[THIS history bears no date, and the author says nothing about himself; but he incidentally calls himself 'Abdu-lla, and mentions the name of the Emperor Jahángír; so the book must have been written after the accession of that monarch, which took place in the year 1605 A.D. The author gives the following account of his work in the Preface:—

“History is not simply information regarding the affairs of kings who have passed away; but it is a science which expands the intellect, and furnishes the wise with examples. Since this humble individual has spent a considerable portion of his life in studying historical works pregnant with instructive examples, and has examined the conditions of things under many sovereigns; and it appeared that the records of the reigns of the Afghán kings (of Hindustán), who were one of the dynasties of the times, existed only in a scattered form; I involuntarily conceived the design of collecting them, with the aid of the Almighty, in one volume. I therefore undertook the work, and in a very short time completed it. I commenced with the reign of Bahlol Lodí, who was the first king of the Afghán dynasty, and brought my history down to the (end of the) reign of Muhammad 'Adalí Súr [and] Dáúd Sháh, who was the last ruler of this race, and I entitled it the Táríkh-i Dáúdí.”* Dáúd Sháh was beheaded by order of the Khán-khánán, and a chronogram at the end of this work gives the date as 983 H. (1575 A.D.).

Like all historians of this period, 'Abdu-lla is very deficient in dates, and is fond of recording stories and anecdotes, many of them not a little marvellous. All the writers attribute to the Sultán Sikandar Lodí great intelligence and justice, and a shrewd way of settling mysterious disputes. Anecdotes of his acumen are numerous, and many of them have been reproduced by later writers, and attributed to the monarchs of their own times. A few only of the stories recorded under the reign of Sikandar have been printed as specimens. The history of his reign, as given in this book, is very fragmentary and disjointed, and amounts to little more than desultory memoirs: but this is the prevailing character of all the works upon the Afghán dynasty. They are valuable as affording materials from which a history might be compiled; but the dynasty has no special historian. The earlier and the later extracts were translated by Sir H. M. Elliot; but the narratives of the reigns of Sikandar and Islám Sháh were translated by Ensign Charles F. Mackenzie, and approved by Sir H. M. Elliot. The notes are the work of the latter.]

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Malik Bahlol invited to usurp the throne.

Hamíd Khán escaped and fled to Dehlí, and pondered how he should elevate some one else to the throne in lieu of 'Aláu-d dín. He summoned two competitors for the crown—Kiyám Khán and Malik Bahlol. Both obeyed the summons with alacrity. Bahlol was at Sirhind, and hastened with the quickness of the wind towards Dehlí, accompanied by a countless army. Kiyám Khán, hearing that Bahlol had the start of him, abandoned the journey on which he had set out.

Malik Bahlol paid his respects to Hamíd Khán, who, on his very first interview, congratulated him upon obtaining the empire of Dehlí, expressing his own determination to retain the wazárat. Malik Bahlol replied:—“I am a mere soldier, and cannot manage even my own country. You should be king, and I will be the commander of your troops, and obey any other injunctions you may have to issue.” * * *

At last, after engagements had been entered into, he placed the keys of the fort before Bahlol, who acknowledged himself ready to undertake the service assigned to him. He professed to take charge of the city and its gates, leaving the government in the hands of Hamíd Khán, and although the latter retained all the shadow of power, yet in reality all the royal establish­ments were usurped by Bahlol. So long as Hamíd Khán retained any power, Sultán Bahlol thought it expedient to pay him extreme marks of deference, and went every day to pay his respects.

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Character of Sultán Bahlol.

Sultán Bahlol was, indeed, a king who fostered religion, and evinced courage and generosity. His mercy and benevolence were habitual: he observed the rules of honesty, and had exceeding respect for the law, to the injunctions of which he strictly adhered in all his undertakings. He spent most of his time in the assemblies of the wise, and in the society of holy men; and made special inquiries respecting the poor and necessitous. He never turned away a suppliant; and he read his prayers in public five times every day. He devoted excessive care to the administration of justice; himself heard the petitions of his subjects, and left them not to be disposed of by his ministers. He was wise, experienced, considerate, kind, friendly, condescend­ing, and just. Whatever came into his possession, in money, goods, or new parganas, he distributed it all among his troops, and reserved nothing whatever for himself. He accumulated no treasure, and executed his kingly functions without parade and ostentation. At the time of his meals, he satisfied himself with farinaceous food; but any one who entered might partake of other viands. In his social meetings he never sat on a throne, and would not allow his nobles to stand; and even during public audiences he did not occupy the throne, but seated himself upon a carpet. Whenever he wrote a farmán to his nobles, he addressed them as “Masnad 'Álí;” and if at any time they were displeased with him, he tried so hard to pacify them that he would himself go to their houses, ungird his sword from his waist, and place it before the offended party: nay, he would sometimes even take off his turban from his head, and solicit for­giveness, saying:—“If you think me unworthy of the station I occupy, choose some one else, and bestow on me some other office.” He maintained a brotherly intercourse with all his chiefs and soldiers. If any one was ill, he would himself go and attend on him. Before he ascended the throne, it was the custom in Dehlí to distribute, every third day, sharbat, pán leaves, sugar-candy, and sweetmeats. But Sultán Bahlol put an end to this, and positively declined to maintain the practice, observing, that, with respect to Afgháns, if one poor man should die, a hundred thousand of his tribe would come forward, and how could he provide for such a multitude, and satisfy them? He was exceedingly bold, and on the day of battle, immediately he saw the enemy appear, he would dismount from his horse, fall on his knees, and pray for the success of Islám and the safety of Musul-máns, and confess his own helplessness. From the day that he became king, no one achieved a victory over him; nor did he once leave the field of battle until he had gained the day, or been carried off wounded: or, from the first he avoided an engagement.

It is said that, during the first week of his accession, he was present at worship in the Masjid-i jámi', when Mullá Fázin, who was one of the elders of the city, ascended the pulpit to read the khutba. When he had concluded, and had come down again, he exclaimed:—“Praised be God! we have an extraordinary tribe of rulers; nor do I know whether they are the servants of the arch-fiend or arch-fiends themselves. Their language is so barbarous, that they call a mother, múr; a brother, rúr; a nurse, shúr; a soldier, túr, and a man, núr.” When he said this, Sultán Bahlol put his handkerchief to his mouth, and smilingly said: “Mullá Fázin, hold, enough! for we are all servants of God.” * *