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 be a Muslim. He was however eclectic, and inclined to pantheism. He wrote:

We have not seen an atom separate from the Sun,

Every drop of water is the sea in itself.

With what name should one call the Truth?

Every name that exists is one of God’s names.

—Abraham Eraly,

Emperors of the Peacock Throne, p. 335.

Late in 1656, Delhi was engulfed in an epidemic. Shah Jahan initially left the city for Gar Mukteswar, a small town on the River Ganga, and in February 1657 to Mukhlispur on the River Yamuna, 100 miles north of Delhi at the foothills of the Sirmur Hills. Mukhlispur had a salubrious climate and Shah Jahan had made it his summer retreat, building spacious palaces for himself and his favourite and also eldest son, Dara Shikoh.

On 7th March 1657, Shah Jahan celebrated three decades of reign with grand ceremonies. His reign had been long and equally prosperous; the wealth of the empire dazzled the entire world; nobles of the realm eclipsed kings of other lands in wealth and opulence; and Mughal prestige, despite conspicuous military setbacks in Central Asia, was at its zenith. The extent of Shah Jahan’s empire, including vassal kingdoms and protectorates, stretched beyond any achieved earlier by the Mughals. The core empire was enjoying a stable peace while the general population was in a languid state of rest. Although Shah Jahan had gathered a bevy of able and loyal nobles and officers around him to assist in the governance of his empire, his long reign was showing the signs of approaching dark shadows. Many of Shah Jahan’s loyal nobles had grown old or were already dead; and by 1657, most of his closest friends and able administrators had passed on. Shah Jahan could not find suitable replacements—he himself was 67 years old and had started to feel the hand of age on his shoulders.  

The question in everyone’s mind, even as the thirtieth anniversary celebrations rolled on, was what would happen after Shah Jahan? The future, repeatedly discussed by the emperor with his peer-group of nobles, seemed to be gloomy. In reality, it should not have been so; therefore, one wonders, what was the reason for this palpable ominous feeling?

Shah Jahan had four surviving grown up sons, all four with experience as regional governors and army commanders. However, there was no brotherly love among them. The three younger sons—Shah Shuja, Aurangzeb and Murad Baksh—were only united in their jealous hatred of the eldest, Dara Shikoh, who was Shah Jahan’s favourite and intended heir. The animosity between Dara and Aurangzeb was particularly bitter and irreconcilable. It had so far been contained by the emperor’s conscious attempt at keeping Aurangzeb far away from the capital and the royal court. The ill-feeling between the brothers was the talk of the empire; everyone knew that succession would be disputed and a serious civil war was expected at Shah Jahan’s demise.

From the time that the Mughal dynasty had been effectively stabilised by Akbar, it was almost a tradition that the emperor in his old age would witness the rebellion of his son. Akbar had forgiven his rebellious and ‘undutiful’ son Jahangir on his deathbed; and Shah Jahan himself was in full-fledged rebellion when his father died. It was his turn to suffer the same fate.

The Catalyst – Shah Jahan Falls Ill

Although Aurangzeb had been denied a full victory in the Bijapur campaign, Shah Jahan celebrated the Deccan ‘victory’ and then returned to Delhi in April 1657, when the epidemic seems to have receded. On 6th September he fell ill of strangury and constipation, brought on by the excessive use of astringent aphrodisiacs according to his European biographers. He had suffered a similar illness 20 years back in March 1637 for the same reason, but had recovered quickly because of rigorous health and relative youth. This time a week of treatment by the court physicians did not change the deteriorating situation, Shah Jahan was in great pain and unable to eat. Shah Jahan’s public appearances were obviously stopped, giving rise to rumours that the emperor was dead and that Dara was keeping it a secret to ensure his own succession.

On 24th September, Shah Jahan showed his face to the public at the window, the ‘jarokha’ where he traditionally gave a daily viewing to the public, to assure them that he was alive and well. However, the rumours of his death continued to spread unabated. He started to recover at a very gradual pace and took more than a month to attend any official business. By late October it was certain that the worst of the illness had passed. However, his death now seemed only a matter of time. Shah Jahan also seemed to be aware that the end was near. In the presence of his senior courtiers, he made his last will, appointing Dara Shikoh his successor and exhorting them to obey Dara henceforth as sovereign—‘at all times, in everything and every place’.

On becoming better, Shah Jahan decided to go to Agra, starting out from Delhi on 18th October and on reaching the Sami (Swamy?) Ghat on the River Yamuna, he camped. He entered Agra ceremonially on 5th November and held a durbar. By mid-November he was physically fully recovered, but would never recover power. He went on to live for another nine years, but this durbar was the real end and curtain call of the magnificent emperor, Shah Jahan.

In April 1658, Shah Jahan made an attempt to return to Delhi, but had to turn back to Agra before making much progress. During his illness, Dara personally looked after his father, permitting only the four highest ranking and trusted nobles and necessary physicians to see the emperor. At the same time, the three other brothers, governing in the far flung corner of the empire, were being fed only wild rumours about the well-being, or otherwise, of their father, the emperor. Authentic information was unavailable to them. However, they knew that if Shah Jahan was dead, or even incapacitated, power would have been transferred to Dara and their fate would already have been sealed. The three younger brothers had no alternative but to prepare for war. They individually knew that if they did not fight, or if they were defeated, their lives were forfeit—only victory would keep them alive.

On the other hand, Dara Shikoh operated as his father’s agent, or a de facto regent, exercising supreme authority in the emperor’s name. It is reliably reported that Dara displayed no urgency to seize the crown and all orders issued by him were on behalf of the emperor. Dara was confident of succeeding to the throne and calculated that Shah Jahan’s death would make the transition easier. By now he had been operating on behalf of his father for so long that he assumed that the nobles and the people would automatically accept him as king. He did not anticipate any opposition. On complete recovery from his illness, Shah Jahan heaped promotions and reward on Dara Shikoh for his great display of filial piety, while Dara continued to issue orders on his father’s behalf.

Yet, none of the filial piety or the unwavering love of the father for his first-born son could stop the relentless march of events.

The Siblings

As mentioned earlier, Shah Jahan’s four surviving sons were: Dara Shikoh (b.1615), Shah Shuja (b. 1616), Aurangzeb (b. 1618) and Murad Baksh (b.1624). There were also two daughters: Jahanara (b. 1614) and Roshanara (b. 1617) who were actively involved in the impending war of succession. All were born to the same mother—Shah Jahan’s favourite queen, Mumtaz Mahal. When Shah Jahan fell ill in 1657, Dara and the two daughters were with him in Delhi, Shujah was the governor of Bengal, Aurangzeb was fighting a war in Deccan as the region’s governor and Murad was governing Gujarat.

Fairly early in his reign Shah Jahan had indicated that he wanted Dara Shikoh to be his successor. This preference was really not unjust or unjustifiable. It is indeed true that the Law of Primogeniture was not laid down in Islamic royal succession, although it had become customary for the eldest son to succeed his father to the throne. Accordingly, Shah Jahan had kept Dara at court for many years to train and prepare him for the eventual take-over as emperor. To facilitate Dara’s staying on in court, the emperor had appointed him viceroy of the richer, well-settled and stable provinces of Allahabad, Punjab and Multan. These provinces were governed by deputies while Dara stayed with his father. Shah Jahan also raised Dara to a position above that of his brothers, creating a position somewhere in-between the royal princes and the emperor himself. He conferred on Dara the title ‘Shah-i-Bulund Iqbal’, meaning ‘Lord of the Lofty Fortune’, appointed him commander of 40,000 with an annual pay of 15 million rupees—both unprecedented moves. Further, Dara’s sons were given titles and ranks that made them almost equal in status to their uncles, the younger sons of Shah Jahan.

Shah Jahan also made Dara the conduit for anyone to approach him; nobody could reach Shah Jahan directly without having seen Dara and obtained ‘permission’. In later years, Dara conducted the administration of the empire independently, but in his father’s name with the tacit approval of the emperor. Shah Jahan made it a point to ensure that the nobles of the court and the general public at large were fully aware of the state of affairs and left them in no doubt as to who would be the next king. He also hoped that by putting in place such safeguards, the succession and transfer of power would be easy, seamless, and more importantly, uncontested. However, it is obvious that Shah Jahan initiated all these moves because in his heart he doubted Dara’s ability to become the king.

‘Of the four, Dara’s position was the strongest; he had the emperor’s backing and had at his disposal the immense resources of the imperial treasury. Yet Dara would lose to Aurangzeb. Shah Jahan himself believed Aurangzeb had the best chance of winning the throne. “At times I fear that my eldest son has become the enemy of good men,” he is said to have remarked. “Murad Baksh has set his heart on drinking; Muhammad Shuja has no good trait except contentment. But the resolution and intelligence of Aurangzeb prove that he [alone] can shoulder the difficult task [of ruling India].”

—Abraham Eraly,

Emperors of the Peacock Throne, p. 333

Dara Shikoh (20 March 1615 – 30 August 1659)

‘His [Dara Shikoh’s] philosophical studies and exercise of enormous political power might have generated in him a sense of superior consciousness and a contempt for the ordinary and the petty and made him impatient of aristocratic arrogance.’

—Ram Prasad Tripathi,

The Rise and Fall of the Mughal Empire, p. 480.

Dara was born to Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal after they had three daughters. Although very little information is available regarding his early education, it can be safely assumed that he was brought up within the princely Sunni education system. Dara possessed a theoretically oriented mind and always had a craving to free himself from rigid orthodoxy. He was not particularly practical. As he grew up, he was deeply interested in Sufism, which led him to believe and state that kingship was easier to master and that it was a much lesser undertaking than being an ascetic.

Dara consciously modelled himself on his great-grandfather, Akbar, in pursuing religious matters. However, there was a fundamental discrepancy between the two that seems to have made all the difference in the way their individual lives turned out. Akbar was an established king who dabbled in religion and mysticism, whereas Dara was inherently a mystic-philosopher, who happened to be a prince, even though an heir apparent, but not a king. He regularly associated with Vedantists, Sufis and Talmud scholars and studied the Hindu religious texts in detail. With the help of Brahmin scholars he translated the Upanishads into Persian. His fundamental quest was to find an honest way to bridge the irreconcilable doctrinal differences between the major religions of his country—Hinduism and Islam.

His overt lack of sympathy for orthodox, rigid Islamic thought and doctrine alienated the bigoted Sunni Muslims. Some Islamic scholars have suggested that Dara’s wide religious tolerance was actually a ruse and assumed for political purposes, to win over the Rajputs and the, by now, sizeable Christian population of the empire. This assertion does not ring true, it is obvious that Dara was making a genuine attempt to follow Akbar’s footsteps. However, this attempt was premature since he was yet to establish his credentials as a successful emperor. In reality he was viewed as riding on his father’s coat-tails, not having proven himself individually in battle or in the administration of the empire. Although considered one of the most enlightened princes of the time, he remained a mediocre administrator, an indifferent statesman and even more inept military commander.

As a military commander he had led three campaigns into Kandahar, of which two were purely for ceremonial purposes. The only actual military campaign that he had led bluntly exposed his weakness as a commander, lack of military knowledge, gullibility, and his impetuous, emotional and easily excitable personality. He had never won any laurels in the battlefield. Many reports mention him as a polite conversationalist with affable manners, but he never acquired the qualities of a statesman. There is no doubt that he had above average intellect. When this was combined with his father’s unreserved love, preferential treatment, and the unlimited power and wealth that was granted to him—none of which were hard won—the prince became extremely conceited. He was disdainful of advice, however well-intentioned, and despised both the advice and the adviser. The flattery of the nobles, bent on self-advancement, blinded Dara Shikoh to his own character flaws and impaired his ability to judge people correctly.

Shah Shuja (23 June 1616 – 7 February 1661)

‘He [Shuja] was a man of refined tastes and easy-going habits. Although he possessed great intelligence and courage and was gifted with common sense, he was pleasure loving, negligent and partly indolent.’

—Ram Prasad Tripathi,

The Rise and Fall of the Mughal Empire, p. 480.

Shuja, the second son of Shah Jahan, as a young prince was placed under the tutelage of Mullah Mahmud Jaunpuri, a learned person. Shuja was well-educated, refined and intelligent and carefully groomed for princely duties. He had absolutely no interest in religious matters, being an indifferent practitioner of Islam. Although the emperor attached him to various military expeditions, Shuja did not distinguish himself in any of them.

In 1639, he was appointed governor of Bengal and in 1642, Orissa was also added to his territory. Since Bengal was a relatively quiet province, and something of a backwater for the Mughals, Shah Jahan left him alone to rule the region. However, Shuja was jealous of the exalted position occupied by his elder brother Dara in the royal court and felt, almost without reason, that Dara was intriguing against him. Their relationship was strained. For some years Shuja had wanted to add Bihar to his territorial holdings, which had been repeatedly blocked in the imperial court by Dara. Subsequently when Bihar was added to Dara’s own holdings, Shuja’s antagonism against Dara became fully blown.

Shuja was a slave to his pleasures and it is reported that even the most critical business of state could not take him away from his drinking bouts. As early as 1652, he and Aurangzeb had come together in a verbal agreement, brought about by their mutual hatred of Dara Shikoh. Like Dara, Shuja was also physically imposing and good looking, but unlike Dara he was very subtle, capable of intrigue and also winning friends. When necessary he could be a discreet and dextrous diplomat. He had declared himself a Shia in order to get the support of the Shah of Persia in the coming succession struggle. Over the years, his wayward living had adversely affected his physical strength. Although generally relegated as being a second-rate personality by a number of historians, Shuja could display strength of will and resourcefulness in a crisis.

Aurangzeb (3 November 1618 – 3 March 1707)

‘It [a puritanical and orthodox outlook] gave definiteness to his [Aurangzeb’s] ideas and plans, produced energy and strength born of strong faith and austere character, created enthusiasm and sustained it, and generated a will to stick to and carry through his object. On the other hand it also produced a one-track mind, narrow outlook, constricted vision and wrong perspective.’

—Ram Prasad Tripathi,

The Rise and Fall of the Mughal Empire, pp. 480-81.

Shah Jahan’s third son, Muhi ud-Din Muhammad, was commonly known by his sobriquet Aurangzeb. He was tutored in his younger days by Mir Muhammad Hashim, a scholar of medicine, mathematics and Islamic theology. Afzal Khan, who had mentored Shah Jahan, was also appointed as a tutor to Aurangzeb. He also learned under Mulla Abdul Qawwi, one of the most orthodox theologians of the age. This interaction left a lasting effect on Aurangzeb, who became a practising orthodox Sunni Muslim and also a learned theologian in his own right.

Rejecting the World

In 1643, Aurangzeb announced his retirement from the normal world. He took up residence in the wilderness of the Western Ghats and lived there as an Islamic mendicant. Historians have attributed these actions to Aurangzeb’s calculated hypocrisy and his pretence of indifference to power. It is generally believed that these actions were initiated to cover up his burning ambition for power and adopted to fool his contemporaries. If this was indeed the reason, then it seems to have succeeded, since his family members were duly impressed, and obviously hoodwinked.

The reality seems to be that it was only a youthful impulse, excited by religious enthusiasm. After a few months of this attempt, Aurangzeb was back as the governor of the Deccan.   

Aurangzeb was an able soldier, and personally very brave. At the age of 17, he had led an expedition against the Raja of Bundelkhand. Thereafter, he was involved in almost all Mughal military expeditions (as detailed in the previous two chapters). In fact, it is not an exaggeration to state that the narrative of more than half of Shah Jahan’s reign is generally an account of Aurangzeb’s military and diplomatic achievements in the service of the empire and his father. He was a highly regarded administrator, warrior, statesman and man of letters—leaving no doubt that he was the ablest of Shah Jahan’s sons.

Even though he was not as affable or religiously tolerant as Dara was, he managed to maintain good relations with a number of nobles. He was also sound of judgement and could discern the character of the people he dealt with fairly accurately. His capabilities and achievements made Dara hate Aurangzeb actively, a fact recorded repeatedly in contemporary writings by a number of different chroniclers. When the anticipated war of succession finally took place, Aurangzeb was to brand it a conflict between the forces of pure religion, which he led, and that of heresy led by Dara.

Murad Baksh (9 October 1624 – 14 December 1661)

‘He [Murad Baksh] was impulsive and reckless. He knew little of the political world, nor did he care to know it. Self-complacent, self-centred, quarrelsome and obstinate, he was least fitted to undertake the task of government.’

 —Ram Prasad Tripathi,

The Rise and Fall of the Mughal Empire, pp. 481-82

In his younger days, Murad was tutored by the same group of teachers that instructed Dara. It is obvious that this group did not leave any lasting impressions on either prince. In his youth itself Murad became addicted to drink and sensual pleasures. He was the nominal commander of the successful expedition that defeated Nazr Muhammad Khan and annexed Balkh and Badakhshan to the empire and had been made the governor of those provinces. He did not like the appointment and displaying his impulsive and obstinate nature, left the place without Shah Jahan’s permission. As a result, he was dismissed. The emperor forgave him and for a short time he was made the governor of the emerging Mughal province of the Deccan. However, he was dismissed from this position also for misdemeanour.

Two dismissals seem to have made him more cautious and when he was again pardoned and made the governor of Gujarat, Murad buckled down and kept his peace, at least externally. Shah Jahan understood the deficiencies in the character of his youngest son and therefore appointed a capable noble, Sayid Ali Naqvi Khan, as the Diwan of Gujarat to keep matters under control in the province. Even though Murad had him murdered since Sayid was trying to rein in his activities, surprisingly, Shah Jahan did not initiate any action. By this time Murad was bordering on being completely debauched.

Murad was genuinely open and frank, and despised intrigue. He was also generous and amiable, rewarding people who served him. Personally he was brave and extremely courageous, almost bordering on impetuous recklessness, rushing into the thickest of battle irrespective of the risk. However, he lacked calculated leadership in battle. He never realised that pure bravery was not the only trait required to lead an army to victory. He was unaware that an army needed to be organised, controlled and guided by a commander of ability, foresight and the capacity to make quick, but calculated decisions in the thick of battle, if it was to be victorious.

Sub-consciously Murad developed a feeling of being discriminated by his father, especially since the emperor’s largesse was being bestowed on Dara at all times. This led to him harbour jealousy against Dara, with the result their mutual relationship was strained at all times. Murad believed that Dara’s influence over Shah Jahan was responsible for his repeated dismissals, a belief that was strengthened when Dara ordered him, during Shah Jahan’s illness, to hand over Gujarat and proceed to Berar, a petty province, as its governor. Although he refused to obey that order, from that point forward Murad hated Dara with an intensity that combined with his impetuous nature and went on to unravel all his plans, if there were any to start with. Even though licentious in habit, when the struggle for succession came, he asked for the support of the Muslims, proclaiming himself to be their champion.

The Princesses

There were two princesses who were also intimately involved in the succession struggle in their own way. The elder princess, Jahanara (23 March 1614 – 16 September 1681), better known as Begum Sahib, was her father Shah Jahan’s darling. She took over the role of the ‘senior’ queen after the death of her mother Mumtaz Mahal, with the tacit approval of the emperor. She was wealthy in her own right, being the recipient of a large stipend and also being given expensive gifts. She exercised unlimited influence in the royal court, through subtle intrigue. She was extremely found of Dara, claiming that they were almost like twins, and used all her influence to further Dara’s claim to the throne. At the same time she also managed to maintain a genial, and even loving, relationship with Aurangzeb.

The younger sister, Roshanara (3 September 1617 – 11 September 1671), was a staunch supporter of Aurangzeb, maintaining a cordial hatred for Dara and Jahanara. She had very limited power in the royal court while Dara was the heir apparent, but zealously guarded Aurangzeb’s interests. She kept him informed of all the happenings of the royal court. She was awarded the title Padshah Begum by her grateful younger brother after he became the emperor and became the de facto first lady of the Mughal Empire.

This was the cast that played out the most traumatic drama in the history of the imperial Mughal dynasty. While the outcome was important to the future well-being of the empire, the real importance of the war of succession between Shah Jahan’s sons lies in the fact that it was the first toll of the bell that indicated the start of the ‘Fall of the Imperial Mughal Empire’.

The Stage is Set…

Even though Shah Jahan gradually recovered, Dara had kept the news of his illness and the recovery process a secret. Therefore, the initial rumour of his death, and Dara’s perceived attempt at keeping it secret, continued to spread unabated across the kingdom. Unlike in the Hindu kingdoms of the land, the Muslim kingdoms had no laid down laws of succession. They adopted the principle of ‘elevation of the fittest’, which meant that anyone could contest for the ‘leader’s’ position when the current incumbent either died or was incapacitated in some way. This system harked back to the days when the tribes were nomadic and the leadership of the tribe/clan was critical to its well-being and even survival, necessitating the selection of the most capable person as the chief. Over a period of time, with kingdoms becoming stable, the eldest son of the king/sultan was presumed to have the strongest claim to the throne, at least informally. However, in practice, the position could be, and often was, contested by other brothers and cousins and even by powerful nobles of the realm. Such a contest eventuating was not considered untoward.

The subtle difference in the Mughal system was that princes of the dynasty had started to rebel to claim the throne while their fathers were alive and ruling, much less being incapacitated. Such a situation could only lead to the strategic weakening of the core that held the empire tegether. Even when a victor ascended the throne, the schisms and chasms between the contenders continued to be exploited both domestically and by external elements. The Mughal tradition, established by default in the previous two successions, went much further than the mere subjugation of rebel contenders. They traditionally believed that ‘kingship recognises no kinship’. This concept when put in practice, meant that the struggle for supremacy continued and was fought till either ‘takht or takhta’, meaning ‘crown or coffin’, was achieved by all except the victor.

From Babur to Shah Jahan, all the Mughal emperors had to contest against the rivalry of relatives and/or siblings to claim the throne, however insignificant or grand the throne may have been— in the Mughal dynasty the tradition of contested succession went all the way to the beginning. Disputed succession became inevitable because the successful claimant would put all surviving claimants, even potential ones, to the sword in a casual and callous manner, which in turn made these princes/nobles fight for the throne even if they had not seriously harboured such ambitions. For them death seemed inevitable, even if your claim to the throne was indirect. Within the Mughal dynasty, the circumstances evolved in such a manner that the contest became extremely vicious and cruel; since defeat meant assured death. 

In the war of succession amongst the sons of Shah Jahan, the situation was aggravated by Dara Shikoh’s actions during the emperor’s illness. He is reported to have instituted the following steps to ensure his own seamless succession:

  • He took guarantees from the representatives of his three brothers in the royal court that they would not submit any report regarding the emperor’s illness and Dara’s actions to their respective masters;
  • He closed roads that led to Bengal, Gujarat and the Deccan so that travellers could not carry information to the provinces, effectively enforcing a news blackout;
  • He confiscated the house of Aurangzeb’s representative in the imperial court and declared him persona non grata;
  • He recalled the senior officers and their forces deployed in the Deccan and engaged in the campaign against Bijapur. Some of these nobles left the war without eve informing Aurangzeb, thus debilitating the Mughal army in the Deccan; and
  • He initiated action against Murad and Aurangzeb, unilaterally and, as it is reported, without consulting the emperor.

The above list of Dara’s misdeeds was obviously compiled by Aurangzeb’s court historian after he had assumed the mantle of the emperor. Therefore, some historians tend to ignore these allegations as spurious, although in reality the truth would lie somewhere in between.

As the Mughal Empire rolled on inexorably towards certain civil war, some facts, which would bring out the inherent decency and attitude of Dara Shikoh should be brought out so that an unbiased view could be taken. In many narratives, Dara is made to be the singular villain responsible for the civil war that took place, an assessment that is inherently flawed and incorrect. The fact remains that Dara was completely devoted to Shah Jahan and never initiated any action without consulting him. On hindsight, it must also be remembered that of the four sons, Dara alone did not assume the title of emperor during the civil war, because Shah Jahan was still alive—he wanted the emperor to live, the others wanted Shah Jahan dead. The crucial facts are that he did not usurp power, it was delegated to him; and he did not cause or start the civil war, it was thrust on him by his younger brothers.

It must be reiterated that, for all his personal character flaws, Dara Shikoh was always prudent and resolute in his actions and that his political and military strategies were always sound. It was unfortunate for him that chance and luck, the two unpredictable ingredients in all matters of state, did not favour him.

© [Sanu Kainikara] [2020]
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No part of this website/Blog or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author. You may quote extracts from the website or forward the link to the website with attribution to http://www.sanukay.wordpress.com/. For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author @ (sanukay@hotmail.com)

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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