So, he really knit caps and copied Quran…And wonder why be became that dejected – is it because he foresaw the failure of his behemoth of an empire or suddenly became repentent for his ten thousand sins?

“Praise to be God and blessing on those servants [of Him] who have become sanctified and have given satisfaction [to Him]. I have some [instructions to leave as my] last will and testament:

FIRST – on behalf of this sinner sunk in iniquity [i.e. myself] cover [with an offering of cloth and capital] the holy tomb of Hasan (on him be peace), because those who are drowned in the ocean of sin have no other protection except seeking refuge with that Portal of Mercy and Forgiveness.

SECOND – Four Rupees and two annas, out of the price of the caps sewn by me, are with Aia Bega, the mahaldar. Take the amount and spend it on the shroud of this helpness creature. Three hundred and five Rupees, from the wages of copying the Quran, are in my purse for personal expense. Distribute them to the faqirs on the day of my death.

THIRD – Take the remaining necessaries [of my funeral] from the agent of Prince Alijah; as he is the nearest heir among my sons, and on him lies the responsibility for the lawful or unlawful [practices at my funeral]; this helpless person (i.e. Aurangzeb) is not answerable for them, because the dead are in the hands of the survivors.

FOURTH – Bury this wanderer in the Valley of Deviation from the Right Path with his head bare, because every ruined sinner who is conducted bare-headed before the Grand Emperor (i.e. God), is sure to be an object of mercy.

FIFTH – Cover the top of the coffin on my bier with the coarse white cloth gazi. Avoid the spreading of a canopy and uncanonical innovations like [processions of] musicians and the celebration of the Prophet’s Nativity (maulud)

SIXTH – It is proper for the ruler of the kingdom (i.e. my heir) to treat kindly the helpless servants who in the train of this shameless creature [Aurangzeb] have been roving in the deserts and wilderness [of the Deccan]. Even if any manifest fault is committed by them, give them in return for it gracious forgiveness and benign overlooking [of the fault].

SEVENTH – No other nation is better than the Persians for acting as accountants (mutasaddi). And in war, too, from the age of the Emperor Humayun to the present time, none of this nation has turned his face away from the field, and their firm feet have never been shaken. Moreover,
they have not once been guilty of disobedience or treachery to their master. But, as they insist on being treated with great honour, it is very difficult to get on together with them. You have anyhow to conciliate them, and should employ subterfuges.

EIGHTH – The Turani people have ever been soldiers. They are very expert in making charges, raids, night-attacks and arrests. They feel no suspicion, despair or shame when commanded to make a retreat in the very midst of a fight, which means, in other words, ‘drawing the arrow back’; — and they are a hundred stages remote from the crass stupidity of the Hindustanis, who would part with their heads but not leave their positions [in battle]. In every way, you should confer favours on this race, because on many occasions these men can do the necessary service, when no other race can.

NINTH – You should treat the Sayyids of Barha, who are worthy of blessing, according to the Quranic verse, ‘Give unto the near relations [of the Prophet] their dues/ and never grow slack in honouring and favouring them. Inasmuch as, according to the blessed verse, ‘I say I do not ask of you any recompense for it except love to [my] kinsmen’, love for this family is the wages of [Muhammad’s] Prophetship, you should never be wanting [in respect for them], and it will be fruitful of benefit in this world and the next. But you should be extremely cautious in dealing with the Sayyids of Barha. Be not wanting in love of them at heart, but externally do not increase their rank, because they become predominant partners in the government, nay more, they would demand the kingdom for themselves. If you let them take the reins ever so little, the result will be your own disgrace.

TENTH – As far as possible the ruler of a kingdom should not spare himself from moving about; he should avoid staying in one place, which outwardly gives him repose but in effect brings on a thousand calamities and troubles.

ELEVENTH – Never trust your sons, nor treat them during your lifetime in an intimate manner, because, if the Emperor Shah Jahan had not treated Dara Shukoh in this manner, his affairs would not have come to such a sorry pass. Ever keep in view the saying, ‘The words of a king are barren’.

TWELFTH – The main pillar of government is to be well informed in the news of the kingdom. Negligence for a single moment becomes the cause of disgrace for long years. The escape of the wretch Shiva took place through [my] carelessness, and I have to labour hard [against the Marathas] to the end of my life, [as the result of it].

Twelve is blessed [among numbers]. I have concluded with twelve directions. (Verse).

“If you learn [the lesson], a kiss on your wisdom.
If you neglect it, then alas! alas!”
From Ahkam-i-Alamgiri trans Jadunath Sarkar

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