§ 50. Be ever vigilant against foreign Powers.

From the despatch of Amir Khan, the governor of Kabul, it came to the Emperor's knowledge, “It has been learnt from the letter of the thanahdar of Ghaznin that the Persian frontier was 36 miles [from Ghaznin], but now the thanahdar of that side (i.e., Persia) in the region of Qandahar, says that if we permit him to set up his outpost (thanah) four miles further towards our side, every year a hundred Persian horses would be presented to His Majesty. As the water has dried up on the site of the former outpost, and water is available four miles from it [towards the Mughal frontier], he has made this request.”

The Emperor wrote in answer, “It is not the part of a wise man to contribute to the vigour and splendour of the Persian thanahdar and to rob his own adminis­tration of its cover. But, (verse)

The word tam'a [=greed] has three letters, all of which are empty, [other meaning, ‘without dots’].

What do you talk of permitting him to come two kos [towards our frontier], when I would not let him come even two steps nearer? It is the opinion of theologians in all religions that persistence in trivial sins is equivalent to committing a mortal sin. I wonder at this hereditary servant, aware of my sentiments,— who has been brought up in my Court from the age of seven years,—being negligent about the devices of the Persians! Consider for yourself why they have con­sented to present me with a hundred Persian horses, whose price must be high, in return for this simple matter that their outpost might be set up four miles towards our side of the frontier. It is according to that very proverb,—(verse)

‘He holds the tip of the finger with the design of breaking it,
And then all of a sudden he will attack the arm.
Be not negligent about your enemy's plans,
Always scratch his black face.’

It is a well-known saying (verse)

‘Wisdom and fortune are closely connected with each other.
He who lacks wisdom, has neither any fortune.’

The common people, who are like beasts, imagine that whosoever is a man of fortune must necessarily be a wise man, but it is a wrong idea. The real meaning [of the proverb] is that if a man is not wise his fortune does not last long, and hence we may say that it does not exist. To use more words on this point is like striking an iron when cold, or sewing an old coat.”

Text.—MS. N. 12a 11—13b 1.

Notes.—Under Shah Jahan and Aurangzib there was the great­est rivalry between the Shah of Persia and the Emperor of Delhi, and several alarms about a Persian invasion of India. Indeed, the Persian peril hung like a dark cloud over certain periods of these two reigns, and our Emperors felt relief on hearing of any warlike Shah's death. Qandahar had been won by the Persians in 1649. [Hist. of Aur. iii. ch. 29]. Mir Khan, a son of Khalilullah Khan, was created Amir Khan; he governed Afghanistan from 19th March, 1677, to his death, 28th April, 1698. (Life in M. U. i. 277). See A Muslim Heroine in my Studies.