Monday, 10 June 2013

Book Excerpts: Conquest of Dehli by Timur-I-Lang

Conquest of Dehli by Timur-I-Lang is an account by Timur who captured Delhi in 1398 when he was more that sixty years old. Born in Transoxiana, in present-day Uzbekistan, his father was a noble from the Barlas tribe. This excerpt in English has been translated from his memoirs, Malfuzat-i-Timuri on his conquest of Delhi. Fourteenth-century Delhi was a place gripped by political uncertainty, marauding invasions and a freaky fear that loomed with the commoners having nowhere to flee but to face the wrath of the conquerors. The following is a description of the plunder that followed Timur's invasion and what he had to write:

'By the will of God, and by no wish or direction of mine, all the three cities of Delhi, by name Siri, Jahan-anah and Old Delhi  had been plundered. The khutba of my sovereignty, which is an assurance of safety and protection, had been read in the city. It was therefore my earnest wish that no evil might happen to the people of the place. But it was ordained by God that the city should be ruined. He therefore inspired the infidels with a spirit of resistance, so that they brought on themselves the fate which was inevitable.

When my mind was no longer occupied with the destruction of the people of Delhi, I took a ride round the cities. Siri is a round city. Its building are lofty. They are surrounded by fortifications, built of stone and brick, and they are very strong. Old Delhi also has a similar strong fort, but it is larger than that of Siri. From the fort of Siri to that of Old Delhi  which is a considerable distance, there runs a strong wall, built of stone and cement'.

Further, 'The pen of fate had written down this destiny for the people of this city. Although I was desirous of sparing them, I could not succeed, for it was the will of God that this calamity should fall upon this city'.

(Article by Kabita Sonowal)

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