[Decisions Involving Impartiality and Justice]

On this subject I must however acknowledge, that having on one occasion asked my father the reason why he had forbidden any one to prevent or inter­fere with the building of these haunts of idolatry, his reply was in the following terms: “My dear child,” said he, “I find myself a puissant monarch, the shadow of God upon earth. I have seen that he bestows the blessings of his gracious providence upon all his creatures without distinction. Ill should I discharge the duties of my exalted station, were I to withhold my compassion and indulgence from any of those entrusted to my charge. With all of the human race, with all of God’s creatures, I am at peace: why then should I permit myself, under any consideration, to be the cause of molestation or aggression to any one? Besides, are not five parts in six of mankind either Hindûs or aliens to the faith; and were I to be governed by motives of the kind suggested in your inquiry, what alternative can I have but to put them all to death! I have thought it therefore my wisest plan to let these men alone. Neither is it to be forgotten, that the class of whom we are speaking, in common with the other inhabitants of Agrah, are usefully engaged, either in the pursuits of science or the arts, or of improvements for the benefit of mankind, and have in numerous instances arrived at the highest distinctions in the state, there being, indeed, to be found in this city men of every description, and of every religion on the face of the earth.”

I had been constrained to imprison my eldest son Khossrou in the upper part of the royal tower in the castle of Agrah; nevertheless, although I had received from him sufficient proof of his refractory and undutiful disposition, I continued to make him a visit in his prison regularly once a month, having assigned to him, moreover, for his subsistence, the monthly sum of three laks of ashrefies, with permission that his children should visit their father once every week.

Sâeid Khaun was one of the members hereditarily attached to the service of my father, and he had been promoted by me to the government of the Punjaub, and the command of the army of Lahour. On this occasion he had received from me an elephant and dress of honour, the latter from my own wardrobe, together with a girdle and khanjar, or kreisse, enriched with jewels, also a horse and caparison and jeighah (aigrette or ornament for the turban), the two latter richly set with precious stones. This chief was of a Moghûl tribe, and his ancestors had also been long in the service of mine. Soon after he had quitted my presence, however, and had proceeded some stages on his march, it was inti­mated to me by some of my people, that he had among his domestics men of a cruel and tyrannical disposition, notorious for courses of oppression in various ways towards the poor and those subject to their authority. Without a moment’s delay, I despatched Khaujah Saadek, the son of Mahommed Yaheya, to announce to him that as all mankind, both high and low, were equal in my contemplation, my love of justice did not permit me to overlook an act of oppression in any man. “Did the renown of Solomon surpass that of all the kings of the earth? He owed it all to the applause which he derived from his inflexible love of justice.” The messenger was accordingly charged to assure them, that if from that moment there occurred the slightest proof of arbitrary proceeding among his train, the punishment would be as exemplary as it would be unmitigating. The instant this message was communicated to him, he penned an obligation in writing, which he delivered to Khaujah Saadek, purporting that if on any occa­sion, either in himself or any of those employed under his authority, there arose the slightest ground for a charge of oppression or injustice, his head should be the forfeit. And the engagement, thus written, he forwarded by the same Khaujah to my presence.

In order to ensure for those noble animals the regular supply of grain and water, I appointed a foujdaur, or superintendent, to every division of one thou­sand elephants in my train. I shall here notice, that although the elephants subsisted under my government are more in number than can be readily counted, there are twelve thousand only of a size and temper to be employed against the ranks of an enemy in the field of battle. To these must be added one thousand of a smaller size, employed to supply the larger with forage and grain. Exclu­sive of these must be mentioned one hundred thousand required to carry the amharahs, or covered litters of the females of the imperial family, and otherwise in the conveyance of the imperial baggage, including the silver utensils, carpets, and other articles of equipage of different descriptions belonging to the imperial household. I only desire on this subject farther to remark, that this establish­ment of elephants was maintained at an annual expense of not less than four hundred and sixty laks of ashrefies,* exclusively of what was incurred in looking after them, each separate animal requiring fifteen persons to provide for it, and a guard of one thousand men being posted at every station of a thousand elephants.

On this subject I shall add one more circumstance, and then dismiss it alto­gether. One day the foujdaur of one of my elephant stations reported to me that Sûltan Ahmed, the son of Ammaudy Hûsseyne Beg, had sold an elephant of the first quality to Shûkkour Allah Beg, the son of Zeyne Khaun Koukah, for the sum of sixty thousand ashrefies:* on which information I at first determined that this Sûltan Ahmed should be thrown under the feet of an elephant and trampled to death; for by a particular regulation I had provided that no elephant of this prime description should be sold or purchased otherwise than for the use of the state. But feeling a repugnance to put any of God’s people to death on such an occasion, I endeavoured to palliate the offence, and observed that this person had done well, for that every man ought to be master of his own property; my object being to lay a restraint upon all communications of this description in my presence. I accordingly admonished the foujdaur as a de­tractor, and assured him that if ever he introduced such a subject again in my presence, he might expect the severest punishment in my power to inflict.

Sheikh Fereid, the Bokharian, who held the appointment of Meir Bukhshy under the authority of my father, I confirmed in his appointment, bestowing upon him, according to usage, an honorary dress and scimitar set with jewels. I added at the same time, for his encouragement, an expression of the high opinion which I entertained of his merit, by pronouncing him equally competent to wield either the pen or the sword. I also confirmed to Mokheim Khaun the title of Vezzeir Khaun, bestowed upon him by my father, with the functions of Vezzeir annexed to the title. I appointed Khaujeki Futtah-ullah to be steward of my household. To Abdurrezauk Maaonmoury (the architect), who had formerly deserted my service and sought my father’s protection, by whom he had been placed in the rank of Bukhshy, I assigned the same rank in my armies, giving him at the same time a khellaut (pellise) or dress of honour. In short, whether within the household or without, I not only permitted those who held places of trust or dignity about my father’s court to retain their appointments, but to all, according to their respective degrees, gave advancement in rank and station.

Upon Sherreif Khaun, the son of Abdulhamid Messower (the portrait painter) who had grown up with me from infancy to manhood, and to whom, while yet but heir apparent, I had already given the title of Khaun, I conferred the dignity of Ameir-ul-Oomra, or premier grandee of the empire. And this entirely in consideration of his devoted attachment to my person, which is of that exalted degree, that I know not whether to esteem him most as a brother, friend, or son, or companion and inseparable associate: nay, I do not know but that I consider him as dear to me as one of the members of my own body. Upon the whole, as far as I am capable of judging, there is not to be found, in all the armies of this mighty empire, his equal, either in talent or experience; and yet I most solemnly aver, that although it has often been with me the subject of deep reflection, I have never been able to devise any title, station, or dignity that could be at all adequate to the opinion which I entertain of his exalted merit. It is however to be observed, that while my father reigned, it was the rule never to promote the greatest Ameirs beyond the command of five thousand, because it is to be apprehended the man who sees at his back a numerous body of warriors, and any deficiency in that respect on the part of his sovereign, seldom fails to play the traitor, and to involve himself in the mazes of rebellion. This rule of my father’s government I considered it expedient to maintain, and I accordingly limited his promotion to the command of five thousand only. Nevertheless, I am still persuaded that the commanding of five thousand is far short of what is due to the dignity of Ameir-ul-Oomra, a premier grandee of the empire. I have apprized him that all that belongs to me is at his disposal; and as to rank, he has limited his ambition to whatever in the spirit of kindness I may think proper to bestow upon him. More than this, he has frequently assured me, that while he is before the world, that is, engaged in public life, he would never accept from me of any rank beyond that of five thousand: to which I have yielded my reluctant assent.

While I am on this subject I must further relate, that at the crisis of my return from Allahabad to the province of my father, of which hereafter, among the several Ameirs who accompanied me of whose fidelity I felt most assured, Sherreif Khaun was the man. And sixteen days after my accession, when he came to offer me his pledge of services, I can with a safe conscience aver, that the same day on which he thus made his appearance in my presence, God Almighty bestowed upon me a renewal of life, and I felt at the moment con­vinced that the eye of his providence was upon me. I felt indeed an assurance that, possessing the attachment of the Ameir-ul-Oomra alone, I was in very truth the sovereign of my people: for although at the time not exactly aware of any circumstances of doubt or danger, there was this conviction, that at the risk of life itself, Sherreif Khaun would be my defender. God is, indeed, equally the protector of all his creatures: yet is the possession of self-knowledge, of all things, to sovereigns the most indispensable. Such, at all events, I know to be the zeal and purity of the Ameir-ul-Oomra’s attachment towards me, that when at last I dismissed him to the government of Bengal, over which I invested him with paramount authority, and confirmed to him his rank of five thousand, together with the great drum and standard, the day on which he was finally removed from my presence was one of the blackest of my life. I shall dwell no further on this subject than to add, that the father of Sherreif Khaun was a native of Shirâz, and his grandfather was Nizam-ul-Moulk, the Vezzeir of Shah Shuja, the sovereign of that state. His father was admitted to the intimate society of my grandfather Homayûn, and held, moreover, some of the highest dignities about the court of my father, being by the mother’s side a sherreif, or descendant from the Prophet. An account of all these circumstances will, however, be found at large in the Zuffernâmah and Mûtlaa-ul-Saadein.

Certain considerations, nevertheless, prevailed with me some time afterwards to reinstate the Rajah Maun Sing in the government of Bengal, although he could himself have entertained no expectations of such a favour at my hands. I conferred upon him at the same time an honorary dress, or pellise, and a scimitar set with jewels, together with the horse Koukpárah, the best in my thousand-ashref horse stables. The first of the Râjpoot chieftains who became attached to the government of my father Akbar was Bharmul, the grandfather of this Rajah Maun Sing, and pre-eminent in his tribe for courage, fidelity, and truth. As a mark of distinguished favour, my father placed the daughter of Rajah Bharmul in his own palace, and finally espoused her to me. It was by this princess I had my son Khossrou. I was then only seventeen, and he is now twenty; and I trust that God Almighty may yet prolong his life to the age of one hundred and twenty: for as I have hitherto had every reason to be satisfied with his conduct, so also do I hope that it will always be such as to deserve the approbation of his God: certainly, to this day, I have not experienced aught at his hands but the strictest fidelity and attachment.* My first child was, how­ever, a sister of Khossrou’s by the same mother, and a year older than Khossrou.