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LATER MUGHAL EMPIRE
• Aurangzeb died in Feb 1707 in Deccan when the Mughal Empire consisted of 21 provinces Kabul in Afghanistan, 14 in North India and 6 in South India (Aurangabad, Berar, Bidar, Telangana, Bijapur, Hyderabad and Kandesh).
• In the South, the Maratha influence had become so formidable that large area of the South India were obeying two masters, one is the Mughal Authority and other is the Marathas and local rulers.
• On the west coast, the Portuguese held Goa, Chaul, Diu and Daman; The British held Calcutta, the French held Chandranagar, with their headquarters at Pondicherry in the far south.
• The war of succession amongst Aurangzeb’s surviving sons Muazzam, Azam and Kambaksh.
• Muazzam, subahdar of Kabul, was at Jamrud when he heard the news of his father Aurangzeb’s death. He crowned himself as Emperor with a title of Bahadur Shah at Lahore.
• Azam, subhadar of Gujarat, had hastened to Ahmadnagar and proclaimed himself Emperor.
• After securing peaceful possession of Agra and Delhi, Muazzam met Azam, who was advancing towards the North from Ahmadnagar via Gwalior, at Jajau near Agra in June, 1707. Azam was defeated and killed, along with his 2 sons by Muazzam.
• Kambaksh, subhadar of Bijapur assumed Sovereignty and conquered some important places including Gulbarga and Hyderabad.
• Bahadur Shah marched to the Deccan through Rajasthan and crossed the Narmada in May 1708. A battle took place near Hyderabad in 1709 in which Kambaksh and his son were killed.
Bahadur Shah I (1707-12)
· Muazzam emerged victorious in the war of succession and ascended the throne with the name of Bahadur Shah I. He was the first and the last of the Later Mughals to have exercised the real authority. At the time of his succession, his age was 65 years.
· He pursued a conciliatory policy towards Rajputs and Marathas. He acknowledged the independence of Mewar and Marwar. Sahu, the son of Sambhaji, who had been in Mughal captivity since the fall of Raigarh, was released.
· Granted Sardeshmukhi (10% tax levied upon the Land revenue) to Marathas but not Chauth (one-fourth in form of tribute).
· Made peace with Chhatarsal, the Bundela chief and Churaman, the Jat chief.
· The jeziya imposed by Aurangzeb was withdrawn.
· Bahadur Shah had to face considerable trouble in the Punjab, where after the death of Guru Govind Singh, Banda Bahadur had emerged very powerful and causing a lot of depredations. Emperor himself led the campaign against Banda Bahadur. The Sikhs were neither crushed nor conciliated. During the course of this campaign, Bahadur Shah died in 1712.
· Mughal Historian Khafi Khan called him Shah-i-Bekhabar. He was buried at Delhi.
Jahandar Shah (1712 – 13)
· In the war of succession, Jahandar Shah’s three brothers, viz. Azim-us-shah, Rafi-us-shah and Jahan Shah lost their lives.
· Jahandar Shah’s success was due to the efforts of Zulfiqar Khan, son of Asad Khan, who, as the new Emperor’s minister, became supreme in the state.
· Jahandar Shah was dominated by the mistress Lal Kunwar.
· Zulfiqar Khan left most of his official work to a favorite officer named Subhag Chand whose pretensions and insolence offended all and sundry.
· Zulfiqar abolished jeziya.
· Ijarah i.e. revenue farming was introduced.
· Farrukhsiyar, son of Azam-us-shah, who was at Patna at the time of his father’s downfall, had proclaimed himself Emperor there in April 1712.
· Farrukhsiyar secured the support of Sayyid Husain Ali and Sayyid Abdullah Khan whom Azim-us-shan had accepted as deputy Governors of Bihar and Allahabad under him.
· Farrukhsiyar defeated Jahandar Shah outside that city in Jan 1713.
· The fallen Emperor fled to Delhi, where he was betrayed by Asad Khan and Zulfiqar Khan and murdered in prison on Farrukhsiyar’s orders. Jahandar Shah was strangulated to death as a result of a conspiracy hatched by the Sayyid brothers who now placed Farrukhsiyar on the throne.
· There were three important groups in Emperor’s court:
o The Turanis (of Central Asian origin) enjoyed preference in the Mughal court as they were fellow countrymen of the Timurid Emperors who has military skills and administrative capacity.
o The Iranis (who came from Persia and Khurasan) specially gifted in revenue and secretarial work but they are less influential in state affairs.
o The Hindustanis (Muslims of foreign origin) were born in India.
· Turanis and the Iranis were divided not only by political ambition but also by religion; Turanis were Sunnis and Iranis were Shias.
Farrukh Siyar (1713 – 19)
· He succeeded to the throne with the help of the Sayyid brothers.
· He appointed Sayyid Abdullah Khan as Wazir and his younger brother Husain Ali Khan as Mir Bakshi (Commander-in-chief).
· Among the new provincial Governors appointed, the most important was Chin Qulich Khan Bahadur, better known as Nizam-ul-Mulk, who was put in charge of the 6 provinces of the Deccan and had his headquarters at Aurangabad.
· Nizam-ul-Mulk was one of the leaders of the Turani party and the ‘ablest man’ in the Empire.
· Zulfiqar Khan was treacherously (faithlessly) murdered on Farrukh Siyar’s orders and his property was confiscated.
· Assisted by Ajit Singh of Marwar, who had married his daughter to Farrukh Siyar, the Sayyid brothers deposed and murdered the Emperor.
· During Farrukh Siyar’s reign 4 military campaigns were undertaken:
o Ajit Singh of Marwar, who had made his submission to Bahadur Shah, reasserted his independence. Hussain Ali marched against him and compelled him to sue for peace.
o Banda Bahadur, the Sikh leader was defeated, captured and executed.
o A campaign led by Sawai Jai Singh of Amber for the suppression of a Jat rising under Churaman, ended in a compromise.
o In 1719, Hussain Ali made a settlement with Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath (Treaty of Delhi), by which he made many concessions to the Marathas in return for their active armed assistance in the struggle for supremacy going on in Delhi.
· After deposing Farrukh Siyar (April 1719), the Sayyid brothers placed on the throne Rafi-ud-Darajat, a son of Rafi-us-shah (the second son of Bahadur Shah). He died of consumption within 4 months (June 1719).
· Then they enthroned his elder brother Rafi-ud-daula with the title of Shah Jahan II. A sickly youth addicted to opium, he died in Sept 1719.
· The Sayyids’s choice fell upon Raushan Aktar, a son of Shah Jahan (the fourth son of Bahadur Shah). He was placed on the throne, under the title of Muhammad Shah, in 1719.
Muhammad Shah (1719 – 38)
· Sayyid brothers fell victims to the Mughal court politics led by Chin Qulich Khan or Nizam-ul-Mulk, who in league with Itimad-ud-daulah, Saadat Khan, the Queen mother and the Emperor himself, hatched a conspiracy to get rid of the Sayyid brothers.
· Sayyid Husain Ali Khan, who was Viceroy in the Deccan, and his son were killed in the Deccan (Oct 1720). A month later in Nov 1720, his brother Sayyad Abdullah Khan was made prisoner and was later poisoned to death.
· Muhammad Shah also known as ‘Rangila’ or ‘Rangile’ because of his lose morals and pleasure loving ruler.
· After the fall of the Sayyid brothers, he fell into the clutches of Rahmathunnisa Koki Jiu, the eunuch Hafiz Khidmatgar Khan and a few leading nobles of the court.
· His first Wazir, after the fall of the Sayyid brothers, was Muhammad Amin Khan who had played the leading role in liberating the Emperor from their tutelage (guardianship).
· Realizing that neither the Emperor nor the nobility wanted reform, Nizam-ul-Mulk left his charge and laid the foundation of the independence of Hyderabad by a military victory (Oct 1724).
· Nizam-ul-Mulk was succeeded as Wazir by Qamr-ud-din, son of Muhummad Amin Khan.
· Bengal acquired virtual independence during the governorship of Murshid Kuli Khan (1717-1727)
· Awadh adopted the same course after the appointment of Saadat Khan as subahdar (1722), and Nizam-ul-Mulk made himself independent viceroy of the Deccan (1724).
· Malwa and Gujarat was lost to the empire in 1737 and 1741 respectively.
· Bundelkhand was partly occupied by the Marathas after 1731.
· The Jats under Badan Singh established themselves in the districts of Agra and Mathura.
· In the Gangetic Doab, the Rohillas of Katehar and the Bangash nawabs of Farrukhabad established their independent kingdoms.
Nadir Shah’s Invasion (1738–39)
· Nadir Shah, the ‘Napoleon of Iran’, invaded India in 1738-39.
· In 1738, Kabul, Jalalabad and Peshawar were captured by the Persian invader Nadir Shah and Lahore fell in January 1739.
· When Nadir Shah began his rapid advance towards Delhi, the Mughal emperor decided to oppose his advance and sent an army under Nizam-ul-Mulk, Qamir-ud-din and Khan-i-dauran to check the invader. Saadat Khan also joined them later.
· In the battle between the Mughal troops and those of Nadir Shah near Karnal in February 1739, Mughal troops were totally routed and Khan-i-dauran was killed.
· Although Nizam-ul-Mulk was able to persuade Nadir Shah to go back after receiving 50 lakh rupees, Saadat Khan (of Awadh), who was opposed to the Nizam suggested to Nadir Shah to march to Delhi and make himself the master. Nadir Shah accepted the suggestion and entered Delhi in March 1739.
· Nadir Shah remained in Delhi for 57 days. The famous Peacock Throne and the Kohinoor diamond were all grabbed by Nadir Shah.
· The provinces of the Mughal Empire west of the river Indus, from Kashmir to Sind, in addition to the subahs of Thatta and the forts subordinate to it, were also annexed to the Persian Empire.
Ahmad Shah Abdali’s Invasions (1747–1767)
· Nadir Shah was murdered in 1747, and in the absence of a capable ruler his large empire dissolved.
· Among Nadir Shah’s chief commanders was Ahmad, an Afgan of the Abdali tribe. After Nadir Shah’s death Ahmad became master of Afghanistan and assumed the royal title (Shah).
· After occupying Kabul and Kandhar, he advanced towards Peshawar and crossed the Indus (Dec 1747). Then followed the occupation of Lahore (Jan 1748) and Sirhind.
· It was during the second invasion of Ahmad Shah Abdali, that the emperor Muhammad Shah died.
· Ahmad Shah Abdali ravaged India 5 times from 1748 to 1767, the culmination point being the third battle of Panipat (Defeat of Marathas).
Ahmad Shah (1748-54)
· Muhammad Shah was succeeded by his only son Ahmad Shah.
· Affairs of state were in the hands of the Queen mother Udham Bai (a woman of poor intellect and immoral character) and her paramour, a notorious eunuch Javid Khan, who came to be known as Nawab Bahadur.
· Udham Bai was granted a number of titles, of which the highest was Qibla-i-Alam.
· Udham Bai’s brother Man Khan, a scamp and professional dancer, received the title of Mutqat-ud-daula.
· During Ahmad Shah’s reign, Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India twice in 1749 and 1752. The emperor ceded the Punjab and Multan to Abdali.
Alamgir II (1754 – 59)
· After the de-thronement of Ahmad Shah, Aziz-ud-din, a grandson of Jahandar Shah, was placed on the throne as Alamgir II.
· At this very moment Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India the 4th time in 1755 and departed from Delhi in 1757.
· In Nov 1759, the emperor Alamgir II was murdered by a wazir.
Shah Alam II (1759 – 1806)
· He was son of Alamgir II and his actual name was Ali Gauhar.
· At the time of his father’s murder, he was in Bihar, where he proclaimed himself emperor under the title of Shah Alam II (Dec 1759).
· Another Prince Muhi-ul-Millar, the grandson of Kambaksha, was placed on the throne in Delhi under the title of Shahjahan II.
· Ahmad Shah Abdali crossed India the 5th time, leading to the third battle of Panipat.
· During the post Panipat period, Najib Khan Ruhela, until his death in Oct. 1770, was dictator at Delhi.
· In Jan 1772, Shah Alam II was reinstated at Delhi by the Marathas.
· British defeated the Nawab of Bengal in Battle of Plassey (1757), and Shah Alam II and his Wazir Shuja-ud-daula in the Battle of Buxar (1764) in which they took the Mughal emperor as prisoner.
· He later gave the ‘diwani’ rights (revenue rights) of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the English East India Company (1765) which promised to pay him an annual tribute of Rs. 26 lakhs.
· Shah Alam – II was blinded in 1788.
· Delhi was captured by the British in 1803 and Shah Alam II and his two immediate successors are the last Mughals, Akbar II (1806 – 1837) and Bahadur Shah II (1837-57) became the prisoners of the East India Company.
CAUSES OF THE DECLINE OF THE MUGHAL EMPIRE
· The Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb had expanded like an ‘inflated balloon’ and its effective control was physically impossible under his weak successors. The vastness of the empire also weakened the centre.
· Aurangzeb’s religious fanaticism.
· The Deccan policy of Aurangzeb.
· The rise of the Marathas, foreign invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali, the evils of the Mansabdari system, the jagirdari and the agrarian crisis, the rise of the autonomous states, and the advent of the Europeans etc. played their role in the decline and disappearance of Mughal Empire.