The Durbar-Khaneh of Shah Shoojah-ool-Moolk, at Caubul
Artist: Atkinson, James (1780 - 1852)
This is plate 22 from 'Sketches of Afghaunistan' by James Atkinson.
In July 1839, the Army of the Indus had achieved its objective in Afghanistan: Dost Mohammad had surrendered together with a few thousand followers, and his eldest son Akbar Khan had fled Kabul in the direction of Turkestan. Finally, the weak and cruel Shah Shuja was installed as Emir of Afghanistan in the Bala Hissar, the fortress residence of the emirs, in Kabul.
Immediately below the Bala Hissar was the quadrangle of the Durbar-Khana (official meeting-hall). Shah Shuja is shown seated on the balcony with his daily assembly of Khans and Officers of State while the Royal Band plays, according to Atkinson, "in the most horribly discordant manner". He continued: "This music is considered an essential part of regal state and is repeated several times during the day, and commencing at two o'clock in the morning much to the discomfort and annoyance of Christian ears."