The Mughal Empire- Shah Jahan of Medieval Indian History
The Mughal Empire- Shah Jahan of Medieval Indian History, Shah Jahan was proclaimed emperor at Agra on February 4, 1628, and assumed the title of Abul-Muzaffar Shihabu’d-din Muhanmad Salib Qiran Sani. He was keen to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious grandlather, but had nothing of Akbar’s talents and broad outlook The general political situation on the eve of Shah Jahan’s accession was fairly satisfactory.
The Rajas of Rajputana, the high nobles and civil and military officers were loyal. But the atmosphere revolt of Jujhar Singh, son of Bir Singh Deo Bundela. He fled to Orchha where he was vigorously pursued.
Soon he offered submission and was pardoned. his rank was restored and he was sent to serve in the Deccan.
Was soon ruffled by the The emperor was now called upon to face a grave situation. Khan Jahan Lodi, who was a partisan of Nur Jahan, had little friendly feelings for the new emperor. He suspected that Shah Jahan intended to punish him.
He fled from Agra and evading pursuit arrived at Ahmadanagar where he expected support from Murtada Nizam Shah II. But the arrival of imperial armies in huge numbers frightened Nizam Shah and he turned a cold shoulder towards his guest who was asked to try his fortunes elsewhere.
Khan Jahan decided to march into the Punjab via Malwa, hoping to get support from the disaffected Afghans Hotly pursued, he arrived in Bundelkhand where Vikramjit declined to give him refuge and even attacked his rear guard. But Khan Jahan escaped and he fled to Kalinjar where the Qiladar deprived him of his elephants and arrested one of his sons along with his followers. In utter desperation he turned round with a small number of his followers and died sword in hand at Sihonda near Banda (February 1631).
The harassed kingdom of Ahmadnagar had to suffer grievously for its generosity to a rebel. It had to face the calamity of famine, widespread plunder by the Mughal army and party strife. It was completely paralysed.
Fath Khan, the son and successor of Malik Ambar and now the Chief Minister of Nizam Shah, turned faithless to his master. He first threw him into prison and then killed him.
He recited Khutbah in the name of the emperor. As Shah Jahan had suffered bereavement in the death of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal (June 7, 1631), he did not like to prolong his stay in the Deccan, and left for the North in March 1632, with the impression that his mission in Ahmadnagar had been achieved.
He appointed Mahabat Khan as the viceroy of the Deccan. But very soon Daulatabad proved to be a storm centre for fresh struggle. There arose a dispute between Shahji Bhonsle and Fath Khan over certain jagirs which each claimed as his own on the basis of the imperial grant.
Shahji sought the Adil Shah’s assistance for enforcing his claim. This alarmed Fath Khan who appealed to Mahabat Khan The latter responded, but when he found Fath Khan wavering in his attitude, he made an all-out effort to reduce Daulatabad. He succeeded in his enterprise and occupied the fort in June 1633.
The occupation of Daulatabad, though a signal triumph, did not prove to be the final stage in the annexation of Ahmadnagar. The Nizamshahi and the Adilshahi officers still held out some out posts which they were reluctant to surrender without a struggle.
Moreover, during the ensuing turmoil the Marathas led by Shahji had acquired a firm hold on Jurmar, Poona and Chakan. He had set up a puppet Nizam Shah and professed to be fighting for this cause The centre of trouble was Parenda which Mahabat Khan failed to conquer and he died in October 1634.
His death encouraged and intensified Maratha activity, which was abetted by Adil Shah. Bundelkhand once more became a scene of activity. Jujhar Singh in pursuit of his wild ambition, aided and stormed the fortress of Chauragarh and treacherously put to death the Gond Raja Prem Narayana.
The Raja’s son appealed to the emperor who deputed, prince Aurangzeb to punish the Bundelas. Aurangzeb stormed and seized Orchha and Dhamoni, and relentlessly pursued the rebel leader, driving him into Gondwana where the tribals put him to death (1634). A new chief, Champat Rai, then asserted his leadership and supported the claims of Prithviraja.
one of the sons of Jujhar Singh. Bundelkhand again relapsed into a state of confusion, and though Abdullab Khan was appointed to restore order, his efforts did not prove successful. It was only in 1642 that Pahar Singh,son of Bir Singh, succeeded in securing the submission of Champat Rai.
Shah Jahan now turned his attention towards the Deccan. He was astute enough to perceive that peace in Ahmadnagar could not be established until the trouble created by Shahji, a Maratha leader, was undone and Bijapur and Golkunda were overawed. With this end in view, early in 1636, he crossed the Narmada and arrived at Daultabad.From Hindya he issued a proclamation and sent threatening communications to Qutb Shah and Adil Shah.
The presence of a large army in the Deccan produed the desired effect. Randola Khan and Mustafa Khan the Adil Shahi nobles, agreed to desist from encouraging Shahji, acknowledge Mughal supremacy and pay an annual tribute.
Like wise, Qutb Shah also signed a treaty according to which he agreed to recite the Khutba in the emperor’s name and to pay an annual tribute Among the minor events mention may be made of the chastisement of the Portuguese pirates of Hooghly, who had been for a considerable time indulging in wanton acts of cruelty and robbing the merchants of that region (1632).
A petty insurrection among the Bhils of Malwa was easily suppressed. In 1634 the Abdal of Little Tibet submitted, but when he subsequently became recalcitrant, an army was sent against him and peace was restored. In 1637 Baglan was conquered; in 1641, the Kangra valley was reduced to subjection and two years later a Gond insurrection in Malwa was CRushed. In 1638 Ali Mardan Khan,the Persian governor of Qandahar, fleeing on the charge of embezzlement, surrendered the fort to the Mughal governor of Kabul.
With the confidence engendered by recent victories in the Deccan and the exaltation caused by the recovery of Qandahar, Shalh Jahan went to Kabul in 1639 to take advantage of the disorder in Transoxiana. He succeeded in occupying Qunduz, Khost, Badakhshan and Balkh, but the territories could not be held for long, first because of the reluctance of the imperial soldiers and officers to stay there, and secondly because of lack of co-operation from the people of that region. When prince Murad declined to continue holding the command, Aurangzeb replaced him.
He tried hard to stabilize the imperial position there, but he had to return to Kabul.
Qandahar which had been recovered in 1638, was again lost to the Persians in 1649. Three attempts were made to recapture it but they proved not only futile but also involved enormous loss of men and moneyThe policy of expansion to the north-west proved a costly failure and the emperor sought relaxation and compensation in other enterprises. In 1654 he sent Sa’dullah Khan to chastise the Rana of Mewar, who had restored the fortifications of Chittor in contravention of the treaty concluded in Jahangir’s time.
The Rana had to demolish the repairs he had made. In 1656 an expedition was sent against the Raja of Garhwal who was compelled to send his son to the court with an offer of submission.
In 1652 Aurangzeb was for the second time appointed viceroy of the Deccan. He had as his Diwan Murshid Quli Khan, whose land revenue administration is a landmark in the history of the Deccan. He embarked upon a policy of aggression against the southern states.
The first victim of it was Qutb Shah who was asked to pay arrears of tribute. Aurangzeb won over Mir Jumla, the Chief Minister of Golkunda and in concert with him invaded the kingdom in 1656, but the campaign was cut short by the emperor. His only gain was that he married Qutb Shah’s daughter to his son.
Muhammad Adil Shah died in 1657 and was succeeded by Ali Adil Shah, a minor. While conveying this information to the court, Aurangzeb also referred to the suspicions about the legitimacy of the new king and the confusion which was rampant in Bijapur since his accession, and secured a Farman for the invasion of that kingdom Spurred into action when Mir Jumla joined him, he occupied Bidar and Kalyani and besieged Bijapur.
On the one hand the garrison put up a stiff resistance but on the other the leaders tactfully began to play upon the greed of the invaders. They promised to pay 150 lakhs of rupees and to deliver to the Mughals-Kalyani and Parenda. The emperor remitted a third of the tribute and ordered Aurangzeb to withdraw.
In September 1657, Shah Jahan fell seriously ill. Rumours of his death spread far and wide and his sons forthwith started preparations to contest for the throne.
Dara, the eldest, had enjoyed immense favors from his father who had named him as his uccessor. Shuja was posted to Bengal. Murad was in Gujarat and Aurangzeb in the Deccan. These three brothers came to an understanding and combined against Dara. Murad proclaimed himself emperor on December 5, 1657. Shuja advanced from Bengal to seize the crown.
Dara was by no means in an enviable position. He was confronted with the united opposition of his brothers, and had to counter intrigues in and outside the court. When Shah Jahan was a little better, he dispatched Sulaiman Shukoh and Jai Singh to push Shuja back and sent two armies to hold Murad and Aurangzeb in check. Sulaiman Shukoh came in contact with his uncle Shuja’s army at Bahadurpur and opened an attack early in the morning (February 14, 1658). Although Shuja fought very bravely, he was pushed back with heavy losses and had to return to Bengal.
A deaf ear to the royal instructions and the commands of their father, Aurangzeb and Murad had Turning persisted in their advance, and met each other at Dipalpur. Raja Jaswant Singh was sent against them and had to face the combined armies of the two brothers at Dharmat near Uijain and was defeated. The battle of Dharmat (April 15, 1658) sealed the fate of Dara Shukoh.
The victorious princes arrived at Gwalior. Dara had posted guards from crossing over. Efforts to prevent a clash of arms were fruitless in the face of Aurangzeb’s obduracy and his deep-rooted hatred of his eldest brother.
The battle of Samugarh had opened at Dharmat. Dara was decisively defeated and lost his throne on the river banks to prevent his enemies on May 29 was the second act in the tragedy which Shah Jahan had to open the gates of Agra fort on June 8. He was placed under arrest by Aurangzeb in the palace.
To round up Dara who had fled towards the Puniab, Aurangzeb moved slowly from Agra because of his suspicion of the ambitions of Murad Bakhsh. Murad was cunningly inveigled into a trap near Mathura ,put in fettersand confined in the fort of Salimgarh. Aurangzeb was now free to pursue Dara and easily occupied Delhi where he crowned himself emperor and issued a proclamation, He then marched to Lahore which easily fell into his hands and advanced to Multan.
Dara had already left Multan. He fled towards Sind where he sought the help of Malik Jiwan who surrendered him to Bahadur Khan. Taken to Delhi, he was paraded in the streets and then ruthlessly put to death on faked charges.
While Aurangzeb was engaged in the pursuit of Dara Shukoh, Shuja found the field clear and advanced from Bihar with the object of seizing Agra. He arrived at Allahabad in December 1658, bypassed the fort and halted at Khajwah, scene.
Shuja was defeated and put to flight. Mir Jumla and Sultan Muhammad were ordered to pursue him. He was hounded from pillar to post till he disappeared in the forests of Arakan, where he met with an unmourned death.
As his path was barred by Aurangzeb’s son, Sultan Muhammad. Soon after, Aurangzeb also arrived on The only prince who remained to be dealt with was Sulaiman Shukoh.
He sought the protection of Prithvi Singh, Raja of Garhwal. In July 1659 Aurangzeb sent a force to coerce the Raja into surrendering his guest. Sulaiman Shukoh was handed over to his enemies. He was sent as a prisoner to the fort of Gwalior where he was put to death in May 1662, his uncle Murad Bakhsh having been beheaded earlier in December 1661. Shah Jahan lingered on and died on January 22, 1666.
Shah Jahan inherited some of the virtues of his grandfather and some of the vices of his father. He had a passion for greatness and a love for grandeur. With an inordinate thirst for pomp and power, he had no scruples about the deeply interested in the promotion of art and culture as his magnificent buildings testify. He was,a patron of men of letters, both Muslims and Hindu.
The Mughal Empire- Shah Jahan of Medieval Indian History
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