Beginnings.Shawwal 1st, 801AH.
(October 1st, 1399.)
Allah, preserve us. For we are weak.
Last year, in 800, our armies were shattered, and our people massacred by the infidel Timor. Hundreds of thousands died, and for a moment, it looked like we were finished as a people. I, for my part, did what any good Delhian noble would do in the face of such a threat.
I fled for my miserable life, my perception of the world, and my faith in my position as handed to me by the will of Allah, shattered forever.
The invader has moved on, and by some divine providence, I am alive. And I hate myself, and everyone else around me, for it. For it seems that experiences such as this open your eyes.
Timor calls himself a follower of the Prophet, and a Sunni one at that. That is what he claims, no doubt, to legitimise his crimes. But his actions were the actions of no true follower of the Prophets work. Ha-satan always comes cloaked in righteous truth. He destroyed everything that he came across. And it has made me re-evaluate how I see my own people, and the peoples around me.
We are so... divided. So weak. India is split into thousands of indiginous hindu despotisms and petty Sultanates. The oppression by Sunni nobles of the indigenous Hindu populations has led to steady emigrations and occasional violence that stunts the continents growth. No wonder we were such easy prey for an organised invader.
I have little honour left, and less authority. I failed to do that duty which is most sacred to any ruler. I failed to guard my own people, both from internal threats, and external ones. I have no heir, and it is possible that my state will fail without me. But nonetheless I must try
I have decided. I will unite this subcontinent, and keep the Timurids, and any outsider who dares traverse our borders, out of it, or I will die trying. And it will not die with me, not if I have any ounce of influence left. The task will
be passed down to my successors, be they related by blood or not. We will, one day, be one people, even if we are despised for it. I care not if the occupants are Hindu or Muslim, unless it gets in the way of growth and prosperity. I only care to impose order
Our enemies in this task are numerous. Our old foes, the Hindus of Nepal, Gondwana and Rajputana, are joined by the state of Bihar, a nation ripped
from the cloth of our own nation itself. Would that they were our only challenges. To the south, the mighty sultanate of Deccan rivals our own, and blocks the way to southern India. I cannot easily provoke my people to fight such an enemy, for their rulers are of our own faith, and I will surely go down in history as a despised tyrant if I try to conquer it. But if that is what is required, then I will find an excuse for it. The petty sultanates of Sind, Gujurat, Khandesh and Kashmir must also bow to my will or the will of my successor some day, and I have the same issue there. The hypocritical nobles of our court would sooner slay our own people for crimes of blasphemy than turn their blade upon the forces dividing us up, ripe to be conquered in turn. Because enemies are everywhere.
Without unification, the threat of those from other, more united lands will
come again. For now, the Timurids are in the west. But for how much longer can this state of affairs last? They will return, and in our current state we will not win a fight against them. And while the Timurids are the present threat, they will not be the last. If our cities cannot start growing again, and our armies cannot be swelled by the might of all Indians standing together, we will be left behind. And then, swept aside by the hand of some conqueror or another.
I reckon we have around 100 years to make the unification a reality, before some great threat comes at us again. Maybe even less. So, the task for myself, and my heirs to come, is simple. By 901, or 1500 in the Christian calendar, the subcontinent must
be united. Our tools for this task are, while weak by the standards of outsiders, not inconsiderable within our own petty nations. We are the largest of the Indian states, and, due to the presence of the great city of Lucknow, one of the most populous. Our army is of average quality, if let down by the presence of so many foot plodders, and the lack of any provision for holding a defensive line in our armies. I have a solution for this, however. From now on, we will be a cavalry heavy army, made up of a mixture of offensive Indian cavalry, and the cavalry of the hillmen drawn from up in our northern western regions. I have already begun improvements on the drill and discipline of our soldiers; if we are to triumph, we will need the best
military that can be provided. And my many Hindu neighbours will provide a handy excuse for war, as distasteful as such actions are. If perverting the nature of Jihad as an excuse for aggressive warfare is the worst crime I ever commit, I will not have gone far enough.
Our Sunni enemies are not paragons of Sunni virtue themselves. They too covet the smaller nations, being fanatical, and greedy in equal measure. This will be their undoing. I shall stand as a champion of the smaller nations, like Khandesh, and protector of Sind and Kashmir. If that protection requires force to secure, so be it, and if that drags a few Muslim states into warfare over a patch of dirt in the north, giving my armies an excuse for occupation, all the better. In their haste to maintain the balance of power, they will give me ample reason to irrevocably shatter it
Those reading this will no doubt see this as my descent into monsterdom, a slipping into madness and evil. But what else am I to do? If we remain weak and divided externally, then enemies from outside will come to kill us all. If we remain weak and divided internally, then our cities will stagnate and we will fracture.
If conversion via missionary is necessary to prevent intolerance from tearing our nation apart, then it must be done. If turning my back, at least publicly, on my own Muslim faith is necessary, then so will it be. If nations need to be occupied for years on end, their will slowly leeched away, then it will happen. And if I must become despised by all who hear of me, then so be it, and so be it for those who follow me. I will be the greatest ruler my country has ever seen to people who stand by me... and the greatest terror to those who stand against my vision. India will
be united... or it will be occupied by another. This, recent events have made perfectly clear. And I cannot
let it happen.
For those reading this diary centuries on by now, when, perhaps, our nation and even our language are long gone, know that this is the beginning of the account of Nusrat Shah Thugluqid, Sultan of Delhi, and with Allahs providence, that of his inheritors. And the beginnings of the path set by the founder of a united India.