[Aurangzeb sets out for Kashmir]
But already the hot season was near, and it was necessary to start for Kashmir before the sun's rays had increased in the land of Hindustan. In this he followed the advice of the doctors, and, above all, of Roshan Ara Begam, who longed very much to get rid of the hindrances of the harem and be able to indulge her libidinous propensities; furthermore, she wished to appear in the camp with more state than that used by Begam Sahib [her older sister Jahan Ara] in the time of Shah Jahan. Having decided to go to Kashmir, Aurangzeb selected his most faithful adherents, in whom he had much confidence, and deputed as governor of the city of Agrah one Osdarcan [Hoshdar Khan], and as general of the camp Murtaza Khan. He gave fresh injunctions to I'tibar Khan, the eunuch, to take great care of Shah Jahan [who was a prisoner in the Agra Fort]. Since Shah Shuja had died in Arracan, as I stated in the other book, the king sent an [] order, before his departure, to Mir Jumlah, directing him to conquer Axame [Assam].
Thus Aurangzeb started from the city of Dihli on the 6th December of one thousand six hundred and sixty at three o'clock in the afternoon, the joint decision of the astrologers being that this was the best date that could be found for the king to start on a long journey, which must last at least a year, or even more, in going, coming, and staying.
It is a strange thing how Monsieur Bernier says in his third book that this departure took place in sixty-four ; for it is a certainty that it happened at the time that I have recorded. Nor can I persuade myself how he committed so great an error, and suppose it due rather to the printer than the author, although he says in his history many other things far from the truth./1/
There were rumours that Aurangzeb's departure was not for Kashmir, but on a campaign against the fortress of Qandahar, then held by this King of Persia. But this story was false. The king, on leaving the city, rested for the night in an extensive garden called Xalemar [Shalimar], planted by Shah Jahan as a pleasure resort; it lies three leagues distant from the royal palace, adjoining the road to Lahore. Here Aurangzeb halted six days to give time for everyone to make his preparations, and when everybody had joined the army he meant to begin his march. It is the custom in the Mogul country when an army is in the field to order a trumpet to be blown at nine o'clock at night as a signal that there will be no march on the following morning.
On the sixth evening there was no trumpet, and the advance [] tents were sent on. With regard to this you must know that in the Mogul kingdom the king and many of the nobles march with two sets of tents, so that while the one set is in use the other may be sent on for the next day. To carry the royal tents there were set aside two hundred camels and fifty elephants, which were used for this purpose only.
On the seventh day at three o'clock in the morning the march began. First went the heavy artillery, which always marches in front, and is drawn up as an avenue through which to enter the next camp. With it went a handsome boat upon a large car to ferry the royal person across any river when necessary. Then followed the baggage. In this way, when the morning broke, the camp was free, leaving only the cavalry and infantry, each in its appropriate position. With the rest, in addition to the other transport, went two hundred camels, loaded with silver rupees, and each camel carrying four hundred and eighty pounds' weight of silver; one hundred camels loaded with gold coin, each carrying the same weight; one hundred and fifty/2/ camels loaded with nets used in hunting tigers, of which mode of hunting I have already spoken.
The royal office of record also was there, for the original records/3/ always accompany the court, and this required eighty camels, thirty elephants, and twenty carts, loaded with the registers and papers of account of the empire. In addition to these there were fifty camels carrying water, each camel bearing two full metal vessels for the royal use. The princes of the blood-royal marched in the same fashion, each according to his rank. Attending on the king are eight mules carrying small tents, which are used on the march when the king desires to rest, or to eat a little something, or for any particular necessity. Along with them are two mules carrying clothes, and one mule loaded with essences of various odoriferous flowers.
It is the custom of the court, when the king is to march the next day, that at ten o'clock of the night the royal kitchen should start. It consists of fifty camels loaded with supplies, and fifty well-fed cows to give milk. Also there are sent dainties in charge [] of cooks, from each one of whom the preparation of only one dish is required. For this department there is an official of standing, whose business it is to send in the dishes sealed up in bags of Malacca velvet, etc.; and two hundred culles [coolies, actually qulis], each one with his basket of chinaware and other articles; further, there are fifty camels carrying one hundred cases packed with sarapa [robes of honor]; also thirty elephants loaded with special arms and jewels to be distributed among the generals, captains, etc. These arms are of the following kinds: swords, with their accoutrements; shields; various kinds of daggers, all worked in enamel and in gold, adorned with different precious stones; plumes; also things to give to ladies, jewels to wear on the breast and other varieties; also armlets of gold, mounted with pearls and diamonds.
Again, there marched close to the baggage one thousand labourers, with axes, mattocks, spades, and pick-axes, to clear any difficult passage. Their commanders ride on horseback carrying in their hands their badges of office, which are either an axe or a mattock in silver. On arriving at the place appointed for the royal halt, they put up the tents and place in position the heavy artillery. When the light artillery comes up, it is placed round the royal tents.
Aurangzeb started at six o'clock of the day, as I have stated. To carry his throne there were twelve men; in addition, there were three palanquins of different shapes, into which he could get when he pleased. There were also five elephants with different litters for his use whenever he desired. Upon his issuing from his tents, the light artillery began the march from its position round them. It was made up of one hundred field-pieces, each drawn by two horses.
The following is the order of the king's march. At the time when he mounted the throne and issued from his tents all the warlike instruments of music were sounded. At the head came the son of the deceased Shekh Mir with eight thousand cavaliers. In the right wing was Assenalican [Hasan Ali Khan], son of Alaberdican [Allahvardi Khan]. This is the Allahvardi Khan [] who caused Prince Shah Shuja to get down from his elephant [and thus to be defeated] at the battle of Khajwah. Hasan Ali Khan commanded eight thousand horsemen; the left wing, consisting of eight thousand horsemen, was commanded by Muhammad Amin Khan. In the rear of these two wings were the mounted huntsmen, each with his bird of prey on his wrist. Immediately in front of the king went nine elephants with showy flags; behind these nine were another four, bearing green standards with a sun depicted on them. Behind these elephants were nine hourses of state, all adorned and ready saddled; after these horses came two horsemen, one carrying a standard with Arabic letters on it, the other with a kettle-drum, which he struck lightly from time to time as a warning that the king was approaching.
There was no want of men on foot, who advanced in ordered files on the one and the other side of the king; some displayed scarlet, others green, pennants; others, again, held in their hands their staves, with which they drove off people when anyone made so bold as to draw near. There were on the right and on the left many horsement with silver staves keeping the people back. Among the men on foot were some with perfumes, while others were continually watering the road. By their side was an official provided with a description of the provinces, lands, and villages through which the king must pass, in order to explain at once if the king asked what land and whose province it was through which he was then passing. These men can give him an account of everything down to the petty villages, and the revenue obtained from the land.
Other men on foot march with a rope in their hands, measuring the route in the following way. They begin at the royal tent upon the king's coming forth. The man in front who has the rope in his hand makes a mark on the ground, and when the man in the rear arrives at this mark he shouts out, and the first man makes a fresh mark and counts 'two'. Thus [] they proceed throughoug the march, counting 'three', 'four', and so on. Another man on foot holds a score in his hand and keeps count. If perchance the king asks how far he has travelled, they reply at once, as they know how many of their ropes go to a league. There is another man on foot who has charge of the hourglass, and measures the time, and each time announces the number of hours with a mallet on a platter of bronze. Behind all these the king moves on his way quietly and very slowly.
So great is the dignity wich which the Mogol kings travel, and the delicacy with which they are treated, that ahead of the column goes a camel carrying some white cloth, which is used to cover over any dead animal or human being found on the road. They place heaps of stones on the corners, so that the cloth may not be blown away by the wind. When he passes, the king stops and asks the why and the wherefore.
Behind all these squadrons rode on horseback the princes Sultan Mu'azzam and Sultan A'zam. After the king came ten horsemen, four with the royal matchlocks enclosed in cloth-of-gold bags: one bore his spear, one his sword, one his shield, one his dagger, one his bow, one the royal arrows and quiver, all of these in cloth-of-gold bags. After the weapons came the captain of the guard with his troops, then the three royal palanquins, and other palanquins for the princes; then, after the palanquins, twenty-four horsemen, eight with pipes, eight with trumpets, and eight with kettle-drums. Behind these mounted musicians were the five royal elephants bearing litters; also three elephants, one of which, that in the middle, bore three hands in silver upon a crossar at the end of a pole, covered with its hood of Malacca [velvet]. These signify 'Observer of the Mahomedan faith'. The other two bore hands in the same style, which signify 'Augmenter and Conservator of the faith'. On the right of this middle one was another elephant, which displayed a plate [] of copper upon a staff, with engraved letters in Arabic, meaning 'God is One, and Muhammad just'. The other had a pair of scales, which means 'a king dealing with justice'. On the right [? left] hand was another elephant bearing a crocodile's head, with a body made of fine white cloth, which, when moved by the wind, looked like a real crocodile, signifying 'Lord of the rivers'. On the left went an elephant showing a spear, which means 'the Conqueror'; to its left again, another with the head of a fish having a body made of cloth, and when swaying in the wind this looked like a great fish, and it means 'Lord of the seas'.
All these elephants were decorated with valuable housings and ornaments. They were followed by twelve more bearing large kettle-drums, and other instruments made of refined metals not employed in Europe. They are of the nature of large dishes, which being beaten one against the other, make a great noise. These musical instruments are employed by Armenians, Syrians, and Maronites in Syria at church solemnities and at weddings; they are also used at such events by the Turks. After these musicians came Rajah Jai Singh with eight thousand horsemen, serving as rearguard. Be it known to the reader that each division of those spoken of had six highly-adorned elephants, with rich trappings, displaying on brilliant flags the device of its commander.
At some distance from the foregoing came Roshan Ara Begam upon a very large elephant in a litter called pitambar ['clothed in yellow'], which is a dome-roofed throne, very brilliant, made all of enamelled gold, and highly adorned. Behind her followed one hundred and fifty women, her servants, riding handsome horses, and covered from head to foot with their mantles of various colours, each with a cane in her hand. Before Roshan Ara [] Begam's elephant marched four elephants with standards, and a number of bold and aggressive men on foot to drive away everybody, noble or pauper, with blows from sticks and with pushes. Thus I wonder when I find someone writing in Europe [a reference to Bernier] that he managed one day to get near enough to see a woman servant whisking away the flies from Roshan Ara Begam, which is an impossibility. For the princesses and nobles' wives are shut up in such a manner that they cannot be seen, although they can observe the passers-by.
Behind Roshan Ara Begam came her retinue, which consisted of several sour-faced eunuchs on horseback, with others on foot surrounding the litter; after these were three elephants with different kinds of litters covered in rich cloth. Still farther in the rear were many palanquins covered with different nettings of gold thread, in which travelled her chosen ladies. Following them were some sixty elephants with covered litters, carrying her other women. After Roshan Ara Begam's retinue came three queens, wives of Aurangzeb; and other ladies of the harem, each with her own special retinue. It would be very lengthy to recount all the details of this march, the Moguls being extremely choice in such matters, overlooking no detail that could minister to their glory.
It remains to state that ahead of all this innumerable throng there always moved one day ahead, at the least, the Grand Master of the Royal Household, with other engineers, to choose an appropriate site where the royal tents should be unloaded. For this purpose is always chosen some pleasant spot. The camp is divided in such a way that on the arrival of the army there may be no confusion. In the first instance they fix the site of the royal enclosure, which, by measurements I subsequently took several times, occupies five hundred paces in circumference. Behind the royal quarters is another gateway, where the women live, a place much respected. After this is arranged they fix the position of the tents of the princes, the generals, and the nobles. This is so managed that between these tents and the royal tents there should [] be a wide space. The central space is encircled by scarlet cloths, having a height of three arm-lengths, and these serve as walls. Around these enclosing screens are posted the field-pieces, in front of them is a ditch, and behind them are palisades of wood made like network, which open and shut just like the ancient chairs of Venice. At the sides of the gateway, at a distance of one hundred and thirty paces, were two tents, holding each nine horses, most of them saddled. In front of the gateway is a large raised tent for the drummers and players of music.
Among the special royal tents are some where the king gives audience; these are supported by small ornamented masts, upon which are gilt knobs. No one else may make use of these knobs, only persons of the blood-royal. On the top of a very high mast was a lighted lantern, which served as a guide to those who arrived late. The tents of the rajahs and nobles, although high, must not be so high as those of the king; otherwise they would run the risk of having their tents knocked down and being ruined themselves.
When the king comes out of his tent to begin a march, the princes, nobles, and generals throng round to pay him court, each one bringing forward some short request, to which a brief answer is given. They accompany the king to the end of the camp in which they had halted for that day, then each departs to his proper place in his own division. Then the king joins the huntsmen, and announces whether he intends to go hunting or not. When he so wishes he leaves the army, and is followed by only the men on foot and the soldiers of his guard. Everybody else continues the march very slowly. If he does not wish to hunt, the huntsmen move to their previously appointed place. When the advance tents come into sight, the musicians commence anew to play their instruments until the king has passed through the gateway of the tents. Then the small artillery is discharged, while the queens and ladies offer to the king congratulations on arrival, saying 'Manzel mobarec' [manzil mubarak], which means 'Happy be the journey' [actually, 'congratulations on arriving'].
[] It should be observed that, although the princesses and ladies start the last, they always arrive the first, having taken some other shorter route. Ordinarily the women start after the baggage and move quickly. I knew that in this journey Roshan Ara Begam did not take in her litter her maid-servant, but in the latter's place a youth dressed as a maid-servant. God knows what they were up to, in addition to drinking wine. The person who told me this was a friend of mine, a eunuch who loved wine. The same story was confirmed after the princess's death by several ladies of her suite, and much can be inferred from what I have already said at the time the king came to Dihli.
To describe here the royal camp would occupy much space and be very difficult, owing to its beauty, its order, and the number of people who collect on such occasions; and everybody can infer, from what happens when a European monarch moves out into camp, what it is like in the Mogul territory, where the kings display indescribable magnificence. All I will say is that it looks like a great city travelling from place to place. For there are wanting neither bazars, nor shops, nor markets, nor sports, nor pastimes, nor gold, nor silver; in short, all that could be looked for in a flourishing city is to be found in this camp.
(The numbers of an army do not consist solely in cavalry and infantry soldiers, but the majority are the families and friends of the Rajahs and nobles, who all follow it; the numbers being doubled by dealers of many sorts, goldsmiths, shoemakers, shoeing-smiths, weavers, embroiderers, and money-changers. The followers are four times the number of the soldiers. When you talk of a division of 8,000 cavalry, the reader may assume that there are always 30,000 persons. However badly off a soldier is, he must have three or four servants.)/4/
Out of curiosity I marched with it [=the royal camp] three days
and finding it did not suit me to go on to Kashmir while out of employ,
I decided to turn back. I meant to go to Bengal, as it is a productive
country where living is cheap, having also many Europeans in it.
/1/ But I sympathize
him, for he was ever on duty in the house of his Persian doctor,
Khan, and he more often encountered fraud and falsity than the truth. I
frequently warned him not to accept what the common people said, and,
myself specially informed, I gave him the true events.--Manucci
Manucci elsewhere gives a date of 1661. Considering Manucci's own erroneous chronology, this reproof of Bernier is rather bold. Bernier implies that the trip took place in 1664; Elphinstone gives 1662, as do the Alamgir-namah and other sources. --note by Irvine, abridged by FWP.
/2/ In an earlier manuscript he gives the number as 250. --Irvine
/3/ In an earlier manuscript he says the contrary--that the originals are left, and only copies and extracts taken. --Irvine
/4/ This paragraph comes from an earlier manuscript of the book, and was omitted in a later one. --note by Irvine, abridged by FWP.