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The Guru !! Bairam Khan !!

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The Guru !! Bairam Khan !!

Post by Tanthya on 2013-08-16, 16:49

, as to his outward appearance. ‘Akbar,’ wrote his son, the Emperor Jahangir, ‘was of middling stature, but with a tendency to be tall; he had a wheat-colour complexion, rather inclining to be dark than fair, black eyes and eyebrows, stout body, open forehead and chest, long arms and hands. There was a fleshy wart, about the size of a small pea, on the left side of his nose, which appeared exceedingly beautiful, and which was considered very auspicious by physiognomists, who said that it was a sign of immense riches and increasing prosperity. He had a very loud voice, and a very elegant and pleasant way of speech. His manners and habits were quite different from those of other persons, and his visage was full of godly dignity.’ Other accounts confirm, in its essentials, this description. Elphinstone writes of him as ‘a strongly built and handsome man, with an agreeable expression of countenance, and very captivating manners,’ and as having been endowed with great personal strength. He was capable of enduring great fatigue; was fond of riding, of walking, o

hunting, and of all exercises requiring strength and skill. His courage was that calm, cool courage which is never thrown off its balance, but rather shines with its greatest lustre under difficulty and danger. Though ready to carry on war, especially for objects which he deemed essential to the welfare of the empire or for the common weal, he did not rejoice in it. Indeed, he infinitely preferred applying himself to the development of those administrative measures which he regarded as the true foundation of his authority. War, then, to him was nothing more than a necessary evil. We shall find throughout his career that he did not wage a single war which he did not consider to be necessary to the completion and safety of his civil system. He had an affectionate disposition, was true to his friends, very capable of inspiring affection in others, disliked bloodshed, was always anxious to temper justice with mercy, preferred forgiveness to revenge, though, if the necessities of the case required it, he could be stern and could steel his heart against its generous promptings. Like all large-hearted men he was fond. of contributing to the pleasures of others. Generosity was thus a part of his nature, and, even when the recipient of his bounties proved unworthy, he was more anxious to reform him than regretful of his liberality. For civil administration he had a natural inclination, much preferring the planning of a system which might render the edifice his arms were erecting suitable to the yearnings of the people to the planning of a
campaign. On all the questions which have affected mankind in all ages, and which affect them still, the questions of religion, of civil polity, of the administration of justice, he had an open mind, absolutely free from prejudice, eager to receive impressions. Born and bred a Muhammadan, he nevertheless consorted freely and on equal terms with the followers of Buddha, of Brahma, of Zoroaster, and of Jesus. It has been charged against him that in his later years he disliked learned men, and even drove them from his court. It would be more correct to say that he disliked the prejudice, the superstition, and the obstinate adherence to the beliefs in which they had been educated, of the professors who frequented his court. He disliked, that is, the weaknesses and the foibles of the learned, and when these were carried to excess, he dispensed with their attendance at his court. What he was in other respects will be discovered by the reader for himself in the last chapter of this book. Sufficient, I hope, has been stated to give him some idea of the characteristics of the latent capacity of the young prince, who, fourteen years old, had under the tutelage of Bairam Khan won the battle of Panipat, and had marched from the field directly, without a halt, upon Delhi. Few, if any, of those about him knew then the strength of his character or the resources of his intellect. Certainly, his Atalik, Bairam, did not understand him, or he would neither have assassinated Tardi Beg in his tent at Sirhind, nor have suggested to the young prince to


plunge his sword into the body of the captured Hemu. But both Bairam and the other nobles of the court and army were not long kept in ignorance of the fact that in the son of Humayun they had, not a boy who might be managed, but a master who would be obeyed.
Akbar remained one month at Delhi. He sent thence a force into Mewat to pursue the broken army of Hemu and to gain the large amount of treasure it was conveying. In this short campaign his general, Pir Muhammad Khan of Sherwan, at the time a follower of Bairam but afterwards persecuted by him was eminently successful. Akbar then marched upon and recovered Agra.
But his conquests south of the Sutlej were not safe so long as the Punjab was not secure. And, as we have seen, he had been forced to leave at Mankot, driven back but not overcome, a determined enemy of his House in the person of Sikandar Sur. In March of the following year (1557) he received information that the advanced guard of the troops he had left in the Punjab had been defeated by that prince some forty miles from Lahore. Noblemen who came from the Punjab told him that the business was very serious, as Sikandar had made sure of a very strong base at Mankot, whence he might emerge to annoy even though he were defeated in the field, and that his victory had encouraged his partisans. Akbar recognised all the force of the argument, and resolved to put in force a maxim which constituted the great

strength of his reign, that if a thing were to be done at all, it should be done thoroughly. He accordingly marched straight on Lahore, and, finding Lahore safe, from that capital into Jalandhar, where his enemy was maintaining his ground. On the approach of Akbar, Sikandar retreated towards the Siwaliks, and threw himself into Mankot. There Akbar besieged him.
The siege lasted six months. Then, pressed by famine and weakened by desertions, Sikandar sent some of his nobles to ask for terms. Akbar acceded to his request that his enemy might be allowed to retire to Bengal, leaving his son as a hostage that he would not again war against the Emperor. The fort then surrendered, and Akbar returned to Lahore; spent four months and fourteen days there to arrange the province, and then marched on Delhi. As he halted at Jalandhar, there took place the marriage of Bairam Khan with a cousin of the late emperor, Humayun. This marriage had been arranged by Humayun, and to the young prince his father’s wishes on such subjects were a law. Akbar re-entered Delhi on the 15th of March, 1558. Bairam Khan was still, in actual management of affairs, the Atalik, the tutor, of the sovereign, and he continued to be so during the two years that followed, 1558 and 1559. It was not easy for a young boy to shake off all at once the influence of a great general under whom he had been placed to learn his trade, and possibly Akbar, though he did not approve many of the acts  
autthorised in his name by his Atalik, did not feel himself strong enough to throw off the yoke. But the removal by the strong hand of men whom Akbar liked, but who had incurred without reason the enmity of Bairam, gradually estranged the heart of the sovereign from his too autocratic minister. The estrangement, once begun, rapidly increased. Bairam did not recognise the fact that every year was developing the strong points in the character of his master; that he was adding experience and knowledge of affairs to the great natural gifts with which he had been endowed. He still continued to see in him the boy of whom he had been the tutor, whose armies he had led to victory, and whose dominions he was administering. The exercise of power without a check had made the exercise of such power necessary to him, and he continued to wield it with all the self-sufficiency of a singularly determined nature.
Round every young ruler there will be men who will never fail to regard the exercise by another of authority rightly pertaining to him as a grievous wrong to the ruler and to themselves. It is not necessary to inquire into the motives of such men. For one reason or another, often doubtless of a selfish, rarely of a pure and disinterested nature, they desire the young and rightful master of the State to be the dispenser of power and patronage. That there was a cluster of such men about Akbar, of men who disliked Bairam, who had been injured by him, who expected from the prince favours which they could not hope to


obtain from the minister, is certain. Female influence was also brought to bear on the mind of the sovereign. His nurse, who had attended on him from his cradle until after his accession, and who subsequently became the chief of his harem, urged upon him that the time had arrived when he should take the administration into his own hands. Akbar was not unwilling. He was in his eighteenth year. The four years he had lived since Panipat had restored to him part of the inheritance of his father, had been utilised by him in a manner calculated to develop and strengthen his natural qualities. But, though he saw and disliked the tendency to cruelty and arbitrary conduct often displayed by his chief minister, he had that regard for Bairam which a generous heart instinctively feels for the man who has been his tutor from his childhood. Experience, too, had given him so thorough an insight into the character of Bairam that he could not but be sensible that any breach with him must be a complete breach; that he must rid himself of him in a manner which would render it impossible for him to aspire to the exercise of any power whatever. Bairam, he knew, would have the whole authority, or it would be unsafe to entrust him with any.
Various circumstances occurred in the beginning of 1560 which determined Akbar to take into his own hands the reins of government. He went therefore from Agra to Delhi resolved to announce this determination to his minister. Bairam himself had more than



once given an example of the mode in which he rid himself of a rival or a noble whom he hated. His methods were the dagger or the sword. But such a remedy was abhorrent to the pure mind of the young Emperor. Nor – so far as can be gathered from the records of the period – had anyone dared to whisper to him a proposal of that character. The course which his mother and his nurse had alike suggested was to propose to the minister in a manner which would make the proposition have all the effect of a command, an honourable exile to Mekka. Bairam had often publicly declared that he was longing for the opportunity when he could safely resign his political burden into the hands of others and make the pilgrimage which would ensure salvation. Akbar then, anxious to prevent any armed resistance, on arriving at Delhi, issued a proclamation in which he declared that he had assumed the administration of affairs, and forbade obedience to any orders but to those issued by himself. He sent a message to this effect to his minister, and suggested in it the desirability of his making a pilgrimage to Mekka.Bairam had heard of Akbar’s determination before the message reached him, and had quitted Agra on his way



to the western coast. He was evidently very angry, and bent on mischief, for, on reaching Biana, he set free some turbulent nobles who had been there confined. He received there Akbar’s message, and continued thence his journey to Nagaur in Rajputana, accompanied only by nobles who were related to him, and by their respective escorts. From Nagaur, by the hand of one of these, he despatched to the Emperor, as a token of submission to his will, his banner, his kettle-drums, and all other marks of nobility. Akbar, who had been assured that Bairam would most certainly attempt to rouse the Punjab against him, had marched with an army towards that province, and was at Jhajhar, in the Rohtak district, when the insignia reached him. He conferred them upon a former adherent of Bairam’s, but who in more recent times had lived under the displeasure of that nobleman, and commissioned him to follow his late master and see that he embarked for Mekka. Bairam was greatly irritated at this proceeding, and turning short to Bikaner, placed his family under the care of his adopted son and broke out into rebellion. But he had to learn the wide difference of the situation of a rebel against the Mughal, and the trusted chief officer of the Mughal. On reaching Dipalpur, the news overtook him that his adopted son had proved false to his trust and had turned against him. Resolved, however, to rouse the Jalandhar Duab, he pushed on for that well-known locality, only to encounter on its borders the army of the Governor of

the Punjab, Atjah Khan In the battle that followed Bairam was defeated, and fled to Tilwara on the Sutlej, thirty miles to the west of Ludhiana. Akbar, who had been on his track when his lieutenant encountered and defeated him, followed his late Atalik, and reduced him to such straits that Bairam threw himself on his mercy. Then Akbar, remembering the great services he had rendered, pardoned him, and, furnishing him with a large sum of money, despatched him on the road to Mekka. Bairam reached Gujarat in safety, was well received there by the Governor, and was engaged in making his preparations to quit India, when he was assassinated by a Lohani Afghan whose father had been killed at the battle of Machciwara. Akbar, meanwhile, had returned to Delhi (November 9, 1560). He rested there a few days and then pushed on to Agra, there to execute the projects he had formed for the conquest, the union, the consolidation of the provinces he was resolved to weld into an empire. His reign, indeed, in the sense of ruling alone without a minister who assumed the airs of a master, commenced really from this date. The Atalik, who had monopolized the power of the State, was gone, and the future of the country depended now entirely upon the genius of the sovereign.

Tanthya
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Re: The Guru !! Bairam Khan !!

Post by Maria J on 2013-08-16, 17:52

TFS Tants..

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Re: The Guru !! Bairam Khan !!

Post by Abavi on 2013-08-16, 18:08

Wow... long read.. thanks tantgirl

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Re: The Guru !! Bairam Khan !!

Post by riyya6 on 2013-08-17, 17:22

10q ....

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Re: The Guru !! Bairam Khan !!

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