Digitised Legal Documents from the Indo-Persian World

Order of Aurangzeb Alamgir to Shahuji Bhonsle confirming his local kingship in exchange for loyal service

On the recommendation of Zulfiqar Khan, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir forgives the Maratha ruler of Thanjavur Shahuji Bhonsle for rebellion after he paid thirty thousand rupees as tribute, surrendered several forts, and promised not to assist his cousin, the Maratha king Rajaram.1

Functional document type: Orders

Formal document type: Farman

Themes: Administration, Grants, Petitioning, Taxation and Tribute, War

Julus calendar: 11 Muharram 38
Hijri-qamri calendar: 11 Muharram 1106
Gregorian calendar: 1 September 1694

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invocation (top centre): Persian

باسمه سبحانه و تعالی شانه

In His name, may He be praised, the [Lord] most high

authorisation (top right): Persian

1ابوالظفر محی الدین محمد عالم گیر پادشاه غازی ۱۰۷۹ ۱۲
2ابن شاه جهان پادشاه
3ابن جهانگیر پادشاه
4ابن اکبر پادشاه
5ابن همایون پادشاه
6ابن بابر پادشاه
7ابن عمر شیخ شاه
8ابن ابو سعید سلطان شاه
9ابن سلطان محمد شاه
10ابن میران شاه
11ابن امیر تیمور صاحب قران

[Round black ink seal]
1Abu al-Jafar Muhiuddin Muhammad Aurangzeb Badshah Ghazi 1079 12,
2son of Emperor Shah Jahan
3son of Emperor Jahangir
4son of Emperor Akbar
5son of Emperor Humayun
6son of Emperor Babur
7son of King Umar Shaikh
8 son of King Abu Said Sultan
9son of King Sultan Muhammad
10son of Miran Shah
11son of Sahib Qiran2 Amir Timur

authorisation (top centre): Persian

main text: Persian

1زبدة الاقران خلاصة الاخوان مطیع الاسلام ساهوجی بهونسلا
2 بنوازش پادشاهی امیدوار بوده بداند که درین ایام فیروزی انجام
3 از نوشته خانه زاد فدوی شجاعت نشان ذوالفقار خان بهادر بعرض مقدس معلی رسید که آنمطیع الاسلام از تقصیرات گذشته
4 پیشمان گشته بیاوری نیک اختری کمربندگی و فرمانبری بر میان جان بسته مبلغ سی لک روپیه پشکش سرکار فلک مدار نموده
5 من جمله آن بیست لک روپیه از نقد و جنس بوصول رسانیده قلعه پالم کوتا وغیرها سه قلعه را با ولایات متعلقه تسلیم اولیاء دولت قاهره غالبه
6کرده متعهد شده که پیرامون امداد رامآء شقاوت سیما ظاهراً و باطنا نگردد و التماس صدور فرمان والا شان مرحمت عنوان نموده
7بنابرین فضل و کرم پادشاهانه از راه ذره پروری و عاطفت گستری او را بعنایت اصدار اینمثال واجب الامتثال که پیرانه امان و سرمآ
8اطمینان او است متضمن نوید عفو و صفح جرائم و مأثم و موهبت خلعت فاخره و فیل و پدک مرصع نواخته بشرط احتراز و اجتناب از معاونت
9و موافقت رامآء روسیاه و رفیقان گمراه او بمرحمت خطاب کلان راجگی و زمینداری محالی که در تصرف آنزبده الاقران است
10مطابق اسناد بیجاپوریان امتیاز و اعتبار بخشید باید که سپاس و ستایش بخشش و بخشایش والا بجای آورده بر منهج رسوخ اطاعت
11و فرمانبرداری و خلوص انقیاد و خدمتگزاری ثابت و مستقیم بوده بر طبق قرار داد خویشتن همه پشکش را بخزانه عامره عائد کند و
12چنانکه تعهد نموده از اعانت رامآء مقهور و همراهایش دوری گزیده پیوسته در تقدیم خدمات پادشاهی و لوازم دولتخواهی کوشیده خان بهادر را
13از خود راضی و شاکر داشته در کشتن و بستن آن خاسر مدبر اهتمام تمام بعمل آورد و حسن بندگی را مثمر نتایج نیک شناسد یازدهم محرم سال سی و هشتم از جلوس والا نوشته شد

1Eminent among Contemporaries, Select among Brothers, Obedient of Islam, Shahuji Bhonsla,
2having hoped for imperial kindness, know that in these victorious times,
3from the writing of the house-born devoted servant, the brave Zulfiqar Khan Bahadur, it has been represented to His Divine Highness that the Obedient to Islam [Shahuji Bhonsla],
4having repented his past errors, [and] with the coming of good fortune, having tied belt of determination and obedience in [to] his heart, has presented 30 lakh rupees as pishkash to the government that is the support of the heavens.
5Out of this, he has caused 20 lakh rupees to be received in cash and goods [and] has submitted Palamkottah fort, etc., [in total] three forts, with associated territories to the guardians of the conquering and victorious government.3
6He has promised that regarding Rama [i.e. Rajaram Bhonsla] the wretched-faced, there shall be no open or clandestine aid. And having petitioned for the issuance of an exalted farman of august favour,
7on this basis, by way of nurturing the little [people] and dispersing affection, the imperial kindness and compassion favours him with the production of this royal mandate fit for obedience, which is his security in old age and a means of protection,
8including the good news of the erasure and forgiveness of offenses and sins, and the gift of prestigious robes of honour and an elephant and a decorated medal is bestowed, [and] on the condition that he abstains [from] and avoids assistance [to]
9and agreement [with] Rama [i.e. Rajaram Bhonsla] the black-faced and his misguided companions, he is distinguished and honoured by the favour of the great title of kingship and the zamindari of the districts that are in possession of that Eminent among Contemporaries [Shahuji Bhonsla] .
10in accordance with the documents of the Bijapuris. It is necessary that giving thanks and praise for the exalted mercy and generosity, he should be on the road of firm submission
11and obedience and pure subjection and steadfast service, [and] according to his own engagement, deposit all the tribute in the treasury of the protector. And
12as promised, he will stay away from giving assistance to the defeated Rama [i.e. Rajaram Bhonsla] and his companions, and by endeavouring to perform imperial services and loyal necessities, Khan Bahadur [Zulfiqar Khan]
13will be pleased with and grateful to him, [and] in killing and fettering that unfortunate loser [Rama], everything will be managed. And the beauty of servitude will know many fruitful results. Written on the eleventh of Muharram of the thirty-eighth year of the exalted reign.

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authorisation (top centre): Persian

برساله کمترین فدویان اسد خان
اسد خان بنده پادشاه عالمگیر غازی ۳۶ ۱۱۰۴

By the letter of the least of the servants, Asad Khan
[Round black ink seal] Asad Khan, slave of Badshah Alamgir Ghazi 36 1104


1. Zulfiqar Khan's campaign against Shahuji Bhonsla, and the resulting qaul-nama that set out the terms of submission, which are also described in this document, is discussed Sarkar, History of Aurangzib, Vol. 5, pp. 80-2. For a description of the assistance Shahuji Bhonsla had previously provided Rajaram Bhonsla, see p. 61 of the same volume. [BACK]

2. "Sahib Qiran," which may be translated as "Lord of Conjunction," was a title referring to an ideal ruler whose messianic rise coincides with the powerful conjunction of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. It was particularly associated with the Turco-Mongol warlord Timur, and later appropriated by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. For further discussion, see Moin, The Millennial Sovereign, pp. 23-55. [BACK]

3. For Zulfiqar Khan's siege of Palamkottah in 1694, see Khobrekar, English Translation of Tarikh-i-Dilkasha, pp. 195, 197. [BACK]

tax contract or deed of assurance (alternately known as qaul-nama, qaul-qarar)

emperor (alternately, padshah)

religious warrior; an honorific


calligraphic signature, ultimately deriving from the practice of the eastern Turkish tribes of Central Asia (For more information, and an example from a Safavid decree, see Bhalloo and Rezai, "Inscribing Authority," pp. 837-840)

imperial order

brave, valiant, courageous; an honorific

emperor (alternately, padshah)

religious warrior; an honorific

brave, valiant, courageous; an honorific


imperial order

the post of landlord

brave, valiant, courageous; an honorific

emperor (alternately, padshah)

religious warrior; an honorific




National Museums Liverpool, Farman
Archival Collection: Liverpool Farman

Transcribed from manuscript image.

Edited by Nandini Chatterjee and Dominic Vendell

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