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 Nadir Shah’s invasion of Delhi 1738-39

          After the death of the last powerful Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, the Mughal Empire had become looser and weaker, as security arrangements on the north-western frontier were completely loosened. The later Mughal rulers had turned away from the security of borders in the war of succession. Prior to this, Aurangzeb had paid special attention to the security of the borders with the north-west and the administration of the provinces. On the contrary the rulers of Kabul were running their kingdom very strongly, they were also more financially strong as the people were paying taxes properly. The tribes living on the borders were peaceful. They were also getting financial aid. Highways used to be open and Delhi and Kabul corresponded regularly. But the administration of Kabul and Ghazni deteriorated after Bahadur Shah left Kabul in 1707. The power of the Mughal Empire had weakened. And the borders were lying completely unprotected. The same selfishness, corruption and carelessness, due to which Gujarat and Malwa became the victims of Maratha invasions, were also present here. Seeing all these circumstances, the ambitions of Nadir Shah woke up and made an attack on India.


      Ghulam Husain, the author of Siyarulmutkhairin, described this situation as follows- “That partisans used to appoint unqualified viceroys. The army deployed on the north-western frontiers was complete. Money given to the tribes was stopped and this money was transferred to the officers and officials. Only his dependents used to eat. The condition of the self-willed emperor or his ministers on the other side of the mountains became completely indifferent. You can understand this from the same thing that when the Mughal governor sent the news of the possibility of invasion from Persia to Delhi, Khan-i -Duran ridiculed it by calling it a concoction and when the governor demanded the outstanding salary of the soldiers for the last five years, it was deferred”.

 where did nadirshah live

     Nadirshah was born in 1688 in Khorasan (North-Eastern Iran) in a simple family of Afshar Qajalbas clan. His father was a simple farmer and Nadir died in his childhood. It is popular about Nadir that he was given to mother by Uzbeks. was made a slave. Nadir Shah succeeded in escaping their slavery and joined an Afshar clan and after some time became the head of an organization. Nadir was a genius and soon he rose to prominence as a successful soldier. He married two daughters of Sardar Ali Beg of a local clan.

 Rise of Nadirshah

        Nadir Shah’s youth was passing through a stormy phase. When the Afghans invaded Persia (Iran), Persia was ruled by the Safavids. Nadir Shah supported the Safavis. Nadirshah emerged as the angel for the port-oriented Safavi Empire. Shah Sultan Hussein’s son Tehmasp was assisted by Nadir Shah and protected Persia from the Afghans. Nadir expelled and captured the Afghans from Mashhad (the capital of Khorasan) in northern Iran. Pleased with his success, he received the title of Tahmasya Quli Khan (servant of Tahmasp or ‘Ghulam-e-Tahmasya’). When all of Persia was freed from the Afghans, the grateful emperor made him the lord of half the kingdom, in which he could freely operate his own coins. In 1736, the last emperor of the Safavi dynasty died and Nadir Shah became the lord of the whole of Persia.

     Reasons for Nadir Shah’s invasion of India

 Due to Nadir Shah’s invasion of India

     Nadirshah was an ambitious ruler and wanted to expand his empire, for this he made plans to conquer neighboring states. In this sequence, he made his first goal of conquering Kandahar, because the peace of his empire could be disturbed at any time. Wrote to Emperor Muhammad Shah alias Rangeela that the Afghan rulers of Kandahar should not find refuge in Kabul. Muhammad Shah gave such a belief, but when Nadir Shah attacked Kandahar in 1738, some Afghans there took refuge in Ghazni and Kabul. The soldiers of Nadirshah, respecting the borders of the Mughal Empire, did not pursue Afghan fugitives to Kabul and Ghazni. But he sent a messenger to Delhi. This messenger and his companions were killed by the Mughal soldiers in Jalalabad.

   This was the event on which Nadir Shah made a plan to attack Delhi. On the other hand, Muhammad Shah did not even accept the exchange of messengers with Nadir Shah, although the exchange of messengers existed before Nadir Shah. So in a way this was also an insult to Nadir Shah. Apart from this, another important factor which prompted Nadir Shah to attack India was the loot of India’s wealth. He was well aware of the impoverishment of the then Mughal Empire. He was also aware of the diminishing glory of the Mughal Empire and factionalism in the Mughal court. Apart from this, some of the Mughal court’s chieftains had also invited him to attack.

 Ruler of Delhi at the time of Nadir Shah’s invasion

     This vast Mughal Empire was ruled by Muhammad Shah alias Rangeela who was a very weak ruler at that time. He was a beauty-loving ruler and was deeply fond of it, wearing women’s Peshwas and pearls to jade shoes. He was also interested in music and painting. It was Muhammad Shah who took the sitar and tabla from the place of folk music and folk singers to the royal Mughal court. He revived the Mughal miniature painting. He gave shelter to many artists in his court. Prominent among them are Nidha Mal and Chitraman, their splendid works engraved the rural side of Mughal court life. But Muhammad Shah was not an efficient ruler. He was not a warrior. In contrast, Nadir Shah, who was born in an ordinary family, became the ruler on his own merit.

 Nadir Shah’s invasion of India 1739

      Nadirshah entered Ghazni city on 11th June and captured Kabul on 29th June. Nadirshah had earned himself a reputation as a kind enemy and a benevolent master. He used to give refuge to the fugitives by giving various kinds of inducements. Nadir Khan, the Mughal ruler of Kabul, surrendered to Nadir Shah without any additional resistance and then after apologizing, Nadir Shah accepted the governorship of Kabul and Peshawar from Nadir Shah. Crossed the Sindh river at the place of Attock and easily defeated the governor of Lahore. Like Nasir Khan, he also joined Nadir Shah and left for Delhi.

The Battle of Karnal 24 February 1739

     With the stormy attack of Nadirshah, the Mughal emperor went out to fight the invader, taking an army of 80,000 soldiers along with Nizamulmulk, Kamaruddin and Khan during. Soon Saadat Khan also joined him. The weakness of the Mughals can be estimated from this that the emperor did not know where the invader was. He came to know about the attacker when the front line soldiers of Nadir Shah attacked Saadat Khan’s transport vehicles. The Mughals had no plan of war, and no definite leader. The colonel’s battle lasted only three hours. During the battle Khan was killed and Saadat Khan was taken prisoner.

      Nizamulmulk now played the role of peacemaker. It was decided in the agreement that Nadirshah would get 50 lakh rupees, 20 lakh immediately and 10-10 lakh returning in three installments, at Lahore, Attock and Kabul. Muhammad Shah was so pleased with this role of Nizam-mul-Mulk that he immediately appointed the Nizam as Mir Bakshi as the post had become vacant due to the death of Khan.

Nadir Shah’s entry into Delhi

      The form of mutual hatred and selfishness displayed by the Mughal chiefs at this time was probably never seen before in Mughal history. Saadat Khan who himself wanted to become Mir Bakshi, when he failed in this he met Nadirshah and told him that if he attacked Delhi then he would get 20 lakhs and not 20 crores. Nadirshah had done Mughal politics before Nizam. It was felt. Nadir Shah had asked the Nizam that how the Marathas could win such a large part of the Mughal Empire despite having a brave warrior like you, the Nizam had clearly said that all this was possible only because of factionalism in the court. And that is why he went to the Deccan in sorrow. Now the truth was in front of Nadir Shah. He ordered Delhi to do something else. He reached Delhi on 20 March 1739. Khutwa was read in the name of the nadir and coins were issued. The Mughal Empire ended and the Persian Empire began.

    On 22 March, a rumor spread in Delhi that Nadir Shah had died. Revolt broke out in Delhi and 700 soldiers of Nadir Shah were killed. This Nadirshah ordered a general massacre. About 30,000 people were murdered. This bloody game was stopped only on the prayer of Muhammad Shah.

Nadirshah’s return and take the Peacock Throne

     Nadir Shah stayed in Delhi for almost two months and carried out maximum loot. All the rich and the public were ordered to hand over all their wealth. Saadat Khan was clearly told that if Rs 20 crore is not collected, then physical torture will be given. Out of fear, he ate poison. Saadat Khan’s successor Safdarjung gave 2 crore rupees and Nadishah 30 crore rupees in cash, and gold, silver, diamonds, besides gems 100 elephants, 7000 horses, 10000 camels, 100 eunuchs, 130 lekhpals, perfect blacksmiths, 300 masons, 100 Carpenters, and 200 carpenters also took along. Shah Jahan’s throne, which was worth crores of rupees, was also taken with him, in which the world famous diamond Kohinoor was installed. The Mughal emperor got his daughter married to Nadir Shah’s son Nasirullah Mirza. Apart from this, Nadir Shah also got Kashmir and the western territories of the Sindh river. The province of Thatta and its subordinate ports were also given. The governor of Punjab agreed to pay an annual tax of 20 lakh rupees and also promised that Nadir Shah’s army across Sindh would not give any opportunity to complain.

      Nadir Shah, on the other hand, again declared Muhammad Shah the emperor of the Mughal Empire, restored the right to read the Khutba and also to mint coins. Before returning from India, Nadir Shah gave some suggestions to Muhammad Shah and ordered the people of Delhi to obey him. Apart from this, he also promised to give military assistance to Delhi in times of trouble.

       In this way, Nadirshah returned back with immense wealth. The invasion of Nadirshah brought down the Chola V of the Khokle Mughal Empire. Now the Mughal Empire stood only on the Khokle Mahal which was a witness to its ruin. The pride of the Mughal Empire had been crushed. The incapacitated Mughal emperor was now just a mask. After this the Mughal Empire began to disintegrate and new states emerged. Because of his military campaigns, he can be honored with titles such as Napoleon of Persia or the last great general of Asia.

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