The arrival of the King at Agra—Return of the Prince Hindal to Court—Intelligence arrives of the rebellion of Shyr Shah in Behar—The King marches to Chunar and takes that fortress. A. H. 944.—A. D. 1537.

Some time after his Majesty had arrived in safety at his palace of Agra, the Prince Hindal and his officers returned from their expedition, and had the honour of paying their respects at the foot of the throne: they were all distinguished by honorary dresses; a sumptuous banquet was given them, and the marriage ceremony of the Prince Hindal was celebrated with great rejoicings: the Prince Askery also, in reward for his good conduct, had the district of Sumbul conferred on him, with orders to drive from thence all the partisans of the rebels. At this time his Majesty was informed that Shyr Khãn, the Afghãn, had taken possession of the dis­trict of Jarkund in Behar, and by artifice had seized the strong fortress of Rhotas;* that he was then besieging Gour, the capital of Bengal, and it was expected he would very shortly take that city.

On hearing this intelligence his Majesty was much incensed, and said, “The insolence of these Afghãns exceeds all bounds; let us go and take Chunar from them.” He then consulted Rumy Khãn, the Engineer, (who had deserted from Sul­tân Behâder) what was his opinion as to the practi­cability of taking that fortress. Rumy Khân replied, “If it pleased God we shall take it by force.”

In short the army marched from Agra and arrived within ten miles of Chunar on the day of Sheb­berat of A. H. 945, A. D. 1538. The engineer then deliberated how he should gain information respect­ing the strength and defences of the fortress, and against which of the bastions he should make his attack, or where he should run his mines; in order to effect this measure he adopted the following cruel expedient. He had a faithful Negro slave called Kelâfât, whom he flogged in such a manner that the stripes were conspicuous on his back and limbs; he then commanded the slave to go to the Afghâns, and say that he was the servant of Rumy Khãn; but that his master having unjustly flogged him he had deserted, and had come to offer his ser­vices to them; that if he succeeded to get into the fort by these means he should minutely examine it, and then return to him, when he should be well rewarded.

Kelâfât strictly complied with the orders he had received, went to the Afghâns, was admitted into the fort, where his wounds were dressed and cured; he then informed them that he was well skilled in engi­neering; that if they would employ him, he would point out to them where they should mount their guns more effectually to annoy the enemy, and would indicate to them where the fortifications required strengthening, in order to prevent Rûmy Khãn from making any impression on them.

The scheme succeeded, and the deserter was allowed to examine every part of the fort.* A few nights after this having made his escape, he came and reported all the circumstances to his master; advised him to attack the bastion on the river side, to run a sap on the land side, and to surround the place in such a manner as to cut off all communica­tion with the country.

In consequence of this useful information Rûmy Khãn brought his great guns to bear on the bastion near the river, and appointed different batteries round the fort to various officers.

During the period Muhammed Sultân, and the other rebel chiefs formerly mentioned, came and asked forgiveness for their transgression, which his Majesty was graciously pleased to grant, and gave them suitable commands in the army.

Rûmy Khân finding that his guns did not make a proper impression on the fort, requested permis­sion to erect a wooden battery on the river: he was ordered to take any measures he thought best to effect the end. He therefore procured three large boats, on which he formed a battery, and built up a high tower which commanded the walls of the fort. After some months, when every thing was prepared, the floating battery was impelled during the night across the river, and anchored close to the fort. A general attack was then commenced; but the besieged so well defended themselves, that the floating battery was injured, and seven hundred of the King’s troops were killed, while but little impression was made on the fortress.

On the following morning the artificers were employed to repair the floating battery; but the besieged finding that his Majesty was determined on taking the place, and that they had no prospect of being relieved, agreed to surrender on condition of their lives being spared.

After the fort had, in consequence of the capitulation, been taken possession of, Rûmy Khân selected from the prisoners three hundred artillery­men, and cruelly ordered their hands to be cut off: his Majesty was very angry on this occasion, and said that, as the garrison had asked for quarter, it was base and improper to maim them in this manner.

As soon as this important fortress was in his Majesty’s possession, he gave orders for a grand banquet to be prepared, and great rejoicings to be made; he conferred a number of promotions on the officers, and bestowed honorary dresses on all the chiefs.

The King asked Rûmy Khãn what he thought the best mode of securing the fort, and to whom he should entrust it; the engineer replied that no person should be allowed to approach near it, and that he did not think there was an officer in the army worthy to command it, unless it was Beg Myrek: in consequence of this advice, his Majesty appointed that officer to the command of the fortress; but the other chiefs were so much incensed at Rumy Khân for his candid advice that they con­federated together, and in a few days had a poisoned cup presented to him, which caused his death.