Page images
PDF
EPUB

of men

[ocr errors]

chiefs appeared to dicad the encrease of each others power, more than the invasion of an enemy.

I WILL conclude this treatise, by observing, that the Afghan conquerors of Rohilound, were a rapacious, bold, and lawless race

and it should seem, that after they had established a government in India, they adopted the more effeminate vices of the south, and became intriguing, deceitful, and treacherous. The Rohillas, especially the lower classes, were, with but few exceptions, the only sect of Mahometans in India who exercised the profession of husbandry ; and their improvements of the various branches of agriculture, were amply recompensed by the abundance, and superior quality of the productions of Rohilcund.*

The actions of Najeb Khan, those especially which occupied the latter periods of his life, bearing a close relation to the history of Rohilcund, I have given them a separate place in the treatise ; which as it represents him in a more conspicuous light, will afford me the sensible pleasure of offering up a tribute of refpect and applause, to the memory of a brave liberal foldier, and a statesman of distinguished ability.

NAJEB Khan, the nephew of the Bisharut Khan, mentioned in the Rohilla sketches, came into Rohilcund during the administration of Ali Mahomet, He was at first, appointed to the charge of a

* This country is said to have yielded to the Rohillas, one million sterling, which is ROW reduced by the injudicious management of the Nair, to thirty, or at most, forty thousand pounds.

very

very fmall party, not consisting, it is said, of more than twelve horse and foot. But his courage and activity soon brought him into the notice of Ali Mahomet, who entrusted him with a respectable military command, and procured for him in marriage the daughter of Dhoondy Khan. Whilst Ali Mahomet governed the Sirhend districts, Najeb Khan, who had followed his fortunes, rendered him an important service, in reducing to obedience a refractory Hindoo chief of that quarter. After the return of the Rohillas into Rohilcund, Dhoondy Khan bestowed the districts of Duranaghur and Chaundpour, which had been granted to him in the original division of Rohilcund, on Najeb Khan, who did not long confine himself within this narrow limit; but crossing the Ganges, he made depredations on the territory of the Goojers, * as far as Ghous Ghur and Sarunpour.+

On the death of Mahomet Shah, Sufdar Jung avowedly announced his hostile disposition to the court, which was then wholly directed by the Vizier Ghaze-ud-Dein, and prepared to lead an

Sufdar Jung prevailed on the Rohilla chiefs, ever ready to draw the sword in the pursuit of plunder or conquest, to join his army, which had advanced to the neighbourhood

army to Dehli.

[ocr errors]

** A sect of Hindoos, in upper India, of the fourth tribe, who equally exercise the profession of agriculture, and arms.

+ Vide Rennell's map.
I Mahomet Shah died in A. D. 1747, and was succeeded by his son Ahmed Shah.

Vol. I.

e

of

of Delili. when an Hindoo * officer of the court, attached to the interests of Ghaze-ud-Dein, induced Najeb Khan, by high offers of advancement, to seccde from the combination, and espouse the imperial cause. — Alarmed at this defection, the residue of the Rohilla troops, commanded by Hafiz Rhamut, retired into their own country. Najeb Khan was honourably received by Ghazeud-Dein, and being soon after promoted to the command of the army, he attacked Sufdar Jung, and compelled him to cross the Ganges. On the successful conclusion of this campaign, in which the Rohilla was wounded, he received from the King the title of Najeb-ud-Dowlah.

SUBSEQUENTLY to this event, he moved with a strong body of troops into Rohilcund, where he establifhed, in the districts which formerly pertained to him, a fixed government ; and though he disclaimed a dependance on Hafiz Rhaniut, he was considered a political member of the Rohilla state. From a powerful support at court, and the distinguished popularity of his character, Najebud-Dowlah was feared and envied by Hafiz, who saw in the

growing influence of this chief, a mortifying diminution of his own. A mutual enmity soon produced hostilities, which ultimately involved the whole body of the Rohillas in a civil war.

On the commencement of the dissentions, Saud Ullah Khan, the nominal head of the Rohilla states, had embraced the party

* Named Devi Sing.

of

1

[ocr errors]

of Najeb-ud-Dowlah, which he was compelled to abandon by the fuperior power of Hafiz Rhamut, and his partisans, who possessing the resources of the country, could indulge or distress him at pleasure. Najeb-ud-Dowlah, perceiving his inability to combat so formidable an opposition, retired from Rohilcund, and again attached himself to the service of the court. After his arrival in Dehli, he was either directed by the ministry, or he solicited permission, to reduce the Mahometan governor of Sarunpour, * who maintained a forcible possession of that quarter, and had refused to render any account of the imperial portion of the revenue. The enemy retiring on the approach of Najeb-ud-Dowlah, the districts of Sarunpour and Ghous Ghur became an easy acquisition. The activity and enterprize of this officer, who now commanded an approved body of soldiers, prompted him again to cross the Ganges, and seize on his former possessions, to which he annexed the lands of Tillalabad, In the northern division of this new conquest he founded the town Najebabad, t which in a short time was filled with commodious and beautiful structures, and became the centre of an extensive commerce. At the distance of a mile from the town, he erected the fort of Najeb Ghur, where the adjacent inhabitants, in the event of war, might deposit their

[ocr errors]

* This town stands on the northern part of the Duab, and is at this time held by Gholam Kauder Khan, the grandson of Najeb-ud-Dowlah.

+ Situate in the northern divisions of Rohilcund. Vide Rennell.
I This fort is also called Patter Ghur.

[blocks in formation]

property, and find also a security for their persons. A want of more precise dates, which I have in vain searched for, has thrown a confusion and perplexity on the preceding actions of Najeb-udDowlah : but it is now seen that in the year 1757,* this officer was promoted to the station of Meer Bucksy, with the title of Amir-ulOmrah, at the instance of Ghaze-ud-Dein ; who in 1753, having deposed and deprived of sight Ahmed Shah, raised to the throne Alumguir Sani, the father of the present Emperor.

When the Durannies entered+ Hindoftan, in their fourth expedition to participate in the wreck of the Empire, Najeb-udDowlah, who was himself an Afghan, I and aware of the superior power of Ahmed Shah, attached himself without reserve to the fortunes of that prince ; diffolving the connection he had formed with Ghaze-ud-Dein, without hesitation, or an honorable regard for the favours he had received from the hand of that minister. The return of Ahmed Shah g into his own country, enabled the Mahrattas to exercise an almost undivided authority in the upper provinces of

• Dow's History of Hindoftan. In the Khazanahee Omah, a Persian book which treats cursorily of the actions of the late Emperors of Hindostan, it is said, that Najebud-Dowlah was appointed to this office by Ahmed Shah Duranny. I have followed Dow's History, from the probability that Najeb-ud-Dowlah would receive his commiffion from the Court, under whose authority he acted:

+ In A. D. 1756.

I The inhabitants of the space of territory, lying between the river Attoc and Per. fia, are called Afghans.

§ Ahmed Shah returned into Afghanistan, from his fourth Indian expedition, in the year 1757

« PreviousContinue »