Bahadur Shah I
|Bahadur Shah I
قطب الدین محمد بہادر شاه
|7th Mughal Emperor|
|Reign||19 June 1707 – 27 February 1712|
|Coronation||19 June 1707 in Delhi|
Begum Nizam Bai
Begum Amrita Bai
8 sons, 1 daughter including
|Born||14 October 1643
Burhanpur, Mughal Empire
|Died||27 February 1712
Lahore, Mughal Empire
|Burial||Moti Masjid, Delhi|
Born as Mu'azza, Shah was the third son of Aurangzeb through his Muslim Rajput wife Nawab Bai , and was the grandson of Shah Jahan. In his youth, he conspired against his father multiple times to overthrow him and accede to the throne. However his plans were intercepted by the emperor, who made him a prisoner several times. From 1696 to 1707, he served as the governor of Akbarabad, Kabul and Lahore.
After Aurangzeb's death, Shah's brother Muhammad Azam Shah declared himself as the successor, only to be defeated at the Battle of Jajau. During his reign, he annexed the Rajput states of Jodhpur as well as Amber, without waging wars. The reign was also disturbed by the rise of Sikh leader Banda Bahadur. Though he declared war against him multiple times, each time he managed to escape. He also created a controversy in the khutba by inserting the declaration of Ali being the wali. He was buried in the Moti Masjid at Mehrauli in Delhi.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Reign
- 3 Death
- 4 Coinage
- 5 Personal life
- 6 References
- 7 Notes
Mu'azzam was born in 16 October 1643 to the sixth Mughal emperor Aurangzeb through his wife Begum Nawab Bai at Burhanpur. In 1663, when he was twenty years old, he was made the governor of the Deccan province. His reign saw the uprising of Shivaji, who conquered present-day Mumbai and its surroundings from the Mughal empire. In the same year, he attacked Pune where Mu'azzam was defeated and was made a prisoner for eight years.
In 1670, Mu'azzam organized a rebellion to overthrow Aurangzeb and declare himself as the Mughal emperor. However, Aurangzeb learned about the plot, and he sent Nawab Bai to talk with Mu'azzam and dissuade him. Nawab Bai was successful, and Mu'azzam was brought back to the Mughal court, where he lived the next seven years under Aurangzeb's supervision. However, Mu'azzam revolted in 1680 on the pretext of protesting his treatment of Rajput chiefs. This time also Aurangzeb followed the same policy to dissuade him, but his vigilance over him was increased.
For the next seven years, from 1681 to 1687, Mu'azzam was a "grudgingly obedient son". In 1681, he was given the responsibility of crushing the revolt against Aurangzeb by his brother Sultan Muhammad Akbar in Deccan. But, according to the historian Munis Faruqui, he deliberately failed the mission. In 1683, he was ordered to invade the Konkan region to prevent Akbar. But his "half hearted" mission failed to achieve the set goal. In 1687 Aurangzeb ordered him to march against the Sultanate of Golconda. But the emperor's spies intercepted the messages sent between him and Abul Hasan, the kingdom's ruler. He came to know about his intentions, charged him with treason, imprisoned him and his harem was "shipped off to faraway Delhi" and was also charged with treason. His loyal and favourite servants were also snatched away by his father and were absorbed into imperial service. The rest of his servants were sacked from Mughal duty. Aurangzeb barred Mu'azzam from cutting his nails or hair for six months, from being served "good food or cold water," and from meeting with people without Aurangzeb's permission.
It was only in c. 1694 that Aurangzeb rehabilitated Mu'azzam and allowed him "to rebuild his household". He rehired some his servants who were dismissed from job. However he continued to spy on him, appointing his men to Mu'azzam's household and sending informers to his harem, as well as choosing his representatives at the imperial court. Mu'azzam and his sons were transferred from the Deccan to north India, and were not allowed to lead military expeditions in that region until Aurangzeb's reign ended in 1707.
In 1695, Aurangzeb sent Mu'azzam to Punjab to fight against the chieftains as well as subdue the rebellion of the Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. While commander Mirza Begh imposed a "heavy taxation" over the rajas, he thought that it was necessary for him to leave the Sikhs undisturbed in their fortified city of Anandpur. He refused to wage a war against the Sikhs for "genuine respect" of their religion.
In the same year, he was appointed as the governor of Akbarabad and stayed there till 1696, when he was transferred to Lahore. After the death of Amin Khan, the subahdar of Kabul, he assumed that role in 1699. For eight years, he remained the governor until his father's death in 1707.
War of succession
Without declaring anyone as the crown prince, Aurangzeb died in 1707. Mu'azzam at that time was the governor of Kabul, his half brothers Muhammad Kam Bakhsh and Muhammad Azam Shah were the governors of Deccan and Gujarat respectively. All three sons intended to win the crown; Kam Bakhsh even started minting coins in his name. Azam made preparations to march towards Agra and declare himself as the successor, but he was defeated by Mu'azzam at Battle of Jajau in June 1707. Azam, along with his son Ali Tabar, was killed in battle. Mu'azzam ascended the Mughal throne on 19 June 1707 with the title Bahadur Shah I at the age of 63.
Raid to Rajputana
Annexation of Amber
Senior Ajit Singh was the official leader of the Rathors of Jodhpur during the reign of Shah's father Aurangzeb. In the war of succession of him, Singh sided with his elder brother Dara Shikoh, who was later killed by Aurangzeb. Though he was pardoned, he was made a titular ruler of the region. He was appointed as the governor of the province of Kabul and died on 18 December 1678. After his death, Shah ordered that Singh's widowed wives and his son Junior Ajit Singh be brought to Delhi. Aurangzeb tried to "obtain possession" of him "by force". Durgadas Rathore fought a war against him to prevent this incident from occurring, but was defeated. However, the widows and the heir Ajit Singh managed to escape Delhi to Jodhpur. After Aurangzeb died, Singh marched to Jodhpur and conquered it from Mughal rule.
After ascending the throne, Shah made it one of his prime objectives to win back Jodhpur and other lost cities of Rajputana. In October 1707, Amar Singh II, the ruler of Udaipur, sent his brother Bakht Singh to Agra with gifts of one hundred gold coins, two horses and an elephant. On 10 November of the same year, he started his march towards Amber. On the 21st, he visited the shrine of Salim Chisti in Fatehpur Sikri. In the meantime, Mihrab Khan was ordered to take possession of Jodhpur.
Shah finally reached Amber on 20 January 1708. The throne of the city was a dispute among two brothers: Jai Singh and Bijai Singh. He ruled that, since there was a dispute for kingship, the region would be annexed to the Mughal empire and the city renamed Islamabad. Jai Singh's goods and properties were confiscated. Bijai Singh was made the titular ruler on 30 April 1708, and Shah gave him the title Mirza Rajah. He was also given gifts worth 1 lakh rupees. Thus Amber went into Mughal hands without a war.
Annexation of Jodhpur
During his stay in Amber, Shah announced his intention to march towards Jodhpur when Mihrab Khan defeated Ajit Singh at Mairtha. Shah reached the town on 21 February 1708. The wazir Asad Khan's son Khan Zaman along with Budh Singh and Hejebat Khan were dispatched to bring Singh to the city for an interview by Shah. He was gifted "special robes of honour" and a jewelled scarf. Shah reached Amber on 24 March and visited the Dargah Sharif. On 23 April, he was made the titular ruler of the province and was conferred the title of Maharajah, receiving three thousand horses. Like Amber, Jodhpur also came under Mughal control without bloodshed.
During his stay in Jodhpur, he heard the news that Amar Singh II had fled Udaipur fearing Shah's onslaught and escaped to the hills. The Bahadur Shah Nama (a chronicle on Shah) says that, due to this act, Shah called him an unbeliever. Shah was so enraged by it, he decided to wage a war against the king, only to be diverted to the south due to his brother Muhammad Kam Bakhsh's insurgency.
Kam Bakhsh's uprising
Factions in his court
Shah's half-brother Muhammad Kam Bakhsh marched towards Bijapur in March 1707 with his soldiers. When the news of the death of Aurangzeb spread through the city, the king Sayyid Niyaz Khan surrendered the fort to Kam Bakhsh without fighting a war. Upon ascending the throne, he made Ahsan Khan the bakshi or chief general, with the post of chief minister going to Taqarrub Khan. He also gave himself the title of Padshah Kam Bakhsh-i-Dinpanah (Emperor Kam Bakhsh, Protector of Faith). He went on to conquer Kulbarga and Wakinkhera.
In the meantime, a conflict arose among Taqarrub Khan and Ahsan Khan. Ahsan Khan had created a marketplace in Bijapur where, without receiving permission from Kam Bakhsh, he made the decision not to levy tax on shops. Taqarrub Khan reported it to Kam Bakhsh, who ordered this practise to be stopped. In May of the same year, Kam Bakhsh sent Ahsan Khan out to conquer the states of Golconda and Hyderabad. The king of Golconda refused to surrender but the subahdar of Hyderabad, Rustam Dil Khan, agreed to give his province to him.
Envious of the progress of Ahsan Khan, Taqarrub Khan decided to suppress him. He joined hands with Sayyid Ahmed for the cause. He deliberately misinterpreted the private meetings of Ahsan Khan, Saif Khan (the archery teacher of Kam Bakhsh), Arsan Khan, Ahmad Khan and Nasir Khan along with Rustam Dil Khan to discuss public business as finding a way to kill Kam Bakhsh. Taqarrub Khan said him that they would assassinate him "while on his way to the Friday prayer at the great mosque". He called Rustam Dil Khan for dinner, and while he came, the royal soldiers arrested him, and he was killed by being crushed under the feet of an elephant. Saif Khan's hands were amputated and Arshad Khan's tongue was cut off as punishment. In spite of his close friends warning him that Kam Bakhsh would arrest him, Ahsan Khan paid no heed. But he too was put in custody and his goods were confiscated. In April 1708, Shah's envoy, Maktabar Khan, came to his court. Taqarrub Khan said to him that his original intention was to dethrone him. So Kam Bakhsh called him and his entourage in a feast, where he asked his men to execute them.
Shah's march to south India
In May 1708, Shah wrote a letter to Kam Bakhsh informing him of the events that had happened. Shah I thought that this incident would "be a warning" to Kam Bakhsh, so that he could not declare himself an independent sovereign. In that same month, Shah started his journey for the Tomb of Aurangzeb to pay respect to the departed emperor. In reply Kam Bakhsh wrote a letter thanking him "without either explaining or justifying it".
When Shah reached Hyderabad in 28 June 1708, he received the news that Kam Bakhsh had attacked Machhlibandar. Actually, there was thirty two lakhs of treasure hidden in the fort which he wanted to seize for further campaigns. The subahdar of the province, Jan Sipar Khan, refused to hand over the money. Enraged, Kam Bakhsh confiscated his properties and ordered that four thousand men to be recruited for the attack. In the following month, the garrison of the Kulbarga fort revolted against him and declared themselves to be free. The leader of the garrison Daler Khan Bijapuri "reported his desertion from Kam Bakhsh". In 5 November 1708, Shah's camp reached Bidar, 67 miles north of Hyderabad. Historian William Irvine writes that as his "camp drew nearer desertions from Kam Bakhsh became more and more frequent". On 1 November Kam Bakhsh captured Pam Naik's (the zamindar of Wakinkhera) belongings after he had left his army.
Irvine writes that as more and more soldiers left his service as Shah's camp was coming nearer. When his general informed him that the non payment of salary to his soldiers was responsible for the soldiers deserting him, he replied: "What need have I of enlisting them? My trust is in God, and whatever is best will happen."
Shah thought that in such a bankrupt condition, Kam Bakhsh might flee to Persia. On his orders, the Mughal prime minister Zulfikar Khan signed a pact with Thomas Pitt, the governor of Madras, that he would be paid two lakh rupees if he could capture Kam Bakhsh, in case he tried to flee. Records show that on 20 December, Kam Bakhsh had twenty five hundred cavalry and fife thousand infantry.
Death of Kam Bakhsh
In 20 December 1708, Kam Bakhsh marched towards Talab-i-Mir Jumla, on the outskirts Hyderabad with "three hundred camels, twenty thousand rockets" for the war against Shah I. He made his son Jahandar Shah the commander of the vanguard, but was replaced by Khan Zaman. In 12 January 1709, Shah finally reached Hyderabad and set up his tent training his troops. With little money and soldiers left, Kam Bakhsh was sure of his victory, due to a foretelling from the royal astrologer who predicted that he would "miraculously" win the battle.
On 13 January, Shah's army charged towards Kam Bakhsh. The troops were divided in two bodies; one was under the commandant of Mumin Khan assisted by Rafi-ush-Shan and Jahan Shah, and the second under Zulfiqar Khan Nusrat Jung. There were about fifteen thousand soldiers in Shah's army. After two hours from sunrise, the emperor's troops surrounded Kam Bakhsh's camp. Being impatient, Khan attacked him with his "small force".
With his soldiers being outnumbered and unable to resist the attack, Kam Bakhsh himself started shooting arrows the opposition, finishing two quiverfuls of arrows. Irvine writes that when he was "weakened by loss of blood" the opposition surrounded him and took him and his son Bariqullah as prisoners. However a dispute rose among Mumin Khan and Zulfikar Khan about who had actually captured him. Rafi-us-Shan solved the matter by attributing it to the latter. He was taken by a palanquin to Shah's camp where he was made to rest on a bed. The next morning on 14 January 1708, Kam Bakhsh died.
Unlike previous Mughal rulers, who divided power among Sikhs and Rajput chiefs, during Shah's reign, the entire power rested in his hands. The Sikh khalsa, under the leadership of Banda Bahadur, captured the Mughal cities of Behat, Ambheta, and Saharanpur with the support of the Gujjar people in 1709. With an army of eighty thousand soldiers, he also besieged the city of Jalalabad (currently in Afghanistan).
Shah signed peace treaties with Ajit Singh of Jodhpur and Man Singh of Amber before going to the fight against Bahadur. He also ordered Asaf-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh, Khan-i-Durrani the province's governor, Muhammad Amin Khan Chin who was Muradabad's faujdar', Delhi's subahdar Asad Khan, and Jammu's faujdar Wazid Khan to accompany him on his fight. Shah left Ajmer on June 17, 1710, for Punjab and on the way, he mobilised groups who were against Bahadur. Bahadur, coming to know about the plans, wrote letters to Ajit Singh and Man Singh asking for help, but his plea for aid was unheeded. In the meantime, Shah had reoccupied Sonepat, Kaithal, Panipat on his way. In October, one of his commanders, Feroze Khan, wrote to him that he had "chopped three hundred heads of rebels" and sent them to the emperor, who had them mounted on spears and exhibited.
On 1 November 1710, Shah reached the city of Karnal where Mughal cartogapher Rustam Dil Khan gave him the map of Thaneswar and Sirhind. Six days later, the Sikhs were defeated at Mewati and Banswal. The city of Sirhind fell to the Mughals on 7th of the next month. The besieger and Mughal general Mohammad Amin Khan Bahadur presented him a golden key ring to commermorate the Mughal victory. On the other hand, failing to recapture Sadhaura, Shah marched towards Lohgarh where Bahadur was hiding. On 30 November, he attacked the Lohgarh fort and captured three guns, matchlocks and three entrenchments from the rebels. With little ammunition left, Bahadur decided to flee from the fort. His follower Gulab Singh "dressed like" Bahadur and entered the fight where he was killed, but Bahadur along with a "few hundred of his followers fled". Shah issued imperial orders to rulers of Kumaon and Srinagar, that if he tried to entered to enter their province, then he should be "sent to the Emperor".
Suspecting that Bahadur had created an alliance with Bhup Prakash, the king of Nahan, Shah imprisoned Prakash, in January 1711. His mother asked for his release, but in vain. After she sent captured followers of Bahadur to the him, he ordered that "ornaments worth a lakh of rupees should be manufactured" for her when he would be captured. He was released a month later. Shukan Khan Bahadur, and Himmet Diler Khan were sent to Lahore to put an end to the rebellion posed by Bahadur. When they were unsuccessful, a garrison of five thousand soldiers were reinforced to them. He also pressed Rustam Dil Khan and Muhammad Amin Khan to join them.
Bahadur was hiding in Alhalab, which was seven miles from Lahore. When Mughal servants came to repair the bridge at the village, his followers gave them the false news that he were reinforcing to attack Delhi via Ajmer. He received soldiers from Ram Chand, the city's ruler, for his march against Mughal rule. He besieged Fatehabad in April 1711. Shah received a message from the messenger Rustan Jung that he had crossed the Ravi river and asked artillery under Isa Khan to accompany him. In the fight that followed, Bahadur was defeated and he ran to the Jammu hills in July of the same year. The forces of Isa Khan and Muhammad Amin Khan followed him there but they failed to capture him. Shah issued a farman to the zamindars of Jammu to make him captive if they find him.
However, he was found by Muhammad Amin Khan and attacked him on the bank of the river Satluj. He escaped to the Garhwal hills. Finding Bahadur to be "invincible", Shah went to Ajit Singh and Jai Singh for help. In October 1711, the joint Mughal and Sikh forces marched towards Sadhaura. In that siege also, he managed to escape, this time taking refuge in Kulu in modern day Himachal Pradesh.
After ascending the throne, Shah altered the public prayer or khutba for the monarch held every Friday by giving the title wasi to Ali, the fourth Sunni and the first Shia caliph. Due to this, resentment occurred among the citizens of Lahore about reciting the khutba.
To solve the matter, Shah reached Lahore in September 1711, and had discussions with Haji Yar Muhammad, Muhammad Murad and "other well known men". In that meeting, he read out "books of authority" to justify the use of the word "wasi". He also had an heated argument with Yar Muhammad saying that martyrdom by a king was the only thing he wanted. Subsequently he recruited troops to fight against Shah and was supported by the emperor's son Azim-us-Shan. However no war took place. Shah held the khatib or the chief reciter at the Badshahi Mosque responsible for the matter and had him arrested. However, in 2 October the old khutba which did not call Ali as wasi was read out, even though the army was deployed at the mosque.
Shah was staying in Lahore in January 1712, when his "health failed" as reported by historian William Irvine. On 24 February, he made his final public appearance. He finally died during the night of 27 February. According to Mughal noble Kamwar Khan, he died of "enlargement of the spleen". In 11 April his body was sent to Delhi, under the supervision of his widow Mihr-Parwar and Chin Qilich Khan. It was buried on 15 May in the courtyard of the Moti Masjid or Pearl Mosque at Mehrauli built by him near the dargah of Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki.
Shah Alam issued coins in Gold, Silver and copper. Some of his mints issued heavy weight Rupee. However the old coins of his predecessors were used for payments of the government officials as well as in commerce and trade. Copper coins from Aurangzeb's reign were reminted with his name. Unlike all the other Mughal emperors, the coins of his reign did not introduce the name of the emperor in a couplet. Poet Danishmand Khan composed two verses to be written on the coins, but they were not approved.
Full name and lineage
Shah's full name, including his titles, was "Abul-nasr Sayyid Qutb-ud-din Muhammad Shah Alam Bahadur Shah Badshah". After his death, contemporary historians started calling him "Khuld-Manzil" which means "Departed to Paradise". He was the only Mughal emperor to have the title Sayyid, a title used by descendants of Prophet Muhammad. Historian William Irvine says that his maternal grandfather was Sayyid Shah Mir whose daughter was Nawab Bai, married off to Aurangzeb.
|Name||Birth Year||Death Year||Children|
|Jahandar Shah||1661||1713||Alamgir II, Izz-ud-din, Azz-ud-din|
|Azim-ush-Shan||1665||1712||Muhammad Karim, Farrukhsiyar, Humayun Bakht, Ruh-ul-Quds, Ahsan-ullah|
|Rafi-ush-Shan||1671||1712||Shah Jahan II, Rafi ud-Darajat, Muhammad Ibrahim|
|Jahan Shah I||1674||1712||Farkhunda Akhtar, Muhammad Shah Rangeela|
- Irvine, p. 2.
- Faruqui, p. 303.
- Faruqui, p. 304.
- Faruqui, p. 305.
- Irvine, p. 3.
- Faruqui, p. 286.
- Faruqui, p. 306.
- Faruqui, p. 307.
- Faruqui, p. 285.
- Singh, Patwant, The Sikhs, Rupa Publications, p. 46, ISBN 9788171676248
- Irvine, p. 4.
- Puri, p. 198.
- Irvine, p. 57.
- Puri, p. 199.
- Irvine, p. 44.
- Irvine, p. 45.
- Irvine, p. 46.
- Irvine, p. 47.
- Irvine, p. 48.
- Irvine, p. 49.
- Irvine, p. 50.
- Irvine, p. 51.
- Irvine, p. 52.
- Irvine, p. 53.
- Irvine, p. 55.
- Irvine, p. 56.
- Irvine, p. 58.
- Irvine, p. 59.
- Irvine, p. 60.
- Irvine, p. 61.
- Irvine, p. 62.
- Irvine, p. 63.
- Irvine, p. 64.
- Singh, p. 57.
- Singh, p. 55.
- Singh, p. 58.
- Singh, p. 59.
- Singh, p. 60.
- Singh, p. 61.
- Singh, p. 62.
- Singh, p. 63.
- Singh, p. 64.
- Singh, p. 66.
- Irvine, p. 130.
- Irvine, p. 131.
- Irvine, p. 133.
- Irvine, p. 135.
- Irvine, p. 141.
- Irvine, p. 140.
- Irvine, p. 136.
- Irvine, p. 143.
- Irvine, p. 144.
- Faruqui, Munis D., The Princes of the Mughal Empire, 1504-1719, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9781107022171
- Puri, B.N., A Comprehensive History of India: Comprehensive history of medieval India, Sterling Publishers, ISBN 9788120725089
- Singh, Raj Pal, The Sikhs : Their Journey Of Five Hundred Years, Pentagon Press, ISBN 9788186505465
- Irvine, William, The Later Mughals, Low Price Publications, ISBN 8175364068