Fall of Mughal Empire
I need content key events, reasons,
EMPIRE …… 1526 – 1540, 1555-1857
1526 – 1530 AD
…………….. 1530-1540, 1555-1556 AD
1556 – 1605 AD
…………………………… 1605 –
………………………. 1658 – 1707
DECLINE OF MUGHAL EMPIRE
Bahadur shah I (1707-1712)
· After Aurangzeb’s death,
bahadur shah emerged victorious among the 3 brothers.
· Reversed the narrow-minded
policies of his father.
§ More tolerant attitude
towards Hindu chiefs and rajas
§ No destruction of temples
· They demanded the high
mansabs and offices of subahdar of Malwa and Gujrat but
they were not accepted.
· Individual who holds a mansab
(a position or a rank)
· It was a grading system used
by the Mughals to fix – Rank, Salary and Military
· Rank and salary were
determined by a numerical value called zat. Higher
the zat, the
more prestigious position of noble and larger the salary
· The mansabdar’s military
responsibilities required him to maintain a specified no. of
sawar or cavalrymen.
· The mansabdar brought his
cavalrymen for review, got them registered, their horses
branded and then received money to pay them as salary
The empire was divided into many provinces called subas or subahs, governed by subadar.
Subadar has military and political functions while
financial functions are done by Diwan
Subadar was assisted by –
· Military paymaster (bakshi)
· Minister in charge of
religious and charitable patronage (sadr)
· Military commanders (fuajdar)
police commander (kotwal)
· Tried to improve finances by
taking some steps –
§ Checked the reckless growth
of jagirs and offices
§ Compelled the mansabdars
(nobles) to maintain their official quota of troops
§ Encouraged Ijarah or revenue
Downfall of Zulfiqaar khan
· Many of nobles were jealous
of the capable and energetic wazir. So they secretly
against him + emperor too didn’t have trust on him.
Farrukh Siyar (1713 – 1719)
· He became emperor by defeating his uncle Jahandar shah at Agra in 1713.
· He became emperor because of support of saiyid brothers, Abdullah khan (wazir)
and Ali Khan barahow (mir bakshi)
If it was last chance to save the empire during
reign of Muhammad shah, then why he
was not able to save?
· If a strong and farsighted
ruler with support of conscious and peril might nobility
would have been there the empire could have been saved.
(Remember better the
leader, better will be the subordinate. E.g. Indian Army)
· But the emperor was not the
man of the moment.
o He was weak-minded
and frivolous and over-
fond of a life of ease and
o He neglected the affairs of state.
o Instead of giving full support to able wazirs such as
Nizam-ul-Mulk, he fell
under the evil influence of corrupt and worthless
flatterers and intrigued
against his own ministers.
o He even shared in the bribes taken by his favourite
· Fight of loyalty and virtue from the Empire, i.e. leaving of Nizam – ul –
mulk (one of
the ablest noble), had confirmed that the physical
break-up of the Mughal Empire
Result of neglecting the affairs of emperor and
flight of loyalty and virtue:
· The other powerful and
ambitious nobles utilized their energies for carving out
· Hereditary nawabs arose in
many parts of the country, for example, in Bengal,
Hyderabad, Avadh, and the Punjab.
· Even petty zamindars, rajas and nawabs raised the banner of
· The Maratha sardars began
their northern expansion and overran Malwa, Gujarat
· In short nobles, nawabs, rajas, zamindars etc. utilized the
opportunity for their
· In 1738-1739, Nadir Shah
descended upon the plains of northern India, and the
· Nadir Shah was attracted to
India by the fabulous wealth for which it was always
· Bankruptcy of Persia because
of continual campaigns.
· Money was needed desperately
to maintain his mercenary army.
· Spoils from India could be a
· visible weakness of the
· no opposition from Indian
· neglecting of defences of the
northwest frontier by Indian side
· faction-ridden nobles refused
to unite even in sight of the enemy
· no plan for defence or on the
commander of the defending forces.
Q. Result of Nadir Shah Attack:
· Disunity, poor leadership,
and mutual jealousies and distrust can only result in
o invader inflicted a crushing defeat on the Mughal army
· Inflicted immense damage on
the Mughal Empire.
o Caused an
irreparable loss of prestige and exposed
the hidden weakness of
the Empire to the Maratha sardars and the foreign trading
· The Emperor Muhammad Shah was
· massacre of the citizens of
the imperial capital
· invader took possession of
the royal treasury and other royal property
the rich of Delhi.
· Ceding of all the provinces
of the Empire west of the river Indus.
· Exempted his own Kingdom from
taxation for three years!
· Initiation for Further
invasions in future.
· In administration –
o Central administration paralyzed
· In finance –
o Invasion ruined imperial finances
o adversely affected the economic life of the country.
o The impoverished nobles began to rack-rent and oppress the
o Nobles start fighting for rich jagirs and offices more
o one another over rich jagirs and high offices more
desperately than ever.
After the invasion
· Empire seems to revive but it
was deceptive and superficial
· Area under empire’s effective
control started shrank rapidly
· After death of Muhammad shah
in 1748, civil war broke out between power hungry
· Further weakening of the
north western defences, invited repeated invasions of
Ahmad Shah Abdali (one of the ablest generals of Nadir
o He had invaded and plundered north India repeatedly
between 1748 and
o Defeated Marathas in 3rd battle of Panipat in 1761
Q. Why Mughal Empire remained merely as the kingdom
of Delhi or ceased to exist as all
India Empire in practice?
· Invasion of nadir shah and
Ahmad Shah Abdali had made larger damage to Mughal
· Internal conflicts of nobles
riot and tumult in Delhi
Causes of the Decline of the Mughal Empire
· Existing means of
communication and the economic and political structure of the
country made it difficult to establish a stable
centralized administration over all
parts of the country
· Created too many enemies
(while in same case Akbar had made alliances with
Rajputs and not enemies)
§ destroyed main pillar of
strength of Mughals i.e. Rajputs
· Suppressing the other powers
lead to draining of resources
· Absence from north for 25
years lead deterioration in administration, defying of
central authority by local officials
· Jat and Sikh uprisings were
not large but significant because of popularity – peasants
form their backbone
· Religious orthodox and policy
towards Hindu rulers
§ Imposing the jaziya,
destroying many of the Hindu temples in the north, and
putting certain restrictions on the Hindus.
§ while Akbar, Jahangir, shah
jahan was basically a secular state and followed
policy of non-interference with religious beliefs
· Widen the gulf between the
Hindu and Muslim upper classes
· But the role of the religious policy of Aurangzeb in causing the decay of
not be over-stressed.
This policy was followed only in the latter part
of his reign. It was speedily abandoned by his successors.
· Neither the Hindus nor the
Muslims formed a homogenous community at that time.
· If Aurangzeb left the Empire
with many problems unsolved, the situation was further
worsened by the ruinous wars of succession.
· Thousands of trained soldiers
and hundreds of capable military commanders
and efficient and tried officials were killed.
· Moreover, these civil wars
loosened the administrative fabric of the Empire.
· After Bahadur Shah, the
upcoming Emperor doesn’t possess required capabilities.
· Most of were worthless,
weak-willed and luxury- loving kings while rulers like
Aurangzeb was neither weak nor degenerated. He lives
simple and austere
· Deterioration in character of nobles. i.e. they were no longer
loyal, efficient and
· The Mughal court consisted of four groups
of nobles, the Turanis, the Iranis,
the Afghans and the Indian born Muslims
· Fond of Excessive luxury
· They took their families with themselves when
they go out to fight
· Many were poorly educated
· Many of them even neglected the art of
· Monopolizing of offices by making them
hereditary and depriving the ablest
· Fighting with each other
· Formed groups and factions against each
other and even against the king
· Lack of public virtue and political
· Selfishness and lack of devotion to state
gave birth to corruption in
· Reason for this was paucity of jagirs and
the reduced income of the existing
jagirs at a time when no. of nobles and their expenditures was
§ Reduced their expenditure by not
maintaining full quota of troops and
thus weakened the armed strength of Mughal
§ To balance their own budgets, appropriated
khalisah (crown) lands, thus
intensifying the financial crisis of the central Government
· One of basic cause was – Mughal Empire
was not able to satisfy the minimum
needs of its population.
· Stagnation and deterioration in agriculture and impoverishment
· Burden of land revenue increasing from
· Constant transfer of nobles from their
jagirs also led to great evil. They tried to
extract as much from a jagir as possible in the short period of their
§ They made heavy demands on peasants and
cruelly oppressed them
· Rise of new class of revenue farmers and
talukdars whose extortions from
peasants formed no bounds
· Impoverishment of peasants Resulted in:
· Discontent increased
§ In some instances, peasants left the land
to avoid paying of land revenue
§ Discontent found outlet in series of
uprisings (the Satnamies, the Jats, the
Sikhs, etc.) which eroded the empire’s stability
· Some ruined peasants formed roving bands
of robbers and adventurers
undermining the law and order and efficiency of empire
· Agriculture no more producing surplus
· Trade and agriculture was alternative but they also faced stagnation
· Bad communications hampered
the growth of trade and commerce
· No new advances in science and Technology
· Neglect of overseas trade and navy
· Important socio-political
cause – absence of spirit of political nationalism among people
· Reason –
§ existing character of the
Indian economy, social relations, caste structure,
and political institutions was such that the time was not
yet ripe for the
unification of Indian society or for its emergence as a
§ took little interest in the
politic of empire
· Rapid decline in the
administrative efficiency of empire
· Law and order broke down in
many parts of the country.
· Unruly Zamindars openly
defied central authority.
· Even the royal camp and
Mughal armies on the march were often plundered by
· Corruption and bribery,
indiscipline and inefficiency, disobedience and disloyalty
prevailed on a large scale among officials at all levels.
· The Central Government was
often on the verge of bankruptcy.
· The old accumulated wealth
was exhausted while the existing sources of income
· Many provinces failed to
remit provincial revenues to the centre.
· The area of the khalsah lands
was gradually reduced as Emperors tried to placate
friendly nobles by granting jagirs out of these lands.
· The rebellious Zamindars
regularly withheld revenue.
· Efforts to increase income by
oppressing the peasantry produced popular
· Mughal army lacked discipline
and fighting morale during 18th
· Lack of finance made it
difficult to maintain a large army
§ Its soldiers and officers
were not paid for months,
· Since soldiers were mere
mercenaries, they were constantly disaffected and
often verged on a mutiny.
· Again, the
noblemen-cum-commanders did not maintain their full quota of
military contingents because of their own financial
· Moreover, the civil wars
resulted in the death of many brilliant commanders and
brave and experienced soldiers. Thus, the army, the
ultimate sanction of an
empire, and the pride of the Great Mughals, was so
weakened that it could no
longer curb the ambitious chiefs and nobles or defend the
Empire from foreign
· Foreign invasion
· Attacks by Nadir Shah and
Ahmad Shah Abdali drained the Empire of its wealth,
ruined its trade and industry in the North, and almost
destroyed its military
· British challenge took away
the last hope of the revival of the crisis-ridden
Q. What were the Consequences of Decline of Mughal
· None of the Indian powers
rose to claim the heritage of the Grand Mughals for they
were strong enough to destroy the Empire but not strong
enough to unite it or to
create anything new in its place.
· They could not create a new
social order which could stand up to the new
enemy from the West. All of the powers which were against
suffering from same weakness which Mughals suffered.
· Degenerated state of Mughals
invited Europeans to knock at the gates of India.
· They had the benefit of
coming from societies which had evolved a superior
economic system and which were more advanced in science
· The centuries-old
socio-economic and political structure of the country was replaced
it with a colonial structure.
· The stagnation of Indian
society was broken and new forces of change emerged.
· Because the motives of
Europeans were colonial they brought extreme misery,
degradation, economic, political, and cultural backwardness.
What factors lead to the
decline of Mughal Empire?
European invasion of India was
possible because of the lack of any central power in India. For a very long
time Mughals held that status but then by the end of 18th century they
started to wither away. The factors which lead to the decline of Mughal
of Aurangzeb: by the end of his rule Aurangzeb had converted the liberal
Mughal Empire into an orthodox Sunni state. This disenchanted the non-Muslim
rajas and ministers and lead to rebellions by Sikhs, Marathas, Rajputs, Jats
proper policy for Succession: As there was no common rule for succession
Aurangzeb’s death lead to war for succession between the princes. Bhadur
Shah proved to be a good successor, but later kings were incapable.
bureaucracy: kings were surrounded by corrupt and selfish incapable
bureaucracy who was good for nothing but buttering.
states: Many capable ministers practically declared their state
independent. They made treaties, declared wars at their will. Most prominent
amongst them were, Hyderabad, Bengal, Rohilkhand etc.
of Marathas: with the help of guirilla warfare technique Marathas were
gaining more power and acquiring more land.
of economy: Mughals couldn’t serve the basic needs of its population.
Condition of peasantry was deteriorating and this lead to many revolts.
? Battle of Buxar: Shah
Alam II lost the battle of Buxar against the British. This was a major blow to
the power and status of Mughals. After this Mughal empire practically shrinked
Why was the battle of Buxar
fought and why was it so decisive in establishing the Administration of British
The Battle of Buxar, a
significant battle in the history of India, was fought between British East
India Company and the combined forces of Nawabs and the Mughal Emperor. While
the East India Company’s force was led by Hector Munro, the Indian force was
led by the Mughal rulers of three princely states – Mir Qasim, the Nawab of
Bengal, Shuja-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Awadh and Shah Alam II, the Mughal
Emperor. Both the Nawabs were governors under the Mughal Emperor.
The seeds of the Battle of
Buxar were sown after the Battle of Plassey, when Mir Qasim became the Nawab of
Bengal. The primary cause was the conflict between the English and Mir Qasim.
Mir Qasim was an independent ruler and was the strongest and ablest of all
Nawabs. He undertook some reformation, under which there was a reduction in
expenditure on administration and palaces; fire locks and guns were manufactured,
there was regular payment of salaries, new taxes were imposed and the capital
was shifted from Monghyar to Murshidabad, which annoyed the British nobles and
officers. The English wanted Mir to remain as a puppet in their hands. But, he
always wanted to keep himself away from the British influence. This led to a
number of conflicts between him and the English. He was defeated in three
successive battles (between June to September 1763) before the Battle of Buxar,
which eventually compelled him to flee to Allahabad where he met
Shuja-ud-Daulah. In the meantime, after the acquisition of power as the Mughal
Emperor, Shah Alam II also wanted to combine several states as one physically
stronger empire, which included Bengal (Bengal+Bihar+Orissa). But, he also
could not overpower the British and was under the shelter of Shuja-ud-Daulah
who always wanted to destroy the English supremacy in Bengal.
The historic battle fought
between the British and the Indian forces resulted in victory for the British.
The three combined army forces of Mir Qasim (Bengal), Shuja-ud-Daulah (Awadh),
and Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II met with a crushing defeat under the hands of
significant outcomes of this battle were as follows:
· It led to the signing of the Allahabad Treaty in 1765 by
Lord Robert Clive with Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II.
With the defeat of Mir Kasim,
the rule of Nawabs came to an end.
Diwani rights or fiscal
rights were secured which meant that the British would administer and manage
revenues of large areas which included the present-day West Bengal, Jharkhand,
Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh, as well as of Bangladesh. The British became the
masters of the people of these places.
In return of this right, the
British would give Rs 26 lakh to the Mughal emperor Shah Alam II.
After the Buxar victory, the
English armies moved towards Awadh and established their control over Banaras
Shuja-ud-Daulah would pay Rs
50 lakh immediately to the company as expenses of war. He also needed to pay
later Rs 25 lakh in instalments.
The treaty legalised the East
India Company’s control over the whole of Bengal. Thus, the British established
their control in the eastern part of the country.
Ghazipur and its adjacent
area were handed over to the East India company.
The Allahabad fort became the
home of the emperor and he would be protected by few men of the company’s army.
vakil of the English (British Resident) would remain in the court of Shah Alam
II. But he was not allowed to interfere in the administration of the country.
most significant outcome of this war was the Diwani rights of Bengal given to
British. The British East India Company, apart from being a business entity now
officially got the rights of Administration.