Indian History Part 84 Aurangzeb Section I: Settling In – The First Two Decades

Canberra, 12 January 2021 On 5th June 1659 (or on 15th June, according to some historians), Aurangzeb celebrated his coronation for the second time, after two decisive victories, over Shuja at Khajuha and Dara at Deorai. Unlike the earlier crowning, grand banquets and dazzling illumination enlivened these functions with many loyal officers and nobles promoted […]

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Indian History Part 83 Shah Jahan Section V: Magnificence – While It Lasted

Canberra, 02 January 2021 ‘With Shah Jahan a Pharaonic mask slides into place. The person virtually disappears behind the persona, as Shah Jahan’s official chroniclers scrub him clean of all the grime of life and present him as The Great Mughal, gilded, bejewelled and perfumed, larger than life but lifeless. — Abraham Eraly, Emperors of […]

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Indian History Part 83 Shah Jahan Section IV The War of Succession 2. Civil War

Canberra, 1 January 2021 The four sons of Shah Jahan had started preparing for the inevitable succession struggle even before he actually fell ill. Each one attempted to win over as many nobles as possible to their individual camps; and the nobles responded in the only manner they would—attempting to side with the prince who […]

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Indian History Part 83 Shah Jahan Section IV: The War of Succession – Background

Kiama, 15 December 2020 ‘Dara was not an apostate. “Born a Mahometan [sic], he continued to join in the exercise of that religion,” states Bernier. Dara was a devotee of Mian Mir, a celebrated Muslim saint, and he even compiled a biography of Muslim saints, which he would not have done had he ceased to […]

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Indian History Part 83 Shah Jahan Section III: The Deccan Campaign

Canberra, 30 November 2020 Prior to Shah Jahan’s accession, Mughal interest in the Deccan had waxed and waned in direct proportion to the stability and turmoil in North India. Akbar had started a concerted effort to bring the Deccan under the Mughal flag and in 1569 had conquered Khandesh. By 1600, parts of Berar had […]

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Indian History Part 83 Shah Jahan Section II: An Emperor’s Ambition Laid Low

Canberra, 22 November 2020 Even after the Khan-i-Jahan Lodi was chased down and killed, the Deccan campaign continued. Gradually all the major Shahi kingdoms—Ahmadnagar, Bijapur and Golconda—were involved in the conflict in different ways and to different extent. The fortunes of these three kingdoms and that of the Mughal forces in the Deccan ebbed and […]

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Indian History Part 83 Shah Jahan Section I: Early Years

Canberra, 11 November 2020 Although it was common knowledge that Emperor Jahangir had been gravely ill for some time and the possibility of his death was very real, the actual event on his way back from Kashmir came as a great blow to Nur Jahan. Her absolute hold on power and personal enthusiasm had emanated […]

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Indian History Part 82 Jahangir Section IV: An Assessment

Canberra, 04 November 2020 ‘What is immediately striking as we look at the portraits of Jahangir and compare his face with that of his father is the contrast between the two. Akbar appears self-contained; there is about him the inner orientation of a man who has to prove himself to no one but himself. In […]

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Indian History Part 82 Jahangir Section III: Intrigue, A Coup and the Death of an Emperor

Canberra, 02 November 2020 Shah Jahan was humiliated at the abject failure of his revolt and Nur Jahan overjoyed at having come out the ‘victor’ in the power struggle. However, the wheels of fortune were continuing to rotate and Mahabat Khan emerged as the most powerful noble, having been instrumental in crushing Shah Jahan’s rebellion. […]

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Indian History Part 82 Jahangir Section II: A Queen Rules and a Prince Rebels

Canberra, 02 November 2020 After successfully subjugating his eldest son Prince Khusrau’s rebellion and imprisoning him, Jahangir turned to consider ways to consolidate his power over the vast Empire that he had inherited. His son’s rebellion had made Jahangir inherently insecure; he had started to distrust his own strength and judgement, and he was apprehensive […]

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