This is a rare account of the conduct at Panipat, which I am posting in full. The account is written by Kasi Raja in Persian(the atrocious spelling is because this is a British translation) of the Durbar of Shuja-ud-Dowlah. His moral conscious comes to play at some places – though his master can never be wrong and Bhau is supposed to have precipitated this, sometimes, his real personality comes to the forefront. Bottom line, remember the adage Victors write history, use the facts and not the judgements.
BALA ROW, Pundit pradhan, who sat on the Musnud of Government in the Deccan, was considered by the chiefs and inhabitants of Hindustan as a man of wisdom, circumspection, and good fortune: but he naturally loved his case and pleasure, which did not, however, lose him the respect and attachment of his people.
As long as harmony prevailed in his family, he left the entire management of all the affairs of government to Sedasheo Row Bhow, and gave himself up to pleasure.
Sedasheo, from his earliest years, had studied every branch of the art of government, the regulation of the ﬁnances and the army, and the conduct of all publick affairs, under the instruction of Ramchandra Baba Sindhvi, the greatest statesman of the age ; and from the first watch of the day till the middle of the night applied to the publick business. By his great experience, address, and ability, he brought men over to his opinion, to a cooperation in his measures, and a perfect reliance upon his wisdom and ability. Several important affairs both in the Deccan and the provinces had been brought to a conclusion by his means ; and at length an expedition was ﬁtted out for completing the conquest of Hindustan, under the supreme command of Raghunaut Row. Mulhar Row Holkur, Junkoogee Sindia, and several other chiefs were ordered to act under him with very powerful forces. They accordingly marched into Hindustan, and with little difficulty reduced every place to their obedience, until they came to the neighbourhood of Lahore and Shahdowlaz: here they were opposed by Jehan Khan and the other commanders left in those districts by Ahmed Shah Durrany, whom they defeated and compelled to repass the Attock. They kept possession of that country for some time, but the army beginning to fall considerably in arrears, Raghunaut Row thought it advisable to return to the Decan.
Upon the return of Raghunaut Row, the accounts of his expedition being inspected by the Bhow, it was found that a debt of eighty-eight lacs of rupees was due to the army, so much had the expenses been allowed to exceed all the collections of tribute, pishcush, etc. The Bhow, who was in every respect superior to Raghunaut, reproached him severely for this, and asked him if that was his good management, to bring home debts instead of an increase of wealth to the treasury of the state: which Raghunaut Row replied to, by advising him to try his own skill next time, and see what advantage he could make of it. Bala Row however interfered, and reconciled them in some degree, by excusing Raghunaut Row on account of his youth and inexperience.
Next year the scheme of reducing Hindostan being renewed, and the command again offered to Raghunaut Row, he declined it, saying, ‘Let those have the command who are well-wishers to the state, and who will consult the public advantage.’ This speech gave great offence to the Bhow, and on many considerations he offered himself to take the command of the expedition; taking with him Biswas Row, the eldest son of Bala Row, then seventeen years of age, as the nominal commander-in-chief, according to the ancient custom of the Mahrattas. The army under his command was very numerous, and they set out on their expedition without delay; but, as soon as they had passed the Narbudda, the Bhow began to exercise his authority in a new and offensive manner, and both in settling the accounts of the army and revenue, and in all public business he showed a capricious and self-conceited conduct. He totally excluded from his council Mulhar Row and all the other chiefs, who were experienced in the affairs of Hindostan, and who had credit and inﬂuence with the principal people in that country, and carried on everything by his own opinion alone.
When he came to Seronga, he dispatched Vakeels with presents to all the principal chiefs in Hindostan, inviting them to an alliance and co-operation with him, for the purpose of settling the affairs of Hindostan. Among the rest a Vakeel came with the above proposal to the Nawab Shuja-ul-Dowla, bringing with him a present of ﬁne cloths and jewels, to a considerable amount; and informing him at the same time, that whenever the Bhow should arrive near him, he would dispatch Naroo Shunker to conduct Shuja-ul-Dowla to him. Shuja-ul-Dowla answered him in the language of profession, but determined in his own mind to keep himself disengaged from both parties, and to be a spectator of the expected contest till his future conduct should be determined by the event, when he designed to join the victors.
Ahmed Shah Durrany, after the defeat of Datteajee Putul Sindia, cantoned his army in the district of Anufshair, upon the banks of the Ganges; and Dattea Jee Putul himself having been killed in an action with Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, the latter was apprehensive of the consequences of the resentment of the Mahrattas and therefore united himself closely with the Durrany Shah, who was himself excited to invade Hindostan by a wish to revenge the defeat of his
General Jehan Khan the preceding year, but still by the solicitations of Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, who agreed to bear the extra charges of the Shah’s army, and, being himself a man of great military reputation, as well as an able politician, had persuaded all the Rohilla chiefs and the Patans of Ferokhabad to join the Durrany Shah.
The Bhow, besides his own Decany troops, had brought with him all the auxiliaries that he could collect in Malwa, Jansye, etc., under the command of the several Amils, such as Naroo Shunker and others; and, as soon as he arrived at the river Chumbul, he sent a conﬁdential person to Raja Surja Mul, chief of the Jauts, proposing a conference, and that Surja Mul should enter into alliance with him. Surja Mul sent him word in reply that his negotiations with the Mahrattas had always been conducted through mediation of Mulhar Row and the Sindias, and that, if they chose to interfere on the present occasion, he was ready to wait on the Bhow. The Bhow from necessity asked those chiefs to assist him in this matter, which they having consented to, as soon as the army of the Mahrattas approached to Agra, Surja Mul paid his respects to the Bhow; and the conversation turning on the most advisable mode of conducting the war, Surja Mul said, ‘You are the master of Hindostan, possessed of all things; I am but a Zemindar. Yet will give my advice according to the extent of my comprehension and knowledge. In the first place, the families of the chiefs and soldiers, the large train of baggage, and the heavy artillery, will be great impediments to carrying on the kind of War which you have now in hand. Your troops are more light and expeditious than those of Hindostan; but the Durranies are still more expeditious than you. It is therefore advisable to take the ﬁeld against them quite unincumbered, and to leave the superﬂuous baggage and followers on the other side of the Chumbul, under the protection of Jansye or Gualiar, which places are under your authority.
‘Or, I will put you in possession of one of the large forts in my country, Deig, or Combeir or Burtpoor, in which you may lodge the baggage and followers; and I will join you with all my forces. In this arrangement, you will have the advantage of a free communication with a friendly country behind you, and need be under no apprehensions respecting supplies to your army; and there is reason to believe that the enemy will not be able to advance so far, but will by this plan of operations be obliged to disperse without effecting anything.’
Mulhar Row and the other chiefs approved of this advice, and observed, ‘that trains of artillery were suitable to the royal armies, but that the Mahratta mode of war was predatory ; and their best way was to follow the method to which they had been accustomed; that Hindostan was not their hereditary possession, and, if they could not succeed in reducing it, it would be no disgrace to them to retreat again. That the advice of Surja Mul was excellent; and that the plan which he proposed would certainly compel the enemy to retreat, as they had no ﬁxed possession in the country. That their object for the present, therefore, should be to gain time till the breaking up of the rains, when the Durranies would certainly return to their own country.’
Notwithstanding that all the Mahratta chiefs were unanimous in recommending this plan, the Bhow, relying on the strength of his army, and his own courage and ability, would not listen to it, but said, ‘that his inferiors had acquired military reputation by their actions in that country; and it never should be reproached to him, that he, who was the superior, had gained nothing but the disgrace of acting defensively.
And he reproached Mulhar Row with having outlived his activity and his understanding: at the same time saying ‘that Surja Mul was only a Zemindar; that his advice was suitable enough to his rank and capacity, but not worth the consideration of men so much his superiors.’
Men of wisdom and experience were surprised at this arrogance and obstinacy in a man who always formerly had shown so much good sense and circumspection, as the Bhow had done till this expedition; and concluded that fate had ordained the miscarriage of their enterprise. Every one became disgusted by his harsh and offensive speeches; and they said among themselves, ‘ it is better that this Brahman should once meet with a defeat, or else what weight and consideration shall we be allowed?
The Bhow posted a body of troops to prevent Surja Mul from leaving the camp : this alarmed him very much, but, as all the chiefs were of one opinion, Mulhar Row and the rest advised him not to be hasty, but to act as circumstances should direct; and, for the present, to remain for the satisfaction of the Bhow.
After this the Bhow marched from Agra to Dehly, and at once laid siege to the royal castle, where Yacoob Aly Khan (who was nephew to the Durrany Vizier, Shah Vulli Khan) commanded, and summoned him to surrender the castle, after the batteries had played some days. Yacoob Aly Khan, ﬁnding that resistance was vain, by the advice of Shah Vulli Khan, capitulated through the other Mahratta chiefs’ mediation, and delivered the castle up to the Bhow, who entered it with Biswas Row, and seized upon a great part of the royal effects that he found there : especially the ceiling of the great hall of audience, which was of silver, and made at an immense expense, was pulled down and coined into seventeen lacs of rupees. Many other actions of the same kind were done, and it was generally reported to be the Bhow’s design to get rid of such of the principal Hindostany chiefs as stood in his way; and, after the Durrany Shah should return to his own country, to place Biswas Row upon the throne of Dehly. This intelligence was brought to the Navab Shuja-ul-Dowlah, and it is on his authority that I relate it.
In the meantime the rains set in, and the Bhow cantoned his army in Dehly, and for twelve coss round it, residing himself in the castle; while Ahmed Shah Durrany remained in cantonments near Anufshair. Nujeib-ul-Dowlah gave him exact information of everything that passed ; upon which intelligence the Shah told him, ‘that, as Shuja-ul-Dowlah was a chief of great weight and power, and Vizier of Hindostan, it was of the greatest importance to secure him to their interest, and to persuade him to join them; for should he be gained over by the Mahrattas, the worst consequences must arise from it. That it was not necessary that he should bring a large army with him: his coming even with a few would very considerably strengthen their cause. That on a former occasion, when he (Ahmed Shah) invaded Hindostan, Shuja-ul-Dowlah’s father, Sufdar Jung, had opposed him, and been the principal means of his failure. That no doubt this would make Shuja-ul-Dowlah apprehensive and suspicious of him, and therefore Nujeib-ul-Dowlah must endeavour by every means to get the better of that obstacle, lest Shuja-ul-Dowlah should join the opposite party. That this was a negotiation too nice and important to be conducted by Vakeels, or by letters, and that therefore Nujeib-ul-Dowlah must go himself with a small escort, and in person prevail on Shuja-ul-Dowlah to join them.’
Ahmed Shah Durrany and his vizier, Shah Vulli Khan, sent written treaties of alliance and the Koran, sealed with their seals, by Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, who, taking his leave of the Durrany Shah, set out with an escort of two thousand horse, and in three days got to Mindy Gaut, on the Ganges.
Shuja-ul-Dowlah, sometime before this, had been encamped on his frontier near the Ganges, for the protection of his country, and, receiving information of Nujeib-ul-Dowlah’s sudden arrival, he found himself under the necessity of giving him a meeting, and showing him all the honours which hospitality and politeness demanded. Nujeib-ul-Dowlah showed him the treaties proposed by the Durrany Shah, and gave him every assurance and encouragement possible, both from the Durrany Shah and from himself; and explained to him also the perils of their own situation. ‘ For my own part,’ said he, ‘I give over every hope of safety, when I reflect that the Bhow is my declared enemy; but it behoves you also to take care of yourself, and to secure an ally in one of the parties: and as you know the Bhow bears a mortal hatred to all Mussulmans, whenever he has the power to show this enmity, neither you nor I, nor any other Mussulman, will escape. Though, after all, the destiny of God will be fulﬁlled, yet we ought also to exercise our own faculties to their utmost. From my friendship to you, I have come this distance to explain things to you, though averse from all unnecessary trouble. Now consider and determine. The Begam your mother is capable of advising us both: consult her upon the occasion, as well as the rest of your family, and deter mine on what you shall think best.’
’ After considering the matter for two or three days, Shuja-ul-Dowlah concluded that it would be very unsafe and improper to join the Mahrattas: and to decline the proffered friendship of the other party would be impolitick, especially after their deputing a man of Nujeib-ul-Dowlah’s rank to him, and would never be forgiven either by the Shah or the Rohilla chiefs. Yet the danger appeared very great, whether the victory should fall to the Mahrattas, or to the Durranies. He at length however determined to follow the advice of Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, and to join the Durrany Shah. He accordingly dispatched his women to Lucknow, appointed Raja Beni Behader Naib Subah during his absence, and, setting out with Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, and arriving at the Durrany camp near Anufshair, was presented to Ahmed Shah Durrany, who treated him with the greatest consideration and honour, told him that he considered him as one of his own children; that he had waited for his arrival, and now would show him the punishment of the Mahrattas, with many proofs of his friendship. He at the same time proclaimed it through his own camp, that no Durrany should presume to commit any violence or irregularity in Shuja-ul-Dowlah’s camp: that any one who did, should be put to immediate death; adding, that Shuja-ul-Dowlah was the son of Sufder Jung, the guest of Ahmed Shah’s family; and that he considered him as clear as his own child. The grand vizier Shah Vulli Khan, who was a man in the highest esteem and respect with all ranks, called Shuja-ul-Dowlah his son also, and treated him with the highest distinction.
As the common soldiers among Durranies are stubborn and disobedient, notwithstanding the Shah’s proclamation, they committed some irregularities in Shuja-ul-Dowlah’s camp: the Shah, hearing of this, had two hundred of them seized upon, and, having had their noses bored through with arrows, and strings passed through the holes, they were led in this condition, like camels, to Shuja-ul-Dowlah, to be put to death or pardoned, as he should think proper. He accordingly had them released; and from that time none of the Durrany soldiers made the least disturbance in Shuja-ul-Dowlah’s camp.
Soon after this, though the rains were still at their height, the Shah marched from Anufshair, and cantoned his army at Shahdera on the bank of the Jumna, opposite to the city of Dehly. Many posts of the Mahratta army were within sight; but the river was too deep and rapid to be passed.
The Bhow sent Bhowany Shunker Pundit, a native of Aurangabad and a man of good sense and experience, with some overtures to Shuja-ul-Dowlah; telling him that there was no ground for enmity between the Mahrattas and his Excellency’s family; on the contrary, they had formerly given great support and assistance to Sufder Jung, Shuja-ul-Dowlah’s father. Why then did the Navab join their enemies? That their not having long since desired him to join them in person, was solely owing to their unwillingness to give him inconvenience. That now it was by all means necessary for him to join them, or at least to separate himself from the other party, and to send some person of character and rank, on his part, to reside within the camp.
Accordingly the Navab sent Raja Debydut, a native of Dehly, who was in his service; a man of great eloquence (whose father had been the royal treasurer during the administration of the Syeds; and he himself had been one of the household during the reign of Mohammed Shah) to accompany Bhowany Shunker. The Navab also sent Row Casy Raj (the writer of this narrative) who had been in the service of Sufder Jung, and much favoured by him. His Excellency told Bhowany Shunker that I (Casy Raj) was also a Decany, and introduced me to him in his own presence; where we soon recognized our being of the same caste and country. Bhowany Shunker wrote the Bhow word of my being employed in this affair; upon which the Bhow caused a letter to be written to me in the Decan language ; but as there was some deﬁciency in the form of address, I did not reply to it. The Bhow inquired of Bhowany Shunker why I neglected to answer his letter; which being explained, he was very angry with his Munshy.
When Raja Debydut got to the Bhow’s camp, the negotiation began; but the Bhow being dissatisfied with this agent, he sent Bhowany Shunker back to tell Shuja-ul-Dowlah that Raja Debydut was too unguarded a man to be entrusted with secrets of such importance: he therefore desired the Navab would send a trusty man entirely to be relied on, and send word by him precisely what steps were to be pursued.
At the same time other overtures came from Mulhar Row and Raja Surja Mul, to know what part they should act. All these proposals the Navab communicated exactly to Nujeib-ul-Dowlah and the grand vizier; and negotiated with the Mahrattas by their advice.
Nujeib-ul-Dowlah threw every obstacle that he could in the way of peace; but the grand vizier told Shuja-ul-Dowlah that if a peace could be brought about through his means, it would be better; that he was very willing to forward it, and would engage to obtain the Shah’s concurrence. In fact, he was at this time on but indifferent terms with Nujeib-ul-Dowlah.
At length it was resolved to send the eunuch Mohammed Yacoob Khan with their proposals to the Mahrattas, and to tell them from Shuja-ul-Dowlah, that he acknowledged the friendship which had always subsisted between them and him; that however it was neither proper nor practicable for him to join them, but that on every proper occasion he was ready to manifest his friendship, by giving them the best intelligence and advice, and, since they asked his opinion in the present instance, he would advise them to avoid attempting any other mode of carrying on the war than the predatory and desultory one, to which they were accustomed: or that if they preferred peace, means should be devised for obtaining it.
They at the same time wrote to Raja Surja Mul, advising him to quit the Mahrattas, and return to his own country; which advice coinciding with his own opinion, he promised to follow it.
The Bhow, in answer to Shuja-ul-Dowlah, acknowledged the kindness of his advice and conduct, and promised to pay attention to what he had said. That as to peace,he had no cause of quarrel with the Durrany Shah, who might march back to his own country, whenever he pleased; that all the country on the other side of the Attock should remain in the possession of the Shah, and all on this side of it should belong to the chiefs of Hindostan, who might divide and settle it as they could agree among themselves. Or, if this should not satisfy the Shah, he should possess as far as Lahore. Lastly, he said, that if the Shah insisted on still more, he should have as far as Sirhind, leaving the remainder to the chiefs of Hindostan, as was said before. With this answer, Yacoob Khan returned.
Two days after this, Surja Mul, who was encamped at Bidderpoor, six coss from Dehly, by the advice of Malhar Row and the other disaffected chiefs, under pretence of changing the ground of his encampment, sent off all his baggage and camp-followers towards his own country, and, when he received intelligence that they had got ten coss on their way, he followed them with his divisions of troops, and had got a great distance before the Bhow heard of his departure. In a day and two nights he marched ﬁfty coss, and reached the strongholds of his own country.
The Bhow made no account of his defection, only saying that such conduct was to be expected from mere Zemindars ; that his going was of no importance, but rather to be rejoiced at, since he did not quit them at any time when they might have relied on him for material service.
Mahommed Yacoob Khan, returning to camp, reported all the Bhow’s overtures; but, as neither party were sincerely in earnest, the negotiation went on but slowly.
Meantime, the rains drawing near to an end, the Bhow determined to reduce the strong post of Kunjpoora, which is situated on the banks of the Jumna, about ﬁfty coss above Dehly, at that time occupied by about ten thousand Rohillas, as the possession of that place would secure his passing the river to attack the Shah. He accordingly marched from Dehly, and, arriving at Kunjpoora, assaulted it with ﬁfteen thousand chosen men; after an obstinate resistance made himself master of the place, taking the Governor, Duleil Khan, and all the garrison prisoners, and delivering up the place to plunder. The Durrany Shah had exact intelligence of all this proceeding and was very desirous of relieving Kunjpoora; but the Jumna was yet impassable.
Soon after the rains broke up, and the Dussura arrived ; the Shah gave orders that the day before the Dussura, all the army should be assembled for muster ; which being done, he reviewed them himself from an eminence in front of the camp.
The Durrany army consisted of twenty-four Dustas (or regiments), each containing twelve hundred
horsemen. The principal chiefs in command under the Shah were the grand vizier Shah Vulli Khan, Jehan Khan, Shah Pussund Khan, Nussir Khan Beloche, Berkhordar Khan, Vizier Ulla Khan, Khan Kaizelbashi, Morad Khan, a Persian Moghol. Besides these principal chiefs, there were many others of inferior rank; and of the twenty-four Dustas above-mentioned, six were of the Shah’s slaves, called Koleran
There were also two thousand camels, on each of which were mounted two musketeers, armed with pieces of a very large bore, called Zumburucks; forty pieces of cannon, and a great number of Shuternals or swivels, mounted on camels: this was the strength of the Durrany army.
With the Navab Shuja-ul-Dowlah there were two thousand horse, two thousand foot, and twenty pieces of cannon of different sizes:
With Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, six thousand horse and twenty thousand Rohilla foot, with great numbers of rockets:
With Doondy Khan and Haﬁz Rahmut Khan, ﬁfteen thousand Rohilla foot and four thousand horse, with some pieces of cannon:
And with Ahmed Khan Bungash, one thousand horse, one thousand foot, with some pieces of cannon, making altogether forty-one thousand eight hundred horse, and thirty-eight thousand foot, with between seventy and eighty pieces of cannon.
This I know to have been precisely the state of the Mussulman army, having made repeated and particular inquiries before I set it down, both from the dufter (or oﬂice) of musters, and from those by whom the daily provisions were distributed. But the numbers of irregulars who accompanied these troops were four times that number; and their horses and arms were very little inferior to those of the regular Durranies. In action, it was their custom immediately after the regulars had charged and broken the enemy, to fall upon them sword in hand, and complete the rout. All the Durranies were men of great bodily strength, and their horses of the Turki breed; naturally very hardy, and rendered still more so by continual exercise.
Ahmed Shah Durrany issued orders to his army to be ready to march two days after the muster.
On the other side, the Bhow, having reduced Kunjpoora, returned to Dehly’, and ordered a muster of his army; when the strength of it appeared to be as follows:
Under Ibrahim Khan Gardee, two thousand horse, and nine thousand sepoys with ﬁrelocks, disciplined after the European manner; together with forty pieces of cannon.
The Khass Pagah, or household troops . . 6,000 horse
Mulhar Row Hulker . . . . . . 5,000 horse
Junkoojee Sindia . . . . . . 10,000 horse
Damajee Guickwar . . . . . . 3,000 horse
Jeswont Row, Powar . . . . . . 2,000 horse
Shumshere Behader . . . . . . 3,000 horse
Belajee Jadoon . . . . . . 3,000 horse
Rajah Betul Shudeo . . . . . . 3,000 horse
Bulmont Row, brotherin-law to the Bhow and his great adviser in everything . . 7,000 horse
Biswas Row’s own Pagah . . . . 5,000 horse
Antajee Mankeser . . . . . . 2,000 horse
There were several other smaller bodies, which cannot now be recollected: the whole army amounted to ﬁfty-ﬁve thousand horse, and ﬁfteen thousand foot, including Ibrahim Khan’s sepoys.
There were also two hundred pieces of cannon, and rockets and Shuternals without number.
Besides these, the Pindary chiefs, Churcory and Hool Sewar, had ﬁfteen thousand Pindaries under their authority; and there were two or three thousand horse with the Rohatore and Gutchwa vakeels. These, with ﬁve or six thousand horse more, were left to guard Dehly, under command of Bhowany Shunker.
Two days after the Dussura, which was the 17th of October, 1760, Ahmed Shah Durrany marched from his camp, ordering his baggage to follow the army; and marching all night, encamped next day at the ford of Baughput, eighteen coss above Dehly. He searched in vain for the ford, the river being still very high, and several horsemen, attempting to pass, were drowned. The Shah having fasted and performed religious ceremonies for two days, on the third a ford was discovered, but it was very narrow, and on each side the water was so deep as to drown whoever went the least out of the proper track.
The troops began to pass the ford on the 23rd of October, and the Shah himself passed as soon as half of his army was on the other side. The whole army was completely crossed in two days; but from their numbers and the great expedition used, many people lost their lives.
As soon as the army had crossed, the Shah marched towards the enemy, who also moved to meet him; and on the 26th of October, in the afternoon, the Herawil (or advanced guard) of the two armies met each other near Sumalkeh Seray, and an action ensued, in which the Mahrattas had the disadvantage, and retreated at sunset with the loss of near two thousand men, while not more than one thousand were killed and wounded on the part of Ahmed Shah. The Shah’s army returned to their camp.
The next day Ahmed Shah moved forward again and so on for several days successively, constantly skirmishing, but still gaining ground on the Mahrattas, till they came to Paniput, where the Bhow determined to ﬁx his camp, which he accordingly did, and inclosed that, as well as the town of Paniput, with a trench sixty feet wide and twelve deep, with a good rampart, on which he mounted his cannon.’ The Shah encamped about four coss from the Mahratta lines; and, as he had always during his march, surrounded his camp at night with felled trees, so in this camp, which was to remain ﬁxed for some time, the abattis was made something stronger, and the chiefs encamped in the following order:
The Shah in the centre;
Oh his left, Shuja-ul-Dowlah ;
On his left, Nujeib-ul-Dowlah;
On the right of the Shah, Haﬁz Rahmut Khan ;
On his right, Doondy Khan;
On his right, Ahmed Khan Bungus.
The space occupied by the whole front was near three coss and a half.
The Bhow had before given orders to Gobind Pundit who had the command and collections of Korah, Kurrah, Etawa, Shekoabad, and the rest of the Doab, as well as of Kalpee, and other districts across the Jumna, as far as Saghur, to collect all the forces he possibly could, and to cut off all communication for provisions from the rear of the Shah’s army. Gobind Pundit having got together ten or twelve thousand horse, advanced as far as Mirhet, in the rear of the Shah, and so effectually cut off all supplies, that the Shah’s army was in the greatest distress for provisions, coarse flour selling for two rupees per seer, and the troops consequently very much dissatisﬁed. The Shah therefore detached Attai Khan, nephew to the grand vizier, with a Dusta, consisting of two thousand chosen horse, and ordered him to march day and night, till he should come up with Gobind Pundit, and having cut off his head, to bring it to the presence. He set out accordingly, being joined by eight or ten thousand of the irregulars, and having marched about forty coss during the night, at daybreak they fell like lightning upon the camp of Gobind Pundit; where, having no intelligence of the Durranies’ approach, they were seized with terror and amazement, and tied on all sides. Gobind Pundit himself attempted to escape upon a Turki horse; but being old, and not a very expert horseman, he was thrown off in the pursuit; and the Durranies coming up, cut off his head and carried it to camp, where it was recognized for the head of Gobind Pundit.
After plundering the enemy’s camp, and driving away their scattered troops on all sides, Attai Khan returned to the Shah’s camp, the fourth day from that on which he was detached, and presented his Majesty with the head of Gobind Pundit. The Shah was highly pleased with this effectual performance of his orders, and bestowed a very honourable Khalat on Attai Khan. After this action, the Durrany army was constantly supplied with provisions.
The Bhow was much affected with this news, especially as it was accompanied with other events little favourable to his cause: but as he was a man of dignity and resolution, he never betrayed any despondency, but made light of all the adverse circumstances which occurred.
Soon after the defeat of Gobind Pundit, the Bhow sent two thousand horse to Dehly, to receive some treasure from N aroo Shunlcer, for the use of the army. These troops were instructed to march privately, by night, and by unfrequented roads, and each man to have abag of two thousand rupees given him to carry, as far as the sum they should receive would go. They executed their orders completely as far as to the last march, on their return to the camp, but unluckily for them the night being dark, they mistook their road, and went straight to the Durrany camp instead of their own. On coming to the outposts, thinking them those of their own camp, they began to call out in the Mahratta language, which immediately discovering them to the Durranies, they surrounded the Mahrattas, cut them to pieces, and plundered the treasures.
“From the day of their arrival in their present camp, Ahmed Shah Durrany caused a small red tent to be pitched for him a coss in front of his camp, and he came to it every morning before sunrise ; at which time, after performing his morning-prayer, he mounted his horse, and visited every post of the army, accompanied by his son Timour Shah and forty or ﬁfty horsemen. He also reconnoitred the camp of the enemy and, in a word, saw everything with his own eyes, riding usually forty or ﬁfty coss every day. After noon he returned to the small tent, and sometimes. dined there, sometimes at his own tents in the lines; and this was his daily practice.
At night there was a body of ﬁve thousand horse advanced as near as conveniently might be, towards the enemy’s camp, where they remained all night under arms; other bodies went the rounds of the whole encampment; and Ahmed Shah used to say to the Hindostany chiefs ‘Do you sleep, I will take care that no harm befalls you’: and to say the truth, his orders were obeyed like destiny, no man daring to hesitate or delay one moment in executing them.
Every day the troops and cannon on both sides were drawn out, and distant cannonade with many skirmishes of horse took place: towards the evening both parties drew off to their camps. This continued for near three months: during this time there were three very severe, though partial, actions.
The first was on the 29th November, 1760, when a body of Mahrattas, about ﬁfteen thousand strong, having fallen upon the grand vizier’s post on the left of the line, pressed him very hard; till a reinforcement coming to his assistance, the action became very obstinate: the Mahrattas, however, gave way about sunset, and were pursued to their own camp with great slaughter. Near four thousand men were killed on the two sides in this action.‘
The second action was on the 23rd of December, 1760, when Nujeib-ul-Dowlah having advanced pretty forward with his division he was attacked with so much vigour by Bulmont Row, that his troops gave way, and only ﬁfty horsemen remained with him ; with which small number however, he kept his ground, till a reinforcement came to his assistance; the action was then renewed with great fury and above three thousand of Nujeib-ul-Dowlah’s men were killed or wounded. Among the killed was Khalil-ul-Rahman, uncle to Nujeib-ul-Dowlah. In the last charge, which was at near nine o’c1ock at night, Bulmont Row was killed by a musket-ball: upon which both parties retired to their own camps
The third action was much in the same way; and thus every day were the two armies employed, from morning to nine or ten at night, till at length the Hindostany chiefs were out of all patience, and entreated the Shah to put an end to their fatigues, by coming at once to a decisive action; but his constant answer was, ‘ This is a matter of war, with which you are not acquainted. In other affairs do as you please, but leave this to me. Military operations must not be precipitated. You shall see how I will manage this affair; and at a proper opportunity will bring it to a successful conclusion.’
As the Durrany army was vigilant both by day and night, to prevent the approach of any convoys, there began to be a great scarcity of provisions and forage in the Mahratta camp.
One night when about twenty thousand of their camp-followers had gone out of the lines, to gather wood in a jungle at some distance, they happened to fall in with a body of ﬁve thousand horse, under the command of Shah Pussund Khan, who had the advanced guard that night and who surrounded them on all sides, put the whole to the sword, no person coming to their assistance from the Mahratta camp. In the morning, when the affair was reported to the Shah, he went out with most of his chiefs to the scene of the slaughter, where dead bodies were piled up into a perfect mountain, so great had been the destruction of those unhappy people !
The grief and terror which this event struck into the Mahrattas, is not to be described; and even the Bhow himself began to give way to fear and despondence.
There was a news-writer of the Bhow’s, called Gonniesh Pundit,‘ who remained in the camp of the Navab Shuja-ul-Dowlah; but not being of sufficient importance to obtain access to the Navab, any business that he had with the Durbar he transacted through my means: Through this channel the Bhow often wrote letters to me, with his own hand, desiring that I would urge the Navab to mediate a peace for him, in conjunction with the grand vizier; that he was ready to submit to any conditions if he could but preserve himself and his army, and would by every means manifest his gratitude to the mediators. He also sent a handful of saffron (as is a custom with these people) and a written engagement (to which he had sworn) to abide by this promise; together with a turban set with rich jewels, as an exchange for one to be received from the Navab, who also returned proper presents, and promised to assist him.
The Navab often sent me to the vizier upon this business. He was also very well disposed to listen to the Bhow’s proposals and spoke to the Shah about it. The Shah said, ‘that he had nothing to do in the matter; that he came thither at the solicitation of his countrymen, the Rohillas, and other Mussalmans, torelieve them from their fear of the Mahratta yoke; that he claimed the entire conduct of the war, but left the Hindostany chiefs to carry on their negotiations as they pleased, themselves.’
All the other chiefs, Haﬁz Rahmut Khan, Doondy Khan, and Ahmed Khan Bungush, were also satisfied to make peace with the Bhow; but every one stipulated that Nujeib-ul-Dowlah must also be satisfied to do so, otherwise they could not consent. Accordingly the N avab Shuja-ul-Dowlah sent me to talk over the matter with Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, and to obtain his consent. I therefore waited upon him, and, in a long private conference, I explained everything that had passed, and urged every argument to persuade him to come into the views of the other chiefs: to which he replied in nearly the following words: ‘Shuja-ul-Dowlah is the son of a man whom I look up to as my superior; and I consider him also in the same light; but at the same time, he is young and unacquainted with the world: he does not see to the bottom of things. This business is a deception: when an enemy is weak and distressed, there is no concession that he will not make, and, in the way of negotiation, will swear to anything; but oaths are not chains, they are only words. After reducing an enemy to this extremity, if you let him escape do you think he will not seize the first opportunity to recover his lost honour and power? At present we may be said to have the whole Decan at our mercy ; when can we hope for another juncture so favourable? By one eﬁort we get this thorn out of our sides forever. Let the Navab have a little patience, I will wait upon him myself, and consult what is best to be done.’
After this answer, I left Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, and returned to my master, to whom I repeated all that had passed, assuring him that Nujeib-ul-Dowlah would never be brought to agree to any terms of paciﬁcation.
As soon as I had left Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, though it was the middle of the night, he went immediately to the Shah, and informed him of what had passed. ‘All the chiefs (said he) are inclined to make peace with the Mahrattas, but I think it by no means advisable. The Mahrattas are the thorn of Hindostan; if they were out of the way, this empire might be your Majesty’s whenever you should please. Do as seems ﬁt to yourself. For my own part, I am a soldier of fortune, and can make terms with whatever party may prevail.’
The Shah replied, ‘You say truly: I approve of your counsel, and will not listen to anything in opposition to it. Shuja-ul-Dowlah is young and inexperienced, and the Mahrattas are a crafty race, on whose pretended penitence no reliance is, to be placed. I from the beginning made you the manager of this affair, act as seems best to yourself: in my situation I must hear every one, but I will not do anything against your advice.’
Next day Nujeib-ul-Dowlah came to Shuja-ul-Dowlah’s tent, where they consulted till late at night, but without coming to any conclusion.
By this time the distresses in the Bhow‘s camp were so great that the troops plundered the town of Paniput for grain ; but such a scanty supply gave no relief to the wants of such multitudes. At length the chiefs and soldiers, in a body, surrounded the Bhow’s tent and said to him, ‘It is now two days that we have not had anything to eat; do not let us perish in this misery: let us make one spirited effort against the enemy, and whatever is our destiny that will happen.’ The Bhow replied he was of the same mind and was ready to abide by whatever they should resolve upon. At length it was determined to march out of the lines an hour before daybreak, and, placing the artillery in front, to proceed to the attack of the enemy. They all swore to ﬁght to the last extremity ; and each person took a betel-leaf in the presence of his fellows, in conﬁrmation of this engagement, as is the custom among the Hindoos.
In this last extremity, the Bhow wrote me a short note with his own hand, which he sent by one of his most conﬁdential servants. The words of the note were these:
‘The cup is now full to the brim, and cannot hold another drop. If anything can be done, do it or else answer me plainly at once: hereafter there will be no time for writing nor speaking.’
This note arrived about three in the morning, at which time I was with the Navab. As soon as I had read it, I informed his Excellency of its contents, and called in the man who brought it, whd told the Navab all that had happened in the Mahratta camp. While he was doing this, the Navab’s harcarrahs brought word that the Mahrattas were coming out of their lines, the artillery in front, and the troops following close behind.
Immediately on hearing this, his Excellency went to the Shah’s tent, and desired the eunuchs to wake his Majesty that moment, as he had some urgent business with him.
The Shah came out directly, and inquired what news: the Navab replied, that there was no time for explanation, but desired his Majesty to mount his horse, and order the army to get under arms. The Shah accordingly mounted one of his horses, which were always ready saddled at the tent-door, and, in the dress he then had on, rode half a coss in front of his camp, ordering the troops under arms as he went along.
He enquired of the Navab from whom he had his intelligence and, he mentioning my name, the Shah immediately dispatched one on a post-camel to bring me. After I had made my obeisance, he asked me the particulars of the news. I replied that the Mahrattas had quitted their lines, and would attack his army as soon as it should be light. Just at this time some Durrany horsemen passed by, with their horses loaded with plunder which they said they had taken in the Mahratta camp; and added, that the Mahrattas were running away. The Shah looked at me, and asked me what I said to that? I replied that a very short time would prove the truth or falsehood of my report.
While I was speaking, the Mahrattas, having advanced about a coss and a half from their lines, and got their cannon drawn up in a line, all at once gave a general discharge of them.
Upon hearing this, the Shah, who was sitting upon his horse, smoking a Persian Kallian, gave it to his servant, and, with great calmness, said to the Navab, ‘ Your servant’s news is very true, I see.’ He immediately sent for the Grand Vizier and Shah Pussund Khan, who came accordingly: he ordered Shah Pussund Khan to take post, with his division on the left of Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, and consequently of the whole line; the Grand Vizier to take post with his division, in the centre of the line; and Berkhordar Khan, with some other chiefs, with their troops, on the right of Haﬁz Rahmut Khan and Ahmed Khan Bungush, consequently of the whole line. When this was done, he ordered the trumpets and other instruments to sound to battle.
By this time objects began to be discernible; and we could perceive the colours of the Mahratta line advancing slowly and regularly, with their artillery in front. The Shah rode along the front of the line, and examined the order of all the divisions. He then took post, where his little tent was pitched in front of his camp, but in the rear of the present line of battle, and gave orders for the attack to begin.
The Mahratta army faced towards the eastward, and their order was as follows, reckoning from the left ﬂank of their line:
Ibrahim Khan Gardee
Shu Deo Pateil
The Bhow, with Biswas Row and the household troops
Jeswont Row Powar
Junkoojee Sindia, etc.
The whole artillery, shuternals, etc., were drawn up in front of the line.
The Mussalman army faced toward the westward, and was drawn up as follows, reckoning also from the left flank of their line:
Shah Pussund Khan
The Grand Vizier Shaw Vulli Khan
Ahmed Khan Bungush
Haﬁz Rahmut Khan
Amir Beg Khan, and other Persian Moghols
All the artillery and rockets were in front of the line. Behind them were the camels, mounted by the musketeers carrying Zumburucks, supported by a body of Persian musketeers.
The two armies facing each other rather obliquely, the divisions of Berkhordar Khan, Amir Beg, and Doondy Khan were very near to that of Ibrahim Khan Gardee. The plan of the battle here annexed will explain this more clearly than any description in writing can do.
On the 7th of January, 1761, soon after sunrise, the cannon, musketry, and rockets began to play without intermission, yet our army suffered but little by them; for the armies continuing to advance towards each other, the Mahratta guns being very large and heavy, and their level not easily altered, their shot soon began to pass over our troops, and fell a mile in the rear. On our side the cannon fired but little, except from the Grand Vizier’s division.
As the armies were advancing towards each other, Ibrahim Khan Gardee rode up to the Bhow, and, after saluting him, he said, ‘You have long been displeased with me, for insisting on the regular monthly pay for my people; this month your treasure was plundered, and we have not received any pay at all; but never mind that; this day I will convince you that we have not been paid so long without meriting it.’ He immediately spurred his horse, and returning to his division, he ordered the standards to be advanced, taking a colour in his own hand, he directed the cannon and musketry of his division to cease ﬁring; then, leaving two battalions opposed to Berkhordar Khan and Amir Khan’s division, to prevent their taking him in ﬂank, he advanced with seven battalions to attack Doondy Khan and Haﬁz Rahmut Khan’s division with ﬁxed bayonets. The Rohillas received the charge with great resolution; and the action was so close, that they fought hand to hand. Near eight thousand Rohillas were killed or wounded, and the attack became so hard upon them, that but few of the people remained with their chiefs ; not above ﬁve hundred, or at most a thousand, with each, after the violence of the ﬁrst charge.
Haﬁz Rahmut Khan being indisposed, was in his palankin, and seeing the desperate state of affairs, he ordered his people to carry him to Doondy Khan who was giving orders to search for Haﬁz Rahmut Khan; for so great was confusion, that no one knew where another was. The two battalions .left to oppose the Shah’s ﬂank divisions, as mentioned above, exerted themselves very much, and repulsed the Durranies as often as they attempted to advance. In this action, which lasted three hours, six of Ibrahim Khan’s ‘battalions were almost entirely ruined, and he himself wounded in several places, with spears, and with a musket-ball. Damajee Guickwar, whose division supported Ibrahim Khan, behaved very well, and was himself wounded in several places.
In the centre of the line, the Bhow with Biswas Row, and the household troops, charged the division of the Grand Vizier. The Mahrattas broke through a line of ten thousand horse, seven thousand Persian musketeers and one thousand camels with Zumburucks upon them, killing and wounding about three thousand of them. Among the killed was Attai Khan, the Grand Vizier’s nephew, who had gained so much honour by the defeat of Gobind Pundit. The division gave ground a little, but the Grand Vizier himself stood ﬁrm, with three or four hundred horse and ﬁfty Zumburuck camels: he himself, in complete armour, dismounted to ﬁght on foot.
The Navab Shuja-ul-Dow1ah,whose division was next, could not see what was going on, on account of the dust, but ﬁnding sound of men and horses in the quarter suddenly diminish, he sent me to examine into the cause. I found the Grand Vizier in an agony of rage and despair, reproaching his men for quitting him. ‘Our country is far off, my friends,’ said he, ‘whither do you ﬂy?’ but no one regarded his orders or exhortations. Seeing me, he said, ‘ride to my son Shuja-al-Dowlah,and tell him, that if he does not support me immediately, I must perish.’ I returned with this message to the Navab, who said that the enemy being so near, and likely to charge his division, the worst consequences might follow to the whole army if he made any movement at that time, which might enable the enemy to pass through the line.
The Navab’s division consisted of only two thousand horse, one thousand musketeers, with twenty pieces of cannon, and some swivels: but they stood in close order, and showed so good a countenance that the enemy made no attempt upon it. Once or twice they advanced pretty near, and seemed as if they would charge us ; but they did not.
On the left of the Navab’s division was that of Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, who had about eight thousand Rohilla infantry with him, and near six thousand horse. They advanced slowly under cover of a kind of breast-works of sand, which were thrown up by a great number of Bildars‘ who were with them, and who, having ﬁnished one, advanced the distance of half a musket-shot in front of that, under cover of their own people, and threw up another; to which the troops then advanced, while a third was thrown up in the same manner. They had got on above a coss in this method, and were within a long musketshot of the enemy, Nujeib-ul-Dowlah saying, ‘that it behoved him to exert himself, as he was the person most deeply interested in the event of that day, the rest being only as visitors ’~: and, to say the truth, he was a man of surprising activity and ability.
He was opposed by Junkoojee Sindia and between them there was a mortal enmity. As the Rohillas had a great number of rockets with them, they ﬁred volleys of two thousand at a time, which not only terriﬁed the horses by their dreadful noise, but did so much execution also, that the enemy could not advance to charge them. Besides which, the division of Shah Pussund Khan was on the right ﬂank of Nujeib-ul-Dowlah; and that Durrany chief, being a brave and experienced officer, advanced in such good order that the Mahrattas could make no impression on it.
The action continued in nearly this state from morning till noon, and though we suffered least in point of killed and wounded, yet, upon the whole, the Mahrattas seemed to have the advantage.
About noon the Shah received advice that the Rohillas and the Grand Vizier’s divisions had the worst of the engagement, upon which he sent for the Nesuckchees (a corps of horse with particular arms and dress, who are always employed in carrying and executing the Shah’s immediate commands), and two thousand of them being assembled, he sent ﬁve hundred of them to his own camp, to drive out by force all armed people whom they should ﬁnd there, that they might assist in the action; and the remaining one thousand five hundred, he ordered to meet the fugitives from the battle, and to kill ever man who should refuse to return to the charge. This order they executed so effectually, that after killing a few, they compelled seven or eight thousand men to return to the ﬁeld. Some were also found in the camp, and some the Shah sent from the reserve which was with him. Of these he sent four thousand to cover the right ﬂank; and about ten thousand were sent to the support of the Grand Vizier, with orders to charge the enemy sword in hand, in close order, and at full gallop. At the same time he gave directions to Shah Pussund Khan and Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, that as often as the Grand Vizier should charge the enemy, those two chiefs should at the same time attack them in flank.
About one o’clock these troops joined the Grand Vizier, who immediately mounted his horse, and charged the body of the Mahratta army, where the Bhow commanded in person: Shah Pussund Khan and Nujeib-ul-Dowlah took them in ﬂank at the same time, which produced a terrible effect.
This close and violent attack lasted for near an hour, during which time they fought on both sides with spears, swords, battle-axes, and even daggers. Between two and three o’clock, Biswas Row was wounded, and dismounted from his horse; which being reported to the Bhow, he ordered them to take him up and place him upon his elephant. The Bhow himself continued the action near half an hour longer on horseback, at the head of his men ; when all at once, as if by enchantment, the whole Mahratta army at once turned their backs and ﬂed at full speed, leaving the ﬁeld of battle covered with heaps of dead. The instant they gave way, the victors pursued them with the utmost fury; and, as they gave no quarter, the slaughter is scarcely to be conceived, the pursuit continuing for ten or twelve coss in every direction in which they ﬂed.
Of every description of people, men, women, and children, there were said to be five hundred thousand souls in the Mahratta camp, of whom the greatest part were killed or taken prisoners: and of those who escaped from the field of battle and the pursuit, many were destroyed by the Zamindars of the country. Antajee Mankeser, a chief of rank, was cut off by the Zamindars of Ferocknagar.
The plunder found in the Mahratta camp was prodigiously great; you might see one of our horsemen carrying off eight or ten camels, loaded with valuable effects: horses were driven away in ﬂocks like sheep: and great numbers of elephants were also taken.
Near forty thousand prisoners were taken alive; of which six or seven thousand took shelter in the camp of Shuja-ul-Dowlah, who posted his own people to protect them from the cruelty of the Durranies: but the unhappy prisoners, who fell in the hands of the latter, were most of them murdered in cold blood, the Durranies saying in jest, that, when they left their own country, their mothers, sisters, and wives desired that, whenever they should defeat the unbelievers, they would kill a few of them on their account, that they also might possess a merit in the sight of God. In this manner, thousands were destroyed, so that in the Durrany camp (with an exception of the Shah, and his principal officers) every tent had heads piled up before the door of it.
As soon as the battle was over, all the chief ofﬁcers presented their Nezzurs of congratulation to the Shah ; and his Majesty, having taken a slight view of the ﬁeld of battle, returned to his tent, as all the other commanders did to theirs, leaving the inferior officers and private soldiers to continue the plunder and at their own discretion.
Towards morning, some of Berkhordar Khan’s Durranies having found the body of Biswas Row, on his elephant, after taking the elephant and jewels, brought the body to Shuja-ul-Dowlah, who gave them two thousand rupees for it, and ordered that it should be taken care of. Ibrahim Khan Gardee, though severely wounded, had been taken alive by Shuja Kouly Khan, one of Shuja-ul-Dowlah’s own people; which being reported to his Excellency, he ordered him to be carefully concealed, and his wounds to be dressed.
The Shah next day ordered Shuja-ul-Dowlah to send the body of Biswas Row for him to look at; which he accordingly did. The whole camp great and small were assembled round the Shah’s tent to see it; and every one was in admiration of the beauty of its appearance: it was not disﬁgured by death, but looked rather like a person who sleeps ; he had one wound with a sword on the back of his neck, and a slight one with an arrow over his left eye, but there was no blood discoverable on any part of his remaining clothes. Upon sight of his body, many of the Durranies assembled in a tumultuous manner, saying, ‘this is the body of the king of the unbelievers ; we will have it dried and stuffed to carry back to Kabul.’ Accordingly it was carried to the quarter of Berkhordar Khan, and deposited near the tent of Motty Lol, a Kettery by caste, who was his Dewan.
As soon as Shuja-ul-Dowlah heard of this, he waited upon the Shah, and joined with the Grand Vizier, represented to his Majesty ‘that enmity should be limited to the life of our enemy; and it is always the custom of Hindostan, that after a victory, the bodies of the chiefs, of whatever race or tribe, are given up, that they may receive their proper obsequies, according to the rules of their particular religion; such conduct, they said, does honour to the victors, but an opposite one disgraces them. Your majesty is only here for a time, but Shuja-ul-Dowlah, and the other Hindostany chiefs, are the ﬁxed residents of this country, and may have future transactions with the Mahrattas when their conduct on the present occasion will be remembered; therefore let the body be given up to them that they may act as is customary here.’
This matter remained in agitation for near two days, Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, and indeed all the Hindostany chiefs, joining in the same request. I was also sent on this account accompanied by Meig Raj, the Vakeel of Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, to the tents of Berkhordar Khan and Motty Lol. A second time I went alone when Motty Lol asked me if I came on that business or would undertake any thing further: I said, ‘for any thing that he chose to communicate.‘ Accordingly he carried me privately into two inner tents; in one I found Raja Baboo Pundit, the Bhow’s vakeel, who was wounded, with whom I conversed for some time; after which I went into the other tent, where Row Junkoojee Sindia was sitting; he was wounded with a ball, and with a spear in the arm, which he wore in a sling, and was a youth about twenty years of age. Upon seeing me he hung down his head; on observing which, I said to him ‘ Why do you do so, Sir? Whatever could be expected from human valour and exertion, you have done ; and the deeds of that day will live for ever in the memory of mankind.’ Upon this, lifting up his head, he said, ‘True, no one can contend with destiny. 1 wish I had died in the ﬁeld of battle; but it was my fate to be brought hither. These people now require ransom from me, nor would it be difficult for me to pay what they demand, but it is impossible for me to get it here at this time. You were a friend of my father’s, and there was always friendship between my family and the Navab’s, and my father did them considerable services ; if His Excellency will pay the money required for my release, it is an obligation that I shall never forget.’ I assured him that the Navab would not be backward, and desired to know how much was required. Motty Lol said, seven lacs of rupees was the sum mentioned, but that it might probably be settled for less. I immediately returned to the Navab, whom I found sitting with Nujeib-ul-Dowlah; I told him all that had passed respecting the business he sent me upon ; but as I well knew the enmity which Nujeib-ul-Dowlah bore to the family and person of Junkoojee, and thought, that from his good intelligence he might have some intimation that Junkoojee was taken alive, I thought it was best to avoid saying anything about him to the Navab at that time, and went away to another part of the tent : but Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, who had observed me, said to the Navab, ‘From the countenance of Casi Raja, I perceive that he has something else to say which my presence prevents.’ Shuja-ul-Dowlah replied, that there were no secrets between them two, and immediately calling me, made me swear by the Ganges to speak all that I should have done if Nujeib-ul-Dowlah had not been there; which being thus compelled to do, I did. Nujeib-ul-Dowlah, who was master of the most profound dissimulation, said that it was highly proper and becoming great men, to relieve their enemies under such circumstances; he therefore begged that Shuja-ul-Dowlah would settle the ransom of Junkoojee, and that he himself would pay half of it. This was his profession; and soon after taking leave, he went to the Grand Vizier, and informed him of all the particulars.
As, on one hand, Nujeib-ul-Dowlah wished to exterminate the family of Sinclia, the Grand Vizier also was an enemy to Berkhordar Khan, who he hoped to injure by discovering this secret negotiation: they therefore went immediately together to the Shah, and laid the affair before him. His Majesty sent for Berkhordar Khan, and questioned him about having concealed Junkoojee; but he positively denied any knowledge of it. The Grand Vizier then sent for me to prove the fact, but even after that, Berkhordar Khan persisted to deny it. Upon which the Shah ordered his Nesuckchess to search the tent of that chief. Thus driven to extremity, Berkhordar Khan immediately dispatched orders to his people to put both the prisoners to death, and bury them privately, before those sent by the Shah should arrive to look for them ; which was done accordingly, and thus those unhappy people lost their lives.
.Ibrahim Khan Gardee had hitherto remained in Shuja-ul-Dowlah’s camp, and it was His Excellency’s intention to send him privately to Lucknow; but some of the Shah’s people getting information of this, informed his Majesty of it, who sent for His Excellency and questioned him on the subject. He at first denied it, but at length the Shah, by dint of persuasion and ﬂattery, got him to confess it. Immediately (as had been preconcerted) a great number of Durranies surrounded the Shah’s tent, crying out, ‘ Ibrahim Khan is our greatest enemy, and has been the destroyer of multitudes of our tribe: give him up to us, or let us know who is his protector, that we may attack him.’ Shuja-ul-Dowlah put his hand upon his sword and said, ‘here he is’; and things were very near coming to extremity, when the Grand Vizier interfered, and taking Shuja-ul-Dowlah aside, he entreated him to consign Ibrahim Khan to his care for one week, promising to restore him safe at the end of that time. The Navab expressed some apprehension of intended treachery; but the Grand Vizier swearing on the Koran that no harm should befall the prisoner, Shuja-ul-Dowlah sent for Ibrahim Khan, and delivered him into the Grand Vizier’s hands.
The Shah ordered him to be brought into his presence and insultingly asked him‘, ‘how a man of his courage came to be in such a condition?’ He answered, ‘that no man could command his destiny; that his master was killed, and himself wounded and prisoner; but that, if he survived, and his Majesty would employ him in his service, he was ready to shew the same zeal for him as he had done for the Bhow.’
The Shah gave him back in charge to the Grand Vizier, where he was treated with the greatest cruelty; and, as it is said, they ordered poison to be applied to his wounds, so that he died the seventh day after.
The day after the battle, the Shah, superbly dressed, rode round the ﬁeld of battle, where he found thirty-two heaps of the slain of different numbers, most of them killed near each other, as they had fought; besides these, the ditch of the Bhow’s camp, and the jungles all round the neighbourhood of Paniput, were ﬁlled with bodies. The Shah entered the town of Paniput, and, after visiting the shrine of Boo Aly Kalinder, he returned to his tents.
Shuja-ul-Dowlah took some hundreds of Bishties with him to the ﬁeld of battle, to wash the bodies, and look for those of the chiefs, especially for that of the Bhow, and carried the Mahratta Vakeels Sindur Pundit, and Gunneish Pundit, and other prisoners, who knew the persons of all chiefs, to assist him in ﬁnding them out. Accordingly they found the bodies of Jeswant Row Powar, and the son of Pala Jadoo, and many others.
The second day, after the strictest search had been made for the body of the Bhow, advice was brought that a body was lying about ﬁfteen coss from the ﬁeld of battle, which appeared to be that of a chief; Shuja-ul-Dowlah immediately went to the place, and had the body washed: some pearls of the value of three or four hundred rupees each, being found near the body, confirmed the belief of its being that of a person of rank. These pearls the Navab gave to Sindur Pundit the Mahrattas’ Vakeel, who as well as the rest of the Mahrattas who came to ﬁnd out the bodies, burst into tears, and declared this to be the body of the Bhow, which they discovered by several natural marks which the Bhow was known to have about him. First, a black spot about the size of a rupee on one of his thighs ; secondly, a scar on his back, where he had been wounded with a Kuttar by Mazuffer Khan; and thirdly, in his foot the fortunate lines, called by the astrologers, Puddum Mutch. The body was that of a young man about thirty-five years old, and strongly made; and, as it was known that the Bhow every day made one thousand two hundred prostrations before the sun, so were there the marks of such a practice on his knees and hands of his corpse.
While we were thus employed, I observed one of the Durrani who stood at a distance and laughed; which I remarked to the Navab, and told him that perhaps that man might know something respecting the body. The Navab took him aside and questioned him; to which he answered, ‘ I saw this person several times during the battle, he was extremely well mounted, and, in the course of the action, two of his horses were killed under him, at last he received several wounds, and was dismounted from his third horse. About this time the Mahratta army ﬂed on all sides, yet this person seemed still to preserve his presence of mind. He was well dressed, and had many jewels on and he retired with a short spear in his hand, and with a resolute aspect. I and some others pursued him for the sake of his jewels, and, having surrounded him, we asked him if he was some chief, or the Bhow himself: and told him not to be afraid, for we would do him no harm, but carry him wherever he desired. As he made no reply, one of my companions grew angry, and wounded him with a spear, which he returned, upon which we killed him, and cut off his head, but not without his wounding two or three of us: the head another person has got.’ This last circumstance was not true, for the head was afterwards found with this very man.
The Navab carried the body, and that of Suntajee‘ Rajah (which had forty cuts of swords upon it), to the camp, upon two elephants, and informed the Shah of all the circumstances.
The Shah, in compliment to Shuja-ul-Dowlah, gave orders that these two bodies, together with the body of Biswas Row, should be burnt, according to the custom of their caste; and sent twenty of his Nesuckchess to attend and prevent the Durranies from giving any interruption to the ceremony. His Excellency gave the bodies in charge to me, and told me that I was of the same country and tribe, and therefore he desired that I would burn them with the proper ceremonials and he sent Rajah Anufghire with the Nesuckchess to attend me. Accordingly I carried them to a spot between the Shah’s camp and the Navab’s, and, having washed them with sandalwood, burnt them.
About two thousand of the fugitives from the Bhow’s camp, who had escaped from slaughter by Shuja-ul-Dowlah’s protection, were present on this occasion, and all were of opinion that the headless body was the Bhow’s ; but still, the head not having been seen, there was some room for doubt. In the evening, after burning the bodies, we returned to camp. At night Shuja-ul-Dowlah went to the Grand Vizier, and told him what the Durrany had said respecting the head. The Vizier sent for the Durrany who belonged to Berkhordar Khan, and told him not to fear being obliged to give up his plunder, that he should keep it all if he would confess where the head was. Upon this the Durrany brought it wrapped up in cloth, and threw it down before the Grand Vizier. Rajah Baboo Pundit, the Mahratta Vakeel, being sent for to look at the head, immediately said, ‘this is the head of the Bhow: he was my master, and the care of this is a sacred duty to me; let me beg that this head may be given to me,’ and that I may be permitted to burn it, according to the ceremonial of our religion.’ The Grand Vizier smiled at this request, and gave the head to him, at the same time sending some Nesuckchess with him for his protection. Rajah Baboo Pundit carried the head on the outside of the camp and burnt it; after which no man doubted that the Bhow was actually killed. And this concludes all that I personally know respecting this battle and the death of the Bhow.‘
I afterwards learned from other parts of the country, that Malhar Rao, Damajee Guickwar, Betal Shu Deo and some other chiefs, fled from the battle and escaped. One of the Bhow’s wives escaped on horseback, and got safe to Deig, where Rajah Surja Mul received her with great respect, gave her money, clothes, and a palankin, and sent her with an escort to Jansy, whence she got safe to the Decan.
Shumshere Behader got to Deig, wounded ; Surja Mul had his wounds taken the greatest care of, but he died soon after; and his tomb is at Deig. The ﬁfth day after the battle, the Shah returned to Dehly, which he reached in four marches. He wished to seize on the empire of Hindostan; but God disapproved of this design.
After our return to Dehly, Shuja-ul-Dowlah sent all the fugitives from the Mahratta camp, who had taken shelter with him, under a guard of his own troops, to the boundary of Jauts dominions, where they were safe.
Eight days after this, by the pleasure of God, all the Durranies mutinied in a body, and insisted on the discharge of their arrears for the two years past, and also that they should immediately march back to Kabul. This confusion lasted for some days, during which time the Durranies quarrelled with Shuja-ul-Dowlah’s people, and threatened to attack his camp. His Excellency, highly provoked at this, went to the Grand Vizier, and asked him, ‘ if that was the treatment he was to experience after all the ﬁne promises that had been made to him?’ The Vizier assured him that both the Shah and himself had the highest respect and attention for his Excellency; but that the Durranies were out of all power of control. ‘Then (said the Navab), I see the value of your promise’; and got up to depart. The Vizier embraced him, saying, ‘we shall meet again’; his Excellency made no reply.
As soon as he returned to his own camp, he consulted with his friends; and all agreed that it was no longer advisable to remain with the Shah’s army. Accordingly in the afternoon he decamped, and marched ﬁfteen coss that night and in this manner, by ﬁve forced marches, he got to Mindy Gaut on the Ganges. He was apprehensive that the Shah might be so provoked at the abruptness of his departure, as to order him to be pursued; but no such step was taken and the Navab crossed the Ganges, and returned with safety into his own dominions.
After this, we learned from the news-writers, the Shah ﬁnding it impossible to pacify his army by any other means, was obliged to give up his views in Hindostan, and return to Kabul; having received above forty lacs of rupees from Nujeib-ul-Dowlah for the assistance which he had given him.‘
Though this narrative is written from memory, and long since the events happened, I do not believe that I have omitted any circumstance of importance; and those who reflect upon these transactions will believe that Providence made use of Ahmed Shah Durrany, to humble the unbecoming pride and presumption of the Mahrattas; for in the eyes of God pride is criminal.