THE Khaẓāin’ul Fuṭūḥ of Amīr Khusrau, of which the following pages contain a more or less complete translation by Professor Md. Habib of the Muslim University, Aligarh, is perhaps historically the most important work of Amīr Khusrau. As Professor Habib points out in the course of the translation itself, and in a life of Amīr Khusrau written by him and published by Messrs. Taraporevala Sons & Co., Bombay, the Khaẓāin’ul Fuṭūḥ is a prose work of a rather peculiar character. Khusrau finds his natural element in poetry, and the writing of prose to him was a work of effort; and, as in the case of the Sanskrit writer Bāṇa, this prose composition is a tour de force intended to exhibit the literary strength of the author, rather than one intended to give pleasure to the reader as a work of art, or to convey information in an easily understandable form. As a work of history therefore, it might seem at first sight to be of comparatively less value than works of a similar character by other authors in Persian. Allowing for all the drawbacks that its literary character carries along with it, the work of Professor Habib exhibits it still as a valuable source of history much as recent research has done in respect of the Harshacharita of Bāṇa.

There is another defect in this work of Amīr Khusrau from the point of view of the student of history. Like so much else that we are possessed of in Indian literature, this work belongs to the class of panegyrics intended for the eye and the ear of the patron whose achievements form the subject of the composition. It has to dwell naturally upon the creditable achievements of the patrons concerned, and pass lightly over that which is not exactly to the glory of the hero. This, of course, would naturally make it very defective as a historical composition pure and simple. But even so, while it may be dangerous to draw inferences from the silence of the author in regard to particulars, it could still contain much that is of value, sometimes even of very high value, in what it does actually state explicitly. As the learned Professor points out, there are very prominent omissions in this work, such as the invasions of the Mughals, which reached the capital and made its position one for great anxiety. Such events are passed over; and so similarly a few others of the incidents in the reign of Allāuddin are barely alluded to or even completely passed over, as Professor Habib takes occasion to point out in his notes. Notwithstanding these defects, the comparison instituted by Professor Habib in the course of his notes shows that the presentation of historical material in the work is all to the advantage of Amīr Khusrau’s composition which seems really to have been the source from which later historians, including even Amīr Khusrau’s younger contemporary Barni, largely drew. While in particulars these later works serve the purpose of illuminating commentaries on various parts of the Khaẓāin’ul Fuṭūḥ, yet in respect of several of the important historical events described, correctness and historical probability seem to lie undoubtedly with Amīr Khusrau. The work thus forms typical of a class, not merely of Persian but of Indian works generally, from which historical material of the highest value can be drawn by a careful, critical scholar, notwithstanding the peculiar literary features which make them fall short of being pure history.

It is hardly necessary in this introduction, for which I am indebted to Professor Habib’s esteem and personal regard for me, that I should be traversing the field already so well covered by him. I might take advantage of it to consider the details of the southern campaigns in particular, which remained obscure till within recent times, and which I took it upon myself to expound, with the imperfect material at my disposal at the time, in my Lectures to the University of Madras, on South India and Her Muhammadan Invaders, Lectures 3 and 4. This work, Khaẓāin’ul Fuṭūḥ was then available only in the abridged translation given in volume III of Elliot’s History of India as told by her own Historians. A comparative reading would indicate the corrections made by Professor Habib, and there is the additional advantage of having the whole work before us in an excellent edition by the learned Professor. Without undervaluing Elliot’s work in the slightest degree, we may say that there are numbers of places in which the work of Sir Henry Elliot needed amendment.

Amīr Khusrau devotes the first two chapters to the accession and the administrative acts of the reign of Allāuddin, and, as the Professor has pointed out, he has no word to say in condemnation of the atrocious deed by which Allāuddin ascended the throne. But all praise is given to Allāuddin for the administrative measures, several of which do deserve praise from the point of view of the good results produced. In respect of the Mughal invasions, the same shortcoming appears, as is pointed out. It is the invasions that redounded to the credit of Allāuddin and his generals that are described in detail in chapter III. Those that are likely to be less creditable are barely alluded to, or passed over completely. Chapter IV is devoted to the conquest of Western Hindustan, Rajaputana, Malva and Gujarat, and as a next step forward, the invasion of Deogiri. Chapter V is devoted to the campaign of Arangal (Warangal), and chapter VI the campaign in Ma’bar with which this work of Amīr Khusrau is brought to a close. As a matter of fact more than half the work is devoted to the two southern invasions, the invasions of Arangal and Ma’bar, and it may be said that they constitute the primary episodes in this epic of Allāuddin’s. Even Barni, whose account is by far the most useful and the most valuable so far, suffers somewhat from the want of details, as Barni was not anxious to dilate upon the wars and conquests of Allāuddin. It is this work, and we may almost say practically this work alone, that gives a detailed description of these invasions and provides a satisfactory scheme of chronology without which the campaigns can hardly be understood. In the campaigns described in chapter IV against the four places, Gujarat, Rajaputana, Malva and Deogiri, the account given in the Khaẓāin’ul Fuṭūḥ is supplemented by what is found in the Dawal Rani of Amīr Khusrau himself, and by passages translated from the recently published text of Barni. This makes the account as complete and satisfactory as, in our present position with regard to the historical material available, we are entitled to expect. The invasion of Deogiri, and the putting of Ram Deo under tribute as a result of the invasion, the capture of the Gujarat princess Dawal Devi are all described, and the episode is concluded with the restoration of Ram Deo to his territory with perhaps something added to it, as indicating the initiation of what may be regarded as a new policy by Allāuddin of maintaining Hindu rulers in their position, provided they agreed to remain under tribute to the empire. The invasion of Arangal therefore can now be under­taken with the certainty that, in Deogiri, there was a staunch ally, who could be depended upon for such support and assistance as may be required by the invading army.

The army of invasion left Delhi for Warangal on the 25th Jamādīul Awwal 709 A.H., corresponding to Friday, October 31, 1309. After nine days’ march, the invading army arrived at a place called Masud­pur on the 6th Jamādīus ānī, corresponding to Monday, Novem­ber 19, or Tuesday the 11th according as we take the week-day or the date as the correct one. The march lay through uneven country of mountains and hills, full of brambles and bushes. In fact it had to thread its way through a forest country. After six days of such marching, crossing five rivers, Jun, Chambal, Kunwari, Binas and Bhoji at the fords, the army arrived at Sultanpur, otherwise called Irijpur, where it halted for four days. It broke camp again on the 19th of the Jamādīus ānī, corresponding to Monday, November 24, 1309, and it had to pass through mountainous country again and through rough roads. After thirteen days of arduous marching, the army arrived at Khanda on the 1st Rajab (5th December 1309). Here a muster of the army was taken lasting fourteen days. They apparently stayed there longer; the month of God, as it was called, was spent there in camp, and the camp broke late in the month as Amīr Khusrau says, the morning ‘after the fast of Mary’. Again it had to march through rivers and forests and the great river Narmada itself had to be crossed. Eight days after crossing the Narmada, the army reached a place called Nīlkanth on the border of Deogiri, the territory of Ram Deo. They made a halt of two days in the place to make enquiries as to the most convenient route by which to march onwards to Warangal. The march began on the 26th Rajab, corre­sponding to Wednesday, December 31, 1309, or Tuesday the 30th. It again was a march of sixteen days through difficult roads. They had not yet come to the country of Tilang. They were still on the road to Tilang according to Amīr Khusrau. They arrived at the end of their arduous journey at a doab within the borders of which was Basīrāgarh. This is described as enclosed betwen two rivers Yashar and Buji. A diamond mine is said to have existed here. From here Mālik Kāfūr, at the head of a body of select horse marched against the fort of Sarbar, which belonged to the kingdom of Tilang. This fort offered stout resistance, and was not taken till the defenders performed the rite of jauhār and offered desperate defence. This was ultimately overcome, and a brother, Anārīr, of the chief was put in charge of the fort. Apparently the rest of the army had joined by now, and the march was resumed on Saturday, the 10th of Sha‘bān, corresponding to Tuesday, January 1310, if the 10th of Sha‘bān is taken as correct, or Saturday, the 7th if Saturday is to be taken as correct, and on the 16th of the month the army arrived at the village called Kūnarbal. An advance party of a thousand cavalry was sent forward to make a reconnaissance and capture some from whom information could be got. From Amīr Khusrau’s description Kūnarbal must have been quite close to Warangal as, after getting some information, the whole army was able to occupy the hill of Anamkonda from which they could see the ‘gardens of Arangal’. A camp was erected for the army on the 15th of Sha‘bān in front of the fort, and arrangements were made for laying siege to the fort itself. Each tumān (division of a ten thousand) of the army was assigned 12 hundred yards round the Fort, and, according to Amīr Khusrau, the total circumference of the fort was 12,546 yards. This would mean that the invading army was over 100,000 in number. After a difficult siege lasting for a considerable period of time with night attacks and counter attacks, the enemy was overcome, and the outer fort was taken after effecting a breach 100 yards wide. On Tuesday, the 11th Rajab, the storming attack began. On Sunday, the 13th Rajab, really Sunday, February 14, 1310, an impression was made upon the mud walls and by the following Wednesday the mud wall was broken through and the inner fort was in turn besieged. While this siege was in progress, Rai Ludder Dev (Prataparudra Deva II) sent to offer terms, and the terms were accepted. After taking a very large amount of treasure given by the Raja together with the elephants, horses and such other war equipment, the Raja was put under tribute in accordance with the instructions of Allāuddin, and the invading army could now return. The return march began on 16th Shawwāl, corresponding to Thursday, March 19, 1310, and turned homewards towards the capital. The whole of the month Ẓil Ḥijja, the month following Shawwāl, is said to have been spent in crossing extensive forests. On the 11th of the following month, Muḥarram A.H. 710, the army reached Delhi. This would be Wednesday, the 10th of June 1310, the total return march having occupied therefore two months and 25 days. Allāuddin held a great durbar in Chautr-i-Nāṣiri on Tuesday, the 24th of Muḥarram, Tuesday, 23rd June 1310. That is according to Amīr Khusrau, the topography and the chronology of the invasion.

The first question that would naturally arise from out of it is what is actually the route taken by the invasion. There is a lead that Amīr Khusrau gives us to determine this point. An invading army starting from Delhi towards the south can choose a number of routes; but, having regard to the fact that the objective here was Telingana, the road taken would naturally be the shortest possible route for this particular objective. An invasion of Telingana, which Amīr Khusrau does not mention, by way of Bengal had turned out to be a failure. So the extreme eastern route is to be taken to have been altogether avoided. The readiest route would be the road going through Bharat­pur, Biana, Kota southwards straight to Nagda, the present day railway station, from which there are straight roads to Ujjain and to Dhar, and across the Narmada to the south.

But this route is barred by the consideration that in that part of the journey before Narmada they had to do nine days of marching to reach Mas‘ūdpūr, wherever it was, and it took another six days of very arduous marching crossing five rivers by the fords till at least Irijpur or Sultanpur could be reached. Without knowing where Mas‘ūdpūr lay and what Irijpur or Sultanpur is we could hardly settle this route of march. Mas‘ūdpūr was reached actually nine days after leaving Delhi. That must mean about a hundred to hundred and fifty miles from Delhi. We shall have to locate the place Mas‘ūdpūr somewhere about the region of Bharatpur. It is after reaching Mas‘ūdpūr that the five rivers had to be crossed. So taking that alone into consideration we would not perhaps be wrong in locating the town somewhere near about Bharatpur. The first river crossed is the river Jun. That seems to be the river that passes through Biana to fall into the Jumna, one of its streams being called Banganga, and the other river Gambhir flowing into it, and passing through Biana, not very far from the south of Bharatpur on the road. The next river crossed is given as the river Chambal. Chambal could be crossed over a very great length, and that may not give us anything like a definite lead as to the actual road. The next river is the river Kunwāri. This river luckily happens to be a tributary of the river Chambal, and is of comparatively much shorter length, and therefore its crossing, limits the length through which we shall have to look for the road. Therefore the army could not have taken even the high road leading from Muttra through Bharatpur, Gangapur and Kota to Jhalrapatam and Sitamau. We have to look for the route of this invasion farther to the east of this road. It seems to take us towards Gwalior. Therefore the invading army might have marched through Bharatpur, or might have avoided it and taken the Agra route, proceeding to Dholpur and Gwalior. In the course of this march and before reaching Gwalior, the army would have crossed the three rivers Jun, Chambal and Kunwāri. It is on the road between Gwalior and Sultanpur-Irijpur, that the other two rivers must have been crossed, the two rivers Binas, as it is given there by Amīr Khusrau, and Bhoji. Sir Henry Elliot gives different readings and takes what is written Kunwāri by Amīr Khusrau to be the equivalent of Kuari, which seems quite correct. What he wrote as Beas seems to be, according to the reading of Prof. Habib, Binas. It makes no difference; probably it is the river Sindhu, which must have been crossed, the eastern Sindhu, not the Kali-Sindhu in Rajputana. Elliot therefore is probably right in his identification. But the next river is given as Bhoji, according to the reading of Professor Habib. It was read Bashuji by Elliot, though he gives the alternative Bhoji. Bhoji seems really the correct reading; but what is the river called Bhoji? Elliot of course makes the suggestion that it must be the Bethwa; but was it called Bhoji that Amīr Khusrau could be so specific about its name? It is very likely that, at the time that Amīr Khusrau was writing, it had the name Bhoji, because it was by damming the upper course of this river that the great Bhojpur Lake near Bhopal had been formed; and, while the large lake was still in existence, it is very probable that the stream that brought the super­fluous waters of the lake was called Bhoji at least by the people. So it leaves but little room to doubt that the Bhoji river here is the Bethwa and nothing else. Having crossed these, Sultanpur or Irijpur was reached by the army. The road taken therefore seems to be the railway road of to-day along which to a considerable part of it one sees a road also following. It would mean Gwalior, crossing the Sindhu, Jhansi, and from Jhansi crossing the Bethwa to Lalitpur, Etawa, Bhilsa and Bhopal. That is how the railroad passes. Probably there was a road going down that way at least with the possibility of a military road at that time. Six days’ march from not far south of Bharatpur through very difficult roads could not have amounted to more than a hundred miles at the outside, and that would bring us to somewhere near Bhilsa. Bhilsa or Bhopal would mean very near three degrees of latitude. It is somewhere about that region, it may be a little more to the north than Bhilsa itself, that we shall have to locate Sultanpur or Irijpur at. One is able to see nothing corresponding to it on the maps, unless we take it to be Sagar; but that is going too far east for the purposes of a march towards Warangal. Bhopal would be going a little far too south, and would perhaps put it beyond the actual point reached. Barni mentions Chanderi as the place where the muster of the army was held, and where the auxiliaries from Hindustan came and joined the main army. It is just possible that the halt of four days at Sultanpur was due to this cause, and Chanderi or region near about was either Irijpur or Sultanpur. But then Chanderi could be reached without crossing the Bethwa; but a route could be taken which necessitated the crossing of the Bethwa to reach Chanderi. Somewhere about that region therefore would be Sultanpur-Irijpur. There is a place marked Babina about 12 to 15 miles of Gwalior wherefrom you can take a small road to Chanderi without crossing the Bethwa. If on the contrary the high road to Lalitpur be taken, one has to cross the Bethwa before long. At Talbahat on this road, a smaller road branches off to Chanderi crossing the Bethwa again. This probably was the road taken.

There is a four days’ halt provided at Sultanpur in Amīr Khusrau’s account, which might well have been utilised for the purpose indi­cated in the narrative of Barni. Another thirteen days’ march brought them to Khanda, in all probability the railway junction Kandwa across the Narmada, which it reached on December 5, 1309. The route taken from Chanderi probably was the familiar route of those days towards Sarangpur, thence to Ujjain, thence to Dhar and across farther, while it was open for the army to have taken the route from Sarangpur, perhaps to Indore, and thence across by way of Mandhāta to Kandwa. There they made a great halt, and spent the time of the fast of Mary (Mariam) leaving the place the day after the fast. It took eight days’ march after crossing the Narmada at Mandhāta to reach a place called Nīlkanṭh on the frontier of Deogiri. This place must be somewhere near the river Tapti, the road taking the army through Aṣīrgarh and Burhanpur towards the railway junction of Jalgaom, not very far from Nandurbar, the frontier station of the kingdom of Ram Deo, over which Rai Karan at one time was appointed to rule. Nīlkanṭh was reached on the last day of December 1309. Then there is a long journey of 16 days to bring the army to the next station on the march, which is put down as Bas‘īrāgarh in the doab of two rivers Yashnar and Baruji, or Yashar and Bhuji as in the manuscript used by Profes­sor Habib. The question now is what was the actual route adopted, and in what direction did the army move, for neither of which is there an indication. We are able to locate Nīlkanṭh itself only by guess, and Nīlkanṭh may be somewhere near Burhanpur—not very far in that region. That means the army had been taken over the Vindhya mountains, the Narmada and the Satpura. If Deogiri had been the objective, the route would have lain through Baglana over the Tapti and the hills on the southern side of it. But the main thoroughfares avoid the hilly region, and lead through Burhanpur, Elichpur, Amaraoti, Nagpur and further eastwards, two or three roads crossing the frontier of the present-day Nizam’s Dominions and concentrating on Warangal. It would be a matter of some importance to know where Bas‘īrāgarh was notwithstanding Amīr Khusrau’s taking the trouble to define it as in the doab of two rivers Yashar and Bhuji. There is the additional detail given in Amīr Khusrau’s description that it was a place where diamonds were found in plenty. The road is described as a difficult road, but that is said to be the road to Tilang, and Bas‘īrāgarh is said to have contained a diamond mine. Making use of these details, we ought to follow one of the roads, taken per­haps even by the British armies in the Mahratta wars through Elich­pur, Amaraoti and Nagpur; therefrom deflecting south-eastwards towards the frontier of the Nizam’s Dominions one road goes across the Wainganga, and reaches a place which is now-a-days called Waira­garh placed on the bend of a small river which flows into the Wain­ganga with another stream north of it emptying itself very near. The very name Wairagarh would answer to the description that diamonds were found there. There are two rivers, in fact there are three rivers round about it. The name Bas‘īrāgarh is read by Elliot as Bijanagar. There are places with that name, or something very near on the borders of Berar, but they will not answer the other details of Amīr Khusrau’s description. The recommendation for identifying it with Wairagarh is the actual fact that there is a roadway leading from that straight down into the Nizam’s Dominions by way of Karim­nagar towards Warangal. But if Warangal had been the objective, there is a shorter road through Chanda, across the Painganga entering into the Nizam’s Dominions almost about the same region as this other road. Going to Wairagarh would make a slight deviation which may not be impossible, having regard to the possible road conditions six centuries ago. It must be remembered that Mālik Kāfūr left the main body of his troops in Bas‘īrāgarh, and made a dash, as is usual with him, in these southern campaigns that he undertook, upon a place which Amīr Khusrau calls Sarbar. This Sarbar is as near as possible in sound to Sirpur just across the river Painganga which is reachable by roadways now from Chanda across the river, and from where Bas‘īrāgarh is actually situated. The road on the way to Chanda seems to be a bigger road now-a-days; but that does not necessarily mean that it was so in the thirteenth century. Sirpur is set almost on the borders of the Nizam’s Dominions where the Nirmal range of the Sahyadri almost vanishes into plain ground, making the road easy even for an army with heavy equipment. It is straight on a line with Mantani and Warangal; that Mantani on the Goda­vari was one of those places on the highway northwards from Warangal is referred to as having been visited by Mālik Kāfūr’s con­temporary Pratāpa Rudra of Warangal on one of the occasions that he had to go north towards Delhi. Sirpur it seems probable was the frontier post against which Mālik Kāfūr made a cavalry dash. Hav­ing mastered possession of this he had the means to learn about the further route to Warangal, and something about the defences of the fort and the resources of its ruler. Probably the main army joined him leisurely at Sarbar, which he left on Saturday, January 7, 1310, and reached Kunarbal in the outskirts of Warangal in the course of a week. In the account of Firishta, the army is said to have reached the pargana of Indur on the frontier of Tilang. The pargana of Indur would be the pargana of Nizamabad of to-day, which place was what was known as Indur. It undoubtedly is on the road from Deogiri to Warangal. Firishta is apparently under a misimpression here, as he takes Mālik Kāfūr’s army to Deogiri itself, whereas both Amīr Khusrau and Barni mention that the army reached only the Deogiri frontier which Amīr Khusrau precisely locates at Nīlkanṭh, and Barni also states it clearly that it was only the frontier and not the capital of Deogiri that was actually reached. Firishta must therefore be wrong as, if our identification of Sarbar with Sirpur should happen to be correct, the march from Sirpur to the region of Nizamabad would make rather an extensive detour, which it is not likely was made in the actual circumstances of the case, though the possibility is not altogether excluded. The station reached is said to be Kunarbal. Probably it was one of those villages in the near outskirts of Warangal. There is nothing to answer the name Kunar­bal, on the maps. But a place Kunar, not far from Warangal, but a little to the south of it by south-west, on the road from Nizamabad is marked on the India Atlas. Even granting that the army marched straight down from Sirpur to Jaktiyal, and therefrom passed on to Warangal through Karimnagar, it is not impossible that a camp was erected a little to the south of the town for other military advantages. Therefrom the operations were continued leading to the fall of War­angal, and the treaty that brought the campaign to a close. The army set forward on its march, on Thursday, March 19, 1310, and reached Delhi on Wednesday, June 10, 1310, taking in all two months and twenty-five days for the return journey. Amīr Khusrau gives no indication of the route taken for the return journey, but Barni notes that the return journey was by the route of Deogiri, Dhar, Jhaiun, which is a clear indication that this is not the route originally taken on the outward journey, though it indicates unmistakably again that this was probably the more usual route. The route of march downwards to Warangal must have been Chanderi, Sarangpur, Indore, Khandwa, etc. The march onwards might have been the more western route crossing the Narmada at Maheswar, Kalghat-Dharampur, as it is called, marching up north to Mandu, from there to Nagda northwards through Kota to Bharatpur, Muttra, Delhi. In this journey it is very probable that the army marched from Warangal on to Deogiri, and passed through Ram Deo’s capital, although it is not stated so in so many words.