Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

Thamas Kuli Khan's Loot

While tracing the family history of Nehru Clan, Dom Moraes in his book Mrs. Gandhi (1980) gives the reader an account of Nadir Shah's saking of Delhi. He tells us that on May 16 1738 when Nadir Shah finally left Delhi, along with the famous Kohinoor and the famous Peacock throne
his soldiers, after having killed Thirty thousand people in five hours, also carried along with them to Persia more that thirty million pounds sterling in cash, jewels
plate...and other valuable property...also... thousand elephants, seven thousand horses, ten thousand camels, a hundred eunuchs, a hundred and thirty writers, two hundred builders, a hundred mason and anticlimactically two carpenters". The pathos of this section from the book ( which Moraes based on Sir Wolsely Haig's Cambridge History of India Vol. IV, 1922) is built upon realization that Nadir Shah's great campaign ended anticlimactically with enslavement of two carpenters. In wars and related matters hundreds, thousands, missions are acceptable figures of speech, while two is pathos. It adds an air of abomination to the campaign. It offers an abnormality. Almost manages to pronounce the loot unholy.

Everything was normal with the campaign by the end of which two hundred thousand people were killed.


James Fraser in his book 'The history of Nadir Shah, formerly called Thamas Kuli Khan, the present emperor of Persia' (1742) [link] offers:

The Particulars of what Nadir Shah carried away with him:

Jewels from the Emperor and Omars valued at 25 Crore, Utensils and Handles of Weapons fet with Jewels, with the Peacock Thronem and none other fet with precious Stones valued at 9 Crore, Money coined in Cold and Silver Rupees valued at 25 Crore, Gold and Silver Plate worth 5 Crore which he melted down and coin'd, Fine Cloths and rich Stuffs of all kinds valued at 2 Crore, Household furniture, and other valuable Commodities: 3 Crore, Warlike Weapons, Cannon, etc: 1 Crore. The total thus around to 70 Crore. In addition he carried with him Elephants 1000, Horses 7000, Camels 10000, Eunuchs 100, Writers 130, Smiths 200, Masons or builders 300, Stone-Cutters 100, Carpenters 200.

So that paragraph from Indira Gandhi's biography should read simply 'and two hundred carpenter'. No Anti-Climax.

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Nadir Shah was awarded the name 'Thamas Kuli Khan'  or more probably 'Tahmasp Qoli Khan' by his lord Tahmasp II after  Nadir Shah helped him fend-off a powerful Afghan challenge in 1729. And Kuli also got to marry one of Tahmasp's daughters. 

2 comments:

  1. why everything in round figure, do you really think they would have counted people..

    ReplyDelete
  2. A lot of history is approximation.

    ReplyDelete

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