Of Mālwa and Māndu and the coming of Bāz Bahādur.

Many are the stories told of Rup Mati’s birth and of her meeting with Bāz Bahādur, yet of her beauty, her chastity, her skill in music and in poetry, and of her death, all say but the one word. Albeit the tale, as Āhmad-ul-Umri wrote it, is set forth in full hereafter, that which to this day the folk of Māndu tell of her meeting and union with Bāz Bahādur is also worth the telling, nay more, it is such as hath made hot the hearts even of men of the West, so that it hath aforetime been told by them in prose and in verse.*

For them, who know not Mālwa nor yet Māndu, be it here set down that Mālwa lieth in the central parts of the country of Hindustān lifted high upon a tableland behind the mountains, hight Vindhya. A fair land is it, rich in soil and well-watered, bearing wheat and cotton and oil­seeds and the poppy, that giveth sleep. Therein is neither exceeding heat nor exceeding cold, and the nights of the land of Mālwa are they not famous from ancient days? Even as men say: ‘The dawn of Benāras, the evening of Oudh, the night of Mālwa.’

Therein of old were three great cities—Ujjain, wherein Vikramaditya* made his capital before the birth of our Lord,* Dhār, wherein also he dwelt and wherein the Paramāras,** who came after him, took delight, and Māndu the great fortress, jutting out like a bastion from the tableland into the valley of Rewa, the river which men of these times called Narbada. From Vikramaditya was its foundation, and thereafter the Paramāras dwelt therein, even Rāja Bhoj,** ‘chief of the kings of olden time,’ and Munja Rāja,** whose name abideth to this day. Fair and spacious was the city, and forty miles was the circuit of the walls, which looked—aye, and still look— down into the sheer ravines that encircle it, like arms of the sea, embracing it from the broad valley of Rewa: and in it were many temples of the gods of the Hindus and of the Jains, curiously wrought with images and other devices.

Upon the peace of the land broke the storm from the north, and it was laid waste by the barbarians, who utterly destroyed the temples and images of the gods of old, bidding all men under pain of death or slavery to bow the knee to the one God, Allāh, whose Prophet is Muhammad, on whom be peace. Altamash,* Alā-ud-din,* and Firoz Shah Tughlak,* whose grandsire built the city of Tughla­kabād by Delhi and himself the fort of Dhār, laid waste the land, nor did it know any peace or settled rule until Timur* the Lame destroyed the empire of Delhi, and Dilāwar Khān Ghori* threw off the yoke thereof and assumed royal state and titles, even ‘the white canopy and the scarlet pavilion and the coining of money’. After him ruled Hoshang,* a great and mighty prince, of whom many stories are told —of his battles, of his defeats, and of his adventures.* Thereon followed Māhmud Ghori,* who, abandoning the name of Māndu, gave order that it be called Shādiabād —the city of joy. Him did his brother-in-law Māhmud* of the Khilji* line poison and made himself king and a mighty one. After him ruled Ghiās-ud-din,** who gave himself utterly to women, abiding with fifteen thousand in the inner city, and Nāsir-ud-din,** a monster of cruelty, who was drowned in a tank at Kāliadeh, and Māhmud II,* whom Bahādur Shāh of Guzerāt deposed and annexed his kingdom. Thereafter the kings of Guzerāt* bore sway till the coming of Humāyun the Mogul, who took Māndu and held it, until Sher Shāh, Sūr,* drove him from Hindu­stān and gave the governorship of Mālwa to Shujā’at Khān of his own clan.

Now Shujā’at Khān was a great prince and wise and ambitious. In Mālwa he ruled with wisdom and justice and made himself strong and built the city of Shujāwalpur, that he might keep watch on Delhi, if haply he might seize the imperial throne. In the days of Salim Shāh* he made attempt, yet was he restored to his governorship. But when Muhammad Shāh Ādil* seized the throne and troubles befell the land of Hindustān by the return of Humāyun from the north, Shujā’at Khān* took on the imperial purple.

But in no short time he died, in his bed, as most say, but others, in seeking by force the fair daughter of Surat Singh of Chauti, and Mālwa he left to his sons—Bāzid Khān, whom men called Bāz Bahādur, Daulat Khān, and Mustafa Khān. But with the speed of his name-bird, the falcon, did Bāz Bahādur destroy his brethren. Daulat Khān he slew by treachery and Mustafa Khān he defeated in battle and drove to flight, and crowned himself sole king of Mālwa. Thereafter he fought with the Miānas of Raisen and took that great fort, but in battle against the Gonds was he himself defeated by Durgāwati, their queen.

Thenceforth he quitted the field of battle and abandoning Shujāwalpur, his father’s capital, whence watch and even advance on Delhi were possible, retired to Māndu, wellnigh impregnable if stoutly defended, but set on Mālwa’s extremest southern bastion. ‘Of all men of his day was he the most accomplished in the science of music and of Hindi Song’* and himself was ‘a singer without rival’.* He passed his days in the company of singers and musicians and from the north, the south, the east, and the west collected he them, both men and women, singers and chanters and players upon all instruments, on the ‘bin’ and the ‘rabāb’, on the ‘nai’ and the ‘sarnai’, on the ‘sarangi’ and the ‘tambura’.* In his Court the voice of music was never silent, and his company was as a bevy of nightingales in a garden of roses. Among them he dwelt, and little he recked of the return of Humāyun and the establishment of the kingdom of Akbār.*

Besides women and music and song, his delight lay in chase of the lion and the tiger, the deer and the buck, and to his hunting he wandered far and wide with his choice companions over the high land of Mālwa and in the ravines that lead down to the river of Rewa.