The Mughal Empire ruled over for more than two hundred years with glory. It was the second largest empire that existed in the Indian subcontinent after Maurya Empire. Under the ruling of Akbar root of Mughal Dynasty grew strong.
After the death of last effective emperor Aurangzeb the great Mughal dynasty started to fall apart. With this black cloud over empire it came under stability during reign of Muhammad Shah for a short while. He conquered for almost thirty years.
During his reign the history witnessed the developments in art, music and culture to a rich level. Despite the development in culture and art the history also witnessed the disintegration of great empire and invasion by foreign attackers.
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Birth and childhood of Nasir ud din Muhammad
Nasir ud Din Muhammad (born name- Roshan Akhtar) was born on 7th august 1702 as the son of Khujista Akhtar and grandson of Bahadur Shah I in Ghazna (Afghanistan) during the reign of Aurangzeb.
After the death of his grandfather Bahadur Shah I, at the age of twelve, Muhammad Shah and his mother were imprisoned by his uncle but got their life back from the mouth of death. He was reared by both his father and mother with good ethics and morals.
Muhammad was very good looking and handsome person. He was an intelligent and wise from a very young age. He tried to keep himself always away from the war.
Enthroning of Muhammad
At the age of 17 he was crowned to the peacock throne under the control of ‘Syed brothers’ on 29 September in the Red Fort. Enthroning of Muhammad Shah was dramatic and eventful. After dethroning and executing Farrukhsiyar in 1719, his sick cousin Rafiud Darjat was enthroned.
After the death of Darjat due to sickness, with the plotting of Syed brothers, Muhammad Shah was made the emperor but the whole control of power was with Syed brothers. They were ruling behind the throne. Muhammad never ruled independently because he knew his own strength and power as a young emperor.
He knew already that he needed Syed brothers behind him for the time being. Syed brothers’ strict supervision made him to eliminate them. On 15th November, Syed brothers were captured and after 2 years they were executed. But it was a loss for empire as Mughals lost the control over Deccan.
Personal life and Marriage
Muhammad shah was always fond of art and culture. He carried a luxurious life. He always was desirous of peaceful life far from war fares. Mughal treasury was used for the extravagance of the emperor Muhammad Shah which paved the path for the downfall of the great empire.
Muhammad Shah had four wives whose name were Badshah Begum, Udham Bai, Sahiba Mahal, Udham Bai, Safiya Sultan Begum. First wife Badshah Begum who was his cousin and daughter of Farrukhsiyar was influential among all the wives.
His third wife Udham Bai was a dancer and she gave birth to his successor Ahemad Shah. Ahemad Shah was given birth by Udham Bai but reared by Badshah Begum. Badshah Begum loved and treated him more than his own son.
Disintegration of Mughal Empire
During the reign of Muhammad Shah Rangeela the disintegration rate of the great Mughal Dynasty got accelerated. Many independent states emerged during this period.
The Mughal Empire started to fall apart. In Punjab Sikhs changed their pattern of attacking and they adopted hit and run method for the revolt which caused great loss in Punjab area for Mughals. Ajmer broke away itself from the empire. Bengal, Oudh and Kabul called themselves independent states.
At those concerning times it was Mughal and Maratha war which made the conditions more adverse for Mughals. Marathas became more powerful than ever under the leadership of Baji Rao in 1738. They attacked and entered Delhi.
After a peace agreement they left Delhi when Muhammad Shah agreed to do favour towards Baji Rao. The Mughal army got completely devastated by this attack.
The most impactful attack on Mughal Empire was led by Persian military genius Nader Shah. Nader Shah was Shah of Persia. Nader Shah requested Mughal Empire Mohammad Shah to deliver him assistance to supress the Afghan rebels in Kandahar.
But Mohammad Shah gave no response which made him furious. His proposal was turned down by Muhammad Shah Rangeela to help Safadivis. To win over the Mughal Empire Nader Shah started the war journey from Afghanistan and captured all the areas he attacked.
He was so cruel that he both looted and massacred the area he attacked. He entered India Hindu Kush mountains. In the battle of Karnal Mughal army of one hundred thousand men confronted Nadir Shah’s army of fifty five thousand men. In this battle Mughals got defeated easily in just 3 hours.
Muhammad Shah Rangeela knew that it was impossible to stop the Shah of Persian who was completely not less than an insane murderer. Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah surrendered to Nadir Shah and let them to enter Delhi. His troop looted and performed a massive massacre in Delhi.
In this insanity of killing more than over thirty three thousand innocent people were slaughtered. After begging for mercy by the emperor he stopped but he took away the peacock throne and many more valuable Mughal treasury. Delhi was completely plundered and looted. This invasion stroke Mughal Empire so hard that it was impossible for the empire to find its glory back again.
During his reign Urdu was developed replacing Persian language as the court language and Quran was translated into simple Urdu and Persian. Art was given a new dimension. Muhammad Shah was fond of music. He respected music and art.
In his court entertainers were given more respect. He spent most of his time writing poems and listening to music. During his reign educational institutions were introduced. Culture and heritage development was at its peak. Painters were given scope to show their skills. In total during his ruling period Delhi was made the cultural centre of the whole empire.
Muhammad Shah died in 26th April 1748 at the age of 45 having grief over the death of Qamaruddin.