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Chapter 2 – Shah Jehan, till 1657

Asof Khan takes part with Shah Jehan

The influence of Nur Jehan expired with her husband; and the fruit of all her long intrigues was lost in a moment. Her favourite, Shehriar, was absent, and Asof Khan, who was all along determined to support Shah Jehan, immediately sent off a messenger to summon him from the Deckan. In the mean time, to sanction his own measures by the appearance of legal authority, he released Prince Dawar, the son of Khusru, from prison, and proclaimed him king210.

Imprisons the empress

Nur Jehan, endeavouring to support the cause of Shehriar, was placed under a temporary restraint by her brother; and from that time, although she survived for many years, her name is never again mentioned in history211.

Defeats Shehriar who is put to death

Asof Khan then continued his march to Lahor. Shehriar, who was already in that city, seized the put royal treasure, bought over the troops, and, forming a coalition with two sons of his uncle, the late

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Prince Danial, marched out to oppose Asof Khan. The battle ended in his defeat: he fled into the citadel, was given up by his adherents, and he was afterwards put to death with the sons of Danial, by orders from Shah Jehan212.

Shah Jehan arrives from the Deckan, and is proclaimed at Agra

1628, January 26; AH 1037, Jamadi at Akhir 7

The new emperor lost no time in obeying the summons of Asof Khan. He left the Deckan accompanied by Mohabat, and on his arrival at Agra caused his accession to he proclaimed, and took formal possession of the throne.213

The highest honours were conferred on Asof Khan and Mohabat, and great promotions and distributions of money were made to the friends and adherents of the emperor. Among his first acts were, to abolish the ceremony of prostration; to restore the Mahometan lunar year in ordinary correspondence; and to make some other slight changes favourable to the Mussulman religion.

When firmly established in his government, Shah Jehan seems to have indemnified himself for his late fatigues and privations, by giving a loose to his passion for magnificent buildings and expensive entertainments. He erected palaces in his principal cities; and, on the first anniversary of his accession, he had a suite of tents prepared in Cashmir, which, if we are to believe his historian214, it

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took two months to pitch. He introduced new forms of lavish expenditure on that occasion; for, besides the usual ceremony of being weighed against precious substances, he had vessels filled with jewels waved round his head, or poured over his person (according to the superstition that such offerings would avert misfortunes); and all the wealth so devoted was immediately scattered among the bystanders, or given away in presents. The whole expense of the festival, including gifts of money, jewels, rich dresses and arms, elephants and horses, amounted, by the account of the same historian, to 1,600,000l. sterling.

Local disturbances

He was disturbed in these enjoyments by an irruption of the Uzbeks in Cabul: they ravaged the country and besieged the capital, but retired on the approach of a light force, followed up by an army under Mohabat Khan. To this invasion succeeded the revolt of Narsing Deo, the murderer of Abul Fazl. He opposed a long resistance in Bundelcand, before he was brought to submit215.

Mohabat had only reached Sirhind on his way to Cabul, when the intelligence of the retreat of the Uzbeks was received. He was immediately recalled to the capital, and directed to prepare for a march into the Deckan.

History of Khan Jehan Lodi

Khan Jehan Lodi was an Afghan of low birth, but with all the pride and unruliness of his nation in India. He had held great military charges in

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the reign of Jehangir, and commanded in the Deckan under Parviz at the time of that prince’s death. Being left with undivided authority, he thought it for his advantage, perhaps for that of the state, to make peace with the son of Malik Amber, now at the head of the Nizam Shahi government. He gave up what still remained to the Moguls of Shah Jehan’s conquests, and entered into a close intimacy with his late enemies.

When Shah Jehan set out to assume the throne, he refused to join him, marched into Malwa, laid siege to Mandu, and seemed to be aiming at independence. He returned to obedience when Shah Jehan’s accession was secure; and it was thought prudent, at first, to confirm him in his government, and afterwards to be content with removing him to that of Malwa, while the Deckan was given to Mohabat Khan.

Having co-operated in the reduction of Raja Narsing Deo, he was invited to court, and treated with great attention; but, before he had been long there, he received intimations from some of his friends that the emperor harboured designs against him, and was only waiting an opportunity to find him off his guard. These suggestions, whether true or false, made an impression on his jealous nature. He refused to attend on the king, assembled his troops round the palace he inhabited, and stood prepared to defend himself against any at-tempt that might be made on him. Negotiations then took place, and were so successful that all

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differences appeared to be removed, when some new circumstance excited Khan Jehan’s distrust, and decided him to run all risks rather than remain within the power of men on whose faith he could not rely.

His flight from Agra

One night, soon after dark, he assembled all his troops, placed his women in the centre on elephants, and marched openly out of Agra with his kettle-drums beating, at the head of 2000 veteran Afghans, and accompanied by twelve of his own sons. He was pursued within two hours by a strong body of the royal troops, who overtook him at the river Chambal. He had scarcely time to send his family across the river, when he was obliged to cover their retreat by engaging the very superior force that was in pursuit of him. The severest part of the action was between the Afghans and a body of Rajputs, who dismounted and charged with pikes, according to their national custom. Raja Pirti Sing Rahtor and Khan Jehan were engaged hand to hand, and separated with mutual wounds. After a long resistance, Khan Jehan plunged into the stream, and effected his passage with the loss of a few men drowned, besides those he had lost in the action. The royal troops did not, at first, venture to follow him; and when they had been joined by reinforcements, and were emboldened to renew the pursuit, Khan Jehan had got so much the start of them, that he was able to make his way through Bundelcand into the wild and woody country of Gondwana, from whence he

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soon opened a communication with his old ally, the king of Ahmednagar.

His proceedings in the Deckan; The emperor marches against him

1929, October; AH 1039, Rabi ul Awal

The affair now assumed so serious an aspect that Shah Jehan thought it necessary to take the field in person, and moved into the Deckan at the head of a great armament.

He halted, himself, at Burhanpur, and sent on three detachments, or rather armies216, into the hostile territory.

State of the Deckan

The three Deckan monarchies had, at this time, recovered their ancient limits, and (except the fort of Ahmednagar, which still held out in disregard of Khan Jehan’s cession) the Moguls were reduced to the eastern half of Candesh and an adjoining portion of Berar. The greatest of the Deckan kingdoms was that of Ahmednagar, which was contiguous to the Mogul territory. Mortezza Nizam Shah (the king set up by Malik Amber) was well inclined to act for himself on the death of that minister; but he would, perhaps, have remained a pageant, if the sons of Malik Amber had possessed talents equal to their father’s. The fact was far otherwise; and Mortezza soon displaced and imprisoned Fatteh Khan, the eldest of them, and afterwards conducted the administration himself. He did so with so little ability, that his kingdom became a scene of faction, affording every advantage to his foreign enemies217.

Ibrahim Adil Shah of Bijapur, who died about

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the same time with Amber, and left his country in a much more prosperous condition to his son, Mohammed Adil Shah; and Abdullah Kutb Shah of Golconda, who was probably aggrandising himself at the expense of his Hindu neighbours in Telingana, took no part in the quarrels of the Mahometan kings.

Khan Jehan driven out of Ahmednagar

By the time Shah Jehan reached Burhanpur, Khan Jehan had moved from Gondwana into the country under Ahmednagar. The Mogul armies, in consequence, marched into that territory, and were assisted by a simultaneous movement from the side of Guzerat. Khan Jehan, after some unavailing attempts by himself and his allies to make head against this disproportioned force, retired to. the southward, and eluded the Mogul detachments by moving from place to place.

Pursued by Azim Khan

At length Azim Khan, the most active of Shah Jehan’s officers, by a succession of forced marches, succeeded in surprising him, took his baggage, and forced him to seek shelter by retiring among the hills and woods, where the whole of the enemy’s force could not be brought to bear on him. He then kept retreating; sometimes checking his pursuers by defending favourable positions, and sometimes escaping from them by long and unexpected marches. In this manner he reached Bijapur.

Fails in obtaining an asylum at Bijapur

He expected to persuade the king to take his part; but he found Mohammed Adil Shah entirely disinclined to enter on such a contest, and was obliged once more to return to the territories of the king of Ahmednagar.

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His ally, the king of Ahmednagar, defeated

Mortezza Nizam Shah had himself been hard pressed during this interval, and two of the greatest of the Hindu chiefs under him had gone over to the enemy. He had still sufficient confidence to try the effect of a decisive battle. He assembled his army at Doulatabad, and took post in strong ground among the neighbouring passes: this advantage did not compensate for the superior numbers of his enemies; he was defeated, and obliged to seek protection in his forts and in desultory warfare.

Khan Jehan flies from the Deckan

Meanwhile Khan Jehan, overwhelmed by the defeat of his allies, the destruction of their country, and the additional calamities of famine and pestilence with which it was now visited, determined to quit the scene, and to take refuge (as was supposed) with the Afghans near Peshawer, where all the north-eastern tribes were at that time up in arms. If such was his intention, he was unable to accomplish it: after passing the Nerbadda near the frontier of Guzerat, he crossed all Malwa towards Bundelcand, where he hoped to be able to revive the spirit of insurrection; but the raja of that country turned against him, and cut off his rear-guard under his long-tried and attached friend Deria Khan; and, being overtaken by the Moguls, he sent off his wounded and made a stand with the remains of his force, now reduced to 400 Afghans. His resistance, though long and desperate, was vain his party was destroyed or dispersed, and he was obliged to fly with a few devoted adherents. He endeavoured to force his way into the hill fort

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Is cut off in Bundelcand

1630, AH 1040

of Calinjer, was repulsed with the loss of his son, and was at last overtaken at a pool where he had stopped from exhaustion; and, after defending himself with his usual gallantry, and receiving many wounds, was struck through with a pike by a Rajput, and his head was sent as a most acceptable present to the Mogul emperor218.

Continuance of the war with Ahmednagar

Famine and pestilence in the Deckan

The war with Nizam Shah was not concluded by the removal of its original cause. At this time a destructive famine desolated the Deckan. It began from a failure of the periodical rains in 1629, and was raised to a frightful pitch by a recurrence of the same misfortune in 1630. Thousands of people emigrated, and many perished before they reached more favoured provinces; vast numbers died at home; whole districts were de-populated; and some had not recovered at the end of forty years219. The famine was accompanied by a total failure of forage, and by the death of all the cattle; and the miseries of the people were completed by a pestilence such as is usually the consequence of the other calamities. In the midst of these horrors, Azim Khan carried on his operations against Mortezza Nizam Shah; and that prince, ascribing all his disasters to the misconduct of his minister, removed him from his office, and conferred it on Fatteh Khan, son of Malik Amber; whom he released from prison for the purpose.

The king of Bijapur joins the king of Ahmednagar

The prospect of the ruin of the Nizam Shah,

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which now seemed at hand, alarmed Mohammed Adil Shah, who, though pleased, at first, with the humiliation of his hereditary enemy, was not in sensible of the danger certain to result to himself from the entire subversion of the neighbouring monarchy. He therefore brought a seasonable relief to the weaker party, by declaring war with the Moguls. But his assistance came too late to preserve Mortezza Nizam Shah from the consequences of his own imprudence: Fatteh Khan, more mindful of former injuries than recent favours, and ambitious of recovering the authority once possessed by his father, applied all the power which had been confided to him to the destruction of the donor; and, aided by the weakness and unpopularity of Mortezza himself, was soon strong enough to put that prince and his chief adherents to death, and to take the government into his own hands.

Murder of the king of Ahmednagar by his minister, Fatteh Khan

At the same time, he sent to offer submission, and a large contribution to the Moguls, and placed an infant on the throne, with an open profession that he was to hold his dignity in subordination to Shah Jehan.

who submits to Shah Jehan

War with Bijapur continues

Tergiversation of Fatteh Khan

His terms were immediately accepted, and Shah Jehan turned his whole force against Bijapur. Fatteh Khan, however, evaded the fulfilment of his promises, was again attacked by the Moguls, and once more joined his cause with that of Adil Shah. He was afterwards reconciled to the Moguls; and various similar changes took place in the

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progress of the war, from his perfidious and shifting policy.

Siege of Bijapur

During one of those vicissitudes, the king of Bijapur was borne down by the superior force of his enemies, and was constrained to take refuge in his capital, where he was besieged by a great army under the command of Asof Khan. In this desperate situation, he must have shared the fate of his former rival, if he had not found resources in his own abilities and address. While he used every exertion to defend his town, and to harass the assailants, he amused Asof Khan, and delayed his operations by a variety of well-contrived artifices: sometimes he entered on negotiations himself, and held out hopes of his immediately yielding to Shah Jehan’s demand, without the risk of further hostilities; at other times, he engaged Asof Khan in intrigues with chieftains who pretended to make bargains for their defection, and sometimes led him into disasters by feigned offers from individuals to desert their posts when attacked, or to admit his troops by night into parts of the fortifications intrusted to their charge.

Failure of the siege.

During all this time, disease and famine were playing their parts in the camp of Asof Khan; and he at last found himself under the necessity of raising the siege, and revenged himself by cruelly ravaging the unexhausted parts of the kingdom220.

The emperor returns to Delhi 1632, March; AH 1041, Ramzan

It was about the time of this failure, that Shah

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Jehan returned to his capital, leaving Mohabat Khan in the supreme government of the Deckan221. The operations carried on under that general led, at length, to Fatteh Khan’s being shut up in the fort of Doulatabad, where he defended himself, with occasional assistance from the king of Bijapur; and the fate of the Nizam Shahi monarchy seemed to rest on the result of the struggle. It was decided by a general action, in which the combined force of the Deckanis was defeated in an attempt to raise the siege, and Fatteh Khan soon after surrendered and entered into the Mogul service, while the king whom he had set up was sent off a prisoner to Gwalior222.

1633, February; AH 1042 Ill success of the operations in the Deckan

The king of Bijapur, being now left alone, made overtures of negotiation which were not favourably received; he then continued to defend himself; and all the efforts of Mohabat Khan were ineffectual to subdue him. An important point of the war was the siege of Perinda, on his failure in which, Mohabat Khan was obliged to fall back on Burhanpur and desist from aggressive operations223.


He had before been put under the nominal command of the emperor’s second son, Shuja, who was a boy; and he was now recalled to court, and the Deckan was divided into two commands, under Khani Doman and Khani Zeman.

These officers were less successful than their

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predecessor. Mohammed Adil Shah continued to hold out, and the Nizam Shah monarchy, which seemed to have come to an end on the surrender of Fatteh Khan, was revived by a chief whose family were afterwards to act an important part as the founders of the Maratta nation.

Shahji Bosla attempts to restore the king of Ahmednagar

This was Shahji Bosla, who had risen to considerable rank in the time of Malik Amber, and had distinguished himself as a partisan during the late wars. After the fall of Doulatabad, he drew off to the rugged country in the west of the Deckan; and, some time after, was so strong as to set up a new pretender to the throne of Ahmednagar; and, in time, to get possession of all the districts of that kingdom from the sea to the capital224.

The Deckan, therefore, was as far as ever from being subdued; and Shah Jehan perceived the necessity of returning in person to that country, to make another effort to reduce it.

The emperor returns to the Deckan

1635, November; AH 1035, Jamadi ul awal

He marched from Agra towards the end of 1635225, and, on arriving in the Deckan, he adopted his former plan of breaking his army into divisions, and sent them, in the first instance, to recover the kingdom of Ahmednagar. When they had driven Shahji from the open country, and reduced many of his principal forts, Shah Jehan turned his whole force on Bijapur, took several strong places, and constrained Mohammed Adil Shah once more to shut himself up in his capital.

Failure of another attempt on Bijapur

The talents which

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had delivered him during the former siege did not desert him on this occasion. He laid waste the country for twenty miles round Bijapur, destroying every particle of food or forage; filled up the wells, drained off the reservoirs, and rendered it impossible for any army to support itself during an attack on the city.

The Moguls were therefore reduced to the plunder of his territories, and met with frequent losses from the spirit and activity of his detachments.

Peace with Bijapur, 1636, AH 1046

Both parties, ere long, were wearied with this sort of warfare; and Adil Shah, making the first overture, peace was concluded, on terms much more favourable than he could have expected. He consented to an annual payment of 200,000l. a year to Shah Jehan; but he was to receive, in return, a share of the Nizam Shahi dominions, which much extended his territory on the north and east.

Submission of Shahji Bosla

Shahji held out for some time longer: at length he also submitted, gave up his pretended king, and entered into the service of the king of Bijapur with the consent of Shah Jehan.

The emperor exacts a tribute from Golconda

At an early period of this invasion, Shah Jehan had overawed the king of Golconda, and had forced him to desist from reciting the name of the king of Persia in the public prayers, and to agree to pay a regular tribute226.

Returns to Delhi 1637, AH 1046

These transactions being concluded, Shah Jehan returned to his capital, and the kingdom of Ahmednagar was at length extinguished for ever.

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Local disturbances and successes in Hindustan

While Shall Jehan’s attention was principally engaged with the Deckan, some events of less moment were taking place in other quarters. The Portuguese fort of Hugli, not far from Calcutta, was taken, after a siege, by the governor of Bengal (1631.) There were revolts of the Bundelas, in the first of which the son of Narsing Deo was killed. One portion of the troops on the eastern frontier completed the settlement of Little Tibet (1634 and 1636); another was defeated and almost destroyed in an attempt to conquer Srinagar (1634); and a third, which invaded the petty state of Cuch Behar from Bengal, was compelled, by the unhealthiness of the climate, to relinquish the country after they were in possession (1637).

Recovery of Candahar Ali Merdan Khan

1637, AH 1047

The most important occurrence of these times was the acquisition of Candahar, the governor of which, Ali Merdan Khan, found himself exposed to so much danger from the tyranny of his sovereign, the king of Persia, that he gave up the place to Shah Jehan, and himself took refuge at Delhi.

He was received with great honour, and was afterwards, at different times, made governor of Cash-mil. and Cabul, and employed on various wars and other duties. He excited universal admiration at the court by the skill and judgment of his public works, of which the canal which bears his name at Delhi still affords a proof, and by the taste and elegance he displayed on all occasions of show and festivity.

Invasion of Balkh

His military talents were first tried in an invasion

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of Balkh and Badakhshan. Those provinces had remained in the hands of the Uzbeks since they were lost by Mirza Soliman, and were now held by Nazar Mohammed, the younger brother of Imam Kali, sovereign of all the territory beyond the Oxus, from the Caspian Sea to Mount Imaus.

1644, AH 1054

The revolt of Nazar Mohammed’s son, Abdul Aziz, encouraged by his powerful uncle, tempted Shah Jehan, who had enjoyed several years of repose, to assert the dormant rights of his family: Ali Merdan penetrated the range of Hindu Cush and ravaged Badakhshan; but the advance of the winter, and the fear of being cut off from the southern countries, compelled him to retreat without having gained any solid advantage. Next year, the enterprise was attempted by Raja Jagat Sing227, whose chief strength lay in a body of 14,000 Rajputs, raised in his own country, but paid by the emperor.

Services of the Rajputs in the mountains of Hindu Cush

The spirit of the Rajputs never shone more in the brilliantly than in this unusual duty: they stormed mountain passes, made forced marches over snow, constructed redoubts by their own labour, the raja himself taking an axe like the rest, and bore up against the tempests of that frozen region as firmly as against the fierce and repeated attacks of the Uzbeks.

But, with all these exertions, the enterprise now appeared so arduous that Shah Jehan himself resolved

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1645, AH 1055 Shah Jehan moves to Cabul

Balkh reduced by Prince Morad and Ali Merdan Khan

to move to Cabul, and to send on his son, Prince Morad, under the guidance of Ali Merdan Khan, with a large army, into Balkh228. This expedition was completely successful: Morad was joined by some of Nazar Mohammed’s sons, and afterwards received the submission of that chief; but, just as he had taken possession of the capital, a new rupture took place (with some suspicion of bad faith on the part of the Moguls). Nazar Mohammed, now divested of his defensible places, was obliged to fly to Persia; and his dominions were annexed, by proclamation, to those of Shah Jehan.

1646, July; AH 1056, Jamadi al Akhir

Overrun by the Uzbeks from beyond the Oxus

But this conquest was not long left undisturbed: Abdul Aziz collected a force beyond the Oxus, and sent numerous bands of plunderers to lay waste the newly conquered territory. Shah Jehan had, by this time, returned to Delhi; and Morad, tired of the service, and impatient of the control of Ali Mercian, had left his province without leave, and was sent away from court in disgrace.

Aurangzib sent against them 1647, AH 1057 Is besieged in Balkh

The charge of restoring order was therefore imposed on Prince Aurangzib, while the king himself again repaired to Cabul to support him. Aurangzib at first obtained a great victory over the Uzbeks; its effects, however, were by no means decisive, for Abdul Aziz crossed the Oxus in person, and so harrassed the Moguls, that Aurangzib, after some partial successes, was obliged to seek protection from the walls of Balkh itself.

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Shah Jehan abandons his conquest

About this time, Nazar Mohammed, having failed to obtain aid in Persia, threw himself on the clemency of Shah Jehan; and the latter prince, perceiving how little his prospects were advanced by such an expenditure of blood and treasure, came to the prudent resolution of withdrawing from the contest: and that he might do so with the less humiliation, he transferred his rights to Nazar Mohammed, then a suppliant at his court.

Disastrous retreat of Aurangzib

Aurangzib was accordingly directed to make over the places that remained in his possession; and he began his retreat from Balkh under continual attacks from the Uzbeks of Abdul Aziz’s party. When he reached the passes of Hindu Cush, the persecution was taken up, for the sake of plunder, by the mountaineers of the Hazareh tribes, and, to complete his misfortunes, the winter set in with violence; and though the prince himself reached Cabul with a light detachment, yet the main body of his army was intercepted by the snow, and suffered so much in this helpless condition from the unremitting assaults of the Hazarehs, that they were glad to escape in separate bodies with the loss of all their baggage and almost all their horses229.

About the end of 1647, 1057 Candahar retaken by the Persians

The tranquillity purchased by the relinquishment of Balkh was first disturbed by an attack on Candahar by the Persians. During the weak and tyrannical reign of Shah Safi, and the minority of his son, Shah Abbas II., the Moguls had been

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allowed to enjoy the fruits of Ali Merdan’s desertion unmolested; but as Abbas advanced towards manhood, his ministers induced him to assert the dignity of his monarchy by restoring it to its ancient limits.

AH 1058, 1648

He assembled a large army, and marched against Candahar. He showed much judgment in beginning the siege in winter, when the communication between India and Cabul was cut off by the snow, while his own operations went on unobstructed in the mild climate of Candahar. The consequence was, that, although Aurangzib and the vizir Saad Ullah Khan were ordered off in all haste from the Panjab, and although they made their way with great exertions through the mountains, they arrived too late to save Candahar, which had been taken after a siege of two months and a half. The exhausted condition of the army after their winter march compelled Aurangzib and Saad Ullah to halt and refit at Cabul; while the king of Persia withdrew to Herat, leaving a strong garrison in Candahar230.

Aurangzib sent to recover it AH 1059, Jamadi al Awal

The Indian army came before that city in May, 1649. They immediately, opened their batteries, and the contest was actively conducted on both sides, with springing of mines, assaults by the besiegers, and sallies by the garrison. These operations were not interrupted by the approach of an army sent by Shah Abbas to raise the siege. Aurangzib was contented with sending a detachment

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to oppose the attack, and remained, himself, in his lines before the city.

1649, about September; AH 1059, Ramzan Fails in the siege of Candahar

The force he had employed was sufficient to repel the Persians, but it could not prevent their destroying the forage and cutting off the supplies of the besiegers; and as the governor defended his town with as much skill as obstinacy, Aurangzib was at length constrained to raise the siege, and commence his retreat to Cabul above four months after he had opened his batteries231.

1651, AH 1060

Shah Jehan, who had followed Aurangzib to Cabul, marched from that city before the prince’s return, and was not overtaken by him until he had reached Lahor. The next year passed in inaction, to which the king’s usual visit to Cashmir forms no exception. The time he spent in that delicious retirement was devoted to feasts and dances, to gardens, excursions by land and water, and other pleasures congenial to the climate and scenery.

Second attempt on Candahar under Aurangzib 1652, AH 1061

In the year next succeeding, Aurangzib and the vizir, Saad Ullah, were again dispatched to Candahar, with a numerous and well-equipped army and ample provision of tools and workmen to conduct all the operations of a siege232. These great preparations were as unavailing as before; and Aurangzib, after exhausting every resource supplied by the skill and courage of Saad

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Its failure

Ullah and the bravery of the Rajputs, was compelled to return to Cabul, and was sent to be viceroy of the Deckan.

Shah Jehan was not discouraged by his repeated failures, and next year prepared for a still greater effort than had yet been put forth.

Great expedition under Prince Dara Sheko

His eldest son Dara Sheko, though treated as superior in station to the rest, was kept at court, and looked with envy on the opportunities of distinction enjoyed by his brothers, especially Aurangzib, of whom he seems to have entertained a sort of instinctive jealousy. Urged by these feelings, he entreated Shah Jehan to allow him to try his skill and fortune at the siege of Candahar, and was put at the head of an army much exceeding that formerly employed. It assembled at Lahor in the winter of 1652, and commenced its march in the spring of the next year, Shah Jehan himself following as usual to Cabul.

1653, AH 1063 Siege of Candahar

Dara opened his trenches, as Aurangzib had done before him, on a day and hour fixed by the astrologers, and ordered by the emperor before the army set out on its march. He began the siege on a scale proportioned to his armament. He mounted a battery of ten guns on a high and solid mound of earth, raised for the purpose of enabling him to command the town; and he pushed his operations with his characteristic impetuosity, increased, in this instance, by rivalry with his brother. He assembled his chiefs, and besought them to support his honour, declaring

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his intention never to quit the place till it was taken; he urged on the mines, directed the approaches, and the besieged having brought their guns to bear on his own tent, he maintained his position until their fire could be silenced by that of his artillery. But, after the failure of several attempts to storm, and the disappointment of near prospects of success, his mind appears to have given way to the dread of defeat and humiliation; he entreated his officers not to reduce him to a level with the twice-beaten Aurangzib; and he had recourse to magicians and other impostors, who promised to put him in possession of the place by supernatural means.

1653, September; AH 1063, Shawal 9

Such expedients portended an unfavourable issue; and accordingly, after a last desperate assault, which commenced before daybreak, and in which his troops had at one time gained the summit of the rampart, he was compelled to renounce all hope, and to raise the siege, after having lost the flower of his army in the prosecution of it.

Failure and retreat of Dara Sheko

1653 November; AH 1064, Moharram

He was harassed on his retreat both by the Persians and Afghans; and it was not without additional losses that he made his way to Cabul, whence he pursued his march to Lahor.

Thus terminated the last attempt of the Moguls to recover Candahar, of which they had held but a precarious possession from the first conquest of it by Baber.

End of 1653 to 1655, AH 1064 and 1065

It was followed by nearly two years of undisturbed tranquillity. During that time Shah Jehan, having completed a revenue survey of his possessions

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in the Deckan, which is said to have occupied him for nearly twenty years233, gave orders for the adoption of the system of assessment and collection introduced by Todar Mal234.

Death of the vizir, Saad Ullah Khan

The same period is marked by the death of the vizir, Saad Ullah Khan, the most able and upright minister that ever appeared in India. He makes a conspicuous figure in all the transactions of Shah Jehan, and is constantly referred to as a model in the correspondence of Aurangzib during the long reign of that monarch. Khafi Khan says that his descendants, in his time, were still distinguished for their virtues and intelligence, near a century after the death of their ancestor; and contrasts the respectability of their conduct with the effeminacy and frivolity of the other nobles of that era.

Renewal of war in the Deckan under Aurangzib

The next year was destined to put an end to this state of repose, and to light up a conflagration which was never effectually suppressed, and was not extinguished until it had consumed the empire.

Since the last pacification, Abdullah Kutb Shah had paid his tribute regularly, and had shown a desire to secure the favour of Shah Jehan, who but for a particular concurrence of circumstances, would probably never have wished to molest him.

Intrigue of Aurangzib at Golconda Mir Jumla

The prime minister of Abdullah was a person named Mir Jumla. He had formerly been a diamond merchant, and had been known and respected throughout the Deckan for his wealth and abilities

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long before he attained his present high station.

His son, Mohammed Amin, a dissolute and violent young man, had drawn on himself the resentment of Abdullah Kutb Shah, and had involved his father in a dispute with the court. Mir Jumla was absent in command of an army in the eastern part of the kingdom of Golconda; and, finding himself unable to obtain such concessions as he desired from his own sovereign, determined to throw himself on the protection of the Mogul. He applied to Aurangzib, to whom, as well as to the emperor, he was already known. Such an opportunity of interference afforded an irresistible temptation to a man of Aurangzib’s intriguing disposition, and he strongly recommended the case of Mir Jumla to his father’s favour. Shah Jehan, influenced by this advice, dispatched a haughty mandate to Abdullah Shah to redress the complaints of his minister; but Abdullah was further irritated by this encroachment on his independence, and committed Amin to prison, while he sequestrated the property of Mir Jumla. Shah Jehan, now provoked in his turn, sent orders to his son to carry his demands into effect by force of arms; and Aurangzib, who had been waiting impatiently for this result, entered with alacrity on the duty, and executed it in a manner entirely suitable to his wily nature.

Treacherous attack on Heiderabad by Aurangzib

Without any further manifestation of hostility, he sent out a chosen force, under pretence of escorting his son, Sultan Mohammed, to Bengal, for the purpose of celebrating his nuptials with the

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daughter of his own brother, Prince Shuja, who was viceroy of that province.

1650, January; AH 1066, Rabi al awal

The road from Aurangabad to Bengal made a circuit by Masulipatam, so as to avoid the forests of Gondwana, and thus naturally brought the prince within a short distance of Heiderabad, the capital of Golconda. Abdullah Shah was preparing an entertainment for his reception, when he suddenly advanced as an enemy, and took the king so completely by surprise that he had only time to fly to the hill fort of Golconda, six or eight miles from the city; while Heiderabad fell into the hands of the Moguls, and was plundered and half burned before the troops could be brought into order. Aurangzib had, before this, found a pretence for assembling an army on the nearest point of his province; and being joined by fresh troops from Malwa, he had ample means of sending on reinforcements to Golconda. Mir Jumla also in time drew near, and was ready to turn his master’s arms against himself. Abdullah Shah, on his first flight to the hill fort, had released Mohammed Amin, and given up the sequestrated property; and he did all in his power to negotiate a reasonable accommodation; while at the same time he spared no effort to procure aid from Bijapur: no aid came, and the Moguls were inexorable; and, after several attempts to raise the siege by force, he was at last under the necessity of accepting the severe terms imposed on him; to agree to give his daughter in marriage to Sultan Mohammed, with a

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Submission of the king of Golconda

dowry in territory and money; to pay a crore of rupees (1,000,000l. sterling) as the first instalment a yearly tribute;, and promised to make up the of arrears of past payments within two years. Shah Jehan would have been content with easier terms, and did in fact make a great remission in the pecuniary part of those agreed on; but the rest were executed, and the Mogul prince returned to Aurangabad.

1656, May; AH 1066

Mir Jumla remained in the Mogul service, became the chosen counsellor of Aurangzib, and was afterwards one of the most useful instruments of his ambitious designs.

Unprovoked war with Bijapur

Aurangzib had scarcely reaped the fruits of his success in Golconda before an opportunity was afforded him of gaining similar advantages over the neighbouring kingdom. The peace with Bijapur had remained unbroken since the last treaty. Mohammed Adil Shah had successfully cultivated the friendship of Shah Jehan, but had excited the personal enmity of Aurangzib by a close connection with Dara Sheko. On his death, which took place in November, 1656235, he was succeeded by his son, Ali, a youth of nineteen; and Shah Jehan, was tempted, by the persuasion of his younger son, to deny that the minor was the real issue of the late king, and to assert his own right to decide on the succession to his tributary. Though the force of the kingdom of Bijapur was still undiminished, it was in no state of preparation for

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war; and a large portion of its army was employed at a distance in wars with the Hindu petty princes of Carnata.

1657, March; AH 1067

Aurangzib, therefore, met with little difficulty in his invasion of the territory; and a fortunate accident having thrown the strong frontier fort of Bidr into his hands, he advanced without further obstruction to the capital236. The suddenness of the attack had prevented the mode of defence by destroying the country, so successfully practised on former occasions. No resource, therefore, was left to the new king, but to sue for peace on the most unfavourable terms. Even those were peremptorily rejected by Aurangzib; and he would probably ere long have obtained possession both of the capital and the country, if he had not been called off by a matter that touched him more nearly than the conquest of any foreign kingdom.


210. Khafi Khan.

211. She died in 1646, AH 1055. She was treated with respect and allowed a stipend of 250,000l. a year. She wore no colour but white after Jehangir’s death, abstained from all entertainments, and appeared to devote her life to the memory of her husband: she was buried in a tomb she had herself erected close to that of Jehangir at Lahor. (Khafi Khan.)

212. Khafi Khan.

213. Dawar Sheko (also called Bolaki), who had been set up for king by Asof Khan, found means to escape to Persia, where he was afterwards seen by the Holstein ambassadors in 1633. (Olearius, Ambassadors’ Travels, p. 190.)

214. Khafi Khan.

215. Khafi Khan.

216. The native historian estimates them at 50,000 men each.

217. Grant Duff. Khafi Khan.

218. Grant Duff. Khafi Khan.

219. Khafi Khan.

220. Grant Duff. Khafi Khan.

221. Khafi Khan.

222. Grant Duff.

223. Grant Duff. There is a considerable difference between his dates and those of Khafi Khan at this period.

224. Grant Duff. Khafi Khan.

225. Khafi Khan.

226. Grant Duff. Khafi Khan.

227. Probably the raja of Cota.

228. Khafi Khan says 50,000 cavalry and 10,000 foot.

229. Khafi Khan.

230. Khafi Khan.

231. Khafi Khan.

232. It is worthy of remark, that, with so great a force assembled on purpose for a siege, there were only eight battering guns, and twenty smaller pieces of ordnance.

233. Grant Duff’s “History of the Marattas, vol. i. p. 126.”

234. Khafi Khan.

235. Grant Duff. It corresponds to Moharram 1067.

236. Grant Duff.

This collection transcribed by Chris Gage
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