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

DECLINE OF THE MUGHAL EMPIRE (1119-1161/1707-1712)

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DECLINE OF THE MUGHAL EMPIRE (1119-1161/1707-1712)
Bahadur Shah (1119-1124/1707-1712), After Aurangzeb’s death, the usual ”War of Succession” followed, in which his eldest surviving son, Mu’azzam (Shah ’Alam), who was the subadar of Kabul and was the first to reach Agra, was successful. He ascended the throne and assumed the title of Bahadur Shah. He reigned for a little less than five years Mun’im Khan, who had been his diwan at Kabul and had helped him in the struggle for the throne, was appointed the Wazir, while Asad Khan, who produced a will of the late Emperor desiring him to continue as Wazir, was appointed Wakil-i Mutliq with his son Dhulfiqar Khan as his Deputy and as the First Bakhshi. At Dhulfiqar Khan’s suggestion Bahadur Shah permitted Shahu, the grandson of Shivaji, who had been kept as a hostage at the royal capital, to return to Maharashtar Before Shahu could establish himself, he had to fight a civil war with Tarabai (the widow of his step-uncle Raja Ram), who was heading the Maratha struggle. Shahu was successful with the help and advice of an ambitious Brahman, Balaji Vishwanath, who as Peshwa became the real head of the Maratha organisation, while Shahu and his descendants maintained a raja’s court at Satara.
Bahadur Shah was a mild and forbearing ruler, and tackled the problems with which he was confronted with tolerable competence. He had to face trouble in Rajputana which he overcame without much difficulty. His longest campaign was against Bandah in the Punjab. When the last Sikh Guru,

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Gobiy Singh, died in November 1708, he was on the best of relating with the Mughal government. Both the Sikh accounts and Qurt historians agree that Guru Gobind Singh joined the Mughj army as a mansabdar under Bahadur Shah. Irvine says:
”It seems certain that Gobind Singh joined Bahadur Shah at 50% point, when that Prince was on his march down countr, from Lahore to Agra, to contest the throne with his brothet( Azam Shah. Gobind Singh must have received some rank but what it was is not stated by the Muhammdans. A mansal Of 5,000, as stated by the Sikhs, is preposterous, the greatest leaders at the head of thousands of soldiers having rank thjn two or three hundred men. In the same way the Sikhs make t|e battle fought at Janjua, between Agra and Dholpur, on the isth Rabi I, 1119 (18 June, 1707), to have been won solely by the marvellous feats of Gobind Singh and his Sikhs. This is absurd, and may summarily be rejected. But, there is, I think evidence that Gobind Singh was in the Emperor’s army at Agra immediately after the battle. I think that he is to be identified jn the entry of the Bahadur Shah-Nama of the 4th Jamadi \ 1119 (2 August, 1707), when a ’jewelled scarf was presented to Gobind Singh.”1
progress had been made in healing the wounds which r%j poisoned the relations between the Sikhs and the Mughals before the untimely death of Guru Gobind Singh, but those of his followers, and others, who were not well disposed towards the Mughals, and had seen the ineffectiveness of the Mughal army jn the Deccan took steps which ushered the saddest chapter in the history of Sikh-Mughal relations. ”They produced a man who exactly resembled him (Guru Gobind Singh) and secretly sent him to Punjab declaring that he was Guru Gobind Singh miraculously brought back of life for leading hjs followers in a war of independence against the Muslims.” Thjs mari) Wh0 was known as Bandah (the slave), took the title of Saccha Padshah, and, calling himself Gobind Singh, summone(j the Sikhs to join their Guru who had
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reappeared. In response to his call, many zealous Sikhs assembled and marched in arms to Sonipat, some twenty-five miles north of Delhi, where the the Faujdar came out utterly unprepared, and was routed. This success emboldened Bandah and brought many to his standard. Accompanied by 50,000 men, he next conquered Sadhaura near Ambala and committed unspeakable atrocities. This was followed by the defeat and slaughter of Wazir Khan, the commandant of the provincial capital, Sirhind (22 May 1710). ”Then the town of Sirhind itse.lf was taken, pillaged for four days with ruthless cruelty; mosques were defiled, houses burnt, women outraged and the Muslim slaughtered.”2
The progress of Bandah towards the south was checked by Shams Khan Khweshgi, the brave Faujdar of Sultanpur, but the situation became so serious that it was feared that the disruption which the Maratha rising had caused in the south may be paralleled or even exceeded in the north. Bahadur Shah, therefore, decided to address himself to the task. On 4 December 1710, he reached Sadhaura which was evacuated by Bandah on his approach. The Sikhs moved to the strong fort of LOhgarh, where Bandah had been living like a king and had issued coins in his own name. Bahadur Shah, who was accompanied by Mun’im Khan and Dhulfiqar amongst other generals captured the fort of Lohgarh, but Bandah was able to escape. In January 1711, Sirhind was reoccupied, and Bandah took advantage of the new war of succession to recover Sadhaura and restore the fortification of Lohgarh, so that the whole problem had to be tackled afresh.
After a halt at Sirhind, Bahadur Shah moved to Lahore. His stay here was marked by the one major controversy of his reign. Soon after his occupation of the throne, he had ordered, at the suggestion of Wazir Mun’im Khan, that the title Wasi should be added after the name of Hadrat ’AH in the Friday prayers. This was considered a Shi’ah innovation and led to trouble in many places. At Lahore, matters came to a head. Bahadur Shah called the leading local theologians to hold

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discussions with him and made a powerful plea for the change. The local ulema, however, did not agree, and the general population with the support of the Afghan soliders, forming a body of a hundred thousand men, made ready to resist the measure by force. At first the Emperor ordered his Chief of Artillery to have the new form of prayer recited from the pulpit of the Badshahi Masjid on 22 April 1711, but, finding that a vast crowd, ready for violent resistance, had gathered in the streets of Lahore, the Emperor gave way and in the end the old form in use in the days of Aurangzeb was recited. Seven leading ulema of Lahore were, however sent to the Gwalior fort.
Jahandar Shah. Bahadur Shah, who died on 27 February

1712, left four sons, and as usual, each aspired for the throne. At this stage Dhulfiqar Khan, who, due to the death of Mun’im Khan and the old age of his father, was the most influential noble of the realm, started playing a role unworthy of a member of a family to which Aurangzeb had entrusted the affairs of the Empire. Prince ’Azim al-Shan was his father’s favourite and was generally expected to succeed him, but Dhulfiqar secretly brought the other three princes together for joint action against ’Azim and they made solemn agreement for partitioning the Empire amongst themselves with ”Dhulfiqar as Minister for all the three”.3

In the battle which followed, ’Azim was drowned with his elephant in the Ravi, and then Dhulfiqar threw aside the two youngest princes in favour of the worthless Jahandar Shah, who ascended the throne on 29 March 1712. Dhulfiqar became the all powerful minister, and the king, infatuated with his concubine Lai Kanwar and free from all responsibilities of State, spent his time in an orgy of mad freaks and low amusement. The relations of Lai Kunwar robbed and mismanaged the State, and the entire tone of society and administration was vulgarised. The practice of royal favourites interfering in the affairs of State, which was to be the bane of Muhammad Shah’s reign, really started under Jahandar Shah.
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Nemesis was, however, not long delayed. Muhammad Farrukh .Siyar, the second son of Azim al-Shan, who was his fathers’s deputy in Bengal, had not reconciled himself to the enthronement of Jahandar Shah. On learning of his father’s death, hes proclaimed himself Emperor at Patna in April 1712, and was able to interest the two powerful Sayyid brothers in his fortunes. One of these, Sayyid Husain ’Ali, was his deputy at Patna .and the elder Sayyid Hasan ’Ali (later ’Abdullah Khan Qutb al-lMulk) was the deputy at Allahabad. They agreed to espouse the cause of Farrukh Siyar, and, by obtaining support from othner quarters, defeated Jahandar Shah at the fateful battlefield of Samugarh (6 January 1713). Jahandar Shah escaped from the battlefield, hidden in the howdah of Lai Kunwar, and, entering Delhi by stealth at night, immediately went to Asad Khan and appealed for protection, and sought help fronm Dhulfiqar. ”But the crafty old minister dissuaded his son Dhii Ifiqar from making any other attempt on behalf of Jahandar Shah and in violence of their oaths to him decided to imprison him and hand him over to gain the new Emperor’s favour a.nd retain their wealth, titles and influence in the state.”4 Jahandar Shah was murdered in the prison on 11 February, but Dhulfiqar and Asad Khan did not gain their objective s. Dhulfiqar Khan was put to death on 13 February and, alth ough the old Asad Khan was allowed to linger on till his death at the age of eighty-eight (15 June 1715), all the houses and property of Dhulfiqar and his father were confiscate and the family completely ruined.
Farr-ukh Siyar (1125-1131/1713-1719). Farrukh Siyar ascended the throne on 11 June 1713, but his position was far from happy. He owed his crown to the Sayyid brothers, who received the highest officers in the realm. Sayyid Hasan ’Ali became the Wazir, with the title Qutb al-Mulk Zafar Jang, Sipah Salar, while Sayyid Husain ’Ali became Mir Bakhshi with the title of Amir al-Umara1 Firuz Jang. The authority and power which the Sayyid brothers assumed was galling to the new king. He, however, lacked the ability and character of an

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Akbar to overthrow Bairam Khan, and only made schemes and ineffectual efforts which really made his position worse. He had not the courage to strike boldly, but, with a low cunning and a week mind, encouraged others to face the Sayyids. Bold and resourceful Turani nobles like Nizam al-Mulk, who had been kept in the background under Bahadur Shah and who might have dealt with the Sayyids, were reluctant to side with Farrukh Siyar on account of his fickle nature, and remained aloof. The king’s friends like Mir Jumlah were men of straw and could not accomplish anything. In April 1715,.Husain ’Ali left Delhi as viceroy of the Deccan, but before leaving he warned the king that in case his brother was harassed at Delhi, he would promptly return to the capital. Matters came to a head in 1718 when Mir Jumlah was recalled by Farrukh Siyar from Lahore. On hearing of this, the Wazir wrote to his brother to come back from the Deccan. Husain ’Ali immediately complied and arrived outside Delhi on 15 February 1719. A particularly sinister feature of Husain ’All’s return was that he was accompanied, apart from his own army, by some 11,000 Marathas under the Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath. ”Their help was secured by promising to Raja Shahu: (a) the chauth or one-fourth of the revenue of the Deccan, (b) sardeshmukhi or ten per cent on the collection, (c) the confirmation of Shivaji’s hereditary dominions, and (d) the release of Shahu’s mother and half-brother from captivity in Delhi, besides a cash salary to each Maratha soldier.”5 This momentous deal which changed the course of Indian history was negotiated by Husain Ali’ envoy Sankaraji Malhar, who originally held a high post under Raja Ram, the younger son of Shivaji, but had later entered the Mughal service and was then in the camp of Husain ’Ali.
On arrival at Delhi, the Maratha soldiers did not prove very effective. As a matter of fact, at their first appearance they were panic-stricken and large numbers of them were easily butchered by the Mughal retainers and other inhabitants of the capital, but, as pointed out by Owen, Husain ’Ali’s deal
with the had a fa establish! Mughal provokinj
rebellious defiance i near the longer r< ”I will aimed at =
prove pr-- were demonst curbed ~ Emperor
absorbed provinc extermi pacificat belongs t_ of ’Abd February with his instruct!” destroy preparat Bundhel fulfilme especial Sadhaur Lohgarh Khan pi his men
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[ Ch. 22
anti-Mughal community of the Marathas caching importance. ”Thus the Maratha plan of virtually an anti-polity within the limits of the pire= was realised, and in a most glaring and irm,”6
ival at Delhi, Husain ’Ali assumed an openly .titude. He ordered his drums to be beaten loudly in
lorrnal Mughal ban on beating of a subject’s drums iperor ’s residence and repeatedly said that he no med himself amongst the servants of the Mughals: itain the honour of my race.” Husain ’Ali probably :ting up a new dynasty, but circumstances did not tioiis. The sympathies of large sections of public Farrukh Siyar, and there were largescale
ns in his favour in the capital. This probably sain ’Ali’s ambitions, but only hastened the :nd.
ca jnflict between the king and the ”king-makers”
ie energies of the central government, but some
overnors maintained firm administration, and the of Bandah and his companions, which led to the
of the East Punjab for one whole generation, -. arrukJi Siyar’s reign. This was essentially the work -Samad Khan. Early in Farrukh Siyar’s reign (22
13), he had been appointed the governor of Lahore >n Zakariya Khan as the Faujdar of Jammu, with
to expel Bandah from Sadhaura and, if possible, to

- altogether. ’Abd al-Samad Khan made thorough .s and ”assembled an army of Mughals, Pathans,

ajputs and Rajputs of Kotoch and Jasrota,” but of his. mission proved a long and arduous task, is attempts had to be made to capture Bandah alive.
as besieged, but the Sikh garrison escaped to
here Bandah himself was residing. ’Abd al-Samad ed on the Lohgarh, but a panic seized Bandah and nd the-y evacuated Lohgarh without firing a shot (1

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October 1713). Now Bandah took refuge in the hills from where he salied forth at intervals, plundering the inhabited places and otherwise causing damage to the countryside, by cutting ”the Shah-nahr canal” and other small streams, to allow the water to flood the contiguous fields. Ultimately, he was chased back to the fort of Gurdaspur, and the patient and painstaking ’Abd al-Samad Khan took elaborate steps to ensure that he did not escape. A high earthen wall with a trench behind it was raised all round Gurdaspur, so as to enclose completely the fort from all sides. Next a stockade was constructed near the fort walls with a deep and wide ditch at its feet. Bandah’s followers offered fanatical resistance but all their attempts to escape failed, and the garrison was forced to surrender unconditionally on 17 December 1715, after a siege of eight months. Bandah was taken to Delhi and put to death on 19 June. In dealing with him and his followers, stern vengeance was wreaked, but the peace of the area was ensured for a generation or more. As Sir Jadunath Sarkar says, ”after Bandah and his personal followers had been crushed in 1715. The Sikhs remained quiescent for over one generation and did not disturb the public peace.”7
After the death of Farrukh Siyar, who was blinded and imprisoned on 27 February 1719, and strangled two months later, the king-makers placed on the throne Rafi’ al-Darajat but ”he lived and died as a captive of the Sayyid brothers”. He was deposed on 4 June and a week later died of consumption. On 6 June, his elder brother, Rafi al-Dawlah, who ”too lived within the fort, a prisoner of his two minister in all matters, even in private life, was declared the king. He died on 17 September

1719, but the fact was kept concealed for nine days. On 28 December 1719, Raushan Akhtar, a grandson of Bahadur Shah, was crowned king under the title of Muhammad Shah. During the nominal rule of Rafi al-Darajat, the Sayyid brothers obtained his consent to post Nizam al-Mulk to Malwa as viceroy ”to get his Mughal troops out of Delhi” (3 March

1719), and to send back Maratha contingent with the royal
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orders dated 13 and 24 March, confirming the promises made to them by Husain ’Ali, which Farrukh Siyar had refused to endorse. Another important development was that the two brothers had a violent quarrel over the treasures seized in the palaces of Delhi and Agra, and, although this quarrel was patched up, the resultant coolness may have been partly responsible for Husain ’Ali no proceeding with his original dream of founding a dynasty.
Muhammad Shah (1131-1161/1719-1748). The new Emperor was crowned at the age of twenty and remained on the throne for some thirty years. During the first year, he was under the tutelage of the Sayyid brothers, but by now their hold, never very secure in the face of the powerful Turani nobles, had greatly weakened and they were widely unpopular. Hasan ’Ali, the Wazir, had left the management of all public affairs to his agent Ratan Chand, who interfered even with the Muslim ecclesiastical appointments. The Sayyid brothers were generous to their troops and followers, but they blatantly looted public property. At Delhi, the Wazir ”making use of his position within the palace and the fort had taken possession of all the buried treasures, jewellery, armoury, and all the imperial establishments”. The same thing was repeated at Agra. ”After an acrimonious dispute, Sayyid Husain ’Ali Khan was obliged to surrender over two million rupees to his brother and the two were never again on their former terms of amity.” Even otherwise the hold of Sayyid brothers was never very secure. As the verses of Bedil show, there was widespread resentment over the way in which Farrukh Siyar had been treated. ”Even on the day of blinding, several nobles appeared in the streets with their contingents and tried to fight their way to the fort,” but withdrew to their homes when it was learned that all was over with Farrukh Siyar.
During Muhammad Shah’s reign, the opposition to the Sayyid brothers took a more effective form. By now Nizam alMulk had been estranged by the Sayyids and was in open rebellion. But the blow was struck by some other nobles, who

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represented both the Turani and Irani factions. Muhammad Amin Khan, the Turani noble (who occasionally spoke in Turkish to the Emperor), having ascertained his resentment of the Sayyids, formed a conspiracy to remove Husain ’Ali. Among his supporters was ”Mir Muhammad Amin, a Sayyid of Nishapur who had lately received the title of Sa’adat Khan and had been, as a Sayyid and Shia, a protege and favourite of Husain ’Ali. The assassin, Mir Haider Beg, another Sayyid, was found by Muhammad Amin Khan from his own contingent.”8 Husain ’Ali was assassinated on 9 October 1720, a day after his boast ”about making an emperor of anyone on whom he chose to cast his shoe.”9 Abdullah Khan, who gave battle was defeated and imprisoned on 15 November. Ratan Chand was beheaded the same day.
Muhammad Amin Khan, who became Wazir, died of colic on 30 January 1721. On 29 January 1722, Nizam al-Mulk reached Delhi from the Deccan and on 21 February was presented with the pen case, symbolical of the post of Wazir. He was an efficient officer but too strict a disciplinarian to be popular with the young Emperor or his ease-loving courtiers. Muhammad Shah had come under the influence of such courtiers as the witty ’Umdat al-Mulk Amir Khan, the cultured Muhammad Ishaq, and the indolent Qamr-ud-din Khan, who were courtiers rather than statesmen, and neglected public business. Nizam al-Mulk gave him serious advice ”and entreated him to abandon the practice of letting out the reserved lands in farms, to abolish the wholesale bribery which prevailed at the court, to exact the levy of thejizya, as in the time of Aurangzeb, from unbelievers and to requite the services rendered by Tahmasp I of Persia to hi? ancestor Humayun, by marching to relieve Tahmasp II, now beset by Afghan invaders, who had sacked and occupied his capital.”10 Nizam al-Mulk’s advice was rejected and, on 18 December

1723, he left the court to return to the Deccan.

After Niazam al-Mulk’s departure, the affairs of the ’ country and the court went from bad to worse. Nizam alMulk was able to keep the Marathas away from his
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territories in the Deccan with skill and tortuous diplomacy,” but they were harassing other parts of the country. By 1732, they has partly occupied Gujaiat, partitioned Bundelkhand and temporarily overrun Mewai. Next year Muhammad Shah resolved to march against them in person and made a couple of short marches, but the imperial camp never went beyond Faridabad, sixteen miles south of Delhi. The Marathas became bolder and spread themselves from Gwalior to Ajmer. Fhe\ suffered defeat at the hands of Burhan al-Mulk and Khan-i Dauran, but reassembled again, and, in 1737, Baji Rao Peshwa managed, by successful and rapid marches, to evade the imperial army and reach Delhi itself. After some looting near the tomb of Nizam-ud-dm Auliya’, he withdrew on hearing that the Wazir and the Mughal army were nearing the capital
The situation became so grave that there was a general feeling that Nizam al-Mulk was the only man who could save the kingdom and drive away the Marathas. A pressing invitation was, therefore, sent to him and he started from Burhanpur on 17 April 1737. Many miles from the capital he was received by the Wazir with the highest honours. In April

1738, he re-entered Delhi at a time when already a new danger, the invasion of Nadir Shah, was threatening the Empire.

Invasion of Nadir Shah. In Persia the ruling Safavi King had been driven out by an Afghan soldier, whose father had freed Qandhar-for long an object of dispute between the Mughals and the Safavids-from the Persian. He conquered Herat and Khurasan, and, in 1722, occupied Isfahan, the Safavi capital. A saviour, however, arose in the person of Nadir Quli, who, acting in the name of Safavi king, defeated the Afghans, and, in 1729, expelled them from Iran. In 1736, he ascended the throne as Nadir Shah. He wished to punish the Afghans who still held Qandhar, and sent envoys to Muhammad Shah, requesting him to close the frontier of the Mughal province of Kabul to the fugitives from Qandhar. Favourable replies were

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sent from Delhi, but nothing tangible was done and many Afghans escaped from Qandhar to Kabul. Nadir Shah sent another envoy to demand an explanation and return within forty days, but he could obtain neither an audience from the king nor leave to depart, and returned to Nadir Shah only after a year’s absence. After the victory at Qandhar, Nadir moved towards Ghazni and Kabul, which he captured in June 1738. From there he moved to Peshawar and Lahore, which he occupied after minor local resistance. From Lahore he addressed a letter to Muhammad Shah, complaining of gross discourtesy and saying that he was coming to Delhi to punish the royal counsellors who were responsible for this. Muhammad Shah, along with his large army, marched to stop the invader at Karnal, but the Indian army (to which Rajput chiefs had refused to send any contingent) was outmanoeuvred.
There was no major clash between the entire army of Muhammad Shah an4 the Irani army. There was a skirmish between the Irani scouts and the fresh troops which were being brought to join the main Indian army, in which Burhan alMulk, the Subadar of Oudh, was captured, and Khan-i Dauran, the premier noble and the first Bakhshi of Muhammad Shah, was fatally wounded through an accidental (or well-aimed) shot of the Iranian artillery. The main body of the Indian army and the contingent of nobles like Nizam al-Mulk were not yet involved in action, when the so-called battle of Karnal was over, with disastrous results for the Indo-Pak subcontinent. The damage, due to misfortune on the battlefield, was completed by treachery and poor statesmanship. Burhan alMulk, who had been taken to the Persian camp and was originally from Nishapur, was able to persuade Nadir to agree to leave Muhammad Shah on the throne of Delhi and to retire from India, immediately on receipt of an indemnity of 20 million rupees. Burhan al-Mulk, however, hoped to be made Amin al-Umara’ in place of Khan-i Dauran, but when Muhammad Shah conferred the office on Nizam al-Mulk, Burhan al-Mulk became so angry that he now advised Nadir
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Shah not to be contended with mere 20 millions, and to move to Delhi.12 The Persian king decided to leave over the question of indemnity till he reached the capital. The two kings moved towards Delhi in apparent harmony, but what the realm had not yet suffered from the failure on the battlefield and the rivalry of the nobles was brought about by the rashness and vainglory of the citizens of Delhi. Nadir Shah’s troops were quartered in different parts of the city, when a rumour gained currency that the Persian King had been assassinated. This led to a massacre of the Persian soldiers, who were moving about unarmed, and nearly nine hundred Persian were slain. This enraged Nadir Shah, who ordered a general massacre of the citizens of Delhi, which continued for a whole day and resulted in the slaughter of nearly 30,000 persons. In the evening, at the request of Nizam al-Mulk, the massacre was stopped, but the general loot and extortion continued. In addition to the seizure of Shah Jahan’s wonderful Peacock Throne and a large stock of pearls, diamonds, and jewellery from the imperial treasury, large levies were imposed on the Mughal nobles, and wealthy citizens were plundered. On 16 May, Nadir Shah left Delhi laden with booty, the like of which had never been taken away from India by any conqueror. He left Muhammad Shah on the throne of Delhi, but annexed all territory west of the Indus, including the province of Kabul, and, later, stipulated that a sum of twenty lakhs of rupees out of the revenue of four mahals of Gujarat, Sialkot, Pasrur and Aurangabad (in the Punjab) which had hitherto been reserved for meeting the administrative cost of the perpetually deficit province of Kabul, should be paid into the Persian treasury.
Nadir’s defeat of the Indian army and massacre and plunder of the people of Delhi, destroyed the prestige of the Mughal government and ruined it financially. This emboldened the Sikhs and the Marathas, and even the provincial governors became defiant and truculent. When addressing Muhammad Shah in a letter from Kabul, Nadir Shah had stated that he had occupied his north-western territory ”purely out of zeal for

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Islam” so that in case ”the wretches of the Dekkan” again move towards Hindustan, he might ”send an army of victorious Kazil Bashis to drive them to the abyss of hell.”13 Yet actually he had given a death stab to the Empire ”of the king of the Musalmans”. Apart from the damage done by the Sayyid brothers and the Marathas, Nadir’s invasion was the biggest factor responsible for the break-up of the Mughal Empire.
Nadir’s invasion of India was a stunning blow, but after a period of helplessness and stupor, apparently Muhammad Shah tried to reorganise his government. According to contemporary accounts, after the departure of Nadir, ”the emperor and the nobles turned to the management of state affairs and gave up all sorts of Uncanonical practices”.14 This phase was shortlived. Nadir Shah, by his attempts to influence Muhammad Shah against Nizam al-Mulk and the buttress the influence of one faction, had further aggravated the conflicts at the court which had contributed to the Mughal weakness. Muhammad Shah’s reign did i\ot, however, close without at least one victory against a foreign enemy. In eastern territories of Nadir Shah’s empire and the Mughal army near Sirhind, and resulted in the last victory Of the Mughals. At the head of the Indian army was the Emperoj-’s son, Ahmad Shah, with Wazir Qamr-ud-din, his son Mu’in sd-Mulk, and Safdar Jang on his side. There was a stubborn fight, in which Mu’in al-Mulk and Safdar Jang covered themselves with glory and Ahmad Shah Abdali was forced to retreat. Just before the battle, however, the Wazir was hit by a cannon ball, which inflicted mortal injuries, and in another six weeks his royal patron, whose confidence he enjoyed for almost a quarter of century, also passed away (26 April 1748),
Other Muslim States
One unhealthy development resulting from the growing weakness of the central Mughal authority was the establishment of hereditary viceroyalties in some of the major provinces of the Empire. The process was due to the slackening hold of the central authority and, in turn, not only further weakened the
Decline of the Mug hal Empire
[ Ch. 22
centre by depriving it of financial resources and political power _, but ultimately led to the establishment of practically independent kingdoms in the snabcontinent. In Muhammad Shah’s reign, the new phenomenon of hereditary viceroyalties was to be witnessed in the PunjaJb, the Deccan, Bengal, Sind and Oudh. In the Punjab and Sind (mainly owing to the interv ention of external forces from the west), this did not result in the immediate establishira ent of independent kingdoms, but ITU the Deccan, Oudh, Bertgal and the some extent in Rohil khand, it resulted in the ris*e of large principalities, over whicln the central government of Delhi had only nominal authority.
Nizam al-Mulk in Hyderabad. The most important of the new principalities was Hyderabad, which comprised six subahs of tbfce Deccan, and which at this time had a standard revenue of sixtesen crores of rupees against seventeen crores from the other twel ve provinces of the Mughsul Empire taken together. The founder of the State was Niza-m al-Mulk (Mir Qamr-ud-din Chimi Qulich Khan), whose father Ghazi-ud-din Firuz Jang was a fanvourite of Aurangzeb, and fcad rendered signal services at the siege of Bijapur in 1097/16”86. Mir Qamr-ud-din was born in 1082/1671, entered Aurart^gzeb’s service at the age of thirteen and six years later received the title of Chin Qulich Kh =an. In 1126/1714, Farrukh Siyar made him the viceroy of the- Deccan. Nizam al-Mulk’s first tenure of office was brief, as the; Sayyid brothers were opposed to him, but he was too powerful to be ignored and heUd high offices even during their ascendency. Muhammad Shah, made him Wazir in February IT 22, with permission to retai n the viceroyalty of the Deccan. Nizam al-Mulk strove hard to introduce order and discipline in th *e government at Delhi, tout was powerless against the frivolous and corrupt royal favourites. He was trained in a scrhool of stern discipline ”an«3 was universally regarded as the sole representative of the spa^cious times of Aurangzeb and of th»e policy and tradition of that strenuous monarch”. These tt-aditions were not to the Liking of the courtiers, who had

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civil,nation in India & Pakistan 470 delighted in the revelry of Jahandar Shah’s time and had created a similar atmosphere of gaiety and frivolity under Muhammad Shah. Finding himself powerless to improve affairs at Delhi, Nizam al-Mulk decided to save what he could from the impending ruin of the Mughal Empire and on 18 December

1723, after obtaining royal permi’-sion for a shooting tour in the Doab, set out for the Deccan. His enemies in the court urged his deputy to oppose him, but the latter was decisively defeated by Nizam al-Mulk, whose power and prestige was such that soon Muhammad Shah confirmed him in the viceroyalty of the Deccan, with the additional title of Asaf Jan (June 1725).
Nizam al-Mulk worked hard to bring peace and order in a land which had been the scene of constant war for nearly forty years. He enforced law and order with a strong hand, kept the land revenue assessment low, made the prohibition of illegal cesses effective and by giving security to the peasants and traders enhanced the wealth of the country. The Marathas were a great menace to his State, and he tried to deal with them with a firmness tempered by realism and diplomacy. In 1146/1732, he came to an agreement with the Peshwa that if the Marathas invaded Northern India, he would not attack them in the rear. Five years later, when the Marathas carried their depredations right up to the city of Delhi, the Emperor wrote to Nizam alMulk for aid and the Nizam responded. He reached Delhi on

13 July 1737, 15 and participated in the battle of Karnal against Nadir Shah, but found that even the tragedy of Nadir’s massacre had not taught a lesson to the Emperor and his courtiers. Despairing of all hopes of reforming Muhammad Shah’s government he finally left Delhi in August 1740, and, till his death on 1 June 1748, continued to work for the consolidation of the State which was to maintain Mughal culture and traditions for over two centuries.

Bengal (1119-1171/1707-1757)
The history of Bengal for half a century after Aurangzeb’s death is essentially the story of two remarkable men, Murshid
Dec-,line of the Mughal Empire
[ Ch. 22
Quli Xhan and Alivan.di Khan who gave the province peace and pros perity when it wai. s rare in other parts of the subcontinent.
Murshid Quli JKhan. Murshid Quli Khan, who was selected Diwan of Bengal by Aurangzeb, after great deliberation, to whic::h the Emperor’s letters bear testimony, was a most remarkafcde person. By birth a Brahman, he had been sold as a boy to» Haji Shafi Isfahan!, later Diwan-i Tan of the Twlughal Empire. Murshid Quli Khar*, whose Islamic name was Muhammad Hacdi, received financial training under his new master and soon acquired a reputation for extraordinary ability. In 1110/1698 .„ the Emperor appointed him to the diwani of tOhe Deccan and, Htwo years later, posted him as Diwan of Bengal, where Prince ’Azim al-Shan was the subadar. Aur,a.ngzeb had the highest admiration for Murshid Quli’s ability and honesty, tout the Diwan’s relations with the viceroy werne most unhappy, and in 1116/1704, Murshid Quli shifted his headquarters fniom Dacca, the provincial capital, to ”Makhsudabad,” the;; name of which was some years later changed, with the Emperor’s permission, to Murshidabad.16 ’Azim al-Shan was akr>le to keep Murshid Quli out of Bengal for two years (1120-2111/1708-09) but in 1122/1710, he was reappointed Diwan o^tf that province and, in 1129/1717, became viceroy of Bengal in addition. He retained both the offices till his xdeath on 30 June 1727.
For ill or we: 11, Murshid Quli Khan left a lasting impression on the revenue history of Bengal. ”The land revenue system taket-n over by the English was, in its main features, the creation of Murshid Quli Khan, and it was continued in a mo ;re refined but more rigid form under Cornwallis’ Permanent Settlement.”17 Murshid Quli, with his industry and personal. 1 attention to details, was able to evolve a system out of chaos,, but his success had a sorry side too. He adopted very oppressive methods of collecting the government due;s, and , in order to obtain maximum recoveries, introduced ijarah system, i.e. Farming of revenue of contractors. Not only did the ijarah system involve hardship to the cultivators, but

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 472

the replacement of crown collectors by contractors brought about a change in the upper structure of society also. Sir Jadunath Sarkar says: ”In choosing his contractors, Murshid Quli always gave preference to Hindus and to new men of that sect. He thus created a new landed aristocracy in Bengal, whose position was confirmed and made hereditary by Lord Cornwallis.” A large number .^ft Hindu revenue officials acquired big landed properties, and in course of time ”came to be called zamindars and many of them were dignified with the titles of Rajas and Maharajas.”18
Murshid Quli Khan gave every encouragement to foreign merchants, and ensured that only lawful dues” should be collected from them, but he kept a watchful eye on the activities of the East India Company, which had received very liberal concessions during the viceroyalty of prince Shuja and had fortified Calcutta during the last days of Aurangzeb. Murshid Quli Khan refused to endorse the privileged granted by Shuja’ to the British, and even otherwise curtailed their activity, but the English Company, with the consent of the directors, sent a mission to the court of Emperor Farrukh Siyar. After spending some two years at the capital, the mission succeeded in obtaining very liberal concessions from the Emperor ”through generous distribution of bribes” and the success of Dr Hamilton, a member of the mission, in curing the Emperor of painful malady. Murshid Quli tried to whittle down those concessions but, although the Company decided to bide their time during his lifetime, its position was greatly strengthened by the concessions granted by Farrukh Siyar. Calcutta rapidly rose of importance, not only on account of the operations of the English traders, but also because Portuguese, Armenian, Persian and Hindu merchants settled there and carried on commerce under the protection of the British flag. English law was in force in the British settlement. The population of Calcutta, which was 15,000 in 1704, rose to a lakh in 1750, and it became a major centre of commercial and economic activity.
his d Shuj
Decline of the JMughal Empire
[ Ch. 22
\Uvardi Khan. Murshid *Quli Khan had no son, and on tth on 30 June 1727 ws===a,s succeeded by his son-in-law, ud-din Muhammad Khan „ in whose the imperial patent of iture was obtained. Shuj^sau’s regime was marked by peace
rcnsperity,’ but his admir*L_ Lstration contained the seeds of trouble. In his govern raacnent, Shuja-ud-din was guided T)y the advice of ’Aliva. tnrdi and his brother Haji Ahmad, ryan Alam Chand and Jagat Seth Path Chand, whose famil -””aw was to play such an L. «nportant part in the history of Mursi.-.. ”TUtnidabad. Through variou as means, worthy and unworthy, Haji _-*Alirimad acquired great ia -ffluence over Shujah-ud-din, and
altho” -imm iigTi there was no trouble wduring his reign, on his death in
Marc~-r TBti 1739 his son and succ- essor Sarfaraz was deprived by ’Aliv-- ssardi of the governmemttn of Bengal. ’Alivardi, whose origi -anHK-lal name was Mirza McBwThammad ’AH and Haji Ahmad,
were; originally Arabs, but ’ «A]ivardi’s father had married a
Turk~_ iHiLsh lady who was relaL _AEhmad was able to enlis *Seth. Haji Ahmad a •ations, and early in Sarfaraz lost his life o
the support of Alam Chand and id his brother made thorough

3/1740, ’Alivardi marched from the battlefield and, on 12 April,

ardi ascended the masna*z=zf as Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and a_ Arrangements had already been made to secure
.^n ition for the new Na’^w.w’vab from Muhammad Shah, by in g a present of one crc*-*- ire of rupees over and above the
* 1 -1.U,,
usua»L~- TBIL annual tribute amountim-»g to one crore and some lakhs. Khan proved an a*t=3>le administrator. He subjugated ssssa., where the deputy governor, a brother-in-law of
uo*, had refused to =^cknowledge his authority. He :v-ed a large degree of sut_«ccess in warding off the Maratha j=s^ci«e and was able to ««=SM»sure peace and order in his JBndons till his death on =H’0 April 1756 at the ripe age ot ni«L.y^
Oris. Surf achi. mem,

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 474

The Punjab (1119-1158/1707-1745)
The Punjab under Zakariya Khan (1139-1158/1726-1745). The disorders caused by Nadir Shah’s invasion gave the Sikhs a heavensent opportunity and they started raising their heads, but the Punjab was at this time administered by a capable governor, Zakariya Khan, and he did not allow the Sikhs to get out of hand. The way his father, ’Abd al-Samad Khan, had won his laurels against Bandah in Farrukh Siyar’s reign has already been described. In 1139/1726, ’Abd al-Samad Khan died and was succeeded by Zakariya Khan, who had been trained under the vigilant eye of his father, and, if anything, was to excel him in renown and popular esteem. Not only was he able to deal firmly with the turbulent elements in his territory, but exhibited in those harsh days such a nobility of spirit and vigilance in protecting the people from injustice and oppression that his personality shines like a beacon of light in a dark and troubled sea. Many were the stories which the people narrated of his justice and impartiality, ”and he was idolised by his subjects in a degree unequalled in that age”.19 Nadir’s invasion gave him opportunities to exhibit his noble spirit. While passing Lahore on his return to Iran, Nadir pressed Zakariya Khan to ask for a personal favour, but ”the only boon he asked the world-conqueror was the liberation of the artisans and other people whom Nadir was dragging away with him to Persia. Nadir agreed, and thousands of Indian homes, far away from the Punjab, were rendered happy by this nobleman’s unselfish generosity”.20 Zakariya Khan died on 1 July 1745. Anand Ram Mukhlis records how great was the grief of the people, especially of the city of Lahore, and this grief was justified. With Zakariya Khan ”ended the happiness of the Punjab,” and this troubled land was not to know peace of more than a century.
The Rise of the Kalhoras in Sind. On his victorious return from Delhi, Nadir Shah annexed the areas to the west of the Indus river to his empire. This transfer included both Thatta and Shikarpur, and affected the greater part of what later
475 Declin.e of the Mughal ew/),re
became the province of” Sind. There 1$ [^m [ Ch. 22
Sind in Mughal histories, and it appear^ that \quent mention Qf
officers were posted to Thatta and Bhak^ although Mughal
subordinate to the Mughal viceroy atKfuitar)\kar (whjch werg
this far-off province remained in theh^ds o\\ much power in
Another important feature of the poijtica] ^f’the local chiefs
continued practically till the British Occn situation; which
standing division of the, area into Upper Sind l,patjon was the
Sind (Lar). During the pre-Mughal period I (Sara)’and Lower
from the old Hindu capital at Rohn, was t, Sehwan not far
Upper Sind but, under the Mughals, fog ^ main’town of
Bhakkar, between old Rohri and Modern Suk river fortress of
position. In the Lower Sind, the capim was ^ occupied this
from modern Karachi, though subsequently n a{ 7^3 not far
by Hala, and later by Hyderabad, fourided , is p,ace ^ taken
language spoken in the Upper Sind was Sarai ^ 1183/1769. The
Even after the Mughal conquest, govern ^»-
of Bahkkar and Thatta were appointed for a }Lrs of the sarkars
old Tarkhan dynasty. Later the offlcers \^ng Ume from ^
general cader of the mansabdars took theix belonging to the
zamindars and religious families, howev^ piace -r^g local
influence. During the early Mughal mie> th^ exercised great
into prominence. In 1025/1616, one Of &\ Daudpotras came
Shikarpur in an area which was on§inaii^ir chjefs founded
hunting forest. The Daudpotras c^e u ^ shikargah or a
Kalhoras who were a minor branch Of tne) c,ash with the
which the Daudpotras were descended, anc)^ family from
pirs, claiming disciples. They came from ^g^ a famiiy of
(Sara), were originally called Sarais,and ^ thg Upper Sjnd
came to notice about the middle of rtie sixt^^g Saraiki. They
their spiritual leader Miyan Adam ot Ada^hth century wnen
1009/1520-1600) became the head ofa larg,) 5hah (circa 926-
He is said to have been a khalifah, ot a spl^umber Offaqirs_
Sayyid Muhammad, Mahdi of Jaunpur, and itua] successor, of
Akbar’s general ’Abd al-Rahim Khan Kll^s given lands’by
influence excited the jealousy of other zam^n. His growing
$ars, and at their

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 476

instigation, the viceroy of Multan let him be put to death when he was on a visit to that city with large contingent of disciples. The foundation of future Kalhora importance was, however, laid in Multan were Agha Shah Muhammad, the kotwal of city, himself became a disciple of Adam Shah, during his imprisonment. After his murshid’s martyrdom, the kotwal took his dead body to Sukkar, buried it in a mausoleum built on the top of a hill, where it forms an impressive landmark outside the town, and looked after the descendants of the pir. Agha Muhammad Shah became the first successor of Adam Shah and after his death was succeeded by a grandson of his murshid.21
The Kalhoras, like many other holy men, originally depended upon madad-i ma’ash (land granted to them) and on offerings of the disciples, but gradually they acquired large areas of land, and developed political ambitions. About

1058/1658 (during the dislocation caused by the War of Succession following Shah Jahan’s illness) under Miyan Nasir Muhammad Kalhora, they began to defy successfully the local representative of the Mughal government. Miyan Nasir Muhammad, who had become a powerful zamindar and the head of fanatical religious followers, died in 1104/1692 and was succeeded by his son, Shaikh Din Muhammad, who defied Prince Mu’iz-ud-din, the viceroy of Multan (afterwards Jahandar Shah), and was put to death about 1112/1700.22 His younger brother, Yar Muhammad, succeeded him as the chief of the Kalhoras, and greatly extended the family sphere of influence. He drove Daudpotras from Sukkur, took possession of Shikarpur (about 1113/1701) and Sehwan, and took from its old landowners, Sibi Dara, an extensive area running from Sind frontier to Qandhar. A brave and resourceful warrior, Yar Muhammad was also a cool-headed statesman. While extending his territory at the expense of his local rivals, he realised the need for building up good relations with the imperial government at Delhi. He successfully persuaded the Mughal authorities that the Kalhoras had better claims to some areas which were previously under the Daudpotras, and would pay

Decline of the Mughal Empire
[ Ch. 22
imperial revenue regularly. Ultimately of royal farman was issued conferring on him, subject to certain conditions, the governorship of Sibi (which at that time comprised Shikarpur and Sukkur), a high mansab, and the imperial title of Khuda Yar Khan.23
Yar Muhammad died in 1131/1719, and, after a period of strife between his two sons, the succession of Mur Muhammad was confirmed by the Delhi government, which conferred on him, his father’s title, Khuda Yar Khan and a mansab. Nur Muhammad greatly extended Kalhora influence. He fought bitter battles with the Daudpotras, and practically drove them out of Sind.24 In 1149/1736, Muhammad Shah conferred on him government of the sub-province of Thatta, and of the fortress of Bhakkar. Thus Nur Muhammad became the virtual ruler of entire Sind, Upper and Lower, but he was now faced with unexpected difficulties. When Nadir Shah wished to invade India, he asked Nur Muhammad to grant him passage, and offered tempting rewards. The brave chief, however, refused to be a traitor to his Mughal overload and fortified his frontier against the Irani ruler. After his return from Delhi, Nadir Shah decided to teach Nur Muhammad a lesson, and invaded Sind. The Kalhora governor desired to retire into the inaccessible desert, but Nadir Shah caught up with him at Umarkot (February 1740). Nur Muhammad did his best to conciliate the Persian conqueror, but, though he was given back the governorship of Sind on payment of an annual tribute part of his territory, consisting of Shikarpur and Sibi, was handed over to the Daudpotras and Bhakkar was taken over directly by Nadir Shah. Nur Muhamrnad, however, received the title of Shah Quli Khan. He extended his authority in the direction of the sea by subduing local chiefs, and was the principal power in Sind, when in 1161/1748 Muhammad Shah died and Nadir Shah was murdered.
Shah Wall Allah (1114-1176/1703-1762). In the twelfth/eighteenth century, Islam in the Indo-Pak subcontinent was faced with such menacing problem in sectarian conflict,

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 478

the low moral tone of society, poor understanding of the Holy Qur’an, and general ignorance of Islam, that there were valid grounds for fearing that political disintegration would be accompanied by religious collapse. That this did not happen and that in fact an era of religious regeneration was inaugurated, was due more than anything else, to the activities of one man, Shah Wali Allah.
Shah Wali Allah was born on 21 February 1703, i.e. four years before the death of Aurangzeb. His father, Shah ’Abd al Rahim, was both a sufi and a theologian, and for a short time assisted in the compilation of the Fatawa’-i ’Alamgiri, the voluminous code of Islamic Law prepared at the court of Aurangzeb. He was also interested in tna’qulat (the mental sciences) and was a favourite pupil of Mir Zahid, the wellknown writer on philosophical subjects.
Shah Wali Allah received his academic and spiritual education at the hands of his father, who combined in himself three strands of Indian Islam-the theological, the sufi and the philosophical. Shah Wali Allah was an heir to all this, and not only learnt tafslr and Hadith and underwent spiritual discipline, but also studied metaphysics, logic and ’ilm al-kalam under his father. He was in his teens when, on his father’s death, he started teaching in his father’s madrassah. He continued doing this for twelve years, after which he left for Arabia for higher studies and for performing the Hajj. He was in the Hejaz for nearly fourteen months and prosecuted his studies under the best known teachers of Mecca and Medina. His Favourite teacher was Shaikh Abu Tahir b. Ibrahim of Medina, from whom he obtained his sanad (diploma) in Hadith. Shaikh Abu Tahir seems to have been a man of encyclopaedic learning and broad catholic taste. Shah Wali Allah wrote about him:
”In short, he was gifted with the virtues of the godly past, like piety, independence of judgment, devotion to knowledge, and fairness in controversy. Even in minor matters of doubt he would not offer an opinion until he had pondered deeply and verified all references.”
Decline of the Mughal Empire
[ Ch. 22
During his stay at Mecca, Shah Wali Allah saw a vision in which the Holy Prophet blessed him with the good tiding that he would be instrumental in the organisation of a section of the Muslim community. These were the days of political turmoil in the Indo-Pak subcontinent, when life and property were unsafe. Shah Wali Allah was advised by his relatives to settle down in the Hejaz, but he knew that proper field of his activities was his native land, and he did not accept that counsel of despair. He returned to Delhi on 9 July 1732, and set himself to work on a planned and systematic basis. Prior to his departure for Arabia, Shah Wali Allah’s main occupation was teaching. Now he changed his method of work. He trained pupils in different branches of Islamic knowledge and entrusted them with the teaching of students. He devoted himself largely to writing and, before his death on 10 August 1762, had completed practically a library of standard works in those branches of ”Islamic Sciences” which were of special importance to the Muslims of the subcontinent.
Shah Wali Allah’s most important single act was his translation of the Holy Qur’an into simple Persian, the literary language of Muslim India. Some translations of the Holy Book had been attempted earlier, but either they were a part of and incidental to a voluminous tafsir, or they did not gain currency. Shah Wali Allah’s translation was in Persian, and after brief opposition it became current and popular. This was due, not only to the translator’s eminence in religious circles, but also to the fact that his translation was not a single, isolated act, but was connected with a broadbased movement, aimed at bringing the knowledge of the Qur’an within the reach of the average, literate Indian Muslims. Within sixty years of this translation, the two sons of Shah Wali Allah prepared their Urdu versions-one completely literal and following the Arabic sentence-structure, and the other idiomatic and in accordance with Urdu usage. Shah Wali Allah’s action, which involved, not only scholarship, but imagination and great moral courage, smoothed the way for others. His example was followed, not

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 480

only by his sons, but, in course of time, by scores of others, and it is due to his initiative that, outside the Arabic speaking countries, the Muslims of Hind-Pakistan have taken the lead in the study, understanding and propagation of the Holy Qur’an.
Not less important was his balanced understanding and fairminded approach to different religious questions. In his day Indian Islam was rent by controversies and conflicts between the Shi’ah and the Sunni, the sufi and the Mulla, the Hanafi and the Wahabi, the Mujaddidi and the Wahdat al-Wujudi, the Mu’tazili and the Ash’ari. Shah Wali Allah, who called ’adl the primal virtue and the basis of organised, civilised existence, studied the writings of all schools of thought, tried to understand the viewpoint of each one of them, and wrote bulky, authoritative and comprehensive volumes expounding what was fair and just, in language which did not hurt. In this way, he worked out a system of thought, beliefs and values on which all but the extremists could agree, and a spiritual basis was provided for national cohesion and harmony.
In Shah Wali Allah three strands of our national consciousness-the sufi, the theological and the intellectual-- converge. Some of his mystic experiences puzzle a more sophisticated age, but he was astonishingly modern in his approach to many problems. His intellectual courage was, at times, truly astonishing. Those who have studied the history of Ottoman Turkey are struck by a running commentary which her statesmen maintained on the causes of her decline-even from before the retreat at Vienna. In Muslim India such analysis has been rare. Shah Wali Allah was almost the first to face the question of the decline of the Indo-Muslim society, and in Hujjat Allah al-Balighah boldly pinpointed the causes-- religious and moral as well as social and economic.
Shah Wali Allah’s success was partly due to the fact that he found able and devoted successors. One of his four sons was the father of Shah Isma’il Shahid, and the other three were leading scholars and writers of the day including Shah ’Abd al-’Aziz who, according to Sir William Hunter, was ”the greatest Muhammad doctor of the age,” and occupied this position at Delhi for nearly fifty years. They
481 Decline of the Mughal Empire [ Ch. 22
followed the tradition of their illustrious father and grandfather of combining a study of ”Mental Sciences” with tafsir and Hadith and, though they specialised in the latter two subjects, they also wrote books on logic and philosophy. They taught and trained a large body of men, who carried the message of Shah Wali Allah to all parts of the subcontinent. There students and successors organised jihad against persecution of Islam by the Sikhs in the northwest, brought about a revival of Islam in Bengal and were held in equal veneration by Sayyid Ahmad Khan, the leader of the Aligarh Movement, and Maulana Muhammad Qasim, the founder of the Deoband seminary.
Basically, Islam is free from the problem of national churches, but owing to historic, racial, linguistic and geographical factors, different schools viewpoints have gained prominence in different Muslim countries. In Iran, Shi’ahism is the State religion, while in the desert of Najd Wahabi puritanism in dominant. Similarly, different countries have adopted, according to their peculiar developments, different schools of law--the Shafi’i, the Hanbali, the Maliki and the Hanafi. If belifs, legal traditions and religious tendencies of modern Muslim India and Pakistan were to be examined from this point of view, it would be seen that the foundation of the religious structure which is the most dominant here, and which may almost be called ”the national church” of Muslims in this subcontinent, was laid by Shah Wali Allah.
Cultural Transition
Muhammad Shah is popularly known as Rangila-the Gay-and it is usual to consider his reign as the period in which the ruler and the court gave themselves up to riotous living, and completely neglected the administration. In fact, Muhammad Shah is often held responsible for the fall of the Mughal Empire. There is some truth in this view. In Muhammad Shah, there was nothing of Akbar’s administrative vigour, or of Aurangzeb’s ascetic self-discipline. Qamar-ud-din

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 482

Khan (entitled I’timad aUDaulah II) who was his wazir for a quarter of a century was not very much better, and considered it the height of wisdom to let sleeping dogs lie and exert himself as little as possible. The historian Warith, whose youth had been spent under the vigorous administration of Aurangzeb, wrote bitterly about the policy adopted in Muhammad Shah’s reign.
”For some years past it has been the practice of the imperial court that whenever the officers of the Deccan or Gujarat and Malwa reported any Maratha incursion to the Emperor, His Majesty, in order to soothe his heart afflicted by such sad news, either visited the gardens to look at the newly planted and leafless trees, or rode out to hunt in the plains, while the Grand Wazir I’timad-ud-daulah, Qamar-ud-din Khan went to assuage his feelings by gazing at the lotuses in some pools situated four leagues from Delhi, where he would spend a month or more in tents enjoying pleasure or hunting fish in the rivers and deer in the plains. At such times, the Emperor and the Wazir alike lived in total forgetfulness of the business of the administration, the collection of the revenue, and the needs of the army. No chief and no man thinks of guarding the realm and protecting the people while these disturbances daily grow greater. ”25
Warith’s observations are discreet and guarded. Reliable information about Muhammad Shah’s private life is not available (as is the case with Jahandar Shah) but about his wazir, it is known that his pleasures were not confined to gazing at lotuses or fishing and hunting deer. A contmeporary chronicler has left on record that the wazir was fond of ”wine and women” in a manner which must have set bad example for others, and lowered the general tone of the society.
The disastrous consequences of the ”escapist policy” adopted by the ruler and the wazir became manifest during the reign. The distant provinces became virtually independent, the Marathas grew powerful and began to challenge the Mughal
Decline of the Mughal Empire
[ Ch. 22
government even near the capital and ultimately the regime had to face utter humiliation at the hands of Nadir Shah.
The weaknesses of the regime are obvious, but it would be unfair to ignore the positive side. In the cultural field, Muhammad Shah’s reign stands as a landmark. It saw the rise of a new literature, and the maturing ot a language. Urdu, which had gained admission in the literary and cultural circles of the metropolis only a few years before the beginning of Muhammad Shah’s reign, was a fully developed literary language at its end. A new school of music grew up around the Mughal court, and the names of Sadarang and his brother occupy a high place in the evolution of Khiyal, which was to supersede all other varieties of the Hindustani music. Indian dancing freed itself from the atmosphere of the temple, and, instead of virtual devotion to Hindu gods and goddesses, became an art, ministering to human pleasure. The courtly mujra variety was at its height, and bewitched outsiders like Nadir Shah. Goetz, who has compared the Delhi of Muhammad Shah to the Rome of the Renaissance Papacy, says that until its sack by Nadir Shah, ”Delhi like Renaissance Rome was the most refined, the most elegant, but also the most licentious city of the East, a model of luxury and culture for all other countries.”26 It is true that the licentious life of the capital repels sober students and has continued to shock orthodox Muslim opinion, but it need not be forgotten that the cultural life of Muhammad Shah’s Delhi was something more than riotous living. This was the first Golden Age of Urdu poetry, and as Goetz says: ”The reign of Muhammad Shah was the zenith of later Indian pictorial art of a new and original sweet style, which is closely connected with the rise of Urdu literature.” Indian astronomy also reached its peak in this reign-thanks mainly to Jai Singh, but with Muhammad Shah’s full support. Nadir Shah paid an unconscious compliment to the cultural standards of Delhi when he ”wished to take with him at number of artists, scholars and musicians to Persia”. He also took with him physicians form Delhi.27 It was this period

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 484

which saw the rise of Shah Wali Allah, the greatest Islamic scholar and reformer produced by the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Originally Shah Wali Allah was staying in his small family house in the subrubs of Delhi, but when the number of his students grew, Muhammad Shah placed a large-sized building at his disposal, and induced him to move inside the city.28
To Muhammad Shah’s reign belongs the first translation of the Holy Qur’an which gained currency. It also saw the first real broadbased synthesis of Hindu and Muslim cultures. A detailed study of the cultural life during Muhammad Shah’s reign has not been made , but it will show that his principal courtiers, who objected to Nizam al-MuIk’s puritanism and are rightly condemend for keeping Muhammad Shah away from the path of stern duty, have something to show in the cultural field. Principal amongst the Emperor’s favourites was Amir Khan II, the son of Amir Khan, the famous governor of Kabul and the grand son of Khalil Allah Khan, who played such an important part in Aurangzeb’s accession to the throne. He wrote good Urdu poetry (under the surname Anjam), generously partronised poets, scholars and artists, and had a large number of Urdu poets attached to his household. He played an important part in the promotion of new Urdu literature. The important royal favourite was Ishaq Khan whose daughter was married, by the Emperor’s command, to Shuja alDaulah, and became the mother of Nawab Asaf al-Daulah of Oudh. Muhammad Ishaq and his son were the patrons of Arzu, the greatest Persian poet and scholar of the twelfth /eighteenth century, and teacher of many Urdu poets. They also patronised at Delhi and later at Lucknow, Mir, the foremost Urdu poet of the times.
The cultural activities of the reign are impressive, but they represented a period of adjustment and compromise, indeed of lowered standards. Even the cultivation of Urdu meant that it was no longer possible to maintain Persian, the respository of the literary and intellectual heritage of Muslim India. In music Khiyal meant less arduous artistic standards than Dhrupad, and
485 Decline of the Mughal Empire [ Ch. 22
by revolving round the legends of Krishna and his gopis, only provided an artistic pretext and mode of expression to pleasureloving age. One has only to compare the fraudulent sufis like Namud wa Namud who swayed Muhammad Shah and his nobles, with Hadrat Miyan Mir and Shaikh ’Abd al-Haqq Muhaddithi who were honoured by Jahangir and Shah Jahan, to appreciate the fall in moral and spiritual values. Even Hadrat Mazhar Jan-i Janan, the greatest sufi of the period and a truly gifted pers on, was not uninfluenced by the prevalent atmosphere.
In Muhammad Shah, good was mixed with much that was rotten, but: he was not a cipher even in the administrative sphere. There is no doubt that an air of cultured ease, relaxation and passivity dominated the Mughal court. It appears that after the dreadful sufferings and vicissitudes to which the Mughal ro»;yal family was subjected by the Sayyid brothers, something snapped within Muhammad Shah and he lost the capacity for energetic and sustained action.29 If, however, the low level to which monarchy had fallen in the previous four reigns is taken into consideration, Muhammad Shah’s record appears to show a distinct improvement. In those troubled times, it wa_s something of an achievement for a ruler merely to maintain his position on the throne for twenty-nine long years. The ability of Muhammad Shah and his friends to overthrow the powerful Sayyid brothers also betokens a certain resourcefulness and initiative. The way Muhammad Shah got rid of his three undesirable favourites (Koki, Ji, Raushan alDaulah of Panipat and Shah ’Abd al-Ghafur) also shows a certain capacity for resolute action. The Turkish archives show that after Nadir’s return from India, Muhammad Shah sent an embassy30 to the Ottoman ruler (1157/1744) urging the Turks ta maintain their pressure against the Persian ruler, and it was not entirely without merit that Muhammad Shah lived to see his armies victorious against to foreign invader, Ahmad Shah Abdali.
In Muhammad Shah’s reign more energetic of the nobleslike Nizam al-Mulk of Hyderabad, Murshid Quli Khan of

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