Sunday, June 15, 2014

When Niazis contested for throne of Delhi

Islam Shah succeeded to the throne after the death of sher Shah suri. Though Sher Shah`s eldest son, Adil Khan was nominated by him as his successor but the nobles preferred Jalal Khan, Sher Shah`s younger son who was regarded more capable by them. Jalal Khan was called by them to come to Kalinjar and after his arrival, he was declared Sultan on 27 may 1545 A.D. He assumed the title of Islam Shah.

Islam Shah could not feel secure as long as his elder brother was alive. He asked him to come to Agra. He was assured of his life and the grant of Jagir of Sayan. Eminent nobles like Isa Khan Niazi and Khawas Khan stood surety for his life. Adil Khan went to Agra, paid homage to the Sultan and returned to Bayana. Islam Shah tried to murder him but failed. Feeling insecure Adil Khan sought support of Khawas Khan. They combined their forces and proceeded towards Agra but the rebels were defeated. Adil Khan fled towards Panna and was heard of no more. Khavass Khan also fled towards Sarhind.

Islam Shah tried to kill ail those nobles who were supposed to be in sympathy with Adil Khan. Thirteen old nobles were sent to Gwalior where they were blown by gun-powder. Said Niazi fled away from the court and found shelter with his brother Haibat Khan Niazi, governor of Lahore. .On account of his flight, Islam Shah went back to Agra, where he collected his troops and marched thence towards Dehli. When Shujé.’ Khan received intelligence of these occurrences, he hastened to Dehli with all possible speed, without being summoned by Islam Shah. The King gratified him by treating him with distinction, and after arranging his army, and halting some days at Dehli, he proceeded in the direction of Lahore. ’Haibat Khan and the whole of the King’s enemies had an interview with Khawas Khan and his friends, and dispatched a powerful force from the Panjab to encounter Islam Shah. They came up with each other near Ambala; and as Islam Shah was encamped very near the Niazi troops, a fight was imminent.

On the night preceding the day of battle, ’Haibat Khan and his brothers met in Khawas Khan’s tent, and consulted together concerning the appointment of another Sovereign. Khawas Khan said, that the best course would be to raise ’Adil Khan, the eldest son of Sher Shah, to the throne, as he was the rightful heir. Upon this all the Niazis said unanimously, “ What advice is this ? No one obtains a kingdom by inheritance ; it belongs to whoever can gain it by the sword.’.’ Khawas Khan was vexed at their intentions, and on the same night he secretly sent a verbal message to one of the confidential servants of Islam Shah, requesting him to inform the King, that although His Majesty looked on him (Khawas Khan) as an unfaithful servant, yet that his heart had always inclined towards Sher Shah’s family and offspring; and that although he had sided with ’Adil Khan, who were the Niazis that he should be guilty of disloyalty to his benefactor on their account, and for the sake of their alliance ? That his wish to be of service should, with the consent of the Almighty, be made manifest on the day of battle.

When Islam Shah became aware of the disagreement which had taken place amongst the chiefs of the enemy, and of the friendly feeling of Khawas Khan, he rejoiced exceedingly, and became confident of success. Meanwhile, news was brought that the Niazi troops had advanced to within a very short distance of the royal camp. Islam Shah said: “ The Afghans have no sense.” He made an enclosure with all his wheeled carriages, like a fortress, into which he caused the whole of his army to enter, and then went in person to reconnoiter the Niazis from an elevated position. When he beheld the foe, he said, “ I shall be disgraced if I do not fight the rebel troops,” and ordered the chains, with which the carriages were fastened together to be removed. At that moment, he ranged his troops in battle array, and made ready for the fight. The war drums were beaten on both sides._ Khawas Khan sent to tell ’Haibat Khan and his brothers to advance when they saw him do so on his elephant with his standard displayed, and not to forsake him. With this intention they turned their faces towards the field. Khawas Khan started from his post, but attacked no one, and succeeded in making his way into the open country. The Niazis fought to the best of their ability, but as no benefit is ever derived from disloyalty, and as it always occasions distress and regret, they were routed, and the victory remained with Islam Shah.

Whilst these events were occurring, Said Khan Niazi, the brother of ’Haibat Khan, came armed to the teeth, under the pretext of congratulating the King; hoping, as no one knew him, to find an opportunity of slaying Islam Shah. He mixed with the royal guards. Islam Shah was at the time standing surrounded by a circle of war elephants, and Said Khan was, consequently, unable to reach him immediately. He was shortly afterwards recognized by one of the elephant drivers, who gave the alarm, and was slain by a thrust of Said’s spear. Said’s valour and strength enabled him to make good his escape from the place where the royal guards were. The Niazis fled to Dinkot, which is near Roh. After their defeat, they were hindered in their flight by the marshy ground in the neighborhood bf Ambala, which prevented their horses from proceeding, and consequently Islam Shah’s troops who were in pursuit coming up with them, made a great slaughter of the Niazis. Islam Shah followed them in person as far as New Rohtas, and there appointed Khwaja Wais Sarwani, with an immense army, to prosecute the war with the Niazis, after which he turned back towards agra and Gwalior.

Haibat khan Niazi and Khwaja Wais fought together on several occasions. In the last action ’haibat khan defeated the Khwaja, and turned his face towards Sirhind. When Islam Shah heard this news, he raised a large force, and sent it against the Niazis, on which ’haibat khan retraced his steps and went to Mankot. Islam Shah’s troops came up with him near Sambhal, and a battle took place, in which the Niazis, numbering 20,000 were again routed. Numbers of Niazi women, falling into the hands of conquerors, were sent to Islam shah. The captured Niazis including women and children were brutally treated by Islam Shah. According to Ram Prasad Tripathi,
"The most repugnant and disgusting feature in the Niazi war was the beastly treatment given to Niazi women.Some were kept exposed for months in the state of nudity. Others were made over to harlots!
This dishonor of Niazi ladies was resented by afghans in general, most of whom were in some way connected togather.
After their defeat, the Niazis took refuge with the Ghakkars, in the hill-country bordering on Kashmir. Islam Shah advanced in person with a large army for the purpose of quelling the Niazi rebellion, and during the pace of two years was engaged in constant conflicts with the Ghakkars, whom he desired to subdue. He strove by every means in his power to gain possession of the person of Sultan Adam Ghakkar, who had been a faithful friend of the Emperor Humayun, without success; but he caught Serang Sultan Ghakkar, who was one of the most noted men of his tribe, and caused him to be flayed alive, and confined his son, Kamal Khan, in the fort of Gwalior. When Islam Shah had thus taken a proper revenge of Sultan Adam Ghakkar, and destroyed many of his tribe, many of the zaminda'rs whose possessions were at the foot of the hills submitted themselves to him. Skirting the hills.

He then set seriously to work to exterminate the Niazis. When the Ghakkars had been rendered powerless, Haibat Khan went into the hill-country of Kashmir. Islam Shah encamped beneath Kaitiili-shahr, and designed to pursue the Niazis into Kashmir; while Mirza Haidar, the Governor of Kashmir, in order to gain Islam Shah’s good-will, blocked up the road against the Niazis. ’haibat khan perceived that the King was coming in his rear, and that the Governor of Kashmir had closed the path on ahead ; being, therefore, unable to effect anything, he went to Rajauri. Islam Shah 'pursued the Niazis with the choicest of his troops as far as the village of Madad, in the territory of Naushahra, where he was terrified by the dangers and difficulties of the mountain passes, and thought that his best plan would be to make peace. With this view he sent Said Khan and ’Abdu-l Malik, who were two of his most trusted and confidential courtiers, with a letter to ’haibat khan and the other Niazis, counseling them to take a course by which their interests would be best benefited’. Haibat khan son and mother were then surrendered as hostages to Islam Shah, and he, taking them with him, quitted the defiles of the hills, and encamped at Ban, a village near Sialkot.

Muhammad Nazr and Sabr ’Ali, the King of Kashmir’s governors in Réjanri, plotted to carry ’Haibat khan into Kashmir, and expel Mirza Haidar thence. Haibat khan consulted the Afghans who had accompanied him with reference to the propriety of this proceeding, and the greater portion of them counseled him to consent to what was evidently a decree of the Almighty. ’haibat khan, however, refused to agree to this arrangement, and sent a brahman to Mirza Haidar, with proposals for accommodation, at the same time begging for assistance, and giving an account of his distressed condition. Mirza Haidar, who was a youth of a magnanimous disposition, sent a large sum of money to ’haibat Khan, with a civil message.

Haibat khan marched from his encampment to the village of Buzurg. When the faithless Kashmiris saw that haibat khan was unsuccessful, they turned against him and deserted him. Some of them went over to Islam Shah. Ghazi Khan Chak went to Mirza Haidar and told him that haibat khan was coming with a body of Afghans for the purpose of seizing Kashmir, and had reached the pargana of Banihél, and the hills of Lohkot and Malwakot. I'di Ratna, Husain Mékari, Bahrarn Chak, and Yusuf Ghak, were ordered to attack the Niazis with a. force of Kashmiris. Both sides prepared for action, and a fierce contest took place. Bibi Rabia, the wife of Haibat khan, fought like a man, and smote Lali Chak with her sword. The Kashmiris were very numerous, and were victorious over the discomfited Afghans. ’Haibat khan, Said Khan, and Bibi Rabi'a were killed in the battle, and the men of Kashmir returned successful to Srinagar. Mirza Haidar sent the heads of the Afghans, by the hand of Ya’kiib Mir, to Islam Shah, who was in the village of Ban, near the river Chinab, and who, well pleased at the termination of the Niazi rebellion, marched back homewards.

The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period - Sir Henry Miers Elliot - Google Books

History Of India Under Humayun - William Erskine