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Portrait of Imperial Prince Jawan Bakht

December 31, 1759
Mirza Firuz Shah
Shah Alam II 1759–1806

Portrait of Imperial Prince Jawan Bakht



Shahzada Mirza Jawan Bakht Bahadur (Persian, Urdu: شہزادہ مرزا جوان بخت بہادر‎) alternative spelling Mirza Javan Bakht, Mirza Jewan Bakht also known as Mirza Jahandar Shah (A.D. 1749 - 31 May 1788 A.D., 25th Shaban 1202 A.H.,) born at the Red Fort, Delhi. He was the eldest son of Emperor Shah Alam II and the grandson of Emperor Alamgir II, Jawan Bakht was a very influential Timurid Prince of the Mughal Empire. Early life Prince Mirza Jawan Bakht grew up during very turbulent times in the Mughal Empire, his grandfather's relations with the Maratha backed Grand Vizier Imad-ul-Mulk had begun to worsen as the imperial Nawabs sought to re-centralize the empire. The Vizier Imad-ul-Mulk was clearly a man of no principles and was commonly criticized for his extreme selfishness. He put all the imperial revenues into his own pocket and starved the Alamgir II's family for three days because Timur Shah Durrani had become the son-in-law of the emperor. Mirza Jawan Bakht often recalled the days he wandered around Delhi begging for food supplies and firewood during those three days. Angered by the disrespect and arrogance exhibited by Imad-ul-Mulk, Ahmad Shah Durrani set out on another invasion and appointed Najib-ud-Daula as the new Grand Vizier of the Mughal Empire in accordance to the wishes of Alamgir II and Shah Waliullah. Ahmad Shah Durrani then returned to Kabul, while the experienced Najib-ud-Daula consolidated the remains of the Mughal Empire by uniting distant Faujdars, Nawab's and Nizams into a common cause against the Marathas. Mirza Jawan Bakht was among the Mughal Princes in the service of Najib-ul-Daula, and received military training from his new mentor Hafiz Rahmat Khan. Fearing the wrath of Ahmad Shah Durrani's new coalition the deposed Imad-ul-Mulk consolidated himself with an old ally the Maratha leader Sadashivrao Bhau and launched a ferocious attack which lasted 15 days and caused the defeat of Najib-ud-Daula and the Mughal Army in the imperial heartlands around Delhi. Najib-ud-Daula conceded defeat and ordered his forces to retreat northwards after being completely overrun. Things got a lot worse when Imad-ul-Mulk persecuted Mirza Jawan Bakht's activist father Prince Ali Gauhar. When Ali Gauhar realized that Imad-ul-Mulk was planning to have him assassinated he fled eastwards and sought refuge with Ahmad Shah Bangash and Shuja-ud-Daula the Nawab of Awadh. Imad-ul-Mulk then feared that the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II would recall Ahmad Shah Durrani, or use his son Prince Ali Gauhar, to dispossess him of his newfound power with the Marathas. Therefore, Imad-ul-Mulk and Sadashivrao Bhau plotted to murder the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II and his family. In November, 1759, the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II was told that a pious man had come to meet him, Alamgir II, ever so eager to meet holy men, set out immediately to meet him at Kotla Fateh Shah, he was stabbed repeatedly by Imad-ul-Mulk's assassins. The Mughal Emperor Alamgir II's death was mourned throughout the Mughal Empire. Third Battle of Panipat Prince Mirza Jawan Bakht coordinated and commanded various contingents of Mughal troopers, who cut off the supply lines of the Marathas prior to the Third Battle of Panipat and eventually overthrew the usurping Jahan Shah III after the victory of the coalition of Ahmad Shah Durrani and proclaimed Shah Alam II as the rightful ruler of the Mughal Empire. Mirza Jawan Bakht regent of the Mughal Empire After the Battle of Buxar, Shah Alam II's absence from Delhi meant that his son Prince Mirza Jawan Bakht and Najib-ul-Daula, were the actual representatives of the emperor for the next 12 years. As the Administrator of Delhi and the imperial heartlands including Agra, Najib-ul-Daula, was unprepared to halt the Jat peasant uprisings led by the deviant Suraj Mal. During one massive assault Jat renegades and their leaders overran the Mughal garrison at Agra they plundered the city and the two great silver doors to the entrance of the famous Taj Mahal were looted and thoughtlessly melted down by Suraj Mal in 1764. Since then many Mughal Faujdars and commanders such as Sayyad Muhammad Khan Baloch vowed to avenge the ruins of the Mughal Empire caused by the tyrannical Jat's and during an ingenious counterattack Suraj Mal was defeated and executed by the Mughal Army. The Jats then sacked Jaipur and invited the Marathas in 1766, Ahmad Shah Abdali tried to reinforce Delhi by organizing another campaign against the Sikhs, who killed Zain Khan Sirhindi, the Sikh renegades were ultimately defeated by the Durrani forces. In the year 1768 the Marathas pillaged Bharatpur, and the Mughal Army began to crumble once again mainly due to the death of Najib-ul-Daula. Mirza Jawan Bakht and Hafiz Rahmat Khan never trusted Najib-ul-Daulas manipulative son Zabita Khan, who was often compared with the unpopular Imad-ul-Mulk.


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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.


The Mughal Images immediately took a much greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian miniatures. Animals and plants were the main subject of many miniatures for albums and were more realistically depicted. To upload your images click here.

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