Jai Singh I (15 July 1611 – 28 August 1667) was a senior general ("Mirza Raja") of the Mughal Empire and the Raja of the Kingdom of Amber (later called Jaipur). His predecessor was his grand uncle, Mirza Raja Bhau Singh.

Jai Singh I
Raja of Amber
Jai Singh I
Raja of Amber
Reign13 December 1621 – 28 August 1667
PredecessorBhau Singh
SuccessorRam Singh I
Born(1611-07-15)15 July 1611
Amber, Kingdom of Amber (present-day Rajasthan, India)
Died28 August 1667(1667-08-28) (aged 56)
Burhanpur, Khandesh subah, Mughal Empire (present-day Madhya Pradesh, India)
  • Rathorji Mrig Kanwarji d.of Raja Soor Singhji of Marwar

  • Jadonji Anand Kanwarji d.of Raja Mukundpal Dev Ji of Karauli

  • Chandrawatji Roop Kanwarji of Rampura

  • Bikawatji Har Kanwarji d.of Kunwar Kishan Singhji and grand-daughter of Raja Rai Singhji of Bikaner

  • Chauhanji Raj Kanwarji
  • Kirat Singh
  • Vijay Singh
  • Hari Singh
  • Dal Singh
  • Jahangir
FatherYuvraj Maha Singh[1]
MotherDamiyant Kanwarji d.of Kunwar Shakti Singhji and grand-daughter of Maharana Udai Singhji II of Mewar

Accession and early career edit

Maharaja Jai Singh of Amber and Maharaja Gaj Singh of Marwar - Folio from the Amber Album, c. 1630.

At the age of 10, Jai Singh I became the Raja of Amber and the head of the Kachwaha Rajputs. His military career spans the full reign of Shah Jahan and the first decade of Aurangzeb's reign. Jai Singh's military career began during the accession of Shah Jahan as the Mughal emperor in 1627. Taking advantage of the change in sovereigns, Jai Singh's commander in the Deccan, Khan Jahan Lodi, rebelled with his Afghan followers. However, Jai Singh brought away his own army to the north and then joined the campaign to defeat the rebels. Jai Singh was made a commander of 4000 for his service.

In 1636 Shah Jahan organized a grand campaign against the Deccan sultanates in which Jai Singh played a leading part—later this same army was sent to campaign against the Gond kingdoms. For his part in these successful ventures Jai Singh was promoted to the rank of commander of 5000 and the Chatsu district in Ajmer was added to his kingdom. By defeating the Meo robber tribes in the north of Amber, Jai Singh further increased the size of his ancestral kingdom. In 1641 he subdued the rebellion of Raja Jagat Singh Pathania of the hill-state of Mau-Paithan (Himachal Pradesh).

Central Asian campaigns edit

In 1638 the fort of Kandahar was surrendered by its Safavid Persian commander, Ali Mardan Khan, to Shah Jahan. The emperor's son Shah Shuja, accompanied by Jai Singh, was sent to take possession of the important fort. To overawe the Persian Shah from interfering in this task, Shah Jahan assembled a 50,000 strong army in Kabul. On this occasion Jai Singh received the unique title of Mirza Raja from Shah Jahan, which had earlier been given to his grandfather Raja Man Singh I of Amber by Emperor Akbar.

In 1647, Jai Singh joined in Shah Jahan's failed invasions of Balkh and Badakhshan in Central Asia.

In 1649, in another blow to Mughal prestige—Kandahar was recovered by Shah Abbas II. In the ensuing Mughal-Safavid War the Mughals twice attempted to eject the Persians from Kandahar under the command of Prince Aurangzeb (in 1649 and 1652) —on both occasions Jai Singh was present as an army commander, but the attempts failed due to the lack of adequate artillery and poor marksmanship of the Mughal gunners.

A third grand attempt was made in 1653 under the command of Shah Jahan's oldest and favorite son Dara Shikoh, a rival of Aurangzeb, and again Jai Singh was sent with this army. Dara Shikoh's campaign was marred by his military incompetence, including poor military advisors, and frequent clashes with officers who had taken part in the earlier campaigns under Aurangzeb. He repeatedly taunted Jai Singh for those failures. But when his own campaign ended with the same result, the Mughals finally gave up all attempts to recover Kandahar.

Dara Shikoh continued his hostility towards Jai Singh on their return to Agra. No promotions or awards were given to the veteran general for skillfully covering the army's retreat. Instead Jaswant Singh of the rival Rathor clan was made commander of 6000 and received the superlative title of Maharaja.

Mughal succession war edit

In 1657, Emperor Shah Jahan became incapacitated due to a serious illness. Dara Shikoh's three younger brothers made preparations to seize the throne. Shah Shuja in Bengal and Murad in Gujarat crowned themselves emperors, but Aurangzeb cleverly declared his intention of merely rescuing his father for the sake of Islam. In the face of these triple dangers, Dara Shikoh now remembered Jai Singh—and the Rajput chief was made commander of 6000 and sent east along with Dara's son Sulaiman Shikoh and the Afghan general Diler Khan

They triumphed over Shah Shuja at the Battle of Bahadurpur (24 February 1658)[2] and chased him back to Bengal (May). By that time Aurangzeb had won the Battle of Dharmat (15 April 1658) and the Battle of Samugarh (29 May 1658) and captured Agra (8 June). Jai Singh and his men were stuck far in the east while their homes and families in the west were at the mercy of Aurangzeb's troops—so Jai Singh and Diler Khan advised Sulaiman Shikoh to flee while they submitted to the new emperor. Jai Singh then advised Maharaja Jaswant Singh against helping Dara Shikoh to secure his position with Aurangzeb.

Despite his victories Aurangzeb did not have a secure footing on the Mughal throne, still needing the support of the leading Muslim and Rajput generals. So he pardoned Maharaja Jaswant Singh who had fought him at Dharmat and promoted Jai Singh as a commander of 7000, the highest possible rank for any general.

Campaign against Marathas edit

Mirza Raje Jai Singh receiving Chatrapati Shivaji a day before concluding the Treaty of Purandar.

The Deccan Wars between the Mughal Empire and the southern sultanates had been complicated by the rise of the Maratha king Shivaji . In 1659, Shivaji killed Afzal Khan, a notable general of Bijapur. In 1664, he sacked the wealth port city of Surat. Raja Jai Singh, who had begun his own military career in the Deccan, was appointed to lead a 14,000 strong army against Deccan sultanates and the rising Marathas.[3]

After winning several forts in Maharashtra from Shivaji, he besieged the Purandar Fort and forced Shivaji to sign the Treaty of Purandar in 1665. Jai Singh convinced Shivaji to come to terms and join him in an invasion of Bijapur which would be beneficial for both the Marathas and Mughals. According to Jadunath Sarkar, Jai Singh not only spared the prisoners of war but also gave rewards to those who fought bravely. For this triumph Jai Singh, already the highest ranking general, received rich gifts in gold and silver — both his sons, Ram Singh and Kirat Singh, were raised in rank. The latter was serving under his father, while the former was acting as his agent at the Mughal court.[4]

The invasion of Sultanate of Bijapur commenced in December 1665. Jai Singh now had an army of 40,000 to which Shivaji added 7,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry. The Bijapuris melted away before this array and Jai Singh reached within 12 miles of Bijapur city. However, the scorched earth tactics of the defenders exhausted Jai Singh's food supplies and forced him to begin his retreat in January 1666.

At this point, Jai Singh sent Shivaji to the Mughal court to meet Emperor Aurangzeb while he conducted his army to safety. At Agra. Shivaji was arrested but managed to escape (August 1666).

Declining influence and death edit

Aurangzeb held Jai Singh's son, Ram Singh I, responsible for Shivaji's escape, took away Ram Singh's estates, banished him from the court. Ram Singh was later pardoned and sent away to fight the Battle of Saraighat (1671) in faraway Assam. After the failed invasion of Bijapur by Jai singh he fell in to disfavour of Aurangzeb. He was replaced by Muazzam as viceroy of Deccan. He was recalled to royal court. On the way Jai Singh died in Burhanpur on 28 August 1667. The fortunes of his family sank low in the next two generations, but were revived later by Jai Singh II.

Aurangzeb erected the Chhatri (cenotaph) at the bank of Tapti River in Burhanpur in honour of Jai Singh I, now called "Raja Ki Chhatri".

Personal life edit

Jai Singh had two chief queens, Rani Sukmati and Rajiba Bai and 7 children; 5 daughters and 2 sons, including his successor Ram Singh I.

Ancestry edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Sarkar & Simha 1994, p. 99.
  2. ^ "Battle of Bahadurpur | Indian history [1658] | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 4 July 2023.
  3. ^ Sarkar 1992, p. 80.
  4. ^ Sarkar & Simha 1994, pp. 123–126.
  5. ^ Visheshwar Sarup Bhargava, Rise of the Kachhawas in Dhundhār (Jaipur): From the Earliest Times to the Death of Sawai Jai Singh (1743 A.D.) (1979), p.43
  6. ^ Sarkar & Simha 1994, p. 111.
  7. ^ Melia Belli Bose, Royal Umbrellas of Stone: Memory, Politics, and Public Identity in Rajput Funerary Art (2015), p.46
  8. ^ D L Paliwal, Surendra Singh, (Rawat of Boheda), Maharaj Shakti Singh and the Shaktawats of Boheda : a history of Boheda Thikana (2004), p.164