Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,051 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.


1.  ’The prisons of Gwalior are situated in a small outwork on the western side of the fortress, immediately above the Dhondha gateway.  They are called “nau chauki”, or “the nine cells”, and are both well lighted and well ventilated.  But in spite of their height, from fifteen to twenty-six feet, they must be insufferably close in the hot season.  These were the State prisons in which Akbar confined his rebellious cousins, and Aurangzeb the troublesome sons of Dara and Murad, as well as his own more dangerous son Muhammad.  During these times the fort was strictly guarded, and no one was allowed to enter without a pass’ (A.S.R., vol. ii, p. 369), Sulaiman Shikoh, whom Manucci credits with ‘all the gifts of nature’, was poisoned at Gwalior early in the reign of Aurangzeb, by order of that monarch, paternal uncle of the victim (Irvine, Storia do Mogor, i. 380).  The author, following Bernier, always calls Shahjahan’s eldest son simply Dara.  His name really was Dara Shikoh (or Shukoh), meaning ’in splendour like Darius’.

2.  The following twelve chapters contain an historical piece, to the personages and events of which the author will have frequent occasion to refer; and it is introduced in this place from its connexion with Gwalior, the State prison in which some of its actors ended their days. [W.  H. S.]

The ‘historical piece’ which occupies chapters 37 to 46, inclusive of the author’s text is little more than a paraphrase of The History of the Late Rebellion in the States of the Great Mogol by Bernier, as the disquisition is called in Brock’s translation.  Mr. A. Constable’s revised and annotated translation of Bernier’s work (Constable and Co., 1891; reprinted with corrections.  Oxford University Press, 1914) renders superfluous the reprinting of Sleeman’s paraphrase, which would require much correction and comment before it could be presented to readers of the present day.  The main facts of the narrative are, moreover, now easily accessible in the histories of Elphinstone and innumerable other writers.  Such explanations as may be required to elucidate allusions to the excised portion in the later chapters of the anthor’s work will be found in the notes.  The titles of the chapters which have not been reprinted follow here for facility of reference.


Aurangzeb and Murad Defeat their Father’s Army near Ujain.


Dara Marches in Person against his Brothers, and is Defeated.


Dara Retreats towards Lahore—­Is robbed by the Jats—­Their Character.


Shah Jahan Imprisoned by his Two Sons, Aurangzeb and Murad.


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