Cruelties exercised by Sumbhajee on assuming power – execution of Soyera Bye – Inauspicious commencement of his reign – Unavailing attempts to drive the Seedee from the island of Kenery – Sultan Mohummud Akber seeks an asylum in Sumbhajee’s territory – Plot in favour of Raja Ram – Executions – Execution of Annajee Dutto – Moro Punt imprisoned – Rugonath Narrain Hunwuntay – his spirited remonstrances, and their consequences – Sumbhajee attacks Jinjeera – Moghuls make an incursion into the Concan, and are compelled to retreat – Assault on Jinjeera repulsed – siege raised – Sumbhajee attacks the Portuguese – endeavours to conciliate the English – Portuguese besiege Fonda, and are compelled to retreat with heavy loss – Kuloosha the prime minister of Sumbhajee – Decay in the institutions of Sivajee – State of the army – lands over assessed – Approach of Aurungzebe – Survey of the state of the Deccan, from the first year after Sumbhajee’s accession, up to the fall of Beejapoor and Golcondah – Extraordinary revolution amongst the English at Bombay – Aurungzebe’s operations – Salheir is surrendered – Sultan Mauzum is sent to attack Sumbhajee in the Concan – Imposition of the Jima – reflections – Death of Dilere Khan – Aurungzebe arrives at Ahmednugur – description of his camp – Operations of Sultan Mauzum, Humbeer Rao, and Khan Jehan – Distress of Sultan Mauzum’s army – returns extremely reduced – operations – Mahrattas plunder Baroach, and proclaim Mohummud Akber emperor – Operations against Beejapoor and Golcondah – Murder of Mahdhuna Punt – Truce with Golcondah – Siege and capture of Beejapoor – description of the present state of its ruins – Fall of Golcondah – Arrangements in the conquered districts – Mode in which the Moghuls took possession of and regulated a district – Operations of the Mahrattas – Humbeer Rao defeats Shirzee Khan, but falls in the battle – Operations
in the Carnatic – Profligacy and imbecility of Sumbhajee – Sultan Mohummud Akber quits him in disgust – Remarkable consequences of the laxity of discipline in Sumbhajee’s army – State of the Hindoo population in Mahrashtra – Impolicy of Aurungzebe – Remarks on the state of the country, extending, by anticipation, to a period of twelve years after the subversion of the Deccan kingdoms – Operations of the Emperor – Piracies of the English – Sumbhajee surprised and made prisoner, together with his minister – behaviour – execution – Summary of his character.
Sumbhajee’s conduct from the time of his father’s death until he entered his capital, discovered a vigour and method the more satisfactory from being unexpected; and had he taken advantage of the general submission, and published a declaration of amnesty, the address and energy he had shown would have suppressed all recollection of his early faults; but the barbarity of his disposition was displayed from the moment he passed the gate of Raigurh. Annajee Dutto was put in irons, thrown into prison, and his property confiscated. Raja Ram was also confined; Soyera Bye was seized, and when brought before Sumbhajee, he insulted her in the grossest manner, accused her of having poisoned Sivajee, loaded her with every epithet of abuse, and ordered her to be put to a cruel and lingering death. The Mahratta officers attached to her cause were beheaded; and one, particularly obnoxious, was precipitated from the top of the rock of Raigurh, This severity, justly deemed unnecessary and cruel, besides causing an inveterate enmity in the minds of Soyera Bye’s relations, was considered a most inauspicious commencement, and on the occasion of his being seated
on the throne, in the early part of August, many unfavourable auguries were reported in the country337.
The armistice which Sivajee effected with the Moghul viceroy, Khan Jehan Buhadur, when quitting his own territory on the Carnatic expedition, produced no compromise with the Abyssinians of Jinjeera; a petty warfare was constantly maintained in the Concan between the Seedee and the Mahrattas; but hostilities became more rancorous after the accession of Sumbhajee.
The island or rock of Henery, near the entrance of the harbour of Bombay, was fortified by Sivajee, in 1679, which being resented by the English, an attempt by them, in conjunction with the Seedee, was unsuccessfully made to dispossess him of it; but Kenery, another island of the same description, which stands by the side of Henery, having been in the same surreptitious manner occupied by the Seedee during the ensuing season, Sumbhajee’s first efforts were spent in endeavouring to drive out the Seedee, and with no better success than had attended the attempt on Kenery. The English as little relished the occupation by the one party as by the other338.
Sumbhajee, whilst his fleet and troops were thus employed, proceeded to Panalla, for what purpose is not clearly ascertained, though, perhaps, it may have been to conduct some negotiations with the Beejapoor government. He remained there until recalled to Raigurh by the appearance of an illustrious fugitive who sought an
asylum in his territory. This personage was Sultan Mohummud Akber, the fourth son of the Emperor Aurungzebe, who, having been won over by the Rajpoots, consented to head a rebellion against his father, but the scheme was frustrated by the emperor’s address, and the prince fled towards Sumbhajee’s country, which he was fortunate enough to reach, though he was hotly pursued, and the strictest orders issued, to all the imperial officers of the districts in his route, to intercept him339.
Sumbhajee sent an officer to welcome his arrival, appointed the village of Dodsay for his residence, the name of which, in compliment to his guest, was changed to Padshapoor; but some affair, of which Mahratta manuscripts take no notice, detained him at Panalla, and prevented his visiting the prince on his first arrival. In the meantime the restless faction of Annajee Dutto, in order to forward their own views, and procure his enlargement, took advantage of Sumbhajee’s absence to propose some overtures to Sultan Mohummud Akber, in favour of Raja Ram. The news of this fresh conspiracy was first communicated to Sumbhajee by Dadajee Rugonath Deshpandya of Mhar, and excited suspicions towards his guest, until the prince himself communicated the circumstances, which entirely dispelled his doubts; and Sumbhajee visited and welcomed him with much cordiality.
The intrigue on the part of the friends of Annajee Dutto, was said to have been supported by
the whole of the Sirkay family in the Concan, whose motive was revenge for the death of Soyera Bye. Ballajee Aujee Chitnees, a man of the Purbhoo cast who had stood high in Sivajee’s favour340, and had been employed by Sumbhajee himself, on a confidential mission to Bombay, was accused of being a principal instigator in the meditated treachery. This person, together with his eldest son, one of his relations named Samjee Aujee, Heerajee Furzund, such of the Sirkays as could be apprehended, and lastly Annajee Dutto himself; were at once led out to execution, tied to the feet of elephants, and trampled to death. The principal members of the Sirkay family fled in consternation, and several of them entered the Moghul service. Sumbhajee’s severity, even if just towards Ballajee Aujee, which is doubtful, was extremely impolitic in regard to Annajee Dutto. To put a Bramin to death is always looked upon with horror, and the fate of the gallant Punt Suchew, who had performed such important services during the rise of Sivajee, was viewed, by everyone capable of appreciating his worth, as a violent and harsh measure, calculated rather to create fear and dissension, than to insure obedience and unanimity.
Of this number was Moro Punt Pingley, Peishwa, who, as his jealousy was extinct in his rival’s death, did not fail to inveigh with honest boldness,
against the impiety and impolicy of his execution. A Kanoja Bramin from Hindoostan, named Kuloosha, who had by some means insinuated himself into Sumbhajee’s favour, and who was the secret adviser of his actions, recommended the imprisonment of Moro Punt. The Peishwa was accordingly thrown into confinement, and Sumbhajee with the aid of this inexperienced man, equally presumptuous with himself, undertook the conduct of all state affairs. Ramdass Swamy, the friend and spiritual director of Sivajee, whose life and conduct seem to have merited the universal encomiums of his countrymen, a few days previous to his death, wrote Sumbhajee an excellent and judicious letter, advising him for the future rather than upbraiding him for the past, and pointing out the example of his father, yet carefully abstaining from personal comparison.
About the same time Rugonath Narrain Hunwuntay undertook a journey from the Carnatic, having left Hurjee Raja Mahareek in charge of the government during his absence. On his arrival at Raigurh, as he brought with him a considerable treasure, the balance saved from the revenue of the districts, he was well received, and as was due to one of the Purdhans, and so distinguished an officer, a full durbar was assembled on the occasion. Rugonath Narrain took this unusual opportunity341 of entering on public affairs, and represented all the evils likely to result from the disregard shown to experienced servants, and to the forms of government instituted by Sivajee; he pointed out
what ought to be done, and whilst maintaining his arguments, boldly censured Sumbhajee’s proceedings, and predicted his fall.
It would seem difficult to account for the temerity of Rugonath Narrain, especially as his brother Jenardin Punt was still in confinement; but Sumbhajee was probably sensible that any violence towards Rugonath Narrain, might at once place the Carnatic at his uncle’s disposal; and it is remarkable, that decided language from a man whom he respects, generally overawes the most ungovernable Mahratta. Sumbhajee promised to release Moro Punt and Jenardin Punt, and Rugonath Punt himself was civilly dismissed to his government. He died, however, before he reached Ginjee, and Sumbhajee not only fulfilled his promise of releasing Moro Punt and Jenardin Punt, but advanced the latter to the rank of Amat, vacant by his brother’s death, confirmed Hurjee Raja in the government of the Carnatic, and Neeloo Punt Moreishwur the son of Moro Punt, Peishwa, was appointed under him as Mootaliq or chief agent of affairs. But this amendment was but temporary, and the favourite Kuloosha obtained a complete ascendancy over his mind342.
On the occasion of Sumbhajee’s meeting with Prince Akber, it was rumoured abroad that the Mahrattas and Rajpoots were about to unite for the purpose of dethroning Aurungzebe, and placing Sultan Akber on the throne343. But vanity and anger are more active stimulants to common minds
than ambition or glory; no speculation of that kind diverted Sumbhajee from the more humble design of reducing Jinjeera; to possess himself of a place which his father had failed in taking, to avenge the pillage of several of his villages, and the daily insults experienced from the Seedee, were the causes which combined to make this an object of paramount interest.
He in the first place directed Khundoojee Furzund, one of his creatures, to desert to Jinjeera, and endeavour, by corrupting some of the Seedee’s people, to blow up the magazine when the attack was about to commence. A large body of troops were assembled, and the command of the expedition given to Dadajee Rugonath Deshpandya, with the promise, in case of success, of being made one of the eight Purdhans344.
The plot of Khundoojee Furzund was discovered by means of a female slave, before the attack commenced, and he, with many of his accomplices, were put to death345.
Sumbhajee, accompanied by Sultan Akber, proceeded to Dhunda Rajepoor for the purpose of stimulating the exertions of his troops. He proposed filling up the channel by an immense mound of earth and stones, and thus advancing to the assault. The work was actually in progress, when he was suddenly called upon to oppose a body of Moghul horse under the command of Hoossein Ali Khan, which advanced from Ahmednugur, by the route of Joonere, descended the
Ghauts, and ravaged the Kallian district north of Panwell. Sumbhajee attacked them in front, prevented their penetrating to the southward, and having stopped their supplies on all sides, the Moghul general retired before the rains.
The siege of Jinjeera was continued by Dadajee Rugonath, and in the month of August, the defences having been battered down, an assault was attempted by means of boats, but the slippery rock and beating of the surf, prevented the assailants from keeping their footing. They were repulsed with the loss of two hundred men, and the attempt on the island was abandoned346.
After the siege was raised, and the besieging army withdrawn, the Seedees made constant inroads, destroying cows, carrying off the women, and burning the villages. They even penetrated to Mhar, and seized the wife of Dadajee Rugonath, the officer so lately employed against them347.
These insults greatly enraged Sumbhajee; he threatened to punish the English and Portuguese for maintaining a neutrality towards Jinjeera, and during the remainder of the monsoon he made preparations for an attack on the Seedee’s fleet. In the month of October, the principal commanders of his armed vessels, sailed out of the Nagotna river in quest of the Seedee, whose fleet was at anchor off Mazagon, in Bombay harbour. On perceiving the approach of the Mahrattas, the Seedee immediately got under way, and stood up towards the Tannah river, when having chosen his
position he lay to and waited for the Mahrattas. Seedee Missree, the relation of Seedee Sumbhole, who had deserted to Sumbhajee, led the attack, and was well supported by the other officers. But Yakoot Khan in person commanded the Jinjeera fleet; and although he had only fifteen vessels to twice that number of Sumbhajee’s which attacked him, he gained a complete victory. Seedee Missree was mortally wounded, and taken prisoner in his own vessel, which, with three others, was captured by the Seedee348. Some of the Mahratta fleet were sunk, defending themselves to the last349.
Sumbhajee, exasperated by this defeat, began to carry his threats against the Europeans into effect; he commenced with the Portuguese, by plundering some of their villages, and was preparing to fortify the island of Elephanta in Bombay harbour, for the purpose of annoying the English, and preventing the Seedee’s vessels from anchoring at Mazagon during the monsoon; but he was diverted from this latter scheme, and suddenly resolved on endeavouring to form an alliance with the English against the Moghuls and the Seedee. His inducement to this plan, was intelligence of great preparations on the part of Aurungzebe, and the arrival at Aurungabad of Sultan Mauzum; whom the emperor had sent forward, appointed for the fourth time, to the government of the four Soobehs of the Deccan.
According to his projected change of politics, Sumbhajee sent an ambassador to Bombay, who
pretended to inform the council of a scheme which the Moghuls had laid for reducing the island, and proposed an alliance against them and the Seedees. The council listened to these overtures, with a view of procuring an exemption from certain duties which were levied by Sumbhajee’s officers, on the trade of the factories on the Coromandel coast; but although the negotiation was protracted to some length, neither party at this time obtained their desire350.
Sumbhajee was again called to repel an inroad into the Concan, by a detachment under Runmust Khan, supported by another Moghul officer, named Roh Oolah Khan, whom the prince had detached against him. These troops advanced to Kallian Bheemree, ravaged the country, as had been done the preceding season, but returned to Ahmednugur before the rains, without having effected anything worthy of notice351.
In prosecution of the war against the Portuguese, Sumbhajee attacked Choule in the month of June, but he could make no impression on a regular European fortification. The viceroy of Goa did not confine his operations to defensive warfare. He took the field in the month of October, and invaded Sumbhajee’s territory with a considerable army, twelve hundred of whom were Europeans. The Portuguese in their warfare exhibited greater barbarity than Mahratta freebooters. They not only carried fire and sword into the defenceless
villages, but destroyed the temples, and attempted to convert their prisoners by force352.
The viceroy neglected no means of hostility, he had anticipated Sumbhajee’s intention of fortifying the island of Aujee Dewa, and now gave orders to some armed vessels stationed there, to cruize against Sumbhajee’s fleet, and distress the trade of Carwar. The viceroy advanced in person with the army, and laid siege to Ponda. Sumbhajee, who possessed all the ardent bravery of his father, though without his prudence or his talents, immediately marched at the head of an inconsiderable force to raise the siege, and on coming in sight of Ponda, although his numbers were inferior to the Portuguese, he commenced an attack on their rear.
The fort was at this time breached, and might have been stormed, but the viceroy with the ideas of a European, unused to Indian warfare, alarmed lest his retreat should be cut off, and Goa exposed to danger, immediately resolved on retiring. He effected his retreat; but at the expense of the whole of his camp equipage, stores, guns, and equipments: twelve hundred of his men were slain, of whom two hundred were Europeans.
On arriving at the back water which separates the island of Goa or Pangin from the main land, Sumbhajee, who had headed repeated charges, again led on the horse, intending to have dashed across with the fugitives, but the Portuguese, from
a better knowledge of the ford, and from having stationed boats, and lined the opposite banks with troops, repulsed the attempt. Sumbhajee rallied his men, and again tried to ford, but although he headed the troops himself; and persevered until his horse was swimming, he was at last obliged to desist, owing to the flood-tide353.
Sumbhajee on this occasion particularly signalized himself; and Bhowanee, the sword of his father, which he used, could not have been better wielded; but with his usual obstinacy, he persisted in his rash design of crossing over into the island, and ordered boats to be brought for the purpose. Two hundred of his men were embarked and transported, when the Portuguese boats coming round, intercepted the return of the Mahrattas, and the enraged and defeated troops of the viceroy fell upon the two hundred men thus exposed to their fury, and destroyed most of them354.
The siege of Choule was continued without success; but Caranja was taken possession of, and retained for nearly a year. Several places belonging to the Portuguese, between Bassein and Damaun, were attacked and destroyed, and the viceroy made overtures for peace, but as Sumbhajee demanded five crores of pagodas as a preliminary, they were at once broken off.
The Mahratta horse, a part only of which were required on these services in the Concan, were as usual let loose to plunder, and subsist in the upper country during the fair season, and this year they
were fruitlessly pursued by a force from Aurungabad355.
To follow them in all cases, or to trace their incursions with precision from about the period at which we have arrived, is scarcely possible. Nor is it necessary. If we can account for the growth of their predatory power amidst the general warfare and confusion throughout the Deccan, and connect the principal incidents by which their empire was extended, it is all that can prove interesting or instructive in their history.
From the time of Moro Punt’s confinement, Kuloosha was entrusted with the entire management of public affairs; nor did the partial enlargement of the Peishwa, for the short time he afterwards lived, produce in this respect any change. Sumbhajee, when not actually employed in the field, gave himself up to idleness or to vice; none could have access but Kuloosha, and if any one ventured to approach without the favourite’s permission, Sumbhajee flew into a passion, and punished the intruder. Kuloosha, as possessing a religious character, could not consistently be admitted to any other rank among the Purdhans, than that of Pundit Rao; in addition to that honor, he was dignified with the title of Chundagau-Matya Kuvee-Kulus356. Although in the Mahratta manuscripts, Kuloosha
is loaded with many epithets of abuse, he is seldom accused of having been the pander of Sumbhajee’s vices; it is even admitted that he was a learned and courtly man, and that he excelled in poetry, but his total incapacity for his high station, and the ruinous consequences, both of his neglect and his measures, may be very clearly gleaned from the Mahratta writings: in these, the ascendancy gained over the mind of Sumbhajee, is ascribed to magic, in which Kuloosha is believed to have been a perfect adept.
The system, which Sivajee introduced, soon fell into decay, wherever the efficiency of the establishments depended upon the vigilance or care of the executive authority. This was first perceivable in the army where the discipline and strict orders of Sivajee were neglected. When the horse took the field, stragglers were allowed to join, plunder was secreted, women followers who had been prohibited on pain of death, were not only permitted, but women were brought off from the enemy’s country as an established article of plunder, and either retained as concubines, or sold as slaves.
The small returns brought back by the commanders of the horse, were insufficient for the pay of the troops; they took the field in arrears, and permission to keep a portion of their plunder was an ample and desirable compensation for the regular pay allowed by Sivajee.
Sumbhajee was prodigal in his expenses, and as he considered his father’s treasure inexhaustible, even the favourite minister was unwilling to rouse his dangerous temper by touching on that theme.
No revenue was received from the Carnatic after the death of Rugonath Punt; the districts in that quarter maintained themselves, but as loss rather than advantage was now the result of most of the expeditions, by which, in the time of Sivajee, so much was amassed, Kuloosha conceived he had discovered an easy mode of replenishing the treasury, by raising the land-rent, through the addition of various assessments; but when he came to collect the revenue, he found that the receipts were as much diminished from what they had been in the time of Sivajee, as the assessments were nominally increased.
The managers of districts were in consequence removed, for what appeared to him, evident peculation. The revenue was farmed, many of the ryots fled from their villages, and speedy ruin threatened the territory of Sumbhajee, without the approach of Aurungzebe, who this year advanced to Burhanpoor with a vast army, for the purpose of carrying his designs on the Deccan into execution.
The ostensible impediments to the emperor’s plans, were, in comparison to his apparent means, very inconsiderable. The state of Hyderabad was the most formidable as to men and money, and the king, Abou Hoossein, was possessed of great private riches in jewels. His administration, conducted principally under Mahdhuna Punt, was popular amongst a large proportion of his Hindoo subjects, but many of the principal Mahomedan officers were disgusted at the sway exercised by a Bramin, over both their prince and country. Their jealousy was
fomented by the secret emissaries of Aurungzebe; but Abou Hoossein, sensible of the minister’s value, did not withdraw his confidence or support.
Mullik Berkhordar, the envoy of Aurungzebe, residing at the capital of Beejapoor, not only succeeded in drawing over many of the principal officers who were pensioned or employed by the emperor, but to his influence may be ascribed the decay of Musaood Khan’s power. The faction opposed to the regent, was headed by Syud Mukhtoom, an Oomrah of no distinction, but he was supported by Shirzee Khan, the best officer then left in the Beejapoor army. Shirzee Khan’s enmity towards Musaood Khan, originated in the preference shown the latter for infantry, which was contrary both to the interest and judgment of the former: many of the best horse under Shirzee. Khan had been discharged, and Musaood Khan had been obliged to call in the aid of Sivajee, at the expense of ceding some of the finest districts in the kingdom. This faction forced Musaood Khan to quit Beejapoor and retire to Adonee, probably about a year357 after Sivajee’s death. By whom the new administration was conducted is uncertain; but as the envoy of Aurungzebe had always represented the treaty with the Mahrattas as a great source of displeasure to the emperor, one of its first acts, after the removal of Musaood Khan, was an injudicious attempt to recover some of the fertile territory near the banks of the Kistna, of which
Sivajee had acquired possession. Merich was retaken, and the breach which this occasioned between Sumbhajee and the Beejapoor government, seems to have been irreparable. It was the interest of Sumbhajee to unite with the Mahomedan states on this occasion, and Mahdhuna Punt made some endeavours to effect a confederacy, but there were so many parties and interests, such jealousy and imbecility, that no state could call forth its own resources, still less could all combine in one grand effort. For whilst Aurungzebe’s emissaries pretended at each of the courts of Beejapoor and Hyderabad, that the emperor meant to extend to it, particular favour and protection, some of the members of the state were weak enough to be lulled by such palpable illusions, and many of the nobles were traitors; so that the ostensible authorities in each government, distrusting all around them, were careful not to suggest proceedings which might ensure their own assassination or precipitate the hostility of the emperor. When Musaood Khan was obliged to reduce the army, he maintained but a small number of cavalry in addition to the Mahratta Munsubdars, who, in fear of losing their Jagheers, Enams, and hereditary rights, still acknowledged themselves the servants of the Beejapoor state. Some of the members of the different families had, however, enrolled themselves with Sivajee, and continued under the standard of Sumbhajee.
The Mahratta Munsubdars, formerly under the Nizam Shahee state, in like manner paid obedience to the Moghuls, whilst many of their relations
were in the army of Sumbhajee. Wherever there were disputes regarding hereditary rights, which is generally the case amongst village and district officers, as well as Enamdars, Jagheerdars, and all old Hindoo families, the party not in possession, as the country became more and more unsettled, always went over to the invading enemy, prompted by motives of self-interest, but more by feelings of spite and personal enmity, in hopes of finding some occasion for wreaking vengeance on the opponent. If the invader prevailed, the occupant was frequently ejected, and he took the same mode of being re-instated; or, if fortunate enough to make his peace by timely submission, the other party awaited another opportunity.
Aurungzebe understood and took advantage of these feuds. The reader, at all acquainted with the Hindoo character, can conceive the bitter rancour with which they pursued these quarrels, when there are several instances of one party becoming a Mahomedan, in order to ruin his adversary and gratify revenge. The services of the Hindoo Munsubdars, under the Mahomedan states, became exactly in proportion to the measure of punishment or reward, which the government they acknowledged could inflict or bestow.
This brief survey of the state of the Deccan must be understood to apply to that period which followed the first year of Sumbhajee’s accession, up to the fall of Beejapoor and Golcondah, when additional causes of disturbance and confusion will appear. But previously to entering upon the war which was directed by Aurungzebe in person, it
is fit to notice an extraordinary event which occurred amongst our own countrymen, in their then small establishment on the west of India, of which Surat was, at that time, the residence of the governor, or president of the council, under whom the East India Company’s factories on the coast, were managed.
In December, 1683, the garrison of Bombay, at the head of which was Captain Keigwin, confined the deputy of the governor of Surat, declared they held the island for the king, and that they would submit to no other, authority. This act of rebellion being limited to a small insulated space, and Keigwin its instigator, a firm, resolute man, who maintained order amongst his inferiors, notwithstanding the pernicious example he had set, the ruinous consequences so much to be dreaded, were happily obviated, and an amnesty having been promised by Sir Thomas Grantham, whom the president in council at Surat had named to act under a general commission obtained from the king, the whole island was surrendered and restored to the lawful authorities, 11th November, 1684.
The state of parties in England had probably as great an effect in occasioning this proceeding as its immediate cause. The interests of commercial adventurers, and the rival East India Company, which sprang up about this time, created a variety of reports, and spread opinions in India prejudicial to the existing company. This, no doubt, tended to diminish that respect for them in the eyes of
their own servants which was of so much importance to the preservation of their authority.
The directors injudiciously chose this period, for reducing their expenses by decreasing the allowances of their military. The president in council at Surat carried the orders into effect, in that ungracious and arbitrary manner which appears to have marked the government of Sir John Child, and in the state of feeling which these various causes were likely to produce in high spirited rash men, the revolt which ensued, however inexcusable, is not surprising.
It was fortunate that the president had not the means of attempting to enforce immediate obedience, otherwise it is possible the rebels might have been driven to the infamous alternative of making over the island to the Moghuls or the Mahrattas. Keigwin’s management, however, in several respects, merited commendation, particularly in having obtained from Sumbhajee not only a confirmation of the articles agreed to by Sivajee, but a grant for the establishment of factories at Cuddalore and Thevenapatam, an exemption from duties in the Carnatic, and the balance of compensation for losses sustained by the English, at different places, formerly plundered by the Mahrattas358.
We now return to affairs of greater magnitude than those of the infant establishments of the East India Company, connected, however, not only with our subject, but
intimately linked with the causes by which the British nation has obtained such vast power in that distant portion of the globe.
Aurungzebe, whom we have mentioned as marching to Burhanpoor, remained there for some months regulating several departments in finance, and settling plans for the approaching grand arrangements he had in contemplation. He first ordered Sultan Mauzum, now dignified with the title of Shah Alum359, to proceed in advance from Ahmednugur with his whole army and reduce Sumbhajee’s southern territory, whilst Sultan Azim was directed to reduce his northern forts about Candeish, Buglana, and Sungumnere, and to commence by besieging the important fortress of Salheir, the acquisition of which, by Moro Punt, had afforded such facility for Mahratta inroads through Candeish. Accordingly, Sultan Mauzum descended into the Concan by the Ambadurray Ghaut, near Nassuck, and passing the Kallian district, already devastated, advanced to the southward, where he plundered and burnt the country from Raigurh to Vingorla. Sultan Azim marched towards Salheir, where much resistance was expected, but Neknam Khan, the Moghul Killidar of Molheir, who joined the prince on his advance, had obtained a previous promise from his neighbour the Mahratta Havildar, to surrender Salheir as soon as the army came before it. Such negotiations being always doubtful in their issue, Neknam Khan had prudently
communicated the agreement to the emperor only, the place, however, was evacuated, and the prince, with the feeling of a very young commander, disappointed in the expected fame of the conquest, expressed great displeasure at being sent on such a service. He was shortly after recalled, the emperor promising to employ him in the war against Beejapoor360. Shahabodeen Khan was therefore, ordered to reduce the remainder of the forts, but met with an unexpected resistance from the Havildar of Ramseje, by whom his troops being repeatedly repulsed, Khan Jehan Buhadur was sent to repair the failure, but after many vaunting attempts, equally unsuccessful as those of his predecessor, he was compelled to retire with disgrace.
Sultan Mauzum’s army, although they had overrun the greater part of the Concan, do not appear to have come prepared for sieges; the forts and places of strength still remained in the hands of Sumbhajee, who, during this inroad, sent his cavalry to subsist in the upper country, whilst he himself retired with Sultan Akber to Vishalgurh. The distresses occasioned by the ravages of the invading army soon recoiled upon themselves, and scarcity prevailed in their camp. Sumbhajee taking advantage of the improvident waste they had made, ordered down his horse, and directed them, assisted by the different garrisons of the flirts, to stop the roads, cut off supplies, harass them by desultory attacks, and destroy the foragers and stragglers. The Mahratta horse found
subsistence from the grass and grain stored under the protection of the forts, but the Moghuls were soon in great distress, and thousands of followers, horses, and cattle, perished.
The emperor apprised of their situation, but unwilling to sanction what might seem a defeat, directed the force under Shahabodeen Khan to proceed for the purpose of opening the communication; and orders were sent to the Moghul governor at Surat, to embark supplies for Dhunda Rajepoor and Vingorla. The demand being urgent, the vessels were sent off, as laden, without waiting for convoy, and Sumbhajee’s cruizers, apprised of their approach, took the greater part. Such a scanty supply arrived that it became impossible to exist in that situation, and Sultan Mauzum was obliged to retire towards the Ambah Ghaut, which he ascended, and afterwards cantoned his army, during the monsoon, near Walwa on the banks of the Kistna.
Shahabodeen Khan, when directed to march for the relief of the prince, advanced as far as Nizampoor near Raigurh, when he was opposed by Sumbhajee, whom he defeated, probably in a very partial action; but small advantages are always overestimated in unsuccessful campaigns, Shahabodeen, being a personal favourite with the emperor, and at the head of a body of Tooranee Moghuls, his countrymen, whom it was the emperor’s desire to conciliate, was honoured with the title of Ghazee-ud-deen, and the recollection of his failure at Ramseje purposely obliterated. Such, we may here observe, is the earliest account we have, in the history of the Deccan, of the ancestor of the family of
Nizam Ool Moolk, afterwards so conspicuous in the annals of that country.
The emperor, in the meantime, had quitted Burhanpoor, and arrived at Aurungabad. During his stay at the former city, amongst other arrangements, he issued orders for the collection of the Jizeea361, a poll-tax levied on all his subjects, not Mahomedans, which was to be as strictly exacted in the Deccan, as in the northern part of the empire.
To reconcile such a measure with that character for wisdom which has been assigned to Aurungzebe, is impossible; it would even be inexplicable in a person of ordinary capacity, but the workings of fanaticism always warp the understanding, and Aurungzebe may have supposed that, his undertaking merited divine favour, by giving the people about to be conquered, the alternative of conversion or taxation. There could be no political reason for such an edict, although his apologists may point out the mean one of gratifying the Mahomedan vulgar, and affording an earnest, of what his emissaries professed at Beejapoor and Golcondah, that he was coming to the Deccan for the purpose of suppressing idolatry, and placing Mahomedan power on such a footing, as would, in future, uphold the dignity of the faith of Islam.
The imperial service sustained considerable loss this year by the death of Dilere Khan. He had great experience in Deccan warfare, had seen more service than most officers of his time, and had signalized
himself on many occasion. He was always suspected, and in his old age neglected, by the emperor, after having fought his battles for twenty-six years. A just retribution, when we know, that in joining the crafty Aurungzebe, he became a traitor to the cause of the generous, confiding and unfortunate Dara.
Sumbhajee was still at war with the Portuguese, and the latter had instigated the chief of Soonda, and the Dessayes of Carwar, to throw off their allegiance; Sumbhajee, about the end of the rains, sent some of his troops into the northern Concan, and again plundered the exposed parts of the Portuguese possessions in that quarter; he himself came to Panalla to watch the motions of Sultan Mauzum’s army.
The emperor, at the opening of the fair season, leaving Khan Jehan at Aurungabad, moved with the grand camp, in more than ordinary magnificence, towards Ahmednugur.
The number of his forces is not specified by any Moghul historian, and the estimate formed by the Mahrattas is quite incredible. The display of power, however, presented by Aurungzebe’s march into the Deccan, was grand and imposing to a degree which has seldom been surpassed. Besides foreigners, his cavalry assembled from Cabul, Candahar, Mooltan, Lahore, Rajpootana, and the extended provinces of his vast empire, was the flower of his army, and presented an array of gigantic men and horses completely armed and accoutred, whom it might be imagined, the more slender and lighter armed natives of the Deccan could hardly venture to oppose.
His infantry was also numerous, and was composed of musketeers, matchlockmen, and archers, well equipped; besides bodies of hardy Boondelas and Mewattees accustomed to predatory contests among the mountains, and the better able to cope with the Mahratta Mawulees. To these were afterwards added many thousands of infantry, raised in the Carnatic. Besides a number of field-pieces, which accompanied the royal tents, there were several hundred pieces of cannon manned by natives of Hindoostan, and directed by European gunners, and a great number of miners were attached to the park of artillery, with artisans of every description. A long train of war-elephants, was followed by a number of the same animals on the emperor’s private establishment, employed to carry the ladies of his seraglio, or to convey such of his tents as were too large to be borne on camels. Numerous led horses, magnificently caparisoned, formed a stud for the emperor’s riding; a menagerie accompanied the camp, from which the rarest animals in the world were frequently brought forth and exhibited by their keepers before the emperor and his court; – whilst hawks, hounds, hunting tigers, trained elephants, and every accompaniment used for field sport, swelled the pomp of this prodigious retinue. The canvass-walls which encompassed the royal tents, formed a circumference of 1,200 yards, and contained every description of apartment to be found in the most spacious palace. Halls of audience for public assemblies and privy councils, with all the courts and cabinets attached to them, each hall magnificently adorned,
and having within it, a raised seat or throne for the emperor, surrounded by gilded pillars with canopies of velvet, richly fringed, and superbly embroidered; separate tents, as mosques, and oratories; baths and galleries for archery, and gymnastic exercises; a seraglio as remarkable for luxury and privacy as that of Delhi; Persian carpets, damasks, and tapestries; European velvets, satins, and broad-cloths; Chinese silks of every description, and Indian muslins and cloth of gold, were employed in all the tents with the utmost profusion and effect. Gilded balls and cupolas surmounted the tops of the royal tents; the outside of which, and the canvass walls, were of a variety of lively colours, disposed in a manner which heightened the general splendour. The entrance into the royal enclosure was through a spacious portal, flanked by two elegant pavilions, from which extended, on each side, rows of cannon, forming an avenue, at the extremity of which, was an immense tent containing the great state drums and imperial band; a little farther in front was the post of the grand guard on duty, commanded by a nobleman, who mounted with it daily. On the other sides, surrounding the great enclosure just mentioned, were separate tents for the emperor’s armoury, harness, &c., a tent for water, kept cool with saltpetre, another for fruit, a third for sweetmeets, a fourth for betel, and so on, with numerous kitchens, stables, &c. &c. Such luxury in a camp is scarcely to be conceived; but besides what has been described, every tent had its exact duplicate, which was sent on in advance to be prepared against the emperor’s arrival. His
march was a procession, and when he entered his pavilions, a salvo from fifty or sixty pieces of ordnance announced the event; and he assumed and maintained every form and ceremony observed at the established residences of the imperial court.
The magnificence of such a spectacle, which formed a remarkable contrast with the plain and even austere personal habits of the emperor, was intended to strengthen his power by the awe with which it impressed his subjects; but as his state was imitated by his nobles, it proved a serious encumbrance to the movements of his army, while the devouring expense of such establishments pressed hard on his finances, and soon crippled even the most necessary of his military and political arrangements.
We may easily suppose that the inconveniences of this style of magnificence, of which all the Moghul camps in some degree partook, must have been already experienced by Sultan Mauzum during his campaign in the Concan. Whilst he lay at Walwa above the Ghauts, he took possession in the emperor’s name, of such parts of the country as he could cover, and deeds are yet extant, confirming in his own name, grants of lands, originally given by the Beejapoor government. In the month of October, a pestilence broke out in his camp, which swept off many of his men, and greatly diminished his force, but on receiving the emperor’s orders to reduce the south-west districts above the Ghauts, formerly taken by Sivajee from Beejapoor, he advanced without hesitation for that purpose, and Azim Shah, who, had commenced the war
against Beejapoor with indifferent success, opened the campaign to the northward, by laying siege to Sholapoor.
Sumbhajee’s troops in the Concan, under the command of Humbeer Rao, apprised of the exposed state of Candeish, were secretly reinforced by several detachments, and moved off to the northward. They suddenly appeared at Burhanpoor362, plundered it of much property and riches for several days, and retired as rapidly as their heavy loads would permit, leaving the whole country, in their route from Burhanpoor to Nassuck, in a blaze.
Khan Jehan, on hearing of this inroad, moved from Aurungabad in pursuit, but in place of marching to Chandore or Unkye Tunkye to cut off their retreat, which he might have done, he crossed the range of hills at the Ajunta pass, and wheeled round to the left, but he never came within five marches of the Mahrattas. After having followed them to a considerable distance to the southward, he received orders to place Thannas in the country between Joonere and Singurh, whilst the young prince Kaum Bukhsh was sent to cover Burhanpoor.
Khan Jehan took possession of Poona and the adjacent country, where he left Khakur Khan as Foujdar, and was proceeding by the emperor’s order to support Azim Shah, who had taken Sholapoor,
and was advancing towards Beejapoor, but the prince finding that he could not contend with Shirzee Khan, had recrossed the Beema, which made the junction of Khan Jehan unnecessary363.
Sultan Mauzum, meanwhile, had successively captured Gokauk, Hooblee, and Dharwar, in which he had met with little resistance; but famine, pestilence, and the drafts from his force required to garrison the new acquisitions, had so greatly reduced the numbers and efficiency of his troops, that when attacked by a small detachment, sent against him from Beejapoor, he was scarcely able to defend himself: Roh Oolah Khan was immediately sent forward with a party to his assistance, and Khan Jehan was ordered to cover Roh Oolah Khan. Until this succour arrived, the prince’s army was constantly harassed; most of the horses being dead, nobles and troopers were reduced to the necessity of marching and fighting on foot, which even the common horsemen considered a degrading hardship. The wreck of this fine army returned to Ahmednugur, more effectually reduced than if they had been vanquished in many battles364.
After assisting Sultan Mauzum’s shattered army, and escorting the prince to the frontiers, Khan Jehan and Roh Oolah Khan returned, and cantoned at Hulmullee, in the Beejapoor territory
during the monsoon. At the opening of the season, these two officers were ordered to invest Beejapoor.
Mahdhuna Punt’s endeavours to effect union in opposing Aurungzebe, were ineffectual, even when the intentions of the latter in regard to Beejapoor were avowed. Sumbhajee made no effort to aid that state, but he engaged to assist Golcondah, and received a subsidy of one lack of pagodas from Abou Hoossein. This alliance was communicated to the emperor, and the conditions came to his knowledge at a subsequent period. He immediately ordered Khan Jehan to advance into the Hyderabad territories, under pretence of receiving the arrears of tribute. Sadut Khan accompanied the army as envoy, with secret instructions, not merely to demand satisfaction for this alliance with Sumbhajee, but to provoke any fit cause of widening the breach, and producing a rupture with Hyderabad.
The emperor marched from Ahmednugur towards Sholapoor, and directed a body of troops, stationed at Joonere, under Ghazee-ud-deen, to move towards Ahmednugur. The Mahrattas, again seizing this opportunity, made a rapid march to the northward, crossed the Taptee and Nerbuddah, and assaulted and took the city of Baroach within a few hours after their approach was known365. It is probable that Sultan Akber was the instigator, if not the leader of this enterprize; he was actively employed against his brother during the campaign in the Concan366, and on this occasion, the party proclaimed him emperor, plundered and exacted all
they could, and did not retire until the approach of the Soobehdar of Guzerat, who had assembled the troops of the province, and marched against them367.
The sack, both of Burhanpoor and Baroach, are principally to be ascribed to Aurungzebe’s want of military arrangement. Intent on his own schemes against the Mahomedan states, he neither covered his own country, nor took time to study the genius of the people, whom his early ambition and his present negligence alike fostered, and for whom, he still entertained a contempt, fatal to the security of his empire.
The operations against Beejapoor were renewed. Sultan Azim moved forward about the end of the year, and approached the capital with a large army. The officers of Beejapoor, although they had before opposed him on the frontier successfully, now retired before him. This was judicious. Very little rain had fallen this year, a scarcity prevailed, and the little grain which had been produced in the neighbourhood of Beejapoor was, as usual, secured within the fort. To the northward, in the province of Aurungabad, the harvest had been more plentiful, but grain was exceedingly dear in the grand camp at Sholapoor, which drew its supplies from
the northward. To have attacked Azim Shah, therefore, in the neighbourhood of the emperor’s camp, would comparatively have been of little advantage. They allowed him to approach the city, when they cut off the communication between him and the camp at Sholapoor, interrupted his supplies, destroyed foragers, harassed the army by false attacks and skirmishes, and in a very short time, Azim Shah was in great distress.
The scarcity in his own camp prevented the emperor from forwarding supplies from Sholapoor. Ghazee-ud-deen Khan was therefore ordered to bring 20,000 bullock loads of grain from Ahmednugur, and carry it on to Azim Shah’s force, reinforced by a strong detachment under Dulput Rao from the grand army. This service was well performed by Ghazee-ud-deen. The Beejapoor troops saw the necessity of cutting off his convoy, and made a desperate attempt to effect their purpose, but they were defeated; and after a well contested action, the prince’s troops were rescued from the disgrace and destruction which the loss or delay of the convoy had rendered unavoidable. On this occasion, the princess Janee Begum, wife of Azim Shah, proceeding with the convoy to join her husband, mounted her elephant, and advanced into the battle encouraging the troops. Aurungzebe expressed himself more gratefully to Ghazee-ud-deen for thus relieving his son, than for any service ever performed by his officers368.
Khan Jehan, according to the orders which were
given, had advanced towards Hyderabad, but Mahdhuna Punt’s preparations were in a more forward state than was expected, and Ibrahim Khan, the supposed friend of the minister, met the Moghuls at Mulkair, with an army of severity thousand men. Khan Jehan’s force being quite unequal to contend with this host, and a retreat being exceedingly dangerous under such circumstances, he threw up intrenchments, and sent intelligence of his situation to the emperor. Sultan Mauzum was immediately dispatched with a body of troops to his relief. In the mean time Ibrahim Khan, who bad a fine army, and had Khan Jehan completely in his power, made no vigorous attacks, and on the advance of Sultan Mauzum, his conduct was so treacherous, or his exertions so feeble, that the Moghuls marched on to Hyderabad with little opposition. The king retired into the fortress of Golcondah, notwithstanding Mahdhuna Punt’s remonstrances; but at this time, Ibrahim Khan treacherously deserted to the Moghuls, the city of Hyderabad was taken possession of, and, contrary to Sultan Mauzum’s orders, plundered by the troops. The wisest minister is obnoxious in times of public misfortune; the enemies of Mahdhuna Punt, at the instigation of the king’s mother-in-law, or some of the treacherous factious in league with the Moghuls, took advantage of the general outcry amongst the populace, and assassinated him. Abou Hoossein, although he had many amiable qualities, was destitute of the firmness and decision in which only his safety could be found, and being thus left without an adviser, sued for peace. Aurungzebe
perceiving that the troops, the wealth; and the preparations at Hyderabad were more formidable than he had contemplated, and that Beejapoor seemed likely to make considerable resistance, agreed to a peace, on being promised two crores of rupees in treasure and effects, which Sultan Mauzum was left to collect. The prince and Khan Jehan fell under the emperor’s displeasure, for not securing the plunder of Hyderabad, and Aurungzebe, recollecting the vast treasure he had obtained there in 1655, became jealous of the wealth they were supposed to have secreted for purposes similar perhaps to what his own had been. Khan Jehan was therefore ordered to Lahore, and although he rejoined the emperor some years afterwards, he was never again actively employed369.
The emperor now moved to Beejapoor. The walls of the city were of immense extent, and the fort, which communicates with it, is six miles in circumference. To invest the latter closely, therefore, required the presence of the grand army. There were different breaching batteries erected, but the principal one, under the immediate superintendence of Turbeeut Khan, was on the south face.
Shirzee Khan, Abdool Raoof, Seedees Zalim, and Jumshed, were the officers who defended the fort, under the young prince Sikundur. The garrison was not numerous, but, although ill-paid, and short of provisions, they still showed some remains of Patan valour, and fought with obstinacy. The
emperor as he saw they must surrender, and as the occasion was not pressing, prudently deferred the assault after the breach was practicable, choosing rather to trust a little to the effects likely to be produced in them by reflection on their hopeless situation, embittered by privation, than to assault men, who, under such circumstances, would have fought with desperation, and exulted in an opportunity of dying with their swords in their hands.
Aurungzebe was not disappointed; for although they had still an inner fort much stronger than the outward works, the garrison were so much in want of provisions, that they were compelled to surrender on or about 15th October, 1686. Shirzee Khan concluded the terms through Ghazee-ud-deen, to whom the emperor, agreeably to custom, when he received such proposals through any of his officers, was pleased to assign the nominal honor of the conquest370.
The principal officers were admitted into the imperial service, and a Munsub of seven thousand horse, with the title of Roostum Khan, was conferred on Shirzee Khan. The young prince Sikundur Adil Shah was kept a close prisoner in the Moghul camp for three years, when he died suddenly, not without suspicion of having been poisoned by Aurungzebe371.
Beejapoor, henceforth, ceased to be a capital, and was soon after deserted. The walls, which are
of hewn stone and very lofty, are, to this day, entire, and being surmounted by the cupolas and minarets of the public buildings, still present to a spectator from without, the appearance of a flourishing city; but within, – all is solitude, silence, and desolation. The deep moat, the double rampart, and the ruins of the splendid palaces in the citadel, attest the former magnificence of the court. The great mosque is a grand edifice, and the tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah, already mentioned, is remarkable for its elegant and graceful architecture, but the chief feature in the scene is the Mausoleum of Mohummud Adil Shah, the dome372 of which fills the eye from every point of view, and though in itself entirely devoid of ornament, its enormous dimensions and austere simplicity invest it with an air of melancholy grandeur, which harmonizes with the wreck and desolation that surround it. In the climate where Beejapoor is situated, the progress of decay is extremely rapid, and until lately nothing whatever was done to arrest its effects; but when viewed as mere ruins, the remains of that city, as they at present exist, are exceedingly grand, and, as a vast whole, far exceed anything of the kind in Europe.
After the reduction of Beejapoor, immediate preparations were made by Aurungzebe for attacking Golcondah, but previously to violating the treaty so lately concluded by Sultan Mauzum, Aurungzebe added meanness to his want of faith, by
directing Sadut Khan to procure as much treasure, and as many of Abou Hoossein’s jewels as could be extorted, by working on the hopes or the fears of that weak prince.
A Moghul Foujdar373, or military governor of a district, was appointed to command in Beejapoor; and another, named Kasim Khan374, was sent with a detachment across the Kistna, to occupy as much of the country as possible, and induce the Dessayes, or Zumeendars as they were commonly styled by the Moghuls, to acknowledge the imperial authority. Shirzee Khan, of Beejapoor, was sent to invade Sumbhajee’s districts, and marched in the direction of Satara.
Whilst the emperor advanced towards Kulburga, on pretence of paying his devotions at the tomb of a celebrated saint, Ghazee-ud-deen was directed to move in a direction east and somewhat south of Beejapoor, intended, probably, to intercept any reinforcements that might be sent from Sugger, Adonee, or any part of the Carnatic, to the assistance of Golcondah. The emissaries of Aurungzebe were busily employed corrupting the troops of Hyderabad by bribes and promises; many of the officers were drawn over, and the envoy, Sadut Khan, by the lowest artifice, obtained possession of the jewels,
even to the ornaments of the women, which the king stripped off, vainly hoping that this degrading compliance would satisfy the emperor or excite his commiseration. But feelings of pity never swayed the conduct of Aurungzebe; he declared war against Abou Hoossein by a manifesto, in which the principal articles of accusation, after a general charge of profligacy, were the employment of a Bramin minister, and an alliance with the idolater Sumbhajee. Roused, at length, to indignation against the merciless tyrant by whom he was thus persecuted, but deserted by many whose services he had a right to expect, Abou Hoossein retired to the fort of Golcondah, supported by a few brave troops and officers who still remained faithful. The gallant defence of the fort, the heroic devotion of some of his followers, and the dignified self-possession he maintained to the last, have preserved his memory in Deccan tradition as the brave and good Tannah Shah, a title of doubtful meaning by which he is known in Maharashtra, but said to have been the name of a Fuqeer with whom the king was in habits of intimacy previous to his elevation.
The fort of Golcondah, after a siege of seven months, fell by treachery in the end of September, 1687375. Hyderabad is still a populous city, and forms, as our progress will explain, the capital of the Soobehdar of the Deccan. Though much inferior to Beejapoor it retains traces of a royal residence. The great mosque, in particular, is a fine edifice, and the tombs of the Kootub Shahee kings, with their glittering cupolas, overlooked by
the fort of Golcondah, forms one of the most striking prospects in India.
It was during the memorable siege of Golcondah that Sultan Mauzum, falling under the unjust suspicion of the emperor, was placed in confinement; and he remained in that situation, in his father’s camp, for six years, when he was released and sent as governor to Cabul. His only fault seems to have been a remonstrance in behalf of the persecuted object of the emperor’s unjust enmity, more honorable and generous than judicious, as it was attended with such effects to himself and to the unfortunate Abou Hoossein, who was sent to the fortress of Doulutabad, where he ended his days376.
To secure the new conquests, and reduce the whole of the territories subject to Beejapoor and Golcondah was now the first consideration. Reinforcements were sent to Kasim Khan in the Carnatic, to whose proceedings, as connected with the
detail of Mahratta progress, we shall presently revert.
Khanzad Khan was sent to reduce the fort of Sugger, between Kulburga and Beejapoor, in possession of a chief of the Berud tribe, a cast of people in the Carnatic, precisely similar to the Ramoosees of Maharashtra. This chief was a Polygar, and could command twelve thousand infantry principally of his own tribe. His fort was situated amongst hills and jungles, extremely difficult of access, but, in dread of the Moghul name, he surrendered. As it was an invariable rule of Aurungzebe to bestow great honors on all who unresistingly acknowledged his authority, this Ramoosee Naik, greatly to the amusement of the courtiers, was raised to the rank of a commander of five thousand in the Moghul empire. He survived his honors but a few days, and his son Pemnaik, finding himself uncomfortable in the splendour of his new situation, withdrew to the woods, and collecting a band of his tribe took up his abode in Wakinkerah, a walled village near Sugger, where, by plunder and robbery, he gradually added to his numbers, and in less than twenty years we shall find the last personal effort of the mighty Aurungzebe, directed to reduce the Berud Naik of Wakinkerah.
Azim Shah and Ghazee-ud-deen, at the same time that the other detachments were sent off, marched against Adonee, still in possession of Musaood Khan, formerly regent of Beejapoor. Considering resistance as altogether hopeless, Musaood Khan resigned his possessions, but declined entering
the imperial service, and died in respectable obscurity.
The eastern quarter of Golcondah was not overlooked, Rajamundree, and the sea-ports of Mausulipatam and Ganjam were taken possession of; the detachments were successful in all quarters377, and the governors of Kuddapah, Conjevaram, and Poonamalee submitted378.
Those tracts of Carnatic and Drawed which had been subject to the subverted kingdoms of Beejapoor and Golcondah, were indiscriminately termed Carnatic by the Moghuls; but the districts which had belonged to the former state were known as Beejapoor Carnatic, and those which had appertained to the latter as Hyderabad Carnatic. The former lay in the upper country or Carnatic proper, the latter extended from Guntoor along the Coromandel coast, and included portions of territory intermixed with the Mahratta possessions, as far south as the Coleroon. No part of the Payeen Ghaut belonged to Beejapoor, as all its possessions in that quarter were conquered by Sivajee; but several places in the Balaghaut, or Carnatic proper were still comprehended in the Hyderabad Carnatic, amongst which may be enumerated, Gootee, near Adonee, and the districts of Gurnmcondah, Gandicotta, and Sidhout.
After the fall of Golcondah the grand camp moved towards Beejapoor, whilst the detachments, whose destination we have briefly noticed, were occupying and settling the country on every side, and before we revert to the share which the Mahrattas
had in the events of this period, it is fit to explain, without a superfluous enumeration of all the establishment, the mode in which the Moghuls took possession of a district.
Two officers were appointed to it, the Foujdar and the Khalsa Dewan. The Foujdar was a military officer, in command of a body of troops, charged with the care of the police, and the protection of his division. He held, or, according to circumstances, assumed, a greater or less degree of power. The regular amount allowed him for the maintenance of the district establishment was about 25 per cent. of the government collections. The duties of the Dewan were entirely of a civil nature, and he was intrusted with the collection of the revenue, whether of the exchequer, or on account of a Jagheerdar. The Moghul commanders who received what were called Jagheers from the newly acquired territories of Hyderabad and Beejapoor, seldom had lands permanently made over similar to the tenure by which the Mahratta Munsubdars held their possessions; the usual practice was, to grant assignments, for a term of years, on specified districts for the support of their troops. Thus the Foujdars were more on the footing of feudatories than the Jagheerdars. The Foujdars, in conjunction with the Dewan, farmed out the districts to the Deshmookhs or Dessayes, and the Dewan realized the amount from them. There were commonly several Foujdars in each Soobeh. The Moghul conquests in the Deccan, which had formerly consisted of four Soobehs, now, with the addition of Beejapoor and Golcondah, were formed into six.
During the rapid progress of Aurungzebe’s conquests,
the personal inactivity of Sumbhajee is ascribed, by the Mahratta writers, to the effects of the incantations of the magician Kuloosha. The fact appears to have been, that Sumbhajee’s habits had become abandoned, and he was generally lost in the stupor or derangement, occasioned by a brutal excitement of the senses. He still might be roused to temporary activity; but, although many of his father’s officers, besides the few who were employed, were well qualified to assist at this crisis, they were deterred from acting by the jealousy of Kuloosha, or the violence of his master379.
The Mahratta Munsubdars, who had been in the service of Beejapoor after the fall of the capital, sent professions of duty to the emperor, but they showed no readiness to join his standard380. Shirzee Khan was, as we have seen, detached for the purpose of attacking Sumbhajee’s possessions, and the Munsubdars alluded to, were ordered to co-operate, but it is not ascertained that they joined him. Shirzee Khan, after penetrating as far as Waee, was attacked and defeated by Humbeer Rao, the Senaputtee, a victory dearly purchased by the loss of Humbeer Rao who was mortally wounded on the occasion381. The advantage which the Mahrattas had gained, was not neglected in consequence of this misfortune, several of their detachments pushed forward, and occupied a great part of the open country towards Beejapoor. Parties of Mahratta horse made their appearance at Golcondah during the siege382 of that place, but they acted with no
vigour, and scarcely caused any interruption to the operations. The most important diversion which Sumbhajee attempted, was by sending off a detachment to the Carnatic under the orders of Kessoo Punt Pingley, the late Peishwa’s brother, with Suntajee Ghorepuray as his second in command383.
The preconcerted plan was to unite with Hurjee Raja Mahareek, and their ultimate design, the occupation of the districts in the upper Carnatic, which had been the Jagheer of Shahjee, and were still held by Venkajee, from whom Sumbhajee had received neither share nor tribute since his accession. But on the arrival of the army at Ginjee, disputes and jealousies arose between Kessoo Punt and his nephew Neloo Punt; and it was supposed, or perhaps given out by the latter, that Kessoo Punt had some secret orders to dispossess Hurjee Raja of the government384.
Venkajee, whether aware of this expedition, or foreseeing that it would not be in his power to defend the paternal Jagheer, was at this time in treaty with Chick Deo Raj, Raja of Mysore, for the sale of Bangalore, but the negotiation having become a matter of notoriety, the Mahrattas at Ginjee were intent on possessing themselves of it before the transfer should take place, and the Moghuls became equally desirous of anticipating them. The dissensions which prevailed at Ginjee, which, as in all
other situations, are the bane of active service, delayed the Mahrattas. Kasim Khan arrived first, took Bangalore without resistance, and sold it a few days afterwards to Chick Deo Raj, for three lacks of rupees, the same sum, as the Raja of Mysore had agreed to pay to Venkajee385.
Kessoo Punt and Suntajee Ghorepuray, frustrated in their design upon Bangalore, entered the country of Mysore, where they levied contributions, and remained several months, but made no permanent conquests, and after hearing of the fall of Golcondah and the rapid progress of the Moghuls, they returned in the end of the year to Ginjee.
Hurjee Raja, alarmed at the approach of the Moghuls and the submission of the neighbouring officers, at last united with Kessoo Punt, and they succeeded in possessing themselves of several places, but a large body of the Moghul troops arriving in the neighbourhood, and no cordial union existing among the Mahrattas, they were compelled to relinquish these new acquisitions and retire to the protection of their forts on each side of the Paliar386.
Ouscotta, another of the oldest Mahratta possessions in the Carnatic, was this year wrested from Venkajee by the Raja of Mysore, which might have easily been prevented by the aid of Sumbhajee’s troops, but where Mahrattas have hereditary disputes, they can seldom be induced to set them aside; even in behalf of their common interests.
Their power in the Carnatic was rapidly declining,
and if their strength in Maharashtra had not depended on causes altogether different from anything consolidated or regular, Aurungzebe’s plans of conquest would not have proved visionary, and the Mahratta name must have speedily sunk into its former obscurity.
Sumbhajee had become completely careless of all general business, he spent his time between Panalla and Vishalgurh, or at a favourite house and garden in Sungumeshwur. The only plan on which he seems to have been particularly intent in his present state of imbecility, was connected with his early success, and during his lucid intervals he was planning the capture of Goa, but failure attended all his intrigues. The whole power was in the hands of Kuloosha, and the time of the minister seems to have been more occupied in managing his master’s humours, than in attending to the important business of the state. Prince Mohummud Akber, whose advice and intelligence had been of service to Sumbhajee, became disgusted with his situation, and after the fall of Beejapoor, finding he had nothing to hope and much to fear, by remaining longer in India, obtained Sumbhajee’s permission, hired a vessel at Rajapoor, commanded by an Englishman, withdrew to the court of Persia, where he resided for twenty years, and died at Ispahan in 1706.
The laxity to which we have already adverted, as having taken place in the discipline of the Mahratta army soon after Sivajee’s death, greatly increased in a few years, and although extremely detrimental to Sumbhajee’s resources as head of an
organized state, it had a wonderful effect in extending predatory power, for every lawless man, and every disbanded soldier, whether Mahomedan or Mahratta, who could command a horse and a spear, joined the Mahratta parties, and such adventurers were often enriched by the plunder of a day. The spirit, which, independent of every other cause, was thus excited amongst a people fond of money, and disposed to predatory habits, can easily be imagined. The multitude of horsemen nurtured by former wars, were already found too heavy a burden on a regular state, and no resources could support them. The proportion of the best troops which was retained in the imperial service, would probably have soon enabled Aurungzebe to suppress the disorders, commonly attendant on Indian conquest, had there been no spirit kindled amongst the Mahratta people. But a pride in the conquests of Sivajee, their confidence in the strength of the forts, the skill and bravery of several of the Mahratta leaders, the ability and influence of many of the Bramins, and lastly, the minds of the Hindoo population, aroused, by reports of the odious poll-tax, to jealous watchfulness on the tenderest point, had, in addition to what we have already enumerated, excited a ferment which required not only vast means, but an entire change of measures, before it could possibly be allayed.
Aurungzebe possessed great military strength, and pecuniary resource; he also had considerable local knowledge, and in the first instance, the same power of confirming or withholding hereditary rights, as his predecessors in conquest. Titles,
Munsubs, and Jagheers were frequently bestowed, and still more frequently promised, with a liberality greater than any former conqueror had shown; but presumption, jealousy, and bigotry soon deprived him of many of those advantages. He was not fully aware of the strength or the nature of predatory power, and instead of crushing it by the aid of the established governments, he pulled down those constituted authorities without replacing them; he involved himself with enemies on every side; he discharged the soldiery, whom, in addition to his own troops, he could not maintain, and thus sent armies into the field against himself. He supposed that he was not only acquainted with the details of arrangements necessary in a newly conquered country, but capable of superintending them; he placed little confidence in his agents, whilst he, at the same time, employed Mahomedans in all situations, to fill which, in many instances, policy and humanity alike dictated the selection of Hindoos. The confusion and disorder which ensued could not be tranquillized by the emperor’s fancied wisdom, or the flattery and praises of his court and countrymen. The Mahrattas, more especially the Bramins, are not a people so easily dazzled as the Mahomedans, and in the course of a very short time, they began to discover the weakness of the Moghuls.
The powerful Mankurees387, Duflay, Ghatgay,
Manay, Nimbalkur, &c. during the siege of Beejapoor, hovered about the Imperial camp until the fall of the capital, when they withdrew to their Jagheers, sending their Wukeels with humble professions of duty, and sometimes, attending themselves; but from this time, they joined plundering parties of their own countrymen, or submitted to the Moghuls, as circumstances invited or compelled them. There were few plunderers independent of Sumbhajee’s parties or some Mankuree, because the Foujdar’s troops were always too powerful for common depredators. A few Pindharees388, as all not belonging to Mahratta parties were termed, appeared about Beder, but they were soon suppressed, or driven to join the Mahratta standard. No irregulars of that description received pay, but were frequently taken under the protection of some Mahratta chief, and allowed to encamp near him, on condition of presenting frequent nuzurs, or in other words, giving up a part of their plunder.
The Mankurees, whilst their envoys were in
the imperial camp professing “perpetual obedience and fidelity to Aurungzebe the king of the world,” frequently sent their parties to plunder the Moghul districts; and in case of discovery, the Bramin wukeel, who had secured the patronage of some great man at court by bribery, was ready to answer for, or excuse the irregular conduct of his master’s followers. The Moghul Foujdars were instructed to conciliate the Mahratta chiefs on condition of their agreeing to serve with fidelity. The chiefs were negociating with the Foujdar; their wukeels were intriguing at court; their own villages were secure; and their followers, under the general name of Mahrattas, were ravaging some other part of the country.
The Moghul officers who had Jagheer assignments in the Deccan, soon found that they could raise very little revenue; their corruption was increased by poverty, and the offenders who had, in the first instance, plundered their districts by purchasing the connivance of the Foujdars, bribed the Jagheerdars at court with a part of the pillage.
The hereditary rights, and the family feuds which had been before usefully applied as an instrument of government, now became, in the general confusion of this period, a great cause of increasing disorder. The intricate nature of some of the hereditary claims in dispute, and the ingenuity of Bramins, who were always the managers, made every case so plausible that the officers of government found little difficulty in excusing, or at least palliating many acts of gross injustice, to which they scandalously lent themselves. Thus,
the rightful owners had often good reason for complaint; they absented themselves with their troops, joined the plunderers, and when induced or compelled to come in, they boldly justified their behaviour by the injustice they had suffered.
When an hereditary office was forfeited, or became vacant in any way, the Moghul government selected a candidate on whom it was conferred; but the established premium of the exchequer was upwards of six and a half years purchase, or precisely 651 per cent. on one year’s emoluments, one fourth of which was made payable at the time of delivering the deeds, and the remainder by instalments; but besides this tax, an infinite number of fees and perquisites were exacted by the clerks, all which lent encouragement to confiscations and new appointments. The emperor increasing in years was soon overwhelmed in more important cares than the mere details of business; his ministers and their underlings were alike negligent and corrupt, and even after deeds and papers were prepared, years elapsed before the orders they contained were put in execution.389 In these remarks we have both recurred to events, and in some degree anticipated the consequences of those that are to follow; but such is a correct picture of the times for upwards of twelve years after the fall of Beejapoor and Golcondah. At the end of that period, the effects and continued growth of the
causes enumerated, completely undermined the Moghuls, and their power crumbled like the aged and still splendid fabric, which it is impossible to repair, but which a few revolving seasons must level with the ground.
Upwards of a year was spent by the emperor at Beejapoor, during which, success attended his arms in every quarter, and nothing in Sumbhajee’s upper country, except the strong forts, remained unsubdued.
The Moghul troops had possessed themselves of Tattora, and of the range of forts built by Sivajee, between that place and Panalla; and Aurungzebe was now preparing to enter on a regular plan for reducing the whole of the forts, being in his opinion all that remained to complete the conquest he had so long meditated. His design, however, was soon partially obstructed, by the breaking out of a disease in his camp, which swept off numbers of his troops, but on moving to Auklooj, on the banks of the Neera, it subsided390.
About this period the attention of the emperor was attracted to the English, and in consequence of piracies which began to be committed by individuals,
several of the factories belonging to the East India Company were seized. This was no uncommon measure for Aurungzebe to adopt when any of the Moghul ships were taken, and he more than once threw the President at Surat into confinement. On the present occasion the Seedee was ordered to drive them from Bombay. Yakoot Khan made a descent upon the island, and possessed himself of Mazagon, Sion, and Mahim, but could make no impression on the fort. The attack, however, continued, until the English appeased Aurungzebe, by the usual expedients of bribes to the courtiers, and the humblest submission. The Seedee quitted the island, after he had remained upon it nearly a year.
After the emperor’s arrival at Auklooj, plundering parties of Mahrattas were frequently heard of, but intelligence was received that one very large body had appeared near Nassuck, where the Moghul troops in the neighbourhood were not sufficient to oppose them. The prince Azim Shah was detached with an army to that quarter; a considerable force under Yeatikad Khan, the son of Aurungzebe’s prime minister, Assud Khan, was ordered to prepare for the invasion of the Concan; and Tukurrib Khan, an active partisan, who had been a distinguished, officer under the unfortunate Abou Hoossein, was sent with a detachment into the district of Kolapoor, of which he was also appointed Foujdar. The Moghul troops were in possession of the open country in that quarter, but the Mahrattas still occupied Panalla with a strong garrison. Tukurrib Khan having on his arrival,
taken pains to inform himself of everything in his neighbourhood, hearing that Sumbhajee spent his time at Sungumeshwur, entirely off his guard, conceived the bold project of seizing his person.
Having procured correct intelligence, and guides well acquainted with the Ghauts and the intricate windings of the route, he chose a few active infantry, and a small party of horse, with which, accompanied by his son, Ikhlass Khan, he set off from Kolapoor in prosecution of his enterprise. He was close upon Sungumeshwur before he was discovered, and when, at last, Sumbhajee’s Jasooses ran to him with the intelligence, he was found intoxicated, and told them he would cut their noses off if they dared to bring such insulting stories about the approach of Mussulmans to him.
Ikhlass Khan had given little time for warning; he dashed on at the head of a small party, entered the gate of the Gurhee before the Mahrattas could close it, cut down all who opposed him, and thus secured an entrance to his father.
Most of Sumbhajee’s followers saved themselves by a precipitate flight; the few that remained, at the head of whom was Kuloosha, endeavoured to defend their master, but Kuloosha being wounded by an arrow, they were speedily overpowered, and Sumbhajee, although he attempted disguise, was discovered by some valuable ornaments on his person, of which he had not time or presence of mind to divest himself. Besides Kuloosha there were twenty-four persons taken with him391.
Tukurrib Khan brought his prisoners in safety to Kolapoor, and on reporting his success, was directed to bring them under a strong escort to the imperial camp, which, previous to the arrival of Tukurrib Khan, had moved up the Beema, and cantoned at Tolapoor392, at the junction of the Indooranee river, sixteen miles north-east of Poona.
No effort was made to rescue Sumbhajee; the measures of his favourite, added to his own misconduct, had rendered them both deservedly odious to the generality of his subjects; and even had his army been disposed to undertake any enterprise in his favour, its loose and disordered state would probably have prevented the attempt.
On the arrival of the prisoners in the neighbourhood of the imperial camp, they were bound and exalted upon camels; Sumbhajee was deprived of his turban, drums and all sorts of noisy music sounded before him, and countless thousands flocked on all sides to see his entry into the camp. The prisoners were exhibited before Aurungzebe, and afterwards ordered into confinement, previous to their final sentence.
Some of the Moghul nobility suggested the propriety of sparing the life of Sumbhajee, as a means
of inducing his troops to surrender the forts; and Aurungzebe also, with this view, perhaps, did intend to spare him conditionally. But Sumbhajee; roused to a sense of his situation, stung with shame and remorse, expected and wished for nothing but death, and made use of every epithet of abuse to induce some rash soldier to kill him. When in this frame of mind, Aurungzebe sent a message offering him life on condition of his becoming a Mussulman. “Tell the emperor,” said Sumbhajee, “that if he will give me his daughter I will become a Mussulman,” and concluded his reply by an invective on the prophet.
No words more insulting than that speech could be used to a Mahomedan. The emperor enraged, determined to make a terrible example of him; he ordered a red hot iron to be drawn across his eyes, his tongue to be cut out, and his head to be severed from his body.
Sumbhajee, in exact conformity with this mandate, was publicly executed in the camp bazar at Tolapoor, about the beginning of August, 1689, together with his favourite Kuloosha393. The Bramin minister, however unworthy in many respects, has, by a story characteristic of the invention of Mahomedans, and by the hatred of some of the Mahrattas, been unjustly accused of forming a scheme for betraying his master.
Sumbhajee’s character has been sufficiently depicted and scarcely requires a summary. He inherited some military virtue, and was far from deficient
in ordinary ability; but dissipation, vice, rashness, and cruelty, completely obscured his few good qualities, and a longer life would, in all probability, have greatly increased the catalogue of his crimes. But the Mahratta people, though for the last three years much estranged from him, heard of the murder of the son of Sivajee with indignation, and this cruel execution, meant to strike the leaders with terror, aroused their vengeance without alarming their fears.
337. Mahratta MSS.
338. Orme. Mahratta MSS. English Records.
339. Orme. Scott’s Deccan. Khafee Khan. Mahratta MSS., and copy of an original letter from Mohummud Akber, to Sumbhajee.
340. By an original Sunnud, it appears that Sivajee had offered to make him one of the Purdhans, which he declined accepting. The reader will recognise, in Ballajee Aujee, the person in whose hand-writing many of those papers are preserved, to which this history is much indebted.
341. State affairs are seldom discussed in full durbar, and no business is entered upon at a first visit.
342. Mahratta MSS.
344. Mahratta MSS.
345. Mahratta MS.
346. Mahratta MSS. Orme.
347. Mahratta MSS.
348. Orme and Mahratta MSS.
349. Mahratta MS.
351. Mahratta MSS. Orme. Scott’s Deccan.
352. Orme says, they were burnt by the Inquisition; but although many barbarities are alleged against the Portuguese, by the Mahrattas, they nowhere assert this.
353. Mahratta MSS.
355. Mahratta MSS. Scott’s Deccan.
356. Which may be rendered into English, “Expounder of the Vedas, and illustrious poet.” It is from the second title Kuvee Kulus, that he derived his name Kub Kulus, or occasionally Kablis Kawn, amongst Mahomedans and Europeans, and his pick-name of Kubjee amongst the Mahratta soldiery.
357. The Beejapoor Manuscripts and traditions afford nothing better than conjecture on this subject; nor could I ascertain if there was a regent after Musaood Khan retired.
359. I shall continue to use the name by which he is already known to the reader.
360. Khafee Khan.
361. The Jizeea was thirteen rupees per annum, for every 2000 rupees worth of property possessed by Hindoos. Scott’s Deccan.
362. I place this according to Mr. Orme’s date, who has it from the records of the factory of Candeish, and circumstances corroborate its correctness. The fact is distinctly mentioned by Mahratta manuscripts, and Khafee Khan; but the dates widely disagree, and are, in both, obviously misplaced.
363. Khafee Khan. Mahratta MSS. Bernier. Scott’s Deccan. Orme.
364. The account of Sultan Mauzum’s campaign is taken from Khafee Khan, Orme, Scott’s Deccan, the Enam deeds alluded to, and copies of original letters from Mohummud Akber to Kuloosha.
366. Original letters to Kuloosha.
367. It is mentioned in Scott’s Deccan, that Sultan Mohummud Akber was supported by a body of Mahrattas, in an attempt to proceed to Hindoostan, and that he was defeated near Chakun, but the successful attack on Baroach is the only one in which I think it probable that he was a principal actor. He was engaged in the Concan, and was at Palee and at Beemgurh when Sultan Mauzum’s troops were attacked, as appears by copies of letters, from Mohummud Akber to Kuloosha Kuvee Kulus, which I obtained from the late Raja of Kolapoor.
368. Khafee Khan, and Scott’s Deccan.
369. Scott’s Deccan. Khafee Khan. Beejapoor MSS., &c.
370. Beejapoor MSS. Khafee Khan. Scott’s Deccan.
371. Beejapoor MSS. It is said he was put to death in consequence of some popular commotion in his favour. He is buried in Beejapoor.
372. This dome measures 130 feet in diameter; which is larger than that of the Pantheon at Rome, or, I believe, of St. Paul’s in London, and very little less than that of St. Peter’s.
373. The officer immediately superior to the Foujdar in a great province, was the Nazim, but we seldom find this office mentioned in the later conquests of the Moghuls in the Deccan.
374. It would appear by Scott’s Deccan, vol. ii. p. 75. that Kasim Khan was left as Foujdar at Hyderabad, after the capture of Golcondah; but this mistake probably originates in his having been reinforced at that period from Hyderabad.
375. Khafee Khan. Orme.
376. An anecdote is told respecting him, which is probably true, but which I notice as characteristic of the pompous politeness of the Mahomedans of India. During Abou Hoossein’s confinement in the Emperor’s camp, previous to being dispatched to Doulutabad, a tune played by one of the Hindoostanee musicians of the imperial band, gave the captive king great delight, and he wished he had a lack of rupees to bestow upon him. The wish was repeated to Aurungzebe, and instantly complied with. Many of the natives of India are exceedingly susceptible of the powers of music, and some of the Hindoostanee airs are beautiful. Only a few specimens of an inferior description have ever reached the public in England; but should Major Tod, in his intended history, or in his personal narrative, publish any specimens of the old Rajpoot music, which he now only plays from memory, this anecdote of the last of the kings of Golcondah may be better understood.
377. Khafee Khan.
379. Mahratta MSS.
380. Original letters in the possession of different families.
381. Mahratta MSS.
382. Khafee Khan.
383. Mahratta MSS. Such of my readers as are familiar with Mahratta names, will have some difficulty to indentify Kessoo Punt Pingley, with Mr. Orme’s Keisswa Puntolo, which is, it seems, the mode of pronouncing the name by the natives of the Coromandel coast.
384. Mahratta MSS.
387. Mankuree literally means a great man. It was originally, as above used, the name by which those Mahrattas who had been Munsubdars under the old Mahomedan monarchies in the Deccan, were, and still are distinguished. Latterly, however, it was assumed by every Mahratta at the head of a body of horse, who could boast of being a Wutundar. Man-pan, or rights and privileges, are words in the mouth of every Wutundar; and these rights and privileges, which, from the manner in which they are talked of and maintained, an Englishman might suppose involved the safety of their lives and properties or the liberty of the subject at the least, are very often merely slight forms of that kind of respect indicated by precedence on particular occasions.
388. About the borders of Maharashtra, and the Carnatic, there are a number of Pindharees; they cultivate lands in time of peace, and plunder when the country is unsettled; they have been there for some hundred years; many of them speak Hindoostanee, and call themselves Rajpoots.
389. The account of the state of the country, and Aurungzebe’s administration at this period, is taken from Mahratta manuscripts, original Mahratta and Persian letters, deeds and statements, and also from Khafee Khan, and Scott’s Deccan.
390. The disease which broke out in Aurungzebe’s army at Beejapoor, is mentioned by the same name as that which the natives of India now apply to the spasmodic cholera, but they bore no resemblance to each other. The disease was epidemic, and before it attacked the camp with such violence, had prevailed for some years both in the Deccan and in Guzerat. Khafee Khan describes it as commencing by a slight swelling under the ear, the arm-pit or groin, attended with inflamed eyes, and severe fever. It generally proved fatal in a few hours, and those who did recover, became wholly or partially deaf or blind.
391. Khafee Khan. Mahratta MSS.
392. This village, originally called Nagurgaom, is said to have been named Tolapoor, or the place of weighing, in order to commemorate Shahjee’s plan of weighing Morar Punt’s elephant, by placing him on a boat, marking the draught of water, removing the elephant, replacing his weight with stones, sad weighing them. An anecdote preserved in every Mahratta account of him, and recorded by Colonel Wilks.
393. Mahratta MSS. Orme, &c.
This collection transcribed by Chris Gage