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Selim (Islam Shah) succeeded his father. He maintained his throne against his enemies, and emulated the magnificence of his predecessor. * He died in 1552, after a reign of nine years. His son Ferose, in his twelfth year, was then placed upon the throne; but, after three days, was assassinated by his uncle Mubarik, who assumed the title of Mohammed Adil. This worthless usurper was expelled by his cousin Ibra. him III., who was, in his turn, compelled to surrender his throne to a nephew of the Emperor Shere, Secunder Shah. This period of general anarchy and confusion terminated in the victorious return of Humaioon, who, invited by a strong party to take advantage of the divisions among the Patan omrahs, met with little resistance in repossessing himself of the empire of his father. He died in consequence of a fall, in the following year, at the age of forty-eight; but his return was a fortunate circumstance for the country, as it was the means of seating his illustrious son quietly on the throne of Agra. f
Akbar was only in his fourteenth year, when, on his father's death, in 1556, he commenced a splendid
* Ferishta states, that, “ from Bengal to the Indus, he built an intermediate serai between each of those which his father had erected on the great road." In this reign, an impostor made some poise in the assumed character of Imaum Mehdi, whose second coming is looked for by a numerous division of Moslems. He converted some thousands, and, after being twice banished by Selim, was scourged to death at Agra, A.D. 1547.
+ In this brief account of the reign of Humaioon, we have ad. hered to Dow, except as to the age at which he died, which is given on the authority of Major Price. The last volume of his valuable work, which is brought down only to the accession of Akbar, contains a detailed account (from Abul Fazzel) of the singular vicissitudes in the life of Humaioon, whose mild and benevolent character, and love of science, give interest to his misfortunes.
He was buried at Delhi. Akbar ascended the throne Feb. 14, 1556, and died Oct. 12, 1605.
and busy reign of nearly fifty years. His titles were, Shah Jumja Abûl Muzzisser, Jellâl-uddeen, Mahom. med Akbar, Padisha Ghazi. The celebrated Abul Fazzel, “ the most elegant writer of India,” has given to the world the history of this renowned monarch in three volumes, called Akbar-nameh. A very brief notice of the principal events, is all that our purpose requires. The first years of Akbar's reign were employed in the reduction of the revolted provinces ; in which the regent Byram, who had a great share in recovering the empire for Humaioon, was a principal actor. Himû, the vizier of Mahommed, the Patan emperor of the eastern provinces, had succeeded in taking Agra and Delhi ; and of all his Indian dominions, the provinces towards the heads of the Indus alone were left to Akbar, when, in the plains of Pani. put, the Patans were defeated by Byram at the head of a much inferior force; and Himâ being slain, the empire reverted to its previous tranquillity. The vio. lence and presumption of Byram at length occasioned a breach between him and Akbar ; and the all-powerful minister made a feeble effort at rebellion, for which he obtained the pardon of his grateful sovereign, but met his death on his way to Mecca, from the hand of a man whose father he had slain. This took place in 1560.
Akbar now took the reins of government into his own hands, and by his judicious choice of governors, his wise regulations, and his tolerant policy, he secured the permanence of his conquests. The Hin. doos still formed the bulk of the population, even in those provinces which had been the most frequently overrun by their conquerors ; and experience had taught the Mohammedan sovereigns, that the passive temper of the infidels would prevent them, if left to themselves, from disturbing the government. The recovery of the Deccan provinces, however, was an object which deeply concerned the honour of the Emperor; and Akbar resolved on carrying his arms into that quarter. ' In 1563, he had marched to Oojein, to chastise the insubordination of the Uzbeg governor of Malwah ; and while in that city, Mubarik, King of Khandeish, paid him homage, and gave him his daughter in marriage. That part of the Deccan, therefore, had, at this period, a Mohammedan sovereign. In the province of Gundwana, however, it seems, there existed a small, independent kingdom, which had for its capital Gurrah, and which had never yet fallen under the dominion of foreign invaders. The sovereign, at this time, was a queen celebrated for her beauty and accomplishments, and her flourishing country was in perfect peace.* Tempted by the report of the unplundered wealth which it contained, Asaph, the governor of Kurrah in Malwah, after having made several predatory inroads, obtained permission of Akbar to subdue the country. Having raised 6000 horse and about double that number of infantry, he marched against the unoffending natives, but was met by the royal amazon at the head of a powerful army, including 1500 elephants ; from whom he received a severe repulse, 600 Mogul horsemen being left on the field. In a second battle, the valorous queen was severely wounded ; and when she found that the day was lost, and that she must be taken prisoner, she plunged her dagger into her bosom. Asaph now laid siege to the royal fort, where
"Her dominions are stated to have been about 300 miles in length, and 100 in breadth, and to have comprised 70,000 towns and villages ! Dow calls it “ the country of Gurrah or Kattuc, now part of Orissa and Bundelcund ;” but it seems to have been rather the Gurrah district of Gundwana, :
all the treasures of the reigning family had been for ten generations deposited. It was taken by storm, and the unfortunate garrison had recourse to the barbarous custom of the jour,--the general massacre of their wives and children, to prevent their falling into the bands of the enemy. The spoil was immense ; and Asaph, to secure his plunder, took up his residence in the country, transmitting to Akbar only 200 elephants, and no part of the treasure; but he was ultimately compelled to account for it.
Akbar was unable to follow up this conquest, owing to the constant field furnished for his military enterprise by insurrectionary movements in Gujerat and Bengal, and the turbulence of the Rajpoots of Ajmeer. At the time of his death, no further progress had been made in the reduction of the Deccan, than taking possession of the western part of Berar, Khandeish, Tellingana, and the northern part. of Ahmednuggar, the capital of which was taken in 1601, after a long and bloody siege. These acquisi. tions, the government of which, as a distinct province, Akbar conferred upon his son, were deemed of sufficient consequence to be annexed to the imperial titles, in a proclamation, on the Emperor's triumphant return to Agra. Cashmeer also was reduced in this reign, the civil dissensions raging among the chieftains of that country rendering it an easy conquest.
In the year 1603, Prince Danial, Akbar's favourite, son, was carried off by a debauch at Burhampoor in the Deccan. His death, and the manner of it, so much affected the Emperor, who was in a declining state of health, that from that moment he became rapidly worse; and he died in the following year, in the sixtyfourth year of his age.
“ Hindostan Proper had never,” Major Renne!!
remarks, experienced so much tranquillity
as during the latter part of Akbar's reign ; but this tranquillity could hardly be deemed such in any other quarter of the world, and must, therefore, be understood to mean a state short of actual rebellion, or, at least, commotion.” While his sons were employed in carrying on the wars on the frontiers, the Emperor himself, with his learned minister, the celebrated Abul Fazzel, was employed in regulating the internal management and economy of his kingdom. Inquiries were set on foot, by means of which the revenue, population, produce, religion, arts, and commerce of each district were ascertained ; and the results were embodied in the work known under the title of Ayeen Akbery, or the Insti. tutes of the Emperor Akber.* The empire was at this time distributed into soubahs (governments or viceroyalties) which were divided into circars (provinces), and these again were subdivided into pergunnahs (districts or hundreds). The names of the original soubahs were, Allahabad, Agra, Oude, Ajmeer, Ah. medabad (or Gujerat), Bahar, Bengal, Delhi, Cabul (and Cashmeer), Lahore, Moultan, and Malwah; to which were afterwards added, the conquered territories of Berar, Khandeish, and Ahmednagur; forming altogether fifteen.t
After Akbar had ascertained the condition, wants, and resources of the several provinces of his vast empire, he applied himself most diligently and wisely
• Translated from the original Persian by Francis Gladwin, esq., 2 vols. 4to. London, 1800. The Ayeen Akbery forms the third volume of the Akber-nameh.
† Ayeen Akbery, vol. ii. p. 1. Dow makes them twenty-two; adding to the enumeration, Kandahar, Ghizni, and Cashmere (included by Abul Fazzel in Caubul), Outch, Sinde, Sirhind, Doab, and Orissa. He omits Ahmednagur. See vol, iii. p. 2.