Images de page

Memoirs. One of them extends over eleven years of his reign in Kabul. Various explanations of the causes of the gaps may be given, but it seems to me that the most probable is that Babar did not like to record his humiliations We know that he slurs over the facts of his surrender of Samarqand and of his sister to Shaibani, and it is natural that he should evade describing his unsuccessful campaigns against Shaibani's representatives, and still more his humiliating submissions to Shah Ismail and to the Shia religion. The objection to this explanation, and it

is a solid one, is that Babar has omitted to describe one of his greatest exploits-viz., his battle with the Moghuls in 914, in which he is said to have been victorious in five single combats. Haidar Mirza speaks of this as one of his greatest achievements. Perhaps, however, Babar left it out because he would be obliged to state that eventually he put to death his cousin Abdu-r-razzaq. The latter was undoubtedly the true heir to the throne of Kabul after the death of his father, Ulugh Beg, who was Babar's father's brother. He may have been unfit to rule, and Babar-who pardoned him once-may have been justified in at last putting him to death, but still it would be an unpleasant circumstance, which Babar would be unwilling to dwell upon, as he had strong family feelings. Perhaps, also, it would not be too far-fetched to suggest that a rusé chronicler like Babar purposely left out the account of his brilliant victory in order that his admirers might urge-as they do that the gaps were not caused by Babar's desire to conceal his misfortunes. However this may be, it seems certain that the blanks have always existed, and I cannot but think that one cause of them has been Babar's reluctance to exhibit himself as a fugitive and as a truckler to Muhammadan nonconformists. If we believe, as I do, that Babar copied from the Habib, another reason for some of the blanks would be that he had no original to work upon; for the Habib tells us little about Babar's career in Kabul, and there does not seem to be any other source.

I now come to the important question of "Which is the original, the Habib or Babar's Memoirs?" The Habib was begun early in 927 (1521), and is generally considered. to have been completed in 930 (1524). At the very end of the chapter-viz., the third part of the third jild or volume-in which the events of Babar's life are recorded down to his conquests of Kabul, the end of 929 (1523) is mentioned as the time of writing (see p. 378 of Bombay edition), and there is a similar statement at p. 367. If this chapter was finished then, and not greatly altered afterwards, the question might probably be decided at once in favour of the Habib, for it seems certain, and is held both by Erskine and Pavet de Courteille (see Erskine's preface, p. vi, and P. de Courteille's fuller discussion of the subject in his preface, pp. vi-viii), that Babar began to write his Memoirs after his conquest of India-i.e., after 932 or 1526. And if he did not begin his Memoirs till then, it seems almost certain that he must have had some materials* to assist his memory, such as the accounts of his early years in the Habib. But the discussion is complicated by the fact that at the end of his first volume (Habib, i., p. 82) Khwand Amir speaks of having completed it (that is, the first volume) "after it had been for a long time in the state of a rough draught," at a Tirmohana,† or river junction, in Bihar. This must have been in April or May, 1529, for we know from the same passage, and also from Babar's Memoirs (Erskine, p. 382), that Khwand Amir did not reach Agra till September, 1528 (Muharram, 4, 935), and it was after this that he accompanied Babar to Bihar. See also Babar's Memoirs, pp. 411 et seq. There is also the fact that Khwand Amir on more than one occasion gives Babar the title of Ghazi (see Habib, i., pp. 195, 291), which,

* We know from Badayuni, iii. 180, that Babar had a Waqa-navis, or historiographer, who came with him to India. His name—or, at least, his takhallus-was Atishi Qandahari, for he was also a poet. He was with Humayun in Badakhshan, and died in 973 (1566).

† See the quotations in Elliot (iv., pp. 143, 155), and the Bombay edition (i. 82-84).

Babar tells us (Erskine, p. 367), he assumed in the Imperial titles after the victory over Rana Sanka in 933 (1527). This is startling, but it is not conclusive against the priority of Khwand Amir; for flatterers may have given Babar the title before he publicly assumed it, and they may have thought his exploits against the Kafirs or the inhabitants of Bajour entitled him to the appellation. The title, too, may have been added by Khwand Amir in his final revision. On the other hand, the following facts make for the priority of Khwand Amir. First, it is evident that though he touched up his book three times, it was substantially completed in 929. Secondly, if he had greatly altered or added to his book afterwards, he surely would have made some reference to Babar's conquest of India, and have even given some account of this. But he does not refer to Babar's connection with India except in the preface at the end of the first volume already referred to. Thirdly, he writes of persons being alive whom Babar mentions as having died. Thus at p. 253 we have the statement that Sultanam Begam, the mother of Mirza Muhammad Sultan, and eldest daughter of Sultan Husain, was still alive, whereas Babar (Erskine, p. 181) tells us that she died at Nilab on her way to India. Similarly, we are told at p. 327 that Afaq Begam, the wife of Sultan Husain, was still alive, though all her co-wives were dead; but Babar tells us (p. 183) that he got news in January, 1528 (934), that she had died at Kabul. Fourthly, there are occasionally indications that Khwand Amir could not have had Babar's Memoirs before him when he was writing. One of them is that in Khwand Amir's account of one of Babar's dreams there is no reference to the much more remarkable dream he had at Karnan. Another is that Khwand Amir, in speaking of the quatrains made by Binai and Babar after his conquest of Samarqand, says (p. 307) that Khwaja Abu-l-barka Faraqi also made a quatrain, and that he remembers two lines of it. He then gives these two lines, which are in Turki. Now, if he had had Babar's Memoirs before him, he could have given the

whole four, for Babar gives the complete quatrain (see Erskine, p. 91, and Ilminsky, p. 107). At p. 306 Khwand Amir describes the taking of Samarqand by Babar the second time, and compares it with Timur's capture of Qarshi, both heroes having had only 240 soldiers.* But Babar in his Memoirs (p. 88) takes no notice of Timur, and makes an elaborate comparison between his own exploit and that of Sultan Husain in taking Herat, to the disadvantage of the latter. Surely if Khwand Amir, who was then writing the life of Sultan Husain, had come across this passage in the Memoirs, he would have had something to say about the comparison. Again, Babar, in his account of what led to the Battle of Khwajah Kardzan, ascribes his precipitation to astrological reasons and takes all the blame upon himself (Erskine, p. 92), whereas Khwand Amir says nothing about the aspects of the stars, and softens Babar's rashness by ascribing it in part to the influence of Qambar Ali, whom Babar does not mention, except to say that he assisted him in his preparations. Finally, Khwand Amir gives a somewhat different and less favourable account of Babar's transactions with Khusru Shah, and describes the latter as arriving in a state of destitution at Badiu-z-Zaman's camp, and as complaining of his treatment (p. 320); and apparently this is the foundation of Ferishta's remarks on the subject. Khwand Amir also (p. 318) ascribes to Amir Muhammad Baqar, otherwise Baqi Cheghaniani, the ruler of Tarmiz, the merit of having persuaded Babar to attempt Kabul, whereas Babar (Erskine, p. 128), though he mentions Baqi Cheghaniani, and speaks of going to Tarmiz, says nothing about his persuasions. For these reasons I am inclined to think that Khwand Amir wrote his account of Babar before seeing the Memoirs, and before they were written, and that Babar afterwards used the Habib as the groundwork of the

* According to the Zafar-nama, Bib. Ind. ed., i. 129, and the Habib, i. 11 of the third portion of the third jild, the exact number of Timur's followers was 243. Babar (Erskine, p. 86) says that when he proceeded against Samarqand he had only 240 men, good and bad.

first part of his autobiography. This does not deprive Babar of the merit of writing his Memoirs, for the graphic touches and the personal details are all his own, and the Habib does not go beyond the time when Babar was only lord of Kabul.

If it be objected that the statement of Khwand Amir at the end of his first volume shows that it was not finished till 1529, and that the rest of the book may have been written even later, for the author lived into Humayun's reign and died at Burhanpur in 1535-1536, the answer is that not only does he in several places speak of 929 and 930 as the time of writing, but also at the very end of his book he gives two chronograms expressive of the fact that the work was finished in 930 A.H. The Habib consists of three volumes divided into twelve sections (see Elliot, iv. 157), and a Khatima, or conclusion, descriptive of the wonders of the world. At the end of this conclusion the author says that the world is full of wonders, and that it is impossible to describe them all. The greatest marvel of all, however, he says, is that a feeble soul like himself should have been able in a short space of time to write this great history of kings, saints, and philosophers. He then gives two chronograms, both of which yield 930 or 1524.

The remarks at the end of the first volume (i. S2), already referred to, are lengthy, and were perhaps not all written at the same time; or if they were, they seem to me to cover a long space of time, and to refer to disparate events. The heading of the remarks is, "Thanks to God for completion of the first volume, and prayers for the preservation of the glorious minister"-that is, his patron, Khwajah Habib Ullah, who is designated Asaf, after the name of Solomon's vizier. The panegyric on Habib Ullah refers to his having read his book and corrected it, and goes down to the twelfth line of p. 84. This part ends with a distich, announcing that his words are finished. Then comes the statement, "Be it known that this work was completed for the third time on the way to India."

« PrécédentContinuer »