India in the Eighteenth Century: Bahadur Shah 1, Jahandar Shah and Farrukh Siyar

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India in the Eighteenth Century

Bahadur Shah 1 (1707 - 12)

  • Muzam succeeded Aurungzeb after latter՚s death in 1707
  • He acquired the title of Bahadur Shah.
  • Though he was quite old (65) and his rule quite short there are many significant achievements he made
  • He reversed the narrow minded and antagonistic policies of Aurungzeb
  • Made agreements with Rajput states
  • Granted sardeshmukhi to Marathas but not Chauth
  • Released Shahuji (son of Sambhaji) from prison (who later fought with Tarabai)
  • Tried to make peace with Guru Gobind Sahib by giving him a high Mansab. After Guru՚s death, Sikhs again revolted under the leadership of Banda Bahadur. This led to a prolonged war with the Sikhs.
  • Made peace with Chhatarsal, the Bundela chief and Churaman, the Jat chief.
  • State finances deteriorated

Jahandar Shah (1712 - 13)

  • Death of Bahadur Shah plunged the empire into a civil war
  • A noted feature of this time was the prominence of the nobles
  • Jahandar Shah, son of Bahadur Shah, ascended the throne in 1712 with help from Zulfikar Khan
  • Was a weak ruler devoted only to pleasures?
  • Zulfikar Khan, his wazir, was virtually the head of the administration
  • ZK abolished jizyah
  • Peace with Rajputs: Jai Singh of Amber was made the Governor of Malwa. Ajit Singh of Marwar was made the Governor of Gujarat.
  • Chauth and Sardeshmukh granted to Marathas. However, Mughals were to collect it and then hand it over to the Marathas.
  • Continued the policy of suppression towards Banda Bahadur and Sikhs
  • Ijarah: (revenue farming) the government began to contract with revenue farmers and middlemen to pay the government a fixed amount of money while they were left free to collect whatever they could from the peasants
  • Jahandhar Shah defeated in January 1713 by his nephew Farrukh Siyar at Agra

Farrukh Siyar (1713 - 19)

  • Owed his victory to Saiyid Brothers: Hussain Ali Khan Barahow and Abdullah Khan
  • Abdullah Khan: Wazir, Hussain Ali: Mir Bakshi
  • FS was an incapable ruler. Saiyid brothers were the real rulers.

Saiyid Brothers

  • Known the Indian History as King Makers
  • adopted the policy of religious tolerance. Abolished jizyah (again?) . Pilgrim tax was abolished from a number of places
  • Marathas: Granted Shahuji swarajya and the right to collect chauth and sardeshmukhi of the six provinces of the Deccan
  • They failed in their effort to contain rebellion because they were faced with constant political rivalry, quarrels and conspiracies at the court.
  • Nobles headed by Nizam-ul-Mulk and Muhammad Amin Khan began to conspire against them
  • In 1719, the Saiyid Brothers killed and overthrew FS.
  • This was followed by placing, in quick succession, of two young princes who died of consumption
  • Murder of the emperor created a wave of revulsion against the SB. They were looked down as ‘namak haram’
  • Now, they placed 18-year-old Muhammad Shah as the emperor of India
  • In 1720, the nobles assassinated Hussain Ali Khan, the younger of the SB. Abdullah Khan was also defeated at Agra

Muhammad Shah ‘Rangeela’ (1719 - 1748)

  • Weak-minded, frivolous and over-fond of a life of ease
  • Neglected the affairs of the state
  • Intrigued against his own ministers
  • Naizam ul Mulk Qin Qulich Khan, the wazir, relinquished his office and founded the state of Hyderabad in 1724
    • “His departure was symbolic of the flight of loyalty and virtue from the Empire”
  • Heriditary nawabs arose in Bengal, Hyderabad, Awadh and Punjab
  • Marathas conquered Malwa, Gujarat and Bundelkhand
  • 1738: Invasion of Nadir Shah