The Meds.

We find the Meds frequently mentioned by the Arab authors on Sind, and, together with their rivals the Jats, they may be con­sidered the oldest occupants of that province, who, in their names as well as persons, have survived to our own times.

The first account we have of them is in the Mujmalu-t Tawáríkh, That work mentions that the Jats and the Meds are reputed to be descendants of Ham, the son of Noah, and that they occupied the banks of the Indus, in the province of Sind. The Meds, who devoted themselves to a pastoral life, used to invade the territories of the Jats, putting them to great distress, and compelling them to take up their abode on the opposite side of the river; but, sub­sequently, the Jats, being accustomed to the use of boats, crossed over and defeated the Meds, taking several prisoners and plundering their country.

At last these two tribes, seeing the inutility of protracting their contests any longer, agreed to send a deputation to Duryodhana, the king of Hastinápur, begging him to nominate a king to rule over them. Duryodhana accordingly nominated his sister Dassal (Duh-sálá), the wife of Jayadratha, who exercised the functions of govern­ment with great wisdom and moderation. The families and adherents of 30,000 Bráhmans, who were collected from all parts of Hindústán, were sent by Duryodhana to her court, and from that time Sind became flourishing and populous, and many cities were founded. The Jats and the Meds had separate tracts of land assigned to them, and were governed by chiefs of their own election.

The queen and Jayadratha made the city of 'Askaland their capital; the same place, apparently, which is called in a subsequent passage 'Askaland-úsa, perhaps the Úchh of later times, as has been shown in another Note of this Appendix (p. 365).

Jayadratha was killed in the fatal field of Thanesar, and his faith­ful wife ascended the funeral pile, after their reign had continued for more than twenty years. On the same field was extinguished the dynasty called after the name of Bharata, he being the most cele­brated ancestor of Dhritaráshtra, the father of Duryodhana and the Kurus. On the transfer of the empire to the Pándavas, Yudhish-thira conferred Sind upon Sanjwára, the son of Jayadratha and Dassal (Duhsála), and from him Hál was descended (supra, p. 103). As the Great War, in which these heroes enacted a conspicuous part, has been supposed, on astronomical grounds, to have taken place during the twelfth century B.C.,* we must assign an equal antiquity to their contemporaries the Meds of Sind, if we put faith in this narrative; but as this early settlement is not, in Lassen's opinion, opposed to probability in the case of the Jats, we need not withhold our faith in its correctness with respect to the Meds. Indeed, admitting that the ‘Jartikas’ of the Mahá-bhárata and the Puránas represent the Jats, we cannot but consider the ‘Madras’ as repre­senting the Meds—confirming thereby the antiquity and synchron­ism of these two races on the banks of the Indus.*

During the period of Arab occupation, Muhammad Kásim is re­presented as making peace with the Meds of Suráshtra, “seafarers and pirates, with whom the men of Basra were then at war.” This gives a great extent to their dominion at that period towards the south-east.

In the time of Mu'tasim Bi-llah, 'Amrán, the Barmekide, gover­nor of Sind, directed an expedition against the Meds, in which he killed three thousand of them, and constructed an embankment, which he called the Meds' embankment, probably for the purpose of depriving them of the means of irrigation, as was done so effectually in 1762 and 1802 at Mora and Ali Bandar, when the Sindians ruined the prosperity of north-western Kachh. The word Sakar, ‘embankment,’ is preserved in the town of that name opposite to Rorí, where, however, the mound is a natural limestone formation of about one hundred feet high, and not an artificial causeway.* Nevertheless, we might, if we could be sure that any Meds were then on the western side of the Indus, pronounce this to be the iden­tical locality; for certainly, in Biládurí (supra p. 128), the whole transaction seems to be closely connected with 'Amrán's proceedings against Kandábel and the Jats on the Aral river, not far from Sakar, insomuch that, immediately after settling affairs with them he returns to attack the Meds, having the chief of the Jats in his com­pany. But, as on the occasion of this second attack, he dug a canal from the sea to their lake, rendering their water salt and nauseous, there can be no question of this scene, at least, being in the south­eastern portion of the province, where they were settled in the greatest numbers; and here, therefore, we must also look for the embankment raised in the first incursion. They are said to have been attacked by 'Amrán from several different directions, and were thus doubtless reduced to great extremities.

During the reign of the same Khalif, we find an Arab chieftain, Muhammad bin Fazl, who had taken possession of Sindán, in the Abrása district of Kachh, attacking the Meds with a squadron of seventy vessels;* on which occasion he took Málí, of which the position may be identified with Mália on the Machú. This powerful armament seems to have been directed against the sea-board of the tract invaded by 'Amrán, now occupied by the Ran of Kachh; where Vígogad, Vingar, and Ballyárí, on the northern, and Phang-warrí, Nerona, Bitáro, etc., on the southern shore, are all known, both by concurrent native tradition, as well as by independent European observation, to have been once washed by the sea.

All these various expeditions, however, had but little permanent effect in reducing the power of the Meds, for Mas'údí informs us that, when he visited Sind, the inhabitants of Mansúra were obliged continually to protect themselves against their aggressions.*

Ibn Haukal notices them under the name of Mand (p. 38), and though, without the diacritical point, the word might be read Med, yet as all the MSS., few as they are, concur in this reading, it must be retained. He describes them as dwelling on the bank of the Indus from the borders of Multán to the sea, and in the desert between that river and Fámhal, the frontier town of Hind. They had many stations which they occupied as pasture grounds, and formed a very large population, unconverted to the faith. What Abú-l Fidá says of them is taken from this passage, and we do not read of them in any subsequent author.*

Hence we might suppose that the tribe is entirely extinct, and have left no memorial of their existence, except the passages above quoted. M. Reinaud, indeed, observes that he finds it impossible to apply the name of Med or Mand, to any known population, and therefore conceives that the denomination is disfigured. But he is mistaken in this supposition, for the tribe of Med still exists, both to the east and the west of the Indus;* and those on the coast, being unable now to practice piracy after the mode of their ancestors, devote themselves to the more tranquil pursuit of fishing. To the east, we find them roving on the borders of Sind and Jodhpúr, the site of their occupation during the Arab period; and to the west, they are found in the little ports of Makrán, from Súnmíání to Charbar, divided into the clans of Gazbúr, Hormárí, Jellar-záí, and Chelmar-záí.

It is possible that the Meds, or some offshoot of that stock, may have been designated as Mand, for that syllable enters into the name of several native tribes and places existing to this day: as the Mand-ar, the Mand-hor, the Mind-hro, besides the Bulúch tribe of Mond-rání, as well as the ancient towns of Mand-rá and Mand-ropat, in Cháchagám, to the east of the Gúní, Mand-rása to the north of the Makalí hills, and Mund-ra and other similar names in Kachh.