§ 10 Wise Counsels for Kings.

On the day when the Emperor released Bahadur Shah from captivity, he made him sit down in his presence and told him, “As a father like me has been pleased with you, the crown will certainly fall to your lot. I had no need to satisfy [my father] Shah Jahan, as he was devoted to Dara Shukoh, who had become an unbeliever through the companionship of Hindus and yogis (ascetics). It is simply the assistance of the faith of the Sayyid among Prophets, i.e., Muhammad, (on whom be blessings and peace!) that is the cause of victory. * Some counsels I am going to give you; you should lay them to heart. Although I know it for certain that it is far from your nature to put them into practice, yet I am speaking out of paternal affection and in view of the love and obedience which you have shown.

“FIRST,—an Emperor ought to stand midway between gentleness and severity. If either of these two qualities exceeds the other, it becomes a cause of the ruin of his throne, because in case of excessive gentleness the people display audacity, while the increase of harshness scares away hearts, e.g., my uncle Sultan Ulugh Beg, in spite of his graces and good qualities, was fearless in shedding blood, so that for petty offences he used to order executions. His son, Abdul Latif, made him prisoner and sent him to the fort of Nehawand. On the way he asked a man, ‘What do you think was the cause of the fall of my royal power?’ The man answered, ‘On account of your bloodshed, which made men shrink from you.’ What my august ancestor the Emperor Humayun displayed was improper negligence, forgiveness, and weakness in affairs, because, in spite of his repeatedly hearing of the audacious deeds of Sher Khan in the province of Bengal, he neglected [Sher Khan], and only rebuked his father, Hasan Sur, saying, ‘You know of your son's acts and yet you do not write to him [to remonstrate]!’ Hasan replied, ‘His acts have passed beyond the stage of writing. I know not what your Majesty's negligence will at last result in.’

“NEXT this,—an Emperor should never allow himself to be fond of ease and inclined to retirement, because the most fatal cause of the decline of kingdoms and the destruction of royal power is this undesirable habit. Always be moving about, as much as possible. (Verse)

It is bad for both emperors and water to remain at the same place,
The water grows putrid and the king's power slips out of his control.
In touring lie the honour, ease, and splendour of kings,
The desire of comfort and happiness makes them untrustworthy.

“NEXT this,—always plan how to train your servants, and appoint every one to the task for which you deem him fit. It is opposed to wisdom to order a carpet-weaver to do the work of blacksmith. Don't impose the task of the great on the small, nor that of the little on the great, because great people feel ashamed in doing the work of small men, and little fellows have not the capacity for doing the work of the great, so that utter disorder prevails in the affairs of the State.”

Text.–Ir. MS. 7a–8a.

Notes.–Mirza Ulugh Beg, a grandson of Timur, and the learned author of Astronomical Tables, was king of Samarqand till 1449, when he was deposed and murdered by his son Abdul Latif.