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such a critical moment silence seemed the wisest thing. Of those suspected, only a few men openly declared themselves. Rūḥullah Khān, III, son of Ruḥullah Khan, the second of that title1 had been appointed faujdār of Aḥmadābād in Gujarāt, but on his way to that place had turned aside and joined Rājāh Jai Singh. Tahavvar Khān, Turānī, had also escaped secretly from Dibli a week after Ḥusain ‘Alī Khân had started for Agrah, and he, too, repaired to Jai Singh's camp by forced marches. Qutb-ul-mulk sent horsemen in pursuit, but they were unable to overtake the. fugitive. Another of these absconders to Jai Singh was Sayyad Şalābat Khān, brother-in-law of Farrukhsiyar and lately commander of the imperial artillery.


At length on the 6th Sha'ban (23rd June, 1719) Husain 'Ali Khān commenced his march.3 Under his orders were Muḥammad Amin Khan, Cin; Samsam-ud-daulah, Khan Dauran; Zafar Khan and others.

1 The following particulars of this family are taken from the Ma,aşir-ul-umarā I, 277, 775, II, 309–315, 315-317, 823, 839, III, 713.

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• See ante p. 6, for this man's origin and connections. Kāmwar Khān, 204, Mḥd Qasim Lahori, 272, Khāfi Khan, II, 832, Siwāniḥ-i-Khizrī.

• Mḥd. Qasim, Lahori, author of the 'Ibratnamah, went on this campaign, p. 275. He was in the service of Sūrat Singh, one of Ḥusain ‘Ali Khān's officers.

Muḥammad Khan, Bangash, came in from Sa'dābād1 on the 20th Sha'bản (7th July, 1719) and followed the main body. At this time many rumours were prevalent. As usual in such cases, dreams or the opinions of soothsayers and astrologers favourable to Neküsiyar, passed from mouth to mouth. Rājah Jai Singh, people said, was marching from Amber on Agrah; Chabelah Ram was on his way from Allahābād at the head of thirty thousand men; Nizām-ul-mulk bad started to reinforce them with a mighty army; Nekūsīyar, in the garb of a faqir, had escaped from Agrah and reached the camp of Rajah Jai Singh. Of all these statements the only true one was that Rājah Jai Singh had come out one stage from Amber at the head of nine or ten thousand horsemen, and there awaited the advance of Chabelah Ram. The latter, however, was still busily occupied with the revolt of Jasan Singh of Kālpi, who was backed up by the Afghans. Nizam-ul-mulk showed no serious intention of taking up the cause of Nekūsīyar.

On the 21st Sha'ban (8th July, 1719) Husain 'Ali Khan reached Sikandrah,3 within sight of Agrah; the weather was extremely hot, and a halt was made for three days. On the 25th (12th July) camp was moved to Bāgh Dahr-ārãe. The siege which had been commenced by Ghairat Khān and Ḥaidar Quli Khan, was now pressed on with redoubled energy.5


As soon as he reached Agrah, Ḥusain ‘Ali Khan rode round the fort and fixed in person the sites for the batteries, the side selected for attack being the south, where is the bastion then known as the Bangālā-burj, a place which was weakly defended and had no earthwork (pushtah) to strengthen the wall. Heavy guns were brought to bear on the walls; but as the wet weather had begun and the rain was heavy,


1 Sa'dābād, a town in the Ganges-Jamnah dūābah.

& Kamwar Khan, 205, Khāfi Khan, II, 832. .

8 Sikandrah, the place where the Emperor Akbar is buried; it lies west of Agrah.

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↳ Kām Rāj, ‘Ibratnāmaḥ, 69a, Bāgh Dahr-ārā, two kos from the city. See also ante Reign of Bahadur Shāh, p. 26 (not yet published).

5 Muḥammad Qāsim, Lāhorī, 277.

• These guns had each a name, such as Ghāzî Khân (Lord Champion), Sherdahān (Tiger-mouth), Dhum-dhām (The noisy), and so forth. They carried balls from thirty Shāhjahānī sers to one and a quarter man in weight; attached to each were from one to four elephants, and from six hundred to seventeen hundred draught oxen.

ten and in some cases twenty days were occupied in dragging these cannon the distance, only a mile or two, which separated the camp from the fort. The route through the lanes and bazārs being very narrow, the dwelling-houses and shops were pulled down to allow of the passage of the artillery. Within the fort there are said to have been thirteen hundred cannon, counting those of every kind. From these the garrison artillerymen (the Baksariyah) kept up an incessant fire, not allowing themselves a respite even during the night. Damage was done on both sides. Even persons resorting to the river bank to draw water were fired on from the fort, and fell victims. The governor's mansion near the fort was destroyed, the mosque known as the Begam Ṣāḥib's, standing opposite to the citadel, was injured, the tower and marble steps being struck by shot, and the buildings of the Tirpoliyā or triple gate, suffered equally. The besiegers returned the fire and injured the battlements on all four walls, doing also some damage to the Moti Masjid. Haidar Quli Khan, who had under his command many Europeans, whom he had brought from Surat, drove several saps towards the walls. Little effect was, however, produced on the fort; nor did the garrison show any enterprize, or try to open a way through the investing lines and join their friends outside. The attacking force had succeeded in causing the besieged to withdraw within the fort; but beyond this advantage nothing was gained, except that Ghairat Khan and Shamsher Khan, after a good deal of fighting, took the cabūtrah or police office at the fort gate.1

The garrison were evidently reserving themselves until they had learnt of the advance of their hoped-for allies. Time passed, and of these helpers there was no word or sign. After a month provisions began to be scarce. Many of those who had joined from the country round began to desert, getting over the walls at night, only to be seized by the Nawab's sentries. These fugitives informed Husain 'Ali of the disheartened and suffering condition of the garrison and the depression in Mitr Sen's mind. All the good grain had been used up; and nothing was left but inferior pulses, and these had been stored over seven years and smelt so strongly, that even the four-footed beasts would not eat them with avidity. Attempts were made to bring in small supplies of flour, which were dragged up by ropes let down from the battlement. Even some of the artillery in the besieging force engaged in this traffic. After this fact was found out, the strictness of watch was redoubled, anything moving in the river at night was shot at, and

1 Shiū Dās, 29a, Risalah-i-Muḥammad Shah, fol. 76b, and Maḥammad Qāsim, Lāhorī, 280.

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expert swimmers were kept ready to pursue and seize any one who attempted to escape by way of the river.

Secret overtures were accordingly made to the garrison. In Husain 'Ali Khan's artillery a man was serving named Cura, who had acquaintances within the fort; and through him a message was sent to these men guaranteeing to them their lives and property, if they delivered up Prince Nekusiyar together with the fort. Curaman Jāṭ, who commanded at an entrenchment near the fort, opened up similar negociations. The garrison called these two Curās within the fort, where they placed a pot of Ganges water on their heads and made them swear an oath to carry out faithfully the terms agreed on.1

About this time the hazaris, or captains of artillery, had told Mitr Sen that they could not continue the defence. Mitr Sen sent a confidential secretary, Nath Mall, to reassure them. This Nath Mall was the son of Bhukan Mall, who had been high in the service of Asad Khān, ‘Alamgir's wazīr. Instead of listening to his remonstrances, the artillerymen seized Nath Mall and made him over to their friends outside. He was brought before Ḥusain ‘Ali Khān, and in his pen-box were found communications to Nekūsiyar from many of the nobles holding commands in the besieging force or offices round the Emperor's person. Husain 'Ali Khan dissembled in this matter as much as possible but his bosom friend, Asad ‘Ali Khan, a connection of the celebrated 'Ali Mardān Khān2 was publicly disgraced. Among the letters found were some from Samṣām-ud-daulah and Zafar Khan Roshan-uddaulah.8

Others captured were Rūp Lal and his companions, seven men in all, who had been sent to some of the besieging nobles in the hope of winning their adherence to Nekusiyar's cause. Their captor was Khizr Khan, Panni; Rūp Lal was executed. Sayyad Firuz ‘Ali Khan also made prisoners of Sulaiman Beg and six others. A large sum was offered by Husain 'Ali Khan to anyone who would surrender the fort.4

1 Shiū Dās, 30a, Mḥd. Qāsim, 281, 286, 287.

• For 'Ali Mardān Khān, d. 1067 H., 1656-7, see Ma,āṣir-ul-umarā, II, 795. He had four sons: one, Ibrahim Khân, d. end of Şafar or early in Rabi' I., 1122 H. (1710), id., I. 295. This man's son, Zabardast Khan, died in 1125 H. (1713). Asad ‘Alĩ Khan, Jaulaq, had been employed by Husain ‘Alī Khăn in the Dakhin, having been put in charge of Şubah Barār after the defeat of Dā,ūd Khān, Pannī, M-ul-u I, 354.

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Shortly afterwards Mirzā Asghari, brother's son of Nekūsiyar,1 tried to make his escape from the fort (22nd Ramazan 1131 H., 7th August, 1719), with the hope of reaching Rajah Jai Singh at Amber, or Chabelah Rām at Allahābād. He intended to come out on the side facing the river, but Manohar, Jat, one of the garrison, sent notice to Curāman, Jāţ, who commanded in that direction. From sunset Curaman took up his station near the river at the head of two hundred men. When Mirza Asghari, followed by twelve servants, made his appearance, he was forthwith seized and detained till the morning. At day-break he was taken before Husain 'Ali Khan, who ordered him to be kept a prisoner in the custody of Muta'mad Khān. The money which he had brought out to bribe Curāman, was made over to that chief, together with an elephant.

A plan was now devised to overcome Şafi Khan's reluctance to give in, and to induce him to abandon the struggle. A letter purporting to be from his brother, Islām Khan, then a prisoner at Dihli, was prepared, and on it Qutb-ul-mulk impressed the seal of Islam Khan. It urged Ṣafi Khan to resist no longer, but make over the fort and the pretender to Ghairat Khān. Şafi Khān sent this letter on to Ghairat Khān, expressing his willingness to surrender, if he were promised a pardon. Ghairat Khan hurried off to Husain ‘Ali Khan and obtained from him a written promise of pardon, attested by his seal and signature. Thereupon Safi Khan came out of the fort and delivered up letters which he had received from many of the great nobles, instigating him to bring forward Nekūsiyar as a claimant for the throne. Among the rest was one bearing the private seal of Husain 'Ali Khān himself. He was struck with amazement. On enquiring, he found that Mitr Sen at the time when he had access to the Nawāb's darbār, had prepared it and sent it to Şafi Khan.8

SECTION 5.—Surrender of ÅGRAH FORT And of NekŪSIYAR.

At length on the 27th Ramazan 1131 H. (12th August, 1719) the garrison surrendered. Ghairat Khan was sent in with a force to take possession, while Rājah Muḥkam Singh and Samandar Khan brought

1 Kām Rāj, ‘Ibratnāmah, 69b, says it was the other son of Buland Akhtar, viz., Fatḥ-ul-mubin, who tried to escape.

2 Siwaniḥ-i-Khizri, Khāfĩ Khān II, 836, Kāmwar Khān, 207.

8 Siwāniḥ-i-Khizrī of Khizr Khan, Pannī.

♦ It is the 29th Ramaṇān in Muḥammad Qāsim, 289, and so also in the Tabṣiratun-nāzirīn, year 1131 H., p. 129, where is to be found ‘Abd-nl-jalīl's qaṣīdah in honour of the occasion. The poet was present on the spot.

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