§ 48. A profligate noble punished.

Mirza Tafakhkhur, the son of the prime-minister [Asad Khan]'s daughter, acquired ruffianly habits at Delhi, laid the hand of oppression on the property and honour [i.e., women] of the people, often came to the bazar with his comrades, plundered the shops of the grocers, confectioners and others, and with the help of his men seized the Hindu women who went to the river to bathe, and did them all sorts of disgrace and dishonour. Every time that this matter was brought to the Emperor's notice in the news-letters and reports, he wrote “The prime-minister” and nothing more.

At last the Emperor repeatedly learnt that while a Baksaria named Ghanashyam, having just married, was passing with his companions by the gate of Mirza Tafakhkhur, placing his wife in a dooli and himself on horseback, the ruffians informed the Mirza, who sallied forth with a party of them, and dragged the dooli by force into his own house. Two men were killed and six wounded [in the affray]. The men of the imperial artillery, on getting the news [of their comrade's dishonour], wished to assemble and crowd at the gate of Mirza Tafakhkhur. Aqil Khan, sending the kotwal, forbade them. Then he despatched an eunuch of his to Qamar-un-nisa, the daughter of the prime-minister and the mother of Mirza Tafakhkhur, and greatly chid and rebuked him; so that the poor Hindu woman, after the loss of her caste and honour, was given up to the eunuch, and he calmed the artillerymen by promising that a report of the matter would be inserted in the news-letter and the Emperor would certainly remedy [their grievance]. They, therefore, abstained from creating a tumult.

The Emperor, after reading it, wrote across the sheet [of the report], “The prime-minister should write a ‘Letter By Order of the Emperor’ to Aqil Khan, ordering him to confine in the fort of Delhi this worth­less wretch and luckless leader of wicked men; and in case his mother, out of her extreme love for her son, refuses to part with him, the governor [of Delhi] should be ordered to bring Qamar-un-nisa Begam [in] a chaudol (rich litter) within the fort with every respect and keep her with her son. Aqil Khan should assign a good house fit for the residence of Qamar-un-nisa Begam. As she is the daughter of my maternal aunt * and is adorned with noble qualities, I ought to show consideration to her internally and externally. But what reform could even the Prophet Noah (on him and on our Prophet Muhammad be peace!) make in his own unworthy son, that other [parents] would succeed? It is my duty to prevent oppression on the people, who are a trust from the Creator. Fifty men of the kotwal should carefully keep guard round the house and at the gate [of Tafakhkhur's house], so that this noxious creature may not creep out like a snake from a hole. (Verse)

Some of these unworthy sons of a Satanic character
Have brought disrepute on some well-reputed [parents].”

The prime-minister at once wrote a ‘Letter By Order’ and without sealing it placed it before the Emperor with his own letter to Aqil Khan. The purport of the letter was, “My dear and gracious brother, in view of our longstanding friendship—which dates from the reign of Shah Jahan,—I expect that you would consider yourself as an uncle of the wicked Tafakhkhur. If you send an eunuch, summon him to your presence, and give him fifty stripes with a thorny stick, it will in short give satisfaction and comfort to the loving heart of this brother [of yours]. The thorns of the sticks will extract the thorns planted in my affectionate heart [by my grandson's misdeeds].”

The Emperor after reading it, wrote across the sheet, “Nobody else can chastise the son of my maternal aunt's daughter. If my life lasts and Death grants me respite to return to Delhi, I shall, God willing, chastise him with my own hand. He indeed stands in the relation of a son to me. But what help is there when the son is wicked? To beat a slave is to insult his master.” *

Text.—Ir. MS. 11b—12b; MS. N. 16a—18a.

Notes.—Asad Khan had married one of the four sisters of the Empress Mumtaz Mahal, and he was therefore the maternal uncle of Aurangzib. Many other profligate descendants of Asad Khan are mentioned in Masir-ul-umara, i. 320. The confine­ment of Tafakhkhur is referred to in some of Aurangzib's letters viz., Inayetullah's Ahkam-i-Alamgiri, 145b, 146a, 165a, 207a, 210a, 290a. The men of the garrison artillery were taken from the Baksarias or Hindu inhabitants of Buxar; these people (now called Bhojpuris) long supplied the E. I. Co. with matchlockmen and the zamindars with clubmen. Aqil Khan (surnamed Razi) was subahdar of Delhi from October, 1680 to his death in 1696. Noah's undutiful son was Canaan. “Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan.” (Genesis, ix. 24).