans, and hastening to India to recruit his forces, was deposed by a mutiny in the army, and his brother Mahommed, whose eyes he had put out, was placed upon the throne. Modood, the son of Musaood, who had been left by his father with an army at Balke marched against Mahommed, whom he dethroned. Modood made some efforts against the Seljukians, and for a time recovered Transoxiana. But the feebleness and distraction now apparent in the empire of the Ghaznevides encouraged the Rajah of Delhi, in concert with some other rajahs, to hazard an insurrection. They reduced Tannasar, Hassi the capital of Sewalik, and even the fort of Nagracote. The Rajahs of the Punjab endeavoured to recover their independence; and the Mahommedan dominion was threatened with destruction.
In the year 1049 Modood died; and a rapid change of princes succeeded, violently raised to the throne, and violently thrown down from it. His son Musaood, a child of four years old, was set up by one general; and, after a nominal reign of six days, gave place to Ali, the brother of Modood, who was supported by another. Ali reigned about two years, when he was dethroned by Abdul Reshid, his uncle, son of the great Mahmood. Tugril, governor of Segistan, rebelled against Reshid, and slew him after reigning one year. Tugril himself was assassinated after he had enjoyed his usurpation but forty days. Feroch-Zaad, a yet surviving son of Musaood, was then raised to the throne, who, dying after a peaceable BOOK III. Chap. 1.reign of six years, was succeeded by his brother Ibrahim.
Ibrahim reigned a period of no less than forty-two years. After he had terminated his disputes with the dangerous Seljukians, by resigning to them all the provinces they had usurped of the Ghaznevide empire, he directed his ambition towards India. An army which he dispatched into that country is said to have reduced to his obedience many places which had not yet yielded to the Moslem arms. In the year 1080, he marched in person; and by the successful attack of several places of strength, added the territory they protected to his dominions.1 Against the house of Seljuk, now reigning over Persia, Chorasan, and Bucharia, the latter comprehending the ancient provinces or kingdoms of Bactria, Sogdiana, and Transoxiana, he found protection chiefly by intermarriages and alliance.
Ibrahim was succeeded by his son Musaood, who enjoyed a peaceable reign of sixteen years. With the exception of one expedition, under one of his generals, who penetrated beyond the Ganges, India remained unmolested by his arms. But as the Indian provinces now formed the chief portion of his dominions, Lahore became the principal seat of his government.
His son Shere, says the Persian historian, “placed his foot on the imperial throne; but within a year was assassinated by his brother Arsilla.” Byram, one of the brothers of Arsilla, made his escape; and fled to the governor of Chorasan, who was brother to the king of Persia, and to his own, and Arsilla’sBOOK III. Chap. 1.mother. By the assistance of this prince, his uncle, who marched with an army to his support, he dethroned Arsilla, and assumed the reins of government, which had been held by the usurper for three years.
Byram, or Bahram, was twice called into India, by the disobedience of the governor of Lahore, who aspired to independence. But he had no sooner settled this disturbance, than he was called to oppose the governor of another of his provinces, whose rebellion was attended with more fatal consequences. A range of mountainous country, known by the name of the mountains of Gaur, occupies the space between the province of Chorasan and Bactria on the west and north, and the provinces of Segistan, Candahar, and Cabul on the south. The mountaineers of this district, a wild and warlike race, had hardly ever paid more than a nominal obedience to the sovereigns of Persia. The district, however, had been included in the dominions of the Sultans of Ghizni; and had not yet been detached by the Seljukian encroachments. In the days of Byram, a descendant of the ancient princes of the country, Souri by name, was governor of the province. Finding himself possessed of power to aim at independence, he raised an army of Afghauns, such is the name (famous in the history of India) by which the mountaineers of Gaur are distinguished, and chased Byram from his capital of Ghizni. Byram, however, having collected and recruited his army, marched against his enemy, and aided by his subjects of Ghizni, who deceived and betrayed their new master, gained a complete victory, and put the Gaurian to a cruel death. The power which he gained was but of short duration. Alla, the brother of Souri, who succeeded him in BOOK III. Chap. 1.his usurped dominion, hastened to repair his loss. Byram was defeated in a decisive battle, and fled towards India; but sunk under his misfortunes, and expired, after a languid, but gentle reign of thirty-five years.
He was succeeded by his son Chusero, who withdrew to India, and made Lahore his capital. This prince cherished the hope of recovering the lost dominions of his house from the Gaurian usurper, by aid from his kinsman, the king of Persia; and collected an army for that purpose; but at this moment a fresh horde of Turkman Tartars rushed upon the Persian provinces, and inundated even Cabul and Candahar, from which the Gaurians were obliged to retire. The Turks, after two years’ possession, were expelled by the Gaurians. The Gaurians were again defeated by the arms of Chusero, and yielded up the temporary possession of Ghizni to its former masters. Chusero continued to reside at Lahore, and, having died after a reign of seven years, was succeeded by his son Chusero the Second.
Mahommed, brother to the Gaurian usurper, pursued the same ambitious career. He soon rendered himself master of the kingdom of Ghizni or Candahar; and, not satisfied with that success, penetrated even into India; over-ran Multan, with the provinces on both sides of the Indus; and advanced as far as Lahore. After an uninteresting struggle of a few years, Chusero was subdued; and in the year 1184 the sceptre was transferred from the house of Ghizni to the house of Gaur. The same era which was marked by the fall of the Ghaznevides, was distinguished by the reduction of the house of Seljuk. The weakness and effeminacy which, after the vigour and ability of the founders of a new dynasty, uniformly take place among the princes their successors, having relaxed the springs of the SeljukianBOOK III. Chap. 1.government, the subordinate governors threw off their dependence; and a small portion of the dominions of Malek now owned the authority of Togril his descendant.
Rennel’s Geography of Herodotus, p. 305. The Major, who is here puzzled with a mistranslation of 600, for 360, corrects the hyperbolical statement of the amount of the tribute, though he doubts not it was great. Herodot. lib. iii. cap. 94, 95. It is by no means impossible, or perhaps improbable, that Cyrus subdued part of India. Herodotus, who knew India, says that his General, Harpagus, subdued one part of Asia, and he another, παν τθνος καταςρεφομενος, και ονδεν ΰαριεις. . . . παντα τα της ηπειρον ύποχειρια εποιησατο. Herodot.lib. i. cap. 147. Justin says that Cyrus, having reduced Asia, and the East in general, carried war into Scythia: lib. i. cap. 8. Xenophon says expressly, ηρξε δε κακτριων και Ινδιν. Cyri Institut. lib. i. cap. i. The Persian historians describe the Persians, in the early ages, as chiefly occupied by wars in Turan and India.
The notices relating to the conquests of Alexander and his successors in India are collected in Robertson’s Disquisition concerning Ancient India, and Gillies’ History of the World. Strabo and Arrian are the authorities from whom almost every thing we know of the transactions of the Greeks in India, is borrowed.
A curious history of the Greek kingdom of Bactria has been compiled by Bayer, entitled, Historia regni Græcorum Bactriani. In this, and in Strabo, lib. xi. Diod. lib. xv. and Justin, lib. xli. the only remaining memorials of this kingdom are to be found. The progress of the barbarians by whom it was destroyed has been traced by De Guignes, Mem. de Literat. xxv. 17, and Hist. de Huns, Passim. Herodotus says that those of the Indians, whose mode of life most resembled that of the Bactrians, were the most warlike of all the Indians, (lib. iii. cap. 102) which would seem to indicate a nearer affinity between the Hindus, and their Bactrian neighbours, than is generally supposed. There is some confusion however in this part of Herodotus, nor is it easy to know whether he means the people called Indians on the Euxine Sea, or those beyond the Indus, when he says they were like the Bactrians. He distinguishes them from the Indians living προς νοτον ανεμον, by saying they were contiguous to the city Caspatyrus and the Pactyan territory, and lying προς βορεον ανεμον (lib. iii. cap. 102) but (cap. 93 of the same book) he says that the Pactyan territory is contiguous to Armenia, and the countries on the Euxine Sea. Yet in another place (lib. iv. cap. 44) he says that Scylax setting out from the city Caspatyrus, and the Pactyan territory, sailed down the Indus eastward to the sea. And Rennel places Caspatyrus and Pactya towards the sources of the Indus, about the regions of Cabul and Cashmere. Rennel’s Mem. Introd. p. xxiii. Rennel’s Herodot. sect. 12.
What is known to us from the Greek and Roman authors, of the Parthian empire, is industriously collected in Gillies’ History of the World; from the oriental writers by D’Herbelot, Biblioth, Orient. ad verba Arschak, Arminiah. See also Gibbon, i. 316.
In Gibbon, vols. vii. viii. ix. the reader will find a slight sketch, correctly but quaintly given, of this portion of the Persian history. Gibbon’s first object unfortunately was to inspire admiration of the writer; to impart knowledge of his subject only the second. The results of the Persian records (if such they may be called) are carefully collected in D’Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orient. under the several titles.
Gibbon, ix. 364; D’Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orient. ad verb.
Polyb. Hist. lib. x.; M. de Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. ii.; Gibbon’s Roman Empire, iv. 367.
The rise and progress of the power of the Turkish horde may be collected from Abulghazi, Hist. Genealogique des Tartars; De Guignes, Hist. des Huns; and D’Herbelot, Biblioth. Orient. Mr. Gibbon, vii. 284, throws a glance at the leading facts.
See D’Herbelot, Biblioth. Orient. ad verb. Thaher, Soffar, et Saman; Gibbon, x. 80; De Guignes, Hist. des Huns, i. 404—406.
D’Herbelot, Biblioth. Orient. ad verb. Buiah.
D’Herbelot, Biblioth, Orient. ad verb. Sebecteghen, Mahmoud, Gaznaviah; Ferishta, by Dow, i. 41, 2d Ed. in 4to.
The origin and progress of the Indo-Scythæ are traced in D’Anville sur l’Inde, p. 18, 45, and 69, &c. His authorities are drawn from Dionys. Perieget. 1088, with the Commentary of Eustathius, and Cosmas, Topograph. Christ. lib. ix.
Ferishta, (apud Dow, Hist. of Hindost. i. 40—42;) D’Herbelot, Bibl. Orient. ad verb. Mahmoud.
Ferishta, ut supra, p. 42—44; D’Herbelot, ut supra.
Ferista, ut supra, p. 47—50; D’Herbelot, ut supra.
Viz. of the Hegira; 1011, A. D.
Ferishta, ut supra, p. 51—58; D’Herbelot, ut supra.
It may be necessary once for all to state, that in this sketch of Mahomedan history, the distances are given generally as in the native historians. Their very inaccuracies (here they do not mislead) are sources of information.
D’Herbelot, ut supra; Ferishta, p. 56—60. Ferishta says, that the taste of the sovereign for architecture being followed by his nobles, Ghizui soon became the finest city in the East. Ibid. p. 60. So that the grandeur, and riches, and beauty, he so lavishly ascribes to some of the Hindu cities, get an object of comparison, which enables us to reduce them to their true dimensions. The architecture of the Mahomedans was superior to that of the Hindus.
This incorrect expression, which refers to the fourth avatar, shows the carelessness and ignorance of Ferishta and the Persian historians, in regard to the Brahmenical faith.
D’Herbelot, misled by some of the Persian historians, makes Sumnaut the same with the city of Visiapore in Deccan. Biblioth. Orient. ad verbun Soumenat.
Ferishta says “some crores of gold.” Dow says in a note, at the bottom of the page, “ten millions,” which is the explanation of the word crore. Mr. Gibbon says rashly and carelessly, that the sum offered by the Brahmens was ten millions sterling. Decl. and Fall. x. 337.
Ferishta apud Dow, Mahmood I.; D’Herbelot, Bibl. Orient. adverb. Mahmoud.
Ferishta mentions a city to which he came (the place not intelligibly marked,) the inhabitants of which came originally from Chorasan having been banished thither with their families, for rebellion, by an ancient Persian king. See Ferishta, Dow, i. 117.