The city of Dehli was conquered by the Emir Kotb Oddin Aibak, one of the Mamluks of the Sultan Shahab Oddin Mohammed Ibn Sam El Ghauri king of Ghizna and Khorasan, who had overcome Ibrahim Ibn Mahmood Ibn Subuktagin the beginner of the conquest of India. This Emir Kotb Oddin resided here as governor, on the part of Shahab Oddin: but when Kotb Oddin died, his son, Shams Oddin Lalmish, became governor. After this, Shams Oddin became possessed of the kingdom here, having been appointed thereto by the general consent of the people; and he governed India for twenty years. He was a just, learned, and religious prince. After his death, his son, Rokn Oddin, took possession of the throne; but polluted his reign by killing his brothers, and was, therefore, killed himself. Upon this, the army agreed to place his sister El Malika Razia, upon the throne, who reigned four years. This woman usually rode about among the army, just as men do. She, however, gave up the government, on account of some circumstances that presented themselves.


        After this, her younger brother, Nasir Oddin, became possessed of the government, which he held for twenty years. This was a very religious prince; and so much so, that he lived entirely on what he got by writing out and selling copies of the Koran. He was succeeded by his Nawab, Ghiath Oddin Ahmed, one of his fathers Mamluks, who murdered him. This man's name was originally Balaban; his character had been just, discriminating, and mild: he filled the office of Nawab of India, under Nasir Oddin, for twenty years: he also reigned twenty years. One of his pious acts was, his building a house which was called the House of Safety; for whenever any debtor entered this, his debt was adjudged; and in like manner, every oppressed person found justice; every manslayer, deliverance from his adversary; and every person in fear, protection. When he died he was buried in this house, and there I myself visited his grave. The history of his beginnings is surprising, which is this: When a child he lived at Bokhara in the possession of one of the inhabitants, and was a little despicable ill-looking wretch. Upon a time, a certain Fakeer saw him there, and said: "You little Turk!" which is considered by them as a very reproachful term. The reply was: I am here, good Sir. This surprised the Fakeer, who said to him: Go and bring me one of those pomegranates, pointing to some which had been exposed for sale in the street. The urchin replied: Yes, Sir; and immediately, taking out all the money he had, went and bought the pomegranate. When the Fakeer received it, he said to Balaban: We give you the kingdom of India. Upon which the boy kissed his own hand, and said: I have accepted of it, and am quite satisfied.

        It happened, about this time, that the Sultan Shams Oddin sent a merchant to purchase slaves from Bokhara and Samarkand. He accordingly bought a hundred, and Balaban was among them. When these Mamluks were brought before the Sultan, they all pleased him except Balaban, and him he rejected, on account of his despicable appearance. Upon this, Balaban said to the Emperor: Lord of the world! why have you bought all these slaves? The Emperor smiled, and said: For my own sake; no doubt. The slave replied: Buy me then for God's sake. I will, said he. He then accepted of him, and placed him among the rest; but, on account of the badness of his appearance, gave him a situation among the cup-bearers.

        Some of the astrologers, who were about the king, were daily in the habit of saying to him: "One of the Mamluks will one day overcome thy son, and take the kingdom from him." To this the Emperor, on account of the justice and excellency of his own character, paid no regard, till they also told it to the Queen-Mother; who soon made an impression on his mind respecting it. He accordingly summoned the astrologers before him, and said: Pray can you tell which of the Mamluks it is, who is to take the kingdom from my son, if you see him? They said, we have a mark whereby we can distinguish him. The Emperor then ordered all the Mamluks to be present; who came accordingly, station after station, as commanded. Upon these the astrologers fixed their eyes; but did not discover the person looked for, until the day began to draw towards the close. At this time the cup-bearers said one to another, we are getting rather hungry, let us join and send some one into the street to buy us something to eat. They did so; and Balaban, as the most despicable, was sent to make the purchase. Balaban accordingly sallied forth, but could find nothing in that street which would suit him; he then went on into another, during which time the turn of the cup-bearers came on to be presented. But, as Balaban was not forthcoming, they took a little pitch and whatever else was necessary for their purpose, and daubing it over a child, took him with them in the place of Balaban; and when his name was called over, this child was presented; and the business of the day was closed, without the astrologers finding their mark upon any one; which was a providential circumstance for Balaban.

        At last Balaban made his appearance; but not till the business of the day was over. The cleverness of Balaban was afterwards noticed, and he was made head of the cup-bearers. After this he was placed in the army, and soon became a general officer. After this the Sultan Jalal Oddin married his [=Balaban's] daughter, which was before he had been made king. But when he was, he appointed Balaban to the office of Nawab or Viceroy, which he filled for twenty years. He then killed his master, and seized the empire. This Balaban had two sons; one of these, namely, El Khan El Shahid, he appointed as his own successor, and governor on his part in the provinces of Sindia: he resided at Multan. He was killed, however, in an affair with the Tartars, leaving two sons, Kaikobad and Kaikhosru. Balaban's second son, named Nasir Oddin, was appointed to govern the districts of Laknouti and Bengal. When, however, the heir-apparent El Khan El Shahid had been killed, Balaban appointed El Khan El Shahid's son Kaikhosru, his successor, passing over his own son Nasir Oddin.


        Nasir Oddin, however, had a son named Moïzz Oddin residing at the court of his grandfather at Dehli, the person who eventually became successor to Balaban. This at length came to pass on account of Giath Oddin Balaban's dying in the night, when his own son Nasir Oddin was out of the way in the district of Laknouti. On this occasion he appointed Kaikhosru his grandson, the son of El Khan El Shahid, as already mentioned.

        The king, however (or chief) of the Emirs and Nawab to the Sultan Balaban happened to have conceived a strong enmity against Kaikhosru on this account he had recourse to a stratagem, which gained him his end: it was this: He forged a letter in the name of the Emirs, stating that they had declared Moïzz Oddin son of Nassir Oddin, king. With this he goes to Kaikhosru by night, as if wishing to advise with him, and says: The Emirs have proclaimed thy uncle's son; and I very much fear for thy safety. The reply was: What am I to do? He said, save thyself by escaping to the districts of Sindia. But, replied he, how am I to get through the gates of the city, which are already barred. The keys, answered the Emir, are here in my possession. I will open the gates for you. The young man thanked him for this, and then kissed his hand. The Emir said: Mount immediately. He accordingly did, with his nobles and slaves; and the Emir opened the gates, let them out, and immediately closed them again.

        He next went to Moïzz Oddin, son of Nasir Oddin, and asked permission to enter; which being granted, he proclaimed him Emperor. "But, how is this," replied Moïzz Oddin, "since Kaikhosru my uncle's son was appointed successor?" The Emir told him of his stratagem, and how he had got rid of Kaikhosru. Moïzz Oddin thanked him for this, and then took him to the palace; where, sending for the rest of the Emirs and nobles, they invested him with the supreme authority during the night. In the morning this was confirmed by the people generally; and Moïzz Oddin took possession of the throne.

        His father, however, was living at this time in the provinces of Bengal and Laknouti: and, when the news of his son's being made Emperor reached him, he said: I am heir to the crown, how then can my son exercise this authority during my lifetime? He accordingly set out with his army for Dehli, in order to make war upon his son Moïzz Oddin. Moïzz Oddin too marched out with his troops to give battle to his father. They both arrived at the same time at the city of Karra, which is situated on the banks of the Ganges, took their stations on opposite sides of the river, and prepared for the onset. It was the will of divine Providence, however, to spare the blood of the faithful; and hence the heart of the father Nasir Oddin began to relent towards his son; for he said to himself, surely as long as my son is king, I shall partake of his glory. Moïzz Oddin too felt in his mind that something of submission was due to his father. Each of them, therefore, as if by instinct, left his army and rode directly into the middle of the river and met there. Here the Emperor kissed the feet of his father, and asked his forgiveness. His father replied, I give you my kingdom; and so invested him with the authority of Emperor. He then wished to retire to his districts; but his son said: Nay, but you must come with me to mine. He accordingly accompanied him to Dehli; and, entering the palace, seated his son upon the throne, and took his own station before him. This day is therefore called, the day of meeting; because they had this happy rencontre in the middle of the river, no blood being shed, and the kingdom mutually given and accepted.

        After this, Nasir Oddin returned to his districts; where after two years he died, leaving a family behind him. The kingdom was thus confirmed to Moïzz Oddin, which continued for four years, during which the inhabitants may be said to have enjoyed a continual holiday. After this he was affected by a complaint, by which one of his sides became quite withered, and for which the physicians could find no remedy. At this time, his Nuwab [Governor], Jalal Oddin Firoz Shah El Khilaji, revolted, taking his station upon a high mount without the city. Moïzz Oddin sent his Emirs for the purpose of giving him battle; but they all, one after another, joined him, and proclaimed him emperor. Jalal Oddin then entered the city, and enclosing Moïzz Oddin within his palace for three days, overcame him, put him to death, and took possession of his kingdom. This Jalal Oddin was a mild and well-informed prince; he governed India for two years. He had a son and a daughter.


        The daughter he married to his brother's son Ala Oddin, a daring, bold, and powerful man. His wife, however, so much harassed him, that he was obliged to complain to her father, in order to have an end put to their disputes. The uncle had given him the government of Karra and Manikbur, containing two of the most populous districts in India. Ala Oddin, however, had an eye to the kingdom. The only difficulty he had to contend with was, his want of money; for he had none, except what he got by his sword in making new conquests. Upon one of these expeditions, his horse happened to stumble against, a stone as he went along, and from this a kind of ringing noise proceeded. He immediately ordered his men to dig; and here they found an immense quantity of wealth. This he divided among his followers, and hence acquired considerable power.

        It happened that his uncle undertook an expedition against him, and summoned him before him, but he refused to appear. The uncle then prepared to go to him; for he said, This young man is as my son, I will therefore go to him. The nephew accordingly met him, which happened upon the banks of the Ganges, in the very place where Moïzz Oddin and Nasir Oddin had formerly met: and, like them, each rode into the middle of the river. Ala Oddin, however, had commanded his followers, that, at the time he should embrace his uncle Jalal Oddin, they were to kill him. When, therefore, the parties met, and the nephew was in the act of embracing the uncle, the followers of the nephew killed him, which put Ala Oddin in possession of his uncle's army, and all proclaimed him Emperor. After this he governed Hindustan for twenty years. He was just, and looked to the affairs of his subjects in person.

        Now he also had a nephew named Soleiman Shah, and as he was one day engaged in the chase, this nephew conceived the intention of destroying him, just as he had of destroying his own uncle. He shot him, accordingly, with an arrow in an unguarded moment, and the uncle fell from his horse. The nephew was about to make [his way] up to him, when he was told by his slave that he need not do so, as he was quite dead. He left him, therefore, and returned to the palace, and took possession of the government. A little while after Ala Oddiin, recovering from his stupor, got up and mounted a horse, which the army perceiving joined him. He then entered the city, and besieged his nephew Soleiman Shah in the palace; who, feeling his weakness, betook himself to flight, but was taken and put to death by his uncle Ala Oddin. After this he never rode a-hunting, to divine service, or to the celebration of any public holiday.

        He had five sons, the younger of whom were Shahab Oddin and Kotb Oddin: the eldest he had, during his life time, ordered to be kept in prison. When taken with his last sickness (the anger of the young man on account of his imprisonment not having abated); and when the disease was making rapid advances, he sent for this son in order to name him as his successor; but, he delaying to come in consequence of this irritation, the Mamluks, the head of whom hated this son, together with the principal Nuwab, placed the younger son Shahab Oddin upon the throne, as soon as the Emperor was dead: and the appointment was confirmed by the people. The three elder children, however, were ordered to be imprisoned and their eyes to be put out: and thus was the government established.

        Upon this the Queen sent for two of the most powerful of her husband's Mamluks, the name of one of whom was Bashir, that of the other, Mubashshir, and with tears complained of the conduct of the principal Nuwab towards her children, soliciting their assistance, and stimulating them to put the chief Nuwab to death; and affirming, that it was his intention to murder her younger son Kotb Oddin. They accordingly agreed to kill him, which they did by stratagem while he was in his house. They then brought forth Kotb Oddin to his brother Shahab Oddin, who held the reins of government. Kotb Oddin remained for some time in the situation of his Nuwab, but at length deposed his brother, and took possession of the kingdom; which he held for some time.

        After this he took a journey to Dawlat Abad, between which and Dehli is a distance of forty days. The road is from first to last enclosed with willow and other trees, so that a traveller seems to be in a garden throughout all this distance. Besides, there are at the distance of every three miles the stations of the foot couriers, at which there are also inhabitants, as already mentioned. From this place to El Telingana, and El Maabar, is a distance of six months. In all these stations there is a lodging for the Emperor, with cells for his suite, and for travellers generally. There is no necessity, therefore, for a poor man's carrying any provisions with him on this road.

        When, therefore, the Sultan Kotb Oddin was on this journey, and had with him Khazir Khan, the son of his elder brother who was in prison, some of the Emirs formed a conspiracy, by which it was their intention to depose the Emperor, and to proclaim this son of his elder brother. But the Emperor discovering this, instantly put his nephew and his nephew's father to death, as well as his other brothers, who were then confined in the fortress of Kaliyur.

        This fortress is situated on the top of a high hill, and seems as if it had been cut out of the rock: opposite to it is no other mount. Within it are reservoirs filled with rain-water; and about it are numerous walls, upon which warlike engines are planted. This is their strongest fortress: beneath it, is a small town.


        When, however, Kotb Oddin had killed his brothers, and so purified his kingdom that no one seemed left, to contend with him, divine Providence gave the supreme power to one of his most powerful and choice friends, namely, Nasir Oddin Khosru Khan, who killed him, and took possession of the empire: but this he held only for a short time. The reason was, that when he had taken possession of the throne, he sent dresses of honour to the governors of the several provinces; which they all put on, as a mark of obedience, if we except Toglik Shah; father of the present Emperor of Hindustan Mohammed Shah. This person was then governor of Debalbur, and would neither put on the dress, nor tender his obedience. The consequence was, an army was sent against him, which he put to flight. The Emperor then sent his brother against him: him also he routed, and put to death: and so far did matters proceed, that Toglik also slew Nasir Oddin Khosru Khan and seized his empire.

        This Nasir Oddin had originated some great abominations during his reign, of which the forbidding oxen to be slaughtered is one, and which is one of the regulations of the infidel Hindoos. For among them, no one is allowed to slaughter an ox; and, in case he should do so, he is ordered to be stitched up in its skin, and to be burnt. The reason is; they so much esteem the ox that they drink its urine, both to promote prosperity and to recover health. They also daub their walls with the dung of these animals. Hence it was that Nasir Oddin became so hateful to the Mohammedans, that they stimulated Toglik Ghiath Oddin, to put him to death, and to take possession of the kingdom.

        This Toglik was originally descended from the Turks who inhabit the mountains in the district of Sindia. He was very poor; but, betaking himself to the cities of these parts, he got employment in feeding cattle. After this he became a foot soldier, and then a horse soldier: in the next place, as his abilities appeared he was made a g commanding officer. After this the Emperor Kotb Oddin appointed him governor of Debalbur; and his son, who is now Emperor, keeper of the horse. Toglik was brave, warlike, honourable, and just: and, as his son was stationed at Dehli as keeper of the horse, when the father had determined to rebel, he corresponded with this son, who cajoled the Emperor Khosru Khan; sometimes, for example, appearing at his post without the city, and then returning to his father. After some days, however, he was missing till after sunset, which giving some suspicion to Nasir Oddin, he sent for him, but could not find him: on this occasion he had escaped, and taken all the best of the Emperor's horses to his father.

        The Emir of Multan, Kashlu Khan, joined Toglik in his rebellion, in order to avenge Kotb Oddin, son of Nasir Oddin, their common master. When, however, the two conspirators entered Dehli, and Nasir Oddin had betaken himself to flight with only a few Hindoo fakeers, Toglik said to Kashlu Khan: You shall be Emperor. But he refused; and Toglik took possession of the government. After this, Nasir Oddin was taken and put to death; and the kingdom was purged, and remained so for four years.

        After this the Emperor sent his son, who is now Emperor, to reduce the provinces of Telinga, which are at the distance of three months from Dehli; but when he had arrived at a certain part of the way, one of the courtiers thought proper to rebel, and to possess himself (if possible) of the kingdom. For this purpose he circulated a report, that the Emperor was dead; supposing that the Emirs would now immediately proclaim him king. When they heard this, however, every one of them struck his drum, and betook himself to his own part (i.e. to rebellion): so that the prince was left with his particular friends alone. The Emirs, moreover, intended to kill him; but from this they were diverted by one of the great men of their body, whose name was Timur. The prince then fled to his father with ten of his friends, whom he styled Yaran (i.e. friends in the Persic); but, when he came to him, was immediately sent back on his journey with a large army. Upon this, the Emirs, who had intended to put him to death, fled; but some of them were taken, and put to death. Thus the matter terminated, and he returned to his father.

        The father himself then undertook an expedition against the province of Laknouti, in which resided at that time the Sultan Shams Oddin son of Ghiath Oddin Balaban: to whom had fled the Emirs of Toglik, as just mentioned. About this time, however, Shams Oddin died, having first bound his son, Shahab Oddin (by contract), who accordingly took possession of the throne. His younger brother, however, Ghiath Oddin Bahadur Bura, overcame him, and seized upon the kingdom. He then killed all the rest of his brothers, except Shahab Oddin, who had been bound to mount the throne, and Nasir Oddin: for they fled to Toglik imploring assistance. He allowed them, therefore, to march with his army, in order to give battle to Ghiath Oddin. Toglik had also appointed his son Mohammed to the office of Nuwab in Dehli during his own absence on this expedition. He proceeded therefore, and gained possession of the province of Laknouti, having put Ghiath Oddin to the rout, after which, however, he took him prisoner, and carried him to Dehli.


        When he had got near to Dehli, he sent to his son Mohammed, requesting him to build him a kushka, that is, a palace, which he did, and constructed one, well built of wood, in the space of three days. But Mohammed the son made an agreement with the geometrician who planned it, that the steps leading to it should be made sufficiently broad to allow the elephants to ascend them, in order to [=for] their being presented to the Emperor Toglik. A place also was so constructed, that when the foot of the elephant should come in contact with it, the whole palace should fall down upon all who may happen to be in it. When, therefore, the Emperor arrived at his palace, he had it carpetted and furnished, and took up his residence within it.

        Now, the Emperor had a second son, who was a great favourite with him. In consequence of this, the elder brother, Mohammed, very much feared lest he [=the second son] should be appointed successor to the throne. When, therefore, the different orders [of nobles], as well as those who had come to welcome the Sultan, had concluded the banquet, the elephants were presented before him: but, when the elephant's foot came in contact with the place appointed, down came the palace upon the head of the Sultan Toglik, his favourite son, and the courtiers who were assembled before him, and all perished. Mohammed, the present Emperor, accordingly took possession of the throne, having been proclaimed by the Emirs and people, and thus was the kingdom purged of his enemies.

*on to chapter 5*

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