Muhammad Shah | Nasir-ud-Din Muhammad Shah (Mughal Emperor)

Muhammad Shah

Muhammad Shah (also Nasir-ud-din Muhammad Shah) sat on the throne of Mughal Emperor after the death of Rafi-ud-daulah, popularly known as Shah Jahan-II.

Muhammad Shah is known by various names such as “Roshan Akhtar”, “Sada Rangila”, etc.

Muhammad Shah was more capable than the preceding sovereigns. But he too lacked the real authority over the whole empire. His greatest apprehension was that the Sayyid Brothers might depose him also.

Fall of Sayyid brothers: Muhammad Shah therefore decided to get rid of the clutches of Sayyid brothers. Chhabila Ram Nagar, the Governor of Allahabad, Jay Singh, the Raja of Amber, Nizam-ul-Mulk the governor of Malwa and Muhammad Amin Khan, the second Bakhshi were hostile to the Sayyids. Muhammad Shah tried to win over Nizam-ul-Mulk to his side. With a view to reduce the power of Husain Ali, Nizam-ul-Mulk attacked Khandesh and after capturing Asirgarh, proceeded towards the south. Husain Ali’s nephew was defeated and killed in a battle with Nizam-ul-Mulk. On hearing this, Husain Ali, accompanied by the Emperor marched against Nizam-ul-Mulk but he was murdered on the way. Ratan Chand informed Abdullah of the murder of his younger brother. But Ratan Chand was later himself arrested and executed at the time of war against Abdullah. Abdullah on his defeat was first thrown into prison and later died in 1722.

Reign of Muhammad Shah: This apparently strengthened the position of Muhammad Shah. Girdhar Bahadur, the governor of Awadh, Jay Singh of Amber, Ajit Singh of Jodhpur, Nizam-ul-Mulk, the governor of the Deccan and other nobles and amirs acknowledge his authority and sent him presents.

He appointed Muhammad Amin as the Wazir and when the latter died offered his place to Nizam-ul-Mulk. Nizam-ul-Mulk tried to govern with a strong hand. He wanted to establish his authority over the whole of the empire by coming to terms with the Marathas in the Deccan and acting as the Wazir in the north. In this he met with no success and opposition to his rule soon started.

At first the governor of Gujarat was instigated against him and when Nizam-ul-Mulk set him aside and brought Gujarat under his direct control, Mubariz Khan his deputy in the Deccan was incited to rebellion. Nizam-ul-Mulk saw through the game and proceeded to the south. He fought an engagements against Mubariz Khan in which the later was killed. Thus from 1724, he began to rule over the Deccan like an independent prince while Muhammad Shah found himself helpless and could do nothing against him.

Gradually, the Turani party acquired more and more power. Lawlessness overtook the different provinces and the rebellions of Jats, Bundelas, Sikhs, Marathas and the Rajputs began to assume more dangerous proportions. Just then occurred the invasion of Nadir Shah. The cumulative result of this was that the power of the Mughal Emperor declined still further and his authority over Rajasthan, Gujarat, Malwa, Deccan, Awadh, Bihar, Bengal, Orissa and Kabul practically ceased.

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