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An Indian decorative design

Chapter 9 – Timur’s Account of His Invasion of India and Sack of Delhi

1398–1399 A.D.

After his victorious sweep over Persia and Mesopotamia to Asia Minor on the west, and his occupation of Afghanistan on the south, Timur Lang, or Tamerlane, the great conqueror, turned his attention to India as the next country in which to wage a holy war and from which to carry away rich spoils sanctified by religion. China also had attracted his eye, so that his mind wavered for a moment as to which country he should invade, but an omen from the Koran settled his decision, and he determined to make the expedition against Hindustan. We have a somewhat detailed account of his campaign recorded in autobiographic memoirs which he caused to be written down, and a translation of these, made from the Turkish language into Persian two centuries after his death, serves as a valuable record of the great conqueror’s exploits,

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which were inspired also by a pious zeal for the renown of having been a Champion of the Faith of Mohammed. Excerpts from the rendering by Chapman and Dowson in Elliot’s collection are here given:–

About the year 800 A.H. (1398 A.D.), there arose in my heart the desire to lead an expedition against the infidels and to become a Champion of the Faith, for it had reached my ears that the slayer of infidels is a Champion and that, if he is slain, he becomes a martyr. It was for this reason that I formed my resolution, but I was undetermined in my mind whether I should direct my expedition against the infidels of China or against the infidels and polytheists of India. In this matter I sought an omen from the Koran, and the verse to which I opened was this: “O Prophet, make war upon infidels and unbelievers, and treat them with severity.”

My chief officers told me that the inhabitants of Hindustan were infidels and unbelievers. In obedience to the mandate of Almighty God, I determined to make an expedition against them, and I issued orders to the amirs of mature years and to the leaders in war to assemble in my presence, and when they had come together, I questioned the assembly as to whether I should invade Hindustan or China, and said to them: “By the command of God and of His Prophet I needs must make war upon these infidels and polytheists.” Throwing themselves upon their knees, they all wished me good fortune. I then asked the warrior chieftains whether I should direct my expedition against the

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The River Indus at Khushalgarh

infidels of Hindustan or of China.

At first they repeated fables and wise sayings, and then said that in the country of Hindustan there are four defences, and if any one invades this extensive country and breaks down these four defences, he becomes the conqueror of the land.

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The first defence consists of five large rivers, which flow from the mountains of Kashmir, after which they unite in their course, pass through the country of Sind, and flow into the Arabian Sea, nor is it possible to cross them without boats and bridges. The second defence consists of woods and forests and trees, which, interweaving stem with stem and branch with branch, render it extremely difficult to penetrate into the country. The third defence is the soldiery, and landholders, and princes, and rajas of that country, who inhabit fastnesses in those forests and dwell there like wild beasts. The fourth defence consists of the elephants, for in the day of battle the rulers of that country equip elephants in mail, put them in the van of their army, and place great confidence in them; and they have trained them to such a degree that with their trunks they lift a horse with his rider, and whirling him in the air, they dash him to the ground.

Some of the nobles replied that Sultan Mahmud Sabuktagin had conquered the country of Hindustan with thirty thousand horse and had established his own servants as rulers of that region, after which he had carried off many thousand loads of gold and silver and jewels from that country, besides subjecting it to a regular tribute. “Is then,” they cried, “our lord inferior to Sultan Alahmud? No! thanks to Almighty God! To-day one hundred thousand valiant Tartar horsemen wait at the stirrup of our prince; and, if he determines upon this expedition, God on high will give him victory, and he will become a conqueror and a

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crusader before God, and we shall be attendants on an amir who is a conqueror; and the army will be contented, and the treasury rich and well filled; and with the gold of Hindustan our prince will become a conqueror of the world and be renowned among the kings of earth.”

At that juncture Prince Shah Rukh said: “India is an extensive land; whatever Sultan conquers it becomes supreme over the four quarters of the globe, and thus, if we subdue with our lord as leader, we shall become rulers over the seven climes. I have read in the history of Persia,” he continued, “that, in the days of the Persian Sultans, the King of India was called Darai with all honour and glory. On account of his dignity he bore no other name; and the Emperor of Rome was called Caesar; and the Sultan of Persia was called Kisra; and the Sultan of the Tartars, Khakan; and the Emperor of China, Faghfur; but the King of Iran and Turan bore the title of Shahinshah, or King of Kings, and the orders of the Shahinshah were always paramount over the princes and rajas of Hindustan. Praise be to God that at this time we are Shahinshah of Iran and Turan, for it would be a pity that we should not be supreme over the realm of Hindustan.”

I was exceedingly pleased with these words of Prince Shah Rukh, and after that Prince Mohammad Sultan said: “The whole country of India is full of gold and jewels, and in it there are seventeen mines of gold and silver, diamonds and rubies, emeralds and tin, iron and steel, copper and quicksilver, and many

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metals more; and among the plants which grow there are those fit for making wearing-apparel, and aromatic shrubs, and the sugar-cane; and it is a country which is always green and verdant, and the whole aspect of the land is pleasant and delightful. Now, since the inhabitants are chiefly polytheists and infidels and idolaters and worshippers of the sun, it is meet, according to the mandate of God and of His Prophet, for us to conquer them.”

Some of the nobles said: “By the favour of Almighty God we may conquer India, but if we establish ourselves permanently therein, our race will degenerate, and our children will become like the natives of those regions, and in a few generations their strength and valour will diminish.” The commanders of regiments were disturbed at these words, but I said to them: “My object in the invasion of Hindustan is to lead an expedition against the infidels that, according to the law of Mohammed (upon whom and his family be the blessing and peace of God!), we may convert the people of that country to the true faith and purify the land itself from infidelity and polytheism, and that we may overthrow their temples and idols and become conquerors and crusaders before God.” They gave an unwilling consent, but I placed no reliance upon them.

At this time the wise men of Islam came before me, and a conversation began about the propriety of a war against infidels and polytheists, whereupon they declared that it is the duty of the Sultan of Islam and of all who profess that “there is no god but Allah,

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and Mohammed is the prophet of Allah,” to exert their utmost endeavour for the suppression of the enemies of their faith, for the sake of preserving their religion and strengthening their law. They likewise said that it is the duty of every Moslem and true believer to use his utmost exertions in obedience to his ruler. When the edifying words of the wise men reached the ears of the nobles, all their hearts were set upon a holy war in T-Iindustan, and throwing themselves on their knees, they repeated the Chapter of Victory which opens the Koran.

When I girded up my loins for the expedition, I wrote to Hazrat Shaikh Zain-ad-din to the effect that I had determined on a religious war in Hindustan. He wrote in the margin of my letter: “Be it known to Abu-l-Ghazi Timur that great prosperity in this world and the next will result to him from this undertaking, and that he will go and return in safety.” He also sent me a large sword which I made my sceptre.

In the meanwhile there came a petition from Prince Pir Mohammad Jahangir on the confines of Kabulistan, the government of which, from the boundaries of Kunduz and Bakalan and Kabul and Ghazni and Kandahar, was vested in him. When I looked at this petition it read thus:

“From the very moment that I arrived in this country, according to your order, I have acted toward all people conformably to the exalted mandates and wise counsels of the king.

“When I had satisfied my mind with the conquest

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Shah Timur

(From an old Persian print.)

and settlement of this kingdom, I turned my thoughts toward the acquisition of some of the provinces of Hindustan. I inquired concerning the condition of that country and received the following account: that the city of Delhi is the capital of the sovereigns of India, and that after the death of Sultan Firoz Shah, two brothers among his nobility, one of whom was named Mallu and the other Sarang, became very powerful and established their independence; so that though they gave the nominal sovereignty to one of the sons of Sultan Firoz Shah, Sultan Mahmud by name, they kept the real power in their own hands and virtually governed the empire. Mallu, the elder brother, lives at Delhi, at the court of Sultan Mahmud, while Sarang is established in the city of Multan for the protection of that country.

“When I became acquainted with these matters, I acted according to the practice of the great king, and wrote a letter which I sent to Sarang by an ambassador, declaring that since the fame of the victories and conquests and of the extensive empire of the great king

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is spread over all the world, it certainly must have reached him also. The great king has appointed me to the government of those provinces which lie on the borders of Hindustan, and has commanded: ‘If the rulers of Hindustan come before me with tribute, I will not interfere with their lives, property, or kingdoms; but if they are negligent in proffering obedience and submission, I will put forth my strength for the conquest of the realms of India. At all events, if they set any value upon their lives, property, and reputation, they will pay me a yearly tribute; and if not, they shall hear of my arrival with my powerful armies. Farewell.’

“When the ambassador reached the presence of Sarang at Multan, he was treated with great respect and consideration; but in reply to his letter, Sarang said: It is difficult to take an empire to your bosom, like a bride, without trouble and difficulty and the clashing of swords. The desire of your prince is to take this kingdom with its rich revenue. Well, let him wrest it from us by force of arms if he be able. I have numerous armies and formidable elephants, and am quite prepared for war.’ With these words he dismissed the ambassador.

“When this unsatisfactory answer was brought back to me, I issued immediate orders for the armies to assemble from all quarters, together with those nobles who were in my province; such as Amir Saikal Kandahari, and other amirs and soldiers. I made preparations for the invasion of Hindustan, plundering and

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devastating the country of the Aghanis who inhabit the mountain Sulaiman, and marching steadily forward until I crossed the river Indus and assaulted the city of Uchh, which I captured through the good fortune of the great king. Leaving a body of men there as a garrison, I proceeded to Multan, which I besieged; but as Sarang had carefully fortified and strengthened this fortress, the siege has been protracted for some days, and, indeed, I am at this moment engaged in the siege, giving an assault twice every day. All the nobles have displayed great valour and intrepidity, especially Timm! Khwaja, the son of Amir Akugha, and I am awaiting further instructions.”

When I had read this letter, my previous resolution was confirmed and strengthened, and I acted in such a manner that by spring (800 A.H., 1398 A.D.) I had collected the soldiery from all parts of the country under my sway.

In this same year 800 I selected ten battalions from my army, and giving the command to Prince Shah Rukh, I left him in charge of the remaining forces and baggage in Tilak Ghunan and Diktur, while I myself placed my foot in the stirrup to chastise the infidel Kators3. Setting spurs to my horse, I marched forward in great haste, accomplishing two days’ journey within twenty-four hours. When I arrived at a place called Paryan, I detached Prince Rustam and Burhan Aghlan Jujitar, who were reckoned among my chief nobles, to invade

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Ruins at Kabul

the country of the Siyah-poshes, which lay on the left hand. With them I sent some of the nobility and a body of ten thousand cavalry, while I myself pursued my march toward the mountains of Kator.

When I made inquiries concerning the extent and condition of that kingdom from Muzid, who was the chief man of Indarab, he informed me that the length of the kingdom of Kator stretches from the frontier of Kashmir to the mountains of Kabul, and that there are many towns and villages in this country. One of their large cities is called Shokal, and another Jorkal, the latter being the residence of their ruler. The country produces fruit in large quantities, such as grapes, apples, apricots, and various other kinds. Rice and other grains are cultivated. Much wine is made, and all people, great and small, drink of it. The people eat swine’s flesh, and cattle and sheep abound in the country. Most of the inhabitants are idolaters; they are men of a powerful frame and fair complexion, and speak a language distinct from Turkish, Persian, nindi, and Kashmiri. Their weapons are arrows, swords, and slings, and their ruler is called Adalshu.

When I arrived at Khawak, I perceived a dilapidated fort which I resolved to repair. I therefore gave immediate orders to the soldiers to, that effect, and they were speedily executed. As most of the route was rocky and precipitous, I ordered most of the nobles and all the soldiers to leave their horses, camels, and superfluous baggage in this fort. In obedience to this order, most of the nobles and all the soldiers accompanied

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An Afghan fortress

me on foot, while I, relying on the assistance of Almighty God, pressed steadily forward to the conquest of Kator and began to ascend the mountains. Despite the heat of the wind, there was so much snow on the hills that the feet of both men and cattle sank in it helplessly.

I was obliged, therefore, to halt during the day; but at night, when the snow congealed, I pursued my way over the frozen surface of the ice till I reached the top of the mountain. At daybreak, when the ice thawed, carpets and horse-rugs were spread upon its surface and the horses were kept upon them. At nightfall we again proceeded as before, and in this manner I crossed several lofty mountains, although

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the nobles were obliged to send back to the fort several of the horses they had brought with them.

When I reached the top of a lofty mountain, I found that the infidels had taken up their position in caverns which had their entrances blocked with snow so that they were almost inaccessible, nor, in spite of all my exertions, could I find a way to descend the mountain. I was accordingly obliged to give orders to my brave soldiers to get down as best they could. The nobles and soldiery now began the descent. Some, lying down on their sides and sliding over the snow, rolled to the bottom. Others, fastening cords and long tent-ropes to their waists and attaching one end of the ropes to the trees and rocks which were on the top, let themselves gently down. As for myself, I gave orders that they should make me a basket of planks and wickerwork. When they had made the basket, they attached a rope 150 yards in length to each of its four corners. Since I had undertaken this expedition against the infidels and had made up my mind to undergo all manner of trouble and fatigue, I took my seat in the basket. Thereupon a body of men took hold of the ends of these ropes and lowered the basket gently till the rope had all run out, after which some soldiers scrambled down to before where I was, cleared away the snow and ice with spades and mattocks, and made a’ place for me to stand on. By that time the first body of men had descended to this place, and they again lowered me gently down as far as the ropes would reach. At the

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fifth repetition of this manoeuvre I reached the bottom of the mountain. When all the nobles and soldiers had got down in this fashion, some of my own horses were lowered by attaching ropes to their legs and shoulders; but out of the whole number only two reached the bottom in safety, all the rest being dashed to pieces.

When no more of my people remained above, since my object was the extermination of the infidels, I grasped my sceptre-sword in my hand and marched forward on foot one parasang into that rocky country, together with my nobility and troops. At the earnest petition of the nobles I remounted, but all the chiefs and their soldiers marched steadily on foot at my stirrup. The ruler of Kator had a fort, bounded on one side by a river, beyond which a. lofty mountain reached down to the water. As the infidels in this fort had gained intelligence of my approach a day before my arrival, and dread had taken possession of their hearts, they had removed their wealth and property from the fort, and, after crossing the river, had taken refuge in the mountain, which was very lofty and abounded in caves that were very difficult of access. Since I was given to understand that this fort was the most important stronghold of the ruler of Kator in those parts, I resolved to subdue it; but when I advanced into the neighbourhood of the fort, I did not perceive a trace of the infidels, and when I came to the place itself, I saw that they had abandoned it and fled. I obtained a booty of many sheep and some other things here, and ordered my soldiers to set fire to the houses and

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buildings of the city, in the midst of which the fort was built, and to level it to the ground.

Crossing the river in haste and pursuing the enemy, I reached the skirts of the mountain on whose top the infidels had fortified themselves in defiles and other strong places. I immediately ordered my valiant and experienced troops to ascend, whereupon they raised the war-cry of “God is most great” and rushed to the attack. Before all the rest Shaikh Arslan Aztuman Kabak Khan, who is a lion in the day of battle, mounted the hill on the left hand and commenced the fight. Leading his men against the infidels, he put them to flight, and following up the enemy, he entered the fastnesses of the rock and slew vast numbers of the unbelievers. Tawachi Ali Sultan also made a valiant assault upon the foe, and with his own regiment charged and routed the infidel enemy, killing them in multitudes. Amir Shah Malik likewise displayed great valour, slaughtering hosts of the infidels and driving them completely out of the mountain. Mubashir Bahadur, and Mankali Khwaja, and Sunjak Bahadur, and other valiant nobles used their swords equally well. They all proved their zeal for Islam on the unbelieving foe, and having overpowered the infidels, they put many of them to death and took possession of their fastnesses. Only a few of the enemy succeeded in sheltering themselves in their caverns, wounded and worn out with fatigue. Of my troops only fourteen lost their lives, and that was in effecting the passage of the mountain.

Some of the infidels held out in their defiles for three

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days and nights, but sending my valiant troops against them, I so pressed them that they were obliged to surrender and beg for quarter. I sent Ak Sultan to them with the message that if they would submit unconditionally and would all become Mussulmans and repeat the creed, I would grant them quarter, but otherwise I would exterminate them to a man. When Ak Sultan reached the infidels with this message, which he explained to them through the medium of an interpreter conversant both with their language and with Turkish, they all proffered submission, and repeating the necessary formula, embraced the Mohammedan faith. Relying upon this external conversion, I spared their lives and property, and gave orders that no one should interfere with their lives, belongings, or estates. I then clothed some of them in dresses of honour and dismissed them. I halted my army there for the night, whereupon these black-hearted infidels made a nocturnal attack on the regiment of Amir Shah Malik, but as this leader was on his guard, the enemy were foiled in their intentions. Numbers of them were slain, and 150 fell into our hands alive and were afterwards put to death by my enraged soldiery.

As soon as it was day, I ordered my troops to attack on all four sides at once, to force their way into the defiles, and to kill the men, imprison the women and children, and plunder and lay waste their property. In obedience to these orders, my nobles and troops made a valiant assault on all sides at once and put the remnant of the infidels to the sword, after which

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they made prisoners of their women and children and secured an enormous booty. I directed towers of the skulls of those obstinate unbelievers to be built on the mountain, and I ordered an engraver on stone, who was in my camp, to cut an inscription somewhere on those defiles to the effect that I had reached this country by such and such a route, in the auspicious month of Ramazan, A.H. 800 (May, 1398), so that, if chance should conduct any one to that spot, he might know how I had reached it.

Thus far I had received no intelligence of Prince Rustam and Burhan Aghlan, whom I had detached against the country of the Siyah-poshes, and since this same Burhan Aghlan had displayed great sloth and military incapacity on a former occasion, when I had appointed him commander of a predatory incursion (to retrieve which negligence I had given him the command on the present occasion), doubts entered my mind as to what he might be doing. One night, too, I dreamt that my sword was bent, and interpreted this as a sure sign that Burhan Aghlan had been defeated. I immediately appointed one of my household slaves, named Mohammad Azad, to go and ascertain something respecting him, and I placed under his command Daulat Shah and Shaikh Ali, the son of Airakuli Adighur, and Shaikh Mohammad, and Ali Bahadur, with a body of four hundred men, of whom one hundred were Tartars and the rest Tajiks, and gave them a native of Kator as a guide. Mohammad Azad and his band of heroes immediately commenced the march, and after crossing

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An Afghan Pass

lofty mountains full of snow and ice and passing through narrow defiles, rolling in many places over precipices and sliding over the icy surface, they finally got out of the mountains and into the open country.

When Mohammad Azad had extricated himself from the mountains and reached the fortress of the Siyahposhes, he found it deserted, for they had abandoned it from their dread of the army of Islam and had taken refuge in their mountain defiles.

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Now Burhan Aghlan’s adventure had been as follows:– When he reached the fort of the Siyah-poshes, he found it empty, whereupon he incautiously pushed on to the defiles, following the footsteps of the enemy. Having left only a few troopers and a few foot-soldiers as a guard below, the infidels, rising from their ambushes, fiercely assailed the true believers. Such was the cowardice and military incapacity of Burhan Aghlan that he threw away his arms and fled without striking a blow. When the troops saw the flight of their leader, they lost heart and were defeated, and the infidels, following them closely, raised full many a true believer to the rank of a martyr. Of the amirs of the regiments, Daulat Shah and Shaikh Husain Suchi and Adina Bahadur displayed great valour, but after slaying many of the infidels, they finally drank the sherbet of martyrdom. Burhan Aghlan, however, escaped, leaving many horses and suits of armour a prey to the infidels.

When Mohammad Azad arrived at the deserted fort of the Siyah-poshes with his four hundred men, he followed the track of the enemy toward the mountain. On arriving at the scene of Burhan Aghlan’s defeat and flight, he was attacked by the infidels who had defeated Burhan Aghlan, but he fought so gallantly that he routed them with great slaughter and recovered all the horses and armour which they had captured from the soldiers of Burhan Aghlan, besides taking. much booty in the way of wealth and property. Marching homeward, he met Burhan Aghlan on that very

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day, and restored to each of his soldiers his own horse and arms. On the same day they reached a pass, where Mohammad Azad proposed to Burhan Aghlan that they should halt, but the cowardice and inefficiency of the latter would hear of no delay, so they went through the pass. Certainly, from the days of Chingiz Khan to the present time, no man has shown such a lack of energy and courage.

When I had despatched Mohammad Azad from Kator and satisfied myself with the subjugation of that country, I sent Ali Sistani and Jalal-al-Islam to discover a road and make clear halting-places for me. In obedience to this order, they went forward, clearing the snow and ice from the road in many places. Having made a passage for me, they returned, whereupon I mounted immediately and set forward, while the nobles and soldiery marched along with me on foot; and thus I proceeded in triumph along the track which they had made, till I reached Khawak, where I had left the horses in the fort.

I had been absent eighteen days on this expedition against the infidels, and the nobles and soldiery, who had hitherto fought on foot, now regained their horses. Leaving a body of men to garrison the fort which I had built, I directed my own course toward the heavy baggage, and arrived at Tilak Ghunan and Diktur, where the local princes and amirs came out to meet me with congratulations on my victory. There, too, Burhan Aghlan and Mohammad Azad joined my victorious camp, but I gave orders that they should refuse

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admittance to Burhan Aghlan and on no account allow him to enter my presence; for it is the decree of God Most High that if twenty true believers engage boldly and steadily in fight with ten times the number of infidels they shall prevail against them, and yet Burhan Aghlan, with ten thousand men under his command, was put to rout and flight by a small number of infidels, exposing Mussulmans to disgrace and death. On the other hand, I loaded honours and benefits on Mohammad Azad, who, with only four hundred men, had fought a valiant action against the greatly superior numbers of the unbelievers. I exalted his rank above his fellows and gave him a regiment, nor did I omit to shower my princely favours on his companions in victory.’

Timur next proceeds to describe, step by step, the conquests made by his invading host as it fought its way toward Delhi. When he reached the historic field of Panipat, he prepared for the decisive battle which should place the capital city in his hands. His own description follows.

‘For my intended attack on Delhi in this same year 800 A.H. (1398 A.D.), I arranged my forces so that the army extended over a distance of twenty leagues. Being satisfied with my disposition of the troops, I began my march on Delhi. On the twenty-second of Rabi’-al-awwal (Dec. 2) I arrived and encamped at the fort of the village of Aspandi, where I found, in answer to my inquiries, that Samana was seven leagues distant. The people of Samana and Kaithal and Aspandi are

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all heretics, idolaters, infidels, and misbelievers. They had now set fire to their houses and had fled with their children and property toward Delhi, so that the whole country was deserted.

On the next day, the twenty-third of the month, I started from the fort of Aspandi, and after marching six leagues, arrived at the village of Taghlak-pur, at which I encamped opposite the fort of that same name. When the people of the fort had heard of the approach of my army, they had abandoned it and scattered throughout the country. From the information supplied me I learned that these people were called Sanawi [that is, Fire-worshippers, Zoroastrians, or Ghebers]. Many of this perverse creed believe that there are two gods. One is called Yazdan, and all the good they have they believe proceeds from him. The other god they call Ahriman, and every sin and wickedness of which they are guilty they hold is caused by him. These misbelievers

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do not know that whatsoever there is of good or evil comes from God, and that man is the mere instrument of its execution. I ordered the houses of these heretics to be burned and their fort and buildings to be razed to the ground.

On the following day, the twenty-fourth of the month, I marched to Panipat, where I encamped. There I found that, in obedience to orders received from the ruler of Delhi, all the inhabitants had deserted their dwellings and had taken flight. When the soldiers entered the fort, they reported to me that they had found a large store of wheat, which I ordered to be weighed, to ascertain the real weight, and then to be distributed among the soldiers.

On the next day I marched six leagues from Panipat and encamped on the banks of a river which is by the road. I set forth from this place on Friday, the twenty-sixth of the month, and gave orders that the officers and soldiers of my army should put on their armour, and that every man should keep in his proper regiment and place, and be in perfect readiness. We reached a village called Kanhi-gazin, where we encamped, and where I issued my commands that on the morrow, the twenty-eighth of the month, a force of cavalry should proceed on a plundering excursion against the palace of Jahan-numa, a fine building erected by Sultan Firoz Shah on the top of a hill by the banks of the Jumna, which is one of the chief rivers of Hindustan. Their orders were to plunder and destroy, and to kill every one they met. Next

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day, in obedience to my commands, the division proceeded to the palace of Jahan-puma, which is situated five miles from Delhi. They plundered every village and place they came to, killed the men, and carried off all the valuables and cattle, securing much booty; after which they returned, bringing with them a number of Hindu prisoners, both male and female.

On the twenty-ninth I again set forth and reached the river Jumna. On the other side of the river I descried a fort, and upon making inquiry about it, I was informed that it consisted of a town and fort called Loni, and that it was held by an officer named Maimun on behalf of Sultan Mahmud. I determined to take that fort at once, and as pasture was scant where I was, I crossed the river Jumna on the same day. I sent Amir Jahan Shah and Amir Shah Malik and Amir Allah-dad to besiege the fort of Loni, and I pitched my camp opposite to it. At this time a holy shaikh who dwelt in the town came out very wisely and waited upon me, yet although he was greatly honoured by the people, they would not listen to his advice, but determined to fight rather than surrender to me. These people were Hindus belonging to the faction of Mallu Khan, wherefore they despised the counsels of the venerable father and resolved to resist.

When I was informed of their decision, I ordered all the amirs and soldiers to assemble and invest the fort. They accordingly gathered with alacrity round the fort, and in the course of one watch of the day they carried the place, which was situated between

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the Jumna and the Halin, the latter being a large canal which had been cut from the river Kalini and brought to Firozabad, and there connected with the Jumna by Sultan Firoz Shah. Many of the Rajputs placed their wives and children in their houses and burned them, after which they rushed into battle and were killed. Others of the garrison fought and were slain, and a vast number were taken prisoners. Next day I gave orders that the Mussulman prisoners should be separated and saved, but that the infidels should all be put to death with the proselyting sword. I also commanded that the homes of the sayyids (or lineal descendants of the Prophet), shaikhs, and learned Mussulmans should be preserved, but that all the other houses should be plundered and the fort destroyed. It was done as I directed, and great booty was obtained.

When my heart was satisfied with the conquest of Loni, I rode away from thence on the first of Rabi’-al-akhir (Dec. 11) to examine the fords of the Jumna, and when I came opposite the palace Jahan-numa, I found some places where the river might be crossed. At the time of midday prayer I returned to the camp and gave orders to the princes and amirs, after which I held a council about the attack upon Delhi and the operations against Sultan Mahmud.

After much discussion in the Council of War, where everyone had something to say and an opinion to offer, it appeared that the soldiers of my army had heard strange tales about the strength and prowess and appearance of the elephants of Hindustan. They had

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Mussulman priests of India

been told that in the fight one would take up a horseman and his horse with his trunk and hurl them in the air, but these stories, fortunately, had been met by suitable answers from some of the bold troopers.

The Council of War at length agreed that a plentiful supply of grain must first be secured and stored in the fort of Loni as provision for the army, and that after this was done, we might proceed to attack the fort and city of Delhi. When the council was over, I ordered Amir Jahan Shah, Amir Sulaiman Shah, and others to cross the Jumna and to forage in the environs of Delhi, bringing off all the corn they could find for the use of the army.

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It now occurred to me that I would cross the Jumna with a small party of horse to examine the palace of Jahan-numa, and to reconnoitre the ground on which a battle might be fought. I accordingly took an escort of seven hundred horsemen clad in armour and started off, sending Ali Sultan Tawachi and Junaid Bur-uldai forward as an advance-guard. Crossing the Jumna, I reached Jahan-numa and inspected the whole building, and I discovered a plain fit for a battle-field. Meanwhile, Ali Sultan and Junaid, my advance-guard, each brought in a man belonging to the vanguard of the enemy, and when I had interrogated Ali Sultan’s captive about the matters of Sultan Mahmud and Mallu Khan, I ordered him to be put to death as an augury of good.

My scouts now brought me information that Mallu Khan with four thousand horsemen in armour, five thousand infantry, and twenty-seven fierce war elephants, fully accoutred, had come out of the gardens of the city and had drawn up in battle array. I left Sayyid Khwaja and Mubashar Bahadur with three hundred Turkish horsemen on gray horses in the Jahan-numa and withdrew toward my camp. Mallu Khan advanced boldly toward Jahan-numa, and Sayyid Khwaja and Mubashar went forth to meet him. A conflict ensued, in which my men fought valiantly; and as soon as I heard of the action, I sent Sunjak Bahadur and Amir Allah-dad with two regiments to their support. At the earliest practicable moment, they assailed the enemy with arrows and then charged them. At

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the second and third onslaught the enemy was defeated and fled toward Delhi in disorder, while many fell under the swords and arrows of my men. When the men fled, an extraordinary incident occurred, in that one of the great war elephants fell down and died. When I heard of it, I declared it to be a good omen. My victorious troops pursued the enemy to the vicinity of the city and then returned to present themselves at my tent, where I congratulated them on their victory and praised their conduct. On the next day, Friday, the* third of the month (Dec. 13), I left the fort of Loni and marched to a position opposite to Jahan-numa, where I encamped.

I now held a court, issuing a summons to the princes, amirs, and minor officers, all of whom came to my tent. Each of my soldiers was a brave veteran, and had used his sword manfully under my own eyes, but there were none that had seen so many conflicts and battles as I had beheld, and no one of the amirs or heroes of the army that could compare with me in the amount of fighting I had gone through and the experience I had gained. I therefore gave them instructions as to the mode of carrying on war; on making and meeting attacks; on arraying their men; on giving support to each other; and on all the precautions to be observed in warring with an enemy. I ordered the amirs of the right wing, the left wing, the van, and the centre to take their proper positions, and cautioned them not to be too forward or too backward, but to act with the utmost prudence and caution in

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Mohammedan armour

their operations. When I had finished, the amirs and others testified their approbation, and, carefully treasuring up my counsel, they departed, expressing their blessings and thanks.

At this court Amir Jahan Shah, Amir Sulaiman Shah, and other amirs of experience informed me that, from the time of entering Hindustan up to the present we had taken more than one hundred thousand infidels and Hindus prisoners, and that they were all in my camp. On the previous day, when the enemy’s forces attacked us, the prisoners made signs of rejoicing, uttered imprecations against us, and were ready, as soon as they heard of the enemy’s success, to form themselves into a body, break their bonds, plunder our tents, and then to join the enemy, and so increase his numbers and strength. I asked the amirs for advice about the prisoners, and they said that on the day of battle these one hundred thousand prisoners could not be left with the baggage, and that it would be entirely opposed to the rules of war to set these idolaters and foes of Islam at liberty, so that no course remained but to make them all food for the sword.

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An Indian Dagger

When I heard these words, I found them to be in accordance with the rules of war, and I immediately directed the commanders to proclaim throughout the camp that every man who had infidel prisoners was to put them to death, and that whoever neglected to do so, should himself be executed and his property given to the informer. When this order became known to the champions of Islam, they drew their swords and put their prisoners to death. One hundred thousand infidels, impious idolaters, were slain on that day. Maulana Nasir-ad-din Omar, a counsellor and man of learning, who had never killed a sparrow in all his life, now, in execution of my order, killed fifteen idolatrous Hindus, who were his captives.

After all the vile idolaters had been despatched, I gave orders that one man out of every ten should be told off to guard the property, cattle, and horses which had been captured in the invasion, while all the other soldiers were to march with me. At the time of midday prayer the signal was given for the march, and I proceeded to the spot selected for crossing the Jumna, and there encamped. The astrologers who accompanied the army consulted their books and almanacs as to the time propitious for battle, and they represented that the aspects of the stars made a short delay advisable. In all matters, small and great, I placed my reliance on the favour and kindness of God, and I knew that victory and conquest, defeat and flight,

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are each ordained by Him, so that I gave no credence to the words of the astrologers and star-gazers, but besought the Giver of victory to favour my arms.

I did not wish the war to be of long continuance; so as soon as night was over and morning came, I arose to my devotions. I said the morning prayers in the congregation, and repeated my private prayers, after which I took the Koran, opened it at random, and placed my finger at a venture on a verse in the chapter of the Bee, which I received as a propitious indication, and acted in full reliance on its command and on the favour of God.

On the fifth of Rabi’-al-akhir (Dec. 15) I passed the Jumna by a ford, and pitched my tents on the other side of the river; after which I gave orders to the amirs and other officers to station their men as near my tent as possible; and also directed that the ground around the camp should be parcelled out among them, and that each one should have a deep ditch dug in front of his allotment. All the soldiers, great and small, assembled to dig the ditch, which was constructed around the entire camp in two watches of the day. I then rode out to inspect it, and ordered that the trees in the vicinity should be cut down, and brought within the ditch; that their branches should be formed into a strong abattis, and that in some places planks should be set up.

It had been constantly dinned into the ears of my soldiers that the chief reliance of the armies of Hindustan was on their mighty elephants, which, completely

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encased in armour, marched into battle in front of their forces; that arrows and swords were of no use against them; that in height and bulk they were like small mountains, while their strength was such that at a given signal they could tear up great trees and knock down strongly built walls; and that in the battlefield they could take up the horse and his rider with their trunks and hurl them into the air. Some of the soldiers, with the timidity natural to man, brought some little of what they had heard to my attention; so when I assigned their respective positions to the princes and amirs of the right and left wing and of the centre, I made special inquiry of the holy and learned men who accompanied my army where they would like to be placed in the day of battle. They had been with me in many campaigns, and had witnessed many a great battle, but the stories about the elephants of India had so affected them that they instantly replied that they would like to be placed with the ladies while the battle was in progress. To allay the apprehensions of this class of men, I gave orders that all the buffalos which had been taken and placed with the baggage should be brought up; I then had their heads and necks fastened to their legs, and put them inside the abattis.

I gave orders for the camp to be carefully guarded all night to prevent a surprise by the enemy, and the night was passed with the caution and care which are necessary in war. When the morn of victory dawned, I said my prayers in the congregation; and after I had discharged that duty, I gave directions for the drums

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and other musical instruments to be sounded. The princes and amirs armed themselves completely, and marched with their respective forces in regular order, while I mounted my horse and rode forth to marshal my array. When I had arranged my right and left wings, I placed the right wing under the command of Prince Pir Mohammad Jahangir, Amir Yadgar Birlas, and other high officers; the left wing I put under the command of Prince Sultan Husain, Prince Khalil Sultan, Amir Jahan Shah, and their colleagues; and the advance-guard I placed under such generals as Prince Rustam and Amir Shaikh Nur-ad-din. I took my own place with the centre.

When all the forces were arrayed, I ordered the vanguard to go forward and obtain some knowledge of the enemy. One of the advance-guard captured a man belonging to the enemy’s van and brought him in to me. When I asked this prisoner about the position of the enemy, he told me that Sultan Mahmud had drawn up his army with the intention of fighting. His right wing was commanded by Mu’in-ad-din, Malik Hadi, and other officers; his left wing was under Taghi Khan, Mir Ali, and others, and the Sultan had taken up his own position with the centre, and had appointed a body of troops to act as rear-guard. His whole force amounted to ten thousand veteran horse and forty thousand warlike infantry, in addition to 125 elephants covered with armour, most of them carrying howdahs in which were men to hurl grenades, fireworks, and rockets. Thus they came up to battle.

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The enemy’s forces now made their appearance, and I accordingly rode to the top of a little hill which was hard by, where I carefully scrutinized their array and said to myself that, with the favour of God, I would defeat them and gain a victory. I alighted from my horse on the top of that hill and performed my devotions, bowing my head to the ground and beseeching the Almighty for victory. As I did this, I perceived signs that my prayers were heard, so that, when I had finished, I mounted my horse in the full assurance of God’s assistance. I returned to the centre and took up my position under the imperial standard, after which I directed Ali Sultan Tawachi, Altun Bakhshi, and other leaders to march with their regiments to strengthen the right wing, also commanding the remaining officers to proceed with their men to the support of the vanguard. It so happened that Amir Yadgar Birlas and Sulaiman Shah, who were with the right wing, and Amir Shaikh Nur-ad-din and Amir Shah Malik, who were with the vanguard, had conceived this very idea at the same instant, and had remarked to each other that they would look upon any reinforcement received from the centre as a presage of victory. It was just then that the Almighty put it into my mind to send them assistance.

The two armies now confronted each other, the drums were beaten on both sides, shouts and cries were raised, the ground trembled, and a great noise was heard. At this instant Sunjak Bahadur, Sayyid Khwaja, Allah-dad, and others separated from the vanguard,

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and when they perceived that Sultan Mahmud’s forces were approaching, they moved off to the right, and getting secretly behind the enemy’s advance-guard as it came on unsuspecting, they rushed from their ambush, and falling upon the foe in the rear, sword in hand, they scattered them as hungry lions scatter a flock of sheep, and killed six hundred of them in this single charge. Prince Pir Mohammad Jahangir, who commanded the right wing, moved his own forces forward, and with Amir Sulaiman Shah and his regiments of brave cavalry attacked the left wing of the enemy, which was commanded by Taghi Khan, and poured a shower of arrows upon it, so that my brave soldiers, pressing like furious elephants upon this part of the enemy’s host, compelled it to take refuge in flight.

The left wing of my army, under Prince Sultan Husain, Amir Jahan Shah, Amir Ghiyas-ad-din, and other amirs, bravely attacked the enemy’s right wing, which was commanded by Malik Mu’in-ad-din and Malik Hadi. They so pressed it with the trenchant sword and piercing arrows that they compelled the enemy to break and fly. Jahan Shah pursued them, and attacked them again and again until they reached the gates of the city of Delhi.

Simultaneously, Sultan Mahmud with Mallu Khan and the army of the centre, with its officers and soldiers more numerous than ants or locusts, and with its strong war elephants, made an attack upon my centre, where Prince Rustam, Amir Shaikh Nur-ad-din,

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Gateway of the mosque of Ala-ad-din at Delhi

and their colleagues met it with a brave and resolute resistance. While they were thus engaged, Daulat Timur Tawachi, Mangali Khwaja, and other amirs came up with their respective forces and assailed the enemy.

I now gave the order to a party of brave fellows who were in attendance upon me, and they cut their way to the sides of the amirs, who were fighting in the forefront of the battle. They brought the elephant drivers to the ground with their arrows and killed them, after which they attacked and wounded the elephants with their swords. The soldiers of Sultan Mahmud and Mallu Khan showed no lack of courage, and bore themselves manfully in the fight, but they could not withstand the successive onslaughts of my

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soldiers. Seeing their own plight and that of the soldiers and elephants around them, their courage fell and they took to flight. Sultan Mahmud and Malin “Khan reached the city with a thousand difficulties, and shut themselves up close in the fortifications.

The whole of Sultan Mahmud’s army was defeated; part was slain, and part had found refuge in the fort, toward which I marched, exalted with victory. When I reached its gates, I carefully reconnoitred its towers and walls, and then returned to the side of the Hauz-i Khas, a reservoir constructed by Sultan Firoz Shah, and faced all around with stone and cement. Each side of this reservoir is more than a bow-shot long, and buildings are placed around it. It is filled by the rains in the rainy season and supplies the people of the city with water throughout the year. The tomb of Sultan Firoz Shah stands on its bank.

When I had pitched my camp here, the princes and amirs, and all the generals and officers, came to pay their respects and to offer me their congratulations on this great victory. I embraced them all and praised them for the exertions and courage which I myself had seen. When I recounted the favours and mercies I had received from the Almighty, my excellent sons, the brave and renowned amirs who served under me, and the great and glorious victories I had achieved, my heart melted and tears fell from my eyes. I cast myself upon the ground and poured forth my thanksgivings to the All-beneficent. All who were present raised their voices in prayer, and expressed their earnest

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Tomb of Firoz Shah at Delhi

wishes for the continuance of my prosperity and the prolongation of my reign.

I called up the heavy baggage and formed my camp, issuing orders for my soldiers to be very cautious and watchful.

After their defeat, Sultan Mahmud and Mallu Khan, in wretched plight, had taken refuge in the fort. They now repented of the course they had taken, and regretted that they had not made submission to me and thus avoided the evil which had befallen them.

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Approach to the Palace at Udaipur

The city of Udaipur, situated upon the most beautiful lake in Rajputana, is an old-time capital of the Rajputs who waged gallant warfare against the Moslems. The Royal Palace, rising from the edge of the lake, is conspicuous because of the octagonal towers capped by cupolas, which crown its heavy granite and marble walls.

They saw that if they remained in the fort, they would be captured and made prisoners, so in the middle of that night, the seventh of Rabi’-al-akhir (Dec. 17), Sultan Mahmud and Mallu Khan left the fort of Jahanpanah and fled toward the mountains and jungles.

As soon as I heard of this, I immediately sent Amir Sa’id and other officers in pursuit. They followed with all speed, and coming up with the fugitives, they killed many of them and obtained great booty. Malik Sharf-ad-din and Malik Khudai-dad, sons of Rashid Mallu Khan, were taken prisoners, with many others, and brought back to my camp. On the same night that I heard of the flight of the Sultan and his generals from Delhi, I sent Amir Allah-dad and other officers to watch the gate of, Hauz-rani, through which Mahmud had escaped, and that of Baraka, by which Mallu Khan had gone out. I also sent men to all the other gates, with orders to prevent the inhabitants from escaping.

I then mounted my horse and rode toward the gate of the public square, alighting at the ‘id-gah, or court of celebrations and festivities, a lofty and extensive building, where I directed my throne to be set up. I took my seat upon the throne and held a court, which was attended by Sayyids, the judges, the learned Mussulmans, the shaikhs, and the great men and chiefs. I had them introduced one by one, whereupon they made their obeisances and were admitted to the honour of kissing my throne. I received every one of them with respect and kindness, and directed them to be seated. Fazl-allah Balkhi was viceroy and deputy of

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Mallu Khan, and he came out to wait upon me and do homage, accompanied by a party of the officials and clerks of the government of Sultan Mahmud and Mallu Khan. Thereupon all the Sayyids, scholars, shaikhs, and other leading Mussulmans arose, and making the princes their mediators, they begged that quarter might be given to the people of Delhi, and that their lives might be spared. Out of respect to the Sayyids and scholars, whom I had always held in great esteem and honour, I granted quarter to the inhabitants of the city, after which I then ordered my ensign and royal standard to be raised, and the drums to be beaten and music played on the tops of the gates of Delhi. Rejoicings for the victory followed, and some of the clever men and poets that accompanied me worked the date of the victory into a verse, which they presented to me. Of all these memorial verses, however, I have introduced only this one into my memoirs:

“On Wednesday, the eighth of Rabi’ the second (Dec. 17, 1398), The Emperor Sahib-Kiran took the city of Delhi.”

I rewarded and honourably distinguished the literary men and poets who presented these verses to me.

I sent a party of men into the city to bring out the elephants which Sultan Mahmud had abandoned when he fled. They found 120 enormous elephants and several rhinoceroses, which they brought out to my court. As the elephants passed by me, I was greatly amused to see the tricks which their drivers had taught them. Every animal, at the sign of his driver, bowed

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his head to the ground, made his obeisance, and uttered a cry. At the direction of their drivers they picked up any object from the ground with their trunks and placed it in their drivers’ hands, or put it into their mouths and kept it. When I saw these mighty animals, so well trained and so obedient to weak man, I was greatly astonished, and I ordered that they should be sent to Turan and Iran, to Fars and Azur and Rum (Byzantium), so that the princes and nobles throughout my dominions might behold these animals. Accordingly I sent five to Samarkand, two to Tabriz, one to Shiraz, five to Herat, one to Sharwan, and one to Azarb aij an.

When Friday came, I sent Maulana Nasir-ad-din Omar, together with certain other holy and learned men who accompanied my camp, to the Jami’ Masjid, with directions to say the prayers for the Sabbath, and to recite the official prayer of my reign in the metropolis of Delhi. This petition was accordingly repeated in my name in the pulpits of the mosques of the city of Delhi, and I rewarded the preachers with costly robes and presents.

When the preparations for holding a court in Delhi were completed, I gave orders for the princes, amirs, and other officers, as well as the Sayyids, scholars, shaikhs, and all the principal men of the city, to attend my court. When all had arrived, I entered and took my seat upon the throne. The Turkish and Arab musicians and singers began to play and sing, and wine, sherbet, sweetmeats, and all kinds of bread and meat

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were served. I bestowed rich robes, caps, girdles, swords, daggers, horses, and the like upon the princes and amirs and other leading men of my army, especially upon those heroes who had distinguished themselves by deeds of valour under my own observation. To some I gave regiments and raised their dignity, while to the Sayyids and scholars of the city I presented robes and gifts.

I ordered my secretaries to draw up despatches announcing my victories in Hindustan and to circulate them with all speed throughout my dominions; and I also directed my revenue officers to make provision for collecting the ransom-money assessed upon the entire city, excepting the Sayyids, scholars, and shaikhs. The collectors proceeded about their work, and I remained in my quarters for several days, holding courts, giving feasts, and partaking of pleasure and enjoyment.

On the sixteenth of the month (Dec. 26), certain incidents occurred which led to the sack of the city of Delhi and to the slaughter of many of the infidel inhabitants. One was this. A party of fierce Turkish soldiers had assembled at one of the gates of the city to look about them and enjoy themselves, and some of them had laid riotous hands upon the goods of the inhabitants. When I heard of this violence, I sent some amirs, who were present in Delhi, to restrain the Turks, and a party of soldiers accompanied these officers into the city. Another reason was that some of the ladies of my harem expressed a wish to go into the city and see the Palace of a Thousand Columns

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which Malik Jauna had built in the fort called Jahanpanah. I granted this request, and I sent a party of soldiers to escort the litters of the ladies. Another reason was that Jalal Islam and other officials had entered Delhi with a party of soldiers to collect the contribution laid upon the city. Another reason was that some thousand troopers with orders for grain, oil, sugar, and flour had gone into the city to collect these supplies. Another reason was that it had come to my knowledge that great numbers of Hindus and infidels had come into the city from all the country round with their wives and children, and goods and valuables, and consequently I had sent some amirs with their regiments into Delhi and directed them to pay no attention to the remonstrances of the inhabitants, but to seize these fugitives and bring them out.

For these various reasons a great number of fierce Turkish troops were in the city. When the soldiers proceeded to apprehend the Hindus and infidels who had fled to Delhi, many of them drew their swords and offered resistance. The flames of strife thus lighted spread through the entire city from Jahan-panah and Siri to Old Delhi, consuming all they reached. The savage Turks fell to killing and plundering, while the Hindus set fire to their houses with their own hands, burned their wives and children in them, and rushed into the fight and were killed. The Hindus and infidels of the city showed much alacrity and boldness in fighting. The amirs who were in charge of the gates prevented any more soldiers from entering Delhi, but the

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Hindu women

flames of war had risen too high for this precaution to be of any avail in extinguishing them.

All day Thursday and throughout the night, nearly fifteen thousand Turks were engaged in slaying, plundering, and destroying.

When Friday morning dawned, my entire army, no longer under control, went off to the city and thought of nothing but killing, plundering, and making prisoners. The sack was general during the whole day, and continued throughout the following day, Saturday, the

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seventeenth (Dec. 27), the spoil being so great that each man secured from fifty to a hundred prisoners, men, women, and children, while no soldier took less than twenty. There was likewise an immense booty in rubies, diamonds, garnets, pearls, and other gems; jewels of gold and silver; gold and silver money of the celebrated Alai coinage; vessels of gold and silver; and brocades and silks of great value. Gold and silver ornaments of the Hindu women were obtained in such quantities as to exceed all account. Excepting the quarter of the Sayyids, the scholars, and the other Mussulmans, the whole city was sacked. The pen of fate had written down this destiny for the people of this city, and although I was desirous of sparing them, I could not succeed, for it was the will of God that this calamity should befall the city.

On the following day, Sunday, it was brought to my knowledge that a great number of infidel Hindus had assembled in the Jami’ Masjid of Old Delhi, where they had carried arms and provisions, and had prepared to defend themselves. Some of my people who had gone that way on business were wounded by them, whereupon I immediately ordered Amir Shah Malik and Ali Sultan Tawachi to take a party of men and clear the house of God of infidels and idolaters. They accordingly attacked these infidels and put them to death, after which Old Delhi was plundered.

I ordered that all the artisans and clever mechanics who were masters of their respective crafts should be selected from among the prisoners and set aside, and

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Mausoleum of Timur at Samarkand

accordingly some thousands of craftsmen were bidden to await my command All these I distributed among the princes and amirs who were present, or who were officially engaged in other parts of my dominions.

I had determined to build a Jami’ Masjid in Samarkand, the seat of my empire, which should be without a rival in any country; and for this reason I ordered that all builders and stone-masons should be set apart for my own especial service.

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By the will of God, and by no wish or direction of mine, all the three cities of Delhi, Siri, Jahan-panah, and Old Delhi, had been plundered. The official prayer of my sovereignty, which is an assurance of safety and protection, had been read in the city, and it was, therefore, my earnest wish that no evil might happen to the people of the place. It was ordained by God, however, that the city should be ruined, and he accordingly inspired the infidel inhabitants with a spirit of resistance, so that they brought on themselves that fate which was inevitable.

When my mind was no longer occupied with the destruction of the people of Delhi, I took a ride around the cities. Siri is a round city, with lofty buildings surrounded by strong fortifications built of stone and brick. Old Delhi has a similar strong fort, but it is larger than that of Sin, and from the fort of Sin to that of Old Delhi, which is a considerable distance, there runs a strong wall, built of stone and cement. The district called Jahan-panah is situated in the midst of the inhabited city. The fortifications of the three cities have thirty gates. Jahan-panah has thirteen gates, seven on the south side bearing toward the east, and six on the north side bearing toward the west. Siri has seven gates, four toward the outside and three on the inside toward Jahan-panah. The fortifications of Old Delhi have ten gates, some opening to the exterior and some toward the interior of the city.

When I was tired of examining the city, I went to the chief mosque, where I found a congregation

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Interior of Timur’s tomb at Samarkand

of Sayyids, lawyers, shaikhs, and other principal Mussulmans, together with the inhabitants of their parts of the city, to whom they had been a protection and defence. I called them to my presence, consoled them, treated them with every respect, and bestowed upon them many presents and honours. I also appointed an officer to protect their quarter of the city, and guard them against annoyance, after which I remounted and returned to my quarters.

After spending fifteen days at Delhi, passing my time in pleasure and enjoyment, and in holding royal courts and giving great feasts, I reflected that I had come to Hindustan to war against infidels, and that my enterprise had been so blessed that wherever I had gone I had been victorious. I had triumphed over my adversaries, I had put to death hundreds of thousands of infidels and idolaters, I had dyed my proselyting sword with the blood of the enemies of the Faith, and now that I had gained this crowning victory, I felt that I ought not to indulge in ease, but rather to exert myself still further in warring against the infidels of Hindustan. Having made these reflections, on the twenty-second of Rabi’-al-akhir, 800 A.H. (Jan. 1,

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1399 A.D.), I again drew my sword to wage a religious war.

Timur’s memoirs then proceed to describe his taking of Mirat by storm, his frightful slaughter of the inhabitants, his capture of Hardwar, and his devastation of the territory along the Ganges, until he turned his army on the homeward march to Samarkand, fighting his way at every step until he left India.


3. The description of this entire campaign against the Kators is interesting because of the details it gives regarding Timur’s military operations.

This collection transcribed by Chris Gage
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