[Defense Buildups, Rewards and Punishments]

With these perplexing circumstances in mind, I secretly placed in readiness, in addition to those immediately about my person, a body of four thousand horse and two thousand touptchies, or matchlockmen, with orders, in case of any attempt against my personal security, to throw themselves upon the assailants, of whatever cast, and use their utmost efforts to prevent the rescue of Eiltcha Ram. Mahommed Amein was directed to keep fast his prisoner to the last extremity. In the interim Nowauzesh Khaun hastily entered, and announced to the Ameir-ul-Oomra that the rescue of Eiltcha had been actually effected, and that Ma­hommed Amein had been compelled to take post near the jeil, or lake, among the sebzah (green fields, or perhaps, grassy reeds) surrounding the lake. This report was communicated to me by the Ameir-ul-Oomra in a whisper. The tumult was now approaching with accumulated violence towards the foot of the royal tower of the castle of Agrah, and I intimated to the minister, that things appeared to have reached that crisis, beyond which it would be a crime to be longer idle. “Go then,” said I, “with the soldiers under your orders, and render to these miscreants the reward of their treason.” The Ameir-ul-Oomra accordingly led out his troops, and soon engaged with the insurgents. I next addressed myself to Sheikh Fereid the Bukhshy, observing to him, that I had not a doubt the insurgents would be immediately joined by all the Rajpouts in the neighbourhood, which would materially add to our danger; I therefore charged him to call out his followers, and hasten without delay to the support of the Ameir-ul-Oomra.

On the departure of Sheikh Fereid, the noise and tumult of the conflict became louder and louder, and I ascended to the upper works of the royal tower, where I gave audience to the people, and I thence observed the combatants hotly en­gaged; not less than twenty thousand of the Rajpout cavalry having joined the insurgents, and all of them now pressing furiously, sword and dagger in hand, upon the troops under the Ameir-ul-Oomra; while the latter, with all the skill of which he was master, was thus making head against the enemy. Kuttoub Khaun, one of the bravest and most useful of his retainers, together with many other gal­lant men, fell before my eyes by the swords of the insurgents, and a far greater number wounded. Dillawer Khaun,* who with others had charged the assailants to the assistance of Kuttoub Khaun, was dragged from his horse and sabred, all who accompanied him sharing the same fate. Joined by a reinforcement of three thousand men, the which I dispatched to his support, the Ameer-ul-Oomra again bravely charged his assailants, and put a considerable number of the Rajpouts to the sword.

At such a moment, Sheikh Fereid, with ten thousand horse in quilted mail, and five thousand camel-mounted musqueteers, armed and in complete array, arrived to the support of the minister, and gave instant check to the fury of the Rajpouts. While the conflict thus continued with protracted violence, a single Rajpout approached sword in hand to make an attack upon Sheikh Fereid, who stood in advance under one of the standards. Seizing a javelin from one of his attendants, the sheikh passed it with such irresistible force through the breast of the Rajpout, that the point appeared clean at his back, which of course sent the miscreant on his way to hell. The superior prowess of the imperial troops was now apparent, and great numbers of the Rajpouts were put to the sword; those who escaped the slaughter betook themselves to flight in the utmost confusion. Of these, however, about four thousand were made prisoners, all of whom, as an example to other wretches who might be disposed to follow in their steps, were, by my command, trampled to death by elephants. At the same time, as a living example, to deter the turbulent and factious from engaging in such tortuous and disloyal designs, I directed the ringleader, whose name was Bukhta Ram, to be closely confined in the fortress of Gualiar.

It was on this occasion that Bahauder Khaun, an Ouzbek chief, ventured to make the remark, that if such an instance of rebellion had occurred under the authority of one of the sovereigns of his country, the whole tribe in all its branches would have been cut off from the face of the earth. To this I replied, that I could not forget, that from my father, in whose armies they served, these Rajpouts had received unbounded indulgence, and enjoyed distinctions far beyond their equals of other tribes; and, in consequence of the preference thus shewn them, it might have been that they were led to conceive themselves of a superior class. Neither could I consider it consistent with substantial jus­tice, for the offence of a few misguided individuals, to extirpate a whole tribe, since, for every purpose of example, it was quite sufficient to punish the actually guilty.

I shall now return to the more grateful subject of recording the rewards and advancements bestowed upon the more faithful adherents of my government. I promoted Kauzy Abdullah the Kabûlite from the order of five hundred to that of five thousand; and on Khanjah Zakareia, the son of Khaujah Mahommed Yaheya, although in disgrace, I conferred the rank of five hundred. This I was induced to do on the recommendation of the venerated Sheikh Hûsseyne Jaumy, distinguished in our age for the unblemished purity of his life. Six months pre­vious to my accession, I had received an arrezdasht (or memorial) from the Sheikh, stating that he had recently had it revealed to him in a dream, that, to a moral certainty, the Most High would make me, in spite of all opposition, sovereign of Hindûstaun: on the occurrence of which event he should venture to solicit that for his sake, who had thus early predicted my exaltation, I would forgive the offences of the son of Khaujah Yaheya; and it was for this reason that I both pardoned and promoted the man.

On Taush Khaun Beg, also a native of the province of Kabûl, who had re­ceived from my father the title of Taush Khaun, leaving to him the same title, I conferred the rank of two thousand, presenting him at the same time with a richly caparisoned charger, jeigha and kreisse, both set with precious stones.

This person is one of the oldest retainers of our house, having eminently dis­tinguished himself as a soldier in the time of my grandfather Homayûn, and attained his rank of ameir under my uncle Mahommed Hakkeim Mirza. He is now far advanced in years, and, though his beard has lost its jetty blackness, yet retains his pleasing cast of features.

Another native of Kabûl whom I selected for promotion was Behajah Beg Khaun, whom I raised from the order of fifteen hundred to that of three thou­sand. This chief is a person of the greatest practical ability, and was reckoned amongt the most respectable of the ameirs in the train of Mohammed Hakkeim above mentioned. He is a man of distinguished courage, and though an ancient soldier, is a sincere Mussulman, rigidly strict in the observance of his religious duties. I shall here add, that within a very few days I have given preferment to nearly one hundred of the same tribe, with all the usual accompaniments.

Mirza Abul Kaussem, an ameir of one thousand, I advanced to the order of fifteen hundred. He also is one of my father’s oldest retainers, a good soldier, and useful servant in other respects. It is remarkable, that of about thirty sons to whom he is the father, not one has turned to any good. It is, indeed, lamentable to observe, that the father of many sons but seldom derives any ad­vantage from them in proportion to their number.

I conferred upon Sheikh Ally, the grandson of Sheikh Seleim of Adjmeir, the title of khaun, with the rank of an ameir of two thousand, presenting him at the same time with the sum of fifty thousand rupees, to celebrate the anniversary of his venerated relative. Sheikh Ally was bred up from infancy in the same apart­ments with myself, and is only one year my junior. He is a most intrepid sol­dier, and among the whole tribe has not now his equal. Strictly abstinent from inebriating drugs, or liquor of any kind, I entertain the highest expectations from his merit. In very truth it might be said, that I consider him as one of my own children.

I bestowed upon Seyed Ally Assuf the titles of Seyf Khaun. He is of the Seyeds of Bâurah, and son of Seyed Mahmoud, who was one among the great Ameirs of my father’s court, and a Seyed of the genuine stock. The son is worthy of his race, and no babbler. Than this, I do not know in man a better quality, and I despise the individual who is either rash in act, or hasty in dis­course. In the whole course of his life I do not think that Seyf Khaun has ever been guilty of an unworthy action. He is also a stranger to inebriating drugs or spirits, and this very year I design to place him among the most exalted of nobles.

Next I promoted Feridoun, the son of Mahommed Kûly Khaun, from the order of one thousand to that of two thousand horse. Feridoun is the descendant of an illustrious race, and himself not deficient either in daring or generosity. His courage is such, indeed, that he is known to have been more than once engaged in conflict with a lion. This most formidable of wild beasts, with one hand wrapped in felt, and the other armed with a dagger, he contrived to overcome, by thrusting one hand into his jaws and stabbing him with the other until he killed him. To a Rajah Gahnum Pûll, the zemindaur of a purgunnah or district of the same name, with whom and his followers he was engaged in hostilities, he also opposed himself singly, and though wounded in several parts of his body, succeeded in keeping him in check until finally relieved.

I am now about to relate an occurrence, which from the struggle between private friendship and the sense of public duty, occasioned considerable pain to my mind. Mirza Nour, the son of Khaun-e-Auzem, was brought before me on a charge of homicide. This young man had possessed an extraordinary share in my father’s friendship, was as much beloved by him as if he had been his own child, and who made considerable sacrifices to gratify and indulge him. In these circumstances, I directed that he should be taken, together with his accusers, immediately before the Kauzy and Meir-e-Auddel (or minister of justice), who received my injunctions, according to what might be proved in evidence, to fulfil with regard to him the dictates of the law. In due time a report was laid before me from these officers of justice, declaring that Mirza Nour, the son of Khaun-e-Auzem, had been found guilty of the wilful murder of a man, and that, according to the law of Mahommed, “blood alone was the compensation for blood.” Notwithstanding my extreme regard for the son, and the respect which I bore for the father, I found it impossible to act in contra­vention to the ordinances of God, and I therefore, with whatever reluctance, consigned him to the hands of the executioner.

For a month afterwards, however, I endured for his death the most consuming grief, deeply regretting the loss of one so young, and possessed of so many elegant and engaging qualifications. But, however repugnant, there cannot in these cases be any alternative: for should we omit to discharge ourselves of this our irksome duty, every aggrieved person would seize his opportunity of time and place to avenge himself in his adversary’s blood. To bring, therefore, to prompt punishment the man who violates the laws of his country, is an alter­native with which no person intrusted with the reins of power is authorized to dispense.

[Here follow fourteen couplets, concluding with the remark, that the renown of Solomon, however exalted, is wholly derived from his inflexible love of justice.]

Informed of the execution of his son, but aware that there could be no evasion to elude the ordinances of God, Khaun-e-Auzem, after indulging in his grief for some days, finally suffered the melancholy occurrence to be banished from his mind. Of this distinguished Ameir I shall here observe, that he was an exquisite penman in the Nestaalik character, a very perfect reciter of the chapters of the Korân, and next to Nekkeib Khaun above-mentioned, I may venture to pronounce that he was unrivalled in the recollection of past events.

Like Khaun-e-Auzem, Assuf Khaun was also an excellent reciter of the Korân, an eloquent speaker, and without his equal in conviviality of disposition. In the whole court of my father there was not an Ameir more deservedly distin­guished, and I myself continue to cherish for him the highest respect, of which I have given some proof in assigning to him the title of uncle. In truth, there are belonging to him such various accomplishments, both personal and intel­lectual, as can seldom fall to the lot of man. But there is one blemish clinging to his character sufficient to obliterate all his virtues: his hand is closed against the graces of liberality, than which there cannot be a deeper stain on the human character, more particularly in that of a man of his exalted rank; for the canker of avarice corrodes both here and hereafter. “I have exerted all the powers of reflection to decide, but there is no quality of the mind more graceful than liberality.” Another fault by which he has exposed himself to censure, he was never known to pray. For this unpardonable defect he endeavours to apologize, by saying that he is prevented by the many temptations by which he is perpetually assailed. Neither has he ever been reclaimed, although with my father’s permission he has made the voyage to Mekkah, and there performed the sacred ceremonies of the pilgrimage with every appearance of zeal and devo­tion; nevertheless, on rejoining my father in Hindûstaun, this neglect of his religious duties remained unabated.

I promoted Moezz-ul-moulk from the order of five hundred to that of one thousand. Originally he bore the name of Moezz-ud-Hûsseyne, and in my father’s service had the superintendence of the goldsmith’s department. I con­tinued to him his title, with the appointment of diwan, or steward of my house­hold (perhaps the director of buildings). Whatever in other respects might have been the ground of his claims, his singular simplicity of mind is a pledge of his love of truth, and he is moreover sufficiently ready with his pen. Sheikh Bayezzid, another grandson of Sheikh Seleim of Adjmeir, I raised from the rank of two thousand to that of three thousand horse. The first from whom I drew milk was the mother of Sheikh Bayezzid; and with regard to himself, such is his distinguished prudence, that place him in whatever employment you may, in his hands it cannot fail to prosper.

In conversation one evening with certain Pundits, the appellation by which their divines and learned men are distinguished by the Hindûs, I took occasion to demand, supposing it to be their intention, in the images which were the objects of their worship, in some sense or other to represent the nature or essence of the Deity, what could be a greater absurdity, or more revolting to the understanding, since we all knew that the Almighty is eternally exempt from change or decay, has neither length nor breadth, and must therefore be totally invisible; how then could it be possible to bring him in any shape under the imperfect scope of human vision? “If, on the other hand,” continued I, “your idea is the descent or manifestation of the light divine in such bodies, we already know that the power of the divinity pervades all existence; this was announced to the legislator of Israel from the midst of the burning bush! If, again, it be your design to delineate by affinity (qu.) any of the attributes of the Supreme Being, we must confess that here below there cannot in reality exist any affinity, otherwise we might have expected some such manifestation by the hands of those whom, in any religion, we believe to have possessed the faculty of working miracles, and who surpassed all other men in knowledge, in power, and every human perfection. But if you consider these figures as the immediate objects of adoration, and as the source from which you may derive support and assistance in these designs, this is a most fearful conclusion, since adoration is due to God alone, supreme in glory, who has neither equal nor associate.” After a variety of arguments for and against, the most intelligent of these Pundits seemed convinced of the weakness of their cause, finally confessing, once for all, that without the intervention of these images they found it impos­sible to settle their minds to a steady contemplation of the perfections of the Supreme Being. To which, in reply, I could only observe, in what manner, after all, was it that these images of theirs could contribute to the attainment of such an object.*