READING HALL

"THIRD MILLENNIUM LIBRARY"

Jewels from the Christian World Civilization

HISTORY OF INDIA

 

Turks and Afghans

 

CHAPTER XIX SIND AND MULTAN

I.

SiND

The history of Sind from the period of the Arab conquest early in the eighth century to the time when it became a province is fragmentary and obscure. From the first conquest until a.d. 1010, when it was conquered by Mahmud of Ghazni it was ruled by a governor or governors who pretended to represent the Abbasid Caliphs of Baghdad, but were more probably hereditary rulers who obtained the Caliph's recognition as a matter of form, and in some cases, doubtless, neglected even this formality. From its conquest by Mahmud until 1053, in the reign of Farrukhzad, the tenth of his line, it was, at least nominally, a province of the empire of Ghazni, but in that year, while the empire was still in confusion owing to the recent usurpation of Tughril 'the Ingrate', the Sumras, a native Rajput tribe of Lower Sind established themselves in that region, but failed to extend their authority over Upper Sind and Multan. The province was conquered by Muizzuddin Muhammad Ghuri, and was governed by his lieutenant, Nasiruddin Qabacha, who attempted, after his master's death, to assert his independence, but was conquered by Shamsuddin Iltutmish.

Of the nature and extent of the authority exercised by the later Slave kings over the province little is known, but it probably varied with the personal character of the monarch and of the ruler of Sind. The province owned the authority of Ghiyasuddin and of the Khaljis of Delhi, whose power preserved it from becoming the prey of the Mughuls, but retained so much autonomy, even during the reign of Muhammad Tughluq, whose empire included the whole of India except Kashmir and some tracts in the neighborhood of Cape Comorin in the extreme south and in Kathiawar in the extreme west, as enabled the Sammas, a Rajput tribe of Cutch and Lower Sind, to oust the Sumras and to usurp, without the interference of any central authority, the government of the country. There are many discrepancies as to the date of this event, and one authority places it in 1439, which is at least a century too late. From a consideration of all the circumstances it is safe to conclude that it occurred about 1336.

Sammas and Arghuns

The Sammas, of whom Abul-Fazi enumerates, in the Aln-i-Akbari sixteen, and Muhammad Masum, in the Tarikh-i-Sind, seventeen, had adopted Islam, and propagated that religion in their dominions. They used, as rulers, the title of Jam, still retained by the chiefs of Nawanagar in Kathiawar, which is explained as an assertion of a claim to descent from Jamshid, and the explanation, though not convincing, is the only one which has been offered. The first three princes of this line acknowledged, by the payment of tribute, the supremacy of Muhammad Tughluq, but the third, by harboring and protecting the rebel Taghi, repudiated his allegiance to Delhi, and was enabled, by the opportune death of his suzerain and the defection of his allies, to escape the punishment of rebellion, but his successor, Timaji, was compelled by the arms of Firuz Tughluq to return to his allegiance, and to signalize his obedience by a protracted sojourn at the court of Delhi.

The chroniclers of Sind make no mention of the victory of Shihabuddin of Kashmir (1359-1378) over the Jam of Sind on the banks of the Indus, the only authorities for which are the chronicles of Kashmir, so vague on the point as to be worthless.

The disruption of Muhammad Tughluq's great empire after the death of Firuz, and the contraction of the kingdom of Delhi, after the invasion of Timur, to a few districts round the capital absolved the Jams of Sind from their allegiance to a central authority, and they ruled their principality as independent sovereigns until, in the reign of Jam Nizamuddin, commonly known as Nanda, who succeeded in 1439 and reigned for sixty years, the Mughuls of the Arghun clan began to make their influence felt in Lower Sind, and the Sammas sought to increase their power by a close alliance with Gujarat. Daughters were given in marriage to the kings of that country, and, in one instance, to one of their dependants, Qaisar Khan Faruqi, who belonged to the ruling family of Khandesh, and whose grandson succeeded to that principality, but in 1521 Shah Beg Arghun, driven from Qandahar by Babur, conquered Sind and expelled Jam Firuz, the last of the Sammas, who found an asylum at the court of Gujarat and gave his daughter in marriage to Sultan Bahadur of that country.

Shah Beg Arghun died in 1524, and was succeeded by his son, Shah Husain, who in 1528, after a siege of more than a year's duration, took Multan, then nominally ruled by Sultan Husain Langah II, devastated the city, carried the inhabitants between the ages of seven and seventy into captivity, and appointed Khvaja Shamsuddin its governor, with Langar Khan, who had formerly commanded the army of Multan, as his assistant. Shortly afterwards Langar Khan, having collected the scattered inhabitants and restored a measure of prosperity to the city, expelled Shamsuddin and governed Multan as an independent ruler.

Shah Husain Arghun was reigning in 1541 when Humayun, fleeing from Lahore, took refuge in Sind. Sultan Mahmud of Bukkur shut himself up in his island fortress and refused to assist in any way the fallen emperor, nor was Shah Husain more inclined to protect the man whose father had expelled him from Qandahar. Humayun attempted to persuade him to join him in an attack on Gujarat, but Shah Husain, having kept his envoys in attendance for five or six months, dismissed them without a decided answer, and while Humayun was besieging Bukkur and Sehwan cut off his supplies. Humayun left Sind in May, 1542, and, having vainly endeavored to obtain assistance from the rajas, Maldeo of Jodhpur and Lonkaran of Jaisalmer, returned to the country later in the year. His son Akbar was born at Umarkot on November 25, 1542, and Humayun fled through Sind towards Persia, crossing the Indus at Sehwan.

Shah Husain Arghun suffered from continued fever, and his health was so enfeebled that his nobles deserted him and elected as their sovereign Mirza Muhammad Isa Tarkhan, a member of the elder branch of the Arghun clan. Shah Husain and Sultan Mahmtid, the governor of Bukkur, were united in their opposition to Isa, but were compelled to sue for peace and to cede to him a great part of Sind, the whole of which fell into his possession on the death of Shah Husain in 1556.

Muhammad Isa Tarkhan died in 1567, and was succeeded by his son, Mirza Muhammad Baqi Tarkhan, who, after crushing the revolt of his younger brother, reigned peacefully until 1585, when he committed suicide in a fit of insanity. His son Mirza Payanda Muhammad Tarkhan, being likewise insane, was excluded from the succession, which passed to his son, Mirza Jani Beg Tarkhan, the grandson of Muhammad Baqi.

Akbar, who regarded Sind as a province of his empire, resented Jani Beg's failure to appear at his court, and in 1591 sent Abdur-Rahim Khan, Khan Khanan, to invade the country. He defeated Jani Beg in two engagements, compelled him to surrender both Tattah and Sehwan, and carried him to Akbar's court at Lahore. Here he was well received, and was appointed governor of the Multan province, and shortly afterwards, owing to the clamors of the Arghun clan for the return of their old ruler, was restored to Sind as governor of the province. He died at Burhanpur in 1599, and his son Mirza Ghazi Beg Tarkhan was appointed to the government of Sind, the history of which was merged thenceforward in that of the Mughul empire.

II.

MULTAN


Multan, regarded by the Arab conquerors as the principal city of Upper Sind, was the capital of a region which was often closely connected with Sind, but was ordinarily regarded as a province of the kingdom or empire of Delhi, whose claim to its obedience was established early in the thirteenth century by Shamsuddin Iltutmish, when he defeated Nasiruddin Qabacha, the governor who had been appointed by Muizzuddin Muhammad Ghuri, and was retained, at least nominally, by his successors until the disruption of the kingdom after the invasion of Timur Lang.

The authority of the Sayyid dynasty, which acquired the throne in 1414, extended no further than the immediate neighborhood of Delhi, and Muhammad Shah, the third king of that line, failed even to observe the formality of nominating a governor to Multan, and the people were compelled to provide one for themselves. Their devotion to the local saint, Bahauddin Zakariya, who was born at Karor in 1182 and died at Multan on November 7, 1267, had always been conspicuous, and in 1438 they chose as their ruler Shaikh Yusuf Quraishi, the guardian of the saint's shrine.

The Shaikh had the merits and the defects of one who had chosen a life of seclusion and devotion. His rule was mild and beneficent, but he was ill-equipped to combat, either by force or by art, the enemies of his rule. An Afghan chief, Sahra Langah, of Sibi, beguiled him by professing devotion for him, gave him his daughter in marriage, and made paternal affection a pretext for visits to Multan so frequent that they ceased to excite either comment or suspicion. In 1440 he succeeded by a stratagem in introducing his troops into the Shaikh's citadel, deposed him, and banished him to Delhi, where he was well received by Buhlul Lodi.

Sahra, who assumed the title of Sultan Qutbuddin, founded the Langah dynasty, which endured almost as long as Multan maintained her independence of Delhi. He died in 1456 after a reign of sixteen years, and was succeeded by his son. Sultan Husain I.

Shaikh Yusuf constantly urged Buhlul Lodi to recover Multan, and the Afghan king twice set out from Delhi with this object. In 1452 he was recalled by the advance of Mahmud Shah of Jaunpur, whom some disaffected nobles had invited to Delhi, and once again, after 1458, the menacing attitude of Husain Shah of Jaunpur compelled him to retrace his steps.

Husain Langah I was an energetic ruler, and annexed Shorkot and Karor. While he was engaged in suppressing the rebellion of his brother in Karor Buhlul, moved once again by the importunity of Shaikh Yusuf, sent his third son, Barbak Shah, to attempt to recover Multan, and ordered Tatar Khan Lodi, governor of the Punjab, to support him. The two kinsmen advanced on Multan, but Husain returned by forced marches and utterly defeated them before the city, putting their armies to flight.

On the death of Buhlul Lodi, on July 17, 1489, Husain I sent letters of condolence and congratulation to his son and successor, Sikandar Shah, and the two monarchs concluded a treaty of peace. Husain I abdicated in his old age, nominating his son Firuz as his successor, but Firuz proved to be a dissolute and worthless ruler. He conceived unfounded suspicions of Bilal, son of the minister, Imadul-Mulk, whom his father had chosen, and caused him to be assassinated. Imadul-Mulk avenged Bilal's death by poisoning Firuz, and Husain, deeply grieved by his son's death, resumed the reins of power, and designated Mahmud, the son of Firuz, as his heir.

Imadul-Mulk's past services and the death of his son were not allowed to atone for his having compassed the death of his prince, and he was executed. On August 31, 1502, Husain himself died, after a reign of forty-six years, and was succeeded by his grandson, Mahmud, the son of Firiiz.

Mahmud was a profligate youth, and his tyranny drove his minister, Jam Bayazid, on whom Husain had bestowed the important fief of Shorkot, into rebellion. War broke out between the king and his vassal, who summoned to his aid Daulat Khan Lodi, governor of the Punjab. The combination was too strong for the king of Multan, who was compelled to relinquish his claims to sovereignty over the Shorkot district, and to acquiesce in Daulat Khan's decision that the Ravi should be regarded as the northern frontier of the kingdom of Multan. Shorkot was thus lost to Multan and became a fief in the province of the Punjab.

Recovery of Multan

In 1527 Mirza Shah Husain Arghun of Sind invaded the kingdom of Multan at the instigation of Babur. Mahmud vainly endeavored to stay his advance by sending to him a mission charged with the duty of effecting a settlement by negotiation, and, on the failure of his efforts to secure peace, marched forth to a distance of two stages from the city. Here his mission rejoined him on its return, and immediately after receiving it he died, poisoned, as was supposed, by Langar Khan, the commander of his troops, who, on his master's death, deserted to the enemy. The army returned to Multan and proclaimed Husain, the infant son of Mahmud, king. Shujaul-Mulk Bukharl, son-in-law of the late king, became regent, and decided, against the advice of all his officers, to stand a siege. The city after enduring fearful privations, fell in 1528, after a resistance of a year and some months, the young king was imprisoned, and Shujaul-Mulk Bukhari was tortured to death. The kingdom was annexed to Sind and Khvaja Shamsuddin was appointed governor by Shah Husain Arghun, but was shortly afterwards removed by Langar Khan, who submitted to Kamran Mirza, brother of Humayun of Delhi, and governor of the Punjab on his behalf, thus reuniting Multan to Delhi, from which it had been severed for a century.