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The Successors of Aurangzeb Alamgir

The Successors of Aurangzeb Alamgir

The Successors of Aurangzeb Alamgir

Death of Aurangzeb in 1707 brought a steady decline of the Mughal Empire as no remarkable successor ascended the throne and the Empire slipped away from the hands of Mughals and went to the very lap of British in the long run.

His strict religious policies infuriated the Sikhs, Hindus, and even Christians and their animosity increased manifold than what it was in the ages of his predecessors. He persecuted and tormented the leaders of other religions especially Sikhs to forcibly make them embrace Islam. Consequently, he left an enmity as his legacy besides the traditional war of accession after he breathed his last. He was followed by four sons: Azam, Moazzam, Akbar and Kambakhsh who were waiting to fell upon the throne. Though Aurangzeb had left his will for the division of the Empire among his sons but their lust for the whole empire made them wage against one another. Moazzam, the eldest son claimed the kingdom of Kabul whereas Azam proclaimed the rule of Deccan. The clash of interests brought two brothers to the battlefield at Jajau (south of Agra) in 1707. The forces of Azam had to face a humiliating defeat and Azam was brutally killed by his brother Moazzam. Moazzam became the ruler of Agra and captured the financial assets of the city. He defeated Kambakhsh in February 1708 and began an exclusive rule with the title of Bahadur Shah l or Shah Alam l.

The hostility of Sikhs in the age of Bahadur Shah l aggravated because of the policies of Aurangzeb, his father and they tuned to a political power named Khalsa from merely a sect of the Hinduism. Har Guru Gobind Singh inherited the deep devotion of his ancestors who was tortured to death by Aurangzeb. Known as the “heedless king”, Bahadur Shah l could not control the Sikhs revolting and fighting against him till his death in February 1712. His death gave birth to the war of accession among his sons: Jahandar Shah and Farrukhsiyar. Jahandar Shah succeeded to access the throne but after a few months Farrukhsiyar snatched his position. Zulfikar Khan and Saiyyeds of Barha became the real king makers and the princesses remained only as the puppets in their hands. The former canopied Jahandar Shah while the later supported Farrukhsiyar. Farrukhsiyar crushed the Sikhs led by Banda Singh on the same lines of his father resulting in the atrocious death of Banda Singh.

Farrukhsiyar was killed in 1719 and Saiyyeds put Mohammad Shah on the throne in October 1719 who ruled till 1748 and led to the disintegration of the Mughal Empire. Deccan came under the governorship of Chin Kalich Khan, the son of Aurangzeb’s officer and Oudh went to the hands of Saadat Khan who claimed Oudh. Rohilas captured Rohilkhand and Ali Wardi Khan, the governor of Bengal showed his practical independence. Balaji Viswanath, a Hindu Brahman who was entrusted as Peshwa in 1714 by Shahu Raja, was followed by his son Bajji Rao who enjoyed high status in the Maratha government. Bajji Rao died in 1740 and his son came into influence and their rule stayed till 1818.

Nadir Shah (Nadir Qoli Beg), the King of Iran came into power seeing the anarchy in Iran and threw Hussain, the Persian ruler out of throne in 1736. Finding himself capable of capturing India after gaining Kandahar, he asked the Afghanies to surrender. The helpless and feeble Mohammad Shah, who was unable to handle Hindu Marathas, refused to yield which incensed Nader Shah. He occupied Lahore, Kabul, Peshawar, Sindh, and Ghazni justifying that the rebel Afghans took a shelter in India.The Battle of Karnal on February 13, 1739, proved to be the decisive war between Mughals and Nader Shah. Mughals were defeated and a rumor of Nader’s murder broke out in Delhi enraging Shah. He ordered a massacre in Delhi and 20,000 to 30,000 Indians were put to death by Nader Shah’s army. Mohammad Shah had to bow before Nader and the keys of the Mughal Empire drowned into the sea of blood. The Sun of Mughals set after centuries. The hard-earned Empire was handed over to Nader Shah by the incapable rulers of the last phase. Peacock Throne, artillery, elephants, treasury, and the booty went into the hands of Nader Shah.

Nader Shah was killed in 1747 and was followed by Ahmad Khan titled as Ahmad Shah Durrani or Ahmad Shah Abdali who invaded Punjab in 1748 but was hit back by the army of Prince Ahmad.  Mohammad Shah died in 1748 and Ahmad Shah Durrani captured Punjab. The son of Jahandar Shah was made the King as Alamgir ll by Ghazi-ud-Din, one of the nobles of Delhi. Ahmad Shah Durrani sacked Delhi in 1756 killing thousands of soldiers and unarmed people. Marathas under Ragoba, the younger son of Bajji Rao conquered Punjab. Peshwa, generally known as Bhao Sahab, marched towards Delhi in 1760 and occupied Delhi on August 2 and looted the royal palace.

Third Battle of Panipat in 1761fought between Ahmad Shah Durrani and Marathas decided the fate of Marathas at the hands of Ahmad Shah Durrani who was supported by the Muslims. Prolonged delay in starting the war led Maratha army to starvation which proved to be their defeat. The Marathas’ sway came to an end. In 1767, Ahmad Shah came back to Panipat with a less remarkable expedition.

The journey between 1526 and 1767 leaves us in the world of victory over the rebels and expansion of the Mughal Empire on one hand and the worst dismay in the later years on the other. Chaos of temporary pleasures with music, women, eunuchs, and other luxuries took the Mughal Empire to the abysmal darkness where they could only imagine their grand and glorious past. They later Mughals fell an easy prey to the intrigues from within and the foreigners who took advantage of their weaknesses and internal conflicts. The Empire became a tale of the bygone lanes and political and social anarchy encouraged the foreigners to occupy India. The traders to India became the master of India in the long run. After Aurangzeb, the Mughal Empire functionally breathed its last though it continued till the War of Independence in 1857.

About SAIMA ASHRAF

3 comments

  1. MA Lateef I’ve gone through the books of two esteemed writers you mentioned above.
    According to you ‘half-baked truth’ and ‘hotch potch of fiction and facts’ in the artcile above is not meeting the standards or the ‘scholars’ are being defamed in it. I am afraid you haven’t read the personality in the artcile sitting on throne and his contribution to the succession and on top of that, his legacy left behind.
    I am very sorry that you brought out Alamgir in front of Hazrat Omar Farooq R.A. Will you please bring or ‘produce’ any similarity between the two? Alamgir R.A ? I just feel sorry for you. Pitiably ignorant or insane. I don’t know.
    History takes its courses through centuries. It is not a game of overnight. Victory at one particular time turns into defeat in the long run. Time is the biggest judge and decisions are made by history on the basis of contributions and consequences not on how the gone people earned livelihood by stichting caps or their work samples are present in museums. What about Firaun who is present in whole instead of ‘samples’ in museums? Does it make ny sense?
    History is not defined by how many hujjs you had in your life when you were a ruler. It is how you governed and what legacy you left for the coming days? It is not how you commanded the army; instead it is how you surrendered to a call of ‘are you with us or against us’ costing very heavily from the coming generations. So be careful in your criticism.
    This is not the case of ‘blaming a ‘Muslim brother’ just to be displayed as ‘enlightened and secular’ and ‘progressive Muslim. You need to re-read the history before criticizing these ‘enlightened’ Muslims who, in your words, are blaming these ‘Muslims’ who did not spare their fathers, brothers and cousins for the sake of throne.
    I am sorry I cannot wrap the truths in colorful papers of appraisal and I do not. Favoring a wrong act of anyone just because he/she is a Muslim is itself hilarious, pitiable, and to be rejected.
    The article above is about successors of Alamgir. Will you please tell me who succeeded him? What did he add to a great empire? What legacy he left? Four unable sons, pieces in museums, or anarchy?
    I’ll wait for your reply based on solid refrerrences and not ‘hotch-potch’, low-price emotional slogans, and half-baked- research

  2. How ever tha fact is undeniable that Aurangzeb levied jzia tax on Hidus who refused to convert to Islam.He was cruel beyond ordinary and his empire got destroyed because of his reliugious fanaticm.

  3. I was astonished to go through the ‘article’ containing half-baked truth, a hotch-potch of fiction and facts. Kindly cast even a cursory glance at the History of India written by Jadoo Nath Sarkar and Urdu book “Ahed e A’alumgiri pur eik nazar” by Allamah Shibli no’mani. Historically, two personalities in Islamic history had made the matter extremely difficult for their successors due to their unblemished and immaculate services to Islam and mankind, one was Hadhrath Omer Farooq e Azam R.A and other one was Mohiyuddin Aurang Zeb A’alamgir R.A. Aurang Zeb’s edicts and royal decrees can still be found and seen in the museums whereby he granted large amounts of money and lands for the maintenance of Hindu temples and their other holy places. ‘Enlightened and secular minded progressive Muslims’ just to prove that they are not biased, neutral and open minded in the matters of religion or knowledge accuse or blame “their” own Muslim brothers and sisters and do not hesitate to criticize even some of the injunctions of Islam which amount to nothing but self-hating attitude and behavior. Good luck to them but please never ever try to hurt the feelings of other scholars and Muslims, thank you.

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