Sher Shah’s fort or the Purana Qila
Author: Metcalfe, Sir Thomas Theophilus (1795-1853)
Medium: Ink and colours on paper
[From 'Reminiscences of Imperial Delhi’, an album consisting of 89 folios containing approximately 130 paintings of views of the Mughal and pre-Mughal monuments of Delhi, as well as other contemporary material, with an accompanying manuscript text written by Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe (1795-1853), the Governor-General’s Agent at the imperial court. Acquired with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and of the National Art-Collections Fund.]
Shah (‘the Ruler of the World’) was fixed as the successor and proclaimed the Title of Alumgeer (‘The Conqueror of the World’) II.
Soon after this revolution, the Minister Sufdur Jung (vide page 24 [f. 28]) died and Ghazeeoodeen took the Office of Minister to himself. A longer period of tranquillity now lapsed than might have been expected from the restless ambition of this new Wuzeer: but his internal government was as arbitrary as ever: so that at length he provoked a numerous body of troops to mutiny, who seized his person and dragged him through the streets in a most degrading manner. Having however been rescued through the interposition of his officers he instantly ordered a massacre of the whole body, giving up their tents, houses and property to plunder, so as not to leave a vestige remaining of the Corps. In this unfortunate Reign, Dehly was subjected to a third invasion from Ahmud Shah the Dooranee or Afghan Monarch and nearly all the horrors of the Nadir Shah’s invasion (vide page 12 [f. 15]) were repeated. On the departure of the Afghan King, having been entreated by the Emperor not to leave him at the mercy of his Minister, Ghazeeoodeen, he appointed Nujeeb ood Dowlah (‘the Exalted of the State’) his Commander in Chief, in hopes that he would act as a counterpoise to the all powerful Minister. This was in AD 1757 but on Ahmud Shah’s subsequent advance into India in 1759, the Minister being apprehensive of the Emperor’s connection with the Afghan Monarch and Nujeebood Dowlah, induced his master under the plea of visiting a religious devotee of great sanctity to repair to the old Palace of Feroze Shah and there caused him to be assasinated by persons concealed for the purpose. The body was thrown out upon the sands below as before stated, but subsequently interred at Hoomaioon’s Tomb (vide page 9 [f. 12]).
Shere Shah’s (‘Lion King’) (or more commonly called the Old) Fort is situated about 4 miles to the S. East and between the city of Dehly and the Tomb of Emperor Hoomaioon (‘Propitious’). (Vide p. [blank, f. 12]). Its construction is attributed to Shere Khan who was destined to act so great a part in the eventful history of the above named Emperor.
Ibraheem (‘Abraham’) Khan, the grandfather, was a native of Afghanistan and both he and his son Hussun (‘Virtuous’) were married into noble families in their own nation.
The latter held a Jageer(‘Feudal fief’) at Sasseram in the lower Provinces of India for the maintenance of 500 Horse. He had two sons, the eldest Shere Khan, and when of an age to act for himself left his father adn entered as a private soldier in the service of the Governor of Juanpoor. Here he devoted himself to study, made himself familiar with history and poetry and acquired a general knowledge of other branches of information. He afterwards proceeded to Dehly and took service with Sooltan (‘Emperor’) Secundur
[Sher Shah’s fort or the Purana Qila. It stands on the ancient site, known as 'Indraprastha', associated with the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Humayun, the second Mughal emperor (r.1530-40, 1555-56) began constructing a walled city and fortress on this site in 1533 and named it 'Din-Panah', or 'Refuge of Religion'. He was temporarily deposed by Sher Shah Sur (r. 1540-45), who completed the fortress walls and built two important structures, that were used by Humayun when he took back the city. The fort walls are over one mile long, and contain three gates. The buildings that survive from the time of Sher Shah include the Qila-i-Kuhna Masjid, and the Sher Mandal, a three-storeyed, octagonal pavilion which was used by Humayun as a library where he fell to his death. It is believed the fort contained many more buildings by Humayun, none of them have survived.]
Inscribed: naqsha-i qil‘a ?shahr.
Shere King, who died in AD 1517, and remained there until the death of his father when he returned to the family Jageer. Having raised himself by his own daring to high military rank, he acted a conspicuous part in the tumults that devastated not only the province of Behar in which he was born, but also of Juanpoor in which he first enlisted as a soldier. Siding at first with Mohummud Shah Ladani ([i.e. Lodi], name of a tribe) (AD 1526) against the Emperor Babur (‘the Lion-hearted’), then with the Governor of Juanpoor on the part of the Emperor (AD 1527) against his late master, joining the Emperor in 1528 and obtaining from him a command in Behar and again in the next year returning to the standard of Mohummud Shah, and on the dispersion of the army of the latter in the same year renewing his submission to the Emperor.
The Emperor Babur died in AD 1530, at Agra and was succeeded by his son Hoomaioon. During the early part of the Hoomaioon’s reign, Shere Khan made himself master of the provinces