Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dost Muhammad Khan Orakzai (founder of Bhopal)

Dost Muhammad Khan, the son of Nur Muhammad Khan, of Mirzai Khel, emigrated to Hindustan from Tirah, in the beginning of the reign of Bahadur Shah, son of Aurangzeb Alamgir, in the year 1120 A.H. (1708 A.D) and settled in Lohari-Jalalabad (Muzaffarnagar district of U.P, India) ; but having quarreled with and slain an Afghan there, he fled through fear of being brought to justice by Jalal Khan, ruler of Jalalabad, and betook himself to Shahjahanabad (Delhi), whence he accompanied the imperial army which had been ordered to the province of Malwa.

On his arrival in Malwa he first took service with the Raja of Sita Mhow, but left his employ to visit Muhammad Faruq, governor of the city of Bhilsa, where he deposited his goods and chattels, and proceeded empty handed to take employment under one of the Sardars of Malwa, by whose orders he attacked the zamindar of Bans Barla, and was wounded in the encounter.

By mistake a report of his death was brought to Muhammad Faruk, who proceeded to lay hands on the property which had been left in Bhilsa. Dost Muhammad Khan, enraged at hearing the news, came to Bhilsa and presented himself before the governor, who restored part of his property, but refused to give up the remainder. Whereupon Dost Muhammad Khan withdrew in wrath to Mangulgurh, near Bairesia, and entered into service with the mother of Thakur Anund Singh, Solunki Rajput. Such was the fidelity and energy of the Elian that the Rani used to call him her own son. On her death he retained possession of certain jewels and property which had been entrusted to him; and withholding them from the Rani's heir, went away to the town of Bairesia, which at that time was held under an imperial grant by Taj Muhammad Khan, one of the nobles of the Imperial Court of Delhi. Owing to the decline of the dynasty of Timour, there was great insecurity of life and property in Bttn dustan. Highway robberies were frequent; the Rajputs of Malwa, such as the Thakur of Parason, "c., used to issue from Malwa and plunder the country from the borders of Berar to Kandeish, and in like manner the pargana of Bairesia was laid waste at their hands. Yar Elian, amil of the Chandkhatri Taluk, the agents and servants of the grantee, were utterly unable to cope with the robbers. At the instance of Kazi Muhammad Salah, Sundul Rai, and Alum Chand Kanongo, Dost Muhammad Khan took a lease of Bairesia for 30,000 rupees a year from the grantee; and having induced his relations, the Pathans of his clan from Afghanistan to join him, formed the intention of subjugating the country.

He sent a certain experienced spy disguised as a beggar to Parason to find out particulars. The spy sent intelligence that it was the time of the Holi just then, that the chief of Parason and his followers were employed in dancing, painting each other, and revelry, and were quite off their guard; so Dost Muhammad Khan set out with a force of his own trustworthy adherents, and reached Parason at midnight. The chief, his servants, and all his clan were sitting intoxicated in the height of the feast of the Holi, witnessing a nautch ; suddenly the Fathan Sirdar and his soldiers appeared in the midst of the assembly, who were taken by surprise; a great number, including the Chief, were killed; and the women, children, and property of the slain fell into the hands of the Sirdar. After this the Fathans girded up the loins of resolution, and applied their energies to subduing the country. The unruly spirits in Kitchiwara and Umatwara were kept well in check. Raja Khan and Shamshir Ehan, who under Muhammad Faruk H"kim of BhOsa were deputies in charge of Shamshabad, encountered them and were slain. A Rajput of the Dewara clan, chief of Jugdespur, a noted robber, demanded tribute from the patel of Barkhera in Fargana Dilod ; the patel relying on the Pashtun's support refused payment, the Rajputs plundered him; the patel appealed to the Pashtuns, who offered him their condolence and consolation, and secretly set about planning retaliation. Before many days had passed, the Thakur of Raipur, in the Dilod Fargana, was able to give them intelligence that the Rajputs of Jugdespur had started on an expedition to rob a caravan, and that only a few of their elders were left in the villages.

 On hearing this news. Dost Muhammad Khan took a body of picked men, and under pretext of sport pitched his tents on the banks of the Tahal river, close to Jugdespur, and sent an envoy to the Thakur of that place to express his desire for an interview; the Rajput chiefs sent him the materials for a feast, and next day themselves appeared to pay him a visit. Dost Muhammad Khan went out to meet them, and with a great profession of friendship invited them into his tent, caused them to be seated, and when by specious compliments and professions he had completely allayed their suspicions, he rose up under pretence of distributing attar and pdn. According to a preconcerted plan his own followers had been posted close round the tent as if for parade and pomp, and had been instructed that, as soon as their leader came out and asked for attar and pan, they were to sever the tent ropes, throw down the tent, and cut down the Rajputs. Accordingly, as soon as Dost Muhammad Khan came out of the tent, his soldiers executed his orders and murdered all the Rajputs, whose bodies were thrown into the river, which from that day has been called the Halali.* Thus Jugdespur, with the women and property of the Rajputs, fell into the hands of Dost Muhammad Ehan and his brother, who changed the name of the place to Islamnagar, erected a fort and substantial buildings, made it their residence, and set about subduing the surrounding territories. In a short time having acquired considerable power and prosperity, Dost Muhammad Khan was ambitious to measure his strength, with Muhammad Faruk, ruler of Bhilsa, and an encounter took place in the lands of the village of Jumal Bagri, near Bhilsa. Muhammad Faruk having despatched his forces to the fray, himself mounted an elephant, and was a distant spectator of the fight. Dost Muhammad Khan* sent his army to the encounter under the command of his youngest brother Sher Muhammad Khan, and himself with a small body of men, went and lay in ambush behind Jumal Bagri's hill. The fight began: in the height of the battle, Raja Khan, Mewatti of T"OY"h", thrust his spear right through Sher Muhammad Khan's body, but himself was cut in two, and both were killed on the spot. The Bhopal force turned and fled, pursued by the Bhilsa troops, and Muhammad Faruk caused the drums of victory to be beaten; Dost Muhammad Khan seeing his rival unguarded and alone, proceeded to surround him, and with great daring and intrepidity he slew Muhammad Faruk and took his escort prisoners. Then covering his face, he mounted the elephant of the slain, whose corpse he propped upright before him, at the same time compelling the drummers who had been taken captive to beat the drums of victory. The Bhilsa troops hearing from afar the sound of the State drums, and seeing their lord standing up, pressed on in pursuit of the Bhopal force. It was late in the evening when this took place. Dost Muhammad Khan * Halali mt;aus th"j river of slaughter.

proceeded towards Bhilsa ; the garrison of the fort taking bim for their own commander^ opened the gates and admitted him and his soldiers. Dost Muhammad Khan then threw down the corpse of Muhammad Faruk before the very eyes of the garrison^ and made himself master of the fort.
The power of Dost Muhammad Elhan was greatly increased by this victory, and in a short time Mahalpur Gulgaon, Untkhera, Gyaspur, Ambapani, Sanchit, Chorasi Chhanwah, Khamkhera, Ahmadpur, Bagrod, Dordha, Sihor, Itchawar, Debipura, Sat, and so many parganas of Malwa came into his possession and management, that Bahadur, the subah of Malwa, alarmed at this state of affairs, drew out his army from Ujain. Dost Muhammad Khan opposed him, and by help from above, the subah was defeated^ and his artillery and much war material of Ujain fell into the enemy's hands. Bijjeh Ram, amil of Shajawalpur, recognising his rising fortunes, made over that district to him, and himself accepted service under him. Dalel Khan, chief of Kurwai, came to Bairesia to pay a complimentary visit to Dost Muhammad Khan; he proposed that they should join in extending their territory, and that their acquisitions of land and property should be equally divided, but the negociations were interrupted by a quarrel in which Dalel Muhammad Khan was killed, and his adherents made their escape to Kurwai.

Gunnur was a famous fortress of the Gonds, and Nizam Shah Gond, lord of Gunnur, had been poisoned by hi" relative, the chief of Chainpur Bdri, Bani Kumlapati, the widow of Nizam Shah, and her son Naval Shah were living in the fort of Gunnur. The Rani hearing of the valour of Dost Muhammad Khan, invited him secretly to avenge the death of Nizam Shah on the chief of Bari. Dost Muhammad Khan, collecting his forces and being victorious, added the territories of Bari to his dominions, and became manager for the Rani Kumlapati. When she died, he seized upon the fortress of Gunnur also, put to death those Gonds who rebelled, and, bestowing grants according to their degree upon the. rest, earned their gratitude.

Dost Muhammad Khan laid the foundations of the fort and city wall of Bhopal on Friday, the 9th of the month Zilhij, 1140 A.H. The place which was hardly more than a village, built on the side of a hill near a large lake, took his fancy, and he took active measures to promote the growth oifthe town. After the war between Nadir Shah and Muhammad Shah in A.H. 1152, Nawab Kamaruddin Khan, Nizam-ul-mulk (lieutenant of the empire), in the course of his march from Delhi to Haidarabad, encamped with a large army on a hill since known as the Nizam Tekri, near the fort of Islamnagar. It was the Nizam's intention to dispossess Dost Muhammad Khan, whom he regarded as disaffected to himself, because Dost Muhammad Khan's younger brother, Mir Ahmad Khan, at the head of 500 horse and 250 camel-men, had fallen fighting on the side of Dilawar Khan, commander-in-chief of the army of the Amir-ul-Amra, in the battle of Burhanpur, in the year 1132 A.H.

Dost Muhammad Khan, not having sufficient resources to fight, pacified the Nizam by surrendering to him Yar Muhammad Khan, his own son, as a hostage.

In conclusion, Dost Muhammad Khan spent more than thirty years in increasing his renown, and received more than thirty wounds in battle; he departed this life iii the 65th or 66th year of his age, and was buried in the fort of Fatehgarh in Bhopal, where the monument over his grave is to be seen to this day. The grave of his father Nur Muhammad Khan is in Bairesia ; he was one of five brothers; of the others, Sher Muhammad Khan was killed in the fight with Muhammad Faruk. Alif Muhammad Khan met the same fate while fighting against Babu Rao Mahratta. Shah Muhammad Khan foil in a battle with Dewa Bhao, a commander of the Raja of Dhar. Mir Ahmad Khan was killed fighting by the side of Dilawar Ali Khan,

 Source: The Táj-Ul Ikbál Tárikh Bhopal: Or, the History of Bhopal