Though Mír Ghulám Alí Khán had a son, viz., Mír

Encouragement of art, science and trade.

Mír Muhammad, on whose head his father’s turban was placed, his brother Mír Karam Alí Khán, became the ruler of Sind. His coronation ceremony was performed after 7 days of mourning on account of the late Mír’s death. The Mír carried on the administration of Sind in consultation with his younger brother Mír Murad Alí Khán. In fact since the time of Mír Fateh Alí Khán the four brothers had lived together so affectionately and ruled the country with one another’s advice so wisely, that they were termed “The four friends.”

Mír Karam Alí Khán was a very just and wise ruler. His reign was a peaceful reign in which no war took place. Consequently he had ample time to devote to the promotion of art and science and to the encouragement of commerce. Being a literary man himself, his court was crowded with poets and learned men. He contracted friendship with Fateh Alí Sháh Kájár, the then king of Persia, and consequently envoys used to come and go between the two rulers, exchanging presents. As the Mír was fond of swords, rich and beautiful swords were imported from different countries* and many good sword-makers, as well as good writers, painters, besides men of art and science, came from Persia and Khurásán to live in the town of Haidarábád.

In the reign of Mír Karam Alí Khán two men became

Some note-worthy per­sons of thís reign.

celebrated in Sind. The first was Sayyed Muhammad Ráshid Sháh who was a well known saint and spiritual guide,* and the other was Sábit Alí, who was a Sindí poet.* The latter wrote a number of elegies describing the martyrdom of the Imáms or grandsons of the prophet, under the orders of Yazíd.

As mentioned in the beginning of this chapter the Mír’s envoys used to go to Persia with presents for the king of that country. A few years before this time, war had been going on between Russia and Persia about the province of Georgia, the Governor of which Heracleus had shaken off the yoke of Persia and had since been defeated and put to flight. Heracleus’ son Gurgín Khán was then assisted by Paul, the then Czar of Russia, against the invasion of Muhammad Khán, king of Persia. Some bloody battles were fought, after which Georgia passed out of Persia’s hands and became a dependency of Russia.

In the above wars several Georgian children had been seized by the Persian invaders and sold in the Bazárs of Isphán, the capital of Persia. Among these were Mirzá Khusróbeg, Mirzá Fredúnbeg, Mirzá Muhammad Bákar and a few others, who were brought by the Mír’s envoys from Persia to Sind. Mír Karam Alí Khán had no issue, though he had four harams (wives). So he became very fond of Mirzá Khusróbeg, who was the first Georgian brought to him and who was the son of a Georgian chief, who had fought in the late wars in the cause of his country. The Mír looked upon him as an adopted son and treated him accordingly. He was naturally an intelligent person and soon rose to be an influential courtier and minister. The other Georgian, Mirzá Fredúnbeg, who came later, was equally treated kindly and was attached to Mirzá Khusróbeg, both of whom thenceforth lived together as relations and members of one family.* The third Geor­gian Mirzá Bákarbeg was retanied by Mír Murád Alí Khán. Many other foreigners came voluntarily from different places about this time and became permanent residents at Haidarábád, as already mentioned.

Mír Karam Alí Khán was the first ruler of Sind

A commercial treaty with the British Government.

who contracted friendship with the British Government* It was in his reign that Major Skeene came from Sir John Malcolm, the Governor of Bombay, as an envoy, with some rare presents for the Mír and his brother. The Major was to come from Kachh, and the Mír sent a number of officers to receive him at the boundary of Sind and to escort him to the capital. The envoy was received by the two brothers in open court and was shown great kindness. After some interesting conversation, the Mírs retired to their residence in the Tandáh of Nawáb Walí Muhammad. After two or three days the British envoy again got an audience and a commercial treaty was drawn up, signed and sealed by the Mírs. There were three conditions in it, viz:

1. That no European should employ any native in his service.
2. That the officer coming to take the survey of the river Indus, should not be prohibited from or hindered in doing his work.
3. That any person coming through Kachh, with articles of trade, bearing a pass from the Governor of Bombay, should be free from any tax or toll.
After the treaty was signed Major Skeene returned to Kachh.

After this treaty free communication commenced between Sind and Bombay. Before this time the people of Sind going on a pilgrimage to Mecca, were greatly troubled by the Portuguese, and therefore merchants were afraid of trading with Bombay and other ports. But now it was widely proclaimed that traders could safely visit Bombay and other places by sea. The result was that commerce was greatly encouraged and foreign articles began to be sold in the bazárs of Sind.*

In 1230 A. H. (1814 A. D.) Sháh Shujá being defeated

Shujául Mulk comes to Sind, but is driven away by the arrival of King Ayyúb Sháh.

by Muhammad Azím Khán came to Haidarábád. It may be mentioned here that when Mahmúd Sháh with the assistance of Fateh Alí Sháh, king of Persia, took his step-brother, Zamán Sháh prisoner and blinded him, the chiefs of Kábul raised the blinded prince’s brother Shujául Mulk to the throne. But he was soon removed and Ayyúb Sháh placed on the throne to represent the dynasty of Ahmad Sháh Duráni. This prince too proved a failure like his predecessor. Mahmúd Sháh being afraid of Azím Khán went to Herát and settled there. Sháh Shujá who entertained great fear of Azím Khán and other Afghán chiefs fled to Jalálábád, and thence to Sind. He came so secretly to the town of Haidar­abád that no one knew about him. He put up at a place near the Tandah of Aghá Ibráhím Sháh on the bank of the Phulelí, the big canal flowing to the east of Haidar­ábád. When Alí Baksh son of Fakírah Khizmatgár, who was the Kótwál of the town, informed the Mírs of the ex-King’s arrival, the latter sent some tents and kanáts and provisions to him. After two or three days, the Mírs paid him a visit and did their best to console the deposed king and to keep him comfortable. An army was soon collected that escorted him to Shikárpur.

When Muhammad Azím Khán heard this, he instigated Ayyúb Sháh to march with an army to Sind to fight with the Mírs, and frighten away Sháh Shujá. The two armies met at Shikárpur, but soon a treaty was made by which the Mírs promised to pay 12 laks of rupees as indemnity to Ayyúb Sháh, acknowledge his superiority, use his coin, and give up the cause of Shujául Mulk. Sháh Shujá hearing of this, decamped quietly during the night and went to Ludhiáná. The next day the Mírs held an interview with Muhammad Azím Khán and then started for Haidarábád, the Afghán prince returning to his capital.

In 1233 A. H. (1817 A. D.) information was received

Preparation to meet Rájah Ranjít Sing of the Paujáb at Shikárpur.

that Rájáh Ranijít Sing, the ruler of the Panjáb had taken Mithan Kót and intended to invade Sind and that he had already sent his grandson Nihálsing with a large army and artillery. The Mírs consulted among themselves and with the Balóch chiefs and resolved to oppose the Sikhs beyond Shikárpur. With that object in view Mír Karam Alí Khán issued orders to all the tribes of Balóches and Siráis to collect at Haidarábád. But Mír Murád Alí Khán’s plan was different. He said to his brother that it was impossible to fight with a person like Ranjít Sing, who had conquered the whole country from Pesháwar and Kashmír to Karnál and had taken Multán, Mithan Kót and Derahs, that had been in the possession of the brave Afgháns. He therefore suggested that assistance be sought from the British Government, who were on very friendly terms with them. After some discussion, the plan was considered to be the best and the most expedient. Accordingly a letter was written to that effect to Sir John Malcolm, the Governor of Bombay. Sayyed (Ághá) Ismáíl Sháh, the son of Sayyed Ibráhim Sháh was sent as an ambassador to Bombay to arrange for the succour.* After the departure of the Sayyed the Mírs taking about 30,000 men with them together with some guns and war engines, started to defend the borders of their country. Coming to Khairpur they were joined by Mír Suhráb Khán with his forces. And the whole army now proceeded to Shikárpur.

Meanwhile Sayyed Ismáíl Sháh, had arrived at Bombay. Sir John Malcolm had gone home and had been succeeded by Lord Elphinstone. The Sayyed was received well by the Governor and was allowed 30 rupees for his daily allowance. After their interview the Governor sent the Mír’s letter, with his recommendation to the Governor General at Calcutta. The latter wrote a letter to Rájah Ranjít Sing telling him that the Mírs were on friendly terms with the British Government with whom they had made a treaty and that he must not think of going to Sind or else they would be obliged to take the Mírs’ side. The Rájah sent a reply that he had no intention of going to Sind or fighting with the Mírs, whom he considered to be his friends and that his grandson Nihálsing had gone on a pleasure trip to Multán, Mithan Kót and Derahs to spend Dasahrah holidays there. At the same time, he wrote a friendly letter to the Mírs and sent it through Sáwanmal, the Governor of Multán. The Mírs were very much pleased to get this letter, and being quite at ease now, returned to Haidarábád.*

In 1240 A. H. (1824 A. D.) Mír Murád Alí Khán fell

Dr. Burnes comes from Bombay to treat Mír Murád Alí Khán.

ill with a carbuncle. The physicians of Sind tried their best to cure it, but without success. The Mír remained confined to bed for a very long time. The two brothers then wrote a letter to Lord Elphinstone, the Governor of Bombay, to send an English doctor to them. Dr. James Burnes was accordingly sent to Haidarábád. On his arrival the Mírs showed a great deal of kindness. The doctor too showed very great cleverness in his art, for in about 20 days, Mír Murád Alí Khán got better and in a month and a half no sign of the disease remained. The doctor was given a good many presents and sent back to Bombay viâ Kachh. A party of Balóches headed by a few nobles was sent as an escort with the doctor, to go up to the boundary of Sind. When the doctor arrived at Bhuj, he spoke very highly of the Mírs to Major Pottinger, the then Resident of Kachh, who was induced to write a letter to the Mírs, and thenceforth the Mírs remained on friendly terms with that officer.

In 1242 A. H. (1826 A. D.) the late Mír Fateh Alí

Revolt caused by Mír Fateh Alí Khán’s son Mír Sóbdár Khán.

Khán’s son Mír Sóbdár Khán, began to be troublesome to the two ruling Mírs, his uncles, claiming his hereditary share of his father’s country. As has been noted above, Mír Sóbdar Khán was born on the day of his father’s death and since then he and the late Mír’s three harams had been maintained by Mír Ghulám Alí Khán. On Mír Ghulám Alí Khán’s death, his son Mír Mír Muhammad Khán was nominally made the successor of his father and given some parganahs as a jágír, by which arrangement he used to live like a prince. When Mír Sóbdár Khán reached the age of 25 years, he requested his uncles to give him an independent means of livelihood like that of Mír Mír Muhammad Khán. He also demanded a share in inheritance of his father’s valuables and lands. Mír Karam Alí Khán was willing to comply with his request and to satisfy his demand, but Mír Murád Alí Khán would not join him in that arrangement and so they rejected their nephew’s request. After some days Mír Sóbdár Khán went to Lar (Lower Sind) on the pretext of shikâring. He was joined by Ghulám Alí Khán Tálpur, son of Feróz Khán, the father of Khán Muhammad Khán, residing at Ren, and some other Balóch chiefs. Mír Sóbdár Khán had no money with him. He was therefore obliged to sell the few jewels and valuable weapons he had in his possession, through his Díwán Munshi Partábrái and his chief adviser, Hósh Muhammad Habshí (Abyssinian) and maintain his retinue, which went on increasing. He now openly raised the standard of revolt. Mír Murád Alí Khán, hearing of this, prepared to put down the revolt. Taking an army of 800 men, he left the fort to meet his nephew. As he began to shower money on his dependents and sepoys, the Balóches enlisted by Mír Sóbdár Khán deserted him and went over to Mír Murád Alí Khán. So that in one day and night, the number of Mír Sóbdár’s men decreased from about 8000 to 1200. Mír Sóbdar had now no alternative but to entreat Mír Karam Alí Khán to interfere and settle the matter amicably. The Mír accordingly brought about reconciliation between the uncle and the nephew. At the same time the young Mír was granted an allowance similar to that, which had been granted to Mír Mír Muhammad Khán. He was also given a similar share of his father’s property.

A few days after this Mír Karam Alí Khán fell ill and

Death of Mír Karam Alí Khán.

remained confined to bed for a long time. At last he expired in 1244 A.H. (1828 A.D.*) His body was buried on a hill to the north of Haidarábád. He was the first Tálpur, who was buried at Haidarábád.* Before this any Tálpur dying, was removed to Khudábád and buried there.

It was in the reign of Mír Karam Alí Khán that a terrible inundation of the river Indus occurred submerg­ing large tracts of lands and villages, and it was in his predecessor’s time that snow had fallen in Sind.