THE DECLINE OF THE MUGHAL EMPIRE AND THE RISE OF THE AUTONOMOUS STATES
• Aurangazeb died on Feb 20, 1707 in Deccan.
• In 1707 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 (difficult) that large areas of the South India were described as do–amlis i.e., obeying two masters, where the Mughal Authority was disputed by 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 head quarters at Pondicherry in the far south.
• From Akbar to Aurangazeb, 4 Great Mughals ruled for 151 years (1507 – 1707) but their feeble (weak) successors from Bahadur Shah I to Shah Alam II, numbering eleven, were dismissed in most disgraceful manner within a century (1707 – 1806). The average tenure of the Later Mughal rulers was hardly 10 years.
• The war of succession amongst Aurangazeb’s surviving sons Muazzam, Azam and Kambaksh.
Aurangazeb’s son Governor of
• Muazzam, subahdar of Kabul, was at Jamrud when he heard the news of his father Aurangazeb’s death. He set out at once for Agra where he arrived on 12th June 1707, having crowned himself as Emperor with a title of Bahadur Shah on his way, near Lahore.
• Azam, subhadar of Gujarat, had hastened to Ahmadnagar and proclaimed himself Emperor there on March 14th 1707.
• 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 on 18th June, 1707.
• Azam was defeated and killed, along with his 2 sons by Muazzam.
• Kambaksh, subhadar of Bijapur assumed “all the attributes of Soverignty” and conquered some important places including Gulbarga and Hyderabad.
• Bahadur Shah marched to the Deccan through Rajasthan and crossed the Narmada on May 17, 1708.
• A battle took place near Hyderabad on Jan 13th, 1709; Kambaksh and his son were mortally wounded (killed).
• The war of succession ended in the death of Aurangazeb’s 2 sons and 3 of his grandsons.
I. LATER MUGHALS (1707-1806)
Bahadur Shah I (1707- 1712)
• 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 67 years.
• He pursued a conciliatory policy towards Rajputs and Marathas.
• Sahu, the son of Shambhaji, who had been in Mughal captivity since the fall of Raigarh, was released, the jeziah imposed by Aurangazeb was withdrawn.
• He acknowledged the independence of Mewar and Marwar.
• 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 “ though he had no vice in his character, such complacency and such negligence were exhibited in the protection and in the government and management of the country, that the witty and sarcastic found the date of accession from the chronogram Shah-i-Bekhabar”.
• The war of succession among his 4 sons, the dead body of the Emperor lay in state for about 10 weeks before it was buried at Delhi.
Jahandar Shah (1712 – 1713)
• In the war of succession Jahandar Shah’s three brothers, viz. Azim-ush-shan, Rafi-ush-shan 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. She “imitated the style of Nur Jahan”.
• Zulfiqar Khan left most of his official work to a favorite officer named Subhag Chand whose pretensions and insolence offended all and sundry.
• Farrukhsiyar, son of Azam-ush-shan, 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-ush-shan had accepted as deputy Governors of Bihar and Allahabad under him.
• Farrukhsiyar defeated Jahandar Shah outside that city on Jan 10, 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.
• There were three important groups:
The Turanis (of Central Asian origin);
The Iranis (who came from Persia and Khurasan);
The Hindustanis (Muslims of foreign origin) who were born in India.
• The Turanis enjoyed preference in the Mughal court as they were fellow countrymen of the Timurid Emperors who has military skills and administrative capacity.
• Iranis specially gifted in revenue and secretarial work; they are less influential in state affairs.
• Turanis and the Iranis were divided not only by political ambition but also by religion; Turanis were Sunnis and Iranis were Shias.
“The owl dwelt in the eagle’s nest, and the crow took the place of the nightingale”
• Jahandar Shah was strangulated to death as a result of a conspiracy hatched by the Sayyid brothers who now placed Farrukhsiyar on the throne.
• The family of the Sayyid brothers were settled at Barha in the Upper Ganga–Jamuna doab, between Meerut and Saharanpur.
• Husain Ali had held important commands in Aurangazeb’s reign and secured promotion from Bahadur Shah I for their service at Jajau.
Farrukhsiyar (1713 – 1719)
• 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).
• He was a young man of 31 years when he came to power.
• 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 Farrukhsiyar’s orders and his property was confiscated.
• Asad Khan lingered in misery till his death in 1716.
• Assisted by Ajit Singh of Marwar, who had married his daughter to Farrukhsiyar, the Sayyid brothers deposed and murdered the Emperor.
• During Farrukhsiyar’s reign 3 military campaigns:
o Ajit Singh of Marwar, who had made his submission to Bahadur Shah, reasserted his independence and even Ajmer. Hussain Ali marched against him and compelled him to sue for peace. 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 Pishwa 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 Farrukhsiyar (April 1719) the Sayyid brothers placed on the throne Rafi-ud-darajat, a son of Rafi-ush-shan (the second son of Bahadur Shah).
• He died of consumption within 4 months (June 1719).
• They enthroned his elder brother Rafi-ud-daula with the title of Shahjahan II.
• A sickly youth addicted to opium, he died in Sept 1719.
• The Sayyids’s choice fell upon Raushan Aktar, a son of Shahjahan (the fourth son of Bahadur Shah).
• He was placed on the throne, under the title of Muhammad Shah, in Sept 1719.
Muhammad Shah (1719 – 1738)
• Sayyid brothers fell victims to the Mughal court politics led by Chin Qulich Khan or Nizam-ul-Mulk, who in league with Iti-mud-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.
• Rustam Ali, the author of Tarikh-i-Hind says that “Mahummad Shah was negligent of his duties, but the fact is that he did not know if he had any duties to perform”.
• After the fall of the Sayyid brothers he fell into the clutches of Rahmath-un-nisa 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 liberting 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 Qamruddin, son of Muhummad Amin Khan.
• His successor, Raushan-ud-daula was found guilty of having misappropriated enormous sums of money. He was replaced by Khan Dauran.
• Bengal acquired virtual independence during the governorship of Murshid Kuli Khan (1717-1727); Awadh adopted the same course aflter 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, within three hours of the actual engagement the Mughal troops were totally routed and Khan-i-dauran was killed in action.
• 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 take the Emperor, the Nizam and others into custody, march to Delhi and make himself master of the immense treasures in store there”. Nadir Shah accepted the suggestion and entered Delhi on March 20, 1739.
• Nadir Shah remained in Delhi for 57 days.
• The famous Peacock Throne and the Koh-i-noor 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, who ravaged India 5 times between 1748 to 1767, the culmination point being the third battle of Panipat.
Ahmad Shah Abdali Early Invasions (1747–1757)
• Nadir Shah lost sanity some time after his great success in India.
• Nadir Shah was murdered in 1747, and in the absence of a capable ruler his large empire dissolved.
• Among Nadir Shah’s chief commanders were Ahmad, an Afgan of the Abdali tribe.
• After Nadir Shah’s death Ahmad became master of Afganistan and assumed the royal title (Shah).
• After occupying Kabul and Kandhar he advanced towards Peshawar, occupied the strategic city, 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.
Ahamad Shah (1748 - 54)
• Muhammad Shah was succeeded by his only son Ahmad Shah.
• Affairs of state 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 and the rank of 50,000 horses.
• Udham Bai’ brother Man Khan, a scamp and professional dancer, received the title of Mutqat-ud-daula and the rank of 6000.
• During Ahmad Shah’s reign, Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India twice in 1749 and 1752, when he marched up to Delhi. The emperor ceded the Punjab and Multan to Abdali.
Alamgir II (1754 – 59)
• After the dethronement of Ahmad Shah, Azizuddin, 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.
• On Nov 1759, the emperor Alamgir II was murdered by a wazir and his nacked corpse (dead body) was thrown down the river bank.
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 22, 1759).
• Another Prince Muhiul-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 on Oct 31, 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 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.
II. CAUSES OF THE DECLINE OF THE MUGHAL EMPIRE
• The Mughal Empire under Aurangazeb 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.
• Aurangazeb’s religious fanaticism.
• The Deccan policy of Aurangazeb.
• Fiscal measures of Aurangazeb, coupled with the endless wars.
• 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.
III. THE AUTONOMOUS STATES
• The subah of Awadh, extending from Kanauj district In the west to the river Karmansa in the east.
• It became virtually independent in 1722 when a Persian Shia adventurer named Saadat Khan was appointed its Governor by Muhummad Shah.
• Saadat Khan was a new comer to India, arriving at Patna in 1708.
• Saadat Khan became subahdar of Agra in 1720 and was transferred to Awadh two years later.
• As a leading member of the Irani party, he had a powerful rival, Asafzah Nizam-ul-Mulk, who was a leader of the Turani party.
• Saadat Khan played a crucial role in imperial affairs during the crisis of Nadir Shah’s invasion and committed suicide “to save his name and honour” (Mar 1739).
• Saadat Khan’s successor was Abdul Mansur Khan Safdarjang.
• Abdul Mansur Khan Safdarjang led a virtually unsuccessful expedition against the Rohillas (1745), took part in the battle of Manipur against Ahmad Shah Abdali (1748), and received appointment as wazir from the emperor Ahmad Shah (1748).
• Troubled by enemies on all sides, he entered into an alliance with the Maratha chiefs, Jayappa Sindia and Malahar Rao Holkar.
• Safdarjang’s successor in the governorship of Awadh was his son Shuja-ud-daula.
• When the hostility of the Turani wazir, Imad-ul-Mulk, drove Ali Gauhar (Shah Alam), the heir-apparent of the puppet emperor Alamgir II, to seek safety outside Delhi, he was received at Lucknow by Shuja-ud-daula (1759).
• In the conflict between Ahmad Shah Abdali and the Marathas, which culminated in the third battle of Panipat (1761) Shuja-ud-daula was an ally of the Afgan invader.
• His involvement in the struggle between the British and the deposed Nawab of Bengal, Mir Qasim, led to his defeat by the former in the battle of Buxar (1764).
• Capital at Lahore.
• Creation of Khalsa by the last Sikh Guru Govind Singh.
• Sikh leader Banda Bahadur began the Sikh war of independence against the Mughal imperial authority.
• His disciples called him the Sachha Padashah or veritable sovereign and coins were struck in his name.
• In 1716, Banda Bahadur and his son were tortured to death by the Mughals .
• Sikhs found a leader in Kapur Singh who began organizing what later on developed as the celebrated Dal Khalsa or the Army of the theocracy of the Sikhs.
• In 1764, the triumphant Sikhs assembled at Amritsar and struck the first coins of pure silver with the legand degh, tegh, fateh which was the first proclamation of Sikh sovereignty in the Punjab.
• Between 1763 and 1773, the Sikhs extended their power from Saharanpur in the east to Attok in the west, and from Multan in the south to Kangra and Jammu in the north.
• They organized themselves into 12 Misls (military brotherhoods with democratic set-up).
• Maha Singh, the father of Ranjith Singh was the leader of the Sukarchakiya misl and controlled the territory between the Ravi and the Chenab.
• After the death of his father Maha Singh, the leader of Sukarchakiya misl, Ranjith Singh succeeded at the age of 12 and under him the Sikh power reached its zenith.
• Between 1799 and 1805, Ranjith Singh captured Lahore and Amritsar from the Sardars of the Bhangi misl and made Lahore his political capital.
• He established his authority over the entire territory from the Sutlej to the Jhelum.
• In 1808, after crossing the Sutlej, he captured Faridkot, Malerkotla and Ambala.
• In 1809, Ranjith Singh by the treaty of Amritsar accepted the East India Company’s greater right over the Cis-Sutlej territories.
• In 1809, when Shah Shuja, the grandson of Ahmad Shah Abdali was ousted from power by his brother, Ranjith Singh rendered him held to recover his throne and took from him (Shah Shuja) the famous Koh-i-noor diamond.
• Hari Singh Nalwa, the marshal of the Sikh forces, defeated the Afgans and captured Jamrud.
• East India Company removed Dost Mohmmad from the throne of Kabul and put Shah Shuja in his place.
• The British forced Ranjith Singh to sign the triparted treaty (1838) with Shah Shuja and the English company which gave freedom to British troops to pass through the Punjab.
• Between the death of Ranjith Singh and the accession of Dalip Singh (1843), three rulers ruled.
• In 1843, Dalip Singh, a minor son of Ranjith Singh was placed on the throne.
• During his reign, the British invaded the Punjab (The First Anglo-Sikh War, 1845-46), occupied Lahore and dictated a peace treaty (known as the treaty of Lahore) on March 9, 1846, by which the Sikhs renounced all their claims to the territories lying to the south of the river Sutlej, a war indemnity of Rs. 1.5 crore was imposed. The Sikh army was limited to 20,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry, a British resident was posted at Lahore.
• Gulab Singh was given Kashmir by the East India Company.
• Second Anglo Sikh war (1848–49), after which the Punjab was annexed to the East India Company.
• Maharaja Dalip Singh was deposed and given a pension.
• The annexation of the Punjab by Lord Dalhousie has been condemned by many writers.
• Mysore was ruled by the Wodeyars, but between 1731 and 1734, two brothers Deva Raja (Dalwai or commander-in-cheif) and Nana Raja (sarvadikari or controller of revenue and finance) usurped power in the Mysore state.
• The French and the British got involved in the struggle known as the Second Karnatak war brought about on account of Nana Raja’s alliance with the British to west Tiruchurapalli (Tamilnadu). But later on Nana Raja switched his alliance from the British to the French.
• Haider Ali became all the more powerful and he after pensioning off Nana Raja, became the de facto ruler of Mysore.
• Haider Ali allied with the French and the Nizam and gave a crushing defeat to the British in the First Anglo-Mysore War (1767–69).
• In the Second Anglo–Mysore War (1780–84) Haider formed a common front with the Nizam and the Marathas against the British.
• Haider captured Arcot and inflicted a very humiliating defeat on the British in 1782. But while the war was in progress Haider Ali died on Dec 7, 1782 and left the task of continuing the war against the British to his son Tipu Sultan.
• Tipu Sultan continued the second Anglo-Mysore war till 1784 when both the sides got tired and concluded peace by the treaty of Mangalore (Mar 1784).
• The Marathas and the Nizam formed a coalition in 1786 against Tipu.
• Third Anglo-Mysore War (1790–92) the British, supported by the Marathas and the Nizam, marched towards Sri Rangapattanam.
• Tipu offered a tough fight, but finding it impossible to prolong the struggle, concluded the treaty of Sri Rangapattanam (March 1792).
• The Fourth Anglo-Mysore war (1799) ended the complete collapse of Tipu’s power.
• Tipu died while fighting at Sri Rangapattanam (May 1799).
• Tipu dethroned the Raja and openly assumed the title of Sultan in 1786.
• Tipu had great regard for Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Sringeri.
• Tipu was the first Indian sovereign who tried to apply western methods to his administration.
• Bengal became an independent under Murshid Quli Jafar Khan.
• After the death of Murshid Quli Khan in 1727, his son-in-law Shujauddin usurped the throne of Bengal.
• The principal advisors of Shujauddin in matters of administration were Rai-i-Rayan Alam Chand, an able financier who had loyally served him in Orissa as Diwan, Jagat Seth Fateh Chand, the famous banker and 2 muslim officers, Alivardi Khan and his brother Haji Ahmad.
• After the death of Shujauddin, on 13th Mar, 1739, his son Sarfaraz, entitled Alam-ud-daula Haider Jang, peacefully ascended masnad of Bengal.
• In April 1740, Alivardi Khan, the Naib Nazim of Bihar, snatched the masnad of Bengal from Sarfaraj.
• Early in May 1752, Alivardi Khan had declared his grandson (son of one of his daughters) as his successor.