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intercepting convoys, and -incessantly harassing the enemy.
Mounted on hardy ponies, they were able to move with a
quickness which completely baffled the imperial armies ; and,
as each man carried with him his simple food and belongings,
they needed no transport trains.

Inefficiency of the Mughal army. The Mughal forces, on
the other hand, were unwieldy and almost immovable. The
royal tents alone occupied a space three miles in circuit, and
a contemporary traveller describes the whole camp as being
' a moving city containing five million souls ', The officers



THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761 219

were corrupted by luxury and incapable of active effort.
Grant Duff sums up the situation in these words : ' These
apparently vigorous efforts of the government were unsub-
stantial ; there was motion and bustle, without zeal or efficacy ;
the empire was unwieldy, its system relaxed, and its officers
corrupt beyond all example.' Success was impossible for such
a government.

Execution of Sambhajl ; Raja Shahu. For a time the
emperor's arms had a promise of success, and Aurangzeb had
the poor satisfaction of putting to death with torture Sambhajl,
a son of Sivaji, in 1689. He spared the life of Sivaji junior,
nicknamed Shahu (Sahu), the infant son of Sambhajl, and kept
him in custody until his own death, when the young man was
released and returned to his own dominions. He became Raja
in 1708 after a contest.

Tara Bal. A few years after Sambhajfs execution, Tara
Bal, widow of Raja Rama, another son of Sivaji, had retrieved
the Maratha losses, and directed the policy of devastating the
imperial territories with such energy that the emperor was
shut up in his camp, and his treasure was plundered almost
under his eyes.

Retreat and death of Aurangzeb. The Mughal army
crumbled to pieces, general famines and pestilences occurred
more than once, and ultimately (1706) Aurangzeb was forced
to retire on Ahmadnagar, where he died at the beginning of
March, 1707 (New Style), in the fiftieth year of his reign and
the eighty-eighth of his life. His dust lies under a plain tomb
in the village of Rauza or Khuldabad near Daulatabad. His
viscera were buried separately at Ahmadnagar.

Aurangzeb' s farewell words. However severely the policy
and conduct of Aurangzeb may be judged, it is impossible to
refuse pity to the old man on his death-bed when he addressed
his sons in these sad words :

' I know not who I am, where I shall go, or what will happen
to this sinner, full of sins. Now I will say good-bye to every
one in this world and entrust every one to the care of God.




r i










INDIAN COINS

1. COIN OF SHER SHAH 2. COIN OF AKBAB

3. COIN OF JAHANQIR 4. COIN OF AURANGZEB



THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761 221

My famous and auspicious sons should not quarrel among
themselves and allow a general massacre of the people who are
the servants of God. . . . My years have gone by profitless.
God has been in my heart, yet my darkened eyes have not
recognized His light. . . . There is no hope for me in the future.
The fever is gone, but only the skin is left. . . . The army is
confounded, and without heart or help, even as I am ; apart
from God, with no rest for the heart. . . . When I have lost
hope in myself, how can I hope in others ? . . . You should
accept my last will. It should not happen that Musalmans
be killed and the blame for their death rest upon this useless
creature. ... I have greatly sinned and know not what torment
awaits me. ... I commit you and your sons to the care of
God. and bid you farewell. . . . May the peace of God be
upon you.'

Aurangzeb had lived too long.

Causes of Aurangzeb's failure. The causes of Aurangzeb's
failure are obvious enough, and have been indicated in the
course of the narrative, but it may be well to sum them up
briefly. Aurangzeb acted as if he were merely the head of the
SunnI sect of Muhammadans, and not the protector of all the
races and creeds of India. Akbar had realized the truth that
the authority of the monarch of an empire inhabited chiefly
by Hindus could not be lasting unless it rested on the support
of all his people. During the greater part of his reign he
treated all religions with impartial justice. Only in his latter
days he forgot himself so far as to violate his avowed prin-
ciples by heaping insults upon Islam. Jahangir accepted and
put in practice the tolerant maxims of his father, encouraging
the building of Hindu temples as well as of Christian churches.
Shahjahan revived the old evil policy of persecution, harrying
the Christians and razing temples to the ground. Aurangzeb
went farther, especially after 1678, when the death of Raja
Jaswant Singh deprived his countrymen of their most power-
ful support. The emperor, then, in 1679, reimposed the
hateful jizrja or poll-tax on non-Muslims which Akbar had
wisely abolished. He carried to monstrous lengths the policy
of destroying the holy places of Hinduism, and may be



222 THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761

reasonably charged with the overthrow of thousands of
temples. 1

His measures forced all Hindus to regard him as their enemy
and deprived him of the willing service of the Rajput clans.
Sivaji, whom the emperor despised as a mere robber chief, was
honoured by the Marathas as a god, the champion and pro-
tector of Hinduism against the imperial bigot. Aurangzeb's
Sunni bigotry made him as hostile to the Shia states of Bijapur
and Golkonda as he was to the Hindu powers. He thus shat-
tered the forces of Islam in the Deccan, by which the Hindu
revolt of the Marathas might have been held in check. The
emperor's suspicious disposition, which prevented him from
trusting anybody, deprived him likewise of all chance of finding
trustworthy agents. He was, consequently, ill served. His
life was so prolonged that he continued to grasp the sceptre
after he had lost the strength to use it with effect. His
officers, corrupted by luxury, lacked the vigour of their ances-
tors and were incapable of honest exertion. The long-drawn-
out Deccan wars exhausted a large part of the huge treasure
of Shahjahan, and ruined the finances of the empire. Finan-
cial ruin involved the collapse of the whole administration.
The subject might be treated from many other points of view,
but what has been said may suffice.

Chronology of Aurangzeb's reign,

Deposition of Shahjahan and informal accession . . July 1658
Formal installation of Aurangzeb . . . . May 1659

Charter granted by Charles II to the E. I. Company ; Bombay

ceded by the Portuguese to the English . . . .1661

Mir Jumla's attack on Assam ...... 1662-3

Shayista Khan surprised by the Marathas .... 1663

Foundation of the French Compagnie des Indes . . . 1664

1 In 1679-80 the ruin effected in Riijputana was enormous. At or near
Udaipur 123, at Chitor 63, and in Amber (Jaipur) 66 temples were over-
thrown, that is to say 252 temples in two states in the course of a year.
How many buildings were ruined in the course of forty -one years throughout
the empire no man can tell. (Maasir-i-Alamgirl in Elliot and Dowson, vii. 88.)



THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761 223

Death of Shahjahan ; annexation of part of Arakan by Shayista

Khan '. 1666

Prohibition of public idolatrous worship ..... 1672

Sivaji formally proclaimed as sovereign . . ..; . . . 1674

Revival of the jizya . . . . .- . "..-. . 1679

Death of Sivaji . . . 1680

Rebellion of the Rajputs and Prince Akbar .... 1680-1

Assumption of command in the Deccan by Aurangzeb . . 1681-2
Annexation of Bijapur ; expulsion of the English from Bengal

by Shayista Khan . . . '<.. .' . . . 1686
Annexation of Golkonda ; greatest extension of the Mughal

empire . . . . ; . . . . 1687-91

Execution of Sambhaji, son of Sivaji . . . . . 1689

Foundation of Calcutta by Job Charnock .... 1690

United East India Company . . . . ... 1702-8

Retreat of Aurangzeb to Ahmadnagar . . . . . . 1706

Death of Aurangzeb . . . .'._.. . . 1707



224



THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761



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THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761 225



CHAPTER XXI

The successors of Aurangzeb : Bahadur Shah, &c., Muhammad Shah ;
invasion of Nadir Shah ; growth of Maratha power ; Ahmad Shah Durrani ;
the third battle of Panlpat.

War of succession. Aurangzeb left behind him four sons,
the princes Muazzam, Azam, Akbar (ante, p. 212), and Kam-
baksh. Akbar, the rebel exile, no longer counted ; the three
others were all equally eligible candidates for the vacant
throne. A document in the nature of a will found under the
pillow of the dead emperor suggested a division of the empire
between these three sons, but none of them had the slightest
intention of being content with anything less than the whole.
The eldest, Prince Muazzam, had himself proclaimed at Kabul,
while his brother, Prince Azam, assumed the imperial dignity
in the Deccan camp. Both of these claimants assembled large
armies, which met at Jajau, to the south of Agra, in June 1707.
The battle ended in the total defeat of Prince Azam, who was
killed, along with two adult sons. Shah Alam or Muazzam
thus secured possession of Agra, the treasure city of the
empire, and the command of abundant cash, which he distri-
buted freely among his followers. In February 1708 Prince
Kambaksh was defeated in the Deccan, and died from his
wounds. Thus Prince Muazzam became undisputed Padshah.
He is known to history as either Bahadur Shah (I) or Shah
Alam (I).

Reign of Bahadur Shah (I). He conciliated the Marathas
by the release of their Raja, Shahu (ante, p. 219), and patched
up a peace with the Rajputs. The most important event of his
short reign was a severe conflict with the Sikh sectaries of the
Pan jab, and it will be convenient to notice briefly in this place
the origin and early stages in the development of the Sikh
power.

Origin and rise of the Sikhs. The Sikhs, or ' disciples ',
are one of the many reformed sects of Hinduism which have

1776 H



226 THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761

arisen from time to time. The teaching of Nanak, the first
guru of the sect, late in the fifteenth century, which was based
on that of Kablr (ante, p. 148), did not attract much official
attention until the beginning of the seventeenth century in
Jahangir's reign, when the guru of the day was put to death.
That act of persecution roused the zeal of the martyr's adher-
ents, who took up arms under the leadership of his son Har
Go bind and became the declared enemies of the government.

Sikh organization. Guru Gobind Singh (1675-1708), grand-
son of Har Gobind, converted the sect into a political power
by means of an organization (known as the Khalsa) and rule
of life which sharply separated the Sikhs from the rest of the
population and united them closely among themselves. The
disciples, who were forbidden to use tobacco in any form, were
required to wear their hair long, and to practise sundry other
special observances. The fact that most of the Sikhs were
Jats by caste supplied another bond of union, and the result
was that during the eighteenth century the sect gradually
became a ruling power. But, although the Jats have fur-
nished the majority of Sikh converts, it must be clearly under-
stood that people of all castes may be initiated as Sikhs, and
that within the sect no distinction of caste is recognized.

Ravages of Banda, the Sikh leader. When Bahadur Shah
died at Lahore, in February , 1712, he wasengaged in endeavours
to check the barbarous ravages committed by the Sikhs at
Sahrind and other places in the Panjab, under the leadership
of Banda, the successor of Guru Gobind Singh. Bahadur
Shah was a good-natured, generous man, but lacking in the
strength needed by a ruler in troublous times. He was nick-
named the ' Heedless King ' (Shdh-i-bekhabar) .

War of succession ; Jahandar Shah ; Farrukhsiyar. The
death of the emperor was followed by the usual war between
his four sons. The most competent claimant, Azim-ush-shan,
governor of Bengal, had the ill luck to be the first killed in
battle. Two others perished in further fighting. The sur-
vivor, Jahandar Shah, a worthless debauchee of low tastes,



THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761 227

was proclaimed emperor by Zulfikar Khan, a powerful noble,
who became Vazir (1712) . After a few months Jahandar Shah
was put out of the way, and Farrukhsiyar, son of Azim-ush-
shan, was placed on the throne (January, 1713) by the in-
fluence of two Sayyids of Barha. For some years this clan
of Sayyids enjoyed the position of king-makers, and appointed
whom they chose to occupy the seat of Aurangzeb. The
imperial dignity was quickly becoming an empty although
dangerous honour.

Defeat of the Sikhs. The principal event in Farrukhslyar's
reign was the crushing defeat of the Sikhs, whose leader Banda
was captured and executed with the most inhuman tortures.
About a thousand of his followers also were slain. This
severity kept the Sikhs quiet for a generation. Allusion has
been made above (ante, p. 167) to the important trading privi-
leges gained for the English merchants by the surgeon Hamil-
ton, who attended Farrukhslyar. The emperor, a timid, help-
less creature, not personally of any importance, was murdered
early in 1719.

Accession of Muhammad Shah ; break-up of the empire.
Several nonentities having been sent up, who lasted only a few
months, 1 the Sayyids selected another insignificant prince,
who ascended the throne as Muhammad Shah, in October,
1719. During his reign, which was long, and continued until
1748, the empire began to break to pieces. The emperor of
Delhi was gradually reduced to a position like that of the later
members of the Tughlak dynasty (ante, p. 127), while the
outlying powers, Hindu, Muhammadan, and foreign, came to
the front, with the ultimate result that the sceptre passed
into English hands.

Independence of the Deccan ; the Nizam. A Turki noble,
named Chin Kilich Khan, generally known by his title of

1 Rafi-ud-darajat, Rafl-ud-daulat (Shahjahan II), Nikusiyar, Ibrahim.
The ' reigns ' of the first three fall between February 18 and August 27,
1719. Ibrahim claimed the throne in 1720, from October 1 to November 8,
and struck coins, now very rare.



228 THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761

Asaf Jah, the son of a favourite officer of Aurangzeb, had
become viceroy of the Deccan. For a time he held the office
of vazlr at Delhi, but in 1723 he retired from court, and after
that date may be regarded as an independent sovereign. He
was the ancestor of the present Nizam of Hyderabad. Before
the withdrawal of Asaf Jah to the south, the king-making clan
of Sayyids had lost their power through the murder of Husain
Ali and the imprisonment of his brother Abdullah, who had
been their leaders.

Practical independence of Oudh ; Saadat Khan. About this
time, Saadat Khan, governor of Oudh, likewise made himself
practically independent and founded the line of the Nawab-
Vazirs, who were recognized later as kings of Oudh.

Bengal ; Alivardi Khan. The Suba of Bengal, including
Bihar and Orissa, although nominally under the control of the
emperor, was really as little subject to his authority as the
Afghan kings of Bengal had been before the time of Akbar.
Allahvardi (Alivardi) Khan, the Subadar from 1740 to 1756,
an able despot, ceased to pay tribute to the imperial court.

The Rohillas ; general revolt of provinces. To the north
of the Ganges, the Rohillas, a clan of Afghan immigrants,
made themselves masters of the rich tract now called Rohil-
khand. In short, everywhere a general revolt of the provinces
began in the reign of Muhammad Shah, and was completed in
the time of his successors.

Shahu and Balaji Visvanath, Peshwa. Tara Bal was the last
notable member of Sivaji's line. Shahu, who became Raja
early in J7Q8 (ante, p. 219), had been brought up at the Mughal
court, and was more Muhammadan than Hindu in his habits.
He preferred pleasure to business, and was glad to leave
affairs of state in the hands of ministers, especially in those
of a Brahman named Balaji Visvanath, who was appointed
his Peshwa in 1714, and tried to introduce some order into the
confused Maratha government.

Baji Rao I, Peshwa. When Balaji Visvanath died, in 1720,
he was succeeded by his elder son, Baji Rao [I], after an



THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761 229

interval of some months. The dignity of Peshwa thus became
hereditary. Owing to Shahu's easy-going disposition, the
minister overshadowed his nominal master, and from 1727,
when the Peshwa was granted full powers, the Raja ceased
to count. Shahu survived until 1748, but Baji Rao was the
real head of the government, and was able to pass on his
authority to his son. Baji Rao was an able soldier as a leader
of plundering bands, but with no taste for civil administration.
He largely extended Maratha influence in the dominions still
under the nominal authority of the emperor of Delhi.

Balajl ; the Peshwa dynasty. On the death of Baji Rao I,
in 1740, his place as Peshwa was taken, after a struggle, by
son son Balajl, who became practically the sovereign of the
Marathas. Nobody asks who succeeded Shahu as Raja of
Satara. All readers of history rightly think of the govern-
ment of the Marathas in the eighteenth century as that of the
Peshwas. Their position was the same as that of the ministers
in modern Nepal, who have thrust their nominal sovereigns
into the background. The name of the Maharajadhiraj in
that country has no interest for anybody. Thus the line of
the Peshwas became substantially a ruling dynasty, which
may be taken to date from 1727, when Shahu bestowed full
powers on Baji Rao I. The dynasty lasted until the general
settlement of India effected by the Marquess of Hastings in
1818, but retained little power after the treaty of Bassein,
in 1802.

Change in Maratha government. During the rule of the
first three Peshwas the character of the Maratha government
changed. The hereditary dominions in the Ghats and Konkan
left by Sivaji became of comparatively small importance.
The main efforts of the Maratha rulers were directed to securing
their power over the dominions of the Mughal emperor and
the Nizam, by compelling the sovereigns of those countries to
submit to Maratha blackmail or extortion. Countries which
consented to pay the chauth, or one -fourth of the land revenue,
plus the sardesmukhi, or one-tenth, were supposed to be



230 THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761

protected from plunder. The emperor Muhammad Shah, in
1719, during the lifetime of Balaji Visvanath Peshwa, had
been forced not only to acknowledge the Maratha title to
the hereditary dominions of Sivaji (svaraj), but to recognize
formally the Maratha right to levy chauth and sardesmukhl
from the six Subas of the Deccan.

Complex accounts. The assessment and collection of the
claims were purposely made extremely complex, so that the
accounts should not be intelligible to any one except the
Brahmans in the Peshwa's employ, and an excuse for demand-
ing arrears might thus always be at hand. The curious
details of the system are explained at length in Grant Duff's
History of the Mahrattas. The institutions of Sivaji were
neglected, and his rules of discipline were disregarded.

Origin of existing Maratha states. About this time the
chiefs who founded the still existing Maratha dynasties of the
Gaikwar, of Baroda, of Holkar at Indore, and of Sindia at
Gwalior, come into notice. The ancestor of the Gaikwar was
an adherent of a defeated opponent whom Baji Rao I thought
it prudent to conciliate. The chiefs of Indore and Gwalior
are descended from men of humble origin who became officers
of Baji Rao and gradually rose to distinction in his service.
At the great settlement of 1818 those three dynasties were
lucky enough to be confirmed in their possessions. But the
Bhonsla Raj of Nagpur or Berar lost its independence at the
same date, and was finally extinguished by Lord Dalhousie in
1853. The Raj had been founded in 1743 by a Maratha
leader named Raghuji, who acquired Cuttack (Katak) in 1751,
and claimed from Bengal twelve lakhs of rupees as chauth.
Raghuji is not to be confounded with Raghoba or Raghunath
Rao, the younger son of Baji Rao I, who became prominent
in the first Maratha war.

Foreign invasion ; Nadir Shah. Unhappy India, already
bleeding to death from internal disorders, had yet a calamity
still greater to suffer. For more than two centuries she had
been spared the misery caused by serious invasions from



THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761 231

beyond the passes of the north-western frontier, but was now
to undergo experiences which recalled the days of Mahmud
and Timur. Early in 1736, the throne of Persia was seized by
Nadir Shah, an adventurer who had earned a right to the
highest place by the display of extraordinary abilities as a
general. Being dissatisfied at the delay of the Delhi govern-
ment in redressing certain grievances of which he complained,
he occupied Ghazm and Kabul, and, advancing without meet-
ing serious resistance, was within a hundred miles of Delhi
before Muhammad Shah could do anything to stop him.

Battle of Karnal ; massacre at Delhi. Early in 1739, at
Karnal, not far from the historic field of Panipat, the imperial
forces ventured to bar the invader's path, and were easily
routed. Muhammad Shah submitted, and, being courteously
received, entered Delhi with the victor. Nadir Shah at first
held his troops in check and protected the city, but when the
populace attacked him and his men, he let loose 20,000 soldiers
to burn, plunder, and kill. Not less than 30,000 people perished
in the massacre, which lasted for half a day.

Return home of Nadir Shah, 1739. Nadir Shah wanted
something more than blood. The seizure of the crown jewels
and the peacock throne (ante, p. 203) alone was sufficient to
enrich the robber beyond the dreams of avarice, but he was
not content until he had extorted from the surviving citizens,
great and small, the larger part of their possessions, every form
of cruelty being used to compel payment. He then made a
treaty with Muhammad Shah, providing for the cession of the
provinces beyond the Indus, reseated him on the throne, and
after a stay of fifty-eight days returned to his own country,
laden with coin, plate, jewels, and precious things of every
kind to the value of many millions sterling. Like the early
invaders, he also brought away with him hundreds of skilled
artisans.

The court of Delhi. The impotent court of Delhi continued
to be the scene of endless intrigues and assassinations. The
most prominent personages there were the vazir Kamar-ud -din



232 THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761

Khan and Ghazi-ud-din, son of Asaf Jah, viceroy of the
Deccan.

Ahmad Shah Durrani. In 1747 Nadir Shah, king of Persia,
who had become an insane tyrant, was murdered, and suc-
ceeded in his eastern territories by a chieftain named Ahmad
Khan, head of the Abdali or Durrani clan of the Afghans, who
took the title of Ahmad Shah. Next year the Durrani in-
vaded the Panjab, and was driven back, after a hard fight at
Sahrind, by the imperial forces under the command of the heir-
apparent, Prince Ahmad, and the vazir, who was killed in
action.

Ahmad Shah of Delhi, 1748. In April of the same year,
Muhammad Shah died and was succeeded by his son, Ahmad


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