Графични страници
PDF файл

Tatars in splendid armour, were mounted upon the finest Persian steeds, with bridles of silver and saddles richly embroidered. Five hundred attendants in rich livery with drawn swords, ran before to proclaim the monarch's approach, and to clear the way. That his army might be kept in corstant exercise, he led them out twice every week to hunt for forty or fifty miles round the city, and he established laws for the preservation of the game.

The festivals of Norooz and Ide, as also the anniversary of his own birth, were held with wonderful pomp and splendour. He was, nevertheless, a great enemy to debauchery and licentiousness, and prohibited the drinking of wine under the severest penalties.

Unlike most of his predecessors, this monarch was less solicitous to extend his dominions, than to strengthen his empire. When-advised by his council to undertake an expedition to reduce the kingdoms of Gujerat and Malwah, which had been annexed to the empire by Kuttub-ul-deen, but had subsequently shaken off the yoke, Baleen would by no means consent; giving as his reason, that the Moguls were become so powerful in the north, that he thought it much wiser to secure his possessions against those invaders, than to weaken himself, and to leave his country unguarded, by engaging in foreign wars. The military transactions of this reign, therefore, were confined to measures of police and defence, and the suppression of rebellion. On some occasions, the inha. bitants of the disturbed districts were punished by extermination. A certain tribe of banditti called Mewats, who had possessed themselves of an extensive wilderness, about eighty miles S. E. of the capital, towards the hills, had, during the preceding reigns, carried their predatory incursions to the very gates of

[ocr errors]

Delhi. In an expedition sent against these marauders by Baleen, above 100,000 are stated to have been put to the sword ; and the woods being cleared away for a circuit of a hundred miles, a line of forts was erected along the foot of the mountains, to protect the settlers on the cleared lands. An insurrection in Budayoon and Kuttore, suppressed by the monarch in person, was punished with an indiscriminate massacre of several thousands of the unfortunate inhabitants. The army were engaged for two years in reducing to obedience the wild inhabitants of the Jood mountains. About the year 1282, a more formidable rebellion broke out. Toghrul, who had been entrusted with the government of Bengal, was emboldened, by a report of the emperor's death, to assume the red umbrella and the other insignia of independent royalty; and when he found that Baleen was still living, he refused to obey his mandate and return to his allegiance. Two imperial armies sent against him, were successively defeated ; and Baleen found himself at length compelled to take the field in person. Crossing the Ganges, without waiting for the dry season, he proceeded to Bengal by forced marches, while Togbrul, having tidings of his approach, retired with all his treasure into Orissa, where he had been pushing his conquests.* He was fallen in with, however, by an

• He is stated to have led an army against some Indian princes in the neighbourhood of Jagenagur, a town near Cuttak, and, having defeated them, to have carried off some hundreds of elephants and much wealth, out of which he made no acknowledgement to the emperor. Jagepoor or Jehazpoor is probably the town referred to. This principality was first invaded by the Mohammedans in 1243, when Toghan Khan, governor of Bengal, was not only defeated by the native rajah, but was pursued to Gour, his metropolis. The Mohammedans were defeated a second time by the Rajah of Jagepoor in 1253.-HAMILTON'S Gazetteer,


advanced detachment of the imperial forces, who were scouring the country in search of the fugitives ; and was surprised in his tent by one of Baleen's officers, who, at the head of only forty men, succeeded in penetrating, undiscovered, to the centre of the enemy's encampment. The greatest confusion and a general panic ensued ; and Toghrul was shot with an arrow in crossing a river. His whole family and principal adherents were put to death, and Baleen was withheld from impaling all the prisoners taken in this expedi. tion, on his return to Delhi, only by the united intercessions of the mufties, kadies, and learned men, who approached the throne in a body. Baleen was absent on this expedition three years. He left his Kera, viceroy of Bengal, bestowing upon him all the ensigns of royalty ; and on the death of his eldest son, the accomplished Mahommed, he sent for him to Delhi, appointing him his successor. Kera, however, appears to have preferred the peaceful possession of his kingdom to the reversion of a precarious empire; and he declined to remain at his father's court, much to the displeasure and grief of the now aged monarch, who expired not long after, in the year 1288, after a reign of twenty-two years.

The grandson of Baleen, Moaz-ul-deen Kai-Kobad, was now raised to the throne ; a weak and dissolute prince, who suffered himself to be entirely ruled by an artful vizier. His father, the King of Bengal, made an effort to reclaim him by his advice, and by cautioning him against the arts of his minister ; but he too late resolved to attempt to retrace his steps. Being seized with a paralytic stroke, he was dethroned, and afterwards murdered, having reigned little more than three years. His infant son, after being made a pageant king for a short time, shared his father's fate;

and the throne was usurped by Ferose, an Afghaun of the Chilligi or Khulji tribe, under the title of Jellal. ul-deen.

This monarch was seventy years of age when he mounted the musnud. From his love of plainness, he changed the royal umbrella from red to white. Having no great confidence in the loyalty of the citizens of Delhi, he fixed his residence at Kilogurry, which he strengthened with works and adorned with gardens; and the omrahs, following the emperor's example, built palaces around, so that Kilogurry became known as the new city. The wisdom, justice, and lenity of Ferose, gradually procured him the estimation of all his subjects, except the omrahs of his tribe, to whom his conduct, in pardoning some rebel chiefs, gave great umbrage. “ I am now an old man,” said the emperor, on being urged to take vengeance on the traitors, " and wish to go down to the grave without shedding blood.” As the consequence, however, of his humane, but feeble policy, insurrections were multiplied, gangs of robbers infested all the roads, and every species of crime became common; public security was at an end, and the provincial governors withheld their revenues from the imperial treasury. Although a usurper, he was worthy, however, of a better fate. In the eighth year of his reign, Allah, his nephew and son-in-law, on his return from a predatory inroad into the Deccan, basely conspired against his aged benefactor and sovereign, and having murdered him, mounted the throne, A.D. 1295.

The reign of this able but execrable monarch, which lasted twenty years, forms a brilliant period in the annals of the Delhi monarchy, as he was the first who extended the Mohammedan conquests into the kingdoms of the Deccan. In his first expedition, (the one

above referred to, undertaken about the year 1292, with the consent of the aged emperor,) he took by surprise the city of Deoghur* (in Aurungabad), the capital of Ram-deo Rajah, and led back his troops laden with incalculable wealth, through hostile terri. tories, to Delhi, where he consummated his daring exploit by the murder of the emperor and the usurpation of the throne. The account given of this extraordinary inroad wears the character of romance. Allah, we are told by a native writer, left Gurrah, the seat of his government, with 8000 chosen horse, on pretence of a hunting excursion ; and taking a route through the territories of several petty rajahs, he evaded all hostilities by giving out, that he had left the emperor's court in disgust, and was proceeding to offer his services to the Rajah of Telingana, at that time the most powerful monarch in the Deccan. After two months' march, he arrived, without meeting with any serious opposition, at Elichpoor ; whence, changing all at once his course, he decamped by night, and in two days surprised Ram-deo in his capital, which, after a short contest, he entered, the rajah retiring into the citadel. Allah immediately invested the place, giving out that his forces formed only the vanguard of the emperor's army, who were in full march to the place. This struck universal terror into the rajahs of the surrounding country, who thought only of securing their own possessions, and Allah was left at liberty to prosecute the work of pillage. Having at length come to advantageous terms with the rajah, who remained shut up in the citadel, he was preparing to evacuate the city with his treasure, when the son of Ram-deo advanced to the relief of the place,

* Afterwards named Dowletabad; the ancient Tagara..

« ПредишнаНапред »