Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. II. - The History of British India, vol. 2
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CHAP. II. - 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 Commencement of the first Gaurian Dynasty to that of the second Gaurian or Afghaun Dynasty.
BOOK III. Chap. 2. 1190.Mahomed left the government of India, after the defeat and death of Chusero, in the hands of a viceroy, and returned to Ghizni. After an absence of five years, he marched towards Ajmere; and, having taken the city of Tiberhind, is said to have been on his way back, when he heard that the Rajahs of Ajmere and Delhi, with others in confederacy, were advancing with a large army to relieve the city which he had just taken and left. He turned and met them a little beyond Tannasar. Having incautiously allowed his army to be surrounded by superior numbers, he was defeated, and, being severely wounded, escaped with great difficulty from the field of battle. He took such measures, as the moment allowed, to secure his provinces and forts, and hastened to Gaur.
After little more than a year he was prepared to return to India with a formidable army of Turks, Persians, and Afghauns. The combined Rajahs had consumed their time in the siege of Tiberhind, which had resisted them for one year and one month. No fewer, it is said, than 150 kings, with their armies, amounting, by “the lowest and most moderate account, to 300,000 horse, 3000 elephants, and a great body of infantry,” met him on the former field of battle. The Rajahs sent him an insulting proposal, that he might be permitted to march back unmolested, if he had the prudence to decline the BOOK III. Chap. 2. 1192. combat. Mahomed had learned wisdom from experience. Sending an humble answer; that he was only the servant of his brother, bound to execute his commands; and praying for time, to learn the will of his master; he filled the Rajahs, and their enormous camp, with an ill-grounded and intemperate presumption. While they were spending the night in revelling and joy, Mahomed crossed the river with his army, and fell upon them before the alarm was spread. The extent of the camp was so great, that a part of the army had time to form itself and advance to cover the flight. Mahomed immediately drew off his troops to meet them. Forming a strong reserve of his chosen horse, he ordered the rest of his army, drawn up in four lines, to receive the enemy calmly. The first line, having discharged its missile weapons, was made to withdraw to the rear; the next, coming in front, discharged in like manner its weapons, and in like manner gave place to another. By this stratagem were the enemy held in play, “till the sun was approaching the west,” when Mahomed, placing himself at the head of his reserve, rushed upon the fatigued and now presumptuous multitude; who were immediately thrown into the greatest disorder, and “recoiled, like a troubled torrent, from the bloody plain.”
Shortly after this event Mahomed returned to Ghizni, leaving the fruits of the victory to be gathered and secured by his favourite General Cuttub. The events of this man’s life, though far from singular in the East, involved extraordinary changes of condition and fortune. In his childhood, he was brought from Turkestan to Nishapore, the capital of Chorasan, and there sold for a slave. It happened that the master by whom he was bought had the disposition to give him education, and that the quickness of his BOOK III. Chap. 2. 1202. parts enabled him to profit by this advantage. The death of his patron, however, exposed him once more to the chance of the market; which fortunately assigned him to Mahomed the Gaurian. His intelligence and assiduity attracted in time the notice of the Prince. He advanced by gradual accessions of favour, till he rose to be Master of the Horse. Even misfortune, though he lost a detachment of men, and was taken prisoner by the enemy, did not lose him the kindness of Mahomed; or interrupt the career of his promotion.
Cuttub improved, with diligence and ability, the advantages which his master had gained in India. He reduced the surrounding districts; took the fort of Merat; and invested Delhi. The garrison ventured to meet him in the field. He vanquished them; and, surmounting all opposition, obtained possession of the city.
Mahomed returned to India in 1193. Cuttub was received with the highest marks of distinction; and being honoured to command the van of the army, he conquered the rajah of Benares; where Mahomed destroyed innumerable idols, and obtained, of course, incalculable riches. The whole country submitted, to the confines of Bengal.
Upon the return of Mahomed to Ghizni, Cuttub was declared his adopted son, and confirmed in the government of India. By various expeditions, he chastised repeatedly the refractory rajahs of Ajmere and Guzerat; took the cities of Calinger and Kalpy, with their respective territories; and at last made himself master of the forts of Biana and Gualior.
In the year 1202, Mahomed was excited to try his fortune for a share in the dismemberment of the Seljukian empire. Among the provinces of which the governors had thrown off their dependance upon the Seljukian princes, that of Karisme, on the eastern BOOK III. Chap. 2. 1202. side of the Caspian Sea, had risen to the rank of an independent kingdom, under a race of princes known by the name of the Karismian dynasty. Against Tacash, the reigning sovereign of this kingdom, Mahomed led an army. But Osman, a Tartar chief, who had assumed the rank of sovereign, in another part of Transoxiana, and had Samarcand for his capital, marched to the assistance of Tacash; Mahomed sustained a total defeat; and was fain, by a great ransom, to purchase return to his own country. Intelligence of his defeat was to his servants the signal for revolt. His slave Ildecuz, having assumed supremacy in his capital of Ghizni, refused him admittance. He continued his route to Multan, where another of his servants took arms against him. Being joined by many of his friends, he gave the traitor battle, and obtained the victory. He next collected such of his troops as were in the contiguous provinces of India, and marched back to Ghizni, where the rebellious slave was delivered up by the inhabitants.
At the same time with the other rebellious attempts, to which his defeat by the Karismians had given birth, a tribe of Indians, inhabiting the country about the sources of the Indus from the Nilab or western branch of that river upwards to the Sewalic mountains; called by the Persian historian, Gickers, and by him described as a people excessively rude and barbarous, putting their female children to death; attempted the recovery of their independence, and proceeded towards Lahore. Mahomed had no sooner recovered his capital than he marched against them; and Cuttub at the same time advancing from Delhi, they were attacked on both sides, and speedily subdued. Mahomed was returning to Ghizni, when he BOOK III. Chap. 2. 1210. was murdered in his tent by two Gickers, who penetrated thither in the night.
The death of Mahomed, who left no children, produced a contest for the succession, and a division of the empire. Mamood, his nephew, retained Gaur, of which he was governor. Eldoze, another governor, took possession of Candahar and Cabul; and Cuttub claimed the sovereignty of India. Eldoze marched against him; but was met and conquered. Cuttub, following up his victory, proceeded to Ghizni, where he was crowned. He now resigned himself to sloth and indulgence. Eldoze, who had retired to Kirma, his former province, obtained intelligence of this degeneracy, and of the disgust to which it had given birth. He raised an army, and surprised Cuttub, who withdrew to India; and made no effort for the recovery of Ghizni; but is celebrated for having governed his Indian dominions with great justice and moderation. During his administration, Bahar and Bengal were added to the Mahomedan dominions.1 He died only four years after the death of Mahomed, in 1210. Tacash, the Karismian, who had extended his sway over almost the whole of Persia, shortly after marched against Eldoze, and added Ghizni, with all the possessions, of the Gaurides, as far as the Indus, to his extensive empire.
Cuttub was succeeded by his son Aram; who proved unequal to the task of reigning. Multan and Sind were seized upon by one chief; Bengal by another; and in almost every province the standard of revolt was raised or preparing to be raised; when the Omrahs of Delhi invited Altumsh, the son-in-law of Cuttub, and governor of Budaoon, now the country of the Rohillas, to ascend the throne. The reign of BOOK III. Chap. 2. 1235. Aram scarcely completed a year.
Altumsh, like Cuttub, had been a slave from Tartary; but, being remarkable for the beauty of his person, was thought by his master worthy of a good education. He was sold to Cuttub for a large sum, and appointed master of the chase. He rapidly made his way to great favour; was at last married to the daughter of his sovereign; and declared his adopted son.
Altumsh ascended not the throne in perfect tranquillity. Several of Cuttub’s generals aspired to improve their fortune by resistance; and Eldoze, being driven from Ghizni by the arms of the Karismian monarch, made an effort to procure for himself a sceptre in India. But Altumsh prevailed over all his opponents; and reigned from the mouths of the Indus to those of the Ganges.
This prince died in 1235, and was succeeded by his son Feroze; who appearing a weak and dissolute prince, subservient to the cruel passions of his mother, was soon deposed; and Sultana Rizia, the eldest daughter of Altumsh, was raised to the throne.
It is a rare combination of circumstances which, in the East, places sovereign power in the hands of a woman. Rizia possessed manly talents and great virtues. The idea, however, of the weakness of her sex encouraged the presumption of her deputies in the various provinces. She contended with success against more than one rebellious and usurping governor. But her difficulties continually increased; and at last a combination of the Omrahs set up her brother Byram, as a competitor for the throne. She was still able to meet the rebels with an army. But the Turkish or Tartarian mercenaries in her brother’s pay were an overmatch for her Indian troops. She was conquered BOOK III. Chap. 2. 1235.and put to death, after a reign of three years and six months.
Byram the Second, nursed in pleasure, and a stranger to control, was a weak, imprudent prince. The jealousies which he felt towards the great men in his court, he sought to relieve by assassination. His vizir, having escaped an intended blow, found means to regain his confidence: and being placed at the head of an army against the Moguls, he matured the dissatisfaction of the Omrahs, and, turning the army of Byram against himself, dethroned and killed him, about two years after he had ascended the throne.
It was during this reign that the Moguls, destined to erect in India the greatest empire it had ever seen, first penetrated into that country. Gingis, the chief of a tribe of Tartars, distinguished by the name of Moguls, who roamed with their flocks and herds on the northern side of the wall of China, formed, by talents and good fortune, one of those combinations, among different tribes of Tartars, which more than once within the period of history had been witnessed before; and never without extensive revolutions and conquests. Partly by force, partly by intimidation, partly by hopes of sharing in the advantages of conquest, Gingis, about the year 1210, was acknowledged as Khan, by all the shepherd hordes from the wall of China to the Volga. The presumption and pride of two such elevated neighbours as the emperor of China, and the new sovereign of Tartary, could not fail to kindle the flames of war. Innumerable squadrons of Tartars surmounted the unavailing rampart which the Chinese had in former ages raised to exclude them. Pekin was taken; and the northern provinces of China were added to the empire of Gingis.
About the same time a quarrel arose on the opposite side of his dominions. Mahomed was now king of Karisme, which from a revolted province hadBOOK III. Chap. 2. 1250. grown into the seat of a great empire, extending from the borders of Arabia to those of Turkestan. The monarch of so many provinces, which prided themselves in their riches and the acquirements of civilized life, made light, it seems, of the power of him who ruled over multitudes, indeed, but of men who had no riches except their cattle, and no cities except their camps. An injury done to some of the subjects of Gingis, for which all reparation was haughtily refused, first drew upon western Asia the fury of his arms. Mahomed crossed the Jaxartes to meet his enemy in the plains of Turkestan, with no less, it is said, than four hundred thousand men. But these were encountered by seven hundred thousand Tartars, under Gingis and his sons, who in the first battle, which was suspended by the night, laid one hundred and sixty thousand Karismians dead upon the field.
After this fatal blow, Mahomed expected to arrest the progress of the victor, by throwing his troops into the frontier towns. But the arms of Gingis were irresistible; the places of greatest strength were obliged to surrender; and Karisme, Transoxiana, and Chorasan, soon acknowledged the sovereignty of the Mogul. He was withdrawn by the wishes of his troops from the further prosecution of his conquests in the West, and died in the year 1227; but left sons and grandsons to copy the deeds of their progenitor. In the year 1258, the conquest of Persia was consummated: and the last remains of the power of the Caliphs and Seljukians trampled in the dust.
It was but an incursion which, in the year 1242, the Moguls, during the reign of Byram II., made into India. They plundered the country as far as Lahore, and then retreated to Ghizni.
BOOK III. Chap. 2. 1256.Upon the fall of Byram, the men in power thought proper to take from his prison Musaood, the son of Feroze, the late king, and set him upon the throne. In the second year of his reign, an army of Mogul Tartars made a descent into Bengal, by the way, says Ferishta, of Chitta and Tibet.1 They met, we are told, with a total defeat. On the following year, however, another army of the same people crossed the Indus; but Musaood marching against them in force, they were pleased to retire. Musaood, however, in a reign of four years had disgusted his nobles, by his vices; and made them bold, by his weakness. They combined to call Mamood his uncle to the throne, and Musaood was thrown into prison for life.
Mamood II., upon the death of his father Altumsh, had been consigned to a prison; but there exhibited some firmness of mind, by supporting himself with the fruits of his industry in copying books; while he often remarked that “he who could not work for his bread did not deserve it.” He was released by his predecessor Musaood, and received the government of a province; in which he acted with so much vigour and prudence, that the fame of his administration recommended him to the Omrahs, as the fittest person to cover, with his power and authority, their rebellious enterprise.
The infirm administration of the preceding princes had introduced much disorder into the kingdom. TheBOOK III. Chap. 2. 1257. tribes of Hindus, known by the name of Gickers, a more active and enterprising race than the general body of their countrymen, had been guilty of many acts of insubordination and violence toward the Mahomedan government and people, in the provinces near the Indus. One of the first enterprises of Mamood, was to chastise this people; many thousands of whom he carried away into captivity. Of the Omrahs, who had received jagheers, or estates in land, many declined or refused to furnish their quota of troops for the army; though it was for the maintenance of those troops, that the estates, says Ferishta, were bestowed. The chiefs who infringed this condition were carried prisoners to Delhi; and their sons, or other relations, gifted with the estate. Some places of strength, in the country lying between the Jumna and the Ganges, were taken. A governor on the Indus, who had rebelled, was reduced to obedience, and received into favour. Shere, the king’s nephew, viceroy of Lahore and Multan, expelled the Moguls from Ghizni, and once more annexed that kingdom to the Indian part of the Gaurian empire. Mamood fell into the error of disgusting his Omrahs, by pampering a favorite; but recovered his authority, by sacrificing, with a good grace, the author of his danger. A fresh army of the Moguls crossed the Indus in the year 1257; but retired upon the approach of Mamood. In the following year, an ambassador, from Hallacu, the grandson of Gingis, who had just completed the conquest of Persia, arrived at Delhi. The grandest possible display of the power and wealth of the empire seems to have been studied upon this occasion. To meet the representative of the conqueror, before whom Asia trembled, the vizir went out at the head of 50,000 foreign horse, two hundred thousand BOOK III. Chap. 2. 1265.infantry, two thousand elephants of war, and three thousand carriages of fireworks. With this magnificent escort, the ambassador was conducted to the royal presence; all the officers, dignitaries, and dependants of the empire, in gorgeous attire, surrounding the throne. This appears to have been a message of peace; since nothing of importance occurred, till the death of the Shah, which happened in the year 1265.
This prince carried to the throne that contempt of pleasure and show, and that simplicity of manners, which he had learned in his adversity. “Contrary,” says Ferishta, “to the custom of princes, he kept no concubines. He had but one wife, whom he obliged to do every homely part of housewifery; and when she complained one day, that she had burned her fingers in baking his bread, desiring he would allow her a maid to assist her, he rejected her request, with saying—that he was only a trustee for the state, and that he was determined not to burthen it with needless expences. He therefore exhorted her to persevere in her duty with patience, and God would reward her in the end. As the emperor of India never eats in public, his table was rather that of a hermit, than suitable to a great king. He also continued the whimsical notion of living by his pen. One day, as an Omrah was inspecting a Coran, of the emperor’s writing, before him, he pointed out a word, which he said was wrong. The king, looking at it, smiled, and drew a circle round it. But when the critic was gone, he began to erase the circle and restore the word. This being observed by one of his old attendants, he begged to know his Majesty’s reason for so doing; to which he replied, “that he knew the word was originally right, but he thought it better to erase from a paper, than to touch the heart of a poor man, by bringing him to shame.”
Mamood died without leaving any sons; and hisBOOK III. Chap. 2. 1265. vizir, Balin, who even in his life time engrossed the principal share of power, without opposition mounted the throne. Balin was originally a Turk, of Chitta, of the tribe of Alberi. He was taken, when very young, by the Moguls who over-ran his country, and sold to a slave merchant who carried him to Bagdat. The master into whose hands he fell, learning that he was a relation of Altumsh, who then reigned at Delhi, proceeded with him to that city, and presented him to the monarch, who received him gladly, and liberally rewarded his conductor.
A brother of Balin had already made his way to the court of Delhi, and was considerably advanced in the road of favour and power. The young adventurer improved his advantages; and rapidly ascended the ladder of promotion. He took an active part in all the revolutions which placed so many successors on the throne. In the reign of Musaood he was raised to the dignity of lord of requests; and in that of Mahmood obtained the vizarit.
The reign of Balin was severe; but vigilant, clearsighted, and consistent. He punished disobedience with rapidity and cruelty; but he distinguished talents with care, and rewarded services with discernment and generosity. The fame of his government made his alliance be courted, even by the Mogul sovereigns who reigned over Tartary and Persia.
“He expelled,” says Ferishta, “all flatterers, usurers, pimps, and players, from his court; and being one day told, that an Omrah, an old servant of the crown, who had acquired a vast fortune by usury and monopoly in the bazaar or market, would present him with some lacks of rupees, if he would honour him with one word from the throne; he rejected the proposal with great disdain. What, he said, must his subjects BOOK III. Chap. 2. 1270.think of a king who should condescend to hold discourse with a wretch so infamous.” As freedom of bargain respecting interest on loans is exceptionable on principles of superstition alone, Balin was possibly mistaken in his instance, without being incorrect in his rule. The association of the king with persons infamous by their vices, sheds moral depravity among the people, except in that proportion exactly in which it sheds contempt upon the throne.
The generosity of Balin made his court the resort and asylum of the various princes, whom the arms of Gingis and his successors had rendered fugitives from their kingdoms. More than twenty of these unfortunate sovereigns, from Tartary, Transoxiana, Chorasan, Persia, Irac, Azarbijan, Persia proper, Roum, and Syria, among whom were two princes of the race of the Caliphs, had allowances assigned them from the revenues of Balin, with palaces, which took their names from their possessors, and admission on all public occasions to the presence and throne of their benefactor. The most learned men from all Asia, accompanying their respective princes, or seeking the same asylum, were assembled at Delhi. “And the court of India,” says the historian, “was, in the days of Balin, reckoned the most polite and magnificent in the world. All the philosophers, poets, and divines, formed a society every night, at the house of the prince Shehid, the heir apparent to the empire. Another society of musicians, dancers, mimicks, players, buffoons, and story-tellers, was constantly convened at the house of the emperor’s second son Kera, who was given to pleasure and levity. The Omrahs followed the example of their superiors, so that various societies and clubs were formed in every quarter of the city.”
The hills to the south-east of Delhi were inhabited by Hindus, who acted the part of banditti and plunderers; and advanced, in numbers resembling anBOOK III. Chap. 2. 1283. army, sometimes to the very walls of the capital. Balin ordered operations against them; and they were massacred without mercy. The soldiers, who carried hatchets for the purpose, cut down, to the distance of one hundred miles, the woods to which the robbers retired. The cleared space proved excellent land; and was speedily peopled; the inhabitants being protected from the mountaineers by a line of forts erected at the bottom of the hills.
The Shah gave considerable employment to his army, in bridling the wild inhabitants of the mountains, near the centre of his dominions; but he rejected the advice of his counsellors, to regain the distant provinces of Malwa and Guzerat, which had asserted their independence from the time of Cuttub; wisely observing, that the cloud of Moguls, now gathered on his northern frontier, presented an object of more serious and anxious regard.
His accomplished and philosophical son, Mahomed Shehid, was appointed viceroy of the northern provinces, to hold in check those dangerous neighbours. And he assembled around him the men, most eminent for thought or action, whom the Asiatic world at that time contained.
Argunu, the grandson of Hallacu who subdued Persia, and the fourth in descent from Gingis, now filled the throne of Persia; and another descendant of that renowned conqueror, by name Timur, ruled over the eastern provinces from Chorasan to the Indus. In revenge for some former check, as well as by desire for extension of empire, Timur invaded India with a large army in 1283. They were met by the Indian prince, and battle was joined. Both leaders displayed the talents of great generals; but Mahomed at last prevailed, and the Moguls betook themselves BOOK III. Chap. 2. 1285.to flight. Mahomed joined in the pursuit. He had just halted, in order to return; when he was surprised with only five hundred attendants, by a party of the enemy; and, being overpowered by superior numbers, was slain defending himself to the last. The army and the empire were filled with grief by his fall.
While the son was engaged in his arduous defence of the empire against the Moguls, the father was employed in subduing a dangerous rebellion in Bengal. Tughril, governor of that rich and powerful province, had executed an expedition against the rajahs of Jagenagur, a province bounded on the north by Bengal, and on the east by Orissa. Succeeding, and obtaining great treasure, he began to feel himself too great for a subject; delayed remitting the Emperor’s share of the plunder; and, hearing that Balin was sick, and too ill to survive, raised the red umbrella, and assumed the title of king. Balin ordered the Governor of Oude to assume the office of Subahdar of Bengal, and, with an army which he committed to his command, to march against the rebel. The new Subahdar was defeated; and Balin was so enraged that he bit his own flesh, and commanded the general to be hanged at the gate of Oude. Another of his generals whom he sent to wipe off this disgrace had no better success; when Balin, deeply affected, resolved to take the field in person. Tughril, hearing of his approach, thought proper to elude the storm, by retiring. He intended to remain in Jagenagur, till the Shah retired; and then to resume the command of the province. With some difficulty Balin procured intelligence of his route. An exploring party, at last, discovered and surprised his camp. Tughril fled and was killed, when Balin inflicted sanguinary punishment on his adherents.
But the death of his great and hopeful son was a blow to the heart of Balin, to which no success couldBOOK III. Chap. 2. 1285. yield a remedy. Oppressed, at once, with grief, with business, and with old age (he was now in his eightieth year), he languished for a short time, and expired. He appointed his grandson, by the deceased Mahomed, his successor. Kera,1 however, the second son of Balin, was governor of Bengal, the most affluent province of the empire; and the Omrahs, respecting his present power, more than the will of their deceased master, raised his son Kei Kobad to the throne.
Kei Kobad was in his eighteenth year, handsome in his person, of an affable and mild disposition, and not slightly tinctured with literature. His mother was a beautiful princess, daughter of the emperor Altumsh. “He delighted,” says his historian, “in love, and in the soft society of silver-bodied damsels with musky tresses.” He adds; “When it was publicly known that the king was a man of pleasure, it became immediately fashionable at court; and, in short, in a few days, luxury and vice so prevailed, that every shade was filled with ladies of pleasure, and every street rung with music and mirth. The king fitted up a palace at Kilogurry, upon the banks of the river Jumna; and retired thither to enjoy his pleasures undisturbed, admitting no company but singers, players, musicians, and buffoons.”
The father of Kei Kobad remained contented with his government of Bengal. But Nizam ul Dien, who became the favourite minister of the young Shah, conceived hopes, from the negligence of his master, of paving for himself a way to the throne. He proceeded to remove the persons whose pretensions were likely to obstruct his career. The many acts of cruelty and perfidy, of which he was the BOOK III. Chap. 2. 1285.cause, shed discredit upon the government. The father of Kei Kobad saw the danger; and forewarned his son. But the prince could not attend to business, without sacrificing pleasure. He found it, therefore, more agreeable to repose upon the minister, and neglected the advice. Kera, alarmed for his own fate, as well as that of his son, thought it adviseable to second his advice with his presence, and his presence with an army. This was construed an act of hostility; and the Shah marched out from Delhi, at the head of an army, to oppose his father. The father, either conscious of his inferiority in point of strength, or unwilling to proceed to the last extremity, requested an interview. This was dreaded by the minister, who endeavoured to blow up the vanity and presumption of the young monarch to such a pitch, that he might hear of nothing but a battle. Kera was not easy to be repulsed; and renewed his application, by a letter, full of parental expostulation and tenderness. The heart of the young prince was corrupted, but not yet thoroughly depraved. He could not resist the letter of his father; and Nizam, no longer able to defeat the interview by direct, endeavoured to elude it by artificial means. He prevailed upon the prince, as sovereign, to insist upon the first interview; in hopes that Kera would refuse. Kera was not a slave to points of ceremony; and readily consented to repair to the imperial camp; where the son was prepared to display his insolence at even his father’s expense. The throne was set out with the greatest pomp and ceremony; and Kei Kobad, ascending, commanded that his father should three times kiss the ground. At the first door, the aged prince was ordered to dismount; and, when he came in sight of the throne, to perform the abject obeisance of the east; the mace-bearer at the same time calling out, according to custom, “The nobleBOOK III. Chap. 2. 1285. Kera to the king of the world sends health!” The father, whose heart was full, was no longer able to restrain his tears. Upon sight of his father in tears, the young prince forgot his insolence, and rushing from the throne, threw himself upon his face at his father’s feet, and implored his forgiveness.1
The presence and admonitions of Kera made an impression upon the mind of Kei Kobad, which it was too soft to retain. “When he arrived at Delhi,” says Ferishta, “the advice of his father, for a few days, seemed to take root in his mind. But his reformation was not the interest of the minister.” He accordingly plied him with pleasure in all the shapes in which it was known to have the greatest influence on his mind. The most beautiful and accomplished women whom it was possible to procure were made to present themselves to him at all the most accessible moments, and invention was exhausted to find an endless variety of modes to surprise and captivate the prince with new combinations of charms. The most exquisite musicians, dancers, players, buffoons, were collected to fill up the intervals left vacant by love.
The hatred, however, which the success, the presumption, and insolence of the minister had engendered in his fellow courtiers; or the suspicions and fears which, at last, though tardily, were excited in the breast of the sovereign, cut short the days and the machinations of Nizam ul Dien. He was taken off by poison. The authority of the king did not long survive. His intemperance in the haram brought on a palsy; which disabled him in one side, and BOOK III. Chap. 2. 1289.distorted his countenance. All attention was then absorbed by the scramble for power. Every Omrah of popularity set up his pretensions. The friends of the royal family brought out the son of Kei Kobad, a child of three years old, and set him on the throne. He was supported by the Tartars; a body of whom, as mercenaries, were generally kept by the Indian sovereigns, whom they became the common instruments of setting up and pulling down. On the present occasion, the Tartars had a formidable body of competitors. Of the Afghauns, or mountaineers of Gaur and Ghirgistan, on the frontiers of Persia, a tribe named Chilligi1 made war and depredation their business; and usually, in great numbers, served, as mercenaries, any power which chose to employ them. An adventurer of this tribe, of the name of Mallek, who subsisted by his sword, rose to distinction in the army of Balin; and left his talents and his fortune to his son Feroze, who, at the time of the illness of Kei Kobad, was one of the chief Omrahs, and commanded a province. He was joined by the Chilligi mercenaries, who attacked, and cut to pieces, the Tartars. There was no longer any obstruction. Kei Kobad was killed upon his bed, after a reign of little more than three years. Such was the termination of the Gaurian, or rather of the first Gaurian dynasty; and such the commencement of the Afghaun, or second Gaurian dynasty, in the year 1289. At the time of this revolution, Cubla, the grandson of Gingis, sat on the throne of Tartary and China; another of his descendants on that of Persia; and a third possessed a kingdom in Transoxiana, and those provinces to the north-west of the Indus which constituted the original dominions of the house of Ghizni.
[1 ]Hist. of Bengal, by Charles Stewart, Esq. sect. iii.
This fact; the passage of an army from Tartary, through Tibet into Bengal (if real) is of no small importance. Ferishta gives us no further intelligence of the place; and it is in vain to inquire. Chitta may perhaps correspond with Kitta or Kitay, or Catay, which is one of the names of China, but is also applied by the Persian historians to many parts of Tartary; to the country, for example, of the Igoors; to the kingdom of Koten, south from Cashgar, &c. See D’Herbelot, Biblioth. Orient. articles Igurs, Cara Calhai, Tarikh Khatha, Kholan. — Mr. Stewart, (See Hist. of Bengal, p. 62,) says, that the invasion which is here spoken of by Ferishta was an invasion of Orissians only, not of Moguls.
[1 ]Ferishta. Mr. Stewart says, that in his Mss. the name is Bagora.
[1 ]Mr. Stewart has greatly softened the account of the insolence of Kei Kobad.
[1 ]It is written Khuliji by Major Stewart.