Tuesday, 17 September 2019

The Mughal Empire - war of succession and murder of prince Dara Shikoh changed Indian history!!

Mogul Dynasty, Indian subcontinent slideshare.net
Mogul Dynasty, Indian subcontinent. wordpress.com
The Mogul Empire  was founded in 1526 by none other than Babur, a warrior chieftain from a land what today is known as Uzbekistan.  Being a good war strategist with help from neighboring empires, he defeated  the Sultan of Delhi  Ibrahim Lodhi, in the First Battle of Panipat and put  the plains of Upper India under his control. The Mogul imperial rule saw its gradual heyday from 1600 to the rule of  Babur's grandson, Akbar. The prestige of imperial rule lasted till 1720.  The reign of last major emperor, Aurangzeb, saw maximum geographical extent, however, being a treacherous ruler, war-monger and religious bigot, toward the end of his rule, the Mogul  opulence and reputation began to go down hill. Relentless wars with the Marathas and others had an impact on the Mogul treasury that became almost empty. The  ruinous wars of succession in the three decades among Mogul rulers following the death of Aurangzeb had further weakened the empire.  Over a span of 132 years nearly 400 historical monuments survived, mostly made of marbles, red sandstone impregnated with gemstones, etc. Moguls introduced a fusion of Indo-Mogul style, symbolic of the blend of Indian culture.
raid on Delhi by Iranian ruler Nadir Shahen.wikipedia.org
 Above image:  Nadir Shah at the sack of Delhi - Battle scene with Nader Shah on horseback, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 
 Emperor Nader Shah, the Shah of Persia (1736–47) and the founder of the Afsharid dynasty of Persia, invaded the Mogul Empire, eventually plundered Delhi in March 1739. His army had not only easily defeated the Moguls at the battle at Karnal but also captured Delhi. His army went on a killing binge. Nadir asked his soldiers to  carry out the notorious ''qatl-e-aam'' (killing of common people).  In a short span  of six hours in one day - 22 March 1739, about  20,000 to 30,000 Indian men, women and children were butchered by merciless Afsharid troops A worst  massacre in the city of Delhi,  Further, some 10,000 women and children were taken slaves, according to a representative of the Dutch East India 
Company in Delhi.  In the wake of this worst plundering  and raid on Delhi and Nader Shah's  big victory against the weak and crumbling Moguls, the  Dynasty  lost its name and dignity in the far east in South Asia. The British East India Company that had been in India for decades was waiting for a chance to move in to get rid of the last Mogul descendants  for good. ....................
 Yet another blow to the Mogul supremacy  was the raid by Nadir Shaw of Iran who plundered Delhi and other places besides taking away the diamond-studded golden peacock throne, koh-i-noor and Darya-i-Noor ( meaning "Mountain of Light" and "Sea of Light," respectively) diamonds and other innumerable treasures. Literally, Nadir Shah made the Moguls bleed  and weakened their regal power and influence.
The imperial Diwan of the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah en.wikipedia.org

 Above image: Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad Shah (7 August 1702 – 16 April 1748) was Mughal emperor from 1719 to 1748, was the son of Khujista Akhtar, (the fourth son of Bahadur Shah I). He ascended the throne at the young age of 17 with help from Sayyid brothers. Being ungrateful, he later got rid of them with the help of Asaf Jah I. Syed Hussain Ali Khan was murdered at Fatehpur Sikri in 1720 and  Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha was  poisoned in 1722 .................
The empire later became  fragmented, and the Governors or Nawabs appointed by the Moguls  as ''Agents'' became independent rulers of respective regions. The wily British who had been in the subcontinent, gobbling kingdom after kingdom became a powerful force to reckon with and it was no better chance for them to  reduce Mogul' s power to  just a ruler of a small place with annual dole from the English company. Having acquired most parts of India  except  areas around Delhi during the 1857 rebellion,  British East India Company  took over the Delhi administration and asked the last Mogul ruler to leave his palace  and made him live  elsewhere as an ordinary Indian. Thus EIC and later the Crown removed the regal powers from the Nawabs and Maharajahs and made them lead a fairly comfortable lives with  dole and fancy titles to cool their ego. The last Mogul ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar's ill treatment by the British  and killing of his young legal heirs in daylight right before the public on the outskirts of Delhi added yet another dark chapter in British India history.  
At what point of time Mogul opulence and dignity had begun to decline? In 1650s,  it was the heyday for the Mogul kings. Their wealth was far more than any of the European kings, as a matter of fact, European ruler's opulence was nothing before them.  The  empire started developing cracks when Aurangzeb  arrived on the political scene.  He imprisoned his father and murdered three of his brothers. His fanaticism  and arrogance further widened the cracks in the ruling class.
Mogul heir-apparent Dara Shikoh murdered by Aurangzeb. sikhiwiki.org
 Dara Shikoh (20 March 1615 – 30 August 1659) being  the eldest son was  heir-apparent of the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan.  Bestowed with the title Padshahzada-i-Buzurg Martaba ("Prince of High Rank") he was favored as a successor by his father and his older sister, Princess Jahanara Begum. A man of wisdom and commonsense, who had a flair for literary works in Persian and Urdu, Dara was a deserving candidate. Further, he had good contact with the Hindus, Sikhs and other faiths in the land.  Being greedy, grasping, merciless and  younger than other sons of Shah Jahan,  Aurangzeb  set his eyes firmly on the Mogul throne. At the instigation of Aurangzeb, the royal family was gripped with  the war of succession that ensued after Shah Jahan's illness in 1657.  Dara was defeated in a battle by his younger brother Prince Muhiuddin (later, the Emperor Aurangzeb). and was executed in a gruesome manner right before his son in public in 1659 by ruthless Aurangzeb who also sent his father to jail. After causing murders and and confusion in the royal family he  ascended the throne. Though he was a great warrior, Aurangzeb's reign  was a dark chapter in Indian history; it saw religious suppression and persecution of Non-Muslims, temple destruction, etc and frequents battles with other rulers. All these had a run on the Mogul coffers. Money and man power were lost and toward the end of his life, Aurangzeb  almost became broke. Later under his son Bahadur Shaw I, the dynasty with a weak army,  became an easy target for invasions from NW of India. 
The Bibi Ka Maqbaraen,  Aurangabad, Maharashtra.wikipedia.org

The Bibi Ka Maqbara built in memory of his chief wife  Dilras Banu Begum (posthumously known as Rabia-ud-Daurani) in Aurangabad, was commissioned in 1660 by Aurangzeb. Often referred to as ''poor man's Taj'', he could not afford to spend a large sum on this structure  due to severe budgetary constraints. This resulted in a poor copy of the Taj Mahal.
1658- 1707 Trecherous and religious bigot, Emperor Aurangzeb /www.slideshare.ne

Thus in the Mogul Empire, fratricides frequently took place due to  wars of succession. Ruler Shah Jahan had his eldest brother Khusrau Mirza killed in 1622.  Shah Jahan also had his brother Shahriyar killed in 1628. Shah Jahan's son, Dara Shikoh was assassinated by four of his brother Aurangzeb's henchmen in front of his terrified son on the night of 30 August 1659 (9 September Gregorian).
So the ascendancy of treacherous Aurangzeb tolled the slow death of the Mogul rule in India.  Subsequently they were hard-pressed for money to maintain a huge army and in the later period their army was not strong enough as it used to be in the past.  Nadir Shah's  plundering and looting of Delhi accelerated the down fall of a great empire.
Murad Ali Baig's book "is about a gap in Indian history. It covers details  about  great emperors like Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and  Aurangzeb;  The escalating rivalry between Emperor Shah Jahan's sons Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb over the  throne had driven a wedge in the  royal family but also changed the course of history of the nation, according to  Author Murad Ali Baig. Their heyday saw the sunset when the British banished the last Mogul ruler Bahadur Shah  Zafar to Burma in his old age. They also without remorse killed  three of his legal heirs after the 1857 great Rebellion.