William Finch (merchant)
William Finch (died 1613) was an English merchant in the service of the East India Company (EIC). He travelled to India along with Captain Hawkins during the reign of the Mughal emperor Jehangir. The two of them attended on the emperor at the Mughal court and established trade relations between England and India. Finch subsequently explored various cities in India and left a valuable account of them in his journal, which was subsequently published.
- Here [at Ayodhya] are also the ruins of Ranichand[s] castle and houses, which the Indians acknowledge for the great God, saying that he took flesh upon him to see the tamasha of the world.
- But with the passing of time, a peasant became a tribal and from tribal a beast. William Finch, writing at Agra about 1610 C.E., describes how Jahangir and his nobles treated them - during Shikar. A favourite form of sport in Mughal India was the Kamargha, which consisted in enclosing a tract of country by a line of guards, and then gradually contracting the enclosure until a large quantity of game was encircled in a space of convenient size. “Whatever is taken in this enclosure” (Kamargha or human circle), writes Finch, “is called the king’s shikar or game, whether men or beasts… The beasts taken, if man’s meat, are sold… if men they remain the King’s slaves, which he sends yearly to Kabul to barter for horses and dogs: these being poor, miserable, thievish people, that live in woods and deserts, little differing from beasts.”
- Finch, William, quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 7
- William Finch writing at Agra in about 1610 says that “in hunting the men of the jungle were on the same footing as the beasts” and whatever was taken in the game was the king’s shikar (or game), whether men or beasts.
- William Finch in Foster, Early Travels in India; quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 10