Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

38.  The tomb desecrated by Mr. Blake is on the right of the road leading from the Kutb Minar to the village of Mihrauli, and is either that of Adham Khan, whom Akbar put to death in A.D. 1562 for the murder of Shams-ud-din Muhammad Atgah Khan, one of the Emperor’s foster fathers, or the neighbouring ‘family grave enclosure’ of his brothers, known as the Chaunsath Khambha, or Hall of Sixty-four Pillars.  Adham Khan’s tomb is still, or was until recently, used as a rest-house (Fanshawe, pp. 14, 228, 242, 256, 278; Carr Stephen, pp. 31, 200, pl. ii).  The best-known of the ‘kokahs’, or foster-brothers, of Akbar is Aziz, the son of Shams-ud-din above mentioned.  Aziz received the title of Khan-i-Azam (Von Noer, The Emperor Akbar, transl. by Beveridge, vol. i, pp. 78, 95; and Blochmann, Ain-t-Akbari, vol. i, pp. 321, 323, &c.).  The young chief of Jaipur died in 1834, and in the course of disturbances which followed, the Political Agent was wounded, and Mr. Blake, his assistant, was killed (D.  Boulger, Lord William Bentinck, ‘Rulers of India’ series, p. 143).  I cannot find mention in any authority of Imam Mashhadi.  Mr. Fraser’s murder has been fully described ante chapter 64.

CHAPTER 68

New Delhi, or Shahjahanabad.

On the 22nd of January, 1836, we went on twelve miles to the new city of Delhi, built by the Emperor Shahjahan, and called after him Shahjahanabad; and took up our quarters in the palace of the Begam Samru, a fine building, agreeably situated in a garden opening into the great street, with a branch of the great canal running through it, and as quiet as if it had been in a wilderness.[1] We had obtained from the Begam permission to occupy this palace during our stay.  It was elegantly furnished, the servants were all exceedingly attentive, and we were very happy.

The Kutb Minar stands upon the back of the sandstone range of low hills, and the road descends over the north-eastern face of this range for half a mile, and then passes over a level plain all the way to the new city, which lies on the right bank of the river Jumna.  The whole plain is literally covered with the remains of splendid Muhammadan mosques and mausoleums.  These Muhammadans seem as if they had always in their thoughts the saying of Christ which Akbar has inscribed on the gateway at Fathpur Sikri:  ’Life is a bridge which you are to pass over, and not to build your dwellings upon.’[2] The buildings which they have left behind them have almost all a reference to a future state—­they laid out their means in a church, in which the Deity might be propitiated; in a tomb where leaned and pious men might chant their Koran over their remains, and youth be instructed in their duties; in a serai, a bridge, a canal built gratuitously for the public good, that those who enjoyed these advantages from generation to generation might pray for the repose of their souls.  How could it be otherwise where the land was the property of Government, where capital was never concentrated or safe, when the only aristocracy was that of office, while the Emperor was the sole recognized heir of all his public officers?

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