Now I will describe the conquest of Tilang in such a way, that the feet of imagination will become lame in following my pen! * After conquering many regions of the south, the brilliant judgment of the Sulān of East and West came to the conclusion that the swarms of Arangal must be trampled under the crescent horse-shoe of the army. On 25th Jamādiul Awwal, 709 A.H. the Nausherwān of the age ordered his Buzurchmehr,* accompanied by the red canopy of the ‘Shadow of God’ and an army like the stars and planets of the sky, to lead his lucky horses to the south. The ruby canopy of the Sun of Sulāns, like a cloud that becomes red as the sun shines upon it, began to move towards the sea of Ma‘bar. And as it commenced its flight at the Emperor’s order, you would think it was a cloud, which Mecca-going winds were carrying towards the sea. Following this sky tied with ropes, the stars and planets of the army moved on, stage after stage; after nine days the fortunate star of the state (i.e. the wazīr of the Empire) arrived at a propitious moment at Mas‘ūdpūr. At this place, which is named after the son of the Emperor Mas‘ūd, the foot of the standard remained stationary for two days. On Monday, the 6th Jamādīus ānī, the crescent standard of the Empire, with the maliks and other ‘stars’, began to move rapidly forward. It was the first part of the month. Every night the moon enlarged its flame and raised it higher to help the night marches of the army. And though the sun, the ‘Mecca’ of the Hindūs, looked fiercely at the Mussalmāns, the feet of the army threw dust into its eye. Yes, the eye that looks fiercely at such an army deserves no other antimony but black dust. * The path before them was extremely uneven; there were innumerable clefts in it, such that if the wind passed through them, it would fall as water falls into a well, or if (flames of) fire ran over them, they would bow down their heads to the earth. Owing to the rapidity of the streams, the ground at the foot of the hills had broken into many fissures. Every mound had a hundred thousand pointed thorns stuck to its head; the very idea of cutting such rocks and thorns made the hair of a pair of scissors stand upon its body like thorns. Through such a forest the obedient army passed, file after file, as if that perfect wilderness were the ‘straight path’. After six days of marching, the army crossed five rivers—Jūn, Chambal, Kunwārī, Binās, Bhojī*—at the fords and came to Sulānpūr, known as Irijpūr. Here the army remained for four days. * On the 19th Jamādīus Sānī, the Malik of the brilliant fortune* mounted his horse, and the ‘stars’ of the Empire began to move. The rider was above, the horse was below; it looked as if ‘stars’ were riding on the backs of the planets. * From farsang to farsang every stone on the way had its ‘head’ broken by the hoofs of the horses though nothing came out of its ‘skull’. The movement of cloven-footed baggage bearers despoiled the earth of its bloom. The swift pāīks (footmen) rent the hills with their iron feet; indeed, as these pedestrians hurried over the ground with firmness and impetuosity, on one side the stones pierced into the soles of their feet, while on the other, their feet removed the skin from the skulls of the stones.

* After thirteen days, on the first of Rajab, the army arrived at Khanda. In such a wilderness the month of God* came forward to welcome the Muslim army, and showed great kindness to the pious men, who had travelled under the hot sun for three months. Here a muster of the holy warriors was held for fourteen days. The angels sent their blessings. The prayer for victory came to the ‘ears’ of Rajab, and it hurried forward with the joyful news of future victories like those of the past.

On this auspicious occasion all the maliks, officers and leading men of the army gathered together before the red canopy, and kept their days alive by hearing prayers for the Jesus-like Emperor; moreover by keep­ing the ‘fast of Mary’ (rūza-i-Maryam), they collected provisions for their future life. There can be no doubt that an extremely pious assembly had gathered round the sky-shadowing canopy; even the saints (aūtād) were present. They held fast to the ‘strong cord’, and no (differences) had any place amongst them. The august month of Rajab heard with solemnity and joy the prayers for the Emperor and for victory. * Next morning, after the ‘fast of Mary’, the army again advanced like a raging deluge. Through rivers and torrents it passed. Every day it came to a new land; in every land it came across a new river in which the quadrupeds rolled like five-footed animals. Though all the rivers were crossed, yet the Narbada looked like a remnant of the primeval deluge. As the miraculous power of the Emperor-Sulān was with the officers of the kingdom, the deep rivers became dry as the dust of the army approached them, and the Mussalmāns crossed them with ease. Eight days after crossing the Narbada, the army reached Nīlkanth. When these wide rivers make a way for the Imperial army to cross, there would be nothing wonderful if it also forded through the Nile of Egypt and the Tigres of Baghdad.

* As Nīlkanth was on the border of Deogīr, and the territories of the Rāī Rāyān, Ram Deo, had now been reached, the wazīr, acting accord­ing to the Emperor’s orders, protected the country from being plundered by the troops, who were as innumerable as ants and locusts. No one dared touch the door or the wall of a building or take anything from the barns or fields of the peasant. The stores of the ants did not become the food of the locusts.* The drums, which sounded to march, were detained here for two days in order to make inquiries about the stages in advance. On Wednesday, the 26th Rajab, the movement of the army again shook the bowels of the earth, and the ground began to rise up and go down like the belly of a Khafkhāna-blower. Trampling the earth under their feet and splitting stones with force, the army defiled through such a dangerous path. In sixteen days the difficult road to Tilang was traversed. The ground was overlaid with hard rocks, which the Hindūs had often (vainly) attempted to cross; yet these heavy rocks flew away like dust at the feet of the quadrupeds of the Muslim army. The eye of the sky gazed in wonder; for the road went up and down like the subtle wit of a clever cheat and was at the same time as long as a miser’s greed. And in attempting to describe its hills and caverns, the intelligence of the panegyrist would bow its head in wonder. * The path was narrower than a guitar string and darker than a beauty’s locks. At times it was like a hole in a reed: when the wind attempted to pass through it, it came out reverberating. The river-banks were so steep that it would have been difficult for a duck, or even an eagle, to cross them. Pretending that they knew the way, nimble-bodied men attempted to ascend the heights on either side; but their feet slipped all of a sudden; their attempts to catch hold of the steep sides were ineffectual; and rubbing their hands together, they fell down with innumerable wounds. The neighing horses, that danced in the air, would fall down in a moment owing to one false step. Yes! Many a dancing horse flew swift as the wind; but once its foot slipped down the hillside, it tumbled and fell. * Furthermore, as the dark-faced cloud brought forth its unfinished pearls to worry the people of the army, the wind struck it hard on the neck, and all its water was shed. Whenever the forked lightning laughed at the slipping feet of the army, the thunder roared so loudly at the latter that it immediately disappeared. You would have thought that the cloud was envious of the ocean-like palm of the Emperor’s hand, but being powerless to do anything at the Imperial Court, sought consolation by attacking the army. The lightning, on the other hand, had been struck with fire by the Imperial sword; but unable to display its impudence in the Emperor’s presence had gone thither to reveal its burning heart. * Though the holy warriors met many obstacles in this journey, yet they had girded their loins sincerely for the sake of Allāh alone, and had their eyes on that final reward, the hope of which sustains the human heart. Consequently, they did not regard their sufferings as serious. In a thousand ways the assistance of Heaven, too, was with them. Good fortune accompanied young and old over hills and valleys, rocks and thorns, desert and forest, even as victory accompanies the Muslim standard.

* After passing with determination and rapidity through those hills and plains, they arrived at a Doāb within the borders of Basī­rāgarh.* It was enclosed by the two rivers, Yashar and Būjī.* A diamond mine was said to exist there. But as the power of Imperial sword, through the strength of which all the treasures of the rāīs have come into the hands of Muslim soldiers, had given strength to the officers of the state, they did not care to take handfuls of earth from the pits; for it is easier for powerful swordsmen to seize jewels with the sword than to dig them out of the earth with the spade. * About this time the Malik, with the impetuosity of a dragon, left the difficulties of the winding path, and with some dare-devil horsemen, marched against the fort of Sarbar, which belonged to the kingdom of Tilang. The saddles were still stinging like scorpions on the backs of the horses, when he ordered the warriors to make a circle round the fort. The archers shot their arrows from outside. ‘Strike!’ ‘Strike!’ cried the Hindūs from within. The rāwats of the Rāī were so bitten by the poisoned arrows, that they wished to take refuge in the holes of ants for protection, and like thousand-footed animals crept into every corner. The arrows had made snake-holes in the bodies of many and their lives were in danger. The movement of crocodile-like warriors shook the earth to the back of the Fish.* *When the swift arrows, with fiery flames at the end of their wood-pieces, began to fly forward to burn the houses of the infidels, their faces grew dark at the approach of this wall of fire. In the excess of their folly, they drew the fire on to themselves; i.e. all of them with their wives and children threw themselves into fire and went to hell. For fire is the reward of the enemies of Allāh! The exterior of the fort became bright owing to this illumination of the pit of hell. The bodies of the victors were like flints in armours of steel; they cast away their armours and jumped up from the rocks as a spark flies out of flint. At this moment the breeze of victory suddenly blew fast, and the flames inside the fort rose higher still. The impetuous soldiers of the Muslim army drew their swords like so many tongues of fire, climbed up the fort, and falling on the half-burnt mass, put to death with their Hind-steel those whom fire had spared. Matters having come to this, the remaining muqaddams of the fort also wished to sacrifice themselves in the same element. At this instant, the ‘Arz-i Mumālik, Sirājud­dīn, saw that it was time to light the lamp of victory. Anānīr, the brother of the muqaddam of the fort, had hidden himself in the culti­vated fields of that land. The ‘Arz-i Mumālik ordered him to be captured and given a severe chastisement. At first, allured with soft words, he was kept for being beheaded and burnt; but, next, this low-burning lamp of the Hindūs (i.e. Anānīr) was given a tongue (to ask) for his life, so that before morning the flame of insurrection might subside.* As the smoke of destruction rose from this fort to the sky, some refugees from the burning edifice, with their eyes full of water, fled to Rāī (Laddar Deo), and like moist wood, with weepings and wailings, gave vent to the inner sorrow of their hearts. The Rāī, who possessed elephants and troops, was also overcome by fear but he did not think it advisable to advertise it. So he bewailed his fate for a while and thus soothed his inner sadness. But when the fire of misfortunes is lit, tears from the eyes burn in it like oil.

* On Saturday, the 10th of Sha’bān, they marched from here determined to plant the tree of virtue in the land of Tilang and to uproot with the greatest force the tree of vice, that had fixed its roots there. On the 16th Sha’bān the true believers arrived at the village of Kūnarbal. While the pious standard was being planted, the Malik Nāīb, commander of the army of heaven, ordered a thousand swift horsemen—and they were such that the crow of victory did not build its nest except on their bows!—to go forward and capture a few infidels, though the daggers of the latter may be as numerous as the leaves of a willow, in order to make inquiries from them about the con­dition of the country. When this force reached the gardens of Arangal, the iron of their horse-shoes turned green from walking over the grass. Two famous officers with forty mounted horsemen went forward and reached the summit of the Anamkanda Hill, from where they could see all the suburbs and gardens of Arangal.* On looking carefully from the hill, four swift Hindū horsemen came into sight. The Musalamāns drew their bows and ran after them. They suc­ceeded in knocking down one of the four with a four-feathered arrow and sent him to the Commander-in-Chief. The latter took it as a good omen. ‘Thus with my sword’, he said, ‘will I peel away the skin from the heads of such Hindūs as rebels’.

* When the army reached Arangal, the red canopy rubbed its head with the clouds. At midday the Malik Nāīb, accompanied by a few men, went to reconnoitre the fort (of Arangal). He saw a fort, the like of which is not to be found on the face of the earth. * Its wall, though of mud, was so hard that a spear of steel could make no impression upon it; if a magẖrabī-stone were to strike it, it would rebound like a nut thrown by a child. Its earthen towers were stronger than Taurus, and the Orion only came up to its waist. Nevertheless, the standards of infidelity trembled on the top of all the towers in expectation of their downfall, while the ‘irādas of Hindūs wept from fear of being broken. The warlike rawats, with all their heavy stones, had thrown themselves into the sling of destruction; some of them were collecting stones for the munjaniqs; others, who had no stones, were busy in throwing bricks and javelins. That day the victorious Malik carefully selected the ground for the army-camp and returned. Next morning he intended to carry the battle forward, and in good news, to throw stones at the heads of the Hindūs. * When morning dawned and the sun rose, the sky-towering standard of the eastern Empire was raised up and brought to Anamkonda. Once more the great Malik went round the fort to re-examine the ground for the army-camp. The tents were to be pitched side by side, as the Aquarius lies in the neighbourhood of the Pisces.