The King proceeds to Bengal, and subdues that province. A. H. 945—A. D. 1538-9.

His Majesty having taken possession of the strong fortress of Chunar, marched towards Bengal; when encamped near Benares, he made particular inquiries respecting Shyr Khân; in answer to which the Raja Buja of Benares informed him that Shyr was then besieging Gour, the capital of Bengal, and expected every day to take it, and probably was ere this time in possession of the whole province. His Majesty replied, that in order to prevent the Afghãns uniting, he would go and take the fortress of Rhotas* from them. In short, the royal army marched towards the district of Bherkund (Jarkund), but when they had reached the river Soane, intelligence was brought that Shyr Khan had taken the city of Gour and intended to remove all the treasures to the fort of Rhotas.

His Majesty now determined to detach the Prince Hindal and Yadgar Myrza to secure Delhy and Agra, while he himself proceeded towards Bengal. In consequence of this resolution, these two princes were detached with their respective forces to assume the command of the above men­tioned provinces, and his Majesty continued his route towards Bherkund, but at the same time sent forward Hussyn, the Tûrkumân, as his ambassador to Shyr Khân, with the following message, viz. “that he should immediately send to his Majesty the umbrella, the throne, and the treasure of Bengal, and that he should evacuate the fort of Rhotas, and give up possession of the territory he had taken; in exchange for which he might have the fort of Chunar the city of Joanpûr, and any other place he chose.”

Shyr Khân received the ambassador graciously; but replied, “that, it having cost him five or six years toil to subdue Bengal, with the loss of a great number of his soldiers, it was impossible he could resign that conquest.” When the ambassador returned with this message, he further explained to his Majesty that Shyr Khân, attended by a large force, was proceeding by the hill road with all the treasures towards Rhotas.

When the royal army arrived at Muneah (situated at the junction of the Soane with the Ganges), Syed Mahmud, the expelled king of Bengal, joined the camp,* having been severely wounded while making his escape. He represented to his Majesty that he had yet several granaries and stores in Bengal sufficient for many armies, and urged his Majesty to proceed thither.

Humayun received the unfortunate monarch with great courtesy; encouraged him to keep up his spirits, and assured him he would reinstate him in his kingdom of Bengal.

From Muneah the King detached Jehangyr Kuly with a large force to precede the army, and to gain possession of the strong passes of Terrya­gurhy and Sikryagurhy.

In compliance with these orders Jehangyr Kuly made several forced marches; but, on his arrival in the vicinity of the passes, found that Jelal Khan, son of Shyr Khân, had strongly fortified them, and was encamped there with a large force.

The royal army was therefore obliged to halt; and while they were endeavouring to explore a road through the hills, Jelal Khan made a sally; sur­prised the camp, and killed a number of brave officers and men. On this event the advanced party retreated, and joined the main body at Colgong: while at this place a very heavy rain fell for several days, which compelled the King to halt, during which time Hajy Muhammed Beg was sent forward to explore the passes and procure further intelligence.

When the Hajy reached the pass he obtained information that Shyr Khan had written to his son Jelal, that all the treasures of Bengal being now secured, he might evacuate the passes, and permit the Moghuls to enter that province, whilst some means might be devised to surround and entrap them. In obedience to this order Jelal immediately commenced his retreat.

On receiving this unexpected intelligence the Hajy sent back two of his officers to congratulate his Majesty on the success of his arms, and on his being master of the passes. On obtaining this information the King moved forward with the whole army, and in four days with little difficulty took possession of Gour, the capital of Bengal, and drove away all the Afghâns.*

After cleansing and repairing the city, the first act of his Majesty was to divide the province into Jagyrs among his officers; after which he very unaccountably shut himself up for a considerable time in his Haram, and abandoned himself to every kind of indulgence and luxury.

While the King had thus for several months given himself up to pleasure and indolence, infor­mation was at length conveyed to him that Shyr Khàn had killed seven hundred Moghuls, had laid siege to the fortress of Chunar, and taken the city of Benares; and had also sent forward an army along the banks of the Ganges to take Canouge; that he had, further, seized the families of several of the officers, and sent them prisoners to Rhotas.

When his Majesty was informed of these inaus­picious events, he affected not to believe them, and said, “it was impossible that Shyr Khan should have dared to do so.” At length, his Majesty, being convinced of the truth of the intelligence, called a general assembly of his officers, and consulted with them what was advisable to be done, and whom he should leave in charge of Bengal: the officers replied, “that he might promote and appoint to that honour whomsoever he thought best fitted for it.” The king then said, “Zahid Beg has often urged me to promote him: I will now appoint him gover­nor of Bengal, and leave with him several other officers with their quotas of troops.”

Zahid Beg, being present, and not liking Bengal, said, “What! could you find no other place to kill me in than Bengal?” On hearing this speech, the King was very angry, and said, “I must put this scoundrel to death.” Zahid Beg immediately rose and left the assembly.

It is requisite to observe that the cause of this officer’s presumption was his being married to a sister of Bykê Begum, one of the King’s concu­bines. He therefore immediately went to claim the protection of the Begum, who strongly interceded for his pardon; begged the King to forgive him, and leave him in charge of Bengal: but his Majesty positively refused, and said, “he would put him to death.” On this the Begum sent a message to Zahid Beg, informing him that she had in vain tried to obtain his pardon; he had better therefore look to himself. On this hint the culprit resolved to make his escape; and having prevailed on two other officers to join him, fled towards Agra, where having arrived in safety, they took refuge with the Prince Hindal.

When the assembly broke up, his Majesty ordered Khãn Khãnãn Ludy to take the command of the advanced guard and proceed to Mongier, there to wait the arrival of the main body: these orders were duly complied with, and Khãn Khãnãn having reached Mongier, halted there.

In the mean time, the king having settled all the affairs of Bengal, appointed Jehangyr Kûly to be governor, and marched towards Mongier; but previous to his arrival there, he received intelligence that the rebel, Shyr Khãn, had sent a detachment which had come unexpectedly on Mongier, had burnt the gates of the town, and had taken Khãn Khãnan prisoner,* and sent him off to Shyr Khan.

This event gave the King great uneasiness; he therefore sent for the Prince Askery, his best general, and offered him anything he chose to ask, provided he could deliver him from the present calamity: the Prince replied that he would consult with his officers, and then inform his Majesty. Having assembled his officers, the Prince communi­cated to them the King’s offer. After some delay they said, “what are the wishes of your Highness?” he replied, “I should wish for money; for some of the valuable manufactures of Bengal; for some young elephants, and a few eunuchs.* The officers were quite astonished at this answer; and the Prince seeing that they were dissatisfied, insisted upon their giving their sentiments frankly: they at length said, “the fact is, the King is now in hostility with Shyr Khân, and placed in a very perilous situation, from whence nothing but our bravery and devotion can extricate him, let us, therefore, demand from him something of importance. In the first place, an augmentation of each of our corps, and an increase of allowance; secondly, a large sum in ready money: if he shall comply with these terms, we will be answerable that Shyr Khân shall not injure him.” Askery approved of this counsel, and represented it to his Majesty, who immediately agreed to the terms; gave them a sum of money, and various presents; he also sent to them a reinforcement of brave men and distinguished officers. He then ordered the Prince to proceed towards the enemy, to force his way through the passes, and wait for the coming up of the main body at Colgong; but in the mean time to send all the information he could obtain respecting the movements of Shyr Khân, who had now taken the title of Shãh (King). Askery complied with these orders, and sent intelligence from Colgong that Shyr Shâh was at the same time besieging Chunar and Joanpûr, and had actually taken possession of all the country as far as Canouge; further, that he was collecting a large army in the vicinity of Rhotas, and had completely blocked up the road to the western provinces.

On receipt of this bad news the King advanced rapidly to the vicinity of Mongier, on the northern side of the river; and while encamped there was waited on by the Prince Askery, and the officers of the advance guard.

The King then summoned a general council of all the Chiefs, and demanded their opinion whether he should cross the Ganges, or continue his route on the northern bank of the river; many of the Chiefs advised that the army should continue on the northern bank, and proceed direct to Joanpûr, where, being refreshed and recruited, they might then proceed towards any object that might appear advisable.

Muvyd Beg, in whom his Majesty unfortunately placed too much confidence, was of a different opinion, and represented that if the army did not pass the river and proceed by the high road, Shyr Khân would suppose the King was afraid of him, according to the proverb, “when fate descends the eyes of prudence become blind;” and the advice of Muvyd Beg was adopted.*

In short, the army crossed the river and marched on till it reached Mûneah, at the mouth of the Soane, where is situated the tomb of the celebrated Sufy Saint Yehy. Here a crier was sent round the camp to proclaim that the soldiers should put on their armour, and be on their guard, as the enemy might be hourly expected; in fact on the next day some of them appeared, and a skirmish took place between the advanced parties.

The day following, while we were preparing to march, news was brought that the enemy had seized the boats, which were laden with all the great guns that had been used at the siege of Chunar. This intelligence much vexed his Majesty; but he gave orders to proceed in battle array.

On the fourth day, while we were encamped near the village of Chowsar,* the army of Shyr Shâh, having made a forced march, came in sight. His Majesty then consulted with the Chiefs what was proper to be done. Kasim Hussyn said, “that, as the enemy had come thirty-six miles that day, and their horses were much tired, while ours were quite fresh, it was advisable to attack them immediately, and let us see to whom God would give the victory.”

The King approved this measure; but Muvyd Beg was again of a contrary opinion to the other officers, and said, “there was no necessity for hurry or perturbation;” to which his Majesty having at length agreed, the army encamped; but the troops were disheartened.

Shyr Khân also encamped, but threw up an entrenchment around his camp. In this situation the armies remained for nearly two months; but skirmishing took place daily between the pickets, and a number of brave men were killed on both sides.

At this juncture the rains set in with great violence, and the camp of Shyr Khân was under water; in consequence of which he changed his ground, and encamped on the skirts of a hill five or six miles to the westward; but the skirmishing still continued, till at length it was thought advisable to enter into a treaty with the enemy and make peace.

In consequence of this determination, the very respectable and reverend Shykh Khelyl, who was descended from the celebrated saint, Feryd Shekergunjy, was sent to Shyr Khân for the pur­pose of settling the treaty. Shyr Khân agreed to make peace on condition of Chunar with its district being given up to him.

At first the King would not consent to this measure, but at length was obliged to comply with his insolent demands, and peace was accord­ingly concluded.