[On Revolts and Turbulence Among the Peoples of Hindustan]

My residence at Agrah had now continued for several months without inter­ruption, and I had proceeded thence the distance of a day’s journey along the river Jumnah upwards, on my way to Dehly, when intelligence was brought to me that the king of the Mugs,* with an army of two hundred thousand men, all of them carrying fire-arms, had landed in Bengal from the seaward, and unex­pectedly attacked Kaussem Khaun, who commanded in the province as the lieutenant general of my son Sûltan Bukht. The report, moreover, added that the enemy had in his fleet of ghraabs a formidable train of heavy artillery, and implements of combustion beyond all calculation; that this formidable arma­ment had come upon Kaussem Khaun when he was totally unprepared; that his exertions to assemble a fleet and army had been anticipated by this king of the Mugs, by whom he had been surrounded on every side; and that having been severely wounded in four places, he had been defeated with great loss, and finally compelled to abandon his troops to their fate. He had however contrived to throw himself into one of the fortified towns of the province, which he was determined not to surrender to the enemy.

On receipt of this untoward piece of information I directed Mokurreb Khaun, Vezzeir Khaun, and Shujayet Khaun, each of them dignitaries of seven thousand, and each of them victor in a variety of sanguinary conflicts, with sixty thousand veteran Ouzbek horse, which I placed under their orders, three hundred pieces of artillery, and twenty thousand matchlockmen on foot, to proceed immediately to the relief of Kaussem Khaun. The three commanders had my instructions, should the force of the enemy on their arrival in Bengal appear beyond all proportion superior, to apprize me without delay of the fact; and that my son Parveiz should, if necessary, hasten to their support, with one hundred thousand cavalry placed at his disposal.

Before they reached Mauldah, however, the three commanders received intelligence, that having at last assembled the ameirs from every quarter of the province, a circuit of six months’ journey in extent, Kaussem Khaun with one hundred thousand horse and foot, all with fire-arms and inured to battle, had attacked the enemy, elated as they were with success, on four sides at once; and that having killed thirty thousand of these ferocious invaders, the rest had taken to flight, eagerly pursued by the conquerors. The latter followed the enemy into their own territories, where they made captive forty thousand boys and girls, the children of the fugitives; and these, together with the heads of the thirty thousand slain, were forwarded to my presence in the course of time. In acknowledgment of this eminent piece of service, I advanced the dignity of Kaussem Khaun by the addition of a thousand horse, conveying to him, at the same time a girdle, sword, and jeighah, set with precious stones, a charger with enriched caparison, and an elephant which had been purchased for my own imperial train at the price of not less than four laks of rupees.* I sent him, moreover, a complete dress taken from my own private wardrobe.

The three detached khauns having proceeded so far to the support of Kaussem Khaun, they were now further directed to enter the country of the Mugs with their united force, and I entertained but little doubt that, with God’s grace and the influence of my victorious destiny, the power of the enemy would soon be exterminated root and branch. Moreover, it was understood that the territory of the Mugs was the resort of great numbers of the very finest elephants, of which as many as could be laid hold of, they were instructed to convey to my presence.

In one month after my departure from Agrah I entered Dehly; and here it was my lot to receive information from Kanouje, that certain of the misguided people in that neighbourhood had raised the standard of rebellion, expelled the officers of my government from several of the purgunnahs or townships in that quarter, and evinced in other respects the most turbulent, refractory, and hostile designs. One of the ablest and bravest men about my court was Abdullah Khaun, and him I now determined to employ, in order to reduce these insolent rebels to their duty. In passing his troops in review before me, it was however observed that he had no elephants suited to the services of a campaign, and I therefore presented him with five of the largest class. I added to these three horses of the breed of Irâk, together with two thousand camels of the fleetest kind, and a donation of ten laks of rupees, all of which to give him a competent equipment, and enable him with the greater confidence to proceed against the insurgents.

We are told by a maxim founded on experience, to beware, when in the season of action you send your generals to the jaws of danger, that you distribute to them liberally the marks of your bounty, in gold and horses, and the other appendages of grandeur, so that nothing may be wanting to encourage them to prosecute the services of the state with vigour and devotion. It happens too frequently that the agents of government shall waste the resources of the districts intrusted to their care in improvident extravagance and luxurious indulgence; and hence it comes to pass, that when the hour of trial arrives they are equally lost to themselves and to their duty. If then at the very crisis of danger I should be induced to withhold my bounty, the manifold evils that must befal the people, whom I may unfortunately have placed at their discretion, in every species of tyranny and misgovernment, would be beyond all endurance; and at the awful day of retribution what a dreadful responsibility would rest upon my shoulders! When therefore emergencies of danger arrive, there is but one alter­native —you must disburse your treasure, though it require a houseful of gold.

The next time that Abdullah Khaun passed in review, he communicated the request that his brother might be permitted to join him; considering, as he alleged, should the enemy assail him with a force so superior as to risk some disastrous failure, that the support of so near a relative would be of the utmost consequence. His brother was a commander of the order three thousand, and a request so reasonable could not well be resisted; and the force which was placed at his disposal was thus completed to thirty thousand cavalry of the four-horse class, and ten thousand camel-mounted gunners.

It was not long before Abdullah Khaun found himself in presence of the rebels; who with apparent resolution, and a force little less than one hundred thousand horse and foot, of every description, prepared to give him battle. The advanced parties commenced the action by a discharge of rockets and match­locks; while Abdullah Khaun, having detached his brother to make an attack from an unexpected quarter, with his own division charged the enemy in full career directly in front. Twenty thousand of the rebels fell in this charge; and the remainder taking flight in dismay, crowded into one of their forts (probably that of Kanouje), from the walls and towers of which they opened a fire of ar­tillery and musketry upon their pursuers. Without regarding the briskness of the fire thus kept up by the enemy, Abdullah Khaun with equal gallantry and presence of mind determined to storm the place; and the cavalry emulating the courage of their general, each horseman alternately springing forward, with invincible resolution, to take the place of his comrade as he fell, the principal gateway was at last carried; and ten thousand more of the rebels falling in the defence, their commander fell alive into the hands of the assailants.

The cap, or tiara, of the chief, containing jewels to the value of twenty laks of rupees, and ten thousand of the heads of the rebels, fixed on spears, with all the commanders who were taken alive, were conveyed to my presence, Ab­dullah Khaun remaining in full possession of the subjugated districts. To deter others from the commission of similar acts of rebellion towards their sovereign, and of ungrateful perfidy towards their benefactor, I directed the bodies of the slain who fell in the defence of Kanouje, to the number of ten thousand, to be suspended from trees with their heads downwards, on the different high roads in the vicinity. And here I am compelled to observe, with whatever regret, that notwithstanding the frequent and sanguinary executions which have been dealt among the people of Hindûstaun, the number of the turbulent and dis­affected never seems to diminish; for what with the examples made during the reign of my father, and subsequently of my own, there is scarcely a province in the empire in which, either in battle or by the sword of the executioner, five and six hundred thousand human beings have not, at various periods, fallen victims to this fatal disposition to discontent and turbulence. Ever and anon, in one quarter or another, will some accursed miscreant spring up to unfurl the standard of rebellion; so that in Hindûstaun never has there existed a period of complete repose.

At the period of which I am speaking, I appointed Lushker Khaun to the government of Agrah, and the superintendence of its castles, together with that part of my harram left in the metropolis. His son-in-law, Baba Meiret, a brave old man, who had eminently signalized his courage on many occasions, but particularly on the frontiers of Kabul, where he received ten separate wounds, although not before he had contrived to strike off forty of the enemy’s heads, was now selected by me to discharge the duties of kotewaul (or prefect of police) of the city of Agrah.