The Ráí Dynasty.

The Chach-náma (p. 138) mentions only the three immediate pre­decessors of the usurper Chach, and in this it is followed by the Táríkh-i Sind. It states that “Ráí Siharas, the son of Díwáíj (called also Sháhí-Sháhí) was defeated and slain by the army of king Nímroz,* which entered Kirmán from the direction of Fárs; and that he was succeeded by his son Ráí Sáhasí.” It will be ob­served from the annexed extract, that the Tuhfátu-l Kirám gives two additional reigns, which are not, however, referred to any specific authority of ancient date.

Dynasty of the Ráís.—Their capital was the city of Alor, and the boundaries of their country were—on the east, Kashmír and Kanauj; on the west, Makrán and the shore of the sea of 'Umán, that is, the port of Debal; on the south, the port of Súrat (Suráshtra); and on the north, Kandahár, Sístán, the hills of Sulaimán and Kaikánán. As the commencement of this dynasty has not been ascertained, I content myself with mentioning some of the names which are known.

Ráí Díwáíj. He was a powerful chief, whose absolute rule extended to the limits above mentioned. He formed alliances with most of the rulers of Hind, and throughout all his territories caravans travelled in perfect security. On his death, he was suc­ceeded by his son,

Ráí Siharas, who followed the steps of his father in maintaining his position in happiness, comfort, and splendour, during a long reign. His celebrated son was

Ráí Sáhasí, who also swayed the sceptre with great pomp and power. He followed the institutions of his ancestors, and accom­plished all his desires.

Ráí Siharas II. was his son and successor. King Nímroz raised an army for the purpose of attacking him, and the Ráí, having advanced to the borders of Kích to meet it, selected a field of battle. The flame of war blazed from morn to midday, when an arrow pierced the neck of the Ráí, so that he died. King Nímroz, after plundering the camp, returned to his own country. The army of Siharas assembled in a body, and seated his son Sáhasí upon the throne.

Ráí Sáhasí II. excelled his ancestors in estimable qualities. Having, within a short time, settled affairs within the borders of his kingdom, he enjoyed rest and peace in his capital. He remitted the taxes of his subjects, on condition that they should raise (or repair) the earthwork of six forts: viz., Úchh, Mátela, Seoráí, Mad (or Mau), Alor, and Siwistán. He had a chamberlain named Rám, and a minister mamed Budhíman. One day, Chach, son of Síláij, a Brahman of high caste, came to Rám, the chamberlain, who was so pleased with his society, that he introduced him to the minister.”

The names of these rulers are thus given by Capt. Postans, in two different papers in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and on the authority of the same work, the Tuhfatu-l Kirám:—

No. cxi, 1841, p. 185.—“Rahee Dewahey, Rahee Siheersin, Rahee Sahursee, Rahee Siheersin the 2nd, Rahee Sahee.”

No. clviii. 1845, p. 79.—“Rahi Dawahij, Sahiras, Rahi Sahasi, Rahi Sahiras the 2nd, Rahi Sahasi the 2nd.”

In an earlier number of the same Journal (No. lxxiv. Feb., 1838, p. 93), James Prinsep observed, “Diwaij seems a corruption of dwija ‘the Brahman;’ and Sahurs resembles much the genitive sáhasa of our Saurashtra coins, of whom the first is a swámiputra, or son of a Brahman; but the date seems too recent. See Vol. VI. p. 385.” But it appears from the passage just quoted, that it was a Bráhman dynasty which superseded the family of Díwáij, and there is no reason to suppose that Díwáij was himself a member of that caste.

The same Persian work, from which the above extract is taken, states that the reigns of these five Ráís lasted for the long period of one hundred and thirty-seven years, and that Chach, by his victory over Mahrat, Ráná of Chitor, established himself on the throne about he first year of the Hijra. It will be seen from the following Note, hat as this date must of necessity have been placed too early, the year 10 H. has been preferred, as the era of Chach's accession, and the extinction of the Ráí dynasty.

Pottinger, on the authority of a native work called the Majma'-i Wáridát, states that the dynasty had endured for two thousand years; which, as we know from Ptolemy and the Periplus that the country was subject to frequent revolutions at the early period of our era, and at the time of Alexander was under no single ruler, must be regarded as pure fiction. If we allow that there were really five reigns, there is no great improbability in assuming 137 years, as above mentioned, for the correct period of their duration; and thus we should obtain the Christian year 495 as that in which the dynasty commenced.

It is generally assumed that Khusrú Naushírwán was the king of Persia by whom Siharas II. was slain; but as Naushírwán died in 479 A.D., it would leave, at the very least, 53 years necessary for the reign of Sáhasí II.—even supposing that his predecessor was killed in the very last year of Naushírwán, which we know cannot have been the case, as that potentate had been, for some time previous, employed in the western portion of his large empire. It is therefore quite evident, that king Nímroz* has been wrongly interpreted to mean that great Persian monarch; and we must therefore use Nímroz in its usual application of Sijistán, and allow the opponent of Siharas to be no more formidable a personage than the governor, or ruler, of that province; or, if we must necessarily have a Persian king—notwithstanding that no one of the name of Nímroz ever sat on the throne—then Khusrú Parvíz (591-628 A.D.) an equally great conqueror, would answer all the requirements better; for we know that the eastern provinces towards the Indus revolted in the reign of Hormuz, his father and predecessor, and his recovery of them seems indicated by his having 960 elephants in his train— which could only have been procured from India.

Doubtless, Naushírwán did invade Sind or its borders,—because the fact is vouched for by unquestionable authority in the best Persian annalists, and is shown by the relations, political, com­mercial, and literary, which appear then to have arisen between Persia and India; but it must have been during one of the earlier reigns of this dynasty; or if during the reign of Siharas II., it must have preceded the attack which resulted in that monarch's death. That he and Naushírwán were contemporary, during some portion of their reigns, is by no means improbable—for the latter reigned 48 years; and if we allow 40 for the reign of Sáhasí II., and 40 likewise for the reign of Siharas II.—the same period which Chach enjoyed, though his first years were signalized by internal rebellions and foreign invasions—we shall then find the 20 first years of Siharas's correspond with the 20 last years of Naushírwán's reign.*

It would detain us too long to enter upon any speculations respecting the country and race whence this dynasty derived its origin. I will merely remark, that the Scythian barbarians from Sind, who expelled the Gehlotes from Balabhipúra in the beginning of the sixth century,—the Yue-tchi, who re-established themselves on the Indus about the same time,—the Ephthalites, or white Huns, whom Cosmas declares at that period to have ruled upon the banks of that river,—and the Sáh dynasty of Suráshtra,—all offer points of relation, comparison, and contact, to which a separate dissertation might be devoted.*