Jaan Nisaar woke up from the same old dream he has been having since past 12 years. A dream he first had on that formidable night. The night when he was still a five year old boy who held on to his khala crying and pleading with her to save his ammi from the king’s guards who dragged her from their quarters in the harem. The shrill voice and pleas of his mother kept echoing in his ears till today. From that night he has had one single dream.
A dream of pale, scared bleeding faces. A face with empty eye sockets lying on a blood colour sandy field. He walked amongst the dead heads lined up in the field. He walks amongst them with jewels and jems scattered around the dead with vultures flying in the sky waiting for a feast. He saw a familiar severed human hand lying next to a face; he picked the hand up and tried to pull out the dark sapphire ring studded with diamonds in a polished gold frame. Every time he tried he failed to pull it out and wakes up.
Jaan Nisaar was the head spy in the king’s palace. Ibrahim Lodi the king trusted Jaan Nisaar more than anyone else. Trust was a big thing for cynical Ibrahim Lodi. He saw everyone as an enemy. The greedy nobles, he thought were weeds who conspired behind his back to overthrow him and install his brother Jalal on the throne. Jaan Nisaar was the one who helped pick up those weeds.
It was a usual spring morning in Delhi. Ibrahim trudged to his father's tomb. He ordered guards to wait outside and send Jaan Nisaar in when he arrives.
He sat alone next to his father's grave. He smiled and gently caressed the grey limestone and asked, "How are you dear father, it must be getting lonely up there?"
He leaned closer and whispered, “Don’t worry, I am sending you your favourite company soon."
As he saw the lean and short blue eyed boy, approaching from afar he jumped up in excitement and called out to him, “Jaan Nisaar my boy, what is the news?”
Jaan Nisaar after completing his salutation to the Sultan delivered the news of demise of his brother, Jalal Lodi. “Sultan, your wish is my command. I have fulfilled my duty as assigned by you.”
Ibrahim Lodi filled with excitement looked back at his father’s grave saying, “mubarak abbu jaan". He then walked towards the garden with Jaan Nisaar and said, “Tell me, who’s next?”
Jaan Nisaar was appointed as a special spy for the nobles. Other than the Sultn, no one knew he was a spy. Everyone thought he was Sultan's slave looking after his daily needs. But, Jaan Nisaar was more than that. In the past two years he had gained immense trust of the Sultan. He found out about the Dilbar Khan and his seditious plans, he reported about Rehmat Khan and his ambitious moves to own more horses than any other Afghan tribe leader which would mean more power and a threat to Sultan.
Strolling in the garden, Jaan Nisaar poured more wine into Ibrahim's glass and told him about how Daulat Khan’s father has gone to Mewar to amass the forces against him. But he named 10 more nobles who were still around and were a larger threat than the father-son duo.
“Akka, I think we should first deal with these 10 traitors who are planning a coup against you. They are all jealous of your valour and strength. I heard them talking of how Mehboob Khan the Pashtun leader has his eyes on your harem. They were talking about your women and their charm.”
Suddenly, Ibrahim Lodi was raging with anger. He threw his wine glass over the dewy grass and went back to his palace.He ordered for Mehboob Khan and other nine nobles to be brought to the prison and butchered one by one. The prison cells were loaded with heaps of dead bodies of Afghan nobles.
Soon, news of Babur’s invasion spread in the kingdom. Jaan Nisaar broke the news to his Sultan.
"The traitor Daulat khan is helping him, Sultan, " “All of them are traitors. My father was a fool to trust these bastards,” cursed Ibrahim.
Before heading to the battlefield of Panipat, Jaan Nisaar was helping Sultan put on the iron made armour customised for the war this morning.
"No one will stand in front of your valour Sultan, your bravery will inspire your army to kill every last of those Moghuls on the battlefield today," said Jaan Nisaar while putting the iron war suit on Ibrahim’s shoulder on the day of the Battle of Panipat.
Ibrahim looked at Jaan Nisaar and blessed him with a pearl necklace. “My boy you should teach these filthy nobles some loyalty. Once I am done with this war I will appoint you at a good position in court.”
It was a tough fight but Babur's Moghul army overpowered Ibrahim’s forces. Ibrahim's chief soldier advised him to retreat and wait for more forces to arrive. But Ibrahim cursed him and preached about his bravery and greatness of the Lodhis and went ahead in war. The Moghals ravaged the Lodhi army beheading every soldier they captured alive.
Following the Moghul tradition, they built a pyramid of severed heads on the blood bathed field of Panipat to mark their arrival. Jaan Nisaar came out of his tent and walked amongst the heads towards the one head he was desperately looking for. As he lived the reoccurring dream his eyes watered and his knees felt week. He was overwhelmed. Ammi’s screams started echoing in his ears again.
Jaan Nisaar slowly walked towards the one severed head he longed to see the most. He bent over to whisper to Ibrahim’s pale face with empty eye sockets “Abu, you won’t be alone up there, I have sent your filthy loyals before you to keep you company." He then picked up Ibrahim’s severed hand. He tried to pull out the sapphire ring. The ring was stuck as the finger had swelled and rigor mortis has set in. His mind went back to the dream of how he could never take of the ring from the hand.
He took out his knife and cut the index finger with blue sapphire ring on it. The ring fell on the ground. He sat down and picked up the ring in his hand. He kissed the ring and his eyes welled up remembering its original owner.
As he sat there weeping profusely, he felt a hand on his shoulder, he turned back and it was Daulat Khan voice: “Jaan Nisaar my boy, you have fulfilled your destiny and avenged your mother."