The Samma Dynasty.

In considering the annals of this race, we are relieved from many of the perplexities which attend us during the preceding period. After expelling the Súmras in 752 A.H. (1351 A.D.), the Sammas retained their power, till they were themselves displaced by the Arghúns in 927 A.H. (1521 A.D.). Some authorities assign an earlier, as well as later, date for the commencement of their rule. The Beg Lár-náma says 734 A.H. (1334 A.D.), making the dynasty last 193 years. The Tárikh-i Táhirí says 843 A.H. (1439 A.D.), giving it no more than 84 years. The Tuhfatu-l Kirám says 927 H., which gives 175 years.

The Táríkh-i Táhirí is obviously wrong, because when Sultán Fíroz Tughlik invaded Sind in 762 A.H. (1361 A.D.), he was opposed by a Prince whose title was Jám, one borne by Sammas only, not by Súmras,—and this we learn from a contemporary author, Shams-i Siráj, whose father himself commanded a fleet of 1000, out of 5000, boats employed upon the expedition. The power of the Jám may be judged of by his being able to bring a force of 40,000 infantry and 20,000 cavalry to oppose the Sultán of Dehlí, whom he kept at bay for two years and a-half. Ten years previous, we also know from contemporary history that, upon Muhammad Tughlik's in­vasion, the chief of Thatta was a Súmra, and not a Samma. We may, therefore, safely concur with the Tuhfatu-l Kírám in taking the year 752 H. as that of the accession of the Sammas, which was, indeed, coincident with that of Sultán Fíroz, for his reign com­menced while he was yet in Sind, and this change of dynasty was probably in some measure contingent upon his success in that pro­vince, before he advanced upon Dehlí.

All these authors concur in fixing the extinction of the Samma dynasty in 927 H. (1521 A.D.).

Native writers have done their best to render the origin of this tribe obscure, in their endeavours to disguise and embellish the truth. The extracts from the Tuhfatu-l Kirám will show the pro­pensity of the Sindian mind to wander into the region of fable and romance. Nothing can be made out of such arrant nonsense. In another passage the author throws discredit on the Arab descent, and inclines to that of Jamshíd. The Arabic origin from Abí Jahl has been assigned, in order to do honour to the converts from Hinduism, The Jhárejas of Kachh, who are of Samma extraction, prefer claim­ing the distant connection of Shám, or Syria. The descent from Sám, the son of the prophet Núh, has been assigned, partly for the same reason of nobilitation, partly that a fit eponymos might be found for Samma; and Jamshíd, or Jam (for he is known under both forms indiscriminately), has been hit upon, in order that a suitable etymology might be obtained for the titular designation of Jám.

Tod derives the word Jám from Samma, but the correctness of this etymology may be doubted, for it was not the designation of the family generally, but merely of the chiefs. Indeed, Jám is a title still borne by many native rulers in these parts—such as the Jám of Bela, the Jám of Nawánagar, in Suráshtra, the Jám of Kej, the Jám of the Jokyas, a Samma tribe, and others—and has no necessary connection with Persian descent, much less with such a fabulous monarch and legislator as Jamshíd. In the same manner, it has been attempted to engraft the genealogy of Cyrus on the ancient Median stock, by detecting the identity between Achæmenes and Jamshíd;* but here, again, notwithstanding that the hypothesis is supported by the respectable name of Heeren, we are compelled to withhold our assent, and are sorely tempted to exclaim—

Alfana vient d'equus, sans doute;
Mais il faut avouer aussi,
Qu'en venant de la jusqu' ici
Il a bien changé sur la route.

What the Sammas really were is shown in an interesting passage of the Chach-náma, where we find them, on the banks of the lower Indus, coming out with trumpets and shawms to proffer their alle­giance to Muhammad Kásim. Sámba, the governor of Debal, on the part of Chach, may be considered the representative of the family at an earlier period.*

They were then either Buddhists or Hindus, and were received into favour in consideration of their prompt and early submission. They form a branch of the great stock of the Yádavas, and their pedigree is derived from Samba, the son of Krishna, who is himself known by the epithet of “Syáma,” indicative of his dark complexion. Sammanagar, on the Indus, was their original capital, which has been supposed by some to be the Minagara of the Greek geographers, and is probably represented by the modern Sihwán. Sihwán itself, which has been subject to various changes of name, may, perhaps, derive that particular designation (if it be not a corruption of Sindo-mana), from the Sihta, themselves a branch of the Sammas, men­tioned in the Chach-náma, and also noticed at a later period of Sindian history, as will appear from some of the preceding Extracts. The name is also still preserved amongst the Jhárejas of Kachh. The more modern capital of the Sammas, during part of the period under review, and before its transfer to Thatta, was Sámúí, mentioned in another Note. Since the Sammas became proselytes to Islám, which occurred not earlier than 793 H. (1391 A.D.), their name, though it still comprises several large erratic and pastoral com­munities, is less known than that of their brethren, or descendants, the Samejas, and the demi-Hindú Jhárejas, of Kachh, who do honour to their extraction by their martial qualities, however no­toriously they may be deficient in other virtues.

It being admitted that the Sammas are unquestionably Rájpúts of the great Yádava stock, and that they have occupied the banks of the lower Indus within known historical periods, there seems nothing fanciful in the supposition that their ancestors may be traced in the Sambastæ and Sambus of Alexander's historians. The name of Sambastæ, who are represented as a republican con­federacy, is doubtful, being read Abastani in Arrian, and Sabarcae in Quintus Curtius; but Sambus, of whose subjects no less than 80,000 (let us hope Diodorus was more correct in saying 8,000) were wantonly slain by that mighty destroyer—

“That made such waste in brief mortality.”

and whose capital was the Sindonalia, Sindimona, or Sindomana above named, appears under the same aspect in all three authors, with the closer variation of Samus in some copies,* and may fairly claim to have represented an earlier Samma dynasty in Sind than that which forms the subject of this Note.*