[PART FIVE] Humayun's illness, Babur's death, Humayun becomes Emperor  [[104-112]]

Just then there came a letter from Maulana Muhammad Farghari in Delhi, saying:  "Humayun Mirza is ill and in an extraordinary state.  Her Highness the begam should come at once to Delhi, for the mirza is much prostrated."

My lady was very much upset on hearing this news, and started for Delhi, like one athirst who is far from the waters.  They met in Mathura.  To her experienced eye he seemed ten times weaker and more alarmingly ill than she had heard he was.  From Mathura the two, mother and son, like Jesus and Mary, set out for Agra.  When they arrived, this insignificant one went with her own sisters to visit that royal angel of goodness.

He was then growing weaker and weaker.  Every time he came to his senses, his pearl-dropping tongue asked for us, and said:  "Sisters, you are welcome!  Come, and let us embrace one another.  I have not embraced you."  It might be three times that he raised his head and that his jewel-dropping tongue let fall these uplifting words.

When his Majesty came and saw how it was, his light-revealing countenance at once became sad and pitiful, and he began more and more to show signs of dread.  On this my lady said:  "Do not be troubled about my son.  You are a king; what griefs have you?  You have other sons.  I sorrow because I have only this one."  His Majesty rejoined:  "Maham! Although I have other sons, I love none as I love your Humayun.  I crave that this cherished child may have his heart's desire and live long, and I desire the kingdom for him and not for the others, because he has not his equal in distinction."

During Humayun's illness his Majesty walked round him and turned his face (in intercession) to his Reverence, Murtaza 'Ali Karimu-l-lah.  He kept up that going-round from the Wednesday and made intercession from the Tuesday, in anxiety and deep dejection.  The weather was extremely hot and his heart and liver burned.  While going round he prayed, saying in effect:  "O God!  If a life may be exchanged for a life, I who am Babur, I give my life and my being for Humayun."

That very day he fell ill, and Humayun poured water on his head [in token of recovery], and came out and gave audience.  Because of his illness, they carried my royal father within, and he kept his bed for two or three months.

As he grew worse, a messenger was sent to summon his Majesty Humayun, who had gone towards Kalinjar.  He came post-haste, and on paying his duty to the Emperor, noticed that he was very feeble.  Filled with compassion, he began to break down, and kept saying to the attendants:  "How has he come to such a lamentable pass all at once?"  He sent for the doctors, and said to them:  "I left him well.  What has happened all at once?"  They said this and that in reply.

The whole time my royal father kept repeating:  "Where is Hindal?  What is he doing?"  Just at this time someone came in and said:  "Mir Bardi Beg, the son of Mir Khurd Beg, conveys his obeisance."  My royal father, full of agitation, sent for him at once and asked:  "Where is Hindal?  When will he come?  What trouble waiting gives!"  Mir Bardi said:  "The fortunate prince has reached Delhi; he will wait on you today or tomorrow."  On this my royal father said to Mir Bardi Beg:  "Ill-fated little fellow!  I have heard that they married your sister in Kabul, and you in Lahore.  It is because of the wedding festivities that you have (not) sooner brought my son, and so my weary waiting has been very long."  He asked:  "How tall has Hindal Mirza grown?" and "What is he like?"  As Mir Bardi was wearing one of the mirza's dresses, he showed it and said:  "This is a robe of the prince which he bestowed on his servant."  His Majesty called him nearer and said:  "Let me see how tall and how big Hindal has grown."  He kept repeating, "Alas!  A thousand times alas!  That I do not see Hindal," and asking everyone who came in:  "When will Hindal come?"

During his illness, he laid a command on my lady, and said:  "Marriages ought to be arranged for Gul-rang Begam and Gul-chihra Begam.  When the royal aunt, my elder sister, honours me with a visit, tell her that I say it has occurred to me to give Gul-rang to Isan-timur Sultan and Gul-chihra to Tukhta-bugha Sultan."

Dearest lady, the smiling one, came and they said to her:  "The Emperor spoke in this manner, and it has occurred to him in such a way.  It now remains to know your pleasure.  Let it be as you wish."  She said the same and, "God grant blessing and peace!  His idea is very good."  My chicha/1/ herself and Badi'u-l-jamal Begam and Aq Begam, both of whom were paternal aunts of his Majesty, were conducted into the hall.  Having raised an estrade and spread carpets and chosen a propitious hour, Maham's nanacha [close friend] made both sultans bow the knee in order to exalt them to the rank of sons-in-law.

Meantime his Majesty's disorder of the bowels increased.  The Emperor Humayun broke down again when he saw his father's condition worsen, and called the doctors, and said to them:  "Think it well over and find some remedy."  Having consulted together, they said:  "Small is our luck, for our remedies are of no avail.  We hope that God, the most Holy, will soon give one from His invisible treasures."

When they felt his Majesty's pulse, they came to the opinion that there were symptoms of the same poison as that given him by Sultan Ibrahim's mother.  It was in this way:  that ill-fated demon (the mother) gave a tola of poison to one of her maids, and said:  "Take this and give it to Ahmad the taster and tell him to put it in some way or other into the special dishes prepared for the Emperor."  And she promised him large rewards.  The ill-fated demon did this although his Majesty used to call her "mother," and had assigned her place and lands with every favour, and had been kindly pleased to say:  "Consider me as in the place of Sultan Ibrahim."  But as ignorance prevails amongst those people, she did not regard his kindnesses.  The (fitting) hemistich is well known:

Everything reverts to its original type,
(Whether pure gold, or silver, or tin)./2/
To cut short the story:  the cook (Heaven having made him blind and deaf,) spread the poison which had been brought and given to him, on the Emperor's bread only, and so little was eaten.  But the symptoms of this illness were like that one's, seeing that day to day he lost strength and became more and more emaciated.  Every day the disorder increased and his blessed countenance changed.

Next day he called his chiefs together and spoke after this wise:  "For years it has been in my heart to make over my throne to Humayun Mirza and to retire to the Gold-scattering Garden.  By the Divine grace I have obtained all things but the fulfilment of this wish in health of body.  Now, when illness has laid me low, I charge you all to acknowledge Humayun in my stead.  Fail not in loyalty to him.  Be of one heart and one mind with him.  I hope to God that Humayun also will bear himself well towards men.

"Moreover, Humayun, I commit to God's keeping you and your brothers and all my kinsfolk and your people and my people; and all of these I confide to you."

At these words hearers and onlookers wept and lamented.  His own blessed eyes also filled with tears.

When his family and the people within the haram heard of these occurrences they were stupefied and overwhelmed, and cried and lamented.

Three days later he passed from this transitory world to the eternal home.  The death took place Monday, December 26th, 1530 (Jumada I. 5th, 937H.).

They brought out our paternal aunt and our mothers [Babur's wives] on the pretence that the doctors were coming to look.  All rose.  They took all the begams and my mothers to the Great House.

Black fell the day for children and kinsfolk and all.  They bewailed and lamented; voices were uplifted in weeping; there was utter dejection.  Each passed that ill-fated day in a hidden corner.

The death was kept concealed.  After a time Araish Khan,—he was an amir of Hind,—said:  "It is not well to keep the death secret, because when such misfortunes befall kings in Hindustan, it is the custom of the bazar people to rob and steal; God forbid that the Mughals not knowing, they should come and loot the houses and dwelling-places.  It would be best to dress someone in red, and to set him on an elephant, and to let him proclaim that the Emperor Babur has become a dervish and has given his throne to the Emperor Humayun."  This his Majesty Humayun ordered to be done.  People were at once reassured by the proclamation, and all offered prayers for his welfare.  On Friday, December 29th, 1530 (Jumada I. 9th, 937H.), the Emperor Humayun mounted the throne, and everyone said:  "May all the world be blessed under his rule."

After that he came to visit his mothers and sisters and his own people, and he made inquiry after their health and offered sympathy, and spoke with kindness and commiseration.  He was pleased to order:  "Let each keep the office, and service, and lands, and residence which he has had, and let him serve in the old way." [[104-110]]


/1/ Mother, aunt, elder sister, or maternal aunt.
/2/ A Persian proverb.

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