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Introductory notes

The Muntakhab-Ut-Tawarikh (1590-1615)was composed in those by Abd Al-Qadir Badauni. The latter was appointed as an Imam by the Emperor Akbar in 1575-76. The chronicle comprises three volumes. The first volume covers the history of India from the Ghaznavide Dynasty (AD 977)to the death of Humayun (AD 1556). The second volume covers the first forty years of Akbar's reign and the final volume contains biographical details of religious leaders, scholars, philosophers, physicians and poets. The text was translated and edited from Persian to English by George S.A.Ranking, Sir Wolseley Haig and W.H.Lowe and published between 1884 and 1925 by the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Badauni's account is considered important as it is read in contrast to Abul Fazl's Akbarnama due to its critical portrayal of Akbar's reign and dispensation. Our selected excerpts contain descriptions of famines, conditions of dearth, feasts, charity and abstinence.Badayuni's comments on revenue and price regulation are a contrast to the discussions in the Akbarnama. As his verse interpolations are an important vehicle for the criticism of society and governance, our selections include much of this poetry

Primary Sources Abd Al-Qadir Badayuni, Muntakhab-Ut-Tawarikh (Persian), 3 vols, ed.W.N.Lees and Munshi Ahmed Ali, (Calcutta:Bib.India, 1865-68) Abd Al-Qadir Badayuni, Muntakhab-Ut-Tawarikh (English), 3 vols, trans. G.S.A.Ranking, W.Haig and W.H.Lowe, (Calcutta:Bib.India, 1884-1925)


Volume II
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[Page 1]

The Emperor of the time, the Khalíf of the age, Jalāl-ud-dín Muhammad Akbar Pādshāh (may he ever be firmly seated on the throne of the Khalifate and the seat of clemency!) with the approval of Bairām Khān, the Khān Khānān, began to honour and adorn the throne of the Sultanate, under an auspicious star, on Friday the 2nd of the month Rabi'ul-awal, in the year nine hundred and sixty-three (963) in the garden of Kalānor—which, to this day, they have not yet finished laying out. Then he sent messages of conciliation and courtesy to the Amírs of the frontier, so that the Khutbah was read also at Dihlí. And they composed this hemistich, as giving the date: ‘More noble than all princes he'.

They composed also the following distich:—

‘Jalāl-ud-dín Muhammad Akbar, that prince of the age,
At the date of [the death of] father said: Prince of the age am I.'

And another [mnemosynon] they found [for the date]: ‘The granter of desires.’*Then the world began to blossom like a rose-garden, and pitiless Fate, binding up those wounds, said:—

[Page 2]
“When Death removes a crown by force,
At once another head is crowned;
When one old age completes its course,
A younger rises from the ground.”
[Page 41]

2. Fragment.

“From the bowl of Fortune, who has ever drunk a draught,
To whom its drink has not been more deadly than poison?
How should the world make thee secure from vicissitudes,
When itself is not secure from vicissitudes ?
Heaven is a thief breaking into the tent of life,
Alas! its form is not bending for naught!
Seek not repose, since for any one beneath the sky,
The means for attaining this has never been collected.
Only look at the blue garment of the sky, and learn,
That this sphere can be nothing but a house of mourning.
Put up with wounding, for to us from Fate
Wounds have become our portion, but not the antidote.
O Khāqāní, listen not to the deceptions of the world,
For its own laws are not secured from revolution.”


[Page 68]

In this year the building of the city of Nagarchín took place. On this subject one of the nobles, at the time of the composition of the Akbar-nāmah, ordered me to compose some lines, which I here insert without alteration:—

"When the Architect of the workshop of invention, through the promptings of original genius, suggested to the lofty thoughts of the absolute monarch, who is the builder of the metropolis of the world, and especially the artificer of the shrine of Hind, that, in accordance with [the verse]:

[Page 69]
“ The world-upholder, the world to hold, doth know,
One place to uproot, and then another sow: ”

He should make resting places for the glorious imperial cavalcade, by graciously building at every stage, and on every clod of soil, where the air of the place was temperate, its fields extensive, its water sweet, and its plains were level—and what choice was there! for cool spots, and pleasant dwellings, and fragrant resting places, and sweet waters, with a view to preservation of the gift of bodily health, and with a view to the possibility of an evenly balanced condition of the soul, all of which may possibly be conducive to the knowledge and service of God, are of the number of the six necessa-ries of existence; and especially at a time when some of the royal occupations,such as exercise and hunting, were therein involv-ed for these reasons, in this year of happy augury, after his return from his journey to Mālwah, when the friends of the empire were victorious, and the enemies of the kingdom had been con-quered, before the eyes of a genius lofty in its aims, and the deci-sion of a mind world-adorning, it befell, that, when he had made a place called G'hrāwalí (which is one farsang distant from Āgra, and in respect of the excellence of its water, and the pleasantness of its air, has over a host of places a superiority and a perfect excellence) the camping-place of his imperial host, and the encampment of his ever-enduring prosperity, and when he had gained repose for his heaven-inspired mind from the annoyances incidental to city-life, he spent his felicity-marked moments, sometimes in chougān-playing, sometimes in racing Arabian dogs, and sometimes in flying birds of various kinds; and, accepting the building of that city of deep- foundations as an omen of the duration of the edifice of the palace of his undecaying Sultanate, and as a presage of the increase of his pomp and state, his all-penetrating firmān was so gloriously executed, that all who obtained the favour of being near to his resting-place, and were deemed worthy of the sight of his benevolence, one and all built for themselves in that happy place lofty dwellings and spacious habitations, and in a short time the plain of that pleasant valley under the ray of the favour of his Highness, the adumbra-tion of the divinity, became the mole on the cheek of the new bride [Page 70] of the world, and received the name of Nagar-chín, which is the Hindústāní for the Persian Aman-ābād, “Security's-abode”:—

“Praise be to God! that picture, which the heart desired,
Issued forth from the invisible behind the curtain of felicity.”

It is one of the traditional wonders of the world, that of that city and edifice not a trace now is left, so that its site is become a level plain—“ Profit then by this example ye who are men of insight!” as the author of the Qāmús has said: “Of seven or eight cities, called Mançúrah, or Mançúriyyah, built by a mighty king, or mon-arch of pomp in their time, at this time not one is inhabit-ed:" “Will they not journey through the land, and observe what has been the end of those who were before them.”


[Page 86]

The Emperor towards the end of the year nine hundred and seventy-three (973), returned, and set his face towards the capital, and on Friday the 7th of the month Ramzān of the aforesaid year he came to Āgrah and spent his time in festivities. Thence he went to his new palace Nagar-Chín, and occupied himself in ,Chougān- playing, and dog-racing, and hawk-flying. And they contrived a fiery ball with which one could play on a dark night.

And in this year died Muhammad Yúsuf Khān, son of Atkah Khān, through continual wine-bibbing:—

“Three things are fatal to men,
And bring the healthy to sickness:
Continual indulgence in wine and women,
And the cramming of food upon food.”


[Page 87]

Then all of a sudden Ibrāhím Husain Mírzā and Shāh Mírzā and Muhammad Husain Mírzā, sons of Sultān Muhammad Mírzā (who was descended on his father's side from Taimúr, the Fortunate, and on his mother's side from Sultān Husain Mírzā), an old man and full of years, to whom the Emperor had given the Parganna of A'zampúr as his jāgír, raised the standard of revolt in the district of Sambhal. And, after the subjugation of the Khān Zamān, and the Emperor had turned towards the Panjāb against Mírzā Muham-mad Hakim, they fleeing before Mun'im Khan the Khān Khānān, plunged into the midst of the district and came to Dihlí, and even-tually raised the standard of rebellion in the kingdom of Mālwah. From this place two of the brothers, Shāh Mírzā, and Muhammad Husain Mírzā, went and laid seige to Hindia. But Ibrāhím Husain Mírzā went towards Satwās, which was 10 cosses distant and Husain Khān together with one named Muqarrab Khān, a chief of the Amírs of the Dekkan, shut himself up in Satwās. Of stores there were none in the fort, so that they were reduced to eating the flesh of horses, camels, and cows, and the matter touched the life, and the knife reached the bone, and yet no assistance came from any side; still, however much Mírzā Ibrāhím Husain might bring forward proposals of peace, the garrison would not give in. Till, one morning, they put the head of Qadam Khān (Muqarrab Khān's brother, who had been killed at Hindia), upon the point of a lance, and showed [Page 88] it to Muqarrab Khān, and let him know that Hindia was taken, and that his kith and kin and the inhabitants of the place were all prisoners. Moreover they brought his mother, and setting her where he could see her, said: “Since the family and dependants of Muqar-rab Khān are in this condition, with what confidence do you go on fighting?” Then Muqarrab Khān, being helpless, and rather a Muqarrab-ghulām than a Muqarrab-Khān, went and saw the Mírzās. Then, having granted Husain Khān quarter, and got him out under treaty, they at first tried to press him into their service, but when he did not seem to see it, they let him go unharmed.


[Page 96]

When the Emperor arrived at Āgra, news came that Khān Zamān, was beseiging Mírzā Yúsuf Khān Mashhadí, who had shut himself up in Shergarh (which is generally known by the name of Qannouj). Upon the receipt of the intelligence, leaving the Khān-khānān in charge of Āgra, the Emperor on the 26th of Shawāl, in the year nine hundred and seventy-four (974), marched towards Jounpúr. And the weather was so hot that the marrow of creatures melted in their bones:—

‘The air again was so hot that, even in running water,
The crab through heat laid its breast on the ground,
Even the moist river, from the mouth of which water ever flows,
Through fever became dry-lipped, like a bilious person.’


[Page 125]
Praise to God for the pomp and glory of our king!
A pure pearl from the ocean of justice is come to the shore:
A bird from the nest of pomp and bounty has alighted:
A star from the pinnacle of glory and beauty is manifested:
A rose of this sort they have not shown on the ground of the garden.
A tulip of this sort has not opened in the tulip-bed.
The nurse of the spring-cloud, through the tenderness of excellence,
Made the grass the companion of the rose, the pearl that of the jewel.
The Sun said: ‘It is right that for that Piece-of-moon
It should make an ear-ring of Zohrah for the adorning of beauty:
The coming of a son adds to the adornment of a king, perhaps
The incomparable Lúlú would add to the adornment of the royal Pearl.
All hearts were glad that again from the heaven of justice and equity
The world once more revived, through the Sun of the days of spring.
That new-moon of the mansion of power and bounty and pomp came down,
And that shoot of the desire of the soul of the king bore fruit.
The king of the realm of fidelity, the Sultan of the palace of purity,
The taper of the assembly of the heart-broken, the desire of the heart of the hopeful,
The noble the perfect Muhammad Akbar, Lord of conjunction,
The renowned king, seeking and attaining his desire,
The perfectly capable sage, the most just of the kings of the world,
Noble, loftiest, a sage without a rival in the world.
[Page 126]
From his speech the meaning of the ecstatic state is understood:
And from his perfection the building of religion and of the world is firm.
Shadow of God's bounty is he, worthy of crown and seal,
A religion-protesting king is he, noble pivot of the world.
At times from onslaught of fury he takes pardon on his tongue,
At times with the tongue of the spear he says to the enemy, Flee!
Know that the fourth heaven is the censer in his assembly,
Know that Arcturus is the spearman of his cavalcade.
Whenever his victorious cavalcade passes, the whole world
Cries out “Happiness” on the right hand, “Wealth” on the left.
O the power of the pen, which like running water
Goes over black and white day and night!
O thou like the work of the Eternal, thou Sun of kingdom and religion,
Thou who glorifiest the step of eminence, Shadow of God.
O prince of the lofty standard, wise of heart, and Saturn-throned,
O prince of lofty centre, just-one of exalted family.
Lord of the wealth of the world, king of sea and land,
To thy friends thou art kind, mindful of the generous.
King of the dawn of justice and truth, moon of the evening of pomp and dignity,
Quick as lightning in decision, strong as mountain to bear burdens.
O mine of justice and bounty, fountain of grace and liberality,
Precious and beauteous, nourisher of religion, and chaste.
Protector of the religion of the Prophet, O eraser of marks of evil.
Prince of the lofty standard, a mine of bounty, and mountain of weight.
Illumination of the mansion of existence, pearl of the sea of bounty,
From the desire of the pinnacle of hearts a falcon hunting lives.
At thy bounty how can a single drop remain before the cloud for shame,
Compared with thy nature “Bounty” is not applicable to the spring-cloud.
O King I have brought a string of precious pearls,
A present which is become precious, seek it out and listen.
[Page 127]
None has a present better than this, if any have one at all,
If any have any, tell him “Come”, anything he has tell him “Bring”.
Each verse of the poem of Marwí, it is sufficient if it be without mistake,
Whichever [verse] you try you will find the purpose twice:
The first half gives the year of the king's Accession,
From the second bring out the Birth of the Light of the Eye of the world.
That the reckoning of the days and months and year may last,
And that that number may be illustrious on account of the year and month and day: 30
Long live our king, and may our prince endure
Days without number, and years without count.”


[Page 138]

Muhibb 'Alí Khān, son of Mír Khalífah, who for a long time had given up military service and lived in retirement, through the intervention of his wife Nāhíd Bégum, whose mother was wife to Mírzā 'Ísā Tarkhān, ruler of Tattah, was at this time graciously received: and the Emperor having presented him with a standard and kettledrum, and given him a jāgír in Multān, and having written to Sa'íd Khān Moghúl, ruler of Multān, in his behalf, and having sent with him his nephew Mujāhid Khān, who was a very brave and daring soldier, appointed him to take Tattah. He entered Multān, and keeping nearly 400 horsemen in his own jāgír, sent some to Sultān Muhammad, governor of Bakkar, with this message: “You have often said that if I came here, I should need no other help but yours, now I have promised to take Tattah and deliver it over to the Emperor. This was represented at Court, and in full reliance on your co-operation the Emperor had appointed me to this kingdom. And now the moment for rendering assistance is come.” He wrote in answer: “If you come by way of Jaisalmír to reduce Sind, I will send you assistance; but I will not let you pass by way of Bakkar, for I have no confidence in you.” Muhibb 'Alí Khān and Mujāhid Khān set off by the other route, and Sultān Mahmúd collected his army and sent it to oppose them. Muhibb 'Alí Khān came off victorious in the engagement which ensued, and after the defeat besieged the Bakkar-ites in the fortress of Mānélah. That fortress he took on terms of capitulation and quarter. Then Sultān Mahmúd sent the remnant of his army, consisting of gunners and archers, from the fortress of Bakkar to engage Muhibb 'Alí Khān. They met with the same fate as before, and then retreated to the fortress and there made a resolute stand. But, since the crowd-ing of people within the fortress was very great, the air became fearfully contaminated, and a terrible pestilence came on, so that 1,000 persons, more or less, died every day. At last in the year nine hundred and eighty-three (983) Sultān Mahmúd, who was an aged decrepit and imbecile old-man, himself succumbed, and the fortress fell into the hands of the Emperor. Then he sent Mír Gesú from Fathpúr to examine the stores and treasures of the place.


[Page 140]

In this year a dreadful event happened to the compiler of this epitome. It is briefly as follows: When Kānt and Golah became the jagir of Muhammad Husain Khān, and I, in accordance with the decree of fate, remained some time in his service, and became Çadr of that province, and had the responsibility of ministering to the faqírs, on the occasion of a pilgrimage to the shrine of that illustrious luminary, that Shaikh of nobles, that marvel of truth and religion, Shāh Madār (God sanctify his glorious tomb!) at Makanpúr one of the dependencies of Qannouj, I, this son of man who have imbibed my mother's crude milk, through the nature of my disposition which is compounded of innate carelessness (which is the cause of wrong-doing and repentance) and of radical ignorance (which conduces to presumption and damage, and has descended to me from the father of all flesh) wilfully closed the eyes of my intellect, and gave it the name of love. So I was captured in the net of desire and lust, and the secret contained in the ancient writing of fate was revealed, and suddenly in that shrine I committed a terrible piece of impropriety. But since the chastisement as well as the mercy of [Page 141] God (praise to Him, and glorious is His Majesty!) was upon me, I received punishment for that transgression, and chastisement for that sin even in this world, for God granted to some of the relatives of the beloved to overcome me, from whom I receive nine sword-wounds in succession on my head and hand and back. They all merely grazed the skin except one on my head which penetrated the bone of my skull, and reached the brain, exposing me as a brainless fellow, and another partially severed the sinews of the little finger of my left hand. I became unconscious and took a journey to the other world and came back again. I hope that at the Resurrection the future may also turn out well!

“Whatever calamity fortune hath inflicted,
I must say the truth, it was less than my deserts.
I never paid Him thanks for His goodness,
Until He certainly threw me into sorrow and woe”.

I met with a skilful surgeon in the town of Bāngarmou, and in the course of a single week my wounds were healed. In the midst of that pain and sickness I made a vow, that if I should recover from that accident, I would perform the pilgrimage of Islām. And to this moment I am still waiting to perform this vow, if God (He is exalted!) will, and I hope that He will prosper me to attain this felicity before I pay the debt of death and a breach is made in the building of hope: “And this would not be too difficult for God.” — “Some there are who have made good their promise, and others are waiting” :—

“In this turquoise palace of ancient foundation,
The son of man is wonderfully apt to err:
Gratitude is not his habit,
His business is only neglect of worship.
Although he passes his whole life amid mercies,
He never knows their value until they be lost.”
[Page 142]

(P. 138). Thence I went to Kānt u Golah. There after performing the ablution I was again thrown on a bed of sickness. And Husain Khān, whom God (praise to Him! He is exalted) will ere this have brought to the eternal paradise, treated me with the kindness of a father or a brother beyond all mortal capacity; and when through the excessive cold the wound became ulcerous, he made me a plaster of pungent wood of the tamarisk-tree, and made me eat a tamarisk sweet-meat. Thence I came to Badāún, where another surgeon re-opened the wound in my head, and I was near to death's door. One day between sleep and wakefulness:—

“It was not sleep, but it was unconsciousness”


[Page 148]

Accordingly on the 7th of the blessed month Ramzān the Emperor encamped at one cos distant from the fort, and proceeded to surround it, as the halo surrounds the moon. He distributed the entrenchments [among his forces] and by perpetual assaults he re-duced the garrison to extremities. In the course of two months he threw up immense mounds and high batteries, and the gunners and artillerymen kept up such a fire from under cover of them, that not an individual of the garrison of the fort dared to show his head. On the other side of the fort, which was contiguous to a tank of water he built a palace, and throwing up dams in its vicinity he cut off the water-supply from the besieged. Then the inhabitants of the fort sent out one Múlānā Nizām-ud-dín by name, a student of the art of rhetoric, to sue for quarter on the score of their weak-ness, defeat, and misery. Through the intervention of the Amírs [Page 149] he was admitted to an audience, and the petition of the people of the fort attained the grade of acceptance, and he was dismissed to announce to them the joyful news. The Emperor appointed Qāsim 'Alí Khān Bakkāl, and Khwājah Doulat Nāzír to go and re-assure Hamzabān and all the besieged, and to bring them to an audience. And a number of orthodox clerks were appointed to write down the names of the men, and to make an inventory of the property, so that everything was brought before His Majesty.

Out of the whole number of the people, the Emperor, after a severe reprimand and admonition, gave over to the keeper of pri-soners a few others as well as Hamzabān, who during the time of the siege had let fall some rude words, and impolite expressions. All the others he freely pardoned. This victory took place on the twenty-third of the month Shawwāl in the year nine hundred and eighty (980). And Ashraf Khān Mír Munshí composed this qit'ah:-

“The country-subduer Akbar Ghāzí, without dispute
There is no key of the forts of the world like his sword.
He has taken by assault the fort of Súrat,
The victory was gained only by his auspicious arm.
The date of the victory is He has taken a wonderful fort,*
But to the fortune of the Shāh of the world such things are not wonderful.”

The next day the Emperor went to inspect the fort, and gave orders that its breaches and ruins should be repaired and rebuilt. During this inspection he came across some large cannon, and im-mense pieces of ordinance. They had been brought by sea by Sulai-mān Sultān the Emperor of Turkey, when he came with a large army intending to take possession of the ports of Gujrāt; but afterwards on account of some adverse circumstances that army retired, and those cannon from that time were left behind on the river [Page 150] bank. At the time of the building of Súrat Khudāwand Khān Wazír brought most of them into the fort, and the remainder the Governor of Júnāgarh dragged into that fortress. The Emperor commanded that they should be removed from there, where so many were of no use, and be carried to the fortress of Āgrah.

They say that the reason for Khudāwand Khān's building this fort was, that the Portuguese used to exercise all kinds of animosity and hostility against the people of Islām, and used to occupy them-selves in devastating the country, and tormenting the pious. At the time of the commencement of the building they ceased not to throw the builders into confusion, firing continually at them from their ships, but they could not prevent them. The architects skilled in geometry and expert in subtleties carried the foundations of the centre of the fort down to the water, and also dug a moat of the same depth, and on the two sides of the fort which adjoined the land they built a wall of stone, adamant, and burnt brick. The length of the wall was thirty-five yards, and the breadth of the four walls of the fort was fifteen yards,and their height as well as the depth of the moat was twenty yards. The centres of each two stones were joined with iron clamps, and the interstices and joints were made firm with molten lead. The battlements and embrasures were so lofty and beautiful that the eye of the spectator was aston-ished at them. On the bastions which overlooked the sea they made a gallery, which in the opinion of the Europeans, is a speciality of Portugal and an invention of their own. The Europeans were very much opposed to the building of that Choukandí, and endeavoured to prevent it by force of arms. But at last they resorted to peaceful measures, and agreed to pay a round sum of money, if they would leave off building the Choukandí". But Khudāwand Khān through his love and zeal for Islām gave the reins to his high spirit,and would not consent, and in spite of the Christians soon carried out his purpose of completing the building.


[Page 164]
“Every bit of dust, which the wind blows away,
Was once a Fārídún or a Kaiqabād.
Sweet it is to practise fate's agriculture,
To sow* a Farídún, and reap a Khāqān.”


[Page 177]

They tell the story that one day Dāúd went out hunting with a small escort, and that Lodí with 10000 horsemen of Sulaimān's formed the design of put-ting down Dāúd. But Dāúd went back to the city, assembled his forces, and scattered Lodí's followers. By his crafty management he got Lodí into his power, and appropriated all that he possessed. Lodí, knowing his death to be certain, did not withhold his advice from Dāúd. He said: “Although I know that you will be very sorry after my death, and that you will derive no benefit from it, still I give you one piece of advice, which if you act upon, you will prove victorious. And that is, that you place no reliance upon that peace which I effected not long ago by means of two lacs of rupees. The Moghuls will never let you alone for this trifling sum. Be beforehand with them, and make war on them immediately, for there is nothing like the first blow.” Dāúd thought that he had an evil design in what he said,and proud of the hollow peace which he had made with the Khān Khānān, but which was no better than a mirage, he put the devoted Lodí to death. Thus he struck his own foot with the axe, and at the same time uprooted the plant of his prosperity with the spade of calamity.


[Page 189]

In this year there was in Gujrāt both a general pestilence and also a dearness of grain, to such an extent that one man of jawārí sold for 120 tankas, and numberless people died.


[Page 192]

In this year an order was promulgated for improving the culti-vation of the country, and for bettering the condition of the raiyats. All the pargannas of the country, whether dry or irrigated, whether in towns or hills, in deserts and jungles, by rivers, reservoirs, or wells, were all to be measured, and every such piece of land as, upon culti-vation would produce one kror of tankas, was to be divided off, and placed under the charge of an officer to be called Krorí, who was to be selected for his trustworthiness, whether known or un¬known to the re-venue clerks and treasurers, so that in the course of three years all the uncultivated land might be brought into culti-vation, and the public treasury might be replenished. Security was taken from each one of these officers. The measurement was begun in the neighbourhood of Fathpúr. One kror was named ādāmpúr, another Shethpúr, another Ayyubpur, and so on, according to the names of the various pro-phets. Officers were appointed, but eventually they did not carry out the regulations as they ought to have done. A great portion of the country was laid waste through the rapacity of the Krorís, the wives and children of the raiyats were sold and scattered abroad and everything was thrown into confusion. But the krorís were brought to account by Rājah Todar Mal, and many good men died from the severe beatings which were administered, and from the tortures of the rack and pincers. So many died from protracted confinement in the prisons of the revenue authorities, that there was no need of the executioner or swordsman, and no one cared to find them graves or grave-clothes. Their condition was like that of the devout Hindús in the country of Kāmrúp, who having dedicat-ed themselves to their idol, live for one year in the height of [Page 193] luxury, enjoying everything that comes to their hands; but at the end of the period, one by one they go and assemble at the idol temple, and cast themselves under the wheels of its car, or offer up their heads to the idol. The whole country, with the exception of those held immediately from the Crown (Khāliçah-lands), were held by the Amírs as jāgír: and as they were wicked and rebellious, and spent large sums on their stores and workshops, and amassed wealth, they had no leisure to look after the troops, or to take an interest in the people. In cases of emergency they came themselves with some of their slaves and Moghul attendants to the scene of the war; but of really useful soldiers there were none. Shahbāz Khān, the Mír Bakhshí, introduced the custom and rule of dāgh u mahall, which had been the rule of Sultān 'Alā-ud-din Khiljí, and afterwards the law under Shér Shāh. It was settled that every Amír should commence as commander of twenty (Bístí), and be ready with his followers to mount guard, carry messages, &c., as had been ordered; and when according to the rule he had brought the horses of his twenty troopers to be branded, he was then to be made a commander of 100 (Çadí), or of more. They were likewise to keep elephants, horses, and camels in proportion to their command (mançab), according to the same rule. When they had brought to the muster their new con-tingent complete, they were to be promoted according to their merits and circumstances to the post of commander of 1000 (Hazārí), or 2000 (Dúhazārí),or even of 5000 (Panjhazārí), which is highest command; but if they did not do well at the musters they were to be degraded. But notwithstanding this new regulation the condition of the soldiers grew worse, because the Amírs did as they pleased. For they put most of their own servants and mounted attendants into soldiers' clothes, brought them to the musters, and performed everything according to their duties. But when they got their jāgírs they gave leave to their mounted attendants, and when a new emer-gency arose, they mustered as many ‘borrowed’ soldiers as were requir-ed, and sent them away again, when they had served their purpose. Hence while the income and expediture of the mançabdār remained in statu quo, ‘dust fell into the platter of the helpless [Page 194] soldier,’ so much so, that he was no longer fit for anything. But from all sides there came a lot of low tradespeople, weavers and cotton- cleaners, carpenters, and green-grocers, both Hindú and Musalmān, and brought borrowed horses, got them branded, and were appointed to a command, or were made Krorís, or Ahadís, or Dākhilís to some one; and when a few days afterwards no trace was to be found of the imaginary horse and the visionary saddle, they had to perform their duties on foot. Many times it happened at the musters, before the Emperor himself in his special audience hall that they were weigh¬ ed in their clothes with their hands and feet tied, when they were found to weigh from 2 1/2 to 3 man more or less; and after inquiry it was found that they were all hired, and that their very clothes and saddles were borrowed articles. His Majesty then used to say, “With my eyes thus open I must give these men pay, that they may have something to live on.” After some time had passed away His Majesty divided the Ahadís into duaspah, yakaspah, and nímaspah, in which latter case two troopers kept one horse together, and shared the stipulated salary, which amounted to six rupees:—

“Lo! see all this in my day, but ask no questions.”


[Page 218]

Meanwhile A'zam Khān (who is also called Khān-i A'zam) was sent for from Gujrāt to appear at the Court, with which command he hastened to comply, and did homage at Fathpur on the 4th of Rajab in the year nine hundred and eighty-three (983). One day he broached the subject of the new regulations about branding horses, and the management of tax-collecting, and of contracting for the army, and of the distressed condition of agriculturists and other acts of oppression. Everything that he knew about these things he mentioned with unqualified disapprobation. For some time the Emperor, from old habit, could not endure this unpleasant plain-speaking, and ordered that for some time he should be forbidden the royal presence, and appointed officers to prevent any of the nobles from visiting him. After some days he sent him to Āgrah, that, closing the door of egress and ingress in the face of mankind, he might practise the retirement of a monastic solitude in his own garden.


[Page 222]

In this year the late Husain Khān (for whom, of all men of supe-rior understanding, the Author had an old and strong attachment, and the most perfectly sincere friendly relations) through infirmity caused by the appearance of that stage and mark, which is the destroyer of pleasures, and the vanquisher of the warrior, after the buffeting of all those troubles, which had passed over him, through apparent madness, but real wisdom, left Kānt-u-Golah with [Page 223] a band of his friends and intimates (who, whether in the flood of fire, or in the billows of the sea, had never in any wise deserted him), and, passing through the confines of Badāún and Sambhal, and crossing the river Ganges, arrived in the Dúāb. Then, after plund-ering, the mawāsānand disaffected of that neighbourhood (who, deeming the payment of rent unnecessary, never used to return any answer to their feudal lord, so that you may guess what happened to the helpless, duped, non-plussed, dishonoured tax-collectors) he went off to the base of the northern mountains.


[Page 240]

Then, since there was in that mountain district but little arable land, and so but a seanty amount of corn was produced, and moreover the Banjārās did not come, [Page 241] so that the army at that time was suffering from great scarcity, they set their wits to work to tackle the difficulty. Accordingly from time to time they singled out one of the Amírs in command, and commis-sioned him to bring corn into the lines, and wherever in the high hills and mountains they found many people congregated together, they broke them up and took them prisoners. And one had to sustain life upon the flesh of animals, and the mango-fruit. This latter grew there in such abundance as defies description. The common soldiers used to make a meal on it, fasting, in default of bread, and from its extreme juiciness very many of them became ill. The mango-fruit was actually produced in that country of the weight of a sér akbarí but for sweetness and flavour they are not up to much.


[Page 244]

In this year the Emperor sent Sayyid 'Abd-ullāh post haste to the Khān Jahān (who was encamped against Dāúd near K'halgāon, and was awaiting the arrival of Muzaffar Khān, and the army of Bihār and Hājí-púr) entrusted with a firmān expressing his anxiety for those Amírs, and promising the speedy arrival of His Majesty in person. And he despatched five lacs of rupees by a mounted messen-ger, as a subsidy to that army, and also ordered several vessels to start from Āgrah laden with corn for the troops.


[Page 283]

In the blessed month of Ramazan of this year the afore-mention-ed Qāzí 'Alí brought me (who through my absence from Court had begun to look upon myself as one of those forgotten out of mind) before the Emperor in the city of Ajmír, and mentioned my 1,000 bígahs of subsistence-land, which he said caused me to waste my time:—

“To the Court of Princes in season and out of season
Thou shouldest go in order to receive some grant.

The Emperor said: “I suppose that in the farmān for this grant there is some condition insisted on”. He replied: “Certainly, it was on condition of his attendance at Court.” The Emperor said: “Make enquiries, perhaps he is not well, that he absents himself so long.” Ghāzí Khān Badakhshí said in joke: “He is suffering from a purse-complaint”: and all the courtiers made some reference to the duties of my late office of Imām, which together with public prayer, was at that time in abeyance. Shahbāz Khān said: “He ought always to be present.” The Emperor said: “We do not wish any one to attend against his will, if he does not care about attending at Court, let him have but half of the grant.” Immedi-ately I resigned it, and this was very annoying to the Emperor, and he turned his face from me. But when Qāzí 'Alí kept perpe-tually asking the Emperor: “What does your Majesty decree con-cerning it?” after a good deal of talk he said: “Ask Shaikh 'Abd-un-nabí (who is now at the Camp) how much he ought to [Page 284] have without condition of attendance.” Shaikh 'Abd-un-nabí sent word by the late Mullānā Ilāhdād of Amrohah: “Since he is a family-man, and the expenses he has are well known, we approve of his having the amount, which your Majesty has decreed, viz., 700 or 800 bígahs. But the courtiers did not see the fitness of this, and put great pressure on me to be more diligent in attend-ance, so that nolens volens I fell again into the snare:—

“The clever bird, when it falls into the snare,
Has to bear it as well as he can.”

All this arose from my not consenting to be branded as his disciple, and I used frequently to allude to it, and in extemporary verse I used to say:—

“I am glad I have not a horseman nor a foot-soldier,
I am free from the bond of the king, and of the Prince too.”


[Page 286]

And any piece of orthodox learning which a man might have acquired became his bane, and the cause of his degradation. And the Ulamā and Shaikhs, the leaders of thought to all around, he sent for to the Court, and enquired into their grant-lands and pen-sions. He saluted and honoured them all in the Moghul style, and [Page 287] when they had had either a public or a private audience with him he settled upon them a certain portion of land according to the opinion he had formed of them. And any one, whom he knew to have pupils, or assemblies for dervish-dancing, or any kind of counterfeit worship, he named “a shop,” and either sent him to prison, or dismissed him to Bengāl or Bakkar. And this business was always going on. Those Pírs who had reached a blessed old age, and those Shaikhs who were nearest eternity, were the best off. But to enter into details would be too long. And on account of these farmāns the Çúfís, who gave themselves up to dances and ecstacies, were subjected to the testamur of Hindú examiners, and through their evil state “they forgot their religious ecstasy.”These were banished from their country and had to creep into mouse-holes, and the whole position was reversed:—

“There was one year such a famine in Damascus,
That lovers forgot love.
Heaven became so stingy towards earth,
That fields and palms did not wet their lips.”

And in truth those wretched assemblies, and absurd ceremonies, and those worthless hypocritical Çúfís were for the more part quite worthy of perishing:—

“That is not Çúfí-action or liberality,
But rather deceitful action and bawdery.
Theft and robbery are better than this,
Robbing the dead of their clothes is better than this.”


[Page 297]

At this time Niyābat Khān, son of Hāshim Khān, Níshāpúrí, who at the time of the Emperor's going to Patnah had found favour, revolted in Jhosí and Payāg(Prayag), which was his jāgír, and marching against Karah, which sided with Isma'íl Qulí Khān: and an Afghān named Ilyās Khān, who was governor of that place, slew Ilyās Khān in battle. They then laid siege to the fortress, and began to ravage and lay waste the country. The Emperor appointed Isma'íl Qulí Khān Vazír Khān, and Mutlab Khān, and Shaikh Jamāl Bakhtyār, and other Amírs, to march against Niyābat Khān.


[Page 310]

And since, in his Majesty's opinion, it was a settled fact, that the 1000 years since the time of the mission of the Prophet (peace be upon him!), which was to be the period of the continuance of the faith of Islām, were now completed, no hindrance remained to the promulgation of those secret designs, which he nursed in his heart. And so, considering any further respect or regard for the Shaikhs and Ulamā (who were unbending and uncompromising) to be un-necessary, he felt at liberty to embark fearlessly on his design of annulling the statutes and ordinances of Islām, and of establishing his own cherished pernicious belief [in their stead].

The first command that he issued was this: that the “Era of the Thousand” should be stamped on the coins, and that a Tāríkhí Alfí, commencing with the Death of the Prophet, should be written. And many other wonderful and strange innovations, by way of [Page 311] politic and wise expedients, did he devise. so that the mind became bewildered by them. For one thing he decreed that Sijdah, under the name of Zamín-bos, ought to be offered to kings. Another was that wine might be drunk, if for the healing of the body by the advice of the physicians. But, lest confusion and wickedness should become more common on this account, he laid down severe punishments on excessive drinking, carousals, and disorderly conduct. And in order to keep the matter within due bounds he set up a wine-shop near the palace, under the charge of the Porter's wife who belonged by birth to the class of wine-sellers, and appointed a fixed tariff. Persons who wished to purchase wine, as a remedy for sickness, could do so by having their name, and that of their father and grandfather, written down by the clerk. Some by deceit had false names written down, and so obtain-ed wine—for who could accurately enquire into such a matter? And [in point of fact] a shop for the benefit of drunkards was opened. They say, moreover, that swine-flesh formed a component part of that wine, but God knows! In spite of all precautions confusion and wicked-ness raised its head, and, however many persons were every day punished, no practical result was effected.


[Page 312]

Another thing was the prohibition to eat beef. The origin of this embargo was this, that from his tender years onwards the Emperor had been much in company with rascally Hindús, and thence a reverence for the cow (which in their opinion is the cause of the stability of the world) became firmly fixed in his mind. Moreover he had introduced a whole host of the daughters of eminent Hindú Rājas into his haram, and they had influenced his mind against the eating of beef and garlic and onions, and association with people who wore beards—and such things he then avoided and still does avoid. And [Page 313] these customs and heretical practices he introduced after his own fashion into his assemblies, and still retains them.


[Page 315]

Similarly [he argued] that there could be no sense in offering food, which is material, to the spirit of a dead person, since he cer-tainly could not experience any benefit from it: much better, there-fore, would it be, on the day of any one's birth to make that a high feast day. And this he named Āsh-i Hayāt ‘Food of life.’


[Page 316]

The era of the Hijrah was now abolished, and a new era was introduced, of which the first year was the year of the Emperor's accession, viz., nine hundred and sixty-three. The months had the same names as at the time of the old Persians kings, and as given in the Niçāb-uç-çibyān. Fourteen festivals also were introduced corresponding to the feasts of the Zoroastrians; but the Feasts of the Musalmāns and their glory were trodden down, the Friday prayer alone being retained, because some old, decrepit, silly people used to go to it. The new era was called the Tāríkh-i-Ilāhí.


[Page 319]

At the new year's feasts His Majesty inveigled many of the 'Ulamā and the pious, nay even the Qāzís and Muftís of the realm into the ravine of toast-drinking:—

“Love for thee brings news from the world of madness,
It brings pious people to wine-bibbing.
Thy memory, O Love, what a masterly potion it is,
For it makes us forget all that we have learnt.”


[Page 331]

When the twenty-eighth year day from the accession was com-pleted, the new year's day of the twenty-ninth, corresponding to the twenty-fifth of the month Çafar of the year nine hundred and ninety-one (991), was celebrated, and according to the old cus-tom, stalls in the fancy Bāzār were distributed to the diffe-rent Amírs, and arranged by them, and all sorts of festivities and amusements were the order of the day. And Shāh Fath-ullāh in his stall exhibited all sorts of skill, such as the dragging about of weights, and other strange contrivances.

At this time His Majesty promulgated some of his new-fangled decrees. The killing of animals on the first day of the week was strictly prohibited, because this day is sacred to the Sun, also during the first eighteen days of the month of Farwardín; the whole of the month of ābān (the the month in which His Ma-jesty was born); and on several other days, to please the Hindús. This order was extended over the whole realm and punishment was inflicted on every one, who acted against the command; and his property was confiscated. During the time of these fasts the Emperor abstained altogether from meat, as a religious penance, gradually extending the several fasts during a year over six months and even more, with a view to eventually discontinuing the use of meat al-together.


[Page 334]

In the same year His Majesty built outside the town two places for feeding poor Hindús and Musalmāns, one of them being called Khaipúrah, and the other Dharmpúrah. Some of Abu-l-Fazl's people were put in charge of them. They spent His Majesty's money in feeding the poor. As an immense number of Jogís also flocked to this establishment, a third place was built, which got the name of Jogípúrah.

His Majesty also called some of the Jogís, and gave them at night private interviews, enquiring into abstract truths; their articles of faith; their occupation; the influence of pensiveness: their several practices and usages; the power of being absent from the body; or into alchemy, physiognomy, and the power of omnipresence of the soul. [Page 335] His Majesty even learned alchemy, and showed in public some of the gold made by him. On a fixed night, which came once a year, a great meeting was held of Jogís from all parts. This night they called Sívrāt. The Emperor eat and drank with the principal Jogís, who promised him that he should live three or four times as long as ordinary men. His Majesty fully believed it, and connec-ting their promises with other inferences he had drawn, it became impressed on his mind as indelibly as though it were engraved on a rock. Fawning court doctors, wisely enough, found proofs of the longevity of the Emperor, and said that the cycle of the moon, during which the lives of men are short, was drawing to its close, and that the cycle of Saturn was at hand, with which a new cycle of ages, and consequently the original longevity of mankind, would again commence. Thus they said, it was mentioned in some holy books that men used to live up to the age of one thousand years while in some of their own Sanskrit books the age of men was described as ten thousand years; and in Tibet there was even now a class of Lāmas, or devotees, and recluses, and hermits of Cathay, who live two hundred years, and more. For this reason His Majesty, in imitation of the usages of these Lāmahs, limited the time he spent in the Harem, curtailed his food and drink, but especially abstained from meat. He also shaved the hair of the crown of his head, and let the hair at the sides grow, because he believed that the soul of perfect beings, at the time of death, passes out by the crown (which is the tenth opening of the human body) with a noise resembling thunder, which the dying man may look upon as a proof of his happiness and salvation from sin, and as a sign that his soul by metempsychosis will pass into the body of some grand and mighty king. His Majesty gave his religious system the name of Tauhíd-i-Ilāhí:—

“You want to have this world at your wish,
And also the right Religion:
These two are not compatible,
Heaven is not your slave.”
[Page 336]

And a number of disciples, who thought themselves something particular, he called Chelah, in accordance with the technical term of the Jogís. And another lot, consisting of wolves among the sheep, and hunters of the weak, who were not admitted into the palace stood every morning opposite to the window, near which His Majesty used to pray to the sun, and declared that they had made vows not to rinse their mouth, nor to eat and drink, before they had seen the blessed countenance of the Emperor. And every evening there was a regular Court assembly of needy Hindús and Musalmāns, all sorts of people, men and women, healthy and sick, a queer gathering and a most terrible crowd. No sooner had His Majesty finished saying the thousand and one names of the “Greater Luminary,” and stepped out into the balcony, than the whole crowd prostrated themselves. Cheating, thieving Brahmans collected an-other set of one thousand and one names of “His Majesty the Sun,” and told the Emperor that he was an incarnation, like Rām, Krishna, and other infidel kings; and though Lord of the world, he had assumed his shape, in order to play with the people of our planet. In order to flatter him, they also brought Sanscrit verses, said to have been taken from the sayings of ancient sages, in which it was predicted that a great conqueror would rise up in India, who would honour Brahmans and cows, and govern the earth with justice. They also wrote this nonsense on old looking paper, and showed it to the Emperor, who believed every word of it:—

"Everyone one to whom thou saidst, Welcome! was welcome."

This text is an English-language translation of the original version:

This is a selection from the original text


cram, drink, famine, flesh, food, grain, health, pestilence, physiognomy, religion, waste

Source text

Title: Muntakhabh-Ut-Tawarikh-Vol.2

Author: Badayuni

Editor(s): George S. A. Ranking

Publication date: 1990

Original compiled c.1590-1615

Original date(s) covered: 1556-1596

Place of publication: New Delhi

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at the Digital Library of India: Original compiled c.1590-1615 Original date(s) covered: 1556-1596

Digital edition

Original author(s): Abd al-Qadir Badauni

Original editor(s): George S. A. Ranking

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) 1 to 2
  • 2 ) 41
  • 3 ) 68 to 70
  • 4 ) 86
  • 5 ) 87 to 88
  • 6 ) 96
  • 7 ) 125 to 127
  • 8 ) 138
  • 9 ) 140 to 142
  • 10 ) 148 to 150
  • 11 ) 164
  • 12 ) 177
  • 13 ) 189
  • 14 ) 192 to 194
  • 15 ) 218
  • 16 ) 222 to 223
  • 17 ) 240 to 241
  • 18 ) 244
  • 19 ) 283 to 284
  • 20 ) 286 to 287
  • 21 ) 297
  • 22 ) 310 to 311
  • 23 ) 312
  • 24 ) 315
  • 25 ) 316
  • 26 ) 319
  • 27 ) 331
  • 28 ) 334 to 336


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: India > chronicle histories

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.