§ 39. Ability the only qualification for office.

Muhammad Amin Khan, on his first arrival in India from Vilayet, was created a Commander of Five Hundred, in consideration of the fact that his father had been faithful to Prince Alamgir during the war in Balkh and had rendered good service. In the course of time he received praise, was repeatedly promoted, and attained to the rank of a Commander of Three Thousand (two thousand additional troopers) and the distinction of playing naubat, for his activity against the accursed enemy [the Marathas], bringing forage (khai) from Satara and other places, convoying provisions, and going to and from every [Mughal] entrenchment. As the Emperor wished that the Khan should remain away [from the imperial encampment] for some time and play the naubat, he said, “I learn from the news reports that the revenue coming from Bengal has crossed the Narmada. You should go and halt at Aurangabad, in order that you may at last enjoy some respite from movement, and play the naubat granted to you to your heart's content.” Then His Majesty dismissed him, after presenting him with the riding cloak trimmed with fur and richly laced which he was himself wearing.

When the Khan returned with the revenue, after fighting with the shameless Marathas, gaining victories, and convoying the Government treasure in safety, His Majesty presented him with a horse adorned with gold trappings, a dagger with a kalgi, and the robe of honour worn on his august person. When he saw these successive favours, he submitted a petition through Muharram Khan, saying, “In view of the obedience and old service which the aged slave had performed in Balkh, this devoted servant had hoped for favours; but owing to the large number of his enemies and the few­ness of his friends [at Court] he had not so long made bold to submit his wishes. [But now] relying on God he makes this petition.”

Copy of the petition: “Hail! saint and spiritual guide of the world and of its people! Both the pay-masterships have been conferred on heretical demon-natured Persians. If one of the paymasterships be given to this old and devoted servant, it would be a means of strengthening the [Sunni] faith and of snatch­ing away employment from accursed misbelievers. O, ye faithful! do not take as friends your own and our enemies.

Across the sheet of the petition Aurangzib wrote, “What you have stated about your long service is true. It is being appreciated as far as possible. As for what you have written about the false creed of the Persians, [I answer],—‘What connection have worldly affairs with religion? and what right have matters of religion to enter into bigotry? For you is your religion and for me is mine.’ If this rule [suggested by you] were established, it would be my duty to extirpate all the (Hindu) Rajahs and their followers. Wise men disapprove of the removal from office of able officers. Your request for a paymastership is appropriate, as you hold a rank suited to the post. The reason that acts as a hindrance is that the Turani people, your followers, who are clansmen from the same city as that of my ancestors,—according to the saying ‘Don't throw yourself into destruction with your own hands,’—do not think it a shame to retreat in the very thick of the battle. It would not be a great harm if this sort of thing took place in a foraging expedition, but it would cause a terrible diffi­culty if it occurred in the midst of a [regular] battle. If, God forbid it! the attendants of the Emperor were to act thus, then in a moment all would be over [with him].

If you have [ever] declined this actually experienced and tested business (viz. retreat), write to me in detail [about it]. The Persians, whether born in Vilayet or in Hindustan—who (the last) are noted for their gross stupidity,—are a hundred stages removed from this sort of movement [i.e., flight.] (Verse)

Do justice, as the folly of these bad men
Is better than a thousand brains of the fox-natured.
One brain is enough for an army
For throwing bricks from engines into the eyes of the enemy.”

Text.–Ir. MS. 14a–15a.

Notes.–Muhammad Amin Khan, the son of Mir Baha-ud-din, who was the brother of Qalich Khan, came to India from Bukhara in 1687; got the title of Chin Bahadur (Nov. 1706) and the post of Sadar (1698). At the time of Aurangzib's death he was a Commander of 4000, (1500 additional troopers). For his attachment to his Mughal followers, see Masir-ul-umara , i. 349.