[Family Affairs and Experiences]
[Description of Family Members]

With these pundits my father Akbar was in the constant habit of familiar con­versation on every subject. He associated, indeed, with the learned among the Hindûs of every description; and although he might not have derived any particular advantage from the attainment, he had acquired such a knowledge of the elegance of composition, both in prose and verse, that a person not acquainted with the circumstances of his elevated character and station, might have set him down as profoundly learned in every branch of science.

I shall here consign to perpetual remembrance, that in person my father was tall in stature, of a ruddy, or wheaten, or nut-brown complexion; his eyes and eyebrows dark, the latter running across into each other. Handsome in his exterior, he had the strength of a lion, which was indicated by the extraordinary breadth of his chest, and the length of his arms. In the whole, at all events, his exterior was most captivating. A black mole which he had on his nose, was declared by those skilled in the science of physiognomy to prognosticate an extraordinary career of good fortune: neither could he, indeed, be considered very unfortunate, who sounded the great drum of sovereign power for a period of sixty-five years, and that over a part of Hindûstaun two years’ journey in compass, without a rival and without an opponent.

To furnish some estimate of the prodigious amount to which his treasures had accumulated, I should state, that having one day given orders to Kilidge Khaun to bring him an account of the gold alone in the imperial depositories, that officer took measures as far as possible to ascertain what was to be found in the treasury at Agrah. He obtained from different tradesmen in the city four hundred pairs of scales, which for a period of five months he kept at work, both day and night, in weighing the coin and precious metals. At the end of that period my father sent to inquire how many maunns of gold had been brought to account. The reply was, that although for the whole of the five months a thousand men, with four hundred pair of scales, had been night and day unceasingly employed in weighing the contents of one only of the treasuries, they had not yet completed that part of their work. On which my father despatched to desire that matters might be left as they stood; to return the metals to their places, to secure them under lock and seal, and repair to the presence. This, it is to be observed, was the treasury of one city only.*

The establishment of elephants which he had formed never was and never will be equalled by any earthly sovereign, for it comes not within the limits of ordinary calculation that any one will be able to bring together twelve thousand elephants of the largest class (mungloussy), with no less than twenty thousand of another class (females), to provide forage and provender for them, incurring a daily expense of four laks of rupees, equivalent to twelve thousand tomauns of Irâk.* His hunting establishment was of a corresponding magnitude, Among other animals he had twelve thousand one-eyed antelopes to serve for the chase; and of neilahgas, mountain rams, rhinoceroses, ostriches, and elout-e-derriai,* twelve thousand more.

For my part, I have discharged all the elephants, excepting those effectually trained for war, and a few more which I have retained for purposes of recreation. In conclusion, of the paraphernalia, the requisites for grandeur accumu­lated by my father, whether in treasure or splendid furniture of any description, the invincible Teymûr who subdued the world, and from whom my father was the eighth in descent, did not possess one-tenth part. But my father’s foot­steps were lofty, probably he was of an ambition to aspire beyond all that went before him. In the qualities of his mind he was indeed nothing a-kin to the denizens of this lower world.

When he arrived at the age of twenty, Providence bestowed upon him his first child, who received the name of Fautma Banú Begum, but died at the age of one year. Her mother was Beiby Pungrâi. By Beiby Araumbuksh he had two sons, one of whom received the name of Hussun, and the other Hûsseyne. The latter was given to nurse to Bereijah Begum, the mother of Assuf Khaun, but lived only eighteen days; the other was consigned to the care of Zeyne Khaun Koukah, and did not live the tenth day. After these he had by Beiby Seleima Begum a daughter whom he named Shahzâdah Khaunum, who was consigned to the care of his own mother, Mereiam Makauny (who has her place with Mary). Among all my sisters, in integrity, truth, and zeal for my welfare, she is without her equal; but her time is principally devoted to the worship of her Creator.

Next was born to him by Beiby Kheira a son, to whom they gave the name of Pahry. When he became of age, being employed by my father to conduct the operations in the Dekkan, he had reduced the fortresses of Gawil,* Parnalah, and other places of strength, and otherwise made successful progress towards the entire subjugation of the countries south of the Nerbudda. This prince died at Khaunpour in that territory at the early age of thirty. The name bestowed upon him by my father was Sûltan Mûrâd, but having been born among the hills of Futtahpour, and a hill in Hindûstauny being called pahr, my father in familiar language usually addressed him by the name of Pahry, or mountain-born. In other respects Sûltan Mûrâd was of a greenish or fresh complexion, in person rather spare, and inclined to tall; in disposition mild, dignified, deliberate in council, and brave in action. In conduct so discreet, that my father consigned to him the superintendance of his building department and working establishments.

Subsequently my father had by Meher Semmaa a daughter, on whom he bestowed the name of Meeti Begum; meeti in Hindûstauny signifying sweet. She died, however, at eight months old. After this he had a son by Beeby Mereiom who was placed under the care of Râjah Baharmul.

Upon the death of Sûltan Mûrâd my brother Shahzadah Danial was sent to complete the subjugation of the Dekkan. On the arrival at Bûrhampour of my father, who was proceeding to the same destination, Sûltan Danial, accompanied by the Khaun Khanan and other distinguished ameirs of every class, with a formidable allotment of the imperial armies, was detached in advance; and it was at this period that the fortress of Ahmednuggur was reduced. My father came again to Bûrhampour, and having invested Sûltan Danial with the government of the Dekkan, returned to Agrah. Danial was not more than thirty years of age when he also died at Bûrhampour, in consequence of his intemperate indulgence in the use of spirituous liquors.

His death was accompanied with circumstances in some respects so remarkable, that I cannot withhold myself from recording them in this place.

He was extremely fond of shooting and the amusements of the chase, and had a favourite fowling-piece, to which he had given the name of jennauzah (the bier), and on which he had caused to be inlaid a couplet to the following purport:

In the pleasures of the chase with thee, my soul breathes fresh and clear (tawzah),
But who receives thy fatal mission, sinks lifeless on the bier (jennauzah).

His excesses in the disgraceful propensity to which I am compelled to refer, having been carried beyond all bounds of moderation, orders were at last issued, under the directions of Khaun Khanan, that he should no longer receive any supply of liquor, and that those who were detected in any attempt to convey such supply, would be punished with death. For some time, deterred by their fears of such punishment, none of his attendants ventured to utter even the names of liquors; and several days were permitted to elapse under these circumstances. At last, no longer able to endure this abstinence from his habitual indulgence, Danial, with tears and entreaties implored Mûrshed Kuly, one of his corps of gunners, to procure him even the most trifling quantity of the poisonous liquid, promising him advancement to the summit of his wishes provided he would com­ply with his request. Mûrshed Kûly, affected by the touching humility of the prince’s address, at last desired to know in what way it was possible to gratify him without incurring the risk of discovery and certain death. Danial replied, that at such a moment, a draught of liquor was to him as much as life itself.— “Go,” said he, “and bring me the spirit in the barrel of one of my fowling pieces; twice or thrice repeated I shall be satisfied, and thou wilt be safe against discovery, or even suspicion.” Subdued by these intreaties, Mûrshed Kûly did as he was desired; filled the piece so ominously named jennauzah with spirits, and brought it to his master. As the inauspicious name had been given to the piece by himself, it was so ordained by Providence that to drink what was conveyed by it and to be laid on his bier was one and the same thing—he drank of the liquid mischief and died: so true is it, that the tongue should be restrained from in­dulging in rash expressions.

In fine, what does not always occur in the same person, Danial was almost as fond of good eating as he was of drink. But there was one absurd ambition which seemed to be predominant with him beyond every other—that of pos­sessing a superior train of elephants; to such a degree that, even among his own ameirs, if he saw one of surpassing size or quality, he did not scruple to take it away, sometimes forgetting the trifling ceremony of paying for it; of which hereafter. In short, as far as his power extended, he did not permit any one but himself to be master of a prime elephant. I shall lastly observe that Sûltan Danial was extremely fond of Hindûstauny music, and no bad reciter of Hindy poetry.

To return to the enumeration of my father’s children, he had by Naun Beiby a daughter whom he named Lâla Begum, and whom he consigned also to the care of his mother, in whose charge she died at the expiration of eighteen months. Next, by Beiby Douletshah he had a daughter, on whom he bestowed the name of Araumbanu Begum. For this latter he entertained the greatest fondness, repeatedly recommending her to my protection, and charging me, for his sake, when he should be no more, to regard her with the same indulgent kindness— not without expressing his assurance, that his words would find a permanent place in my remembrance.