Bahadur Shah I

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Bahadur Shah I
Bahadur Shah, ca. 1670, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.jpg
Flag of the Mughal Empire (triangular).svg 7th Mughal Emperor
Reign 19 June 1707 – 27 February 1712
Coronation 19 June 1707 in Delhi
Predecessor Alamgir
Successor Jahandar Shah
Spouse Nizam Bai
Amrita Bai
Nur un-nisa Begum
Mihr un-nisa Begum
Amat ul-Habib Begum
Chattar Bai
Dil Ruba Begum
Issue

8 sons, 1 daughter including

Full name
Sahib-i-Quran Muazzam Shah Alamgir Sani Abu Nasir Sayid Qutbuddin Abu'l Muzaffar Muhammad Muazzam Shah Alam Bahadur Shah I Padshah Ghazi (Khuld Manzil)
House Timurid
Dynasty Timurid
Father Aurangzeb
Mother Nawab Bai
Born 14 October 1643
Burhanpur, Mughal Empire
Died 27 February 1712(1712-02-27) (aged 68)
Lahore, Mughal Empire
Burial Moti Masjid, Delhi
Religion Islam

Bahadur Shah (Urdu: بہادر شاه اول‎—Bahādur Shāh Awwal) (14 October 1643, Burhanpur – 27 February 1712, Lahore) was the 8th emperor of the Mughal Empire, who ruled India from 1707 to 1712. His original name was Qutb ud-Din Muhammad Mu'azzam later titled as Shah Alam by his father. He took the throne name Bahadur Shah in 1707. His name Bahādur means "brave" & "hero" in Turko-Mongol languages. Reigning just five years, he was an old man of 63 when he came to power. He made settlements with the Marathas, pacified the Rajputs, and briefly became friendly with the Sikhs in the Punjab. He travelled throughout his reign and only came to rest in Lahore during the last few months of his life.

Early life[edit]

Prince Mu'azzam in young age

Muazzam, the third son of the emperor Aurangzeb through his low ranking wife, Nawab Bai, the daughter of Raja of Rajauri (Jarral Rajput), was born in Burhanpur in 1643. In his father's lifetime, Muazzam was deputed governor of the Northwest territories by Aurangzeb. His province included those parts of the Punjab where the Sikh faith was blossoming. As governor, Muazzam relaxed the enforcement of Aurangzeb's severe edicts, and an uneasy calm prevailed in the province for a brief time. In fact, he maintained a friendly relationship with the last Sikh spiritual leader, Guru Gobind Singh. When Muazzam was challenging his brothers for the Mughal throne, Guru Gobind Singh provided military assistance to the liberal prince.[1][2] He was also a patron of the poet Jafar Zattalli.

Reign[edit]

After Aurangzeb's death, Muazzam Bahadur Shah took the throne. A war of succession began immediately after Aurangzeb died. One younger brother, Prince Azam Shah, proclaimed himself emperor and marched towards Delhi, where he unsuccessfully fought Bahadur Shah and died after a nominal reign of three months. Another brother, Muhammad Kam Bakhsh, was killed in 1709.

Aurangzeb had imposed Sharia law within his kingdom with harsh enforcement of strict edicts.[citation needed] This led to increased militancy by many constituencies including the Marathas, the Sikhs and the Rajputs. Thus, rebellion was rife at the time of Aurangzeb's death. A more moderate man than his father, Bahadur Shah sought to improve relations with the militant constituencies of the massive empire. Bahadur Shah never abolished jizyah tax, but the effort to collect the tax became ineffectual. Support to music was apparently renewed during his brief rule of five years. There was no destruction of temples in his reign. During Bahadur Shah's brief reign of 5 years, although the empire remained united, factionalism in the nobility reached a new height. Bahadur Shah controlled his massive empire that his father made and controlled the territories strongly.

After his short reign of less than five years, the Mughal Empire entered a long decline, attributable both to his sudden death and to his father's geographical overreaching . Reports from the era state that he was courageous and intelligent. All accounts agree in representing Bahadur Shah as a man of mild and equable temper, learned, dignified, disciplined, magnanimous and generous to fault. Although not a great conqueror like his predecessors, Bahadur Shah may be called the last successful emperor. Bahadur Shah hardly shared Aurangzeb's orthodox views. Unlike his father, Aurangzeb, he was a liberal Sufi in outlook. In fact, it is true that after his sudden death the disintegration of the Mughal Empire became very much evident.

Foreign relations[edit]

In the year 1711, Druk Rabgye (r.1701–1719) the ruler of Bhutan joined forces with the Hindu rebel Mahendra Narayan and Yajna Narayan and attacked the Faujdar of Ghoraghat and Dhaka, who consolidated territories for the Mughal Empire in Koch Bihar. The Bihari-Bhutanese alliance was defeated during the Battle of Patgram and the Mughals captured Boda, Patgram, eastern Pargana, Karjihat, Kakina and Fatehpur Chakla by the year 1714.

Furthermore it is believed that in the year 1711, the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah I and Sa Nay Min Gyi the ruler of Burma also exchanged missionaries, who were transported across the sea by two Mughal ships the Alhari and the Selamat.[3]

Death[edit]

Moti Masjid, Mehrauli, built by Bahadur Shah I.

Bahadur Shah died on 27 February 1712 in Lahore while making alterations to the Shalimar Gardens. He was succeeded by his son Jahandar Shah. His grave lies, next to the dargah of the 13th century, Sufi saint, Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki at Mehrauli, in a marble enclosure, along with that of Shah Alam II, and Akbar II.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harbans Singh Noor (2004). Connecting the dots in Sikh history. Institute of Sikh Studies. ISBN 978-81-85815-23-7. 
  2. ^ Bhagat Lakshman. Short Sketch of the Life and Works of Guru Gobind Singh. Asian Educational Services. pp. 133–135. ISBN 978-81-206-0576-3. 
  3. ^ name="TwentiethAnniversary"
Preceded by
Aurangzeb
Mughal Emperor
1707–1712
Succeeded by
Jahandar Shah