History of Modern India : Later Mughals


Modern Indian history starts with the death of last great mughal ruler Aurangzeb in 1707. After the death of Aurangzeb, the mughal power went downhill and by the end of rule of second emperor the mughal emperor became a mere puppet in hands of various king makers.


Bahadur Shah-I (1707-1712)

Jahandar Shah (1712-1713)

Farrukh Siyar (1713-1719)

Muhammad Shah (1719-1748)

Ahmad Shah (1748-1754)

Alamgir II (1754-1759)

Shah Alam II(1759-1806)

Akbar II (1806-1837)

Bahadur Shah II (1837-1857)

Modern India Later Mughals
Modern India Later Mughals


Bahadur Shah I

Prince Mauzam, nicknamed as Shah-e-Bekhabar ascended throne after death of Aurangzeb. Unlike Aurangzeb, Bahadur Shah was a religiously tolerant ruler. He made treaty with sikhs although it didnt last long. After the death of tenth sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh, his general, Banda Bahadur, again rebelled against mughal empire.

Bahadur Shah released Shahu, the son of Shivaji, but did not recognised Shahu as the new maratha king. Thus the power tussle between Shahu and Tarabai threw marathas into internal conflicts for some time, although Bahadur Shah granted the right to collect Sardesmukhi to maratha sardars but denied Chauth.


Jahandar Shah, with the help of Zulfiqar Khan became the emporer. Jahandar Shah’s rule was inefficient and very short lived. He lost to his nephew Farrukh Siyar in Agra in 1713.


Farrukh Siyar got the help from the two most powerfull nobels of his time, The Saiyid Brothers.

Saiyid Brothers, Abdullah Khan and Husain Ali Khan Barahow , were granted the offices of Wazir and Mir Bakshi respectively in liue of helping Siyar to raise to throne.

Saiyid Brothers grew strong in court and the emperor just held the throne without actual ruling. This frustrated the emperor and he made many futile attempts to dispose of The Saiyid  Brothers. The enraged brothers later got emperor assassinated.


Muhammad Shah was raised to be emperor by Saiyid Brothers only, but they had made many enemies in the king’s court. Muhammad Shah with the help of Nizam-Ul-Mulk disposed off The Saiyid Brothers.

Nizam a loyal to mughal throne was the new wazir who tried to improve the mughal administration but got no support of the emperor. Disgustedly Nizam left the office of wazir and left for Deccan as vice royalty and found the state of Hyderabad there.

 During the reign of Muhamad Shah the Iranian ruler, Nadir Shah, invaded India and defeated Muhammad Shah near in a battle near Karnal, where Muhammad Shah was taken as prisoner. Nadir Shah plundered Delhi for 15 days and left with Rs. Seventy Crore, and made Iran tax free for the next three years.



His real name was Ali Gauhar.

Shah Alam’s rule of approx fifty year could have been a turning point in mughal history, but he himself lived his life in wandering from one place to another under the mortal fear of his wazir Imad-Ul-Mulk.

Shah Alam was corronated in Alahbad and there he joined hands with Mir Qasim of Bengal and Nawab Shuja-Ud-Daullah of Oudh in The Battle of Buxar against The British in 1764, which they lost.

After battle of Buxar, Shah Alam lived as a pensioner of the British and it was in 1772 that he left for Delhi under the wings of Mahadji Scindia, marathas.

He was blinded and killed in his own court by Bundela king.

 The Third Battle of Panipat with Ahmad Shah Abdali had crippled almost whole of nation’s power.

Marathas had lost their prominant leaders in the battle and could not maintain a strong hold over delhi any longer.

       The last two rulers Akbar II and Bahadur Shah II also known as Bahadur Shah ‘Zafar’, Zafar being his pen name, lived the life closing themselves in The Red Fort.


The king maker’s era started with Jahandar Shah’s rule. These king makers were the powerful nobles who would lend there support to the next in line of emperor to win over the other prince or to usurp the present throne itself, in exchange of powerful office in the court. These people were present in the previous era also but were controlled by the emperor but the later mughals could not control them and remained as puppet in their hands.


 He helped Jahandar Shah to get the throne and being loyal to mughal throne, he started to improve the deteorating position of mughal administration. He made treaty with marathas and helped them with sardesmukhi. He made alliances with Jats and Bundelas and pacified their revolts but continued hi oppressive policy towards Banda and Sikhs.

He also tried to improve the falling wealth but to do so he gave rise to an evil system of Ijrah or revenue farming.


Two brothers, Abdullah Khan and Hussain Ali Khan Barahow, helped Farrukh Siyar to rise to Throne by defeating his uncle Jahandar Shah. Saiyid Brothers gave the right to collect chauth to marathas to maintain peace and gave swarajya to maratha sardars. Their close ally in marathas Balaji Vishwanath, peshwas of maratha helped them to maintain their strong hold in mughal court.

Saiyid Brothers had to face alot of enimity in the court after they assassinated Farukh Siyar.

Eventually Saiyid Brothers were killed by Nizam-Ul-Mulk who later became the wazir.


His real name was Mir-Qamar-Ud-Din, titled as Chin Qilich Khan by Aurangzeb, Nizam-Ul-Mulk by Farrukh Siyar and Asaf Jah by Muhammad Shah. He was loyal to throne and after disposing off Saiyid Brothers wanted to restore the level of mughal administration to the times of Shahjahan, but was never supported by Muhamad Shah, who by Nizam’s words was always surrounded by ‘harlots and jesters’.

After two years serving as wazir, he left for Deccan as vice royalty of mughal throne ‘The Asaf Jaha’, meaning next to king, where he founded the state of Hyderabad.

Although he ruled as an independent ruler, he never declared his freedom and remained loyal to the mughal throne under every circumstance.

His leaving the mughal court was mentioned as symbolic flight of loyalty and virtue from the mughal court.


Real name Shahabuddin Muhammad Sidiqi or Ghazi-Ud-Din Khan or Feroz Jung III.

He was the traitorous wazir who blinded and captured mughal emperor Ahmad Shah and later killed Alamgir II.

He had maintained close ties with the peshwa Balaji Baji Rao and it was on Imad’s invitation that marathas came to aid of mughals to fight Abdali’s invasion in India, which they fought at The Third Battle of Panipat, which proved to be the fatal blow to both mughals and marathas.

Written By : Sagar Goswami

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