§ 32. Beware of the Sayyids of Barha!

From the report of the province of Nander the Emperor learnt that Sayyid Hasan Ali Khan Bahadur had shown great activity in fighting with Hanumant, the general of the misbelievers [Marathas], sacked his base-camp (bungah), taken alive the brother's son of Janaji and imposed on him the honour of conversion to Islam. Zulfiqar Khan Bahadur Nusrat Jang, who was passing by that place for chastising the disturber Dhana Jadav, recommended promotions for both the [Sayyid] brothers and sent the letter of recommendation to the Emperor by relays of couriers (dak), praying that the elder brother's rank, which was 800, might be raised to 1000, and the younger brother's, which was 700, to 900.

Across the sheet [of the report] the Emperor wrote, “Bravo! Why should it not be so? The Sayyids, who are sources of auspiciousness, bear this meaning that they should try with all their life for supporting the strong faith of their forefather, His Holiness the Sayyid among prophets [Muhammad]. Send to both the brothers with [a mace-bearer] two robes of honour from the royal wardrobe, with two daggers set with plain-work jasper and having pearl straps. The prime-minister should write a ‘Letter By Order’ full of praise and send it to them.”

Across the letter [of Nusrat Jang] His Majesty wrote, “The recommendation of promotion made by this here­ditary servant aware of my sentiments, was very proper. Failure on the part of generals to conciliate good soldiers is a matter of regret. It should not be done. But it is difficult [for me] to consent to their promotion in one step. True, love for the high-ranked Sayyids is a part of our faith, nay more, it is the very essence of spiritual knowledge; and enmity to this tribe is the cause of entry into hell-fire and of [incurring] the anger of God. But we should not do an act which might be a source of our grief in this world and misery in the next. To relax the reins to the Sayyids of Barha is to bring on final ruin, i. e., a bad end; because these people on getting the least prosperity and promotion boast ‘There is none like me’, stray from the path of right conduct, cherish high views, and cause impediment. If [then] they are neglected, worldly affairs become difficult to perform. If they are corrected, the feet ultimately fall into mud.”

Text.–Ir. MS. 26b & 27a.

Notes.–Sayyid Hasan Ali Khan of Barha afterwards became Qutb-ul-mulk Abdullah Khan and the wazir of Farrukhsiyar. He is known to fame as one of the “Sayyid Brothers” or Indian King-makers. In Aurangzib's reign he was faujdar of Nandurbar and Sultanpur. (Life in M. U. iii. 130-140). Hasan Ali's heroic but disastrous fight with the Marathas under Nima Sindhia (1698) is described by Khafi Khan, ii. 457. His brother Husain Ali Khan, afterwards created Amir-ul-umara, became faujdar of Hindun-Biana under Aurangzib. (Life in M. U. i. 321—338). Their father Sayyid Abdullah was appointed faujdar of Nander in Feb. 1690, (M. A. 335) and is spoken of as subah­dar of it in 1695 (Akh.). Nusrat Jang “returned to Court after punishing Dhana Jadav” about January, 1700 (M. A. 432). But he had a roving commission from 1701 to 1705 to chastise the Maratha bands wherever found.