VI. What happened in the Province of Gujarat.
After five days, in God's mercy, the wind somewhat abated. All that was saved of the wreckage, cannon and other armament, we left with the Governor of Daman, Malik Esed, who since the time of Sultan Ahmed, the ruler of Gujarat, had held office there. In the harbor were some Djonk's, i.e., Monsoon ships, belonging to Samiri [[=the Zamorin]], the ruler of Calicut [[=correcting V's "Calcutta"]]. The captains came on board our ship and assured us of the devotion of their chief to the Padishah. They brought us a letter which said that Samiri was waging war day and night against the Portuguese Infidels, and that he was expecting the arrival of an Imperial feet from Egypt under the guidance of the pilot Ali, which was to put the Portuguese to flight. Melik Esed, the Governor, gave me to understand that the fleet of the Infidels was on its way, that it behooved us to avoid it and, if possible, to reach the fortress of Surat. This news frightened the crew. Some of them immediately took service under Melik Esed, and some went ashore in the boats and proceeded by land to Surat.
I remained on board with a few faithful of the men, and after procuring a Dindjuy, or pilot-boat, for each vessel, we set out for the harbor of Surat. After great difficulties we reached the open. Presently the Kutwal/1/, Aga Hamsa, hailed us with a letter from Umad-el-mulk, the Grand Vizier of Sultan Ahmed, who informed us that there were large numbers of Infidels about, and that Daman being a free port we had better be careful. He would allow us to come to Surat if we liked, as we were now in most perilous waters. This was exactly what we wanted to do, so we struggled on for five days longer, sailing at the flow, riding at anchor at the ebb of the tide, until at last we reached the harbor of Surat, fully three months after our departure from Basrah.
Great was the joy of the Mohammedans at Surat when they saw us come; they hailed us as their deliverers (lit. Khidr), and said: "You have come to Gujarat in troublous times; never since the days of Noah has there been a flood like unto this last, but neither is it within the memory of man that a ship from Rum (Turkey) has landed on these coasts. We fervently hoped that God in his mercy would soon send an Ottoman fleet to Gujarat, to save this land for the Ottoman Empire and to deliver us from the Indian unbelievers."
The cause of the disturbances was this: After the death of Sultan Bahadur, the ruler of Gujarat, one of his relatives, a youth of twelve years old, had succeeded to the throne. The army had acknowledged him, but one of the nobles, Nasir-ul-Mulk, had refused to take the oath of allegiance, and had raised the umbrella (banner) of sovereignty on his own behalf. He had many adherents, took the stronghold of Burudj/2/, left a sufficient garrison to keep it, proceeded himself to another town, and then called in the aid of the Governor of the Infidels (Portuguese) at Goa, promising that in return for his services the harbors on the coast of Gujarat, viz., Daman, Surat, Burudj, Ketbaye, Sumenat, Minglur, and Furmeyan, should be thrown open to the Portuguese, while he would retire to the land of the interior.
Sultan Ahmed had immediately collected an army to go to Burudj, and when informed of our arrival he took from our troops 200 gunners and other men, and advanced toward Burudj. On the third day we who were left behind were attacked by the Infidel captains of Goa, Diu, Shiyul, Besai, and the Provador; five in all, commanding 7 large galleons and 80 gurabs. We went ashore, pitched our tents, and threw up entrenchments; for two whole months we were busy preparing for battle. But the tyrant Nasir-ul-Mulk, who had joined with the Infidels, had hired murderers to kill me; they were, however, discovered by the guard, and fled. Again another time he tried to poison my food; but being warned by the Kutwal of Surat, this attempt to take my life also failed. Meanwhile Sultan Ahmed had taken the stronghold of Burudj and sent two of his officers, Khudavend and Djihanghir, with elephants and troops to Surat, while he proceeded to Ahmedabad, where a youth called Ahmed, a relation of Sultan Ahmed, had in the meantime raised a revolt. A battle followed in which the usurper was wounded, Hasan Khan, one of his adherents, killed, and his army put to fiight. Sultan Ahmed reascended his throne, and as Nasir-ul-Mulk died of vexation over his misfortunes, peace was once more restored in Gujarat.
When the Infidels heard of this they sent an Envoy to Khudavend Khan to say that they did not mind so much about Surat, but that their hostility was chiefly directed toward the Admiral of Egypt, viz., my humble person. They demanded that I should be given up to them, but were refused; and my soldiers would have killed the Envoy, but I reminded them that we were on foreign soil and must commit no rash deeds. It so happened that a runaway Infidel gunner from one of my ships had enlisted on the ship of the envoy, and knowing a good deal about our affairs, he had undertaken to prevent our departure after the holiday of Kurban. No sooner had this come to the knowledge of my men than they attacked the envoy's ship and captured the Infidel, who was executed on the spot, greatly to the alarm of the Envoy.
There is in Gujarat a tree of the palm tribe, called tari agadji (millet-tree). From its branches cups are suspended, and when the cut end of a branch is placed into one of these vessels a sweet liquid, something of the nature of arrack, flows out in a continuous stream; and this fluid, by exposure to the heat of the sun, presently changes into a most wonderful wine. Therefore at the foot of all such trees drinking-booths have been placed, which are a great attraction to the soldiers. Some of my men, having indulged in the forbidden drink, determined to kill their Serdar. One of these profligates, Yagmur by name, one evening after sunset surprised Hussain Aga, the Serdar of the Circassians. A few comrades rushed to his assistance, there was some fighting, and two young men were wounded, and one, Hadji Memi, was killed. Then the soldiers pressed round, and implored me to punish the evil-doers, but I again reminded them that we were on foreign soil, in the land of a foreign Padishah, and that our laws had no force here. "What," they cried, "the laws of our Padishah hold good everywhere. You are our Admiral, judge according to our law, and we will be the executioners!" Thereupon I pronounced judgment according to the law of the Koran, which says: "Eye for eye, life for life, nose for nose, ear for ear," etc.
The man was executed, and peace restored. When the nobles of the Begs heard of the occurrence they took the lesson to heart, and the Envoy immediately hired a conveyance and went to Sultan Ahmed.
But my troops were getting dissatisfied. In Surat, Khudavend Khan had been paying them from 50 to 60 paras per day, and in Burudj, Adil Khan had done the same. At last their pent-up feelings burst forth and they argued as follows: "It is now nearly two years since we have received any pay, our goods are lost and the ships dismantled; the hulks are old, and our return to Egypt is practically made impossible." The end was that the greater part of them took service in Gujarat.
The deserted ships, with all their tools and implements, were given over to Khudavend Khan, under condition that he should immediately remit to the Sublime Porte the price agreed upon for the sale.
After receiving a confirmatory note to this effect, both from Khudavend Khan and Adil Khan, I started on my journey to Ahmedabad/3/, in the beginning of Muharram of the year 962 (end of November 1552), accompanied by Mustafa Aga, the Ketkhuda (chief officer) of the Egyptian Janissaries, and Ali Aga, the Captain of the gunners (both of which had remained faithful to their Padishah), and with about 50 men. A few days took us from Burudj to Belodra/4/ and from there we proceeded to Champanir./5/
On our way we saw some very curious trees, whose crowns reached up to the sky, and the branches swarmed with bats of such extraordinary size that their wings on the stretch measured 40 inches across. The most curious part about the trees, however, was that the roots hung down from the branches and, when touching the ground, planted themselves and produced new trees. Thus from one tree, from ten to twenty new ones sprung up. The name of this tree is the Tobi tree/6/, and more than a thousand(?) people can find shelter under its shade. Besides these we saw several Zokum trees/7/. Parrots were very plentiful, and as for the monkeys, thousands of them made their appearance in our camp every evening. They carried their young in their arms, made the most ridiculous grimaces, and strongly brought to our minds the stories of Djihan Shah, according to whom these animals live in a community but acknowledge no head among them. At nightfall they always retired to their own place.
After a great many vicissitudes we at last arrived in Mahmudabad/8/, and after a journey of 50 days in Ahmedabad the Capital of Gujarat. There I visited the Sultan, his Grand Vizier Imad-ul-Mulk, and other dignitaries. The Sultan, to whom I presented my credentials, was pleased to receive me most graciously, and he assured me of his devotion to our glorious Padishah. He gave me a horse, a team of camels, and money for the journey.
At Cherkes, in the vicinity of Ahmedabad, is the grave of Sheik Ahmed Magrebi, which I visited. One day, being at the house of Imad-ul-Mulk, I met the Infidel Envoy, and our host addressed him in this way, "We have need of the Sultan of Turkey. Our ships touch the ports of his Empire, and if we were not free to do so, it would be bad for us. Moreover, he is the Padishah of the Islamitic world, and it is not seemly that we should be expected to deliver up his Admiral to you." I became very angry at this speech and cried: "Hold thy cursed tongue! Thou foundest me with a shattered fleet, but I swear by God Almighty thou shalt see ere long not only Ormuz, but Goa itself, yield before the victorious arms of the great Padishah!/9/" To which the unbeliever made the following answer: "Henceforth not so much as a bird will be able to leave the ports of India." I replied: "One need not necessarily go by water, there is a land route also." He was silent after that, and the subject was dropped.
A few days after this Sultan Ahmed offered me the command of the Province of Burudj, with a very large income, but I refused, saying that I would not stay if he gave me the whole of the land. One night in my dream I saw the Khalifa Murteza Ali. I had a piece of paper before me with Ali's seal upon it. With this seal, the seal of God, to help me, away with all fear, for in its strength all foreign waters were mine to command.
Next morning I told my dream to my companions, and all were glad with me. I asked for permission to depart, and the ruler granted my request out of respect for our Padishah.
Amongst the learned/10/ of this land of Banians/11/ there is a tribe which they call the Bats, whose business it is to escort merchants or travelers from one land into another, and for a very small renumeration they guarantee their perfect safety. Should the Rajputs, i.e. the mounted troops of the land, attack the caravan, the Bats point their daggers at their own breast, and threaten to kill themselves if they should presume to do the slightest harm to the travelers entrusted to their care. And out of respect for the Bats, the Rajputs generally desist from their evil purpose, and the travelers proceed on their way unmolested. Occasionally, however, the Bats carry out their threat, otherwise it would have no force. But if such a thing does happen, if a caravan is attacked and the suicide of the Bats becomes necessary, this is considered a terrible calamity, and the superstition of the people demands that the offenders be put to death, and not only the offenders themselves, but the chief of the Rajputs deems it necessary to kill their sons and daughters also; in fact, to exterminate the whole of their race. The Mohammedans of Ahmedabad had given us two such Bats as an escort, and so, about the middle of Safar of the said year, we started on our overland journey to Turkey.
In five days we reached Patna/12/, traveling in carriages, and visited the grave of Sheikh Nizam, the Pir (spiritual chief) of Patna. Here Shir Khan and his brother Musa Khan had collected an army, to fight Behluj Khan, the ruler of Radanpoor/13/. For fear of our siding with their enemies, the people tried to retain us, and would not allow us to proceed on our journey until the battle should be over. We showed them, however, that we had not come to render either party any assistance, but that we only wanted to continue our journey in peace, and had a pass from their ruler to that effect. Then at last they let us go, and after five days we came to Radanpoor, where I was presented to Mahmud Khan; but he treated me very rudely, and insisted on forcibly detaining three of my companions before he would consent to our departure. On the way we met some friendly Rajputs; their Beg was of great service to us, and gave me a letter of protection (free pass). The camels were hired, and after dismissing the Bats which the people of Ahmedabad had sent with us, we continued our journey.
/1/ Kotwal, kutwal = commander of a fortress, also policeman. Of Turkish origin.
/2/ More correctly Broatsh, a place north-west of Surat in the province of Gujarat on the right bank of the Nerbudda. This place has from time immemorialbelonged to the Moslem rulers of Ahmedabad and has twice been pillaged by the Portuguese (in 1536 and 1546).
/3/ Ahmedabad, the chief town of the Province of that name, 310 Engl. miles north of Bombay.
/4/ More correctly Balotra, a town in Jodpur (Radjhputana).
/5/ Champanir, a mountain fortress in Gujarat in the Province of Pendj-Mahal, 250 Engl. miles north-east of Bombay.
/6/ Compare Tuba-tree, with the Sidra-tree of the Mohammedan Paradise.
/7/ Zokum, a tree which acc. to the Koran grows only in Hell. Its fruit resembles the Plantain and serves as food for the condemned.
/8/ At present there is only a place of that name known in Oudh, but not in Gujarat.
/9/ Very characteristic is the piece of poetry here introduced. It is probably a Turkish sea-song of that time. It says:
We roam the waters far and wide,Khaireddin Pasha, Suleiman's renowned Admiral, was known in Europe as Barbarossa.
And bring confusion upon our enemies;
revenge and hatred is our Motto,
For we are Khaireddin's troops.
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