Shah Beg's Capture of Thatta.

The Tarkhán-náma states, that when Sháh Beg advanced to the capture of Thatta, the river, meaning the main stream of the Indus, ran to the north of that city. If this statement be correct, it shows that a most important deviation must have occurred since that period in the course of the river. But I believe that the assertion arises from a mere mis-translation of the Táríkh-i Sind, of Mír Ma'súm, which is generally followed verbatim in the Tarkhán-náma.

Mír Ma'súm says (p. 138), that “Sháh Beg advanced by daily marches towards Thatta, by way of the Lakhí pass, and encamped on the banks of the Khánwáh, from which Thatta lies three kos to the south. At that time the river generally flowed by Thatta; therefore he was in doubt how he should cross.” Now this is not very plain, and we should even more correctly interpret the original, if we were to say that, “Thatta lies three kos to the north of the Khánwáh.” We know that this could not have not been meant, but the statement, as it stands, is puzzling, and the author of the Tarkhán-náma, in the endeavour to be exact, has complicated matters still further. The Tuhfatu-l Kirám, (p. 41) says that the subsequent action took place “on the stream called 'Alíján, which flows below Thatta,” but does not mention whether this was the same stream near which Sháh Beg encamped, though from the con­text we may be allowed to presume that it was. The Táríkh-i Táhirí is more specific, and states (p. 48) that “he encamped on the bank of the Khánwáh, that is, the canal of water which Daryá Khán had dug, for the purpose of populating the Pargana of Sámkúrá and other lands at the foot of the hills, and the environs of the city.”

It is evident, therefore, that Sháh Beg pitched his camp, not on the main stream, but on one of the canals, or little effluents, from the Indus. The Ghizrí, or Ghara creek, is too far to the westward, though it is represented in some maps as running up as far as the Indus itself, and joining it above Thatta. Indeed, there still exist traces of its having been met by a stream from the river at no very remote period, and, during the inundations, the city is even now sometimes insulated from this cause. In the absence of any more precise identification, we may safely look to this deserted bed as corresponding with the ancient 'Alíján, and suiting best the position indicated.

Authorities differ about the date of Sháh Beg's crossing this river, and capturing Thatta, by which an end was put to the dynasty of the Jáms, or Sammas. The Táríkh-i Sind says it occurred in the month of Muharram, 926. The Táríkh-i Táhirí is silent. The Tarkhán-náma says Muharram, 927 (corresponding with December, 1520); differing only in the day of the month from the Tuhfatu-l Kirám, where the correctness of this latter date is established by an appropriate chronogram:—

“Kharábí Sind.—The Downfall of Sind.”

The Táríkh-i Táhirí (p. 51) refers this chronogram to the period when Sháh Husain plundered Thatta, on the ground of extravagant joy having been evinced by its inhabitants upon the death of his father, Sháh Beg; but this is evidently a mistake, and is adopted merely to accommodate his false chronology.