Abu'l Muzaffar Muin ud-din Muhammad Shah Farrukh-siyar Alim Akbar Sani Wala Shan Padshah-i-bahr-u-bar (Shahid-i-Mazlum), or Farrukhsiyar (20 August 1685 – 19 April 1719), was the Mughal emperor from 1713 to 1719 after he murdered Jahandar Shah. Reportedly a handsome man who was easily swayed by his advisers, he lacked the ability, knowledge and character to rule independently. Farrukhsiyar was the son of Azim-ush-Shan (the second son of emperor Bahadur Shah I) and Sahiba Nizwan.
|9th Mughal Emperor|
|Reign||11 January 1713 – 28 February 1719|
|Born||20 August 1685
Aurangabad, Mughal Empire
|Died||29 April 1719 (age 33)
Delhi, Mughal Empire
|Burial||Humayun's Tomb, Delhi|
Bai Indira Kanwar
Bai Bhip Devi
|Mother||Sahiba Niswan Begum|
His reign saw the primacy of the Sayyid brothers, who became the effective power behind the façade of Mughal rule. Farrukhsiyar's frequent plotting led the brothers to depose him.
Muhammad Farrukhsiyar was born on 11 September 1683 (9th Ramzan 1094 AH) in the city of Aurangabad on the Deccan plateau. He was the second son of Azim-ush-Shan. In 1696, Farrukhsiyar accompanied his father on his campaign to Bengal. Mughal emperor Aurangzeb recalled his son, Azim-ush-Shan, from Bengal in 1707 and instructed Farrukhsiyar to take charge of the province. Farrukhsiyar spent his early years in the capital city of Dhaka (in present-day Bangladesh); during the reign of Bahadur Shah I, he moved to Murshidabad (present-day West Bengal, India).
In 1712 Azim-ush-Shan anticipated Bahadur Shah I's death and a struggle for power, and recalled Farrukhsiyar. He was marching past Azimabad (present-day Patna, Bihar, India) when he learned of the Mughal emperor's death. On 21 March Farrukhsiyar proclaimed his father's accession to the throne, issued coinage in his name and ordered khutba (public prayer). On 6 April, he learned of his father's defeat. Although the prince considered suicide, he was dissuaded by his friends from Bengal.
War of successionEdit
In 1712 Jahandar Shah (Farrukhsiyar's uncle) ascended the throne of the Mughal empire by defeating Farrukhsiyar's father, Azim-ush-Shan. Farrukhsiyar wanted revenge for his father's death and was joined by Hussain Ali Khan (the subahdar of Bengal) and Abdullah Khan, his brother and the subahdar of Allahabad.
When they reached Allahabad from Azimabad, Jahandar Shah's military general Syed Abdul Ghaffar Khan Gardezi and 12,000 troops clashed with Abdullah Khan and Abdullah retreated to the Allahabad Fort. However, Gardezi's army fled when they learned about his death. After the defeat, Jahandar Shah sent general Khwaja Ahsan Khan and his son Aazuddin. When they reached Khajwah (present-day Fatehpur district, Uttar Pradesh, India), they learned that Farrukhsiyar was accompanied by Hussain Ali Khan and Abdullah Khan. With Abdullah Khan commanding the vanguard, Farrukhsiyar began the attack. After a night-long artillery fight, Aazuddin and Khwaja Ahsan Khan fled and the camp fell to Farrukhsiyar.
On 10 January 1713 Farrukhsiyar and Jahandar Shah's forces met at Samugarh, 9 miles (14 km) east of Agra in present-day Uttar Pradesh. Jahandar Shah was defeated and imprisoned, and the following day Farrukhsiyar proclaimed himself the Mughal emperor. On 12 February he marched to the Mughal capital of Delhi, capturing the Red Fort and the citadel. Jahandar Shah's head, mounted on a bamboo rod, was carried by an executioner on an elephant and his body was carried by another elephant.
Farrukhsiyar appointed Sayid Abdullah Khan chief minister and placed Muhammad Baqir Mutamid Khan in charge of the Exchequer. The title of bakshi was first conferred on Hussain Ali Khan (with the titles of Umdat-ul-Mulk, Amir-ul-umara and Bahadur Firuz Jung) and then to Chin Qilich Khan and Afrasayab Khan Bahadur.
|North India||South India|
|Province||Governor/Chief Minister||Province||Deputy governor|
|Agra||Shams ud Daula Shah Nawaz Khan||Berar||Iwaz Khan|
|Ajmer||Syed Muzaffar Khan Barha||Bidar||Amin Khan|
|Allahabad||Khan Jahan||Bijapur||Mansur Khan|
|Awadh||Sarbuland Khan||Burhanpur||Shukrullah Khan|
|Bengal||Farkhunda Bakht||Hyderabad||Yusuf Khan|
|Bihar||Syed Hussain Ali Khan||Karnataka||Saadatullah Khan|
|Delhi||Muhammad Yar Khan|
|Kabul||Bahadur Nasir Jang|
|Lahore||Abdus Samad Khan|
|Malwa||Raja Jai Singh of Amber|
|Orissa||Murshid Quli Khan|
Hostility with the Sayyid brothersEdit
Farrukhsiyar defeated Jahandar Shah with the aid of the Sayyid brothers, and Abdullah Khan—one of the brothers—wanted the post of wazir (prime minister). His demand was rejected, since the post was promised to Ghaziuddin Khan, but Farrukhsiyar offered him a post as regent under the name of wakil-e-mutlaq. Abdullah Khan refused, saying that he deserved the post of wazir since he led Farrukhsiyar's army against Jahandar Shah. Farrukhsiyar ultimately gave in to his demand, and Abdullah Khan became prime minister.
According to historian William Irvine, Farrukhsiyar's close aides Mir Jumla III and Khan Dauran sowed seeds of suspicion in his mind that they might usurp him from the throne. Learning about these developments, the other Sayyid brother (Hussain Ali Khan) wrote to Abdullah: "It was clear, from the Prince's talk and the nature of his acts, that he was a man who paid no regard to claims for service performed, one void of faith, a breaker of his word and altogether without shame". Hussain Ali Khan felt it necessary to act in their interests "without regard to the plans of the new sovereign".
Campaign against Ajit SinghEdit
Maharaja Ajit Singh captured Ajmer with the support of the Marwari nobles and expelled Mughal diplomats from his state. Farrukhsiyar sent Hussain Ali Khan to subjuguate him. However, the anti-Sayyid brothers faction in the Mughal emperor's court compelled him to send secret letters to Ajit Singh assuring him of rewards if he defeated Hussain Ali Khan.
Hussain left Delhi for Ajmer on 6 January 1714, accompanied by Sarbuland Khan and Afrasyab Khan. As his army reached Sarai Sahal, Ajit Singh sent diplomats who failed to negotiate a peace. As Hussain Ali Khan advanced to Ajmer via Jodhpur, Jaiselmer and Mairtha, Ajit Singh retreated to the deserts hoping to dissuade the Mughal general from a battle. As Hussain advanced, Ajit Singh surrendered at Mairtha. As a result, Mughal authority was restored in Rajasthan. Ajit Singh gave his daughter, Indira Kanwar, as a bride to Farrukhsiyar. His son, Abhai Singh, was compelled to accompany him to see the Mughal emperor.
Campaign against the JatsEdit
Due to Aurangzeb's 25-year campaign on the Deccan plateau, Mughal authority weakened in North India with the rise of local rulers. Taking advantage of the situation, the Jats advanced. In early 1713, Farrukhsiyar unsuccessfully sent subahdar of Agra Chabela Ram to defeat Churaman (the Jat leader). His successor, Samsamud Daulah Khan, compelled Churaman to negotiate with the Mughal emperor. Raja Bahadur Rathore accompanied him to the Mughal court, where negotiations with Farrukhsiyar failed.
In September 1716 Raja Jai Singh II undertook a campaign against Churaman, who lived in Thun (in present-day Rajasthan, India). By 19 November, Jai Singh II began besieging the Thun fort. In December Churaman's son, Muhkam Singh, marched from the fort and battled Jai Singh II; the Raja claimed victory. With the Mughals running out of ammunition, Syed Muzaffar Khan was ordered to bring gunpowder, rockets and mounds of lead from the arsenal at Agra.
By January 1718, the siege had lasted for more than a year. With rain coming late in 1717, prices of commodities increased and Raja Jai Singh II found it difficult to continue the siege. He wrote to Farrukhsiyar for reinforcement, saying that he had overcome "many encounters" with the Jats. This failed to impress Farrukhsiyar, so Jai Singh II (via his agent in Delhi) informed Syed Abdullah that he would give three million rupees to the government and two million rupees to the minister if he championed his cause to the emperor. With negotiations between Syed Abdullah and Farrukhsiyar successful, he accepted his demands and dispatched Syed Khan Jahan to bring Churaman to the Mughal court. He also gave a farman to Raja Jai Singh II, thanking him for the siege.
On 19 April 1718, Churaman was presented to Farrukhsiyar; they negotiated for peace, with Churaman accepting Mughal authority. Khan Jahan was given the title of Bahadur ("brave"). It was decided that Churaman would pay five million rupees in cash and goods to Farrukhsiyar via Syed Abdullah.
Defeat and execution of Banda BahadurEdit
In 1714, the Sirhind faujdar (garrison commander) Zainuddin Ahmad Khan attacked the Sikhs near Ropar. In 1715, Farrukhisyar sent 20,000 troops under Qamaruddin Khan, Abdus Samad Khan and Zakariya Khan Bahadur to defeat Bahadur. After an eight-month siege at Gurdaspur, Bahadur surrendered after he ran out of ammunition. Bahadur and his 200 companions were arrested and brought to Delhi; he was paraded around the city of Sirhind.
When Farrukhsiyar's army reached the Red Fort, the Mughal emperor ordered Banda Bahadur, Baj Singh, Bhai Fateh Singh and his companions to be imprisoned in Tripolia. Although the emperor promised to spare the Sikhs who converted to Islam, according to William Irvine "not one prisoner proved false to his faith". On 19 June 1716 Farrukhsiyar had Bahadur and his followers executed, despite the wealthy Khatris of Delhi offering money for his release.
In 1717, Farrukhsiyar issued a farman giving the British East India Company the right to reside and trade in the Mughal kingdom. They were allowed to trade freely, except for a yearly payment of 3,000 rupees. This was because William Hamilton, a surgeon associated with the company cured Farrukhsiyar of a disease. The company was given the right to issue dastak (passes) for the movement of goods, which was misused by company officials for personal gain.
Final struggle with the SayyidsEdit
By 1715, Farrukhsiyar had given Mir Jumla III the power to sign documents on his behalf: "The word and seal of Mir Jumla are my word and seal". Mir Jumla III began approving proposals for jagirs and mansabs without consulting Syed Abdullah, the prime minister. Syed Abdullah's deputy Ratan Chand accepted bribes for him to do work and was involved in revenue farming, which was forbidden by the Mughal emperor. Taking advantage of the situation, Mir Jumla III told Farrukhsiyar that the Sayyids were unfit to hold office and accused them of insubordination. Hoping to depose the brothers, Farrukhsiyar began making military preparations and increased the number of soldiers under Mir Jumla III and Khan Dauran.
After Syed Hussain learned about Farrukhsiyar's plans, he felt that their position could be cemented by controlling "important provinces". He asked to be appointed viceroy of the Deccan, instead of Nizam ul Mulk; Farrukhsiyar refused, transferring him to the Deccan instead. Fearing attack by Farrukhsiyar's supporters, the brothers began making military preparations. Although Farrukhsiyar initially considered giving the task of crushing the brothers to Mohammad Amin Khan (who wanted the position of prime minister in return), he decided against it because removing him would be difficult.
Arriving at the Deccan, Syed Hussain made a treaty with Maratha ruler Shahu I in February 1718. He was allowed to collect sardeshmukhi in Deccan, and received the lands of Berar and Gondwana to govern. In return, Shahu agreed to pay one million rupees annually and maintain an army of 15,000 horses for the Sayyids. This agreement was reached without Farrukhsiyar's approval, and he was angry when he learned about it: "It was not proper for the vile enemy to be overbearing partners in matters of revenue and government."
To fight the Sayyids, Farrukhsiyar summoned Ajit Singh, Nizam-ul-Mulk and Sarbuland Khan to the court with their troops; the armies' combined strength was 80,000. He did not summon Mir Jumla III and Khan Dauran, since the former failed in a campaign in Bihar and he felt that the latter had conspired with the Sayyid brothers to depose him. However, Syed Abdullah's troop strength was about 3,000. According to Satish Chandra, Farrukhsiyar could have defeated him with the help of the nobles; he did not do it, since he believed it would be difficult to get rid of them afterwards. He appointed Muhammad Murad Kashmiri as the new wazir (prime minister), replacing Syed Abdullah. Kashmiri was a notorious for having sexual relationships with boys; this angered the nobles, who resigned from his court. Ajit Singh, alienated because he was removed from Gujarat for oppression, also sided with the Sayyids. By the end of 1718, when Syed Hussain began his march from the Deccan with 10,000 troops under Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath, Farrukhsiyar could only secure Jai Singh II's support. Syed Hussain's excuse for marching towards Delhi was to bring a son of the Maratha ruler Shahu to him.
With the support of Mohammad Amin Khan, Ajit Singh and Khan Dauran, Syed Hussain fought Farrukhsiyar; after a night-long battle, he was deposed on 28 February 1719. The Sayyid brothers placed Rafi ud-Darajat on the throne. Farrukhsiyar was imprisoned in Tripolia and blinded. During his imprisonment he was served bitter, salty food and deprived of water. He passed the time by reciting verses from the Quran. Although Farrukhsiyar tried to bribe jailer Abdullah Khan Afghan with the command of 7,000 troops if he released him and brought him to Jai Singh II, the bribe was refused. On 29 April 1719 he was strangled by unknown assailants and buried in Humayun's Tomb beside his father, Azim-ush-Shan.
Farrukhsiyar's first wife was Fakhr-un-nissa Begum, also known as Gauhar-un-nissa, the daughter of Mir Muhammad Taqi (known as Hasan Khan and then Sadat Khan). Taqi, from the Persian province of Mazandaran, married the daughter of Masum Khan Safawi; if she was the mother of Fakhr-un-nissa, this would account for her daughter's selection as the prince's wife.
His second wife was Bai Indira Kanwar, the daughter of Maharajah Ajit Singh.  She married Farrukhsiyar on 27 September 1715, during the fourth year of his reign, and they had no children. After Farrukhsiyar's deposition and death she was removed from the imperial harem on 16 July 1719, given back to her father with her property and returned to Jodhpur.
Farrukhsiyar's third wife was Bai Bhup Devi, daughter of Jaya Singh (the raja of Kishtwar, who had converted to Islam and received the name of Bakhtiyar Khan). After Jaya Singh's death he was succeeded by his son, Kirat Singh. In 1717, in response to a message from the Shaykh al-Islām, her brother Kirat Singh sent her to Delhi with her brother Mian Muhammad Khan. Farrukhsiyar married her, and she entered the imperial harem on 3 July 1717.
On coins issued during Farrukhsiyar's reign, the following phrase was inscribed: "Sikka zad az fazl-i-Haq bar sim o zar/ Padshah-i-bahr-o-bar Farrukhsiyar" (By the grace of the true God, struck on silver and gold, the emperor of land and sea, Farrukhsiyar). There are 116 coins from his reign on display at the Lahore Museum and the Indian Museum in Kolkata. The coins were minted in Kabul, Kashmir, Ajmer, Allahabad, Bidar and Berar.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Farrukhsiyar.|
- Irvine, William, The Later Mughals, Low Price Publications, ISBN 81-7536-406-8
- Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Bishop's College Press)47 (18 August 2009)
- Fisher, Michael H. (1 October 2015), A Short History of the Mughal Empire, I.B.Tauris, ISBN 978-0-85772-976-7
- Singha, H.S. (1 January 2005), Sikh Studies, Book 6, Hemkunt Press, ISBN 978-81-7010-258-8
- Chandra, Satish, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughal Empire, Har Anand Publications Pvt Ltd., ISBN 978-81-241-1269-4