READING HALL

"THIRD MILLENNIUM LIBRARY"

Jewels from the Christian World Civilization

HISTORY OF INDIA

 

Turks and Afghans

 

X
THE KINGDOM OF JAUNPUR

 

THE eunuch Malik Sarvar, Khvaja Jahan, having, as minister, placed on the throne of Delhi, in March, 1393, Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, son of Muhammad and grandson of Firuz Tughluq, and suppressed the Hindu rebellions in the Gangetic Doab and Oudh, threw off his allegiance to Delhi, and established himself at Jaunpur. He extended his authority not only over Oudh, but also over the Gangetic Doab as far west as Koil and, on the east, into Tirhut and Bihar. His advance in this direction alarmed the king of Bengal, who propitiated him with the tribute of elephants, due under the treaty with Firaz Tughluq, to the king of Delhi, who was no longer strong enough to assert his claim to the tribute or to resent its diversion to Jaunpur.

Khvaja Jahan sent no aid to Delhi when it was attacked by Timur, and it is not recorded that he paid any attention to the invaders. He died in 1399, leaving his dominions intact to his adopted son, Malik Qaranful, who adopted the royal style of Mubarak Shah, and struck coin and caused the khutba to be recited in his name.

An account of the abortive expedition undertaken by Mallu and Mahmud Shah of Delhi, who hoped, on Khvaja Jahan’s death, to recover Jaunpur, has already been given in Chapter VII. Jaunpur was again menaced in 1401, and Mubarak prepared to repel an invasion, but died suddenly in 1402, and was succeeded by his younger brother, who ascended the throne under the title of Shams-ud-din Ibrahim Shah.

Ibrahim was a cultured prince and a liberal patron of learning, which was then in sore need of a peaceful retreat, and found it at his court, from which issued many works on theology and law. The second expedition of Mallu and Mahmud Shah of Delhi against Jaunpur ended, as has been already related, in Mahmud's flight from his overbearing minister. Ibrahim's pride forbade him to treat his guest as his sovereign, and Mahmud was so chagrined by his reception that he surprised Ibrahim's governor in Kanauj, expelled him from the town, and made it his residence. Ibrahim hesitated to take up arms against him, and returned to Jaunpur, while Mallu returned to Delhi. In 1405 he was slain in battle by Khizr Khan the Sayyid and Mahmud Shah returned to Delhi, leaving Malik Mahmud in command of Kanauj. Ibrahim attempted to expel him, but Mahmud Shah marched to his relief, and Ibrahim retired, but returned again in 1407 and, after a siege of four months, forced Malik Mahmud to surrender and marched on Delhi. He was deterred by a report that Muzaffar I of Gujarat had marched from Malwa to the assistance of Mahmal Shah from attacking the city, but annexed the district of Sambhal, east of the Ganges, and appointed his son governor there.

Between 1409 and 1414 Ibrahim was persuaded by the saint Qutbul Alam to invade Bengal with the object of punishing Raja Ganesh who, having acquired in that kingdom more power than its nominal ruler, was persecuting Islam. Ganesh, on discovering that his persecution of Muslims was raising up enemies against him on all sides, promised to desist from it, and permitted Qutbul Alam to convert his son Jaimal to Islam, and the saint, satisfied with this success, persuaded Ibrahim Shah to retire.

Ibrahim’s abortive attempt, early in 1428, to restore Muhammad Khan Auhadi to Bayana has been described in Chapter VIII. It added nothing to his reputation.

In 1433 the idea of annexing the town and district of Kalpi occurred simultaneously to Ibrahim and to Hushang Shah of Malwa. Each had advanced his frontier in this direction, and the district lay between their dominions and was separated from Delhi, to which it nominally owed allegiance, by the turbulent district of Etawah. The two kings met in the neighborhood of Kalpi and hostilities were imminent when Ibrahim was obliged to retreat by the news that Mubarak Shah of Delhi was marching on Jaunpur. His anxiety was relieved by the assassination of Mubarak, but before he could return Hushang had profited by his absence to receive the surrender of Sadir Khan, the governor, and had added Kalpi to his dominions.

 

 

 

War between Jaunpur and Malwa

Ibrahim died in 1436 and was succeeded by his son Mahmud Shah, who in 1443 opened with Mahmud Shah Khalji a friendly correspondence followed by measures which involved the two states in hostilities. Hushang Shah, Mahmud Khalji’s cousin, had left Qadir Khan at Kalpi as governor of the fortress and district and he profited by the disputes regarding the succession to the throne of Malwa to assume independence, and even styled himself Qadir Shah. Qadir was now dead and had been succeeded by his son, who styled himself Nasir Shah, and so conducted himself as to scandalise all good Muslims. He destroyed a flourishing and populous town and handed over many Muslim girls to Hindus in order that they might be taught to posture and dance, accomplishments held in the East to be disreputable. Mahmud of Jaunpur was among those to whom Nasir’s behaviour gave offence, and he sent a mission to Mahmud Khalji to complain of his lieutenant's misconduct. The king of Malwa admitted that he had heard the reports which were confirmed by the letter of Mahmud Sharqi, and gave him permission to punish Nasir. He marched to Kalpi, attacked Nasir, and expelled him from the town, and Nasir, assuming now the character of a vassal of Malwa, wrote to Mahmud Khalji and complained that the king of Jaunpur had expelled him from a fief which had been bestowed upon his father by the king of Malwa, and intended to annex not only Kalpi, but Chanderi. Mahmud Khalji sent a message to Mahmud Sharqi, suggesting that as Nasir had expressed contrition he should be left in possession of the sub-district of Rath in the Halpi district, but Mahmud Sharqi, impelled either by ambition or by a just appreciation of the offences of which Nasir had been guilty, refused to stay his hand, and on November 14, 1444, Mahmud Khalji marched against him. The armies met near Irij, and an indecisive battle was fought, but Mahmud Sharqi occupied a strong position from which he refused to be drawn, and desultory operations continued for some months, until Mahmud Khalji and his protégé Nasir withdrew to Chanderi for the rainy season. While they were in quarters at Chanderi peace was concluded, Mahmud Sharqi agreeing to place Nasir at once in possession of Rath and to restore the rest of the Kalpi district within four months, provided that Mahmud Khalji had retired, by that time, to Mindu. After some hesitation on the part of Mahmud Khalji these terms were accepted, and were observed, and by the end of the year each monarch had returned to his own capital and the district of Kalpi had been restored to Nasir, whose chastisement was deemed to have been sufficient.

Mahmud Sharqi’s adventure against Buhlul Lodi of Delhi in 1452 and its unfortunate results for Jaunpur, have already been described in Chapter IX. His rash attack on Delhi served but to open Buhlul’s eyes to the danger with which the existence of an independent kingdom of Jaunpur menaced him, and to convince him of the necessity for its destruction.

After this unfortunate enterprise Mahmud turned his attention to the Chunar district, the greater part of which he annexed. Nizam-ud-din Ahmad gives him credit for an expedition against the idolaters of Orissa, whom, he says, he plundered, destroying their idol-temples, but he may be acquitted of the folly of pursuing purposeless adventures in foreign lands when the defence of his own kingdom demanded all his energies.

The death of Mahmud in 1457, just as he was about to meet Buhlul Lodi in the field, and the accession of his son Bhikan, who assumed the title of Muhammad Shah, have been described in the preceding chapter. Buhlul, having made peace with Muhammad and retreated as far as Dhankaur, near the Jumna, about twenty-eight miles south-east of Delhi, was reminded that he had left his kinsman, Qutb Khan Lodi, in captivity at Jaunpur, and suddenly returned to compel Muhammad Shah to release him. Muhammad turned with equal promptitude and marched to Shamsabad, from which fief he expelled Raja Karan, Buhlul’s vassal, and installed in his place Jaunan Khan, his own. His success attracted to his standard Raja Partab of Etawah who openly transferred his allegiance from Delhi to Jaunpur. The two opposing armies marched to the neighbourhood of Rapri, on the Junma, where, after some desultory and inconclusive fighting that of Jaunpur was demoralised by intestine strife. Muhammad Shah, who, after his elevation to the throne, had evinced a violent and bloodthirsty disposition, had sent an order directing the chief magistrate of Jaunpur to put to death Hasan Khan, a younger son of Mahmud Shah, and Qutb Khan Lodi. The magistrate replied that he could not carry out the order as the king's mother was protecting the condemned men, and Muhammad enticed his mother from the city by persuading her that he wished to consult her regarding the assignment of a share of the kingdom to his brother, Hasan Khan. She had no sooner left Jaunpur than Hasan Khan was murdered, and as she remained at Kanauj to mourn her son, Muhammad insulted her grief by the brutal taunt that she would save herself trouble by mourning at the same time for her other sons, who would presently follow Hasan to the grave. The threat put the princes on their guard, and by persuading the tyrant that Buhlul was about to make a night attack on his camp they induced him to place at their disposal 30,000 horse and thirty elephants, wherewith to meet it. With this force Husain Khan, the king's elder surviving brother, withdrew from the camp, followed by Buhlul, who perceived in the movement a menace to his lines of communication. He intercepted Husain Khan's younger brother, Jalal Khan, who was attempting to join him, and detained him as a hostage for Qutb Khan Lodi, who had by some means escaped assassination. Muhammad Shah, now aware of the defection of his brothers, retreated towards the Ganges, followed by Buhlul, but, on approaching Kanauj, discovered that his power was gone, and that his brother Husain had there been acclaimed as king. Muhammad was deserted by the few nobles who remained with him and was slain while attempting, with a few personal adherents, to defend himself against an attack from the army which had lately been his own.

Husain Shah surrendered Qutb Khan Lodi to Buhul, receiving in return his brother, Jalal Khan, and the two monarchs concluded a four years’ truce, which both observed, Husain because his ambition found another outlet, and Buhlul because he required a period of peace in which to consolidate his power and develop his resources.

 

Invasion of Orissa

 

 

Husain’s military strength far exceeded that of Buhlul, for, if the historians are to be believed, he was able, after concluding peace, to assemble an army of 300,000, with 1,400 elephants, for a predatory incursion into Orissa, where Kapileshwar Deva, of the Solar line, had established his authority in 1434. The numbers may be exaggerated, but without a very numerous army Husain could not have risked an advance to distant Orissa through or along the frontier of the intervening kingdom of Bengal, still less a retreat, laden with spoil. His first step was to crush the now virtually independent landholders of Tirhut, which province was devastated and plundered. He then marched on to Orissa, where the depredations of his great army overawed the raja and induced him to purchase peace by the payment of an immense ransom in elephants, horses, money, and valuable goods, which is represented by Muslim vanity as the first instalment of an annual tribute.

In 1466, after his return from Orissa, he sent an army to capture the fortress of Gwalior, where Raja Man Singh still maintained his independence of both Jaunpur and Delhi, but the expedition was only partly successful, and after a protracted siege the army retired on the payment of an indemnity by the raja.

The four years’ truce with Delhi, concluded on the king's accession in 1458, was long expired, and in 1473 Husain, urged by his wife Jalila, a daughter of Shah, the last Sayyid king of Delhi, now living contentedly in inglorious retirement at Budaun, entered upon a series of campaigns, having for their object the conquest and annexation of Delhi.

He marched with a large army to the eastern bank of the Jumna, a few miles to the south-east of Delhi, and Buhlul, who could put into the field no more than 18,000 horse, was so dismayed by the imminence of his peril that he attempted to secure peace by offering to retain only the city of Delhi and the country for thirty-six miles round it, and to govern this district as Husain’s vassal. The offer was rejected, and Buhlul marched from the city to meet his powerful enemy. The armies were encamped on opposite banks of the Jumna, which, for some days, neither ventured to cross in force, but Husain Shah, in his contempt of his opponent, neglected all military precautions, and was accustomed to permit nearly the whole of his army to disperse for the purpose of plundering the rich villages of the Doab. Buhlul, observing this, crossed the river in force and suddenly attacked his camp. There was no force to oppose him, and Husain was compelled to flee, leaving not only his camp, but the ladies of his harem, in the victor's hands. The latter were generously sent by Buhlul unharmed to Jaunpur.

A new treaty was now made, and a truce of three years was agreed upon, but was broken in the following year by Husain, who, at the instigation of his wife, marched with an army of 100,000 horse and 1000 elephants to Etawah, held by Qutb Khan Lodi. Etawah was captured at once, and Husain marched on Delhi. Buhlul again sued, in the humblest guise, for peace, but his entreaties were disregarded, and when he took the field he again defeated Husain, but was not strong enough to profit by his success and was fain to agree to peace. Shortly afterwards Husain marched on Delhi for the third time, but was defeated at Sikhera, about twenty-five miles east of the city, and retreated to Etawah. Qutb Khan Lodi had been permitted to retain his fief on swearing fealty to Husain, and now waited on him. On learning that Husain still entertained the design of conquering Delhi the wily Afghan went about to mislead him, and, after disparaging Buhlul, promised that he would never rest until he had conquered Delhi for Jaunpur. Husain was completely deceived and allowed Qutb Khan to leave his camp. He joined Buhlul at Delhi and put him on his guard against Husain, of whose determination he warned him.

 

 

 

Discomfiture of Husain Shah

The fugitive Alam Shah, Husain’s father-in-law, now died, and his death supplied Husain with a pretext for visiting Budaun, of which district he dispossessed his brother-in-law, Alam Shah’s son. From Budaun he marched to Sambhal, captured Tatar Khan Lodi, who held the district for Buhlul, and sent him a prisoner to Saran, in Tirhut. He then again assembled his army for an attack on Delhi, and in March, 1479, encamped on the eastern bank of the Jumna. This appeared, of all Husain's campaigns, to offer the fairest prospect of success. He had been victorious on the east of the Ganges, his numbers were overwhelming, and Buhlul Lodi and his officers were even more depressed than on former occasions. Qutb Khan was, however, enabled to serve his kinsman by appealing to Husain's filial affection. He invoked the memory of Bibi Raji, Husain’s mother, who had befriended him when he was a prisoner at Jaunpur, and conjured the invader to leave Delhi unmolested. Husain was so affected that he agreed to retire on obtaining Buhlul recognition of his tenure of his new conquests to the east of the Ganges, corresponding to the modern province of Rohilkhand. The recognition was readily accorded and Husain began a leisurely retreat towards Jaunpur. He had so frequently violated treaties that Buhlul considered himself justified in following his example, and perfidiously attacked the retreating army and captured a large number of elephants and horses laden with spoil and treasure, and the persons of Husain's minister and about forty of his principal nobles.

This success marks the turn of the tide in favour of Delhi, and Buhlul pursued the demoralised army of Jaunpur and occupied and annexed the sub-districts of Kampil, Patiali, Shamsabad, Suket, Koil, Marahra, and Jalesar. Husain, when hard pressed by Buhlul's pursuit, turned and faced him, but was defeated, and when peace was made was obliged to acquiesce in Buhlul’s retention of the considerable tract which he had recovered, and to withdraw the frontier of his kingdom to Chhibramau, sixteen miles south of the modern town of Farrukhabad.

Buhlul returned to Delhi and Husain retired to Rapri, but was soon in arms again to recover his lost territory, and met Buhlul at Suhnuh. On this occasion he suffered the heaviest defeat which he had yet experienced, and the plunder which fell into Buhlul’s hands, and the military renown which he acquired with his victory turned the scale in favour of Delhi. Bhulul encamped at Chhibramau and shortly afterwards resumed the offensive against Husain and defeated him at Rapri. Husain fled towards Gwalior, and, after losing some of his wives and children in his passage of the Jumna, was attacked near Athgath on the Chambal by the Bhadauriyas, a predatory tribe, who plundered his camp. Kirat Singh of Gwalior, who still retained confidence in his cause, supplied him with a large sum of money, a contingent of troops, tents, horses, elephants, and camels, and personally escorted him as far as Kalpi on his way back to Jaunpur.

Buhlul marched, after his victory, on Etawah, which was still tributary to Jaunpur, captured the fort after a siege of three days, and then turned to attack Husain, who awaited him opposite Raigaon Khaga, on the Ganges, and was still strong enough to deter him for some months from attempting to force the passage of the river, until Raja Tilok Chand, whose estate lay on the north of the Ganges, joined him, and led his army across by a ford. Husain then retreated to Phaphamau, six miles north of Allahabad, the raja of which place escorted him in safety to Jaunpur. Buhlul marched directly on Jaunpur, and Husain fled by a circuitous route towards Kanauj, but Buhlul pursued him, attacked him before he could reach that city, and defeated him, capturing one of his wives. He then returned to Jaunpur, took the city, placed Mubarak Khan Lohani there as governor, established a garrison under the command of Qutb Khan Lodi at Majhauli, beyond the Gogra, and marched to recover Budaun, which was still nominally subject to Husain. Husain took advantage of his absence from the neighborhood of Jaunpur to reassemble his army and march on that city, and Mubarak Khan, who was not strong enough to withstand him, withdrew to Majhauli and joined Qutb Khan. Husain followed him thither, and the Afghan officers, who hesitated to risk a battle, feigned to negotiate, and thus gave Buhlul time to return from Budaun and reoccupy Jaunpur. A force under his son Barbak had already relieved the garrison of Majhauli, and Husain, at length despairing of recovering his kingdom, fled into Bihar, followed by Buhlul as far as Haldi, on the Ganges near Ballia.

With Husain’s flight the line of the Sharqi kings of Jaunpur came to an end. Buhlul established his son Barbak as governor of Jaunpur, and gave him permission to use the royal title and to coin money, specimens of which, issued by him before his father's death, are extant.

The End of the Kingdom

Husain lived in Bengal under the protection of Shams-ud-din Yusuf Shah and his successors on the throne of that kingdom until 1500, but made no attempt to recover his throne beyond fomenting the strife between Barbak and his younger brother, Sikandar, who succeeded their father on the throne of Delhi in 1489. His hope that the quarrel might open a way for his return to his former kingdom was frustrated, for Sikandar overcame Barbak and Jaunpur was absorbed in the kingdom of Delhi, and Husain died in exile in circumstances not widely different from those in which his father-in-law, the former king of Delhi, died at Budaun.

The Sharqi dynasty reigned in Jaunpur for rather more than eighty years, and in that period produced one king of happy memory, Ibrahim, the patron of learning and of architecture. For a dynasty whose rule was so brief the Sharqis have left very creditable memorials in their public buildings, and the enlightenment which earned for Jaunpur, in Ibrahim's reign, the title of “the Shiraz of India” is surprising in one of negro blood. Malik Sarvar, who founded the dynasty, was a eunuch, and could therefore have no heirs of his body. His two successors were his adopted sons, the brothers Mubarak Shah and Ibrahim Shah, probably slaves. Mubarak’s name, before he assumed the royal title, was Qaranful, “the Clove”, a contemptuous term of endearment appropriated to African slaves. No portraits of the period are known to exist, but there appears to be no reason to doubt that the kings of Jaunpur were of negro descent. The character of Husain, the last of the line, is perplexing and disappointing. He was a man of ideas, with wide opportunities, and resources commensurate with both, ever on the point of realising some great scheme of aggrandizement and ever missing his opportunity through carelessness, folly, and perhaps physical cowardice.