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17-Indian History-AD-5 (1707-1764)

India has a continuous civilization since 2500 BC. During the 2nd millennium, Aryan speaking tribes migrated from northwest into the Indian subcontinent. The following material has been taken from "A New History of India", by Stanley Wolpert. 2004.

British Raaj (1619-1947 AD) - 328 years
Mugal Empire contd from Previous Page

From 1619, since first British outpost was established at Soorat, on the northwestern coast in 1619, British continued to open their permanent trading stations at Madras, Bombay and Calcutta each under the protection of native rulers. But they could not capture Delhi until 1756.

Twilight of Mugal Empire - 1707-1764

Mugal rulers continued to rule from Delhi until 1858. After Aurangzeb, Mugal power was fading like a "magnificent flower slowly wilting and occasionally dropping a petal, its brilliance fading, its stalk bending ever lower and lower". Nine emperors succeeded Aurangzeb, between the death of Aurangzeb and the exile of its last emperor to Rangoon in 1858. It was no accident, that the British ended the rule of its East India Company and decreed India to be its Indian empire.

1-Muhammad Aazam Shaah (14 Mar 1707 - 19 Jun 1707 AD)
Aazam Shaah was the son of Aurangzeb and Dilaras Baano Begam and thus a full brother of Muhammad Akbar. Like his brother Muhammad Akbar, Aazam Shaah married one of the daughters of Daara Shikoh in 1668. After the death of his father Aurangzeb (3 March, 1707), he proclaimed himself the Emperor and attempted to seize the throne, but he ailed and was killed on 19 June 1707. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters. So his elder brother Muhammad Muazzam succeeded the throne.

2-Bahaadur Shaah (reign, 1707-1712 AD) - 5 years
Aurangzeb had three living sons (Muhammad Muazzam, Muhammad Aazam Shaah and Kambakhsh) who were always busy in their respective provincial posts, though none of them inherited their father's appetite for power or his obsession with religion and duty. The first half of the 18th century was the twilight era of Mugal Empire.

Aurangzeb's eldest living son Muhammad Muazzam was 63 when his father died. He left Laahaur for Delhi to claim the throne as Bahaadur Shaah (Brave king) the first Shaah Aalam. His brothers, Aazam Shaah and Kambakhsh, also came to claim the throne. Aazam Shaah was killed, so Muhammad Muazzam became the King as Bahaadur Shaah I. Bahaadur Shaah's brief reign of 5 years was already in the traditional Mugal war of succession. He made peace with Raajpoot, leaving young Shaahoo (Shivaajee's grandson) who had escaped to Mahaaraashtra as the king of Sataaraa. Bahaadur Shaah even won the support of Guru Gobind Sinh who went to Aagaraa to attend his court. After the death of Guru Gobind Sinh in October 1708, Sikh got united under Bandaa Bahaadur (1708-1716), his original name was Lakshman Daas, who became the virtual king of Panjaab. He even introduced his own coins and own calendar to commemorate his reign. Bahaadur Shaah made him flee to the hills. But spiritless and depressed, Bahaadur Shaah died in February 1712.

He had 8 sons and 1 daughter - Jahandar Shaah, Azeemush Shaan, Rafeeush Shaan, Khujistaa Akhtar Jahaan Shaah, Buland Akhtar ....

3-Jahandar Shaah and Saiyyad Brothers (reign, 1712-1713) - 1 year
A new fraternal warfare now broke loose among the four sons of Bahaadur Shaah, so desperately that none of them worried to bury their father for nearly a month. Jahandar Shaah, the eldest son finally won, but he was so incompetent that he lost confidence of his own Vazeer (chief minister) Zulfiqaar Khaan and Zulfiqaar Khaan took away the treasury as well as power which he managed to hold for one year (till 1713). He was defeated in the battle at Agra on 10 January 1713 by Faarrukh-shiyaar, his 32-year old nephew (the second son of Azeemush Shaan), with the support of the Saiyyad Brothers.

He fled to Delhi, but from there he was captured and handed over to the new Emperor, who confined him along with (Laal Kunwar). He lived in confinement for a month, until 11 February 1713, when professional stranglers were sent to murder him. When the stranglers entered the prison, Laal Kunwar shrieked, clasping hold of her lover and refused to let him go. Violently forcing the two apart, they laid hands on Jahandar Shaah and finished him off. His head was severed and presented to Faarrukh-shiyaar, while his body was taken to Humaayoon's Tomb and interred there. He had three sons including Azeezudeen or Aalamgeer II,  who reigned between 1754 and 1759 (see below).

4-Faarrukh-shiyaar (1713-1719) - 6 years
He was the 10th Emperor of Mugal Dynasty from 1713 to 1719. he was handsome but a weak ruler, so Saiyyad brothers were always helping him. First he married a Kashmeeree Muslim woman then a Rajpoot girl - Indiraa Kanwar (Daughter of Mahaaraajaa Ajeet Sinh of Jodhpur). After Jahandar Shaah was defeated, the Saiyyad Brothers helped Faarrukh-shiyaar to secure the throne. As Faarrukh-shiyaar was a weak ruler, Saiyyad brothers were ruling on behalf of him. A town,Faarrukh Nagar was named after him in Gudagaanv district. here he built a Sheesh Mahal and a mosque.

During his reign only, in 1717, he developed piles and the East India Company's Surgeon William Hamilton cured him, so he gave the Company the "Duty Free Trading" rights for a mere 3,000 Rupees a year. He also lost confidence of his people and wasted much of his 6-year reign (1713-1719). Faarrukh-shiyaar met a humiliating and bloody end, his constant plotting eventually led the Syed Brothers to officially depose him as the Emperor. Husain Alee, one of the Saiyyad brothers, came back from the victory from Dakkan along with 11,000 Maraathaa soldiers, intending to depose Faarrukh-shiyaar. Faarrukh-shiyaar was imprisoned and starved; later, on 28 February 1719, he was blinded with needles on the orders of the Saiyyad Brothers. He was strangled to death on the night of April 27/28, 1719. After accomplishing his assassination, the Saiyyad Brothers placed his first-cousin, Rafi Ul-Durjat on the throne. Rafi-ul-darjat's father and Faarrukh-shiyaar's father had been brothers.

5-Rafi ul-Darjat  (May 1719 - June 1719)
Rafi ul-Darjat was the youngest son of Rafi-us-Shaan - only 19 years old. He was the 11th Mugal Emperor who ruled only for a few weeks. Since Saiyyad brothers proclaimed him the Baadshaah, they wanted to use him as puppet. They wanted the same with Faarrukh-shiyaar also, but he wanted to be independent that is they killed him. His uncle Nekoosiyaar, who was 20 years older than him, thought that he was to be the Emperor than a child, so he took the throne from Rafi-ul-Darjat. But since Saiyyad Brothers posed him on the throne, they defended him and within three months Nekoosiyaar was deposed. He was imprisoned in Saleemgarh where he died in 1723.

Meanwhile Rafi ul-Darjat's lungs failed and he also died. At the time dying he requested Saiyyad Brothers that his elder brother should be enthroned. So he was sent to Harem and his elder brother Rafi ud-Daulaa was appointed as the 12th Emperor of Mugal Dynasty.

6-Rafi ud-Daulaa or Shaah Jahaan II (Jun 1719 - Sep 1719)
He was the elder son of Rafi-us-Shaan and the 12th Emperor of Mugal Dynasty. H is known as Shaah Jahaan II also. Like his brother, he also died in 1719 at Delhi, being deposed and killed at the behest of the Saiyyad Brothers. After his death, he was succeeded by the unfortunate Nekoosiyaar who was a nominal sovereign (and whose reign is sometimes discounted).

7-Nekoosiyaar Muhammad (May 1719 - Aug 1719)
He was the son of rebel Muhammad Akbar (son of Aurangzeb), brother of Rafi-us-Shaan; and uncle of Rafi ul-Darjat and Rafi ud-Daulaa. He was the 13th Emperor of Mugal Dynasty. He had been in prison from 1681 to 1719. he was brought up in Harem, so when he became the Emperor, he could not take care of the throne. Saiyyad Brothers put him again in prison in Saleemgarh where he died in 1723 (see above Rafi ul-Darjat) t the age of 43.

8-Muhammad Ibraahem (Oct 1720 - Nov 1720)
He was the 14th Mugal Emperor. He took the throne in 1920 after Nekoosiyaar. Within a month he was defeated in a battle. This defeat was of Saiyyad brothers too, so he was deposed on the same day. He was sent o Harem where he died in 1746.

9-Muhammad Shaah Rangeelaa (a grandson of Bahaadur Shaah), (1719-1748 AD) - 30 years
Saiyyad brothers again selected an Emperor - a young grandson of Bahaadur Shaah Roshan Akhtar - he ascended the throne as Muhammad Shaah (aged 17) and surprised everyone by reigning for 30 years. He was the son of the 4th son of Bahaadur Shaah I - Khujistaa Akhtar Jahaan Shaah. He has been nicknamed as Rangeelaa by many historians. Sice he was young, he was put under strict supervision, but he go tired of it soon, so he appointed three people to kill Saiyyad Brothers. The killed them in 1722.

After this Muhammad Shah appointed Nizaam-ul-Mulk (b/d 1669-1748) as his Chief Minister. he tried to advise the Emperor but when he did not listed to him, he went to Dakkan. At the same time the Emperor appointed a Governor in Haidaraabaad. He always fought with Maraathaa, so Nizaam-ul-Mulk defeated the Governor with the help of Maraathaa and became the new ruler of new stste of Haidaraabaad. Naturally he had lost the position of Chief Ministership of the Emperor. Here he founded a "dynasty" that would long outlive the Mugal Empire.

Although Urdu language had already been discovered long ago, but from his times it became a common language among the people, so the Emperor declared it as the court language.

Emperor Muhammad Shah had four wives, but his most favorite was Baadshaah Begum, daughter of Emperor Faarrukh-shiyaar. She was the most influential of all wives of the Emperor and exercised her opinions on him. His second wife was Mahal Begum. he married her on the same day as the first one. She was also his most favorite wife. His third wife was Oodham Baaee, also called Kudsiyaa Begum, who bore him his future successor, Ahmad Shaah Bahaadur. She was formerly a dancing girl. His fourth wife was Soofiyaa Sultaan Begam. Muhammad Shaah had three sons and three daughters.

Nizaam-ul-Mulk of Haidaraabaad (1723-1748 AD) - 25 years
After this Nizaam and Maraathaa became competitors for Dakkan territory. Baajee Raav "Peshavaa" (1700-1740) who succeeded his father as Peshavaa was a strong defender of Maraathaa. The death of the Saiyyad Brothers left the Maraathaa without support at Delhi. Nizaam bagged the title of Viceroyalty of the Dakkan. He proclaimed a new Dynasty, minted new coins of his name. The 18th century pattern of dismantling the Mugal Empire was thus established and was followed in other provinces also, including Bangaal and Avadh where powerful Navaab became independent kings in all but title and trivia.

Naadir Shaah (Napoleon of Persia) (1736-1747 AD) - 11 years
While South India was merging as an independent of Mugal power, Mugal Dynasty was invaded by Afgaan - Isfaahaan falling in 1722. A powerful Persian General Naadir Qulee managed to drive Afgaan back to their homeland and ascended the Persian throne as Naadir Shaah in 1736. He then called upon Delhi's Muhammad Shaah to join him in a united effort to crush Afgaanistaan. Poor Muhammad Shaah could hardly manage to defend his own Delhi from Baajee Raav'a army (in 1737). He was obliged to ask Nizaam's help and exalted him with the unprecedented title "Aasaf-Jaah", 5 new provinces and 10 million Rupees cash to remove Maraathaa from Central India. Nizaam couldn't refuse this tempting offer and left for Delhi with 30,000 troops. He sent his elder son, Naasir Jang, to trap Baajee Raav, but Peshavaa lured Nizaam to Bhopaal where Baajee Raav surrounded him. Nizaam was forced for peace. Baajee Raav's terms were the formal cessation of all of Maalavaa and Bundelkhand, and to pay 500,000 Rupees in cash. Maraathaa was now greater than any other single force in India.

At this point, Persians did not wait for Muhammad Shaah's help, so Naadir Shaah advanced to take Kandhaar and Kaabul alone; and then at the end of 1738, he crossed the Sindhu River. Laahaur fell, the Sikh fled to the hills, and Persians advanced toward Delhi. On 13 February 1739, the battle of Karnaal was fought. Emperor Muhammad Shah had over a 100,000 force against Naadir Shaah's 55,000 men but was still defeated. The Emperor himself met Naadir Shaah in his camp, handed over the keys of the Delhi gate and entered Delhi with him.

At first every thing was cordial among the two emperors. However rumors spread throughout Delhi that Naadir Shaah was assassinated. The masses attacked the Persian force and slaughtered 900 Persian soldiers. At this Naadir Shaah massacred the populace, and at least 30,000 people died. The Emperor had to stop the massacre by turning into looting the Mughal treasury. The famous Peacock throne, the Darya-e-Noor diamond and unimaginable wealth excluding elephants, horses and every thing that was liked was taken. Muhammad Shah had to marry his daughter Jahaan Afrooz Baanoo Begam to Naadir Shaah's youngest son. Muhammad Shaah was crowned as Emperor by Naadir Shaah himself on 12 May, and Muhammad Shaah ceded the area west of river Indus to Naadir Shaah. Then Nadir Shah went back to Persia. Shaah Jahaan's city was left smoldering shell by May 1739.

Rise of British in Bangaal -
(Read "East India Company" under Foreign Penetration) In the closing decades of the 18th century, the British strengthened their position on both west and east coast under the leadership of the two brothers - Sir John and Josia Child. Sir John was the president of the Company's factory at Soorat and Governor of Bombay from 1682-1690. They took permission from Aurangzeb to trade at a new base, near Hugalee River, in Bangaal in 1690. There was a Kaalee shrine from which "Ghaat" (steps) descended to the water, hence its name was Calcattaa may have been derived from the words "Kaalee-Ghaat". By 1700 its population of  Englishmen grew to 1,200. Fort William was erected at this spot, about a 100 miles upriver from the Bay of Bangaal - one of the most populous cities and ports , though no one imagined how fast it would grow or how important it would be in near future. But the venue for historic development was Madraas. British discovered the key to Indian conquest from their most recent rivals in India, the French.

French East India Company - 
The French Company had been started with a capital of about 600,000 British Pounds in 1664. It came to India at Pondicherry, about 80 miles south of Madraas on the Coromandal coast, in 1674. They followed the British tripod pattern of settlement. They established subsidiary factories at Soorat and Chandarnagar on the River Hugalee by the end of the century and they soon started competing with British. They captured Madraas in September 1746 as well as took young Robert Clive (b/d 1725-1774) prisoner. He was a writer in the Company's civil service who got so bored with his job that he tried unsuccessfully to blow out his own brains with a pistol that misfired, Once the Navaab of Karnaatak, Anvar-uddeen tried to take Madraas from French by attacking them with 10,000 men in October 1745 but their 900 people defeated them. Dupleix became the Navaab of Karnaatak also in all but name. Had France been ruled by Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour, Dupleix would have become the Emperor of India. He was, in fact, managing the Nizaam and Navaab after the death of Nizaam-ul-Mulk in 1748.

Baajee Raav had died in 1740, but his son Baalaajee Raav (1721-1761) succeeded him as Peshavaa and led Maraathaa for two decades. There were four extremely powerful Maraathaa Generals - Gaayakvaad in Barodaa, Holkar at Indaur, Sindhiyaa in Gwaalior, and Bhonsley at Naagpur, each of whom had carved his own domain. These paid nominal allegiance to the king of Sataaraa.

10-Ahamad Shaah Bahaadur (1748-1754) - 6 years
He was Muhammad Shaah Rangeelaa and Oodham Baaee's son and was the 15th Emperor in the Mugal line. He took the throne in 1748 at the age of 23. He ruled successfully for 6 years and then was deposed by his Vazeer in 1754. Later he was blinded along with his mother. He spent rest of his life in prison and died in 1775. His son Jahaan Shah rose to the power for a short while in 1788 as the puppet of Gulaam Qaadir.

In 1748, during his father's reign, Ahmad Shaah Abdaaliee invaded India. So Prince Ahmad Shaah was sent to fight with him with 75,000 men. Ahamad was victorious, so he was conferred with the title "Bahaadur". Mugal's Chief Minister was killed in this battle, this shocked the Emperor, he got sick and died in a few days. Ahamad Shaah rushed to Delhi, spent a week in sorrow and then ascended the throne on 8 April 1748.

11-Azeezuddeen Aalamgeer II (1754-1759)
Azeezuddeen was the second son of Jahandar Shaah. He ascended the throne at the age of 55. He spent all his life in Jail, so he had no experience  of administration. He was a weak ruler. After ascending the throne he took the title of Aalamgeer II and followed the policies of Aurangzeb. He was a very pious man. He was killed by his Minister. His some children escaped, among them one was the next ruler - Prince Alee Gauhar (Shaah Jahaan III).

Siraaj-ud-Daulaa in Bangaal and Battle of Plaasee (1756-)
Alee Vardee, of Bangaal, when died in April 1756, had no sons, so he designated his youngest daughter's son Siraaj-ud-Daulaa as the heir of his throne. He was only 20-year old then. He could not foresee many things and was driven toward his own destruction. The Tragedy of Black Hole (Kaal Kotharee) took place when the 146 British residents who could not flee (the rest escaped through the River Gate) were imprisoned for a night in a small guard room measuring less than 6m x 5m with only one window. Only 23 are believed to have survived. Some believe that there were only 64 people held in that room. This victory was short-lived, and within a year, Robert Clive took the city back defeating the Navaab at Plaasee, in 1757 - a turning point for the British in India.

12-Shaah Jahaan III (1759-1760) 8 months
He was the eldest son of Kambakhsh (the youngest son of Aurangzeb). He was the Emperor only briefly, because he was subsequently deposed by the Afgaan confederation (Rohillas and Ahamad Shaah Abdaalee) and Nawab of Avadh Shujaa-ud-Daula in 1760 in recognition of Shah Aalam II as the rightful heir to the throne who was in exile at Ilaahaabaad.

13-Alee Gauhar or Shaah Aalam II (1759-1806) 46 years
He inherited the throne from his father Aalamgeer II. After the Minister had killed his father Azzezuddeen Aalamgeer II, he escaped from Delhi to eastern provinces (Bangaal, Bihaar Udeesaa) and tried to strengthen himself. There was Meer Jafar in Bangaal at that time. He was very unpopular and was entirely dependent upon British support for maintaining himself. Shaah Aalam also asked for British help, but Robert Clive chose to continue with Meer Jaafar. Shaah Aalam's forces were defeated by the British at Buxar in 1764.

After the battle of Buxar, this homeless fugitive Prince Alee Gauhar sought the protection of British. Shaah Aalam took up residence at Ilaahaabaad and no doubt could have passed his life peacefully there, but he got an opportunity to regain his kingdom. When the Maraathaa had occupied Delhi, invited him there to occupy the throne of his forefathers. Shaah Aalam left Ilaahaabaad in May 1771 and in December reached Delhi. He consulted the British and they had advised him not to trust the Marathas. The Emperor resided in the fort of Ilalahaabaad for six years as a virtual prisoner of the British. Warren Hastings was made Governor of Bengal in 1772. Shah Alam then left for Delhi with a small force trained on the European model, under the command of his able general, Mirzaa Najaf Khaan. He arrived there in December 1772 and sought to restore some of the glories of the Mughal empire.

Trouble with the Sikhs was endless; they raided as far as Delhi practically every year for money and possessions. They entered Delhi three times in 11 years from 1772 to 1783—in 1772, 1778 and 1783 with the underhand help from the then Vazeers of Shaah Aalam II.

Later an Afgaan named Rohillaa blinded Shaah Aalam in 1788. After the Battle of Delhi, on 14 September 1803, British troops entered Delhi and Shaah Aalam, a blind old man, seated under a tattered canopy, came under British protection. The Mugal emperor no longer had the military power to enforce his will, but he commanded respect as a dignified member of the House of Taimoor in the length and breadth of the country. The Navaab and Soobedaar still sought formal sanction of the emperor on special accessions. Since the British were not yet strong enough to claim sovereignty on their own, kept Shaah Aalam as a puppet until his death in 1806.

14-Akbar Shaah II (1806-1837) - 31 years
Known as Mirzaa Akbar, Akbar Shaah II was the second to the last Emperor of Mugal Dynasty - from 1806 to 1837. He was the second son of Shaah Aalam II and the father of Bahaadur Shaah Zafar II. Akbar had little real power due to the increasing British control on India. Shortly before his death he sent Raam Mohan Roy as an ambassador to Britain. During his regime, in 1835, the East India Company discontinued calling itself the lieutenant of the Mugal Emperor and issuing coins in his name.

When Gulaam Qaadir captured Delhi, he was forced to dance along with other princes and princesses and humiliated, as well as starved. When Jahaan Shaah IV fled, he was proclaimed puppet Emperor with the title of Akbar Shaah II, and was to remain acting Emperor even after the reinstating of his father, till December 1788.

Akbar Shah II had four sons, one of whom was Bahaadur Shaah Zafar who eventually succeeded him at the age of 60. After the mutiny, he fled Delhi and took refuge in other parts of India. In the mid 1800s he came to Bangaal. His sons and two daughters lived the same life he did, in constant fear of the British. His eldest son, Mirzaa Jalaaluddeen became an official to a Bangaal Raajaa. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Mirza Zafar. He was an official to the Raja too. His son Mirza Jamsher renounced his titles in 1895. Their children settled down permanently in North Bangaal and to this day they still remain in the capital city of Dhaka and Rajshahi.

15-Bahaadur Shaah "Zafar" II - the last Mugal Emperor (1837-1857) - 20 years
Bahaadur Shaah Zafar, the son of Akbar Shaah II and Laal Baaee (a Hindu Raajpoot), was the last Emperor in the Mugal line. He was born in 1775. He sat on the throne, after his father Akbar Shaah's death, in 1837 at the age of little over 60 years. His Mugal Empire rarely extended outside the Red Fort. During the 1857 mutiny Bahaadur Shaah took shelter in Humaayoon's Tomb with his three sons. He was compelled to surrender to British on 20 September 1857. Next day a British Officer shot dead his two sons and one grandson at the Khoonee Daravaazaa, near Delhi Gate. Hearing this Zafar went into a shocking silence. Numerous male members were killed, some were imprisoned and some were sent away. After a show trial, Zafar himself was exiled to Rangoon, Burmaa in 1858 along with his wife Zeenat Mahal and some of the remaining members of the family. He lived only for five years - died in 1862. His departure as the Emperor marked the end of more than three centuries of Mugal rule in India. Over 80, he was seen as a figurehead by Muslims opposing the British.

He was a noted Urdu Poet. He has written a large number of Urdoo Gazals with the pen-name "Zafar". Many of his works are lost but many survived which are collected in a collection entitled "Kulliyaate Zafar". His court was  home for many Urdoo poets of high standing, Gaalib, Daag, Momin, Zauq etc.

He was a devout Soofee and was himself regarded as Sufee Peer. In 1828, a decade before he ascended the throne, Major Archer reported, "Zafar is a man of spare figure and stature, plainly appareled, almost approaching to meanness. His appearance is that of an indigent Munshee or teacher of languages". He believed in Taabeez and charms. Peer, miracle workers and Hindu astrologers always stood in his attendance.

The last remains of Mugal rule is the history of Zafar Mahal in Mehraulee, a locality of Delhi. Zafar Mahal was originally built by Akbar II, but it was his son, Bahaadur Shaah Zafar, who constructed its gateway and added to the palace in the mid-1800s. It literally spans centuries. A plastered dome near the gate is probably of 15th century; other sections are relatively newer and show definite signs of Western influences. There is, for instance, a fireplace in one of the walls that stands near the Motee Masjid. And the staircase to the balcony is a wide one with low steps - very unlike the steep, narrow staircases of most Indian Islamic architecture. he has many roads, statues, parks in many Indian cities.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 09/20/12