Tuesday, May 12, 2015

आजादी के पहले संग्राम का वीर योद्धा बख्त खान रुहेला

अमर उजाला १३ मई के अंक में बख्तखान रुहेला पर छापा मेरा लेख

Sunday, May 10, 2015

बिजनौर का प्रथम स्वतंत्रता आंदोलन



अलीगढ़ विश्वविद्यालय के संस्थापक  सर सैयद अहमद एक बड़े लेखक हैं।  १८५७ के प्रथम स्वतंत्रता संग्राम के समय वे बिजनौर में सदर अमीन थे। उन्होंने जनपद की घटनाओं को सरकशे बिजनौर नाम से लिखा है। यह एक उनकी डायरी है। इसमें घटनाओं का तारीख अनुसार विवरण दर्ज है।  यह पुस्तक उर्दू में हैं।  उसका हाफिज मलिक और मोरिस डैंबो ने अंग्रेजी में अनुवाद किया। नाम दिया बिजनौर रिबैलियन।

सर सैयद की पुस्तक बिजनौर जनपद के इतिहास के जानकारों के लिए महत्वपूर्ण पुस्तक रही है। उर्दू में होने के कारण यह   जरूरतमदों की पंहुच से दूर रही।  हाफिज मलिक और मैरिस डैंबों का अंग्रेजी अनुवाद रिवेलियन ऑफ  बिजनौर नेट पर उपलब्ध है। मैंने कई साल पहले इस पुस्तक का गूगल  से हिंदी अनुवाद किया था। फिर भी अंगेजी संस्करण की मांग रही। मैंने यह पुस्तक नेट से ली है। मै हाफिज मलिक और मोरिस डैंबो का आभारी हूं कि उन्होंने बिजनौर के इतिहास के जानकारी के लिए यह काम किया।
अशोक  मधुप 

Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan's
History of the *Bijnor* Rebellion
 (1858)
INTRODUCTION
by Hafeez Malik
Sir Sayyid was born on October 17, 1817, in Delhi, and died in Aligarh in 1898. He was to witness the destruction of the power of the Marathas and the Pindaris by the British, who would assure the first unitary rule of India in almost a century. Sir Sayyid's years of growth and maximum vigor and service -- both to the Raj and to the Muslims -- would perforce be related to the main thrust of his age, the political process that would remove the Moghuls from Delhi, and the proclamation of Queen Victoria as Empress of India on January 1, 1858.
This major theme can be identified in the earliest days of Sir Sayyid's life as a child born into "a Muslim family of high nobility."/1/ In his case, the earliest personal influences may have been decisive for his entire career. Besides his impressive mother, there was his grandfather Khwaja Farid-ud-Din who died when Sir Sayyid was still under 10, but whose influence was so profound that Sir Sayyid returned to it for the subject of his final book in 1896. Khwaja Farid-ud-Din, his maternal grandfather, served the British in several important assignments: as superintendent in 1791 of the Calcutta Madrassa, then after 1799 as attache with British diplomatic missions in Iran and, finally, from 1815 to his death in 1826, as Prime Minister in the Court of the Moghul Emperor, Akbar Shah II. He was responsible for the revenues of the two nearby districts of Delhi and Hissar, which the British had given the Emperor as his private domain.
Sir Sayyid was to learn much of importance at the residence of his maternal grandfather. There he saw as a constant visitor and family confidant the Boston­born Major-General David Ochterlony, the conqueror of Nepal and British Resident in Delhi. Sir Sayyid's final book, in fact, gives us a picture of himself as a young child sitting on Ochterlony's knee and asking questions about the gold buttons on the Major-General's full-dress uniform./2/ By any analysis, the combination of his mother, his grandfather, and Ochterlony formed a set of positive personal influences that would affect Sir Sayyid's political thought in later years. The net result might perhaps be stated as conditioning him to accept the reality of British power and to make the best of it.
Although generally overlooked, Mir Muttaqi, Sir Sayyid's father, also contributed much to his growing son. On this side, however, the effect was to balance the pro-British bias of the maternal side. The paternal influences provided Sir Sayyid with his all-important social link as a Sayyid with the Prophet Muhammad and Arabia, his personal access to the Court as the son of the Emperor's close friend, and his spiritual conditioning as the son of an intensely religious father who was the disciple of Shah Ghulam Ali of Delhi, the founder of a Sufi brotherhood. It was thus not in jest that Sir Sayyid once answered a question about his religion from an English official by saying, "I am a Wahabi."/3/ We can, in fact, view Sir Sayyid's achievements as the creative result of the contrary tensions that he was able to master and put to work for his own good and that of the Muslims.
Sir Sayyid's sympathy for the militant anti-British reform movements of his day is most strikingly seen in his great work on the monuments of Delhi, the Asar al-Sanadid. It was first published in 1847 after he had entered the services of the British East India Company as a minor judicial functionary. This book was to make Sir Sayyid famous abroad, and to secure his election in 1864 as an honorary Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of London.
This fame came to Sir Sayyid by way of Paris. Garcin de Tassy, a French scholar of Urdu, learned of the book and favorably reviewed it in the Journal Asiatique (Nov.-Dec., 1856). De Tassy thought so much of the book by the "eminent Muslim author" that he translated it for serial publication. Its appearance in the post-Mutiny years of 1860-1861 coincided with de Tassy's distress over the news that the British re-conquest of Delhi had virtually destroyed the city. Nevertheless, the book was unusual for what it omitted as well as for what it contained.
De Tassy made his translation from the second edition of 1854, and was ignorant of the series of biographical sketches of famous persons who had once lived in Delhi that had appeared in the first edition of 1847 as its fourth chapter or section. (This missing section now appears in the recent editions of Asar-at­Sanadid published in India and Pakistan.) The explanation for Sir Sayyid's dropping this chapter appears to lie in its impolitic eulogy on the life of Sayyid Ahmad Shahid, the reformer who died in 1831 fighting the rule of the Sikhs. Sir Sayyid described the great martyr as a man of superhuman capacity in bravery, in popular appeal, and in his command of spiritual power. The biographical sketch concluded, moreover, with a sharp thrust at Shahid's Afghan allies who betrayed him on the battlefield for the price of Sikh gold. This aversion to the Afghans, or Pathans as they are called in India, became a critical feature of Sir Sayyid's experience in Bijnor during the Revolt.
Much in the general content of Asar-al-Sanadid is also important to the general subject of Sir Sayyid and the Revolt. The reserve and rational spirit that mark Sir Sayyid's treatment of the different monuments of Delhi are particularly noteworthy. They appear close indeed to the "Protestant" reformist spirit which Sir Sayyid, long after the Revolt, saw as a hallmark of the so-called Wahabi Movement itself./4/ The monuments are described in simple statements that are free of hyperbole, while disputed questions are objectively solved by reference to sources or by actual on-the-spot investigation. Very candidly Sir Sayyid asserted that a reknowned mosque in Delhi was built from the ruins of a Hindu temple, or that the high quality of its mosaics proved that a "clever Italian" must have been employed among the artisans who built the royal bath at the Red Fort.
The puritan rational (or shall we say "Wahabi") streak is, on the other hand, quite clearly evident. Sir Sayyid was thus sorry that the courts of law had not yet banned a popular "mela" where the accent on pleasure offended him. Equally evident is his practical sense of how to get on in the world. Here and there in the work one finds, for example, exaggerated praise for British cleanup campaigns in Delhi and the "extraordinary" railway bridge which they built over a nearby river.
There is, finally, the relation between Sir Sayyid's choice of language and his basic intellectual sympathies with the Islamic reform movements of his day. Sayyid Ahmad Shahid and Mawlana Isma'il Shahid, leaders of the religious reforms, had already chosen Urdu over Persian to reach to wider audience, and Sir Sayyid likely chose to write Athar-al-Sanadid in Urdu instead of Persian for the same reason. An established writer in Persian, Sir Sayyid may also have been influenced to write in Urdu by Mirza Ghalib, India's leading poet in Persian and Urdu and Sir Sayyid's intimate in Delhi. In the years before the Mutiny, Ghalib had shifted from Persian to a greater use of Urdu, particularly in his famous letters in colloquial style. In any event, Shibli Nomani, a decisive figure in Muslim historiography in India, has argued that Sir Sayyid was the direct beneficiary of Ghalib's extension of the Urdu prose style./5/
Sir Sayyid's use of Urdu in his historical and religious works in turn played a major role in projecting Urdu out of the subject matter of love and courtship and into the arena of political, educational, moral, and historical discourse and struggle. His Tarikh Sarkashiy-i Dhilla Bijnor (History of the Revolt in Bijnor), which is the focus of this introduction, was actually the first report of a contemporary event ever published in Urdu./6/
A review of the local social and historical background of the Revolt in Bijnor appears necessary in order to present the broader canvas against which Sir Sayyid's intensely detailed history was written. Bijnor, just 40 miles from Meerut, formed part of the Rohilkhand Division of six districts and the native state of Rampur. The chief city in this division was Bareilly (the native city of Sayyid Ahmad Shahid), the center of disaffection in the Revolt for the entire Division. The leading social group in Rohilkhand at the time were the descendants of the Pathans, who had ruled Rohilkhand in the first half of the 18th Century before their conquest by the combination of Oudh, the Marathas, and the British. In 1801 the British East India Company took over the entire Division to incorporate Rohilkhand into their territories. The Pathans remained restive, however, and their resentment and instability were described by Bishop Heber, who visited Rohilkhand in the mid-1820's. He recorded his impression that "the people appear by no means to have forgotten or forgiven their first injuries. The Mussulman chiefs, who are numerous, are very angry at being without employment under Government or hope of rising in the State or army and are continually breaking out into acts of insubordination and violence"./7/ Bishop Heber was a good reporter, for serious disturbances did break out in 1837 and 1842. Within three weeks of the Revolt in 1857 every regiment in the Rohilkhand Division had rebelled, many Europeans had been murdered, and Khan Bahadur Khan, a descendant of the national hero of the Rohillas, had proclaimed himself Nawab or Viceroy in Bareilly of the Mughal King of Delhi.
Rohilkhand was the only region in Northern India where the British were routed during the Revolt. Again, while reading Sir Sayyid's pleas for help, one should recall that the British had postponed their assault on Rohilkhand purely for tactical reasons. To concentrate their strength advantageously, they were obliged to give priority attention to the outbreaks in Oudh and in Delhi itself. The campaign to retake Rohilkhand, when it came in April 1858, was easy. The British district officials returned to Bijnor for a triumphal entry with the Hindu chiefs who had continued their struggle against the Pathan rebels. The spectacle of this joint Anglo-Rajput return to Bijnor was a detail which Sir Sayyid could not bring himself to record in his own book./8/
Certain other aspects of the social situation also merit attention. First, Rohilkhand and particularly Bijnor were highly urban. In 1847 when the British conducted the first census, the total population of the district was 620,552, and the average density was 325 per square mile. There were 415,570 Hindus and 204,982 Muslims [[in Bijnor]], about half of the total population of the district. Of the inhabited towns and villages, all but 72 contained less than a thousand persons. Only 11 of those remaining had populations exceeding 5,000; these towns were Nagina, Chandpur and Sherkot (whose combined population exceeded 10,000), Bijnor, Seohara, Dhampur, Nihtaur, Kiratpur, Mandawar, Jhalu, and Sahaspur. Their population was 99,275, or 16% of the total of Bijnor district.
The dominant community in these towns, moreover, was Muslim, particularly of the Shikh, Sayyid, and Pathan classes. The countryside, however, was dominated by zamindari holdings under the leadership of the great Hindu landlords of Sherkot, Tajpur, and Haldaur. Numerically, however, the largest single group was the Chamars, landless agricultural laborers and leather workers. They played no part in the Revolt itself and were generally written off in contemporary accounts as "deeply in debt and very he1p1ess."/9/ Certain other groups whose early response to the news of the revolt was aggressive and whose influence in Indian politics was important included the agricultural tribes, generally identified at the Jats, and the pastoral Gujars (Ahirs)./10/ The Ahir center in Bijnor at Mandawar is mentioned as an important center as far back as the travel accounts of the Chinese pilgrims to India. Apparently, for Sir Sayyid, the essential problem of district government concerned the domination and use of the Jats and Gujars by the British Government and its landlord and aristocratic allies.
In writing about the impact of the Revolt on Sir Sayyid, Hafeez Malik described him as being "traumatized" into a "staunch Muslim Nationalist."/11/ Much in the record supports this judgment. Altaf Husain Hali, for example, described Sir Sayyid as being so remorseful over the plight of the fallen Muslims that he actually planned to leave the country. He reconsidered, however, when he decided that to run away at such a critical hour would be cowardly. Sir Sayyid went to Moradabad, another district of Rohilkhand, in April, 1858, with a promotion as Principal Sadr Amin. In Moradabad, he served as member of a special commission appointed to investigate the disposition of properties seized from persons accused of disloyalty during the Revolt. It was in Moradabad, too, that Sir Sayyid began to publish his books and pamphlets on the Revolt and to take his first steps as an educational and social reformer. Perhaps in this activity Sir Sayyid found release from the personal tragedies that had wiped out his home in Delhi and "turned him overnight into an old man with whitened hair." This appearance of age, however, was deceptive, for Sir Sayyid had forty very active years yet ahead of him.
Sir Sayyid's basic view of the Revolt was expressed in a memorandum written in Urdu, Asbab-i Baghawat-i Hind (The Causes of the Indian Revolt), and privately printed in 1858. Sir Sayyid sent almost the entire printing of 500 copies to the Home Government in London, save for a few copies he kept for himself and a single copy sent to the Government of India in Calcutta. (For the English text of this memorandum see [[*the 1873 translation*]]) As summarized by Hali his general position was that the Revolt had not been a national movement, nor had it resulted from any plot. It had rather come about from the disobedience of soldiers who had acted primarily out of ignorance or religious presuppositions and without any determination to mutiny against the Government./12/
Despite evidence to the contrary (which eventually even British scholars accepted) Sir Sayyid retained his views without modification. A decade after the end of the Revolt Sir Sayyid visited Britain, where Sir John Kay asked him to assess once again "the extent to which the Mutiny of 1857 grew into a popular rebellion in the N.W. Provinces." Sir Sayyid simply reiterated his previous view that "even the use of the expression 'Military Mutiny' conveys an idea of something more than the real fact." (For the full text of this letter, see *Appendix C*.)
The remedy which Sir Sayyid recommended for India was the admission of native Indians into the Legislative Council. Graham, his English biographer, quoted Sir Sayyid's suggestion as follows: "I do not wish to enter into the question as to how the ignorant and uneducated natives of Hindustan could be allowed a share in the deliberations of the Legislative Council or as to how they should be selected to form an assembly like the English Parliament. These are knotty points. All I wish to prove here is that such a step is not only advisable but absolutely necessary, and that the disturbances were due to the neglect of such a measure."/13/
In Moradabad, meanwhile, events were again pushing Sir Sayyid out of the courtroom into the public limelight. On July 28, 1859, he was the principal speaker at a large thanksgiving ceremony offerred by the Muslims of Moradabad to Queen Victoria for her generous proclamation of November 1, 1858. His speech was so straightforward and effective that Hali records his own assessment that the degradation and losses suffered by the Muslims as the result of the Revolt had planted such deep concern in Sir Sayyid that he could not allow himself even a moment's respite. It may be worthwhile to sample here this concern of Sir Sayyid as he thanked God in public for having induced the British to be merciful. "Oh, God!" Sir Sayyid declared, "the times just passed away have been very eventful to Thy creatures. Neither man nor dumb cattle, the beasts of the fields, nor the fowls of the air, nay, nor even the inanimate trees and rocks that cover the face of the earth, have enjoyed peace and quiet. No man was assured of life, property, or his honor. The late disturbances tossed heaven and earth into confusion. In Thy merciful kindness Thou has put away from us, Oh God, the evils and calamities of the revolt. Oh, God! Thou hast renewed Thy mercy toward Thy helpless servants and hast restored to us the peace and comfort Thy servants enjoyed through Thy grace in the days preceding the disastrous disturbance." (For the full text of this prayer see *Appendix B*.)
Clearly, Sir Sayyid was speaking the same thoughts in the public prayer that he had used to conclude the book he was then publishing on the Revolt.
Sir Sayyid also took a step forward in educational reform in Moradabad. He organized a committee to manage a small Persian-language school, which later was merged into the larger tehsil school established by John Strachey, who came to Moradabad at this time as its new Collector. Small as the venture may have been, Sir Sayyid had something of broad significance in mind. With the blessing and encouragement of the British officials, he strove to encourage the "wealthy and respectable" of both Hindu and Muslim communities to send their sons to a public school. To underscore his case, Sir Sayyid placed his own son (Sayyid Mahmud) in the school, and paid for the costs of two of the four scholarships being offered. At the public examination on January 1, 1860, Sir Sayyid asked the town elite to "think of the Hindee patshalas of a former age, and read the history of the Muhammadans, and you will find that high dignitaries regarded the education of their youth in large public schools as a great honor; assuredly it is so, for all the eminent pundits and moulvees who have lived before us or who are now living, and whom all you great men hold in high esteem and respect, all received their education, and acquired their profound learning, at public schools, and not at their own homes."/14/
Sir Sayyid continued his active and public interest in education. He published, for example, an objection against the proposed expansion of Government vernacular schools. Sir Sayyid had apparently not forgotten in Moradabad the advantage Pandit Radha Kishan enjoyed over him during the Revolt because of his facility in English. His boldest ventures in educational reform, however, took place after his transfer to Ghazipur in 1862. Here he established the Translation Society that was later to evolve into the Scientific Society of Aligarh, certainly a clear stage on the way to events too far from the Revolt to be covered here. Instead, we shall close with a review of an important speech in Persian which Sir Sayyid delivered at a meeting of the Muhammadan Literary Society in Calcutta on October 6, 1863.
Sir Sayyid was very much under the impact of the Revolt as he appealed to this Calcutta Muslim audience to support his scheme for a curriculum that would join together English and modern sciences with Arabic and Islamic studies. He reminded them that they were the only audience of Muslim leaders left to whom he could appeal, for "in our ancient capitals once so well known, so rich, so great and so flourishing, nothing is now to be seen or heard save a few bones strewn amongst the ruins or the human-like cry of the jackal." More important perhaps than this striking appeal to sentiment is that Sir Sayyid had by this time developed an approach to politics that contained the core ideas of Muslim nationalism. Nevertheless, his tone was mild: "Our great Prophet has enjoined upon us as a sacred duty that we should wish and act for the good of our co-religionists; therefore, if we disregard this injunction we are guilty indeed."/15/
We have left Sir Sayyid well on the way to becoming a national figure and the founder of the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental college at Aligarh. Let us step back to summarize the lessons from the Revolt that Sir Sayyid carried with him as he assumed this leadership role. They include: (a) a theory of politics, that is, that British power was indispensable in India and could not be dislodged. The British, in fact, were the only organized force that could rule the sub­continent and at the same time preserve law and order. If the British should for any reason depart, power would gravitate toward the traditional leaders, and the population would split into hostile communal groups that would slaughter each other; (b) a theory of national power, that is, that power depends primarily on the capacity to organize and the possession of theoretical and practical knowledge, and not on numerical strength nor the possession of material resources; (c) a theory of society in which leadership was regarded as resulting primarily from inherited status or wealth. One of the greatest evils of a time of widespread public disorder was the consequent disruption of the inherited structure of society; (d) and, finally, a strategy of Muslim politics whose essential aim would be reconciliation with the British, and the delaying of political reforms in India until the Muslims were sufficiently educated to compete with the more advanced Hindus, especially the Bengali Hindus.
These ideas very largely underlined the movement of Muslim nationalism in India as it developed after Sayyid's death in 1898.
REFERENCES/1/  J. M. S. Baljon, The Reforms and Religious Ideas of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf 1964: Third Edition) p. 3.
/2/ Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, Sirat Fariddiya (Karachi, PadAkademi, 1964), p. 113.
/3/ Baljon, op. cit., p. 31.
/4/ Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, Hunter par Hunter (Lahore: Iqbal Akademi, 1949), p. 16.
/5/ Shibli Nomani, Maqalat-e-Shibli, (Azamgarh: Der-ul-musanafeen, 1964; Fifth Edition), Vol. 2, p. 60.
/6/ A. M. S. Habiullah, "Historical Writing in Urdu" in Historians of India, Pakistan and Ceylon, edited by C. H. Philips, London, 1961.
/7/ Reginald Heber, A Narrative of a Journey Through the Upper Provinces of India from Calcutta to Bombay 1824-1825 (London: 1844) Volume 1, p. 236.
/8/ G. B. Malleson, History of the Indian Mutiny (London: 1880), Volume 3, p. 418.
/9/ Imperial Gazetteer of India, Volume 2, article on "Bijnor" (1885 edition).
/10/ Ibid.
/11/ Hafeez Malik, "Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan's Doctrines of Muslim Nationalism and National Progress", Modern Asian Studies, London, II, 3 C/968), p. 222; see also his "Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan's Contribution to the Development of Muslim Nationalism in India", Modern Asian Studies, London, 4, 2 (1970), pp. 129-147; "Religious Liberalism of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan", The Muslim World, Hartford, Conn.
/12/ Altaf Husain Hali, Hayat-i Jawid (Lahore: 1957), p. 139.
/13/ Ibid., pp. 139-140.
/14/ G. F. I. Graham, The Life and Work of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, New Ed. (London: 1909), p. 28.
/15/ Sayyid Ahmad, A Speech in Persian with Translation into English on Patriotism and Necessity of Promoting Knowledge in India, delivered at a meeting of the Mahomedan Literacy Society in Calcutta held at the house of the Hon. Moulvi Abdool Lateef Khan Bhadoor on the 6th October 1863. Published for the above Society. Ghazeepore. Printed at Sayyid Ahmad's Private Press, 1863, p. 5-6.
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History of the *Bijnor* Rebellion Chapter 1


Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan's
History of the *Bijnor* Rebellion (1858)

CHAPTER I -- Spread of the Mutiny
 News of the tumult and disloyalty that broke out in Meerut on May 10, 1857 had not reached Bijnor on May 11. By May 12, however, this news had become well known and its influence more and more apparent. Looting began on the Ganges road, and the movement of travellers ceased. Travellers who were going to Meerut from Bijnor came back on May 12 and 13; but in Bijnor itself there was no rebellion at this stage.
The Mutiny began gradually in Bijnor too. Robbing of wayfarers started. Pillaging was reported on May 16 between the villages of Jhat and Olenda, which were under the control of the Bijnor police station. Here the Gujars/1/ looted one Debi Das Bazzaz./2/ Dacoits attacked Shahbazpur Khaddar in the same way. The Gujars banded together to loot this village, the very first to be plundered in Bijnor District.
On the same day, sixteen thousand rupees that Chaudhri Pratab Singh, Rais of Tajpur,/3/ had sent to Bijnor to meet his assessment was taken into the treasury. Later, on May 17, Mr. Currie, the Postal Superintendent, was robbed at Ghat Rawali. Thanks to the energy and foresight of the Magistrate, the culprits were arrested by a detachment from Daran police station, including Mir Turab Ali Tahsildar/4/ and some police officers. Some stolen property was even brought in. Although the public was cowed, the Gujars persisted in their crimes, particularly as they got help in their villainy from Gujars across the river.
Although the Gujars were ill-disposed from the outset, they used a strange strategem to reveal their true intentions. The Rawa caste (very fine farmers in the District but at the same time notorious as the most unmanly of its people) stirred up the Gujars. A Gujar woman, together with her husband and a barber, was passing through Shahbazpur in the subdivision of Mandawar, an important Rawa center. This Gujar woman was seized there, and her husband killed. The barber escaped to lodge a complaint with Basawan, the Gujar leader in Shaikhpura. A complaint was also made to the entire Gujar brotherhood. They decided to loot and destroy the Rawa. Thereupon the Gujars gathered in Ramjiwala, where they were quite near to Shahbazpur and Abul Khairpur. All the houses were looted in the ensuing attack, and most were set on fire. There were six men dead and injured; the Gujar woman was retaken.
1) Plans of the Bijnor Administration
The Magistrate had begun to make proper plans for the administration of the District from the outset of the disturbances. Regular army sowars (troopers) on leave in Bijnor were called to duty; irregular troopers were also hired, while police officers were instructed in writing to increase the number of constables to an appropriate degree. To protect the city itself, Chaudhri Nain Singh, Rais of Bijnor, was authorized to maintain regular night patrolling. Accordingly, he was doing so; in addition, Mr. Alexander Shakespeare, Collector and Magistrate, and Mr. George Palmer shared in these night patrols and surveillance. Three of us officers [i.e., Indian officers] divided our immediate staff into two groups for this night duty. The first group was led by Muhammad Rahmat Khan, Deputy Collector and Deputy Magistrate. The second group belonged to Mir Sayyid Turab Ali Khan, Tahsildar of Bijnor, and myself, the Sadr Amin. It had been brought together to make up a single group because we each had but few men under us. These two groups used to patrol separately at night in the city, the outlying dark orchards, and also the jail and treasury areas. Returning from these rounds we three officers, together with our men, remained on the alert and kept watch from chairs at the bungalow of the Collector. There was extreme confusion and apprehension at this stage in the District, but we cannot manifest enough our gratitude to the Collector for his consideration and kindness. For our sake he had arranged all kinds of facilities, including a very fine canvas shelter which he had set up, where we used to stay at our complete ease.
2) Arrival at Bijnor of a Company of the Twenty-ninth Battalion Enroute from Saharanpur
A company of soldiers/5/ who were enroute from Saharanpur to Moradabad appeared without warning at Bijnor on May 18. I learned about this development through reports that the company had rebelled and that the Subahdar/6/ and a few soldiers had gone to the bungalow of the Collector. This news at once alarmed me, and I went to the bungalow. There I learned that they were enroute to Moradabad as a relief company. I saw the impudent Subahdar sitting near the Sahib [Collector]. He was reporting something of his situation and the resistance which the Gujars had offered him near Ala Bas. However, his arrogance and lack of concern were manifest in the way he sat and spoke, while the evil that was in his heart was also evident on his face. It was proposed that day that plans should be made for this company to stay in Bijnor. Accordingly a plan was made for this purpose, whereupon I became frightened. However, their way of talking among themselves and the big noise they made in the bazaars made their sojourn extremely undesirable. Their departure was seen as a godsend, even though permission actually came from Moradabad for their posting in Bijnor. They themselves were against staying, and so they left for Moradabad.
The news of the jailbreak at Moradabad on May 19 reached Bijnor very quickly. After the fleeing prisoners penetrated the rural areas, news of the event caused even more disorder. Thousands of villagers began to congregate from all directions. There was no fear of government left in anyone's heart. For our part, we began to fear that dacoits might attack Bijnor and loot the treasury. We still tried our best to maintain our vigilance and patrolling, so that nothing should be omitted which might serve to overawe the villagers. In Bijnor itself, a very good atmosphere had been instilled. Thus, special dread of Bijnor weighed on the hearts of the villagers.
3) The Rebel Sapper and Miner Companies Reach Najibabad
At this time three hundred Sapper and Miner soldiers rebelled at Roorkee. A company of Sappers and Miners that had been sent to join the Commander-in­Chief's camp at Saharanpur returned to Roorkee. Both groups joined hands and started for Landhorah. They asked the Rani there to enlist them in her service, on the promise that they would conquer Roorkee etc. for her. The Rani refused their offer. They decided to approach the Nawab of Najibabad in order to achieve their aims. Therefore they set out for Najibabad, where they arrived on May 20.
4) Conspiring of Nawab Mahmud Khan and Ahmad Allah Khan with Subahdars
This much is clear: that when these soldiers reached Najibabad, some officers and men went to Ahmad Allah Khan Tahsildar to meet inside his house and negotiate; that Ahmad Allah Khan next took this group to Nawab Mahmud Khan; and that negotiations went on for a long time at his place. An authenticated version of these negotiations could not be known. But according to what was heard, these soldiers invited the Nawab to revolt against the British officers and to establish his rule. Besides this, what other advice could they give? There was also no authentic news about the Nawab's reply, which was given in secret. But this much was heard about what the Nawab said: that he could not take this risk as long as the British were present in Bijnor; that they should not make trouble in his own city and tahsil, which were dependent on him; and that if they were to make trouble in Bijnor and drive the English out, then it would indeed be within his power to become Nawab. The soldiers thereupon promised to go to Bijnor. Reports that were constantly being received about these soldiers being enroute to Bijnor made us very frightened. We three officers had thought out plans so that if these faithless ones should come, the protection of the Europeans might be assured to the extent possible. We told the Collector, so that the arrangements for each one might be settled beforehand. We ourselves thought that this was the first time the seed of revolt had sprouted in the hearts of Mahmud/7/ Khan (and Ahmad Allah Khan) who imagined to himself that the fanciful tree of his government would be a good shade tree. In one stroke, he forgot all the favors and patronage which the English had shown to his father and himself.
5) Arrival of the Sapper and Miner Company at Nagina, and Looting of the Tahsil
On this day -- that is, on May 20 -- news of the jailbreak at Moradabad reached Nagina. The intentions of the ruffians in Nagina were evil. The bazaar began to close. Maulvi Qadir Ali, Tahsildar of Nagina, together with his orderlies and Munir ud-din, Deputy in Charge of the Police Station, patrolled the bazaar in order to calm the public and reopen the shops. They also instructed the Hindu and Muslim landlords to stay on the alert and organize their individual wards in the town. It is a matter of great surprise that on May 21 at 11 o'clock Munir ud-din, the police deputy, informed Maulvi Qadir Ali Tahsildar that there had been a jailbreak at Bijnor. In actual fact, there had been no trouble as yet at the Bijnor jail. Maulvi Qadir Ali now became anxious. Yesterday, he said to himself, upon news of the jailbreak at Moradabad, there had been a disturbance in Nagina. What could not happen now, when the news broke of a jailbreak at Bijnor? Therefore, he instructed his orderlies to remain alert. The door of the tahsil office was closed, but the window was left open. The Tahsildar himself still had no word of the soldiers.
It was reported that the soldiers had decided among themselves that it would not be proper to make such.a big disturbance without having first returned to the cantonment. So they decided to go to Moradabad by way of Najibabad. Suddenly, three soldiers entered the tahsil office by way of the window and demanded supplies from the Tahsildar. Meanwhile, many soldiers penetrated the tahsil office to surround the Tahsildar with drawn bayonets. Taking him by force to the court building, they pulled apart the chests with nooses and broke the lock of the treasury in order to loot it. At this time, the Tahsildar and the Police Deputy slipped away to hide in a house. When the soldiers came after them, they left the city for a short period, after which they came back by another route to hide in another place. They sent a report to the Collector. Many of the town ruffians had joined the soldiers, in order to loot the effects of the Tahsildar and ransack the bazaar. These ruffians also robbed Bhagirat Kalai, a very wealthy man. When all the soldiers had left the town, the Tahsildar called together the Hindu and Muslim Rais-es to secure their assistance in controlling the ruffians who had stirred up sedition in Nagina. Details of the looted property appear below.
6) Details of the Official Money and Property Looted at Nagina

RupeesAnnasPice.
8,392119Cash (by account and from gross)
744145Road Account
3106Wages for Road Watchmen
44--Peons' fee summary
915--Bookbinding Account
104--Decree Summary Account
55----Opium Income
12614--Cost of Stamps
4913Visitors' honorarium
55----Opium
8974--Stamp Paper
10,34814TOTAL
Such was the calamity that had taken place in Nagina while we three officers met with the Collector to discuss the question of protecting the treasury. The air was thick with reports about an assault by the villagers and about the steady advance towards us of the Sapper and Miner battalion. We decided at this point to throw the contents of the treasury into a well the next day.
We had just come to this decision when all of a sudden, at a little before one o'clock, the sound of firing on the jail was heard. We learned that there had been a jailbreak. The Collector, myself the Sadr Amin, the Deputy Collector, and Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar set out for the jail with swords and muskets. We ran towards where we thought groups of prisoners might be heading. We must have covered half a mile when the thought hit home that the treasury might meanwhile be looted. The Collector ordered me the Sadr Amin, and the Deputy Collector, to look after the treasury. So we returned to the treasury and at once set up a picket and watch, while the Collector and Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar proceeded towards the jail. At this time Mr. George Palmer appeared fully armed on a horse. He handed me the keys of the treasury, before leaving with several troopers to pursue the prisoners. We took it for a certainty that a jailbreak would be staged, only so the prisoners and ruffians might then join hands to attack the treasury. However, the escaping prisoners continued to flee towards the river. One might say that either our original assessment had been wrong, or that the prisoners were deterred from this evil intent when they saw the Collector and Mr. George Palmer so determined in their pursuit. In short, several prisoners were killed and wounded by musket fire. The rest, who were unharmed, were locked up in the jail. Next the Collector came to the treasury. The treasure was taken out at once and I the Sadr Amin threw with my own hands 150,000 rupees into the well. Mr. George Palmer pursued the prisoners in the lowlands of the Ganges.
The jailbreak is an extremely strange and thought-provoking affair. It is clear that there had not been an attack on it from the outside. There can be no doubt that because of the wickedness or conspiracy of Ram Sarup the Jamadar [superintendent of the jail], who once had belonged to some Telingana battalion, the jail was broken into and a window was left open. In our opinion after many prisoners had already escaped. he got hold of a gun to go after the remaining ones. Perhaps the jailbreak took place because Ram Sarup was afraid of an outside attack. and so adopted this strategy in order to avoid the greater loss to himself that an outside attack would entail. There is a thought that still causes me to be suspicious: that if the reports about a conspiracy at Najibabad are regarded as accurate, then this was the very day -- nay, the very hour -- for the Telingana soldiers to come from Najibabad to Bijnor. Moreover, after the English officers had left, Ram Sarup suddenly rose greatly in the esteem of the Nawab. His access to the court there grew each day, although previously there had been no reason at all for him to have any such entree there.
7) Looting at Barampur
After this event, the Gujars came together in great strength in Pargana Mandawar in order to loot the wealthy Rawa, their traditional enemies. An attack was launched against village Barampur in Pargana Kiratpur, a very big village of the Rawa. Thousands of Gujars gathered from both sides of the Ganges to make this attack. Some Meos were also with them. They joined together to loot the village for eight days. Houses were dug up and property taken out. Houses were set alight. It is well known that thirty thousand maunds of coarse sugar was seized; taking into consideration the grain, cattle, and goods, the total loss amounted to Rs. 300,000. The village was a big one, and many villagers had brought their goods for deposit there in the belief that it was a safe place. The looted sugar was sold off at the going rate for wheat.
8) Coming of Mahmud Khan to Bijnor
Before this event, the Collector had called the leading personages of the District to meet in Bijnor so that they might be on hand to support the administration. It is very strange that on the evening of this very day, Mahmud Khan reached Bijnor from Najibabad with 60 to 70 Pathan musketeers. On the surface, no doubt, he had come by invitation. Still, the surprising part is that he had brought empty wagons to take the treasure to Najibabad. Wringing his hands and making a very sad face, he met with the Deputy Collector to complain about how awful it was that the money had been thrown into the well, when he had brought wagons to take it to Najibabad. This assertion confirms that Najibabad conspiracy, and makes the cause of the jailbreak extremely suspicious.
There was much fear in Bijnor that night, since the intention of the soldiers to go to Moradabad had not yet been disclosed, and people were still convinced that they were enroute to Bijnor. For ourselves -- well, we had little hope of passing the night safely. Our biggest worry was for the English officers and their wives, since these miserable, disloyal soldiers were most of all determined to harm English officers. They had no concern at all with Hindustani men and clerks. We speak the truth in our hearts when we say that Mr. Alexander Shakespeare (may he be fortunate!) and Mr. George Palmer showed such regard and consideration for us that we had come to love them dearly. In their service we truly had little regard for our own lives. I am sincerely revealing my inner feelings in saying that love for these gentlemen had filled my heart with profound anxiety on their account. As a consequence,. a flame of love, as it were, arose from my heart in order to surround them. We truly intended at the time to sacrifice ourselves first, like the moth, should -- God forbid -- that evil hour come; and then so be it. I do not have the slightest doubt that my two comrade officers felt the same way. We did not come to sit on watch that night at the Residence with the intention of leaving that place alive to return to our own homes again. It is a matter for deep gratitude to God that our sincere intention brought its reward. God preserved our beloved superiors in His grace, and saved us too from affliction. By the favor of God, we have reached that day now that all of us who held that good intention are alive and well together with our beloved superiors. We thank God with a heart full of joy. Amen.
9) The Sapper and Miner Soldiers Reach Dhampur
In short, the soldiers who had come to Nagina left for Dhampur. News of the violence they had all at once perpetrated in ignorance in Nagina had previously reached Dhampur. The Tahsildar had closed his office while his men were on the alert inside. It was quite a stroke of luck that none of the town ruffians joined the soldiers to mislead and instigate them. It was also fortunate that on this very day there was a wedding party at Har Sukh Rae Lahiya's house. He gave goods and the very best sweets from the feast to the soldiers. The townspeople also gave them rations. The soldiers made no trouble there and left for Moradabad.
10) Additional Plans for Bijnor and Bijnor District
Rebelliousness grew in the District after the jailbreak. It was the notorious fact that robber gangs were descending even upon Bijnor city itself. Large rural bands also came together, particularly in Pargana Mandawar. Accordingly the Collector, with the help of Chaudhri Nain Singh, hired two hundred men to put up pickets in different places and block the roads about the city. We officers, after the day's work, patrolled at night as we had before, as far as the residence of the District Magistrate. In truth, a peaceful atmosphere prevailed in Bijnor on account of this activity. It was well known throughout the District that the administration in Bijnor city itself was sound. Fear and respect for such arrangements explain why nobody dared strike a blow at Bijnor city. Nevertheless, rebellion prevailed as before in other Paraganas [sub-districts]. The Collector was also busy restoring law and order there. New troopers were employed, and foot soldiers were being enlisted too. He requested Meerut and Moradabad to send help and a very small, reliable military force. It was expected that when all these had been brought together they would invade the Paraganas to attack the seditious there. In addition, there was no negligence with respect to the administration and the police force. Appropriate orders were constantly sent to the police. The district administration did not allow its excellent plans to be jeopardized. However, the Gujars kept up constant movement on both banks of the Ganges between Bijnor and the adjacent district of Muzaffarnagar. The pargana of Chandpur was adjacent to the country of the Pachhande Jats and the Meos, while the Pargana of Najibabad was adjacent to the forests and wastelands. As a consequence, the District became more disturbed. It was impossible to repel this danger without the support of a reliable army and two light cannons.
11) Arrival in Bijnor of Chaudhri Randhir Singh and Chaudhri Partab Singh
It was the misbegotten Mahmud Khan who had come first when the Rais-es were asked to give their support. On the next day, first Chaudhri Randhir Singh, Rais of Haldaur, and then Chaudhri Partab Singh, Rais of Tajpur, appeared. Each could offer only five troopers in support; some soldiers also came with them. They stayed in the compound of the Collector. Such scanty support was not able to repel this big disturbance.
12) Reference to the Chaudhris' Support and the Absence of Artillery
It is a matter of regret that none of these Rais-es acknowledged having artillery. If at that time we had had two pieces such as the artillery that came to light only after our departure, and if they had been helpful to us then, affairs might have turned out differently from what actually transpired in the District. Notwithstanding the summons of the Collector, Bhup Singh, Taluqdar of Rehar and Burhapur, did not appear, nor did he offer any help. Mahmud Khan, who was present, became very restless after only twelve hours; he wanted to return to Najibabad on any pretext, and offered excuses in order to get away. We did not have the slightest suspicions about him at this time. We took his false excuses at face value, and tried our best to convince him that he ought to stay in Bijnor, since we looked to him for a great deal of support. But now we are able to realize that his restlessness stemmed from only one cause -- that his plans had misfired in Bijnor: the rebel soldiers had not come, and he would not be able to take away the treasure. This was why he had become alarmed, and why he wanted to return to Bijnor to make a new plan. After two days of restless sojourn, he again went away to Najibabad.
In short, arrangements were completed to the extent possible. However, the villagers did not refrain from disorder, and looting continued in the rural areas. An attack by dacoits took place at Partabpur in Pargana Najibabad. The watchman and Chanda Pradhan were wounded in the affray. The village overseers and butchers of Akbarabad also formed a gang. First they robbed the village accountants of Akbarabad; then they went to strike the Jats of Sikandarpur and also to attack Hajipur. At Hajipur they met resistance. Several men of Hajipur were killed, along with the old headman of Allahheri, who had come to the aid of the people of Hajipur. Rampur was looted next. All the Jats then came together to attack Akbarabad. Its houses were all plundered and set on fire. We then saw the phenomenon of these villagers who had united to seek vengence not confining themselves to looting one or another specific village that was the object of their hate, but once being mobilized, looting whomever they pleased and whomever they saw as weak.
13) Appointment of Superintendents in the District Administration
It was on account of these particular evils that the Collector decided to appoint several honorable men of importance in the District to serve as superintendents. Taking along an appropriate number of men, they were to actively patrol in each paragana and disperse the villagers who were forming themselves into bands.
Among those selected for this work were Shafi Allah Khan, brother of the wretch Ahmad Allah Khan, and Sa'ad Allah Khan, Rais of Barhapur and also a former police deputy in Nagina. These men were honorable, and they had at their call many Pathan soldiers, companions, and members of their brotherhood. It also served a useful purpose for our weakened administration to take heed of them and win their gratitude. It could turn them into well-wishers of the authority and, in addition, divert the attention of those who might otherwise stir up trouble in the District. These plans were, in truth, so sound that if the men who were available had also been sound, the District administration would have remained sound also. All the Hindu and Muslim Rais-es of Nagina issued a joint request that Nathe Khan, the wood merchant, should be put in charge of patrolling, with a suitable company of men. Perhaps if they had not made this request, Nathe Khan would then, as leader of the ill-disposed, have started to create trouble. Their request was accordingly granted; and the order to patrol was given to Nathe Khan. It is clear from this entire report that our District Magistrate was not deficient in foresight, that each and every plan he adopted was valid and popular. Indeed, a better plan than his could not be devised.
14) Dacoity at Chandpur
On May 26, Id Day, many Meos and Pachhande Jats attacked Chandpur, to pillage the place. The townspeople fought back manfully. There were several killed and wounded on both sides; but the city itself was saved. Many villagers then gathered a second time to loot Chandpur. The Collector sent Najaf Ali Risaldar in the leave regiment as officer-in-charge of twenty-five troopers to aid the police at Chandpur. The troopers stayed for two days after reaching the place, returning to Bijnor when the dacoits had been scattered. Through these events, the Collector became aware of the lax and timid behavior of the police inspector at Chandpur and called in Gulab Singh, the police inspector, to rebuke him. Taking Bhola Nath Jamadar along, Gulab Singh then went to Ghalli village, which belonged to the locale from which the mischief-makers had come, and he set the village alight. On the whole, after this disciplining, the pargana was peaceful.
15) New Servants of Little Use
We did not feel more secure in keeping with the growth of numbers of soldiers and troopers. At this juncture, the essence of the security situation was two-fold: (1) if by chance the District should be invaded by an army, then its defense might be accomplished; but any possibility of assistance from these men could be ruled out before; and (2) if some leading man of the District should revolt, then this matter, too, might be resolved satisfactorily; but, again, these men would not be able to do anything for our self-defense. They were all, in fact, our secret enemies, for the eyes of the entire District were fastened on Mahmud Khan. Of course, they could handle the villagers; but they would be able to do so only if the District as a whole were at ease in the other two respects. For this reason, the Collector sent urgent requests for reinforcements.
16) Arrival of Some Troopers from Bareilly and Soldiers from Moradabad
The Collector was dispirited after his failure to get military support. However, on May 28 Mr. Robert Alexander Bahadur, the Commissioner, had sent to Bijnor twenty-five troopers just taken on in Bareilly, and forty soldiers from Moradabad who had proven themselves sound, although shortly earlier their battalion had mutinied. Mr. George Palmer and Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar of Bijnor, together with these soldiers and twenty troopers under command of Bahadur Ali Khan Risaldar dispatched by leave of the Commissioner, went through the pargana of Mandawar during the night of May 20. Here the Gujars and similar peasant groups had their traditional stronghold, where they were mobilizing themselves for dacoity at this time near Mandawar itself and Muhammadpur.
17) Bad Intentions of Ahmad Allah Khan and Shafi Allah Khan
If one looks carefully at the deeds done by Ahmad Allah Khan and his brother Shafi Allah Khan while the Collector was still in charge, then they too will not be free of the suspicion of being arrogant and insubordinate. Take the example of the Banjara [grain-carriers] who had gathered together in the forest for mischief. Shafi Allah Khan took out a force to attack them. It was well known that the looted property he took from them was worth about twenty-five thousand rupees. He also carried off twelve of their women as his slaves. They had to be set free a week later after these grain-carriers had mobilized themselves in great strength. In the same way, Ahmad Allah Khan attacked Bhaguwala, where the Banjaras were also gathered together. He kidnapped some of them -- only, it was rumored, to release them after taking their money. It was also rumored that a Banjara was killed and strung up on a tree. While enroute to make this attack, Ahmad Allah Khan wounded a pradhan at Kanakpur and appropriated ten thousand rupees in property there. Shafi Allah Khan attacked the Jats of Bodagari while they were plundering some villages. He ran away when they showed fight. This took place when Mahmud Khan was coming to Bijnor from Najibabad even though he had not been summoned to appear by the Collector. He stationed himself at Kiratpur, where Shafi Allah Khan reached him. The two joined hands with their fellow travelers to descend on Bodagari, which they looted and set alight. If these matters are looked at carefully they will then not emerge clear of the taint of willfulness.
18) The Second Unsolicited Visit of Mahmud Khan
Although Mahmud Khan could not wait to leave Bijnor the first time, this current and unsolicited visit to the Collector from Najibabad was not unsuspicious. He reached Bijnor on June 1 and set up his tent in the Collector's compound. This time the signs of rebellion were evident on his features. He was exhilarated at the prospect of being his own master; the love of it intoxicated him. He spoke in such a manner to the Deputy Collector that his seditious intentions became manifest. The Deputy Collector revealed these intentions to me. I told him that he ought to report everything at once to the Collector. We thereupon reported to the Collector the words of Mahmud Khan that had made known to us his intention to revolt. It was proposed that Mahmud Khan be sent away from Bijnor. It looked difficult to arrange his departure, but a strategem was worked out to send him to make a tour in the pargana of Chandpur. Showing his waywardness, Mahmud Khan went off instead to Daranagar.
19) Mr. George Palmer Punishes the Seditious in Mandawar
Mr. George Palmer reached Mandawar with his force on May 31, 1857. He requested reports about the various places where the Gujars were suspected of mobilizing. At four o'clock Mr. Palmer, together with Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar and Latafat Ali, Police Inspector, mounted and rode to Aswakheri, which is on the Ganges, in order to remove two large jezails [small cannons] from that village. News came on June 1, the second day, that the villagers were mobilizing in Fazalpur Village. Mr. Palmer took along twenty-five or thirty soldiers, twenty troopers, Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar of Bijnor, Mir Latafat Ali Police Inspector of Mandawar, and Mir Muhammad Ali, Road Agent. About a thousand inhabitants of Mandawar also came, along with one Bisawan, headman of Shaikhupura, and his two sons. They observed about four thousand men near the orchard of Fazalpur. Mr. Palmer galloped ahead to strike them on the right flank with his troopers. The other leaders advanced together with the soldiers. Seeing this attack, the villagers fired their muskets. They also offered resistance with drawn swords. Nevertheless, on receiving a flanking volley they fled. This attack was pressed home, and many men were encircled. Fazalpur was set alight and looted. Fifteen or twenty men were killed outright; many were wounded; twenty or thirty armed men were captured; and many were drowned in the Lahpi River and the Ganges. In addition to Fazalpur, Jahangirpur, Bhojpur, Shaikhupura, Husainpur, Narayanpur, and Aminpur were also set alight, as the people of these villages were also implicated.
20) Fifty Thousand Rupees sent from Bijnor to Meerut
Captain Gough came to Bijnor from Meerut on June 2 with a few troopers to take the treasure. Fifty thousand rupees was taken out of the well and handed over to him. Even though he had just a few troopers under him and dacoits were to be found everywhere in large numbers, the aforementioned Captain had some elephants loaded with this treasure and most courageously set off for Meerut on June 4 by way of Daranagar Ghat. His intrepid action won everyone's admiration. Also on June 2, Mr. George Palmer had sent to Bijnor the prisoners who had been taken in the pargana of Mandawar. Gujars were called in from the environs. A large number assembled on June 3; their bonds were taken to keep the peace, restore stolen property, and hand over their arms. There was fear and order in the District as a consequence of this punishment. It was even thought possible that the District might now be free of disorder.
21) Bareilly Mutiny and Return of Mr. George Palmer to Bijnor
But it is a matter of regret that prior to these arrangements Bareilly and Moradabad had rebelled on May 31, 1857. All the English had gone from there. We tried our best to conceal knowledge of the news, which was known to at least a few persons, but confirmation of the rebellion at Bareilly and Moradabad was received by the mails at evening time on June 3. In these new circumstances, Mr. George Palmer's stay with the soldiers could on no account be considered desirable; he was asked to come to Bijnor without fail. He arrived the same night; Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar reached Bijnor with the soldiers in the morning. The following day the soldiers set out for Moradabad.
22) Impact on Bijnor of the Bareilly Mutiny
The post to Bareilly was closed for several days, while the post across the river also could not be arranged. We were extremely upset because of this. It is clear that there were many other Districts whose attention, like ours, was fixed on Bareilly. And since Bareilly, Shahjahanpur, Pilibhit, Badaun, Moradabad, and all the districts of Rohilkhand had already revolted, what hope could there be that Bijnor -- nestled between jungle, mountain, and the alluvium of the Ganges -- would be able to stand? And when, moreover, there was no defense equipment nor even a small reliable force at the disposal of the Collector? And where Mr. Colebrooke had, in 1812, planted a very big thorny tree -- that is to say, where he had permitted the uprooted and exiled Bhanbu Khan, father of Mahmud Khan, to settle in Najibabad? It was for this reason that this ruined family again became the cynosure of all eyes. Each person in the District for this very reason was viewing himself as the ancient retainer, the loyal and ancestral servant of Mahmud Khan. At an hour of such degradation, all eyes were fixed on him alone. In truth, who was able to counsel that, despite the revolt of the entire Rohilkhand, the English officers should not abandon the District? Yet our Collector continued to persevere in an effort to keep up the administration. His remarkable foresight gave us all hope that even in such an hour, the District might stand, if only another calamity were avoided. We were not to be spared that other calamity, the one whose griefs can never be forgotten.
23) Mahmud Khan's Third Appearance at Bijnor with Rebellion in his Mind
Mahmud Khan had gone toward Daranagar, where he learned that the Collector was sending the rest of the treasure to Haldaur. The family of Haldaur had a big name and intimidating reputation in the District. If Mahmud Khan had any reason for concern, it was on account of this very family. He calculated that it might be more difficult to achieve his goal if the matter was allowed to proceed in this way. Right after hearing this news, he suddenly came to Bijnor on June 7, 1857, with a party of his comrade Pathans, determined to disclose his changed attitude and to demonstrate its influence. By evening, some more Pathans had come from Najibabad. I think there must have been between 200 and 250 well-equipped Pathan musketeers present with Mahmud Khan that night. The hearts of the Pathans and of the others that had just been taken into service -- and for that matter, the hearts of our old servants, too -- were all fixed on Mahmud Khan. There can be no doubt that they were all siding with him and paying court to him. Is it such a surprise that they may have been his confederates in some secret, too? At this juncture, in Bijnor, the calamity had come upon us that in each person's mind the thought had taken root that the authority of the Government would evaporate and that Mahmud Khan would doubtless sit on the throne of Government. Each person who lived in the District thought it necessary to adjust his own behavior to that of Mahmud Khan. On this basis it can be said that even all our own employees were on the same side as the companions of Mahmud Khan. We had never anticipated they would stand together with us when hard times came. In fact, we had known for a certainty that at the point they would all side with Mahmud Khan.
24) Report of Mahmud Khan's Intention to Revolt at Night
Chaudhri Partab Singh, Rais of Tajpur, received detailed letters on the same date about the revolts at Bareilly and Moradabad and the faithlessness and disloyalty of Khan Bahadur Khan./8/ He showed all these letters to the Collector. The wretch Mahmud Khan had also received news about the unprincipled Khan Bahadur. With this particular news in hand he had taken the firm decision to become a disciple of Khan Bahadur, and to achieve his aims that night. Up to this time, however, we had received no report about this wretch's intent. We knew only this much: he had twice failed to respond to the Collector's summons; and when he did finally call, the Collector himself could observe the arrogance in his utterances and the symptoms of his innermost intentions on his face. Muhammad Sa'id Khan, a writer in the Collectorate and a resident in Najibabad, reported to me at eight o'clock that Mahmud Khan intended to revolt that very night, because he had become upset. over the news that the Collector was sending the rest of the treasure to Haldaur. Muhammad Sa'id Khan expected a massacre during the night. I told Muhammad Sa'id Khan that he should go at once and devise some strategy to keep the peace. He himself should speak, and he should also make use of Wali Muhammad to convey information from me to satisfy the Nawab that the treasure would not be sent to Haldaur, nor had there ever been any decision taken to do so.
Thereupon I called Sa'ad Allah Khan of Burhapur and enjoined him most forcefully to stop the rebellion and to reason with the Nawab along these lines: if, for example, two Englishmen (God forbid) were to be killed, then what would be the profit? We would be disgraced for disloyalty, and his face would be blackened in God's abode. The Sadr Amin was responsible (he should also argue) for the assurance that the treasure would on no account be sent to Haldaur and that the Collector would never do anything that might show that he accorded more importance to someone else than to the Nawab. So where was the profit to be gained from rebellion, disgrace, and bloodshed?
Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar and I immediately called on the Collector. The Deputy had also come. After the letters received by Chaudhri Partab Singh, Rais of Tajpur, had been examined and their contents discussed, I gave a detailed report on the entire matter [of Mahmud Khan]. There followed a long discussion about the Magistrates' staying or leaving, and about what would be best action should they give up their responsibilities.
We learned on the same day from Moradabad that a rebel force with two guns was about to leave there for Bijnor. This time, too, we accepted the accuracy of this report and really understood the interest of the rebels in loot and their even greater interest in doing bodily harm to the English officers; still, no one could even conceive of evacuating Bijnor in the face of these troubles. Sometime later, we learned from a thoroughly reliable source that the report had, in fact, been correct. The essence of the account was that when the forty soldiers had reached Moradabad from Bijnor, the soldiers of the disloyal battalion would not allow them to share in the looted treasure of Moradabad ­- on the grounds that they had, for no good reason, left the treasure of Bijnor untouched and the English officers unscathed. These soldiers had then decided to take more men and artillery and return to Bijnor to carry out their plans.
In short, there could be no doubt that this was what they had firmly decided to do; that night there was discussion in the hour of council about how to meet this rebel force on its arrival. After listening to these exchanges and searching the minds of these people, I had determined that when they were convinced that the rebel army was enroute to us they would all desert the place, so that we would be left without even a pro-English mouse to escort them to asylum across the river Ganges. My view of the case was unquestionably sound and well thought out. The Collector and other more sensible men accepted it.
In short, a decision was at last taken that the memsahib [Mrs. Shakespeare] and the Christian women and children and some men, including Mr. Currie, should leave that very night for Roorkee by way of Muzaffarnagar. Only the Collector Mr. Alexander Shakespeare, and Mr. George Palmer, were to stay in Bijnor. This course of conduct was decided on at midnight. Preparations for the departure of Mrs. Shakespeare began. Since Mahmud Khan's evil intentions were now out in the open, it was decided to consult with him about the departure of Mrs. Shakespeare lest -- God forbid -- some harm come to her if he were uninformed. Accordingly, acting on the instructions of the Collector, I went at midnight to Mahmud Khan in the compound of the residence where he was staying. I found him seated among the crowd of his Pathans. I asked for a private discussion. Mahmud Khan replied at first with a curious pride, "Who is an outsider here? These are all my brother Pathans. Speak!" However he did, on my insistence to come aside with me, arise. I asked him at the outset: "Who has informed you that the treasure is going to Haldaur? This is a complete lie. I am answerable that on no account is the treasure to go." He answered: "I have been disgraced to the last shred of my honor. My Pathans are abusing me right and left because Bahadur Khan is sitting on his ancestral throne while I, poor wretch, must sit in secret. I have eaten the salt of the English; I don't want any Englishman to be killed and my face blackened. If the Englishmen want to live, then they should go from here. If a Pathan kills one of them, what am I to do?"
Besides his oral testimony, the very manner of his utterance was such that only the two who shared the dialogue really knew and understood from evidence that could not be put into a written account that this wretch was determined and ready for rebellion with all his body and soul. I cannot describe my thoughts at the time. I was convinced that the English officers would certainly be harmed. "There ought not be any questions of violence or disgrace," I continued to argue with Nawab, "when the matter could be settled otherwise. If you wish it, we can arrange for the ladies and other officers to leave here this very night; the Collector and the Joint Magistrate Bahadur will leave a few days later. Then you will be Nawab and will have achieved your end without any dishonour." I told him other things of this nature suitable to the occasion, so that he agreed that the English officers should not be harmed. He retorted, "What kind of a tiresome business is this that the memsahib [Mrs. Shakespeare] leaves today while the officers go later. If they are to go, then let them all go together today, otherwise I will be disgraced, since someone may kill them. I have been barely able to hold the Pathans up until this time: my control over them is limited."
The fact of the matter is that Mahmud Khan and Ahmad Allah Khan had employed many men in Najibabad, and that his Pathan companions were gathered there in strength. We also can be sure that he had called this group from Najibabad to await the coming of those people. I can cite in proof the fact that that very night many men had already left Najibabad. We were to see many of them enroute as we fled toward Kotlah ourselves. An assembly sufficient for the purpose had gathered about Mahmud Khan at the very same instant that the Collector issued the order for his own departure. If the matter is not as we think, then what cause is there for this sudden appearance in Bijnor of so many men from Najibabad?
25) Discussion of Administration after the Revelation of Mahmud Khan's Evil Intent to Rebel
When I became convinced that Mahmud Khan had indeed determined to revolt and that he would not change his mind, I told him that we should both go to the Collector and report that it was no longer proper for him to stay here. He said: "I won't go; I have already told him not to stay. I have performed my engagement of loyalty. Now it's up to him to go or stay." Mahmud Khan thereupon went and sat down among his Pathans.
Feeling helpless, I reported everything to the Collector; once again there was discussion about handing over the District and the departure. In such a predicament, with the rebel force enroute from Moradabad and a strong foe nearby and no one among our employees -- either new or old -- who could be trusted, we three could do little else but offer up our lives. The only way out was for the English to abandon the District in order to save their lives. We all agreed; and our Magistrates also approved, although the Deputy Sahib hesitated at the very first. But finally, even he agreed.
 
NOTES/1/ Caste of graziers in Punjab and Northwest India.
/2/ Cloth-merchant.
/3/ A proprietor and a member of the Tagas, a caste which claimed Brahman status.
/4/ Revenue officer of a sub-district.
/5/ Sir Sayyid used the word "Telinga" -- native of Telingana -- for "soldier" in the sense of an Indian Army soldier.
/6/ Non-commissioned Indian officer.
/7/ The name Mahmud means the Praised One; the text always identifies him as Na-Mahmud, the Unpraised One.
/8/ Khan Bahadur Khan, grandson of Rahmat Khan, the Rohilla hero of the 18th century, who took power in the wake of the revolt in Bareilly on May 31, 1857.
-- *Chapter 2* -- *Bijnor index page* -- *Glossary* -- *FWP's main page* -- 

History of the *Bijnor* Rebellion chapter 2


Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan's
History of the *Bijnor* Rebellion (1858)

CHAPTER II -- Transfer of Power to Nawab Mahmud Khan
 1) Rejection of Administration by the Chaudhris
At the time there was no way out except to hand over the District to that wretch Mahmud Khan, but our Collector, considering the need for prudence and perhaps for the sake of some indirect advantage, asked Chaudhri Randhir Singh, Rais of Haldaur, and Chaudhri Pratab Singh, Rais of Tajpur, if they would be able to carry on the administration. They had to admit their incapacity for this task. In truth, it was impossible that the people of the District would accept as their ruler anyone other than Nawab Mahmud Khan. In the presence of the Collector, I had asked Chaudhri Randhir Singh if it was possible to assure that the English officers would be safe when the rebel battalion passed through the District. He had to acknowledge that it would be impossible to arrange this matter. In short, all these affairs were settled by two o'clock in the morning. The Collector and Mr. George Palmer also prepared to leave.
I cannot give adequate praise to the civility and morality of the Collector, who had such regard for the care of each one of his dependents. It was such a delicate situation; yet he took all the Christian men, women, and children. He also asked what we would do: we reported that we too would flee. The Deputy's family and servants had all already gone to Haldaur. Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar's family, servants, and very small sons and girls were all in Bijnor. The Collector told Sayyid Turab Ali that he regarded them as his own, since their safety was as dear to him as his own, and that if the idea of sending his wife and children was acceptable, he was ready to take them all. But this matter was very difficult. We reported that, in fact, the dependants of Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar would all go to Kotlah and find safety from there. We could not find words to show our gratitude for the care and attention which had been shown to us. Taking the Collector's leave, Sayyid Turab Ali and myself brought out the baggage for the departure of the women and children. I informed Mahmud Khan that all the English officers were leaving. "Do all you can," I said, "to protect them, since the Collector, after crossing the river, intends to report to Government that this entire District should be conferred on you. Let there be no disorder," I pleaded. These diplomatic remarks pleased Mahmud Khan, and gave me confidence that there would now be no violence at all. Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar and I came to the civil station; and immediately after supervising the mounting of the women and children and bringing them near the compound of the Collector, we stopped and presented ourselves to him at three o'clock. We asked the officers in charge of the sowars to permit a detachment to serve as escorts. Our words left them silent, but Qutb ud-din Risaldar, who had come from Bareilly with the new sowars and had not yet became close to Mahmud Khan, was ready for this escort duty. Bahadur Ali Jamadar and three or four veteran sowars were got ready. All the elephants were prepared; the sowars also being ready, they reported for duty at the residence. The Collector sent Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar to summon Mahmud Khan. The Collector said: "I am going; I turn over the District to you. Administer it well. Make use of our clerks and look after them." Mahmud Khan then asked for a letter, which I then wrote at the request of the Collector. There is no copy extant, but I am writing what I remember in the hope that there will not even be a difference of wording.
2) Letter to Mahmud Khan on Handing Over the District
Contents of letter for Mahmud Khan from the Collector inscribed in the night between June 6 - 7:
Since the administration is, in fact, entrusted to you for as long as the Government may wish, you must administer it well and must also effectively protect the personal properties of the Collector and the Joint Magistrate that are in the residence, and all the property, effects, and government offices. Dated June 7, 1857.
3) Details of Money and Government Property in the Treasury at the Time of Writing, as follows: 
(At the Time of Writing, the Account Detailed Below Included the Rupees Present in the Treasury and the Well.)

RupeesAnnasPice
96,09924Treasury Balance including June 7, 1857
2,200----Dispensaries, Nagina and Najibabad
2,500----Salaries of Mofussil Clerks
593----Income of jail factory
150----Overseer of Scales
6,797111Cashier's Account
109,439316
Stamps and Opium
Rupees AnnasPice
38,000----Stamp Paper
350----Postage Stamps
3,960----Opium for Government Purchase Account
3,960----For Price Increase in the Market Rate for Opium Sales
4) Departure of the Officers from Bijnor
This letter was given to Mahmud Khan after it was signed. The wretch took it and came out. The Collector then said his farewell; for our part we expressed sadness at this separation. They all came out to the veranda a short while later in order to mount their animals. The Collector and the Joint Magistrate, speaking most kindly, gave me and Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar permission to leave them so that we might collect our women for our own departure. After we left, the Collector and all the officers mounted and took their leave; the Deputy left for Haldaur with Chaudhri Randhir Singh of Haldaur. Understand this fact: all the disloyal veteran sowars [horsemen], along with Bahadur Ali Jamadar, fled from the bank of the Ganges toward Mahmud Khan; the new sowars remained until they reached Roorkee, where they were tried by court martial. Their lives were spared by the favor of the Collector. Mahmud Khan did not even allow the sun to rise properly before he proclaimed himself Nawab by beat of drum in Bijnor with these words: "The People belong to God; the Country belongs to the King; and Authority belongs to Nawab Mahmud Khan."
5) Background of the Family of Mahmud Khan
It is proper at this stage to relate something of the story of Mahmud Khan's family. Mahmud Khan is the grandson of Najib Khan, who in the reign of Ahmad Shah [1748] was employed by Dunde Khan to collect revenue on the latter's behalf in Pargana Daranagar, now included in Bijnor District. He married the daughter of Dunde Khan, thereupon becaming the permanent master of that country and obtaining access to the King's Court.
When Aziz ud-Din Alamgir the Second came to the throne [1753], Najib Khan killed Jit Singh the brigand and extended his sway across the Ganges to add to his country some land that is now located in Saharanpur District. The King's Court conferred on him the title Najib ud-Daulah Amir ul-Umara etc., Hero of the Realm and Lord of Lords. He built the fort of Patthargarh in 1755, and also founded Najibabad.
When Najib ud-Daulah died in 1770, Najib Khan's son Zabita Khan succeeded him. In 1774 Shuja ud-Daulah [1754-75, the Nawab of Awadh] of Lucknow ejected Zabita Khan from this region on account of his failure to meet the money payments due the Marathas to whom Shuja ud-Daulah was himself accountable. On the recommendation of Nawab Abdul Ahad, Zabita Khan obtained the Imperial grant for Bawani Saharanpur in 1776; he elected to live at Ghausgarh.
His son Ghulam Qadir Khan took over after Zabita Khan's death. It was he who blinded Shah Alam [1759-1806]. Maharaja Patel arrested him after a struggle for this crime. After imprisoning him in an iron cage, the Maharaja had him executed by dismemberment. The brother of Ghulam Qadir -- Mu'in ud-din Khan, called Bhambu Khan -- went away to the Punjab.
After its conquest of the districts of Delhi, the English Government summoned Bhambu Khan and showed great consideration to him. He was given a monthly pension of Rupees 5,000 and ordered to live in Bareilly. As a result of Mr. Colebrooke's report he settled in Najibabad in 1812. Upon his death the English Government, on compassionate grounds, fixed monthly pensions of Rupees 1,000 for his sons, Mahmud Khan and Jalal ud-Din Khan, and for his daughters. In addition there was granted to each person of the family a most honorable position, so that they could pass their days with perfect dignity. When a spurious Ghulam Qadir Khan came to Akbar Shah's [1806-37] Court in Delhi [183l], Bhambu Khan obtained access to the King and secured titles for his sons. The family tree of this disloyal family is set down at this place in my account.
5) Nawab Mahmud Khan's Genealogical Table
Namdar Khan
|
Qalandar Khan
|
Inayat Khan
|
Basharat Khan
|
Asalat Khan
|
Najib Khan
|
Zabita Khan
|
Bhanbu Khan
|
Mahmud Khan
|
Ghazanafar Ali Khan, Mu'zzam Ali Khan, and a daughter
6) The coming to Bijnor of the Deputy Collector, Sadr Amin, and Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar; and their meeting with Mahmud Khan
After we left for Kotlah we met many groups of soldiers coming from Najibabad to Bijnor. In Kotlah itself we met Shafi Allah Khan, nephew of Mahmud Khan; he was also enroute to Bijnor from Najibabad, a fact which confirms all aspects of this nocturnal plot. We stayed a few days in Kotlah. There we wrestled with the questions of where to go and by what means. Orders from Mahmud Khan were constantly being sent to us. In the end, sowars came to take us to Bijnor. Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar's family set out for Nagina; the Deputy, who was also summoned, came to Bijnor from Haldaur. We all met Mahmud Khan but did not give the presents which he expected./1/ After a short while, he dismissed us with the statement that we should continue to do our work as before. We saw in Bijnor that Ram Sarup was very much in the ascendency, and that rebel soldiers were continually being taken into the Nawab's employ through him; their employment had begun from about June 9 or 10.
7) Appointment of Azmat Allah Khan as Deputy, Ahmad Allah Khan as Deputy Collector, Kalan Khan as Commander, and Habib Allah as Paymaster
Mahmud Khan inaugurated a new administration on the next day. He appointed Azmat Allah Khan, munsif of Thakur Dwara, as his Deputy, and Ahmad Allah Khan, Tahsildar at Najibabad, as Deputy Collector and Joint Magistrate. However, Ahmad Khan maneuvered himself so well that he dominated the Nawab to such a degree that he controlled the land revenue and the court. In truth, the Nawab was just a half-blind goat in his hands. Orders were issued to take sowars and foot-soldiers into service. The old office holders of the family were appointed to fill their old posts. Ahmad Yar Khan, called Kalan Khan, was named Commander-in-Chief of the Army; Habib Allah Khan became its Paymaster. I was becoming alarmed as I studied this situation, particularly as the Nawab used to flare up in anger at whoever mentioned the name of the British officers in his presence.
8) What Strategy Did the Sadr Amin and the Tahsildar Plan?
When the Nawab ordered that we were each to carry on just as before, the three of us -- that is, myself, Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar, and Pandit Radha Kishan, Deputy Inspector [of schools] -- took counsel together as a group. We constituted ourselves as a committee and decided that none of us would carry out an assignment until the committee itself had agreed. With respect to our work at this stage, it was decided that Mir Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar of Bijnor should implement only those orders of the Nawab that were of an urgent nature; he was to allow all the others to lie in suspense. Land revenue arrears would also not be collected, except for just those funds needed to pay the subordinate employees of the revenue court and the police station. Consequently, this was done; through Bakhshi Ram Tahsildar, who was also well disposed toward the English and shared our secrets, all those who came to pay land revenue were ordered not to pay their money. The delay in submitting the revenue receipts annoyed the Nawab, who began to send urgent orders in coarse language. In the administration of civil law it was decided that I, as Sadr Amin, should carry on with urgent business to the extent possible, as if I were still under English authority and free from any connection with the Nawab. I acted accordingly. I continued to issue written instructions in open court that such and such matters that were fit to be transmitted to the Judge should be sent on to him. The advantage of this was that the people understood by this procedure that English control remained as before; the Nawab of course found it all most irksome. His enmity toward me was becoming more and more intense, while we for our part were adjusting our actions to the thought that our superiors would certainly be returning to the District very soon.
9) News Spreads of the Coming to Bijnor of the Rebel Army; Mahmud Khan Plots with Them
Mahmud Khan was most anxious to enter into a plot with the disloyal rebel army stationed in Moradabad. Rumors of their coming nearer to Bijnor grew with each passing day. Letters were also coming with news about their impending departure in our direction. With this eventuality in mind Mahmud Khan dispatched to Dhampur Ram Sarup, Jamadar of the jail, and Masa'ib Ali, Dafadar [officer] of the sowars, together with some of his trusted men. He also sent letters to Moradabad to inform the rebel army that it would be useless for them to come to Bijnor, as the British had left and taken all the treasure with them. However, Mahmud Khan added, if they wanted to come to Bijnor to enter his service, then they would be most welcome. On receiving this information, the rebels put off coming to Bijnor; and Ram Sarup and the others came back from Dhampur. Mahmud Khan learned a short time later, by some means or other, that the rebel army intended to cross the Ganges at Daranagar Ghat. He therefore addressed orders to the tahsildars for the collection of rations, and issued other orders to the taluqdars to send their supplies of rations in to him. I insert here a copy of the written command sent on this subject to Chaudhri Partab Singh, Rais of Tajpur.
10) Copy of the Warrant Signed by Mahmud Khan
Illustrious and worthy friend Chaudhri Partab Singh, Rais of Tajpur:
Peace be on you. Upon learning of the coming of the Moradabad batallion, orders have been issued to the tahsildars of Chandpur and Dhanpur etc. in the matter of arranging for and assembling rations at the camping ground of the army. You are therefore being addressed so that, to the extent possible, you also may be of assistance to them in this matter of arranging and providing rations, etc. Regard this as urgent. Dated June 17, 1857.
11) Dismissal of Maulvi Qadir Ali as Tahsildar of NaginaA great many of his relatives gathered around Mahmud Khan at this time. Two thoughts were uppermost in his mind: the need to provide for these relatives, and his awareness that certain superior officials in the administration would not suit his purposes because of their pro-British leanings. For these reasons, he first dismissed Maulvi Qadir Ali, Tahsildar of Nagina, on June 17, 1857, and appointed in his place Abdullah Khan, who had been a subordinate employee in Tahsil Kashipur, Moradabad District. When Maulvi Qadir Ali came to Bijnor after this dismissal, the Nawab payed no attention to him. For his part; the Nawab regarded the dismissal as actually being a blessing; he appreciated the advantages of being removed from these misfortunes. Herewith is an exact copy of this dismissal order as signed by Nawab Mahmud Khan:
Illustrious and worthy Maulvi Abdul Qadir Ali Tahsildar of Nagina.
May you be well. For administrative reasons your presence at our Court is indispensable. You are accordingly informed by order today that you are to turn over your responsibilities to dear and respected brother Muhammad Abd Allah Khan. Do not feel depressed since the court will call you for official duties.
Dated June 17, 1857.
12) Consultation of Mahmud Khan with the Sadr Amin, and the Latter's RefusalMahmud Khan called me, the Sadr Amin, during the night of this same June 17. Mahmud Khan and Ahmad Allah Khan, who was also present, told me the following in confidence: "We want you to join us and to take an oath to confirm your acceptance. Regard the estate of your choice as your property for generations to come. Take our oath, and we will establish this estate for you forever." At first I was very frightened about what to say in reply. After an interval of thought, I became convinced that a straightforward and honest statement was always for the best. I stated humbly: "Nawab Sahib! I can certainly take an oath that I will be your well-wisher and that I will not be ill-disposed toward you. However, I cannot join with you if you aim to seize more land or fight against the English." I said: "By God! Nawab Sahib, I speak in your best interest! Remove this thought from your mind. The authority of the English officers will never go. Imagine, if you will, what would happen if the English left all of Hindustan. Except for the English authorities, no one else can rule in Hindustan. Don't renounce your allegiance to them," I said. "If the British should indeed leave, as you think, you would still remain a Nawab. No one can snatch this from you. And if my view turns out to be correct, you will then be a well-wisher whom the Government will favor and promote. If you want me to share in your administration, ask permission.of the Collector and promise at the same time that you will do nothing without first obtaining his approval." If Mahmud Khan had been wise he would have grasped that this advice served his best interests. However, his basic inclination was evil, and he became angry at my words and dismissed me with a frown.
Because we would not give up our pro-English attitude, Mahmud Khan became dead set in his enmity against us. Additional excesses were committed against us. My living quarters were taken away by force and given to his own military officers. These officers took for themselves the effects belonging to me that were locked up in my house. Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar lost his horse when a detachment of thirty soldiers took it away by force. They were determined to harass us at every turn. We kept asking ourselves every minute of the day how we might escape from the Nawab's grip, but this was impossible.
The Collector had not yet left Bijnor when the pioneer troops suddenly wanted to rebel at their jungle station under Captain Reid. Mr. Eastman the ear doctor, his wife, and Mr. Burton Sergeant therefore came as a party to Najibabad, where they were put up in the private residence of Mahmud Khan. A troop of sowars came from Roorkee and took the two officers and their wives safely back with them.
13) Sending of the Treasure to Najibabad, the Treasurer under Guard, and Chaudhri Nain Singh's Resistance to the Nawab
Ahmad Allah Khan began at this time to take out the balance of the official treasure from its hiding place in the well; he sent a part of this treasure to Najibabad. Now Mahmud Khan began to harry and oppose each of the landlords. He sent Sawa'i Singh Jat with a large detachment to the house of Jamiyat Singh Brahman, Rais of Bijnor, to search for a lady called Panna Pathar. He also called Chaudhri Jodh Singh, Rais of Bijnor, who held on deposit the effects of Mr. Lemaistre, to come to him. For this reason, and also because some person had disclosed that the treasury held on deposit a box of gold coins and jewelry that belonged to Mr. George Palmer, Banke Rai, Treasurer of Bijnor, sent some of his own property on the sly to Haldaur. Ram Sarup Jamadar and several rebel soldiers who had been enlisted by him were posted at Banke Rai's place on June 21; there Ram Sarup harassed him and his brother, Biharilal, a great deal, taking some of their money.
From the start of these events, Chaudhri Nain Singh and Chaudhri Jodh Singh, Rais of Bijnor, determined to oppose the Nawab. They gathered men from the villages; thousands of villagers gathered in Bijnor. The Nawab wanted to pacify the Chaudhris. They both came to the Nawab's residence one evening to discuss the settlement, but this meeting did not take place. After their departure from the residence, the two Chaudhris came to the tahsil to tell Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar and myself that they proposed to fight the Nawab and unseat him. We replied that we could not give any advice in this matter, since we did not know the views of the English authorities. "Do whatever you think proper, but reflect," we added, "that all the belongings of the Collector and the Joint Magistrate, together with the official treasure and officers, are still on hand. If some misfortune," we said, "should befall this property, the English authorities would certainly be displeased."
14) Arrival of Munir Khan Jihadi; Talks between the Nawab and the Chaudhris
This emergency had not yet arisen when one Munir Khan, a resident of Kanjpura, suddenly came to Bijnor from Nagina; he came as a jihadi [a reiigious warrior] leading a party of 400 men. Upon receiving word of the trouble, Ahmad Allah Khan, who had gone to Najibabad, came to Bijnor. Ahmad Yar Khan alias Kalan Khan, Commander-in-Chief, and Nadir Shah Khan Risaldar, on leave from the Multan Regiment which had come to Bijnor, intervened and brought peace between the Chaudhris and the Nawab. On June 23, 1857 Ahmad Allah Khan and the two Chaudhris came to the Cutcherry [Court] for a long discussion. Afterwards peace prevailed. The two Chaudhris swore by Ganges water that they would obey the Nawab; Ahmad Allah Khan put a seal on the Qur'an that he would not mistreat the Chaudhris. For their part, Mahmud Khan and Ahmad Allah Khan put a seal on the Qur'an at the Residence, which they then handed over. Thus there was peace between the two sides. It was agreed on June 24, 1857 to take Rs. 4,000 from Banke Rai, Treasurer, together with the box belonging to Mr. George Palmer, which had been left in trust. At the same time, the guard was lifted from the house of the treasurer.
15) Harassment of the Sadr Amin, the Deputy Collector, the Tahsildar, and the Deputy Inspector by Munir Khan
Munir Khan Jihadi stirred up a big commotion in Bijnor. He accused us ­- the Sadr Amin, Rahmat Khan Sahib the Deputy Collector, and Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar -- of being intimates of the English, of helping them to depart in safety from Bijnor, and of plotting and maintaining active correspondence with them. Therefore, we "deserved" to be executed. In truth, we were secretly corresponding with Mr. John Currie Crawford Wilson. In this effort to do us harm there can, of course, be no doubt about the Nawab's also being implicated. Our death at the hands of the Jihadis would be a nice tactical move for him, since it would serve to keep his own name clear yet at the same time promote his basic aims. Pandit Radha Kishan, the Deputy Inspector, also had to face the further accusation that he had been guilty of the crime of traveling to each center of the District in order to set up Christian schools. In brief, Munir Khan went to such extremes against us that we received a most ominous summons to attend on him "or else."
We were in special difficulty at that time because some of our own messengers at the tahsil had turned against us to side with the Jihadis. In this helpless predicament there was no alternative but to call on him. He opened an exchange with us about the "Jihad question." I told him that what we were witnessing was not a Jihad in the light of Islamic Law. We left at the conclusion of a dialogue in this vein. The next day Munir Khan went to take up the same "Jihad question" in an interview with the aforesaid Maulvi Alim Allah, Rais of Bijnor. On inquiry, we learned that the Maulvi had spoken up bravely and offered many arguments to prove that it was not a Jihad in the light of religion. In the tumult that followed, Munir Khan's comrades wanted to cut Maulvi Alim Allah down with their swords, but people intervened to save him. After this interview, Munir Khan and his comrades -- excepting those few who had abandoned his cause -- left the next day for Delhi, where they were killed in the conflict.
16) Dispatch of the Treasury and English Officers' Effects to Najibabad; A Petition to the King
Ahmad Allah Khan then took some money from the treasury and employed many people. He forwarded to Najibabad the effects of the English officers, doctor, and clerks. He opened the official mail that had been received since June 17. Depending upon his whim, he destroyed some letters; others he permitted to be delivered to the addresses. There was such obstruction that dispatch of postal mail ended in Bijnor on June 22.
At this time a commotion arose, on arrival of news that Khan Bahadur Khan had obtained an order from Delhi giving his jurisdiction over the entire country of Kathar. Mahmud Khan was upset because Bijnor might be counted as part of the Kathar country. After consultation, it was proposed to send a draft petition to the King in Delhi to request that the District should be conferred upon Mahmud Khan by name. A draft was prepared which was to be taken to Delhi by Amdu Khan.
17) Ahmad Allah Khan's Tour, and Amdu Khan's Departure for Delhi With a Petition
Ahmad Allah Khan decided to go on tour after this petition had been drafted. The main object of this tour was to set up his administration and to collect money. He marched out of Bijnor on July 10, 1857 toward Najibabad; on July 13, Amdu Khan set out for Delhi to take the petition marked for the King of Delhi. On this very day Ahmad Allah Khan came to Najibabad from Nagina; from there he reached Dhampur on the 14th. The purpose of this departure from Nagina was to make use of his judicial powers in order to inflict a fine that would allow him to pocket the 1akhs [hundreds of thousands] of wealth that Imam Bakhsh alias Mareh, a blackguard of Sherkot, had been stealing all along from Rup Chand Mahajan. For his part Mareh had prepared his war supplies and gathered his men. He stayed in Sherkot, on the alert to resist Ahmad Allah Khan. As a consequence, the latter tarried for several days in Dhampur.
18) Background of Mareh
Mareh, a Shaikh by social class, was a confirmed bad character. Half the town of Sherkot was formerly in the zamindari of his forefathers. For this reason, he had been called the "big Chaudhri." However, over the years he had become quite indigent and a blackguard besides. Chaudhri Partab Singh used to give his mother Rs. 150 a month. In March 1855, Mareh was sentenced to a year in jail, on a charge of bad behavior, at the sessions of Mr. Charles John Wingfield.
19) Change in English Weights, and Making of New Weights with the Words "Royal Seal"
After Mahmud Khan had sent the petition to the King of Delhi, he developed an obsession of displaying at least some signs of royal rule, and of wiping out the chief symbols of the Government's authority. On July 18, therefore, he decided to end circulation of the 80 rupees' weight seer that was current by orders of the English Government, and replace it by the old seer measure at the weight of 100 rupees. The words "royal seal" were to be stamped on the new seers. Orders were issued to carry out this change. The new seer weight was also prepared infrequently in scattered places in the tahsil of Najibabad and Nagina. However, this order was never carried out in Bijnor during the administration of Sayyid Turab Ali, though it was carried out afterwards even there.
20) Meeting of Ahmad Allah Khan with Mareh to Settle Differences
All the Hindus and Muslims united to support Ahmad Allah Khan after he reached Dhampur. The Chaudhris of Sherkot also gave every evidence of their submission to the authority of Ahmad Allah Khan. On their coming to Dhampur on July 19, 1857, these Chaudhris met Ahmad Allah Khan in order to pay their respects to him. The landlords of Sherkot also cooperated with Ahmad Allah Khan. Each one of them was deeply concerned to ward off the anticipated danger from Mareh. At this time, however, Mareh was by no means weaker than Ahmad Allah Khan, and so the latter wanted to make peace with him. Towards this end, he threw his most reliable allies into the breach. For Ahmad Allah Khan, the big advantage of this tactic was to place at his disposal in the District a confirmed bad character, who could be a very good and energetic tool to do all kinds of mischief.
And so this strategy of his was set afoot, and Mareh agreed to peace. On July 22, 1857, riding an elephant, he came with full honors to Dhampur, where he paid his respects to Ahmad Allah Khan. He presented four gold coins and some rupees as an offering. He also took off his sword and placed it before Ahmad Allah Khan. Ahmad Allah Khan was greatly pleased. He retied the sword on Mareh's waist and permitted him to leave for Sherkot that very day.
21) Ahmad Allah Khan in Sherkot
Ahmad Allah Khan went to Sherkot on July 23; there Mareh welcomed him and gave a feast for him and his camp. Ahmad Allah Khan settled Rs. 100 a month on Mareh, and put him in charge of mobilizing men and laying up grain for the camp. Those people who had suffered at Mareh's hands -- when they saw fortune smile upon him and the tide turn against themselves, they wept and said [[quoting a Persian verse]],
We expected friendly gestures and treatment from our friends,
Whatever we thought was nothing but error.
On July 24, Ahmad Allah Khan went to the house of Chaudhri Umrao Singh. After presenting Rs. 500 to Ahmad Allah Khan, the Chaudhri gave every evidence of his own fidelity to him.22) Harsh Demand for Balances Due from Chaudhri Umrao Singh
Ahmad Allah Khan summed up in his character all that was wicked and violent. Nawab Mareh Khan Blackguard Bahadur was the very man who could still give him lessons in both these respects as his ally. Overnight the level of violence increased tenfold. Their special target became Chaudhri Umrao Singh, rated in the District as being very rich but also its weakest personage. Taking him as their "golden bird," the two began to make trouble for the Chaudhri. A message was sent that his land revenue, about Rs. 12,000, should be paid at once. Mahmud Khan in Bijnor and Shafi Allah Khan and Azmat Allah Khan in Najibabad began to send soldiers, rations, etc. as war supplies to Ahmad Allah Khan. The artillery which had come from Nagina to Bijnor through the intercession of Nathe Khan was also sent, together with ammunition, to Sherkot, where it arrived on July 27.
23) Attempts at Compromise
Although this affair concerned only Chaudhri Umrao Singh of Sherkot, Mahmud Khan and his advisors were quite fearful about the reactions of the Chaudhris of Haldaur, and also of Chaudhri Pratab Singh, Rais of Tajpur, whom they viewed as a man who led a community and was responsible for the revenues of lands held in common. Mahmud Khan feared that they might intervene on Umrao Singh's behalf. To ward off this danger, on July 27 Mahmud Khan sent Nadir Shah Khan, Hasan Raza Khan, and Chaudhri Nain Singh and Chaudhri Jodh Singh, both Rais-es of Bijnor, to Tajpur and Haldaur. Through these intermediaries, he appealed to the Chaudhris to intervene and bring about a compromise between Chaudhri Umrao Singh and himself.
24) Arrival of a Royal Decree
After the departure of these people, Amdu Khan, who had taken Mahmud Khan's petition to the King, returned to Bijnor on July 28, 1857 with a royal decree addressed to Mahmud Khan. Lala Mathra Das, father of Lala Banke Rae the Treasurer, also came with him from Delhi. Amdu Khan gave the decree to Mahmud Khan. The text follows in full, dated July 21, 1857, Zil-Qadah. 21st, regnal year 28.
From Muhammad Bahadur Shah Badshad-i Ghazi Abu al-Zafar Siraj al-Din/2/"Our Special Lieutenant, worthy of kindness and favors, Amir ud-Daulah, Ziya ul-Mulk, Muhammad Mahmud Khan, victorious in battles and deserving of many honors, should know this: that we examined his letter of application explaining in detail the deterioration of public tranquility, the general breach of law and order, the destruction wrought by anti-social elements in all the villages and parganas, and his corresponding efforts to carry on the administration by raising foot and mounted soldiers; and also indicating his and his ancestors' good will, influence and loyalty for this Exalted Court; and supplicating to be confirmed in the position of administrator, like his ancestors.
In fact, the ancestors of our Special Lieutenant [Nawab Mahmud Khan] well­deserved the kindness of preceding sovereigns. Also, this man worthy of kindness and favors [i.e. Nawab Mahmud Khan] has left no stone unturned in order to please and serve Mirza Shahrukh Bahadur./3/ This has pleased us, and in view of this he deserves consideration and concessions. If he continues to render good service, as he did in the past, he will deserve many more imperial favors, and his application for the exclusive administration of the District will achieve the status of acceptance. However, until he receives a diploma of investitute [sanad-i mustanad] from our Exalted Self he should keep in trust the total land revenue [of his area], after deducting the expenses of his army and administrative personnel, and then send it yearly to our Treasury which does favors. Moreover, the vast amount of currency which he has acquired from the Collector's Treasury, plus their belongings and horses that he came to possess after the flight of the British -- all these things and others he should send to us as soon as possible through Mathra Das and the two Imperial mounted soldiers who will soon reach there. This would demonstrate the loyalty and sincerity of our Special Lieutenant, and will eventually result in his rising several grades of rank, and general progress. Therefore try to realize many blessings [which lie ahead]."
I think that Mathra Das did not have any special influence in the Delhi Court, since for a long time he had not been counted among the Rais-es of Delhi. He always stayed outside the city. When Amdu Khan went to Delhi and learned that the King was demanding money and treasure of the English, it is no wonder that he should have had Mathra Das's name written down, since he was able to squeeze Mathra Das at will and keep the upper hand over him. In addition, relations between the Nawab and Mathra Das were decidedly unpleasant, since Mathra Das was deeply agitated about the problem of extracting his son from the Nawab's grip. He himself told the story to Sayyid Turab Ali and myself on his arrival in Bijnor. His one aim appeared to be to take part in the matter of the farman, so that he could obtain sufficient influence over the Nawab to secure the release of his son. Up till the very end, we could not detect any kind of attachment between the Nawab and him.
NOTES/1/ Their unwillingness to give presents to the Nawab at this time would imply that they did not regard working under his orders as a "new employment" for themselves, that they did not recognize him as a sovereign ruler.
/2/ Written in Persian, the imperial farman is couched in the traditional formal style of the Mughal Court.
/3/ Sir Sayyid then adds in parenthesis: "That is, when Mirza Shahrukh came on a hunt in this district during 1844".
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