The term “Later Mughals” refers to the period of Mughal rule in India after the reign of Aurangzeb, who died in 1707. Muazzam emerged victorious after defeating Muhammad Azam Shah in the Battle of Jajau.
The Later Mughals period saw a decline in the power and influence of the Mughal Empire due to a number of factors, including weak rulers, economic instability, and the emergence of regional powers.
During this time, the Mughal Empire was led by a series of weak and ineffective rulers, including Bahadur Shah I (1707-1712), Jahandar Shah (1712-1713), Farrukhsiyar (1713-1719), Muhammad Shah (1719-1748), Ahmad Shah Bahadur (1748-1754), and Alamgir II (1754-1759). These rulers were often manipulated by powerful courtiers and nobles, leading to political instability and corruption. The Later Mughals period also saw the rise of powerful regional powers.
|Year||Later Mughals Ruler|
|1707 – 12||Bahadur Shah I (Muazzam)|
|1712 – 13||Jahandar Shah|
|1713 – 19||Farrukh Siyar|
|1719 – 48||Muhammad Shah|
|1748 – 54||Ahmad Shah|
|1754 – 59||Alamgir II|
|1759 – 06||Shah Alam II|
|1806 – 37||Akbar II|
|1837 – 57||Bahadur Shah II|
Later Mughals Ruler
Muazzam (Bahadur Shah I) (1707-1712)
- The original name was Muazzam. More tolerant towards Hindus.
- Never abolished Jizya but didn’t collect the tax strictly.
- Promoted friendly relationships with Marathas and Rajputs and Marathas. Granted Marathas Sardeshmukhi of Deccan, but failed to grant Chauth.
- Mughal historians like Khafi khan gave him the title of Shah-i-Bekhabar.
Jahandar Shah (1712-13)
- Introduced Ijarah (Revenue Farming)
- Became emperor with help of Zulfikar Khan (who later became PM).
- Tried to establish friendly relations with Maratha and Rajputs and granted Sardeshmukhi and Chauth of Deccan to Shahu, and accorded title of Mirza Raj Sawai on Jai Singh of Ambar and title of Maharaja to Ajit Singh.
- He abolished Jijiya which was a tax implied upon Hindu residents by Muslim rulers for their protection.
- He gave power to Ramsubhag.
Farruk Siyar (1713-1719)
- Abolished Jizya completely
- Puppet of Sayyed Brothers – Abdula Khan & Hussain Ali (known as kingmakers), he is Coward Badshah.
- He was an incompetent ruler and lacked the ability to rule on his own.
- The policy of religious tolerance – abolished Jizya & pilgrimage tax.
- Gave Farman to the British in 1717.
- Dethroned by Sayyed Brothers.
- Farrukhsiyar executed Banda Bahadur (A Sikh leader also known as Banda Bairagi).
- Ruled for the shortest period of time among the Mughals.
Muhammad Shah Rangeela (1719-1748)
- Autonomous states emerged under his reign
- Nizam-ul-Mulkà Deccan,
- Saadat Khanà Awadh,
- Murshid Quli Khanà Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa.
- His original name was Raushan Akhtar and his Title was Rangeela.
- Nadir Shah invaded India, defeated the Mughal army in the battle of Karnal, and took away the Peacock throne and Kohinoor diamond.
- Became king with help of the Sayyed Brothers later he killed them with help of Nizam-ul-Mulk.
- Nadir Shah was defeated in the Battle of Karnal.
- Ahmad Shah Abdali also raided Delhi for the first time during his reign.
- This period saw the emergence of many independent states.
Ahmad Shah (1748-1754)
- Mohd. Shah Rangeela’s only son.
- Was an incompetent ruler. left the state affairs in the hands of Udham Bai. She was given the title of Qibla–i-Alam.
- Ahmed Shah Abdali (General of Nadir Shah) marched towards Delhi and the Mughals ceded Punjab and Multan.
- He worked under the guidance of Rajmata “Udham Bai”.
Alamgir II (1754-1759)
- The battle of Plassey (1757) was fought during his reign.
- Ahmed Shah occupied Delhi; later Delhi was plundered by Marathas.
Shah Alam II (1759-1806)
- The third Battle of Panipat was fought between Marathas and Ahmad Shah Abdali during his reign.
- Participated in the Battle of Buxar (1764) along with Mir Qasim and Shujaud-Daula against the British East India Company. Was defeated and was forced to sign the Treaty of Allahabad (1765) under which Diwani of Bengal was granted to the Company.
- Could not enter Delhi for 12 years.
- In 1788, Gulam Kadir made him blind.
- Became a pensioner of the English.
Akbar II (1806-1837)
- Pensioner of East India Company.
- Gave Ram Mohan Roy the title of “Raja”.
- Introduced Hindu-Muslim unity festival Phool Walon ki Sair.
Bahadur Shah II (1837-1857)
- Last Mughal Emperor
- Was an Urdu Poet using Zafar as his pen name.
- Participated in the revolt of 1857 after which he was deported to Rangoon and died.
- Emperor who was made Premier during the 1857 Revolt.
- 1862-death in Rangoon (Myanmar).
Reasons for the Decline of Mughals
- Lack of stability after Aurangzeb.
- Most of the emperors became puppets in the hands of powerful Nobles who often ran administration on their behalf.
- Weal military and political administration as exposed by Nadir Shah and Ahmad Abdali’s invasion
- The emergence of autonomous states and hence weakening of central power.
- The orthodox policy of Aurangzeb: His attitude towards Marathas, Rajputs, and Jats made them his enemy. His religious policies too alienated the Hindus.
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