Zafar-nama by Maulana Sharafu-d din Ali Yazdi.
In The History of India as Told by its own HistoriansThe Posthumous Papers of the Late Sir H. M. Elliot. John Dowson, ed. 1st ed. 1867. 2nd ed., Calcutta: Susil Gupta, 1956, vol. 2, pp. 99-149.

  1. Overview

The Zafar-Nama, “Book of Victory”, is a biography of Timur composed in 1424 CE.  It is a partial biography, beginning during Timur’s twenty-fifth year.  Its author is Maulana Sharafu-d din Ali Yazdi, who died in 1446 CE.  Generally quite partial to Timur, it makes liberal use of his biography, the Malfuzat-i Timuri.  It was translated into French by M. Petis de la Croix (Histoire de Timur Bec, Paris, 1722).

Amir Tîmûr-i-lang, also known as Tamerlane, was a Barlâs Turk of a noble family.  By the time he was born, however, his family had fallen on hard times and lived by banditry.  His father converted to Islam and retired to a Muslim monastery at a young age.

came to power as the head of a branch of Chaghatai Mongols based in Samarkhand in Central Asia.  Having tremendous military and political acumen and ambition, he rapidly rose to power, playing the Turks of western Central Asia off the Mongols of Eastern Central Asia.  Eventually he served under Chagatid Mongols, and once he gained the upper hand over them he claimed for himself Chagatid Mongol descent.  From his power base in Central Asia he began a massive series of conquests which rivaled that of the early Mongol emperors from whom he claimed descent.  He turned north against the Golden Horde in Mongol Russia, reaching almost to Moscow.  Then he turned south and conquered Afghanistan, where he crowned himself Khan.  Later he turned West and conquered Persia, the Middle East and defeated the Ottoman Turks in Anatolia.  Returning again to Central Asia, he decided to invade India.  As the excerpts below indicate he needed no great justification to do so; the lure of conquest and pillage, and the opportunity to kill infidels, were evidently sufficient.  The last justification is rather ironic, given the fact the regions he conquered in Northern India were largely Muslim governed at the time.

Planning for the expedition began in 1397, an commenced when his grandson, Pîr Muhammad, led an expedition into Sindh, capturing Uch and Multan, which fell in May 1398.  Later that year Timur himself crossed the Indus with a calvary numbering 90,000.  He was opposed at Loni by the Sultan of Delhi, Mahmûd Tughlûq, whom he defeated.  After massacring 100,000 Indian prisoners he captured Delhi, which was sacked, and its inhabitants massacred.  Timur, however, saved a number of artisans to bring back to Samarkhand as slaves.  He then veered north toward the Himalayas and returned to Central Asia via the Punjab.  He died in 1405 CE, just as he was gathering a massive army for an invasion of China.

The extracts translated here narrates his invasion of India, which began in 1398 CE, and resulted in the outright slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Indians, and the death of many more in the anarchy, famine and pestilence that followed in his wake.  He justifies the atrocities committed by himself and his troops in the name of holy war conducted for the glory of Islam.

  1. Excerpts

1.  March to the east of Loni—Massacre of Hindu Prisoners
2. Battle with the Sultan of Hindustan
3. Flight of Sultan Mahmud and Mallu Khan: Capture of Delhi
4. Timur marches from Delhi to other places in Hindustan
5. Capture of the Fort of Mirat
6. Destruction of the Gabrs in the Valley of Kupila—Account of a Stone Cow Worshipped by the Gabrs
7. Timur’s resolution to retire from Hindustan
8. Raid into the Siwalik hills1.

[p. 120]

March to the east of Loni—Massacre of Hindu Prisoners

On the 3rd Rabi’u-s sani Timur marched from Jahan- numai, and pitched his camp to the eastward of Loni.  All the princes and amirs who had been engaged in different expeditions assembled here under the royal banner (and  Timur harangued them on the operations of war).

On the same day Amir Jahan Shah and other amirs represented to Timur that from the time he crossed the Indus a hundred thousand Hindu prisoners, more or less, had been taken, and that these gabrs and idol-worshipers were kept in the camp.  It was to be feared that in the day of battle with the forces of Delhi they might join the enemy.  This opinion was confirmed by the joy which the prisoners had exhibited, when Mallu Khan marched against the imperial forces at Jahan- numai.  Timur considered the point, and deeming the advice of his officers to be wise, he gave orders for all the Hindu prisoners to be put to death.  Everyone who neglected to comply with this command was to be executed, and his wives, children, and goods were to become the property of the informer.  In pursuance of this order 100,000 infidel Hindus were put to the sword. Maulana Nasiru-d din, a most distinguished ecclesiastic, had fifteen [p. 121] Hindus in his train, and he who had never caused a sheep to be slaughtered was obliged to have these fifteen Hindus killed.  Timur also issued an order that one man out of every ten should be left in camp to guard the wives and children of the prisoners, and the captured cattle.

On the same day Timur resolved upon marching to Delhi, and setting off after mid-day prayer he encamped on the banks of the Jumna.  The astrologers and soothsayers disputed with each other as to whether the stars and presages were favourable.  Timur placed no reliance on their predictions, but put his trust in God, without whose pleasure nothing happens.  Next morning, after prayers, he took the holy book and opened it for a fal.  The verse which came out was favourable to his enterprize.  Trusting in this omen he crossed the river Jumna, and encamped on the other side on the 5th Rabi’u-s sani.  The soldiers by way of precaution intrenched their camp, which was near a little hill called Pushta-bihali, and they fenced it in with branches of trees and palisades.  In front of the ditch they fastened buffalos together by their feet and necks, and inside the fence they raised penthouses (khamha).

Battle with the Sultan of Hindustan

On the 7th Rabi’u-s sani Timur settled the array of his army.  Prince Pir Muhammad Jahangir, Amir Yadgar Birlas, and others were placed over the right wing.  Prince Sultan Husain, Prince Khalil Sultan, Amir Jahan Shali, and others, had command of the left wing.  The vanguard was placed under the command of Prince Rustam, Amir Shaikh Nuru-d din, and others.  Timur himself commanded the centre.  In this order, full of spirits and courage, the soldiers marched to the battlefield.

The enemy also came out in battle array.  The centre was under Sultan Mahmud, grandson of Sultan [p. 122] Firoz Shah, and Mallu Khan.  The right was commanded by Taghi Khan, Mir Ali Hauja, and others, and the left by Malik Mu’inu-d din, Malik Hani, and others.  The enemy’s army consisted of 12,000 veteran horsemen and 40,000 infantry, with all the appliances of war.  Thus they advanced to the field of battle.  The enemy’s great reliance was on his enormous war elephants, 120 in number.  They were covered with armour, and on their backs was a kind of litter or cage, in which crossbow men and discus throwers were concealed.  Sharp poisoned points were fastened firmly, to their tusks.  Rocket-men (takhsh-atgan) and grenade-throwers (ra’d-andaz) marched by their sides.

Although the army of Timur was weak compared with this Indian army, still his soldiers did not rate their enemy very highly.  But although they had fought in many  battle, and overthrown many an enemy, they had never before encountered elephants.  They had heard by report that the bodies of these elephants were so hard that no weapon would pierce them; that they could tear up strong trees with the wind (bad) of their trunks; that they could knock down strong houses with the pressure of their sides; and that in battle they could lift horse and horseman from the ground with their dragon-like trunk and raise them in the air.  Exaggerations like these had raised apprehensions in the hearts of the soldiers.  When Timur proceeded to appoint the places for the various officers of the court, he in his princely kindness, asked the learned doctors of the Law who accompanied the army in this invasion where he should place them.  They, terrified with the stories they had heard of the elephants, answered: “In the same place as the ladies and women.”

When Timur perceived this terror and alarm of his followers, to allay their fears he directed that they should fix palisades, and dig a trench in front of the army.  In front of these he ordered buffaloes to be placed side by side, and fastened firmly together by the neck and feet [p. 123] with leather thongs.  He had strong iron claws made and given to the infantry, who were ordered to throw them on the ground in front of the elephants.  Maulana Shahabu-d din Jami has celebrated these devices in one of his odes.  Heaven was always favourable to Timur, and now gave him success without using any of these stratagems.  He had on horseback ascended an eminence between the two armies, and examined all around.  When he saw the opposing forces he alighted from his horse, and turning the face of supplication to heaven he offered his prayers, and begged for victory over his enemy.  It was not long before a sign was given of the acceptance of this prayer.  While Timur was offering his prayer to heaven, it came into the of Amir Shaikh Nuru-d din, and the other officers in command of the vanguard, that if Timur sent a reinforcement to the right wing and to the advance guard it would be a sure presage of victory.  When Timur had finished his prayer, he sent Sultan Ali Tawachi and others from the the support of the right wing, and another party to the support of the vanguard. These movements cheered up the spirits and strengthened the courage of the men.  They drew their swords and rushed fearlessly on the enemy.  The elephants of mighty form and craven spirit ran off, and Timur thus obtained the victory.

The vanguard under Sunjak Bahadur and other officers, when they saw the enemy advancing against the right wing, placed themselves in ambush, and when the advance-guard of the enemy had passed by, they rushed out in their rear with swords drawn and arms uplifted, and in one charge killed more than 500 of them.  On the right wing the Prince Pir Muhammad having advanced his men charged the enemy.  He was supported by Amir Sulaiman Shah, and aided by fortune he used his swords upon the elephants.1  The men of the right wing with [p. 124] one accord advanced against the left of the enemy, which placed its reliance on the bravery of Taghi Khan, and drove it back as far as the Hauz-i Khass, which is a wide and deep well, one of the works of Firoz Shah.  The left wing, under Prince Sultan Husain and others, charged with such force and bravery the enemy’s right wing under Malik Mu’inu-d din, that it was broken, and Amir Jahan Shah pursued its scattered fugitives to the very gates of Delhi.  The centre of the enemy supported by the elephants advanced to attack in good order, but Prince Rustam and his coadjutors met them and made a stout resistance.  The various officers brought their men into action and cut their way to the elephants.  They killed the drivers, wounded the trunks of the animals with swords and arrows, and despatched them.

The soldiers of India fought bravely for their lives, but the frail insect cannot contend with the raging wind, nor the feeble deer against the fierce lion, so they were compelled to take to flight.  Sultan Mahmud Khan, and those who fled with them, entered the city and closed the gates.  Prince Khalil Sultan, of the right wing, not withstanding his youth, attacked one of the monster elephants, cut down his driver, and led the animal, as a husbandman drives a buffalo in the plough, to Timur.

When by the favour of God the enemy was defeated and put to flight, Timur advanced to the gate of Delhi.  He carefully examined the walls and bastions of that noble city, and then returned to the Hauz-i Khass.  This is a reservoir constructed by Sultan Firoz Shah, so large that an arrow cannot be shot from one side to the other.  It is filled by the rain in the rainy season, and the people in Delhi obtain water from it all the year round.  The tomb of Firoz Shah is by its side.  Timur encamped there and the princes and nobles and officers waited [p. 125] upon him and offered congratulations upon the victory.  They then praised the bravery and reported the valiant exploits performed by the princes and officers. Timur on hearing these reports was moved to tears and gave thanks to God who had distinguished him above other monarchs by granting him such valiant sons and such faithful servants.

3.Flight of Sultan Mahmud and Mallu Khan: Capture of Delhi

After their defeat, Sultan Mahmud and Mallu Khan went to Delhi and repented of the course they had pursued and of the rashness they had displayed.  But repentance after a disaster is of no avail.  No resource but flight was left.  So in the darkness of the night Sultan Mahmud left the city by the gate of Hauz-rani and Mallu Khan by the Baraka gate, both of which are to the south of the Jahan-panah.  They fled into the desert.  When Timur was informed of their flight he sent Amir Sa’id and other officers in pursuit of them.  These officers captured many fugitives and secured a large booty.  They also made prisoners of Mallu Khan sons, Saif Khan entitled Malik Sharfu-d din and Khuda-dad.  On the same evening orders were given to Allah-dad and other officers to take possession of the gates of the city and to prevent the escape of anyone.

On the 8’th Rabi’u-s sani, Timur hoisted his victorious flag on the walls of Dehli.  He then went to the gate of the maidan and took his seat in the ‘Idgah.  This gate is one of the gates of Jahan-panah and opens towards the Hau,z-i-Khas.  There he held his court; and the saiyids, the kazis, the nobles and the great men who were in the city hastened to pay their homage to him.  Fazlu-llah Balkhi, deputy of Mallu Khan, with all the officers of the diwan, proceeded to make their submission. The saiyids, the ‘ulama, and the shaikhs sought for protection through the intervention of the princes and [p. 126] officers.  Prince Pir Muhammad, Amir Sulaiman Shah, Amir Jahan Shah, and others interceded for them in due season, and gained their object.  The standard of victory was raised and drums were beaten and music played to proclaim the conquest to the skies.  A poet also wrote some lines containing the date of the victory,— 8th  Rabi’u-s sani, 801 (Dec. 17th, 1398.)

The elephants and rhinoceroses were brought forth with their trappings and paraded before the emperor.  The elephants all in token of submission bowed their heads to the ground and raised a cry altogether as if they were asking for quarter.  There were 120 war elephants captured, and on the return home of the army some were sent to different parts of the empire for the use of the princes and the others were sent to Samarkand…. Maulana Nasiru-d din was ordered to go with other learned doctors and great men into the mosque on the Sabbath, and proclaim the name of the Sahib-kiran Amir Timur Gurgan in the khutba in the same way as the name of Firoz Shah and other Sultans

had been proclaimed….

On the 16th of the month a number of soldiers collected at the gate of Delhi and derided the inhabitants.  When Timur heard of this he directed some of the amirsto put a stop to it.  But it was the divine pleasure to ruin the city and to punish the inhabitants, and that was brought about in this way.  The wife of Jahan Malik Agha and other ladies went into the city to see the palace of the Thousand Columns (Hazar-sutun), which Malik Jauna had built in the Jahan-panah.  The officers of the Treasury had also gone there to collect the ransom money.  Several thousand soldiers, with orders for grain and sugar, had proceeded to the city.  An order had been issued for the officers to arrest every nobleman who had fought against Timur and had fled to the city, and in execution of this order they were scattered about the city.  When parties and bands of soldiers were going [p. 127] about the city, numbers of Hindus and gabrs in the cities of Dehli, Siri, Jahan-panah, and Old Dehli, seeing the violence of the soldiers,2 took up arms and assaulted them.  Many of the infidels set fire to their goods and effects, and threw themselves, their wives and children, into the flames.  The soldiers grew more eager for plunder and destruction. Notwithstanding the boldness and the struggles of the Hindus, the officers in charge kept the gates closed, and would not allow any more soldiers to enter the city, lest it should be sacked.  But on that Friday night there were about 15,000 men in the city who were engaged from early eve till morning in plundering and burning the houses.  In many places the impure infidel gabrs made resistance.  In the morning the soldiers who were outside, being unable to control themselves, went to the city and raised a great disturbance.  On that Sunday, the 17th of the month, the whole place was pillaged, and several palaces in Jahan-panah and Siri were destroyed.  On the 18th the like plundering went on.  Every soldier obtained more than twenty persons as slaves, and some brought as many as fifty or a hundred men, women and children as slaves out of the city.  The other plunder and spoils were immense, gems and jewels of all sorts, rubies, diamonds, stuffs and fabrics of all kinds, vases and vessels of gold and silver, sums of money in ‘ala’i tankas, and other beyond all computation.  Most of the women who were made prisoners wore bracelets of gold or silver on their wrists and legs and valuable rings upon their toes.  Medicines and perfumes and unguents, and the like, of these no one took any notice. On the 19th of the month Old Dehli was thought of, for many infidel Hindus had fled thither and taken refuge in the great mosque, where they prepared to defend themselves.  Amir Shah Malik and Ali Sultan Tawachi, with 500 [p. 128] trusty men, proceeded against them, and failing upon them with the sword despatched them to hell. High towers were built with the heads of the Hindus, and their bodies became the food of ravenous beasts and birds.  On the same day all Old Delhi was plundered.  Such of the inhabitants as had escaped alive were made prisoners.  For several days in succession the prisoners were brought out of the city and every amir of a tumam or kushun took a part of them under his command.  Several thousand craftsmen and mechanics were brought out of the city, and under the command of Timur some were divided among the princes, amirs, and aghast who had assisted in the conquest, and some were reserved for those who were maintaining the royal authority in other parts.  Timur had formed the design of building a Masjid-i jami in Samarkand, his capital, and he now gave orders that all the stonemasons should be reserved for that pious work….


[p. 129]

Timur marches from Delhi to other places in Hindustan

Timur remained at Delhi fifteen days, and then marched out to conquer other places in India, and to put down idolaters and rebels.  When he was about to depart he directed that all the saiyids and kazis and doctors and shaikhs should assemble in the great mosque of Jahan-panah, and he appointed one of his own officers to be their keeper and prevent their being molested by the soldiers of the army.  On the 22nd Rabi’u-l akhir, 801, in the morning, Timur began his march and proceeded three kos to Firozabad.  He halted there for an hour to view the beauties of the place.  He then went to the mosque of Firozabad, which is built of hewn stone, on the banks of the Jumna, and there performed his devotions, after which he mounted his horse and went outside of the town.

Saiyid Shamsu-d din Turmuzi and Alau-d din deputy of Shaikh Kukari, whom he sent as envoys to the city of Kupila, now returned, and reported that the prince of that place, Bahadur Nihar, had made his submission, and would come in on the Friday to pay his respect.  Timur encamped beyond Jahan-numai, near Wazirabad.  There his envoys presented to him two white parrots, which had been sent by Bahadur Nihar.  Thse two parrots survived from the time of Sultan Tughlik Shah, and had often exhibited their powers of speech in the assemblies of kings.  Timur considered this offering as very auspicious, and graciously accepted it.

The distance from Delhi to Wazirabad is six kos.  On the 23rd he marched from Wazirabad, and, crossing the Jumna, he proceeded six kos to the village of Mudula.  On the 24th he marched six kos, and encamped at Katah.  Here Bahadur Nihar and his son, Kaltash3 arrived with tribute and presents. They [p. 130] were admitted to an audience when they paid their homage, and were treated with favour.  On the 25th he made a day’s march to Baghpat, six kos distant.  On the next day he proceeded to the village of Asar, which is situated between two rivers and there encamped.

5.Capture of the Fort of Mirat

The fort of Mirat was one of the most famous in India.  On the 26th Rabi’u-l akhir Timur sent Rustam Taghi Bugha, Amir Shah Malik, and Allah-dad from Asar to the gates of that fort.  On the 27th those officers.reported that Ilyas Aghani and his son, Maulalla Ahmad Thanesari, with a gabr named Safi4 and a body of gabrshad fortified themselves in the place and had raised the standard of resistance, boasting that Tarmsharin Khan had attacked the fort, but was unable to take it.  This defiance greatly incensed Timur, especially the reference to the failure of Tarmsharin Khan.  On the same day, after mid-day prayer, he mounted his horse, and, taking with him 10,000 men, he marched rapidly to Mirat.  That night he halted midway, and on the following day, the 29th, in the afternoon, he arrived at Mirat.  He immediately issued orders to the commanders of regiments that each should begin mining the wall in front of his position, and when night came on it was found that an extent of ten to fifteen gaz had been sapped under each bastion and wall.  The gabrs perceived this, and were so frightened that they lost all courage and ceased to defend themselves.  Next day Amir Allah-dad with his regiment of Kuchins,5 called “the faithful,” advanced to the gate [p. 131] of the fort, shouting the cry of victory.  One of his followers, named Sarai, son of Kalandar, a brave young fellow, first raised a scaling ladder against the battlements and mounted the wall.  Other brave men followed him.  They soon took Iyas Aghani and his son Thanesari, the commander of the fort, and, putting ropes round their necks, brought them to Timur.  Safi, the gabr, one of the chiefs of the fort, was killed in the engagement, and was punished by the fire he in error adored.6  Next day, the remaining gabrs were brought out and put to the sword.  Their wives and children were made slaves.  By the imperial order fire was then placed in the mines and the bastions, and the walls were thrown down and leveled with the ground….

[p. 132]

Thus the fort which Tarmsharin Khan had failed to capture had been taken by a detachment of the imperial army at the first assault….


[p. 137]

Destruction of the Gabrs in the Valley of Kupila—Account of a Stone Cow Worshipped by the Gabrs

The valley of Kupila is situated at the foot of a mountain by which the river Ganges passes.  Fifteen kos higher up there is a stone in the form of a cow, and the water of the river flows out of the mouth of that cow.  The infidels of India worship this cow, and come hither from all quarters, from distances even of a year’s journey, to visit it.  They bring here and cast into the river the ashes of their dead, whose corpses have been burned, believing this to be the means of salvation.  They throw gold and silver into the river; they go down alive into the river, bathe their feet, sprinkle water on their heads, and have their heads and beards shaved.  This they consider to be an act of devotion, just as the Muhammadans consider the pilgrimage to Mecca a pious work.

In this valley there was a large concourse of Hindus, having great riches in cattle and movables, so Timur resolved to attack them.  On the 5th Jumada-l awwal he set his army in motion towards Kupila.  It was the will of Heaven that these infidels should perish, so in the pride of their numbers and strength they awaited his approach, and had the temerity to resolve upon resistance.  At the rising of the sun our army reached the valley.  The right wing was under the command of Prince Pir Muhammad and Amir Sulaiman Shah, and the left under some renowned leaders.  Amir Shah Malik and other officers with the centre began the attack.  When the cries of our men and the noise of our drums reached them, the courage of the infidels failed.  In their terror they fled for refuge to [p. 138] the mountains, but they were pursued and many were slain.  A few who, half-dead, escaped the slaughter were scattered abroad.  All their property and goods became the spoil of the victors.

The country having thus been cleansed from the pollution of infidels, the army returned back on the same day and recrossed the Ganges.  Then Timur returned thanks for his victories, after which he mounted his horse and marched five kos down the river and there encamped.

7.Timur’s resolution to retire from Hindustan

When Delhi and its territories had been purged from the foul pollution of gabrs and idolaters, Timur formed the resolve of returning home.  On the 6th jumada-l awwal, 801 H., he departed from the banks of the Ganges.  Orders were issued for the march and for the tawachis to bring up the heavy baggage.  On the 6th a march of six kos was made, and then a halt was called; the baggage in this march being four kos in the rear.  At this stage Timur learned that in the valleys of the Siwalik mountains there was collected a large number of Hindus ready for battle.  Timur then gave orders, that the troops in charge of the baggage should march to these mountains.  He himself having marched rapidly thither, encamped in the hills of Siwalik.  In this march, Prince Khalil Sultan and Amir Shaikh Nuru-d din came up from the baggage and joined Timur….  On the same day an order was issued that Amir Jahan Shah, one of the officers of the left wing, who had been absent for a week in a raid upon the upper parts of the Jumna, should come in and take part in the operations against the infidels.  In compliance with this order he hastened to the royal camp.

8.Raid into the Siwalik hills

On the 10th jumada-l awwal Timur marched to attack the Siwalik hills.  In that mountain valley there was a [p. 139] rai named Bahruz.  He had collected a great number of people around him, and had formed a numerous army.  Relying besides upon the strength of the position which he occupied, he was bold and resolved upon resistance.  Timur appointed Prince Pir Muhammad and several amirs of the right wing, and Prince Sultan Husain and sundry officers of the left wing, to march and attack the infidels.  Amir Shaikh Nuru-d din led the advance-guard of the centre.  Thus they marched against the enemy, while Timur halted at the mouth of the valley.  The soldiers fought most valiantly and made dreadful slaughter of the enemy.  They obtained a decisive victory, and acquired a great booty in valuables, slaves and. cattle.  With the desire of doing justice, Timur ordered that the strong men of the force, who had secured as their share of the spoil three or four hundred head of cattle each, should give up part of them to the weaker men, so that all might obtain a share in the fruits of the victory, and no man remain empty-handed.  This decision gave great satisfaction.  The victorious force marched and joined the royal camp at the village of Bahrah, a dependency of Bakri, well known as the country of Miyapur.7  On the 12th he marched four kos from Bahrah and encamped at the village of Shikk-Sarsawa.  In consequence of the immense booty which the army had gained, it was impossible to march more than four kos per day.  On the 13th he marched and encamped at Kandar, a distance of nearly four kos.

Raid into other parts of the Siwalik hills

On the 14th Jumada-l awwal Timur passed the Jumna and proceeded to another part of the Siwalik hills.  There he heard that one of the rais of Hind, called Ratan, had assembled a great number of Hindus, and [p. 140] had taken post on the lofty heights in the thick forests.  The hills were so high that no eye could see from the bottom to the top, and the trees so dense that the rays of the sun and moon could not reach the ground.  It was impossible to make a passage without cutting down the trees.  But for all this Timur did not hesitate, and without even waiting for the night to pass, he, on the 15th,8 gave his order for the advance.  The troops accordingly marched on by the light of torches, and employed themselves in cutting down the trees and clearing a way.  In that night they made a progress of twelve kos and in the morning of the 15th they penetrated between the Siwalik mountain and the Kuka mountain.  Here Rai Ratan had taken up his position with his forces drawn up in regular battle array, with light wing and left wing, and centre and supports.9  But when the noise of our music and the cries of our soldiers reached the ears of the Hindus, they wavered and fled, without waiting for the attack.  Our officers and men pursued them, and put many of them to the sword.   All their property in movables and cattle fell into the hands of the victors.  Every soldier obtained a hundred to two hundred head of cattle and from ten to twenty slaves.

On the same day Prince Pir Muhammad and Amir Shah Malik, in command of the right wing, went to another valley, where he destroyed many Hindus and obtained great spoil.  The left wing, also under Prince .Tahan Shah, attacked and destroyed a body of Hindus in another direction, but they did not obtain so large a booty.  On the night of the 16th both wings came up and joined the main body.  In the morning Timur left [p. 141] the val1ey between the two mountains and returned to the Siwalik mountain.  From this encampment to the country of Nagarkot there was a distance of fifteen parasangs.  In this valley there are many dense jungles, and the mountains are high and difficult of ascent.  Timur heard that there were great numbers of infidels in the mountains, and he determined to disperse and destroy them.  The men of the left wing under Amir Jahan Shah, and the army of Khurasan, had acquired but little spoil, so he sent them out to make a raid and collect plunder.   Early on that day Sain Tamur,10 commander of the advance-guard, came in to report that the number of Hindus in front exceeded all calculation.  Timur therefore held his ground while the left wing was absent engaged in its work of plunder.  The men of this force put a great many infidels to death, and acquired great spoil in wealth and cattle.

On the same day at noon, news came from the regiment of Amir Shaikh Nuru-d din and Ali Sultan Tawachi that there was upon the left, a valley in which many Hindus had gathered, having with them much wealth and cattle.  Timur immediately proceeded thither, and ordered the two officers who had made the report to attack the infidels.  They accordingly fell upon the enemy and put many to the sword, and while they did so Timur stood upon the summit of a hill watching them and encouraging them with his presence. Many of the infidels were killed and wounded, and those who were able fled, leaving a great booty behind, which the victors brought into the presence of Timur, who warmly praised their bravery.  Vast quantities of cattle were taken, and Timur stayed upon the mountain until evening, in order that the booty might be fairly distributed, and each man get his share.  Every man got as much as he could take [p. 142] care of.

That night they encamped in the valley.  In the jungles there were many monkeys, and when night came on they entered the camp and carried off the things of the soldiers.  In the course of one month, from the 16th of Jumada-l awwal, when Timur was between the mountains Siwalik and Kuka. to the 16th of Jumada-s sani, when he arrived at Jammu, he had twenty conflicts with the infidels and took seven fortresses, each of them a Khaibar in strength.  These forts were situated one or two parasangs apart, and their occupants were all at war with each other.  In the days of the old Sultans they had paid the jizya, but they had broken away from their allegiance to the sovereigns of Islam, and would not now pay the tax, so the slaughter and plunder of them was lawful and laudable.

One of these fortresses belonged to Shaikhu, a relation of Malik Shaikh Kukar,11 and he by means of a few Musulmans who dwelt there, had induced the inhabitants to make submission to Timur, and outwardly to admit their subjection.  But proofs of their aversion and hatred soon become apparent, for when the ransom money was assessed upon them, they made all sorts of excuses and evasions.  One of Timur’s officers thereupon resorted to a clever stratagem. He gave orders that cast-off clothes and old bows should be accepted in payment of the ransom, and as he offered a good price for these things of little value, they brought forth their damaged weapons of all descriptions and sold them for a high price.  By this sharp device they were led to strip themselves of their arms, so that they had no weapons left. After this an imperial order was issued that forty persons should be sent in to be the servants (Khudam) of Hindu Shah, the treasurer, one of his majesty’s courtiers.  The infidels resisted this order, and killed some Musulmans.  It thus became necessary for the soldiers of the Faith to [p. 143] exact vengeance.  They assaulted the fort and took it.  2,000 infidels were put to the sword, and the smoke of their consuming goods rose from their roofs to the sky.12


  1. Petis de la Croix here describes the defeat of the elephants but his account is not to be found in any one of the four MSS. I have used.
  2. This sentence is found in only one copy.
  3. This is the reading of one MS.  The others haveKalyashand Katash, and one Katlagh tash.
  4. OrSafai.
  5. A tribe of Turks.
  6. Sir H. Elliot, in his Glossary, Vol. I., p 119, quotes a passage from theHabibu-s siyaras proving, beyond dispute, that this man was a fire-worshipper.  That passage is derived directly or indirectly from the one before us, and there is no mistaking its words.  Timur, in his autobiography, however, simply calls the man “a gabr” which, as Sir H. Elliot says, has come to mean “an infidel in general.”  The words of Sharafu-d din then ought only be regarded as a rhetorical flourish, and although subsequent writers have copied them in earnest, they are too vague to be depended on.  In Timur’s Memoirs, however, there is a much more precise statement, where the infidels are not only called fire-worshippers, but their tenets are described; and this passage is reproduced in the Zafar-nama.  But, for all this, I am skeptical as to there being fire-worshippers in this part of India in Timur’s days.  Gabr were infidels, and so, Musulman intolerance and contempt made all infidels gabrs.  Thus it was easy for one man to call the Hindu infidel by the opprobrious term gabr or sanawi in a loose general way, meaning nothing more than anti-Musulman, and for another to understand those terms in their true literal meaning.
  7. mashur bulayat miyapur.
  8. It must be remembered that the Muhammadan day begins at sunset.
  9. Maimana wa qalb wa janah. The last two appear in only one MS.
  10. The printer of the French translation has converted this name into “Sainte Maure”!
  11. OrShaikha Kukari.
  12. The editor of the revised MS. here adds: “The writer of these sheets considers that, although historians have credited the story of the people of the fort having brought out all their arms and sold them to pay the ‘ransom, still it does not appear to be so probable as they represent it.  There were quite sufficient proofs of the malice, bad faith, and rebellious spirit of the infidel. God knows the truth.”