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.

’They consider the Supreme Being to be above all labour, and believe Brahma to be the creator of the world, Vishnu its preserver, and Siva its destroyer.  But one sect believes that God, who hath no equal, appeared on earth under the three above-mentioned forms, without having been thereby polluted in the smallest degree, in the same manner as the Christians speak of the Messiah; others hold that all these were only human beings, who, on account of their sanctity and righteousness, were raised to these high dignities.’ [W.  H. S.] The passage quoted is from Gladwin’s translation, vol. ii, p. 318 (4th ed., London, 1800).  The wording varies in different editions of Gladwin’s work.  A better version will be found in Jarrett, transl. Ain (Calcutta, 1894), vol. iii, p. 8.

There is no substantial foundation for the author’s statement that Abul Fazl learned his charity and toleration from the Hindoo mother of Jahangir.  The influences which really moulded the opinions of both Abul Fazl and his royal master are well known.  When Akbar and Abul Fazl are compared with Elizabeth and Burleigh, Philip II and Alva, or the other sovereigns and ministers of the age in Europe, it seems to be little less than a miracle that the Indian statesmen should have held and practised the noble philosophy expounded in the above quotation from the ‘Institutes of Akbar’.  No man has deserved better than Akbar the stately eulogy pronounced by Wordsworth on a hero now obscure: 

A meteor wert thou in a darksome night;
Yet shall thy name, conspicuous and sublime,
Stand in the spacious firmament of time,
Fixed as a star:  such glory is thy right.
(Sonnets dedicated to Liberty, Part Second, No.  XVII.)

20.  The story is absurd, the saint having died early in 1572, when the Fathpur-Sikri buildings were in progress.

’The city . . . is enclosed on three sides by high embattlemented stone walls pierced by. . . gateways protected by heavy and grim semi-circular bastions of rubble masonry.  The fourth side was protected by a large lake.’  There were nine gateways (E.  W. Smith, op. cit., pp. 1, 59; pl. xci, xciii).  The Sangin Burj, or Stone Tower, is a fine unfinished fortification (ibid., p. 34).  The dam of the lake burst in the 27th year of the reign, A.D. 1582 (Latif, Agra, p. 159).  The circumference of the town is variously stated as either six or seven miles.

21.  Akbar began the works at the fort of Agra in A.H. 972, corresponding to A.D. 1564-65, several years before he began those at Fathpur in A.D. 1569-70 (E. & D., vol. v, pp. 295, 332); and the buildings at Agra and Fathpur were carried on concurrently.  He continued building at Fathpur nearly to the close of his reign.  Agra was never ‘an unpeopled waste’ during Akbar’s reign.  Sikandar Lodi had made it his capital in A.D. 1501.

22.  That is to say, the grantees have now to pay land revenue, or rent, to the state.

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