|Alamgir II |
|14th Mughal Emperor|
|Reign||3 June 1754 – 29 November 1759|
|Predecessor||Ahmad Shah Bahadur|
|Successor||Shah Jahan III|
|Born||6 June 1699|
Burhanpur, Mughal Empire
|Died||29 November 1759 (aged 60)|
Kotla Fateh Shah, Mughal Empire
Faiz Bakht Begum
Zinat Afruz Begum
|Issue||Shah Alam II|
Mirza Muhammad Ali Asghar Bahadur
Mirza Muhammad Harun Hidayat Bakhsh Bahadur
Mirza Tali Murad Shah Bahadur
Mirza Jamiyat Shah Bahadur
Mirza Muhammad Himmat Shah Bahadur
Mirza Ahsan-ud-Din Muhammad Bahadur
Mirza Mubarak Shah Bahadur
Born Aziz-ud-Din, the second son of Jahandar Shah, was raised to the throne by Imad-ul-Mulk after he deposed Ahmad Shah Bahadur in 1754. On ascending the throne, he took the title of Alamgir and tried to follow the approach of Aurangzeb (Alamgir I). At the time of his accession to throne he was an old man of 55 years. He had no experience of administration and warfare as he had spent most of his life in jail. He was a weak ruler, with all powers vested in the hand of his vizier, Ghazi-ud-Din Imad-ul-Mulk.
In 1756, Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India once again and captured Delhi and plundered Mathura. Marathas became more powerful because of their collaboration with Imad-ul-Mulk, and dominated the whole of northern India. This was the peak of Maratha expansion, which caused great trouble for the Mughal Empire, already weak with no strong ruler. Relations between Alamgir II and his usurping vizier, Imad-ul-Mulk had now deteriorated. He was murdered by Imad-ul-Mulk. Alamgir II's son Ali Gauhar escaped persecution from Delhi, while Shah Jahan III was placed on the throne.
He was born on 6 June 1699 at Burhanpur and was the second son of Maaz-ud-Din, the son of future Emperor Bahadur Shah I. Alamgir II was 7 when his great-grandfather Aurangzeb died in the Deccan. After the death of his grandfather, Bahadur Shah I, and the war of succession that followed, his father, Maaz-ud-Din, was defeated, by the next Mughal Emperor, Farrukhsiyar.
Aziz-ud-Din was then imprisoned in 1714 and released in 1754, by usurping Vizier Imad-ul-Mulk, he perceived Aziz-ud-Din as a frail personality who would not object his regime. Therefore, on 2 June 1754, Aziz-ud-Din was given the title Alamgir II by the vizier out of his own recommendation, as he wanted to follow the centralised approach of Aurangzeb.
Succession to throne
Imad-ul-Mulk was clearly a man of no principles and was commonly criticised for his extreme selfishness. he hired Maratha mercenaries to do his bidding and put all the imperial revenues into his own pocket and starved Alamgir II's family. He persecuted Ali Gauhar, the elder son of Muhy-us-Sunnat.
Since then, relations between Alamgir II and Imad-ul-Mulk's regime were so bad that the latter got him assassinated in November 1759.
After the emergence of Alamgir II the Mughal Empire had impulsively began to re-centralize, particularly when many Nawabs sought the gratification of the Mughal Emperor and his co-ordination regarding their resistance to the Maratha. This development was clearly unwelcome by Imad-ul-Mulk who sought to strengthen his authoritarianism with the undaunted support of the Marathas.
Alliance with the Durrani Emirate
In the year 1755, the acclaimed Mughal viceroy of Punjab, Muin ul-Mulk died his widow Mughlam Begum desperately sought the assistance of Ahmad Shah Durrani to halt any succession struggle and to quell the Sikh rebels in the eastern regions.
Ahmad Shah Durrani and his forces then marched into Lahore in the year 1756 and appointed his son Timur Shah Durrani as the new viceroy at Lahore, under the protection of the commander Jahan Khan and also placed Adina Beg as the Faujdar of Doab. Ahmad Shah Durrani then plundered Sikh and Hindu inhabitants in the unstable and outlawed eastern regions of the Punjab.
He then marched towards Delhi, in October 1757, the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II with courtiers such as Shah Waliullah, nobles such as Najib-ul-Daula, and the imperial family went to meet Ahmad Shah Durrani, whose forces then engaged the Marathas in combat and threatened to overthrow and execute the regime of Imad-ul-Mulk.
Ahmad Shah Durrani's relations with the Mughal Emperor, strengthened further when his son Timur Shah Durrani was chosen as the suitor of Alamgir II's daughter Zuhra Begum. Ahmad Shah Durrani himself also married Hadrat Begum the daughter of the former Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah.
Ahmad Shah Durrani returned to Kabul leaving his forces led by his son Timur Shah Durrani consolidating themselves inside the garrisons of Lahore where they founded the Zamzama cannon with the assistance of Mughal Metalsmiths.
Siege of Delhi (1757)
In July 1757, the Maratha's led by Raghunathrao rejected the alliance established between the Durrani Empire and the Mughal Empire, they were assisted by Imad-ul-Mulk and encamped 30 km opposite to the Red Fort and occupied all the villages by the Jamuna they began to stage the Siege of Delhi (1757).
The Marathas fought against Alamgir II's incumbent Mir Bakshi ("Paymaster") Najib-ul-Daula along with his lieutenants Qutub Shah and Aman Khan and a Mughal Army of 2,500 garrisoned inside the metropolis of Delhi.
The angry Maratha set ferries ablaze and stopped food supplies from entering Delhi, while Najib-ul-Daula positioned his heavy artillery outside the vicinity of the Red Fort.
Unable to gain any assistance form Ahmad Shah Durrani, who was engaged in quelling various rebellions near Herat; Najib-ul-Daula surrendered after resisting the combined brigands of Maratha Confederacy for more than five months, he conceded defeat and withdrew to Najibabad.
When the Marathas entered Delhi the emperor Alamgir II and his royal family had somehow fled to Bharatpur State.
The Marathas looted and plundered the city and the people of Delhi. Mosques and Shrines built by the Mughals were desecrated; and the Peshwa conspired to place Vishwasrao upon the Mughal throne.
Imad-ul-Mulk was reappointed Mir Bakshi and with the support of the Marathas.
The Jat also plundered Delhi but soon afterwards made it possible for Alamgir II and the Mughal royal family to return to Delhi from Bharatpur.
However, despite losing control of Delhi, Najib-ul-Daula and his associates, such as Qutub Khan and Abdus Samad Khan the Mughal Faujdar of Sirhind, continued to challenge the Maratha Confederacy and its allies during confrontations at Saharanpur and Shahabad Markanda. In response the Marathas sacked the inhabitants of Taraori, Karnal and Kunjpura.
The Maratha attack upon Kunjpura triggered a military response by Ahmad Shah Durrani. Whose forces crossed the sacred rivers of India in search of their Maratha opponents.
Subjects opposing the Maratha Confederacy
In the year 1756, Alamgir II sympathised with the cause of his loyal Nawabs of Kurnool, Cuddapah and Savanur, when their assigned territories were ravaged and plundered until 1757 by the Maratha chieftain Balaji Baji Rao.
Third Carnatic War (1757–1763)
Loss of Bengal
Alamgir II grieved the death of Alivardi Khan the famous Nawab of Bengal, who annually pledged 5 million dams to the imperial court. His successor Siraj-ud-Daula was recognised as the next Nawab of Bengal, but he faced internal rivals who refused to consider the Firman granted by Alamgir II to Siraj-ud-Daula. These internal conflicts would lead Siraj-ud-Daula to hastily annex Calcutta from the English East India Company, without the permission of the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II and Salabat Jung. Siraj-ud-Daula was quickly defeated by Clive who recaptured Calcutta and defeated Siraj-ud-Daula during the Battle of Plassey in the year 1757. After the annihilation of his entire army Siraj-ud-Daula fled and was killed by the forces of the treacherous Mir Jafar. The deceased Siraj-ud-Daula's pretensions were criticised in the Mughal imperial court by Ghulam Husain Tabatabai, and Alamgir II refused to recognise Mir Jafar as the next Nawab of Bengal. In response to the imperial court's decision Mir Jafar thus consolidated and alliance with the manipulative Imad-ul-Mulk against the imperial family.
Authority in the Deccan
Throughout Alamgir II's reign French commandant de Bussy and Lally and their allies such as Salabat Jung and Hyder Ali greatly contributed to the advancement of forces in the Deccan opposed to the utter dominance of the Maratha renegades, their achievements had earned them fame throughout the influential circles within the Mughal Empire. In the year 1756, Salabat Jung's forces utilised heavy muskets known as Catyocks, which were attached to the ground, it was known to have fired more rapidly than a cannon. These new weapons would completely reverse fortunes of the Maratha rebels. Soon after the Battle of Plassey, the French commander De Bussy, also entitled Saif-ud-Daula Umdat-ul-Mulk and Mansabdar of 7000, by the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II. He captured the Northern Circars from the British along with his assistant Hyder Jung the "Vakil" (attorney) representing the French within the Mughal Empire and Salabat Jung. However the Northern Circars were retaken by Forde in the year 1758 and De Bussy was recalled to France. Fearing the worst Salabat Jung reconciled with the English East India Company and recognised their protectorate and was soon overthrown by his own brother Nizam Ali Khan.
Nawab of Bhopal
In the year 1758, the Mughal Army of Faiz Mohammad Khan the Nawab of Bhopal was treacherously attacked by his step-mother Mamola Bai who suddenly besieged the Mughal garrison at Fortress of Raisen in 1758, according to the layout of the Marathas. The outraged Mughal Emperor Alamgir II, then issued a Firman supporting Faiz Mohammad Khan was the Nawab of Bhopal the only chosen administrator of Raisen, the emperor also granted the title Bahadur to Faiz Mohammad Khan the Nawab of Bhopal. However the fort remained under the control of Mamola Bai and the renegade Nanasaheb Peshwa. The fortress of Raisen was quickly retaken by Faiz Mohammad Khan in the year 1760, after the tragic assassination of Alamgir II and after Sadashivrao Bhau threatened to ravage Bhopal prior to the Third Battle of Panipat. It is believed that Faiz Mohammad Khan's Sepoy's were among those who had cut off the various supply routes of the Marathas just before the Third Battle of Panipat.
Nawab of Cambay
Najm-ad-Dawla supported British presence in Cambay. Turning much of his estate into an international "safe zone". Although it is likely that he too had to face threats from the Maratha climax.
"Nawab of Mysore"
In honour of his achievements during the Carnatic Wars, the king gave him the title "Nawab Haider Ali Khan Bahadur".
Zenith of the Maratha Confederacy
In 1758 the Marathas led by Raghunathrao occupied Lahore after extracted an extortion of imperial wealth from Imad-ul-Mulk, together they conspired the overthrow of young Timur Shah Durrani. Raghunathrao drove out Jahan Khan and Timur Shah Durrani, the son and viceroy of Ahmad Shah Durrani. Timur Shah Durrani and his forces were forced to retreat from Lahore to Peshawar under the force of attacks from Sikhs and Marathas. This victory made the belligerent Peshwa, grandiosely sack Delhi and hype their intentions of placing Vishwasrao on the Mughal throne.
After detailed consideration Imad-ul-Mulk and an angry mob of various ethnic groups plotted to murder the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II and the assassinations of prominent members of his family in the winter of 1759.
Alamgir II was murdered because he refused to lower the Afghan flag.
According to legend
During his reign religious feuds became common among the individuals of the Durbar, and communal duels between rivals became a common occurrence.
Sadashivrao Bhau then personally chose the usurping, Shah Jahan III as the new Mughal Emperor and began a campaign of plundering the Jewels and ornaments of the Mughal imperial court, he also defaced mosques, tombs and shrines that the Mughals had built in Agra and Delhi, he then desecrated the imperial Moti Masjid and looted its exquisite jewelled decorations into booty for the ravaging Marathas.[better source needed]
The defeat of Alamgir II's son-in-law, Timur Shah Durrani by the Marathas in the year 1760, provoked the wrath of Ahmad Shah Durrani, who launched a massive campaign gathering more troops than ever before. In response to the crimes committed by Imad-ul-Mulk and Sadashivrao Bhau; Najib-ud-Daula and his firm alliance of principal Muslim nobles in the Mughal Empire recaptured Delhi and placed it under the nominal authority of Shah Alam II. In the south Hyder Ali and his Mysore Army ferociously attacked the Maratha. Meanwhile, Shah Alam II anticipated the collapse of the Maratha and declared Shuja-ud-Daula his Grand Vizier and Najib-ud-Daula as his honorary Mukhtar Khas (Chief Representative). These developments eventually culminated into rise of religious and political loyalties that eventually clashed at the "Third Battle of Panipat" in the year 1761.
Seven Years' War
In 1756, the Seven Years' War had broken out and Alamgir II was supported by various international belligerents of that war.
It was the first global war in which the Great Mogul had his involvement apart from the boundaries of India.
Alamgir II initially involved in that war because the British were hasty in their attempts to conquer Bengal Subah.
In 1755, De Bussy received letter from new Mughal Emperor Alamgir II requesting French assistance to put down the Maratha Confederacy. Alamgir II asked if it was possible for De Bussy to dispatch a French contingent of 1000 strong to protect the Mughal Empire's capitol at Delhi. Alamgir II also promised to pay a hefty sum for the maintenance of the French and even promised to settle disputes in the Carnatic Wars in favour of the French East India Company.
In 1757, Alamgir II had successfully achieved peace between the Durrani Emirate and the Mughal Empire. Alamgir II even secured a matrimonial alliance when Timur Shah Durrani married Gauhar Afroz Begam the daughter of the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II in February 1757 and Ahmad Shah Durrani married Hazrat Begum the daughter of the former Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah in 1757.
The newly appointed Mughal Grand Vizier after Ahmad Shah Durrani's invasion was Najib-ud-Daula who tried to consolidate the remains of the Mughal Empire by uniting distant Faujdars, Nawab's and Nizams into a common cause against the Marathas. Fearing their wrath the deposed Imad-ul-Mulk aligned himself with the Maratha leader Sadashivrao Bhau and launched an counterattack against Najib-ud-Daula which lasted 15 days and resulted in the defeat of Najib-ud-Daula who was driven North.
Imad-ul-Mulk then feared that the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II would recall Ahmad Shah Durrani, or use his son Prince Ali Gauhar, to dispossess him of his newfound power with the Marathas. Therefore, Imad-ul-Mulk plotted to murder the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II and his family. A few Mughal Princes, including Ali Gauhar desperately managed to escape before assassination. In November 1759, the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II was told that a pious man had come to meet him, Alamgir II, ever so eager to meet holy men, set out immediately to meet him at Kotla Fateh Shah, he was stabbed repeatedly by Imad-ul-Mulk's assassins. The Mughal Emperor Alamgir II's death was mourned throughout the Mughal Empire, particularly by the Muslim populace.
After the assassination of Alamgir II in 1759, the Peshwa under the sway of Sadashivrao Bhau had reached the peak of its short-lived power particularly when their involvement in the assassination had become eminent when he discussed abolishing the Mughal Empire and placing Vishwasrao on the throne in Delhi by bribing or deposing Imad-ul-Mulk.
In Popular Culture
- Jaswant Lal Mehta. Advanced Study in the History of Modern India 1707–1813. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Kaushik Roy (30 March 2011). War, Culture and Society in Early Modern South Asia, 1740-1849. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Elphinstone, Mountstuart (1841). History of India. John Murray, Albermarle Street. p. 276.
- "Alamgir II (Mughal emperor) - Encyclopædia Britannica". Britannica.com. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Shaharyar M. Khan (20 October 2000). The Begums of Bhopal: A History of the Princely State of Bhopal. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Raghunath Rai. History. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Hermann Kulke, Dietmar Rothermund. A History of India. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Sarojini Regani. Nizam-British Relations, 1724–1857. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- S.R. Sharma. Mughal Empire in India: A Systematic Study Including Source Material. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Students' Britannica India. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
Media related to Alamgir II at Wikimedia Commons
Ahmad Shah Bahadur
| Mughal Emperor
2 June 1754– 29 November 1759
Shah Jahan III