Book I the Sultanate Period Chapters /. The Arabs and the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent 1



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[ ,Ch. 10
the nominal submission of the old independent Afghan and Hindu zamindars, the Bara Bhuiyan being the most important of them, and did not make any serious attempt to bring them under the direct control of the government.”2 In Jahangir’s reign concerted attempts were made ”to crush all independent zamindars and impose a uniform administrative system over the entire territory”. This was largely the work of Jahangir’s foster brother, Shaikh ’Ala-ud-din, entitled Islam Khan who was viceroy of Bengal from 1017/1608 to 1022/1613, and can well contest with Sha’istah Khan the claim of being ”the greatest viceroy of the Bengal subah”. He employed all possible methods-force, rewards diplomacy-to terminate the independence of the powerful zamindars and was successful in his efforts. He also enlarged the territorial limits of the Empire by subjugating Kuch Bihar (1018/1609) and conquering and annexing Kamrup (1021/1612). In 1021/1612, he shifted his capital from Rajhmahal to Dacca, which was a singularly appropriate choice, particularly in view of the menace of the Maghriads on the eastern rivers. Islam Khan died on 21 August

1613, and, after an interval of four years, during which his incompetent brother was in charge of the area, his good work was carried on by another capable viceroy, Ibrahim Khan. He devoted the six years of his viceroyalty (1026-1032/1617-1622) to political conciliation and consolidation. Islam Khan had kept under close surveillance the near relatives of the old zamindars and chiefs who had been displaced--!ike Musa Khan the son of the famous ’Isa Khan, and brothers and sons of ’Uthman Afghan, the last great Afghan chief, who himself died fighting in 1031/1612. In course of time Ibrahim Khan felt secure enough to felease the political prisoners and even to employ Musa Khan and his companions in the Mughal service. The experiment proved successful, and Musa Khan rendered excellent service in the conquest of Timpperah (1027/1618). Ibrahim Khan died loyally fighting against Shah Jahan when he revolted against his father and tried to seize the government of Bengal

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Outside Bengal, the main military events of Jhangir’s reign were the victory over the Rajputs of Mewar in

1024/1615, the re-assertion of the Mughal authority in the Deccan and the capture of Kangra in 1029’1620. Two yeais later, the Mughals lost the great fort of Qandhar to the Persians and, in spite of efforts made during Jahangir’s reigns, they were not able to recover it permanently. This was also the time of internal difficulties. Hitherto, Nur Jahan, Asaf Khan, and Prince Khurram had co-operated in controlling the affairs of the country and Khurram had been the leader of victorious expeditions in Rajputana and the Deccan. Nur Jahan had, however, by now attained complete ascendency over the Emperor, and tried to promote the interes: of Pnnce Shahryar, to whom her daughter Sher Afgan was married in 1021/1622. This brought her into conflict with Prince Khurram, who revolted in 1032/1623. The prince spent much time wandering in the south and the east, and at one time temporarily became master of Bengal and Bihar, but was ultimately defeated and obliged to retire to the Deccan. In the end he asked pardon of his father, to whom he was reconciled in 1035/1626.


Another important person to rebel against Nur Jahan’s dominance was Mahabat Khan, who had been deprived of his mansab. In despair Mahabat Khan resorted to drastic steps, and succeeded at one time in seizing the Emperor while he was encamped on the banks of the Jhelum. Nur Jahan however, proved too clever for this simple soldier and was able to secure the release of her royal husband. Mahabat Khan was forced to flee to the Deccan, where he joined Prince Khurram. Next year, Jahangir, while returning from Kashmir, died at Bhimbar and was buried at Shahdarah, a suburb of Lahore. Through a relay of messengers, Asaf Khan sent word to his son-in-law in the Deccan, and was able to secure his succession without much difficulty. Nur Jahan,3 who had a magnificent tomb erected over the grave of her husband, retired from the world and lived a quiet and lonely lite for sixteen >ears after the . :ath of Jahangir
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{ Cli 19
By now the fame ot the Mughal Empire had spread to distant lands, and in Jahangir’s days embassies came to his couit from European countries. England sent Captain Hawkins in 1608, and Sir Thomas Roe. the ambassador of James. 1, came to conclude a commercial treaty in 1615. By September

1618. he was able to obtain a farman signed b> Prince Khurram as viceroy A Gujarat, which ”gave reasonable facilities for trade.” but. owing to the Prince’s opposition, did not allow ”a building to be bought or built as permanent residence.”4


Unhealthy features of Jahangir’s Reign. Jahangir was large-hearted level-headed, and well-meaning, but was an easeloving ruler. He abandoned Akhar’s experiments in religion, but otherw’^e maintained his policy ot Sulh-i Kull and preserved his administrative institutions. Painting, as we shall wee later, received special encouragement under Jahangir and some of the most beautiful Mughal gardens also belong to his day.
Owing to likeable personality, brilliance of his court and his friendliness towards foreigners. Jahangir has been favourable aspects of his administration, which not only cast a shadow on his regime, but darkened the course of the later Mughal history. Eor one thing, the extension of the Mughal dominion came practically to a halt in his day, and the Empire suffered a serious blow in the loss of Qandhar. Dealing with the halt of Mughal expansion, in spite of vast imperial resources and large unconquered areas in the Deccan, a contemporary Dutch writer somewhat harshly points out: ”The probable explanation is to be found in the sloth, cowardice and weakness of the last emperor. Salim. and in the domestic discords of his family.’”’
E\cn more regrettable \\as the huge growth of bureaucrat and the resultant increase in government expenditure. No large territory was added to the Empire, hut the number ot mansabdars. which under Akbar stood at 800. increased to

2941 in Jahangir’s reign.



Bk I 1 Hi>,ion of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 386
The author of Ma’athir al-Umara’, himself a financial expert, dealing with the fiscal history of the Mughal period, says:
”In the time of Jahangir, who was a careless prince and paid no attention to political or financial matters, and who was constitutionally thoughtless and pompous, the fraudulent officials in gathering lucre, and hunting for bribes, paid no attention to the abilities of men, or to their performance. The devastation of the country and the diminution of income rose to such a height that the revenue of the exchequer-lands fell to 50 lacs of rupees while expenditure rose to one crore and fifty lacs, and large sums were expanded out of the general treasury (Khazanah-i ’Amirah).”6
Jahangir must bear the ultimate responsibility for this state of affairs, but the immediate cause was the dominance and policy of Nur Jahan She was a woman of noble impulses and good taste who spent large sums in charity, particularly for the relief of indigent women and worked hard to relieve the drabness of the Indian life. Many innovation which enhanced the grace and charm of Mughal culture can be directly traced to her, and her influence led to the maintenance of a magnificent court. All these things, however, cost money, and strained the royal resources.
What was even worse was the high style of living which was introduced at the royal court, was copied by the nobility, and an era’of extravagance with its concomitant of corruption and demoralisation amongst officers of the State was inaugurated, which corroded the structure of the Mughal government and weakened the tone of the administration. A contemporary Dutch account sharply criticises Nur Jahan and her ”crowed of Khurasanis” for what it was costing the state to maintain ”their excessive pomp” and complains that the foreign bureaucrats were particularly indifferent to the condition of the massess.”7 To Nur Jahan hereself belongs the doubtful honour of introducing they system or at least the nomenclature of Nadhars8-corruption at the royal level-and Asaf Khan emerges
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in the pages of Sir Thomas Roe’s account of his negotiations at the Mughal court in a very poor light, as exceedingly greedy for gifts.
The era of extravagance, which was ushered during Jahangir’s reign was fed from two other sources. One was the change in the prevalent philosophy of life. The old Indian emphasis on plain living and the excellence of limitation of wants is not altogether consistent with the way of life introduced by Muslim rulers in the subcontinent, but (allied to the sufi philosophy) it has not been without a measure of potency. In Akbar’s days in particular with his emphasis on the spiritual side of things, it is easy to trace a certain idealism an other-worldliness, and the ability to rise above purely materialistic values, in spite of the elaborate grandeur of a above purely materialistic values, in spite of the elaborate grandeur of a great empire. The Irani newcomers did not share this attitude to life and under their influence ”gracious living” became the summum bonutn, the goal of human existence.
Another factor responsible for increased extravagance lay in the vast opportunities for spending provided by the new commercial contacts with Europe, which brought out some pathetic propensities of the Mughal nobility, and royalty. F.dwardes says: ”The new trade with Europe did afford the \\cal th\ uppci classes in India \\idcr opportunities of indulging their taste tor costly knick-knacks, which were entered in English export lists under the general category of Toys,’, intended for presentation or sale to the Indian nobility.”9 In this Jahangir led the way. He ”was described as an amateur of all varieties and antiquities, and displayed an almost childish love of toys. Covert describes how he presented the Emperor with a small whistle of gold, weighing almost an ounce, set with sparks of rubies, which he took and whistled there with almost an hour.”10
In Jahangir’s reign, the composition of the higher service was. also disturbed. Akbar had made good use of the ”Hindustanis’’--^.,?. Abu al-Fadl, Faidi, Todar Mai, Shaikh

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Farid (Murtada Khan), Man Singh, and Bhagwan Singh--and had maintained due balance between the Irani and Turani elements. Under Jahangir this balance was upset, and Iranis became all powerfull. Partly this was facilitated by the early death of Murtada Khan, and the stigma attached to Man Singh, the Rajput leader, and Khan-i A’zam, the premier Turani noble, on account of their association with Khusrau. While in check, the Irani element was a source of strength and a great civilising influence, but this cased to be the position in the twelfth/eighteenth century, and its political role during the decline of the Empire was often negative.
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NOTES & REFERENCES
1. Beni Prasad, History of Jahangir, p. 130.
2. History of Bengal, II, 299.
3. According to some writers, the tomb was built by Shah lahan. For details sec M. Baqir. Lahore, Past and Present, pp. 405-11.
4. The Cambndge History of India, IV, 163.
5 Hoyland, De Lad’s Empire of the Great Moghal. p. 246
6. Ma’athir al-Vmara’ (Translation), II, 679.
7. Bnj Narain &. S.K. Sharma, Eds. & Trs., A Contemporary Dutch Chronicle of Mughal India, pp. 91-93
8. See Banarsi Parsad’s History of Shah Jahan, p. 298, but apparent!) the s-vstem of making presents to the royalty was of an earlier origin.
9 Edwardes & Garrelt, Mughal Rule in India, pp. 269-70.

10. Ibid., p. 270.



Chapter 20
SHAH JAHAN
The reign of Shah Jahan, who formally amended the throne on 6 February 1628, is rightl) considered the period of the greatest splendour of the Great Mughals. The Empire enjoyed a great measure of internal peace, and Emperor had ample leisure to satisfy his taste for cultural pursuits, and the Mughal armies could attend to the expansion of the Empire. The earliest internal incident was a minor rebellion in Bundelkhand where, on the death of Bir Singh Bundhela, the favourite of Jahangir and murderer of Abul al-Fadl, his son revolted (1037/1627). The rebellion was put down without much difficulty, and in any case did not affect the even tenor of administration in the country at large. Another early rebellion was that of Khan Jahan Lodi, a former viceroy of the Deccan. A large army was sent against him and after three years of desultory warfare he was defeated and killed in 1041/1631. The next event of importance was the war with the Porturguese in 1631-1632. They had been permitted by the last independent Sultan of Bengal to settle at Hugli and had received commercial privileges, but they began to abuse their position. They had commercial and other relations with the Portuguese at Chittagong, who indulged in piracy in the Bay of Bengal and on Bengal rivers. Another cause for dispute was that Portuguese had fortified their settlement at Hugli and owing to their command of the sea and superiority in the use of firearms, the Mughal authorities ”could not but conceive great fears,” to quote a contemporary Portuguese account, ”lest His Majesty of Spain should possess himself of the kingdom of Bengal.” Shah jahan who had become particularly alive to the

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problem in the course of his wanderings in Bengal during his revolt against his father, gave orders to Qasim Khan Juwaini, the talented viceroy of Bengal, to drive them out. As the Portuguese were well organised, elaborate measures had to be taken against them and they offered stiff resistance, but Hugli was captured in 1042/1632, and the miscreants were severelypunished.1
Another important event was the reconquest of Kamrup (1637-38) which had been lost to the Ahom ruler in the previous reign In the eastern zone, however, the most memorable feature of Shah Jahan’s reign was the long and peaceful administration of Prince Muhammad Shuja’ which with short breaks extended over twenty-one years (April 1632April 1660). Shuja was not a painstaking and careful administrator and some of his measures - e.g , the liberal lossely-worded concessions granted to foreign traders-created problems in later days, but he was big-hearted and generous and maintained a magnificent court. He adorned his capital. Rajmahal, with beautiful marbel palaces and other magnificent buildings, but they have now been ^wallowed up by the change in the course of the Ganges. He gathered a number of poets, musicians, and artists round him and it is not without significance that Alawal, the first important Muslim Bengali poet, was at one time in his retinue. He persuaded his father to permit him to take away two celebrated musicians of the royal court, and took other steps to deepen and broaden the foundations of Mughal culture in the eastern provinces. He is believed to have been a Shi’ah, and his court was thronged by Shi’ah and Irani nobles, who encouraged his taste for art and poetry.
The Deccan Wars (1032-1048/1622-1638). Akbar had succeeded in annexing Khandesh, Berar and a part of Ahmadnagar, but the ruler of Ahmadnagar took advantage of Jahangir’s preoccupation with the rebellions of Shah Jahan and Mahabat Khan to reassert his independence. Shah Jahan, who knew the Deccan well and had acted as governor for the area,
393
adopted a vigorous expansionist policy In 1043/1633, the last king of the Nizam Shahi Dynasty of Ahmadnagar was captured and the famous fort ot Daulatabad fell into the hands of the Mughals. Three years later Shah Jahan himself proceeded to the Deccan, and compelled the rulers of Golkonda and Bijapur to acknowledge the Mughal suzerainty and to pay tribute.2
Aurangzeb was appointed viceroy of the Deccan in

1048/1638 and had under him the four provinces ot Khandesh. Berar, Telingana and Daulatabad, into which the Mughal dominion in the Deccan was divided. In 1048M638, he conquered and added Baglana to the Empire.


77?^ North-West. Having attained his aim in the Deccan, Shah Jahan turned his attention to the north-west. The Mughals had not reconciled themselves to the loss of Qandhar, and in

1048/1638 Shah Jahan’s officers where able to persuade ’Ali Mardan Khan, the local Persian governor, to hand over the fort to the Mughals and enter their service. Ali’ Mardan Khan was a capable officer, and proved a great acquisition to the Empire. He served as a successful governor of Kabul and Kashmir and his memory is kept green by many magnificent buildings which he erected. The gain of Qandhar was, however, temporary, as in 1058/1648 the Persians reconquered the fort, and the repeated efforts made by the Mughals (in 1059/1649.

1062/1652 and 1063/1653) to regain it were unsuccessful.
Shah Jahan’s efforts to interfere in the affairs of Central Asia were equally fruitless. The Mughals had made themselves thoroughly at home in India, but occasionally their interest in their ancestral teiritory was levived. In 1055/1645, conditions at Bukhara were disturbed and Shah Jahan took this opportunity to send an army under Murad who entered Balkh in 1056/1046. Aurangzeb was appointed governor and fought bravely to hold his own against the Uzbegs, who had closed their ranks by now, but found it impossible to hold the countr. and evacuated Balk in 1057/1647.

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Shah Jahan’s attmpts to interfere int he affairs of Central Asia faild, but his government was singularly successful in dealing with the north-west frontier. This area had given trouble in the days of Akbar, mainly owing to the opposition of the Yusufza’ is and of the followers of the Raushaniyyah sect. Shah Jahan had also to face serious trouble at the hands of ’Abd al-Qadir, the Raushani leader, but Sa’id Khan, the faujdar of Bengesh, who was later appointed governor of Kabul, dealt with the trouble very efficiently. Not only was he able to disperse the hostile lashkar and inflict heavy casualties, but with a combination of tact and firmness was able to persuade ’Abd al-Qadir and his mother to surrender on promise of safe conduct. ’Abd al-Qadir died shortly thereafter, but his mother with other relatives and Raushani leaders appeard before the Emperor at Delhi. ”They were kindly treated, and sent with rank and dignity to the Deccan province, where they were allowed to gather round them their adherents int he empire’s service.”3
Mughal Relations with Iran and Turkey. It might be convenient to review here the Mughal relations with the Muslim Kingdoms of Iran and Turkey, as a major change in these relations was attempted during Shah Jahan’s reign. When Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, was yet struggling with the Uzbegs for the mastery of Samarqand and Bukhara, a revolution had taken place in Iran, where Shah Isma’il (908-

931/1502-1524) had established the rule of the Safavi dynasty, with Shi’ahism as the State religion. The new dynasty had achieved power as champions of Shi’ahism, and for political as well as religious reasons had to adopt a policy which involved them in conflict with the Sunni kingdoms of Turkey and Central Asia, and which ushered a new era of Sunni-Shi’ah bitterness. As Bartold points out, for the tenth/sixteenth century the struggle between Shi’ah and Sunnis took a cruel turn such as had not existed during the middle ages.4 This conflict affected Babur only indirectly and not very adversely, as his principal Uzbeg enemy, Shaibani Khan, was also the


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enemy of Shah Isma’il and he himself repeatedly received assistance trom the Persian King. This help was, however, not effective and ultimately he had to move to Afghanistan and later to India to establish a kingdom. Babur had two Shi’ah wives, and at one time he had taken steps ”implying tacit acknowledgement of Persian overlordship.” But he remained ”a staunch, though liberal, Sunni Muslim” and the first coins which he struck at Lahore were in the regular Sunni style, with the names of the first four Caliphs. Perhaps one factor which gave Babur liberty of action was that Shah Isma’il had, in the meanwhile, suffered a serious defeat in 920/1514 at the hands of the Ottoman Sultan Salim, the Grim. Humayun had a Shi’ah mother and a Shi’ah wife, but he also remained Sunni and in general followed Babur’s policy.
Akbar seems to have been seriously concerned at the extension of the Ottoman power and their spiritual claims. Salim, had extended his dominions over Syria and Egypt, and after the surrender of the insignia of Khilafat by the last of the Egyptian Abbasids in 923/1517 had issued a proclamation claiming hegemony over all orthodox Muslims. In 941/1534, the Turks occupied Baghdad. The Mughal ruler at one time even thought of combining with the Christians in Europe against the Sultan of turkey as the ancestor Timur had done.5 A feeling of rivalry, if not active hostility, existed between the Mughals and the ”Osmanli” cousins and malcontents from the Mughal dominions (for example, a son of sikandar Lodi) sought and found asylum at the Sublime Porte of Istanbul.
With Iran Akbar tried to maintain friendly relations, and at one time thought of sending a prince, or even going personally in aid of the ruler of Iran ”especially in view of the claims of their ancestor on us”. When, however, ’Abbas the Great (995-1039/1587-1629) asked for his help against ’Abdullah, the Uzbeg ruler, Akbar refused to do anything to disturb his friendly relations with him and even told him of his refusal to the Safavid request.

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During Jahangir’s reign no record of any direct communication between the Mughals and the Osmanlis” in available, but, in spite of Jahangir’s Persian consort, there was a sharp deterioration in relations with Iran, owing to the dispute over Qandhar. As stated in the A’in-i Akbari, Kabul and Qandhar were regarded by the Mughals as the two main gates of Hindustan, one leading to Turkistan, and the other to Persia, and their possession was considered vital to the security of the subcontinent. Persia also laid claim to Qandhar and both countries resorted to subterfuge to obtain its possession. In

1031/1622, ’Abbas the great was on the throne of Iran, and occupied Qandhar. This was the beginning of a period of tension between India and Iran, but letters, drafted by wellknown munshis of the two courts, and containing as much subtle scorn as polite verbosity allowed, continued to be exchanged between the rulers


In Shah Jahan’s reign the relations with Iran worsened, as, in addition to the tension over Qandhar, a new source of conflict a:o,>e v.lih Shah Jahan’s attempt to subdue the Shi’ah Sidles in the Deccan, ’’which looked upon the Safavids of Persia as their natural protectors and even used their names in their kJruiha’ ^ Earlier in Jahangir s reign, ’Abbas the Great had pleaded on their behalf with his ”brother.” and even offered ”to let the land-hunger of the Mughal nobles be satisfied at his expense to save the Shi te states from absorption.”7 In Shah Jahan’s days. Shah Safi pleaded with him, and also constantly wrote to the rulers of Golkonda and Bijapur, to guide and encourage them, but all these efforts were fruitless.
Embittered by s:ra:ned relations with Iran. Shah Jahan turned towards Istanbul. In 1046/1636, Sultan Murad was at war with Shah Safl in order to reconquer Baghdad, which, though occupied by Sulaiman I in 941/1534, had been later lost to ’Abbas the Great. At this juncture Shah Jahan wrote to the Turkish Sultan indicating his desire to form an alliance with the Turks against the Persians-more or less on the lines contemplated by Sher Shah in opposition to the Safavids.
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Oriental epistolary diplomacy, in which each Mir Munshi’s chief concern appeared to be the beating of his master’s drum was rarely helpful, and Shah Jahan’s letter did not evoke an enthusiastic reply, possibly as, by the time it was received, Murad had already achieved his military objectives and felt no need for forming alliances. Minor presents and formal letters were, however, occasionally exchanged, and some contact between Istanbul and Delhi was established. Sometime between

1049/1639 and 1053/1643 Dara Shukoh sent Mullah Shauqi with a letter and valuable presents to the Grand Wazir Mustafa. ”Dara’s envoy being a learned theologian was much honoured by the ulema of Constantinople and was entertained with discussion on theology and religion.”8


Political relations between the Mughals and Iran and Turkey, complicated by conflicting aims and objectives, were often strained, but, as shown by the welcome receive by Dara Shaukoh’s envoy, under suitable conditions there was scope for cultural amity and cooperation. We shall deal elsewhere with these subjects.
The Deccan (1063-1068/1653-1658). Aurangzeb, who was the viceroy of the Deccan from 1046/1644, took efficient measures to place the affairs of the newly conquered territory on a satisfactory basis, but the viceroys, who succeeded him and ruled for brief periods, were unable to administer the area properly. The affairs of the country were unsettled as a large number of soldiers and officials belonging to the Deccan kingdoms had lost their employment and were formenting unrest. Cultivation was neglected and the revenues were diminishing. Aurangzeb was sent back to the Deccan in

1063/1653 and worked hard to restore order and good administration. He introduced into the Deccan the land revenue system which Akbar had adopted in the north. With the adoption of regular system of land revenue assessment and establishment of an efficient system of government, cultivation was extended and revenue was enhanced. Unluckily, Aurangzeb’s relations with his eldest brother, Dara Shukoh,



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who had gained great influence at the capital and, with his father, were not happy. His requests for additional funds received little attention and many difficulties were placed in his way. He was constantly hampered in his dealings with the rulers of the Deccan. They were not paying annual tribute regularly and, after obtaining the approval of the court, Aurangzeb demanded from the ruler to Golkonda a part of his territory to cover his tribute. The affairs of this kingdom were in a disorder, and some member of the family of Mir Jumlah, an able and powerful official of Golkonda, appealed to Aurangzeb for protection. Aurangzeb, who, even otherwise, was dissatisfied with the delay in the payment of tribute, marched on Golkonda, however, made representations at the capital and Aurangzeb was ordered to pardon the Sultan.9 He was even then able to annex some territory, realise the arrears of tribute and gain the services of Mir Jumlah, but he seems to have become convinced that these kingdoms, with Irani officers (occasionally including an Irani chief minister) and relations with Iran, were out of place within the Mughal Empire, and was not satisfied with the results achieved.
Lack of harmony between the viceroy of the Deccan and the authorities at Delhi became even more manifest inthe case of Bijapur. In 1068/1657, disorder broke out in that kingdom, and after obtaining permission of the Emperor, Aurangzeb set out to conquer and annex Bijapur. Bidar and Kalyani were captured and the Bijapur army decisively defeated, but again Dara Shukoh and Shah Jahan interfered,10 and Aurangzeb was ordered to withdraw at time when it appeared easy to incorporate within the Mughal Empire a territory where Maratha nobles were dominant, and which was unable to hold its own against the Portuguese. Aurangzeb imposed a large indemnity and gained many fortresses, but the postponement of the final settlement of affairs in the Deccan had evil consequences for the Empire.
War of Succession. In 1069/1658, Shah Jahan fell seriously ill and was unable to attend to affairs of State for so
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long that at one time it was rumoured that he had died. This was incorrect but all the prunces feeling that the Emperor’s end and was near, began to take measures to assert their claims. Shah Jahan had four sons out of whom Dara Shukoh, the eldest, was the viceroy of the Punjab and Allahabad, and had been treated practically as heir apparent by the king, who, towards the end of his reign, left the administration of the State largely to him and conferred on him the title of Shah-i Buland Iqbal. Other brothers -who also were in charge of large-sized provinces contested Dara’s claims. Amongst them, Aurangzeb \\as the \ icero\ of the Deccan. and Shah Slui]a and Murad \\ere in charge of Bengal and Gujarat, respectively. On hearing ot their father’s illness and Dara Shukoh’s assumption of the administration of imperial affairs, Shuja’ and Murad crowned themselves, but the ever-cautious Aurangzeb bided his time. He corresponded with Shuja and Murad, and all the three brothers started moving towards the capital. The forces of Shuja’ where the first to come in conflict with an army sent by Dara under Raja Jai Singh. Shuja defeated near Benares and forced to withdraw to Bihar. The forces of Murad and Aurangzeb near Ujjain in Central India and started moving towards Agra. Dara sent Jaswant Singh to oppose them, but he was defeated and the victorious armies of the allies arrived at Samugarh, in the neighbourhood of Agra. Here, Dara with the bulk of imperial army gave them battle, but he was no match for Aurangzeb in generalship, and the battle ended in a complete defeat for him.
Aurangzeb entered Agra, and was invited by Shah Jahan to meet him, but his well-wishers, like Khalilullah Khan (who had originally been sent by Shah Jahan as an intermediary and later changed over to his son) and Sha’istan Khan informed him that there was a plot to have him arrested and assassinated.11
In any event, Shah Jahan had allied himself so thoroughly with Dara that Aurangzeb refused to trust him, placed him under polite restraint (8 June 1658), and assumed the imperial authority 21 July 1658).

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In the meanwhile, Murad, who was showing resentment at the growing power of his brother and had even begun ”to act openly in opposition to Aurangzeb” was arrested through a stratagem on June 25) He \\as imprison in the fort of Guahor, but some three years later, he made an almost successful attempt at escape. Aurangzeb, therefore, decided to get rid of him. A complaint was lodged against him by the son of a former Diwan of Gujarat whom he had put to death and, getting alegal/arwa, Aurangzeb had him executed (4 December 1661).
Dara fled from Samugarh towards Delhi, but after wanderings in the Punjab, Sind, Gujarat and Rajputana, he was captured and put to death (13 August 1659). Shuja1, after the initial setback reorganised his forces and moved towards Allahabad. A’urangzeb met him at Khajwah and decisively defeated him. He was pursued by Mir Jumlah and took refuge inthe Arakans, where the Magh chief had him assassinate.
Thus ended the grim struggle for the throne. Aurangzeb, who was already exercising royal powers after his entry in Agra, held a grand coronation ceremony in 1070/1659. Shah Jahan recovered from his illness and, though there was, at the beginning, an exchange of bitter letters between him and his son, he ultimately became reconciled to Aurangzeb’s kingship, and when he died in 1077/1666, his daughter Jahan Ara Begum, who was with her father throughout his internment, presented Aurangzeb with a letter of pardon written by Shah Jahan.
Shah Jahan’s Reign. Shah Jahan, whose reign ended on such a sad note, was perhaps the most magnificent of the Muslim rulers of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Will Durant, who is far from partial to the Muslim rulers of India, remarks that, although there was one severe famine during shah Jahan’s reign, ”his thirty years of government marked the zenith of India’s prosperity and prestige. The lordly Shah (Jahan) was a capable ruler.”12 His Empire extended over an area bigger than that of any of his Mughal predecessors, and his reign was marked by internal peace and tranquillity. His revenue was larger than that of his predecessors and mainly owing to the
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financial ability of his wise Wazir Sa’dullah Khan (according to Vincent Smith, ”the most able and upright minister, that ever appeared in India”), the royal treasury was full. This enabled him to devote his attention to peaceful arts and his reign was characterised by extensive activity in architecture of a very high order, and encouragement of music and painting.
Shah Jahan was very keen to earn the title of Shahanshah-i ’Adil- the Just Emperor. He took personal interest in administration of Justice and, even otherwise, tried, to behave like a considerate, affectionate father to his subjects. During the first few years, he seems to have been under the influence of religious revivalists, and was at pains to rule according to orthodox Islamic Law, but gradually he came under sufi influences and mellowed a great deal. The court chronicles, written by learned and orthodox scholars, for Muslim readers, tried to show him as a very orthodox ruler. In fact, the author of Badshah Namah calls him a Mujaddid, the Renovator of Islam. But obviously this represents the bias or the courtly tact of the orthodox historian himself.
There is doubt that under Shah Jahan the apathy and indifference of Jahangir disappeared, and the regime was marked by attempts to approximate the administration to orthodox Islamic Law-including the creation of a department to look after new converts to Islam. But if the developments of the period are closely studied, simultaneously a major Hindu revival is noticeable in the reign of Shah Jahan. In Jahangir’s time the rebellion of his son Khusrau who had a Rajput mother, drove the Rajput nobility in the background, and, after his marriage with Nur Jahan, Persians became supreme in the State. Shah Jahan’s reign was marked, not only by the predominance of the indigenous elements-the Mughal Emperor had now a Prime Minister of native origin, after many a long year-but Rajputs in the army and Hindu officials in the imperial secretariat also attained a dominating position. As Sir Ram Sharma, writing in 1940, pointed out: ”Under Shah Jahan Hindus occupied a higher status in the government than that

Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 402


occupied by Indians today,” i.e. on the eve of the British withdrawal from India.13 They were dominant in the army and almost monopolised the revenue department. Rai Raghunath officiated for some time as the Finance Minister, while Rai Chander Bhan Brahman was in charge of the Dar al-Insha’, the Secretariat. The explanation seems to be that Hindus by now were in a position to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Mughal polity, and, with the increasing influence of Dara, their patron, they made rapid headway.
Akbar had based his policy of equal treatment of all his subjects on laws of natural justice. In Shah Jahan’s time, Muslim scholars and thinkers were advocating this on the basis of Islamic laws and principles. For example, Shah Muhibbullah of Allahabad wrote in a letter to Dara Shukoh that the Holy Prophet has been referred to as Rahmat al-lil-’Atimin, a blessing to all the worlds, and not only to the Muslims. Similar sentiments were being expressed by some other leading Muslims. Mulla ’Abd al-Hakim, the great scholar of the day, gave a ruling that, according to Islamic Law, a mosque could not be set up on the property of another and the conversion of a Jain temple into a mosque by Prince Aurangzeb was unauthorised. The controversies of the period remained one of the controversies in Akbar’s days, but as they were without Akbar’s excesses and innovations, the Hindu cast gained even greater support. It also awakened anxieties, and the support which Aurangzeb was able to enjoy against Dara Shukoh was probably due, not only to Dara’s arrogance and tactlessness, but also to a feeling amongst the Muslim nobility-especially among the Persian umara”, who had lost their position of privilege-that their interests were not safe.
Under Shah Jahan, orthodox Islamic Law became more effective, but Hindus had a full share, not only of the official life, but also in the great artistic activity of the periodparticularly painting, music and literature. In this period we not only see signs of increasing Hindu influence, but can also trace a certain ”Indian-Irani” controversy. In his rebellion
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against his father, Shah Jahan’s main collaborator was Mahahat Knan, whose opposition to Nur Jahan and Irani umara’ was well known. This rebellion failed and, after his accession, Shah Jahan maintained his father-in-law Asaf Khan as the chief minister. His two successors-Fadil Khan and Sa’dullah Khanwere, however, of indigenous origin, and Irani influence seems to have decreased in the secretariat. The Irani-Indian competition in the administrative sphere found an echo in the literary controversies of the day. Munir, a well-known poet of Lahore, for example, complained of the airs assumed by Irani writers, and Shaida, another prominent poet of the day, challenged his contemporary Irani poets, who were rated very high by the Irani nobles on man> points of the Persian language and style.
These developments only indicate that by now the indigenous elements, benefiting by the spread of learning and orderly government in the country, had grown in stature, and were able to assert their rights in the administrative and literary spheres. Shah Jahan’s own vision was not narrow or parochial. He was conscious of the grandeur and the greatness of the Mughal Emperor in comparison with other rulers of the world and was mainly interested in building up a grand edifice, with a large-hearted approach to the problems. The way in which the Taj was built is indicative of the policy pursued. At one time, it was thought that it was designed by a Venetian architect. This view has been abandoned now, and obviously the Taj represents the culminating point of the development of the Indo-Muslim architecture in the subcontinent. References to those who took part in the production of this incomparable masterpiece indicate that no effort was spare to obtain the services of specialists in every phase of the work from everywhere. ”Several of these were indigenous craftsmen from Delhi, Lahore, Multan and similar art centres of the Multan empire, while others were drawn from more distant sources, such as a calligraphist from Baghdad and another from Shiraz, to ensure that all the inscriptions were correctly carved or

Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 404


inlaid; a ’flower carver’ from Bukhara; an expert in dome construction, Isma’il Khan Rumi, who by his name may have come from Constantinople; a pinnacle-marker for samarqand; a master-mason from Qandhar, and, lastly, an experienced garden-planner.”14 The chief supervisor who co-ordinated the entire work was one Ustad ’Isa, ”the best designer of his time” and, according to one account, originally an inhabitant of Shiraz, whose family had settled in Lahore. ”It may be noted that while the structural portions of the Taj seem to have been principally in the hands of the Muslims, the decoration was mainly the work of the Hindu craftsmen, the difficult task of preparing the pietra specially being entrusted to a group of the latter from Kanauj.”15
Shah Jahan’s reign represents the golden age of the Mughal Empire, but, as some students of the history of civilisation have pointed out, the artistic productions of the period give an impression of over-ripeness and a certain loss of vigor. Mughal civilisation had reached its climax and was moving towards the normal declining phase of the great civilisations. But the resolute vigor of a man of iron will held together the structure for another half a century, gave it new supports and the end came very gradually.
Dara Shukoh (1024-1070/1615-1659). All the four sons of Shah Jahan had distinguished themselves in various ways, but, apart from Aurangzeb, the most celebrated was Dara Shukoh. He was not such a paragon of virtue, as some critics of Aurangzeb have tried to show. In fact, Bernier, an admirer and practically a partisan of Dara, states that he had Shah Jahan’s able Wazir, Sa’dullah Khan poisoned.16 Considering that Sa’dullah Khan did not rate Dara Shukoh’s ability very high, and might have influenced Shah Jahan against him, the allegation is not wholly improbable. The way Dara Shukoh interfered, on account of personal rivalry, with Aurangzeb’s efforts to extend the Mughal Empire in the Deccan betrays a small mind, and its failure to rise above personal considerations.
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It is perhaps, unfair to judge a Mughal prince harshly for the measures taken in a remorseless struggle for the throne, but Dara Shukoh’s weaknesses as a man of afairs are also pretty obvious. His affectionate father kept him at the capital, and thus deprived him of the practical and hardening experiences of administration which Aurangzeb gained through years of solid work in the Deccan. He proved a poor general at Samugarh and, in spite of his self-praise and self-confidence, did not show any remarkable feat of personal bravery. The way he tried to reconquer the fort of Qandhar through magic and the help of wonder-working yog/5 also betrays a very uncritical and immature, of not an irrational, mind.
Dara Shukoh had serious handicaps as a prince and a potential candidate for the throne, but he has built a niche for himself in the cultural and religious history of the subcontinent. He was a likeable person, an open and trusting friend, and a devoted and tender husband (as the dedication of his famous album to his wife Nadirah Begum shows). He had something of an artist’s disposition, rote quite touching poetry and encouraged artistic activity o all kinds. In literary circles, he is known principally as an author on sufi subjects, following a line which gives him distinction and importance.
Dara was born at the great sufi centre of Ajmer on 20 March 1615. In his nineteenth year, he fell seriously ill and, as the physicians were unable to cure him, Shah Jahan took Hadrat Miyan Mir, the celebrated Sindhi saint, who had settled down at Lahore. The saint prayed for him and, as Dara Shukoh soon recovered, thereafter his faith in the spiritual powers of the saints grew. Hadrat miyan Mir died a couple of years later, and, during his viceroyalty of Lahore, Dara built a mausoleum over the saints’s tomb, near which the remains of his wire were buried later. In 1050/1640, Dara Shukoh became a disciple of Mulla Shah, one of Hadrat Miyan Mir’s successors. In the meanwhile he had already completed, at the age of twenty-five, Sqfinat al-Auliya’ containing biographies of sufi saints. A biography of Hadrat Miyan Mir and his principal disciples

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followed after two years. He also wcte brief sufi pamphlets, one of which, Shathiyat or Hasanat al-’Arifin, written in

1062/1662, was in reply to those who were criticising Dara for his heterodox statements. In order to justify himself, he collected suf s, similar to those attributed to him.


In Majma’ al-Bahrain (”The Mingling of Two Seas”) which was completed in 1065/1655, Dara Shukoh tried to trace parallels between Islamic sufism and Hindu vedantism. He also wrote poems under the poetic surname Qadiri and a manuscript of his Diwan is preserved in the Punjab Public Library, Lahore. None of Dara’s books is without interest, but his translation of Upanishads, which he made with the help of Sanskrit scholars, had a particularly interesting history. It was completed in 1067/1657, just before his disastrous struggle for the throne. A French traveller, Anquetil Duperron, translated Dara Shukoh’s Persian version of the Upanishads into French and Latin. The Latin version, which was published in two volumes in 1801 and 1802, fell into the hands of the famous German Philosopher Schopenhauer, and profoundly influenced the course of the Transcendental Movement which was just starting in Germany. As Rawlmson points out: ”This revelation of an entirely new realm of thought reacted upon Germany in much the same manner as the rediscovery of the Greek classics upon Europe at the time of the Ranaissance.”17 Later this influence was extended to Emerson and influenced the Transcendentalist movement in the United States.
Dara Shukoh’s personality gains additional interest by the fact that he did not plough a lonely furrow, but was able to attract many worthy souls around him. The spiritual efforts which Dara Shukoh was making had their Hindu counterparts. Majma’ al-Bahrain was soon translated into Sanskrit (as Samudar Sangam) by a Hindu Scholar, and many Hindu proteges of Dara Shukoh, like Brahman, his Mir Munshi and Begham Bairahi, were giving expression to ideas of Islamic vufism in moving Persian verse. Amongst other distinguished people18 whom Dara attracted were the celebbrated poet and
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sufi Sarmad, the known author of that remarkable history of religions, Dabistan-i Madhahib, and Muhandis, the son of Ustad ’Isa, and architect of the Taj. Indeed, Dara Shukoh seems to have been a centre of an entire literary, spiritual and intellectual movement, but with his loss of power the liberal group also lost its cohesion and potency.

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