Bahadur Shah (Urdu: بہادر شاه اول—Bahādur Shāh Awwal) (14 October 1643 – 27 February 1712), the seventh Mughal emperor of India, ruled from 1707 until his death in 1712. Born Mu’azzam, Shah was the third son of Aurangzeb with his Muslim Rajput wife Nawab Bai and the grandson of Shah Jahan. In his youth, he conspired to overthrow his father and ascend to the throne a number of times. Shah’s plans were intercepted by the emperor, who imprisoned him several times. From 1696 to 1707, he was governor of Akbarabad (later known as Agra), Kabul and Lahore.
After Aurangzeb’s death Shah’s brother, Muhammad Azam Shah, declared himself successor before his defeat in the Battle of Jajau. During his reign, Shah bloodlessly annexed the Rajput states of Jodhpur and Amber and sparked controversy in the khutba by inserting the declaration of Ali as wali. His reign was also disturbed by the Sikh leader Banda Singh Bahadur, who led a rebillion against him. Bahadur Shah was buried in the Moti Masjid at Mehrauli in Delhi.
Mu’azzam was born on 16 October 1643 in Burhanpur to the sixth Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, and his wife Begum Nawab Bai. In 1663, when he was twenty years old, he was made the governor of the Deccan province.Mu’azzam saw the rise of Shivaji, who carved his own empire in Konkan and around Pune from the Mughal empire. That year Mu’azzam attacked Pune, where he was defeated and imprisoned for around seven years.
In 1670, Mu’azzam organized an insurgency to overthrow Aurangzeb and proclaim himself the Mughal emperor. However, Aurangzeb learned about the plot and sent Begum Nawab Bai to dissuade him. Nawab Bai brought Mu’azzam back to the Mughal court, where he spent the next seven years under Aurangzeb’s supervision. However, Mu’azzam revolted in 1680 on the pretext of protesting Aurangzeb’s treatment of Rajput chiefs. This time, Aurangzeb followed his previous policy to dissuade Mu’azzam with greater vigilance.
For the next seven years, from 1681 to 1687, Mu’azzam was a “grudgingly obedient son”.In 1681 he was ordered to crush a revolt against Aurangzeb by his brother, Sultan Muhammad Akbar, in the Deccan. According to historian Munis Faruqui, Mu’azzam deliberately failed in his mission. In 1683 he was ordered by Aurangzeb to march to the Konkan region to prevent Akbar from fleeing the country, but again his “half-hearted” mission failed to achieve the assigned goal.
In 1687 Aurangzeb ordered Mu’azzam to march against the sultanate of Golconda, and the emperor’s spies intercepted messages between Mu’azzam and Golcondan ruler Abul Hasan.After learning of his son’s intentions, Aurangzeb charged him with treason and imprisoned him; his harem was “shipped off to faraway Delhi”, and also charged with treason.Mu’azzam’s loyal servants were moved by his father into the imperial service, and the remaining servants were sacked.Aurangzeb forbade Mu’azzam to cut his nails or hair for six months, receive “good food or cold water” or meet with people without the ruler’s permission.
Around 1694, Aurangzeb rehabilitated Mu’azzam and allowed him “to rebuild his household”, rehiring some of his servants who had been dismissed.Aurangzeb continued to spy on his son, appointing his men to Mu’azzam’s household, sending informants to his harem and choosing his representatives at the imperial court. Mu’azzam and his sons were transferred from the Deccan to north India, and were forbidden to lead military expeditions in that region for the rest of Aurangzeb’s reign.
In 1695, Aurangzeb sent Mu’azzam to the Punjab region to fight the chieftains and subdue a rebellion by the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. Although the commander imposed “heavy taxation” on the rajas, he thought it necessary to leave the Sikhs undisturbed in their fortified city of Anandpur and refused to wage war against them out of “genuine respect” for their religion.
That year Mu’azzam was appointed governor of Akbarabad, and in 1696 he was transferred to Lahore. After the death of Amin Khan (governor of Kabul) he assumed that position in 1699, holding it until his father’s death in 1707.
Without appointing a crown prince, Aurangzeb died in 1707 when Mu’azzam was governor of Kabul and his half-brothers (Muhammad Kam Bakhsh and Muhammad Azam Shah) were the governors of the Deccan and Gujarat respectively. All three sons intended to win the crown, and Kam Bakhsh began minting coins in his name. Azam prepared to march to Agra and declare himself successor, but was defeated by Mu’azzam at the Battle of Jajau in June 1707. Azam and his son, Ali Tabar, were killed in the battle.Mu’azzam ascended the Mughal throne at age 63 on 19 June 1707, with the title of Bahadur Shah I
With his predecessors unable to make significant gains in Rajputana, after ascending the throne, Shah made plans to annexe cities of the region to the Mughal empire. On 10 November Shah began his march to Amber (in Rajputana, present day Rajasthan state of India), visiting the tomb of Salim Chishti in Fatehpur Sikri on 21 November. In the meantime, Shah’s aid Mihrab Khan was ordered to take possession of Jodhpur.Shah reached Amber on 20 January 1708. Though the monarch of the kingdom was Jai Singh, his brother Bijai Singh resented his rule. Shah ruled that because of the dispute, the region would become part of the Mughal empire and the city was renamed as Islamabad. Jai Singh’s goods and properties were confiscated on the pretext that he supported Shah’s brother Azam Shah during the war of Shah’s succession andBijai Singh was made the governor of Amber on 30 April 1708. Shah gave him the title of Mirza Rajah, and he received gifts valued at 100,000 rupees. Amber passed into Mughal hands without a war.
Jaswant Singh was the leader of the Rathore in Jodhpur (in Rajputana, in present-day Indian state Rajasthan) during Aurangzeb’s reign. During a war of succession Singh sided with Aurangzeb’s older brother Dara Shikoh, who was killed by Aurangzeb. Singh was pardoned, became titular ruler of the region and was appointed governor of the province of Kabul before his death on 18 December 1678. After his death, Aurangzeb ordered Singh’s widows and his son Ajit Singh to be brought to Delhi and with plans of forcefully absorbing Ajit Singh in the Mughal army in the future. Though Durgadas Rathore of the Rathore clan who was ambitous of conquering Jodhpur from the Mughals, took advantage of this opportunity and fought a war to prevent Aurangzeb getting hold of Ajit, he faced defeat but the widows and Singh managed to flee from Delhi to Jodhpur.After Aurangzeb’s death, during Shah’s half brother Muhammad Azam Shah’s rule Singh marched to Jodhpur and took it from Mughal rule.
In Amber Shah announced his intention to march to Jodhpur when Mihrab Khan defeated Ajit Singh at Mairtha, and he reached the town on 21 February 1708. Shah’s men were sent to bring Singh to the city for an interview with him, where Singh received “special robes of honour” and a jewelled scarf.Then, Shah headed towards Ajmer (in Rajputana, in present-day Indian state Rajasthan) and reached the city on 24 March, where he visited the Dargah Sharif.
The city of Udaipur (in Rajputana, present day Indian state of Rajasthan) was annexed to the Mughal empire by Akbar in 1567. However the city was lost to the Sisodias during the reign of his grandson Shah Jahan. Shah also had intention of recapturing Udaipur.
In Jodhpur, Shah got the news that the Maharana Amar Singh II had fled from Udaipur to the hills. His messengers gave him the message that Singh got “afraid” by the happenings in Amber and Jodhpur and thought that his kingdom would also be annexed by Shah.According to the Bahadur Shah Nama chronicle, because of this incident Shah called Amar Singh an “unbeliever”. Shah waged war against the king until his brother Muhammad Kam Bakhsh’s insurgency diverted him southward
While the emperor was on his way to Deccan to punish Muhammad Kam Bakhsh the three Rajput Raja’s of Amber, Udaipur and Jodhpur made a joint resistance to the Mughals. The Rajputs first expelled the commandants of Jodhpur and Hindaun-Bayana and recovered Amber by a night attack. They next killed Sayyid Hussain Khan Barha, the commandant of Mewat and many other officers (September, 1708). The emperor, then in the Deccan had to patch up a truce by restoring Ajit Singh and Jai Singh to the Mughal Service
Shah’s half-brother, Muhammad Kam Bakhsh, marched to Bijapur in March 1707 with his soldiers. When the news of Aurangzeb’s death spread through the city, the city’s monarch, King Sayyid Niyaz Khan surrendered the fort to him without a fight. Ascending the throne, Kam Bakhsh made Ahsan Khan, who served in the army as the bakshi (general of the armed forces), and made his advisor Taqarrub Khan as chief ministerand gave himself the title of Padshah Kam Bakhsh-i-Dinpanah (Emperor Kam Bakhsh, Protector of Faith). He then conquered Kulbarga and Wakinkhera.
Rivalry developed between Taqarrub Khan and Ahsan Khan. Ahsan Khan had developed a marketplace in Bijapur where, without permission from Kam Bakhsh, he did not tax the shops. Taqarrub Khan reported it to Kam Bakhsh, who ordered the practise stopped.In May 1707, Kam Bakhsh sent Ahsan Khan to conquer the states of Golkonda and Hyderabad. Although the king of Golconda refused to surrender, Subahdar of Hyderabad Rustam Dil Khan did so.
Taqarrub Khan made a conspiracy to eliminate Ahsan Khan, alleging that meetings of Ahsan Khan, Saif Khan (Kam Bakhsh’s archery teacher), Arsan Khan, Ahmad Khan, Nasir Khan and Rustam Dil Khan (all of them Kam Bakhsh’s former teachers and members of the then court) to discuss public business were a conspiracy to assassinate Kam Bakhsh “while on his way to the Friday prayer at the great mosque”.After informing Kam Bakhsh of the matter, he invited Rustam Dil Khan for dinner; arrested en route, Rustam Dil Khan was killed by being crushed under the feet of an elephant. Saif Khan’s hands were amputated, and Arshad Khan’s tongue was cut off.Ahsan Khan ignored warnings by close friends that Kam Bakhsh would arrest him, but he was imprisoned and his property seized In April 1708, Shah’s envoy Maktabar Khan came to Kam Bakhsh’s court. When Taqarrub Khan told Kam Bakhsh that Maktabar Khan intended to dethrone him, Kam Bakhsh invited the envoy and his entourage to a feast and executed them.
In May 1708, Shah wrote a letter to Kam Bakhsh which he hoped would “be a warning” against proclaiming himself an independent sovereign and began a journey to the Tomb of Aurangzeb to pay his respects to his father.Kam Bakhsh thanked him in a letter, “without either explaining or justifying
When Shah reached Hyderabad on 28 June 1708, he learned that Kam Bakhsh had attacked Machhlibandar to seize over three million rupees’ worth of treasure hidden in its fort. The subahdar of the province, Jan Sipar Khan, refused to hand over the money.Enraged, Kam Bakhsh confiscated his properties and ordered the recruitment of four thousand soldiers for the attack. In July, the garrison at the Kulbarga fort declared their independence and garrison leader Daler Khan Bijapuri “reported his desertion from Kam Bakhsh”. On 5 November 1708 Shah’s camp reached Bidar, 67 miles (108 km) north of Hyderabad. Historian William Irvine wrote that as his “camp drew nearer desertions from Kam Bakhsh became more and more frequent”. On 1 November, Kam Bakhsh captured Pam Naik’s (zamindar, the landlord of Wakinkhera) holdings after Naik abandoned his army.
According to Irvine, more soldiers deserted as Shah’s group neared. When Kam Bakhsh’s general told him that his failure to pay his soldiers was the reason for their desertion, he replied: “What need have I of enlisting them? My trust is in God, and whatever is best will happen.”
Thinking that Kam Bakhsh might flee to Persia, Shah ordered Mughal prime minister Zulfiqar Khan Nusrat Jung to agree with Madras Presidency governor Thomas Pitt to pay him 200,000 rupees for Kam Bakhsh’s capture. On 20 December, Kam Bakhsh was reported to have a cavalry of 2,500 and an infantry of 5,000.
On 20 December 1708, Kam Bakhsh marched towards Talab-i-Mir Jumla, on the outskirts of Hyderabad, with “three hundred camels, twenty thousand rockets” for war with Shah. He made his son Jahandar Shah commander of the advance guard, later replacing him with Khan Zaman. On 12 January 1709, Shah reached Hyderabad and prepared his troops. Although Kam Bakhsh had little money and few soldiers left, the royal astrologer had predicted that he would “miraculously” win the battle.
At sunrise the following day, Shah’s army charged towards Kam Bakhsh. His 15,000 troops were divided into two bodies: one led by Mumin Khan, assisted by Rafi-ush-Shan and Jahan Shah, and the second under Zulfiqar Khan Nusrat Jung. Two hours later Kam Bakhsh’s camp was surrounded, and Zulfiqar Khan impatiently attacked him with his “small force”.
With his soldiers outnumbered and unable to resist the attack, Kam Bakhsh joined the battle and shot two quivers of arrows at his opponents. According to Irvine, when he was “weakened by loss of blood”, Shah took him and his son Bariqullah prisoner. A dispute arose between Mumin Khan and Zulfikar Khan Nusrat Jung over who had captured them, with Rafi-us-Shan ruling in favor of the latter.Kam Bakhsh was brought by palanquin to Shah’s camp, where he died the next morning
Unlike previous Mughal rulers who divided power between Mughal and Rajput chiefs, during Shah’s reign all power resided with him.The Sikh khalsa (army), under the leadership of Banda Singh Bahadur, and their army defeated the Mughals in battle at Samana, Sirhind and Rahon and captured the cities of Samana, Sirhind, Malerkotla, Saharanpur, Rahon, Behat, Ambheta, Ropar and Jalandhar from 1709 to 1712. With an army of eighty thousand soldiers, Bahadur also besieged the city of Jalalabad in present-day Afghanistan
Shah signed peace treaties with Ajit Singh of Jodhpur and Man Singh of Amber before fighting Bahadur. He also ordered the Nawab of Awadh Asaf-ud-Daula, provincial governor Khan-i-Durrani, Moradabad faujdar Muhammad Amin Khan Chin, Delhi subahdar Asad Khan and Jammu faujdar Wazid Khan to accompany him into battle. Shah left Ajmer for the Punjab on 17 June 1710, mobilising groups opposed to Bahadur on the way.When he learned about Shah’s plans, Bahadur unsuccessfully appealed to Ajit Singh and Man Singh for help.In the meantime, Shah had reoccupied Sonipat, Kaithal and Panipat en route. In October, his commander Feroze Khan wrote to him that he had “chopped three hundred heads of rebels”; Khan sent them to the emperor, who displayed them mounted on spears.
On 1 November 1710 Shah reached the city of Karnal, where Mughal cartogapher Rustam Dil Khan gave him a map of Thanesar and Sirhind. Six days later, a small group of Sikhs were defeated at Mewati and Banswal.The city of Sirhind fell to the Mughals on 7 December; its besieger, general Mohammad Amin Khan Bahadur, gave Shah a golden key ring commemorating the victory. After failing to recapture Sadaura Shah marched towards Lohgarh, where Bahadur was hiding. On 30 November he attacked the Lohgarh fort, capturing three guns, matchlocks and three trenches from the rebels. With little ammunition left, Bahadur and a “few hundred of his followers fled”.His follower, Gulab Singh (who was “dressed like” Bahadur), entered the fight and was killed Shah issued imperial orders to the rulers of Kumaon and Srinagar that if Bahadur tried to enter their province, he should be “sent to the Emperor”.
Suspecting that Bahadur was allied with Bhup Prakash, the king of Nahan, Shah imprisoned Prakash in January 1711; his mother begged in vain for his release. After she sent him captured followers of Bahadur he ordered that “ornaments worth 100,000 rupees should be manufactured” for her, and Prakash was released a month later.Shukan Khan Bahadur and Himmet Diler Khan were sent to Lahore to end Bahadur’s rebellion, and their unsuccessful attempt was reinforced by a garrison of five thousand soldiers. Shah also pressed Rustam Dil Khan and Muhammad Amin Khan to join them.
Bahadur was hiding in Alhalab, 7 miles (11 km) from Lahore. When Mughal workers came to repair a bridge in the village, his followers disinformed them that he was preparing to attack Delhi via Ajmer. Bahadur received soldiers from village ruler Ram Chand for his march against the Mughals, and besieged Fatehabad in April 1711. After learning from messenger Rustan Jung that he crossed the Ravi River, Shah attacked with artillery led by Isa Khan. In the July battle, Bahadur was defeated and fled to the Jammu hills. Forces led by Isa Khan and Muhammad Amin Khan followed, but failed to capture him. Shah issued an edict to the zamindars (landlord) of Jammu to take the Sikh captive if possible.
Bahadur was attacked by Muhammad Amin Khan at the river Satluj, escaping to the Garhwal hills. Finding him “invincible”, Shah went to Ajit Singh and Jai Singh for help. In October 1711, a joint Mughal-Rajput force marched towards Sadaura. Bahadur escaped the ensuing siege, this time taking refuge at Kulu in present-day Himachal Pradesh.
After ascending the throne, Shah altered the public prayer (or khutba) for the monarch said every Friday by giving the title wali to Ali—the fourth Sunni and the first Shia caliph. Because of this, the citizens of Lahore resented reciting the khutba.
To solve the problem, Shah went to Lahore in September 1711 and had discussions with Haji Yar Muhammad, Muhammad Murad and “other well-known men”. At their meeting, he read “books of authority” to justify using the word wasi. Shah had a heated argument with Yar Muhammad, saying that martyrdom by a king was the only thing he wanted. Yar Muhammad (supported by the emperor’s son, Azim-ush-Shan) recruited troops against Shah, but no war was fought.Shah held the khatib (chief reciter) at the Badshahi Mosque responsible for the matter, and had him arrested. On 2 October, although the army was deployed at the mosque the old khutba (which did not call Ali “wasi”) was read.
According to historian William Irvine, Shah was in Lahore in January 1712 when his “health failed”. On 24 February he made his final public appearance, and died during the night of 27–28 February; according to Mughal noble Kamwar Khan, he died of “enlargement of the spleen”. On 11 April, Shah’s body was sent to Delhi under the supervision of his widow Mihr-Parwar and Chin Qilich Khan. He was buried on 15 May in the courtyard of the Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) in Mehrauli, which he built near the dargah of Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki.He was succeeded by his son Jahandar Shah who ruled until 1713.