Ahmad Shah Bahadur

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Ahmad Shah Bahadur
The Emperor Ahmad Shah, equestrian, in the hunting field 1750 San Diego Museum of Art.jpg
The Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur, practices his equestrian skills, in a hunting field in the year 1750.
Flag of the Mughal Empire (triangular).svg 13 th Mughal Emperor
Reign 26 April 1748 – 2 June 1754
Coronation 4 May 1748 at Red Fort, Delhi
Predecessor Muhammad Shah
Successor Alamgir II
Regent Nawab Bahadur
Spouse Gauhar Afruz Banu Begum and another wife
Issue Hamid Shah Bahadur
Bidar Bakht Mahmud Shah Bahadur
Tala Said Shah Bahadur
Muhammad Jamiyat Shah Bahadur
Muhammad Dilawar Shah Bahadur
Mirza Rujbi
Mirza Mughlu
Muhtaram-un-Nisa Begum
Dil Afruz Begum
Full name
Abu-Nasir Mujahid ud-din Muhammad Ahmad Shah Bahadur
House Timurid
Father Muhammad Shah
Mother Qudsia Begum
Born 23 December 1725
Delhi, Mughal Empire
Died 1 January 1775 (aged 49)
Delhi, Mughal Empire
Burial Mausoleum of Mariam Makani, Delhi
Religion Islam

Ahmad Shah Bahadur, Mirza Ahmad Shah, Shahanshah Ahmad Shah Bahadur (1725–1775) was born to Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. He succeeded his father to the throne as the 15th Mughal Emperor in the year 1748 at the age of 22. When Ahmed Shah Bahadur came to power the rule of the Mughal Empire was collapsing, furthermore his administrative weaknesses eventually led to the rise of the usurping Imad-ul-Mulk.

Ahmed Shah Bahadur inherited a much weakened Mughal state. He was emperor in title for six years, but left all affairs to state to rivalling factions. He was deposed by the Vizier Imad-ul-Mulk and later blinded along with his mother. He spent the remaining years of his life in prison and died of natural causes in January 1775.

Early life[edit]

Prince Ahmad was born in 1725 to the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah and his consort Qudsia Begum.

The Deccan Wars of 1680 to 1707 had initiated the final decline of the Mughal Empire well before his birth, and it was only left to him to preside over the empire's final disintegration. After the Battle of Delhi (1737), the former empire had no territory left other than the region of Delhi itself.

As a young Prince Ahmad developed a weakness for women, though this was restricted under his father's supervision. Prince Ahmad is also known to have been an illiterate and never took part in military training. he was strongly supported by his mother Qudsiyya Begum,[1] who began to manipulate the imperial court due to grief of Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah and his inability to consolidate the Mughal Empire.

Emergence of Ahmad Shah Bahadur[edit]

After the death of the Mughal viceroy of Lahore, Zakariya Khan Bahadur his two sons Yahya Khan Bahadur and Mian Shah Nawaz Khan the Emir of Multan, fought each other during for succession. after defeating his elder brother Mian Shah Nawaz Khan, declared himself the Mughal viceroy of Punjab, this weakness was quickly exploited by Ahmad Shah Durrani who initiated another campaign with 30,000 cavalry to assist Shah Nawaz Khan, who was resented for tax-evasion in the Mughal imperial court and opposed by the Grand Vizier Qamar-ud-Din Khan Bahadur, who was the father-in-law of Yahya Khan.

In April 1748, Ahmad Shah Abdali joined by Shah Nawaz Khan invaded Indus River Valley prompting Muradyab Khan Kalhoro the Subedar of Sindh to dispatch reinforcements to assist the Mughal Army along the river banks. Prince Ahmad and the respected Grand Vizier Qamar-ud-Din Khan Bahadur, Hafiz Rahmat Khan, Safdarjung, Intizam-ud-Daula, Nasir Khan the former Subedar of Ghazni and Kabul, Yahya Khan and Ali Muhammad Khan Rohilla were dispatched by the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah to command a large Mughal Army of 75,000 to confront the 12,000 advancing Durrani's. During the Battle of Manipur,[2] in Sirhind by the river Sutlej both forces fought a decisive battle and Prince Ahmad was nominally victorious, he was thereupon conferred with the title Bahadur, after a Durrani wagon filled with gunpowder exploded.[3] However, the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah seriously mourned the fall of the Grand Vizier Qamar-ud-Din Khan Bahadur, who was killed by a stray artillery shell during the battle.[4] After Ahmad Shah Durrani's retreat the Mughal aligned Khans of: Kalat, Dera Ghazi Khan and Dera Ismail Khan plotted to murder Ahmad Shah Durrani, who eventually discovered the plot and had them deposed.

However, Qamar-ud-Din Khan Bahadur's son Muin-ul-Mulk also a recognized war hero from the Battle of Manipur, was placed as the Mughal viceroy of Punjab, by the new Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur. In the year 1750, Muin-ul-Mulk ceded territories to Ahmad Shah Durrani in order to seek an end to all hostilities. However, Ahmad Shah Durrani invaded again in the year 1751 and occupied Kashmir the opposing Mughals led by Muin-ul-Mulk were entirely defeated and captured. Ahmad Shah Durrani pardoned captured Mughal viceroy Muin-ul-Mulk due to his courageousness in battle and reappointed Muin-ul-Mulk as his representative with the permission of the Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur.

Foreign relations[edit]

In the year 1751, Ahmad Shah Bahadur permitted the resident Ottoman delegations and their ambassador Haji Yusuf Agha to return to Istanbul, he did not attempt to reestablish relations and contacts with the Ottoman Sultans from thenceforth.

Military innovations[edit]

The Battle of Manipur had a considerable impact on the tactical prowess of Ahmad Shah Bahadur, in fact when he became Mughal Emperor, he is known to have introduced and organized the Purbiya artillerymen corps particularly in the years 1754-51 to combat the invading Durrani's and the rebellious Sikhs in the North-West regions of the Mughal Empire.[5]

State the Mughal Empire[edit]

The Mughal Grand Vizier Qamar-ud-Din Khan died during the ensuing conflict in Sirhind. When this news was brought to the concerned Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah he became gravely sick and died soon afterwards. Upon hearing this Prince Ahmad, rushed to Delhi where he spent a week in sorrow. Afterwards, on 18 April 1748 he ascended the throne. On 29 April 1748 his coronation was held at Red Fort and he assumed the title Abu Nasir Mujahid-ud-Din Ahmad Shah Ghazi. He posted Safdarjung, Nawab of Oudh as Mughal Grand Vizier, Imad-ul-Mulk as Mir Bakshi and Muin-ul-Mulk, the son of late Grand Vizier Qamar-ud-Din Khan Bahadur, as the governor of Punjab[6] The head eunuch of the Mughal court, Javed Khan, was given the official title of Nawab Bahadur and (together with the emperor's mother) became effective regent in the emperor's place.[7] The Emperor now began to enjoy his life with women in his harem. It is said that for several months he never saw faces of men.

First Carnatic War (1746–1748)[edit]

In the year 1749 Joseph François Dupleix successfully gained an alliance with Chanda Sahib and Muzaffar Jung the two strong designated Mughal administrators in the Deccan and sought bring them into power in their respective regions, other famous leaders such as Hyder Ali also sided with the French. Soon the Chanda Sahib, Muzzafar Jung and the French led by Patissier and De Bussy had the capacity to defeat the alarmed Nawab of the Carnatic Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan during the Battle of Ambur.[8] In response to this successionist struggle, Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah and Nasir Jung aligned themselves with the English in the year 1750. When Nasir Jung tried to recapture Gingee Fort, from De Bussy he was halted, defeated and killed by the forces of the troublesome Himmat Khan the Nawab of Kadapa. Joseph François Dupleix the real power behind the successors soon delegated a formidable governance to his allies: Muzaffar Jung was declared the Nizam of Mughal lands in eastern-Deccan and Chanda Sahib was declared the new Nawab of the Carnatic. The French were perceived as powerful aristocrats throughout the Mughal Empire, their English counterparts however had their reputations tarnished by the alleged acts of piracy since the days of Aurangzeb.

Loss of Gujerat[edit]

In 1750, the Marathas annexed Gujerat from the Mughals, and fierce battles continued between the two sides it was during that havoc that the Raj Bovri Mosque complex was destroyed during a massive fray in 1753.[9]

In response to the annexation of Gujerat, the Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur appointed and strengthened the Nawab of Junagadh Mohammad Bahadur Khanji I and bestowed various titles and authority to various entities loyal to the Mughal Empire in the region.[10] Ahmad Shah Bahadur and Safdarjung also dispatched Salabat Khan Bahadur and a Mughal Army of 18,000 to an expedition to quell all rebels in Rajput territories and to gather support for the regions garrisons.

Loss of Orissa[edit]

In the year 1751 after ferociously defending his territories from the Marathas for nearly 11 years, Alivardi Khan the famous Nawab of Bengal and a brilliant artillery tactician was overrun by large force of Marathas under the commands of Raghoji I Bhonsle, who eventually annexed Odisha.

Second Carnatic War (1749–1754)[edit]

Siege of Arcot was a major battle fought between Robert Clive and the combined forces of the Mughal Empire's Nawab of the Carnatic, Chanda Sahib, assisted by a small number of troops from the French East India Company.

In the year 1751, Chanda Sahib and his lieutenants Reza Sahib and Muhammed Yusuf Khan were defeated by Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah and Clive during the Battle of Arcot. Later onward's Muzaffar Jung faced the averse uncooperative Nawabs of Kurnool, Cuddapah and Savanur after they jointly attacked Muzaffar Jung' encampments of 3000 troops, during the confrontation the Nawab of Savanur was killed, the Nawab of Kurnool was shot and wounded but apathetic Himmat Khan the Nawab of Kadapa challenged Muzaffar Jung to a duel both men charged their Howdah's at each other and eliminated each other in combat.[11]

French-Nizam Alliance[edit]

The news of Muzaffar Jung's death had created a great sense of shock and panic among the Mughals and the French were also affected by this unforeseeable event. De Bussy rose to the occasion and almost risked the wrath of the imperial court when he chose his brother Salabat Jung as the new Subedar of the Deccan, without the approval of Ahmad Shah Bahadur. Together they entered Hyderabad on 12 April and then marched against the Marathas to strengthen the Mughal garrison at Aurangabad on 18 June.[12] Unwilling to allow his brother to gain power Intizam-ud-Daula an influential general in the Mughal Army, abandoned his post and threatened to march into the Deccan with an army of 150,000 and overthrow Salabat Jung with the assistance of their Maratha adversary Balaji Bajirao. Instead of awaiting an eminent invasion Joseph François Dupleix decided to challenge the Marathas and inflicted a defeat upon their leader Balaji Bajirao by taking advantage of a lunar eclipse in December 1751. The coalition of De Bussy and Salabat Jung efficiently marched towards Poona delivering a series of crushing defeats upon the Marathas and their allies for the first time in decades. In the following year De Bussy enforced the Peace Treaty of Ahmadnagar upon the Marathas.

During a very interesting turn of events Intizam-ud-Daula was poisoned by his own troops for pursuing an alliance with Balaji Bajirao. The Nawab of the Carnatic Chanda Sahib was killed in a mutiny after he was defeated by Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah and Clive in the year 1752. Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah was then successfully recognized as the next Nawab of the Carnatic, mainly by arousing the sympathies of Ahmad Shah Bahadur.

In the year 1753, De Bussy led his coalition in order to capture the Northern Circars this move would also trigger another series of victories against the Maratha chieftain Raghoji I Bhonsle in 1754. This campaign continued until the year 1757 and Salabat Jung and De Bussy's inflicted a series of upon the Maratha around their own strongholds near Poona. This alliance with the French had greatly contributed to the advancement of Salabat Jung's forces, in the year 1756 Salabat Jung's forces utilized heavy muskets known as Catyocks, which were attached to the ground, it was known to have fired more rapidly than a cannon.[13] These new weapons would completely reverse fortunes of the Maratha rebels.

Internal transgressions (1750–1754)[edit]

The Mughal Grand Vizier Safdarjung had severely mismanaged the empire and was the cause of a divisive Civil War, based solely on the ethnic composition of the subjects of the Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur.

After the Mughal Grand Vizier Safdarjung survived an assassination attempt in the year 1749, due to his response tensions erupted in the Mughal imperial court when he tried to de-legitimize any relatives of his predeceasing Grand Viziers he also tried to drive out all the members of the imperial Afghan Faction from positions of authority. These policies brought Safdarjung in conflict with the principal members of the Turani Faction and particularly Javed Khan. In the year 1750, Javed Khan arrested the Mughal commander Salabat Khan Bahadur after he demanded demanded pay for his 18,000 troops who were recalled to Delhi after completing the assigned Rajput expedition, while imprisoned Salabat Khan Bahadur sold all his property to pay his troops in order to halt a possible revolt and thenceforth lived in poverty like a Dervish.

Angered by the policies of the Mughal Grand Vizier, Ahmad Khan Bangash attacked Safdarjung's possessions in Awadh killing the scribe Naval Rai and even wounding Safdarjung in the neck. When Safdarjung responded by amassing his Mughal Army for an expedition to Rohilkhand, the Mughal Emperor demanded an immediate cease of hostilities which was obeyed by Mughal Grand Vizier. But in response Safdarjung ordered his Turkish units to assassinate Javed Khan for his involvement in malevolence in August 1752.

Ahmad Shah Bahadur then chose the eighteen-year-old Imad-ul-Mulk son of the deceased Intizam-ud-Daula to counter the growing influence of Safdarjung in May 1753. Imad-ul-Mulk gathered the opposition to Safdarjung and further whipped up Shia-Sunni and Afghan-Irani-Turani differences among the Muslim populace in the Mughal Empire. Safdarjung was defeated but due to his supporters such as Salabat Khan Bahadur, he forgiven and thus withdrew to Awadh.

Imad-ul-Mulk then emerged as the new Grand Vizier of the Mughal Empire his prowess was feared by Ahmad Shah Bahadur, who soon became estranged from him after Imad-ul-Mulk collected 1,500,000 dams and refused to pay salaries to the Mughal imperial army of 80,000 and Mughal imperial officials who demanded 32 months payment. When Ahmad Shah Bahadur tried to have young Imad-ul-Mulk removed from the imperial court, the outcast sent Aqibat Mahmud to arrest the Emperor and then sought an alliance with the Maratha chieftain Sadashivrao Bhau. Together they deposed Ahmad Shah Bahadur in the year 1754.

Jat rebellion, 1754[edit]

Safdarjung fled to Awadh, while a Mughal general laid siege to Bhurtpore where Suraj Mal and his Jat rebels had controlled. After being reinstated as the Grand Vizier, Imad-ul-Mulk moved out of Delhi to support his lieutenant with a fresh supply of ammunition.[6]

Meanwhile Imad-ul-Mulk claimed that Ahmad Shah Bahadur and Javid Khan sent secret dispatches to Suraj Mal, encouraging him to fight Imad-ul-Mulk. Imad-ul-Mulk intercepted such letters, made lasting peace with Suraj Mal, and returned to the emperor in Delhi and caused menaces by executing Javed Khan. He then blinded Ahmad Shah Bahadur; after hearing of this action Safdarjung fell ill and died.[6]

Later Reign[edit]

Sunehri Masjid, outside the southwestern corner of Delhi Gate of Red Fort was constructed under the supervision of Qudsiya Begum, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur, in 1751.[14]
Silver rupee of Ahamad Shah Bahadur

The weak but influential Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur maintained correspondence from distant loyal vassals and Nawabs such as Chanda Shahib, Nawab of Tinnevelly (and the southern most Muslim ruler in South Asia) and Muzaffar Jung.

During the later reign of Ahmad Shah Bahadur, the nobles started fighting among themselves. The Emperor became tired of these quarrels and wanted to get rid of them. He took a few nobles into his confidence and declared war on the other ones. This resulted in many skirmishes which lasted for six months. Imad-ul-Mulk, aided by the Marathas, defeated Safdar Jung. At this the Emperor collected a large army and camped at Sikandarabad. On the other hand, Imad-ul-Mulk and his Maratha allies routed Imperial Mughal Army of the Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur at the Battle of Sikandarabad. The Emperor left his wives and a retinue of 8,000 women behind and fled to Delhi. Imad-ul-Mulk also reached Delhi and arrested the Emperor and his mother. On 25 June 1754, he had Ahmad Shah Bahadur's eyes gouged out.

Death[edit]

After his deposition, Ahmad Shah Bahadur was imprisoned at the Salimgarh Fort. He stayed there for the rest of his life and finally died in 1775 at the age of 50 during the reign of Emperor Shah Alam II. One of his sons, Bidar Bakhsh reigned briefly in 1788.

Legacy[edit]

Sir Muhammad Iqbal composed the following poem regarding how the Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur, should have halted his downfall by stating the following in one of his Firmans:

Butaanay rang-o-khoon ko toad kar Millet mein gum ho ja; Na Turani rahe baqi, na Irani, na Afghani.
Destroy the idols of colour and blood ties, and merge into a single Millet; Let no Turani's remain, no Irani's, no Afghani's (these were the three major factions within the Muslim aristocracy).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=N7sewQQzOHUC&dq=mughal+empire&q=aurangzeb&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=qudsiyya%20begum&f=false
  2. ^ http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=Dh6jydKXikoC&pg=PA631&dq=durrani+defeat+1748&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ARW5T7q6DIOcOtGolbQK&ved=0CFAQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=durrani%20defeat%201748&f=false
  3. ^ http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=AzG5llo3YCMC&pg=PA287&dq=durrani+defeat+1748&hl=en&sa=X&ei=-Bm5T-TmA5HqOf2QpKgK&ved=0CEMQ6AEwBDge#v=onepage&q=durrani%20defeat%201748&f=false
  4. ^ http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=Dh6jydKXikoC&pg=PA631&dq=durrani+defeat+1748&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ARW5T7q6DIOcOtGolbQK&ved=0CFAQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=durrani%20defeat%201748&f=false
  5. ^ http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=zp0FbTniNaYC&pg=PA41&dq=ali+gauhar+and+shuja-ud-daula&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_MD2Tp-FKKnZ4QSmltmNCA&ved=0CFgQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=purbiya&f=false
  6. ^ a b c H. G. Keene (1866). Moghul Empire. Allen &co Waterloo Place Pall Mall.  Digital Library of India Accessed 7 Jan 2012
  7. ^ http://www.san.beck.org/2-10-Marathas1707-1800.html
  8. ^ http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=h5_tSnygvbIC&pg=PA756&dq=battle+of+ambur&hl=en&sa=X&ei=fvypT_fqLLDV4QT5saiQBQ&ved=0CDoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=battle%20of%20ambur&f=false
  9. ^ India, Lonely Planet Publications pg.697
  10. ^ http://www.collectbritain.co.uk/personalisation/object.cfm?uid=019PHO0000002S6U00070000
  11. ^ http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=9Fb26pWqhScC&pg=PA51&dq=muzaffar+jung+death&hl=en&sa=X&ei=QOitT5zuF4WSswbx-_SPBA&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=muzaffar%20jung%20death&f=false
  12. ^ http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=uzOmy2y0Zh4C&pg=PA194&dq=alivardi+khan&hl=en&sa=X&ei=RIC4T9XRDYOWOri-gJIK&ved=0CEIQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=aurangabad&f=false
  13. ^ http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=zp0FbTniNaYC&pg=PA41&dq=ali+gauhar+and+shuja-ud-daula&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_MD2Tp-FKKnZ4QSmltmNCA&ved=0CFgQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=catyocks&f=false
  14. ^ http://www.indfy.com/delhi/tourist-places-to-visit/mosques/sunehri-masjid.html Sunheri Masjid
Preceded by
Muhammad Shah
Mughal Emperor
1748–1754
Succeeded by
Alamgir II