صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

not being hatched for their destruction. The Rājputanah campaign was the means of unmasking one of these schemes. Secret letters had been, as we bave already mentioned, despatched to Rājah Ajit Singh, urging him to strenuous resistance, and inviting him, if he could, to make away with Husain 'Ali Khān. These letters came into ķusain *Ali Khān's possession and through them he acquired proof of Farrukhsiyar's double-faced dealings. There are two stories of the manner in which this happened. Oue, told by Wārid, is that when Rājah Ajit Singh was hardpressed and saw no other way out of the danger, he sent in the original letters for the perusal of the Sayyad. Įusain 'Ali Khān at once entered into negotiations for a peace, in order that he might return to Court without delay to defend his own and his brother's interests. The other version is, that the Rājah made the letters over to his daughter when she started for Court, and that either on the journey or after her arrival at Dihli, when staying in the mansion of the Sayyad, the documents were in some way got at and their contents ascertained. In the interval of Įusain 'Ali Khān's absence, Qutb-ul-Mulk had found the greatest difficulty in maintaining his position at Court. All the power was in the hands of Mir Jumlah. Every day messages came from Farrukhsiyar, couched in various forms, but all urging him to resign the office of wazir. Qutb-ul-Mulk now wrote letters to his brother enjoining him to return to Dihli with all possible speed. In response to these calls, Husain 'Ali Khān, as we have seen, reached the capital again on the 5th Rajab 1126 H. (16th July, 1714). 2

For the next two or three months the breach between the Emperor and the minister, although far from closed, was not sensibly widened, The Sayyads, as was natural, looked on Farrakhsiyar's accession to the throne as the work of their hands, and resented the grant of any share of power to other persons. On the other hand, the small group of Farrukhsiyar's intimates, men who had known him from his childhood and stood on the most familiar terms with him, were aggrieved at their exclusion from a share in the spoil. They felt that they themselves were not strong enough to attack the Sayyads openly; and recourse to other nobles of wealth or experience would do no more than substitute one set of masters for another. Their plan, therefore, was to work upon the weak-minded Farrukhsiyar." “The Sayyads," they said to him, ,

look upon you as their creation, and think nothing of you or your “power. They hold the two chief civil and military offices, their “ relations and friends have the principal other offices, and the most “profitable land assignments (jāgīrs). Their power will go on increasing, “until, should they enter on treasonable projects, there will be no one able

I Wärid, fol. 150a, 1506, Seir I, 80-81, Seir text, 23.

“ to resist them. It would be better to reduce their strength in time. For "this purpose, two nobles of position should be brought to the front and “placed on an equality with them." If the Sayyads gave way, all would be well; the object sought would have been accomplished. But should they, with the rashness (jahalat) for which the Bārbah Sayyads were famous, resist the undermining of their power, then the two nobles could oppose force to force. But open fighting should be resorted to only in the last extremity. The two brothers should be caught when unattended and made prisoners, as had been done with Zülfiqār Khān, and if necessary, despatched as he had been.

Farrukhsiyar, a man of no wisdom, accepted this advice as the perfection of right reasoning, the acme of loyalty to his person. The two men selected to confront the Sayyads were Khan Daurān and Mir Jumlah. They were both promoted to the rank of 7,000 horse: they were placed, the former at the head of 5,000 Wālā shāhi, and the latter of 5,000 Mughal troopers. Many of their relations were pushed forward into high rank, and counting these men's troops, each of the two nobles had at his command over ten thousand men. Among the signs of this favouritism was the order passed on the 12th Sha'bān (2nd Sept., 1713), permitting Mir Jumlah to entertain 6,000 horsemen, who were to be specially paid from the imperial treasury. These were raised by Amānat Khăn, his adopted son, from Mughals born in India, and some seventy lakhs of rupees for their pay were disbursed from the treasury, the rules as to descriptive rolls of the men and branding of the horses being set aside. No order was issued by Farrukhsiyar without the advice and approval of the above two men. In this exercise of authority Mir Jumlah assumed the lead, till at length Qutb-ul-Mulk was only the nominal, while he was the real wazir. The two Sayyads bowed for the time to the Emperor's will, and made no opposition to these usurpations. At length, through the indiscretion of some palace servants, the Sayyads learnt of the plots against their life. They ceased to appear in darbar and shut themselves up in their houses,

1 Mirzā Muhammad, 189.

% Or as some say, they were informed by a message from Farrukhsiyar's mother, who considered herself bound by the promises made to the Sayyads at Patnah. (Khāfi Khan II, 740). One authority (Aħwâl-i-khawaqin, 77b) makes Latfullah Khān, Şadiq, the informant. He is described as “unrivalled in deceit, professing “ devotion to the sovereign, and yet as thick as could be with the Sayyads." He sent word to the latter privately that he had been present one night in Farrukhsīyar's audience-chamber, when, at the instigation of Mir Jumlah and Khan Daurān, the Emperor had spoken harshly of them. There was no time for writing at length; one word was as good as a volume. Let them refrain from attending Court; or if they did attend, let them be very oautious.

[ocr errors]

taking every possible precaution against a surprise. The Emperor's desire to ruin them became a matter of public rumour, although, when appealed to, the nobles and confidants of the Emperor strenuously denied its truth.!

At length, in Zül Qa'dah 1126 H. (7th Nov.-6th Dec., 1714), a son having been born to Husain 'Ali Khān, he resolved, as the custom was, to present a gift to His Majesty and ask him to name the child. At this time Farrukhslyar was out on a hunting expedition and his camp was in a grove not far from the city. When the Nawāb reached the Privy Audience Hall, finding the Emperor still in the chapel tent, he took a seat. While he was waiting, a number of his friends confided to him the secret that on that day it was intended to lay violent hands upon him. A number of men were hid in ambush. The Nawāb felt his last hour had come and prepared to meet his fate. When bis arrival was reported to Farrukhsīyar, an order was sent out for him to come to the oratory. The Nawāb betrayed no fear, but walked towards the tent. When the door-keeper, following the rules of the palace, requested him to lay aside his arms, he became inwardly apprehensive and said: “Very well, as it is not convenient to receive

me just now, I will make my bow another time." Report of this hesitation was taken to Farrukhsiyar, who came out, staff in hand, and stood outside the chapel tent, and received the Nawab's obeisance there, and replying with some silly, unmeaning compliments, dismissed him to his home. But the countenance of Farrukhsiyar betrayed the real anger and vexation under which he was labouring from the non-success of his plans to seize the Nawāb.

When he reached his house, Husain 'Ali Khãn wrote to the Emperor to the following effect. It was quite clear that distrust of his brother, ånd himself had found entrance into the Emperor's mind, and he was rosolved on their overthrow. In that case, what could they do but submit to orders ? But honour was a thing dearer than life; they might fall, but in so doing, they would take care not to sacrifice their honour. Let them be removed from rank and office, with leave to return to their homes and there offer their prayers for His Majesty's welfare. On reading the letter Farrukhsiyar took fright and returned to the city at once, in the hope of procuring some reconciliation. It so happened that soon after he reached the palace, a letter arrived from Qutb-ul-Mulk to the same effect. Farrukhsiyar's equanimity was still further upset. From

I Mirzā Muhammad, 190, Kāmwar Khān, 139.
* The Bāgh of Muhsin Khan is named in Khafi Khān II, 739.
8 Tasbih Khānah, literally '“ chaplet-room."
* Mirzā Maḥammad, 191, Warid, 1500, 151a.

[ocr errors]

this time, the two Sayyads gave up attendance at darbar, and persisted in demanding the acceptance of their resignation of rank and office. Meanwhile they fortified their houses, and after Farrokhsiyar's retorn to the palace, negotiations went on for nine days. Among the messages they sent was one asking for a grant of several lakhs of dams, payable from the country round their home, to which they would retire; or they offered to recover Balkh and Badakhshan, which might be given them in jāgār if they were successful. On the other hand, if they failed they would have earned a name which would survive until the Day of Judgment. If this request, too, was refused, let the plotters against them appear and fight them on the sands of the Jamnah below the palace windows (jharokah), the Emperor becoming spectator and umpire. Power would belong to the survivors. To all these importunities the Emperor's answer was that no plot against them was in existence.

The conspirators told the Emperor that as the Sayyads were strongly supported by a large army and a numerous following of relations and adherents, their only object in offering to resign was to secure an unopposed withdrawal from the city, where they saw that it was impossible to carry out a successful revolt. Once in their home country, they would be certain to break out into rebellion. From this stage, the quarrel having become public, concealment was no longer possible and the principal nobles were called into consultation by Farrukhsiyar. Finally it was resolved not to interfero openly with the Sayyads, but to appoint a new wazīr, in the hope that their adherents would fall away from them. Most of these had resorted to them with the object of obtaining assignments on the land revenue. Deserted, as they probably would be, by these men, their party would be weakened and their consequence would gradually diminish.

It is said that the leader in giving this advice was Mohammad Amin Khan, I'timād-ud-daulah. His idea was that, since in length of service, nobility of family, fertility of resource, and ability as a soldier, there was in his opinion no one his equal or rival, the Emperor's choice must fall upon him. And it is quite likely that, if he had been supported and given authority to act, he could have carried the affair to a successful termination. But the Emperor's advisers foresaw that if the present danger were overcome through his aid, and their first enemies removed out of their way, to get rid afterwards of the victor would be a still more arduous enterprize than the one at present before them. They preferred that Mir Jumlah should receive the robes of Dīwān and assume the office of chief minister. Now, as a contemporary writer remarks, Mir Jumlah and Khan Daurān" were only carpet knights

I Kām Rāj, 536, Mirza Muhammad, 193.

[ocr errors]

" (sher-i-qalin) and not true fighters (mard-i-maidan). They talked “well, but evaded dealing with the kernel (maghz) of the matter." Mir Jumlah, having no real strength of character, knew that he was not fitted to enter the lists as a champion to fight the Sayyads. He therefore made excuses and drew on one side. Who, then, was to bell the cat"? There remained Khān Daurān. He was in reality a mere braggadacio, a big talker of the kind supposed to be the peculiar product of Hindāstān; 1 and he was frightened lest he should ever be called on to take the lead, and lose bis life in the attempt to destroy the Sayyads. Therefore he went secretly to Farrukhsiyar and suggested as the best course that Muhammad Amin Khân should be propitiated in every way, and the control of the affair confided to him. When it had been concluded and the Sayyads destroyed, he could be removed from office before he had time to consolidate his power. Overtures ought to be made to him

Muhammad Amin Khān, who had learnt the inmost secrets of the plot, and was also disheartened by the shifting moods of Farrukhsiyar, was far from ready to accept the office. He said that he had no wish to be wazīr; he was a plain soldier unaccustomed to such duties. If fighting men were wanted and the Emperor would head the troops in person, he would perform the obligations of a loyal servant and give his life for his master. But in the absence of His Majesty, his own troops and those of his relations were unequal to an attack on the Sayyads. The imperial and Wālā Shāhī troops had been warned for service under him; but he had no proof of their fighting quality. How could he feel any confidence in them ? Besides, they were all of them near death's door from poverty and hunger, having neither good horses nor effective arms. In the Wālā Shāhi corps they had enlisted many townsmen, who neither respected others nor were themselves respected. Indeed, many lowcaste men and mere artisans held commands. He could not rely on such troops. Finding this lack of zeal. among his partisans, Farrukhsiyar began to lose heart. The men of the Haft Caukt, or personal guard, were ordered into the palace; and the unity and firm resolve of the Sayyads having been fully ascertained, it was decided to resume friendly relations with them.

Wbile all these schemes were in progress, the Sayyads stopped at home and were never seen at darbār. Crowds of their dependents and

1 R. F. Burton" Book of the Sword," 108, note 4, applies to the Indians thé lines :

"for profound 'And solid lying much renowned.' * Mirzā Muḥammad, 194, Ahwal-i-khawâqin, 776..

1

« السابقةمتابعة »