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heterodox as to begin his history without involving Muhammad and his successors, cannot avoid giving a résumé of the world's history from the days of Adam. No doubt it is religious feeling which has prompted so many Muhammadans to waste their time and that of their readers over such apocryphal narratives, just as Bossuet, in his otherwise admirable discourse on universal history, has given too much space (the remark is Comte's) to the history of the Jews; and though the mischief thus caused by superstition may not be as tragic as the slaughter of Iphigenia, it is probably more real. It is certainly a thousand pities that Ilah Yar followed the bad example of his predecessors, and that he did not give us more of his own experiences, for he lived at an interesting time and had exceptional opportunities. He saw Delhi (p. 41) when he was a boy of twelve, in the days of its splendour and luxury, in the early part of Muhammad Shah's reign, and witnessed. the reception of Nadir Shah's Ambassadors. He saw it again eight years later, when Muhammad Shah was still king, but had become a devotee and companion of dervishes, and was spending his time in solving such riddles as whether the hen or the egg was born first. The glory had now departed from the city, for in the interval there had occurred the sack and massacre by Nadir Shāh. He saw
it for the third time in the reign of 'Alamgir II., after it had been plundered by Ahmad Shah Abdālī, who had caused the foundations of many houses to be dug up in quest of buried treasure. At that time it was in a most deplorable condition. The author was also present at the capture of Gwalior by Major Popham, in 1780, and had the honour of being nominated by Captain Scott to compose a chronogram on the event (p. 164). Elsewhere (p. 109) the author records that he saw upon this occasion the tombs of two gallant princes-Mūrād Bakhsh and Suliman Shikoh. The English soldiers, I am sorry to say, dug them up, but they were restored as far as possible at the instance of Captain Scott. The author also conducted the negotiations with
Cheyt Singh's mother when she was shut up in Bijaigarh, for the delivery of her treasure, etc. (p. 677). Unfortunately they were not rectified by Warren Hastings.
In his preface he tells us that he had been in public employ from the time he was ten till he was fifty-five, and he gives a list of the statesmen he served under. It begins with Mubariz-ul-Mulk, Sar Baland Khan, of Tun, and ends with Ahmad Khan Bangash of Farūkhābād. One of his masters was 'Ali Quli Khan, the six-fingered, and known as Daghistani,* who wrote a biography of poets; but the most interesting name in the list is that of the unfortunate Mir Qasim, the Subahdar of Bihar and Bengal. At p. 612 he tells us that he was Bakhshi and Dārōgha-i-Dagh (branding-officer for the cavalry, i.e., keeper of the musterroll), under Mirzā Asad Ullah, who was Mir Qasim's General, and was sent against the English along with him. They went to support Samru (Sombre) Zu-al-Nūr and Markar the Christian, and apparently the author was present at the battles of Suti and Udwanāla. He recurs to the subject at p. 652, in his account of Rajmahal, and says that he suggested various plans of resistance to the officers, but was not listened to. He also says he had a vision two days before the night attack of Udwanāla, and that by acting in conformity therewith he escaped disaster. The particulars of the vision have been recorded by him, he says, in another work, called the "Lauh-i-Mahfuz," or Guarded Tablet, but I have not found this work mentioned in any catalogue of Persian MSS. At p. 154, he tells us that it contains his conversations with a celebrated mystic called Sifat-Ullah, of Khānābād in Oudh. There is also a reference to the book at p. 679. Ilah Yar seems to have accompanied Mir Qāsim in his flight after the battle of Bakar, and was with him in Rohilkand, in Anwala (Aonla of I. G.), and Bareilly, but separated from him at Gohad, p. 176. Unfortunately he gives no details, and has no personal recollections of
* Also known as the father of Gunna Begam (see Beale's "Orig. Biog. Dict.," 146 and 414).
Mir Qasim beyond an insignificant anecdote, viz., that Mir Qasim told him that Shūjā-ud-Daulah, the Vizier of Oudh, had plundered him of thirty-six sirs weight of jewellery (the text, p. 612, has zinān, belts, but the MSS. seem to have asān, i.e., sirs.)
The author tells us in his preface how he came to write his history. After being a public man for many years he lost his employment, and was living in distress (apparently in his paternal village of Bilgram), when he was introduced in the end of Jumāda the first 1190, July 1776, to Captain Jonathan Scott, by a friend named Rajah 'Ali, of Bāra.* The author was then 57 years old. Jonathan Scott was a good scholar and a generous patron, as he showed on this occasion, and also long afterwards in England, when he befriended Dr. Lee, the Orientalist and translator of the abridged version of Ibn Batuta, In Elliot he is called Persian Secretary of Warren Hastings, but perhaps he did not hold this appointment when Ilah Yar was introduced to him. At all events, we find him engaged in active service at Gwalior in 1780, and we also find Major Davey spoken of about that time as Persian Secretary. Scott wrote some good books, but perhaps the best service he rendered to literature was his encouraging Ilah Yar to write his book. The latter expresses his gratitude to Scott and his admiration for his learning in lively terms, and tells that his patron's Indian name was Jalāl-ud-daulah Mufākhir-i-Jang, that the translation of the name Jonathan is Allāh Bakhsh, or God
* Bāra is given in the I. G. as the name of a village in Oudh, and this is probably the place meant here, for Bilgram is also in Oudh. But Barah was also the name of twelve villages in the Dirāl, famous for being the homes of a large family of Sayyads (see Blochmann's translation of the Ain 390, the Tabaqat Akbari of Nizam-ed-din, Lucknow ed., 384, and Elliot's "Supplemental Glossary," i., II.
On the title-page of his translation of Irädat Khan's "Memoirs," Scott calls himself private Persian translator to Warren Hastings, and in the dedication he thanks Hastings for having given him an appointment in his family. It appears from this dedication that Scott was in London in May, 1786, 1200 A.H., so Ilah must have been out of his employ when revising his book in 1202.
There is a notice of
given, and that the surname Scott stands for the head of a clan. The only thing, indeed, that we know against Scott is that he was the brother (younger) of the notorious Major Scott, alias Scott-Waring. Ilah Yar wrote his book for the entertainment of Captain Scott during the rule of Asaf-ud-Daulah, the Vizier of Oudh. the work in Elliot's "Historians of India," viii., 180, and part of the preface is given there. But the translation does not seem to agree with the original as given in the Lucknow edition. Ilah Yar does not say there that he has changed the expressions of his authorities, but that he has preserved them in order that his readers may see the changes in the Persian language. Nor is it quite fair to say that the author confesses to having an eye to his own interest in writing his book. He does indeed express a hope* that the English will have pity on his old age, and be kind to him, his descendants, and his dependants, but he immediately afterwards recollects himself and addresses his supplications to God. I am afraid, however, that, out of regard to his patrons, he has too often observed a cautious reticence and not told us his full mind. He claims, and apparently with justice, that it is the first book written in Persian which deals with the rise of the English power in India. He concludes by saying that he is the sole author of the book, and that some imperfect copies had been given away, e.g., to Captain Scott, Colonel Polier,† "who is now in Europe," and to Maulwi Darvesh 'Ali of Jaunpur. Now he has revised and corrected his book, and has put his signature to it. Perhaps the fact of the two redactions is the reason why the lithographed edition differs from the manuscripts in the British Museum and the India Office
It is pleasant to learn from the notices in Elliot that the hope was fulfilled, and that Ilah Yar's son rose to high office under the British Government.
This must have been added at the revision in 1202, for Polier did not arrive in Europe till July, 1788 (see Asiatic Journal for 1819, p. 469). Darvesh 'Ali, of Jaunpur is referred to at p. 678 as a young man adorned with learning and other good qualities.
in arrangement, and apparently also in substance. The former has a Faida, Supplement, which begins at p. 549, and extends to the end of the volume, at p. 697, and which contains some of the most interesting things in the book; for instance, the negotiations with Cheyt Singh's mother, and the legend about Akbar's having been a Hindu in a previous life. In the MS. copy in the British Museum the Supplement is much shorter, and I could not find the story about Akbar in the MS., nor in that in the India Office. There is also a copy of the "Hadiqa" in the Bodleian Library, and there is a full description of it in Dr. Ethi's Catalogue, but I have not seen the MS. The passage from the Hadiqa," translated in Elliot, viii., 182, corresponds to one at pp. 612-613 of the Lucknow edition, but there are several discrepancies. It is important that the Lucknow edition. gives no information about the MS. which was used by the editor. Scott contributed to the "Hadiqa" the account of the New World, etc., and Ilāh Yar fully acknowledges his obligations to him. When he says that the work is entirely his own he means that part of it which is concerned with. the Seven Climes. The New World he regards as beyond those limits. At p. 503 he tells us that when he showed his book to Captain Scott that gentleman highly approved of it, and observed that it was very full about the Old World, but that it was a blank as regards the New World. Ilah Yār replied that he had spoken briefly about the latter with reference to the expeditions ordered by Alexander Rūmi, but that his authorities did not contain much on the subject, and begged Captain Scott to supply his deficiencies. This Captain Scott did, and in an interesting passage at p. 504
* Hutton. The author tells us at p. 549, when he was 70 years of age, he began reading for it in Rabi-al-awal, 1202 (December, 1787). He says that as the book had been completed, and copies sent to many places, he could not put the additions after each direct, and so put them into a Supplement. But perhaps the lithographed edition is wrongly arranged, for though the Supplement in it professes to have been written in 1202, it contains many passages where 1194 and 1195 are spoken of as being the present time.