MUGHAL EMPEROR HUMAYUN BESIEGING THE BUKKUR FORT, SIND (PAKISTAN) IN 1541 AD
In 1541, Humayun, whose troops were engaged in besieging Bukkur, distrusting the designs of his brother Hindal, whom he had commissioned to attack and occupy the rich province of Sehwan, appointed a meeting with the latter at the town of Patar, some twenty miles to the west of the Indus. There he found Hindal, surrounded by his nobles, prepared to receive him right royally. During the festivities which followed, the mother of Hindal – who, it may be remarked, was not the mother of Humayun – gave a grand entertainment, to which she invited all the ladies of the court. Amongst these Humayun especially noted a girl called Hamida, the daughter of a nobleman who had been preceptor to Hindal. So struck was he that he inquired on the spot whether the girl were betrothed. He was told in reply that, although she had been promised, no ceremony.
After some adventures, Humayun found himself, January, 1541, a fugitive with a mere handful of followers, at Rohri opposite the island of Bukkur on the Indus, in Sind. He had lost the inheritance bequeathed him by his father.
Humayun spent altogether two and a half years in Sind, engaged in a vain attempt to establish himself in that province. The most memorable event of his sojourn there was the birth, on the 15th of October, 1542, of a son, called by him Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar. I propose to relate now the incidents which led to a result so important in the history of India.
Humayun was driven out by Sher Khan. The unfortunate Humayun took shelter in Lahore with his brother who was ruling there, but not feeling himself safe he ultimately thought of Sind. Humayun wrote a letter to the Mirza of Sind, touching upon the cordial connections that had existed between his father and the Mirza. The Mirza was a diplomat. He invited Humayun to his kingdom. He knew that, if he refused, Humayun with his remaining forces would attack Sind. He sent his people to receive the King royally at Bukkur (near Rohri), with a respectful message that the mirza would be willing to help him with an army to attack Gujerat. The aim of the Mirza was to get rid of Humayun, as naturally he thought that two lions in the same forest would not do ! Poor Humayun remained at Rohri expecting the Mirza to come in person as he had so stated in his message, but the Mirza never came. He treated Humayun Shabbily. By his instructions the Governor of Bukkur had shut himself up in the
fortress and had ordered all the boats to be removed from the river Indus, on the opposite banks of which Rohri and Sukkur are situated. He also laid waste the neighbouring part of the country.
Humayun had come with two lacs of followers – countries, soldiers and retinue; and thus found himself in an absurd and awkward situation ! The Governor of Bukkur by these tactics calculated the early departure of Humayun after growing utterly weary. Humayun waited for five months, then getting impatient and angry, he attacked Sehwan, but the wily Mirza had anticipated this and Humayun found before him the fortress of Sehwan well prepared. He laid siege to it for seven months but was not successful. The miserable King, in grief and despair, contemplated going on a pilgrimage to Mecca. For a time his despair was relieved by a letter he received from Raja Maldeo of Jodhpur, inviting him to his capital with a promise to help with 20,000 soldiers. Humayun turned towards Rajputana; but while at Bikanir the unhappy Monarch learnt from reliable sources that the Raja of Jodhpur was preparing a trap for him, being in league with his enemy, Sher Khan. Humayun’s position can be better imagined than described. His followers were decreasing in numbers; his mercenaries were dropping away gradually, as lack of funds increased. Many died of thirst in the sands of Rajputana and the King on account of his poverty began to lose control over them. The few men that at last remained showed disrespect to him. Sometimes the King had no horse to ride upon, as he gave the only one he had to his wife and himself walked on foot, while his nobles remained in their saddles without any shame. Such was the plight of the parents to be of Akbar the Great.
AKBAR, THE GREATEST SINDHI
Humayun thus wandered about with his wife after his retreat from Bikanir. The Queen was an expectant mother at this time. The poor King knew not what to do; he reached Umerkot, the capital of Thar Parkar district in Sind, with seven attendants only. This place was in the hands of the Soddhas, a Rajput tribe that had not been converted to Islam. Rana Wan Sal was the Ruler of the frontier fort in Umerkot. What moved the heart of this Rajput Rana ? In spite of the enmity borne to Humayun by the Chief Ruler of Sind, this Hindu Rana gave up all selfish considerations on knowing the circumstances of the poor King and his wife. Perhaps it was the Devas who moved men’s minds- the Devas who knew that a great son of India was soon to be born. The Rana came out of his palace, welcomeed Humayun in a truly touching fashion, kissed his stirrup and gave the castle to the King for his use. On the 14th of October, 1542, Akbar was born in Umerkot. The paternal care which the Hindu Rana took of the Muslim King was itself an indication of the coming national umity in India; the sense of unity was thus ingrained in Akbar from his very birth.
THE SPIRIT OF UNION
The coming of this son gladdened the sad hearts of his father and mother. The King had no riches to distribute in honour of the birth; but he had with him a little pod of musk, which he broke and distributed among his attendants, with the prayer that the fame of this new-born babe might spread far and wide as the fragrance of the musk. And that prayer did rise to the Throne of the Almighty and draw forth a full response. In Tatta at this time lived a holy saint, Sayed Ali Shirazi. This holy man had his own vision of the coming of the great soul of the mighty Akbar. He brought gifts to Humayun welcoming him on his own behalf and on behalf of his followers. Humayun had the child’s first shirt made out of the clothes of the pious Sayed thus enwrapping him in the garments of piety. Humayun soon left Umerkot and went to live in Junpur, a place situated on the river and known for its beautiful gardens and cool streams. The town is now not in existence; perhaps it was in the Gunni Taluka, Hyderabad District, as there is still a place called Jun there, and possibly some small river like the present Phuleli (flower stream) than flowed by the side of Junpur. If it was so, then the place must have been really idyllic, as even now the scenery by the Phuleli in Gunni is really charming. Mirza Hussain, the King of Sind, did not desire that Humayun should stay in the land, and therefore friction and conflict continued; but Bairam, the loyal henchman of Babar and afterwards the regent for young Akbar, brought about peace between the two monarchs. The Mirza, whose one anxiety was to get Humayun out of Sind, agreed to give Humayun 300 horses, 300 camels and one lac of gold miskals. Humayun thus departed to Kandahar which was part of his kingdom.
Named Bukkur (Dawn) by the pious Sayed Muhammad Maki in the seventh century of Hijri, this island is a limestone rock, oval in shape, 800 yards long by 300 wide, and about twenty-five feet in height. According to the Superintendent of Land Records and Registration, Sindh, in 1912, the area covering Bukkur island was 255,292 sq. yards, or forty-nine acres.
Bukkur must have been fortified and garrisoned at a very early date, because Sheikh Abu Taurab, the Arab whose tomb near Gajo in taluka Mirpur Sakro bears the date AH 171 (AD 787), is reported to have distinguished himself by taking it. Later it fell to Abdul Razak, the Wazir of Sultan Ghazni, when he invaded Sindh in AD 1026. One of the most noted governors of Bukkur was Sultan Mahmood Kokaltash, who was appointed by Shah Beg Arghun in AH 928 (AD 1522).
Bricks from the ancient fort of Alore, the old capital of Sindh (see below), and materials from buildings of the Sama (AD 1333-1522) and ‘Turk’ or Turkhan (AD 1507- 43) periods were utilized in repairing the fort walls when Shah Beg Arghun decided to make Bukkur his capital in ii 928 (AD 1522). At the time of the arrival of Emperor Humayun in AH 947 (AD 1541), Sultan Mahmood Khan added an outer wall to the fort, increasing its circuit to 1,875 yards, adding four gates opposite those of the inner wall. There were then two gardens called the ‘Nizurgah’ and the ‘Goozargah’. The fortifications were rebuilt and restored for the last time by Governor Ghulam Sadik Khan between 1780-90, during the reign of Taimur Shah. The fort has figured prominently in the history of Sindh. It has been held by Mughal emperors, Kaihoras, Afghans, and Talpurs; in 1839, the Amirs of Khairpur handed it over to the British. The once flourishing city of Bukkur now contains only a few houses, and exhibits a deplorable picture of desolation. The British converted the governor’s palace on the east wall into a powder magazine, and the entire area is covered with mounds, fifteen to twenty feet high, of bricks, debris from buildings, and rubbish that has accumulated over the ages.
Tagged: , bukkur bhakkar bakkar sukkur rohree rohri sind oakistan italian dara shukoh aurangzeb mughal , HUMAYUN EMPEROR