IV. The Beginning of the End.

The exaltation of love findeth a limit and term in what men call the union of the lovers. The burden of describing this we will cast from our shoulders in that it has been already set down in Chapter II. Chapter III tells of the height of love and the emotions which are its attendants. Now the revolutions of day and night, which from old are at feud with lovers, bring the story to a tragic end.

Adham Khān came, and he came like a storm of wind and rain. There was no time to set the affairs of the king­dom in order nor to keep its frontiers inviolate from the assaults of the enemy. Bāzid Khān, however, collected his following, small though it was, and drew up his army in battle array. The battle which followed laid waste the beautiful land, wherein the kings of Mālwa revelled in pleasure and luxury. The tale of oppression and outrage, practised by the Moguls, is a long story and full of grief. Such was the severity thereof, that it was as antimony to the eyes of them who would be instructed thereby.

‘Oh! Ye who have eyes, behold and be warned.’*

The first attack which the Moguls made on Mālwa was led by Bahādur Khān,* brother of the Khān-i-Zamān and head of the Amirs of the Empire. Akbār was at that time hemmed in by desperate foes on every side. Hence Bahā­dur Khān was recalled and Mālwa was left in the hands of the Afghāns. The Moguls, however, shaking off their formidable foes, firmly resolved to bring this beautiful land into subjection. A firmān was issued that Adham Khān and Pir Muhammad, Nāsir-ul-Mulk should lead a large army to conquer the country.

Adham Khān was the son of Māham Anagāh,* who was the foster-mother of Akbār, and she thought that, when the sky was clear and Bairām Khān* had been effectually dealt with, it would be possible to raise her son to exalted rank, in that she had great influence in the royal harem, which penetrated to the very marrow of the empire.

Mullā Pir Muhammad was a native of Shirwān, who owing to Bairām Khān’s confidence in him had risen to high rank. The first service entrusted to him was the care of the library, which was placed under his management. Three years after he became the deputy of the Khān-i-khānān* and rose to high place and dignity, and his in­fluence ranged over all things high and low. The fall of the Khān-i-Zamān raised Pir Muhammad to a still higher position. It should not be hidden that between these two nobles, Adham Khān, Koka, and Pir Muhammad, Nāsir-ul-Mulk, the foundations of friendship, strong and stable, had long been laid.

Bāz Bahādur drew up his army in battle array at Sārang­pur. The result is known, and there is no need to waste words thereon. It was the first battle in which Bāz Bahādur drew his sword. Camps, tents, and treasure became the booty of the conquerors. The brutalities practised on the van­quished by the Moguls are beyond words of mine, and Mullā Pir Muhammad himself ordered that no quarter should be given. Neither women nor children were safe. To this Mullā pity, mercy, and chivalry were words of no meaning, wherewith he had no acquaintance. Yet fate had its revenge in that this very Mullā came to a disastrous end at the hands of Bāz Bahādur. And of the army, which had fallen to plundering the countryside, what shall be written? Bāz Bahādur took the field against them, and the Mullā fell into the Narbada and found his way to hell. And the saying of the merciful one, which in Māndu was held an omen, was proved true:

‘The sons of Pharaoh were drowned and ye were the onlookers.’*

When Adham Khān reached Māndu he became master of the untold treasure which Bāz Bahādur had left, and his pride passed all bounds. From the riches which the fugitive king had abandoned, his fancy turned to the posses­sion of noble ladies in the harem of the king, and he asked Rup Mati herself to transfer her love to the conqueror of her country. That chaste lady opened her lips to advise him, and plainly said that it did not become the glory of the conqueror thus to seek to disgrace the name and fame of the broken Afghāns: for in the day of recompense heaven might bring down that very shame on the head of the con­queror. Adham Khān, however, was so intoxicated with the wine of success that he lost all sense and foresight. He turned to force and violence saying, ‘If my end be not attained peaceably, by force can a way be made’. When this saying came to Rup Mati’s ears, she showed neither meekness nor submission. Nay, rather, she was the more confirmed in her resolve not to yield up her life, if by any chance a way of escape could be found. She laid her plans, and on the first day, thereafter, she fled from the capital. It is said that she disguised herself as a flower-seller. Three days passed and, full of lust, Adham Khān entered the harem only to find that the mate of the falcon* had taken wing and flown away. A hard task lay before him. He gave orders to fifteen of his best cavalry to capture her and bring her back. The result of this pursuit is given in the fifth chapter.