IX. Our experience in Bakhtar-Zemin, i.e., in Kabulistan.
In the beginning of the month Djemazi-ul-Evvel we left the river Nilab and turned toward Kabul. For fear of the Afghans under Adam Khan, we made a quick march through the night, and at daybreak we arrived at the foot of the mountain. So far the Afghans had not seen us, but by the time we had reached the top there were thousands of them gathered together. We seized our guns, and with God's help managed to get out of their way, and came to the town of Pershuer, i.e., Peshawer. Soon after, we crossed the Khaiber Pass, and reached Djushai. In the mountains we saw two rhinoceroses (Kerkedans)/1/, each the size of a small elephant; they have a horn on their nose about two inches long. In Abyssinia these animals are much more plentiful.
Presently we reached Laghman/2/, and after a very toilsome journey through Hezareland/3/, we entered Kabulistan and its capital, Kabul. Here I visited the two sons of Humayun, Mehemmed Hekim Mirza and Ferrukh Fal Mirza; I also saw Mun'im Khan, and after presenting the ferman from Humayun, I was treated with much honour. Kabul itself is a beautiful city, surrounded by mountains covered with snow, and pleasure-gardens with running brooks. Pleasure and merriment prevailed everywhere, feasting and banqueting were the order of the day. In every corner were gaily dressed, slender Lulis/4/ enticing one with music and song to join the merry crowd; the populace, in fact, seemed to have no thought for anything but for pleasure and enjoyment.
"Who would long for Huris and the Paradise, whose good fortune has brought him amongst the Lulis of Kabul?"
We, however, had no time for such frivolities; our only aim and object was to reach home as soon as possible. Mun'im Khan remarked that the roads were snowed up, that the Hindu Kush could not possibly be passed, and that it would be far better for us to wait a few days in Kabul; but I quickly replied that men could overcome mountains, if they had the mind to do so. Thereupon the Governor commanded Mir Nezri, the Chief of the Ferashi and Peshai, to accompany me, and his men were to conduct our horses and goods safely across the mountain pass. We left accordingly in the beginning of Djemazi-ul-Evvel and came to Karabag/5/, and from there to Tcharikar and Pervane or Mervan.
This was Nezri's native country. He collected his men, and they took us across to the other side of the mountain. It was a very difficult passage, but we accomplished it that day, and spent the night in a village at the foot of the pass.
/1/ Kerkedan, generally translated by Rhinoceros. Baber (1356) makes mention of this animal under the name of gherek, and he describes it as being about the size of a buffalo.
/2/ Perhaps more correctly Lughman, east of Kabul.
/3/ Hezare is the name of the mountainous region northeast of Peshawer; also the name of an Iranian Mongol tribe dwelling between Herat and Kabul.
/4/ Luli is, in Central Asia, the name given to the Gipsies, to which tribe the dancing and singing damsels and the prostitutes generally belonged. This used also to be the case in Turkey.
/5/ Kara-bag (black-garden), marked on the maps merely as Bag (garden). Tcharikar lies north of Kabul, and Pervane lies in the same direction as the Pass of that name at the foot of the Hindu Kush. Our author did not take the route now generally used, across the Dendanshiken (tooth-breaker), but the other, which lies more to the east, and which was the one followed by Baber.
X. The condition of Badakhshan and Khatlan.
Early in the month of Redjeb we came to the city of Anderab, and journeyed from there through Badakhshan to Talikan, where I had an interview with Suleiman Shah/6/ and his son Ibrahim Mirza. On the day of our arrival the Mirza had met us, and received me in his pleasure-garden; I offered him some presents and a Ghazel. The Mirza, who understood poetry, entered into a poetical competition with me, and introduced me next day to his father, to whom I also offered gifts and a Ghazel. The Sovereign also showed me much attention, and loaded me with signs of his favour.
There was hostility between Pir Mohammed Khan, the ruler of Balkh, and Borak Khan, the ruler of Transoxania, and the roads were made unsafe; the more so as Pir Mohammed's younger brother had raised a revolt in Kunduz, Kavadian, and Termed, which districts were now in great tumult. They advised me therefore to travel by the way of Badakhshan and Khatlan/7/, and both Suleiman and his son presented me with horses and garments of honour, besides giving me a letter of recommendation to Djihanghir Ali, the ruler of Khatlan, who had married his younger sister; and so I journeyed to Kishm, the capital of Badakhshan/8/.
I saw the Sovereign's pleasure-garden, and Humayun's garden Duabe, and proceeded from Kalai Zafar/9/ to Rustak, and from there to Bender Semti/10/. I approached Dalli, in Khatlan, from the Kashgar (eastern?) side, and made a pilgrimage to the grave of Seid Ali Hamadani, and from there I went to Kulaba/11/, where I met with Djihanghir Ali Khan; and after presenting my letter of recommendation he gave me an escort of 50 men to conduct me to Charsui, where I crossed the Pul-i-Senghin/12/ (stone bridge), and dismissed the men who had escorted us.
/6/ Suleiman Shah was the son of Khan Mirza the Wise, a cousin of Baber's. He had usurped the throne of Badakhshan in 1508, and was afterwards established by Humayun as ruler over the whole of the Upper Oxus territory.
/7/ From the political condition already referred to, it is quite evident why our author chose this very difficult, roundabout route past Badakhshan, the same route which was taken by Sheibani Khan, Baber's adversary, during his campaign against Khosru Shah. Part of ancient Khatlan, also called Khotl, is now included in the Province of Kulab.
/8/ Feizabad is now the capital of Badakhshan. It was Suleiman Shah who made Kishm his residence.
/9/ Kalai Zafar (castle of victory) is situated on the Koktche, a tributary of the Oxus.
/10/ Now Semti, on the left side of the Pendje.
/11/ Now Kulab (1810 ft. above the sea), situated on a tributary of the Oxus.
/12/ Neither Charsui nor Pul-i-Senghin are to be found on any modern map, but as the author identifies Hissar with Chaganian, i.e. places the former in the cominion of the latter province, we may take it that the Kafirnihan River was then the boundary line of Transoxania.
XI. Events in Turan, i.e. Transoxania.
On the day that I crossed the bridge, I first set foot on Transoxanian soil. After a day's rest I proceeded to Bazar No (New Market), and from there to a little place called Tchiharshembe, where I visited the grave of the Khodja Yaakub Tcharkhi. Then on to Tchaganian, i.e. Hissar-i-Shadman/13/. I visited Timur Sultan, the Kagalga/14/ of the Ozbeg rulers, and passed Mount Senghirdek/15/, where it always rains and a considerable stream is formed at the foot of the mountain, and I marveled at the wonderful works of God. The next station was Sehri-Sebz, i.e., Kesh, where I met Hashim Sultan, who gave me permission to continue my journey to Samarkand. With great difficulty we got across the mountain/16/ situated between the two last-named places; we touched the little town of Mazar, and in the beginning of Shaaban we reached Samarkand, which is a perfect paradise.
Here I saw Borak Khan/17/ (more correctly called Noruz Ahmed), who, in return for my humble offerings, gave me a horse and garments of honour. It was this same Borak Khan to whom his Majesty the Padishah had sent cannon and guns by the hand of Sheikhs Abdullatif and Dadash. At the time of my arrival Abdullatif Khan, the ruler of Samarkand, was dead/18/, and Borak had taken his place. Pir Mohammed Khan in Balkh, and Burhan Seid Khan/19/ in Bokhara, declared their independence, and Borak's first business was to settle this matter. He began by taking Samarkand and proceeded to Shehr-i-Sebz, where a great battle was fought, in which the Ketkhuda (overseer) of the Osman soldiers fell. He then took the stronghold and marched to Bokhara, which place he laid siege to. Seid Burhan, the ruler of Bokhara, made peace with Borak, relinquished the place to him, and retired to Karakul, where the brother of Pir Mohammed Khan then reigned. He, however, gave up the place to Seid Burhan.
When Borak Khan entered Samarkand, the Aga of the Osmans/20/ had just started with few men on their way to Turkey, having taken the way of Tashkend and Turkestan. Ahmed Tchaush was also on the point of returning to Turkey by the way of Bokhara and Kharezm, for part of the Janissaries had enlisted under Seid Burhan, and the remainder joined his son. About 150 remained faithful to Borak Khan. When he had communicated all this to me, he added: "I am now as a liar before his Majesty the Sultan of Turkey, for I can do nothing, but if thou wilt help me, something may yet be done." He offered me the government of a Province, but I said that with such a small army nothing could be done; moreover that without the consent of my Padishah, I could not stir in the matter. He thereupon proposed to send an envoy to the Sublime Porte to explain the situation. As a matter of fact he had already decided to send Sadr Alem, a descendant of Khodja Ahmed Jesewi/21/, and gave him a letter in which he expressed his willingness in the future to satisfy every wish of the Sultan. He discharged me, however.
During my stay in Samarkand I made a pilgrimage to the grave of the prophet Daniel, to the place of the Khidr (Elias), to the cloak and to the wooden shoes of the Prophet, and also to the Koran written by Ali himself/22/. Besides these places I visited the graves of the following sheikhs and sages: the author of Hidayet, Ebu Mansur Matridi; Shah-Zinde, Khodja Abdullah, Khodja Abdi-birun, Khodja Abdi-derum, the Tchopanata, and the Kazizade of Rum, and the grave of the 444,000 Transoxanian sages.
But to return to Borak Khan. One day, while talking together, he asked me which of all the cities I had visited pleased me most. I replied with the following stanza:
"Far from home no one longs for Paradise."Thou hast spoken well," said the Khan.
For in his eyes his native town is superior even to Baghdad."
Now as regards the embassage to Constantinople, Sadr Alem proposed to go by Turkestan; but when he was told that the Nogai tribe of the Mangit committed violence upon travelers, and that the roads swarmed with robbers and highwaymen who gave no quarter to Musulmans/23/, but plundered and ill-treated any that came in their way, he decided to travel through Bokhara. Unfortunately, just then the news came that Seid Burhan had again declared war with Borak Khan, and that the latter's son Kharezm Shah had been attacked. Borak Khan advised me thereupon to remain at Ghidjduvan until the return of the envoy. If no hostilities took place we might travel by that way, but otherwise we were to wait until he sent some one to conduct us safely through Bokhara. To this I agreed. On the fifth of Ramazan we started, touched Kala and Kermineh, crossed the river of Samarkand/24/ at Duabe, and so arrived at Ghidjduvan/25/, where I visited the grave of Khodja Abdul Khalik.
As the Mirza (?) was not here, and no news concerning him could be obtained, we went on to Pul Rabat. Meanwhile the troops of Prince Kharezm Shah had prepared for battle. Suddenly Khan Ali Bey, the Prince's tutor, accosted us with the question whither we were going. When I replied: "To Bokhara," he said: "Seid Burhan, the ruler of Bokhara, threatens to attack Prince Kharezm Shah, and we pray thee to help us." "How now!" I cried, "we help no man; Borak Khan has not requested us to do so; on the contrary, he has charged us to go to Ghidjduvan, and there to await the return of the envoy." So we continued on our way.
As we approached Minar (Spire) about 100 redcoats (Ala tehapan) rushed down upon us, crying: "In the name of the Mirza, turn back," and at the same time they struck one of my companions. Immediately we prepared to fight, when a Seid sprang forward and commanded the Ozbegs to stop. Both sides held back, and the Seid announced that the Mirza sent us greeting and desired us not to proceed any farther, but to look on from a distance. So we were compelled to turn back. With ten of my companions I had an interview with the Mirza, who renewed his request that we should help him; but I refused again, whereupon ten guns were forcibly taken from us, and we were commanded to remain mere spectators. The Prince's bearing was very haughty before he had sighted the enemy, for as the proverb says:
"Our own fist is always of iron,But no sooner had Seid Burhan appeared in sight from the opposite direction, than the Prince retreated across the bridge to the Rabat (Karvanserai). I went on with six companions, which I left behind me in the court of the kiosk. Seid Burhan advanced with 1,000 Kizil-Ayaks, i.e., young men from Bokhara, and 40 Turkish archers, therefore well equipped for war. In a moment he defeated the Prince-- who, being wounded by a bullet, took flight, leaving his colours, musical and other military instruments behind him on the battle-field. Of my three companions which fled with the Prince, one was wounded by a lance and died soon after; and while the others retreated with the Ozbegs into the Rabat, where they were attacked by Seid Burhan, I went on to meet the army to inquire after the Mirza, leaving my horse in charge of two men. I heard that he was quartered close to the Rabat, and asked to be conducted into his presence; and just as I was crossing the bridge, attended by a few men, some villain wounded me with an arrow. This was the signal for a general attack; swords were raised on all sides, and I was very near losing my life.
Until we receive the first box on the ear."
Fortunately the attack had been witnessed by the Osmans serving under the Khan; they had recognized me, and came to my rescue, calling out: "This man is the guest of our Prince, what then is the meaning of this?" The Ozbeghi (commander of 10 men) immediately stopped the attack and apprized the Khan of what had taken place, whereupon the latter, a glorious youth, hastened to me, embraced me, and begged my forgiveness, for it was by accident, he said, that I had become mixed up in the battle, and I had been attacked on the principle of the proverb which says: 'Wet and dry burn together.' He commissioned two officers to conduct us over the bridge, during which transport two more of my people were attacked, and received sword wounds. I lost on this occasion a beautiful led-horse, all my cooking apparatus, one pack-horse, and 10 saddle-horses, which were stolen by the soldiers.
With much difficulty I got across the bridge; and while I was resting at a little distance, the Khan, to please me, ordered the Turkish soldiers stationed in the Rabat to hand the place over to me, as we were innocent and free from all reproach. As I approached the place I called out: "Stop fighting; I am here, and the Khan will pardon you for my sake." Thus the Rabat fell into my hands, and with it some of the lost horses, but many of the firearms were irrevocably lost. My two men who had been taken prisoner in the fight had escaped, and so we proceeded to the town, which we reached that night. Seid Burhan spoke thus to me: "Be thou my guide in this and in the next world; this land shall henceforth belong to thy Padishah, thou shalt rule in Bokhara and I will retire to Karakol." "Not so," was my reply, "if thou gave me the whole land of Transoxania I could not stay here. Know, O Khan! that I shall report before the Sublime Porte the injustice which has been done to thee, and my glorious Padishah will be gracious unto thee, and possibly the government of these provinces will be entrusted to thy care."
These words pleased the Khan; he gave a banquet in my honour and showed me much kindness, and during the fortnight which I spent in Bokhara he visited me every day in the pleasure-garden which served as my residence. I composed a Ghazel in his honour, which highly delighted him and led to many poetical discussions. When at last I desired permission to continue my journey, he demanded of me that I should give him our iron guns in exchange for his brass ones. He pressed me so hard that I was compelled to give in, and received 40 brass muskets in return for all the iron ones which we had left. I also had to exchange my led-horse for a gelding, besides giving him two precious books.
Meanwhile the envoy from Borak Khan had arrived, who apologized to me for his son (Kharezm Shah), and made peace with Seid Burhan through the mediation of the Ghidjduvani Abdul Sultan. Thus peace and security were once more restored.
I delayed in Bokhara to make pilgrimages to the graves of Bahaeddin Nakishbendi, Kazi Khan, Tchar Bekir, Khodja Ebn Hifz Kebir, Sadr esh-Sheriat, Tadj esh-Sheriat, Seid Mir Kelal (the spiritual head of Baha-eddin), Sultan Ismail the Samanide, Eyub and Sarakhsi; and after that I journeyed to Kharezm.
Our way led first to Karakol, then to Farab where we crossed the Oxus in ships, and early in the month Shavval I touched Iranian soil, namely Khorassan. The first town I stopped at was Tchardjui/26/, where I visited the grave of Khodja Meshed, a brother of Imam Ali Musa/27/. Then we took the road through the wilderness/28/ to Kharezm. By day and by night we had to wage war against lions/29/; it was not safe for one man to go alone to draw water; but at last, after ten days of unutterable weariness, we reached Hezaresp, and from there in five days, Khiva, where I visited the grave of Pehlevan Mahmud Pir.
/13/ Hissar, situated at the confluence of the Ilek and the Khanka-Derya, formerly knownas Hissar-i-Shadman.
/14/ Probably an ancient title which in its present form is not mentioned in any lexicons or vocabularies.
/15/ Senghirdek is mentioned on the modern maps of Central Asia, between Sehri-Sebz and Sari-Asiya (Yellow Mill), as the name of a stream and of a place, but not as the name of a mountain. Seng-ghirdek means: a stone tent.
/16/ This must be mount Karatepe (Black Hill) (518 ft.).
/17/ Borak Khan, a son of Mahmud Khan, who was defeated by Sheibani. He was a native of the steppes in the Northeast of Transoxania and, favoured by the bad government of Burham Khan, he and his horsemen, consisting of Kirghises and Kalmuks, invaded the land, and took possession of the capital, Samarkand. He died in the year 963 (1555). The incidents connected with his reign which our author mentions are the more valuable to us as we find no mention of them anywhere else.
/18/ He died in the year 959 (1551).
/19/ Called by abbreviation Burhan Khan, an uncle of Obeidullah. He reigned only a short time and died in 964 (1556).
/20/ Aga of the Osmans was the title of a commander of the Janissaries which Sultan Suleiman had sent from Constantinople to Samarkand to support the authority of the Eastern Turks. Our author therefore came here unexpectedly in contact with his countrymen.
/21/ Khodja Ahmad Jesewi, the Patron-saint of Turkestan, whose grave in Aulia Ata is to this day eagerly visited by pilgrims.
/22/ When in Samarkand I could learn nothing about the cloak and the Naalin (wooden shoes) of the Prophet, but the copy of the Koran here referred to was extant in the Mausoleum of Timur. This latter however, although a very old Manuscript in Kufi letters, has not descended from Kaliph Ali, nor yet from Kaliph Osman; it has been brought to Turkestan by the descendants of Khodja Ahrar, and from Samarkand the Russians took it to St. Petersburg.
/23/ Consequently they belonged at the time to the Shaman faith, and interesting fact and easily explained when we consider that at the time of Timur, both Kirghizes and Turkomans are described as heathen.
/24/ Its name is Zerefshan or Kohik.
/25/ Ghidjduvan, the most northerly town of the Khanate on the Wafkend river.
/26/ Tchardjui (more correctly Tchihar-djui = four brooks, after four tributaries of the Oxus which are there), was at that time Persian territory, and came only to be reckoned to Bokhara after the seizure of Abdullah Khan.
/27/ Name of the Shiite Saint in Meshed.
/28/ Consequently the left side of the river.
/29/ Curious it seems that 300 years ago lions were so plentiful in those parts, while in modern times there has been no sign of them in the steppes of Turkestan.
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