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"Shah Nameh," or "History of Kings," by Ferdousi. This in Sindh, however, was styled the "Futteh Nameh," or account of victories; and in it the most fulsome panegyrics were lavished on the first Talpúr leaders, with a proportionate amount of abuse and depreciation of those of the Kaloras. Latterly this weakness became much less prominent, though no one might hope to rise at the Sindhian court, or at any other, without employing a large share of flattery. The titles granted the Amirs of Sindh as independent princes, in official correpondence and state documents, were the same as those employed to the highest rank in India, but the ordinary mode of salutation in common intercourse was the plain Sindhian term "Sahin ;" which stands for the "Sahib," or "gentleman" of India, and which is employed by all classes of the country as a term of common courtesy.
The individual members composing the late "Amirs of Sindh," and ruling at the Hyderabad Court, were thus, in the order of their seniority: Nasir Khan (two sons); his nephews, Shahdád Khan and Hussein Allí Khan; his cousins, Mir Mahomed Khan and Mir Sobhdar (two sons): at Khyrpúr, Mir Rustúm Khan (eight sons and eight grandsons); his nephew, Nasir Khan (and his four brothers sons of Mir Múbarick); Allí Múrad Khan and Chakur Khan: at Mirpúr, Shír Mahomed Khan-all of the Talpúr tribe of Bilúchis.
A general review of the characters of those chiefs
collectively leads to the conclusion, that to semibarbarism and its attendant evils of ignorance and arrogance may be attributed the mainspring of most of those errors of which they have been accused, but which have always existed in the same stage and state of society. Thus the possession of a fine and wonderfully capable country, whose capacities would have been developed by more civilised rulers, was looked upon by these only as a selfish means of personal gratification, and its advantages sacrificed accordingly. Mean and avaricious, the accumulation of wealth at the expense of their possessions by excessive taxation on skill and industry, were the vital faults of misgovernment, proving at the same time how grossly ignorant and short-sighted a system they pursued. As feudatory chiefs of a conquered country, they were bound to acknowledge the extensive claims of their ignorant and wild feudatories, and these knew no form of government, and cared for none other than that which provided for their own immediate rights and interests. The sole end and aim therefore of the Sindhian Amirs was to horde up riches, conciliate their retainers, and enjoy themselves after their own fashion, looking upon all ameliorating and improving systems as interferences against which they were bound to place the most decided barriers. Though by no means cruel- for they were singularly free from this common vice of absolute rulers they were necessarily arbitrary and
despotic to the mass of their subjects, as evinced in the condition of the latter, which was debased and degraded under the system of government pursued. Unambitious of conquest and of foreign alliances, they looked merely to pass as independent princes, uncared for by other states, and as much as possible unknown. The individual merits of these chiefs apart from their faults, which were those of circumstances, consisted in the exercise of the domestic virtues, which are always so conspicuous in the East, and in the ruder though not less pleasing qualities of hospitality, urbanity, and gratitude for favours conferred. Of the few distinguished British officers who have had an opportunity of being closely connected in the course of official and friendly intercourse, a favourable impression was invariably produced; and though our first visits to their courts induced feelings of contempt for their want of candour and shallow artifices to conceal their childish suspicion of our purposes, these feelings were succeeded in after years by more generous sentiments, the result of a liberal view of their position and its attendant consequences. Judging therefore of the Amirs of Sindh, whether as rulers or individuals, let us not, as members of a highly enlightened and civilised nation, be too ready to condemn, but making due allowance for the never-failing consequences of a rude and uncivilised state of society, temper our verdict with liberality, and accord that considera
tion which, from our many advantages, we are so well able to afford.
The Talpúrs becoming possessed, on their accession to government, of the accumulated wealth of their predecessors (the Kaloras were always esteemed rich, and hoarding large revenues, as they have ever since done, for their disbursements were very inconsiderable), must have acquired an immense treasury, particularly the Hyderabad family. The Khyrpúr branch were evidently far from prosperThe citadel at Hyderabad was the generally acknowledged depository of the wealth of the Talpúrs, the fort of Omarkót in the desert being employed for the same purpose by the Kaloras.
Sindhian Form of Government. - Feudal System and Jahgirs to Military Tribes.-Payment of Troops in the Field. Inams and Jahgirs to Pirs, Seyuds, and others. - Land Revenue System of Sindh. Zamindars. Jumma or Land Rent. Value of Means of Irrigation neglected. Duties on Trade. Town Duties. Taxes under various Heads. Farming Revenue on Contracts. - Kardars and Servants of Districts. Number and Names of Districts. · Police. Administration of Justice. — Dislike of Amirs to Capital Punishments. Mutilation. Amount of Sindhian Revenue. Various Estimates. — Hoarded Wealth of Amirs. General Review of Government of Sindh.
THE Sindhian form of government may be described as a purely military despotism to the country at large on feudal principles, the Amirs being the heads of the whole system as lords of the soil; each Bilúchi or military chieftain holding jahgirs or grants of lands, and being bound to render fealty and service for the same, in furnishing his quota of troops to the state on occasions of necessity. In this way a great proportion of the country was parcelled out, and the Jahgirdars had therefore immediate interests in the support of the government, not to be separated from those of the Amirs themselves under such a form of administration the military feudatories occupied the first place, all