The Bráhman Dynasty.

Though we have no reason to complain of any want of detail respecting the political transactions of this dynasty, yet we are left in considerable doubt respecting the chronological adjustment of the few reigns which it comprises, and even the very name of Chach is a subject of some uncertainty. Gladwin has “Juj;”* Briggs has “Huj;”* the two Manuscripts in the Bibliothèque Royale have “Hoj;”* Reinaud spells the name “Tchotch;”* Renouard leans to “Jaj,” as he considers it a corruption of Yajnya;* S. de Sacy gives reasons for considering it to be “Hijaj;”* Pottinger writes “Chach;”* and he is followed by all English authors. This is certainly in conformity with native usage, and we have several existing instances of the same combination—as Chachpúr, Cháchar, Cháchagám, Chachí, Chachar, and similar names of places in the valley of Indus.

It is to this usurper I am disposed to attribute the introduction of the game of chess to the western world; and this question invites us to some further considerations respecting the correct mode of writing his name. Although Firdúsí informs us, that it was an ambassador of the king of Kanauj who introduced this game at the court of Naushírwán,* the statement of Ibn Khallikán seems more to be relied on, when he says that Sassa, son of Dáhir,* invented the game during the reign of the Persian king Sháhrám. It is true that we have to notice here an error in the parentage, as well as a contradiction with himself; for, in another place, he assigns the invention to Balhít, whom he makes a contemporary of Ardashír, son of Bábak, who reigned four centuries before Sháhrám* —but the main statement seems to be upheld by independent testimony, and it will be seen, from Tabarí's sequence of these Persian reigns, that Chach must necessarily have been contemporary with Sháhrám, or Shahr Írán, or Shahriyár, as he is otherwise called.

The name of “Sassa” assumes the various forms of “Sissa,” “Sahsaha,” “Súsá,” “Sísa,” and “Sa'sa'.” Mr. Bland, in his learned article quoted below, says they are all obviously corruptions of Xerxes, or of a name which has served as its origin—not the Persian king, but a philosopher so named, who is said by Polydore Virgil and others to have flourished in the reign of Evil-Merodach at Babylon. I look upon this as too recondite, and consider that the transposition of the parentage above alluded to, as given by Ibn Khallikán [and Biládurí*], is more than countervailed by the superior authority of Tabarí; who, while he omits all notice of Chach, under that identical name, yet mentions Sassa, (who cannot possibly be meant for any other person than Chach), and speaks of Dáhir, his son, as being his successor.* Firishta also speaks of Dáhir as the son of Sa'sa', so that we are fully entitled to consider “Sassa,” as the Arabic mode of representing “Chach”—just as we have “Sha-nak” for the Hindí “Chank,” “Shatranj” for “Chatur-anga, “Sín” for “Chín,” “Shásh” for “Chách,” a town on the Jíhún,* and many other similar conversions in the Arabic—since, there being no palatine letter corresponding with ch in that language, recourse can only be had to the sibilants; as may frequently be observed even in the Persian also, where no such necessity exists.*

Another preliminary question to settle respecting Chach, relates to his tribe and descent. There could have been no hesitation on this point, had it not been for the Chinese traveller, Hwen Tsang, who states that, at the time of his visit to Sind, the king was of the “Shu-to-lo” race.* This has been variously interpreted to mean a “Kshattríya,”* a “Súdra,”* and a Rájpút of the “Chatur,” or “Chitor,” tribe.* This latter is on the supposition that it refers to the king who was succeeded by Chach, and who was related to the ruler of Chitor—but this is not admissible, for the Chinese Buddhist did not commence his travels till 628 A.D.,* and after traversing the whole of Chinese Tartary, Turkistán, Northern Afghánistán, Kash-mír, the valley of the Ganges, the Eastern and Western Coasts of the Peninsula, and Guzerát, could not have reached Sind much before 640, when Chach was fully established upon the throne. If we could introduce the traveller into Sind before Chach's accession, I should prefer “Kshatriya,” or the modernized “Chattrí,” to any other interpretation of “Shu-to-lo,”—but, seeing that not a single Chinese name within, or on the borders of Sind, admits of any positive identification, we need not trouble ourselves about the meaning of this doubtful word. Our Arab and Persian authorities leave us no room to doubt that Chach was a Bráhman—at least by descent, if not also by religious persuasion; and the present Sársut (Sáraswata) Bráhmans of Sind claim him as one of their progenitors.

[According to the Chach-náma, Chach was a Brahman who was introduced to Sáhasí Ráí by his Chamberlain. Being taken into service, he won the confidence of the Ráí, and the more tender regards of the Rání, his wife. He became Chamberlain, and, on the death of the Ráí, he ascended the vacant throne, and married the widow, whose love he had previously rejected. The irregular suc­cession provoked the resentment of Mahrat, chief of Jaipúr (or Chitor), a relation of the deceased Ráí, who marched with his army to destroy the usurper and recover “his inheritance.” In great perplexity Chach conferred with the Rání, who shamed him into resistance by proposing to change garments, and herself to lead the army against the foe. Chach then went forth to battle, and when the forces met, Mahrat came forward and proposed, as the matter was purely a personal one, to settle the dispute by single combat. Chach represented that he was a Brahman, and unaccustomed to fight on horseback. His magnanimous foe then alighted to meet him on equal terms, when Chach treacherously sprung upon his horse and slew his adversary before he could recover from the sur­prise. After this Chach appears to have felt no Brahmanical repug­nance to war and bloodshed.]

With respect to the period of his reign, we learn from the Chach-náma (p. 151) that Chach in or about the year 2 H.—and about the fourth year after his accession* —advanced to Kirmán, being instigated to that measure by the fact of the Persian throne being then occupied by a woman.

Again, we learn (MS. p. 70) that Chach had been ruler of Sind for thirty-five years, when Mughaira attacked Debal, some time between the years 13 and 16 H.

After Chach had reigned forty years, he was succeeded by his brother Chandar, who died in the eighth year of his reign (p. 152-4).

Chandar was succeeded by his nephew Dáhir, who was slain in the month of Ramazán, 93 H. (p. 170).

The Táríkh-i Sind (MS. pp. 14-30) has briefly abstracted the account in the Chach-náma, but has given no date throughout, and has carelessly omitted all notice of Chandar.

The Tuhfatu-l Kirám gives a far better abstract of the Chach-náma. It represents (MS. p. 6) that Chach, after killing Mahrat, the prince of Chitor, established himself on the throne in the year 1 H.—that he reigned forty years (ib.)—that Chandar, who succeeded him, died in the eighth year of his reign (ib.)—that Dáhir was killed in the year 93 H., after having reigned thirty-three years (MS. p. 15)—and that the whole period of the Bráhman dynasty lasted ninety-two years (ib.)—which, however, is a manifest inconsistency, because in the detail, no more than eighty-one years, at the most, are assigned to the three reigns.

There seems reason to believe that these discrepancies can be reconciled by two very slight corrections in the reading of the Chach-náma.

Instead of “thirty-five years,” in the first quotation, we should read “three or five years,” as the period that Chach had reigned, when Mughaira attacked Debal. The form of expression is very common in denoting an indefinite period; and, as the disjunctive particle or is, in such uses of distributive numerals, always omitted, the difference in the reading becomes scarcely perceptible.

And in the first quotation, instead of “about the year 2 H.,” I would read “about the year 10 H.”—dah for do. The reading of do is quite out of the question, for there certainly was no female reign at so early a period as the second year of the Hijra, and none even before the tenth, if indeed so early. The confusion respecting these ephemeral reigns of the later Sassanians is notorious, and especially respecting the order of the three queens, Túrán-dukht, Azurmi-dukht, and Dukht-zanán—the last of whom is generally altogether omitted, and is perhaps identical with Azurmi-dukht;—but no author at­tempts to place either of them before 10 A.H. Now, since the Chach-náma represents that the queen mentioned by him was one of the successors of Kisra-bin-Hormuz-bin-Fárs, who had been mur­dered—alluding, of course, to Khusrú Parvíz—and since we learn from a passage in Tabarí that one of Kisrá's daughters was Dukht-zanán, who succeeded to the Persian throne for a short time in the year 13 H.;—and since the Rauzatu-s Safá assigns the reign of Túrán-dukht, another of his daughters, to the year 14 H.;—we may assume as certain that the expedition of Chach towards Kirmán occurred in one or other of those years.*

These simple emendations bring us close enough to the truth, to satisfy us with respect to the general accuracy of the Chach-náma. Where there is so much room for doubt, and where even Tabarí is not quite consistent with himself, or in conformity with others, even if the Chach-náma should be in error three or four years—and we have no right to assume that such is the case—there would still be no ground for impeaching the veracity of that valuable chronicle; and we are thus enabled with considerable confidence to assign to each event of the Bráhman dynasty of Sind its proper date, according to the Hijra computation.*

The accession of Chach to the throne of Sind 10
His expedition to Kirmán, in the fourth year 14
Mughaira's attack, in the fifth year 15
Chach's death, after a reign of forty entire years 51
Chandar's death, in the eighth year of his reign 59
Dáhir's death, after a reign of thirty-three entire years 93