Section 24

On Iskandar Sultan b. Khudabanda Sultan’s Opposition to Shujaʾ al-Din Ahmad Khan, the Khan’s attack on Aqsu and Uch, and the Conclusion of Iskandar Sultan’s Affairs

Shujaʾ al-Din Ahmad Khan gave his own daughter Padshah Khanim to Iskandar Sultan and appointed him to the kingdom of Aqsu. The sultan’s companions, i.e. Mirza Riza, Mirza Shah Murad, Mir Muhammad Mansur Shah, Khoja ʿAbd al-Ghafur, Khoja Muhammad Sadiq Tughbegi and several other men renowned for bravery who were in the sultan’s service, secretly conspired with the men of Aqsu and Uch and plotted to murder the amirs. The plan was fixed that to seize them at the assembly of Mirza Nasir Yarqi, and they also sent for Mirza Hashim Churas, on the pretext of Mirza Nasir’s meeting. After they had said the dawn prayer, Mirza Hashim Beg, Mirza Sharif Churas and Mirza Muhammad Saʿid Churas went down to the citadel, and sent word in to the Sultan that it was time for him to go to Mirza Nasir’s house, and that they had come for this meeting too. Iskandar Sultan sent out a message that they had just roasted a goose, the mirs should come in, then they would enjoy the roast before going. Mirza Hashim Beg, Mirza Sharif and Mirza Muhammad Saʿid entered within the walls of the citadel. Mirza Muhammad Saʿid had an eagle in his hand, and Khoja Muhammad Sadiq Tughbegi, who was an old friend of Mirza Muhammad Saʿid Churas, was standing in the gateway of the citadel. He gave a signal to Mirza Muhammad Saʿid. Mirza Muhammad Saʿid understood. He let his eagle go and said: “My eagle has flown away, I have to retrieve it. I will go get it and come back,” and he went off after it. There was no chance for Mirza Hashim Beg or Mirza Sharif to say anything. The sultan’s men said: “Hey Muhammad Saʿid Beg, our Sultan is summoning you, don’t be long!” They set out after Muhammad Saʿid, and Mirza Muhammad Saʿid quickly mounted his horse and headed for the market. Mirza Malik Qasim Beg, who was standing by the moat, realised what was going on and mounted and joined him.

In short, when they had gone a certain distance, they summoned Mirza Hashim Churas and Mirza Muhammad Dost Churas from Uch, and they met each other. Mirza Malik Qasim Beg and Mirza Muhammad Saʿid recounted what had happened from start to finish. Mirza Hashim Churas and Mirza Muhammad Dost left in the direction of Uch. Mirza Malik Qasim and Mirza Muhammad Saʿid fled to Yarkand, and after that Mirza Mazid Beg and took pity on them and set out. Iskandar Sultan sent his amirs after those who had escaped and they formed into two groups. Mirza Riza Hilali and Mir Muhammad Mansur and a group of others pursued Mirza Hashim and Mirza Muhammad Dost. At the edge of the Qum Ariq river, Mirza Muhammad Dost’s horse went lame and he was caught. Mirza Hashim Beg Churas went towards Uch with the intention of strengthening Uch’s defences so as to properly respond to the enemy.

When reached the citadel of Uch, [he saw that] Mirza Shah Muhammad Askitaqi had arrived in the night and fortified the citadel. Mirza Hashim Churas was helpless and went off to the Kirghiz. The Kirghiz killed Mirza Hashim Churas and took his horse and his weapons. They captured Mirza Muhammad Dost and brought him before the sultan, and he handed over Mirza Hashim Beg Bayrin, Mirza Sharaf Churas and his brother Mirza Haydar to the men of Aqsu and had them martyred. The group of Iskandar Sultan’s amirs who were pursuing Mirza Malik Qasim Beg, Mirza Mazid Beg and Mirza Muhammad Saʿid had reached them, such as Mirza Riza and the sons of Qurban Quli Bahadur and a group of others caught up with these amirs. A fierce battle was fought, and Iskandar Sultan’s men were victorious. Mirza Mazid led the charge against the sultan’s men, and an arrow struck his horse and wounded it, and Mazid Beg was left on foot. To Mazid Beg’s eye the world turned red. At that time Mazid Beg’s wife, who was named ʿAyisha Begi Agha, saw her husband among the enemies. She took a riderless horse, rode up to her husband and gave the horse to him. Mazid Beg said thanks and praise, and mounted and joined his companions. After that they reached the village of Barchuq. In those days Mirza Qurban Churas was hakim of Barchuq. A meeting occurred, and these amirs hastened to the presence of the khan. The khan comforted Mirza Hashim Beg’s sons, who were Mirza Malik Qasim, Mirza Beg Qasim and Mirza Maʿsudi, and he relieved them of their mourning and favoured them. He showed concern for Mirza Hashim Churas’ brothers, i.e. Mirza Mazir, Mirza Qurban and Mirza Muhammad, and did them all manner of honour. After that he set about mobilizing the army. He drew up the army and led them towards Aqsu to confront Iskandar Sultan. When Shujaʾ al-Din Ahmad Khan reached Aqsu and camped, Iskandar Sultan and the men of Aqsu exerted themselves to strengthen the walls and show opposition. The khan laid siege to the citadel. Hunger grew among the men of Aqsu, and they found themselves in great difficulty. They took one man, tied his hands and sent him to the khan, and the khan loosed his hands and so showered him with kindnesses and freed him from his bonds, and said: “This kingdom is my rightful inheritance, by the tyranny of the amirs it has sunk these depths”, and he went to the siege of Uch. Mirza Shah Muhammad Askitaqi had also reinforced the citadel and fortified it. The khan pressed the men of Uch, and then returned to Aqsu again. The people were sorely pressed, and they sent someone with this message: “Would His Excellency the khan return to Yarkand, for we are afraid to come out and have an audience with him. Let one of the amirs come, we will swear loyalty to him, and then go for an audience.” Shujaʾ al-Din Ahmad Khan gave promises and oaths to the men of Aqsu and Uch and went back to Yarkand and held court. He sent Shahim Quli Kerek-Yaragh with a great many me to Aqsu. Shahim Quli Kerek-Yaragh alighted in ʿAbd Malik, and sent a messenger into Aqsu. The men of Aqsu were very anxious, and sent someone out to meet Shahim Quli Kerek-Yaragh. Shahi Quli presented the khan’s gifts, and entered the walls of Aqsu and occupied it. Iskandar Sultan was still in the citadel. The siege of the citadel dragged on, and after forty days became sick and came out. Shahim Quli Kerek-Yaragh took the sultan and set out for Yarkand. They camped in the village of Ay Köl, in a place called Sarigh Abdal, and there they killed Iskandar Sultan. They buried him there too. At the moment of his death the sultan read a rubaʿi that was fitting for the occasion. This is it:

Even if your horse is Buraq,[ref]The mount on which Muhammad is said to have ascended to heaven from Jerusalem[/ref] and the turquoise sky is beneath you,
Don’t be too proud at three days of kingship,
Though you are overwhelmed by your glorious three days,
Today the goblet has smashed, tomorrow it will be the whole jug.

Shahim Quli Kerek-Yaragh reached Yarkand with the entire army, and was granted an audience. The khan showed him grace and appointed Shahim Quli Kerek-Yaragh to the position of mutavalli. He gave the government of Aqsu to Mirza Manaq Beg as his soyurghal, and sent him to Aqsu. In that year a famine occurred in Aqsu, and to this day they call it “Mirza Manaq’s famine.”