Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon Oct 25, 2021 5:21 am

XXI. Inscriptions on the Staff of Firuz Shah, translated from the Sanscrit, as explained by Radha Canta Sarman. Excerpt from Asiatic Researches, Volume 1
P. 315-317.
1788

I now proceed to lay before the Society the results of my application of the alphabet, developed by the simple records of Bhilsa, to the celebrated inscription on Feroz's column, of which facsimiles have been in the Society's possession since its very foundation, without any successful attempt having been made to decipher them. This is the less to be wondered at when we find that 500 years before, on the re-erection of the pillar, perhaps for the second or third time, by the emperor Feroz [r. 1351–1388)], the unknown characters were just as much a mystery to the learned as they have proved at a later period — "Round it" says the author of the Haftaklim, "have been engraved literal characters which the most intelligent of all religions have been unable to explain. Report says, this pillar is a monument of renown to the rajas or Hindu princes, and that Feroz Shah set it up within his hunting place: but on this head there are various traditions which it would be tedious to relate."

Neither Muhammed Ami'n the author of the Haftaklim [Muhammad Amin Razi, [x], vide Amin Ahmad, author of the Haft Aklim -- The Oriental Biographical Dictionary], nor Ferishteh, in his account of Feroz's works alludes to the comparatively modern inscription on the same pillar recording the victories of Visala Deva king of Sacambhari (or Sambhar) in the 12th century, of which Sir William Jones first, and Mr. Colebrooke afterwards, published translations in the first and seventh volumes of the Researches. This was in quite a modern type of Nagari; differing about as much from the character employed on the Allahabad pillar to record the victories of Chanara and Samudra-gupta, as that type is now perceived to vary from the more ancient form originally engraven on both of these pillars; so that (placing Chandra-gupta, in the third or fourth century, midway between Visala, in the Samvat year 1220, and the oldest inscription) we might have roughly deduced an antiquity of fourteen or fifteen centuries anterior to Visala's reign for the original lat alphabet, from the gradual change of form in the alphabetical symbols, had we no better foundation for fixing the period of these monuments.

But in my preceding notice, I trust that this point has been set at rest, and that it has been satisfactorily proved that the several pillars of Delhi, Allahabad, Mattiah and Radhia were erected under the orders of king Devanampiya Piyadasi of Ceylon, about three hundred years before the Christian era.

VI.—Interpretation of the most ancient of the inscriptions on the pillar called the lat of Feroz Shah, near Delhi, and of the Allahabad, Radhia [Lauriya-Araraj (Radiah)] and Mattiah [Lauriya-Nandangarh (Mathia)] pillar, or lat, inscriptions which agree therewith., by James Prinsep, Sec. As. Soc. &c.

I have the pleasure of presenting to the Society a Book of Drawings and Inscriptions prepared under the inspection of their late member, Captain James Hoare, and intended by him (I have reason to believe) for the life of the Society.

Two of the drawings represent elevations, taken on the spot, of the stone building near Dehlee, called the Shikargah, or hunting place, of Feeroz Shah; with the pillar in the center, and above the summit of it, commonly known by the designation of Feeroz Shah’s Lat; and described, with an outline of the building and pillar, in the 21st paper of the 1st Vol. of the Society’s Transactions.
The copy of the inscriptions on this pillar, which was received by our revered President and Founder from Colonel Polier, enabled him to exhibit a translation of one of them, as accurate as the imperfect state of the transcript would admit; but on comparing it with a more perfect copy made by Captain Hoare, it was found in several parts defective and inaccurate; and the date, instead of being 123 of the era of Vicramaditya, or A.D. 67, as appeared from the former copy, was clearly ascertained, from the present, to be 1220 of the above era, or A.D. 1164. An accurate translation of this inscription has therefore been furnished by Mr. Henry Colebrooke, (who has distinguished himself as a Sanscrit scholar by his version of the Hindoo Law Digest, compiled under the superintendence of Sir William Jones,) and is now submitted to the Society, with the original Sanscrit in Roman letters.

-- Translation of one of the Inscriptions on the Pillar At Dehlee, called the Lat of Feeroz Shah, Excerpt from Asiatic Researches, Volume 7, by Henry Colebrooke, Esq., With Introductory Remarks by Mr. Harington.

Image
Ashoka Pillar at Feroze Shah Kotla, Delhi, 1861.

A pristine polished sandstone Topra Ashokan pillar from the 3rd century BC rises from the palace's crumbling remains, one of many pillars of Ashoka left by the Mauryan emperor; it was moved from Topra Kalan in Pong Ghati of Yamunanagar district in Haryana to Delhi under orders of Firoz Shah Tughlaq of Delhi Sultanate, and re-erected in its present location in 1356. The original inscription on the obelisk is primarily in Brahmi script but language was Prakrit, with some Pali and Sanskrit added later. The inscription was successfully translated in 1837 by James Prinsep. This and other ancient lats (pillars, obelisk) have earned Firoz Shah Tughlaq and Delhi Sultanate fame for its architectural patronage....

Feroz Shah Tughlaq (r. 1351–1388), the Sultan of Delhi, established the fortified city of Firozabad in 1354, as the new capital of the Delhi Sultanate, and included in it the site of the present Feroz Shah Kotla. Kotla literally means fortress or citadel. The pillar, also called obelisk or Lat is an Ashoka Column, attributed to Mauryan ruler Ashoka. The 13.1 meters high column, made of polished sandstone and dating from the 3rd century BC, was brought from Ambala in the 14th century under orders of Feroz Shah. It was installed on a three-tiered arcaded pavilion near the congregational mosque, inside the Sultanate's fort. In centuries that followed, much of the structure and buildings near it were destroyed as subsequent rulers dismantled them and reused the spolia as building materials....

The Ashokan Pillar which is now within Feroz Shah Kotla is towards the north of Jama Masjid [Mosque]. The Pillar was first erected by King Ashoka between 273 and 236 BC in Topra Kalan, Yamunanagar district, Haryana.

Of note, there is another Ashokan Pillar, that is seen installed near the Hindu Rao Hospital, also erected by King Ashoka in Meerut. This pillar, however, was unfortunately broken into five pieces after it was damaged during an explosion. The pillar was neglected for a century up till 1838 when after the Revolt of 1857 Raja Hindu Rao took charge to transfer the Ashokan Pillar's broken pieces to Kolkata's Asiatic Society. Within a year, the structure was put together and re-established.

Both the Ashokan Pillars were carefully wrapped with cotton silk and were kept on a bed of reed made of raw silk. These were hence transported on a massive carriage attached with 42 wheels and drawn meticulously by 200 men from their original places to Delhi by Feroz Shah Tughlaq to avoid any damage during the journey. Upon reaching Delhi, they were then transported on huge boats to their final destination, one within Feroz Shah Kotla and the other on the ridge near Delhi University and Bara Hindu Rao Hospital.


-- Feroz Shah Kotla, by Wikipedia


Image
The Staff of Firuz Shah.
[10'4" circumference at base / 37' tall / red]


Image
Remains of an Ancient Building near Firoz Shah's Cotilla
Artist and engraver: Daniell, Thomas (1749-1840)
Date: 1795
Plate 7 from the first set of Thomas Daniell's 'Oriental Scenery.' In the 14th Century Delhi was the capital of the Tughluqs, powerful rulers whose kingdom encompassed almost all of the subcontinent. The citadel (Daniell's Cotilla or kotla) of Firuz Shah, on the river Jumna, was built by Firuz Shah Tughluq, who ruled between 1351 and 1388. The buildings in this aquatint no longer exist and the citadel is now in the south-east of modern Delhi. The course of the Jumna has now shifted eastwards. This view was reproduced on a Staffordshire earthenware dish around 1810-20.

-- British Library Online Gallery, bl.uk

He had a large personal library of manuscripts in Persian, Arabic and other languages. He brought 2 Ashokan Pillars from Meerut, and Topra near Radaur in Yamunanagar district of Haryana, carefully cut and wrapped in silk, to Delhi in bullock cart trains. He re-erected one of them on the roof of his palace at Firoz Shah Kotla.

... When the Qutb Minar struck by lightning in 1368 AD, knocking off its top storey, he replaced them with the existing two floors, faced with red sandstone and white marble. One of his hunting lodges, Shikargah, also known as Kushak Mahal, is situated within the Teen Murti Bhavan complex, Delhi.
Image
Sikargah or Kushak Mahal, 14th-century hunting lodge built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq.

Image
Teen Murti Bhavan: Residence of India's first Prime minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru

-- Teen Murti Bhavan, by Wikipedia

-- Firuz Shah Tughlaq, by Wikipedia


In a very singular monument near Delhi, an outline of which is here exhibited, and which the natives call the Staff of Firuz Shah, are several old inscriptions partly in ancient Nagari letters, and partly in a character yet unknown; and Lieutenant Colonel Polier, having procured exact impressions of them, presents the Society with an accurate Copy of all the Inscriptions. Five of them are in Sanscrit, and, for the most part, intelligible; but it will require great attention and leisure to decypher the others. If the language be Sanscrit, the powers of the unknown letters may, perhaps, hereafter be discovered by the usual mode of decyphering; and that mode, carefully applied even at first, may lead to a discovery of the language. In the mean time, a literal version of the legible Inscriptions is laid before you. They are, on the whole, sufficiently clear; but the sense of one or two passages is at present inexplicable.

I.

The first, on the southwest side of the pillar, is perfectly detached from the rest: it is about seventeen feet from the base, and two feet higher than the other inscriptions.

OM.

In the year 1230, on the first day of the bright half of the month Vaisach (a monument) of the Fortunate Visala Deva Son of the Fortunate Amilla Deva, King of Sacambhari.

II.

The next, which is engraved as a specimen of the character, consists of two stanzas in four lines; but each hemistich is imperfect at the end, the two first wanting seven, and the two last five, syllables. The word Sacambhari in the former inscription enables us to supply the close of the third hemistich.

OM.

As far as Vindhya, as far as Hsinadri, (the Mountain of Snow,) he was not deficient in celebrity ... making Aryaverta (the Land of Virtue, or India) even once more what its name signifies ... He having departed, Prativahaamana Tilaca (is) king of Sacambhari: (Sacam only remains on the monument.) By us (the region between) Himawat and Vindhya has been made tributary.

In the year from Sri Vicramaditta 123, in the bright half of the month Vaisach ... at that time the Rajaputra Sri Sallaca was Prime Minister.

The second stanza, supplied from the last inscription, and partly by conjecture, will run thus:

vritte sa prativahamana tilacah sacambharibhupatik
aswabhik caradam vyadhayi himawadvinahyatavimana alam.


Image

The date 123 is here perfectly clear; at least it is clear that only three figures are written, without even room for a cypher after them; whence we may guess that the double circle in the former inscription was only an ornament, or the neutral terminal am; if so, the date of both is the year of Christ sixty-seven; but if the double circle be a Zero, the monument of Visala Deva is as modern as the year 1174, or nineteen years before the conquest of Delhi by Shihabuddin.

III and IV.

The two next inscriptions were in the same words, but the stanzas, which in the fourth are extremely mutilated, are tolerably perfect in the third, wanting only a few syllables at the beginning of the hemistichs:

yak cshiveshu praharta nripatishu vinamatcandhareshu prasannah
--vah sambi purindrah jagata vijayate visala cahonipalah
... da sajnya esha vijayl santanajanatmajah
... punan cshemastu bruvatamudyogasunyanmanah


He who is resentful to kings intoxicated with pride, indulgent to those whose necks are humbled, an INDRA in the city of Causambi (I suspect Causambi, a city near Hastinapur, to be the true reading,) who is victorious in the world, Visala, sovereign of the earth: he gives ... his commands being obeyed, he is a conqueror, the son of Santanajana, whose mind, when his foes say, 'Let there be mercy,' is free from further hostility.

This inscription was engraved, in the presence of Sri Tilaca Raja, by Sripati, the son of Mahava, a Cayastha, of a family in Gauda, or Bengal.

V.

The fifth seems to be an elegy on the death of a king named Vigraha, who is represented as only slumbering. The last hemistich is hardly legible, and very obscure; but the send of both stanzas appears to be this.

OM.

1. An offence to the eyes of (thy) enemy's consort (thou) by whom fortune was given to every suppliant, thy fame, joined to extensive dominion, shines, as we desire, before us. The heart of (thy) foes was vacant, even as a path in a desert, where men are hindred from passing, O fortunate Vigraha Rajadeva, in the jubilee occasioned by thy march.

2. May thy abode, O Vigraha, sovereign of the world, be fixed, as in reason, (it ought) in the bosoms, embellished with love's allurements, and full of dignity, of the women with beautiful eyebrows, who were married to thy enemies! Whether thou art Indra, or Vishnu, or Siva, there is even no deciding: thy foes (are) fallen, like descending water. Oh! why dost thou through delusion, continue sleeping?
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Oct 26, 2021 10:22 am

Indian Epigraphy and the Asiatic Society: The First Fifty Years
by Ludo Rocher and Rosane Rocher
University of Pennsylvania
Bulletin of the Asia Institute
New Series, Vol. 23 (2009), pp. 159-170 (12 pages)
Published by: Bulletin of the Asia Institute, a Non-Profit Corporation

In his signature Indian Epigraphy (1998), the honoree of the present volume devoted a chapter to "The History of Indian Epigraphic Studies." The purpose of our essay is to follow up on the first period of this history, "The Pioneering Era: Early Readings of Indian Inscriptions (1781-1834)" (IE: 199-203), focusing on the dynamics and modalities of this epoch, which encompassed the early years of the Asiatic(k) Society and the publication of the twenty volumes of Asiatic(k) Researches, before "the study of Indian inscriptions erupted in a blaze of glory" (IE: 203).

After the slow but steady progress of the first three decades of the nineteenth century, the study of Indian inscriptions erupted in a blaze of glory in the middle of the 1830s.

-- Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the Other Indo-Aryan Languages, by Richard Salomon


More than any other, the first volume of AR dealt with epigraphy (1788: seven articles). Studies on inscriptions further appeared in volumes 2 (1790: two), 3 (1792: one), 5 (1798: two), 7 (1801: one), 9(1807: one), 12 (1816: one), 14 (1822: one), 15 (1825: two), 16 (1828: two), and 20 (1836-1839: two).

The Role of the Asiatic Society

As it did for many areas of research on India, the Asiatic Society provided a rallying point, an established institution where contributions to the study of epigraphy could be submitted, discussed, published, and widely distributed. The abundance of papers on inscriptions in the first volume of AR shows that there was a store of material susceptible of publication. Presenting an "Account of the Sculptures and Ruins at Mavalipuram" at the meeting of 17 June 1784, William Chambers regretted that, when he visited the site in 1772 and 1776, there did not exist in India "so powerful an incentive to diligent enquiry and accurate communication, as the establishment of this Society must now prove" (PAS 1: 33, publ. 1788, AR 1: 145-70 @145). Inscriptions had incidentally drawn Chambers' attention, as that of other visitors to ancient monuments. He was sufficiently impressed later to tell his fellow members that "on one of the Pagodas . . . there is an inscription of a single line, in a character at present unknown to the Hindoos," and that be hoped "that some method may be fallen upon of procuring an exact copy of this inscription," since it was one of the "circumstances attending these monuments, which cannot but excite great curiosity, and on which future inquiries may possibly throw some light" (AR 1: 152).

The fortuitous character of epigraphic discoveries did not cease with the founding of the Asiatic Society. John Herbert Harington, the Society's secretary from 1784 to 1792, reported:

A knowledge of the antiquities of Hinduism forming one of the several objects proposed by the institution of our Society, with the hope of communicating something acceptable on this head, I took the opportunity of a late excursion up the country (to visit a cave near Bodh-Gaya) ... On my describing it to the President, whom I had the pleasure to accompany, I was encouraged by him to think that a particular account of it would be curious and useful, and in consequence made a second visit to it from Gya, when I took the following measurements, and, by the means of my Moonshee, a copy of the inscription on it" (1788, AR 1: 276).


It thus appears that Sir William Jones had suggested that Harington explore and describe the cave, and that Harington's discovery of an inscription was accidental.1

Charles Wilkins was in the rare position of not having to wait for the founding of the Asiatic Society to get his work into print. In 1781, shortly after beginning to learn Sanskrit, "the Caxton of India" printed at his own press in Calcutta a translation Governor-General Warren Hastings had asked him to make of an inscription on copper found at Mungir. The first volume of AR reprinted this tract, omitting the dedication to Hastings and adding a facsimile of the inscription, and insured a wide distribution for what had been an obscure pamphlet (1788, AR 1: 123-30). For Wilkins, interest in epigraphy and in Sanskrit went hand in hand. He intimated in his dedication that Hastings' approval of his translation of the Mungir inscription would constitute "a farther inducement ... to pursue the study of the Sanscrit language, in the intricacies of which so much valuable learning lies hidden." He kept Hastings, who allowed him to reside in Banaras for the purpose of learning Sanskrit, apprised of his further epigraphic work, for a handwritten copy of his translation of an inscription at Bodh-Gaya was returned to the custodian of Hastings' papers from Daylesford, his last residence, in September 1836 (APAC: MSS Eur. F324/3, publ. 1788, AR 1: 284-87). Wilkins was already interested in epigraphy in 1780, when, he later wrote,

I discovered, in the vicinity of the town of Buddal, near which the Company have a Factory, and which at that time was under my charge, a decapitated monumental column ... At a few feet above the ground Ii an inscription engraved in the stone, from which I took two reversed impressions with printer's ink.


After initial frustrations, he was able to present his findings to the Society on 14 July 1785, by which time he had "lately been so fortunate as to decypher the character" (PAS 1: 58, publ. 1788, AR 1: 131-41@131).

The Asiatic Society clearly appreciated papers on inscriptions more than on some other objects. Inscriptions found and copied by John Eardley Wilmot, translated by Wilkins, were welcomed and published in AR (15 Dec. 1785, PAS 1: 68, publ. 1790, AR 2: 167-69; 29 Dec. 1785, PAS 1:69, publ. 1788, AR 1: 284-87). By contrast, Wilmot's concurrent communication of "a number of drawings of Hindu temples and images" only elicited the thanks of the Society "for the entertainment afforded by his performances" (29 Dec. 1785, PAS 1: 69). Twenty years after the Society's foundation, when botanist Nathaniel Wallich volunteered to curate a museum in the new structure the Society had built to house its activities, and the Society resolved to draw and make public a list of objects it solicited, the first item in a list of 17 desiderata was "Inscriptions on stone or brass" (2 Feb. 1814, PAS 2: 471, publ. 1816, AR 12: Appendix, v).

Crucial for publication was the availability of a translation. A communication of Charles W. Malet "containing some account of the caves of Salset; and enclosing an inscription taken from them, the character and language of which is unknown" was "returned with the thanks of the Society" (30 June 1785, PAS 1: 57). Years later, when Lieut. William Price sent "a copy of an imperfect inscription in Sanscrit found upon a stone in Bundelcund," he was asked "to add any further remarks or a translation to his communication" (3 Feb. 1813, PAS 2: 453). At a following meeting, was "[r]ead a letter from Lieut. W. Price forwarding to the Society a large stone with Sanscrit inscription found in Bundlelkhund accompanied with a manuscript copy and a translation." Only then was it resolved "that Lieut. Price receive thanks of the Society and that the translated inscriptions be referred to the Committee of Papers" (2 June 1813, PAS 2: 455-56). Price's "Translation of a Sanscrit Inscription on a Stone Found in Bundelc'hand" was published in the long delayed twelfth volume of AR together with a letter dated Calcutta, 1 September 1813, addressed to Society president Henry Thomas Colebrooke, in which Price related how he had "observed a stone, with a Sanscrit inscription, lying at the foot of a rocky hill in the vicinity of the town of Mow, about ten miles from Chatterpur," had the stone removed, deciphered the inscription, and begged leave "to present the monument to the Asiatick Society, and to lay before them a correct transcript of the original, in modern Devanagari character, with a literal translation" (1816, AR 12: 357-74 @357, 358).

Among submitted inscriptions that remained unpublished, apparently for lack of a translation or interpretive account, was a set of facsimiles presented by Major Colin Mackenzie, surveyor of Mysore, an avid collector of inscriptions in South India (7 Jan. 1807, PAS 2: 3411 cf. IE: 203). Similarly, no action other than a vote of thanks was taken on "a transcript of an inscription on stone in the fort of Hansi together with a specimen of the character," which Lieut. Edward Fell first submitted with the rider: "[ I] am sorry that at present my slight knowledge of the Sanscrit prevents an accompanying translation. I fear even some parts of this may be incorrect from the mutilated state of the letters" (5 Aug. 1812, PAS 2: 446, 821- 22). Fell did become an excellent Sanskritist and later submitted a translation of the Hansi inscription, repeatedly begging secretary Horace Hayman Wilson to present it to the Society (7 Mar. 1822, 30 Oct. 1822, 11 Jan. 1823, 21 May 1823, APAC: MSS Eur. E301/1, ff. 77, 95, 103, 116). There was no follow-up either on Fell's submission of a "translation of an inscription from Gurrah Mandal" (7 May 1823, PAS 3: 467). The hitch appears to have been Fell's inability to provide a historical context, for he wrote Wilson on 18 June 1823:

I have nothing in the way of history on the Gurrah & Hansi inscriptions. I don't even know where the first was found -- it was given to me by Col. OBrien -- the latter I transcribed when at Hansi -- it is built in the wall of a handsome Mosque created by Mahmud Ghori, who conquered Hansi ... in 1192. Your fertile genius will enable you to add a few explanations" (APAC: MSS Eur. E301/1, ff. 122-23).


Wilson eventually included both in "Sanscrit Inscriptions. By (the late) Captain E. Fell. With observations by H. H. Wilson" (1825, AR 15: 436-69 @437- 43, 443-46), after all of Fell's manuscript translations were "placed at [his] disposal, upon one condition, viz. that [he would] be so good as to prepare for publication any which in [his] judgment are deserving of it" (Charles Thoresby to Wilson, 1 June 1824, APAC: MSS Eur. E301/1, f. 139). The first of these two inscriptions had been the subject of a duplicate submission. Captain R. Lachlan had laid before the Society on 16 September 1820 "a copy of a Sanscrit inscription detailing the genealogy of the Kings of Gurhamandala with an English translation by Capt. Price" (PAS 3: 358), to which no further reference is found.

Few people who discovered inscriptions were capable of deciphering and translating or interpreting them. As we noted, Wilkins became able to do so several years after discovering the inscription at Badal, Fell some time after first examining that at Hansi. As we also noted, Price was already equal to complying with the Society's request for a translation of the inscription he had found in Bundelkhand when he settled in Calcutta and began teaching Sanskrit, Bengali, and other languages at the College of Fort William. Walter Ewer, an accomplished Persian scholar, acquired the skills to read the till then inaccessible Persian inscriptions on the Qutb Minar by using "a telescope of great magnifying power," translate them, and communicate text and translation to the Society (20 Dec. 1818, PAS 3:363, publ. 1822, AR 14: 480-89@481).

When unsure of what they had found and/or aware that the Society expected more than plain copies of inscriptions, others sought expert help from scholars who prepared translations and presented them to the Society. Publications appeared under the translator's name, with or without mention of the person who had first found the inscription. Thus, of two translations of inscriptions which the Society's proceedings record Wilmot forwarded and Wilkins submitted in December 1785, one, "Translation of a Sanscrit Inscription, copied from a stone at Booddha-Gaya, by Mr. Wilmot, 1785. Translated by Charles Wilkins, Esq.," recorded Wilmot's name (29 Dec. 1785, PAS 1: 69, publ. 1788, AR 1: 284-87). The other, "Two Inscriptions from the Vindhya Mountains, Translated from the Sanscrit by Charles Wilkins, Esq.," did not refer to Wilmot either in the title or in the body of the published text (15 Dec. 1785, PAS I: 68, publ. l790, AR 2: 167-69).

On several occasions, the Society asked experts to provide translations of inscriptions that had been submitted. Secretary Harington requested from Wilkins a "Translation of a Sanscrit Inscription" from the Nagarjuni Hill (17 Mar. 1785, PAS 1: 47, publ. 1788, AR 1: 279- 83). When Resident at Poona Sir Charles W. Malet sent "a facsimile of some ancient inscriptions found in the caves at Ellora," the Society asked Lieut. Francis Wilford in Banaras to decipher and translate them. They were published, notwithstanding Wilford's lukewarm assessment that they were "of little importance; but the publication of them, may assist the labours of others in decyphering more interesting manuscripts or inscriptions" (3 Dec. 1795, PAS 1: 256, publ. 1798, AR 5: 135-40 @135). When William Moorecroft sent copper plates he had procured on loan from temple priests near Badrinath, William Carey and William Price were asked to examine them and report. After submitting an account of the inscription, Price was further requested to provide a literal translation (30 Dec. 1820, 17 Feb. 1821, PAS 3:362, 378, 1083). There, however, matters rested, perhaps because Price judged that "[t]hese were simply royal edicts declaratory of a charitable donation of lands and had nothing to do with the history of the temple of Badri Nath" (PAS 3: 402, 1085-86). Unaware of this development, Moorcroft suggested a further long haul for the plates, writing secretary Wilson from Leh:

Were the inscriptions on the copper Plates of Punkhesur translated? I apprehend they were in the Tibetan character -- if sent here they may be translated into Persian. [Commissioner in Kumaon) Mr Traill would find no difficulty in willing them to the commanding Official at Sabathas who would forward them to this place with a letter to the Minister" [31 Dec. 1821, APAC: MSS Eur. E-101/1 f. 75).


The Society went to great lengths to insure a correct reading and interpretation of two inscriptions from the Rajivalocana temple in Rajim, Chattisgarh, copies of which had been forwarded by Resident at Nagpur Richard Jenkins, with a translation of the first (9 July 1823, PAS 3: 470-71). Concerned that conjectural readings and translations from local pandits were unreliable, they requested facsimiles of both inscriptions, which Jenkins had Col. Agnew submit on 10 March 1824. Only then was a translation of the first read, with observations in which secretary Wilson noted that "[ b]esides the historical notices furnished by this inscription, .... it has some value in the history of Hindoo literature" for dating the Puranas (PAS 3: 494, 512, PAS 3: 1176- 79, publ. 1825, AR 15: 511-15). By contrast, a series of inscriptions found at Mount Abu and submitted with translations by Capt. Alexander Spiers (5 May 1824, PAS 3: 498) were judged too voluminous and many of too little importance. In this case, Wilson undertook to publish "a concise description of the series, translating, in detail, those only which appear to afford materials to history" (1828, AR 16: 284-330 @284).

The Society was keen to publish not only first translations of inscriptions, but also corrected translations based on better documentation. On receiving "a Book of Drawings and Inscriptions prepared under the inspection of their late Member Captain James Hoare:," Harington, vice-president from 1797 to 1819, took advantage of a visit by Colebrooke to Calcutta to have him produce on the basis of this new material a "Translation of One of the Inscriptions on the Pillar at Dehlee, called the Lat of Feeroz Shah" (6 Dec. 1798, PAS I: 304-5, publ. 1801, AR 7: 175-82 @175; cf. Rocher and Rocher 2012: 54), which improved on the translation Jones had first published, based on a copy provided by Antoine Potler (27 Mar. 1788, PAS 1: 125, publ. 1788, AR 1: 379-82).

When interest in epigraphic material waned in the later 1820s, even a translation was not enough to incite publication. Among inscriptions submitted after 1825, only three appeared in AR. "Translation of an Inscription on the Great Bell of Rangoon" by the Rev. G. H. Hough had been read on 1 November 1826 (PAS 3:571, publ. 1828, AR 16: 270-83). The other two, read in the 1830s, appeared in the much delayed first part of the 20th volume, published in 1836: "Translation of Various Inscriptions Found among the Ruins of Vijayanagar" by E. C. Ravenshaw, with preliminary observations by secretary Wilson (7 Nov. 1832, JASB 1: 513, publ. AR 20.1: 1- 40), and a translation by Resident at Ava, Lieut . Col. H. Burney, of an inscription in Burmese discovered at Bodh-Gaya in 1833 by his brother Capt. George Burney (3 Sep. 1834, JASB 3: 411, publ. AR 20.1: 161- 89).

Occasionally, disinterest sank to utter neglect. Not until the meeting of 28 May 1834 were extracts read of

letters from B. H. Hodgson Esq., Resident in Nepal, on the subject of inscriptions in the character No. 1. of the Allahabad column, and forwarding a native drawing of the Matthia Lat'h . . . with an accurate transcript of its inscription. / Also an accurate facsimile of an inscription from the Sagar territory, which proves to be in old Sanscrit character.


To this report James Prinsep, who served as secretary from 1833 to 1838, added the telling remark:

These inscriptions, Mr. Hodgson says, were communicated to the Asiatic Society, eight or ten years ago, but no trace of them could be found among its records: fortunately he has preserved the originals, from which we shall take an early opportunity to make engravings for publication, together with the author's remarks upon this and three other Lat'hs in North Behar of a similar nature (JASB 3: 245- 46).


Hodgson's "Notice of Some Ancient Inscriptions in the Characters of the Allahabad Column" and a "Note on the Mathiah Lath Inscription" by Prinsep were published in the following October, not in Asiatic Researches, but in the new, monthly Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (ibid: 481-87), which Prinsep had started in 1832 to print the Society's proceedings as well as shorter essays than those in the sluggish Asiatic Researches, which was soon discontinued. With this and other articles, the third volume of JASB again gave epigraphy pride of place, as Prinsep revitalized it.

Of interest are the varied and often circuitous ways in which original inscriptions and copies reached the Society. More often than by purposeful, personal exploration, European civil administrators and members of the military service obtained inscriptions from Indian laborers who found them while engaged in their daily work. Publishing an essay "On Ancient Monuments, Containing Sanscrit Inscriptions" which had been presented to the Society (1807, AR 9: 398- 444), Colebrooke narrated: "Towards the end of 1803, a plate of copper was discovered in digging earth for the repair of the highway through the Manamati hills in the district of Tipura. It was carried to Mr. Eliot, Magistrate of the district; and by him communicated to the Asiatick Society" (401-2). Another copper plate was "found in the district of Gorakhpur, near the river called the little Gand'hac. It was brought to Mr. John Ahmuti, Magistrate of the district, and by him communicated to Captain Wilford, who has presented it to the Asiatick Society" (406). 1n 1806,

a plate of copper was found at Amgach'hi in Sultanpur, by a peasant, digging earth for the repair of a road near his cottage. He delivered it to the nearest police officer, by whom it was conveyed to the Magistrate, Mr. J. Pattle: and by him forwarded for communication to the Asiatick Society (434).


In 1821, Major-General Hardwicke sent "an account of a Sanscrit and Persian inscription on a stone found at Sirsah by Captain W. S. Whish." The marble slab had been found in 1818 "when the force under Major-General Arnold encamped there . . . amongst the rubbish of decayed buildings" (PAS 3: 393, 408). This submission remained unpublished.

One set of inscriptions traveled from a peasant to the Society via the highest echelon of government: "In the beginning of 1823, seven plates of copper with Sanscrit Inscriptions were found by a peasant at work in a field ... ; they were delivered by him to the Magistrate and forwarded to the Government by whom they were presented to the Society" (1825, AR 15: 446). W. B. Bayley, Chief Secretary to Government, wrote Society secretary Wilson:

I am directed by the Honourable the Governor General in Council to transmit to you, for the purpose of their being presented to the Museum of the Asiatic Society, the accompanying 7 plates of copper recently discovered in a field near the junction of the Burna Nullah with the Ganges at Benaras. / 2. The accompanying copy of a letter and of its enclosures from Mr. Macleod, judge and Magistrate of the City of Benaras, are also forwarded to you, in order that they may be laid before the Asiatic Society.


The government added another, unusual step:

3. The Governor General in Council is desirous of forwarding to the Hon'ble the Court of Directors, accurate copies of the several inscriptions on these plates, and I am directed to request that you will be good enough to furnish me with copies of them for that purpose" (24 July 1823, PAS 3: 1603).


In this multiple transfer, one crucial element was omitted in Bayley's official letter, but was revealed in a letter Wilson had received from his protege Fell in Banaras:

The plates were taken to Macleod who sent them to me with a letter on the 'service' requesting me to decypher and to translate them. This has all been done and I do not like to appear to be playing double with him as he has most particularly requested me not to send down a translation, as he says he intends to send it to Mr Bayley. You will however ultimately have it" (30 Oct. 1822, APAC: MSS Eur. E301/ l, f. 95).


Fell was to complain that Macleod was dilatory in transmitting this material, and griped: "He is the worst (blank) we could have" (11 Jan. 1823, 18 June 1823, ibid.: ff. 103, 123). A translation of these "Inscriptions from Benares," with notes by Wilson, was published under the late Capt. Fell's name (1825, AR 15: 437-69 @446-69).

Most inscriptions that made their way to Calcutta were intended to find a permanent place in the Society and its museum, but not all of them did. Returning from a visit to Bombay, General John Carnac brought six copper plates, found during digging works in Thana, but noted in his cover letter: "I obtained permission (from the Governor of Bombay) to bring them round with me, being desirous to submit them to the investigation of the Asiatick Society, under the promise of restoring them to the Proprietor" (15 Feb. 1787, translation read on 29 Mar., PAS l: 101, publ. 1788, AR 1: 357-67, letter @356). A letter from Moorcroft,

communicating his having procured the loan of four large sheets of copper with inscriptions relative (so he thought) to the ancient theological history of the Hindoos from the temple of Punkesur near Budureenath and forwarded the same to the Commissioner at Kumaon, to be sent down to Calcutta, and requesting that the sheets may be returned to the temple within the period of eighteen months (8 Jan. 1820, PAS 3: 340),


reported that he had argued that the originals would best be deciphered in Calcutta "to avoid the risk of errors in copying them likely to occur from the inscriptions being in a language wholly unknown to the Brahmins in attendance at the Temple" (ibid.: 366). Expressing the hope that copper plates from Rajim might be "worthy of being submitted to the Asiatic Society," Jenkins also specified: "I do not say presented, as the Pujaris of the temple to which they belong are not willing to part with them altogether, and 1 have promised that they shall be restored" (read 9 July 1823, PAS 3:470, 1176-77, AR 15: 499).

Notwithstanding the wealth of epigraphic material that reached the Asiatic Society, there is little doubt that many more inscriptions on stone or copper did not find their way to the Society, but fell into the hands of Europeans who wished to own and carry some home as curiosities. Colebrooke deplored that a copper plate had been carried away "beyond reach of reference, having been conveyed to Europe to be there buried in some publick museum or private collection" (1807, AR 9: 401). Even though, in that case, he was able to work from a copy of the transcript preserved by pandit Sarvoru Trivedi (1807, AR 9: 400, 441 ), he viewed such copies as a pis-aller, and "urge(d) the communication of every inscription which may be hereafter discovered," insisting:

It is a subject for regret, that the originals, of which versions have before been made publick, are not deposited where they might be accessible to persons engaged in researches into Indian literature and antiquities: but much more so, that ancient monuments, which there is reason to consider as important, have been removed to Europe, before they had been sufficiently examined, or before they were accurately copied and translated (1807, AR 9: 400).


This was a situation which the Asiatic Society sought to remedy with the formal establishment of a museum.

The Role of Pandits

For inscriptions as for Sanskrit literary texts, Europeans in India often sought the help of pandits. More frequently than with texts, however, native knowledge was apt to fall short of their expectations, as ancient scripts proved a hurdle.2 We are repeatedly told that "even pandits" were unable to decipher a script and interpret inscriptions. Before turning to Wilkins, Harington had taken the impression of the Nagarjuni inscription, which "many Pundits . . . who had seen the original engraving, had attempted in vain to decipher," to Banaras, the reputed center of Hindu learning, but even "a Pundit at Benaris ... attempted in vain to get it read" (1788, AR 1: 276). Sending the box of Rajim copper plates, Jenkins wrote: "The plates and signet bear inscriptions in a character which none of the brahmins of the country are able to decypher" (read 9 July 1823, PAS 3: 470-71, publ. 1825, AR 15: 499-515 @499). Regarding the Thana copper plates, Carnac was less precise: "The Governor of Bombay informed me none of the Gujerat Bramins could explain the Inscriptions" (AR 1: 356), but the fact that he carried the plates, not a transcript, to Calcutta points to an issue of decipherment more than interpretation.

Some pandits nevertheless played an active role in the decipherment and/or elucidation of inscriptions. As Richard Salomon has noted, "These panditas were often, but by no means always, given due credit for their efforts in the publications of English authors, so that it is not always easy to fully evaluate the nominal authors' real contributions" (IE: p. 202, n. 14). We have sought to gather additional information on whether, and to what extent, the most prominent European authors of articles on inscriptions in AR relied on, and, if so, acknowledged, the contribution of pandits in their attempts to decipher and translate Indian inscriptions.

In a unique case, Wilkins seems to have been able early on to decipher the script of inscriptions on his own. He wrote Harington of the Nagarjuni inscription which had stumped pandits:

Having been so fortunate as to make out the whole of the curious inscription you were so obliging as to lend me, I herewith return it, accompanied by an exact copy, in a reduced size, interlined with each corresponding letter in the modern Dewnagar character; and also a copy of my translation, which is as literal as the idioms would admit it to be" (17 Mar. 1785, publ. 1788, AR 1: 279).


In addition to "pure perseverance and genius" (IE: 200-201), Wilkins likely could draw on the expertise and sensitivity to written forms he had developed in his youth as the nephew of an engraver, and later as a founder of types in India.
An even more remarkable achievement by Wilkins was his translation, published as a letter in AR 1, 279-83, of the record now known as the Nagarjuni hill cave inscription of the early Maukhari king Anantavarman.9 [Presented March 17, 1785 (Chaudhuri, Proceedings, 47).] While his comment that the script is "very materially different from that we find in inscriptions of eighteen hundred years ago" is due to his incorrect dating of the Mungir plate alluded to earlier, he was nonetheless correct that "the character is undoubtedly the most ancient of any that have hitherto come under my inspection." (Anantavarman is now known to have ruled sometime in the sixth century A.D.) It is truly remarkable that Wilkins was somehow able to read the late Brahmi of this period, which, unlike the scripts of three centuries later, is very different from modern scripts both in its general form and in many of its specific characters. It is thus not entirely clear how, beyond pure perseverance and genius, Wilkins managed to read this inscription, but presumably he did this by working back from the script of the Pala period which he had already mastered.10 [The precise order in which Wilkins translated his first three inss. is not certain, but it is clear that he worked on the Mungir ins. first, in 1781, and that the Nagarjuni and Badal inss. followed in the period between 1781 and his presentation of all three inss. to the society in 1785 (see Kejariwal, The Asiatic Society, 43-4).] In any case, his translation, while once again not always correct, proves beyond question that he could read the late Brahmi, or early Siddhamatrka, script of the sixth century.

-- Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the Other Indo-Aryan Languages, by Richard Salomon

Still, like many contemporaries, he did resort to panditic knowledge to interpret and translate inscriptions as well as literary texts. In his early translation of the Mungir inscription, he acknowledged "[t]he Pundit, by whose assistance this translation was made" (Wilkins 1781, Notes, 21 1788, AR 1: p. 129, n. 4), just as he did later in his translations of the Bhagavadgita (1785, [26]) and Hitopodesa (1787, 319), and in his Sanskrit grammar (1808, xi).

Jones was more inclined than most to acknowledge the assistance he received from pandits. Yet, this is not always immediately apparent in his publications on Indian Inscriptions. Both in the proceedings of the Society and in Asiatic Researches, some inscriptions were presented simply as "translated by the President." For instance, "A Royal Grant of Land in Carnata" communicated by Alexander Macleod was said to have been "translated from the Sanscrit by the President" (read 13 Jan. 1791, PAS 1: 167, publ. 1792, AR 3: 39-53). In the notes to the translation, however, Jones repeatedly referred to consultations with several pandits (AR 3: 43, 48). In the Society's proceedings, the Thana copper plates were presented as "translated by the President" (29 Mar. 1787, PAS 1:101). The published text, however, is said to have been "literally translated from the Sanscrit, as explained by Ramalochan Pandit," Jones's first teacher of Sanskrit (1788, AR 1: 357),3 and omits Jones's name entirely from the title and body of the text. Likewise, the proceedings for 27 March 1788 report: "Read Translation of Inscriptions on pillars of Firoze Shah's Kotela, received from Col. Polier by the President" (PAS 1: 125), but in the printed text the inscriptions are said to be "Translated from the Sanscrit, as explained by Radhacanta Sarman," who soon became Jones's primary panditic acolyte (1788, AR 1: 3791. Jones's authorship of these English translations was to be reclaimed with their inclusion in his collected Works (1807, vol. 4: 334-47, 348-52). Jones's "Remarks" on Wilkins' translations of the Mungir and Badal inscriptions stemmed from a close comparison with the Sanskrit texts together with Radhakanta, to whom he referred several times and paid a ringing tribute: "Radhacanta proposed a conjectural emendation, which would have done honour to Scaliger or Bentley" (1788, AR 1: 143).

Colebrooke, too, regularly resorted to panditic knowledge in the interpretation of inscriptions as well as literary texts. Whereas Jones had studied the inscription on Firuz Shah's column with the assistance of Radhakanta, Colebrooke's improved translation was produced in collaboration with Sarvoru Trivedi, to whom he referred in notes (read 6 Dec. 1798, PAS 1: 305, publ. 1801, AR 7: p. 180, n. 51 p. 181, n. 7), and whom he again identified in a subsequent article as the pandit "who assisted me in decypherlng the copy of an inscription on Firoz Shah's pillar at Delhi" (1807, AR 9: 400, n.).4 Although Colebrooke failed to publish a translation that improved on Wilkins' long, but incomplete, account of an inscription found in Portugal on the grounds of Don Joao de Castro's villa in Sintra, which James Murphy had published with a facsimile (1795: 274-87), he recorded in a letter to his father how crucial panditic help had been to him:


If you see Mr. Wilkins, will you mention to him that I have succeeded in deciphering (with the help of Pundits) the inscription which Mr. W. examined and partly decyphered from a copy made by Mr. Murphy. I mean an inscription carried to Portugal, and there copied by Mr. Murphy. I have thoughts of publishing a translation of it. I am not surprised that Mr. Wilkins could not decipher the whole of it. I should not have succeeded better without help (5 Oct. 1803, Life: 214).


In his major essay "On Ancient Monuments, Containing Sanscrit Inscriptions," Colebrooke relied on, and referred throughout to "Pandits," even "the aid of several Pandits" (1807, AR 9: 398-444). He had one of the inscriptions, which had been deciphered by a pandit in Wilford's service, reexamined "with the concurrence of several Pandits from Tirhut," since the characters "make a nearer approach to the Tirhutiya letters than to any other now in use" (406-7). The text of an inscription forwarded by Mackenzie was, Colebrooke said, "in some instances, read differently by the Pandits whom (he had) consulted," than the translation made by Mackenzie's principal assistant, Kaveli Boria (1807, AR 9: 413).

Fell, whose submissions, even "with the help of a Pandit" (PAS 2: 822), remained unpublished in his lifetime, might have made considerable contributions to the study of inscriptions, had he lived longer. A beginner in 1810, he developed from a star student at Fort William College into a distinguished Sanskrit scholar during his posting in Banaras and engagement there with pandit teachers at Sanskrit College, for which he served as secretary of the directing committee. Fell failed to point to specific help, but he acknowledged discussing inscriptions with "[m]any of the Pandits at Benares" (1825, AR 15: 458). Fell's devotion to inscriptions and other antiquities may have hastened his death. He died of a fever on 15 February 1824 at Bilaspur, en route from Nagpur to Banaras:

he had offered his services in exploring, on his route, those monuments of antiquity which are found in the district of Chutteesghur, especially in the form of ancient and undecyphered inscriptions. These, it was his intention to copy and convey to Benares, where he would have examined and translated them at leisure.5


Price, to whom we referred as a trusted translator of inscriptions, did not mention the help of pandits. Yet, it must be noted that, as an assistant professor and later professor at the College of Fort William from 1823 to 1831, he could command the time of the College's pandits.

Thanks to the various locations and career paths of its members, the Society benefited from a wide and diverse board of pandits. Wilkins' primary assistant was the Bengali Kasinatha, 6 settled in Banaras, whom Wilkins did not name, but whom Jones also consulted through Wilkins and tried in vain to hire (Cannon 1970: 665, 660, 683, 781). Kasinatha went on to be appointed the first rector of Banaras Sanskrit College, founded in 1791, and presumably to help other British scholars until his dismissal for financial irregularities in 1801 (Nicholls 1907: 3, 6). Jones consulted a wide circle of pandits (Rocher 1995 and 2007), and programmatically employed the Bengali Radhakanta and the Bihari Sarvoru Trivedi (Rocher 1989). Colebrooke's circle consisted primarily of Maithila pandits whom he recruited during his early postings in Bihar and who stayed with him through his Indian career (Rocher and Rocher 2012: 124, 201). From the South, a translation of an inscription communicated by Mackenzie, who made up for a lack of language skills with a network of helpers, was made possible by the "united efforts and knowledge" of "the Slisuis and Pandits at Triplicane" and his brahman assistants (1807, AR 9: 42.2.-23). This link with the Society became immediate when, upon being appointed surveyor-general of India, Mackenzie brought to Calcutta a large staff of South Indian acolytes, who, after his death, were placed under Wilson's supervision. After neither local brahmans nor Calcutta pandits were able to read the Rajim copper plates,


it fortunately happened that the establishment of the late Col. Mackenzie possessed an individual, Sri Verma Suri, a Jain of great respectability and learning, who had been long engaged in decyphering the inscriptions of the Dekhin, and to whom the character of the Raju plates was familiar and he accordingly prepared a transcript of the plates and a copy in Devanagari.


It is worth noting, however, that Varma Suri was made to prove his mettle in a thorough examination by Wilson and Price, some of it "without previous notice or preparation," which he sustained "without any embarrassment or hesitation," before Wilson was satisfied that "little doubt could be entertained of his being really acquainted with the character." Varma Suri's intervention convinced Wilson that the main difference between this script and other forms of devanagari was that it was box-headed, with the prospect that "the facsimile of the plates with the Devanagari transcript, and the comparative alphabet will render these it is hoped decipherable generally in future" (1825, AR 15: 507).

Wilson's caution reflects the particular discomfort that British scholars felt with regard to epigraphic material in unfamiliar scripts. Three decades earlier, when asked to decipher Malet's inscriptions from Ellora, Wilford had reported an extraordinary discovery:

I despaired at first of ever being able to decypher them: for as there are no ancient inscriptions in this part of India, we never had, of course, any opportunity to try our skill and improve our talents in the art of decyphering; however after many fruitless attempts on our part, we were so fortunate as to find at last an ancient sage, who gave us the key, and produced a book in Sanscrit, containing a great many ancient alphabets formerly in use in different parts of India; this was really a fortunate discovery, which hereafter may be of great service to us (1798, AR 5: 135).


A far more promising approach to the problem, indeed a short cut, seemed to be heralded in a letter to Jones from Lieutenant Francis Wilford, a surveyor and an enthusiastic student of all things oriental, who was based at Benares. Jones had been sent copies of inscriptions found at Ellora and written in Ashoka Brahmi, the still undeciphered pin-men. He had probably sent them to Wilford because Benares, the holy city of the Hindus, was the most likely place to find a Brahmin who might be able to read them. In 1793 Wilford announced that he had found just such a man:
I have the honour to return to you the facsimile of several inscriptions with an explanation of them. I despaired at first of ever being able to decipher them... However, after many fruitless attempts on our part, we were so fortunate as to find at last an ancient sage, who gave us the key, and produced a book in Sanskrit, containing a great many ancient alphabets formerly in use in different parts of India. This was really a fortunate discovery, which hereafter may be of great service to us.

According to the ancient sage, most of Wilford's inscriptions related to the wanderings of the five heroic Pandava brothers from the Mahabharata. At the unspecified time in question they were under an obligation not to converse with the rest of mankind; so their friends devised a method of communicating with them by "writing short and obscure sentences on rocks and stones in the wilderness and in characters previously agreed upon betwixt them." The sage happened to have the key to these characters in his code book; obligingly he transcribed them into Devanagari Sanskrit and then translated them.

To be fair to Wilford, he was a bit suspicious about this ingenious explanation of how the inscriptions got there. But he had no doubts that the deciphering and translation were genuine. "Our having been able to decipher them is a great point in my opinion, as it may hereafter lead to further discoveries, that may ultimately crown our labours with success." Above all, he had now located the code book, "a most fortunate circumstance."

Poor Wilford was the laughing stock of the Benares Brahmins for a whole decade. They had already fobbed him off with Sanskrit texts, later proved spurious, on the source of the Nile and the origin of Mecca. After the code book there was a geographical treatise on The Sacred Isles of the West, which included early Hindu reference to the British Isles. The Brahmins, to whom Sanskrit had so long remained a sacred prerogative, were getting their own back. One wonders how much Wilford paid his "ancient sage."

Jones was already a little suspicious of Wilford's sources, but on
the code book, which was as much a fabrication as the translations supposedly based on it, he reserved judgment until he might see it. He never did. In fact it was never heard of again. But in spite of these disappointments Jones continued to believe that in time this oldest script would be deciphered. He had been sent a copy of the writings on the Delhi pillar and told a correspondent that they "drive me to despair; you are right, I doubt not, in thinking them foreign; I believe them to be Ethiopian and to have been imported a thousand years before Christ." It was not one of his more inspired guesses and at the time of his death the mystery of the inscriptions and of the monoliths was as dark as ever.


-- India Discovered, by John Keay


This was the same Wilford who, a year later, was to find out that pandit Vidyananda, of Banaras Sanskrit College, who assisted him, had forged Puranic passages destined to support Wilford's fanciful theories (Nicholls 1907: 6). For epigraphic material, the process was even more complicated, necessitating the several acts of deciphering, transcribing, and interpreting the contents. While pandits' superior grounding in Sanskrit language and literature was accepted, their familiarity with ancient and/or regional scripts was much in doubt. Colebrooke warned: "my experience of the necessity of collating the copies made by the best Pandits, from inscriptions in ancient or unusual characters, discourages me from placing implicit confidence in their transcripts" (1807, AR 9: 400- 401). He therefore advocated the necessity of facsimiles (cf. IE: 202), which Wilson was to heed with respect to the Rajim inscriptions.

Evidence is slim to determine how severely the withdrawal of pandit assistance affected the epigraphic work of members of the Asiatic Society after their return to England. Too few went home: Jones, Wilford, and Fell died in India. Prinsep returned too ill and too late to undertake further work. Price "lived to be oldest officer in Indian army; dying at age 99 (Boase 1965: 429), but is not known to have pursued oriental studies of any kind in retirement. Of the main authors of epigraphic studies in AR, only Wilkins and Colebrooke remained active in Britain, and only Colebrooke published further contributions on inscriptions.

Wilkins appeared to his European contemporaries to possess all requisite skills, having, in Jones's words, "performed more than any other European had learning enough to accomplish, or than any Asiatick had industry enough to undertake" (1788, AR 1: 1421. The translations of inscriptions he published often came as responses to requests from others -- Hastings, Wilmot, and the Asiatic Society. This pattern persisted after his return to England. His partial translation of the inscription in Portugal came in a letter of 20 July 1793 answering a request from Murphy (20 July 1793, Murphy 1795: 277-87). It is noteworthy that Colebrooke attributed his own ability to provide a fuller translation of this inscription to "the help of Pundits," which Wilkins no longer enjoyed in England (Life: 214). The Bonn Sanskritist August Wilhelm von Schlegel, who visited Wilkins in the fall of 1823, reported that the aging Wilkins "still entertain[ed] himself with deciphering old inscriptions and coins, occasionally discovering to his astonishment, after much puzzling, that he had already deciphered the same inscription some forty years ago" (29 Feb. 1824, Korner 1930: vol. 1, p. 409). Sir Graves Chamney Haughton recorded in his obituary of Wilkins that Wilkins helped William Marsden, his future son-in-law, "in decyphering the inscriptions on his Cufic coins," and that "[h]is last effort in the way of literature was a translation of a large antique seal, with a Sanskrit inscription, in an ancient and obscure form of Nagari, which he had decyphered many years ago" (1836, Asiatic Journal, n. s. 20:168-69). This inscription from Asirgadh (IE: 124-25) was published posthumously, with Wilkins' translation, comments by Wilson, and a letter of 1 July 1806 in which Capt. James Colebrooke explained how, after the Asiatic Society failed to respond to his submission of the seal he had discovered, he had turned to Wilkins as "the only probable chance he would ever have" of getting it interpreted (1836, JRAS 3: 377-80).

Of Colebrooke's many books and essays after his return to England, three articles, all written alter he founded the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1823) and initiated the publication of its Transactions (from 1824), dealt with inscriptions. These inscriptions were part of the collections of Francis Buchanan Hamilton in the East India Library and of James Tod in the Royal Asiatic Society. Since Colebrooke had not worked on them in India, he made no reference to pandits, except when correcting a misinterpretation by Buchanan Hamilton's pandit (1926, TRAS 1.2: 202). Colebrooke kept current with work produced in India and gave it priority, writing Wilkins on 17 November 1824:

I have lately been examining the facsimiles of inscriptions collected by Dr. Buchanan Hamilton. . . There are several sufficiently interesting for publication; but I believe I must await the arrival of the fifteenth volume of the Asiatic Researches for particular information of the inscriptions translated by Capt. Fell and inserted in it, lest I should be publishing what has already been given there (Life: 352-53).


Reading Fell's posthumous translations of inscriptions printed by Wilson, Colebrooke was moved to publish a note acknowledging Fell's correction of his conflation of father and son Vijayacandra and Jayacandra in his work on a copper plate from Banaras (TRAS 1.3: 462).

Inscriptions and Indian History

The notion that inscriptions may serve as a source to study India's past (cf. IE: 3) did not fail to occur to early members of the Asiatic Society. After reporting how local brahmans "chuse to account" for past events at Mamallapuram, founding member William Chambers noted:

by comparing names and grand events, recorded by them, with those interspersed in the histories of other nations, and by calling in the assistance of ancient monuments, coins, and inscriptions as occasion shall offer, some probable conjectures, at least, if not important discoveries, may, it is hoped, be made on these interesting subjects.


He concluded: "The inscription of the Pagoda ... is an object, which, in this point of view, appears to merit great attention" (1788, AR 1: 157-58). Yet, the crucial importance of using inscriptions as a tool for retracing Indian history was not programmatically expressed until much later.

The fact that Wilkins published "[i]n the first volume (of AR) five papers ... , all except one being translations from ancient inscriptions," led one of his biographers to conclude that "Wilkins was therefore one of the first Europeans to realize the importance of ancient Indian inscriptions as sources for historical studies" (Lloyd 1978: 21). Yet, this inference is not supported by any known statement on Wilkins' part. Better in accord with evidence is E. H. Johnston's judgment: "That by this work he was laying the first stone for the edifice of ancient Indian history as erected by modern research does not appear to have dawned on him" (1940: 128).

The title of Jones's inaugural discourse, on 15 January 1784, announced that the Asiatic Society was founded "for inquiring into the history, civil and natural, the antiquities, arts, sciences, and literature, of Asia," and Jones expected that its members would "trace the annals, and even traditions, of those nations" (publ. 1788, AR 1: ix, xiii). But in none of his anniversary discourses did Jones refer to inscriptions. Nor did he mention inscriptions in the paper on Hindu chronology he read on 7 February 1788, based on the Puranarthaprakasa, a compendium of the Puranas prepared by Radhakanta for Warren Hastings (Rocher and Rocher 1994-1995). Rather than to inscriptions, Jones pointed to astronomy for light on history:

on a subject in itself so obscure, and so much clouded by the fictions of the Brahmans, ... we must be satisfied with probable conjecture and just reasoning from the best attainable data, nor can we hope for a system of Indian Chronology, to which no objection can be made, unless the Astronomical books in Sanscrit shall clearly ascertain the places of the colures in some precise years of the historical age" (publ. 1790, AR 2: 145).


Nor did Jones allude to inscriptions in the supplement to that essay, which was based on astronomical texts forwarded by Samuel Davis' pandit, Radhacarana (17 June 1790, publ. 1790, AR 2: 389-403; cf. Rocher 1995: 65). Even in his tenth anniversary discourse, "On Asiatick History," Jones conceived of Sanskrit texts as the only sources for the study of Indian history (28 Feb. 1793, publ. 1795, AR 4: 1-17). In his first discourse to the Society after Jones's death, president [url=http://survivorbb.rapeutation.com/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=4204&start=170]John Shore quoted a paper in Jones's handwriting, entitled "Desiderata," which had come into his possession. One of these desiderata read: "The History of India before the Mahommedan conquest, from the Sanscrit-Cashmir-Histories" (22 May 1794, publ. 1795, AR 4: 188). Even though Jones made pioneering contributions to the early study of Indian epigraphy, he did not establish a direct link between inscriptions and the reconstruction of ancient Indian history.

In a letter to his father of October 1803, in which he discussed the discovery of new inscriptions, Colebrooke explicitly voiced the expectation: "By degrees the History of India will be partly retrieved from such monuments" (Life: 214). This privately expressed opinion long remained unknown, but it was Colebrooke again who, with a published statement in 1807, earned the distinction of having been, in Richard Salomon's words, "the first to clearly recognize the special importance of inscriptions as a source for the political and cultural history of India" (IE: 203).7 Two decades later, Wilson made importance for history the criterion by which to determine which in a group of inscriptions found at Mount Abu deserved to be fully translated (1828, AR 16: 284). Wilson also opened his observations on the Vijayanagar inscriptions with the statement: "The history of Vijayanagar is a subject of considerable interest in the annals of India" (1836, AR 20.1: 1). By that time, in his first contribution to the Society's new Journal, Prinsep had emphatically stated that his work on an inscription on the Allahabad column had been motivated by his being "[a]ware indeed that the only accurate data we possessed for adjusting the chronology of Indian princes were those derived from ancient monuments of stone; inscriptions on rocks and caves; or grants of land engraven on copper-plates, discovered accidentally in various parts of the country" (1834, JASB 3: 114). Indian epigraphy had come of age.

Notes:

1. Jones traveled to Bodh-Gaya, though "much indisposed," on his way back from Banaras, but was not up to visiting caves (Cannon 1970: 659).

2. On the particular difficulty of consulting pandits for older forms of language (Vedic) or of script (in inscriptions), and objections raised by scholars in Europe, see Rocher and Rocher 2012: 25, 77, 105, 189.

3. Lady Anna Maria Jones drew a sketch of the Vaidya scholar Ramalocana (15 Oct. 1785, reproduced in Franklin 2011: 315).

4. Colebrooke was to amend one of Sarvoru's conjectural emendations: on the basis of a Sanskrit text, the Sarngadharapaddhati, he replaced the reading babujata with chahumana or chahavana, thus connecting the inscription with the Chauhan dynasty (1807, AR 9: 445).

5. "Obituary of Capt. Fell," Asiatic Journal 18, July-Dec. 1824:265.

6. Misidentified as Kashmiri in Rocher 1995: 54.

7. See IE: 202-3 for the text of Colebrooke's progammatic statement.

References

APAC: Asia, Pacific, and Africa Collections, British Library.

MSS Eur. E301: Letters to Horace Hayman Wilson

MSS Eur. F324: Papers of Sir Charles Wilkins.

AR: Asiatic(k) Researches.

Boase, 1965: F. Boase. Modern English Biography. Vol. 6. London.

Cannon, 1970: G. Cannon. The Letters of Sir William Jones. Oxford.

Franklin, 2011: M. J. Franklin. Orientalist Jones. Oxford.

IE: R. Salomon. Indian Epigraphy. New York, 1998.

Johnston, 1940: E. H. Johnston. "Charles Wilkins." Woolner Commemoration Volume, ed. M. Shafi, 124-32. Lahore.

Jones, 1807: A. M. Jones. The Works of Sir William Jones. 13 vols. London.

Korner, 1930: J. Korner. Briefe von und an August Wilhelm Schlegel. 2 vols. Zurich.

Life: T. E. Colebrooke. Life of the Author, prefatory volume to the second edition of H. T. Colebrooke, Miscellaneous Essays, ed. E. B. Cowell. London, 1873.

Lloyd, 1978: M. Lloyd. "Sir Charles Wilkins, 1749-1836." India Office Library and Records; Report for the Year 1978: 9-39.

Murphy, 1795: J. Murphy. Travels in Portugal. London.

Nicholls, 1970: G. Nicholls. Sketch of the Rise and Progress of the Benares Patshalla or Sanskrit College. Allahabad.

PAS: Proceedings of the Asiatic Society, ed. S. Chaudburi (vol. 1) and P. T. Nair (vols. 2-4). Calcutta, 1980-2000.

Rocher, 1989: R. Rocher. "The Career of Radhakanta Tarkavagisa, an Eighteenth-Century Pandit in British Employ." JAOS 109: 627-33.

Rocher, 1995: _____. "Weaving Knowledge: Sir William Jones and Indian Pandits." In Objects of Enquiry: The Life, Contributions, and Influences of Sir William Jones, ed. G. Cannon and K. R. Brine, 51-79. New York.

Rocher, 2007: _____. "A Glimpse into an Orientalist's Workshop: Sir William Jones's Engagement with the Vivadarnavasetu and Its Authors." In Expanding and Merging Horizons: Contributions to South Asian and Cross-Cultural Studies in Commemoration of Wilhelm Halbfass, ed. K. Preisendanz, 63-69. Vienna.

Rocher and Rocher, 1994-1995: L. Rocher and R. Rocher. "The Puranarthaprakasa, Jones's Primary Source on Hindu Chronology." Bulletin of the Deccan College 54-55: 47-71.

Rocher and Rocher, 2012: R. Rocher and L. Rocher. The Making of Western Indology: Henry Thomas Colebrooke and the East India Company. London.

TRAS: Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

Wilkins, 1781: C. Wilkins. A Translation of a Royal Grant of Land by One of the Ancient Raajaas of Hindostan, from the original in the Shanscrit Language and Character. Calcutta.

Wilkins, 1785: _____. The Bhagvat-Geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon. London.

Wilkins, 1787: _____. The Heetopades of Veeshnoo-Sarma. Bath.

Wilkins, 1808: _____. A Grammar of the Sanskrita Language. London.
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Ashokan Edicts in Delhi
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/27/21

[From 'Reminiscences of Imperial Delhi’, an album consisting of 89 folios containing approximately 130 paintings of views of the Mughal and pre-Mughal monuments of Delhi, as well as other contemporary material, with an accompanying manuscript text written by Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe (1795-1853), the Governor-General’s Agent at the imperial court. Acquired with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and of the National Art-Collections Fund.]

Image
The Kotla of Firoz Shah with the Ashokan pillar viewed from the west, with the gateway of the adjacent mosque. Author: Metcalfe, Sir Thomas Theophilus (1795-1853). Medium: Ink and colours on paper. Date: 1843.

[The Kotla of Firoz Shah with the Ashokan pillar viewed from the west, with the gateway of the adjacent mosque. Firoz Shah Kotla, the citadel of the city of Firuzabad, was founded by Feroz Shah Tughlaq (r.1351-88) in 1354. Firuzabad extended from Hauz Khas to the banks of the Yamuna. Only some ramparts and ruined structures survive. The remains of a pyramidical structure, topped by the Ashokan pillar, stands out. The pillar was brought here by Feroz Shah from Ambala, and is the second column of Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (r.c.272-31). It was the first Ashokan pillar to be deciphered by James Princep in 1837, giving the key to the Brahmi script.]

Inscribed: naqsha-i kotla-i Firuz Shah Badshah. Mazhar ‘Ali Khan.

Feroze (‘Propitious’) Shah’s (‘King’) Laut (‘Pillar. Club’) is situated in the immediate environs of the city on the High road from the Dehlie Gate towards Muttra. The building on which the Laut now stands was constructed by the Emperor Feroze Shah as a Shekargah or Hunting place. He reigned at Dehlie between the years AD 1351 and 1388 in the last of which he died at the age of 90. But the pillar must have been erected as a Hindoo Monument at a much earlier period, for one of the inscriptions records a date of 1220 of the Hindoo Era, corresponding with AD 1164, or 29 years before the conquest of Dehlie by Shahabodeen (‘Strength of the Faith’) Ghoree (‘name of a particular family or dynasty’). [Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad born Shihab ad-Din]

Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad (Persian: معز الدین محمد غوری‎), born Shihab ad-Din (1149 – March 15, 1206), also known as Muhammad of Ghor, was the Sultan of the Ghurid Empire along with his brother Ghiyath ad-Din Muhammad from 1173 to 1202 and as the sole ruler from 1202 to 1206. He is credited with laying the foundation of Muslim rule in the Indian subcontinent, which lasted for several centuries. He reigned over a territory spanning over parts of modern-day Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Northern India, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

-- Muhammad of Ghor, by Wikipedia


Again, by the guidance of God, I was led to repair and rebuild the edifices and structures of former kings and ancient nobles, which had fallen into decay from lapse of time; giving the restoration of these buildings the priority over my own building works. The Masjid-i jami of old Dehli, which was built by Sultan Mu'izz-ud din Sam [Sultan Shihab ad-Din Ghori / Muhammad of Ghor], had fallen into decay from old age, and needed repair and restoration. I so repaired it that it was quite renovated.

The western wall of the tomb of Sultan Mu'izz-ud din Sam [Sultan Shihab ad-Din Ghori / Muhammad of Ghor], and the planks of the door, had become old and rotten. I restored this, and, in the place of the balcony, I furnished it with doors, arches, and ornaments of sandalwood.

The minara of Sultan Mu'izz-ud din [Sultan Shihab ad-Din Ghori / Muhammad of Ghor] had been struck by lightning. I repaired it and raised it higher than it was before.

-- XVII. Futuhat-i Firoz Shahi of Sultan Firoz Shah, Excerpt from The History of India As Told By Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, edited from the posthumous papers of the Late Sir H.M. Elliot, K.C.B., East India Company's Bengal Civil Service, by Professor John Dowson, M.R.A.S., Staff college, Sandhurst, Vol. III, P. 374, 1871


After Sultan Firoz returned from his expedition against Thatta, he often made excursions in the neighbourhood of Dehli. In this part of the country there were two stone columns. One was in the village of Tobra, in the district (shikk) of Salaura and Khizrabad, in the hills (koh-payah); the other in the vicinity of the town of Mirat. These columns had stood in those places from the days of the Pandavas, but had never attracted the attention of any of the kings who sat upon the throne of Dehli, till Sultan Firoz noticed them, and, with great exertion, brought them away.

-- XVI. Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi, of Shams-i Siraj 'Afif, Excerpt from The History of India As Told By Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, edited from the posthumous papers of the Late Sir H.M. Elliot, K.C.B., East India Company's Bengal Civil Service, by Professor John Dowson, M.R.A.S., Staff college, Sandhurst, Vol. III, P. 269-364, 1871


The height of the pillar now visible above the building is about 37 feet, and its circumference where it forms the terrace is about 10 feet 4 inches; it is composed of a single stone, and tradition asserts that only 1/3 is visible, the remaining 2/3 being buried in the earth. The structure originally consisted of three stories, and used, accorded to current opinion, partly as a menagerie and partly as an aviary.

The Emperor’s reign of 38 years though not brilliant in other respects was distinguished for the enlightened spirit of his Regulations and the extent and utility of his Public Works amongst the latter and the greatest of all is the canal from the Jumna to the district of Hansie and Hissar and still called by his name.

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The Kotla of Firoz Shah with the Ashokan pillar, View from the south of the Kotla. Author: Metcalfe, Sir Thomas Theophilus (1795-1853). Medium: Ink and colours on paper. Date: 1843.

[View from the south over the ruined palace and mosque of the Kotla on the river bank, towards the Ashokan pillar. Once the largest mosque in Delhi, now only the rear wall survives. It is believed that Timur, the Mongol conqueror, who sacked Delhi in 1398, came to this mosque for his prayers.]

Inscribed: naqsha-i qil‘a-i kotla-i Firuz Shah bar lab-i darya.

The second view represents a portion of the old Palace built by the same Emperor, but now past falling into decay. On my first arrival in Dehly in 1813, and indeed for many years subsequent, the Hall of Audience here represented was in perfect condition. The roof has of late fallen in with part of the front walk, and a portion of the room in which the Emperor Alumgeer the 2nd was murdered, and by the door way nearest to the river (as shown in the drawing) stills exists, through which the lifeless body of the Emperor was cast out upon the sand, where it lay for several days uninterred and almost unnoticed.

In the background are seen the minarets of the Zeenut ool Musajid (vide page 33 [f. 36]) and the Bridge of Boats constructed by the local authorities over the River Jumna. The Emperor Ahmud (‘Praiseworthy’) Shah {‘King’) having been deposed and blinded in July AD 1734 [i.e. 1754], by Ghaziodeen (‘the Hero of the Faith’) his commander in chief, one of the Princes of the Blood Royal, a son of the former Emperor Jahandar

-- The Kotla of Firoz Shah with the Ashokan pillar, by British Library Online Gallery


Ashokan Edicts
Askhokan Pillar in Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
General information
Architectural style: Edicts on sandstone pillars and on in-situ rocks
Town or city: Delhi
Country: India
Coordinates: 28.61°N 77.23°E
Construction started: 3rd century BC
Completed: 3rd century BC
Design and construction
Architect: Ashoka

The Ashokan edicts in Delhi are a series of edicts on the teachings of Buddha created by Ashoka, the Mauryan Emperor who ruled in the Indian subcontinent during the 3rd century BC. The Edicts of Ashoka were either carved on in-situ rocks or engraved on pillars erected throughout the empire; examples of both are found in Delhi.

The first in-situ rock edict was discovered in Delhi in 1966, and establishes the city's ancient historical link with the Ashokan era (273–236 BC).[1][2][3] Delhi's stone pillar edicts were transported from their original sites in Meerut and Ambala during the reign of Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1351–1388 AD). They were erected in Feruzabad, the fourth medieval city of Delhi, established by Feroz Shah Tughlaq.[2][4][5]

The inscriptions are written in Prakrit, a colloquial language used in everyday speech. The edicts were intended to teach the people of the morals and ideals of civilised living, to bring peace and harmony to the vast empire. The philosophy bears a striking resemblance to the teachings of the Buddha, which his followers believe lead to enlightenment (the universal law of nature), and the constituent elements of the world as it is experienced (the characteristic of elements).[6][2][7]

History

Until the 3rd century BC, a large region of the Indian subcontinent was ruled by Chandragupta Maurya (322–298 BC), founder of Mauryan Empire. He was the grandfather of Ashoka. Ashoka's father Bindusara ruled from 297–272 BC. Ashoka, known as Ashoka the Great, after he took over reigns of the Mauryan Empire from his father then expanded and consolidated his grandfather's region into a much larger empire with command over large swathes of the Indian subcontinent and with his capital at Pataliputra, the present day Patna in Bihar.[8] Ashoka ruled for three decades. During his reign, he underwent a dramatic change in his life-style after winning the Kalinga War of 261 BC, at the cost of immense loss of life. As one of his edict inscriptions states: "150,000 people were forcibly abducted from their homes, 100,000 were killed in battle, and many more died later on".[9] This event had a profound impact upon him. He was repentant. He then decided to renounce further warfare. He then converted to Buddhist religion, as the ethos of Buddhism (teachings of Buddha, an awakened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end suffering (or dukkha), achieve nirvana, and escape what is seen as a cycle of suffering and rebirth} appealed to him. His 13th edict is a form of self indictment: "Even a hundredth or a thousandth part only of the people who were slain, or killed or abducted in Kalinga is now considered as a grievous loss by Devanmpiya, beloved of the Gods, i.e., Ashoka".[9]

He avowed that his future actions would entirely be on spiritual lines and devoted to the spread of the doctrine of the right conduct.[9] Two years after the Kalinga war, as a primary member of the Buddhist faith, for 265 days, he undertook a nationwide pilgrimage of holy places of Buddhist religion. On his return to Pataliputra, his capital, in 258 BC, after a grand celebration, he launched his missionary campaign throughout his empire and even spread to South India and Sri Lanka. Ashoka's son Mahindra was involved in this mission. In 257 BC, he got the first four of his 14 rock edicts inscribed in different parts of his empire. Out of the fourteen rock edicts, one rock edict has been discovered in Delhi, though not in a complete form.[9]

While edicts inscribed on rocks were found in many parts of the world, erection of carved pillars was unique to Ashokan times, totally independent of any other structures.[10]

Edicts

Main article: Edicts of Ashoka

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Replica of Ashoka's Major Rock Edict at Girnar, Gujarat, displayed at the entrance to the National Museum, Delhi

Ashokan edicts are significant for the message they convey on the teachings of Buddhism. They have been found across his empire, written in several languages and scripts, but most of those found in India are written in Prakrit, using the Brahmi script. To spread the message in the north-western of the empire, edicts were written in Kharoshti script. Bilingual and bi-scriptural edicts have also been discovered in Kandahar and Afghanistan, written in Greek and Aramaic. Ashokan edicts written on rocks or pillars are considered unique and permanent as compared to the palm leaf or bark writings (perishable materials) of the past during the Harappan civilization, or even early Mauryan Empire edicts. The Brahmi script was not deciphered until 1837, by James Prinsep, an Indian antiquarian. The edicts of Ashoka deal with codes of conduct in respect of moral and religious views, as his personal messages.[2][11]

The edicts are of two types: the in-situ rock edicts and the pillar edicts, both of which are found in Delhi. The rock edicts are further subdivided into two categories, the "major rock edicts" and the "minor rock edicts", based on their age. Minor rock edits are the earliest, followed by major rock edicts, and then the pillar edicts.[11] Major rock edicts have been discovered across India, with 14 personal declarations by Ashoka. Two have been moved to Delhi from their original locations.[11]

The minor edicts, which predate the major edicts, have been discovered at 17 locations in different regions of the country. Ten of them are categorized as "minor rock edict I" that proclaim Ashoka's religious commitments and urge people to adopt this path. The last seven edicts, include the category of "minor rock edict II" that urges people to be obedient and respectful to parents, elders and teachers. The last seven rock edict include the Delhi edict (found in 1966) that is categorized as minor rock edict I. One particular minor rock edict that is housed in Asiatic Society, Calcutta is a dictum to the Buddhists urging them to read the seven scriptural texts.[11]

The six basic pillar edicts, which are carved on sandstone, deal mainly with the spread of moral values; Ashoka's Dhamma cover topics such as kindness, forbearance, and concern for the welfare of his people. These edicts are fairly uniform in their language and text, unlike the rock edicts, but the Delhi-Topra pillar has a long additional message. It abridges and reaffirms the content of other pillars, and to some degree those of the Major Rock Edicts also.[11]

Rock edict in Delhi

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A rare Ashokan rock edict of the 3rd century BC. found in Delhi enclosed in a crude concrete shed during the 20th century

See also: Minor Rock Edicts

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Ashokan edict details on in-situ rock surface in Delhi, but fading

The in-situ Bahapur rock edict (28.55856°N 77.25662°E) was discovered in Delhi in an engraved form on a small patch of rock exposure in Srinivaspuri, one kilometer north of Kalkaji temple, close to Bahapur village in South Delhi. The edict categorized as a "Minor edict" written in Brahmi script was a first person message of Ashoka, which exhorts people to follow the Buddhist way of life. It is inscribed on a rock surface with irregular lines and letter size with a number of lines not clearly decipherable. The edict translated into English reads:

Devanampiya (His Majesty) said thus: (it has been) more than two and a half years since I became a lay devotee.[12] At first no great exertion was made by me but in the last year I have drawn closer to the Buddhist order and exerted myself zealously and drawn in others to mingle with the gods. This goal is not one restricted only to let the people great to exert themselves and to the great but even a humble man who exerts himself can reach heaven. This proclamation is made for the following purpose: to encourage the humble and the great to exert themselves and to let the people who live beyond the borders of the kingdom know about it. Exertion in the cause must endure forever and it will spread further among the people so that it increases one-and-half fold.[8][13]


The rock edict epigraph was discovered on an inclined rock face by a building contractor operating at the site for building a residential colony. Archaeologists immediately examined it on 26 March 1966 and identified it as representing the Minor Rock Edict I of the Ashokan period in the light of its similarity with edicts in 13 other places in different parts of India, such as Barat in Jaipur division (to which Delhi rock edict has close resemblance) and the two pillars in Delhi. The Delhi edict was recorded as the 14th epigraphic version. The inscription covers an area of size 75 centimetres (30 in) length and 77 centimetres (30 in) height of the rock face. There are ten lines of writing of varying length written in Prakrit language in early Brahmi script and lacks uniformity of the aksharas (letters).[2]

One interpretation for the rock edict at Bahapur in Delhi is that it represents the trans-regional trade route of North India as an ancient trade link between the Gangetic Delta and the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. The second view is that it marks the site of a temple since it has been found at the base of a rock exposure near the present day Kalkaji temple. It is claimed that at Kalkaji, where the new Kalka Mandir (temple) exists now, was the old location of a temple (one of the five temples in Delhi) built by Pandavas, heroes of the epic Mahabharata period.[2][14]

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Shelter on the surrounding rocky landscape

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Edict in Delhi surrounded by steel cage

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Ashoka's Rock Edict (close up)

Pillar edicts in Delhi

See also: Pillars of Ashoka and Major Pillar Edicts

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Pillar edict on the ridge near Hindu Rao hospital, the second pillar shifted from Meerut to Delhi, known as the Delhi-Meerut Pillar

All of the Ashokan pillar or column edicts were made out of Chunar sandstone quarried from Chunar in the Mirzapur District of Uttar Pradesh. They were chiseled at the quarry and then transported to various places in the country. They were chiseled from massive rock blocks of 1.22 metres (4.0 ft) square and 15.2 metres (50 ft) long, which were extracted from the quarry. They were chiseled as monolith pillars of size between 12.2 metres (40 ft) and 15.2 metres (50 ft) in length with an average diameter of 0.785 metres (2.58 ft).[15] The pillars were cut, dressed, finely polished into circular columns, and carved with edicts, before being transported to various locations in the country. Two were transferred to Delhi in the 14th century by Feroz Shah Tughlaq.[16]

The two pillar edicts are still in Delhi.[17] The one on the Delhi ridge opposite the entrance of Bara Hindu Rao Hospital, close to the Delhi University campus, is popularly known as the Delhi-Meerut Pillar. The other, in the grounds of Feroz Shah Kotla, is known as the Delhi-Topra Pillar.[18][2]


Feroz Shah Tughlaq, who ruled from Delhi as Sultan during the medieval period between 1351 and 1388, was a keen historian, architect, game hunter, and with deep sense of commitment to build public utilities related to irrigation works and establishing urban towns. Feroz Shah, during one of his campaigns, was enthralled by the two spectacular monoliths – inscribed Ashokan pillars he saw, one at Topra near Ambala and the other near Meerut, till then undeciphered – and decided to shift them to his palatial Feruzabad palace in Delhi as "totemic embellishments". He shifted the pillars from these places and got them erected in Delhi; the former in his new capital and the latter on the ridge, near Pir-Ghaib, his hunting palace. The first pillar was erected in the 1350s, next to the Friday mosque in the new city of Feruzabad.).[6][2][19][20] Near the gate of the building that holds the Ashokan pillar, every Thursday afternoon is a kind of djinns date, as a large number of people visit the place to either mollify or revere the djinns or genies (said to be a pre-Islamic belief) that are believed to prowl there.[21]

Delhi-Meerut pillar

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A portion of the Meerut pillar, with a segment of the Edicts of Ashoka, now in the British Museum.

The Delhi-Meerut pillar (28.673853°N 77.211849°E), was shifted from Meerut, in Uttar Pradesh to Delhi by Feruz Shah and erected at a location in the northern ridge of Delhi, close to his hunting palace, between the Chauburji-Masjid and Hindu Rao Hospital. It was an elaborately planned transportation, from its original location, using a 42-wheeled cart to bring it up to the Yamuna river bank and then further transporting it by the Yamuna river route using barges. As seen now, it is of 10 metres (33 ft) height but the pillar was damaged in an explosion during the rule of Farrukshiar (1713–19). The five broken pieces were initially shifted to the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta and later brought back in 1866 and re-erected in 1887. In the early 17th century, William Finch, a historian chronicler, observed that the pillar had "a globe and half moon at top and diverse inscription upon it".[22][23]

Firoz Shah is considered to be an early conservationist, with a keen interest in ancient buildings and objects. In addition to the Ashokan pillar that he moved from Topra in Haryana and had installed in his citadel in Firozabad, he moved a second pillar from nearby Meerut to be installed at what was soon to become his hunting lodge on the ridge, the Kushak-i-shikar. In the early seventeenth century, the pillar was described by an English traveller, William Finch, as one with a ‘globe and half-moon at top, and divers inscription upon it’. The pillar was severely damaged in an explosion during the reign of Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar (ad 1713–19) and disintegrated into five pieces. The five fragments were later restored to an upright position in 1866, but its inscribed portions were sawed off and sent to the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Later, the inscribed pieces were received back and joined together and this restored pillar was installed back at its current location in 1867. The current height of the pillar is 10 m. Inscribed in Brahmi script and written in the Prakrit language, the inscription of Ashoka contains his messages and instruction for promoting Dharma and the welfare and happiness of the people. At the base of the pillar, a plaque announces its history. Today, the pillar looks forlorn, standing alone in its fenced enclosure near a roundabout on the main ridge road in front of the gate of the Hindu Rao Hospital complex.

-- Ashoka Pillar, by Smit Sandhir, flickr.com


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Delhi-Meerut pillar

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Delhi-Meerut pillar inscription

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Transcription

Delhi-Topra pillar

See also: Topra_Kalan § Topra_Ashokan_Pillar, and Feroz_Shah_Kotla § Topra_Ashokan_Pillar

Image
Ashokan Pillar at the ruined palace in Feroz Shah Kotla, shifted from Topra village in Yamunanagar district, Haryana to Delhi, called the Delhi-Topra pillar.

The Topra Ashokan Pillar (28.635739°N 77.245398°E), moved from Topra Kalan in Yamunanagar district of Haryana, was erected above the palace building at Feroz Shah Kotla is 13 metres (43 ft) high (with one metre below the platform) and made of sandstone. It is finished very well vis-à-vis the second pillar located in Delhi at the ridge.

The inscription in Brahmi script, which was deciphered by James Princep, a renowned scholar in Indian antiquarian studies in 1837, conveys the same message as the other Ashokan Pillars
erected such as "code of dharma:virtue, social cohesion and piety" but with one difference that on this pillar there is also a reference to issues related to taxation. The building that houses the pillar is a three-storied structure built in rubble masonry. It has a large number of small domed rooms in the first and second floors, with links to the roof. Rooms on each floor have arched entrances, which are now stated to be used for pujas (worship). It is a pyramidal shaped structure with reducing size at each level with the pillar installed on the terrace of the building. It is conjectured that originally the pillar had a lion capital (similar to the Ashoka Emblem), which is the National Emblem of India. Feroz Shah is said to have embellished the top of the pillar with frescoes in black and white stone topped with a gilded copper cupola. But at present, what is visible is the smooth polished surface of the pillar, and an elephant carving added much later.[24][25][26] It has also been noted that this pillar, apart from the Ashokan edict, has another set of text inscribed in Sanskrit "below and around Ashokan edict", in nagari script. This inscription records: "the conquests of Visala Deva Vigraharaja IV of the Chauhan dynasty, which was still ruling over Delhi at the time of Ghurid conquests in the 1190s, and his victories over a Mlechha (presumably "Ghaznavid or Gharid"). With this finding, it has been inferred that Visala Deva reused this pillar to record his triumphs in wars.[27]

Image
The Staff of Firuz Shah.
[10'4" circumference at base / 37' tall / red]


I now proceed to lay before the Society the results of my application of the alphabet, developed by the simple records of Bhilsa, to the celebrated inscription on Feroz's column, of which facsimiles have been in the Society's possession since its very foundation, without any successful attempt having been made to decipher them. This is the less to be wondered at when we find that 500 years before, on the re-erection of the pillar, perhaps for the second or third time, by the emperor Feroz [r. 1351–1388)], the unknown characters were just as much a mystery to the learned as they have proved at a later period — "Round it" says the author of the Haftaklim, "have been engraved literal characters which the most intelligent of all religions have been unable to explain. Report says, this pillar is a monument of renown to the rajas or Hindu princes, and that Feroz Shah set it up within his hunting place: but on this head there are various traditions which it would be tedious to relate."

Neither Muhammed Ami'n the author of the Haftaklim [Muhammad Amin Razi, [x], vide Amin Ahmad, author of the Haft Aklim -- The Oriental Biographical Dictionary], nor Ferishteh, in his account of Feroz's works alludes to the comparatively modern inscription on the same pillar recording the victories of Visala Deva king of Sacambhari (or Sambhar) in the 12th century, of which Sir William Jones first [XXI. Inscriptions on the Staff of Firuz Shah, translated from the Sanscrit, as explained by Radha Canta Sarman, Asiatic Researches, Volume 1, 1788, P. 315-317.], and Mr. Colebrooke afterwards, ['Translation of one of the Inscriptions on the Pillar at Delhi, called the Lat of Firuz Shah, by Henry Colebrooke, Esq., With Introductory Remarks by Mr. Harrington,' Asiatic Researches, Vol. VII, 1803, P. 175-182] published translations in the first and seventh volumes of the [Asiatic] Researches. This was in quite a modern type of Nagari; differing about as much from the character employed on the Allahabad pillar to record the victories of Chanara and Samudra-gupta, as that type is now perceived to vary from the more ancient form originally engraven on both of these pillars; so that (placing Chandra-gupta, in the third or fourth century, midway between Visala, in the Samvat year 1220, and the oldest inscription) we might have roughly deduced an antiquity of fourteen or fifteen centuries anterior to Visala's reign for the original lat alphabet, from the gradual change of form in the alphabetical symbols, had we no better foundation for fixing the period of these monuments.

But in my preceding notice, I trust that this point has been set at rest, and that it has been satisfactorily proved that the several pillars of Delhi, Allahabad, Mattiah and Radhia were erected under the orders of king Devanampiya Piyadasi of Ceylon, about three hundred years before the Christian era....

[R]oyal benevolence was exercised ... by the planting of trees along the roadsides, by the digging of wells, by the establishment of bazars and serais, at convenient distances. Where are they all? On what road are we now to search for these venerable relics, these banyan trees and mangoes, which, with the aid of Professor Candolle's theory, would enable us to confirm the assumed date of our monuments? The lat of Feroz is the only one which alludes to this circumstance, and we know not whence that was taken to be set up in its present situation by the emperor Feroz in the 14th century — whether it had stood there from the first? or whether it was re-erected when it received the inscription recording the victories of Visala deva in the Samvat year 1220 or A.D. 1163? — This cannot be determined without a careful re-examination of the ruinous building surrounding the pillar, which I hope some of my antiquarian friends will undertake. The chambers described by Captain Hoare as a menagerie and aviary may have been so adapted from their original purpose as cells for the monastic priesthood — a point which the style of their architecture may settle. The neighbourhood should also be examined for traces of a vihara, a holy tree, a road, and boulees or large pakka wells: — the texture of the stone also should be noticed, that the quarry whence it was brought may be discovered, for now that we know so much of its history we feel a vivid curiosity to pry into the further secrets of this interesting silastambha, even to the difficulties and probably cost of its transport, which, judging from the inability of the present Government to afford the expense even of setting the Allahabad pillar upright on its pedestal, must have fallen heavily on the coffers of the Ceylon monarch!

VI.—Interpretation of the most ancient of the inscriptions on the pillar called the lat of Feroz Shah, near Delhi, and of the Allahabad, Radhia [Lauriya-Araraj (Radiah)] and Mattiah [Lauriya-Nandangarh (Mathia)] pillar, or lat, inscriptions which agree therewith, by James Prinsep, Sec. As. Soc. &c., The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. VI, Part II, July to December, 1837


Image
The Staff of Firuz Shah.
[10'4" circumference at base / 37' tall / red]


In the year 1230, on the first day of the bright half of the month Vaisach (a monument) of the Fortunate Visala Deva Son of the Fortunate Amilla Deva, King of Sacambhari...

The date 123 is here perfectly clear; at least it is clear that only three figures are written, without even room for a cypher after them; whence we may guess that the double circle in the former inscription was only an ornament, or the neutral terminal am; if so, the date of both is the year of Christ sixty-seven; but if the double circle be a Zero, the monument of Visala Deva is as modern as the year 1174, or nineteen years before the conquest of Delhi by Shihabuddin....

He who is resentful to kings intoxicated with pride, indulgent to those whose necks are humbled, an INDRA in the city of Causambi (I suspect Causambi, a city near Hastinapur, to be the true reading,) who is victorious in the world, Visala, sovereign of the earth: he gives ... his commands being obeyed, he is a conqueror, the son of Santanajana, whose mind, when his foes say, 'Let there be mercy,' is free from further hostility.

-- XXI. Inscriptions on the Staff of Firuz Shah, translated from the Sanscrit, as explained by Radha Canta Sarman. Excerpt from Asiatic Researches, Volume 1, P. 315-317, 1788


Image
The Staff of Firuz Shah.
[10'4" circumference at base / 37' tall / red]


I have the pleasure of presenting to the Society a Book of Drawings and Inscriptions prepared under the inspection of their late member, Captain James Hoare, and intended by him (I have reason to believe) for the life of the Society.

Two of the drawings represent elevations, taken on the spot, of the stone building near Dehlee, called the Shikargah, or hunting place, of Feeroz Shah; with the pillar in the center, and above the summit of it, commonly known by the designation of Feeroz Shah’s Lat; and described, with an outline of the building and pillar, in the 21st paper of the 1st Vol. of the Society’s Transactions....

The Feeroz Shah, whose name is now attached to the Dehlee pillar, (though it must have been erected as some Hindoo monument at a much earlier period,) appears, from Ferishtuh’s History, to have reigned at Dehlee between the years 1351 and 1388; in the last of which he died at the age of ninety; and Ferishtuh, in the words of his translator, Lieutenant Colonel Dow, gives him the following character: ... [Dow’s History of Hindustan, Vol. I. page 336.]

The author of the Huft Akleem, Mohummud Ameem Razee, who wrote his history of the world (or, as the title of his book imports, of the Seven Climes, into which the Mahommedans divide the universe) in the reign of Akbur, corroborates the above character of Feeroz Shah, and adds the following passage, translated verbatim from his history.
“Among the places built by this King (Feeroz Shah) is a hunting place, which the populace call the Lat of Feeroz Shah. It is a house of three stories, in the centre of which has been erected a pillar of red stone, of one piece, and tapering upwards. The visible part of the shaft is, by measurement, twenty-seven Zirras; and it is said, that one-third only is visible; the remaining two-thirds being buried in the earth. In this case, the total length must be eighty-one Zirras; and it is five Zirras in circumference. Round it have been engraved literal characters, which the most intelligent of all religions have been unable to explain. Report says, this pillar is a monument of renown to the Rajuhs, (or Hindoo Princes,) and that Feeroz Shah set it up within his hunting place. But on this head there are various traditions, which it would be tedious to relate.”


The exact length of the Zirra, referred to in the above description, is uncertain. But there can be no doubt that the height of the pillar, now visible above the building, is thirty-seven feet; and that its circumference, where it joins the terrace, is ten feet four inches [124 inches]. These dimensions I have from Moonshee Mohummud Morad, who himself measured the pillar for Captain Hoare in July, 1797; and who adds, that, as far as it could be seen, (which, from the ruinous state of the building, it cannot be, at present, below the upper terrace,) it is certainly, as described in the Huft Akleem, a single stone, of reddish colour, as represented in the drawing.

One of Captain Hoare’s drawings further represents the plans of the three stories of the Shikar-gah; and his Moonshee informs me, the current opinion is, that they were used partly for a menagery, and partly for an aviary, which the plans appear to confirm.


-- Translation of one of the Inscriptions on the Pillar At Dehlee, called the Lat of Feeroz Shah, Excerpt from Asiatic Researches, Volume 7, by Henry Colebrooke, Esq., With Introductory Remarks by Mr. Harington, P. 175-182, 1803


Image
Delhi-Topra Ashoka pillar

Image
Inscriptions (Brahmi on top, Devanagari below)

Image
Transcription

Transportation techniques

Image
Transportation of the Topra pillar to Delhi. Sirat i-Firuz Shahi, 14th century illustration.
Table of Contents

• Preface
• Firozabad, the town
• Kotla Firoz Shah, the Citadel
• The Lat Pyramid
• The connecting bridge
• The Mosque
• The river front and Royal palaces
• Interior courts and Gates
• The Baoli
• Water Tanks and Ducts
• The Citadel Walls; Main entrance bay
• Defence of the walls
• Contemporary accounts of the Citadel
• Firozabad the Royal retreat
• Features of the Palaces
• The Corps of the Palace Slaves
• The Sultan emerges in State
• Events at the Citadel
• The Sultan’s Gardens
• The Sultan’s buildings
• His Chief Architect
• The Royal establishments and domestic arrangements
• Subsequent History of the Kotla
• The Sultan retires in favour of his son Muhammad Khan
• Flight of Muhammad Khan and his supersession by Sultan Firoz’s grandson, Tughlaq Shah
• Death of Firoz Shah
• Death of his successor Tughlaq Shah and enthronement of Muhammad Khan at Samana
• Death of Sultan Muhammad
• Succession of Prince Mahmud at Jahanpanah
• Rebellion and rival sovereignty of his cousin Nasrat Shah at Firozabad
• Timur’s invasion
• Subsequent History
• Appendix
• Index
• Translation of the extracts from Sirat-i-Firozshahi [Folios 91 (b) to 105 (b)]
• Transcript of Sirat-i-Firozshahi [Folios 91 (b) to 105 (6)] with illustrations
LIST OF PLATES.
o Plate I. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi. Bara gateway. General view. (South-west).
o Plate II. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; Vue D'oiseau of a conjectural reconstruction of the ruined citadel.
o Plate III. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; Perspective view of river front.
o Plate IV. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; General view of the mosque. (North-west).
o Plate V. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; view of the Lat Pyramid.
o Plate VI. — (Coloured.) Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; Illustrations from Sirat-i-Firozshahi —
 (а) Removing wheels of the cart from one side and tying ropes and pulling up the pillar to place it in the boat.
 (b) Arrival of boat with pillar on the bank of the Jumna (near Delhi), tying ropes to the pillar to remove it from the boat and place it on the cart.
 (c) The monolith being carried on the ladha (cart) towards the town of Firozabad (Delhi).
 (d) Arrival of the cart with pillar in front of the mosque of Firozabad (Delhi).
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS APPEARING IN THE TRANSCRIPT OF SIRAT-I-FIROZSHAHI.
o Fig. 1. — Erection of piers and pulleys and tying of ropes, for taking down the stone pillar.
o Fig. 2 . — Pasheb on which the stone pillar would rest while taken down.
o Fig. 3. — Erection of pulleys and raising the pillar in order to place it on the ladha (cart).
o Fig. 4. — Arrival of the ladha with the stone pillar, at the bank of the Jamna river.
o Fig. 5. — Constructing the foundations of a structure, 61 yards square thereon to set up the pillar.
o Fig. 6. — Building of the first storey and raising the pillar on its top by means of ropes.
o Fig. 7. — Plan of the second storey.
o Fig. 8. — Raising the pillar two yards at a time, first at one end and then at the other.
o Fig. 9. — Third storey of the structure on which the pillar was set up.


PREFACE.

In the preparation of this memoir on the ruins of Kotla Firoz Shah at Delhi Mr. Page had in mind the desirability of attempting to retrieve for the reader the original "atmosphere" of the old fabric, with all its historical associations and charm: and to reveal the distinctive traits and outlook of those who founded and peopled it in the 14th Century A.D.

As a means to this, Mr. Page had recourse to the original narratives of the Mussalman historians of the time (as translated in Messrs. Elliott and Dowson's invaluable volumes) and has quoted in extenso from their writings.
Verbose and redundant though these annals often are, they nevertheless reflect, as nothing else can, the mentality of their environment and period, and will, it is hoped, help the reader to visualise the life of the time, and repopulate for him the empty remains of what was once the royal retreat of a Turkish King of Delhi.

Besides the works, particularly by Muslim historians referred to by Mr. Page in his Memoir, there exists another trustworthy and contemporary account of Firoz Shah's reign as narrated in the pages of Sirat-i-Firozshahi, a Persian manuscript in Nastaliq characters deposited in the Oriental Public Library at Bankipore and enlisted in its Catalogue as No. 547. From the Catalogue it appears that nothing is known about the author of Sirat-i-Firozshahi but the verse at the end of the manuscript assigns the work to A.H. 772 (A.D. 1370). i.e., the twentieth year of the reign of Firoz Shah. Sirat-i-Firozshahi thus chronicles the events of the earlier part of Firoz Shah's reign.

God said it, I believe it, That settles it.


It is divided into four chapters or babs; and the folios of the second chapter dealing with the removal of the Minarah-i-Zarrin (Golden Pillar) have been transcribed and translated by Mr. Mohammad Hamid Kuraishi, B.A., to form a supplement to Mr. Page's Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah. The illustrations contained in the original not only add charm to the manuscript but portray the minutest details of the removal of the pillar — its carriage in boats and installation on the citadel at Firozabad, where it stands to the present day.

J. F. BLAKISTON.
Director General of Archaeology
New Delhi, March 1936.

-- Memoirs Of the Archaeological Survey of India, No. 52: A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi, by J.A. Page, A.R.I.B.A., Late Superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India, With a Translation of Sirat-i-Firozshahi by Mohammad Hamid Kuraishi, B.A., Superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India, 1937

The transportation of the massive pillars to Delhi, planned under the direction of Sultan Feruz Shah, was documented by contemporary historian Shams-i-Siraj.[19][28]

The truncated pillar now at the ruined palace of Feruz Shah came from Khizrabad, in the upstream reaches of the Yamuna River, about 90 kilometres (56 mi) from Delhi. The transportation of the pillar was highly demanding, requiring soldiers (both cavalry and foot) to pitch in with all tools and tackles to transport it to Delhi. Silk cotton from the Silk cotton tree, the simal, was gathered in large quantities to surround the pillar before it was lowered horizontally to the ground. The covering was then removed, and replaced by reeds and raw hide to protect the pillar. A 42-wheeled cart was used to transport it to the river bank, where it was loaded onto a large boat. The cart required 8,400 men to move it, 200 to each wheel.[19] A purpose-built palatial building was constructed out of stone and lime mortar to house the pillar. The square base stone was placed at the base of the pillar before the task was completed. The building is now in a ruined state, but the pillar still stands as it was erected.[19][28]

See also

• Related topics
o Ancient iron production
o Ashoka's Major Rock Edicts
o Dhar iron pillar
o History of metallurgy in South Asia
o Iron pillar of Delhi
o List of Edicts of Ashoka
o Pillars of Ashoka
o Stambha
• Other similar topics
o Early Indian epigraphy
o Hindu temple architecture
o History of India
o Indian copper plate inscriptions
o Indian rock-cut architecture
o List of rock-cut temples in India
o Outline of ancient India
o South Indian Inscriptions
o Tagundaing

Notes

1. Sharma, pp. 1, 10–11 A glorious chapter to Delhi’s history was added as recently as 1966 with the discovery of an inscription by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, engraved on a rugged rock, an outcrop of the Arvallis, near Srinivaspuri, west of Kalkaji temple… Direct association of emperor Ashoka (273–236 BC.) of the Maurya Dynasty with Delhi has been brought to light only recently by the discovery of a shorter version of his Minor Rock Edicts carved on a rock near Srinivaspuri. This discovery also indicates that Delhi lay on the trunk route connecting the main cities of ancient India
2. Singh, Upinder (2006). Delhi. Ashokan Edicts in Delhi. Berghahn Books. pp. 120–131. ISBN 81-87358-29-7. Retrieved 22 July2009.
3. Peck, p.26. The city is situated where a spur of the Aravalli Hills meets the Yamuna River, and these outcrops were the sites of some early settlements ... Before the 3rd century BC, India was controlled by numerous competing chiefs and kings, and during this time urban centres of some size developed. One of these became the base of powerful Mauryan Empire, created by Chandra Gupta Maurya and consolidated by his grandson Ashoka (reigned 272–232 BC). Ashoka ruled from Pataliputra, modern Patna, but held sway over most of the Indian subcontinent. He aimed at government in a very real sense, controlling the affairs, or at least exhorting a certain way of life, through his famous edicts… However, the most exciting Mauryan discovery, made in 1966 was of an Ashokan Rock Edict found at Kalkaji (East of Kailash), in South Delhi, indicating that there must have been a reasonably important settlement nearby.
4. Sharma, pp.1,10–11
5. Peck, p.28.The remains of an inscription, on a smooth rock face projecting from the top of a rocky hillock, can be seen under an ugly concrete shelter in a small neighbourhood park in East of Kailash, nor far from the ISKCON temple on the Raja Dhirsain Marg it was discovered in 1966 and is an important part of Delhi’s history and heritage, because it implies that somewhere nearby was a settlement important enough in the 3rd century BC for an edict to have been carved. Among the cluster of religious institutions on the nearby hilltops, the Kalkaji Temple is said to be of great antiquity, and might have had a settlement around it.
6. Sharma, pp. 1, 10–11
7. Peck, p.28
8. Peck, pp.26–28
9. Kulkae, Hermann; Dietmar Rothermund (1998). A History of India. Ashoka the beloved to the Gods. CRC Press. pp. 62–65. ISBN 0-203-44345-4. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
10. "Bhandarkar pp.205–206">Bhandarkar pp.205–206
11. Richard Salomon (1998). Indian epigraphy. Inscriptions of the Mauyryan Period. Oxford University Press US. pp. 135–139. ISBN 0-19-509984-2. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
12. Joshi, M. C.; Pande, B. M. (1967). "A Newly Discovered Inscription of Aśoka at Bahapur, Delhi". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (3/4): 97. ISSN 0035-869X. JSTOR 25202984.
13. Singh pp.121–122
14. Philip Lutgendorf (2007). Hanuman's tale. A Tale of two Temples, Foot note 9. by Oxford University Press US. p. 253. ISBN 978-0-19-530921-8. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
15. Bhandarkar p.206
16. Bhandarkar pp. 206–207
17. "Delhi's air pollution behind corrosion of Ashoka Pillar?".
18. "Kotla's Ashoka pillar, over 2,000 years old, suffers heavy damage".
19. Keay, John (2001). India: A History. The Arm of the Guptas. Grove Press. p. 136. ISBN 0-8021-3797-0.
20. Flood p. 248
21. Peck p. 82
22. Sharma pp.136–137
23. Peck p. 91
24. Sharma p.131
25. Peck p.85
26. Horton, Patrick; Richard Plunkett; Hugh Finlay (2002). Delhi. Feroz Shah Kotla. Lonely Planet. p. 104. ISBN 978-1-86450-297-8. Retrieved 22 July2009.
27. Flood pp.249–250
28. Bhandarkar pp. 207–209

References

• Bhandarkar, R. G; D.R. Bhandarkar (2000). Asoka. Social and Religious life. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 81-206-1333-3.
• Flood, Finbarr B. (2009). Objects of Translation. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-12594-7.
• Peck, Lucy (2005). Delhi -A thousand years of Building. Rock edicts & Ashokan Pillars. New Delhi: Roli Books Pvt Ltd. ISBN 81-7436-354-8.
• Sharma, Y.D. (2001). Delhi and its Neighbourhood. Rock edicts and Ashokan pillars. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India. Archived from the original on 16 February 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
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A Study of Asokan Pillars: Re-Erected by Firuz Shah Tughluq
by W. H. Siddiqi
Proceedings of the Indian History Congress
Vol. 36 (1975), pp. 338-344 (7 pages)
1975
Table of Contents

• Preface
• Firozabad, the town
• Kotla Firoz Shah, the Citadel
• The Lat Pyramid
• The connecting bridge
• The Mosque
• The river front and Royal palaces
• Interior courts and Gates
• The Baoli
• Water Tanks and Ducts
• The Citadel Walls; Main entrance bay
• Defence of the walls
• Contemporary accounts of the Citadel
• Firozabad the Royal retreat
• Features of the Palaces
• The Corps of the Palace Slaves
• The Sultan emerges in State
• Events at the Citadel
• The Sultan’s Gardens
• The Sultan’s buildings
• His Chief Architect
• The Royal establishments and domestic arrangements
• Subsequent History of the Kotla
• The Sultan retires in favour of his son Muhammad Khan
• Flight of Muhammad Khan and his supersession by Sultan Firoz’s grandson, Tughlaq Shah
• Death of Firoz Shah
• Death of his successor Tughlaq Shah and enthronement of Muhammad Khan at Samana
• Death of Sultan Muhammad
• Succession of Prince Mahmud at Jahanpanah
• Rebellion and rival sovereignty of his cousin Nasrat Shah at Firozabad
• Timur’s invasion
• Subsequent History
• Appendix
• Index
• Translation of the extracts from Sirat-i-Firozshahi [Folios 91 (b) to 105 (b)]
• Transcript of Sirat-i-Firozshahi [Folios 91 (b) to 105 (6)] with illustrations
LIST OF PLATES.
o Plate I. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi. Bara gateway. General view. (South-west).
o Plate II. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; Vue D'oiseau of a conjectural reconstruction of the ruined citadel.
o Plate III. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; Perspective view of river front.
o Plate IV. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; General view of the mosque. (North-west).
o Plate V. — Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; view of the Lat Pyramid.
o Plate VI. — (Coloured.) Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; Illustrations from Sirat-i-Firozshahi —
 (а) Removing wheels of the cart from one side and tying ropes and pulling up the pillar to place it in the boat.
 (b) Arrival of boat with pillar on the bank of the Jumna (near Delhi), tying ropes to the pillar to remove it from the boat and place it on the cart.
 (c) The monolith being carried on the ladha (cart) towards the town of Firozabad (Delhi).
 (d) Arrival of the cart with pillar in front of the mosque of Firozabad (Delhi).
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS APPEARING IN THE TRANSCRIPT OF SIRAT-I-FIROZSHAHI.
o Fig. 1. — Erection of piers and pulleys and tying of ropes, for taking down the stone pillar.
o Fig. 2 . — Pasheb on which the stone pillar would rest while taken down.
o Fig. 3. — Erection of pulleys and raising the pillar in order to place it on the ladha (cart).
o Fig. 4. — Arrival of the ladha with the stone pillar, at the bank of the Jamna river.
o Fig. 5. — Constructing the foundations of a structure, 61 yards square thereon to set up the pillar.
o Fig. 6. — Building of the first storey and raising the pillar on its top by means of ropes.
o Fig. 7. — Plan of the second storey.
o Fig. 8. — Raising the pillar two yards at a time, first at one end and then at the other.
o Fig. 9. — Third storey of the structure on which the pillar was set up.


PREFACE.

In the preparation of this memoir on the ruins of Kotla Firoz Shah at Delhi Mr. Page had in mind the desirability of attempting to retrieve for the reader the original "atmosphere" of the old fabric, with all its historical associations and charm: and to reveal the distinctive traits and outlook of those who founded and peopled it in the 14th Century A.D.

As a means to this, Mr. Page had recourse to the original narratives of the Mussalman historians of the time (as translated in Messrs. Elliott and Dowson's invaluable volumes) and has quoted in extenso from their writings.
Verbose and redundant though these annals often are, they nevertheless reflect, as nothing else can, the mentality of their environment and period, and will, it is hoped, help the reader to visualise the life of the time, and repopulate for him the empty remains of what was once the royal retreat of a Turkish King of Delhi.

Besides the works, particularly by Muslim historians referred to by Mr. Page in his Memoir, there exists another trustworthy and contemporary account of Firoz Shah's reign as narrated in the pages of Sirat-i-Firozshahi, a Persian manuscript in Nastaliq characters deposited in the Oriental Public Library at Bankipore and enlisted in its Catalogue as No. 547. From the Catalogue it appears that nothing is known about the author of Sirat-i-Firozshahi but the verse at the end of the manuscript assigns the work to A.H. 772 (A.D. 1370). i.e., the twentieth year of the reign of Firoz Shah. Sirat-i-Firozshahi thus chronicles the events of the earlier part of Firoz Shah's reign.

God said it, I believe it, That settles it.


It is divided into four chapters or babs; and the folios of the second chapter dealing with the removal of the Minarah-i-Zarrin (Golden Pillar) have been transcribed and translated by Mr. Mohammad Hamid Kuraishi, B.A., to form a supplement to Mr. Page's Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah. The illustrations contained in the original not only add charm to the manuscript but portray the minutest details of the removal of the pillar — its carriage in boats and installation on the citadel at Firozabad, where it stands to the present day.

J. F. BLAKISTON.
Director General of Archaeology
New Delhi, March 1936.

-- Memoirs Of the Archaeological Survey of India, No. 52: A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi, by J.A. Page, A.R.I.B.A., Late Superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India, With a Translation of Sirat-i-Firozshahi by Mohammad Hamid Kuraishi, B.A., Superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India, 1937

The Asokan pillars forming the earliest sculptural monuments of India occupy a unique position for their valuable edicts containing information on political, religious and social life of the Mauryan period.1 But it is not popularly known that out of ten Asokan pillars at least five of them were discovered and re-erected by Sultan Firuz Shah Tughluq (A.D. 1351-1388). He took great interest in the preservation of ancient monuments and evinced particular interest in tracing and re-erecting these columns at different places in his empire. This fact is little known, not only to the general public but also to the experts and specialists. No attempt seems to have been made to study in a proper sequence the events connected with the discovery of the pillars by Firuz Shah. The number of Asokan pillars discovered and re-erected by the Sultan has not been ascertained. None has cared to trace the chronology of the re-setting of the various pillars at different places. Cunningham who took pains to give an account of the discoveries of the pillars had no access to authentic contemporary literature, therefore, most of his dates are incorrect.2

However, an extremely valuable account of Delhi-Topra pillar is contained in Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi edited by J. A. Page with an English translation of Sirat-i-Firoz Shah by Mohammad Hamid Kuraishi which was published in 1937.3 [J. A. Page, Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India, No. 52, -- A Memoir on Kotla-Firoz Shah (Delhi-1937). It deals with history and archaeological remains of Firuzabad, Firuz Shah's New Delhi and contains second chapters of the Persian text of Sirat-i-Firuz Shahi with its English translation and illustration of original drawings of Delhi-Topra pillar being carried in boat and re-erected in stages on a specially built three storeyed edifice.]

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Page did not study the other two pillars of Fatehabad and Hissar (now in Haryana) which were already noticed by Cunningham. It is, therefore, purposed to give an authentic account of the re-setting of all the five pillars by Firuz Shah in a proper sequence.

The discovery of the first two pillars:

XVI. Tarikh-I Firoz Shahi, of Shams-i Siraj 'Afif

This History of Firoz Shah is devoted exclusively to the reign of that monarch, and therefore has a better right to the title than Barni's history, which embraces only a small portion of the reign of Firoz, and bears the title simply because it was written or finished during his reign. Little is known of Shams-i Siraj beyond what is gleaned from his own work. He was descended from a family which dwelt at Abuhar, the country of Firoz Shah's Bhatti mother. His great grandfather, he says, was collector of the revenue of Abuhar, and was intimate with Ghiyasu-d din Tughlik before he became Sultan. He himself was attached to the court of Firoz, and accompanied him on his hunting expeditions.]

The work has met with scarcely any notice, whilst every historian who writes of the period quotes and refers to Ziau-d din Barni. The reason of this may be that Shams-i Siraj enters more than usual into administrative details, and devotes some chapters to the condition of the common people — a matter of the utmost indifference to Muhammadan authors in general. His untiring strain of eulogy could not have condemned him in their eyes, as they were accustomed to little else in all the other histories they consulted; so that we must either attribute the neglect of this work to the cause assigned, or to the fact of its having at a comparatively late period been rescued from some musty record room. The work, consisting of ninety chapters, contains an ample account of this Akbar of his time; and, making due allowance for the prevalent spirit of eulogium and exaggeration, it not only raises in us a respect for the virtues and munificence of Firoz, and for the benevolence of his character, as shown by his canals and structures for public accommodation, but gives us altogether a better view of the internal condition of India under a Muhammadan sovereign than is presented to us in any other work, except the A'yin-i Akbari.


[In style, this history has no pretensions to elegance, being, in general, very plain. The author is much given to reiterations and recapitulations, and he has certain pet phrases which he constantly uses. Sir H. Elliot desired to print a translation of the whole work, and he evidently held it in high estimation. A portion of the work had been translated for him by a munshi, but this has proved to be entirely useless. The work of translation has, consequently, fallen upon the editor, and he has endeavoured to carry out Sir H. Elliot's plan by making a close translation of the first three chapters, and by extracting from the rest of the work everything that seemed worthy of selection. The translation is close, without being servile; here and there exuberances of eloquence have been pruned out, and repetitions and tautologies have been passed over without notice, but other omissions have been marked by asterisks, or by brief descriptions in brackets of the passages omitted. Shams-i Siraj, with a better idea of method than has fallen to the lot of many of his brother historians, has divided his work into books and chapters with appropriate headings.

[Besides this history of Firoz Shah, the author often refers to his Manakib-i Sultan Tughlik, and he mentions his intention of writing similar memoirs of the reign of Sultan Muhammad, the son of Firoz Shah. Nothing more appears to be known of these works. Copies of the Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi are rare in India, and Colonel Lees, who has selected the work for publication in the Bibliotheca Indica, has heard only of "one copy in General Hamilton's library, and of another at Dehli, in the possession of Nawab Ziau-d din Loharu, of which General Hamilton's is perhaps a transcript."1 [Journ. R.A.S., New Series, iii., 446.] The editor has had the use of four copies. One belonging to Sir H. Elliot, and another belonging to Mr. Thomas, are of quite recent production. They are evidently taken from the same original, most probably the Dehli copy above mentioned. The other two copies belong to the library of the India Office, one having been lately purchased at the sale of the Marquis of Hastings's books. These are older productions; they are well and carefully written, and although they contain many obvious errors, they will be of the greatest service in the preparation of a correct text. None of these MSS. are perfect.The two modern copies terminate in the middle of the ninth chapter of the last book. The Hastings copy wants several chapters at the end of the first and the beginning of the second book; but it extends to the eleventh chapter of the last book, and has the final leaf of the work. The other MS. ends in the middle of the fifteenth chapter of the last book, and some leaves are missing from the fourteenth. Fortunately these missing chapters seem, from the headings given in the preface, to be of no importance.


[A considerable portion of the work was translated in abstract by Lieut. Henry Lewis, Bengal Artillery, and published in the Journal of the Archaeological Society of Dehli in 1849.]

-- XVI. Tarikh-I Firoz Shahi, of Shams-i Siraj 'Afif, Excerpt from The History of India As Told By Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, edited from the posthumous papers of the Late Sir H.M. Elliot, K.C.B., East India Company's Bengal Civil Service, by Professor John Dowson, M.R.A.S., Staff college, Sandhurst, Vol. III, P. 269-364, 1871


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Delhi-Topra, Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi (Pillar Edicts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII; moved in 1356 CE from Topra Kalan in Yamunanagar district of Haryana to Delhi by Firuz Shah Tughluq.

-- Pillars of Ashoka, by Wikipedia


During his hunting expeditions in 1366 Firuz Shah discovered two remarkable pillars of stone -- one in the village of Topra (Tobra) situated in the hills of Salaura and Khizrabad, and the other in the vicinity of the town of Mirah.4 The village Tobra of Shams Siraj 'Afif' has been satisfactorily identified with Topra in Ambala district of Haryana.

Firuz was so much excited and impressed that he decided to take the pillar from Topra across a distance of over 150 miles to his newly built city Firuzabad. It is interesting to know the details and see illustration in line drawings how this pillar was dislodged, transported by boat and re-erected in stages on a three storied pyramidal pavilion in front of the Jami Mosque of Firuzabad in A.D. 1367.5

After the pillar was finally set up the top was ornamented with black and white stone railings5 and was crowned by a gilded copper cupola. The gold pinnacle of the pillars was intact in A.D. 1611 when William Finch visited Delhi. Firoz Shah was very keen to know the purport of the Mauryan inscription. Many reputed Brahmin scholars of the age are reported to have tried but according to Afif, they could not completely decipher the epigraph except giving its traditional accounts. The pillar is now standing on the above mentioned pyramidal structure in Kotala Firoz Shah, New Delhi. It bears the longest of the pillar edicts of Asoka, giving summary of what Asoka did for "the progress of men by an adequate promotion of Dharma".7

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Delhi-Meerut, Delhi ridge, Delhi (Pillar Edicts I, II, III, IV, V, VI; moved from Meerut to Delhi by Firuz Shah Tughluq in 1356, broken in pieces during transportation.

-- Pillars of Ashoka, by Wikipedia


The next Asokan pillar at Delhi can be seen between the Chauburji-Masjid and Hindu Rao Hospital on the town of Mirath and set up by Firuz over the top of the three storeyed imposing Hunting Palace better known as Kushk-i-Shikar (now mass of ruins). According to Afif this pillar was removed by Sultan Firuz with similar skill and labour, and was re-erected on a hill on the Kushk-i-Shikr. After the erection of the pillar a large town sprang up and the nobles of the court erected their houses there. The hunting palace (Kushk-i-Shikar) was built by Firuz Shah Tughluq in A.H. 755 (A. D. 1354) and was originally a lofty rubble built structure in three storeys, having circular bastions at the corners, The apartments had many entrances of pointed arches on all sides. The bastions as well as top pavilions were covered with low domes of the Khalfi-Tughluq variety. The stone column was fixed on the top of the central structure which was flanked by two square pavilions of similar height.

Afif informs us that the day Firuz successfully raised the second pillar to its proper height he ordered state rejoicing. The whole day was observed as a state festival and all people were entertained; and passers-by irrespective of all distinctions enjoyed sharbat (cold sweet drink). The pillar of Kushk-i-Shikar, remained intact until it was damaged, and broken into five pieces on account of an explosion of the neighbouring powder magazine during the reign of Farrukhsiyar (A.D. 1713-19.) Its inscribed surface was later sawed off and sent to the Asiatic Society of Bengal at Calcutta wherefrom all the pieces were received back and re-set in 1867 by the British on the site of the dismantled palace on the bridge where it can be seen at present. The pillar now measures 10 m. in length.

Thanks largely to Hodgson's discoveries along the Nepalese frontier, Prinsep knew of five Ashoka columns. As he deciphered their messages a sixth came to light in Delhi (the second to be found there). Broken into three pieces and buried in the ground, it was thought to have been the casualty of an explosion in a nearby gunpowder factory sometime in the 17th century. The inscription was badly worn, though evidently the same as that on the other pillars. In due course the whole pillar was offered to the Asiatic Society for their new museum. They accepted it but found the difficulties and cost of transporting it to Calcutta to be prohibitive; eventually they settled for just the bit with the inscription on it.

The question of how these pillars had originally been moved round India, and whether they were still in their ordained positions, was an intriguing subject in itself. It was now appreciated that they were all of the same stone, all polished by the same unexplained process, and therefore all from the same quarry. Prinsep thought this was somewhere in the Outer Himalayas, although we now know their source to have been Chunar on the Ganges near Benares. Either way, they had somehow been moved as much as 500 miles, no mean feat considering that the heaviest weighed over 40 tons.

-- India Discovered, by John Keay


It is possible that after the discovery and re-erection of the two Asokan columns at Delhi, Firuz Shah searched for other such relics in the region. His explorations may have resulted in the discovery of the Hissar pillars which was certainly found later than the Delhi pillars. Had this been discovered earlier it should have been mentioned in the contemporary chronicles and it may have received the same royal attention which was given to the Delhi pillars. Hissar, where another Asokan pillar was re-erected, was a village which was raised to the status of a town by Firuz Shah after his dramatic marriage with the sister of a Gujar named Saharan who later became a nobleman and was favoured with the title of Wajih-ul-Mulk.8 According to Afif, the city of Hissar Firuza was founded by Firuz after his Bengal campaign (1356) earlier than Firuzabad in Delhi. The city was made the headquarter of a newly constructed shiq (district) at the cost of the shiq of Hansi.9

Firuz built a magnificent palace at Hissar, the notable remains of which are still extant and are named after the Gujar queen of the Sultan (Gujari-Mahal). Afif has given interesting description of the palace and underground chambers (Takhana) which formed a complicated irregular structure with many zigzag passages which made it extremely difficult for persons walking through them to find their way out unless they knew the scheme.10

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Hisar Ashokan pillar

The mosque got its name from Lat, a column located on the North-East of its courtyard. The Lat was once a part of an Ashokan pillar, one of the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka dating to 250–232 BCE. This has been proved by the inscriptions in Brahmi script on the pillar, deciphered in 1837 by James Prinsep, an archaeologist, philologist, and official of the East India Company. The Ashokan pillar, likely taken from its nearby original location at Agroha Mound, was cut for the ease of transportation and rejoined in four portions here. The remaining bottom portions are at the Fatehabad mosque. The four upper portions of the Ashokan pillar here are tapering registers with a finial topped by an iron rod.

-- Firoz Shah palace complex, by Wikipedia


The Hissar pillar is standing in the courtyard of the mosque of the ruined fort of Hissar. The mosque is locally known as Lat-ki-Masjid, apparently named after the lofty stone tower of its courtyard. The original findspot of this pillar is not known. The contemporary chroniclers are silent about it. It may be presumed that this column was found at a later date at least not before the compilation of Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi which mentioned the palace complex of Hissar in details. It may have been found from certain ancient ruins in the region not very far from Hissar. Cunningham suspected it to be a relic of Buddhist monument shifted from Hansi, a town of considerable antiquity.11

XV. Tarikhi Firoz Shahi of Ziaud Din Barni [Ziauddin Barani]

This History is very much quoted by subsequent authors, and is the chief source from which Firishta draws his account of the period. Barni takes up the History of India just where the Tabakat'i Nasiri leaves it; nearly a century having elapsed without any historian having recorded the events of that interval. In his Preface, after extolling the value of history, he gives the following account of his own work. ["Having derived great benefit and pleasure from the study of history, I was desirous of writing a history myself, beginning with Adam and his two sons. * * * But while I was intent upon this design, I called to mind the Tabakat-i Nasiri, written with such marvellous ability by the Sadar-i Jahan, Minhaju-d din Jauzjani. * * * I then said to myself, if I copy what this venerable and illustrious author has written, those who have read his history will derive no advantage from reading mine; and if I state any thing contradictory of that master's writings, or abridge or amplify his statements, it will be considered disrespectful and rash. In addition to which I should raise doubts and difficulties in the minds of his readers. I therefore deemed it advisable to exclude from this history everything which is included in the Tabakat-i Nasiri, * * * and to confine myself to the history of the later kings of Dehli. * * * It is ninety-five years since the Tabakat-i Nasiri, and during that time eight kings have sat upon the throne of Dehli. Three other persons, rightly or wrongfully, occupied the throne for three or four months each; but in this history I have recorded only the reigns of eight kings, beginning with Sultan Ghiyasu-d din Balban, who appears in the Tabakat-i Nasiri under the name of Ulugh Khan.]

"First. — Sultan Ghiyasu-d din Balban, who reigned twenty years.
"Second. — Sultan M'uizzu-d din Kai-kubad, son of Sultan Balban, who reigned three years.
"Third. — Sultan Jalalu-d din Firoz Khilji, who reigned seven years.
"Fourth. — Sultan Alau-d din Khilji, who reigned twenty years.
"Fifth.— Sultan Kutbu-d din, son of Sultan 'Alau-d din, who reigned four years and four days.
"Sixth. — Sultan Ghiyasu-d din Tughlik, who reigned four years and a few months.
"Seventh. — Sultan Muhammad, the son of Tughlik Shah, who reigned twenty years.
"Eighth. — Sultan Firoz Shah, the present king, whom may God preserve.

"I have not taken any notice of three kings, who reigned only three or four months. I have written in this book, which I have named Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi, whatever I have seen during the six years of the reign of the present king, Firoz Shah, and after this, if God spares my life, I hope to give an account of subsequent occurrences in the concluding part of this volume. I have taken much trouble on myself in writing this history, and hope it will be approved. If readers peruse this compilation as a mere history, they will find recorded in it the actions of great kings and conquerors; if they search in it the rules of administration and the means of enforcing obedience, even in that respect it will not be found deficient; if they look into it for warnings and admonitions to kings and governors, that also they will find nowhere else in such perfection. To conclude, whatever I have written is right and true, and worthy of all confidence.''

Ziau-d din Barni, like many others, who have written under the eye and at the dictation of contemporary princes, is an unfair narrator. Several of the most important events of the reigns he celebrated have been altogether omitted, or slurred over as of no consequence. Thus many of the inroads of the Mughals in the time of Alau-d din are not noticed, and he omits all mention of the atrocious means of perfidy and murder, by which Muhammad Tughlik obtained the throne, to which concealment he was no doubt induced by the near relationship which that tyrant bore to the reigning monarch. With respect, however, to his concealment of the Mughal irruptions, it is to be remarked, as a curious fact, that the Western historians, both of Asia and Europe, make no mention of some of the most important. It is Firishta who notices them, and blames our author for his withholding the truth. Firishta's sources of information were no doubt excellent, and the general credit which his narrative inspires, combines with the eulogistic tone of Ziau-d din Barni's history in proving that the inroads were actually made, and that the author's concealment was intentional. The silence of the authorities quoted by De Guignes, D'Herbelot, and Price, may be ascribed to their defective information respecting the transactions of the Mughal leaders to the eastward of the Persian boundary.

The author did not live to complete his account of Firoz Shah, but towards the close of his work lavishes every kind of encomium, not altogether undeserved, upon that excellent prince. Notwithstanding that Firishta has extracted the best part of the Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi, it will continue to be consulted, as the reigns which it comprises are of some consequence in the history of India. The constant recurrence of Mughal invasions, the expeditions to the Dekkin and Telingana, the establishment of fixed prices for provisions, and the abortive means adopted to avert the effects of famine, the issue of copper money of arbitrary value, the attempted removal of the capital to Deogir, the wanton massacres of defenceless subjects, the disastrous results of the scheme to penetrate across the Himalaya to China, the public buildings, and the mild administration of Firoz; all these measures, and many more, invest the period with an interest which cannot be satisfied from the mere abstract given by Firishta.

[Barni is very sparing and inaccurate in his dates. He is also wanting in method and arrangement. He occasionally introduces divisions into his work, but in such a fitful irregular way that they are useless. In his latter days "he retired to a village in the suburbs of Dehli, which was afterwards the burial place of many saints and distinguished men. He was reduced to such extreme poverty that no more costly shroud than a piece of coarse matting could be furnished for the funeral obsequies." His tomb is not far from that of his friend, the poet Amir Khusru.1 [Col. Lees. Jour., R.A.S., vol. iii., new series, p. 445.]

[Sir H. Elliot had marked the whole of Barni's history for translation, intending probably to peruse it and expunge all trivial and uninteresting passages. The translation had been undertaken by a distinguished member of the Bengal Civil Service, but when required it was not forthcoming. After waiting for some time, the editor, anxious to avoid further delay, set to work himself, and the whole of the translation is from his pen.2 [When a portion of the translation was already in type, and the editor was at work on the last reign, a letter arrived from India with translations of the histories of the second and sixth of the eight kings — too late to be of any service.] It is somewhat freer in style than many of the others, for although the text has been very closely followed, the sense has always been preferred to the letter, and a discretion has been exercised of omitting reiterated and redundant epithets. All passages of little or no importance or interest have been omitted, and their places are marked with asterisks. The Extracts, therefore, contain the whole pith and marrow of the work, all that is likely to prove in any degree valuable for historical purposes. Barni's history of the eighth king, Firoz Shah, is incomplete, and is of less interest than the other portions. In the weakness of old age, or in the desire to please the reigning monarch, he has indulged in a strain of adulation which spoils his narrative. The Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi of Shams-i Siraj, which will follow this work, is specially devoted to the reign of that king. Shams-i Siraj has therefore been left to tell the history of that monarch. But the two writers have been compared, and one or two interesting passages have been extracted from Barni's work.

[The translation has been made from the text printed in the Bibliotheca Indica, and during the latter half of the work two MSS., borrowed by Sir H. Elliot, have been also constantly used,1 [These MSS. being carefully secured by Lady Elliot, could not be obtained while she was absent from home. They have since been examined in respect of several passages in the earlier parts of the translation.] These MSS. prove the print, or the MSS. on which it was based, to be very faulty. A collation would furnish a long list of errata and addenda. One of the two MSS. gives the original text apparently unaltered;2 [This is said to be "a perfect copy, and the autograph of the author. It belongs to the Nawwab of Tonk, by whose father it was plundered from Boolandshahr." It is a good MS., but, so far from being an autograph, the colophon gives the name of the scribe and the date of the transcription, 1019 (1610 A.D.)] but the other has been revised with some judgment. It sometimes omits and sometimes simplifies obscure and difficult passages, and it occasionally leaves out reiterations; but it is a valuable MS., and would have been of great assistance to the editor of the text.]


-- XV. Tarikhi Firoz Shahi of Ziaud Din Barni [[Ziauddin Barani]], Excerpt from The History of India As Told By Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, edited from the posthumous papers of the Late Sir H.M. Elliot, K.C.B., East India Company's Bengal Civil Service, by Professor John Dowson, M.R.A.S., Staff college, Sandhurst, Vol. III, 1871, P. 93.


Cunningham does not give any further details of its artistic appearance. He quotes the statement of Captain Brown in 1838: "The stone appears of the same (i.e., Buddhist) description, but has suffered much from exposure to climate. It has also the appearance of having been partially worked by Firoz's order, and probably some inscription was cut upon it by his workmen, but of which there is now no trace owing to the peeling off of the exterior surface. I, however, observed near the upper part of the stone some of the ancient letters which apparently have been saved by accident. The ancient stone is of one piece and is 10 ft. 10 inches high."12 Standing on the height of the inner side of the main entrance in the courtyard of the mosque the lowest portion of this solid tower is a part of a monolithic pillar, evidently of Mauryan origin. To give a proper shape and height it has been designed in the form of a solid minaret by providing red sand stone shafts interrupted by circular stone discs, the top crowned by an Amalaka marble. The lowest part is badly damaged, but the Mauryan polish and remnants of Brahmi inscription and fragmentary epigraphs of North Indian Script of about 4th/5th Century are still extant.13 The total height of the composite pillar is 10.00 m., the remaining parts from the base being 3.50, 3.00, 2.00, 1.50 ms., respectively. The diameter at the base is 0.75 m. Such tapering solid minarets of stone are found in early mosques of Gujarat, indicating Tughluq influence on regional style.

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On the uppermost part of the fort, there is an Idgah. In the precinct of this Idgah, there is a thick lofty pillar in the centre. Constructed with the mixture of Balua soil, red marble, white marble and iron, the pillar is 15.6 feet in height, and six feet in circumference. Verses from the Koran and some brief information about the Tughlaq dynasty have been carved out on 36 slabs of the pillar. Some historians claim this pillar to be the "Kirti Stambha" of Ashoka the Great. The Hisar gazetteer also mentions that the pillar seemed to have been constructed by some Hindu king as words from Sanskrit language have also been found on the slabs. Besides this, the artistic work on the two mosques in this fort also resemble the work on the ancient Hindu temples. These historians believe that the pillar was constructed during the Ashoka period and was given touches of Muslim art by Firoz Shah Tughlaq during 14th century. In the same Idgah, on the west side of the pillar, there is an inscription. On this has been engraved in Arabian language that the Mughal emperor Humanyun came here and constructed a mosque at this place.

-- Fatehabad: A town steeped deep in history, by Sushil Manav, 1999


This mosque known as Humayun’s mosque was built by the Mughal emperor Humayun (1529-1556 AD) at a place where the Lat erected by the Delhi Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq was already standing. The mosque consists of an oblong open courtyard. To the west of this mosque is a screen made of Lakhauri bricks. The screen contains a mihrab flanked by two arched recesses on either side. An inscription praising emperor Humayun was found here.

History and description: Standing at a height of over 6 metres, the Lat appears to be a portion of one of the pillars erected by Emperor Ashoka possibly at Agroha or Hansi. The Ashokan epigraph that was once engraved on the pillar was apparently very systematically chiseled off for writing the Tughlaq inscription, recording the genealogy of Firoz Shah in beautiful Tughra-Arabic characters carved in high relief. This Lat (the pillar) stands in the centre of what now looks like an ancient walled Idgah.

-- Lat of Feroz Shah, by fatehabad.nic.in


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Figure 4. Pillar, Fatehabad. Photo: author.

The third lat (fig. 4) is located in the town of Fathabad, or Fatehabad,16 Firuz Shah's earliest urban foundation, built in the first year of his reign, A.H. 752/A.D. 1351-52, and located on the road connecting the important sites of Delhi, Hansi, and Multan. The lat may date from this time, although no firm evidence supports this claim. Today it stands in the center of the courtyard of a modern 'idgah, but its original context is not known, and whether the pillar was free-standing or associated with a prior architectural structure remains a mystery. Fatehabad continued to be an important site into Mughal times, when a Humayun-period mosque was built on the site. Mughal patronage of the pillar is unlikely, and there is no evidence of any other builder at the site after the Tughluq period.17

The Fatehabad lat consists of a single column of beige stone standing 3.1 meters above the foundation. This piece is surmounted by a drum of white stone and four sections of red stone. The column is crowned by a red stone amalaka, a round fluted element of Indian origin,18 and a white stone cap raising the height of the column to 4.8 meters above the foundation. There is an estimated 1 to 1.5 meters below the ground. The diameter of the lat is 59 centimeters at its base and 52 centimeters at its top.

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Fig. 5. Detail of pillar inscription, Fatehabad. Photo: author.

The most remarkable feature of the Fatehabad lat is its inscription (fig. 5), one of the longest Indo-Islamic epigraphs of the Delhi sultanate; it is historical in content and specific to the Tughluq dynasty.19 [[Mehrdad] Shookoohy, Haryana I, 15-22 and pls. 1-70. [Haryana I. The Colum of Firuz Shah and Other Islamic Inscriptions from the District of Hisar. Plates i-xc. Shokoohy, Mehrdad. School of Oriental and African Studies, London 1988. 42 pp. + 90 plates. Publisher's cloth. 33,5x28,5 cm. Library stamps and bookplate. Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum. Part I IV Persian Inscriptions down to the early Safavid Period. Vol. XLVII India: State of Haryana.]] The date of the lat's installation is not known or given in the epigraph, but specific historical events referred to in the epigraph support attribution to Firuz Shah. The bottom section of the lat appears to be part of an ancient pillar brought to the site during the Tughluq period. Although a Mauryan origin is unlikely, it is nevertheless reused.20 [John Irwin expresses doubt about an Asokan origin for the Fatehabad lat in pt. 4, p. 744, n. 47 of John Irwin, "'Asokan' Pillars: A Reassessment of the Evidence," pts. 1-4, The Burlington Magazine 115 (Nov. 1973): 706-20; 116 (Dec. 1974): 712-27; 117 (Oct. 1975): 631-43; 118 (Nov. 1976): 734-53.] Citing similarities in stone type and column diameters, Cunningham believed that the pillar at Fatehabad and the pillar in nearby Hissar were originally parts of the same piece of stone. If his supposition is correct, then these columns were probably installed simultaneously.

-- The Monumental Pillars of Fīrūz Shāh Tughluq, by William Jeffrey McKibben, Ars Orientalis, Vol. 24 (1994), pp. 105-118 (14 pages), Published by: Freer Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian Institution and Department of the History of Art, University of Michigan


1. Lat, Fathabad, Hissar district, ca. 752/1351

Inside the precinct of the Idgah is a remnant of a lat, possibly Asokan in origin. The lat has been associated, in other cases, with a mosque and probably functioned as a type of minar, a concept which is examined in depth in the following chapter. The lat of Fathabad bears a Tughra Arabic inscription which is said to trace the genealogy of the Tughluq line.22 [The Fathabad column epigraph is long, consisting of 36 concentric bands of inscription. It is not known how much of the inscription is lost but, judging from the height of the column, it probably survives in almost its entirety. The lat inscription is published in Subhash Parihar, Muslim Inscriptions in the Punjab, Harayana, and Himachal Pradesh, 1985, p. 18 (No. 3.6) and illustration 7. A translation of it was allegedly done by Maulvi Ziyauddin Khan but it has not surfaced. See P. Horn "Muhammadan Inscriptions from the Suba of Delhi," Epigraphica Indica 2 (Delhi 1970), pp. 130-159 and 424-437; and H. B. W. Garrick, "Report of a tour in the Punjab and Rajputana, in 1883-84," A.S.J. Reports v. 23, Varanasi, n.d. Not all authors accept an Asokan origin for the Fathabad lat.]

-- The Architecture of Firuz Shah Tughluq, Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of The Ohio State University, by William Jeffrey McKibben, B.A., M.A., 1988


The fourth pillar of this class is found in Fatehabad in District Hissar of Haryana. The town of Fatehabad was founded by Firuz Shah earlier than Firuzabad, Delhi and Hissar. It was named after his favourite son Fath Khan who is said to have been at that place. The column is standing in the spacious courtyard of a mosque which was erected by Firuz Shah himself. The mosque is now represented by its four brick walls and the mihrabs in the western wall. This pillar consists of two parts, the lower one being the original part of monolithic Mauryan pillar in grey sandstone of the Chunar variety while the upper part of red sandstone of the Tughluq period is separated by an abacus in white marble. The top of this tower is ornamented by an amalaka of red sandstone and crowned by a marble solid cap. The total height of the pillar is about 5 mts. The portion below the projecting disc which forms part of the grey monolithic pillar bears the circular bands of Persian inscription in beautiful Naskh characters of Firuz Shah Tughluq and gives the brief account of the Tughluq dynasty.

On close observation I noticed a line of Brahmi letters on the top of the Persian inscription immediately below the circular disc. This fragmentary Brahmi writing was not noticed by Cunningham or any other scholar. It is curious to note that these inscriptions have not been studied and published so far. The lower portion column is subjected to damaging weather effect.

Cunningham suspected that the Fatehabad pillar was the part of Hissar pillar which is not based on any evidence, since the diameter of both fragmentary columns substantially differ from each other.

Image

In Allahabad there is a pillar with inscriptions from Ashoka and later inscriptions attributed to Samudragupta and Jehangir. It is clear from the inscription that the pillar was first erected at Kaushambi, an ancient town some 30 kilometres west of Allahabad that was the capital of the Koshala kingdom, and moved to Allahabad, presumably under Muslim rule.

The pillar is now located inside the Allahabad Fort, also the royal palace, built during the 16th century by Akbar at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. As the fort is occupied by the Indian Army it is essentially closed to the public and special permission is required to see the pillar. The Ashokan inscription is in Brahmi and is dated around 232 BC. A later inscription attributed to the second king of the Gupta empire, Samudragupta, is in the more refined Gupta script, a later version of Brahmi, and is dated to around 375 AD. This inscription lists the extent of the empire that Samudragupta built during his long reign. He had already been king for forty years at that time and would rule for another five. A still later inscription in Persian is from the Mughal emperor Jahangir. The Akbar Fort also houses the Akshay Vat, an Indian fig tree of great antiquity. The Ramayana refers to this tree under which Lord Rama is supposed to have prayed while on exile.

-- Pillars of Ashoka, by Wikipedia


The fifth and the last Asokan pillar of this class is now standing in the historic fort of Allahabad. According to Fuhrer it was brought by Firuz Shah Tughluq from the ancient town of Kausambi and was re-erected at Prayaga.14 The pillar bears the famous inscriptions of Asoka, Samudragutpa and Jahangir. According to Cunningham the pillar may have been dislodged many a time before it was finally set up by Akbar or by Jahangir whose date of accession is inscribed on it. There are many visitors' name carved on the pillar when it was lying on the ground. Among dated epigraphs there is one date which falls in the reign of Firuz Shah Tughluq.

Conclusion:

Firuz Shah should be given all credit for the discovery and preservation of five Mauryan pillars. It is recorded that the scholars of his time had failed to decipher the Asokan edicts. But it is nowhere mentioned why Firuz attached so much importance to these, otherwise simple monolithic stone pillars. It is also not known why he decided to re-erect these columns inside or in front of mosques. It seems that after the re-erection of the Delhi-Topra pillar some Indian scholar of his time had informed him about some of the purports of the inscriptions. This becomes more probable when we consider that Firuz Shah caused to be inscribed memories (Futuhat-i-Firuz Shahi), i.e. records of his achievements or regulations to be inscribed on the eight sides of the octagonal cupola in the Jami Mosque of Firuzabad, next to the pyramidal structure of the Delhi-Topra pillar. It is also not understood why Firuz erected his inscribed cupola before the Asokan pillar. Moreover one can find many parallels in the Asokan pillar edict of Kotla-Firuz Shah and in the Futuhat which recorded Firuz's regulations, public works love of people, abolition of inhuman punishments. and harsh taxes, foundations of hospitals, colleges, towns, gardens, public baths, minarets, excavation of tanks, wells, construction of bridges, canals, preservation of ancient monuments and books (some of them translated from Sanskrit), extension of cultivation; and attempts of raising the morals of the people.15

[This little work, the production of the Sultan Firoz Shah, contains a brief summary of the res gestae [achievements] of his reign, or, as he designates them, his "Victories." Sir H. Elliot was unable to obtain a copy of it, but considered its recovery very desirable, "as everything relating to the noble character of Firoz is calculated to excite attention." Colonel Lees also speaks of it, but he had never seen it, and was not well informed as to its extent.1 [Journal Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. IV., New Series, p. 446. See also Briggs' Ferishta, I., 462.] Mr. Thomas was more fortunate, for he possesses a copy which purports to have been written in 1139 H. (1726 A.D.), but it is quite modern; the date therefore must be that of the MS. from which it was copied. The work is a mere brochure of thirty-two pages, and the editor has translated the whole of it, with the exception of a few lines in the preface laudatory of the prophet. It exhibits the humane and generous spirit of Firoz in a very pleasing unostentatious light, recording his earnest endeavours to discharge the duties of his station with clemency, and to act up to the teaching of his religion with reverence and earnestness.]

-- XVII. Futuhat-i Firoz Shahi of Sultan Firoz Shah, Excerpt from The History of India As Told By Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, edited from the posthumous papers of the Late Sir H.M. Elliot, K.C.B., East India Company's Bengal Civil Service, by Professor John Dowson, M.R.A.S., Staff college, Sandhurst, Vol. III, P. 374-, 1871


REFERENCES

(1) John Irwin, 'Asokan pillars: A reassessment of the evidence' part-I-III, The Burlington Magazine, Vol. CXVII, CXVII (London, 1975) where a purely subjective hypothesis is built up for tracing the origin of the celebrated pillars to the pre-Mauryan period without giving due consideration to archaeological and epigraphical evidences.

(2) Even in recent works these mistakes have not been corrected.

(3) J. A. Page, Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India, No. 52, -- A Memoir on Kotla-Firoz Shah (Delhi-1937). It deals with history and archaeological remains of Firuzabad, Firuz Shah's New Delhi and contains second chapters of the Persian text of Sirat-i-Firuz Shahi with its English translation and illustration of original drawings of Delhi-Topra pillar being carried in boat and re-erected in stages on a specially built three storeyed edifice.

(4) Shams Siraj 'Afif, Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi (Persian Text) pp. 305-314; Sirat-i-Firoz Shahi page, op. cit (Persian) p. 4, where the name of village is given as Maqbulabad alias Topra, which was most probably renamed after the discovery of the Asokan pillar after the name of Malik Maqbul Sullani who was the Minister of Firuz Shah.

(5) See the details in Page, op. cit. pp. 4-5, Alff. op. cit.; Cunningham, Archaeological Survey of India Reports: Vol. I (Reprinted Delhi, 1972) pp. 161-168. Also pl. note that the year of re-erection has not been correctly given elsewhere.

(6) Firuz provided stone railings of Mauryan pattern before the entrance or his Madrasa (college) at Hauz Khas, New Delhi which is still extant. Sikandar Lodi also erected the same type of railings on the platform in front of his tomb at New Delhi.

(7) K. A. Nizami, "The Futuhat i-Firuz as a Medieval Inscription, Proceedings of the Seminar on Medieval Inscriptions (Aliparh, 7974), pp, 28-33, where he compares the text of the Futuhat with the Delhi-Topra Pillar Edicts of Asoka and observes many striking similarities in both the texts.

(8) Afif op. cit. 124. Also see Sikandar, Mirat-i-Sikandari (Baroda, 1961).

(9) Afif, op. cit.

(10) Afif, op. cit.

(11) Cunningham. op. cit., Vol. V., v. p. 140-142.

(12) Cunningham, op. cit., Vol. V., pp, 140-141.

(13) B. Ch. Chhabra, 'Asokan Pillar at Hissar Punjab,' Vishveshvaranand Indological Journal, (Hoshiapur, 1964 ), e. s.

(14) A. Fuhrer, The Monumental Antiquities and Inscriptions in the North-Western Provinces and Oudh., Arch. Sur. India, New Series, Vol. II. (Allahabad, 1891), p. 128, Cunningham, Arch. Sur. Ind., Four Reports. 1862-63-64-65, Vol. I (Delhi. 1972. ), p. 298.

(15) Nizamud-Din Ahmad, Tabaqat-i-Akbari, (Lucknow, 1875), pp. 150-121; Firishta, Tarikh-i-Firishta (Lucknow, 1905), pp. 150-151, Nizami, op. cit.
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Antiquarian Interest in Medieval India: Firuz Shah Tughluq and the Ashokan Pillars
by Saleem Ahmad
Proceedings of the Indian History Congress
Vol. 63 (2002), pp. 1295-1300 (6 pages)
2002

[N]ow that we know so much of its history we feel a vivid curiosity to pry into the further secrets of this interesting silastambha, even to the difficulties and probably cost of its transport, which, judging from the inability of the present Government to afford the expense even of setting the Allahabad pillar upright on its pedestal, must have fallen heavily on the coffers of the Ceylon monarch!

-- VI.—Interpretation of the most ancient of the inscriptions on the pillar called the lat of Feroz Shah, near Delhi, and of the Allahabad, Radhia [Lauriya-Araraj (Radiah)] and Mattiah [Lauriya-Nandangarh (Mathia)] pillar, or lat, inscriptions which agree therewith, by James Prinsep, Sec. As. Soc. &c., The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. VI, Part II, July to December, 1837


The reign of Sultan Firuz Shah Tughluq (1351-88) is known for its large number of public works and structures. The Sultan is credited to have not only built new mosques and palaces, but also renovated a number of edifices and structures of former kings and ancient nobles' which had fallen in decay and disuse.

Although it is generally held that antiquarian interests developed in India only with the establishment of the Asiatic Society of Bengal,1 a study of the contemporary sources of Firuz Shah Tughluq's reign brings to light the keen interest of the Sultan in the antiquaries of the past. In fact, according to Futuhat-i Firuz Shahi the Sultan gave the restoration of 'old' structures priority over his own building works.2 Among these structures were included the Jami' Masjid of 'Old Delhi' (i.e. Quwwatul Islam mosque) the Minara-i Muizzuddin bin Sam (the Qutb Minar), the hauz-i Shamsi, the hauz-i Alai, the madrasa-i Shamsi and the tombs of a number of former Sultans like Muizzuddin bin Sam, Jalaluddin Khalji and Alauddin Khalji.3 This endeavour to renovate and strengthen the buildings of a by gone era was not only a rare feat which we encounter for the first time during the reign of Firuz Shah, it also throws a light on the growth of antiquarian interests during this period.

[This little work, the production of the Sultan Firoz Shah, contains a brief summary of the res gestae [achievements] of his reign, or, as he designates them, his "Victories." Sir H. Elliot was unable to obtain a copy of it, but considered its recovery very desirable, "as everything relating to the noble character of Firoz is calculated to excite attention." Colonel Lees also speaks of it, but he had never seen it, and was not well informed as to its extent.1 [Journal Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. IV., New Series, p. 446. See also Briggs' Ferishta, I., 462.] Mr. Thomas was more fortunate, for he possesses a copy which purports to have been written in 1139 H. (1726 A.D.), but it is quite modern; the date therefore must be that of the MS. from which it was copied. The work is a mere brochure of thirty-two pages, and the editor has translated the whole of it, with the exception of a few lines in the preface laudatory of the prophet. It exhibits the humane and generous spirit of Firoz in a very pleasing unostentatious light, recording his earnest endeavours to discharge the duties of his station with clemency, and to act up to the teaching of his religion with reverence and earnestness.]

-- XVII. Futuhat-i Firoz Shahi of Sultan Firoz Shah, Excerpt from The History of India As Told By Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, edited from the posthumous papers of the Late Sir H.M. Elliot, K.C.B., East India Company's Bengal Civil Service, by Professor John Dowson, M.R.A.S., Staff college, Sandhurst, Vol. III, P. 374-, 1871


The most prominent example of this antiquarian interest is however the feat of the transportation and setting up of the two Asokan pillars by Firuz Shah at Delhi, which has been minutely described by Shams Siraj Afif and the anonymous author of the Sirat-i Firuz Shahi.4



According to Afif, while returning from his campaign against Thatta in AD 1356, that Firuz Shah chanced upon two stone columns whose provenance and history was unknown, and as Afif points out, 'had never attracted the attention of any of the kings who sat upon the throne of Delhi.5 The larger of these pillars was situated in Mauza Topra (Tuwira?), in the hilly tract (daman-i koh of Shig district) Salaura and Khizrabad.6 The other was located in the vicinity (hadd) of qasba Meerut.7 Firuz Shah on noticing these two pillars (Minara) decided to have them carried to his capital, 'as a memorial for future generations'.8 Although, Afif says that there was a popular legend in circulation that 'these columns of stone had been the walking sticks (Chubdasti) of the accused (malun) Bhim who was a man of great size (qad-wa qamat),9 the Sultan ordered a large number of Brahmins (Zunnardar) and Suyurgan' (diro tees?) to decipher the inscriptions which were alleged to be in the 'Indian script' (ba khat-i hindavi).10 The Brahmins and others, Afif says, were not able to decipher the script. Some 'infidels' however interpreted these lines as stating that these pillars would not be able to be moved by any one except by a Muslim king whose name would be Sultan Firuz.11 This attempt at deciphering the inscriptions to know the history of these structures reveal a keen antiquarian interest of Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq.

The Sirat-i Firuz Shahi and the Tarikh-i Firuz Shahi of Shams Siraj Afif go on to describe in detail the manner in which the Topra pillar (Minara-i Zarrin) was lifted from its place of origin, shifted to Delhi and then affixed on the pyramidal structure built for the purpose in front of the Jami Masjid at Kotla Firuz Shah.

Describing the process of lifting the pillar from its place, Afif writes:

''After thinking over the best means of lowering the pillar, orders were issued commanding the attendance of all the people residing in the qasbat (districts) and qaryat (villages) in tehsil vicinity of the pillar, within and without the Doab. All the soldiers, mounted and on foot were also ordered to assemble. They were (also) ordered to bring all implements and material (Asbab ha-i guna gun) suitable to bring out the pillar (from the earth). Directions were issued to bring bales of seedless cotton (navalha-i mahly) of the Sembal tree (the Silk-cotton tree). These cotton bales were tied round the pillar to form a cushion (takiya gah) so that when it was removed (dug) from its foundations, it fell gently over it, without any damage being caused to its stone surface.12


The Sirat-i Firuz Shahi on the other hand informs that the pillar was covered with a casing of raw hide (Charm-i Kham), while rice husk (Shali) (or Shal, a coarse mantle of wood and goats hair?) was scattered around it to break the impact of the fall.13 Further, long ropes were tied to the pillar, and as it was lowered stage by stage from its soil, the ropes, the other ends of which were tied to wheels (Charkh), acting as pulleys, helped in its lowering to the ground. This technique of using pulleys, according to the author of the Sirat-i Firuz Shahi was known in the Indian language (Zaban-i hindavi) as larhia(?)14 The uprooted pillar was then shifted on to a windlers -- chariot (gardun) with the help of ropes and a series of pulleys. According to Sirat-i Firuz Shahi, this carriage was prepared on the orders of the Sultan and was of the same size as the length of the pillar. It comprised of two wheels (cutlosses?) (Paya) having a circumference (dauz) of 10 gaz (yards). A brick wall was constructed nearby and as the cutlasses rotated, the pillar was lifted up from the ground. We are further informed that the distance between the carrings and the brick wall was fixed at 6 gaz. It was also ordered that as the pillar was being lifted with the help of the pulleys, four sets of wheels at a distance of 10 gaz from each other be placed below. After the pillar was act in this fashion on the carriage, the wall and the paya(?) were removed.15 The pillar was then tied to the wheel carriage with the help of iron hooks (halqa-ha-i ahm) and ropes and was ordered to be pulled by mighty elephants.16 Explaning this process, the author of Sirat-i Firuz Shahi mentions that the king ordered the pillar to be tied with the help of 10 iron-hooks on each side held together with an equal number of ropes. Three other ropes tied to the necks of the animals were also ordered to be fixed so that the balance be maintained. Four ropes tied on the back and front of the carriage were to be held by the people, including high nobles pulling the cart so that the carriage may not sink into the ground due to its weight.17 According to Afif, the carriage comprised of forty-two wheels, and at each wheel there were two hundred men who pulled and balanced the carriage.18

When this carriage carrying the pillar reached the banks of the river, again elaborate arrangements were made to transfer the pillar from the carriage to the boats. This transfer was again accomplished with the help of pulleys and ropes. Care was taken to place the carriage at level with the boats so that the pillar may easily slip on them from the carriage when the ropes were pulled.19

Our sources then go on to explain how the pillar, when it reached Firuzabad (Kotla Firuz Shah) was fixed on top of a structure which was ordered to be constructed in front of the Jami Masjid.20

As per the order of Firuz Shah a spare pit 7 gaz deep with each side measuring 61 gaz was excavated, which was then filled with gypsum/lime (gach) and stones in such a fashion that in 60 gaz platform with a height of 3 gaz21. Stage by stage the pillar was then raised on this structure. Dealing with the construction of the structure on which the pillar was raised, Afif describes.

"It was constructed of stone and lime (Chuna) and consisted of several stages (Poshish) as each stage was completed. Sultan Firoz Shah, through the Divine inspiration to raise the pillar to that level. Another stage was then built and the pillar was again raised, and so on in succession until it reached the intended height. After this other devices (Litt. hikmat) were utilized to fix it in an erect position. Ropes of great thickness were obtained and wooden windlesses (Churkh ha-i Chutina) were placed on each of the six stages of the lase. And end of the ropes were tied to the head of the pillar, while the other end was passed through the windlass which were firmly secured with many fastenings. When once the windlass was pulled with force, it rotated and the pillar was raised. And when rose to a height of half a gaz, it was cushioned with logs of wood and the bales of seeded cotton of Sembal tree. In this fashion over a period of a few days and much force, the pillar was raised to the desired level (i.e. strengthened). Large wooden beams were placed from its head to foot and fastened with iron nails in a way that a scaffolding was formed, and to pillar would not tilt in any direction. It (now) stood as straight as an arrow, without a smallest deviation. The square stone (sang-i Chahar gusha), which was found at its original foundation, was placed under it.22


We are further informed that the Sultan then ordered an addition of some ornamental friezes of black and white stone to be placed around the capital, on top of which was raised a gilded copper cupola (Chharari) due to which this pillar came to be known as minara-i zarrin or the golden minaret.23

The account of Sirat-i Firuz Shahi is accompanied by ten sketches which depict the various processes and techniques through which the pillar was uprooted, transported and ultimately fixed on the pyramidal structure at Kotla Firuz Shah.

The antiquarian interest during the medieval period as revealed from the account of this Ashokan pillar appears to have subsided followed the death of Sultan Firuz Shah, only to be revived almost two centuries later when during the reigns of Babur and Akbar. we once again start getting evidence of this nature.

NOTES AND REFERENCES

1. See for example Dilip K. Chakraborti. A history of Indian Archaeology from the beginning to 1947, Delhi, 1968; idem, India: An Archaeological History. Palaeolithic Beginning to Early Historic Foundations.ovp. 1999.

2. Firuz Shah, Futuhat-i Firuz Shahi, ed. Sh. Abdur Rashid. Aligarh. 1954. p. 11. For the new constructional works of the Sultan, ee Yahya Sirhindi. Tarikh-i Mubarak Shahi, ed. Hidayat Husain, Bib. Ind. Calcutta. 1981. p. 135; Shams Siraj Afif. Tarikh-i Firuz Shahi, ed. Molvi Wilayat Husain, Bib. Ind. Calcutta. 1890. pp. 329-31.

3: Futuhat, op. cit., pp. 12-15.

4. Sirat-i Firuz Shahi, Anonymous. MS Pankipur Library (Rotograph in the Dept. of History Library. AMU) ff.95(a) 101(b).

5. Afif, op. cit., p. 305.

6. Presently in the Ambala district, See. Irfan Habib. An Atlas of the Moghal Empire, OUP. 1982, 4A, 4B, 30+. 77+.

7. Afif, op. cit., p. 305.

8. Ibid., pp. 306, 308.

9. Ibid., p. 306.

10. The pillar at Firuz Shah Kotla is inscribed with Ashokan Edicts no. 1-7. See Epigraphia Indica, II, 1894. pp. 245-48.

11. Afif. op. cit., p. 312.

12. Afif, op. cit., p. 309.

13. Sirut, op. cit., f.96(a); according to Afif, the encasing with raw hide was done once the pillar had been brought out of the ground (p. 309).

14. Ibid.

15. Ibid.

16. Ibid., f.97(a).

17. Ibid., f.97(a) (b).

18. Afif, op. cit., p. 309.

19. Sirat, op. cit., f.98(a).

20. Sirat, f.101(a), Afif, p. 310-11.

21. Sirat, f. 101(a).

22. Afif, op. cit., pp. 311-12.

23. Ibid., p. 312.

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Chapter 7: The Tughlaq Dynasty, Excerpt from "A Textbook of Medieval Indian History
by Sailendra Nath Sen
©  Sailendra Nath Sen 2013

CHAPTER 7: The Tughlaq Dynasty

Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq (1320-25)


Ghiyasuddin was the founder of the Tughluq dynasty. This dynasty is also known as the dynasty of the Qaraunah Turks since his father was a Qaraunah Turk. Ghiyasuddin was a man of humble origin. His success against the Mongols during the reign of Alauddin raised him to a prominent position. He ascended the throne on 8 September 1320 and took up the title of Ghazi or 'slayer of the infidels'.

Domestic Policy

Ghiyasuddin' s first task was to restore administrative order by removing the abuses that had crept in. He won over the nobles by bestowing lands and employment. He recovered most of the treasure squandered by Khusrau Shah. Nothing however, could be recovered from the famous Saint, Shaikh Nizam-uddin Auliya. He encouraged agriculturists and protected the cultivators from harassment. He lightened the burden of taxation by fixing the dues of the State to one-tenth and one-eleventh in a year. He gave up the practice of survey of the land and instead laid down that land revenue should be assessed by the collectors in person. Instead of increasing the revenue, the Sultan's policy was that of 'the extension of cultivation'. This led to reclamation of the wastelands and an increasing acreage under cultivable land. Canals were excavated to irrigate the fields, gardens were planted and forts were repaired. He improved the system of communication by streamlining the postal system. He reformed the judicial system. However, his treatment of the Hindus was not praiseworthy. He devised a system of relief for the poor. He was a patron of literary men and religious institutions. Amir Khusrau, his poet laureate, received a pension of 1,000 tankas per mensem. Amir Khusrau observes: 'He never did anything that was not replete with wisdom and sense.'

Foreign Policy

Ghiyasuddin pursued the Khalji policy of imperialism and wanted to assert his authority over those states which had renounced their allegiance during the weak reign of Khusrau Shah. In 1321 he sent his eldest son and heir-apparent, Jauna Khan, conferred with the title, Ulugh Khan, to subjugate the recalcitrant Prataparudra Deva, the Kakatiya ruler of Warangal. The invaders besieged the fort of Warangal but the heroic resistance of the defenders who snapped the lines of communication with Delhi unnerved Ulugh Khan. Wild rumours, that the Sultan had died, goaded Ulugh Khan to hasten back to Delhi without achieving anything. In 1323 he marched again to Warangal and compelled Prataparudra to surrender along with his family. The Raja was sent to Delhi and Warangal was named Sultanpur. On his way to Delhi, Ulugh Khan invaded Jajnagar in Orissa.

The Sultan devoted his attention to Bengal, then torn by civil war between the various contenders for the throne. The Sultan marched in person towards Bengal in 1324. He placed his nominee, Nasiruddin, on the throne of West Bengal as a vassal of Delhi. East Bengal was annexed to Delhi. On his way back, the Sultan attacked Tirhut (north Bihar) and appointed a governor there.

On his return from Delhi, the Sultan was received at Afghanpur, near Tughlaqabad. The Sultan was received at a wooden pavilion which collapsed; and caused him and his second son, Prince Mahmud Khan's death. According to Isami and Ibn Battuta, the whole thing was the result of a plot masterminded by Ulugh Khan. Ghiyasuddin laid the foundation of a large palace fort which later became known as Tughlaqabad.

Muhammad bin Tughluq (1325-51)

After Ghiyasuddin's death in July 1325, Ulugh Khan ascended the throne under the title of Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq. His character was a mixture of opposites that defied analysis. According to Barani, the Sultan was 'one of the wonders of creation. His contradictory qualities were beyond the grasp of knowledge and common sense'. He was endowed with a keen intellect which encompassed different subjects like logic, astronomy, philosophy, mathematics, science, and Persian classics. These fine qualities can hardly be reconciled with the vagaries of his nature. Perplexed by this contradiction, Elphinstone expressed the doubt 'whether he was not affected by some degree of insanity'. In making the correct assessment of Muhammad bin Tughluq, one might say that he lacked practical judgement and wise statesmanship. He had an obstinate disposition which brooked no opposition. Moreover, 'the Sultan, like Jahangir afterwards, believed himself to be a just man ... he deliberately defended his conduct against criticism and avowed his resolve to continue his course to the end'.1 [Vincent A. Smith, Oxford History of India, ed. Percival Spear, OUP, 1976, p. 250.]

Relocation of the Capital

One of the most controversial steps taken by Muhammad bin Tughluq was the relocation of the capital from Delhi to Devagiri, also named Daulatabad. It is alleged that the Sultan wanted to punish the people of Delhi who had become hostile to him. However, this has been disputed by modern writers. It appears that the transfer was not a whimsical act but the result of forethought. The Sultan's motive was to set up a capital central to all parts of the empire enabling him to control the entire south and to protect the empire from the ever-present Mongol menace. Having decided the measure, the Sultan ordered in 1328-9, a mass exodus of the people, including his mother and Sufi saints. Though the Sultan made comfortable arrangements for the people during their long journey from Delhi to Devagiri, a distance of 1,500 km., the people suffered great privations. There was a good deal of pressure exerted upon the people to migrate and most of the migrants were not happy. However, Delhi was not deserted. Rather Daulatabad became a second capital, as coins struck at Daulatabad testify. Moreover, the Sultan's ambitious project went awry when in 1334-5 there was a serious rebellion in Mahar (modern Coromandel in Tamilnadu) which enveloped the entire south including Dvarasamudra and Warangal. 'Thus the raison d'etre of keeping Daulatabad as a second capital disappeared.' During 1335-7 the Sultan permitted the people of Daulatabad to return to Delhi. Many of the Sufis and men of learning refused to leave Daulatabad and in course of time it became a centre of Islamic learning.

Introduction of Token Currency

In 1329-30, the Sultan introduced token currency, an experiment which proved a costly failure. Imitating the paper money project of Kublai Khan (AD 1260-94), the Sultan issued bronze coins equivalent to the value of the silver coins. According to Barani, the Sultan was forced to take this drastic step to replenish his treasury exhausted by his lavish gifts and to equip a large army for ambitious foreign expeditions. However, the experiment proved a costly failure as the Sultan was unable to prevent the circulation of forged coins. Thus, the counterfeit bronze coins replaced gold and silver coins completely. Land tax was paid in the token currency. Trade and commerce suffered as foreign merchants suspended their business transactions with India. The abundance of these new coins depreciated their value and they became as 'worthless as stones and potsherds'. To avert the mounting economic crisis, the Sultan stopped the circulation of token currency and ordered the redemption of token coins by gold and silver coins. According to Barani, heaps of bronze coins accumulated near Tughlaqabad.

The Sultan had to cope with the ever present Mongol menace in the frontier region. Despite the internal dissensions which overwhelmed the Mongols, they were strong enough to threaten the Punjab and the areas near Delhi. In the early years of Muhammad Tughluq's reign the Mongols under their leader, Tarmashirin, swooped down upon Sind and even advanced up to Meerut, about 65 km. from Delhi. The Sultan not only defeated the Mongols, but also occupied Kalanaur and extended the frontier up to Peshawar.

Shortly after the transfer of the capital from Delhi to Devagiri, Muhammad entertained the project of making Sind and Punjab immune from the recurring danger of Mongol invasions. The project is described by Barani as the Sultan's ambition to conquer Khurasan, Iraq and Transoxiana. The Sultan mobilized a large army of 3,70,000 soldiers. However, he disbanded the army after keeping them idle for a year. Perhaps the Sultan's aim was to extend control over Kabul and Ghazni.

After the projected Khurasan expedition, the Sultan launched an expedition in the Kulu-Kangra region of Himachal, perhaps to offset Chinese incursions. The expedition that took place in 1333 has been called the Qarachil expedition. The expedition proved a failure and the entire force of 10,000 was annihilated.

Agrarian Reforms

The failure of three experiments -- the exodus from Delhi to Devagiri, the abortive Khurasan expedition and the Qantchil campaign -- affected the reputation of the Sultan and depleted his treasury. Meanwhile certain agrarian measures of the Sultan, epidemics and a famine which lasted several years affecting large parts of the Doab (land between the Jumna and the Ganges), caused widespread distress and a violent peasant uprising.

In 1328-9 the Sultan enhanced the land-tax on the farmers. New cesses were levied and the old cesses -- grazing tax (charm) and house tax (ghari) were collected in a rigorous manner. The most seamy side of the tax system was that assessment was fixed not on the basis of the actual produce, but on the basis of the standard yield. These measures impoverished the peasantry and led to an agrarian uprising which affected large areas, especially the Doab region. According to Barani, the Hindus set fire to their grain barns and drove away cattle from their homes. The magnitude of the disaster did not soften the Sultan's attitude. Instead, he imposed severe repressive measures ordering the revenue officials like the shiqdars and military officials, faujdars, to lay waste and plunder the country. The entire area from Kanauj to Delhi was ravaged. Grain became scarce and a famine broke out in Delhi. The famine spread to Malwa and eastern Punjab. Begun in 1334-5, the famine lasted for seven years. The situation became so intolerable at Delhi, that the Sultan moved the entire imperial camp to a place on the Ganges, 80 km. away, called Swargadwar. The Sultan lived there for two years.

To cope with the devastating famine, the Sultan adopted relief measures. Relief camps were opened at Delhi, and food was imported from Awadh where there was no famine. Agricultural loans (sondhar) were advanced to buy seed and implements and to dig wells. To improve cultivation, the Sultan appointed diwan-i-amir-i-kohi who took charge of a territory roughly corresponding to 100 km. by 100 km. To extend cultivation and to improve the crops, the Sultan appointed 100 shiqdars. They were given large sums of money for giving agricultural loans (sondhar). However, the entire scheme failed owing to the appointment of incompetent and corrupt men to implement the scheme.

Revolts

Muhammad bin Tughluq had to face serious rebellions in different parts of the empire. The Sultan failed to recover Ma'bar where Sayyid Ahsan Shah founded the independent Madurai Sultanate. During the period from January 1335 to July 1337, five rebellions broke out in the south. The Sultan's prestige suffered an irreparable blow with the foundation of the Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar in 1336 and the subsequent independence of Warangal and Kampili.

Between 1338 and 1341 Bengal cut itself adrift from the sinking wreck of Sultan Muhammad Tughluq's empire. The most serious uprising was, however, was that of Ain-ul-Mulk, g0vernor of Awadh, in 1340, but he was finally defeated.

Image
MAP 7.1: The Empire of Muhammad bin Tughluq in 1335. Source: C.C. Davies, Historical Atlas of the Indian Peninsula, 1949, p. 35.

Apart from the revolt of the governor, the Sultan had to face the rebellion of the amiran-i-sada (controllers of 100 villages). The Sultan brutally suppressed the rebellion with the help of Aziz Khammar, governor of Malwa. However, the rebels soon regrouped themselves under Taghi and killed Khammar. In January 1344 the Sultan left Delhi to crush the amiran-i-sada's rebellion. The Sultan met the rebels at Daulatabad and defeated them. A more serious rebellion broke out later at Gujarat and at Bidar by Hasan Kangu. The Sultan led a personal expedition to Gujarat and remained there for two and a half years. He spent the later years campaigning in Saurashtra and then moved to Thatta, in pursuit of the rebel, Taghi. Meanwhile, in his absence, Daulatabad was deserted and a new Bahmani Kingdom born. The Sultan pursued the fugitive and while the army was within a short distance of Thatta, he died on 20 March 1351.

Thus ended the career of one of the most remarkable personalities that ever sat on the throne of Delhi. He had extended the Delhi empire to its farthest limits, but before his death he lost everything to the south of the Vindhyas. Like the waves in the sea the empire reached the highest point only to break down.'2 [R.C. Majumdar, ed., History and Culture of the Indian People, The Delhi Sultanate, vol. VI, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1967, p. 80.] Muhammad bin Tughluq's character was probably a mixture of opposites. He was endowed with good qualities and some of his experiments and reforms were, to all intents, meant to strengthen the monarchy. He had progressive ideals for administrative reforms. But in enforcing his schemes, he disgusted the people and emptied his treasury. He lacked practical judgement and wise statesmanship, which in a large way, contributed to the decline of the Delhi Sultanate.

Firuz Tughluq (1351-88)

The long reign of Firuz Tughluq, a cousin of Muhammad Tughluq, is

a watershed in the history of the Delhi Sultanate. He followed a policy of conciliation towards all sections of the people and tried to establish a welfare state. However his administrative reforms, though highly popular in the immediate context, enfeebled the central government in the long run. His narrow, sectarian policy alienated both the Hindus and the Muslims which weakened the fabric of the empire.


Firuz's concept of benevolence has been detailed, in the Fatuhat-i-Firuz Shahi. He abandoned the practice of torture for both Muslims and non-Muslims. His idea was that the State should be based on the willing acceptance of the people, rather than fear or threats of violence. He made no attempt to recover advances of money, amounting to two crore of tankas, which had been made to officials by Muhammad bin Tughluq.

Firuz wanted to create a class of nobility which would be loyal to him. He appointed Khan-i-Jahan Maqbul as the wazir and left much of the work of administration to him. Firuz paid extremely high salaries to the nobles which were given in terms of grants of iqtas. The subservient nobility which the Sultan created was hereditary in character. This policy in the long run weakened the efficiency of administration as it reduced the chances of competent persons being recruited into the service.

Firuz also wanted to strengthen the army for the stability of the state. The regular soldiers should be paid not in cash, but by grants of villages (wajh) in the neighbourhood of Delhi and the Doab. The irregular soldiers (ghair-wajahi) were paid directly from the treasury. Firuz extended the principle of heredity to the army much to its detriment. Thus, if a soldier became old, his son, or son-in-law, or his slave, could be sent in his place. The army became weak as sub-standard horses were produced for mustering. In the latter part of his reign, Firuz enlisted a vast number of slaves, amounting to 1,80,000 men a substantial part of whom were deployed to serve as an armed guard. A separate treasury and a separate diwan was set up for this corp of slaves.

Firuz settled the revenues afresh under the careful supervision of Khwaja Hisamuddin Junaid. Six crore and 75 lakh tankas was fixed on the basis of inspection. Firuz was interested in the economic well-being of the country. Firuz dug two canals to bring water to the new city of Hissar-Firuza (modern Hisar). He dug two canals to bring water to the city from the Sutlej and the Jamuna. Contemporary writers give credit to Firuz for excavating at least six canals which were concentrated in the present Haryana state. Besides canals, Firuz built many dams for purposes of irrigation. He also laid 1,200 gardens around Delhi.

The Sultan abolished various taxes not sanctioned by the Sharia. According to contemporaries, he abolished 21 such taxes. These included the ghari (house tax) prevalent during the time of Alauddin. However, he imposed the Jiziya on the non-Muslims. Even the Brahmins were not spared from the payment of the Jiziya.

Firuz built a number of towns around Delhi. Among the important towns built by him may be mentioned Fatehabad, Hissar, Ferozpur, Jaunpur and Firuzabad. The new towns became centres of trade and handicrafts. Firuz set up a public works department which repaired many old buildings and mausoleums. Qutb Minar was repaired and two Ashokan Pillars were transported to Delhi from Meerut and Topra (in the Ambala district). Firuz established a charity bureau (Diwan-i-Khairat) to help widows and orphans and especially for the marriage of Muslim girls. He also set up an employment bureau to provide employment for clerical and administrative jobs.

Firuz was a great patron of learning. He himself was an accomplished scholar and granted liberal allowances to scholars. He was fond of history and wrote his autobiography, Fatuhat-i- Firuz Shahi. He patronized Barani, Afif and Jalaluddin Rumi. Firuz came across a fine library consisting of 1,300 volumes at the temple of Jvalamukhi in Kangra and ordered a translation of one volume, which treated of philosophy and astrology, into Persian.

Despite all these fine achievements, Firuz's occasional fits of intolerance coupled with the importance given to the orthodox ulamas weakened the basic structure of his benevolent despotism. He 'reversed the trend towards a composite ruling class, consisting of Muslims and Hindus, a trend which had been started by Muhammad bin Tughluq'. In his orthodoxy, he tyrannized the leaders of the Ismaili group of Shias and banned Muslim women from going to the tombs of saints outside Delhi.

Foreign Policy

After his accession, Firuz was faced with the problem of preventing the disintegration of the Delhi Sultanate. The southern states had drifted away from the Sultanate and there were rebellions in Gujarat and Sindh. Bengal, also asserted its independence.

Firuz made spasmodic efforts to regain lost territory. In November 1353, he marched against Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah, the independent ruler of Bengal. Ilyas Shah shut himself up in the strong fort of Ikdala, near Pandua, in the Malda district. Unable to capture the fort, the Sultan returned to Delhi in September 1354. The Sultan undertook a second expedition against Bengal in November 1358 against Ilyas' successor, Sikandar, who survived by taking refuge in the Ikdala fort. The second expedition also proved to be futile. Firuz negotiated a peace settlement and status quo was maintained. 'For nearly two centuries, until the rise of the Afghans, Bengal was not molested by Delhi.'

From Bengal, Firuz returned to Jaunpur, and from there marched against the recalcitrant Raja Gajpati of Jajnagar in Orissa, who had withheld tribute. Firuz seized Cuttack and desecrated the Jagannath temple of Puri. Avoiding battle, the Raja made overtures of peace and agreed to pay regular tribute.

After a stay of four years at Delhi, Firuz led a campaign against Nagarkot in Kangra, reputed to be one of the strongest forts in the country. After a siege of six months, the Raja submitted and agreed to pay tribute.

Firuz led a protracted campaign against Thatta in lower Sindh with an army of 90,000 horses, 480 elephants and a flotilla of 5,000 boats. The Sultan met stiff resistance from the ruler of Thatta, which depleted the strength of his armed forces. Meanwhile famine and pestilence broke out in his camp and Firuz with difficulty retreated to Gujarat. After re-equipping the army, Firuz led a second expedition against Thatta and forced the ruler to submit.

The last years of the Sultan's reign were marked by erosion of central authority. A rebellion in Etawah in 1377-8 was followed by an uprising in Katihar. The death of his eldest son, Fath Khan in 1376 was a profound shock to the Sultan. A senile Sultan became a puppet in the hands of his minister Khan-i-Jahan. However, the Sultan's eldest surviving son, Prince Muhammad, brought about the minister's fall. Firuz abdicated in August 1787 after conferring the royal title on Prince Muhammad. However, a rebellion of Firuz's slaves, numbering 100,000, forced Prince Muhammad to decamp. Firuz now conferred the royal title on his grandson. Tughluq Khan, son of Fath Khan. A few months later on 20 September 1388, Firuz died at the ripe old age of 82.

After the death of Firuz, the government fell into the vortex of anarchy and confusion. A series of puppet Sultans, all equally wanting in personal merit, pass rapidly across the stage. The kingdom, in fact, ceased to exist, and the governor of every province assumed practical independence. For about three years, from 1394 to 1397, two rival Sultans had to find room within the precincts of the Delhi group of cities. Sultan Mahmud, a grandson of Firuz Shah, was recognized as king in Old Delhi, while his relative Nusrat Shah, claimed similar rank in Firuzabad a few miles distant. 'Day by day, battles were fought between these two kings, who were like the two kings in the game of chess.'3 [Vincent A. Smith, Oxford History of India, ed. Percival Spear, OUP, 1976, p. 260.] The authority of the Delhi Sultanate became so shrunken that led an observer to say pithily. 'The orders of the king of the world extend from Delhi to Palam.'

Timur's Invasion

Born in 1336, Timur or Tamerlane ascended the throne of Samarqand in 1369 and became the ruler of a vast empire embracing Transoxiana, a part of Turkistan, Afghanistan, Persia, Syria and a major part of Asia Minor. With a strange admixture of the savage ferocity of Chingiz Khan and the fanaticism of Sultan Mahmud, Timur decided to undertake an expedition to India. His ostensible object was to acquire the vast riches of India and indirectly to punish the infidels.

Before he launched his Indian expedition, his grandson Pir Muhammad, the governor of Kabul, Qandahar and Ghazni, captured Uch and Multan. Leaving Samarqand in April 1398, Timur crossed the Indus in September 1398. The Hindu chiefs of the Salt Range offered no resistance. Only the Rajput fort of Bhatnair offered resistance. The people of Fathabad, Kaythal, Samana and Panipat fled to Delhi. After plundering and massacring the people on the way, Timur crossed the Jamuna on 11 December, and appeared before Delhi. Sultan Muhammad Tughluq and his prime minister Mallu Iqbal endeavoured to oppose him with 10,000 cavalry and 40,000 infantry, but they were hopelessly defeated. Before the occupation of Delhi, Timur butchered one lakh Hindu captives in cold blood. Timur occupied Delhi on 18 December 1398. He ransacked the city and brutally massacred both Hindus and Muslims. Gold and silver ornaments of Hindu women were obtained in such quantities as to exceed all imaginable estimates.

After halting at Delhi for a fortnight, Timur left Delhi on 1 January 1399 to return to Samarqand. Returning through Firuzabad, he plundered Meerut and defeated two Hindu armies near Hardwar. Passing along the Siwalik Hills, he captured Kangra and sacked Jammu. He recrossed the Indus on 19 March 1399. Before his departure, Timur appointed Khizr Khan, as governor of Multan, Lahore and Dipalpur. Thus Timur departed after inflicting 'on India more misery than had ever before been inflicted by any conqueror in a single invasion'. After Timur's exit, Delhi presented a scene of desolation and woe. The Tughluq empire also disintegrated. There followed a chain of independent principalities like Bengal, Gujarat, Malwa, Jaunpur, Lahore, Multan, and Dipalpur. Nasiruddin Mahmud, the last representative of the Tughluq dynasty, died in February 1413, after a nominal reign of about 20 years. Thereupon Khizr Khan occupied Delhi in June 1414 and founded the Sayyid Dynasty.
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Ziauddin Barani
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XV. Tarikhi Firoz Shahi of Ziaud Din Barni [Ziauddin Barani]

This History is very much quoted by subsequent authors, and is the chief source from which Firishta draws his account of the period. Barni takes up the History of India just where the Tabakat'i Nasiri leaves it; nearly a century having elapsed without any historian having recorded the events of that interval. In his Preface, after extolling the value of history, he gives the following account of his own work. ["Having derived great benefit and pleasure from the study of history, I was desirous of writing a history myself, beginning with Adam and his two sons. * * * But while I was intent upon this design, I called to mind the Tabakat-i Nasiri, written with such marvellous ability by the Sadar-i Jahan, Minhaju-d din Jauzjani. * * * I then said to myself, if I copy what this venerable and illustrious author has written, those who have read his history will derive no advantage from reading mine; and if I state any thing contradictory of that master's writings, or abridge or amplify his statements, it will be considered disrespectful and rash. In addition to which I should raise doubts and difficulties in the minds of his readers. I therefore deemed it advisable to exclude from this history everything which is included in the Tabakat-i Nasiri, * * * and to confine myself to the history of the later kings of Dehli. * * * It is ninety-five years since the Tabakat-i Nasiri, and during that time eight kings have sat upon the throne of Dehli. Three other persons, rightly or wrongfully, occupied the throne for three or four months each; but in this history I have recorded only the reigns of eight kings, beginning with Sultan Ghiyasu-d din Balban, who appears in the Tabakat-i Nasiri under the name of Ulugh Khan.]

"First. — Sultan Ghiyasu-d din Balban, who reigned twenty years.
"Second. — Sultan M'uizzu-d din Kai-kubad, son of Sultan Balban, who reigned three years.
"Third. — Sultan Jalalu-d din Firoz Khilji, who reigned seven years.
"Fourth. — Sultan Alau-d din Khilji, who reigned twenty years.
"Fifth.— Sultan Kutbu-d din, son of Sultan 'Alau-d din, who reigned four years and four days.
"Sixth. — Sultan Ghiyasu-d din Tughlik, who reigned four years and a few months.
"Seventh. — Sultan Muhammad, the son of Tughlik Shah, who reigned twenty years.
"Eighth. — Sultan Firoz Shah, the present king, whom may God preserve.

"I have not taken any notice of three kings, who reigned only three or four months. I have written in this book, which I have named Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi, whatever I have seen during the six years of the reign of the present king, Firoz Shah, and after this, if God spares my life, I hope to give an account of subsequent occurrences in the concluding part of this volume. I have taken much trouble on myself in writing this history, and hope it will be approved. If readers peruse this compilation as a mere history, they will find recorded in it the actions of great kings and conquerors; if they search in it the rules of administration and the means of enforcing obedience, even in that respect it will not be found deficient; if they look into it for warnings and admonitions to kings and governors, that also they will find nowhere else in such perfection. To conclude, whatever I have written is right and true, and worthy of all confidence.''

Ziau-d din Barni, like many others, who have written under the eye and at the dictation of contemporary princes, is an unfair narrator. Several of the most important events of the reigns he celebrated have been altogether omitted, or slurred over as of no consequence. Thus many of the inroads of the Mughals in the time of Alau-d din are not noticed, and he omits all mention of the atrocious means of perfidy and murder, by which Muhammad Tughlik obtained the throne, to which concealment he was no doubt induced by the near relationship which that tyrant bore to the reigning monarch. With respect, however, to his concealment of the Mughal irruptions, it is to be remarked, as a curious fact, that the Western historians, both of Asia and Europe, make no mention of some of the most important. It is Firishta who notices them, and blames our author for his withholding the truth. Firishta's sources of information were no doubt excellent, and the general credit which his narrative inspires, combines with the eulogistic tone of Ziau-d din Barni's history in proving that the inroads were actually made, and that the author's concealment was intentional. The silence of the authorities quoted by De Guignes, D'Herbelot, and Price, may be ascribed to their defective information respecting the transactions of the Mughal leaders to the eastward of the Persian boundary.

The author did not live to complete his account of Firoz Shah, but towards the close of his work lavishes every kind of encomium, not altogether undeserved, upon that excellent prince. Notwithstanding that Firishta has extracted the best part of the Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi, it will continue to be consulted, as the reigns which it comprises are of some consequence in the history of India. The constant recurrence of Mughal invasions, the expeditions to the Dekkin and Telingana, the establishment of fixed prices for provisions, and the abortive means adopted to avert the effects of famine, the issue of copper money of arbitrary value, the attempted removal of the capital to Deogir, the wanton massacres of defenceless subjects, the disastrous results of the scheme to penetrate across the Himalaya to China, the public buildings, and the mild administration of Firoz; all these measures, and many more, invest the period with an interest which cannot be satisfied from the mere abstract given by Firishta.

[Barni is very sparing and inaccurate in his dates. He is also wanting in method and arrangement. He occasionally introduces divisions into his work, but in such a fitful irregular way that they are useless. In his latter days "he retired to a village in the suburbs of Dehli, which was afterwards the burial place of many saints and distinguished men. He was reduced to such extreme poverty that no more costly shroud than a piece of coarse matting could be furnished for the funeral obsequies." His tomb is not far from that of his friend, the poet Amir Khusru.1 [Col. Lees. Jour., R.A.S., vol. iii., new series, p. 445.]

[Sir H. Elliot had marked the whole of Barni's history for translation, intending probably to peruse it and expunge all trivial and uninteresting passages. The translation had been undertaken by a distinguished member of the Bengal Civil Service, but when required it was not forthcoming. After waiting for some time, the editor, anxious to avoid further delay, set to work himself, and the whole of the translation is from his pen.2 [When a portion of the translation was already in type, and the editor was at work on the last reign, a letter arrived from India with translations of the histories of the second and sixth of the eight kings — too late to be of any service.] It is somewhat freer in style than many of the others, for although the text has been very closely followed, the sense has always been preferred to the letter, and a discretion has been exercised of omitting reiterated and redundant epithets. All passages of little or no importance or interest have been omitted, and their places are marked with asterisks. The Extracts, therefore, contain the whole pith and marrow of the work, all that is likely to prove in any degree valuable for historical purposes. Barni's history of the eighth king, Firoz Shah, is incomplete, and is of less interest than the other portions. In the weakness of old age, or in the desire to please the reigning monarch, he has indulged in a strain of adulation which spoils his narrative. The Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi of Shams-i Siraj, which will follow this work, is specially devoted to the reign of that king. Shams-i Siraj has therefore been left to tell the history of that monarch. But the two writers have been compared, and one or two interesting passages have been extracted from Barni's work.

[The translation has been made from the text printed in the Bibliotheca Indica, and during the latter half of the work two MSS., borrowed by Sir H. Elliot, have been also constantly used,1 [These MSS. being carefully secured by Lady Elliot, could not be obtained while she was absent from home. They have since been examined in respect of several passages in the earlier parts of the translation.] These MSS. prove the print, or the MSS. on which it was based, to be very faulty. A collation would furnish a long list of errata and addenda. One of the two MSS. gives the original text apparently unaltered;2 [This is said to be "a perfect copy, and the autograph of the author. It belongs to the Nawwab of Tonk, by whose father it was plundered from Boolandshahr." It is a good MS., but, so far from being an autograph, the colophon gives the name of the scribe and the date of the transcription, 1019 (1610 A.D.)] but the other has been revised with some judgment. It sometimes omits and sometimes simplifies obscure and difficult passages, and it occasionally leaves out reiterations; but it is a valuable MS., and would have been of great assistance to the editor of the text.]


-- XV. Tarikhi Firoz Shahi of Ziaud Din Barni [[Ziauddin Barani]], Excerpt from The History of India As Told By Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, edited from the posthumous papers of the Late Sir H.M. Elliot, K.C.B., East India Company's Bengal Civil Service, by Professor John Dowson, M.R.A.S., Staff college, Sandhurst, Vol. III, 1871, P. 93.


Ziauddin Barani (1285–1358 CE) was a Muslim political thinker of the Delhi Sultanate located in present-day Northern India during Muhammad bin Tughlaq and Firuz Shah's reign. He was best known for composing the Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi (also called Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi), a work on medieval India, which covers the period from the reign of Ghiyas ud din Balban to the first six years of reign of Firoz Shah Tughluq and the Fatwa-i-Jahandari which promoted a hierarchy among Muslim communities in the Indian subcontinent, even if historian M. Athar Ali says that it's not on a racialist basis or even like the Hindu caste system, but taking as a model Sassanid Iran, which promoted an idea of aristocracy through birth and which was claimed by Persians to be "fully in accordance with the main thrust of Islamic thought as it had developed by that time", including in the works of his near-contemporary Ibn Khaldun.[1]



Life

Barani was born to a Muslim family in 1285 in which his father, uncle, and grandfather all worked in high government posts under the Sultan of Delhi. His family were natives of Meerut and Bulandsahar. His maternal grandfather Husam-ud-Din, was an important officer of Ghiyas ud din Balban and his father Muwayyid-ul-Mulk held the post of naib of Arkali Khan, the son of Jalaluddin Firuz Khalji. His uncle Qazi Ala-ul-Mulk was the Kotwal (police chief) of Delhi during the reign of Ala-ud-Din Khalji.[2] Barani never held a post, but was a nadim (companion) of Muhammad bin Tughlaq for seventeen years. During this period he was very close to Amir Khusro. After Tughlaq was deposed, he fell out of favor. In "Exile" he wrote two pieces dealing with government, religion, and history, which he hoped would endear him to the new sultan, Firuz Shah Tughluq. He was not rewarded for his works and died poor in 1357.[3]

His gravestone lies in the courtyard of Nizamuddin Auliya's dargah in Delhi, at the entrance of the dalan of Mirdha Ikram, and near the tomb of Amir Khusrau.

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Tombstone of Barani

Works

Fatwa-i-Jahandari


The Fatwa-i-Jahandari is a work containing the political ideals to be pursued by a Muslim ruler in order to earn religious merit and the gratitude of his subjects.[2] It is written as nasihat(advices) for the Muslim kings, is a classical work on statecraft which can be compared with Kautilya's Arthashastra and Machiavelli's Prince.[4]

His fatwa would condone segregation of the Muslim ashraf upper castes and ajlaf low castes, in addition to the azral under-castes or the converted Muslims who are regarded as "ritually polluted" by the ashraf.[5][6][7] Muzaffar Alam argues that, contrarily to what many think, through this aristocratic view of power he doesn't follow secular models (Iranian or Indian), "rather, the interests of the Muslim community define the contours of his ideas on the heredity question", as he saw that during times of political troubles "frequent changes within ruling classes lead to the ruination of illustrious Muslim families", and thus preserving these upper class families, themselves at such place for diverse administrative or military qualities, would lead to the advent of more capable rulers and in the longer run help Muslim interests, Alam to conclude that this hierarchization "was a conscious choice exercized by Barani to serve the narrowly sectarian interests of the early Islamic regime in India[8]

The work delves into aspects of religion and government and the meeting of those two, as well as political philosophy. He notes:

Religion and temporal government are twins; that is, head of religion and the head of government are twin brothers.[3][9]


Barani's Fatwa-i-Jahandari provides an example of his extreme views on religion. He states that there is no difference between a Muslim king and a Hindu ruler, if the Muslim king is content in collecting jizya (poll-tax) and khiraj (tribute) from the Hindus. Instead, he recommends that a Muslim king should concentrate all his power on holy wars and completely uproot the "false creeds". According to him, a Muslim king could establish the supremacy of Islam in India only by slaughtering the Brahmins. He recommends that a Muslim king "should make a firm resolve to overpower, capture, enslave and degrade the infidels."[10]

At the same time, the book makes it clear that the kings of the Delhi Sultanate did not hold similar views. Barani rues that they honoured and favoured the Hindus, and had granted them the status of dhimmis (protected persons). The Muslim kings appointed Hindus to high posts, including governorships. Barani further laments that the Muslim kings were pleased with the prosperity of Hindus in their capital Delhi.

Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi

The Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi or Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi (Firuz Shah's History) (1357) was an interpretation of the history of the Delhi Sultanate up to the then-present Firuz Shah Tughlaq. Then interpretation noted that the sultans who followed the rules of Barani had succeeded in their endeavors while those that did not, or those who had sinned, met the Nemesis.[3] Barani is an unfair narrator and generally considered a very unreliable source.[11]

But, though Barani refers many times to the sources of information, he did not consult his contemporary works. This resulted in the sketchy description of Ala-ud-Din Khalji’s wars in Chittor, Ranthambhor and Malwa and the Deccan campaigns of Malik Kafur. The later medieval historians, Nizam-ud-Din Ahmad, Badaoni, Ferishta and Haji-ud-Dabir depended upon the Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi for their account of history of the period covered in this work. Abdul Haq Dehlvi in his Akhbar-ul-Akhyar depended upon the work for the biographical sketches of Nizam-ud-Din Auliya and the other Sufi saints.[2]

Zawabit[12]

Barani categorized the law into two kinds, the Shariat and the Zawabit. The Zawabit were the state laws formulated by the monarch in consultation with the nobility in the changed circumstances to cater to the new requirements which the Shariat was unable to fulfill.

The Zawabit, he said must be in the spirit of the Shariat and enumerated four conditions for its formulation as guidelines. They are-

• The Zawabit should not negate the Shariat.
• It must increase the loyalty and hope among the nobles and common people towards the Sultan
• Its sources and inspiration should be the Shariat and pious Caliphs
• If at all it had to negate the Shariat out of exigencies, it must follow charities and compensation in lieu of that negation

Other works

• Salvat-i-Kabir (The Great Prayer)
• Sana-i-Muhammadi (Praises of Prophet Mohammad)
• Hasratnama (Book of Regrets)
• Tarikh-i-Barmaki
• Inayat Nama-i-Ilahi (Book of Gods Gifts)
• Maasìr Saadat (Good Deeds of the Sayyids)
• Lubbatul Tarikh.

Fatawa-i-Dindari

Work online

• Elliot, H. M. (Henry Miers), Sir; John Dowson (1867). "15. Táríkh-i Fíroz Sháhí, of Ziauddin Barani". The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period (Vol 3.). London : Trübner & Co.

See also

• Caste system among South Asian Muslims
• List of Muslim historians

Notes

1. M. Athat Ali, "Elements of Social Justice in Medieval Islamic Thought" in Saiyid Zaheer Husain Jafri, Recording the Progress of Indian History: Symposia Papers of the Indian History Congress, 1992-2010, Primus Books, 2012, p. 197
2. Mahajan, V.D. (1991, reprint 2007). History of Medieval India, Part I, New Delhi: S. Chand, ISBN 81-219-0364-5, pp.174-6
3. A. L. Basham 1958, p. 458.
4. Roy, Himanshu (2020). Indian Political Thought Themes and Thinker. Pearson. p. 81. ISBN 978-93-325-8733-5.
5. Social Stratification Among Muslims in India Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine by Zarina Bhatty
6. Partap C. Aggarwal 1978.
7. Bhimrao Ambedkar 1945.
8. Muzaffar Alam, The Languages of Political Islam in India: c. 1200-1800, The University of Chicago Press, 2004, pp. 41-42
9. Barani, Fatawa-yi-Jahandari, folios 247b-248a
10. Banarsi Prasad Saksena 1992, p. 355.
11. [url=https://archive.org/stream/cu31924073036737#page/n107/mode/2up Sir H. M. Elliot (Henry Miers) & John Dowson, "The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period (Vol 3.)", "chapter 15. Táríkh-i Fíroz Sháhí, of Ziauddin Barani", Trübner & Co., London, pp95]
12. roy;singh, himanshu;M.P. (2020). Indian Political Thought. Pearson. p. 86. ISBN 978-93-325-8733-5.

References

• A. L. Basham (1958). Wm. Theodore de Bary (ed.). Sources of Indian Tradition. Introduction to Oriental Civilizations. 1. Columbia University Press.
• Banarsi Prasad Saksena (1992). "The Khaljis: Alauddin Khalji". In Mohammad Habib and Khaliq Ahmad Nizami (ed.). A Comprehensive History of India: The Delhi Sultanat (A.D. 1206-1526). 5 (Second ed.). The Indian History Congress / People's Publishing House. OCLC 31870180.
• Bhimrao Ambedkar (1945). Pakistan or the Partition of India. Thackers.
• Partap C. Aggarwal (1978). Caste and Social Stratification Among Muslims in India. Manohar.
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Khalji dynasty
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I now return to my narrative of the events of Jalalu-d din's reign. In the year 689 H. (1290 A.D.), the Sultan led an army to Rantambhor. Khan-i Jahan his eldest son was then dead, and he appointed his second son Arkali Khan to be his vicegerent at Kilu-ghari in his absence. He took the [BLANK]1 [It is difficult to say what is here intended. The printed text has [x]. One MS. says [x], and the other [x]. Jhain must be Ujjain.] of Jhain, destroyed the idol temples, and broke and burned the idols. He plundered Jhain and Malwa, and obtained great booty, after which his army rested. The Rai of Rantambhor, with his Rawats and followers, together with their wives and children, all took refuge in the fort of Rantambhor. The Sultan wished to invest and take the fort. He ordered manjaniks2 [The word used is "maghribiha" western (engines).] to be erected, tunnels (sabat) to be sunk, and redoubts (gargach) to be constructed, and the siege to be pressed. He arrived from Jhain, carefully reconnoitred the fort, and on the same day returned to Jhain. Next day he called together his ministers and officers, and said that he had intended to invest the fort, to bring up another army, and to levy forces from Hindustan. But after reconnoitring the fort, he found that it could not be taken without sacrificing the lives of many Musulmans * * * and that he did not value the fort so much as the hair of one Musalman. If he took the place and plundered it after the fall of many Muhammadans, the widows and orphans of the slain would stand before him and turn its spoils into bitterness. So he raised the siege, and next day departed for Dehli. When he announced his intention of retreating, Ahmad Chap protested and said. **** The Sultan replied at length. *** He concluded by saying "I am an old man. I have reached the age of eighty years, and ought to prepare for death. My only concern should be with matters that may be beneficial after my decease.'' ***

In the year 691 H. (1292 A.D.), 'Abdu-llah, grandson of the accursed Halu (Hulaku), invaded Hindustan with fifteen tumans of Mughals (150,000!). The Sultan assembled his forces, and marched from Dehli to meet them, with a large and splendid army. When he reached Bar-ram,1 [Briggs says "Beiram," but thinks it an error.] the outposts of the Mughals were descried, and the two armies drew up in face of each other with a river between them. Some few days were passed in arraying their forces, and the advanced parties of the opposing forces had several skirmishes in which the Musulmans were victorious, and made some prisoners, who were conducted to the Sultan. Shortly after the van of the Mughal army crossed the river. The van of the Musulmans hastened to meet them, and a sharp conflict ensued, in which the Musulman forces were victorious. Many Mughals were put to the sword, and one or two commanders of thousands, and several centurions were made prisoners. Negotiations followed, and it was agreed that war was a great evil, and that hostilities should cease. The Sultan and 'Abdu-llah, grandson of Halu the accursed, had an interview. The Sultan called him son, and he addressed the Sultan as father. Presents were exchanged, and after hostilities had ceased, buying and selling went on between the two armies. 'Abdu'llah departed with the Mughal army, but Ulghu, grandson of Changiz Khan, the accursed, with several nobles, commanders of thousands and centurions, resolved to stay in India. They said the creed and became Muhammadans, and a daughter of the Sultan was given in marriage to Ulghu. The Mughals who followed Ulghu, were brought into the city with their wives and children. Provision was made for their support, and houses were provided for them in Kilu-ghari, Ghiyaspur, Indarpat, and Taluka. Their abodes were called Mughalpur. The Sultan continued their allowances for a year or two, but the climate and their city homes did not please them, so they departed with their families to their own country. Some of their principal men remained in India, and received allowances and villages. They mixed with and formed alliances with the Musulmans, and were called "New Musulmans."

Towards the end of the year, the Sultan went to Mandur, reduced it to subjection, plundered the neighbourhood, and returned home. Afterwards he marched a second time to Jhain, and after once more plundering the country, he returned in triumph.

'Alau-d din at this time held the territory of Karra, and with permission of the Sultan he marched to Bhailasan (Bhilsa). He captured some bronze idols which the Hindus worshipped, and sent them on cars with a variety of rich booty as presents to the Sultan. The idols were laid down before the Badaun gate for true believers to tread upon. 'Alau-d din, nephew and son in-law of the Sultan, had been brought up by him. After sending the spoils of Bhailasan to the Sultan, he was made 'Ariz'i mamalik, and received the territory of Oudh in addition to that of Karra. When 'Alau-d din went to Bhailasan (Bhilsa), he heard much of the wealth and elephants of Deogir. He inquired about the approaches to that place, and resolved upon marching thither from Karra with a large force, but without informing the Sultan. He proceeded to Dehli and found the Sultan more kind and generous than ever. He asked for some delay in the payment of the tribute for his territories of Karra and Oudh, saying that he had heard there were countries about Chanderi where peace and security reigned, and where no apprehension of the forces of Dehli was felt. If the Sultan would grant him permission he would march thither, and would acquire great spoil, which he would pay into the royal exchequer, together with the revenues of his territories. The Sultan, in the innocence and trust of his heart, thought that 'Alau-d din was so troubled by his wife and mother-in-law that he wanted to conquer some country wherein he might stay and never return home. In the hope of receiving a rich booty, the Sultan granted the required permission, and postponed the time for the payment of the revenues of Karra and Oudh.

'Alau-d din was on bad terms with his mother in law, Malika-i Jahan, wife of the Sultan, and with his wife, the daughter of the Sultan. He was afraid of the intrigues of the Malika-i Jahan, who had a great ascendancy over her father. He was averse to bringing the disobedience of his wife before the Sultan, and he could not brook the disgrace which would arise from his derogatory position being made public. It greatly distressed him, and he often consulted with his intimates at Karra about going out into the world to make a position for himself. When he made the campaign to Bhailasan, he heard much about the wealth of Deogir. *** He collected three or four thousand horse, and two thousand infantry, whom he fitted out from the revenues of Karra, which had been remitted for a time by the Sultan, and with this force he marched for Deogir. Though he had secretly resolved upon attacking Deogir, he studiously concealed the fact, and represented that he intended to attack Chanderi. Malik 'Alau-l mulk, uncle of the author, and one of the favoured followers of 'Alau-d din, was made deputy of Karra and Oudh in his absence.

'Alau-d din marched to Elichpur, and thence to Ghatilajaura. Here all intelligence of him was lost. Accounts were sent regularly from Karra to the Sultan with vague statements,1 ["Arajif" -- "false rumours,'' but here and elsewhere it seems to rather mean, vague unsatisfactory news.] saying that he was engaged in chastising and plundering rebels, and that circumstantial accounts would be forwarded in a day or two. The Sultan never suspected him of any evil designs, and the great men and wise men of the city thought that the dissensions with his wife had driven him to seek his fortune in a distant land. This opinion soon spread. When 'Alau-d din arrived at Ghati-lajaura, the army of Ram-deo, under the command of his son, had gone to a distance. The people of that country had never heard of the Musulmans; the Mahratta land had never been punished by their armies; no Musulman king or prince had penetrated so far. Deogir was exceedingly rich in gold and silver, jewels and pearls, and other valuables. When Ram-deo heard of the approach of the Muhammadans, he collected what forces he could, and sent them under one of his ranas to Ghati-lajaura. They were defeated and dispersed by 'Alau-d din, who then entered Deogir. On the first day he took thirty elephants and some thousand horses. Ram deo came in and made his submission. 'Alau-d din carried off an unprecedented amount of booty. * * *

In the year 695 H. (1296 A.D.), the Sultan proceeded with an army to the neighbourhood of Gwalior, and stayed there some time. Rumours (ardaif) here reached him that 'Alau-d din had plundered Deogir and obtained elephants and an immense booty, with which he was returning to Karra. The Sultan was greatly pleased, for in the simplicity of his heart he thought that whatsoever his son and nephew had captured, he would joyfully bring to him. To celebrate this success, the Sultan gave entertainments, and drank wine. The news of 'Alau-d din's victory was confirmed by successive arrivals, and it was said that never had so rich a spoil reached the treasury of Dehli. Afterwards the Sultan held a private council, to which he called some of his most trusty advisers * * * and consulted whether it would be advisable to go to meet 'Alau-d din or to return to Dehli. Ahmad Chap, Naib-barbak, one of the wisest men of the day, spoke before any one else, and said, "Elephants and wealth when held in great abundance are the cause of much strife. Whoever acquires them becomes so intoxicated that he does not know his hands from his feet. 'Alau-d din is surrounded by many of the rebels and insurgents who supported Malik Chhaju. He has gone into a foreign land without leave, has fought battles and won treasure. The wise have said 'Money and strife; strife and money' — that is the two things are allied to each other. * * * My opinion is that we should march with all haste towards Chanderi to meet 'Alau-d din and intercept his return. When he finds the Sultan's army in the way, he must necessarily present all his spoils to the throne whether he likes it or not. The Sultan may then take the silver and gold, the jewels and pearls, the elephants and horses, and leave the other booty to him and his soldiers. His territories also should be increased, and he should be carried in honour to Dehli." *** The Sultan was in the grasp of his evil angel, so he heeded not the advice of Ahmad Chap * * * but said "what have I done to 'Alau-d din that he should turn away from me, and not present his spoils?" The Sultan also consulted Malik Fakhru-d din Kuchi (and other nobles). The Malik was a bad man; he knew that what Ahmad Chap had said was right, but he saw that his advice was displeasing to the Sultan, so he advised * * * that the Sultan should return to Dehli to keep the Ramazan. * * *

The guileless heart of the Sultan relied upon the fidelity of 'Alau-d din, so he followed the advice of Fakhru-d din Kuchi, and returned to Kilu-ghari. A few days after intelligence arrived that 'Alau-d din had returned with his booty to Karra. 'Alau-d din addressed a letter to the Sultan announcing his return with so much treasure and jewels and pearls, and thirty-one elephants, and horses, to be presented to his majesty, but that he had been absent on campaign without leave more than a twelve- month, during which no communications had passed between him and the Sultan, and he did not know, though he feared the machinations of his enemies during his absence. If the Sultan would write to reassure him, he would present himself with his brave officers and spoils before the throne. Having despatched this deceitful letter, he immediately prepared for an attack upon Lakhnauti. He sent Zafar Khan into Oudh to collect boats for the passage of the Saru, and, in consultation with his adherents, he declared that as soon as he should hear that the Sultan had marched towards Karra, he would leave it with his elephants and treasure, with his soldiers and all their families, and would cross the Saru and march to Lakhnauti, which he would seize upon, being sure that no army from Dehli would follow him there. * * * No one could speak plainly to the Sultan, for if any one of his confidants mentioned the subject he grew angry, and said they wanted to set him against his son. He wrote a most gracious and affectionate letter with his own hand, and sent it by the hands of some of his most trusted officers. When these messengers arrived at Karra, they saw that all was in vain, for that 'Alau-d din and all his army were alienated from the Sultan. They endeavoured to send letters informing the Sultan, but they were unable to do so in any way. Meanwhile the rains came on, and the roads were all stopped by the waters. Almas Beg, brother of 'Alau-d din, and like him a son-in-law of the Sultan, held the office of Akhur-bak (Master of the horse). He often said to the Sultan "People frighten my brother, and I am afraid that in his shame and fear of your majesty he will poison or drown himself." A few days afterwards 'Alau-d din wrote to Almas Beg, saying that he had committed an act of disobedience, and always carried poison in his handkerchief. If the Sultan would travel jarida (i.e. speedily, with only a small retinue), to meet him, and would take his hand, he should feel re-assured; if not, he would either take poison or would march forth with his elephants and treasures to seek his fortune in the world. His expectation was that the Sultan would desire to obtain the treasure, and would come with a scanty following to Karra, when it would be easy to get rid of him.*** Almas Beg showed to the Sultan the letter which he had received from his brother, and the Sultan was so infatuated that he believed this deceitful and treacherous letter. Without further consideration he ordered Almas Khan to hasten to Karra, and not to let his brother depart, promising to follow with all speed. Almas Beg took a boat and reached Karra in seven or eight days. When he arrived, 'Alau-d din ordered drums of joy to be beaten, saying that now all his apprehensions and fears were removed.

The crafty counsellors of 'Alau-d din, whom he had promoted to honours, advised the abandonment of his designs upon Lakhnauti, saying that the Sultan, coveting the treasure and elephants, had become blind and deaf, and had set forth to see him in the midst of the rainy season — adding, "after he comes, you know what you ought to do." The destroying angel was close behind the Sultan, he had no apprehension, and would listen to no advice. He treated his advisers with haughty disdain, and set forth with a few personal attendants, and a thousand horse from Kilu-ghari. He embarked in a boat at Dhamai, and proceeded towards Karra. Ahmad Chap, who commanded the army, was ordered to proceed by land. It was the rainy season, and the waters were out. On the 15th Ramazan, the Sultan, arrived at Karra, on the hither side of the Ganges.

'Alau-d din and his followers had determined on the course to be adopted before the Sultan arrived. He had crossed the river with the elephants and treasure, and had taken post with his forces between Manikpur and Karra, the Ganges being very high. When the royal ensign came in sight he was all prepared, the men were armed, and the elephants and horses were harnessed. 'Alau-d din sent Almas Beg in a small boat to the Sultan, with directions to use every device to induce him to leave behind the thousand men he had brought with him, and to come with only a few personal attendants. The traitor Almas Beg, hastened to the Sultan, and perceived several boats full of horsemen around him. He told the Sultan that his brother had left the city, and God only knew where he would have gone to if he, Almas Beg, had not been sent to him. If the Sultan did not make more haste to meet him he would kill himself, and his treasure would be plundered. If his brother were to see these armed men with the Sultan he would destroy himself. The Sultan accordingly directed that the horsemen and boats should remain by the side of the river, whilst he, with two boats and a few personal attendants and friends, passed over to the other side. When the two boats had started, and the angel of destiny had come still nearer, the traitor, Almas Beg, desired the Sultan to direct his attendants to lay aside their arms, lest his brother should see them as they approached nearer, and be frightened. The Sultan, about to become a martyr, did not detect the drift of this insidious proposition, but directed his followers to disarm. As the boats reached mid-stream, the army of 'Alau-d din was perceived all under arms, the elephants and horses harnessed, and in several places troops of horsemen ready for action. When the nobles who accompanied the Sultan saw this, they knew that Almas Beg had by his plausibility brought his patron into a snare, and they gave themselves up for lost. * * * Malik Khuram wakildar asked * * * what is the meaning of all this? and Almas Beg, perceiving that his treachery was detected, said his brother was anxious that his army should pay homage to his master.

The Sultan was so blinded by his destiny, that although his own eyes saw the treachery, he would not return; but he said to Almas Beg, "I have come so far in a little boat to meet your brother, cannot he, and does not his heart induce him to advance to meet me with due respect." The traitor replied, "My brother's intention is to await your majesty at the landing place, with the elephants and treasure and jewels, and there to present his officers." *** The Sultan trusting implicitly in them who were his nephews, sons-in-law, and foster-children, did not awake and detect the obvious intention. He took the Kuran and read it, and proceeded fearless and confiding as a father to his sons. All the people who were in the boat with him saw death plainly before them, and began to repeat the chapter appropriate to men in sight of death. The Sultan reached the shore before afternoon prayer, and disembarked with a few followers. 'Alau-d din advanced to receive him, he and all his officers showing due respect. When he reached the Sultan he fell at his feet, and the Sultan treating him as a son, kissed his eyes and cheeks, stroked his beard, gave him two loving taps upon the cheek, and said "I have brought thee up from infancy,1 [The Sultan's exact words are expressive enough, but are somewhat too precise and familiar for European taste.[!!!]] why art thou afraid of me?" **** The Sultan took 'Alau-d din's hand, and at that moment the stony-hearted traitor gave the fatal signal. Muhammad Salim, of Samana, a bad fellow of a bad family, struck at the Sultan with a sword, but the blow fell short and cut his own hand. He again struck and wounded the Sultan, who ran towards the river, crying, "Ah thou villian, 'Alau-d din! what hast thou done?" Ikhtiyaru-d din Hud ran after the betrayed monarch, threw him down, and cut off his head, and bore it dripping with blood to 'Alau-d din. **** Some of those persons who accompanied the Sultan had landed, and others remained in the boats, but all were slain. Villainy and treachery, and murderous feelings, covetousness and desire of riches, thus did their work.2 [The writer goes on condemning the murder in strong terms.] ****

The murder was perpetrated on the 17th Ramazan, and the venerable head of the Sultan was placed on a spear and paraded about. When the rebels returned to Karra-Manikpur it was also paraded there, and was afterwards sent to be exhibited in Oudh. **** While the head of the murdered sovereign was yet dripping with blood, the ferocious conspirators brought the royal canopy and elevated it over the head of 'Alau-d din. Casting aside all shame, the perfidious and graceless wretches caused him to be proclaimed king by men who rode about on elephants. Although these villains were spared for a short time, and 'Alau-d din for some years, still they were not forgotten, and their punishments were only suspended. At the end of three or four years Ulugh Khan (Almas Beg), the deceiver, was gone, so was Nusrat Khan, the giver of the signal, so also was Zafar Khan, the breeder of the mischief, my uncle, 'Alau-l Mulk, kotwal, and *** and ***. The hell-hound Salim, who struck the first blow, was a year or two afterwards eaten up with leprosy. Ikhtiyaru-d din, who cut off the head, very soon went mad, and in his dying ravings cried that Sultan Jalalu-d din stood over him with a naked sword, ready to cut off his head. Although 'Alau-d din reigned successfully for some years, and all things prospered to his wish, and though he had wives and children, family and adherents, wealth and grandeur, still he did not escape retribution for the blood of his patron. He shed more innocent blood than ever Pharaoh was guilty of. Fate at length placed a betrayer in his path, by whom his family was destroyed, *** and the retribution which fell upon it never had a parallel even in any infidel land. ***

When intelligence of the murder of Sultan Jalalu-d din reached Ahmad Chap, the commander of the army, he returned to Dehli. The march through the rain and dirt had greatly depressed and shaken the spirits of the men, and they went to their homes. The Malika-i Jahan, wife of the late Sultan, was a woman of determination, but she was foolish and acted very imprudently. She would not await the arrival from Multan of Arkali Khan, who was a soldier of repute, nor did she send for him. Hastily and rashly, and without consultation with any one, she placed the late Sultan's youngest son, Ruknu-d din Ibrahim, on the throne. He was a mere lad, and had no knowledge of the world. With the nobles, great men, and officers she proceeded from Kilu-ghari to Dehli, and, taking possession of the green palace, she distributed offices and fiefs among the maliks and amirs who were at Dehli, and began to carry on the government, receiving petitions and issuing orders. When Arkali Khan heard of his mother's unkind and improper proceedings, he was so much hurt that he remained at Multan, and did not go to Dehli. During the life of the late Sultan there had been dissensions between mother and son, and when 'Alau-d din, who remained at Karra, was informed of Arkali Khan's not coming to Dehli, and of the opposition of the Malika-i Jahan, he saw the opportunity which this family quarrel presented. He rejoiced over the absence of Arkali Khan, and set off for Dehli at once, in the midst of the rains, although they were more heavy than any one could remember. Scattering gold and collecting followers, he reached the Jumna. He then won over the maliks and amirs by a large outlay of money, and those unworthy men, greedy for the gold of the deceased, and caring nothing for loyalty or treachery, deserted the Malika-i Jahan and Ruknu-d din and joined 'Alau-d din. Five months after starting, 'Alau-d din arrived with an enormous following within two or three kos of Dehli. The Malika-i Jahan and Ruknu-d din Ibrahim then left Dehli and took the road to Multan. A few nobles, faithful to their allegiance, left their wives and families and followed them to Multan. Five months after the death of Jalalu-d din at Karra, 'Alau-d din arrived at Dehli and ascended the throne. He scattered so much gold about that the faithless people easily forgot the murder of the late Sultan, and rejoiced over his accession. His gold also induced the nobles to desert the sons of their late benefactor, and to support him. * * *

Iskandar-i sani Sultanu-l'azam 'Alaud-d dunya wau-d din Muhammad Shah Tughlik.

Sultan 'Alau-d din ascended the throne in the year 695 H. (1296 A.D.). He gave to his brother the title Ulugh Khan, to Malik Nusrat Jalesari that of Nusrat Khan, to Malik Huzabbaru-d din t hat of Zafar Khan, and to Sanjar, his wife's brother, who was amir-i majlis, that of Alp Khan. He made his friends and principal supporters amirs, and the amirs he promoted to be maliks [a chief or leader (as in a village) in parts of the subcontinent of India.]. Every one of his old adherents he elevated to a suitable position, and to the Khans, maliks, and amirs he gave money, so that they might procure new horses and fresh servants. Enormous treasure had fallen into his hands, and he had committed a deed unworthy of his religion and position, so he deemed it politic to deceive the people, and to cover the crime by scattering honours and gifts upon all classes of people.

He set out on his journey to Dehli, but the heavy rains and the mire and dirt delayed his march. His desire was to reach the capital after the rising of Canopus, as he felt very apprehensive of the late Sultan's second son, Arkali Khan, who was a brave and able soldier. News came from Dehli that Arkali Khan had not come, and 'Alau-d din considered this absence as a great obstacle to his (rival's) success. He knew that Ruknu-d din Ibrahim could not keep his place upon the throne, for the royal treasury was empty and he had not the means of raising new forces, 'Alau-d din accordingly lost no time, and pressed on to Dehli, though the rains were at their height. In this year, through the excessive rain, the Ganges and the Jumna became seas, and every stream swelled into a Ganges or a Jumna; the roads also were obstructed with mud and mire. At such a season 'Alau-d din started from Karra with his elephants, his treasures, and his army. His khans, maliks, and amirs were commanded to exert themselves strenuously in enlisting new horsemen, and in providing of all things necessary without delay. They were also ordered to shower money freely around them, so that plenty of followers might be secured. As he was marching to Dehli a light and moveable manjanik was made. Every stage that they marched five mans of gold stars1 [[x]] were placed in this manjanik, which were discharged among the spectators from the front of the royal tent. People from all parts gathered to pick up "the stars," and in the coarse of two or three weeks the news spread throughout all the towns and villages of Hindustan that 'Alau-d din was marching to take Dehli, and that he was scattering gold upon his path and enlisting horsemen and followers without limit. People, military and unmilitary, flocked to him from every side, so that when he reached Badaun, notwithstanding the rains, his force amounted to fifty-six thousand horse and sixty thousand foot. ****

When 'Alau-d din arrived at Baran, he placed a force under Zafar Khan, with orders to march by way of Kol, and to keep pace while he himself proceeded by way of Badaun and Baran. Taju-d din Kuchi, and ** and ** other maliks and amirs who were sent from Dehli to oppose the advancing forces, came to Baran and joined 'Alau-d din, for which they received twenty, thirty, and some even fifty mans of gold. All the soldiers who were under these noblemen received each three hundred tankas, and the whole following of the late Jalala-d din was broken up. The nobles who remained in Dehli wavered, while those who had joined 'Alau-d din loudly exclaimed that the people of Dehli maligned them, charging them with disloyalty, with having deserted the son of their patron and of having joined themselves to his enemy. They complained that their accusers were unjust, for they did not see that the kingdom departed from Jalalu-d din on the day when he wilfully and knowingly, with his eyes wide open, left Dehli and went to Karra, jeopardizing his own head and that of his followers. What else could they do but join 'Alau-d din?

When the maliks and amirs thus joined 'Alau-d din the Jalali party broke up. The Malika-i Jahan, who was one of the silliest of the silly, then sent to Multan for Arkali Khan. She wrote to this effect — "I committed a fault in raising my youngest son to the throne in spite of you. None of the maliks and amirs heed him, and most of them have joined 'Alau-d din. The royal power has departed from our hands. If you can, come to us speedily, take the throne of your father and protect us. You are the elder brother of the lad who was placed upon the throne, and are more worthy and capable of ruling. He will acknowledge his inferiority. I am a woman, and women are foolish. I committed a fault, but do not be offended with your mother's error. Come and take the kingdom of your father. If you are angry and will not do so, 'Alau-d din is coming with power and state; he will take Dehli, and will spare neither me nor you." Arkali Khan did not come, but wrote a letter of excuse to his mother, saying, "Since the nobles and the army have joined the enemy, what good will my coming do?" When 'Alau-d din heard that Arkali Khan would not come, he ordered the drums of joy to be beaten.

'Alau-d din had no boats, and the great height of the Jumna delayed his passage. While he was detained on the banks of the river, Canopus rose, and the waters as usual decreased. He then transported his army across at the ferries, and entered the plain of Judh.1 [The print has "Judh." One MS. writes "Khud" t he other omits the name.] Ruknu-d din Ibrahim went out of the city in royal state with such followers as remained to oppose 'Alau-d din, but in the middle of the night all the left wing of his army deserted to the enemy with great uproar. Ruknu-d din Ibrahim turned back, and at midnight he caused the Badaun gate (of Dehli) to be opened. He took some bags of gold tankas from the treasury, and some horses from the stables. He sent his mother and females on in front, and in the dead of the night he left the city by the Ghazni gate, and took the road to Multan. Malik Kutbu-d din 'Alawi, with the sons of Malik Ahmad Chap Turk, furnished the escort, and proceeded with him and the Malika-i Jahan to Multan. Next day 'Alau-d din marched with royal state and display into the plain of Siri,2 [See Cunningham's Archaeological Report for 1862-3, page 38.] where he pitched his camp. The throne was now secure, and the revenue officers, and the elephant keepers with their elephants, and the kotwah with the keys of the forts, and the magistrates and the chief men of the city came out to 'Alau-d din, and a new order of things was established. His wealth and power were great; so whether individuals paid their allegiance or whether they did not, mattered little, for the khutba was read and coins were struck in his name.

Towards the end of the year 695 H. (1296) 'Alau-d din entered Dehli in great pomp and with a large force. He took his seat upon the throne in the daulat-khana-i julus, and proceeded to the Kushk'i l'al (red palace), where he took up his abode. The treasury of 'Alau-d din was well filled with gold, which he scattered among the people, purses and bags filled with tankas and jitals were distributed, and men gave themselves up to dissipation and enjoyment. [Public festivities followed.] 'Alau-d din, in the pride of youth, prosperity, and boundless wealth, proud also of his army and his followers, his elephants and his horses, plunged into dissipation and pleasure. The gifts and honours which he bestowed obtained the good will of the people. Out of policy he gave offices and fiefs to the maliks and amirs of the late Sultan. Khwaja Khatir, a minister of the highest reputation, was made wazir, etc., etc. *** Malik 'Alau-l Mulk, uncle of the author, was appointed to Karra and Oudh, and Muyidu-l Mulk, the author's father, received the deputyship and khwajagi of Baran. * * * People were so deluded by the gold which they received, that no one ever mentioned the horrible crime which the Sultan had committed, and the hope of gain left them no care for anything else. ****

After 'Alau-d din had ascended the throne, the removal of the late king's sons engaged his first attention. Ulugh Khan and Zafar Khan, with other maliks and amirs, were sent to Multan with thirty or forty thousand horse. They besieged that place for one or two months. The kotwal and the people of Multan turned against the sons of Jalalu-d din, and some of the amirs came out of the city to Ulugh Khan and Zafar Khan. The sons of the late Sultan then sent Shaikhu-l Islam Shaikh Ruknu-d din to sue for safety from Ulugh Khan, and received his assurances. The princes then went out with the Shaikh and their amirs to Ulugh Khan. He received them with great respect and quartered them near his own dwelling. News of the success was sent to Dehli. There the drums were beaten. Kabas1 [Booths erected for the distribution of food and drink on festive occasions.] were erected, and the despatch was read from the pulpit and was circulated in all quarters. The amirs of Hindustan then became submissive to 'Alau-d din, and no rival remained. Ulugh Khan and Zafar Khan returned triumphant towards Dehli, carrying with them the two sons of the late Sultan, both of whom had received royal canopies. Their maliks and amirs were also taken with them. In the middle of their journey they were met by Nusrat Khan, who had been sent from Dehli, and the two princes, with Ulghu Khan, son in law of the late Sultan, and Ahmad Chap, Naib-amir-i hajib, were all blinded. Their wives were separated from them, and all their valuables and slaves and maids, in fact everything they had was seized by Nusrat Khan. The princes1 [Both the MSS. say "sons," while the print incorrectly uses the singular.] were sent to the fort of Hansi, and the sons of Arkali Khan were all slain. Malika-i Jahan, with their wives, and Ahmad Chap were brought to Dehli and confined in his house.

In the second year of the reign Nusrat Khan was made wazir. 'Alau-l Mulk, the author's uncle, was summoned from Karra, and came with the maliks and amirs and one elephant, bringing the treasure which 'Alau-d din had left there. He was become exceedingly fat and inactive, but he was selected from among the nobles to be kotwal of the city. In this year also the property of the maliks and amirs of the late Sultan was confiscated, and Nusrat Khan exerted himself greatly in collecting it. He laid his hands upon all that he could discover, and seized upon thousands, which he brought into the treasury. Diligent inquiry was made into the past and present circumstances of the victims. In this same year, 696 H. (1296), the Mughals crossed the Sind and had come into the country. Ulugh Khan and Zafar Khan were sent with a large force, and with the amirs of the late and the present reign, to oppose them. The Musulman army met the accursed foe in the vicinity of Jalandhar2 [So in the print; but the MSS. have "Jadawa o Manjur" and "Jarat-mahud."] and gained a victory. Many were slain or taken prisoners, and many heads were sent to Dehli. The victory of Multan and the capture of the two princes had greatly strengthened the authority of 'Alau-d din; this victory over the Mughals made it still more secure. * * * The maliks of the late king, who deserted their benefactor and joined 'Alau-d din, and received gold by mans and obtained employments and territories, were all seized in the city and in the army, and thrown into forts as prisoners. Some were blinded and some were killed. The wealth which they had received from 'Alau-d din, and their property, goods, and effects were all seized. Their houses were confiscated to the Sultan, and their villages were brought under the public exchequer. Nothing was left to their children; their retainers and followers were taken in charge by the amirs who supported the new regime, and their establishments were overthrown. Of all the amirs of the reign of Jalalu-d din, three only were spared by 'Alau-d din. *** These three persons had never abandoned Sultan Jalalu-d din and his sons, and had never taken money from Sultan 'Alau-d din. They alone remained safe, but all the other Jalali nobles were cut up root and branch. Nusrat Khan, by his fines and confiscations, brought a kror of money into the treasury.

At the beginning of the third year of the reign, Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan, with their amirs, and generals, and a large army, marched against Gujarat. They took and plundered Nahrwala and all Gujarat. Kuran, Rai of Gujarat, fled from Nahrwala and went to Ram Deo of Deogir. The wives and daughters, the treasure and elephants of Rai Karan, fell into the hands of the Muhammadans. All Gujarat became a prey to the invaders, and the idol which, after the victory of Sultan Mahmud and his destruction of (the idol) Manat, the Brahmans had set up under the name of Somnath, for the worship of the Hindus, was removed and carried to Dehli, where it was laid down for people to tread upon. Nusrat Khan proceeded to Kambaya1 [The printed text has [x], but there can be no doubt that Cambay is the place.] (Cambay), and levied large quantities of jewels and precious articles from the merchants of that place, who were very wealthy. He also took from his master (a slave afterwards known as) Kafur Hazar-dinari, who was made Malik-naib, and whose beauty captivated 'Alau-d din. Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan returned with great booty; but on their way they provoked their soldiers to revolt by demanding from them a fifth of their spoil, and by instituting inquisitorial inquiries about it. Although the men made returns (of the amount), they would not believe them at all, but demanded more. The gold and silver, and jewels and valuables, which the men had taken, were all demanded, and various kinds of coercion were employed. These punishments and prying researches drove the men to desperation. In the army there were many amirs and many horsemen who were "new Muhammadans." They held together as one man, and two or three thousand assembled and began a disturbance. They killed Malik A'zzu-d din, brother of Nusrat Khan, and amir-i hajib of Ulugh Khan, and proceeded tumultuously to the tent of Ulugh Khan. That prince escaped, and with craft and cleverness reached the tent of Nusrat Khan; but the mutineers killed a son of the Sultan's sister, who was asleep in the tent, whom they mistook for Ulugh Khan. The disturbance spread through the whole army, and the stores narrowly escaped being plundered. But the good fortune of the Sultan prevailed, the turmoil subsided, and the horse and foot gathered round the tent of Nusrat Khan. The amirs and horsemen of "the new Musulmans" dispersed; those who had taken the leading parts in the disturbance fled, and went to join the Rais and rebels. Further inquiries about the plunder were given up, and Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan returned to Dehli with the treasure, and elephants, and slaves, and spoil, which they had taken in Gujarat.

When intelligence of this outbreak of the new Muhammadans reached Dehli, the crafty cruelty which had taken possession of 'Alau-d din induced him to order that the wives and children of all the mutineers, high and low, should be cast into prison. This was the beginning of the practice of seizing women and children for the faults of men. Up to this time no hand had ever been laid upon wives and children on account of men's misdeeds. At this time also another and more glaring act of tyranny was committed by Nusrat Khan, the author of many acts of violence at Dehli. His brother had been murdered, and in revenge he ordered the wives of the assassins to be dishonoured and exposed to most disgraceful treatment; he then handed them over to vile persons to make common strumpets of them. The children he caused to be cut to pieces on the heads of their mothers. Outrages like this are practised in no religion or creed. These and similar acts of his filled the people of Dehli with amazement and dismay, and every bosom trembled.

In the same year that Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan were sent to Gujarat, Zafar Khan was sent to Siwistan, which Saldi,1 [So in the print, and supported by one MS. The other has "Sadari."] with his brother and other Mughals, had seized upon. Zafar Khan accordingly proceeded to Siwistan with a large army, and besieged the fort of Siwistan, which he took with the axe and sword, spear and javelin, without using either Westerns (maghribe), manjaniks or balistas ('aradah), and without resorting to mines (sabat), mounds (pashib), or redoubts (gargaj). This fort had been taken by the Mughals, and they maintained such a continuous discharge of arrows that no bird could fly by. For all this Zafar Khan took it with the axe and sword. Saldi and his brother, with all the Mughals and their wives and children, were taken prisoners, and sent in chains to Dehli. This victory inspired awe of Zafar Khan in every heart, and the Sultan also looked askance at him in consequence of his fearlessness, generalship, and intrepidity, which showed that a Rustam had been born in India. Ulugh Khan, the Sultan's brother, saw that he had been surpassed in bravery and strategy, and so conceived a hatred and jealousy of Zafar Khan. In the same year he (Zafar Khan) received the fief of Samana, and as he had become famous the Sultan, who was very jealous, began to revolve in his mind what was best to be done. Two modes of dealing with him seemed open for the Sultan's choice. One was to send him, with a few thousand horse, to Lakhnauti to take that country, and leave him there to supply elephants and tribute to the Sultan; the other was to put him out of the way by poison or by blinding.  

At the end of this year Katlagh Khwaja, son of the accursed Zud,1 [Firishta (vol. i., p. 329) says "son of Amir Daud Khan, king of Mawarau-n nahr."] with twenty tumans of Mughals, resolved upon the invasion of Hindustan. He started from Mawarau-n Nahr, and passing the Indus with a large force he marched on to the vicinity of Dehli. In this campaign Dehli was the object of attack, so the Mughals did not ravage the countries bordering on their march, nor did they attack the forts. * * * Great anxiety prevailed in Dehli, and the people of the neighbouring villages took refuge within its walls. The old fortifications had not been kept in repair, and terror prevailed, such as never before had been seen or heard of. All men, great and small, were in dismay. Such a concourse had crowded into the city that the streets and markets and mosques could not contain them. Everything became very dear. The roads were stopped against caravans and merchants, and distress fell upon the people.

The Sultan marched out of Dehli with great display and pitched his tent in Siri. Maliks, amirs, and fighting men were summoned to Dehli from every quarter. At that time the anther's uncle, 'Alau-l Mulk, one of the companions and advisers of the Sultan, was kotwal of Dehli, and the Sultan placed the city, his women and treasure, under his charge. **** 'Alau-l Mulk went out to Siri to take leave of the Sultan, and in private consultation with him [advised a temporising policy.] The Sultan listened and commended his sincerity. He then called the nobles together and said * * * yon have heard what 'Alau-l Malk has urged * * * now hear what I have to say. *** If I were to follow your advice, to whom could I show my face? how could I go into my harem? of what account would the people hold me? and where would be the daring and courage which is necessary to keep my turbulent people in submission? Come what may I will to-morrow march into the plain of Kili.*** 'Alau-d din marched from Siri to Kili and there encamped. Katlagh Khwaja, with the Mughal army, advanced to encounter him. In no age or reign had two such vast armies been drawn up in array against each other, and the sight of them filled all men with amazement. Zafar Khan, who commanded the right wing, with the amirs who were under him, drew their swords and fell upon the enemy with such fury that the Mughals were broken and forced to fall back. The army of Islam pursued, and Zafar Khan, who was the Rustam of the age and the hero of the time, pressed after the retreating foe, cutting them down with the sword and mowing off their heads. He kept up the pursuit for eighteen kos, never allowing the scared Mughals to rally. Ulugh Khan commanded the left wing, which was very strong, and had under him several distinguished amirs. Through the animosity which he bore to Zafar Khan he never stirred to support him.

Targhi, the accursed, had been placed in ambush with his tuman. His Mughals mounted the trees and could not see any horse moving up to support Zafar Khan. When Targhi ascertained that Zafar Khan had gone so far in pursuit of the Mughals without any supporting force in his rear, he marched after Zafar Khan, and, spreading out his forces on all sides, he surrounded him as with a ring, and pressed him with arrows. Zafar Khan was dismounted. The brave hero then drew his arrows from the quiver and brought down a Mughal at every shaft. At this juncture, Katlagh Khwaja sent him this message, "Come with me and I will take thee to my father, who will make thee greater than the king of Dehli has made thee." Zafar Khan heeded not the offer, and the Mughals saw that he would never be taken alive, so they pressed in upon him on every side and despatched him. The amirs of his force were all slain, his elephants were wounded, and their drivers killed. The Mughals thus, on that day, obtained the advantage, but the onslaught of Zafar Khan had greatly dispirited them. Towards the end of the night they retreated, and marched to a distance of thirty kos from Dehli. They then continued their retreat by marches of twenty kos, without resting, until they reached their own confines. The bravery of Zafar Khan was long remembered among the Mughals, and if their cattle refused to drink they used to ask if they saw Zafar Khan.1 [See D'Ohsson Hist. des Mongols, iv., 560.] No such army as this has ever since been seen in hostile array near Dehli. 'Alau-d din returned from Kili, considering that he had won a great victory: the Mughals had been put to flight, and the brave and fearless Zafar Khan had been got rid of without disgrace.

In the third year of his reign 'Alaud-d din had little to do beyond attending to his pleasures, giving feasts, and holding festivals. One success followed another; despatches of victory came in from all sides; every year he had two or three sons born, affairs of State went on according to his wish and to his satisfaction, his treasury was overflowing, boxes and caskets of jewels and pearls were daily displayed before his eyes, he had numerous elephants in his stables and seventy thousand horses in the city and environs, two or three regions were subject to his sway, and he had no apprehension of enemies to his kingdom or of any rival to his throne. All this prosperity intoxicated him. Vast desires and great aims, far beyond him, or a hundred thousand like him, formed their germs in his brain, and he entertained fancies which had never occurred to any king before him. In his exaltation, ignorance, and folly, he quite lost his head,2 [Lit, "hands and feet." Here, and occasionally elsewhere, I have been obliged to prune the exuberant eloquence of the author.] forming the most impossible schemes and nourishing the most extravagant desires. He was a man of no learning and never associated with men of learning. He could not read or write a letter. He was bad tempered, obstinate, and hard-hearted, but the world smiled upon him, fortune befriended him, and his schemes were generally successful, so he only became the more reckless and arrogant.

During the time that he was thus exalted with arrogance and presumption, he used to speak in company about two projects that he had formed, and would consult with his companions and associates upon the execution of them. One of the two schemes which he used to debate about he thus explained, ''God Almighty gave the blessed Prophet four friends, through whose energy and power the Law and Religion were established, and through this establishment of law and religion the name of the Prophet will endure to the day of judgment. Every man who knows himself to be a Musulman, and calls himself by that name, conceives himself to be of his religion and creed. God has given me also four friends, Ulugh Khan, Zafar Khan, Nusrat Khan, and Alp Khan, who, through my prosperity, have attained to princely power and dignity. If I am so inclined, I can, with the help of these four friends, establish a new religion and creed; and my sword, and the swords of my friends, will bring all men to adopt it. Through this religion, my name and that of my friends will remain among men to the last day like the names of the Prophet and his friends." *** Upon this subject he used to talk in his wine parties, and also to consult privately with his nobles. * * * His second project he used to unfold as follows: "I have wealth, and elephants, and forces, beyond all calculation. My wish is to place Dehli in charge of a vicegerent, and then I will go out myself into the world, like Alexander, in pursuit of conquest, and subdue the whole habitable world." Over-elated with the success of some few projects, he caused himself to be entitled "the second Alexander" in the khutba and on his coins. In his convivial parties he would vaunt, "Every region that I subdue I will intrust to one of my trusty nobles, and then proceed in quest of another. Who is he that shall stand against me?" His companions, although they saw his * * * folly and arrogance, were afraid of his violent temper, and applauded him. * * * These wild projects became known in the city; some of the wise men smiled, and attributed them to his folly and ignorance; others trembled, and said that such riches had fallen into the hands of a Pharaoh who had no knowledge or sense. * * *

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My uncle 'Alau-l Mulk, kotwal of Dehli, through his extreme corpulence, used to go (only) at the new moon to wait upon the Sultan, and to take wine with him. On one occasion the Sultan began to consult him about these two extravagant delusions. 'Alau-l Mulk had heard how the king used to talk about these projects at his feasts, and how the guests used to coincide with him, and refrain from speaking the truth through fear of his hot temper and violence. When the questions were put to him by the Sultan, he said, "If your Majesty will order the wine to be removed, and all persons to withdraw except the four nobles, Ulugh Khan, Zafar Khan, Nusrat Khan, and Alp Khan, I will then open my mind to your Majesty." The Sultan gave the order * * * and 'Alau-l Mulk, after apologizing for his boldness, said "Religion, and law, and creeds, ought never to be made subjects of discussion by your Majesty, for these are the concerns of prophets, not the business of kings. Religion and law spring from heavenly revelation; they are never established by the plans and designs of man. From the days of Adam till now they have been the mission of Prophets and Apostles, as rule and government have been the duty of kings. The prophetic office has never appertained to kings, and never will, so long as the world lasts, though some prophets have discharged the functions of royalty. My advice is that your Majesty should never talk about these matters. *** Your Majesty knows what rivers of blood Changiz Khan made to flow in Mahammadan cities, but he never was able to establish the Mughal religion or institutions among Muhammadans. Many Mughals have turned Musulmans, but no Musulman has ever become a Mughal." * * * The Sultan listened, and hung down his head in thought. His four friends heartily approved what 'Alau-l Mulk had said, and looked anxiously for the Sultan's answer. After awhile he said * * * "From henceforth no one shall ever hear me speak such words. Blessings be on thee and thy parents, for thou hast spoken the truth, and hast been loyal to thy duty. But what dost thou say about my other project?" 'Alau-l Mulk said, "The second design is that of a great monarch, for it is a rule among kings to seek to bring the whole world under their sway * * * but these are not the days of Alexander * * * and where will there be found a wazir like Aristotle?'' *** The Sultan replied, "What is the use of my wealth, and elephants and horses, if I remain content with Dehli, and undertake no new conquests? and what will be said about my reign?" 'Alau-l Mulk replied that "there were two important undertakings open to the King, which ought to receive attention before all others * * * One is the conquest and subjugation of all Hindustan, of such places as Rantambhor, Chitor, Chanderi, Malwa, Dhar, and Ujjain, to the east as far as the Saru, from the Siwalik to Jalor, from Multan to Damrila,1 [''Marila'' in the print.] from Palam to Lohor and Deopalpur; these places should all be reduced to such obedience that the name of rebel should never be heard. The second and more important duty is that of closing the road of Multan against the Mughals.'' *** Before closing his speech, 'Alau-l Mulk said "What I have recommended can never be accomplished unless your Majesty gives up drinking to excess, and keeps aloof from convivial parties and feasts. *** If you cannot do entirely without wine, do not drink till the afternoon, and then take it alone without companions." *** When he had finished the Sultan was pleased, and commending the excellence of the advice which he had given, promised to observe it. He gave him a brocaded robe of honour with a gold waistband weighing half a man, ten thousand tankas, two horses fully caparisoned, and two villages in in'am. The four Khans who were present added to these gifts three or four thousand tankas, and two or three horses with trappings. The advice which 'Alau-l Mulk had given was greatly praised by all the wazirs and wise men of the city. This happened while Zafar Khan was alive, upon his return from Siwistan, before he went to fight with Katlagh Khwaja.

'Alau-d din now first resolved upon the capture of Rantambhor, which was near Dehli. This fort had been taken, and was held by Hamir Deo, grandson of Rai Pithaura of Dehli.2 [Pithaura was killed in 1192, and here we are in 1299 A.D. Nabasa, the word used, probably here means loosely "descendant."] Ulugh Khan, who held Bayana, was ordered to Rantambhor, and Nusrat Khan, who held Karra that year, was ordered to collect all the forces of Karra, and that part of Hindustan, and to march to the assistance of Ulugh Khan. They captured Jhain,1 [Here it is evident that Jhain was close to Rantambhor, so that it cannot be Ujjain as suggested in p. 146 supra.] and invested Rantambhor. One day Nusrat Khan approached the fort to direct the construction of a mound (pashib), and a redoubt (gargaj). A stone discharged from a Maghribi in the fort struck him, and so wounded him that he died two or three days after. When this intelligence was brought to the Sultan, he departed from Dehli in great state for Rantambhor.

The Sultan proceeded from Dehli towards Rantambhor, and halted for some days at Til-pat.2 [See Elliot's Glossary, II., 122.] He went out daily to hunt and a nargah3 [A large circle or sweep made by hunters for driving the game together.] was drawn. One day be was benighted, and alighted with only ten horsemen at the village of Badih, where he remained for the night. Next day before sunrise he gave orders to close up the circle. The huntsmen and horsemen went forth to draw it together, and the Sultan remained sitting on a stool with only a few attendants, waiting until the beasts were driven up. At this time Akat Khan, the Sultan's brother's son, who held the office of Wakildar, rose up against the Sultan. Conceiving that if he killed the monarch he might, as his nephew, aspire to the throne, he plotted with sundry new Musulman horsemen, who had been long in his service. These men now approached the Sultan, shouting tiger! tiger! and began to discharge arrows at him. It was winter, and the Sultan was wearing a large over-coat. He jumped up just as he was, and seizing the stool on which he had been sitting, he made a shield of it. He warded off several arrows; two pierced his arm, but none reached his body. A slave of the Sultan, by name Manik, threw himself before his master, and made his own body a shield. He was struck by three or four arrows, The paiks (footmen) who stood behind the Sultan now covered him with their bucklers. Akat Khan galloped up with his confederates, intending to cut off the Sultan's head; but finding the paiks standing firm with their swords drawn, they dared not alight to lay hands on him. The paiks cried out that the Sultan was dead. Akat Khan was young, rash, and foolish. He had made a violent attack on his sovereign, but he lacked the decision and resolution to carry it through, and cut off the Sultan's head. In his folly and rashness he took another course. Believing what the paiks said, he went with all speed to the plain of Til-pat, and seated himself on the throne of 'Alau-d din, proclaiming to the people of the court with a loud voice that he had slain the Sultan. The people could not believe that the horsemen would have come to the royal residence, or that Akat Khan would have dared to seat himself on the throne and hold a court if the Sultan had not been killed. A tumult broke out in the army, and everything was getting into confusion. The elephants were accoutred and brought before the royal tent. The attendants of the court assembled and took up their respective positions, * * * and the chief men of the army came to pay their respects to the new sovereign. They kissed the hand of that evil doer and did homage. Akat Khan, in his egregious folly, attempted to go into the harem, but Malik Dinar armed himself and his followers, and, taking his stand at the door, told Akat Khan that he should not enter until he produced the head of 'Alau-d din.

When 'Alau-d din was wounded his Turk horsemen dispersed, raising a clamour. About sixty or seventy men, horse and foot, remained with him. After Akat Khan had left, the Sultan recovered his senses; he was found to have received two wounds in the arm, and to have lost much blood. They bathed the wounds and placed his arm in a sling. When he reflected on what had happened, he came to the conclusion that Akat Khan must have had many supporters among the maliks, amirs, and soldiers, for he would never have ventured on such a step without strong support. He therefore determined to leave his army, and to proceed with all speed to his brother, Ulugh Khan, at Jhain, in order to concert with him measures for securing his position. Malik Hamidu-d din, naib-wakil-dar, boh of Umdata-l Mulk, opposed this plan, and advised the Sultan to proceed at once to his army. *** The Malik's reasoning convinced the Sultan, and he started at once for the army. As he went along every trooper whom he fell in with joined him, so that on reaching the army he had an escort of five or six hundred men. He immediately showed himself on a rising ground, and being recognized, the assembly at the royal tent broke up, and his attendants came forth with elephants to receive him. Akat Khan rushed out of the tents and fled on horseback to Afghanpur. The Sultan then came down, entered his tents, and, seating himself upon the throne, held a public court. He sent two officers in pursuit of Akat Khan, who came up with him at Afghanpur, and beheaded him. His head was carried to the Sultan, who ordered it to be exhibited to the army on a spear, and then to be sent to Dehli for exhibition, after which it was to be sent to Ulugh Khan at Jhain, with an account of the Sultan's escape. Katlagh Khwaja, younger brother of Akat Khan, was also killed. *** The Sultan remained some days with the army, diligently seeking out all who had connived at or had been aware of Akat Khan's attempt. Those who were discovered were scourged to death with thongs of wire, their property was confiscated, and their wives and children sent prisoners to various forts. The Sultan then proceeded to Rantambhor, and after punishing the rest of those who were concerned in Akat Khan's conspiracy, he devoted himself to the business of the siege. Bags were made and distributed to the soldiers, who filled them with sand and threw them into the holes (ghar). The traverses, of the pashib were formed, the redoubts (gargaj) raised, and stones were discharged from the maghribis. The besieged1 [There is a line omitted from the print here. The following is a literal translation of Firishta's account: ("The Sultan) having assembled numerous forces from all quarters distributed bags among them. Each man filled his bag with sand, and cast it into the trench (darra), which they call raran, until they obtained command (over the walls), and struck down the defenders inside."] battered the pashib with stones from their maghribis, and scattered fire from the summit of the fort. Many men were killed on both sides. The territories of Jhain were attacked and subdued as far as Dhar.

After the conspiracy of Akat Khan was suppressed, news was brought to the army that 'Umar Khan and Mangu Khan, taking advantage of the Sultan's absence and the difficulties of the siege of Rantambhor, had broken out in revolt and had obtained a following among the people of Hindustan. The Sultan sent some officers against them, who made them prisoners before they had effected anything, and carried them to Rantambhor. The Sultan's cruel implacable temper had no compassion for his sister's children, so he had them punished in his presence. They were blinded by having their eyes cut out with knives like slices of a melon. Their families and dependants were overthrown. Of the horse and foot who had supported them, some fled, and others fell into the hands of the amirs of Hindustan and were imprisoned.

While the Sultan was prosecuting the siege of Rantambhor, a revolt of some importance broke out at Dehli. * * * There was a person named Haji, a maula or slave of the late Kotwal, Amiru-l umara Fakhru-d din. He was a man of violent, fearless, and malignant character * * * and he was charged with the guard of the exchequer.1 [The words are [x]. The two MSS., however, read [x]. This word is not intelligible. The context seems to imply that the Maula was stationed in the city, otherwise Khalsah-i ratol might signify "the government lands of Ratol."] A man called Turmuzi was kotwal of the city and greatly oppressed the people. * * * 'Alau-d din Ayaz, father of Ahmad Ayaz, was kotwal of the New Fort. Haji Maula, seeing the city empty, and the inhabitants distressed by the violence and tyranny of Turmuzi the kotwal * * * knowing also that not a man could be spared from the army * * * he thought the people would support him. He secured the support of the old kotwali officers, and excited a somewhat formidable revolt. It was the month of Ramazan, and the sun was in Gemini. The weather was very hot, and at midday people kept indoors taking their siesta, so there were few in the streets. At this time Haji Maula, with several armed followers, went to the house of kotwal, carrying with them as a blind a letter which he pretended to have received from the Sultan. The kotwal was taking his nap, and had none of his men with him. When he was called he roused himself, put on his slippers, and came to the door. Haji Maula instantly gave the signal, and his followers cut off the unsuspecting victim's head. He then brought out the pretended royal farman, and, showing it to the crowd, he said that he had killed the kotwal in obedience to orders received from the Sultan. The people were silent. The keepers of the gates were creatures of Haji Maula, so they closed them. After killing kotwal Turmuzi, he sent to summon 'Alau-d din Ayaz, intending to kill him also. * * * But Ayaz had been informed of the outbreak, so, instead of coming out, he gathered his followers round him, placed guards, and refused to open the gates of the New Fort. Haji Maula then proceeded with his riotous followers to the Red Palace, seated himself upon a balcony, and set fee all the prisoners, some of whom joined his followers. Bags of gold tankas were brought out of the treasury and scattered among the people. Arms also were brought from the armoury, and horses from the royal stables, and distributed among the rioters. Every one that joined them had gold tankas thrown into his lap. There was an 'Alawi (descendant of 'Ali) in Dehli who was called the grandson of Shah Najaf,1 [A very doubtful passage. The print says: [x]. One MS. writes [x]. The other MS. omits the words.] who, by his mother's side, was grandson of Sultan Shamsu-d din. The Maula set off from the Red Palace with a party of horse, and went to the house of the poor 'Alawi. They carried him off by force and seated him on the throne in the Red Palace. The principal men of the city were brought by force and made to kiss his hand. * * * These riotous proceedings went on for seven or eight days, and intelligence was several times conveyed to the Sultan, but he kept it secret, and it did not become known to the army.

On the third or fourth day of the riot, Malik Hamidu-d din, Amir of Koh, with his sons and relations, all valiant men, opened the Ghazni gate and went into the city. They proceeded towards the gate of Bhandar-kal, and arrows began to fly between them and the rioters, who became desperate and obtained gold from Haji Maula. After Hamidu-d din, the Amir of Koh, had been in the city two days, he and his loyal followers prevailed over the rebels. A party of the friends of Zafar Khan, who had come from Amroha, joined him. He then entered the gate of Bhandar kal, and a struggle ensued between him and the shoemakers, and between him and Haji Maula. The Amir of Koh alighted from his horse, dashed Haji Maula to the ground, and sat upon his breast. Swords and clubs were aimed at him all round and he was wounded, but he never quitted his fallen foe till he had despatched him. After this the victors proceeded to the Red Palace. They decapitated the miserable 'Alawi and carried his head about the city on a spear.

A despatch announcing the death of Haji Maula was sent to the Sultan at Rantambhor. Intelligence of the revolt and of the anarchy prevailing at Dehli had in several ways reached the Sultan, but he had resolved upon the reduction of the fort, and so he would not be shaken from his purpose and leave it to go to Dehli. All his forces were engaged in pressing the siege, and were severely tried and distressed. But such was the fear felt for the Sultan that no one dared to set off for Dehli or any other place. In the course of five or six days every one in the city who had supported Haji Maula, or had taken money from him, was cast into prison. The gold which had been distributed among the people was brought back again to the treasury. A few days after, Ulugh Khan arrived from Rantambhor and took up his residence in the Muizzi palace. The rioters were brought before him and he decreed their punishments, so that blood ran in streams. The sons and grandsons of the old kotwal Maliku-l umara had no guilty knowledge of the revolt, but they and every one belonging to that family were put to death. No name or trace of them was left — a sad warning to politicians.

From the revolt of the "new Musalmans" in Gujarat to that of Haji Maula, four insurrections had successively troubled Sultan 'Alau-d din. These routed him from his dreams of security and pride, and he exerted all his powers for the reduction of Rantambhor. He held privy consultations with * * * arguing with them and inquiring into the causes of the insurrections, declaring that if the real reasons could be ascertained he would remove them, so that no revolt should afterwards occur. After considering for some nights and days, these great men agreed that the causes were four. 1, The Sultan's disregard of the affairs (both) of good and bad people. 2. Wine. Parties are formed for wine-drinking, and those who attend them talk openly of what passes in these meetings. They strike up friendships and excite disturbances. 3. The intimacy, affection, alliances, and intercourse of maliks and amirs with each other. So that if anything happens to one of them, a hundred others get mixed up in it. 4. Money, which engenders evil and strife, and brings forth pride and disloyalty. If men had no money, they would attend to their own business, and would never think of riots and revolts. And if rioters and rebels had no money, they could never count upon the assistance of low and turbulent people.
1 [These "counsels of the wise," which so frequently appear, are, in most cases, only expositions of the author's own opinions. I have translated these replies in order that it may be seen how a subsequent writer deals with them. Firishta uses the passage. The first reason he quotes verbatim, but the other three he modifies and embellishes. The fourth reason, as he gives it, is: "Abundance of money and wealth. For whenever men of low origin acquire the material means of greatness, vain imaginations spring up in them, and they lay pretensions to royalty." This is further improved by Firishta's translator, who says, "The last, and not the least, cause they thought arose from the unequal division of property: they considered that the wealth of a rich empire, if confined to a few persons, only rendered them, as governors of provinces, more like independent princes than subjects of the state." -- Briggs, I., 345.]

Some time after this revolt, the Sultan succeeded in reducing Rantambhor, but with much bloodshed and difficulty. He slew Hamir deo, the Rai, and all the "new Musulmans" who had fled from the rebellion in Gujarat, and had taken refuge with him. The fort and all its territories and appurtenances were placed under the charge of Ulugh Khan, and the Sultan returned to Dehli. He was angry with the citizens and had exiled many of their chiefs; so he did not enter the city, but stopped in the suburbs ('umranat).

Four or five months after the Sultan left Rantambhor, Ulugh Khan collected a large force with the intention of attacking Tilang and Ma'bar, but his time was come, and the angel of destiny took him to the blessed city. His corpse was conveyed to Dehli and buried in his own house. The Sultan grieved for him and made many offerings for his soul.

The Sultan next directed his attention to the means of preventing rebellion, and first he took steps for seizing upon property. He ordered that, wherever there was a village held by proprietary right (milk), in free gift (in'am), or as a religious endowment (wakf), it should by one stroke of the pen be brought back under the exchequer. The people were pressed and amerced, money was exacted from them on every kind of pretence. Many were left without any money, till at length it came to pass that, excepting maliks and amirs, officials, Multanis, and bankers, no one possessed even a trifle in cash. So rigorous was the confiscation that, beyond a few thousand tankas, all the pensions, grants of land (in'am wa mafruz), and endowments in the country were appropriated. The people were all so absorbed in obtaining the means of living, that the name of rebellion was never mentioned. Secondly, he provided so carefully for the acquisition of intelligence, that no action of good or bad men was concealed from him. No one could stir without his knowledge, and whatever happened in the houses of nobles, great men, and officials, was communicated to the Sultan by his reporters. Nor were the reports neglected, for explanations of them were demanded. The system of reporting went to such a length, that nobles dared not speak aloud even in the largest palaces,1 ["Hazdr-sutun," a palace of 1000 columns.] and if they had anything to say they communicated by signs. In their own houses, night and day, dread of the reports of the spies made them tremble. No word or action which could provoke censure or punishment was allowed to transpire. The transactions in the bazars, the buying and selling, and the bargains made, were all reported to the Sultan by his spies, and were kept under control. Thirdly, he prohibited wine-drinking and wine-selling, as also the use of beer and intoxicating drugs. Dicing also was forbidden. Many prohibitions of wine and beer were issued. Vintners and gamblers and beer-sellers were turned out of the city, and the heavy taxes which had been levied from them were abolished. The Sultan directed that all the china and glass vessels of his banqueting room should be broken, and the fragments of them were thrown out before the gate of Badaun, where they formed a heap. Jars and casks of wine were brought out of the royal cellars, and emptied at the Badaun gate in such abundance, that mud and mire was produced as in the rainy season. The Sultan himself entirely gave up wine parties. He directed the maliks to mount elephants and to go to the gates of Dehli, through the streets and wards, bazars and sarais, proclaiming the royal command that no one should drink, sell, or have anything to do with wine. Those who had any self-respect immediately gave up drinking; but the shameless, the dissolute, and vile characters used to make and distil wine2 [Sharab, wine; but it evidently includes spirits.] in the distilleries, and to drink and sell it clandestinely at a great price. They put it into leather bottles, and conveyed it hidden in loads of hay, firewood, and such like. By hundreds of tricks and devices, and by all sorts of collusion, wine was brought into the city. Informers searched diligently, and the city gate-keepers and spies exerted themselves to seize the wine, and apprehend the contrabandists. When seized, the wine was sent to the elephant-stables and given to those animals. The sellers, the importers, and drinkers of wine, were subjected to corporal punishment, and were kept in prison for some days. But their numbers increased so much that holes for the incarceration of offenders were dug outside the Badaun gate, which is a great thoroughfare. Wine-bibbers and wine-sellers were placed in these holes, and the severity of the confinement was such that many of them died. Many others were taken out half dead, and were long before they recovered their health and strength. The terrors of these holes deterred many from drinking. Those who were unable to give up their habit went out to the fords of the Jumna, and to villages ten or twelve kos distant to procure their liquor. In Ghiyaspur, Indarpat, Kilughari, and towns four or five kos from Dehli, wine could not be sold or drunk publicly. Still some desperate men used to keep it, drink it, and even sell it privately. They thus disgraced themselves and got confined in the pits. The prevention of drinking being found to be very difficult, the Sultan gave orders that if the liquor was distilled privately, and drunk privately in people's own houses; if drinking parties were not held, and the liquor not sold, then the informers were not to interfere in any way, and were not to enter the houses or arrest the offenders. After the prohibition of wine and beer in the city, conspiracies diminished, and apprehension of rebellion disappeared. Fourthly, the Sultan gave commands that noblemen and great men should not visit each other's houses, or give feasts, or hold meetings. They were forbidden to form alliances without consent from the throne, and they were also prohibited from allowing people to resort to their houses. To such a length was this last prohibition carried that no stranger was admitted into a nobleman's house. Feasting and hospitality fell quite into disuse. Through fear of the spies, the nobles kept themselves quiet; they gave no parties and had little communication with each other. No man of a seditious, rebellious, or evil reputation was allowed to come near them. If they went to the sarais, they could not lay their heads together, or sit down cosily and tell their troubles. Their communications were brought down to a mere exchange of signs. This interdict prevented any information of conspiracy and rebellion coming to the Sultan, and no disturbance arose.

After the promulgation of these interdicts, the Sultan requested the wise men to supply some rules and regulations for grinding down the Hindus, and for depriving them of that wealth and property which fosters disaffection and rebellion. There was to be one rule for the payment of tribute applicable to all, from the khuta to the balahar,1 [[x]] and the heaviest tribute was not to fall upon the poorest. The Hindu was to be so reduced as to be left unable to keep a horse to ride on, to carry arms, to wear fine clothes, or to enjoy any of the luxuries of life. To effect these important objects of government two regulations were made. The first was that all cultivation, whether on a small or large scale, was to be carried on by measurement at a certain rate for every biswa. Half (of the produce) was to he paid without any diminution, and this rule was to apply to khutas and balahars, without the slightest distinction. The khutas were also to be deprived of all their peculiar privileges. The second related to buffaloes, goats, and other animals from which milk is obtained. A tax for pasturage, at a fixed rate, was to be levied, and was to be demanded for every inhabited house, so that no animal, however wretched, could escape the tax. Heavier burdens were not to be placed upon the poor, but the rules as to the payment of the tribute were to apply equally to rich and poor. Collectors, clerks, and other officers employed in revenue matters, who took bribes and acted dishonestly, were all dismissed. Sharaf Kai naib wazir-i mamalik, an accomplished scribe and a most honest and intelligent man, who had no rival either in capacity or integrity, exerted himself strenuously for some years in'enforcing these regulations in all the villages and towns. * * * They were so strictly carried out that the chaudharis and khuts and mukaddims were not able to ride on horseback, to find weapons, to get fine clothes, or to indulge in betel. The same rules for the collection of the tribute applied to all alike, and the people were brought to such a state of obedience that one revenue officer would string twenty khuts, mukaddims, or chaudharis together by the neck, and enforce payment by blows. No Hindu could hold up his head, and in their houses no sign of gold or silver, tankas or jitals or of any superfluity was to be seen. These things, which nourish insubordination and rebellion, were no longer to be found. Driven by destitution, the wives of the khuts and mukaddims went and served for hire in the houses of the Musulmans. Sharaf Kai, naib-wazir, so rigorously enforced his demands and exactions against the collectors and other revenue officers, and such investigations were made, that every single jital against their names was ascertained from the books of the patwaris (village accountants). Blows, confinement in the stocks, imprisonment and chains, were all employed to enforce payment. There was no chance of a single tanka being taken dishonestly, or as bribery, from any Hindu or Musulman. The revenue collectors and officers were so coerced and checked that for five hundred or a thousand tankas they were imprisoned and kept in chains for years. Men looked upon revenue officers as something worse than fever. Clerkship was a great crime, and no man would give his daughter to a clerk. Death was deemed preferable to revenue employment. Ofttimes fiscal officers fell into prison, and had to endure blows and stripes.

'Alau-d din was a king who had no acquaintance with learning, and never associated with the learned. When he became king, he came to the conclusion that polity and government are one thing, and the rules and decrees of law are another. Royal commands belong to the king, legal decrees rest upon the judgment of kazis and muftis. In accordance with this opinion, whatever affair of state came before him, he only looked to the public good, without considering whether his mode of dealing with it was lawful or unlawful. He never asked for legal opinions about political matters, and very few learned men visited him. * * Kazi Maghisu-d din, of Bayanah, used to go to court and sit down in private audience with the amirs. One day, when the efforts were being made for the increase of the tribute and of the fines and imposts, the Sultan told the Kazi that he had several questions to ask him, and desired him to speak the plain truth. The Kazi replied, "The angel of my destiny seems to be close at hand, since your Majesty wishes to question me on matters of religion; if I speak the truth you will be angry and kill me." The Sultan said he would not kill him, and commanded him to answer his questions truly and candidly. The Kazi then promised to answer in accordance with what he had read in books. The Sultan then asked, "How are Hindu designated in the law, as payers of tribute (kharaj-guzar) or givers of tribute (kharaj-dih)?" The Kazi replied, "They are called payers of tribute, and when the revenue officer demands silver from them, they should, without question and with all humility and respect, tender gold. If the officer throws dirt into their mouths, they must without reluctance open their mouths wide to receive it. By doing so they show their respect for the officer. The due subordination of the zimmi (tribute-payer) is exhibited in this humble payment and by this throwing of dirt into their mouths. The glorification of Islam is a duty, and contempt of the Religion is vain. God holds them in contempt, for he says, 'Keep them under in subjection.' To keep the Hindus in abasement is especially a religious duty, because they are the most inveterate enemies of the Prophet, and because the Prophet has commanded us to slay them, plunder them, and make them captive, saying, 'Convert them to Islam or kill them, enslave them and spoil their wealth and property.' No doctor but the great doctor (Hanifa), to whose school we belong, has assented to the imposition of the jizya (poll tax) on Hindus. Doctors of other schools allow no other alternative but 'Death or Islam.'"

The Sultan smiled at this answer of the Kazi's, and said, "I do not understand any of the statements thou hast made; but this I have discovered, that the khuts and mukaddims ride upon fine horses, wear fine clothes, shoot with Persian bows, make war upon each other, and go out hunting; but of the kharaj (tribute), jizya (poll tax), kari (house tax), and chari (pasture tax), they do not pay one jital. They levy separately the Khuts (landowner's) share from the villages, give parties and drink wine, and many of them pay no revenue at all, either upon demand or without demand. Neither do they show any respect for my officers. This has excited my anger, and I have said to myself, 'Thou hast an ambition to conquer other lands, but thou hast hundreds of leagues of country under thy rule where proper obedience is not paid to thy authority. How, then, wilt thou make other lands submissive?' I have, therefore, taken my measures, and have made my subjects obedient, so that at my command they are ready to creep into holes like mice. Now you tell me that it is all in accordance with law that the Hindus should be reduced to the most abject obedience." Then the Sultan said, "Oh, doctor, thou art a learned man, but thou hast had no experience; I am an unlettered man, but I have seen a great deal; be assured then that the Hindus will never become submissive and obedient till they are reduced to poverty. I have, therefore, given orders that just sufficient shall be left to them from year to year, of corn, milk, and curds, but that they shall not be allowed to accumulate hoards and property."


Secondly. — The Sultan next put the following question: "Is there any reference made in the Law to revenue officers and clerks who are guilty of dishonesty, peculation, or receiving bribes?" The Kazi answered, "There is no mention made of this, nor have I read of it in any book; but if revenue officers are insufficiently paid,1 [Kadar i kifayat na-yaband. The negative seems superfluous, and it is rejected by Nizamu-d din and by Firishta.] and they appropriate the revenue belonging to the treasury, or receive bribes, then the ruler can inflict punishment upon them, either by fine or imprisonment; but it is not allowable to cut off hands for robbing the treasury." The Sultan said, "I have given orders to recover from the various revenue officers whatever they have misappropriated or received in excess, punishing them with sticks, pincers, the rack, imprisonment, and chains. I now hear that alienations of the revenue1 [Dihhai, lit: villages.] and bribery have diminished. I have ordered such stipends to be settled on the various revenue officers as will maintain them in respectability, and if, notwithstanding, they resort to dishonesty and reduce the revenue, I deal with them as thou hast seen."

Thirdly, The Sultan put this question, "That wealth which I acquired while I was a malik, with so much bloodshed at Deogir, does it belong to me or to the public treasury!" The Kazi replied, "I am bound to speak the truth to your Majesty. The treasure obtained at Deogir was won by the prowess of the army of Islam, and whatever treasure is so acquired belongs to the public treasury. If your Majesty had gained it yourself alone in a manner allowed by the law, then it would belong to you." The Sultan was angry with the Kazi and said, "What sayest thou? Let thy head beware of what thou utterest. That wealth which I won at the risk of my own life and of the lives of my servants, from Hindus whose names had never been heard of in Delhi, and before I became king, that wealth I have retained and have not brought it into the public treasury. How can treasure won like this belong to the state?" The Kazi answered, "Your Majesty has put to me a question of law; if I were not to say what I have read in the book, and your Majesty, to test my opinion, were to ask some other learned man, and his reply, being in opposition to mine, should show that I had given a false opinion, to suit your Majesty's pleasure, what confidence would you have in me, and would you ever afterwards consult me about the law?"

Fourthly, The Sultan asked the Kazi what rights he and his children had upon the public treasury. The Kazi replied, "The time of my death is at hand," and upon the Sultan inquiring what he meant, he said, "If I answer your question honestly you will slay me, and if I give an untrue reply I shall hereafter go to hell." The Sultan said, "State whatever the law decrees, I will not kill thee." The Kazi replied, "If your Majesty will follow the example of the most enlightened Khalifas, and will act upon the highest principle, then you will take for yourself and your establishment the same sum as you have allotted to each fighting man: two hundred and thirty-four tankas. If you would rather take a middle course and should think that you would be disgraced by putting yourself on a par with the army in general, then you may take for yourself and your establishment as much as you have assigned to your chief officers, such as Malik Kirin, etc. ** If your Majesty follows the opinions of politicians,1 ['Ulama-i dunya, wise-men of the world.] then you will draw from the treasury more than any other great man receives, so that you may maintain a greater expenditure than any other and not suffer your dignity to be lowered. I have put before your Majesty three courses, and all the krors of money and valuables which you take from the treasury and bestow upon your women you will have to answer for in the day of account." The Sultan was wroth, and said, ''Fearest thou not my sword when thou tellest me that all my great expenditure upon my harem is unlawful?" The Kazi replied, "I do fear your Majesty's sword, and I look upon this my turban as my winding-sheet; but your Majesty questions me about the law, and I answer to the best of my ability. If, however, you ask my advice in a political point of view, then I say that whatever your Majesty spends upon your harem no doubt tends to raise your dignity in the eyes of men; and the exaltation of the king's dignity is a requirement of good policy."

After all these questions and answers, the Sultan said to the Kazi, "You have declared my proceedings in these matters to be unlawful. Now see how I act. When troopers do not appear at the muster, I order three years pay to be taken from them.2 [[x]. Firishta's version of this is [x], which Briggs translates, "I am in the habit of stopping one month's pay for three successive years."] I place wine-drinkers and wine-sellers in the pits of incarceration. If a man debauches another man's wife, I effectually prevent him from again committing such an offence, and the woman I cause to be killed.1 [[x].] Rebels, good and bad, old hands or novices (tar 0 khusk), I slay; their wives and children I reduce to beggary and ruin. Extortion I punish with the torture of the pincers and the stick, and I keep the extortioner in prison, in chains and fetters, until every jital is restored. Political prisoners I confine and chastise. Wilt thou say all this is unlawful?" The Kazi rose and went to the entrance of the room, placed his forehead on the ground, and cried with a loud voice, "My liege! whether you send me, your wretched servant, to prison, or whether you order me to be cut in two, all this is unlawful, and finds no support in the sayings of the Prophet, or in the expositions of the learned."

The Sultan heard all this and said nothing, but put his slippers on and went into his harem. Kazi Mughisu-d din went home. Next day he took a last farewell of all his people, made a propitiatory offering, and performed his ablutions. Thus prepared for death he proceeded to the court. The Sultan called him forward, and showed him great kindness. He gave him the robe he was wearing, and presented him with a thousand tankas, saying, "Although I have not studied the Science or the Book, I am a Musulman of a Musulman stock. To prevent rebellion, in which thousands perish, I issue such orders as I conceive to be for the good of the State, and the benefit of the people. Men are heedless, disrespectful, and disobey my commands; I am then compelled to be severe to bring them into obedience. I do not know whether this is lawful or unlawful; whatever I think to be for the good of the State, or suitable for the emergency, that I decree. ***

After the Sultan returned from Rantambhor to Dehli, he dealt very harshly with the people, and mulcted [extract money from (someone) by fine or taxation.] them. Shortly afterwards Ulugh Khan died while on his journey to the city. Malik 'Azzu-d din Burkhan became wazir in the New City (shahr'i tnu), and the tribute of the New City was assessed by measurement at a certain rate per biswa, as in the environs of the capital. The Sultan then led forth an army and laid siege to Chitor, which he took in a short time, and returned home.
New troubles now arose on account of the Mughals in Mawarau-n nahr. T hey had learned that the Sultan had gone with his army to lay siege to a distant fort, and made but slow progress with the siege, while Dehli remained empty. Targhi assembled twelve tumans of cavalry, with which he marched with all speed to Dehli, and reached that neighbourhood very soon. At this time the Sultan was engaged in the siege of Chitor. Malik Fakhru-d din Juna, dadbak-i hazrat, and Malik Jhaju of Karra, nephew of Nusrat Khan, had been sent with all the officers and forces of Hindustan against Arangal. On their arrival there the rainy season began, and proved such a hindrance that the army could do nothing, and in the beginning of winter returned, greatly reduced in numbers, to Hindustan.

The Sultan now returned from the conquest of Chitor, where his army had suffered great loss in prosecuting the siege during the rainy season. They had not been in Dehli a month, no muster of the army had been held, and the losses had not been repaired, when the alarm arose of the approach of the Mughals. The accursed Targhi, with thirty or forty thousand horse,1 [[x]. Firishta says "120,000," and our author has above rated them at the same number, viz. "twelve tumans." Perhaps he here intended to say, "three times forty thousand."] came on ravaging, and encamped on the banks of the Jumna, preventing all ingress and egress of the city. Affairs were in this extraordinary position; the Sultan had just returned from Chitor, and had had no time to refit and recruit his army after his great losses in the siege; and the army of Hindustan had returned from Arangal to the districts of Hindustan dispirited and reduced in numbers. The Mughals had seized the roads, and were so encamped that no reinforcements could reach the city from the army of Hindustan. There were no forces in Multan, Samana, and Deopalpur sufficient to cope with the Mughals, and join the Sultan at Siri. The army of Hindustan was pressed to advance; but the enemy was too strong, and they remained in Kol and Baran. All the passages of the Jumna were in the hands of the enemy. The Sultan, with his small army of horse, left the capital and encamped at Siri, where the superior numbers and strength of the enemy compelled him to entrench his camp. Round the entrenchments he built block houses, and other erections, to prevent the enemy from forcing a way in, and he kept his forces constantly under arms and on the watch to guard against the dreaded attack, and to delay any great engagement. In every division of the army, and in each line of entrenchment, there were five elephants fully armed, supported by a body of infantry. The Mughals came up on every side, seeking opportunity to make a sudden onslaught and overpower the army. Such fear of the Mughals and anxiety as now prevailed in Dehli had never been known before. If Targhi had remained another month upon the Jumna, the panic would have reached to such a height that a general flight would have taken place, and Dehli would have been lost. It was difficult to procure water, fodder, and fuel from without, for the convoys of grain were prevented from reaching the city, and the utmost terror prevailed. The enemy's horse approached the suburbs, and quartered themselves in the neighbourhood, where they drank wine, and sold at a low price grain and other articles plundered from the royal stores, so that there was no great scarcity of grain.1 [[x].] Two or three times the advanced guards met and combats ensued, but without advantage to either party. By the mercy of God the Mughal was unable to find any means of forcing the camp, and overpowering the royal army. After two months the prayers of the wretched prevailed, and the accursed Targhi retreated towards his own country.

-- XV. Tarikhi Firoz Shahi of Ziaud Din Barni, Excerpt from The History of India As Told By Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, edited from the posthumous papers of the Late Sir H.M. Elliot, K.C.B., East India Company's Bengal Civil Service, by Professor John Dowson, M.R.A.S., Staff college, Sandhurst, Vol. III, 1871


This article is about the Khalji dynasty centered in Delhi between 1290 and 1320. For the Khalji dynasty in Bengal between 1204 and 1227, see Khalji dynasty of Bengal.

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Khalji Sultanate
1290–1320
Territory controlled by the Khaljis (dark green) and their tributaries (light green).[1]
Capital: Delhi
Common languages: Persian (official)[2]
Religion: Sunni Islam (official); Hinduism

Government: Sultanate
Sultan
• 1290–1296: Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji
• 1296–1316: Alauddin Khalji
• 1316: Shihab ad-Din Umar
• 1316–1320: Qutb ad-Din Mubarak
History
• Established: 1290
• Disestablished: 1320
Preceded by: Mamluk dynasty of Delhi; Vaghela dynasty
Succeeded by: Tughlaq dynasty

The Khalji or Khilji[a] (Pashto: غلجيان‎) dynasty was a Turko-Afghan[3][4][5][6] dynasty which ruled on the Delhi sultanate, covering large parts of the Indian subcontinent for nearly three decades between 1290 and 1320.[7][8][9] Founded by Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji as the second dynasty to rule the Delhi Sultanate of India,[10] it came to power through a revolution that marked the transfer of power from the monopoly of Turkic nobles to Afghans.[11][12] Its rule is known for conquests into present day South India[7] and successfully fending off the repeated Mongol invasions of India.[13][14]

Origins

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Copper coin of Alauddin Khalji

The Khaljis of the Khalji Dynasty were of Turko-Afghan[3][4][5][6] origin whose ancestors, the Khalaj, are said to have been initially a Turkic people who migrated together with the Iranian Huns and Hephthalites[15] from Central Asia, into the southern and eastern regions of modern-day Afghanistan as early as 660CE where they ruled the region of Kabul as the Buddhist Kabul Shahis.[16] The Khalaj were from the very beginning going through a process of assimilation into the Pashtun tribal system, during their reign in India they were already treated entirely as Afghans by the Turkic nobles of the Delhi Sultanate.[11][17][18]

The modern Pashto-speaking Ghilji Pashtuns, who make up the majority of the Pashtuns in Afghanistan, are the modern result of the Khalaj assimilation into the Pashtuns. Between the 10th and 13th centuries, some sources refer to the Khalaj people as of Turkic, but some others do not.[19] Minorsky argues that the early history of the Khalaj tribe is obscure and adds that the identity of the name Khalaj is still to be proved.[20] Mahmud al-Kashgari (11th century) does not include the Khalaj among the Oghuz Turkic tribes, but includes them among the Oghuz-Turkman (where Turkman meant "Like the Turks") tribes. Kashgari felt the Khalaj did not belong to the original stock of Turkish tribes but had associated with them and therefore, in language and dress, often appeared "like Turks".[19] The 11th century Tarikh-i Sistan and the Firdausi's Shahnameh also distinguish and differentiate the Khalaj from the Turks.[21] Minhaj-i-Siraj Juzjani (13th century) never identified Khalaj as Turks, but was careful not to refer to them as Pashtuns. They were always a category apart from Turks, Tajiks and Pashtuns.[19] Muhammad ibn Najib Bakran's Jahan-nama explicitly describes them as Turkic,[22] although he notes that their complexion had become darker (compared to the Turks) and their language had undergone enough alterations to become a distinct dialect. The modern historian Irfan Habib has argued that the Khaljis were not related to the Turkic people and were instead ethnic Pashtuns. Habib pointed out that, in some 15th-century Devanagari Sati inscriptions, the later Khaljis of Malwa have been referred to as "Khalchi" and "Khilchi", and that the 17th century chronicle Padshahnama, an area near Boost in Afghanistan (where the Khalaj once resided) as "Khalich". Habib theorizes that the earlier Persian chroniclers misread the name "Khalchi" as "Khalji" . He also argues that no 13th century source refers to the Turkish background of the Khalji. However, Muhammad ibn Najib Bakran's Jahan-nama (c. 1200-1220) described the Khalaj people as a "tribe of Turks" that had been going through a language shift.[22]

History

Jalal-ud-din Khalji


Main article: Jalaluddin Firuz Khalji

Khaljis were vassals of the Mamluk dynasty of Delhi and served the Sultan of Delhi, Ghiyas ud din Balban, as a minor part of the Muslim nobility. The last major Turkic ruler, Balban, in his struggle to maintain power over his insubordinate Turkish officers, destroyed the power of the Forty. However this indirectly damaged the Turkish integrity of the nobility, which had opposed the power of the non-Turks. This left them vulnerable to the Khalji and Indo-Muslim faction, which had been strengthening due to the ever-growing number of converts, to take power through a series of assassinations.[23] One by one the Mamluk officers were murdered, and the last ruler of the Turkic Mamluk dynasty - the 17-year old Muiz ud din Qaiqabad - was killed in the Kailu-gheri Palace during the coup by Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji.[24]

Jalaluddin Firuz Khalji, who was around 70 years old at the time of his ascension, was known as a mild-mannered, humble and kind monarch to the general public.[25][26]

Jalaluddin succeeded in overcoming the opposition of the Turkish nobles and ascended the throne of Delhi in January 1290. Jalal-ud-din was not universally accepted: During his six-year reign (1290–96), Balban's nephew revolted due to his assumption of power and the subsequent sidelining of nobility and commanders serving the Mamluk dynasty.[27] Jalal-ud-din suppressed the revolt and executed some commanders, then led an unsuccessful expedition against Ranthambhor and repelled a Mongol force on the banks of the Sind River in central India with the help of his nephew Juna Khan.[28]
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Alauddin Khalji

Main article: Alauddin Khalji

Alauddin Khalji was the nephew and son-in-law of Jalal-ud-din. He raided the Deccan peninsula and Deogiri - then the capital of the state of Maharashtra, looting their treasure.[24][29] He returned to Delhi in 1296, murdered Jalal-ud-din and assumed power as Sultan.[30] He would appoint his Indo-Muslim allies such as Zafar Khan(Minister of War),[31] Nusrat Khan (Wazir of Dehli),[32][33] Ayn al Mulk Multani,[34] Malik Karfur, Malik Tughlaq,[35] and Malik Nayk(Master of the Horse)[36] who were famous warriors but non-Turks, which resulted in the emergence of an Indo-Muslim state.

To secure a route to Gujarat's trading ports, Ayn al-Mulk Multani was sent to conquer the Paramara kingdom of Malwa. Its Rai defended it with a large Rajput army, but he was defeated by Multani who became the governor of the province.[37] Then Nusrat Khan was sent to conquer Gujarat itself, where he defeated its Solanki king.[38] Nusrat Khan plundered its chief cities and sacked its temples, such as the famous temple of Somnath which had been rebuilt in the twelfth century. It was here where Nusrat Khan captured Malik Kafur who would later become a military general.[39] Alauddin continued expanding Delhi Sultanate into South India, with the help of generals such as Malik Kafur and Khusraw Khan, collecting large war booty (Anwatan) from those they defeated.[40] His commanders collected war spoils from conquered kingdoms and paid khums (one fifth) on ghanima (booty collected during war) to Sultan's treasury, which helped strengthen the Khalji rule.[41]

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The Koh-i-Noor diamond was seized by Alauddin Khalji's army in 1310, from the Kakatiya dynasty in Warangal.[41]

Alauddin Khalji reigned for 20 years. He attacked and seized states of Ranthambhor (1301 AD), Chittorgarh (1303), Māndu (1305) and plundered the wealthy state of Devagiri.[42] He also withstood two Mongol raids.[43] Alauddin was also known for his cruelty against attacked kingdoms after wars. Historians note him as a tyrant, and that anyone Alauddin Khalji suspected of being a threat to this power was killed, along with the women and children of that family. In 1298, between 15,000 and 30,000 people near Delhi, who had recently converted to Islam, were slaughtered in a single day, due to fears of an uprising.[44] He also killed his own family members and nephews, in 1299–1300, after he suspected them of rebellion, by first gouging out their eyes and then beheading them.[29]

In 1308, Alauddin's lieutenant, Malik Kafur captured Warangal, overthrew the Hoysala Empire south of the Krishna River and raided Madurai in Tamil Nadu.[42] He then looted the treasury in capitals and from the temples of south India. Among these loots was the Warangal loot that included one of the largest known diamond in human history, the Koh-i-Noor.[41] Malik Kafur returned to Delhi in 1311, laden with loot and war booty from Deccan peninsula which he submitted to Alauddin Khalji. This made Malik Kafur, born in a Hindu family and who had converted to Islam before becoming Delhi Sultanate's army commander, a favorite of Alauddin Khalji.[28]

In 1311, Alauddin ordered a massacre of Mongols in the Delhi Sultanate wherein between 15,000 and 30,000 Mongol settlers, who had recently converted to Islam, were killed after Khalji suspected them of plotting an uprising against him.[44][45]

The last Khalji sultans

Main articles: Shihabuddin Omar, Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah, and Khusro Khan

Alauddin Khalji died in December 1315. Thereafter, the sultanate witnessed chaos, coup and succession of assassinations.[24] Malik Kafur became the sultan but lacked support from the amirs and was killed within a few months.

Over the next three years following Malik Kafur's death, another three sultans assumed power violently and/or were killed in coups. First, the amirs installed a six-year-old named Shihab-ud-din Omar as sultan and his teenage brother, Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah, as regent. Qutb killed his younger brother and appointed himself sultan; to win over the loyalty of the amirs and the Malik clan he offered Ghazi Malik the position of army commander in the Punjab. Others were given a choice between various offices and death. After ruling in his own name for less than four years, Mubarak Shah was murdered in 1320 by one of his generals, Khusraw Khan. Amirs persuaded Ghazi Malik, who was still army commander in the Punjab, to lead a coup. Ghazi Malik's forces marched on Delhi, captured Khusraw Khan, and beheaded him. Upon becoming sultan, Ghazi Malik renamed himself Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, becoming the first ruler of the Tughluq dynasty.[29]

Economic policy and administration

Main articles: Revenue reforms of Alauddin Khalji and Market reforms of Alauddin Khalji

Alauddin Khalji changed the tax policies to strengthen his treasury to help pay the keep of his growing army and fund his wars of expansion.[46] He raised agriculture taxes from 20% to 50% – payable in grain and agricultural produce (or cash),[47] eliminating payments and commissions on taxes collected by local chiefs, banned socialization among his officials as well as inter-marriage between noble families to help prevent any opposition forming against him; he cut salaries of officials, poets and scholars in his kingdom.[46]

Alauddin Khalji enforced four taxes on non-Muslims in the Sultanate - jizya (poll tax), kharaj (land tax), kari (house tax), and chari (pasture tax).[48][49] He also decreed that his Delhi-based revenue officers assisted by local Muslim jagirdars, khuts, mukkadims, chaudharis and zamindars seize by force half of all produce any farmer generates, as a tax on standing crop, so as to fill sultanate granaries.[50][51] His officers enforced tax payment by beating up middlemen responsible for rural tax collection.Furthermore, Alauddin Khalji demanded, state Kulke and Rothermund, from his "wise men in the court" to create "rules and regulations in order to grind down the common man, so as to reduce them to abject poverty and deprive them of wealth and any form of surplus property that could foster a rebellion;[48] At the same time, he confiscated all landed property from his courtiers and officers.[48] Revenue assignments to Muslim jagirdars were also cancelled and the revenue was collected by the central administration.[52] Henceforth, state Kulke and Rothermund, "everybody was busy with earning a living so that nobody could even think of rebellion."[48]

Alauddin Khalji taxation methods and increased taxes reduced agriculture output and the Sultanate witnessed massive inflation. In order to compensate for salaries that he had cut and fixed for Muslim officials and soldiers, Alauddin introduced price controls on all agriculture produce, goods, livestocks and slaves in the kingdom, as well as controls on where, how, and by whom these could be sold. Markets called shahana-i-mandi were created.[52][53][54] Muslim merchants were granted exclusive permits and monopoly in these mandi to buy and resell at official prices. No one other than these merchants could buy from farmers or sell in cities. Alauddin deployed an extensive network of Munhiyans (spies, secret police) who would monitor the mandi and had the power to seize anyone trying to buy or sell anything at a price different than the official controlled prices.[54][55] Those found violating these mandi rules were severely punished, such as by cutting out their flesh.[28] Taxes collected in form of seized crops and grains were stored in sultanate's granaries.[56] Over time, farmers quit farming for income and shifted to subsistence farming, the general food supply worsened in north India, shortages increased and Delhi Sultanate witnessed increasingly worse and extended periods of famines.[28][57] The Sultan banned private storage of food by anyone. Rationing system was introduced by Alauddin as shortages multiplied; however, the nobility and his army were exempt from the per family quota-based food rationing system.[57] During these famines, Khalji's sultanate granaries and wholesale mandi system with price controls ensured sufficient food for his army, court officials and the urban population in Delhi.[46][58] Price controls instituted by Khalji reduced prices, but also lowered wages to a point where ordinary people did not benefit from the low prices. The price control system collapsed shortly after the death of Alauddin Khalji, with prices of various agriculture products and wages doubling to quadrupling within a few years.[59]

Historical impact

The tax system introduced during the Khalji dynasty had a long term influence on Indian taxation system and state administration,

Alauddin Khalji's taxation system was probably the one institution from his reign that lasted the longest, surviving indeed into the nineteenth or even the twentieth century. From now on, the land tax (kharaj or mal) became the principal form in which the peasant's surplus was expropriated by the ruling class.

— The Cambridge Economic History of India: c.1200-c.1750, [60]


Slavery

Within Sultanate's capital city of Delhi, during Alauddin Khalji's reign, at least half of the population were slaves working as servants, concubines and guards for the Muslim nobles, amirs, court officials and commanders.[61] Slavery in India during the Khalji dynasty, and later Islamic dynasties, included two groups of people - persons seized during military campaigns, and people who defaulted on their taxes.[62][63] The institution of slavery and bondage labor became pervasive during the Khalji dynasty; male slaves were referred to as banda, qaid, ghulam, or burdah, while female slaves were called bandi, kaniz or laundi.[citation needed]

Architecture

Alauddin Khalji is credited with the early Indo-Mohammedan architecture, a style and construction campaign that flourished during Tughlaq dynasty. Among works completed during Khalji dynasty, are Alai Darwaza - the southern gateway of Qutb complex enclosure, the Idgah at Rapri, and the Jamat Khana Masjid in Delhi.[64] The Alai Darwaza, completed in 1311, was included as part of Qutb Minar and its Monuments UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993.[65]

Perso-Arabic inscriptions on monuments have been traced to the Khalji dynasty era.[2]

Disputed historical sources

Historians have questioned the reliability of historical accounts about the Khalji dynasty. Genuine primary sources and historical records from 1260 to 1349 period have not been found.[66] One exception is the short chapter on Delhi Sultanate from 1302 to 1303 AD by Wassaf in Persia, which is duplicated in Jami al-Tawarikh, and which covers the Balban rule, start of Jalal-ud-din Chili's rule and circumstances of the succession of Alauddin Khalji. A semi-fictional poetry (mathnawi) by Yamin al-Din Abul Hasan, also known as Amir Khusrau, is full of adulation for his employer, the reigning Sultan. Khusrau's adulation-filled narrative poetry has been used as a source of Khalji dynasty history, but this is a disputed source.[66][67] Three historical sources, composed 30 to 115 years after the end of Khalji dynasty, are considered more independent but also questioned given the gap in time. These are Isami's epic of 1349, Diya-yi Barani's work of 1357 and Sirhindi's account of 1434, which possibly relied on now lost text or memories of people in Khalji's court. Of these Barani's text is the most referred and cited in scholarly sources.[66][68]

List of rulers of Delhi (1290–1320)

Titular Name / Personal Name / Reign[69]


Shāyista Khān (Jalal-ud-din)/ Malik Fīroz/ 1290–1296

Ala-ud-din / Ali Gurshasp / 1296–1316

Shihab-ud-din / Umar Khan / 1316

Qutb-ud-din / Mubarak Khan / 1316–1320

Khusro Khan ended the Khalji dynasty in 1320.


See also

• Ikhtiyar Uddin Muhammad Bin Bakhtiyar Khalji
• Persianate society
• List of Sunni Muslim dynasties

Notes

1. In medieval Persian manuscripts, the word can be read as either "Khalji" or "Khilji" because of the omission of short vowel signs in orthography,[70] but "Khalji" is the correct name.[71]

References

1. Schwartzberg, Joseph E. (1978). A Historical atlas of South Asia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 147, map XIV.3 (i). ISBN 0226742210.
2. "Arabic and Persian Epigraphical Studies - Archaeological Survey of India". Asi.nic.in. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
3. Khan, Yusuf Husain (1971). Indo-Muslim Polity (Turko-Afghan Period). Indian Institute of Advanced Study.
4. Society, Pakistan Historical (1995). Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society. Pakistan Historical Society. Bengal long before the formal Turco - Afghan conquest conducted by Bakhtiyar Khalji * at the end of the twelfth century . Although Islamic state power came to Bengal by ...
5. Fisher, Michael H. (18 October 2018). An Environmental History of India: From Earliest Times to the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-11162-2. In 1290, the Turk-Afghan Khalji clan ended the first mamluk dynasty and then ruled in Delhi until one of their own Turkish mamluk commanders rebelled and established his own Tugluq dynasty
6. Bose, Saikat K. (20 June 2015). Boot, Hooves and Wheels: And the Social Dynamics behind South Asian Warfare. Vij Books India Pvt Ltd. ISBN 978-93-84464-54-7. ... by the Turco–Afghan dynasty of the Khiljis.5 Aybak and Iltutmish, who campaigned with ambivalent success in Rajputana, had encouraged an independent adventurer called Muhammad b. Bakhtyar Khilji (different from the Khilji sultans and ..
7. "Khalji Dynasty". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 13 November 2014. This dynasty, like the previous Slave dynasty, was of Turkish origin, though the Khaljī tribe had long been settled in Afghanistan. Its three kings were noted for their faithlessness, their ferocity, and their penetration to the South of India.
8. Dynastic Chart The Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 2, p. 368.
9. Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 80–89. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
10. Mohammad Aziz Ahmad (1939). "The Foundation of Muslim Rule in India. (1206-1290 A.d.)". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. Indian History Congress. 3: 832–841. JSTOR 44252438.
11. Ashirbadi Lal Srivastava 1966, p. 98: "His ancestors, after having migrated from Turkistan, had lived for over 200 years in the Helmand valley and Lamghan, parts of Afghanistan called Garmasir or the hot region, and had adopted Afghan manners and customs. They were, therefore, looked upon as Afghans by the Turkish nobles in India as they had intermarried with local Afghans and adopted their customs and manners. They were looked down as non Turks by Turks."
12. Abraham Eraly (2015). The Age of Wrath: A History of the Delhi Sultanate. Penguin Books. p. 126. ISBN 978-93-5118-658-8:"The prejudice of Turks was however misplaced in this case, for Khaljis were actually ethnic Turks. But they had settled in Afghanistan long before the Turkish rule was established there, and had over the centuries adopted Afghan customs and practices, intermarried with the local people, and were therefore looked down on as non-Turks by pure-bred Turks."
13. Mikaberidze, Alexander (2011). Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-5988-4337-8. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
14. Barua, Pradeep (2005). The state at war in South Asia. U of Nebraska Press. p. 437. ISBN 0-8032-1344-1. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
15. "ḴALAJ i. TRIBE – Encyclopaedia Iranica". iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
16. Rezakhani, Khodadad (15 March 2017). ReOrienting the Sasanians: East Iran in Late Antiquity. Edinburgh University Press. p. 165. ISBN 978-1-4744-0030-5. A Bactrian Document (BD T) from this period brings interesting information about the area to our attention. In it, dated to BE 476 (701 AD), a princess identified as `Bag-aziyas, the Great Turkish Princess, the Queen of Qutlugh Tapaghligh Bilga Sävüg, the Princess of the Khalach, the Lady of Kadagestan offers alms to the local god of the region of Rob, known as Kamird, for the health of (her) child. Inaba, arguing for the Khalaj identity of the kings of Kabul, takes this document as a proof that the Khalaj princess is from Kabul and has been offered to the (Hephthalite) king of Kadagestan, thus becoming the lady of that region. The identification of Kadagestan as a Hephthalite stronghold is based on Grenet's suggestion of the survival of Hephthalite minor stares in this region,' and is in con-
17. Abraham Eraly (2015). The Age of Wrath: A History of the Delhi Sultanate. Penguin Books. p. 126. ISBN 978-93-5118-658-8:"The prejudice of Turks was however misplaced in this case, for Khaljis were actually ethnic Turks. But they had settled in Afghanistan long before the Turkish rule was established there, and had over the centuries adopted Afghan customs and practices, intermarried with the local people, and were therefore looked down on as non-Turks by pure-bred Turks."
18. Radhey Shyam Chaurasia (2002). History of medieval India: from 1000 A.D. to 1707 A.D.Atlantic. p. 28. ISBN 81-269-0123-3:"The Khaljis were a Turkish tribe but having been long domiciled in Afghanistan, had adopted some Afghan habits and customs. They were treated as Afghans in Delhi Court. They were regarded as barbarians. The Turkish nobles had opposed the ascent of Jalal-ud-din to the throne of Delhi."
19. Sunil Kumar 1994, p. 36.
20. Ahmad Hasan Dani 1999, pp. 180–181.
21. Ahmad Hasan Dani 1999, pp. 180.
22. Sunil Kumar 1994, p. 31.
23. Mohammad Aziz Ahmad (1939). "The Foundation of Muslim Rule in India. (1206-1290 A.d.)". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. Indian History Congress. 3: 841. JSTOR 44252438.
24. Peter Jackson 2003.
25. Ashirbadi Lal Srivastava 1966, p. 141.
26. A. B. M. Habibullah (1992) [1970]. "The Khaljis: Jalaluddin Khalji". In Mohammad Habib; Khaliq Ahmad Nizami (eds.). A Comprehensive History of India. 5: The Delhi Sultanat (A.D. 1206-1526). The Indian History Congress / People's Publishing House. p. 312. OCLC 31870180.
27. Peter Jackson 2003, pp. 81–86.
28. Vincent A Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911, Chapter 2, Oxford University Press
29. Jump up to:a b c William Wilson Hunter, The Indian Empire: Its Peoples, History, and Products, p. 334, at Google Books, WH Allen & Co., London, pp 334-336
30. P. M. Holt et al. 1977, pp. 8–14.
31. Satish Chandra (2004). Medieval India: From Sultanate to the Mughals-Delhi Sultanat (1206-1526). Har-Anand Publications. p. 269. ISBN 9788124110645.
32. Yasin Mazhar Siddiqi (1972). "the Kotwals under the Sultans of Delhi". Indian History Congress: 194. JSTOR 44145331. Nusrat Khan Jalesari who was the Kotwal in the first year of the Alai reign was an Indian Muslim
33. The Life and Works of Sultan Alauddin Khalji. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. 1992. ISBN 9788171563623. the Sultan appointed his Wazir Nusrat Khan to deal with the Jalali nobles...Nusrat Khan confiscated property worth about one crore. This brought to an end the influence of the Jalali nobles and strengthened the government trreasury. Also the Sultan got a happy riddance from a nobility, whose loyalty was always doubtful. After this he created a new nobility whose distinctive feature was its loyalty and friendship of Ala-ud-Din
34. SHAIKH ABDUL LATIF (1993). "The Indian Elements in the Bureaucracy of the Delhi Sultanate". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. Indian History Congress. 54: 159. JSTOR 44142942.
35. Fouzia Farooq Ahmed (27 September 2016). Muslim Rule in Medieval India: Power and Religion in the Delhi Sultanate. p. 151. ISBN 9781786730824.
36. Kaushik Roy (2003). Warfare in Pre-British India - 1500BCE to 1740CE. Routldge. ISBN 9781317586913. Malik Naik(a Hindu convert to Islam)
37. Satish Chandra (2004). Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals-Delhi Sultanat (1206-1526) = Part One. Har-Anand Publications. ISBN 9788124110645.
38. AL. P. Sharma (1987). History of medieval India (1000-1740 A.D.). TKonark Publishers.
39. Old NCERT History Medieval India by Satish Chandra (Class 11). Mocktime Publications.
40. Frank Fanselow (1989), Muslim society in Tamil Nadu (India): an historical perspective, Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, 10(1), pp 264-289
41. Hermann Kulke & Dietmar Rothermund 2004.
42. Sastri (1955), pp 206–208
43. "Khalji Dynasty". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
44. Vincent A Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911, p. 217, at Google Books, Chapter 2, pp 231-235, Oxford University Press
45. The Life and Works of Sultan Alauddin Khalji- By Ghulam Sarwar Khan Niazi
46. P. M. Holt et al. 1977, pp. 9–13.
47. Irfan Habib 1982, pp. 61–62.
48. Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund (1998), A History of India, 3rd Edition, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-15482-0, pp 161-162
49. Peter Jackson 2003, pp. 196–202.
50. Elliot and Dowson (1871), The History of India as told by its own Historians, p. 182, at Google Books, Vol. 3, pp 182-188
51. N. Jayapalan (2008), Economic History of India: Ancient to Present Day, Atlantic Publishers, pp. 81-83, ISBN 978-8-126-90697-0
52. Kenneth Kehrer (1963), The Economic Policies of Ala-ud-Din Khalji, Journal of the Punjab University Historical Society, vol. 16, pp. 55-66
53. Ashirbadi Lal Srivastava 1953, pp. 156–158.
54. Peter Jackson 2003, pp. 244–248.
55. M.A. Farooqi (1991), The economic policy of the Sultans of Delhi, Konark publishers, ISBN 978-8122002263
56. Irfan Habib (1984), The price regulations of Alauddin Khalji - a defense of Zia Barani, Indian Economic and Social History Review, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 393-414
57. K.S. Lal (1967), History of the Khaljis, Asian Publishing House, ISBN 978-8121502115, pp 201-204
58. Vincent A Smith (1983), The Oxford History of India, Oxford University Press, pp 245-247
59. Irfan Habib 1982, pp. 87–88.
60. Irfan Habib 1982, pp. 62–63.
61. Raychaudhuri et al (1982), The Cambridge Economic History of India: c. 1200-1750, Orient Longman, pp 89-93
62. Irfan Habib (January 1978). "Economic History of the Delhi Sultanate - An Essay in Interpretation". The Indian Historical Review. IV (2): 293.
63. Scott Levi (November 2002). "Hindus beyond the Hindu Kush: Indians in the Central Asian Slave Trade". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 12 (3): 281–283. JSTOR 25188289.
64. Alexander Cunningham (1873), Archaeological Survey of India, Report for the year 1871-72, Volume 3, page 8
65. UNESCO, Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi, World Heritage Site
66. Peter Jackson 2003, pp. 49–52.
67. Elliot and Dawson (1871), The History of India as told by its own Historians, Vol. 3, pp 94-98
68. Irfan Habib (1981), "Barani's theory of the history of the Delhi Sultanate", Indian Historical Review, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp 99-115
69. Kishori Saran Lal 1950, p. 385.
70. Peter Gottschalk (27 October 2005). Beyond Hindu and Muslim: Multiple Identity in Narratives from Village India. Oxford University Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-19-976052-7.
71. Heramb Chaturvedi (2016). Allahabad School of History 1915-1955. Prabhat. p. 222. ISBN 978-81-8430-346-9.

Bibliography

• Abraham Eraly (2015). The Age of Wrath: A History of the Delhi Sultanate. Penguin Books. p. 178. ISBN 978-93-5118-658-8.
• Ahmad Hasan Dani (1999). History of Civilizations of Central Asia: The crossroads of civilizations: A.D. 250 to 750. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-1540-7.
• Ashirbadi Lal Srivastava (1966). The History of India, 1000 A.D.-1707 A.D. (Second ed.). Shiva Lal Agarwala. OCLC 575452554.
• Ashirbadi Lal Srivastava (1953). The Sultanate of Delhi. S. L. Agarwala. OCLC 555201052.
• Hermann Kulke; Dietmar Rothermund (2004). A History of India. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-32919-4.
• Irfan Habib (1982). "Northern India under the Sultanate: Agrarian Economy". In Tapan Raychaudhuri; Irfan Habib (eds.). The Cambridge Economic History of India. 1, c.1200–c.1750. CUP Archive. ISBN 978-0-521-22692-9.
• Kishori Saran Lal (1950). History of the Khaljis (1290-1320). Allahabad: The Indian Press. OCLC 685167335.
• Marshall Cavendish (2006). World and Its Peoples: The Middle East, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. Marshall Cavendish. ISBN 0-7614-7571-0.
• Peter Malcolm Holt; Ann K. S. Lambton; Bernard Lewis, eds. (1977). The Cambridge History of Islam. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-29138-5.
• Peter Jackson (2003). The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-54329-3.
• Radhey Shyam Chaurasia (2002). History of medieval India: from 1000 A.D. to 1707 A.D. Atlantic. ISBN 81-269-0123-3.
• Sunil Kumar (1994). "When Slaves were Nobles: The Shamsi Bandagan in the Early Delhi Sultanate". Studies in History. 10 (1): 23–52. doi:10.1177/025764309401000102. S2CID 162388463.

External links

• Media related to Khalji dynasty at Wikimedia Commons
• Khilji - A Short History of Muslim Rule in India I. Prasad, University of Allahabad
• The Role of Ulema in Indo-Muslim History, Aziz Ahmad, Studia Islamica, No. 31 (1970), pp. 1–13
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