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Book 12 – Successors of Aurangzib

Chapter 1 – To the Accession of Mohammed Shah

Bahadur Shah

Contest between Prince Azim and his elder brother, Prince Moazzim

As soon as Prince Azim heard of his father’s death, he returned to camp, and within a week was proclaimed sovereign of all India, in perfect disregard of the late emperor’s will.

Prince Moazzim, with better reason, assumed the crown at Cabul, with the title of Bahadur Shah; and both brothers prepared to assert their pretensions by force of arms. In spite of the exhausted state of the empire, they assembled very large armies, and met at length not far to the south of Agra.

Victory of Moazzim, henceforward Bahadur Shah

1707, June AH 1119, Rabi al awal

A bloody battle ensued, in which Prince Azim and his two grown up sons were killed, and his youngest son, an infant, was taken prisoner. Prince Azim had disgusted many of his principal officers by his arrogance: among others, Assad Khan, and his son, Zulfikar Khan, had quitted his camp, and remained spectators of the contest. When the event was known, they sent their submission to the victor. Bahadur Shah received

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them graciously, and promoted them to the highest honours in the state. He showed like indulgence towards the other adherents of Azim Shah; but his confidence was chiefly reposed in Monim Khan, who had been his own principal officer at Cabul, and was now appointed vizir. Monim was an equally able and well-intentioned minister; and as the king’s only fault was too great facility of temper, his accession was welcomed by the great body of his subjects, who looked to some relief from the religious austerity of Aurangzib, and the sacrifices entailed on them by his obstinate wars.

Revolt of Prince Cambakhsh in the Deckan

His defeat and death 1708, February; AH 1119, Zi Caad

Prince Cambakhsh, though a vain and violent young man, had admitted the sovereignty of Prince Azim, and had been confirmed in his appanage; but he refused to acknowledge Bahadur Shah; and that king, after attempting in vain to win him over by concessions, marched against him to the Deckan, and defeated him in a battle near Heiderabad, where Cambakhsh died of his wounds on the same day.

Bahadur’s proceedings in the Deckan State of the Marattas

The emperor’s presence in the Deckan made it necessary to consider what course should be adopted towards the Marattas. It was easier at this time to effect an accommodation with them than could have been expected from the state of affairs at Aurangzib’s death.

Factions of Raja Sabo and Tara Bai

At that period, Salto the rightful raja, was still a prisoner in the hands of the Moguls, and the government was carried on by Tara Bai, the widow of his uncle, Raja Ram, in the name of her infant son. But though the

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necessity of having an efficient chief had induced the Marattas to place Raja Ram on their throne after the taking of Raighar, they had not forgotten the hereditary claim of his nephew, and were not pleased to see him again excluded without the same motive as before. With a view to profit by these contending claims, Prince Azim, on his march against Bahadur Shah, released Sabo, who was now grown up, and promised him peace on favourable terms if he should succeed in establishing his title. This plan was adopted at the suggestion of Zulfikar Khan, and completely answered its end. The Maratta chiefs took different sides; and instead of overwhelming their enemies, who seemed incapable of further resistance, they fell into civil war among themselves, and left the Moguls undisturbed at the moment of their greatest weakness. When Bahadur Shah turned his attention to the Marattas, Saho seemed likely to prevail in the contest; and Zulfikar, who was now in great favour, was anxious that peace should be concluded with him, at the price of the concessions formerly offered by Aurangzib. But Monim Khan, the vizir, though willing to agree to the terms, wished them to be granted to Tara Bai, and the whole negotiation fell to the ground.

Daud Khan Panni left in charge of the Deckan for Zulfikar Khan

On Bahadur’s departure, he gave the viceroyalty of the Deckan to Zulfikar; and, as that chief could not be spared from court, he left the administration of the government to Daud Khan Panni, a Patan

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officer already distinguished in Aurangzib’s wars, who was to act as his lieutenant.

Makes a truce with the Marattas

Daud followed up the views of his principal, and concluded a personal agreement with Saho, consenting that the chout, or fourth, should be paid while he remained in office, but stipulating that it should be collected by agents of his own, without the interference of the Marattas.

Transactions with the Rajputs

This arrangement kept the Deckan quiet till the end of the present reign, and allowed Bahadur to turn his thoughts to other scenes where his exertions were scarcely less required. While he was on his march against Cambakhsh, he had endeavoured to make a settlement of his disputes with the Rajputs. He had entered into a treaty with the rana of Oudipur, restoring all conquests, re-establishing religious affairs on the footing on which they stood in Akber’s time, releasing the rana from the obligation to furnish a contingent in the Deckan, and, in fact, acknowledging his entire independence in every thing but the name333. He had concluded a treaty, apparently on similar terms, with Ajit Sing, the raja of Marwar, except that, in the latter case, the service of the contingent was still retained. On Jei Sing, the raja of Jeipur, (who, though he had never asserted his independence, had joined with Prince Azim in the late civil war,) he had imposed more rigorous terms. He had left a garrison in his capital; and, although he

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allowed him to command the Jeipur contingent with the army, he seems to have deprived him of all authority in his own principality. By the time the army reached the Nerbadda on its advance, Ajit Sing also had received some cause of offence; and the two rajas went off together, with their troops, and entered into a league to resist the Mogul authority. As soon as the contest in the Deckan was put an end to by the death of Cambakhsh, Bahadur Shah turned his attention to breaking up the confederacy; but, before he reached the Rajput country, he received intelligence of the capture of Sirhind by the Siks, and of such a state of affairs in the Panjab, as left him no time for his intended operations334.

Peace with that power 1709, AH 1121

In these circumstances, he became anxious to make peace with the Rajputs; and, as the great obstacle to an accommodation arose from their fears of treachery, he sent his own son, Prince Azim u Shan, to accompany them to a meeting which took place on the emperor’s line of march, and at which the rajas appeared at the head of their own armies. All their demands were agreed to, and they were probably left on the same footing as the rana of Oudipur.

Rise of the Siks

The Siks, against whom the emperor was obliged to march, had originally been a religious sect; were then rising into a nation; and have, in our times,

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attained to considerable political influence among the states of India.

Peaceful character of their sect

Their founder, Mink, flourished about the end of the fifteenth century. He was a disciple of Kabir, and consequently a sort of Hindu deist, but his peculiar tenet was universal toleration. He maintained that devotion was due to God, but that forms were immaterial, and that Hindu and Mahometan worship were the same in the sight of the Deity335.

Persecuted by the Mahometans

The spirit of this religion promised to keep its votaries at peace with all mankind; but such views of comprehensive charity were particularly odious to the bigoted part of the Mahometans; and accordingly, after the sect had silently increased for more than a century, it excited the jealousy of the Mussulman government, and its spiritual chief was put to death in 1606336, within a year after the decease of Akber.

Their revolt

This act of tyranny changed the Siks from inoffensive quietists into fanatical warriors. They took up arms under Har Govind, the son of their martyred pontiff, who inspired them with his own spirit of revenge and of hatred to their oppressors. Being now open enemies of the government, the Siks were expelled from the neighbourhood of Lahor, which had hitherto been their seat, and constrained to take refuge in the northern

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Guru Govind

Notwithstanding dissensions which broke out among themselves, they continued their animosity to the Mussulmans, and confirmed their martial habits, until the accession (1675) of Guru Govind, the grandson of Har Govind, and the tenth spiritual chief from Nanik.

He forms the Siks into a religious and military commonwealth

This leader first conceived the idea of forming the Siks into a religious and military commonwealth, and executed his design with the systematic spirit of a Grecian lawgiver.

Their doctrines and manners

To increase the numbers of his society, he abolished all distinctions of cast among its members, admitting all converts, whether Mahometan or Hindu, Bramin or Chandala, to a perfect equality; while, to preserve its unity, he instituted a peculiar dress and peculiar manners, by which his followers were to be distinguished from all the rest of mankind. Each was to be a vowed soldier from his birth or initiation, was always to carry steel in some form about his person, to wear blue clothes, allow his hair and beard to grow, and neither to clip nor remove the hairs on any other part of his body.

Reverence for the Hindu gods, and respect for Bramins, were maintained, and the slaughter of kine was most positively forbidden; but all other prohibitions relating to food and liquors were abolished; the usual forms of worship were laid aside; new modes of salutation, and new ceremonies on the principal events of life, were introduced338;

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and so effectual was the change operated on the people, that the Siks have now (after parting with several of their singularities) as distinct a national character as any of the original races in India. They are tall and thin, dark for so northern a people, active horsemen, and good matchlock-men: they are still all soldiers, but no longer fanatics; though unpolished they are frank and sociable, and are devoted to pleasure of every description and degree.

They are overpowered at first

Far different was their character under Guru Govind, when they were filled with zeal for their faith and rancour against their enemies, and were prepared to do or suffer any thing to promote the success of their cause. But their numbers were inadequate to accomplish their plans of resistance and revenge: after a long struggle, Guru Govind saw his strong holds taken, his mother and his children massacred, and his followers slain, mutilated, or dispersed. His misfortunes impaired his reason, or at least destroyed his energy; for so little formidable had he become, that he was allowed to enter the Mogul dominions un molested, and was murdered by a private enemy, at Nander, in the Deckan339. But although it is sometimes possible to crush a religion even after it has taken root, it can only be done by long

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and steady persecution; and that the internal disturbances of the Moguls prevented their applying.

Their fanaticism

Their severities only exalted the fanaticism of the Siks, and inspired a gloomy spirit of vengeance, which soon broke out into fury.

Their successes, ravages, and cruelties under Bandu,

Under a new chief named Bandu, who had been bred a religious ascetic, and who combined a most sanguinary disposition with bold and daring counsels, they broke from their retreat, and overran the east of the Panjab, committing unheard-of cruelties wherever they directed their steps. The mosques, of course, were destroyed, and the mullahs butchered; but the rage of the Siks was not restrained by any considerations of religion, or by any mercy for age or sex: whole towns were massacred with wanton barbarity; and even the bodies of the dead were dug up and thrown out to the birds and beasts of prey.

The principal scene of these atrocities was Sirhind, which the Siks occupied after defeating the governor in a pitched battle; but the same horrors marked their route through the country eastward of the Satlaj and Jamna, into which they penetrated as far as Seharanpur. They at length received a check from the local authorities, and retired to the country on the upper course of the Satlaj, between Lodiana and the mountains. This seems, at that time, to have been their principal seat; and it was well suited to their condition, as they had a near

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and easy retreat from it when forced to leave the open country.

Their retirement, on the present occasion, was of no long continuance; and on their next incursions they ravaged the country as far as the neighbourhood of La& on the one side, and of Delhi itself on the other340.

Bahadur marches against them

It was the extent of these depredations that made it necessary for Bahadur to come against them in person.

They are driven into the hills

He soon drove them within their own limits, and then obliged them to take refuge in the hills: to subdue them effectually, however, required a considerable exertion; and after Bandu had at length been reduced to take refuge in a fort, it was only by means of famine that the emperor could hope to take the place. A long and strict blockade was therefore set on foot; but, although the Siks endured the utmost extremities of hunger, and died in vast numbers, they still continued the defence.

Escape of Bandu

When further resistance became hopeless, a desperate sally was made by the besieged; many of the partakers in this bold enterprise were killed, and the Mussulmans took possession of the fort without further resistance. A person who seemed to be their chief, and had used every means of making himself conspicuous, was made prisoner, and carried off in triumph: when he arrived in camp, it was found that he was a Hindu

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convert who had sacrificed himself to save his leader, and that Bandu himself had escaped during the sally. The emperor, though sufficiently struck by the prisoner’s self-devotion to spare his life, was yet so ungenerous as to order him to be shut up in an iron cage and sent to Delhi.

Death of Bahadur Shah 1712, February; AH 1124, Moharram

After this success, the emperor returned to Lahor, leaving a detachment to watch the Siks, and to check their depredations. This object was not fully attained, and the power of the Siks was again on the ascendant, when Bahadur Shah died at Lahor, in the seventy-first lunar year of his age, and fifth of his reign.

Contest between his sons

The death of Bahadur Shah was followed by the usual struggle among his sons. The incapacity of the eldest (afterwards Jehandar Shah) had given a great ascendancy to the second, whose name was Azim u Shan; and as he was supported by most of the nobility and of the army, he appeared to have an irresistible superiority over his competitors.

Artifices of Zulfikar Khan

But his three brothers joined their interests, and were kept together by the persuasions and false promises of Zulfikar Khan, whose love of intrigue was still as strong as ever. Their concord was of short duration, but lasted until the defeat and death of Azim u Shan.

He secures the victory to Jehandar Shah

Two of the surviving brothers soon after came to an open conflict, and the third attacked the victor on the morning after the battle: he was, however, repulsed and slain; and Jehandar

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Shah remained undisputed master of the throne.

Jehandar Shah

1712, May or June; AH 1124, Jamadi al awal

Accession of Jehandar Shah His Incapacity

Immediately on his accession, Jehandar appointed Zulfikar Khan to be vizir. This crafty and able chief had supported Jehandar through the whole of the preceding contest; judging, from the low and slothful habits of that prince, that he was best suited for a tool in the hands of an ambitious minister.

Arrogance of Zulfikar Khan

Accordingly, he assumed the control of the government from the first, and treated the emperor with the utmost arrogance and disdain. He could not have ventured to adopt this course, if Jehandar, besides degrading his own dignity by his vices and follies, had not provoked the nobility by his partiality for the relations of his favourite mistress. This woman had been a public dancer, and her family were of the same discreditable class: yet they were exalted to high stations, to the exclusion of the nobles, whom they were also allowed on several occasions to insult with impunity.

General discontent

But though their disgust at such proceedings prevented the nobility from taking part with the emperor, it did not reconcile them to the pride and tyranny of Zulfikar, which soon came to be displayed towards all ranks; and it is not improbable that their discontents might have led to open opposition, if the attention of all had not been attracted by a danger from without.

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Revolt of Prince Farokhsir in Bengal

One of Jehandar’s first acts had been to put all the princes of the blood, within his reach, to death: among those whom he could not get into his power was Farokhsir, the son of Azim u Shan, who was in Bengal at the time of Bahadur Shah’s death.

He is supported by Abdullah and Hosen Ali, governors of Behar and Allahabad

After that event, and the ruin of Azim u Shan, he threw himself on the compassion and fidelity of it Seiad Hosen Ali, the governor of Behar, an old adherent of his father’s who warmly espoused his cause, and prevailed on his brother, Seiad Abdullah, governor of Allahabad, to adopt the same course.

Defeats the imperial army 1713, January 1; AH 1124, Zil Haj 15

By the aid of these noblemen, Farokhsir assembled an army at Allahabad, repelled a force sent to oppose him on his advance, and had marched to the neighbourhood of Agra, when he was met by Jehandar and Zulfikar with an army of 70,000 men. The battle was fiercely contested; and Hosen Ali, the soul of Farokhsir’s enterprise, was left for dead upon the field. But success at length declared for the rebels: the emperor himself fled in disguise to Delhi; whither Zulfikar retreated at the head of the his remaining troops. Jehandar, on reaching Delhi, repaired to the house of Assad Khan the father of Zulfikar: this practised traitor immediately committed him to custody; and, on the arrival of Zulfikar, persuaded him, though at first unwilling to part with the instrument of his ambition, to endeavour to make his peace with the new emperor by the sacrifice of his rival.

Zulfikar betrays Jehandar Shah to the enemy

but is put to death along with the emperor

1713, February 1; AH 1125, Moharram 17

Accordingly, as Farokhsir approached the capital,

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both father and son went out to meet him, and delivered their late unfortunate master into his hands. Assad Khan’s life was spared; but Zulfikar paid the penalty of his selfish and perfidious career, and was strangled before he left the imperial tent. Jehandar was put to death at the same time; and these severities were followed by many other executions.


Great power of Seiads Abdullah and Hosen Ali

The accession of Farokhsir was naturally accompanied by the elevation of his protectors. Abdullah Khan, the eldest brother, was made vizir; and Hosen received the rank of amir at omra (or commander in chief), which was the second in the state. These brothers were sprung from a numerous and respected family of descendants of the Prophet, who were settled in the town of Bara; and in consequence of this origin, they are best known in India by the name of the Seiads.

They had expected, from their services, as well as from the grovelling disposition of Farokhsir, and his submissive behaviour while courting their support, that they would be allowed to exercise all the real power of the state, leaving to the emperor only the pageantry, and such a command of wealth and honours as might enable him to gratify his favourites.

Jealousy of the emperor

But neither Farokhsir nor his favourites were so easily contented. His principal confidant was a person who had been cazi at Dacca, in Bengal,

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and on whom he conferred the high title of Mir Jumla. This man, though devoid of capacity, had an obstinate perseverance in his narrow views, which was well suited to gain an ascendancy over a mind like Farokhsir’s, incapable of comprehending a great design, and too irresolute to execute even a small one without support.

It was no difficult task to make the emperor jealous of the authority which he was so incompetent to exercise, and the overbearing conduct of the Seiads gave him a reasonable motive for counteracting them.

His intrigues

The first scheme contrived in his secret cabinet was to weaken the brothers by a division of their force.

Hosen Ali sent against Ajit Sing, raja of Marwar

For this purpose Hosen Ali was sent against sent against Ajit Sing of Marwar, while secret messages were transmitted to the Rajput prince, intimating that he could do nothing more acceptable to the emperor than by offering an obstinate resistance to his lieutenant. But Hosen Ali was too well aware of the danger occasioned by his absence to insist on terms that might protract the war; and Ajit, when his own interests were secured, had no inducement to make sacrifices for those of the emperor.

Makes an honourable peace

Peace was accordingly concluded, on terms, to appearance, honourable to Farokhsir; the raja engaging to send his son to Delhi, and to give his daughter in marriage to the emperor.

Increased distrust

The mutual distrust of the parties at court was increased after Hosen Ali returned, and Farokhsir, as destitute of prudence and steadiness as faith and

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honour, was exactly the sort of person with whom it was least possible to feel secure.

The Seiads, conceiving (probably with good reason) that their lives were aimed at, assembled their troops about their palaces, and refused to go to court. It was now the king’s turn to be alarmed, and the preparations of the contending factions threw the capital into the utmost confusion and distress; and there remained no alternative but an immediate conflict, or the submission of the least determined of the parties.

Submission of the emperor

The king was therefore prevailed on to allow the gates of the citadel, in which was his palace, to be occupied by the guards of the Seiads, while they waited on him for the purpose of settling the terms of a reconciliation. It was there agreed that Mir Jumla should be made governor of Behar, and removed from court: that Abdullah Khan should continue to exercise the functions of vizir, but that Hosen should undertake the government of the Deckan, and proceed immediately with his army to that distant province.

Harmony being to appearance restored, the emperor’s nuptials with the daughter of Ajit Sing were celebrated with unprecedented splendour, and the Rahtor raja, from his independent territory, saw his importance acknowledged at the capital whence he had in his infancy been conveyed with so much difficulty to escape the tyranny of Aurangzib.

Hosea Ali marches to settle the Deckan

1715, December; AH 1127, Zi Haj

After this ceremony, Hosen Ali set off for the

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Deckan. He was well aware that his continued absence would be the signal for the recall of Mir Jumla, and he told the emperor, at parting, that if he heard of any attempt to disturb his brother’s authority, he should be at Delhi with his army within three weeks of the intelligence.

Farokhsir instigates Daud Khan Panni to resist him

But Farokhsir did not trust to the ordinary chances of war for affording employment to his general. He had recourse for this purpose to Daud Khan Panni, who was renowned throughout India for his reckless courage, and whose memory still survives in the tales and proverbs of the Deckan. Daud Khan had been removed on the accession of Farokhsir to the province of Guzerat, to which that of Candesh was now added; and, being an old fellow-soldier of Zulfikar Khan, could be relied on for zeal against the instrument of his ruin. He was secretly instructed to repair immediately to Candesh, to carry with him all the troops be could collect, to exercise his influence with the Marattas and other chiefs of the Deckan, and, under pretence of co-operating with Hosen Ali, to take the first opportunity of accomplishing his destruction. Daud’s manner of executing these orders was conformable to his established character. He at once set Hosen Ali at defiance, proceeded to engage him as an open enemy, and soon brought the question to a trial of strength in the field. The impetuosity of his charge on this occasion entirely disconcerted Hosen Ali’s army; they began to disperse in all directions, while Daud Khan, at the

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head of 300 chosen men of his tribe, armed with battle-axes, pushed straight at the person of his opponent.

Defeat and death of Daud Khan 1716, AH 1126

At this decisive moment, Daud received a ball through his head, and his fall immediately turned the fortune of the day. His wife, a Hindu princess, who had accompanied him to Candesh, stabbed herself on hearing of his death.

Hosen Ali, after his victory, proceeded to his operations against the Marattas, without imputing-to the emperor any share in the opposition which he had met with341.

Renewed devastations of the Siks

Meanwhile, the long-continued dissensions among the Mussulmans had afforded an opportunity to the Siks to recruit their strength. Bandu had issued from his retreat, defeated the imperial troops, and ravaged the level country with greater fury than before. At length an army was sent against him, under an able chief named Abdusemed Khan.

They are defeated and nearly extirpated

By him the Siks were beaten in repeated actions, and Bandu was at last made prisoner with a number of his men, and some of his principal followers. Most of these persons were executed on the spot; but 740 were selected and sent with Bandu to Delhi. They were paraded through the streets on camels, dressed in black sheepskins, with the wool outside (in derision of the shaggy appearance they affected), and were exposed to the maledictions of the populace, which, it must be owned, they had well deserved. Their punishment exceeded

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the measure of offences even such as theirs.

They were all beheaded on seven successive days, and died with the utmost firmness, disdaining every offer to save their lives at the expense of their religion.

Cruel execution of Bandu

Bandu was reserved for greater cruelties. He was exhibited in an iron cage, clad in a robe of cloth of gold, and a scarlet turban; an executioner stood behind him with a drawn sword; around him were the heads of his followers on pikes, and even a dead cat was stuck on a similar weapon to indicate the extirpation of every thing belonging to him. He was then given a dagger, and ordered to stab his infant son; and on his refusing, the child was butchered before his eyes, and its heart thrown in his face. He was at last torn to pieces with hot pincers, and died with unshaken constancy, glorying in having been raised up by God to be a scourge to the iniquities and oppressions of the age. The Siks who were still at large were hunted down like wild beasts, and it was not till after a long interval that they again appeared in force, and once more renewed their depredations.

Progress of the Marattas

But the Siks, when at the strongest, were not numerous, and they were never formidable beyond a certain not very extensive tract342. It was with a different sort of enemy that the Moguls had to contend in the Deckan. The removal of Daud

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Khan (1713) had dissolved his engagements with the Marattas.

Chin Kilich Khan (afterwards Asof Jah)

His successor, Chin Kilich Khan (afterwards so well known under the titles of Nizam ul Mulk and Asof Jah), was a man of much ability and more cunning; and as the feud among the Marattas now raged with more bitterness than ever, he contrived, by favouring the weaker party, not only to foment their internal dissensions, but to induce several of their chiefs to espouse the Mogul cause.

Ill success of Hosen Ali

But these measures, though they prevented the increase of the Maratta power, had little effect in restoring the tranquillity of the country; and the removal of Chin Kilich Khan, to make way for Hosen Ali, put an end to the little good they had produced. Bands of Marattas ravaged the Mogul territory as before, and individuals of that nation seized on villages within its limits, and turned them into forts, from whence they plundered the adjoining districts343.

The most troublesome of these, at the time of Hosen Ali’s arrival, was a chief whose family name was Dabari: he occupied a line of fortified villages in Candesh, and, by his depredations on caravans and travellers, shut up the great road from Hindostan and the Deckan to Surat.

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Soon after the defeat of Daud Khan, a very strong detachment was sent to remedy this pressing evil, and was opposed by the usual Maratta tactics.

The villages were evacuated as the Moguls advanced, and re-occupied as soon as they had passed by; and Dabari, after affecting to fly till he reached a convenient scene of action, suffered himself to be overtaken, when his men dispersed in small parties among the hills and broken ground with which the place was surrounded. The Moguls, elated with their victory, broke up to pursue the fugitives. The Marattas allowed them to involve themselves in the ravines until they could no longer assemble, and then turned on them at once, cut the general and most of the detachment to pieces, and did not suffer one to escape till he was stripped of his horse, arms, and even clothes344. The further progress of the campaign corresponded to this inauspicious commencement; and the Marattas, in addition to the manifest inefficiency of their enemies, were encouraged by the intrigues of Farokhsir himself.

He makes peace with Raja Saho and submits to pay the chout 1717345

At length Hosen Ali, finding that his presence could no longer be spared at Delhi, made a treaty with Raja Saho, and agreed to acknowledge his claim to the whole of the territory formerly possessed by Sevaji, with the addition of later conquests; to restore all the forts in his possession within that tract; to allow the levy of the chout, or fourth, over the whole of the Deckan;

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and to make a further payment of one tenth on the remaining revenue, under the name of sirdesmuki. This tenth, with the cession of part of the territory, was all that had been demanded in the last negotiation with Aurangzib. In return, Saho was to pay a tribute of ten lacs of rupees; to furnish 15,000 horse, to preserve the tranquillity of the country, and to be answerable for any loss occasioned by depredations, from whatever quarter.

Though Saho had at this time a superiority in the Maratta civil war, a great part of the country thus acknowledged to be his was not in his possession, and he was entirely unable to check the depredations of the hostile party, if he could those of his own adherents. But Hosen Ali’s object was attained by being enabled to withdraw his troops from the Deckan, and by obtaining the assistance of a body of 10,000 Marattas on his march to Delhi346.

Farokhsir refuses to ratify the treaty

Farokhsir refused to ratify this disgraceful treaty. His refusal only served to hasten the crisis of the dispute between him and the Seiads. The ultimate occurrence of such an event had long become inevitable.

State of the court of Delhi – Abdullah Khan

Abdullah Khan, the elder of the brothers, though a man of talents, was indolent and fond of pleasure. His business of vizir, therefore, was left to his deputy, a Hindu named Rattan Chand, whose strict measures and arbitrary temper made his administration very unpopular.

Plots of Farokhsir

Encouraged by this

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circumstance, and by Abdullah’s want of vigilance, Farokhsir began to form schemes for the recovery of his independence; and reports arose of an intention on his part to seize on the vizir’s person. These rumours seemed confirmed by the proceedings of some large bodies of troops who had been suddenly dismissed from the king’s service, and by the unexpected appearance of Mir Jumla, who made a rapid and secret journey from Behar to Delhi. He represented himself as obliged to fly from the dangers to which he was exposed by the disaffection of the troops in his province: he was very coldly received by the emperor; and he ostensibly threw himself on the vizir’s protection, professing to have renounced all thoughts of public employment. But these appearances did not satisfy the vizir. He assembled his adherents, and prepared for the worst that might occur. If the emperor had entertained the design imputed to him, he had not the courage to carry it through. Overawed by the vizir’s preparations, he hastened to appease his resentment; protested his anxious wish to maintain the administration on its present footing, and dismissed Mir Jumla to his native town of Multan.

But this reconciliation was only superficial; the vizir retained a well-founded conviction of the emperor’s insincerity; and the other almost immediately renewed his plots, which he took up with as much levity, and abandoned with as much

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pusillanimity, as before.

Combination of great nobles to support him

His plan now was, to form a combination of the principal persons who were discontented with the vizir. Among these was Jei Sing, raja of Amber. This chieftain had been previously employed against the Jats, and had, by a long course of operations, reduced them to extremities, when the vizir opened a direct negotiation with an agent whom they had sent to Delhi, and granted them peace in a manner very derogatory to the honour of Jei Sing. Chin Kilich Khan, who had been removed from the viceroyalty of the Deckan to the petty government of Moradabad, was also ready to revenge the injury, and was summoned to Delhi: he was joined by Sirbuland Khan, governor of Behar: Raja Ajit Sing, the emperor’s father-in-law, was also sent for, but showed no inclination to embark in an enterprise directed by such unsteady hands, and soon after openly attached himself to the prevailing party. The other conspirators, however, were zealous; and it was determined to assassinate the vizir on the occasion of a great annual solemnity, at which the number of troops well affected to the king would much surpass that of Abdullah’s guards.

His levity and irresolution

But Farokhsir had now got a new favourite, a Cashmirian of low birth and profligate manners, on whom he conferred the title of Rokn u Doulu. By this man’s persuasion, which fell in with his natural timidity, he postponed the execution of the concerted plot, and he afterwards promised to his favourite the succession to the office of prime minister, and conferred

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on him, as a private jagir, the very district of which Chin Kilich Khan was governor.

Disgusts his confederates

Disappointed and disgusted with this preference, and convinced that Farokhsir’s irresolution must be fatal to any plan in which he was an actor, his confederates, with the exception of Jei Sing, lost no time in making their peace with the vizir.

Return of Hosen Ali, accompanied by 10,000 Marattas

1718, December; AH 1131347, Moharram

That minister, whose fears had been awakened by the previous appearances, had already called for the assistance of his brother from the Deckan; and Hosen Ali, who kept his army at his devotion, by carefully excluding all persons appointed by the court from command, was now in full march on the capital. Jei Sing endeavoured to excite the emperor to take some decisive step during the short interval that was left, but was unable to animate that feeble prince even with the courage of despair; and Hosen Ali’s first demand, on his arrival, was for the dismission of the Raja to his own territory. Farokhsir, thus at the mercy of his enemies, had recourse to the most abject submission. Hosen Ali remained encamped without the city; but the vizir’s guards were admitted into the palace, and it only remained to the brothers to decide on the fate of its tenant. In this state of affairs, some nobles who remained faithful to the

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emperor, set out with their retainers to his assistance; and a rising of the townspeople for the purpose of massacring the Marattas took place at the same time. In consequence of the confusion which followed, Hosen Ali marched into the city, of which he took possession after some opposition.

Farokhsir deposed and put to death

1719, February; AH 1131, Rabi u Sani

It seemed no longer safe to spare Farokhsir; and that unfortunate shadow of a king was dragged from his hiding-place in the seraglio and privately put to death. Some of the fruits of Aurangzib’s religious policy appeared during this reign. Enayat who had been secretary to that monarch, being appointed to the head of the finance, endeavoured to enforce the capitation tax on Hindus with the rigour of his former master; but he was soon forced to desist by the public clamour, and the tax was formally abolished in the next reign. There was a violent affray between the Shias and Sunnis in the capital, and a still more serious one, in Ahmedabad, between the Hindus and Mussulmans, in which many lives were lost: on this occasion the Mussulman governor (Daud Khan Panni) took part with the Hindus.

Nominal emperors set up by the Seiads

Rafi u Dirjat 1719, February; AH 1131, Rabi u Sani

Rafi u Doula, 1719, May AH 1131, Rajab

On the deposition of Farokhsir, the Seiads set up a young prince of the blood, to whom they gave the title of Rafi u Dirjat. He died in little more than three months, of a consumption; when another youth of the same description was set up under the name of Rafi u Doula, and came to the same end; in a still shorter period.

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These princes had been brought up in the recesses of the seraglio, without any prospect of the succession, and had the ideas of women superinduced on those of children. Their deaths must have been inconvenient to the Seiads, and they pitched on a healthier young man as their successor. This was Roushen Akhter: he had no advantages in previous situation over the others; but his mother was a woman of ability, and had perhaps helped to form his character, as she subsequently influenced his conduct.

He was raised to the throne by the title of Mohammed Shah348.


333. Colonel Tod’s Rajasthan, vol. i. p. 395.

334. Scott’s Memoirs of Eradat Khan, p. 58. Tod’s Rajasthan, vol. ii. p. 77, &c.

335. Professor Wilson, Asiatic Researches, vol. xvii. p. 233.

336. Sir J. Malcolm, Asiatic Researches, vol. xi. p. 212.

337. Sir J. Malcolm, p. 214.

338. Sir J. Malcolm, Asiatic Researches, vol. xi. pp. 219, 220. 284. 288.

339. Sir J. Malcolm. Forster’s Travels, p. 263. The latter author states that Guru Govind had a small command in the Mogul service; which is confirmed by Khafi Khan.

340. The proceedings of the Siks, till their capture of Seharanpur, is from Sir J. Malcolm, Foster, and Khafi Khan: the subsequent narrative is from Khafi Khan alone.

341. The above account is from the “Seir Mutakherin” and Scott’s “Deckan,” who have both borrowed from Khafi Khan.

342. The Siks have never been so flourishing as they are now (1839), and they are confined to the Panjab and the neighbouring countries: their numbers do not exceed 500,000 souls; and they are supposed to have 3,000,000 subjects by no means well affected to their government. (Burnes’s Travels, vol. ii. p. 256.)

343. Grant Duff, vol. i. p. 431. Briggs’s Seir ul Mutakherin, vol. i. p. 141.

344. Seir ul Mutakherin, vol. i. p. 142.

345. Grant Duff, vol. i. p. 446.

346. Grant Duff, vol. i. p. 144, &c.

347. This is the date of his march from Candesh, taken from Khafi Khan; Grant Duff also confirms the year. The “Seir Mutakherin” (Briggs’s translation, vol. i. p. 164.) makes the year 1719, AH 1132; and many of its subsequent dates differ, in the same manner, from all other authorities.

348. At Mohammed’s accession it was determined that the names of his two predecessors should be left out of the list of kings, and that his reign should commence from the death of Farokhsir. (Seir Mutakherin, vol. i. p. 197. Grant Dull; vol. i. p. 450. Marsden, Numismata Orientalia.)

This collection transcribed by Chris Gage
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