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Page:Akbar and the Rise of the Mughal Empire.djvu/28

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BABAR CONQUERS KABUL 21 the Zirín Pass. There the situation seemed hopeless... The storm was violent; the snow was deep; and the Pass was so narrow that but one person could pass at a time. Still Babar pushed on, and at nightfall reached a cave large enough to admit a few persons. With the generosity which was a marked feature of his character he made his men enter it, whilst, shovel in hand, he dug for himself a hole in the snow, near its mouth. Meanwhile those within the cave had discovered that its proportions increased as they went further in, and that it could give shelter to fifty or sixty persons. On this Bábar entered, and shared with his men their scanty store of provisions. Next morning, the snow and tempest ceased, and the army pushed on. At length, towards the end of February, he approached Kábul, only, however, to learn that a revolt had taken place in the city, and that although his garrison was faithful, the situation was critical. Bábar was equal to the occasion. Opening communication with his partisans, by a well-executed surprise he regained the place. His treatment of the rebels was merciful in the extreme. During the spring of that year, 1507, Shaibání Khán, the Uzbek chief, who had formerly driven Bábar from Samarkand, had attacked and taken Balkh; then invaded Khorásán and occupied Herát. Kandahár, which had been to a certain extent a dependency of the rulers of Herát, had been seized by the sons of Mír Zulnun Beg, who had been its Governor under Sultán Husen Mirzá, and these had invoked the