[Akbar's Military Experiences]

This being his first victory, my father considered it an omen auspicious to the glory of his reign. In the exultation of the moment, he raised the fortunate Shah Kûly Khaun to the rank of an ameir of five thousand, with the insignia of the drum and standard. Treasure and valuable effects to an incredible amount, together with three thousand elephants, fifty thousand camels, and other articles too numerous for detail, were the immediate fruits of this triumphant day. On this occasion it was suggested to my father by his minister Beyram Khaun, to inflict a wound on the lifeless body, as a token of the consummation of his victory over the infidel. In reply my father observed, that sometime back, while amusing himself in his father’s library, and looking at some paintings, the performance of Abdussummud the painter, a portrait was placed in his hands, which from the information of the attendants he found to be that of Himmû. “Instantly,” said he, “I tore the thing to tatters, and threw it away from me. Let it suffice now that the man has met with his deserts; I considered that I had then achieved my victory over him.”

When they came to count the slain in this battle, it was found that fourteen thousand of the infidels had been put to the sword, exclusive of those who escaped from the field and perished of their wounds.

[According to Abûl Fazzel this battle was fought, like most other battles for the sovereignty of Hindûstaun, in the vicinity of Pânipet, on Thursday the second of Mohurrim of the nine hundredth and sixty-fourth of the Hidjera, just one year later than described in the memoirs. The historian further states that Himmû, though pierced through the eye with an arrow, was yet alive when brought before Akbar, and obstinately refusing to speak, the young emperor, though urged to it, declined notwithstanding to pollute his sword with the blood of his defenceless captive; on which the minister Beyram Khaun put the unfortunate man to death with his own hand. With a feeling which reflects honour on his memory, Abûl Fazzel expresses his regret that the life of so brave and able a man should not have been spared, and his talents employed, as they might have been with perfect security, in the service of the state].

Secondly. Again, when information was brought to him at Futtahpour that the people of Gûjerat, under Mirza Ibrauhim Hûsseyne and Mirza Shah Mirza, had surrounded and laid siege to the city of Ahmedabad, although defended by a numerous body of troops under Khaun-e-Auzem,* my father entered into con­sultation with some of his confidential servants, as to the measures to be adopted towards the punishment of these hostile proceedings. Beiby Begum, the mother of Khaun-e-Auzem, who was my father’s nurse, was also present at this council by particular desire of my father. In concurrence with the suggestions of his faithful council, it was determined that a force should be immediately brought together, and my father proceeding in person at the head of his troops, the account with these redoubtable adversaries would be settled without much diffi­culty. It is to be observed, that from Futtahpour, where my father then held his court, to Gûjerat, is a distance of two months’ journey. Nevertheless, having completed his equipments and put the troops in motion, my father by forced marches, which he continued night and day, sometimes on horseback and some­times on a despatch camel, in fourteen days accomplished that which on ordinary occasions was a journey of two months, and placed himself in the very front of his enemies.

This was on a Wednesday in the second Jummaudy of the year nine hundred and eighty.* When close upon the insurgents, and not a vestige of the imperial garrison to be seen, it was in debate whether it would not be advisable to make a night attack upon the enemy. To this, however, my father objected, observing that these night attacks were the resource of the timid only, and suited those alone who proceeded by trick. At break of day therefore of the ensuing morning he directed the great drum for battle to be sounded, and a band of forty-five pair of kettle-drums and twenty Tatar horns striking up at once where they least expected it, produced the utmost astonishment in the camp of the enemy, whose attention had been hitherto entirely occupied with the siege of the opposite town.

Having mounted his horse and proceeded a little in advance, my father came to the right bank of the river Sâbermatty, and observing a body of the enemy on the opposite bank, gave instant orders that the troops should plunge into the stream in their present array, and at all hazards cross to the other side. He observed at the same time that the ground on the right bank was so overgrown with jungle, or brushwood, as to be most inconvenient for battle, and that if he allowed of any delay for the purpose of procuring boats, the enemy would rally their courage and become contumacious.

In these circumstances of surprise and alarm Mahommed Hûsseyne Mirza despatched some light troops to the river side, to demand of Sûbhaun Kûly, a Tûrkoman chief who had advanced to the opposite bank, what were the objects of this unlooked-for array, and who was the general who commanded? The Tûrkoman desired these equally ill-fated, and ignorant as they seemed to be, to be informed that the troops they saw before them were the advanced guard of the imperial armies, and that the emperor in person was present on the spot. Although their hearts had already begun to sink within them, and they could not yet divest themselves of their alarms, they ventured, however, to dispute the fact. “What absurdity is that you state!” said these mistaken men; “fourteen days ago only, our spies left the emperor at Futtahpour, and the army with its ele­phants and equipments could scarcely be conveyed hither in less than two months; this therefore must be a falsehood, and its authors could only be apostates and vagabonds escaped from the hands of justice.”

My father now gave directions to place the troops in order of battle. Still there happened somewhat of delay; but the light troops bringing the report that the enemy were arming themselves, he finally gave the word to pass the river. At such a crisis, however, instead of obeying the orders conveyed to him to quit his ground, Khaun Kullan wrote to my father, to represent that the force of the enemy was great beyond all proportion of numbers; that the four greatest princes in Gûjerat were united at their head; that they had nearly two hundred thou­sand horse claid in mail or quilted coats, and twenty thousand camel-mounted matchlock-men, resolved to conquer or die; that they had moreover thirty thousand camel loads of rockets. That of all this he had, he said, undoubted intelligence. Until, therefore, the imperial army should have been joined by the troops under Khaun Khanan, Khaun-e-douraun, Khaun-e-jahaun, with the greater part of the expected reinforcements, it would be utterly repugnant to every maxim of prudence and discipline, with so small a body of men to cross the river, and place themselves in front of an enemy so very superior.

To this my father replied, that he had ever, and on this occasion more than any other, reposed his confidence in the goodness of God, and in his never-failing support. That had his reliance been placed on human aid, he would never have committed himself thus almost alone to the presence of his mortal enemies. “The matter,” said he, “is now in other hands. Whatever may be his will, must come to pass. But the enemy is advancing to give us battle, and it would be the height of absurdity, by any wavering or indecision on our part, to confirm and give him courage at such a moment.”

Thus, although the cavalry and greater part of his principal generals were yet far in the rear, and those present did not amount to more than five thousand; although most of the Ameirs about his person urged the expediency of delay un­til the arrival of the main body to his support, my father resisted every importu­nity, and continued unshaken in his resolution to give battle. Just as matters were arrived at this perilous crisis, he suddenly dismounted from his horse, and turning his face towards the Keblah, or sanctuary of Makkah, humbly and ear­nestly besought the support of Him, who is the giver of victory and the author of all existence. Then remounting his charger, in perfect reliance on the aid of Providence, with the distinguished few who had the glorious destiny to be in attendance, he plunged fearlessly into the stream, and through the goodness of God, and the victorious fortune of his house, firmly established himself on the opposite bank; the whole of the companions of his glory on this occasion not amounting, when collected together, to more than five thousand horse. At this moment my father asked for his cloak (yelghah), which he had handed to Rajah Debchund, one of his attendants, to take care of, but which they now said had been lost or thrown away in the rapidity of the passage. “This,” said my father, “is also an omen in our favour: the avenues to the field of battle will now be thrown more widely open; that is, we shall enter the conflict without incumbrance.”

The imperial troops were by this time arriving in small parties on the river side, and plunging also into the stream, the body about the person of Akbar soon accumulated to ten thousand horse, together with one thousand elephants and two thousand gunners or matchlock-men. The refractory Mirzas, hurried to de­struction by their destiny, continued all this time unmoved, at the head of a force so superior, ready for battle against their imperial master, for whose numerous acts of bounty and generosity they were making this ungrateful return.

Khaun-e-Auzem, who could not have conceived that his master had conveyed himself and his army to the spot with such astonishing celerity, now left the city and threw himself at his feet, swearing many an oath that he could yet scarcely believe the evidence of his senses. He was followed by Assuf Khaun and most of the other Ameirs of Ahmedabad, who successively hastened to pre­sent themselves to their sovereign.

All of a sudden, from among the trees of a neighbouring jungle, a body of the enemy made its appearance; and my father, with reliance unabated on his Maker, to whose providence he had resigned his cause, prepared with fortitude to receive the attack. Mahommed Kûly Khaun and Terkhan Diwaunah, with some others from the centre, made a movement forward; but suffering them­selves to be repulsed by the enemy after a rather feeble attempt, my father expressed his displeasure, and addressing himself to Rajah Bugwandas,* briefly observed, that however superior the force of the enemy, which he confessed to be rather beyond what he could have wished, yet that they had no alternative but in their swords. “If,” said he, “we but once shew our backs, the enemy will derive courage from our cowardice, and not one of us will be suffered to escape. In full reliance on the power of the Creator we came to this spot, and be it our part, with one mind and one countenance, to make a concentrated effort against our adversaries: covered as they are with crimes and blood, the issue cannot be doubtful. It is with the clenched fist, not with the open hand, that our task is to be accomplished.”

At this moment Mahommed Hûsseyne Mirza disengaged himself from the ranks of the enemy, and advanced to the front; observing which, Shah Kûly Khaun Mohurrem and Husseyne Khaun Tûrkoman called out that the crisis for a charge was arrived: to which my father cheerfully agreed. “I have secured for you,” said he, “the aid of Providence, and the moment is arrived.” They accordingly moved forward, but slowly and deliberately, until they came nearly in contact with their opponents.

My father was mounted on the occasion on a favourite charger, to which he had given the name of Kohpârah (montis pars), and which was repeatedly known to have rushed into the very jaws of an elephant. Clad in mail from head to foot, with lance in hand and quiver to his waist, and supported by the most distinguished heroes of his court, he now put himself in an attitude for the charge. The war band, composed of forty-five pairs of kettle-drums on elephants, with thirty horns and fifty trumpets, struck up at once, and the whole, to the cry of Allah-hû-Akbar, rushed sword in hand upon the enemy.