« PreviousContinue »
Ramroy and Hurkishen, then in infancy; but not being enabled to adjust their claims at home, they appealed to the courts of law at Dehli, where the opponents appeared, and set forth their several pretensions. The cause it is said terminated in a permission being. granted to the Sicques to nominate their own priest ; when, adjusting the contest, they elected Hurkishen, who died at Dehli in 1664, a short time after his investiture. Hu RKIs HEN was succeeded by Taigh Bhahauder, his uncle, who appears to have been persecuted with inveterate animosity by the adherents of Ramroy; who being supported by some persons of influence at the court of Aurungzebe, an order was obtained for the imprisonment of the new priest. Taigh Bhahauder, after remaining in confinement at Dehli for the space of two years, was released at the intreaty of Jay Sing, the powerful chief of Jaynaghur, who was at that time proceeding to Bengal on the service of government. The Sicque accompanied his patron to Bengal, whence he returned to the city of Patna, which became his usual place of abode. The records of the Sicques say that Ramroy still maintained a claim to the priesthood, and that after a long series of virulent persecution, he accomplished the destruction of Taigh Bhahauder, who was conveyed to Dehli by an order of Court, and in the year 1675, publickly put to death. The formal execution of a perfon, against whom, the Sicques say, no criminal charge was exhibited, is so repugnant to the character and the aëtions of Aurungzebe, that we are involuntarily led to charge the Sicques of a wilful misrepresentation of fačts, injurious to the memory of the prince, and extravagantly partial to the cause of their priest. No document for the elucidation of this passage appearing in any of the memoirs of Hindostan that have reached my knowledge, I am prevented from discovering the quality of the crime which subjected Taigh Bhahauder to capital punishment. GovIND SING, then a youth, and the only son of Taigh Bhahauder, was called to the succession by the largest portion of the Sicque's disciples: but the intelligence of his father's death, and dread of a like fate, had induced him to fly from Patna, whence he retired after a series of various adventures into the territory of Siringnaghur. Though Govind Sing could not then have reached his fifteenth year, he evinced many marks of a haughty and turbulent spirit, which was conspicuously shewn in his condućt to the Siringnaghur chief. On pretence of an insult being offered, he collečted his party, which amounted it is said to four or five thousand men, and defeated a body of the Siringnaghur troops ; but being worsted in some future action, or, according to the authority of the Sicque, obliged by an order of the emperor to leave the country of Siringhaghur, he proceeded with his adherents to the Punjab, where he was hospitably * received by a marauding Hindoo chief of that quarter. Endowed with an aćtive and daring temper, the Sicque assisted his new associate in various expeditions against the bordering landholders, and often in opposing the forces of government. The predatory condućt of Govind Sing rendering him obnoxious to the governor of Sirhend, he was attacked and driven from his place of residence. Being afterwards discovered amongst the hills in the northern parts of the Sirhend districts, he was so vigorously pressed by the imperial troops, that abandoning his family and effects, he was compelled to save himself by speedy flight. Vizier Khan, the governor of Sirhend, sullied the reputation he had acquired in this service, by putting to death, in cold blood, the two younger sons of Govind Sing. A severe vengeance was taken for this ačt at a future period by the Sicques, who giving a loose to savage and indiscriminate cruelty, massacred the Mahometans, of every age and sex, that fell into their hands. After his late disaster, Govind Sing found a secure retreat in the Lacky Jungles,” which its natural defence, a scarcity of water, and the valour of its inhabitants,t had rendered at that day impregnable. But when the resentment of government abated, he returned without molestation to his former residence in the Punjab. The Sicques say, he even received marks of favour from Bhahauder Shah, who being apprised of his military abilities, gave him a charge in the army which
of a * The dependencies of Mackaval, through which the river Sutledge runs, were given by this Hindoo to Govind Sing, where he founded certain villages.
* A woody country, situate in the northern part of the Punjab, and famous for a breed of excellent horses, called the Jungle Tazee. + The Jatts.
marched marched into the Decan to oppose the rebellion of Rambuchsh.* Govind Sing was assassinated during this expedition by a Patan soldier, and he died of his wounds in 1708, at the town of Nandere, F without leaving any male issue; and a tradition delivered to the Sicques, limiting their priests to the number of ten, induced them to appoint no successor to Govind Sing. A Sicque disciple,
named Bunda, who had attended Govind Sing to the Decan, came, after the death of his chief, into the Punjab; where, claiming a merit from his late connection, he raised a small force, and in various desultory enterprizes, established the charaćter of a brave but cruel, soldier. His successes at length drew to his standard the whole body of the Sicque nation, which had now widely deviated from the precepts of their founder. A confidence in their strength, rendered presumptuous by the absence of the emperor, had made
them rapacious and daring, and the late persecutions, cruel and enthusiastic. Bunda, after dispersing the parties of the lesser Mahometan chiefs, attacked the forces of Vizier Khan, the governor of Sirhend, , who fell in an ačtion that was fought with an obstinate valour, but ended in the total defeat of the imperial troops. The Sicques expressed an extraordinary joy at this victory, as it vast multitude of the inhabitants of Sirhend were destroyed with. every species of wild fury. The mosques were overthrown or polluted, and the dead, torn out of their graves, were exposed to the beasts of prey. A party of Sicques had at the same time penetrated the greater Duab, and seized on the town and certain distrićts of Saharanpour,” where they slaughtered the inhabitants, or forcibly. made them converts to the new faith. Bunda, who had rapidy: acquired the possession of an extensive territory, was now deserted by his good fortune. He had crossed the river Sutledge with an intention of carrying his conquests to the westward, but being encountered by Shems Khan, an imperial officer who commanded. in that quarter, he was repulsed with a great loss. The Sicque's troops employed in the Duab expedition, had even approached the vicinity of Dehli, but they were defeated by the forces of the empire, and driven back to the distrićts which still remained subjećt to Bunda. - -Such was the situation of the Sicques when Bhahauder Shah
enabled them to satiate their revenge for the death of the sons of Govind Sing. The wife of Vizier Kuan, with his child, en, and a
* A brother of Bhahauder Shah. + Nandere is situate near the banks of the Godavery, about 1oo miles to the north-east of Hyderabad.
finished the Decan campaign, and returned in the year 1710 to Hindostan. Alarmed at the progress, and irritated at the cruelties they had exercised, he marched towards their stations with a determination to crush the sect, and revenge the injuries that had been inflićted on the Mahometan religion. Sultan Rouli Khan, one of his principal officers, advanced with a division of the army,