The Kotwal's Chabutra, or office of the city of Delhi's chief magistrate, in Chandini Chowk.
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.]
Sadut Khan (the Propitious Chief) the Viceroy of Oudh arrived in the neighbourhood of the Camp in support of the Emperor about the same time with Nadir Shah. A general Engagement ensued. Asoph Jah the Minister from real or pretended Misconception stood aloof. The imperial army was routed. The Commander in Chief killed. Sadut Khan taken prisoner and Mohummud Shah compelled to offer his submission and repair with a few followers to the Persian camp.
In 1739 March, Nadir and the Emperor entered Dehly and both took up their abode in the Palace. The Massacre has been already described, but the sufferings of the people did not cease with this tragedy. Nadir Shah’s sole object in invading India was to enrich himself by its plunder. He took possession of the Imperial Treasury and jewels including the celebrated Peacock Throne, seized on the whole effects of some Nobles and compelled the rest to sacrifice the larger part of the their property as a ransom for the Remainder.
The inferior officers and common inhabitants were then constrained to disclose the amount of their fortunes and pay accordingly. Great numbers died of the usage they received and many destroyed themselves to avoid disgrace and torture. At length having exhausted all the sources from which wealth was to be obtained, he reseated Mohummud Shah on the Throne, invested him with his own hand and quitted Dehly, after a Residence of 58 days, carrying with him Treasure in money to 9 Millions Sterling, several Millions in Gold and Silver Plate, and Jewels to an amount inestimable. For some time after Nadir’s departure, the inhabitants of Dehly remained in a sort of stupor. Many of the houses were in ruins. Much of the city was entirely deserted and the whole infected by the stench of the bodies which lay unburied in the streets.
The Minister Asoph Jah died in 1748 at the age of 104 Lunar Years and in the same year the Emperor expired within a Month after hearing of the battle of Surhind gained by his son Ahmud over the Dooranee chief of the same name.
[The Kotwal’s Chabutra, or principal square in Chandni Chowk. Chandni Chowk is the name used for the entire street, running in a direct line from the Lahore Gate of the Red Fort to the Fatehpuri Mosque.]
Inscribed: naqsha-i kotvali chabutra-i dihli.
The Kotwal’s Chubotra. alluded to in the second line of the preceding page, is situated in the Principal Street, and adjoins the Roshun ood Dowlah Mosque before described. The Building is appropriated to the same purpose now, as previous to the introduction of the British Rule. The Kotwal being the Chief Native Magistrate of the City. He has subordinate to him 12 Police Officers, 148 foot soldiers and about 230 Guards at the several Gates, who are also available for Police purposes. All these are paid by the Government. For the Protection of the City at Night, we have a watch of 400 Men paid by the people. The principal Gates are ten in number with four smaller Outlets of Wickets. The Streets are 377 in Number – of these Eleven are Main Streets of good Width. They contain 246 Mosques, 147 Hindoo Temples, 23,462 Dwelling Houses of which 17564 are of good substantial Masonry. The Shops are estimated at 9.720, but only 7,662 are occupied by Dealers. There are 91 Hindoo and 29 Persian Schools, 31 Burial Grounds, 2 Public Serais or Halting places for Travellers, 667 Wells of which 52 only give good water and 10 extensive gardens.
The Population is estimated at 120 or 130,000 Inhabitants, of which the Mohummedans and Hindoos are nearly equal, if anything the latter preponderate.