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Modern History / British Conquest of India

Later Mughals after Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb was considered the last famous ruler of the Mughal empire. The Mughal rulers who came after Aurangzeb were generally called Later Mughals. The glory of Mughal empire after Aurangzeb got declined drastically. Over the period, the later Mughal emperors got confined only to Delhi. In the later stages, they have been converted into pensioners by the British in India.

List of Later Mughals

The following sequence shows the later Mughals list after Aurangzeb.

    Bahadur Shah I or Shah Alam I (1707-1712)

    Bahadur Shah I is the son of Aurangzeb. Historian, Khafi Khan called Shah Alam I as Shah-i-Bekhabar which means the king who is not interested in administration.

    Jahandar Shah (1712-1713)

    Jahandar Shah is the son of Bahadur Shah I. He remained a puppet in the hands of his Wazir Zulfiqar Khan. In 1713, Jizya was permanently abolished in India.

    Farrukhsiyar (1713-1719)

    Farrukhsiyar is the nephew of Jahandar Shah. He ruled as a puppet in the hands of Syed brothers, Syed Abdullah Khan (Wazir) and Syed Hussain Ali Khan (Mir Bakshi).

    Muhammad Shah or Sada Rangila (1719-1748)

    • Muhammad Shah is the cousin of Farrukhsiyar. He was a pleasure loving man, hence called Sada Rangila and sometimes being referred as Muhammad Shah Rangila. He was a good Kathak dancer and a musician in Hindustani Sangeet.

    • His two officers, (i) Mir Qamaruddin Khan or Chin Qilich Khan or Nizam-ul-Mulk or Asaf Jah (Sunni) and (ii) Saadat Khan or Burhan-ul-Mulk (Shia) had political rivalry with each other.

    • In 1722, Burhan-ul-Mulk founded a new kingdom, Awadh initially having Faizabad (close to Ayodhya) as capital and later shifted to Lucknow.

    • In 1724, Nizam-ul-Mulk founded a new kingdom, Nizam. The dynasty is called Asaf Jahi dynasty. Initially Aurangabad was the capital and later shifted to Hyderabad. Previously, he had worked twice as governor of Deccan. Nizam kingdom lasted up to 1948.

    • In 1739, Nadir Shah (Napoleon of Iran) invaded India during Rangila's reign. The battle was fought at Karnal. Nadir Shah took 70 crore booty including Kohinoor Diamond and Peacock Throne (Takht-e-Taus).

    Ahmad Shah Bahadur (1748-1754)

    Ahmad Shah Bahadur is the son of Muhammad Shah. He was a puppet in the hands of Wazir, Feroze Jung III or Imad-ul-Mulk. He was blinded and imprisoned by Wazir Imad-ul-Mulk.

    Alamgir II (1754-1759)

    Alamgir II is the son of Jahandar Shah. He was murdered by Wazir Imad-ul-Mulk and his body was thrown into Yamuna river.

    Shah Alam II (1760-1806)

    Shah Alam II is the son of Alamgir II. He was away from Delhi for 12 years (until 1772). He spent in Awadh state as a refugee. He was afraid of Wazir Imad-ul-Mulk. After the death of Imad-ul-Mulk, he sat on the throne.

    During his reign, the Mughal territory was spread only from Red Fort to Palam in Delhi. In 1803, Delhi has been captured by the British.

    He remained an emperor without any territory. Shah Alam II then became a pensioner of the British. He was the first Mughal emperor to become a pensioner of the British.

    Akbar II (1806-1837)

    Akbar II is the son of Shah Alam II. He was a pensioner during his period. He sent Ram Mohan Roy as an ambassador to Britain for increasing the pension. Akbar II conferred the title 'Raja' to Ram Mohan Roy.

    Bahadur Shah II (1837-1857)

    • Bahadur Shah II is the son of Akbar II. His original name is Abu Zafar, who was a great Urdu poet (contemporary to Mirza Ghalib).

    • In the year 1857, Sepoys revolted against the British. They decided to recognize Bahadur Shah II as their emperor. He was forced to become the leader. The British invaded the Red Fort and massacred everyone in the family.

    • In 1858, he was sent to Rangoon as a prisoner. He died in 1862 and his tomb is found at Rangoon.

British conquests started in 1757 (conquest of Bengal) and continued up to 1856 (conquest of Awadh). During these conquests, the British occupied 50% of the Indian territory known as British India. The remaining 50% had 563 States called Princely India. In 1947, the British India was divided into Indian Union and Pakistan and the Princely States have been asked to join either of the two.