Indian History Part 67 The Nizam Shahis of Ahmadnagar Section IV: The Zenith of Power: Murtaza Nizam Shah

Canberra, 1 September 2018

Murtaza Nizam Shah commenced his rule immediately on the death of his father, although the assumption of the throne was delayed on the advice of astrologers. He was officially crowned only on 26 January 1566, seven months after becoming king. At this time, Murtaza was a callow youth and a complete slave to sensual pleasures. He shunned all official business, opting to spend his entire day in the company of beautiful courtesans, indulging in every whim and fancy that appealed to him. The affairs of state was looked after by his mother, the redoubtable Khanzada (also mentioned as Khunzah in some accounts) Humayun. Her authority was such that she was obeyed by all nobles as if she was the ruling Queen and not a de facto Regent. She retained Qasim Beg Hakim as the prime minister since he had served her husband loyally and was known for his efficiency. However, she replaced him with Maulana Inayatullah at a later date. Many other changes in royal appointments were also made in quick succession by the Queen-mother.

Ahmadnagar – Bijapur Tussle

Ali Adil Shah ruling Bijapur, was an extremely ambitious king, always on the look out to improve his own status and his kingdom’s territorial holding and financial position. On Hussein’s death and knowing Murtaza’s lack of interest—bordering on aversion—towards the affairs of state, Ali Shah disregarded the existing treaties between the kingdoms and also the matrimonial alliance that had been sealed, and invaded Ahmadnagar with a large army.

The Regent-Queen Khanzada acted decisively. At this time, Tuful Khan had usurped power in Berar, imprisoning all the Imad Shahi princes who were the traditional rulers. Khanzada Humayun initiated the forming of an alliance with Tuful Khan and marched to the Berar border with her army, where Tuful Khan joined her with the Berar army. The joint forces then moved towards Telangana where they were met by Ibrahim Qutb Shah who renewed his alliance with Ahmadnagar and joined the coalition with his army. The large combined army now marched against Ali Adil Shah who abandoned his plans of invasion and retreated to his own kingdom. The allied armies marched into Bijapur territory and ransacked the countryside, reaching the capital.

An Alternative Story

There is an alternative story to the one narrated above, which cannot be authoritatively corroborated. It is reported in one source that after the victory in the Battle of Talikota and the destruction of Vijayanagar, Ali Adil Shah took the son of Rama Raya, called Timmala, under his protection and established him as the ruler of Anagodi. (This action could have been prompted by the unwarranted and hasty execution of Rama Raya and the Adil Shahi’s old and long-standing friendship with the royal family of Vijayanagar.) Anagodi being ruled by Timmala was invaded by his uncle, Venkata, ruling Nalgonda. It was obvious that Ali Adil Shah would turn to support his prodigy.

Ali Adil Shah marched to Nalgonda to punish Venkata, who in turn appealed to Ahmadnagar for assistance. Khanzada Humayun immediately prepared to besiege Bijapur, especially since Ali Adil Shah was away from his capital. He rushed back to his kingdom upon which the Ahmadnagar forces withdrew. In this recounting, there is no mention of the involvement of either Tuful Khan or Ibrahim Qutb Shah in the skirmish.

In any case, irrespective of the actual flow of events, Ali Adil Shah sued for peace and Khanzada agreed, withdrawing the Ahmadnagar army to its own kingdom.

Ali Adil Shah was nothing if not devious and self-centred. He decided to improve his relationship with Ahmadnagar and make use of it to wreak vengeance on Tuful Khan, who he felt had not been correct in joining the alliance against Bijapur.  Accordingly he send a conciliatory message to Murtaza with a request to renew their mutual friendship and treaties of alliance. There is some doubt regarding who initiated the peace contact. Some reports claim that it was the Regent-Queen who started talks with Ahmadnagar in order to punish Tuful Khan for not having joined the confederacy against Vijayanagar. However this is an unlikely scenario, since Tuful Khan had joined Ahmadnagar against Bijapur just a few months back. Further, the Ahmadnagar nobles and advisors felt that peace with Bijapur was essential for their own kingdom to prosper. Therefore, the move towards peace could have been a mutual effort. The treaties of cooperation was renewed at the fort of Ausa.

At Ausa, a decision was made to make war on Tuful Khan of Berar in order to set the Imad Shahi family free and restore them to the throne. In 1567, the combined armies of Ahmadnagar and Bijapur invaded Berar. Tuful Khan was forced to flee to the fort at Gawil, which was then besieged by the alliance army. Ali Adil Shah once again resorted to his devious dealings; after some secret negotiations with Tuful Khan, he accepted a hefty bribe to lift the siege. He convinced the Ahmadnagar nobles and commanders to lift the siege and instead attack and subdue Ibrahim Qutb Shah. It was proposed that after defeating the Qutb Shahi king, Tuful Khan could be brought to book. For some unfathomable reason, the Ahmadnagar leadership agreed to this change in plans, although they commanded the more powerful part of the joint army. From a purely military point of view, this action went against the cardinal principle of war, ‘selection and maintenance of aim’, and was therefore bound to fail.

The combined army marched towards Golconda, with Ahmadnagar troops in the front. Some ‘rebel’ officers of the Bijapur army attacked the baggage train of the Ahmadnagar forces attempting to capture it for profit. In the skirmish that ensued, the forward commander of the Ahmadnagar forces was killed. Khanzada Humayun was incensed by the actions of the Bijapur forces; her wrath knew no bounds, since she may have also by now realised the double game that Ali Adil Shah had played in Berar. She determined to attack the Bijapur forces immediately. However, she was influenced by some well-meaning nobles from both the kingdoms who intervened to avert what would have been a destructive battle. Even though no battle took place, the Ahmadnagar–Bijapur alliance split and both the armies returned to their own kingdoms. Subsequently Ahmadnagar renewed its treaty with Tuful Khan and a half-hearted attempt was made to attack Bijapur, which was easily thwarted by the Bijapur forces.

Golconda Enters the Fray

To say the least, Ibrahim Qutb Shah ruling Golconda, was unhappy about the proposed invasion of his territory by the Ahmadnagar–Bijapur coalition and moved to create alliances of his own to shore up his position. Learning of the rupture between Ali Adil Shah and Murtaza (actually Khanzada Humayun, his mother, ruling on his behalf), Ibrahim offered to become an ally to Ahmadnagar. The Golconda envoy send to negotiate the treaty exposed the duplicity of Ali Adil Shah. Ibrahim Qutb Shah urged the Ahmadnagar Regent-Queen to march against Bijapur, with the assurance that he himself with the Golconda forces, Rama Raya’s son now ruling a much diminished Vijayanagar, and Tuful Khan of Berar would join the expedition.

Khanzada Humayun, ordered her forces to immediately march to the banks of the River Krishna as the first step in the proposed invasion of Bijapur. She was still smarting under the earlier betrayal and duplicity of Ali Adil Shah. The Ahmadnagar forces were joined by Ibrahim Qutb Shah and the Vijayanagar forces. Tuful Khan refused to join the coalition since he still felt obliged and grateful to Ali Adil Shah for saving him during the earlier attack on Berar, even though it had been achieved with the transfer of great wealth to Bijapur. As was his customary way in dealing with disadvantageous situations, Ali Adil Shah resorted to devious diplomacy to tide over the on-coming invasion. He managed to create dissention within the coalition opposing him and succeeded in weaning Ibrahim Qutb Shah away from Ahmadnagar. Further, Ibrahim was induced to join the Bijapur forces, at least nominally, ignoring his treaty with Ahmadnagar. Having shown cursory solidarity with Bijapur, Ibrahim left the battleground and marched back to Golconda. On the way he encountered reinforcements from Ahmadnagar on their way to join the main force. He attacked and defeated them, making them disperse.

The Ahmadnagar army, realising that reinforcements had been stopped on the way, withdrew to their own kingdom. During this retreat, both Bijapur and Golconda forces harassed the Ahmadnagar forces. The Nizam Shahi forces were compelled to fight a number of pitched battles as rear-guard actions and a large number of skirmishes resulted from the hit and run tactics that was adopted by the opposing forces, especially by the Golconda army. Although no great damage was done and the Ahmadnagar forces reached home safely, the harassment caused a great deal of bloodshed and loss of life.

Murtaza Nizam Shah Takes Charge

From the very beginning of Murtaza’s rule, his mother Khanzada Humayun had looked after all the affairs of state and managed the business of the day-to-day running of the court. The Queen-mother conducted the administration of the kingdom with great wisdom, dedication and extraordinary ability. Murtaza was content to continue leading a life devoted to satisfying the pleasures of the flesh.

Even though the young king was uninterested in the actual rigours of ruling the kingdom, the Queen-mother was insistent on his having access to a good education. Therefore, the Queen had appointed Maulana Husain Tabizi as the principal tutor for the young prince Murtaza. Tabizi was a remarkable person, learned and virtuous, and of ‘good’ birth. He was wise in his precepts, while also being well-versed in religious matters, holy law and the Quran. Within a very short time of being appointed, Tabizi was able to become an overriding influence on the young prince. Although Husain Tabizi was a ‘maulana’—a learned man of God, pious and virtuous—at the end of the day, he was also a human being; and like all humans everywhere, he was also susceptible to being ambitious. With great influence over the king, he succumbed to the human craving for power, forgetting all the religious tenets that he had so far espoused. Tabizi started to poison the king’s mind and altered his perceptions regarding the manner in which the Regent-Queen conducted the affairs of state.

Once he was certain that he had turned the king’s opinion against his mother, Tabizi arranged for Khanzada Humayun to be seized in person and imprisoned. The Regent-Queen discovered the plot and the conspirators were forced to flee to Bijapur for shelter. However, they were gradually brought back to Ahmadnagar since they had not fallen from the king’s favour. After a while, they plotted again and devised a plan to imprison Khanzada. At this time, Bijapur once again invaded Ahmadnagar. There are no details available regarding the progress or result of this minor invasion. It could be surmised that the attack was feint arranged by the conspirators while they were in Bijapur after the first attempt at deposing the Regent-Queen. The Ahmadnagar army took to the field to repel the invaders. As was her custom Khanzada Humayun accompanied the forces in their march. She had so far been part of all military expeditions of the Ahmadnagar forces.

On the march, the conspirators manage to isolate Khanzada Humayun. They captured and transported her to Daulatabad where she was kept in solitary imprisonment. She was subsequently moved to the fort at Shivner, which was isolated by itself. The complicity of the king in the capture and imprisonment of his mother has been proven beyond reasonable doubt, through independent sources. At the arrest of the Regent-Queen, her two brothers who were her staunch supporters, fled the country, one towards Gujarat and the other to Golconda. Ain-ul-Mulk, fleeing to Gujarat, was intercepted on the way and killed. The other brother Taj Mian, managed to reach Golconda safely where he took refuge. Murtaza Nizam Shah was now the undisputed king of Ahmadnagar.

On the Khanzada being deposed, the old minister Maulana Inayatullah, who had been imprisoned by her for misdemeanours, attempted to return to the capital to claim his old position as prime minister. However, Tabizi who had by now become a power-hungry and ruthless person, had the old man murdered before he could reach the capital. Murtaza removed all the nobles who had been loyal to his mother from positions of power and consolidated his hold on the administration. To entrench his position and ensure that he was unchallenged as the king, he undertook a military expedition. He attacked the Bijapur kingdom’s fort at Dharur. This fort had been built by Kishvar Khan, a great general of Bijapur who was still the governor of Dharur. Kishvar was killed in the battle and the Bijapur forces suffered a devastating defeat with great loss of life. Dharur was annexed to Ahmadnagar. Since Murtaza was campaigning near Dharur and away from his capital, Ali Adil Shah started to march towards Ahmadnagar to offset the defeat that Bijapur forces had suffered. However, even in this attempt, he was not successful. The Bijapur forces were defeated and had to retreat to their own kingdom. Two consecutive victories immediately after taking over and ruling independent of his mother’s advice, greatly enhanced Murtaza Nizam Shah’s stature.

Other Military Adventures

Perhaps because of the military victories that Murtaza achieved, Ibrahim Qutb Shah ruling Golconda, made another overture to re-enact the bilateral friendship that had been signed earlier. Murtaza was reluctant to go into partnership with an unreliable king, but was persuaded by Tabizi to accept the proposal. Ahmadnagar and Golconda formed an alliance, primarily against Bijapur, which was reported to be in dire straits. On the advice of his nobles, Murtaza decided to recapture Sholapur from Bijapur with the assistance of Ibrahim Qutb Shah. The combined army moved out and camped at Wakdari.

Realising the difficult situation that he was in, Ali Adil Shah once again resorted to the tenet of divisive diplomacy. He send an emissary to Murtaza to appease him. The envoy was able to influence the Ahmadnagar nobles against the alliance with Golconda, who in turn managed to poison Murtaza’s mind against the Qutb Shahi king. The main point against the Golconda king was his earlier abandonment of treaties and alliances with Ahmadnagar, most at critical times during military expeditions. The Ahmadnagar nobles managed to convince Murtaza to take action against the Golconda contingent, rather than proceed with the invasion of Bijapur. The Qutb Shahi army was surrounded and attacked while they were sleeping in the night. Ibrahim Qutb Shah had to flee, leaving even his royal emblems and insignia behind. The Nizam Shahi forces then captured Udgir and returned to Ahmadnagar in triumph. Murtaza established peace with Ali Adil Shah of Bijapur.

While these external engagements were taking place, the interminable palace intrigues continued unabated in Ahmadnagar. Murtaza removed his mentor and prime minster, Husain Tabizi ‘Khankhanan’ and replaced him with Shah Haidar, son of Shah Tahir. Haidar was referred to as the ‘peshwa’, one of the earliest references to the senior minister being bestowed with this title, which was to be made famous across the sub-continent in later days with the spread of Maratha power. The king received word that the Portuguese were ill-treating the Muslims under their administration and decided to wage a ‘holy war’ against the foreigners. He marched to Chaul and besieged the fortress at Revanda (lower Charel). Portuguese records indicate that they faced a joint effort by Ali Adil Shah, Murtaza Nizam Shah and the Zamorin (Samoothiripad) of Calicut to expel them from the Peninsula. This claim of a joint effort by three kings to rid the foreigners form the peninsula has to be discounted since it cannot be confirmed from any other chronicle or records. Such a combined effort by the south Indian rulers would have been definitely recorded in at least one of the kingdoms involved. The siege of Revanda continued for nine months and failed because of internal treachery. All the nobles of Ahmadnagar involved in the siege, except one, were in the pay of the Portuguese. Throughout the siege they permitted supplies to be provided to the fort at night and made the siege during the day a meaningless exercise. Although the Ahmadnagar forces were far superior to the army in the Portuguese garrison, they were finally forced to abandon the siege and return home. [The disloyalty of nobles towards their own king for pecuniary benefits is a recurring theme in the broader history of India. The majority of nobles were at all times willing to sell their integrity if the price offered was ‘right’. While this abominable practice brought down many kingdoms, both large and small, the avarice, lack of upright behaviour, and inability to uphold honour, were loathsome character traits that were rampant in the nobles of the Indian sub-continent. Through the lens of a dispassionate later-day analysis, this trait is particularly galling and difficult to understand. Undermining the power of the ruling king and dynasty seems to have been the favourite pastime of the nobles in medieval India. While no unassailable proof can be offered to support this hypothesis, this analyst believes that the disloyalty could have emanated from the belief of some of the nobles that they were ‘foreigners’ and therefore owed a debt of gratitude to the outside invader, as opposed to being loyal to the local ruler. In the case of the Deccan Shahi rulers, religion did not play an important role in these treacherous dealings, but in North India, where the contest was almost always between invading Muslim forces and the indigenous Hindu kings, religion also played a central role in determining the loyalty or otherwise of the nobles and military commanders.]

Invasion of Berar

The inconclusive siege of the Portuguese fort left the Ahmadnagar forces demoralised. Ali Adil Shah had by now joined forces with Tufal Khan and created a coalition against Ahmadnagar. Murtaza resorted to diplomacy, much like Ali Adil Shah, to try and break the coalition. However, he was not as adept as the Bijapur king in devious diplomacy and failed to separate Ali Adil Shah and Tufal Khan. Ali Shah had also send out feelers to Ibrahim Qutb Shah in Golconda to join the coalition against Ahmadnagar. Seeing the danger that he was in, Murtaza send out an army to march rapidly against the Bijapur forces, before the Adil Shahi king could join forces with either of his accomplices. This action was a stroke of genius. The Bijapur army was not strong enough to withstand the Nizam Shahi onslaught on its own. The Ahmadnagar forces devastated the Bijapur countryside and encamped at the village of Rui. Tufal Khan was asked to attack Ahmadnagar as a diversionary tactic in order to relieve the pressure on Bijapur, but was unable to make any headway. Individually, neither the Bijapur nor the Berar forces were a match for the might of Nizam Shahi forces.

Unable to withstand the onslaught on his kingdom, Ali Adil Shah sued for peace. Murtaza had by now set his sights on crushing Tufal Khan; after all his mother had been a princess of Berar, whose family was now imprisoned by Tufal Khan. Since he had continued to keep his mother imprisoned, the irony of the situation seems to have been lost on the young king. Murtaza wanted to keep Ali Adil Shah out of the equation and therefore agreed to the peace overture. Murtaza and Ali Shah met at village Kala Chutra to discuss future activities. In the peace treaty that was concluded, it was agreed that they would jointly capture Bidar, which would then be handed over to Murtaza; then Ali Adil Shah would march against Vijayanagar and capture territory for himself; and Murtaza would go on to annex Berar and some parts of Telangana.

The combined forces marched to Bidar and halted outside the tiny kingdom. However, true to the form of the Deccan Shahi kings, Murtaza changed his mind and decided that Berar was of a higher priority in having to be contained. He informed Ali Adil Shah of the change of plan and proceeded to Berar, asking Ali Shah to go ahead with his planned invasion of Vijayanagar. It speaks volumes of the power of Ahmadnagar that Ali Adil Shah agreed to this late change of plan without demurring. The armies split at the Golconda border with each king leaving a trusted envoy with the other. It is obvious that the envoy was meant to keep an eye on the ally’s activities, a sign of the uneasy peace that was at play and the mistrust that each had for the other.

Murtaza devastated some parts of Golconda territory and settled down at Kaulas to wait out the monsoons. When the weather became conducive to military expeditions, he attacked Berar, moving in through Pathri. The conduct of the expedition left no doubts in anyone’s mind regarding the Nizam Shahi’s ultimate objective. It was clear that Murtaza intended to annex Berar to his growing kingdom and not devastate it—he did not permit any looting or destruction over the conquered territories. He gifted Pathri after its capture, to some of his favourite officers as personal jagirs. Tufal Khan retaliated to the invasion by trying to attack Ahmadnagar territory. However, this effort was thwarted by watchful Nizam Shahi commanders. Tufal Khan moved back to Berar and camped outside, but on being attacked by Ahmadnagar forces, fled the country towards Mahur.

The conflict continued indecisively—Murtaza chasing Tufal across the countryside, Tufal managing to avoid any pitched engagement and keeping ahead of the pursuing forces. The Nizam Shahi forces captured a majority of Berar territory, bringing most of its forts and towns under their sway. Tufal Khan was not provided refuge by any of the neighbouring kings and his counter-attack on the Ahmadnagar forces was not successful. Tufal Khan went to his own fort complex at Narnala and send his son to Gawli fort, both forts considered to be strong and extremely difficult to attack and reduce. The Ahmadnagar forces laid siege to Narnala, even though the fort was considered impregnable.

Murtaza – The Overlord

The growing power of Murtaza Nizam Shah worried Ibrahim Qutb Shah, ruling Golconda. Therefore, while Murtaza was pre-occupied with the capture of Berar, Golconda forces invaded the district of Kandhar on the Ahmadnagar border. The Nizam Shahi border forces were unable to withstand the assault and were compelled to retreat. The arrival of reinforcements from the main body of Ahmadnagar forces made the Golconda forces withdraw. In the meantime, Narnala fort was overrun and Tufal Khan captured; the fort at Gawli was also captured and the entire family of Tufal Khan was imprisoned. Berar was annexed to Ahmadnagar.

Once again, the duplicitous nature of the Shahi kings’ relationship with each other was displayed in the dealings that took place immediately after the fall of Berar. Ibrahim Qutb Shah played the role of a great friend to Murtaza and send messages to congratulate and applaud the Nizam Shahi on his victory over Berar. At the same time he was worried about Murtaza’s growing power and covertly instigated the Khandesh king, Miran Muhammad Shah, to attack and capture Berar, since it was now left in the care of an Ahmadnagar noble. Accordingly, Miran Shah invaded and occupied Berar. Murtaza was consumed with dealing with other irritants—there were minor rebellions within his army and at the outer districts of his kingdom. He was unable to take immediate action. Further, he had already moved the majority of his army to the border with Bidar, which was his next target for annexation. Therefore, immediate retaliation was not possible.

Even so, annoyed with the actions of the Khandesh king, Murtaza decided to recapture Berar and accordingly manoeuvred his forces. Muhammad Shah offered spirited resistance at Burhanpur and Asir, but was then forced to withdraw to his own kingdom. Peace was established only after Murtaza Nizam Shah was acknowledged as the overlord of the region and a great deal of tribute was paid to him by the other kings.

Court Intrigues

Murtaza was reliant on his Prime Minister Changiz Khan, who was incorruptible, efficient, brave and sagacious, for the smooth functioning of the administration. Changiz Khan looked after the running of the kingdom in such a manner that Murtaza was free to indulge in his efforts to expand the borders of the kingdom and pursue his dream of becoming the most powerful of the Deccan Shahi kings. However, another noble Husain Khan was also a favourite of the Nizam Shah. Husain Khan did not have the same level of integrity as Changiz Khan, and fell prey to the machinations of Ibrahim Qutb Shah. The Golconda king corrupted Husain Khan through heavy bribes and had him poison Murtaza against the Prime Minster, Changiz Khan. Without bothering to verify the facts, Murtaza took pre-emptive action and had his Prime Minster poisoned. After his death, Changiz Khan’s innocence and loyalty was proved. Murtaza Nizam Shah was crestfallen and ashamed of his intemperate actions. As an act of repentance, he decided to withdraw from public life.

Since he was out on a military expedition at this time, Murtaza returned to Ahmadnagar and handed over the administration of the kingdom to Sayyid Qazi Beg Yazdi and himself retired to lead a secluded life. The court intrigues continued unabated, now with the nobles vying to increase their individual power and influence in the absence of the king being involved in the running of the country. He had stopped exercising direct control over the day-to-day functioning of the court. However, Murtaza continued to be engaged, not having completely ‘let-go’ with the withdrawal being a temporary and ‘half-way’ phenomenon. By this time, Berar was completely subsumed by Ahmadnagar, all rebellions being fully contained.

There is a report of the Ahmadnagar forces being placed on alert in 1576, when the Mughal Emperor Akbar started to move south from his northern citadel in Agra. His southern sojourn was however very short-lived, since he returned north in 1577. Further, there is no proof of any encounter that took place between Mughal and Ahmadnagar forces; or of any intention on the part of the Mughal Emperor to invade the Deccan. It has to be assumed that his move south was nothing more than a ‘hunting’ expedition, not even a scoping move to assess the strength of the major kingdoms of the Deccan.

The Mughal forces did not pose any threat to the Nizam Shahi kingdom during this minor move south. However, the Bijapur king Ali Adil Shah was ambitious, as has been stated earlier, and always looking for opportunities to enhance his own position. The victories of Murtaza and his annexing Berar rankled Ali Adil Shah. On getting to know of the ostensive withdrawal of Murtaza from public life and the running of the kingdom, and the untimely death of the efficient Changiz Khan, Ali Shah decided to invade Ahmadnagar. The Bijapur king considered the Nizam Shahi kingdom to be now in decline or at least in a relatively weakened state. However, the Ahmadnagar forces were quick to react and the Bijapur army was forced to withdraw. This Bijapur enterprise remained still-born.

While the Bijapur invasion fiasco was playing out, court intrigue continued unrelentingly in Ahmadnagar, and a different drama was unfolding in the court. Husain Khan, responsible for the murder of Changiz Khan, but still a favourite of the king, had assumed the title of Sahib Khan and was behaving as a total tyrant. His behaviour precipitated a factional fight between the Deccani and phirangi (foreigner) nobles. The animosity between the factions and Sahib Khan’s oppression of the phirangis became intolerable. It reached a stage wherein the phirangi nobles fled to Bijapur. The nobles who were still loyal to Murtaza, led by Sayyid Yazdi, now requested the king to take action against Husain (Sahib) Khan before he became too powerful and it would come difficult to control or overthrow him. The king realised the seriousness of the situation and ordered his loyal nobles to bring Sahib Khan to book forthwith. The nobles used subterfuge to lure Sahib Khan to a secluded place in the pretext of their wanting to pay homage to him. He was then killed by the nobles. Murtaza once again withdrew into seclusion, although the nobles implored him to take control of the kingdom, which they feared was gradually declining into chaos.

The king however, wanted to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina after abdicating from the role of king. The nobles and other wise men of the court managed to make him change his mind and desist from undertaking such a step. Even so, he appointed Shah Haidar as the Prime Minister and once again retired to private life. He started to lead a life of ease, leisure and worldly enjoyment. Murtaza’s decision to withdraw was the beginning of the turmoil that encompassed the Nizam Shahi kingdom for the next decade and more, which further led to the beginning of the decline of the dynasty. During the turbulent years that followed, successive kings and powerful nobles of the regime were almost completely unaware of the changing geo-political circumstances in North India and the rapidly increasing power of the Mughal Empire there. This would spell the doom of the Nizam Shahi dynasty.

© [Sanu Kainikara] [2018]
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About Sanu Kainikara

Sainik School Kazhakuttam (Kerala), National Defence Academy 39/A, 108 Pilot's Course IAF, fighter pilot, QFI, FCL, psc, HACC, Voluntary Retirement as Wing Commander. Canberra-based Political and Defence Analyst specialising in military strategy, national security, and international politics. PhD in International Politics from University of Adelaide Executive Masters in Public Adminsitration (ANZSOG) Adjunct Professor, University of New South Wales, Distinguished Fellow Institute For Regional Security (IFRS) Distinguished Fellow Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS)

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