[Samarkand Affair and Resulting Alliances]

At the period at which I am writing, information reached me that Samarkand, lately under the authority of Bauky Khaun the Ouzbek, had devolved to a chief of the name of Wally Khâun, and as it was the outset of his power, I conceived it possible that he might have placed himself in a position of hostility towards me. In that case I had at first determined to send my son Parveiz to oppose him, with the design at a future period for once at least to proceed, God willing, in person into Ma-wer-un-neher (Transoxiana), that is after I should have accomplished my plans for invading the Dekkan, or south of India. For I had had it long in contemplation to advance the standard of victory into the provinces in that quarter, and having there brought my designs to a successful issue, then to con­duct my triumphant legions towards Samarkand. This inclination I derived from my father, who had always cherished a longing for the inheritance of his ancestors; but aware of the impolicy of leaving India unfurnished with troops to the discretion of any son, I resolved to employ Parveiz once more against the Râna of Oudipour, assigning that country in jaguir to him; those of Mûltan and Agrah being transferred to others. Thus, should it please God to give me complete relief from my anxieties on this head, I might be at liberty this same year to bend my course into the Dekkan; or should the Râna, misled by his evil destiny, still continue refractory, the same force assembled under my immediate authority, might be promptly employed to destroy him root and branch.

Among the Ameirs whom I detached under the orders of Parveiz the most distinguished was Assof Khaun, who had been the vezzeir of my father, and whom I now raised to the order of five thousand, with the insignia of the standard and great drum, or naggarah. He received at the same time a scimitar enriched with diamonds, a war elephant, and a charger with enriched caparisons. I de­volved to him on this occasion the appointment of atabek, or governor, to my son. Assof Khaun bore originally the name of Jauffer Beg, and was a native of Kazvein, the son of Baddeia-uz-zemman, who was the son of Aga Bellaul, who was enrolled among the vezzeirs of the departed Shah Tahmasp (of Persia). The title of Assof Khaun was conferred upon him by my father, to whom he was first of all Meir Bukhshy; but from his extraordinary talents and experience, he became soon advanced to the dignity of vezzeir, an office which for two years he held with unlimited powers. Pre-eminent in intellectual endowments and acuteness of sagacity, I raised him from the class of vezzeirs to that of ameir. On the occasion I issued strict injunctions to all the functionaries, of whatever class or degree, to abide without demur or deviation by his decisions, which I was assured would ever be governed by the purest principles of zeal and integrity.

At the same time I sent to Shahzadah Parveiz a chaplet of pearl of the value of five laks of rupees, with instructions to build in the Râna’s territory a city equal to Banaras, to which he was to give the name of Parvizabád. I appointed Abdurrezzak Maammoury (the architect), with the rank of one thousand, to the office of Bukhshy to the Shahzadah, permitting Mokhtaur Beg, the uncle of Assof Khaun, who held the rank of commander of eight hundred horse, to accompany the prince my son. To Sheikh Rokn-ud-dein the Afghan, I had given the title of Sheir Khaun, previous to my accession to the throne; and I here only desire to remark that he was a man of undoubted courage, but happen­ing to engage in the service of some of the Kashmirian chiefs, he became strongly addicted to habits of drinking, although, nevertheless, a man of singular and the soundest discretion.

I shall here record the elevation by me to the dignity of a commander of two thousand horse, of Sheikh Abdurrahman, the son of Abûl Fazzel, although the father was well known to me as a man of profligate principles. For towards the close of my father’s reign, availing himself of the influence which by some means or other he had acquired, he so wrought upon the mind of his master, as to instil into him the belief that the seal and asylum of prophecy, to whom the devotion of a thousand lives such as mine would be a sacrifice too inadequate to speak of, was no more to be thought of than as an Arab of singular eloquence, and that the sacred inspirations recorded in the Korân were nothing else but fabrications invented by the ever-blessed Mahommed. Actuated by these reasons it was that I employed the man who killed Abûl Fazzel and brought his head to me, and for this it was that I incurred my father’s deep displeasure.* Hence also it was that I solemnly appealed to the Prophet’s sacred name, and ventured to proclaim that, with his assistance, I should still make my way good to the throne of Hindûstaun. I am compelled to add, that under the influence of his displeasure on this occasion, my father gave to my son Khossrou, over me, every advantage of rank and favour, explicitly declaring that after him Khossrou should be king. Sheikh Saadi has long since pronounced, “God will dispose of him whom he has destined to take away, though the atheist may himself pretend to shroud the body.” In the end, the Almighty brought his purposes to a consummation. After the death of Abûl Fazzel, however, my father became impressed with other notions, and returning again a little into the right way, shewed himself once more an orthodox believer.

To the dignity of a commander of two thousand I also raised Zauhed Khaun, the son of Saadek Mahommed Khaun, the vezzeir of Kara Khaun the Tûrkmaun. Under the authority of my father this person had discharged the duties of general of artillery, and at the seige of Asseire, had eminently distinguished himself by his activity and skill, which were indeed the grounds for his present advance­ment. I presented him at the same time with bûzûrg audem,* and a donation of thirty thousand rupees.

I should mention, in passing, that Râi Mûnnouher, of the Hindû tribe of Ketchwa, was a person on whom, in early youth, my father had bestowed numerous marks of kindness, and with whom he was accustomed to converse in Persian. He is indeed a man possessed of extensive general knowledge, and still established in the service of the monarchy. He has on some occasions given proofs of a turn for the poetry of Arabia of no mean merit. One stanza of his contains the following sentiment: “Wouldst thou learn the object of the rich pelisse? it is this—no one shall put out his feet in the presence of the lion.” In this tribe, however, we must not look for brilliancy of imagination.

Pahar Khaun was a dignitary of two thousand, and the uncle of Râjah Maun Sing. He was a man inclined to habits of retirement, although by no means deficient in military talent and the art of war. One of his sisters was in my father’s harram, but no favourite with destiny, although possessed of uncommon beauty. The proverb says: “If there be any auspicious destiny it is for the ill-favoured, for from all I can observe in this workshop of creation, scarcely any thing appears in its proper place. The poor in spirit are absorbed in the rigours of abstinence, while those who love the world find their fortune ever on the advance.”

Doulet Khaun, again, was the chief of the eunuchs of my father’s seraglio, and obtained in this employment the title of Nazzir-ud-Doulah (regulator of the state). Of this man I will venture to say, that in the receipt of bribes, and his disregard of every principle of duty, there was not his second in the empire. In specie alone, he left at his death no less a sum than ten krour of ashrefies of five methkals,* exclusive of jewels, and gold and silver plate, china-ware, and utensils of brass and copper, to the value of three krour more; the whole of which became an accession to my father’s treasury.

Zuffer Khaun is the son of Zeyne Khaun Koukah, on whom my father had bestowed a multiplicity of favours, and whom, as well as Khaun-e-Azzem, he regarded as a son, although the latter did rank far higher in his esteem than either. Zuffer Khaun is however a man of excellent understanding, and I have ever entertained from his zeal and ability the very highest expectations. He inherits indeed his father’s acuteness. There are few that can stand a competi­tion with him in rapidity of perception, which is such, that in a flight of pigeons he will at a single glance state their number, without making one either more or less. With all this he possesses considerable skill in the music of the Hindûs; and he is an incomparable soldier.