HISTORY OF INDIA
THE SAYYID DYNASTY
THE claim of Khizr Khan, who founded the dynasty known as the Sayyids, to descent from the prophet of Arabia was dubious, and rested chiefly on its casual recognition by the famous saint Sayyid Jabil-ud-din of Bukhara. He assumed no title associated with royalty, but was content with the position of viceroy of Shah Rukh, Timur’s fourth son and successor, to whom he is said to have remitted tribute, and with the title of Rityat-i-Ala, or the “Exalted Standards”. His success reunited the Punjab to Delhi, but the turbulent governors and fief-holders who had withheld their allegiance from a lawful master hesitated at first to acknowledge an upstart, until by degrees many of the old nobles of the late dynasty submitted to him and were permitted to retain their former offices and emoluments.
The Hindus of the Doab and Katehr withheld payment of tribute, and in the year of his accession Khizr Khan found it necessary to send an army under Taj-ul-Mulk to reduce to obedience Har Singh, the rebellious raja of Katehr. The raja fled into the forests of Aonla, but a rigorous blockade compelled him to submit and to give an undertaking to pay tribute in future. Mahabat Khan, governor of Budaun, also made his submission, and Taj-ul-Mulk recrossed the Ganges and compelled the fief-holders and Hindu chieftains of the lower Doab, among them Hasan of Rapri, Raja Sarwar of Etawah, and the raja of Kampil, to own allegiance to their new master. In Chandwar he restored Muslim supremacy, which had been subverted by the Hindus, and returned to Delhi with the tribute, or plunder, which he had collected in the course of his expedition.
The chronicles of the Sayyid dynasty are chiefly a history of expeditions of this nature. Khizr Khan was the most powerful ruler of a house the influence and dignity of which decayed with an unvarying and unchecked rapidity seldom surpassed in the most ephemeral of eastern dynasties, and even in his reign military force was the normal means of collecting the revenue. Recalcitrants were not treated as rebels, and the only punishment inflicted was the exaction of the taxes due from them and of a promise, which they usually violated on the first opportunity, to make regular remittances in the future. Thus, in July, 1416, a most inconvenient season for the collection of revenue, Tajul Mulk was sent to Bayana and Gwalior, not with a view to the reduction of these fortresses but merely to recover, by plundering at random the unfortunate cultivators, the equivalent of the tribute which should have been paid. With this, and with arrears of tribute which he collected from Kampila and Nadi, he returned to Delhi.
In 1415 Malik Sadhu Nadira had been sent to Sirhind as the deputy of Khizr Khan's son Mubarak, on whom that district had been bestowed, and in the following year the Turkish landholders, kinsmen and dependants of Bairam Khan, the former governor, rose under the leadership of Malik Tughan, put him to death, and occupied the fortress. Zirak Khan was sent against them and pursued them across the Sutlej and as far as the lower slopes of the Himalaya, but did not venture to continue the pursuit into the mountains, and returned to Delhi.
In the same year Khizr Khan himself took the field with the object of chastising Ahmad I of Gujarat who, by pursuing his rebellious uncles to Nagaur, which was nominally, at least, subject to Delhi, had violated the frontiers of the kingdom. Ahmad, on learning of his approach, fled into Gujarat, and Khizr Khan retired, receiving on his homeward march tribute from Iliyas Khan, the Muslim governor of Jhain, the raja of Gwalior, and his own former protector, Shams Khan Auhadi of Bayana, whom he might well have spared.
On his arrival at his capital he learnt that Tughan and his followers had returned to Sirhind and were besieging Malik Kamal Badhan, who had been appointed deputy of Mubarak in the place of the murdered Nadira. On this occasion Zirak Khan was more successful, for he overtook the fugitive Turks at Pael, where Malik Tughan submitted and surrendered his son as an hostage for his good behavior, for which subservience he was rewarded with the fief of Jullundur.
Early in 1418 Har Singh of Katehr was again in revolt, and was on this occasion brought to bay and suffered a complete defeat at the hands of Taj-ul-Mulk. He fled, and was pursued into the hills of Kumaon, where Taj-ul-Mulk, unable to seize the object of his pursuit, contented himself with the ignoble but customary satisfaction of plundering the people amongst whom the rebel had found an asylum, and returned to the plains. From Katehr he marched to Etawah, and there besieged Raja Sarwar, who was again in rebellion. Unable to reduce the fortress, he plundered the inhabitants of the district and returned to Delhi in May, but his devastating progress, which had resembled rather the raid of a brigand chief than an expedition for the permanent establishment of order, had so exasperated the people of the region through which he had passed that before the end of the year Khizr Khan found it necessary to follow in the tracks of his lieutenant, and the record of his progress exhibits both the frailty of the bond between him and his subjects and the futility of the means which he employed for the establishment of his authority. He was compelled to use force against the people of Koil, within eighty miles of his capital, and then, crossing the Ganges, laid waste the district of Sambhal. His proceedings so alarmed Mahabat Khan of Budaun, who was in his camp and was, perhaps, conscious of shortcomings in his administration or apprehensive of the discovery of his traffickings with the rebels, that he fled and shut himself up in Budaun, which Khizr Khan besieged for six months without success. For the history of this and the following reign the sole original authority is an encomiast of the Sayyids, and it is impossible to fathom the undercurrent of politics or to estimate the difficulties with which Khizr Khan was confronted, but Mahabat Khan was an old noble of the late dynasty, and there were in the royal camp several of his former comrades who had formally submitted to the new order of things, and in June, 1419, Khizr Khan discovered the existence among them of a conspiracy to which Mahabat Khan was doubtless a party, and, in order to separate his enemies, raised the siege and returned towards Delhi. On June 14 he halted on the banks of the Ganges and put the leading conspirators, Qavam-ul-Mulk and Ikhtiyar Khan, to death.
Expulsion of Tughan Khan
In the following year he was reminded of his early misfortunes by the appearance in Bajwara, near Hoshiarpur, of an impostor who pretended to be that Sarang Khan who had expelled him from Multan. The real Sarang Khan had died in captivity shortly after his surrender to Pir Muhammad, and this fact must have been widely known, but interest may lead the intelligent, as ignorance leads the vulgar, to espouse the cause of a pretender; and the name of the man who had driven before him, as chaff before the wind, the occupant of the throne of Delhi was well chosen by the impostor. Khizr Khan was, however, well served. A family of the Lodi clan of the great Ghilzai or Khalji tribe had recently been domiciled in India, and its leader, Malik Sultan Shah Bahrain, subsequently styled Islam Khan, by which title he may now conveniently be known, had been appointed governor of Sirhind. He was dispatched against the pretender, who marched to the Sutlej to meet him but was defeated and compelled to retire. After the battle Islam Khan was joined by Zirak Khan of Samana and Malik Tughan of Jullundur, and before their overwhelming force the impostor fled, by way of Rupar, which he had made his headquarters, into the mountains. He was ineffectually pursued but emerged and fell a victim to the perfidy of Malik Tughan, who inveighed him into his power and treacherously put him to death, being prompted to this act rather by cupidity than by loyalty, for the impostor had amassed great wealth.
In the same year Taj-ul-Mulk was dispatched on another foray, dignified by the name of an expedition against rebels, into the districts of Koil and Etawah. Raja Sarwar was besieged in his fortress, but no important military success was gained. The wretched inhabitants of the country were, as usual, plundered and Sarwar purchased the retreat of the raiders by a contribution to the royal coffers and one of his oft-repeated promises to pay with more regularity in the future. On returning from Etawah Taj-ul-Mulk plundered Chandwar and invaded Katehr, where he compelled Mahabat Khan to pay the tribute due from him.
In August news was received at the capital that Malik Tughan, whose resources had been replenished by the plunder of the pretender, was again in rebellion and had marched from Jullundur to Sirhind where, having plundered the country, he was besieging the fortress. Malik Khair-ud-din was sent to its relief and, marching by way of Samana, was there joined by Zirak Khan. Tughan raised the siege of Sirhind and retreated, and Khair-ud-din and Zirak Khan pursued him across the Sutlej and compelled him to seek refuge with Jasrat the Khokar, the son of that Shaikha who had established his independence in the reign of Mahmad Shah. Jasrat had been carried off into captivity by Timur, with his father, but on the conqueror’s death had regained his freedom and returned to his country, where having established for himself an independent principality of considerable extent, he had gained over the army of Kashmir a victory which fostered in his mind extravagant notions of his power and importance and inspired in him the belief that the throne of Delhi was within his reach. Tughan’s fief of Jullundur was bestowed upon Zirak Khan.
In 1421 Khizr Khan marched into Mewat to assert his authority in that province, captured and destroyed the former stronghold of Bahadur Nahir and received the submission of most of the inhabitants. He then turned to Gwalior, and on January 13, during his march thither, his faithful minister, Taj-ul-Mulk, died, and his office was bestowed upon his son, Malik Sikandar Tuhfa, who received the title of Malik-ush Sharq. The raja of Gwalior took refuge within his fortress and by means of the usual dole and the usual empty promise relieved his subjects from the depredations of the royal troops. Thence the king marched to Etawah, where Sarwar Singh had lately died and his son was prepared to purchase peace on the customary terms, and here he fell sick and hastened back to Delhi, where he died on May 20, 1421, having designated his son Mubarak Khan his heir. He is extolled as a charitable ruler but his charity was confined within the narrow limits of his territories and to the members of his own faith.
Mubarak, beside whose weakness that of his father assumes the appearance of strength, found it no longer necessary to feign 'vassalage to any of the rulers who now governed the fragments of Timur’s vast empire, and freely used the royal title of Shah, which his father had never assumed. On his coinage he was styled Muizz-ud-din Mubarak Shah, and another unmistakable claim to complete independence was exhibited in his profession of allegiance to the puppet Caliph alone. He confirmed most of the nobles in the fiefs and appointments which they had held during the late reign, but, conscious of his own weakness, pursued the fatuous policy of perpetually transferring them from one fief to another. He perhaps attained his object of preventing any one noble from acquiring a dangerous local influence in any district of the kingdom, but it was attained at the cost of efficient administration, and the discontent of the nobles, harassed by these vexatious transfers, led finally to his downfall. In pursuance of this policy Malik Rajab Nadira, son of the late Sadhu Nadira, was transferred from Firuzabad and Hansi to Dipalpur, to make room for the king's nephew, Malik Bada, who eventually succeeded him as Muhammad Shah.
The early days of the reign were disturbed by the activity of Jasrat the Khokar, who, with the interests of the fugitive Tughan as a pretext and the throne of Delhi as a lure, crossed the Sutlej and attacked Rai Kamal-ud-din, a vassal of Delhi, at Talwandi. Rai Firuz, a neighbouring fief-holder, fled towards the Jumna, and Jasrat occupied Ludhiana, ravaged the country eastwards as far as Rupar, and, returning across the Sutlej, besieged Zirak Khan in Jullundur, when a composition not very creditable to either party was effected. Zirak Khan betrayed the interests of his master by the surrender of the fortress and Jasrat betrayed his guest by sending his son to Delhi as an hostage for his father's good behaviour, and his former adversary, Zirak, by seizing and imprisoning him. With Jullundur as a base Jasrat again crossed the Sutlej and on June 22 appeared before Sirhind, now held for Mubarak Shah by Islam Khan Lodi. In July, although the rainy season was at its height, Mubarak Shah marched to the relief of Sirhind, and as he approached Samana Jasrat, after releasing Zirak Khan, who rejoined his master, retreated to Ludhiana, whither Mubarak Shah followed him. Jasrat, having collected all available boats, crossed the flooded river and encamped in security on the opposite bank. As the rains abated Mubarak Shah retired, in real or feigned apprehension, along the bank of the river to Qabulpur, while Jasrat, who had failed to observe that a force had been dispatched up stream to search for a ford, followed him. The two armies were still facing one another when Jasrat learnt that this force had crossed the river and, fearing lest his retreat should be cut off, retreated precipitately towards Jullundur, but was unable to rest there owing to the vigour of Mubarak's pursuit, during which the fugitives suffered heavy losses, and retired to the lower slopes of the Kashmir highlands. Bhim, raja of Jammu, guided the royal army to the principal stronghold of the Khokars, which was captured, with heavy loss to the defenders, and destroyed, but Jasrat escaped. From the hills Mubarak Shah marched to Lahore, ruinous and deserted since its capture by Timur’s troops and spent a month in replacing its once formidable defences by a mud fort. On returning to Delhi he left Malik Mahmud Hasan, who had distinguished himself at the passage of the Sutlej and was henceforward the ablest and most active of his nobles, with a force of 2000 horse to hold the restored outpost of the kingdom. By May, 1422, Jasrat had reassembled his army, descended from the hills, and attempted to carry the new citadel by assault, but was repulsed and forced to retire. For more than a month he harassed Mahmud Hasan by desultory skirmishes, but, finding his labour vain, retired to Kalanaur, his principal place of residence in the plains. Here he met Raja Bhim of Jammu, who was marching to the assistance of Mahmud Hasan, and after one battle made peace with him and retired towards the Beas. In the meantime Mubarak Shah had dispatched to the aid of Mahmud Hasan the minister, Sikandar Tuhfa, who crossed the Ravi, once more drove Jasrat into the hills, and marched to Lahore, where he was welcomed by Mahmud Hasan on September 28. Malik Rajah Nadira of Dipalpur arrived at Lahore at the same time, and the three nobles marched to Kalanaur, where they were met by Raja Bhim, to punish Jasrat’s presumption. They invaded the Khokar country, but Jasrat had escaped into the higher ranges, and after plundering the homes of his tribesmen the three nobles returned to Lahore.
During the absence of the minister, Sikandar Tuhfa, from the capital the governor of Delhi, Sarvar-ul-Mulk, induced the feeble king to order, for the benefit of himself and his son, a redistribution of various important offices. Sikandar Tuhfa was dismissed from the office of minister, to make way for SarvarulMulk, who was succeeded as governor of Delhi by his son Yusuf. Sikandar Tuhfa received the fief of Lahore as compensation for the loss of the first post in the kingdom, but his transfer thither necessitated the removal of Mahmud Hasan, who was transferred to Jullundur, but was ordered for the time to wait on Mubarak Shah with the contingent maintained from his fief. These changes bred much discontent, to which may be traced the assassination of Mubarak Shah, which took place twelve years later.
In 1423 Mubarak Shah once more invaded Katehr, collected tribute from the people in the usual fashion, and, crossing the Ganges, entered the lower Doab, where he treated the Rajputs with great severity and behaved as though he were in an enemy's country. Zirak Khan was left as governor of Kampil, but his ill-treatment of the Hindus so alarmed the son of Sarvar Singh that he fled from the camp to Etawah and successfully defended the town against Malik Khair-ud-din Tuhfa, brother of Sikandar Tuhfa, who was fain to raise the siege on receiving the usual nugatory promise of tribute.
Recent successes encouraged Jasrat the Khokar again to invade the kingdom. He had defeated, and slain in battle his old enemy, Raja Bhim of Jammu and now overran and plundered the districts of Dipalpur and Lahore. Sikandar Tuhfa marched against him, but retired before him, leaving him free to prepare for more extensive aggressions. At about the same time it was reported that Ala-ul-Mulk, governor of Multan, had died and that Shaikh Ali, the deputy in Kabul of Suyurghatmish, the fourth son of Shahrukh, who had succeeded to the greater part of Timur’s empire, proposed to invade and ravage the western Punjab and Sind. Malik Mahmud Hasan was sent to Multan, and restored some degree of confidence to the people who had been plundered by Shaikh Ali’s troops.
Towards the end of the year Mubarak was obliged to march to the aid of Gwalior, which was besieged by Hushang Shah of Malwa. Hushang, on learning that Mubarak was marching towards Dholpur, raised the siege and marched to the southern bank of the Chambal, so that when Mubarak reached the northern bank he found most of the fords held by the troops of Malwa, but he discovered an unguarded ford, crossed the river, and permitted his advanced guard to attack some outlying parties of Hushang’s army. A trivial advantage was gained and some prisoners and plunder were taken, but neither party desired a general engagement or a protracted campaign, and negotiations ended in the retreat of Hushang to Mandu. Mubarak returned to Delhi in June, 1424, and in the following cold weather marched to Katehr, extorted three years' arrears of tribute from the raja, Har Chand, plundered the country as far as the foot of the Kumaon hills, and, marching down the banks of the Ramganga, crossed the Ganges and entered the Doab. It had been his intention to remain in the neighborhood of Kanauj, and to establish his authority to the south of that district, but the country had suffered from famine and would neither repay rapine nor support the troops, and he was compelled to return. He turned aside with the object of crushing a rebellion in Mewat, but the rebels laid waste their villages in the plains and retired into their mountain fastnesses, and the king was obliged to retire, but returned in 1425, when the rebels under Jan, or Jalal Khan, and Qaddu, or Abdul Qadir repeated their tactics of the preceding year. Mubarak on this occasion followed them into the hills, drove them from one stronghold, and pursued them to Alwar, where they surrendered. Jalal Khan escaped, but Qaddu was carried prisoner to Delhi.
Rebellion in Mewat
In 1426 Mubarak traversed Mewat, plundering the people, on his way to Bayana to attack Muhammad Khan, a rebellious member of the Auhadi family. Most of the rebel's men deserted to the royal standard and Muhammad Khan was sent, with all the members of his family, to Delhi, where he was interned in Jahannuma. The district of Bayana was divided into two fiefs, Bayana itself being granted to Muqbil Khan and Sikri, later to be known as Fathpur, to Khair-ud-din Tuhfa. Mubarak marched from Bayana to Gwalior and returned to Delhi, which he reached in March, 1427, by way of the eastern bank of the Jumna. Shortly after his arrival at Delhi Muhammad Khan Auhadi and his family escaped from the capital and took refuge in Mewat, where many of his former followers assembled around him. Muqbil was absent from Bayana on an expedition, and Khair-ud-din Tuhfa held the fortress with an inadequate garrison. Muhammad Khan was joined by all classes of the inhabitants and Khair-ud-din was obliged to evacuate the fortress and retire to Delhi. Malik Mubariz was sent from Delhi to recover Bayana and besieged the place, but the garrison defended it obstinately while Muhammad Auhadi withdrew to Jaunpur to seek help of Ibrahim Shah. Mubarak Shah recalled Mubariz and marched in person to Bayana, but before he could form the siege was disturbed by an appeal from Qadir Khan of Kalpi, who implored his aid against Ibrahim Shah, who was marching on Kalpi with the intention of annexing it. Mubarak abandoned for the time all intention of reducing Bayana and turned against Ibrahim, who, having plundered the district of Bhongaon, near Mainpuri, was preparing to march on Budaun. Mubarak crossed the Jumna, and, on reaching Atrauli, sixteen miles from Koil, learnt that Mukhtass Khan, Ibrahim's brother, was threatening Etawah. Mahmud Hasan was detached against him and forced him to join forces with his brother, and the army of Jaunpur traversed the Doab and crossed the Jumna near Etawah with a view to supporting the garrison of Bayana. Mubarak crossed the river near Chandwar (now Firuzabad) and Ibrahim, in February, 1428, marched towards Bayana and encamped on the banks of the Gambhir, while Mubarak encamped at a distance of ten miles from him. Neither was anxious to risk a battle and for some time the operations were confined to affairs of outposts, but on April 2 Ibrahim drew up his army for battle, and Mubarak, who lacked even the ordinary merit of physical courage, deputed his nobles to lead his army into the field. The two armies fought, with moderate zeal and without any decisive result, from midday until sunset, when each retired to its own camp, but on the following day Ibrahim retreated towards Jaunpur. He was followed for some distance, but Mubarak would not permit the pursuit to be pressed, and ordered that it should be abandoned. His encomiast praises his forbearance towards fellow Muslims, but we may believe that he did not choose to provoke too far an adversary whose strength he had not fully gauged.
Mubarak then marched to Gwalior on his usual errand, and, after collecting an instalment of tribute, returned towards Delhi by way of Bayana, still held by Muhammad Auhadi, who, on May 11, evacuated the fortress and retired into Mewat. Mahmad Hasan was invested with the fief of Bayana and Mubarak returned to Delhi, where he found that his prisoner Qaddu, the grandson of Bahadur Nair, had been in secret correspondence with Ibrahim during the late campaign. He was put to death and his execution led to a fresh rebellion in Mewat headed by his brother, Jalal Khan. Sarwarul Mulk, the minister, who was appointed to suppress it, followed the rebels into the hills in which they had, after their manner, taken refuge and returned to Delhi on their paying him the empty compliment of a formal submission to his master.
Jasrat the Khokar was again active, and in August news was received that he was besieging Kalanaur and had driven back to Lahore Sikandar Tuhfa, who had attempted to relieve the beleaguered town. Emboldened by his success he attacked Jullundur, and though he failed to capture the town he plundered the district and carried off into slavery large numbers of its inhabitants. Zirak Khan from Samana and Islam Khan Lodi from Sirhind marched to support Sikandar Tuhfa at Lahore, but before they could reach him he had succeeded in effecting a junction with Rai Gilalib, the defender of Kalanaur, and had defeated Jasrat, driven him into the hills, and recovered all his spoil.
Rebellion in the Punjab
Mahmud Hasan, having restored the royal authority in Bayana, returned to Delhi, and thence to Hissar, his former fief, and Mubarak invaded the plains of Mewat, where Jalal Khan and other chieftains of the country presented their tribute and were received at court.
In July, 1429, Rajab Nadira died at Multan and Mahmud Hasan received the title of Imad-ul-Mulk and was transferred to that province, the government of which he had formerly held. In the cold weather Mubarak marched to Gwalior and thence against the contumacious raja of Athgath, who was defeated and compelled to take refuge in the hills of Mewat. His country was plundered and many of his people carried off into slavery, and Mubarak marched to Rapri, expelled the son of Hasan Khan, and bestowed the fief upon Malik Hamzah. On his way back to Delhi he learnt of the death, at Bhatinda, of Sayyid Salim, who had served his house for thirty years. Mubarak, who seems to have been unacquainted with the true character of the Sayyid, and was certainly ignorant of that of his offspring, rewarded the father’s long service by bestowing on his elder son the title of Salim Khan and on the younger that of Shuja-ul-Mulk. The Sayyid had been both rapacious and parsimonious, and during his long tenure of the lucrative fief of Bhatinda had amassed enormous wealth. The central situation of this district in the province of which Khizr Khan had enjoyed the virtual sovereignty for some time before his establishment on the throne of Delhi had secured it from attack from without and from demands for contributions to the defence of the frontiers. The customary law of Muhammadan states in India, which made the ruler the heir of his officials, was especially formidable to those who had defrauded their sovereign and oppressed his subjects, and Salim Khan and Shuja-ul-Mulk, who were in the king's power, attempted to secure their wealth by instigating Fulad, a Turkish slave of their late father, to rebel in Bhatinda. Their complicity in the rebellion was discovered, they were thrown into prison, and Yusuf, son of Sarvar-ul-Mulk, and Rai Hansu Bhati were sent to treat with Fulad and to induce him to surrender the treasure, but Fulad, who had no intention of surrendering it either to the king or to his late master's heirs, amused the envoys for a time with fair words and promises and, having thrown them off their guard, made a sudden attack on their troops, defeated them and was further enriched by the plunder of their camp. Zirak Khan, Malik Kalu, and Islam Khan Lodi were then sent to besiege the rebel in Bhatinda. Fulad announced that he was prepared to consider terms of submission provided that negotiations were conducted through Imad-ul-Mulk of Multan, in whom he had confidence, and Imad-ul-Mulk was summoned and arrived at court in August, 1430. He was sent to Bhatinda, but it was discovered that the rebel's offer to treat with him had been merely a device to gain time, the negotiations broke down, and he returned to Multan after urging the officers before Bhatinda to continue the siege.
Rebellion in Multan
Fulad, after holding out for six months, sent a large sum of money to Shaikh Ali of Kabul and summoned him to his aid. In January, 1431, he left Kabul and marched to Bhatinda, and on his arriving within twenty miles of the town Mubarak's nobles hurriedly raised the siege and fled to their fiefs. Fulad issued from the fortress to meet him, paid him 200,000 tangas as the price of his assistance, and entrusted his family to his care, in order that they might be removed to a place of safety. A passing remark of the historian of this reign throws much light on the position of affairs in the Punjab during Mubarak's futile attempts to establish his authority in the Doab, the trans-Gangetic region, and the south-eastern districts of his kingdom. Sikandar Tuhfa paid to Shaikh Ali the sum which he had been wont to pay him annually, and thus induced him to refrain from molesting Lahore during his retreat. From the reference to the yearly payment of blackmail it is clear that the kingdom had been exposed, during its intestine troubles, to the danger of invasion from the direction of Lahore. In the direction of Multan the worthless Mubarak was better served, and when Shaikh Ali, during his retreat, attacked a fortress within the limits of that province, Imad-ul-Mulk marched to Talamba and forced him to relinquish his prey. Unfortunately Imad-ul-Mulk received orders to retire to Multan, and Shaikh Ali, attributing his retreat to cowardice or a consciousness of weakness, crossed the Ravi near Khatibpur, plundered the country along the banks of the Chenab, and marched to within twenty miles of Multan. Imad-ul-Mulk sent Islam Khan Lodi to stem his advance, but Islam Khan’s force, while still on the march, came unexpectedly on the invaders, and was defeated before it could form for attack or defence. Islam Khan was slain, and the remnant of his force fled back to Multan. Shaikh Ali advanced to Khairabad, near Multan, and encamped there on May 15, 1431. On the following day he advanced to attack one of the gates, but his troops were repulsed by a sortie of the garrison, and he did not resume the offensive until June 8, when he made a second attempt to carry the place by assault, but was again repulsed with heavy loss, and thereafter contented himself with harassing the garrison in a series of skirmishes until the arrival of a strong relieving force which attacked him and drove him within his entrenched camp, whence he fled across the Ravi. He was pursued, and numbers of his army perished in the river and by the swords of the pursuers, but he eventually threw himself into Shorkot, leaving all his horses, camels, and equipment in the hands of the victors. Imad-ul-Mulk and the army which had marched to his relief followed the fugitives to Shorkot and Shaikh Ali fled with a small force to Kabul, leaving his nephew, Amir Muzaffar, with the remainder of his army in Shorkot. Further operations were stayed by the receipt of orders from the king, recalling to Delhi the relieving force, and most imprudently removing from Multan the able and energetic Imad-ul-Mulk, who was relieved by Khair-ud-din Tuhfa. Misfortunes now fell thick and fast on Mubarak. Jasrat the Khokar again rebelled and marched on Jullundur. Sikandar Tuhfa, marching against him, met him on the Dhauli Wain, but was defeated and taken alive, and Jasrat marched to Lahore and besieged the city, which was defended by Sayyid Najm-ud-din, Sikandar’s lieutenant, and Malik Khushkhabar, his slave. Meanwhile Shaikh Ali of Kabul had again invaded the Multan province and on November 13 captured Talamba, occupied the citadel, threw the leading citizens into prison, and plundered all the surrounding country. At the same time Fulad, who still held Bhatinda, led an expedition against Rai Firuz, whose fief lay in the neighborhood, slew him and plundered the district which he had governed.
Mubarak, on receiving news of these calamities, acted with unusual vigor and decision, and, having dispatched Sarvar-ul-Mulk in advance, with a force sufficient to check, if not to crush, Fulad, left Delhi, in January, 1432, for Lahore. The sudden flight of his enemies occasioned a modification of his plans. Jasrat raised the siege of Lahore and fled into the mountains, carrying with him his captive, Sikandar Tuhfa, and Shaikh Ali evacuated Talamba and retreated to Shorkot. Mubarak advanced no further, but bestowed the fief of Lahore on Nusrat Khan Gurgandaz and sent Sarvar-ul-Mulk to Lahore to escort the family of Sikandar to Delhi.
In August Jasrat was again active. He issued from his stronghold, plundered some districts in the plains, and attacked Gurgandaz in Lahore, but, being worsted by him, retired again into the mountains. Mubarak, who had marched as far as Panipat on hearing of his renewed activity, returned to Delhi on learning of his retreat, and sent Imad-ul-Mulk into the districts of Bayana and Gwalior. In September he again left the capital to quell some disturbances in the Samana district, but returned to Delhi on hearing of his mother's illness and arrived in time to be present at her obsequies. Having rejoined his army he sent Sarvar-ul-Mulk with a large force against Fulad, and Sarva-rul-Mulk, after completing all dispositions for the siege of Samana, left Zirak Khan in charge of the operations and returned to the royal camp at Panipat. Mubarak now abandoned his intention of taking the field in person, and sent Malik Ilahdad Lodi to supersede Gurgandaz in the fiefs of Lahore and Jullundur, but as he was approaching the latter town Jasrat fell upon him at Bajwara, near Hoshiarpur, defeated him, and drove him into the lower slopes of the mountains.
In November Mubarak invaded Mewat, where Jalal Khan was again in revolt, and drove him from one stronghold to another, compelling him to purchase peace on the usual terms of a present payment and promise of amendment. He was joined by Imad-ul-Mulk on his return from his successful foray into the Bayana district and dispatched Kamal-ud-din and other officers on similar raids into the districts of Etawah and Gwalior, returning, in January, 1433, to Delhi, where he learnt that Shaikh Ali was again preparing to march to the relief of Bhatinda, and dispatched Imad-ul-Mulk with reinforcements for the besieging army. This measure curtailed the extent of Shaikh Ali’s activity, but he issued from Shorkot, plundered the villages on the banks of the Ravi, enslaved their inhabitants, and marched on Lahore, which was held for the king by Yusuf, son of Sarvar-ul-Mulk, and Malik Ismail.
These two officers, after enduring a short siege, discovered that the fidelity of the citizens, which had been sorely tried by constant attacks against which the royal garrison could ill protect them, was uncertain, and fled from the city with their troops. During their flight they suffered heavy losses at the hands of a force dispatched in pursuit of them by Shaikh Ali, who plundered Lahore, placed a garrison of 10,000 horse in the city, marched to Dipalpur, where Yusuf had taken refuge, and besieged that town. Imad-ul-Mulk, who was still besieging Bhatinda, sent his brother, Malik Ahmad, to the relief of Yusuf, and Shaikh Ali raised the siege of Dipalpur, but occupied all the towns lying between that place and Lahore.
Recovery of the Punjab
Mubarak at length perceived that affairs in the north-western provinces of his kingdom demanded his personal attention, and marched to Samana, where he was joined by Kamal-ud-din and the other officers who had been sent to Etawah and Gwalior, and advanced to Taiwandi, where Imad-ul-Mulk joined him from Bhatinda. The officers who still remained before that town were summoned to the royal camp, and Mubarak advanced to the Ravi. Here Sikandar Tuhfa, who had escaped from Jasrat’s custody, appeared before him and received the ill-deserved title of Shams-ul-Mulk and a grant of the fiefs of Lahore, Dipalpur, and Jullundur. In the meantime Shaikh Ali had retreated across the Chenab, and, as Shams-ul-Mulk advanced to take possession of his new fiefs, fled precipitately, leaving most of his horses, and his baggage, camp equipage, and booty, which were already bestowed in boats for transport across the Chenab, in his enemy’s hands. Mubarak crossed the Ravi at Talamba and besieged Shorkot, which, after the lapse of a month, was surrendered to him by Amir Muzaffar, Shaikh Ali’s nephew, who secured his safety by large gifts, and by bestowing a daughter in marriage on Muhammad Khan, the nephew and adopted son of Mubarak. The king then retired towards Multan after dispatching Shams-ul-Mulk to Lahore, where the garrison left by Shaikh Ali purchased for itself a safe retreat by the surrender of the town and citadel. Mubarak, after retiring to Dipalpur, wisely removed Shams-ul-Mulk from the important fiefs which he had recently bestowed upon him to Bayana, and conferred Lahore, Dipalpur, and Jullundur on Imad-ul-Mulk. On his return to Delhi he discovered that Sarvarul Mulk had for some time past been remiss in the performance of his duties as minister of the kingdom, and appointed Kamal-ud-din as his coadjutor in the hope that the two would work in harmony. He was disappointed, for the influence of the abler and more energetic Kamal-ud-din soon eclipsed that of Sarvar-ul-Mulk, who, resenting his virtual supersession in office, formed a faction consisting of some discontented Khatris, Miran Sadr, the deputy muster-master-general, Qazi Abdus Samad Khan, a royal chamberlain, and others, and conspired against the king’s life.
On November 1 the king founded Mubarakabad, on the Jumna, and while superintending the building of this town learnt that the protracted siege of Bhatinda had at length been brought to a successful conclusion. The news was confirmed by the receipt of the head of the rebel, Fulad, which had been severed from his body after his capture by Miran Sadr. He marched to Bhatinda and, after extinguishing the smouldering embers of disaffection, learnt that a dispute had arisen between Ibrahim Shah of Jaunpur and Hushang Shah of Malwa regarding the town and district of Kalpi, which had ever been included, in name at least, in the dominions of Delhi, and that they were marching to decide the question by an appeal to arms. He could not but resent an insult so gross and returned to Delhi to assemble his forces. On his way to Kalpi he turned aside to visit Mubarakabad, and here, on February 19, 1434, Sarvar-ul-Mulk found the opportunity which he had been seeking. Miran Sadr relieved the royal bodyguard with a force of his own troops, and while the king was preparing for prayers entered his apartment on the pretext of taking leave of him, posting Sidharan, one of the Khatris, at the door to prevent the entrance of any person not privy to the plot. While he engaged the king in conversation Sidhu Pal, another Khatri, cut him down with his sword, and Ranu and other Hindus rushed in and completed the bloody work.
On the death of Mubarak Shah, who had left no son, the nobles at Delhi raised to the throne Muhammad, the son of his brother Farid. Sarvar-ul-Mulk’s complicity in the murder of the late king could not be concealed, but as he held possession of the royal treasury, armoury, and elephants he was too powerful to be touched, and though he was suspected of designs on the throne it was necessary, for the time, to confirm him in his office, and he received the title of Khanjahan, while his accomplice, Miran Sadr, received that of Muin-ul-Mulk. Kamal-ud-din, whose appointment had been the cause of Sarvar-ul-Mulk’s disaffection, and others of Mubarak’s nobles were desirous of avenging his death, but were compelled to bide their time, and Sarvar-ul-Mulk, with a view to intimidating them executed one officer of high rank and imprisoned others, seized all the vacant fiefs in the kingdom and distributed them among his creatures. Bayana, Amroha, Narnaul, Guhram, and some districts in the Doab were granted to Sidharan, Sidhu Pal, and their relatives who had been personally concerned in the murder of the late king. Sidhu Pal sent his slave Ranu, another assassin, to Bayana to collect the revenue, but Yusuf Khan Auhadi marched from Hindaun to meet him, and when Ranu attempted to take possession of the fort attacked, defeated, and slew him.
The nobles who still held their fiefs made preparations for overthrowing Sarvar-ul-Mulk. Malik Ilahdad Lodi, now governor of Sambhal and Ahar, Malik Chaman of Budaun, Amir Ali Gujarati, Amir Kambal, and others agreed to stand or fall together and raised the standard of revolt. Sarvar-ul-Mulk assembled an army to crush them, and appointed to its command Kamal-ud-din, who had dissembled his hostility, associating with him his own son Yusuf, Sayyid Khan, and Sidharan the Khatri. This force advanced from Delhi to Baran and Ilahdad Lodi retired, but halted at Ahar on learning that Kamal-ud-din favoured his cause. His hostility to the minister and sympathy with the faction in arms against him could no longer be concealed, and Sarvar-ul-Mulk sent from Delhi to the army his slave Hushyar, nominally as Kamal-ud-din’s assistant, but in fact as a spy upon his actions and a coadjutor of Yusuf and Sidharan. Malik Chaman of Budaun now joined Ilahdad Lodi at Ahar and Kamal-ud-din’s attitude became so menacing that Yusuf and Sidharan returned to Delhi. On their departure Ilahdad and his allies joined Kamal-ud-din, marched with him on Delhi, defeated Sarvar-ul-Mulk’s troops in a battle before the city, and besieged him for three months in Siri. Sarvar-ul-Mulk discovered, in the course of a siege which lasted for three months, that the king was in sympathy with the besiegers, and attempted to slay him as he had slain his predecessor, but Muhammad was prepared for the attempt and his armed attendants slew Sarvar-ul-Mulk, and seizing the sons of Miran Sadr, executed them on the spot. Kamal-ud-din and the confederates were then summoned into the city and the remaining conspirators retired to their houses. Sidhu Pal imitated the Rajput custom of jauhar, set fire to his house, immolated his family, and died fighting, but Sidharan and the other Khatris were taken alive and put to death, and Hushyar the slave and Mubarak, police magistrate of the city, were executed at the Lal Darwaza, or Red Gate.
The confederates repeated the ceremony of enthroning Muhammad Shah and swore allegiance to him, and in the new distribution of offices and fiefs Kamal-ud-din became minister and received the title of Kamal Khan, Malik Chaman was entitled Ghazi-ul-Mulk and was confirmed in the fiefs of Budaun and Amroha, Ilahad Lodi, who would accept no title for himself, obtained that of Darya Khan for his brother, who succeeded him in Sambhal, Malik Khoiraj retained Hissar, and Haji Shudani was entitled Hisam Khan and appointed governor of the capital.
In October Muhammad Shah made a pilgrimage to Multan to visit the shrines of the saints, and in 1436 marched to Samana and dispatched thence an army which is said to have laid waste the country of the Khokars.
Muhammad had been, until the fall of Sarvar-ul-Mulk, the victim of factions and the sport of circumstances, but when he had an opportunity of displaying his fitness for rule he so abused it as to lose both the affection and the confidence of those who had freed him from his enemies. After his return to Delhi from Samana his counsellors were perturbed by the news of successive calamities. In Multan the Langahs, an Afghan tribe recently settled in the district, rebelled against Muhammad Shah’s governor; in the opposite direction Ibrahim Shah of Jaunpur invaded and annexed some of the south-eastern districts of the kingdom; and to the south of Delhi the raja of Gwalior and other Hindu chieftains openly repudiated their liability to pay tribute. Even the forays undertaken in his uncle's reign would have been preferable to inaction, but Muhammad remained in his capital, sunk in indolence and pleasure, until his nobles, losing heart, clearly perceived that if the ancient prestige of Delhi were to be preserved they must seek another leader. It was during this period that the commanding qualities of Malik Buhlul Lodi, nephew and adopted son of Islam Khan and now governor of Sirhind, first attracted attention. As the king's weakness and meanness of spirit became more apparent he gradually extended his influence over the whole of the Punjab, and began to withhold the revenue due to the royal treasury. The condition of the remnant of the kingdom of Delhi was deplorable. Muhammad's nominal authority did not extend beyond Panipat to the north; on the south and south-east the raja of Gwalior, who had during the previous reign periodically acknowledged the sovereignty of Delhi, no longer made any pretence of fealty, and the king of Jaunpur had invaded and annexed the districts bordering on his kingdom. The Hindus of the Doab, always refractory, disregarded with impunity an authority which was never asserted, and the turbulent tribesmen of Mewat plundered the country to within a short distance of the walls of the city. The nobles of Delhi, despairing of a king who was content to loiter in his palace while his kingdom dissolved, had recourse, in 1440-41, to Mahmud Shah Khalji of Malwa, an active and warlike prince who had in 1436 seized the throne of that kingdom1, and sent repeated messages to him representing the miserable plight of the once glorious kingdom and imploring him to march to Delhi for the purpose of restoring peace and order. Mahmud set out, and Muhammad Shah, roused at length from his disgraceful torpor, prepared to oppose him. Assembling such troops as he could muster, he sent an appeal for help to Buhlul Lodi, whose readiness to respond had its origin not in loyalty to Muhammad, but in the resolve to preserve the kingdom for himself. He would not, however, lend his aid unconditionally, and demanded as its price the death of Hisam Khan, governor of the capital, in whom he recognised either a dangerous rival or too staunch and powerful a champion of hereditary right. The condition was fulfilled, and Buhlul led his forces to the support of the king.
War against Malwa
Meanwhile Mahmud, marching from Malwa by way of Hindaun, was there joined by Yusuf Khan Auhadi and continued his advance to Delhi. Muhammad marched forth to meet him, and the two armies confronted one another between Tughluqabad and the city. Here Muhammad, who had already proved himself to be devoid of the qualities of a leader of men, sank to the lowest depths of contempt by showing that he lacked the mere physical courage expected of the humblest soldier. He would not take the field in person, but entrusted the command of his troops nominally to his son Ala-ud-din, with whom he associated Sayyid Khan, Darya Khan Lodi, Qutb Khan, and other officers. Like Muhammad, but for a different reason, Mahmud Khalji refrained from personally engaging in the conflict. His courage was never impugned, and he was, indeed, brave to rashness, but he would not deign to take the field against Muhammad's officers, and was resolved to show that his own subordinates were well able to cope with them. Retaining for the protection of his person a small force of picked cavalry he entrusted the command of the rest of his army to his two sons Ghiyas-ud-din and Nusrat Khan. The battle began at noon and lasted, without any decisive advantage to either side, until nightfall, when each army returned to its own camp. The pusillanimous Muhammad, dreading the alternative prospects of being obliged to take the field or of falling into the hands of the enemy, hastened to make undignified proposals for peace, which might have been rejected with contempt, had not Mahmud received reports which necessitated an immediate return to his capital. A mob at Mandu had removed the royal umbrella suspended over the tomb of Hushang Shah and had raised it over the head of a pretender whom they had proclaimed king of Malwa as representative of the Ghuri family. Accordingly he welcomed the overtures for peace and on the following day began his retreat. With flagrant disregard of the agreement between the two kings Buhlul Lodi followed and attacked the retreating army, and obtained a trivial advantage over its rearguard and some plunder. It need not be assumed that Muhammad was privy to this act of treachery, for Buhlul was beyond his control, but he participated in its guilt by becoming, in legal phrase, an accessory after the fact. The perfidious Afghan was received on his return with extravagant demonstrations, his mean and petty triumph was magnified into a victory over the army of Malwa, and the king distinguished him by styling him his son, and conferred on him the title of Khan Khanan.
Buhlul now consulted his interest by feigning loyalty to Muhammad and in the following year the king marched to Samana and there formally bestowed on him, in addition to the fiefs which he already held by grant from the crown, Dipalpur and Lahore, which were no longer his to bestow. Buhlul deigned to accept a commission to attack Jasrat the Khokar, but, on discovering that Jasrat was inclined to favor his designs on the throne of Delhi, made peace with him on easy terms and withdrew to Sirhind, where he strengthened himself by annexing the districts adjoining those which he already held, and by enlisting large numbers of Afghans, especially of his own tribe, in his army. He picked a quarrel, on trivial grounds, with Muhammad Shah, marched to Delhi, and besieged it but failed to capture it, or perhaps, for he returned unmolested to his own dominions, where he styled himself Sultan Buhlul, was bought off, or retired on realising the magnitude of the task with which he would be confronted after taking the city.
After the siege of the capital the disorders of the kingdom increased daily, and when Muhammad Shah died, in 1444, no point on his frontier was more than forty miles distant from Delhi, and the kingdom inherited by his son Ala-ud-din, who assumed the title of Alain Shah, consisted of the city and the neighbouring villages.
The new king was even more feeble and vacillating than his father, and although Buhlul humoured the nobles of Delhi by formally acknowledging his accession he sedulously continued his preparations for seizing the throne when the time should be ripe.
Shortly after his accession Alam Shah marched towards Samana, apparently with no other purpose than that of showing that a king of Delhi yet dared to leave his palace, but was recalled by a rumour that Mahmud Shah of Jaunpur was marching on the city. The report, which he had not taken the trouble to verify, proved to be false, and an outspoken courtier incurred his displeasure by upbraiding him for his undignified and unnecessary retreat. In 1447 he marched to Budaun, where he was received with respect, and found the city so attractive that he resolved to reside there rather than at Delhi. Having prepared a dwelling for himself he returned to Delhi, where the same blunt courtier remonstrated with him on the folly of the step which he contemplated, but gained nothing but his own removal from office. The king appointed one of his wife's brothers governor of the capital and in 1448 retired permanently to Budaun, where he abandoned himself entirely to the pursuit of pleasure.
It is now proper to examine the condition of the territories over which Khizr Khan had established his authority. The province of Multan had elected a ruler of its own, who never recognized, even formally, the royal authority; and the rest of the Punjab, as far south as Panipat and Hissar, was in the possession of Buhlul, whose relative, Darya Khan Lodi, held the district of Sambhal, the western limit of which he had pushed forward as far as the ford of Khvaja Khizr, on the Jumna near Delhi. Adjoining this petty state on the south, within the limits of the Doab, was the state of Koil, held by Isa Khan the Turk, and south of this state Hasan Khan, another Afghan, held Rapri. The lower central Doab, including Bhongaon, Patiali, and Kampil, was held by the Rajput, Raja Partab and to the west of the Jumna Daud Khan Auhadi was independent in Bayana. All these rulers were partisans of Buhlul. Gwalior was an independent Hindu state, and such tracts of Mewat as did not acknowledge the rule of Daud Auhadi were held by native chieftains whose power extended almost to the gates of Delhi.
Alam Shah, on his way to Budaun, took counsel with Qutb Khan, cousin of Buhlul, Isa Khan, and Raja Partab regarding the possibility of rehabilitating the royal power. Hamid Khan, who was now minister, was obnoxious to Raja Partab, for his father, Fath Khan, had formerly devastated Partab’s fief and carried off his wife. The three courtiers promised to add to Alam Shah's small kingdom forty parganas on condition that he put Hamid Khan to death. He was imprisoned, but escaped and fled to Delhi.
After the king's departure from the capital a quarrel broke out between his two brothers-in-law, one of whom had been left there as governor and the other as chief of the city police, and one of them had been killed in a fight between their factions. The mob, at the instigation of Hisam Khan, had risen against the survivor and put him to death, and Hisam Khan and Hamid Khan remained arbiters of the destinies of Delhi. The restoration of Alam Shah was out of the question, and both desired to find a substitute who would be content with no more than the royal title and would permit them to govern in his name. The claims of the kings of Jaunpur and Malwa were considered and rejected, for the former was connected by marriage with Alam Shah and might attempt to avenge his wrongs and the latter was so attached to his distant kingdom that it was improbable that he would transfer his affections to Delhi. Their choice fell ultimately upon Buhlul, though there was little probability of his becoming a pliable instrument in their hands, and he was invited to Delhi. He responded with such alacrity that he arrived with a force insufficient to establish his authority, but he formally received from Hamid Khan, in exchange for conciliatory promises, the keys of the city, and wrote to Alam Shah a letter as masterly as it was insincere, in which he explained that he was actuated solely by jealous zeal for the royal authority, which he had seen set at naught. Buhlul seated himself on the throne on April 19, 1451, and set out at once to Dipalpur to collect the troops which in his haste he had left behind. His letter to Alam Shah elicited the desired reply. The mean-spirited king, content with the ease and freedom from care which his residence in Budaun afforded, replied that he had had neither fruit nor profit of sovereignty, that his father had styled Buhlul his son and that he himself freely and cheerfully resigned his throne to Buhlul as to an elder brother. Thus Buhlul, on his return to Delhi, ascended the throne not merely as the creature of a successful faction, but as the heir designate of a king who had voluntarily abdicated. The contemptible Alam Shah remained contentedly in Budaun, where the revenue of the small territory which he had been permitted to retain sufficed to defray the cost of his pleasures.