Page images
PDF
EPUB

The legend on the other side is

This great revolution originated in the disorder suddenly produced in the empire under the dominion of the Sultan Mo.

السكة المباركة في بلد ضرب السكة المباركة

ang sarl hamed Schab. This prince, when he as

cended the throne, meditated the conquest « This coin was struck at the fortunate

of the world; he aspired, according to mint in the well guarded country or town of ............” The remainder is wanting the Great. With this view be attempted to

the oriental authors, to equal Alexander No. 5.-Coin of the same prince. invade Corassan, and the countries on the

north boundaries of India. His enter,

prize having failed , the governors of the الامام الاعظم ابوالمجاهد سکندر شاه .tunity of rendering themselves indepen ابن الیاسر شاه السلطان

provinces availed themselves of this oppor

“ The magnanimous Imam, the power. dant. Such was the origin of the troubles ful Sekander Schah, son of Elias Schah, which, from that period, never failed to Sultan.”

desolate India. Muhamed Schah endea. Reverse.

voured in vain to subdue the rebels; Ben. gal opposed to him a determined resistance.

so soon as Elias Schalt assumed the Eg يمين خليفة الله ناصر امیر المومنین the attributes of sovereign power اله خلد الله خلافتة

vernient, he took the title of Sultan, and

, The right hand of the Khalif of God,

As be was always exposed to be attacked Protector of the Commander of the Faith by the Sultan of Dehli, he fixed his resiful. God perpetuate his kialifat.”

dence in the western frontiers of bis doThe legend of this piece is clipped, one

minions, towards Dehli, and selected fæ can scarcely distinguish a part of the let- his metropolis, the city of Pandoua, the ters, but I think I can perceive that it was

foundations of which he had recently laid coined also at Sonargonou.

at a short distance from the ruins of Gour, Elias Schah and his son Sekander,

not far from the banks of the Ganges whose names are on these coins, were the

His fears were not without foundation, two first kings of their race that reigned in

Muhamed Schah dying in 752 of the Bengal. Elias Schah seized the govern- Hejra, or in A.C. 1951, Firouz Schał, bis ment by the sacrifice of Ala-eddin, who

successor, came two years afterwards with reigned before him. This event happened powerful forces against Bengal. At his about the year of the Hejra 743, or A. C. approach, Elias Schah abandoned his capt 1342. The first of those wbo became sove

tal, and shut himself up in the fortress of reigns of Bengal, commenced his authority Akdaly, where he sustained a siege ; fortuby the assassination of the delegate who held nately for him, the Sultan of Debli was, the government under the authority of the at that time, compelled to proceed else Sultan of Delili. This man, after reign- where, to appease the troubles which had ing little more than two years, was assassi- broken out in several parts of his donated by Ala-eddin, who, in his turn, met

minions. During this combination of a similar fate from Elias Schah. This circumstances, the Sultan of Dehli satissuccession of assassination was thus the fied himself with some presents from the work of some years. Bengal, until this besieged and retired. Ferishtak relates period, had been a province of the empire that on this occasion, Elias Schah acknowof the Sultans of Dehli. The whole of ledged himself vassal of the Sultan of Hindoostan and part of the Dekkan com Dehli. This event happened towards the posed this empire. The country that gave year 756, or 1355 A.C. Elias Schak apthe first signal of independance was Ben- pears then to have reigned peaceably till gal, and its example was soon followed by his decease in 759, or A.C. 1958, when be the revolt of the Dekkan, Guzzuret, &c. was succeeded by his son Sckander Schet. About this period the empire of the Sultans On this intelligence being communicated of Dehli became dismembered, and this to Firous Schah, he thought it a favourimmense power did not recover itself until able opportunity to recover possession the 16th century, under the Mogul Em- of Bengal. He accordingly advanced to peror Akbar.

Pandoua, and took possession of it. Sf

kander Schah following his father's exam The Sultan of Dehli, after his unfortuple, had retired to Akdaly, and whilst he nate expedition to Korassan, and the revolt was there, beseiged, he succeeded in gain. of several provinces, seeing everywhere ing the good graces of Ferouz Schah, and troubles and disasters, imagined that the persuading him, hy the force of presents, wrath of God was kindled against him : to retire. From that period, Bengal be he imagined that his disasters originated in came entirely detached from the empire of the neglect, which, until that time, he Dehli. Sekander Schah died in peace in and his predecessors had manifested to. his kingdom, leaving his crown to his son, wards the khalifs of Egypt. K'hondemar Gaiaith-eddin, and this principally pre seems to say, that this prince was ignorant served itself until the sixteenth century.

until then, that there existed at Cairo, a The most remarkable circumstance which Musulman pontiff, who inherited the right the princes of this fine country experienced of conferring empires and kingdoms. * It was finding their territory considerably might be observed, in objecting to l'honrestricted towards the west, on the establish demar, that, at the epoch here spoken of, ment of the kingdom of Djonpour, near and a long time before the commercial relathe confluence of the Ganges and of the

tions between India and Egypt were very Djemna, towards the end of the four- frequent, that all the spices which were teenth century. These kings of Djonpour, consumed in the west were shipped at the are what the Indian authors denominate ports in India, and arrived at Alexandria, kings of the east, because, in fact, their by the Red Sea, and the eastern coast of states were situated east of Dehli, Speak Africa. Therefore, one can hardly believe ing in general terms, there is nothing that they were, in India, quite ignorant more obscure than the history of these of the existence of the khalifs of Egypt. particular principalities of India. What It may, however, be admitted as probable, we have said of them here we have ex that considering the little renown of these tracted from the Persian Historian khon. khalifs, they might not have been heard of demir,* and from Ferischtah, a writer of at the court of Dehli. However this may Indian origin.t

have been,- from the instant that Muhamed A circumstance which appears singular Schah had knowledge of this family of in the legends of these coins is, the men- pontiffs, he made a religious scruple of tion of a khalif, and of a commander of the exercising any longer his authority. He faithful, when we know that there never was offered to the khalif the homage of his a khalif in India,--that no khalif at Bagdad crown, considering him as the only legitihad, at that time, existed for a century mate sovereign on earth, and the one, of past—and that those of the same family, whom he ought to hold his authority. By who had established themselves in Egypt, the advice, therefore, of his courtiers and under the protection and authority of the of the doctors of the Musulman faith, he Mamelukes, were held in very little con sent immediately, hy sea, an ambassador sideration. It is, nevertheless, evident to Cairo, and waiting his return, he causthat the khalif here alluded to, was held ed his own name to be effaced from the in great veneration by the princes of Ben, coins to substitute that of the khalif; and gal. This khalif is incontestably the khalif he even proclaimed, as illegitimate, all bis of Egypt. This great revolution in religion, predecessors, who had not provided themwas the work of Muhamed Schah, Sultan selves with the investiture of the Egyptian of Dehli, the same under whom Bengal khalifs, without excepting even his own became independant, and it was, by fol father. In the mean time, the deputy lowing his example, that the King of arrived at Cairo, and requested of the Bengal, and the other Musulman princes khalif, the confirmation of Muhamed of India, successively submitted thiem Schah in his dignity. We can easily judge selves to the spiritual authority of the with what agreeable surprise the chief of khalifs of Egypt.

the Musulman faith saw himself thus sud* In his Habib Alsiar, vol. iii. folio 110. This

denly treated as sovereign, and dispenser of work is in Persian, and in manuscript, at the King's Library at Paris.' In his General El istory of India, folio 790.

* Makrizy says something similar, vide Mé. This work also is in & he King's Library at Paris,

moires sur l'Egypt, by M. Et. Quatre mère, tom. in Persian manuscript.

is. page 287. Asiatic Journ. No. 101.

Vol. XVII. 3 T

the kingdoms of India,' a prince who did The name of khalif had, unquestionably, not possess a single village in Egypt, and made a strong impression on the minds of who, like the present muftis of Constan. Mussulmans of India, for soon after this, tinople, was incessantly on the eve of being following the example of the Sultan of deposed. He, therefore, readily granted Dehli and the Kings of Bengal, there was every thing that was asked, and on his scarcely any Musulman prince who did return to Dehli, the scruples of Muhamed not think the intervention of the khalif Schah began to subside. This prince then necessary to legitimate his authority. This ordered the name of the khalif to be state existed during the two centuries which pronounced in the prayer on Friday elapsed after the reign of Muhamed Schah, (the Musulman sabbath) in the mosques

A great number of princes of India, and throughout the empire. During the re they even say of Khatai, sent their deputies mainder of his life, he never failed to to the khalif of Cairo, some to be conmaintain a regular communication with firmed in their governments, whilst others Egypt. On hearing that one of the kha. demanded to have a kind of Musulman lif's family was coming to his states, he missionaries, for the purpose of instructwent out to meet him, received him with ing their subjects in the doctrine of Mugreat respect, and presented him with land hamed. * to a considerable extent.

His successor,

The town of Sonarganou, which is on our Firouz Schah, followed his example, and coins, is situated near the banks of the Barduring a long period, the khalifs of Egypt hampouter, it is the same as that which the were highly respected at Dehli.

English writers denominate Soonargong. It would appear, after such devotedness, It appears to have been formerly a very that the khalif ought to have assisted the important place. We read, in Ferischtah, Sultan of Dehli in his efforts to reduce the that when the governors of Bengal de rebels to their duty, or at least, that the parted from Dehli to that province, they Sultan would have endeavoured to engage

received orders to govern Bengal, and to him in such an affair: but no trace of guard diligently the town of Sonarganou. such an event is to be found in the Oriental It appears that this town, by its position writers. On the contrary, if we may be

north of the Ganges, formed, on that side, allowed to draw a conclusion from some the boundary of the province of Bengal, affairs which they transacted, we might against the incursions of the people of the observe, that the khalif treated equally north. Mr. Hamilton † informs us, that well all those who addressed themselves the governors of Bengal resided at Sonar. to him on similar occasions. They asked ganou, and that Elias Schah was the first to have granted to them, investiture and who quitted that town to establish himself other gifts, which cost almost nothing.

more to the west ; it would then necessarily They offered, in return, to recognizelose much of its importance. Neverthe his authority, which could not be very theless, all things tend to establish, that, formidable at so great a distance. He con.

when Elias Schah retired to Pandoua, he sented to every proposition. It is certain, left at Sonarganou, not only the mint, but according to the report of Ferischtah, that several other considerable establishments. this khalif protected the usurper who had

It should be observed, that Pandoua, by assumed the power of the Dekkan. With its advanced situation towards Dehli, was regard to Bengal, for want of more pre- always exposed to fall into the power of cise intelligence, our coins prove that the the enemy, whilst Sonarganou, by its disname of the khalif was in great veneration tance, had nothing to fear on that side. with Elias Schah, and with his son: it However that might have been, it is well necessarily follows, that the princes had

ascertained that this last town was, during been well received, otherwise, they could

* Several exain ples of this kind of instruction not have taken the titles of the right hand will be found in the Mémoires sur l'Egypte, de M. and protector of the commander of the

Et. Quatremère, tom. ii. page 286; extracted

from the Arabian author Makrizy. faithful.

+ Under the article of Sulians of Dehli, reign

of Muhammed Schulle # This is the expression of Ferishtah, riz, * A Geographical, Statistical, and Historical

Description of Hindostan and the adjacent ceun

. .

.158 .ices

, in vol . p متضمن تفوید ممالك هندوستان و

[ocr errors]

a long period, celebrated for its manufac- the Moguls in the sixteenth century, were ture of cotton cloths. Hadje-khalfa, the never known in Europe till now. As to Turkish geographer, speaks of them in ourselves, we have had at our disposition, his Djihan-numa. Still, in the sixteenth some of these ancient monuments, but century, under the emperor Akbar, it was unfortunately, they are limited to a very the chief place of one of the Circurs, or small number. But what has been conparticular districts of Bengal.* But the siderably more useful to us is, that we town of Dakka having been built in its have received a communication of the neighbourhood, the inhabitants of Sonar- drawings of medals collected fifty years ganou began to quit it; its industry was since in India by Colonel Gentil. We mean transported elsewhere, its edifices disap not to say that Gentil's collection is com. peared, and it soon dwindled to a pitiful plete; but, excepting two or three Sulvillage;t so that an English traveller, who tans, there has not reigned at Dehli, and passed by this plain in 1809, declares, that in the north of India, since the fourth at that epoch, there were no remains of it. century of the Hejra, or the tenth of Thus pass away towns as well as empires. J.C., till the last century, any emperor In no part of the world are such revolu- who has not provided Gentil's collection tions so frequent as in India; their mode with, at least, one medal. On these of building with earth and bamboos is drawings and on the history of the princes such, that sometimes, in a few years a to whom they refer, a work of considergreat city is built, which falls still more able labour has been performed, which will rapidly. A great book might be written shortly appear with the description of the of the simple notice of all the towns,

Oriental medals of the Duke de Blacas. which during some ages have governed in

The titles of sultan and victorious, India, the ruins of which are now sought which are taken by Elias Schah, are found by travellers.

also in the medals of Dehli. As for two An interesting question to resolve pre Arabic words which are translated vicsents itself. What is the origin of those lorious, they properly mean father of victory. titles, partly pious, and partly pompous, We might even translate them, Abou'lmowhich were assumed by the kings of Ben- daffer, i. e. father of Modaffer. In that gal? We answer, that they were desirous, case, Modaffer would bave been one of above all to imitate the Sultans of Dehli, the sons of Elias Schah, and the father their former masters. From the period might have taken this title, in imitation of when they declared themselves indepen. many Musulmans, who like to be called dant, was it not natural that they should by the name of their sons; this explanaassume, or appropriate to themselves, the tion, however, does not appear natural, titles and qualities assumed by the ancient for no Oriental author has mentioned any sovereigns of Hindostan? It was the son of Elias Schah named Modaffer; but means of satisfying the vanity, and of as this reason would be insufficient, we imposing on the people, by these glorious should still consider that more than one surnames. What we here assert is proved Musulman prince appears to have taken by the coins of the Sultans of Dehli. We this title, without ever having had a son will now endeavour to determine the origin of that name. There is scarcely a modern of these epithets. In the comparisons sovereign of Persia or India, who has not which we have made on this subject, we arrogated to himself this epithet, either on are in possession of resources that no his coins or on other monuments. Must one has hitherto had. Coins of the Sul we then suppose, that all these princes tans of Dehli, anterior to the invasion of have had sons named Modaffer? Why • This circumstance is mentioned in the “Ayn

should they constantly notice this son in Akberi, ou Tableau Historique, Topographique, preference to all the others? Why do we et Statistique, de l'Hindoustan suus Akbar."

not ?! on these medals, father of AsThe original manuscript of this work, which was presented to Akbar, was in the possession of the

bas, father of Soliman, and many other late M. Langlès, and it is in this MS., page 169 names mentioned in history? In general, Tecto, that we find the name of Sonarganou. the custom of calling one-self, father of

+ Vide Memoir of a Map of Hindustan, by one's son, is scarcely ever practised by Major Rennel, page 57.

· Vide M. Hamilion's work, in the page before' sovereigns, at least (as it appears to us), quoted.

we have not seen any such example on any

medals or monuments whatever, always grandfather, as Mahomet, ben Abdallah, understanding that we refer here to modern ben Ismael (Mahomet, the son of Abages; for, with regard to ancient times, it dallah, the son of Ismael). But, to recertainly has been otherwise.

turn to our subject; in the present case, The title of second Alerander, or new to authorize Elias Schab to call himself Alexander, is still borrowed from some Alexander the Second, he must have had medals of Dehli : it offers, of itself, a two names at once, Elias and Sekundit, clear interpretation. It is not in Greece or Alexander ; moreover, there must and at Rome alone, that the name of have reigned before him in Bengal, a Alexander has enflamed the ambition, king named Alexander, which cannot or the insane pride of princes! There possibly be admitted. No doubt the titles have been found in India, men, who fol of right hand of the khalf, of protector of lowing the example of the Emperor Cara the commander of the faith, belonged also calla, have fancied themselves called upon to Mohamed Schah, Sultan of Dehli; it to act the part of the Macedonian hero. was him, in fact, who first brought the It appears, however, that the name of khalif of Egypt to light, and gave up to Alexander no longer awakens in the mind, him, as it were, the dominion of India. those romantic ideas which it formerly did. To whom could such title be more agreeSince the fifteenth century, several po- able, than to such a prince? In this, he tentates of Asia have qualified themselves was imitated by the kings of Bengal, who with the title of Second Sahibkeran, from knew well, in fact, that these titles enthe name of Sahib-keran, which Tamerlane gaged them to nothing. The title of protook; a term, which signifies, born under tector of the commander of the faithful a fortunate constellation: but no one, is also perceived on the coins of some since the above-mentioned period, has Muhamedan princes of the twelfth and (that we know of), assumed the name of thirteenth centuries of our era; at a period second Alexander. This change in senti when the khalifs of Bagdad had every ments bas been felt, not only in India, thing to fear from some neighbouring where the Mogul emperors, descended from princes. Tamerlane, were interested in setting forth The title of Zealot in the service of the glorious renown of that conqueror ; God, which is taken by Sekander Schab, for it is discovered, even in Persia, where son of Elias, in No. 9, is derived from the same interest to elevate the glory of the coins of Firou: Schah, Sultan of Dehli, the Tartarian monarch, did not exist. We his cotemporary. The same ought to be may, therefore, suppose that the name of observed of the term, strong by the pourt Alexander could no longer maintain itself of God, which we read on the coins of before the fortune of Tamerlane. Thus Mohamed Schah, Sultan of Debli.

We are all things mutable on the earth, every

know of these medals, only through the thing passes away, even the glory of con drawings of Colonel Gentil. We ought querors. Finally, the words of Second also to acknowledge, that it was only by Alexander, present a signification un the means of these drawings, that we were known to the people of the east, for they enabled to decypher the last title on our say not in the east, Mahomet I. Mahomet medal, which was very imperfect and II., as we say Henry VIII. or George difficult to read. III. But when there is a succession of It remains for us to explain the title of princes in the same empire, of the same Zealous, which more literally translated, name,-for example, the name of Ma- would be father of Zeal, the same as homei,-they distinguish them by the name of the father : thus, they say, Mahomet

, above, futher of Victory. The word also son of Aly, and sometimes, to make the which we translate zeal, appears to us to be distinction, as Mahomet* is a common substituted for lawsIn fact, we naine, it is necessary to bring in the

المجاهدات find the words

صاحب

* The eldest son of all Muhamedan families is named, not after the father, but after the pro on a medal of Babour, among the draw. phet, so that every family that possesses a son ings of Genuil, we might also translate, possesses a namesake of the prophet; this cirrenders the name of Nuhamed father of Moudjahed; but, besides the rea

sons above alleged, respecting the words,

cumstance

connot.

« PreviousContinue »