Saturday, November 28, 2009

SHAH JAHAN (AD 1628-1658)

SHAH JAHAN (AD 1628-1658)

On the death of Jahangir a struggle ensued for succession between his surviving sons, Shah Jahan and his younger brother Shahryar. The latter was supported by Nur Jahan and the former by Asaf Jah. Asaf Jah on Jahangir's death sent a message to Shah Jahan who was in the Deccan to proceed towards Lahore and, in the meantime, proclaimed Dawar Baksh, the son of Khusrau, as a stop-gap sovereign. Shah Jahan on reachin Lahore put Shahryar to death. Dawar Baksh was permi ted to go to Persia. Shah Jahan thus ascended the throne in 1628.

In the first years of 's reign, Shah Jahan had to overcome the revolts of the B dela chief, Jujhar Singh, and the Afghan noble named Kh Jahan Lodi, an ex-viceroy of the Deccan. Shah Jahan's pol~y of annexing the Deccan was quite successful. Ahmadna~ar was annexed to the empire in 1633. He forced the kingdoms of Bijapur and Golconda to accept his overlordship. This brought twenty years of peace to the Deccan, till war broke out again in 1656.j)hah Jahan also expelled the Portuguese from Hughli, , asJhey were abusing their trading privileges and indulging in piracy and slave-trade. Kamarup was also annexed.

Shah Jahan, wanting to conquer Bada-Khashan and Balkh, sent his forces there in 1646 but the campaign proved a failure. He had recovered Kandahar in 1638 only to lose it in 1649. But his three expeditions to regain it were without success. Thus Kandahar was forever lost to the Mughal empire.

In 1657, Shah Jahan fell seriously ill. In the absence of a well-defined law of succession, a terrible civil war broke out among his four sons. Shah Jahan favoured the succes­sion of his eldest son, the liberal-minded Dara Shikoh. Aurangzeb, the third son, opposed Shah Jahan. Arriving at Delhi, after imprisoning his father at Agra, he crowned himself king in July 1658. He had defeated Murad and Shuja at Dharmat and Dara Shikoh at Samugarh. Dara fled, only to be killed after the battle of Deoria in 1659. Shah Jahan spent eight years in confinement in the Agra fort, looked after by his daughter, Jahan Ara, till his death in 1666.

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