TAZKIRAH-I-SLĀTĪN-I-CHUGHTĀĪ, a manuscript dealing with the political history of the Mughal times from the reign of Auraṅgzīb to the third year of Muhammad Shāh's reign, i.e.upto 1722. It is an important document for the history of the Sikhs for its sections dealing in detail with the exploits and ultimate suppression of Bandā Siṅgh Bahādur. Copies of the manuscript are preserved in National Library, Calcutta, Khudā Bakhsh Library Bāṅkīpur (Paṭnā), Maulānā Āzād Library of Muslim University, Alīgaṛh, and in the Punjab Historical Studies Department of Punjabi University, Paṭiālā. The author of the manuscript, Muhammad Hādī Kāmwar Khān, was a contemporary of Emperor Auraṅgzīb for a considerable portion of his reign and had served for a long time during his Deccan campaign. He was appointed controller of the household of Prince Muhammad Ibrāhīm and received the title of Kāmwar Khān in the second year of the reign of Bahādur Shāh. From incidental observations in the pages of this book it appears that the author also was at various times, a dīwān, bakhshī, khān-i-sāmāṅ and daroghah of the treasury. Besides Tazkirah, he also wrote Haft Gulshan-i-Muhammad Shāhī, which gives a general history of India, including many minor dynasties, and Tatimāh-i-Waq'iāt-i-Jahāṅgīrī dealing with "introduction and conclusion of emperor Jahaṅgīr's memoirs."

        The book narrates the expeditions of emperors Bahādur Shāh and Farrukh-Sīyar against the Sikhs. The former had personally come to the Punjab to supervise military operations against Bandā Siṅgh. Kāmwar Khān, referring to the sack of Sirhind by the Sikhs, writes that the booty that fell into their hands was estimated at two crores (twenty million) in cash besides goods belonging to Nawāb Wazīr Khān and some lacs (hundred thousands) from the deserted houses of Suchchā Nand and others. A large number of Wazīr Khān's men fell to the bullets of the Sikhs at Sirhind. In December 1710, an imperial force was encamped at Saḍhaurā preliminary to launching an attack on Bandā's retreat of Lohgaṛh (Mukhlispur) when the Sikhs fell upon it and showered arrows and musket balls causing such heavy casualties in the Mughal ranks that for a time it appeared as if they were going to lose. A little later when Bandā Siṅgh was besieged in the fort of Lohgaṛh, he made a determined sally on the night of 10-11 December 1710 and breaking through the royal lines made good his escape to the hills of Sirmūr to the great discomfiture of the emperor, who summoned Rājā Bhūp Prakāsh of Nāhan (Sirmūr) and imprisoned him on the charge of his inability to move against Bandā Siṅgh and rather alleged protection he provided to the rebels. In order to prove Nāhan's loyalty to the Mughals, the Rājā's mother rounded up a group of 30 Sikhs and sent them to Delhi for execution. Incidentally, Kāmwar Khān writes that Rs. 20,00,000 in the form of rupees and ashrafīs (gold coins) were dug out by the Mughals from near the Lohgaṛh fort after the Sikhs had escaped.

        Writing about the siege of Gurdās-Naṅgal, Kāmwar Khān states that a large number of Bandā Siṅgh's followers perished owing to starvation. After his capture with other survivors, the arms that were recovered included about 1000 swords, 200 bows, 173 quivers, 180 jamdhars, and only three muskets (which indicates the poor state of the Sikhs' manpower and armament). As Bandā Siṅgh, in an iron cage, and his companions in buffoon's caps were taken to the imperial fort in Delhi, the people turned out in such large numbers to see them that traffic got jammed on the roads. The emperor ordered the prisoners to be kept in batches at different places under different officers. Bandā Siṅgh and a few of his men were handed over to Ibrāhīm ud-Dīn Khān, the mīr-i-ātash (commander of artillery) for confinement in prison inside the fort. His three-year-old son along with its nurse was entrusted to Darbār Khān, the nāzir-i-haramsarā (guardian of the harem). Three hundred and ninety four of his followers were made over to Sarbarāh Khān, kotwāl (police commissioner), for execution at the rate of 100 every day. Their dead bodies were taken out of the city and hung on trees. Bandā Siṅgh, his son and 26 companions were tortured to death later by the Mīr-i-Ātash himself near Khwājā Qutb ud-Dīn's mausoleum. That the author was contemptuously disposed towards Sikhs is clear from the abusive names and phrases he uses for them, but despite his deep hatred he does not conceal the alarm that the Sikh movement created and the emperor's concern at the threat they posed for empire's integrity. On the first news of Bandā Siṅgh's conquest in the Punjab, Emperor Bahādur Shāh called upon his vassals as distant as Morādābād, Allāhābād and Oudh as well as the Sayyids of Barah to march towards the Punjab; and to round up a thousand-odd Sikh warriors at Gurdās Naṅgal, the entire might of Lahore and Jammū provinces had to be marshalled. Kāmwar also does not feel shy of recording the heavy losses often suffered by the imperial troops in their encounters with the Sikhs.


    Kirpal Singh, ed., A Catalogue of Persian and Sanskrit Manuscripts. Amritsar, 1962

Bhagat Siṅgh