Farrukhsiyar

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Farrukhsiyar
The Emperor Farrukhsiyar on his balcony 1715-1719, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.jpg
9th Mughal Emperor
Reign 11 January 1713 – 28 February 1719
Predecessor Jahandar Shah
Successor Rafi Ul-Darjat
Born 20 August 1685
Aurangabad, Mughal Empire
Died 29 April 1719 (aged 33)
Delhi, Mughal Empire
Burial Humayun's Tomb, Delhi
Spouse Fakhr-un-Nissa Begum
Bai Indira Kanwar
Bai Bhip Devi
Issue Badshah Begum, Mughal Empress
Full name
Abu'l Muzaffar Muin ud-din Muhammad Shah Farrukh-siyar Alim Akbar Sani Wala Shan Padshah-i-bahr-u-bar
Dynasty Timurid
Father Azim-ush-Shan
Mother Sahiba Nizwan
Religion Islam

Abu'l Muzaffar Muin ud-din Muhammad Shah Farrukh-siyar Alim Akbar Sani Wala Shan Padshah-i-bahr-u-bar [Shahid-i-Mazlum] (or Farrukhsiyar, 20 August 1685 – 19 April 1719) was the Mughal emperor between 1713 and 1719, after murdering Jahandar Shah.[1] Noted as a handsome ruler he was easily swayed by his advisers, he lacked the ability, knowledge and character to rule independently. He was the son of Azim-ush-Shan—the second son of emperor Bahadur Shah I—and Sahiba Nizwan.

His reign witnessed the primacy of the Sayyid Brothers who became the effective powers of the land, behind the façade of Mughal rule. His constant plotting eventually led the Sayyid Brothers to officially depose him.

Early life[edit]

Muhammad Farrukhsiyar was born on 11 September 1683 (9th Ramzan 1094 AH) at the city of Aurangabad in the Deccan region. He was the second son of Azim-ush-Shan. In 1696, he accompanied his father in his campaign to Bengal. In 1707, the then Mughal emperor Aurangzeb recalled his son Azim-ush-Shan from Bengal, instructing Farrukhsiyar to take charge of the province. Initially, he spent his years in the capital city of Dhaka (presently in Bangladesh) and during the reign of Bahadur Shah I, he shifted to Murshidabad (presently in West Bengal, India).[2]

In 1712, Azim-ush-Shan anticipated Bahadur Shah I's death and a struggle for accession. He therefore recalled Farrukhsiyar. As he was marching past Azimabad (presently Patna in Bihar, India) when he heard of the Mughal emperor's death. Consequently on 21rst March, Farrukhsiyar proclaimed his father's accession to the throne, issued coinage in his father's name and declared that the khutba (public prayer) be made on his name.[2] On 6 April, Farrukhsiyar heard of his father's defeat. The prince becoming distressed contemplated suicide, but was dissuaded by his friends from Bengal.[3]

War of succession[edit]

In 1712, Jahandar Shah (Farrukhsiyar's uncle) ascended the throne of the Mughal empire by defeating his father Azim-ush-Shan. However, he wanted to avenge for his father's death. He was joined by Hussain Ali Khan the subahdar of Bengal. They were also joined by Abdullah Khan, his brother who was the subahdar of Allahabad.[4]

As they reached Allahabad from Azimabad, Jahandar Shah's military general Syed Abdul Ghaffar Khan Gardezi with 12,000 troops clashed with Abdullah Khan. Abdullah Khan retreated to the Allahabad Fort. However, with the news of Gardezi's death, his army fled. After he came to know of his defeat, Jahandar Shah sent another general Khwaja Ahsan Khan and his son Aazuddin. On reaching Khajwah (presently in Fatehpur district, Uttar Pradesh, India), they came to know that Farrukhsiyar was accompanied by Hussain Ali Khan and Abdullah Khan. With Abdullah Khan in command of the vanguard, Farrukhsiyar started the attack. After an artillery fight for a whole night, Aazuddin and Khwaja Ahsan Khan fled. The camp consequently fell to Farrukhsiyar.[4]

On 10 January 1713, the forces of Farrukhsiyar and Jahandar Shah met at Samugarh (nine miles east of Agra in present day Uttar Pradesh, India). Jahandar Shah was defeated and imprisoned and on the next day, Farrukhsiyar proclaimed himself to be the Mughal emperor.[5] On 12 February, Farrukhsiyar marched to the Mughal capital of Delhi and captured Red Fort and the citadel. The head of Jahandar Shah was put at the pointed end of a bamboo and carried by an executioner on an elephant and his body was carried by another elephant.[6]

Reign[edit]

Appointments[edit]

Farrukhsiyar appointed Sayid Abdullah Khan as the chief minister and the charge of the Exchequer office was given to Muhammad Baqir Mutamid Khan. The title of bakshi was first conferred to Syed Hussain Ali Khan (along with titles of Umdat-ul-Mulk, Amir-ul-umara and Bahadur Firuz Jung), then to Chin Qilich Khan and Afrasayab Khan Bahadur.[7]

The following were made governors of the various provinces (The governor of entire south India was Chin Qilich Khan who made further appointments of deputy governor:

North India South India
Province Governor/Chief Minister Province Deputy governor
Agra Shams ud Daula Shah Nawaz Khan Berar Iwaz Khan
Ajmer Syed Muzaffar Khan Barha Bidar Amin Khan
Allahabad Khan Jahan Bijapur Mansur Khan
Awadh Sarbuland Khan Burhanpur Shukrullah Khan
Bengal Farkhunda Bakht Hyderabad Yusuf Khan
Bihar Syed Hussain Ali Khan Karnataka Saadatullah Khan
Delhi Muhammad Yar Khan
Gujarat Shahamat Khan
Kabul Bahadur Nasir Jang
Kashmir Saadat Khan
Lahore Abdus Samad Khan
Malwa Raja Jai Singh of Amber
Multan Qutb-ul-Mulk
Orissa Murshid Quli Khan

Source: Irvine, pp. 261–263[8][9][10]

Farrukhsiyar receiving Husain Ali Khan, ca. 1715

Hostility with the Syed brothers[edit]

Farrukhsiyar on horseback with attendants

Farrukhsiyar defeated Jahandar Shah with the aid of the Syed brothers. On ascending the throne, a difference occurred between him and Abdullah Khan who was one of the Syed brothers. He wanted the post of wazir (prime minister). His demand was rejected as the post was promised to Ghaziuddin Khan. However Farrukhsiyar offered him a post of regent under the name of wakil-e-mutlaq. He repelled claiming that he deserved the post of wazir as he led Farrukhsiyar's army against Jahandar Shah. Ultimately Farrukhsiyar gave up to his demands and Abdullah Khan was made the prime minister.[11]

According to William Irvine, getting aware of their rise, Farrukhsiyar's close aids Mir Jumla III, Khan Dauran sowed seeds of suspicion in his minds creating an impression that they would usurp him from his throne. Coming to know about these developments the other Syed brother Hussain Ali Khan wrote to Abdullah:

..it was clear, from the Prince's talk and the nature of his acts, that he was a man who paid no regard to claims for service performed, one void of faith, a breaker of his word and altoghter without shame[12]

Hussain Ali Khan felt that it was necessary to act in their interests "without regard to the plans of the new sovereign".[13]

Campaign against Ajit Singh[edit]

Maharaja Ajit Singh captured Ajmer with the support of the Marwari nobles and had expelled Mughal diplomats from his state. Farrukhsiyar sent Hussain Ali Khan to subjuguate him. However, the anti-Syed brother faction in the Mughal emperor's court compelled him to send secret letters to Ajit Singh assuring him of rewards and treasury if he could defeat Hussain Ali Khan.[14]

Hussain Ali Khan left Delhi for Ajmer on 6 January 1714. He was accompanied by Sarbuland Khan, Afrasyab Khan. As his army reached Sarai Sahal, Ajit Singh sent diplomats to negotiate peace which was rejected. As Hussain Ali Khan advanced to Ajmer via Jodhpur, Jaiselmer and Mairtha, Ajit Singh retreated to the deserts hoping that it would dissuade the Mughal general from a battle. But as Hussain made advances, Ajit Singh surrendered at Mairtha.[15] As a result Mughal authority was restored in Rajasthan. Ajit Singh also gave his daughter Indira Kanwar as a bride to Farrukhsiyar.[16] His son Abhai Singh was compelled to accompany him to the Mughal emperor.[17]

Ajit Singh of Marwar portrayed here with his six sons had his daughter to marry the Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar in December 1715.

Campaign against the Jats[edit]

Due to Aurangzeb's 25 years of campaign in the Deccan, Mughal authority weakened in North India due to the rise of the local rulers. Taking advantage of the situation, the Jats made advances.[18] In early 1713, Farrukhsiyar sent the then subahdar of Agra, Chabela Ram to defeat Churaman the then Jat leader which failed. His successor Samsamud Daulah Khan compelled Churaman to negotiate to the Mughal emperor. Raja Bahadur Rathore accompanied him to the Mughal court where a negotiation with Farrukhsiyar became unsuccessful.[19]

In September 1716, Raja Jai Singh II volunteered himself to undertake the campaign against Churaman who was residing in Thun (in present-day Rajasthan, India). By 19 November, Jai Singh II began the siege of the Thun fort.[20] In December, Churaman's son Muhkam Singh marched from the fort and battled against Jai Singh II, where the Raja claimed victory. With the Mughals running out of ammunition, Syed Muzaffar Khan was ordered to bring gunpowder, rockets, and mounds of lead from the arsenal at Agra.[21]

By January 1718, the siege ran for more than a year. With the rain coming late in 1717, prices of commodities increased, and Raja Jai Singh II found it difficult to bear the expenses and continue the siege. So he wrote to Farrukhsiyar for reinforcement adding that he had overcome "many encounters" with the Jats. This failed to impress him, so Jai Singh II via his agent in Delhi informed Syed Abdullah that he would give 30 lakh rupees to the government and 20 lakh rupees to the minister if he espoused for his cause to the emperor. With negotiations between Syed Abdullah and Farrukhsiyar becoming successful, he accepted his demands and dispatched Syed Khan Jahan to bring Churaman to the Mughal court. He also gave a farman to Raja Jai Singh II, thanking him for the siege.[22]

On 19 April 1718, Churaman was presented before Farrukhsiyar and both the parties negotiated for peace with the former accepting Mughal authority. Khan Jahan was given the title of Bahadur, meaning brave. It was also decided that Churaman would pay 50 lakh rupees in cash and goods to Farrukhsiyar via Syed Abdullah.[23]

Defeat and execution of Banda Bahadur[edit]

Banda Bahadur was a Sikh leader who by early 1700 had captured parts of the Punjab region.[24] Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah I failed to supress Bahadur's uprising.[25][full citation needed]

In 1714, the Sirhind faujdar (garrison commander) Zainuddin Ahmad Khan attacked the Sikhs near Ropar. In 1715 Farrukhisyar sent 20,000 troops under Qamaruddin Khan, Abdus Samad Khan and Zakariya Khan Bahadur to defeat Bahadur.[24] After an eight-month siege at Gurdaspur, Bahadur surrendered after running out of ammunition. Bahadur, along with his 200 companions, was arrested and taken to Delhi. While on their way, in the city of Sirhind he was paraded round the streets.[26]

When Farrukhsiyar's army reached the Red Fort, the Mughal emperor ordered Banda Bahadur along with Baj Singh, Bhai Fateh Singh and his companions to be imprisoned in Tripolia.[27] However, the emperor promised to spare the Sikhs who would convert to Islam. But according to William Irvine, "not one prisoner proved false to his faith". On 19 June 1716, Farrukhsiyar got Bahadur and his followers executed even though the rich Khatris of Delhi offered money for his release.[28]

Trade concession[edit]

In 1717, Farrukhsiyar issued a farman giving the British East India Company, giving them the right to reside and trade in the Mughal kingdom. They were also allowed to do tax free trade except for a yearly payment of 3000 rupees. This was because a William Hamilton, a surgeon associated with the East India Company cured Farrukhsiyar of a malignant disease.[29] The company was further given the right to issue dastak (passes) for the movement of goods, which was misused by the company officials for their personal trade.[30]

This miniature is an elegant moonlit portrait of Muhammad Farrukh Siyar Padshah smoking a hookah with a female attendant

Final struggle with the Syeds[edit]

By 1715, Farrukhsiyar had given Mir Jumla III the power to make signatures on his behalf. He declared that "the word and seal of Mir Jumla are my word and seal". Mir Jumla III began approving proposals for jagirs and mansabs without consulting Syed Abdullah, the prime minister.[31] Also, Syed Abdullah's deputy Ratan Chand would take bribes for him to do work and also involved in revenue farming which was forbidden by the Mughal emperor. Taking advantage of the situation, Mir Jumla III said to Farrukhsiyar that the Syeds were unfit for holding office and accusing them of degrading the emperor's prestige by disobeying. With a hope of deposing the Syeds, Farrukhsiyar started making military preparations and increased the number of soldiers under Mir Jumla III and Khan Dauran.[32]

After Syed Hussain came to know about these advancements, he felt that their position can be cemented by taking controls of "important provinces". Consequently, he demanded himself to be made the viceroy of the Deccan instead of Nizam ul Mulk which was instantly rejected by Farrukhsiyar, and instead transferred him to the Deccan. Fearing attack by Farrukhsiyar's partisans the Syeds started making military preparations. Initially, Farrukhsiyar thought that the task of crushing the Syeds would be assigned to Mohammad Amin Khan who in return wanted the position of the prime minister. But, he dismissed the plan thinking it would be difficult to get rid of him.[33]

Arriving at Deccan, Syed Hussain made a treaty with Maratha ruler Shahu I in February 1718. He was allowed to collect sardeshmukhi in Deccan and was given the lands of Berar and Gondwana to govern. In return Shahu agreed to pay 10 lakh rupees annually, maintain an army of 15,000 horses for the Syeds. This agreement was reached without the approval of Farrukhsiyar.[34] Coming to know about it, Farrukhsiyar got angered as he felt "it was not proper for the vile enemy to be overbearing partners in matters of revenue and government."[35]

Deposition[edit]

To fight the Syeds, Farrukhsiyar summoned Ajit Singh, Nizam-ul-Mulk and Sarbuland Khan to the court with their troops. The combined strength of the army was 80,000. Farrukhsiyar didnt summon Mir Jumla III and Khan Dauran as the former failed in a campaign in Bihar and he felt that the latter had conspired with the Syed brothers to depose him. However, Syed Abdullah's troops were around 30,00 soldiers. According to Satish Chandra, Farrukhsiyar could have defeated him with the help of the nobles but he did not do it as he felt that it would be difficult for him to get rid of them afterwards. Meanwhile, he appointed Muhammad Murad Kashmiri as the new wazir (prime minister) replacing Syed Abdullah. Kashmiri was infamous for having sexual relationships with boys. This angered the nobles who resigned from his court. Ajit Singh was also alienated because he was removed from Gujarat on charges of oppression and hence sided with the Syeds.[36] By the end of 1718, when Syed Hussain started his march from Deccan with 10,000 troops under Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath, Farrukhsiyar could only secure the support of Jai Singh II. Syed Hussain's excuse for marching towards Delhi was to hand a son of Maratha ruler Shahu to him.[37]

With the support of Mohammad Amin Khan, Ajit Singh and Khan Dauran, Syed Hussain fought against Farrukhsiyar, and after a night-long battle, he was deposed on 28 February 1719. Syed brothers put Rafi ud-Darajat on the throne He was consequently imprisoned in Tripolia and blinded.[38] During him imprisonment, he was served with bitter and oversalted food and deprived of water. He spent time by reciting verses from the Quran.[39] He tried to bribe his jailor Abdullah Khan Afghan with a position to command 7,000 troops if he could secretly release him and escort him to Jai Singh II. However, this proposal was refused.[40] On 29 April 1719, he was strangled to death by unknown men and buried in the Humayun's Tomb beside his father Azim-ush-Shan.[41]

Personal life[edit]

Family[edit]

Farrukhsiyar's first wife was Fakhr-un-nissa Begum, also known as Gauhar-un-nissa, the daughter of Mir Muhammad Taqi, entitled first Hasan Khan and then Sadat Khan. He was a Husaini by race, and came from the Persian province of Mazandaran. He had married the daughter of Masum Khan Safawi, and if this lady was the mother of Fakhr-un-nissa, this Safawi connection would account for the daughter's selection as the prince's wife.[42]

His second wife was Bai Indira Kanwar, the daughter of Maharajah Ajit Singh. [43] She married Farrukhsiyar on 27 September 1715, in the fourth year of his reign. She had no children from Farrukhsiyar. After Farrukhsiyar's deposition and death, she was brought out of the imperial harem, on 16 July 1719, and made over to her father with the whole of her property. She returned back to Jodhpur.[44]

His third wife was Bai Bhup Devi, the daughter of Jaya Singh, hill raja of Kishtwar, who had converted to Islam, and received the name of Bakhtiyar Khan. After his death, he was succeeded by his son Kirat Singh. In 1717, on the message of Sheikh-ul-Islam, her brother Kirat Singh sent her to Delhi and was married to Farrukhsiyar. She was accompanied by her brother Mian Muhammad Khan and entered the imperial harem on 3 July 1717.[44][45]

Titles[edit]

His full name with title was :
Abul Muzaffer Muinuddin Muhammad Farrukhsiyar Badshah.[46]
Posthomously, he was known by the title : "Shahid-i-marhum" (the martyr received into mercy).[47]

Coinage[edit]

On the coins issued during Farrukhsiyar's reign the following phrase was inscribed:
Sikka zad az fazl-i-Haq bar sim o zar/ Padshah-i-bahr-o-bar Farrukhsiyar (By the grace of true God, struck on silver and gold, The Emperor of land and sea, Farrukhsiyar).[47]

There are 116 coins of his reign in display at the Lahore Museum and the Indian Museum at Kolkata. The coins were minted from Kabul, Kashmir, Ajmer, Allahabad, Bidar and Berar.[47]

Legacy[edit]

The town of Farrukhnagar in Gurgaon district, 32 km south of Delhi, was rechristened after his name, during his reign, here he built a Sheesh Mahal and also a Jama Masjid mosque.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. p. 193. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4. 
  2. ^ a b Irvine, p. 198.
  3. ^ Irvine, p. 199.
  4. ^ a b Asiatic Society of Bengal, p. 273.
  5. ^ Asiatic Society of Bengal, p. 274.
  6. ^ Irvine, p. 255.
  7. ^ Irvine, p. 258.
  8. ^ Irvine, p. 261.
  9. ^ Irvine, p. 262.
  10. ^ Irvine, p. 263.
  11. ^ Tazkirat ul-Mulk by Yahya Khan p.122
  12. ^ Irvine, p.282
  13. ^ Irvine, p. 283.
  14. ^ The Cambridge Shorter history of India p.456
  15. ^ Irvine, p. 288–290.
  16. ^ Fisher, p. 78.
  17. ^ Irvine, p. 290.
  18. ^ Irvine, p. 322.
  19. ^ Irvine, p. 323.
  20. ^ Irvine, p. 324.
  21. ^ Irvine, p. 325.
  22. ^ Irvine, p. 326.
  23. ^ Irvine, p. 327.
  24. ^ a b "Marathas and the English Company 1707-1800". San Beck. Retrieved 18 March 2017. 
  25. ^ Richards, p. 258.
  26. ^ Singha, p. 15.
  27. ^ Singha, p. 16.
  28. ^ Irvine, p. 319.
  29. ^ Samaren Roy. Calcutta: Society and Change 1690-1990. iUniverse. p. 29. ISBN 9780595342303. 
  30. ^ Vipul Singh, Jasmine Dhillon, Gita Shanmugavel. History and Civics. Pearson Education India. p. 73. ISBN 9788131763209. 
  31. ^ Chandra, p. 476.
  32. ^ Chandra, p. 477.
  33. ^ Chandra, p. 478.
  34. ^ Ram Sivasankaran (22 December 2015). The Peshwa: The Lion and the Stallion. Westland. p. 5. ISBN 9789385724701. 
  35. ^ Chandra, p. 481.
  36. ^ Chandra, p. 482.
  37. ^ Chandra, p. 483.
  38. ^ Irvine, p. 390.
  39. ^ Irvine, p. 391.
  40. ^ Irvine, p. 392.
  41. ^ Irvine, p. 392–93.
  42. ^ Irvine, p. 400-1.
  43. ^ Irvine, p. 400.
  44. ^ a b Irvine, p. 401.
  45. ^ Proceedings - Punjab History Conference - Volumes 29-30. Punjabi University. 1998. p. 85. 
  46. ^ Irvine, p. 398.
  47. ^ a b c Irvine, p. 399.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Farrukhsiyar
Preceded by
Jahandar Shah
Mughal Emperor
1713–1719
Succeeded by
Rafi Ul-Darjat