[“The Nine Heavens (or Spheres).” This is one of the separate poems of Amír Khusrú, written, as he tells us, in his old age. Its historical notices relate to the reign of Kutbu-d dín Mubárak Sháh, in whose time it was written.”]


The First Sphere.

Praise of God and the Prophet, and of the author's spiritual teacher, Nizámu-d dín Aulyá. Panegyric on the reigning monarch, Mubárak Sháh. The author tells us that he was more than sixty years old when he wrote this poem, and had already written poems on the three preceding monarchs: Kai-kubád, respecting whom he had written the Kiránu-s Sa'dain; Jalálu-d dín Fíróz, on whom he had written Kasídas and Masnavís; 'Aláu-d dín Khiljí, to whom he had dedi­cated his Khamsa, and addressed panegyrical poems.

The accession of Kutbu-d dín Mubarak Sháh on Sunday, the 24th* of Muharram, 716 H.* (April 18th, 1316 A.D.). After remaining in Dehli for a year, he proceeded to the Dekhin for the conquest of Deogír, at the head of a large army. His first march was to Tilpat, about seven kos from Dehli, and, after a march of two months, he arrived on the borders of Deogír, where he received the submission of all the ráís and ránas of those parts, except Rághú, the deputy and minister of the late Ráí Rám Deo. Rághú, on learning the approach of the king, fled to the hills in open rebellion.

Khusrú Khán was detached with a powerful army to repel him, and a royal tent accompanied, in order to do honour to the expedi­tion. One of his officers, named Katlagh, the chief huntsman, seized some of Rághú's adherents, from whom it was ascertained that he had nearly 10,000 Hindu cavalry under him. Khusrú Khán attacked him in a defile, and completely routed him. “The Hindus, who had pretended to independence, were either slain, captured, or put to flight. Rághú himself was most severely wounded; his body was covered with blood; his lips emitted no breath. He entered some cave in a ravine, which even a snake could scarcely penetrate. Khusrú Khán, with thanks to God after his glorious victory, looked towards the royal tent and kissed the earth. He made over the charge of the army to the 'Áriz, and returned expeditiously to the seat of the throne, for his majesty had urgently summoned him. The king received him with a hundred flattering distinctions, and raised him to the highest honours. May his good fortune always so prevail, that he may bestow benefactions upon his slaves!”

The Second Sphere.

Khusrú Khán is despatched for the conquest of Arangal (Warangal), in Tilang,* with an army consisting partly of Hindus. “The king said, ‘Turn your face to Tilang to demand jizya.’” “The royal pavilion was pitched at the end of the street, and on each side were ranged the other tents.” The army advanced march by march, and the Hindus committed as many ravages as the Turks. Wherever the army marched, every inhabited spot was desolated. “Arangal had two walls, the centre of mud, the inner of stone.” “When the army arrived there the Hindu inhabitants concealed themselves in the hills and jungles.” “The Hindu horsemen of the ráí vaunted themselves in every direction that they were as bold as lions, and the heralds, whom they call bards,* surrounded them, singing their praises. The singers kept on resounding the pæans which they use in the wars of their ráís. The Brahmans, after their own fashion, offered up their prayers, accompanied by the voices of the minstrels.” “The chiefs, in appearance, were valiant, but trembling in their hearts. Hindus made an attack upon Hindus, to try their respective strength. If the Turks had charged, they would have annihilated the enemy, for, from time immemorial, the Hindus have always been the prey of the Turks.”

The army encamped three bow-shots from Arangal, and the Khán ascended an eminence from which he might examine the fort. “On all sides of it, for the distance of two míls, there were fountains and gardens, calculated to gratify those who are in search of pleasure. All its fruits were mangoes, plantains, and jacks; not cold apples or icy quinces. All the flowers which he saw were Hindu; the champa, keora, and jasmine. When the great Khán witnessed all this, he prayed Almighty God for assistance, and then returned to his camp.”

A skirmish described. “The Hindu horsemen were more than 10,000; the foot soldiers were beyond all calculation. The horse­men on our side were altogether only 300, or even less.” Notwith­standing these disproportionate numbers, the Hindus were completely routed, when great booty in jewels and gold fell into the hands of the victors. “They pursued the enemy to the gate, and set every­thing on fire. They burnt down all those gardens and groves. That paradise of idol-worshippers became like hell. The fire-worshippers of Bud were in alarm, and flocked round their idol.”

In the morning Khusrú Khán attacked the outer wall, and obtained possession of part of it, when the Hindus sallied from the inner fortress in order to repel the Musulmáns. The Khán ordered many of his horsemen to dismount, and made such a vigorous onset that he seized the principal bastion of the outer fortress, which was crowded with Hindus, many of whom were slain, and many taken prisoners; among the latter was Antíl Mahta, the commander of the Ráí's forces.

Next morning, the Khán advanced to the ditch and besieged the inner fortress. He ordered Khwája Hájí, the 'Áriz, “to distribute the army to the proper posts, to dig the trenches, and spring a mine, the length of which was equal to 150 yards at that time.” When the ráí witnessed these bold advances, he became alarmed, and “sent wise messengers with expressions of his submission and duty to the powerful one, saying, ‘If I have wealth, or elephants, or country, it is mine only through the protection of the king. I will give all my wealth, my gold, my elephants, if I am allowed to escape with my life.’ When the great Khán heard that message, he thanked Almighty God for his victory.” The Khán replied: “The Khalífa who sent me to this country ordered me to demand three conditions from the Hindus: First, that they should make profession of our faith, in order that its saving tidings may be proclaimed throughout the world; second, that, in the event of refusal, a capitation tax should be levied; the third is, if compliance with these demands be refused, to place their heads under the sword. It is my recom­mendation that the ráí come forth and place his face upon the ground, in front of the royal pavilion.”

The ráí, in apprehension of his life, refused to leave the fort, but sent jewels, clothes, sandal, gold, horses, elephants, and other valuables to the Khán, by way of jizya. There were one hundred elephants and twelve thousand horses. The rapacious Khán, how­ever, was not satisfied with all this, but sent a message to intimate that what had been sent was but “a leaf in the garden of the ráí's wealth;” he therefore enjoined him to send everything in his pos­session, or to prepare for war. The ráí solemnly affirmed that he had nothing left of all his former wealth, “As I am ráí and have a regard for my own fair name, I would not tell a lie, which would not obtain credence.”

To this the Khán replied that if the ráí were speaking truth, he could have no objection to submit to an ordeal. “He should thrust his hand into hot oil, and if he sustain no injury from the heat, no suspicion will exist against him.” To this the ráí would not consent, but on the demand of the Khán, made over some of his relations as hostages, and wrote a letter, saying, “If any concealed treasure should hereafter be discovered, the fault will be with me, and I am responsible. This written promise soon arrived from Arangal, and it was stamped with the seal of Mahádeo.”

The Khán then received from the ráí, five districts (mauza') of his country (aktá'), an annual tribute of “more than a hundred strong elephants, as large as demons, 12,000 horses, and gold and jewels and gems beyond compute. The ráí assented to the whole, with heart and soul, and wrote an engagement to this effect and confirmed it.” He then made a long speech, entreating the consideration of the king, in the course of which he observes, that “the relation between Turk and Hindu is that of a lion and antelope, and the Turks, when­ever they please, can seize, buy, or sell any Hindu.” The Khán relinquished all the ceded and conquered territory, except “Badr-kot, a fort as high as heaven, which the Khán had an object in demanding.”

The ráí then ascended the rampart of the fort of Arangal, and turning his face towards the royal pavilion, he bowed to the earth. “Thus did he for three days, out of respect to the pale of religion; he turned towards the pavilion, and kissed the earth. He then again, tremblingly, addressed the commander in these words: ‘I hold from the late Sultán several emblems of military pomp and dignity. What order is there respecting them? shall I continue to use them, or return them to you?’ The Khán replied, ‘As these were bestowed on you by the late Sultán, why should the reigning one wish to take them back from you? But it is right to pay due respect to his majesty, by sending the canopy (dúrbásh) and standard to the royal pavilion, in order that the former may be replaced by a new one, as the beams of the former sun no longer shine.’” The ráí accordingly returned the insignia, which were lowered before the empty pavilion of the king, and were then returned to the ráí, with the standard unfurled, and a new canopy.

Khusrú Khán, after this ceremony, returned in triumph to the king, by whom he had been summoned in haste. But before his arrival, Mubárak Sháh had departed from Deogír, towards Dehli, in the month of Jumáda-l ákhir, 718 H. (August 5th, 1318 A.D.).