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Cold, hungry, and harassed, the Mughal army was barely able to hang onto its foothold in Central Asia through the winter. There were many reasons why Shah Jahan undertook such an ambitious campaign. Surrounded on three sides, the Uzbeks fled. Shah Jahan had 3 wives the other two being Akbarabadi Mahal and Khandahari Mahal, but Mumtaz Mahal was the emperor’s most loved and favored. The failure of the campaign had come at a great expense. He was born as Prince Khurram on 5th January 1592, to Emperor Jahangir and his second wife, Jagat Gosini (a Rajput Princess). While Shah Jahan had already proved his worth in several military campaigns, this alone was often not enough to ensure his coming to power. However, their numerical strength was no match for the disciplined musket fire of the Mughal vanguard. Chief among them was Prince Murad Bakhsh himself, who shortly after arriving sent a series of letters to Shah Jahan expressing his desire to return to Kabul. This medieval irredentism was going to cost dearly. For a military campaign of such limited time and achievement, the Balkh-Badakhshan expedition of 1646-47 carries inordinate resonance through the passage of history. The winter of 1646-1647 was one of the harshest the region had ever witnessed. The story of a vastly superior force embroiled in a conflict with boundless objectives, but a finite will to fight, has become near proverbial in these regions. Lightly equipped, they moved fast and struck the long columns of the Mughal army at random, after which they would quickly retreat. By undertaking it, they had, rather painfully, found the limits of their might. Khurram studied warfare, the Koran, poetry, music, and other subjects suitable for a Mughal prince. Currently at SOAS, Ranvijay Singh Hada is a keen, albeit amateur, aficionado of military and South Asian history as well as mountaineering literature. During his father's reign he distinguished himself in many military campaigns, especially in Mewar (1615), the Deccan (1617 and 1621), and Kangra (1618). As a child, Khurram was a particular favorite of his grandfather, Emperor Akbar the Great, who personally oversaw the little prince's education. Despite her pregnancies, Mumtaz Mahal traveled with her husbands entourage throughout his earlier military campaigns and the subsequent rebellions against his father. Shah Jahan faced challenges and uprisings all around the edges of his empire, as well. In the meantime, Shah Jahan began to rely increasingly on his son Aurangzeb, who proved an effective military leader and an Islamic fundamentalist from a young age. Though now little more than a provincial town in Northern Afghanistan (450 km from Kabul), for over 2,000 years it was among the great cities of Asia. What had once been a mighty imperial army had been reduced—by calamitous climate, treacherous terrain, and attritional warfare—to little more than a long procession of beleaguered men. Military campaigns & administration of Shah Jahan In 1617, Shah Jahan was directed to deal with the Lodi in the Deccan, to secure the Empire's southern borders and to restore imperial control over the region. The rear-guard, bringing with it the final stragglers and the injured, only arrived on the 10th of November. With an army of 35,000 soldiers, Aurangzeb marched out of Kabul in early April 1647. After a year of a harsh war of attrition, Maharana Amar Singh I surrendered conditionally to the Mughal forces and became a vassal state of the Mughal Empire. The sudden and unannounced flight of an imperial Prince was a massive blow to the morale of the Mughal army stationed in Balkh. Yet, all they had achieved was the lip service of Nazar Mohammed; there was no increase in territory beyond an inconsequential 80 km or so north of Kabul. While there he began planning the design and construction of a suitable mausoleum and funerary garden in Agra for his wife, a task that would take … She was buried temporarily in Burhanpur, until her body was transferred … He even sent his Grand Vizier, Sadhullah Khan, to ensure that the Mughal units in Balkh and surrounding areas stayed primed for imminent incursions deeper into Transoxiana. To improve the country’s financial resources, heavier taxes were imposed on the peasantry. It took the next twenty years of his reign, but Shah Jahan planned, designed, and oversaw the construction of the Taj Mahal, the world's most famous and beautiful mausoleum. The narrowness of the valley too constrained the massed Uzbek cavalry. Khurram dutifully sired a son by each of his other wives, and then neglected them almost entirely. Adding to their woes were the Uzbek tribesmen, who constantly attacked the Mughal columns for loot. However, the death of his beloved Mumtaz Mahal in 1631 nearly shattered the emperor. Each day, Live History India brings you stories and films that not only chronicle India’s history and heritage for you, but also help create a digital archive of the 'Stories that make India' for future generations. More pressing matters, however, concerned Aurangzeb. He also mounted a second military expedition against Georgia in 1444. That is why his father took the unusual step of naming this son Shah Jahan… Love for Art & Architecture. Formerly called ‘Bactra’, the capital of the territory of Bactria once ruled by the Persians, the Indo-Greeks and the Kushanas, its centrality made it a key artery of the Silk Road. He is a direct descendent of Rao Madho Singh Hada of Kota. While walking through the bazaar, Shah Jahan who was only 15 then, spotted a beautiful young girl who went by the name, Arjumand Banu. The Death of Mumtaz Mahal In 1631, Shah Jahan was three years into his reign and fighting against a rebellion led by Khan Jahan Lodi. Shah Jahan fell ill in 1658 and appointed his and Mumtaz Mahal's eldest son Dara Shikoh as his regent. She later became known as Mumtaz Mahal - "The Chosen One of the Palace." Unbeknownst to them, Aurangzeb had turned the remaining wings of his army on the Uzbek flanks, conducting a clinical pincer movement. The cold killed countless pack animals, and the task of transporting camp baggage fell to the soldiers. In the first chapter, Supriya Gandhi describes the military campaign against the ruler of the neighborhood kingdom, Rana Amar Singh. With the Mughal army cooped up inside fortresses and garrisons in and around Balkh, the Uzbek tribes, naturally accustomed to the region, pillaged the countryside and laid siege to multiple Mughal outposts and garrisons. While essentially a return to status quo ante, the Mughals at least now had Nazar Mohammed’s loyalty to show for such a strenuous and expensive military campaign, regardless of how little it might have meant anyway. He was sent on many missions for his father, and he brought back many victories. While the long columns of soldiers began crossing the pass, Uzbek riders struck the weak and slow stragglers at the rear end of the army. While numerically inferior to the Mughal contingent from the year before, Aurangzeb’s army had crack Rajput units. Thus came the end of the Mughal campaign in Transoxiana, and with it, the hope of reclaiming the lost homeland of the Mughals. The mountain passes had reopened and another army was raised to strengthen and further the Mughal conquest in Transoxiana. He was named Ala Azad Abul Muzaffar Shahab ud-Din Muhammad Khurram, or Khurram for short. Leading them was Shah Jahan’s youngest son, Mirza Murad Bakhsh. It was during the birth of the last child in 1631 while accompanying her husband on a military campaign that Mumtaz Mahal died at the age of 38. Military Campaigns . Realising that an army had been sent to relieve the Mughal forces stationed in Balkh and Badakhshan, the Uzbeks assembled a force of 1 lakh light cavalry under Qutuluq Mohammed. A contemporary of Louis XIV of France, Shah Jahan ruled for thirty years. His father often sent him on military campaigns, even as a young child. Worried about the precarious situation of his army, Shah Jahan moved his court from Lahore to Kabul to more closely direct the campaign. With the region not particularly fertile, Aurangzeb depended heavily on grains arriving from Kabul. In March Jahan Shah responded by invading Georgia with 20,000 troops, destroyed the city of Samshvilde and sacked Tbilisi before returning to Tabriz. He was accompanied by Shaykh Ibrahim, father of future Shaykh Junayd. Shah Jahan was not the oldest son of the emperor, but he proved that he had the ability to lead in military campaigns. Considered by Mughal foreign policy to be essential for the defence of India, both Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb mounted numerous attempts to regain Kandahar. This led to retaliation of the Persians, led by Abbas II of Persia who reclaimed the territory after a few years. The local tribes, having learnt their lesson from earlier misjudgements, did not engage in pitched battles. He was the son of Emperor Jahangir and the grandson of Akbar the Great. It was the only time, possibly in all of history, that an Indian army was to go on the offensive beyond the Hindu Kush. The prince soon put down the rebellion, so his father granted him the name Shah Jahan, meaning "Glory of the World." In 1636, Shah Jahan appointed him viceroy of the troublesome Deccan; Aurangzeb was just 18. In 1605, the 13-year-old prince refused to leave his grandfather's side as Akbar lay dying, despite the potential threat from his father's rivals for the throne. He was determined to build his empress "the most magnificent tomb the world had ever known.". This time, it would be led by Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan’s third son and eventual successor to the Mughal throne. But the failure of their campaign had consequences well beyond the immediate loss of their military enterprise and a badly bruised sense of pride. In a remarkable show of discipline, the Rajputs under Raja Jai Singh, Rao Madho Singh and Mughal General Bahadur Khan performed a valiant rear-guard action at the steep approaches to the pass, and kept the Uzbeks at bay. Babur himself was born north of Balkh, in the fertile valley of Ferghana. Empress Mumtaz Mahal would accompany her husband everywhere from his hunting expeditions to his military campaigns. He was also responsible in manufacturing cannonsin huge numbers. As is often the case, the more things change, the more they remain the same. An army of 50,000 horsemen and 10,000 infantry—including artillerymen, musketeers, and sappers—was assembled in Kabul, the last great city at the western limits of the Mughal Empire. He and Mumtaz Mahal had 14 children, seven of whom survived to adulthood. Led by Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur and Rao Madho Singh Hada of Kota, the Rajputs formed the integral rear-guard and vanguard of the army. Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal had 14 children together. It was in Balkh where their most eminent ancestor, Amir Timur, had declared himself ‘Khan’, and it was from the magnificent citadel of Samarkand (in present-day Uzbekistan) that he governed his empire. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. As soon as he took the throne, Shah Jahan ordered his stepmother Nur Jahan imprisoned and his half-brothers executed, in order to secure his seat. This was to be a grievous error. The great difficulties he faced in retaining Balkh itself made the idea of capturing Samarkand seem terribly quixotic. Throughout the bitterly cold days of October, the Mughal rear-guard was hounded by Uzbek and Hazara tribesmen. His parents were Prince Jahangir and his wife Manmati, a Rajput princess who was called Bilquis Makani in the Mughal court. However, simply retreating from Balkh and Badakhshan after such an expensive military campaign would have made it all seem terribly wasteful. The Safavids of Iran almost at once took advantage of this setback and captured Kandahar in Southern Afghanistan. The incident brought Jahangir and Khurram closer; in 1607, the emperor awarded his third son the fiefdom of Hissar-Feroza, which court observers took to mean that 15-year-old Khurram was now the heir apparent. The city was so prosperous in ancient and medieval times that the Arabs called it Umm-Al-Belad—the ‘mother of all cities’. After resupplying and reorganising the neighbouring Mughal forces, he handed over Balkh fort to Rao Madho Singh, and continued on beyond the Amu Darya. On January 22, 1666, Shah Jahan died at the age of 74. Shah Jahan was a student of architecture and art, who took care of even the least detail in any construction that he ordered and lived a lavish life. Made of white marble inlaid with Jasper and agates, the Taj is decorated with Koranic verses in lovely calligraphy. Things went from bad to worse when Murad Bakhsh, along with a small retinue, left for Kabul without prior permission from his father. This sparked on-going strife with the Persians, who recaptured the city in 1649. He spent most of his life wandering the Khanates of Central Asia and Afghanistan, squandering one kingdom only to gain another. After making their way this far with relative ease, the generals of the Mughal army began at once feeling restive in this foreign land. Mumtaz died at the age of thirty-eight after giving birth to her 14th child, a girl named Gauhara Begum. Jahangir sent his 21-year-old son Khurram (later known as Shah Jahan) to conclude the campaign. Moreover, the imperialistic inclinations of the Safavid Dynasty of Iran, which too was eyeing a foothold in Central Asia, made Shah Jahan want to anticipate any incursions from them. The official chronicle of every Mughal Emperor up to Aurangzeb mentioned plans to conquer Central Asia. The first occasion for Khurram to test his military prowess was during the Mughal campaign against the Rajput state of Mewar, which had been a hostile force to the Mughals since Akbar's reign. In 1614, commanding an army numbering around 200,000, Khurram began the campaign against Mewar. Mughal / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain. The Khanate of Bukhara—the kingdom holding overlordship over Balkh and Badakhshan—was going through a period of internal strife, which made it an opportune moment to strike. Such affluence naturally attracted conquerors from all corners of Eurasia: King Darius of the Achaemenids (6th to 5th BCE), Alexander of Macedonia (4th BCE), the Great Khan Genghis (12th to 13th CE) and the feared Amir Timur (14th to 15th CE). She was so trusted by her husband that he even gave her his imperial seal, the Muhr Uzah. Already late in the year, the passes would soon be inaccessible. Campaigns against Georgia. The harsh and arid lands of Balkh and Badakhshan only yielded about ten lakh rupees of revenue a year, a trifle sum compared to the vast sums of money required to sustain stable military control in the region. Instead he turned increasingly to architecture, his second-greatest passion. Thus, in the late 1640s, when the situation in the Deccan had greatly eased with the collapse of the Ahmadnagar Sultanate of the Nizam Shahi, Shah Jahan had the military flexibility to undertake what was to be the only serious attempt at regaining the lost homeland of the Mughals. Although militarily far superior, he was unable to achieve a decisive victory. It had a far-reaching effect on the Mughal position in Central and Western Asia. In return for restoring Balkh and Badakhshan to him, Nazar Mohammed would now swear fealty to Shah Jahan. Also in 1607, Prince Khurram was engaged to marry Arjumand Banu Begum, the 14-year-old daughter of a Persian nobleman. The weather had already taken a turn for the worse, and snow now made the previously difficult trails treacherously dangerous. Asaf Khan’s sister and Shah Jahan’s old enemy Nur Jahan, survived until December 1645, but lived in retirement and never caused him trouble again. Shah Jahan won a number of battles for his father and was conferred the … In 1641, Shah Jahan’s minister and father-in-law Asaf Khan died. Inheritance of power and wealth in the Mughal empire was not determined through primogeniture, but by princely sons competing to achieve military successes and consolidating their power at court. Any military relief was unable to proceed beyond Kabul, with all passes closed due to snow. In little more than a year, a staggering four crore rupees had been spent from the Mughal treasury (in the tens of thousands of crores today). Now let us know about Shah Jahan's military campaigns Under Shah Jahan, the Afghan noble Khan Jahan Lodi was defeated and campaigns were launched against Ahmadnagar, Bundelas. After handing over Balkh to the grandsons of Nazar Mohammed, the Mughal army marched out on the 3rd of October 1647. Prince Khurram showed extraordinary military talent. With the Rajput infantry putting up a stiff resistance, the Uzbek cavalry focused solely on attacking the centre vanguard. Mumtaz Mahal died on June 17, 1631 in Burhanpur in the Deccan (now in Madhya Pradesh) during the birth of their fourteenth child, a daughter named Gauhara Begum. While the Mughals were Emperors of Hindustan and had been so for more than a century by Shah Jahan’s time, Transoxiana was still ubiquitous in their imperial imaginings. Even though he was the fifth child of Jahangir, Shah Jahan made his presence felt with his superior fighting skills and training. Shah Jahan and his sons successfully continued their military campaigns and captured the city of Kandahar in 1638 from the Safavids. As a result, a complex political climate surrounded the Mugha… From the often chaotic and fratricidal court of India's Mughal Empire sprang perhaps the world's most beautiful and serene monument to love - the Taj Mahal. However, behind all the obvious geopolitical manoeuvring, there was sheer sentimentality. Compounding all this were some of Aurangzeb’s own generals who did not perceive the prospects of campaigning in Transoxiana as enviable. Jahangir succeeded to the throne, after crushing an uprising led by one of his other sons, Khurram's half-brother. Dara was born as the third child of Khurram and Arjumand (Mumtaz Mahal) after this campaign in 1615. Shah Jahan was the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, considered to be one of the greatest of the Mughals. Shah Jahan would go on to live another thirty-five years without the love of his life. They struck the Mughal army near the valley of Derah-i-Gaz. The child who would become Shah Jahan was born on March 4, 1592, in Lahore, now in Pakistan. Shah Jahan’s military expeditions to Central Asia and Kandahar and the extravagant building projects drained the royal treasury. Shah Jahan stayed behind in Burhanpur to conclude the military campaign that had originally bought him to the region. In 1622, with relations at their zenith, Shah Jahan went to war against his father. Mumtaz Mahal supported Shah Jahan and they respected each other very much. Aurangzeb defeated Dara and his other brothers and took the throne. The next day, they engaged the Mughal vanguard again, this time directly in an open battlefield. Twitter: @ranvijayhada. This was the Balkh-Badakhshan campaign of 1646-1647 CE, which would finally bring to end the Mughal dream of reconquering their homeland in the Ferghana Valley (in present-day Uzbekistan), the region from where Babur (r. 1526-30 CE)—the first Mughal Emperor and founder of the dynasty in India— hailed from. Such extended lines were constantly harassed by hostile tribes, and there was a constant threat of being cut off from Kabul. Apart from the wavering will to fight, the army was also finding it hard to secure supplies from the local populace. All of them were futile. In 1646-1647, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan launched a military expedition to conqueror Balkh and the neighbouring province of Badakhshan. With the sound of war drums bellowing through the city, the Mughal army marched out of Kabul in June 1646. During his father's reign he distinguished himself in many military campaigns, especially in Mewar (1615), the Deccan (1617 and 1621), and Kangra (1618). At the time of her death, Mumtaz was in the Deccan with Shah Jahan on a military campaign, despite her condition. Akshay shared a video on social media as … The third son of Emperor Jahangir, Shah Jahan was born at Lahore on Jan. 5, 1592, and was given the name of Khurram. This was not to be their last engagement. Jahangir's army defeated Shah Jahan's after a four-year fight; the prince surrendered unconditionally. In 1645 CE, Shah Jahan sent a large army to receive the glory of Timur's empire. This portal is designed to support Students and Teachers of Central Board of Secondary Education. Whether the imperial fantasies of the Mughals, the British, the Soviets, or most recently, the Americans, there is a phantasmal similarity in the manner in which all these conflicts have ended for the side on which the ‘Empire’—real or imagined—is on. Suffering great privation, the men heaved heavy cannons and treasure caravans across the Gazniyak Pass. However, with the eventual arrival of spring in the new year, the Mughal campaign was reinvigorated. Trade bestowed upon its immense material and cultural wealth, and some considered it to be the mythical Shangri-La. While in Burhanpur, she gave birth to their 14th child and soon after died from hemorrhaging. Answer: Jahangir 1605-1627: Military campaigns started by Akbar continued. He was the third son of the Mughal emperor Jahāngīr and the Rajput princess Manmati. Making its way through the narrow, rocky defiles of the Hindu Kush, the army conquered a number of towns and military garrisons en route, before arriving near Balkh. Three major military campaigns were fought by Emperor Babur. Its designer was the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan himself, a complex man whose life ended in tragic circumstances. CBSE Guess having millions of pages of educational papers provided by various educational institutions, teachers and educators from India and abroad. He was interred in the Taj Mahal, beside his beloved Mumtaz Mahal. The local Uzbek tribes defending the city proved no match for the highly organised and well-equipped army. The distraught emperor reportedly went into seclusion for an entire year and was only coaxed out of mourning by his and Mumtaz's eldest daughter, Jahanara Begum. In 1611, his father married Nur Jehan, the widowed daughter of a Persian immigrant and the aunt of Arjumand Banu Begum. With winter fast approaching, he had the unenviable task of transporting an entire army across the Hindu Kush. Facing relentless local resistance, reluctant commanders, and an ever-growing burden on the Mughal exchequer, Aurangzeb realised the need to exit what was soon becoming a military quagmire. Two years later, Shah Jahan and his sons took the city of Kandahar, now in Afghanistan, from the Safavid Empire. ShahJahan was given the name of Mumtaz Mahal (Ornament of the Palace) when Prince Khurram acceded the throne and became … Their close relationship broke down, however, over court intrigues by Jahangir's Afghan wife, Nur Jahan, who wanted Shah Jahan's youngest brother to be Jahangir's heir. Historians note that he turned away from his military campaigns at this time, letting them fall into the hands of his two eldest sons, Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb. Upon hearing about the rather ignominious departure of his son, a furious Shah Jahan immediately stripped him of his mansab or rank. He proved equal to the challenges from Sikhs and Rajputs in the north and west, and from the Portuguese in Bengal. Nazar Mohammed, the Bukharan Governor, fled even before the army was in sight. The lush valleys and venerable mountains of Transoxiana were the ancestral homelands of the Mughals. Odisha’s Sambalpur: The ‘Real & Original’ Shangri-La. Ahead of them lay a 400-km march to Kabul, through the narrow defiles and high mountain passes of the Hindu Kush. Over 6,000 soldiers had died, mostly due to the privations of nature. Legend says that when he emerged, the forty-year-old emperor's hair had turned white. As soon as the imperial farman outlining the conquest of Balkh and Badakhshan was issued, the gears of the colossal Mughal war machine began turning. When descendants of the Lodi Empire rose up on the Deccan Plateau in 1617, Emperor Jahangir sent Prince Khurram to deal with the problem. After ascending the Mughal throne, he began expanding his empire in all directions. Shah Jahan and Mumtaz had visited Burhanpur as part of Shah Jahan’s military campaign, which was aimed at suppressing the rebellion of the governor of the Deccan, Khan Jahan Lodi. The Sisodiya ruler of Mewar, Amar Singh, accepted Mughal service. Far from all the comforts and luxuries of the plains of Hindustan, a land of only hills and deserts was not where they would have liked to spend the better years of their imperial service. If they closed, the army would be stranded in a foreign land, surrounded by hostile tribes who were ever-ready to have a go at a force laden with imperial wealth. Shah Jahan spent his last eight years gazing out the window at the Taj Mahal, attended by his daughter Jahanara Begum. During Jahangir's closing years, Shah Jahan came into open conflict with Empress Nur Jahan, but his rebellion against his father, in 1622, was unsuccessful. Shah Jahan was a highly capable military leader. He was very close to his grandfather and after ascending to the throne he took forward Akbar’s legacy and embarked on several military campaigns to expand his vast empire. Nevertheless, the rear-guard, in the most inhospitable of conditions, was able to beat off successive waves of enemy raiders, at the cost of high casualties. The malaise faced by these forces has been common – irregular warfare, unfamiliar territory, a restricted war chest, and a near-bankruptcy in morale. First is Emperor Babur who established the Mughal rule in India, then comes his son Humayun, then the most influential and successful emperor of all, 13 year old Emperor Akbar, then his son Jahangir followed by the Shah Jahan, patron of fine arts and last Emperor Aurangzeb. Shah Jahān, Mughal emperor of India (1628–58) who built the Taj Mahal. Aurangzeb killed his brothers and imprisoned his father Shah Jahan in Agra for the rest of his life. This campaign was to be the first step in the expansion of Mughal rule into Transoxiana, now Central Asia, where the Ferghana valley lay. 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Singh Hada of Kota army across the Hindu Kush military relief was to...

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