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Affghan, or, as it is sometimes called, Dowranee and Abdalli empire, such as it then was, no longer exists; having, after various convulsions and changes, been divided under different rulers.*
The Sikhs, soon after the death of Ahmed, made themselves masters of Lahore, and even extended their conquests considerably beyond it. But the countries possessed by them, being divided under different chiefs, who, though confederated, are in the government of their immediate possessions
quired much entreaty and negociation, ere he would consent to send the body back, and permit it, together with the body of Sedashéo Row Bow to be burnt according to the custom of their cast."-See Account of the battle of Paniput, As. Res. vol. iii.
* Taimur Shah died after a reign of nineteen years. His government is said to have been mild and equitable, but having relaxed from that strict military discipline, and that exact administration of affairs invariably maintained by his father, his authority declined, order was no longer preserved, and to these causes, and the manner in which he bequeathed his possessions by dividing them, is to be ascribed the dissolution of the Affghan monarchy.
independent, feuds were the natural consequence of such a system. Each chief wished to increase his territories; each became the jealous rival and enemy of his neighbour; each had a fortress, or castle, for his residence, and in the Panjab, not only every town, but every considerable village, is surrounded with walls, to secure those who reside in them from being surprised by the enemies of their chief.* The Guru-Mata, or national council, still exists; but the powerful chiefs frequently refuse to obey its decrees. Hence their combined operations are necessarily tardy and imperfect, whether in the way of defensive or offensive war: and Dowlat Row Scindia, the adopted son and successor of MadahJee Scindia, besides compelling the Sikhs to abandon all they had taken possession
* This mode exists in other parts of India, particularly those which by their situation were exposed to sudden incursions of the Mahrattas. Instead of walls, the villages are sometimes inclosed with broad thick hedges, of bamboos and various species of thorns.
of in the province of Dehly, obliged those who had settled in Sirhind, to submit and pay tribute, but who, in consequence of his unsuccessful war with the English, again recovered their independence.
The countries now possessed by the Sikhs, are bounded on the west by the Indus; on the north by the chain of mountains that extend from that river under Cashmire, towards Gungowtry; on the N. E. and E, by the possessions of the mountaineer Rajahs of Jammu, Nadon, and Srinagur, and by the Jumnah; and southward, by the possessions of the English, by the sandy deserts of Jesalmir and Hansaya Hisar, and by the northern borders of Sindy, at the city of Backar, on the Indus. Many parts of their territories, but particularly the Panjab, are remarkably fertile, producing wheat, barley, rice, and various other grain. Grapes, and other fruits, are in the greatest plenty; and in the tract between the Indus and Behut, are some extensive valuable mines of rock-salt.
The word Panjab is a compound of the
words Panj, five, and ab, water, intending
dūstan. An avenue of shady trees once extended the whole of the way from thence to Agra, a distance of about five hundred English miles.*
All the descendants of the followers of
*Remains of such avenues are to be met with in different parts of India. They were planted and maintained by the munificence of princes and nobles, not only to ornament their countries, but also for utility. By their shade, travellers were protected from the scorching rays of the sun, and at certain distances found seats to repose themselves. Along the roads also, choultries, or public buildings, are to be found, into which all, of whatever country, or faith, may freely enter, and lodge without expense. Many of those were erected and endowed by the Hindu princes of the country, and many by rich individuals, and not unfrequently in consequence of some pious vow. A Brahmin of inferior order generally resides near the choultry, who furnishes the needy traveller with a portion of rice, and fuel to prepare it. It is not an uncommon practice also, in the southern parts of India, in the extreme hot season, for rich persons to cause numerous intermediate temporary choultries to be erected, which are constructed with timbers, covered with the broad leaves of the palm tree, and where persons constantly attend to furnish Congi, or rice-water, ready prepared, to assuage the thirst of those who may chuse to take it.