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The Later Mughals (1707–1803).—By WILLIAM IRVINE, Bengal Civil Service. (Retired).
Section 12. The state of parties at Court.
In continuation of the articles in Part I of the Journal for 1896, Vol. LXV, pp. 136–212, and 1898, Vol. LXVII, pp. 141–66.
Table of Contents.
CHAPTER IV.-FARRUKHSIYAR (continued).
13. Severities inflicted at the instigation of Mir Jumlah (March 1713-April 1714).
First quarrel with the Sayyads (April 1713).
Campaign against. Rajah Ajit Singh, Rahtor (Nov. 1713-July 1714).
16. Renewal of quarrel with the Sayyads (SeptemberDecember 1714).
17. Farrukhsiyar's marriage to Ajit Singh's daughter (May-December, 1715).
18. Fight between the retainers of Muhammad Amin Khan and Khan Dauran (April 21st, 1716).
SECTION 12. THE STATE OF Parties at Court.
The names, Mughal, Turāni, and Irāni, appear so frequently in our narrative, and so much turns upon the relation to each other of the various groups into which the army and officials were divided, that a few words of explanation will be necessary for a clear understanding of what follows. Ever since the Mahomedan conquest of India, adventurers from the countries to the west and north-west flocked into it as to a Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. The establish ment of a dynasty, of which the founder, Bābar, was a native of Trans, Oxiana, gave a further stimulus to this exodus into India, where fighting men from the fatherland of the imperial house were always welcome. They formed the backbone of the army of occupation. Their
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numbers were increased still further during the twenty-five years or more, from 1680 to 1707, during which ‘Alamgir waged incessant war in the Dakhin, first with the local Mahomedan states and then with the Mahrattahs.
These foreigners, at least the greater number of them, were either Afghans or Mughals; if the latter, they were known as either Turāni or Irāni Mughals. In using this term Mughal, I vouch in no way for its accurate application, ethnographically or otherwise. It must be understood to be an unquestioning acceptance of the term as employed by Indian writers of the period. Every man from beyond the Oxus or from any of the provinces of the Persian kingdom was to them a Mughal. If his home was in Turān, north of the Oxus, he was a Turānī ; if south of it, in the region of Iran, he was an Irāni Mughhal. The Turānis were of the Sunni sect, the prevalent belief of Mahomedan India, and came from the old home of the reigning dynasty. For these reasons, they were highly favoured by the Indian emperors, and owing to their great numbers and the ability, military and civil, of their leaders, formed a very powerful body both in the army and the state generally. The Irānis were Shi'as and were not so numerous as the Turānīs; yet they included among them men of good birth and great ability, who attained to the highest positions, many of the chief posts in the State having been filled by them. Shiraz, in the Persian province of Fārs, furnished much the largest number of these Persians; most of the best physicians, poets, and men learned in the law came from that town. Owing to the difference of religion, principally, there was a strong feeling of animosity, ever ready to spring into active operation, between the Turānīs and the Irānis; but as against the Hindustanis the two-sections were always ready to combine.
Men from the region between the Indus on the east, and Kābul and Qandahar on the west, were called Afghāns. Those from the nearer hills, south-west of Peshawar, are sometimes distinguished by the epithet Rohelah, or Hill-man. But Indian writers of the eighteenth century never use the word Pathan, nor in their writings is there anything to bear out the theory that the Afghan and the Pathan are two different races. The part of the Afghan country lying nearest the Indus furnished the majority of the Afghan soldiers who resorted to India; and, as might be expected from their comparative nearness to India, they probably outnumbered the Mughals. In any case, they seem to have had a talent for forming permanent settlements in India, which neither the Mughal nor the Persian has displayed. All over Northern India, Pathān villages are numerous to this day. As instances, Qasur near 1 H. W. Bellew, Inquiry (1891), p. 206,
Lahor, numerous villages between Dihli and Ambalah, the town of Jalālābād, the city of Farrukhābād, and other places in the JamnahGanges Duabah, also many villages and towns in Rohilkhand, come to mind at once. But the Afghāns, in spite of their numbers and their hold on the land, hardly played any part in the political history of the day until 'Ali Muḥammad Khan, Dāūdzai, established himself as a ruler in Bareli and Anwalah, and Muḥammad Khan, Bangash did the same in Farrukhābād. But, after the fifteen years' rule of Sher Shah and his successors (1540-1555), the Afghans were much prized as valiant soldiers. Their weakness was too great love of money, and too great a readiness to desert one employer for another, if he made a higher bid. They were too rough and illiterate to obtain much distinction in civil life. It is said that during Shāhjahān's reign (1627–1658), Afghans were discouraged and employed as seldom as possible. It was not until ‘Alamgir began his campaign in the Dakhin (1681-1707) that they again found favour, those nobles who had Afghan soldiers receiving the most consideration.1
Other foreigners, serving in small numbers in the Mughal service, were the Arabs, Ḥabshis, Rūmis, and Farangis. As soldiers these men were found almost entirely in the artillery. Arabs were, of course, from Arabia itself; Habshis came from Africa, mostly negroes; Rūmis were Mahomedans from Constantinople or elsewhere in the Turkish empire; Farangi, that is Frank, was the name of any European. Eunuchs were generally of Habshi race, and the chief police officer of Dihli was frequently a Habshi. There were some Frank, or Farangi, physicians; one of the name of Martin, or Martin Khan, probably a Frenchman, died at Dihli about the middle of the eighteenth century, after living there for many years.
In opposition to the Mughal or foreign, was the home-born or Hindustani party. It was made up of Mahomedans born in India, many of them descended in the second or third generation from foreign immigrants. Men like the Sayyads of Barhah, for instance, whose ancestors had settled in India many generations before, came, of course, under the description of Hindūstānī or Hindūstān-zā (Indian-born). To this class also belonged all the Rajput and Jat chiefs, and other powerful Hindu landowners. Naturally, too, the very numerous and industrious body of Hindus, who filled all the subordinate offices of a civil nature, attached themselves to the same side. Panjab Khatris were very numerous in this official class; nost of the rest were Agarwâl
1 Bhim Sen, 1736. ·
& Habsh is the name for Abyssinia, but the name Ḥabshi was used in a more general sense for all Africans.