1 - Characters Of The Inhabitants On The
Banks Of The Indus
The River Sind or Indus is well known to be formed by the confluence
of ten subordinate Streams, issuing chiefly from among the Mountains
of the greater and lesser Tibet. It traverses a Tract of Country,
near six hundred and fifty British Miles in direct length, from
the Station of Attok, to it's disemboguement in the Arabian Sea.
The Manners and Disposition of the People, who occupy its Banks,
are perhaps as various as the face of the Country, which they inhabit.
The slightest information on the subject of it's present Political
and Commercial State hitherto, in general but, obscurely known,
may be considered not entirely unworthy of Attention.
This is the object of the following Notes.
Unfortunately, the only light we are enabled to throw upon the
Business, is derived principally from the verbal relation of Natives,
who, from the habit of observing but! superficially, things that
do not interest them, are sometimes faithful, but seldom accurate
I in their representations; In one point of view, however, we may
venture to give implicit credit to the following circumstances,
namely, so far as they relate to Commercial Produce.
Sind, or Sindh
The Province of Sind, comprehending the Delta of the Indus called
Tattah, extends along the Sea Coast, from the Confines of
Kutch, to the Western Branch of the Sind about 170 Miles, and along
that River towards Multan; to Behkker,1
about 300 Miles. It is at present a Government tributary to Salem
Shah, the Son and Successor of Timmur Shah Durrani, King of Kandahar
and Kabul, who died about the middle of 1792; Futtah Ally the Surdaar
of the Province, and who has held possession near 20 years, resides
at Nagure Tattah, in the general defalcation of the Empire of Dehly,
he wrested it from Gulaam Shah, the Moghul's Subahdar; But a report
is now prevailing that a force is advancing from Kandahar to remove
him, and establish a Relation of Gulaam Shah's in his Room.
The Subjects of this Chief are composed of various casts, Mahomedans
and Hindoos; Of the latter, are Brahmins, Katries, Banians, Jaats,
and Koolis. The Jaats are said to observe some institutions similar
to the Seiks, wear their Hair and Beards in the same manner, and
are part of the same People, who under Swrudge Mul,2
&c., formerly possessed many of the Countries in the North of
India, now in the hands of Scindia and the Mahrattas. Of the Mahomedans,
are both Moghuls and Belouhtries3
These last are that race of Men, commonly known in the middle parts
of Hindostan by the name of Sindians; of much estimation in the
Indian Armies, warlike, but untractably
of a subdivision and a tahsil of the same name in the district
of Mianwali, Panjab, Pakistan
||Sooraj Mall (died in
1763), son of Thakur Badan Singh, founder or the ruling house
|Beluchis or Baloch, people
averse to discipline; They were also formerly were
known on the Coast of Mekraan, or rather Laar; to the former,
their Country is contiguous, for their thievish, inhospitable,
and treacherous disposition to the Voyagers who touched upon,
The principal places in the Country are as follows; Nagur Tattah,
the Capital Heiderabad; Sind an open Town 70 Coss above Tattah;
Rhodabad Purana or the old Rodabad Rhodabad nawa, or the new;
Rambunder, Shahabad, Ammerkote, probably that marked in the Map,
in the Desert of Kutch, Mittankote, Karaly, Bunder, Aomarkote,
Hujraat, Shaherabad, and Behkker. This last was formerly a place
of some streugth and importance, and the Capital of considerable
Territory, but is now like most others in this unhappy Country,
falling to ruins; the Historian of the first ten years of the
Reign of Aurungzebe, mentions the Fort of Bhakur, as a place of
strength, into which the accomplished but unfortunate Dara Shegoh4
threw some of his Women and Treasure, in his distressful flight
towards Kutch. Below this Place about 25 Coss, the same Historian
says, there is a Road leading towards Kandahar, which the afflicted
Prince was inclined to follow, and which probably would have rescued
him from the fate, with which he afterwards met, but the entreaties
of his Women, terrified with the idea of the difficulties they
expected to encounter on that Road, and the fortune of his crafty
and victorious Brother prevailing, he continued his Flight down
The Country is described at that time to have been
for the most part Jungul, or Forest on both Sides the River from
Bhakur to Suvestaan, another Port about half way between Bhakur
and the Forks of the Indus, which obliged Aurungzebe's Generals
to relinquish the pursuit; There exists but little reason to suppose
that the Country is much improved since that period.
The Manufactures of the Country are all sorts of white and coloured
Piece Goods. Here also are bred, excellent Horses for Cavalry,
Camels, and Horned Cattle in abundance; the Soil produces Grain
of Sorts, Cotton, Indigo, Sugar, Saltpetre, Hing or Assafatida,
with fruits of various kinds.
The prevailing Color of Apparel of the Inhabitants is Black or
rather dark Black. They receive in importation from Gujraat &ca.
Silk, Nutmegs, Cloves, Mace, Amber, Copper, Oil, Teakwood, planks
The Surdaar maintains, it is said, a considerable Body of Horse
and foot, but of the Revenue, by which he is enabled to support
them, no probable estimate can be formed.
At Strikaarpoor5 opposite to
Behkker, commences a Track of Country Adjacent to both sides of
the River in the hands of the Dadoopootra6-a
people who form a lawless Banditti, principally Faquiers, have
of late years established themselves into a permanent Government,
under their Chieftain Bhavel Khawn7;
Some distance above Behkker, and reckoned midway between Multan
and Tattah, is their Capital Bhavilpoor8
|Dara Shikoh (1615-1659),
son of Emperor Shah Jahan and a brother of Aurungzeb
At this place, the Kabul Merchants are permitted to pass their Horses,
and from hence they cross the Desert to Bukanur,9
about 70 Coss distance: At this place also, the Gagra, (queri, Kaggar)
a River of considerable width a depth, empties itself into the, Indus.
Strikaarpoor10 is a very considerable
Mart for Horses: The Country altho' in rather a wild State, is represented
to be extremely populous and full of Villages. The Dadoopootra11
acknowledge themselves tributary to Salem Shabo From the Character
of these People, the communication between Multan and the Sea must
prove exceedingly precarious, and sometimes totally impracticable,
and perhaps this is the best reason that can be offered, why the Merchants
in general from the South East of Persia, Cabul, &c., to refer
to fatiguing and circuitous land Journey by Jaudpoor &c., in their
way to the West of India, and relinquish the advantage of a noble
River, navigable for Vessels of 20 and 50 Tons, nearly as high up
as it's confluence with the Sutlooje.12
We have reason to conlude this Country the least explored by the English,
of any in India.
Proceeding up the Indus from Bhavilpoor, we pass through the same
difficult Country on both sides the River, and the Bone of Continual
Contention between the Officers of Sulem Shah, the Dadoopootra, and
the Seick,13 to Sidpoor,14
in the possession of the latter, about 40 Coss below the City of Multan.
The City of Multan with the principal part of the Peninsula of Outch,
was taken from the Seick about 15 years ago by Timmur Shah the Durrani,
to whose Son and Successor Salam Shah, it is still subject. It is
estimated about 500 Coss from Dehly, and 250 from Lahore; It is situated
about 3 Coss from the Chunnah or Chunnaab15
; The Fort, garrisoned by Salem Shah's Patans, is said to be washed'
by that River when flooded. The City is fatling fast to Ruins, inhabited
by Mahommedans and Hindoos, and Seeck, which last it would appear
are daily gaining ground in this part of-India.
The Manufactures are Piece Goods, white Cloths, and Chintz of all
sorts. The adjacent Country produces various kinds of Grain, also
Cotton and 1ndigo, and fruits, &c.
It receives by Importation, Pearl, Kincobs,16
Gold Thread, Elephants Teeth, Broad Cloths, Nutmegs, Cloves, Mace,
Copper, Vermilion &c, and Drugs.
II. Dominions Of The Seecks
This extraordinary modern People is in possession of nearly the whole
of the fertile Country of the Punjaab, with the Territory South Eastward
of the Sutlooje12 as far as Karnaal
the Scene of Nadir Shah's decisive Victory over the Armies of Mahommed
Shah of Dehly, being in extent, from Attok to Karnaal, about 420 Miles,
and from Rotass Gur (belonging to Salem Shah) to the Scene of their
Contests with the Dadoo- pootra on the Indus, (excepting the Territory
of Oucth) about 300 Miles.
Their Capital is the celebrated City of Lahore on the Raavee; Their
principal Chiefs if they can be said to acknowledge any, are four,
namely; Lena Sing, Goojer Sing, Diwan Sing, and Maha Sing.
|Ghanggar river, once
an affluent of the Indus, is no longer a perennial stream and
is lost in the sandy desert of Rajasthan near Hamumangarh (former
Bhatner) in the Bikaner territory.
|Jodhpur, formerly headquarters
of a princely state of the same name Satluj or Sutlej, ancient
|Satluj or Sutlej, ancient
|Sikh spelt as Seick,
Seek, Seeck, Seik, Sich, Sick, Sicque, Syc, etc
|Sitpur (Seetpore), a
small town in the Muzaffargarh district of the Punjab, Pakistan
Maha Sing. It may not perhaps be deemed amiss, to offer in this place,
what circumstances we have been able to collect, relating to this
eccentric Class of Mankind.
They are said to have received their Tenets from a Hindoo of the Kutru17
caste, of the name of Nanuk, a Fanatic in the reign of the
Emperor Aurungzebe.18 This Man having
long led the Life of an Ascetic,19
pretended to have received a divine revelation to the following effect;
"Baba Nanuk eici horon jeici Nunne doo"
that is nearly expressing,
"Nanuk, have the same Dependence on the
"Creator, as the tender blade of Grass,
"which receives its nourishment from the
"dew of heaven".
This he looked upon as an order to divest himself of obedience to
all human Authority, and was consequently an object of long persecution
to that Emperor, who had him confined in a strong Cage.20
This had the ordinary effect of persecution, tho increasing the number
of his followers. The Seick, in the performance of the religious Ceremonies,
always invoke the name of their Founder Baba Nanuk, whom they also
call their Guru, and frequently reiterate the Word Bhalden.21
The Tenets of Nanuk have been collected into a Book, which they call
their Ghiruntejee,22 and guard as
a sacred Deposit, or rather Oracle, at a place called Amber Ser,23
two and twenty Coss in the Dehly side of Lahore; Here they assemble
in great numbers (150, or 200,000 Men) at two fixed periods of the
year, about October and April, to consult upon their Warlike Operations;
The decisions of the Oracle, whether for War or Peace, they invariably
adhere to. Their Book, they declare, contains a prediction that "The
Europeans will one day be in possession of Dehly".24
This probably the Oracle, or rather the Interpreter of the Oracle,
has suggested to keep suspicion awake.
|Nanak (1469-1539), the
Sikh Guru, founder of the Sikh religion, lived during the reign
of the Lodhis and the early Mughals, Babur and Hamuyan, and
not during the reign Aurangzeb (1658-1707)
|Guru Nanak did not lead
the life of an ascetic, nor does his religion, Sikhism preach
or encourage asceticism. He was a married man and had two sons,
Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das.
|It was the ninth Guru,
Tegh Bahadur (1664-1675) who was imprisoned and executed by
the orders of Emperor Aurangzeb
|Not clear. The Sikhs
generally repeat the words Sat-nam and Wahiguru.
known as Guru Granth Sahib
|This prophecy is not
contained in the holy book of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib.
It is ascribed to Guru Tegh Bahadur the ninth Guru, who is said
to have told Emperor Aurangzeb in 1675 in answer to the charge
of looking in the direction of the Imperial zenana: 'I was looking
in the direction of the Europeans who are coming from beyond
the seas to tear down thy pardas and destroy thine empire.'
(Sikh Religion, preface, xviii.)
It has at times been said that this prophecy was the invention
of some clever Englishman in 1857 to win over the Sikhs to the
British side during the mutiny, when Bahadur Shah II, a descendant
of Emperor Aurangzeb, was being raised to the throne of Hindusthan.
But the prophecy has been referred to, though in a slightly
different form, by Colonel A.L.H. Polier in his Account of the
Sikhs, written in 1780 and read at a meeting of the Asiatic
Society of Bengal (now the Asiatic Society, Calcutta) on December
20.1787. References to the prophecy by Polier in 17 0 and by
Griffiths in 1794, eighty-seven and sixty-three years respectively
before the Indian Mutiny, conclusively explode the theory of
its invention by some Englishman in 1857.
The Seiks receive Proselytes of almost every Cast, a point in which
they: differ most materially from the Hindoos. To initiate Mahommedans
into their mysteries, the prepare a Dish of Hog's legs, which the
Converts are obliged to partake of previous to admission. They have
forbid absolutely the use of the Hookah, but they are as liberal
in the use of Bang, and Ophiam, as their Neighbours. They are not
prohibited the use of Animal food of any kind, excepting Beef, which
they are rigidly scrupulous in abstaining from. They never shave
either Head or Beard; They sometimes wear yellow, but the prevailing
Colour of their Cloths is deep blue; They make their Turbans capaciously
large, over which they frequently wear a piece of pliable Iron Chain
They are in general excellently mounted, and have a Body of thirty
or forty thousand chosen Horse, always stationed along the Attok,
to frustrate the Attempts of the Durranies or Abdallis, to whom
they are inveterate Enemies, and by whom on two sides they are surrounded.
The remainder of the Nation is dispersed all over their Dominions,
without Order or Restraint. Their mode of making War is desultory,
seldom attacking in large Bodies, and to sum up all we can at present
learn concerning this strange people, they have the Character of
being rather mild and benignant than otherwise, in their interior
Government, and if it be true, what hath been confidently asserted,
that the fundamental principle of their Religion is the Worship
of the one Supreme God of the Universe, we may safely venture to
give them credit for many of the good Qualities of Humanity.
|There never was any such
practice followed by the Sikhs. The meat of a hogs, of course,
not forbidden to the Sikhs. And, if at any time a dish of hog's
legs was offered to a new convert, it should not be taken as
a general practice among the Sikhs to force a convert to partake
of it to regularize his admission to the Sikh brotherhood.
|The use of bhang and
opium is not religiously forbidden to the Sikhs but it is not
encouraged. In fact. it is positively discouraged.
Their places of greatest consideration, after the Capital Lahore,
are said to be as follows; Amberser, their place of Religious visitation
as mentioned above; Kalanoor, Batala, among the Hills South East of
Jwalajee;28 a place of pilgrimage
of the Hindoos, 150 Coss ,from Dehly among the Hills, where there
is a subterranean fire, and from which Aurungzebe thought to have
Shahdowla Gujraat, 40 Coss from Lahore, famous for a Manufacture of
excellent Sword blades and Matchlock pieces;
Kwlehittur29 &c and
Karnaal, 40 Coss from Dehly,
They have a considerable Military Station at Attok, but it is said,
The principal Manufactures of Lahore, are Kilmaans, a kind of coarse,
or blanket Shawls, made of the Wool of the Tails of certain Sheep,
-White Cloths fine and coarse, Piece Goods -The Punjaab produces,
Grain of all sorts known in India, Cotton, Indigo, Jaggree and a variety
They receive in importion from Gujraat Pearl, Kincobs, 16
Gold thread, Cutnic, Elephants Teeth, Broad Cloths, Nutmegs, Cloves,
Mace, Cardamums. Amber, Dry dates, Iron, Lead, Copper Vermilion, Coconuts,
&ca and Drugs.
||Not clear. May be Samana
to the south-west of Patiala.
||Jwala-mukhi in the district
or Kangra, Panjab, India.
III. Kandahar or the Dominion of the Durranies
The left Bank of the Indus, coming from the Sea Coast, as high up
as the parallel of Kashmeer, is almost entirely in the hands of Salem
Shah Durrani. and the Chiefs tributary to him, and Eastward of the
Attok he skirts the Seick Nation to some distance beyond the Territory
of Jamboo30 so A reference to Major Rennels incomparable Map will
afford a pretty clear idea of the importance of this Frontier, to
whatever Power may be in possession of it.
This formidable Kingdom was founded about forty eight years ago by
Ahmed Khawn, Abdalli, one of Nader Shah's principal Officers.
Mirza Mehadi relates in his History of Nader Shah, that in the confusion
which followed the Murder of that Prince (Hiz. -1160) the Afghan and
Oozbek Troops assembled together from the different Quarters of the
Camp, under Ahmed Khawn, who from the warmth of his Attachment to
the House of his deceased Master, determined to avenge his Death but
being repulsed by the Assharians and consequently frustrated in his
he drew off the Afghans, and retreated to the Fortress of Kandahar,
where embracing the opportunity offered by the troubles which afterwards
desolated Persia, he assumed the Chuttur, or Ensign of Royalty, under
the name of Ahmed Shah, well known from the dreadful overthrow he
gave the united powers of the Mahratta Empire about 28 years ago,
on the Plains of Paniput.31
He was succeeded about 3 years after that Battle by his Son Timmur
Shah32 who assumed the Title of Durra-Durrani,33
or Pearl of the Durranies; the latter is the name by which he distinguished
a Corps of Household Troops, which consisted originally of Abyssinian
Slaves, raised by contribution among his Subjects, and probably constituted
on the same principles with the Mamluki of Egypt. From an Ornament
which they wore in their Ears, they received the Appellation of Durrani.34
They at first amounted to no more than two or three thousand, but
latterly they were augmented to twelve and even twenty thousand Men,
the Flower of the Shah's Armies, and particularly intrusted with the
Guard of the Royal Person. Timmer Shah died about the middle of 1792.
A younger Brother was preparing to dispute the Sovereign Authority
with Salem Shah, the present Monarch, but by the timely mediation
of some of the Moghul Chieftains, the matter was prudently compromised,
without having recourse to the Sword; Salem Shah was placed upon his
Father's Throne, and his Brother was satisfied with the Government
of Kabul, where he resides.
Salem Shah is in possession of Guezni, Kabul, Peishour, Kandahaar,
and some Territories on the Persian Side, being a considerable part
of the Dominions of the celebrated and victorious Mahmud Subuktegnim.35
On the South East Side of the Attok, he possesses the delicious
and wealthy Province of Kashmeer, the paradise of India, and the
only Country in the World where the universally admired Shawl is
manufactured. This inimitable Article is, it is said, produced from
the Fleece of an Animal cal1ed Bhera, or a Species of Sheep or Goat,
subsisting on the Mountain Fruits peculiar to the Country. On that
side also, he is Master of the rich Territory of Jamboo, described
as nearly as inaccessible as Kashmeer; In this quarter he is also
in possession of the important Fortress of Rotass Gur,36
with most of the strong holds on the Hilly Frontier of the Seicks,
with whom he is in a state of perpetual Hostility. The Revenues
he collects at this day from the two Provinces of Kashmeer and Jamboo
only, amount, it is said, to two or three Million Sterling.
|The battle of Panipat
was fought on January 14, 1761, thirty-three years before the
date of this letter.
|Timur Shah came to the
throne of Afghanistan in 1772 after the death of his father,
Ahmed Shah Durrani, twelve years after the battle of Panipat.
|The title Durrani was,
to begin with, adopted by Timur Shah's father Ahmed Shah on
his being raised to the throne of Afghanistan in 1747.
|The appelation was given
to Ahmed Shah by his patron-saint Nabir Shah who called him
Durri-i-Durrun, the pearl of pearls.
|Mahmud of Ghazni (997-1030)
was the son of Nasir-ud-Din Sabuktgin (977-997)
|The fort of Rohtas in
the district of Jhelum, Pakistan
Salem Shah Durrani resides alternately at Kandahar & Kabul, at
the former in the Heats, and the latter in the cold Season, when the
Mountains are covered with Snow.
His Military Establishment consists chiefly of Horse, to the number,
it is said, of about 150,000; His Foot he does not hold in much esteem,
only employing them to garrison his Fortresses; And very happily,
we do not hear that his Equipment of Artillery is by any means respectable.
His Cavalry are all excellently mounted, incomparably superior to
any that can be brought to oppose them from Hindoostan. The impression
of Terror left on the minds of the Mahrattas, by the fatal Carnage
at Paniput, is so indelible, that it is pretty generally believed
they will hardly, if ever, be again prevailed upon to sustain the
charge of the Abdallis; among many instances of the prevalence of
this sentiment of dread, it is related, a Mahratta is not ashamed,
if his horse should happen to start when drinking water to exclaim,
"dost thou see the Shadow of an Abdalli"?
In fact, (it is far from an unreasonable conjecture,) this is the
real cause, to which we are to attribute the unremitting attention
paid by Scindia, of late years, to the improvement of his Artillery
and Infantry, for the Alarm, that the Shah is advancing, is as regular
at Dehly as the Revolutions of the Seasons. and it would appear from
recent Accounts, that the period is not very distant, when that will
certainly come to pass. A Son of Shah Alum, the present Shadow of
the Moghul Emperors, has disappeared for some years past; it is now
confidently reported, that he has found an Asylum with the Durrani.
There is scarce a single dissenting opinion among the Natives, but
whenever Salem Shah actually puts his Armies in motion towards Dehly,
that unfortunate City will once more be abandoned to it's fate, and
not improbably the greatest portion of the North of India.
It perhaps interests us materially to reflect, that if this Prince
knew how to reap the advantages, which he might derive from his resources,
from the warlike and intrepid Characters of his Subjects, from the
opening of a safe Port in the Indus, for the Importation of Arms and
Military Stores, we may have solid reasons for apprehending another
inundation of Tartars; Happy for our Settlements in Bengal, that they
have the Ganges to oppose to them!
The Province of Kabul is esteemed peculiarly productive; it's breed
of Horses is perhaps equal to any in the World, for the purpose of
Cavalry; As an instance of the celerity and expedition, with which
they can travel, it is said, that after the Capture of Dehly, Ahmed
Shah marched a Body of his Horse, from Bultun Gur37
(15 Coss from Dehly) to Muthra, a distance of about 50 Coss, in one
Night; in consequence of which rapid March, the wretched City was
surprised, and left to the Mercy of a barbarous Soldiery. The Inhabitants
of Salem Shah's Dominions are principally Mahomedans, with some Hindoos,
who have adopted the Institutions of Baba Manuk, and are called Kratri.38
The Manufactures are, shawls. Kelmaans or Blanket Shawls. Woollen
Cloths and Blankets.
The Soil produces Grain and various sorts of Fruit, excellent in their
kind, particularly Melons and Pomegranates. Their Horses are exported
in considerable Numbers, by Joudpoor, Jesselmur, and Bickanear, as
mentioned above, to different parts of India.
They receive in return, from Gujraat, &c., Pearl. Indigo, Nutmegs,
Cloves, Saffron., Pepper, Bettlenut, Copper, Lead. Drugs, &c.
N. B. The Coss are calculated at nearly one and a half English Miles
||Garh Muktesar in the
Hapur tahil of Meerut district in the U.P.
||They were not called
Khatri but Sikhs after they adopted the religion of Baba (Guru)
Nanak. Khatri or Kshatri ii the name of a Hindu caste.