Bahadur Shah I

Bahadur Shah I

The death of Aurangzeb in the southern city of Ahmadnagar triggered the inevitable civil war between his sons. The eldest son, Muazzam, known as Shah Alam, and his younger brother, Prince Azam, were considered the main contenders.
•    Even though Kam Bakhsh was Aurangzeb's favourite in his old age, he was not regarded as a serious rival. The imprisonment of Shah Alam in 1687 on charges of conspiring with the Deccan states, his release in 1695, and his virtual exile to Jamrud near Peshawar as Governor of Kabul to keep an eye on the movements of the rebel Prince Akbar, who had sought refuge at the Persian Court, paved the way for Prince Azam to emerge as the heir apparent. Azam attempted to persuade the leading nobles to join his side in preparation for the impending conflict. He was, however, arrogant, hot, and hasty in his actions. 
Bahadur Shah I
•    He despised Shah Alam, whom he mockingly referred to as a "baqqal," or "grain-dealer." Despite his meek demeanour and colourless demeanour, Shah Alam had disciplined his soldiers by marching constantly, and with the help of his man-of-affairs, Munim Khan, had gathered boats and other supplies for a rapid march to Agra when the need arose. 
•    Aside from the cities of Kabul and Lahore, one of Shah Alma’s sons was governor of Multan and another of Bengal. As a result, Shah Alam had a lot of resources at his disposal, and his route to Agra, which contained Shah Jahan's hoarded treasures, was more open and shorter than Prince Azad's route from the south
•    As a result, the benefits that Prince Azam reaped from the support of the empire's most powerful nobles, as well as veterans of the Deccan and the royal artillery, were more apparent than real
•    He was also harassed by a lack of funds, as many of the soldiers were three years behind on their pay. As a result, when confronted with financial demands, he gave harsh responses. Many powerful nobles, such as Muhammad Amin Khan Chin and Ghaziuddin Khan, refused to accompany him to Agra for the civil war for their own reasons.
•    When Azam arrived in Gwaliyar, he discovered that Shah Alam had already taken control of Agra. To expedite his movement, Azam had left most of his artillery in the Deccan. Faced with a larger and better-equipped army, Azam's battle with Shah Alam at Jaju near Agra in June 1707 was a gamble that backfired. Bahadur Shah marched to the Deccan via Rajasthan with a 30,000-strong army shortly after his accession at Agra, and easily defeated Kam Bakhsh near Hyderabad in January 1709. 
•    He then returned to North India, where he spent the next year and a half, until his death in early 1712, dealing with the Sikh rebellion led by Banda Bahadur.
•    Although the empire remained united during Bahadur Shah's five-year reign, nobility factionalism reached new heights. Multiple foci of power and policy emerged as a result of Bahadur Shah's inability to formulate a clear policy, further weakening Imperial authority.
Bahadur Shah was confronted with two major issues from the start:
1.    The political and religious issues left to him by Aurangzeb
2.    The growing factionalism among the nobility, which had taken on new characteristics during Aurangzeb's reign.
•    Two groups of nobles rose to prominence in the final years of Aurangzeb's reign. The first was led by Asad Khan, who came from a well-known Iranian family, with his grandfather Zulfiqar Khan serving as the Beglar Begi (Governor) of Shirwan during Shah Abbas I's reign. The family moved to India in 1600-01 after Zulfiqar Khan's execution and gradually rose through the ranks.
•    Asad Khan, Shah Jahan's and then Aurangzeb's favourite, married the daughter of Asaf Khan, Nur Jahan's brother. Following the death of the wazir, Jafar Khan, in 1669, he was appointed naib wazir at the age of 46. To the chagrin of many of his senior nobles, no one was appointed as wazir until he was formally appointed wazir in 1676.
•    Asad Khan held the position of wazir until 1707, making him the longest-serving wazir in history. We are told that Aurangzeb held him in high regard, despite the fact that his role in shaping Aurangzeb's policies is unknown. He did, however, combine administrative and military abilities, commanding large armies and participating actively in siege operations. Since 1687, he has held the rank of 7000 / 7000.
•    Asad Khan's son, Zulfiqar Khan, married Shaista Khan, the daughter of Amirul Umara, Emperor Aurangzeb's maternal uncle. At the age of eleven, he received his first mansab and gradually advanced, making his mark in 1689 by capturing the powerful fort of Rajgarh, which housed the treasure and families of Sambhaji. 
•    The following year, he was assigned to lead the campaign against Jinji, which Rajaram had managed to avoid. He was given the title of Mir Bakshi in 1702.
•    The unusual combination of the two most powerful posts of wazir and Mir Bakshi in the hands of a single family requires explanation.
•    Aurangzeb despised his sons and frequently chastised them for their sins of commission and omission. In a letter to Azam, he accused him of being too bitter (lit. “too salty”) for his subjects to eat, and Shah Alam of being colourless (lit. “saltless”). 
•    Perhaps Aurangzeb hoped that whichever of his sons succeeded, Asad Khan and Zulfiqar Khan would guide and rely on him.
•    As a result, he stipulated in his will that whichever son succeeded to the throne should keep Asad Khan as the wazir. The concept of the monarch and the wazir sharing power was fraught with danger. However, it was a novel approach that could have worked in some situations.
•    Aurangzeb was serious about this effort, as evidenced by the fact that he used Asad and Zulfiqar Khan on multiple occasions to try to work out a solution to the intractable Maratha problem. 
•    Shahu was thus transferred to Zulfiqar Khan's army in 1706 in order to negotiate a settlement with the Marathas. The Marathas were enticed to join Shahu by Zulfiqar Khan's conciliatory letters, but the Maratha sardars were suspicious. Zulfiqar had previously proposed a truce with Rajaram at Jinji. 
•    Some observers believed Zulfiqar was attempting to cultivate the Marathas because he wished to carve out a separate area of power for himself in the Deccan. The “Chin” group, it appears, harboured similar ambitions.
•    Ghaziuddin Khan Firuz Jang led the "Chin" group, which included his son Chin Qulich Khan (later Nizam-ul-Mulk), his cousin Muhammad Amin Khan Chin, and other relatives. Shaikh Shihabuddin Suhrawardi, a well-known Bukhara saint, was the family's ancestor. 
•    In the Marwar War, Ghaziuddin Khan had earned his spurs. In 1687, he was given primary credit for the capture of Bijapur, and his mansab was raised to 7000 / 7000. 
•    He continued to hold important positions despite being blinded in an epidemic plague the same year. As a result, he was governor of Berar from 1695. He kept a large part of the artillery, far beyond the requirements, and mostly entertained Turanis as soldiers. 
•    In 1707, Aurangzeb examined his artillery and confiscated much of it, declaring, "He has all the things that he should have, or rather that he should not have."
•    After his role in the capture of Wakinkhera in 1706, Chin Qulich Khan had become a favourite of Aurangzeb. The sadr was Muhammad Amin Khan Chin.
•    Despite its orthodoxy and high Imperial favour, this family appears to have felt outclassed by Asad Khan's family in any future setup, and thus began toying with the idea of having its own sphere of influence. As a result, following Aurangzeb's death, the "Chin" group was hesitant to leave the Deccan to fight in the civil war.
•    Despite Azam's attempts to appease this powerful group by raising Chin Qulich Khan's mansab to 7000 / 7000 and Muhammad Amin Khan's to 6000 / 6000, Chin Qulich Khan, who had also been appointed governor of Khandesh, did not proceed beyond a stage or two beyond Aurangabad, and left under the pretext of looking after his charge.
•    Muhammad Amin, too, deserted and fled to Aurangabad, where he and Chin Qulich seized control of a number of districts. Khan Ghaziuddin Firuz Jang stayed in Daulatabad as well, refusing to join Azam. Azam made Firuz Jang governor of Aurangabad and Viceroy of the Deccan, as well as giving him many rewards, believing it was better to leave Firuz Jang as a friend rather than a foe.
•    The conflict between Zulfiqar Khan and Munim Khan also had policy implications. Munim Khan, as a newly risen noble, was opposed to any bold, new ventures. 
•    Although, unlike Aurangzeb, Bahadur Shah was not puritanical and was even accused of dabbling in shiism, he, like Munim Khan, was cautious when it came to the Rajputs and the Marathas. While on his way to Agra, Azam had given Jai Singh and Ajit Singh the mansabs of 7000 / 7000, as well as the titles of Mirza Raja and Maharaja, at the request of Zulfiqar Khan, and the Rajas were asked to join Azam with large armies.
•    Negotiations to return Jodhpur to Ajit Singh were also started.
•    Bahadur Shah's Rajput policy was divided into two phases, the first of which lasted until 1709, during which he not only attempted to maintain Aurangzeb's settlement with the Rajputs, but also went further. 
•    Bahadur Shah decided to travel to the Deccan via Ajmer on the grounds that Ajit Singh had not attended the court or sent the customary letter of congratulations on his accession, and that he had occupied Jodhpur and was opposing the practise of Islam there and restoring temples. 
•    The Rana offered his submission to the Imperial army near Ajmer, which was accepted. Ajit Singh also requested a pardon, which was granted after Ajit Singh was defeated by Mihrab Khan, the faujdar-designate of Jodhpur. 
•    Ajit Singh was restored to his previous mansab and title of Maharaja, but his capital, Jodhpur, remained under imperial control. Bahadur Shah had previously instructed the subedar of Ajmer to bring the state of Amber under khalisa and appoint a Mughal faujdar there, citing a succession dispute between Jai Singh and his brother, Vijay Singh, the latter having assisted Bahadur Shah at Jaju. 
•    When Bahadur Shah arrived in Amber, he stayed for three days and renamed the city Islamabad. The state was entrusted to Vijai Singh, with an imperial faujdar remaining at Amber, and Jai Singh's property was confiscated.
•    Bahadur Shah and his wazir, Munim Khan, quickly discovered that they were unable to enforce these policies. Ajit Singh and Jai Singh, who had accompanied the imperial camp to Mahabaleshwar on the Narmada in the hope of reversing the earlier orders, escaped and repaired to Udaipur, where they made an agreement with the Maharana for joint resistance against the Mughals. - The Rajputs, on the other hand, lacked coordination in practise. 
•    Amber was reclaimed by Jai Singh, and Ajit Singh drove the Mughal faujdar out of Jodhpur. The Maharana reclaimed the Pur, Mandal, and Bidnur parganas that Aurangzeb had taken in exchange for jizyah. 
•    When Saiyid Husain Khan Baraha, the faujdar of Sambhar, was accidentally killed in the battle, the Rajputs overran Didwana and won a notable victory.
•    Ajit Singh invested Ajmer with a force of 20,000 after the rainy season, but received no assistance from Jai Singh or the Maharana. He raised the siege in exchange for a payment of Rs.80, 000/- from the governor, Shujaat Khan, despite the latter sending Bahadur Shah a false report claiming victory.
•    Meanwhile, news of Bahadur Shah's victory over Kam Bakhsh and his return to North India inspired him to lead an army to punish and chastise the Rajputs. 
•    In a panic, the Rajputs sought the help of Asad Khan and Prince Azim-ush-Shan, two old friends. Jai Singh and Ajit Singh were restored to their mansabs at their request. Asad Khan, who had been given overall command of the subahs of Lahore, Delhi, and Ajmer, offered the Rajas sanads in exchange for raising their thanas from Sambhar and Didwana and accepting appointments to the provinces of Kabul and Gujarat.
•    As a result, Bahadur Shah and Munim Khan on the one hand, and Asad Khan and Zulfiqar Khan on the other, held opposing viewpoints on the Rajput’s. The latter sought to appease the Rajput rajas by not only returning their homelands, but also restoring their status as partners in the kingdom by appointing them to high administrative positions. 
•    Bahadur Shah and Munim Khan made a typical compromise when they returned to North India. Ajit Singh and Jai Singh were granted audience "during the march," that is, outside of a regular court, in June 1710, and their homelands, Jodhpur and Amber, were restored. They were allowed to return home as long as they returned with a force within six months to serve wherever they were requested. 
•    Bahadur Shah was eager to use the Rajputs in his campaign against Banda Bahadur because news of his uprising had already reached him. Munim Khan sweetened the deal by resurrecting Asad Khan's proposal of appointing Rajas to Gujarat and Kabul, an idea that the Rajputs mistook for a scheme to separate them and deal with them separately. After much persuasion and a fifteen-month wait, Ajit Singh and Jai Singh arrived at Bahadur Shah's court in October 1711, and were assigned to Sadhaura to protect the foothills from Banda's followers. 
•    Munim Khan had died by this point, and all power had passed to Prince Azim-ush-Shan. Despite his friendship with the Rajputs, Azim-ush-Shan had broken with Zulfiqar Khan and was eager to win over the old Alamgiri nobles in preparation for the inevitable civil war. 
•    The Alamgiri nobles were reportedly opposed to a compromising policy toward the Rajputs. Mirza Muhammad Harisi, a contemporary writer who represents their viewpoint, described the earlier agreement with the Rajputs as "incompatible with good policy as well as the sovereign's dignity." 
•    This appears to be the reason why Jai Singh was appointed faujdar of Chitrakut and Ajit Singh of Surat in Gujarat after serving for two and a half months with "a large army." The Rajput rajas were disappointed, and they petitioned for permission to return home. This was agreed upon on the condition that they leave chaukis (outposts) behind.

Bahadur Shah I
•    During Bahadur Shah's reign, there were sharp differences of opinion not only about how to treat the Rajputs, but also about how to treat the Marathas and the Deccan. 
•    When Azam Shah was on his way to North India, Shahu was allowed to flee with about 50 to 60 of his followers at Dauraha near the Narmada. This was a combination of policy and calculation. It was thought that Shahu's release would weaken Tara Bai and protect Mughal possessions from Maratha incursions while Azam was away and the Marathas fought amongst themselves. Shahu was also seen as Sambhaji's rightful successor and the one with whom an agreement could be reached.
•    According to Khafi Khan, a contemporaneous historian, Shahu was released at the request of Zulfiqar Khan, “who was very intimate with Shahu and had for a long time been interested in his affairs.” There is, however, no evidence to support the claim advanced by some Maratha sources that Azam Shah had made an agreement with Shahu, granting him Shivaji's swarajya, the chauth and sardeshmukhi of the six Deccan subahs, and other concessions.
•    Shahu tried to strengthen himself after defeating Tara Bai in a battle and crowning himself at Satara by securing from the Mughal due confirmation of his position, as well as the grant of chauth and sardeshmukhi of the Deccan. Shahu had written him a letter of congratulations shortly after Bahadur Shah's accession, apologising for his "sins." 
•    He was restored to his mansab of 7000 / 7000 in exchange for military assistance against Kam Bakhsh. Although Shahu was unable to attend in person, he dispatched one of his most well-known sardars, Nimaji Sindhia, with a large force to join Bahadur Shah, which performed admirably.
•    Bahadur Shah offered his son Prince Azim-ush-Shan, who was gradually gaining favour with him, the post of Viceroy of the Deccan after the defeat of Kam Bakhsh (January 1909). Azim-ush-Shan, on the other hand, preferred the (absentee) governorship of the Eastern provinces, Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa, which he had previously held. 
•    These areas, unlike the Deccan, were peaceful and productive. The viceroyalty of the Deccan was then offered to Zulfiqar Khan, the next most powerful person. 
•    We've heard that Zulfiqar Khan was given full authority over all revenue and administrative matters in the Deccan, and that he was allowed to stay at the court to combine his new position with his previous one as Mir Bakhshi. Daud Khan Panni, an old associate and protege, was appointed as his deputy in the Deccan, with a rank of 7000 / 5000 du-aspa-sih-aspa and governorships in Bijapur, Berar, and Aurangabad. His headquarters were established in Aurangabad, near Daultabad, in Ahmadnagar, the old Nizam Shahi kingdom.
•    These concessions, which strengthened Zulfiqar Khan's position over that of the wazir, Munim Khan, would have made sense if Bahadur Shah had also agreed to be guided by Zulfiqar Khan in matters of Deccan politics, which he knew well. Bahadur Shah, on the other hand, was hesitant to bolster Zulfiqar Khan's position any further.
•    Zulfiqar Khan presented Shahu's wakil to the emperor after the victory over Kam Bakhsh. He applied for the chauth and sardeshmukhi of the Deccan's six subahs on the condition that the ruined land be restored to prosperity.
•    Tara Bai's wakil was presented by Munim Khan, who requested a farman in the name of her (minor) son, Shivaji II. She requested only the Deccan sardeshmukhi, with no mention of chauth, and also offered to suppress other insurgents and restore order to the country.
•    Munim Khan and Zulfiqar Khan had a major disagreement on the subject. Munim Khan wanted to separate Khandesh and Pain-Ghat in Berar from the Deccan, create a separate subah out of them, and appoint his son, Mahabat Khan, as its governor with full appointment, dismissal, and transfer of officials powers.
•    Bahadur Shah, not wanting to displease either, rejected the idea of partitioning the Deccan and ordered that sanad for sardeshmukhi be given only in response to the requests of Munim Khan and Zulfiqar Khan.
•    Whatever Bahadur Shah's motivations, his decision effectively invited both Shahu and Tara Bai to plunder the imperial territories in order to enforce their claims. “The Emperor has granted me (sar) deshmukhi of these parts, but not yet the chauth,” Shahu told his sardars as Bahadur Shah left the Deccan. 
•    As a result, you should raid the imperial territories and cause havoc (until he agrees).” Soon after, Marathas invaded Khandesh and plundered Burhanpur, defeating and killing the governor, Mir Ahmad Khan. They also invaded Bijapur and Ahmadnagar, as well as appearing near Aurangabad and plundering the area. 
•    Though Daud Khan Panni moved around with a large army chasing the Marathas, the Mughals were powerless to stop these inroads. He also attempted to sow discord among the Marathas, gaining the support of several powerful Maratha sardars, including Rao Rambha Nimbalkar, Paima Raj Sindhia, and even Chandrasen Jadhav. The Maratha raids, however, continued.
•    Daud Khan eventually made a deal with Shahu in early 1711. Shahu was promised the chauth and sardeshmukhi as part of this pact. However, the money was to be collected not by Marathas, but by Daud Khan's deputy, Hiraman, who would pay the Marathas in one lump sum. The princes' jagirs were to be exempt from all charges.
•    Although no written confirmation of the grant was given, the agreement could not have been reached without Zulfiqar Khan's active support and the Emperor's tacit approval. This was made easier by the fact that Munim Khan had died by that time.
•    Even this pact couldn't guarantee peace because the Maratha sardars had become free agents, with no one to answer to and a desire to plunder on their own. The scale of Maratha attacks, on the other hand, shrank.
•    From the middle of 1710 to his death in Lahore in February 1712, Bahadur Shah was kept busy by the Sikh uprising led by Banda Bahadur, which began with the defeat of the faujdars of Sonepat and Sirhind and the establishment of virtual Sikh control "from a few days march from Delhi to the outskirts of Lahore."
•    Banda was besieged at Lohgarh, but when the fort was stormed at the end of the year, he was able to flee to the hills. 
•    Following that, the Mughal operation slowed. Bahadur Shah returned to Lahore and delegated the operation against Banda to the nobles.
•    Munim Khan died in February 1711, after a brief illness. Bahadur Shah's accusations of negligence in Banda's escape from Lohgarh hastened his death. Zulfiqar Khan has demanded wizarat once more. 
•    Prince Azim-ush-Shan, a close friend of Bahadur Shah, agreed to accommodate Zulfiqar Khan if he relinquished the posts of Mir Bakhshi and Viceroy of the Deccan, which he proposed be given to Munim Khan's sons.
•    Bahadur Shah objected to the proposal because he did not believe Munim Khan's sons were qualified for the positions. Zulfiqar Khan, too, was adamantly opposed to the plan because he was unwilling to give up his positions as Mir Bakhshi and Viceroy of the Deccan.
•    As a result, he proposed that Asad Khan be appointed as wazir. The combination of the posts of wazir, Mir Bakhshi, and Viceroy of the Deccan in the hands of one family, Bahadur Shah and Prince Azim-ush-Shan believed, would be dangerous for the dynasty. 
•    No wazir was appointed in the end. Sadullah Khan was appointed chief diwan and told to work under Prince Azim-ush-"supervision Shan's and control" (Khafi Khan).
•    As a result, the most energetic and capable prince was pitted against the most powerful and ambitious noble, whose goal was to concentrate all power in his hands and reshape imperial policies.
•    Bahadur Shah deviated slightly from Aurangzeb's policies. While the ban on wine consumption and open-court singing and dancing was maintained, Bahadur Shah did not share Aurangzeb's orthodox views. 
•    He, like his wazir, Munim Khan, was a liberal sufi in outlook, and by assuming the title "Saiyid," he enraged the orthodox elements. Bahadur Shah, claiming to be a mujtahid or interpreter of Holy Laws, ordered that the word "wasi," or successor, be added after the name of Ali in Friday prayers in Lahore. 
•    This infuriated Sunni elements because it elevated Ali above the other three Caliphs, resulting in widespread rioting. The order had to be revoked, but there was a clear break between the orthodox elements and the Mughal emperor from this point forward.

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