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Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad Shah

December 31, 1718
Mirza Firuz Shah
Muhammad Shah 1720–1748

Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad Shah



Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad Shah (Persian: ناصرالدین محمد شاه‎) (born Roshan Akhtar (Persian: روشن اختر‎)) (7 August 1702 – 26 April 1748) was the thirteenth Mughal emperor, who reigned from 1719 to 1748. He was son of Khujista Akhtar, the fourth son of Bahadur Shah I. With the help of the Sayyid brothers, he ascended the throne at the young age of 17. He later got rid of them with the help of Asaf Jah I – Syed Hussain Ali Khan was murdered at Fatehpur Sikri in 1720 and Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha was fatally poisoned in 1722. Muhammad Shah was a great patron of the arts, including musical, cultural and administrative developments. His pen-name was Sadā Rangīla (Ever Joyous) and he is often referred to as "Muhammad Shah Rangila", also sometimes as "Bahadur Shah Rangila" after his grand father Bahadur Shah I. Although he was a patron of the arts, Muhammad Shah's reign was marked by rapid and irreversible decline of the Mughal Empire. The Mughal Empire was already decaying, but the invasion by Nader Shah of Persia and the subsequent sacking of Delhi, the Mughal capital, greatly accelerated the pace. The course of events not only shocked and mortified the Mughals themselves, but also other foreigners, including the British. Early life Muhammad Shah was born in 1702 in Ghazna (in modern-day Afghanistan) to Prince Khujista Akhtar, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. His grandfather Bahadur Shah I defeated and eliminated his own brother Muhammad Azam Shah on 19 June 1707 at the Battle of Jajau. During another war of succession, following the death of Bahadur Shah, his father was killed, and the 12-year-old prince and his mother were imprisoned by his uncle Jahandar Shah but spared from death. The prince was handsome and quick to learn, and his mother took good care of his education. After the overthrow of Farrukhsiyar in 1719 by the Sayyid Brothers, two Mughal Emperors briefly ascended the throne, but the Sayyid Brothers eventually chose the 17-year-old Muhammad Shah as emperor. Reign On 29 September 1719, Muhammad Shah was given the title Abu Al-Fatah Nasir-ud-Din Roshan Akhtar Muhammad Shah and enthroned in the Red Fort. His mother was given an allowance of 15 thousand rupees monthly for her needs, but the Sayyid Brothers kept the new emperor under strict supervision. The Mughal Grand Vizier Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha and his brother the Mughal commander and chief Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha were well aware that Asaf Jah I and his companions Zain ud-din Ahmad Khan intended to dissolve their administration. The Sayyid Brothers quickly nominated an amateur, Prince Muhammad Ibrahim, who proclaimed himself Mughal Emperor, but he was quickly defeated by the new loyalists of the young Muhammad Shah on 13 November 1720. On 9 October 1720, Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha, the commander and chief of the most elite Mughal Army, was assassinated in his encampment in Toba Bhim. The Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah took direct command of his forces. Asaf Jah I was then dispatched to gain complete control of six Mughal provinces in the Deccan, and Muhammad Amin Khan Turani was assigned as the Mansabdar of 8,000. He was sent to pursue the Mughal Grand Vizier Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha, who was defeated at the Battle of Hasanpur by Turani, Mir Muhammad Amin Irani and Muhammad Haider Beg. He was captured by Muhammad Shah on 15 November 1720 and executed two years later. Previously the emperor had to fight Muhammad Ibrahim, but young Muhammad Shah defeated him on 13 November 1720. The fall of the Sayyid Brothers marked the beginning of the end of the Mughal Empire's direct control over its dominions in the Deccan. In the year 1721, young Muhammad Shah married the daughter of the previously deposed Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar. On 21 February 1722, Muhammad Shah appointed the Asaf Jah I as Grand Vizier. He advised Muhammad Shah to be "as cautious as Akbar and as brave as Aurangzeb". Asaf Jah I resigned his post as the Grand Vizier when Muhammad Shah expressed negligence towards his administration. Asaf Jah I appointed commander Ewaz Khan as the master of the garrison at Aurangabad, and much of his logistical duties were carried out by Inayatullah Kashmiri. Asaf Jah I left the imperial court in disgust. In 1723 he set out on an expedition to the Deccan, where he fought Mubariz Khan, the Mughal Subedar of the Deccan, who kept the ravaging Marathas at bay. Taking advantage of Mubariz Khan's conventional weaknesses, Asaf Jah I defeated and eliminated his opponent during the Battle of Shakar kheda. Asaf Jah I then established the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1725. During this time, the Mughal-Maratha Wars (1728–1763) would cause irreparable devastation to the inhabitants of the ill-administered Mughal Empire. Despite efforts to counter the rise of rebellions in 1724, by the Nawab of Awadh Saadat Ali Khan and the Mughal Subedar in Bangalore, Dilawar Khan (r.1726–1756), who established a well-protected bastion in the Malabar Coast. Muhammad Ali Khan the Mughal Faujdar of Rangpur and his stern ally Deena Narayan were ambushed out of Koch Bihar by Upendra Narayan a Hindu Bihari and Mipham Wangpo (r.1729–1736) the ruler of Bhutan. Ali Muhammad Khan Rohilla had established the barons of Rohilakhand. The Nawab of Bhopal, Yar Muhammad Khan Bahadur, also ratified by the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah in 1728, countered ceaseless raids by the Marathas in Malwa and nearly began to lose half of his territories in the year 1742. Muhammad Shah eventually learned the skills of statesmanship after removing his three incompetent advisors, namely Koki Jee (his foster sister), Roshan-ud-Daula (his mercantile friend) and Sufi Abdul Ghafur of Thatta (his spiritual teacher). In the Punjab region, the Sikhs were at war with Mughal Subedars, and the hit-and-run tactics of the Sikh warriors caused devastation. In Ajmer, Ajit Singh carved out a vast territory and allied himself with the renegade Marathas. While in the Deccan the Marathas had ruined Mughal fortifications and were already on the warpath. All this greatly contributed to the decline of the Mughal Empire. In 1737, the Marathas under Baji Rao I annexed Gujarat, Malwa and Bundelkhand, and raided the Mughal capital Delhi. In 1739, Nader Shah of Persia, lured by the wealth and weakness of the Mughals, took advantage of a rebellion on his eastern borders near Kandahar and initiated a campaign against the Mughal Empire capturing Ghazni, Kabul, Lahore, and Sindh. He then advanced against Muhammad Shah and defeated him at the Battle of Karnal. The Persians, having crushed the Mughal armies in less than three hours, marched upon and sacked Delhi, hoarding priceless treasures that were taken back to Persia. This event weakened the Mughals significantly, paving the path for more invaders and eventually the East India Company. In 1748, Ahmad Shah Durrani of Afghanistan invaded the Mughal Empire. Heir apparent Ahmad Shah Bahadur, Grand Vizier Qamaruddin Khan and his son Muin ul-Mulk, Intizam-ud-Daula and Safdarjung were sent with 75,000 men after the defeat of Shahnawaz Khan in Lahore. At the Battle of Manupur (1748), Durrani's 12,000 men were defeated, and he was forced to retreat. There was a great rejoicing for this event throughout the Mughal Empire. Marriages Emperor Muhammad Shah had four wives. His first wife and chief consort was his first-cousin, Princess Badshah Begum, the daughter of Emperor Farrukhsiyar and his first wife, Gauhar-un-Nissa Begum. He married her after his accession on 8 December 1721 at Delhi, and gave her the title Malika-uz-Zamani (Queen of the Age) by which she was popularly known. On this occasion there was a great ceremony lasting for weeks. She bore him his first son, Shahriyar Shah Bahadur, who died young in 1726. She was his most influential wife and exercised her opinions on him. Later, Muhammad Shah took a second wife, Sahiba Mahal. His third wife was a dancing girl, Udham Bai, who bore him his future successor, Ahmad Shah Bahadur on 23 December 1725. Upon his birth, he was taken from her and was lovingly brought up by Badshah Begum, who considered him her own son. It was through Badshah Begum's efforts that Ahmad Shah was able to ascend the throne upon Muhammad Shah's death in 1748. Muhammad Shah married his fourth (and last) wife, Safiya Sultan Begum later on. Badshah Begum died on 14 December 1789 Muhammad Shah had three sons and three daughters. In 1748 when Ahmad Shah Abdali attacked and deposed Muhammad Shah, his son Anwer Ali escaped to his grand aunt Princess Jahanara Begum & hid in a place in Arrah, Bihar which was infested with bears which was later named as Bhaluhipur. Ahmad Shah Durrani married Hazrat Begum the daughter of the deceased Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah and Sahiba Mahal in the year 1757. Death The victory of the Mughal Army during the Battle of Manupur (1748) came with a heavy price many fell in battle. Initially this was kept a secret. However, when the news reached the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah, he could not speak, suddenly became sick, and did not come out of his apartments for three days. During this period he fasted. His guards could hear him crying out loud and saying: "How could I bring about anyone as faithful as he? (Asaf Jah I)". He died due to grief on 26 April 1748, his funeral was attended by visiting Imams from Mecca.


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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.


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