Page images
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

IT appears, that about the year 1720, Bisharut Khan, and Daoud Khan, of the tribe of Rohillas, accompanied by a small number of their needy and adventurous countrymen, came into Hindostan in quest of military service. They were first entertained by a Madar Saha, the Hindoo chief of Scrouly t, who, by robbery and predatory excursions, maintained a large party of banditti. In the plunder of an adjacent village, Daoud Khan captured a youth of the Jatt sect t whom he adopted and brought up in the Mahometan faith, by the name of Ali Mahomet; and though he had children born to him in marriage, Daoud Khan distinguished this boy by pre-eminent marks of parental affection. Madar Saha assigned to the body of Rohillas, which soon increased, certain lands" for their maintenance. Goolareah and some other villages, were given to Bisharut Khan; and Daoud Khan obtained Burneah and Beouly f. WHILst the Rohillas were yet in this limited state, Shah Alum Khan, an Afghan Mollah to visited his countrymen in India; and it is said that he had particular claims of friendship on Daoud Khan, being either the adoptive father of that chief, or having afforded him in his youth the means of subsistence. In whatever relation the Mollah stood to Daoud Khan, it is allowed that he was hospitably treated at Beouly; and on returning to Afghanistan, was furnished with a sum of money for defraying the expences of his journey. Shah Alum came a second time to

* This appellation, I have been informed, is derived from Rob, a word in the Afghan language signifying a hill or mountain; and is the name also of a certain tract of territory, the native country of the Rohillas, situated between Peshour and Cabul.

t A small town in the north-west quarter of Rohilcund.

: This sect, a numerous and powerful one in the northern parts of India, is classed in the fourth, or Sooder, tribe of the Hindoos,

• I 2

* The Rohilla officers who stood next in authority to those chiefs, were Caim Khan, Shadie Khan, Permaul Khan, Sultan Khan, and Azum Khan Dhunghiah.

t Villages situated in the districts of Sullausee, a division of Rohilcund, which lies 40 computed miles to the westward of Bareily.—See Rennel's map.

f Mollah is an appellation given to those who are skilled in the religious doctrine and laws of Mahomet.

Kuthair* where he again experienced the generosity of Daoud Khan; but on going back to his country, he was killed, and his effects were plundered. It has been said, that this assassination was committed at the instigation of Daoud Khan, in revenge of some haughty expressions of the Mollah to that chief. I have been wholly prompted to make this mention of Alum Khan, from his being the father of Hafiz Rham.ut, who in latter times became so conspicuous and unfortunate.

The Rohillas, quarrelling with Madar Saha, retired from his country, and associating themselves with Chand Khan, the chief of Bareilyf, they jointly entered into the service of Azmuth Khan, the Governor of Moradabad %. They did not long remain attached to this officer, but moving towards the northern mountains, they made incursions into the territory of the Rajah of Cummaioun§. Chand Khan had

* The original name of a part of Rohilcund, previously to the period of the RohHta conquest, and still adopted in the public registers of the country.

+ Bareily, a spacious well built town, in the centre of Rohilcund. —See Rennel's map.

% A town formerly of great note, situate in the northern part of Rohilcund.—See Rennel's map.

§ A spacious tract of mountainous country, subject to a Hindoo Chief; and forming the north-east boundary of Rohilcund.

previously refused to proceed on this expedition with the Rohillas, who, after various , success, were wholly worsted. The Rohillas had penetrated into the interior country, but being surrounded on all sides by the mountaineers, who cut off their supply of provision, they were compelled to submit to disgraceful terms of releasement. The persons of Daoud Khan, and Ali Mahomet, were delivered to the Rajah, who put the former to death; and the like fate would have awaited the son, had he not made his escape. The Rohillas say, that Daoud Khan was not surrendered to the chief of Cummaioun, but slain by a party of mountaineers, who had attacked him by surprise. The Rohilla party after this disaster withdrew to Beouly and Burneah, where they had, antecedently to the Cumtnaioun expedition, lodged their families; and in a short space of time it is seen, that they seized on the districts of Madar Saha, their first master, who fell in one of the desultory actions that followed this invasion. Ali Mahomet, after the death of Daoud Khan, had been declared chief * of the party; nor did he,

* Mahomet Khan, the son of Daoud Khan, either from being superseded in his father's affection by Ali Mahomet, or at the period of Daoud Khan's death, being excluded by the Rohilla officers from the succession, retired to Furruckabad, where he was received into the Bunglish family. It is mentioned also in a manuscript

though then a youth, seem unworthy of the charge. He was brave, enterprising, and never failed to improve the occasions of advancing his power and enlarging his territory.—An eunuch who resided at Munounah", and managed the affairs of those omrahs of the court who held granted lands in Kuthair, had incited Ali Mahomet, from some motive of resentment, to invade the possessions of the chief of Owlah; which were soon reduced by the Rohillas, and ultimately annexed to their territory. Ali Mahomet found, which he had sought for, a pretext to quarrel with the eunuch, whom he engaged f, and slew in a pitched battle; the success of which, invested him with the estates of the nobles, and a large booty. Ali Mahomet, chiefly by the assistance of the Vizier Kummerud-Dein, not only made his peace at court, but obtained a commission for collecting the revenue of the pension lands, which it is said he

punctually remitted f.

[ocr errors]

which I have seen, that at the time of his faher's death, Mahomet Khan was an infant, and that he remained some years in the family of Ali Mahomet. *

* A town in Rohilcund.

f The battle in which the eunuch was slain, happened in 1727.

f An act of such avowed rebellion, committed within almost the precincts of the court, marks an epocha of the decline of the Mogul Empire, and conspicuously shews, that the power and vigour which had rendered its arms invincible under Acbar and Aurungzebe, no longer existed.

« PreviousContinue »