Images de page

Then the author goes on to say that he left Herat in the middle of Shawwal, 933 (middle of July, 1527), and came to Qandahar. There he began to write these pages (in sawad), but before he had finished the first chapter (juz) fate seized his collar and dragged him to India. He set off on Jamadi-as-sani 10, 934-i.e., on March 31, 1528-and on account of the heat and the rain, etc., was seven months on the journey, and did not arrive at Agra till Muharram 4, 935-i.e., September 18, 1528. He fell ill shortly after his arrival, and remained in a dangerous state for several months. Afterwards he accompanied the Emperor Babar to Bihar, and wherever there was a halt he worked at his book, finally completing it at the junction of the Sarju and Ganges (about May, 1529). The remarks conclude with a panegyric of Babar and of his secretary, Zainu-d-din Khwafi. The latter wrote an account of Babar's conquest of India, if he did not translate the whole Memoirs, and he certainly could have given Khwand Amir full information about Babar's career, and perhaps have shown him a copy of the Memoirs. It is possible, then, that Khwand Amir inserted in his history his details about Babar after his arrival in India, and that he and not Babar is the copyist. But this does not seem likely. The subject of Babar was germane to his life of Sultan Husain, and would naturally fall to be written at the time he was writing that part of his work-viz., 927-930. There are also in

dications, I think, that Khwand Amir could not have had the Memoirs before him when he was writing the account of Babar's early years. Surely, too, if he had written that account after seeing the Memoirs, he would have taken pride in mentioning the fact, and would have dilated on Babar's most splendid achievement, his conquest of India.*

* At p. 196, vol. ii., it is stated in the account of Ulugh Beg and his son that Babar is seated on the throne of Kabul, and rules over the territories once possessed by Mahmud of Ghazni. This, the author says, is the case at the present time, which is the end of Ramazan, 929 (August, 1523). In this passage the author calls him only Babar Mirza, and says that Babar continues to behave loyally towards Ismail Shah.

On the contrary, he never refers to it, unless his occasional use of the title Ghazi be an allusion to it. It should also be noted that according to a statement at the end of the Bombay edition (p. 50), the lithograph was made from a manuscript in the author's own handwriting, dated 932. If this statement could be relied upon, it settles the question by showing that Khwand Amir could not have seen the Memoirs, as they were not written then. I find a difficulty, however, in accepting it, on account of the remarks at the end of the first volume, which certainly were not finished before 935. The above statement is contained in the biography of Khwand Amir, with which the edition ends, and on the page immediately preceding it is said that Khwand Amir is described in the Waqiat Babari, which Babar wrote in Turki and Zainu-d-din translated, to have been received by Babar in the Hasht Bihisht garden (at Agra) on Rabi-al-awwal 8, 935 (December, 1528). This second interview, for that in September is mentioned both by Babar and Khwand Amir, is not mentioned in the Memoirs nor in the copy of Zainu-d-din accessible to me.

I have not space to dwell upon the numerous references to Babar which are contained in the life of Shah Ismail. They supplement Babar's Memoirs, which are a blank for this period, and they are earlier in date and fuller in parts than the descriptions in the Tarikh Rashidi of M. Haidar. One of the most important passages occurs at pp. 65 et seq. There it is said that Babar sent petitions and presents to Shah Ismail in Herat, and that, the latter having agreed to his taking possession of Transoxiana, Babar advanced to Samarqand in company with his Persian auxiliaries. We are also told the contents of a letter written by Babar, and how he issued at Samarqand coins bearing the names of the Imams and of Shah Ismail, and how the proclamation was made in the name of the latter. The two subsequent defeats of Babar are also described, and we read at p. 74 of Babar's having taken refuge at

Kishm in Badakhshan in 919. At p. 81 there is a detailed account of a dreadful famine which prevailed in Herat and other parts of Khurasan in that year. It lasted for more than two years (1513-1514), and was marked by the horrors of cannibalism. Apparently it was not so

much caused by natural causes as by the interruption to husbandry produced by the war.

* Khwand Amir says that not only did bands of ruffians waylay solitary passengers in the lanes, etc., and kill and eat them, but that many persons made a trade of selling ghee, which was the produce of human flesh (roghan-i-adami). The famine lasted from 919 to 921. Khwand Amir's account is valuable, as it is that of an eye-witness. It may be noted here that a life of Khwand Amir and some account of the Habib will be found in an article by Quatremère in the July number of the Journal des Savants for 1843, pp. 386-393



A, B, and C sat together. A and C had retired; B was home from India on furlough.

A. The author says: "There are bazaars in India where the eternal mystery of the East seems to gather and fill the place." What is the mystery of the East?

C. Never found it in any of the Districts I was in only hard and horrid facts.

B. It is always somewhere else. Perhaps it is to be found in Siberia or Siam. India does not seem the place for it. It is the land of glare; of vast openness; of the uncovered. In it a strip of cloth forms a suit of clothes for a man, a string a garment for a child; there you have not even the mystery of decency, as one saw when riding by a village at dawn.

C. And when one continued one's ride over the huge open stretches of cultivated or barren land, how one's heart cried aloud for the mystery of a shaded sun, the mystery of clouds, of their shadows, of the hedgerow, and the coppice, and the wood!

B. Yes; for mysteries you must go to lands of cloud and mist. I believe a resident of Glasgow can see as much of the mysteries of sky and earth, and of human life, as a resident of Cawnpore.

A. There is a feeling of mystery as you ride across one of those wide, level, open Indian plains, where nature seems reduced to its elements of earth and sky.

C. Certainly the same mystery that attaches to everything in the land-its thought, its literature, its science, its sacred books-the mystery of vacuity.

A. But you would find it on the mountain heights, in the midst of the Himalayas.

B. It is curious to think that when we first took Northern

* By Frances M. Peard. Smith, Elder and Company, London.

India the sources of the Ganges and the Jumna were as mysterious as those of the Nile.

C. Now they are mapped. The mysterious means the unknown. The mystery we talk about is within ourselves; it is a condition of the feelings, a state of the mind. It is excitement. It is born of ignorance and fear.

A. Nay, of the poetic faculty, too.

C. In its childish condition.

B. I have found in the Himalayas scenes exceeding in grandeur those of any European mountain-chain; but the feeling of mystery might possibly attach oftener to the latter. The Himalayan landscapes--though so vast, so sublimewere so open, so distinct, so clear spread.

C. For mystery you want plenty of darkness, within and without.

A. You said, B, that the mystery was always somewhere else. The author goes on to say: "The strange Eastern glamour which hangs about the Peshawar streets is not so subtle as that found farther south." The glamour, like the mystery, is always further off.

B. 'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view.

C. Certainly of an Indian bazaar. The glamour of an Indian bazaar. Good Lord! There is about as much of it in most bazaars as there is of the brilliancy of Paris in a rude Breton hamlet. The glamour of the ordinary bazaar, with its one main street, with the inconceivably poor shops on either side; the butcher's shop, with its pieces of goat's flesh and its flies; the confectioner's, with its boiling oil and flies, its fat, three-quarters naked, profusely perspiring confectioner: the main street, with its pariah dogs and dust and flies, the blear-eyed old women, the pot-bellied children, the spindle-shanked men, it may be the leper and the man with elephantiasis; its narrow, filthy side-alleys, the border of poor huts, its encircling open latrine. There is no mystery, none at all, only horrid facts.

A. The mystery may lie in the great cities.

C. Not more than in the great cities elsewhere. We

« PrécédentContinuer »