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Abu'l Faaiz Qutb-ud-Din Muhammad Azam (28 June 1653 – 8 June 1707), commonly known as Azam Shah ("King Azam"), was a titular Mughal emperor, who reigned from 14 March 1707 to 8 June 1707. He was the eldest son of the sixth Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (also known as Alamgir) and his chief consort Dilras Banu Begum.

Muhammad Azam
محمد اعظم شاہ
Crown prince of the Mughal Empire
Azam shah.jpg
A later portrait of Azam Shah
Titular Mughal Emperor
Reign 14 March 1707 – 8 June 1707
Predecessor Aurangzeb
Successor Bahadur Shah I
Born (1653-06-28)28 June 1653
Burhanpur, India
Died 8 June 1707(1707-06-08) (aged 53)
Jajau, near Agra, India
Burial Khuldabad
Consort Jahanzeb Banu Begum
Wives Rahmat Banu Begum
Shahar Banu Begum
Issue Sultan Bidar Bakht
Jawan Bakht
Sikandar Shan
Wala Jah
Wala Shan
Ali Tabar
Giti Ara Begum
Iffat Ara Begum
Najib-un-Nisa Begum
Full name
Abu'l Faaiz Qutb-ud-Din Muhammad Azam
House Timurid
Father Aurangzeb
Mother Dilras Banu Begum
Religion Islam

Azam was appointed as the heir-apparent (Shahi Ali Jah) to his father Emperor Aurangzeb on 12 August 1681.[1] He served as the Viceroy of Berar Subah, Malwa, Bengal, Gujarat, Deccan, etc. He ascended the Mughal throne in Ahmednagar upon the death of his father on 14 March 1707.

Azam Shah and his three sons, Sultan Bidar Bakht, Shahzada Jawan Bakht Bahadur and Shahzada Sikandar Shan Bahadur were later defeated and killed by Azam Shah's older half-brother, Prince Shah Alam (later crowned Bahadur Shah I), during the Battle of Jajau on 8 June 1707.

Contents

Early lifeEdit

BirthEdit

Muhammad Azam was born on 28 June 1653 in Burhanpur[2] to Prince Muhi-ud-Din (later known as 'Aurangzeb' upon his accession) and his first wife and chief consort Dilras Banu Begum.[3][4][5][6] His mother, who died four years after giving birth to him, was the daughter of Mirza Badi-uz-Zaman Safavi (titled Shah Nawaz Khan) and was a princess of the prominent Safavid dynasty of Iran (Persia).[7] Therefore, Azam was not only a Timurid from his father's side, but also had in him the royal blood of the Safavid dynasty, a fact which Azam was extremely proud of and after the death of his younger brother, Prince Muhammad Akbar, the only son of Aurangzeb who could boast of being of the purest blood.[8]

Azam's other half-brothers, Shah Alam (later Bahadur Shah I) and Muhammad Kam Bakhsh being the sons of inferior and Hindu wives of Aurangzeb.[9] According to Niccolao Manucci, the courtiers were very impressed by Azam's royal Persian ancestry and the fact that he was the grandson of Shah Nawaz Khan Safavi.[10]

CharacterEdit

As Azam grew up, he was distinguished for his wisdom, excellence, and chivalry.[11] Proud of his royal Persian ancestry, he was also (like his mother) haughty and imperious.[12] Aurangzeb used to be extremely delighted with his son's noble character and excellent manners, and thought of him as his comrade rather than his son. He often used to say, "between this pair of matchless friends, a separation is imminent."[13] Azam's siblings included his older sisters, the princesses: Zeb-un-Nissa, Zinat-un-Nissa, Zubdat-un-Nissa and his younger brother, Prince Muhammad Akbar.

MarriagesEdit

Azam was at first betrothed to be married to his cousin, Iran Dukht Rahmat Banu (titled Bibi Pari), the daughter of Shaista Khan, who was Aurangzeb's maternal uncle. However, the marriage did not take place due to Bibi Pari's sudden death in 1665 at Dacca.[14] On 3 January 1669, Azam married his first cousin, Jahanzeb Banu Begum, the daughter of his eldest uncle Dara Shikoh and his aunt Nadira Banu Begum.[15]

Jahanzeb was his chief consort and his favorite wife, being greatly loved by him. She gave birth to their eldest son on 4 August 1670. He was named 'Bidar Bakht' by his grandfather.[16] Aurangzeb, throughout his life, showed marks of exceptional love to Azam and Jahanzeb (who his favourite daughter-in-law) and to Prince Bidar Bakht, who was a gallant, discreet and ever successful general, on all three of whom he used to constantly lavish gifts.[17] Bidar Bakht was also Aurangzeb's favourite grandson.[18]

In a marriage of political alliance, Azam later married his third (and last) wife, Shahar Banu Begum (titled Padshah Bibi) in 1681. She was a princess of the Adil Shahi dynasty and was the daughter of Ali Adil Shah II, the ruler of Bijapur.[19] Despite his two other marriages, Azam's love for Jahanzeb remained unchanged. For when she died in 1705, he was filled with great sorrow and despair which darkened the remainder of his life.[17]

Siege of BijapurEdit

 
Muhammad Azam with his son, Prince Bidar Bakht

In the year 1685 Aurangzeb dispatched his son Muhammad Azam Shah with a force of nearly 50,000 men to capture Bijapur Fort and defeat Sikandar Adil Shah the ruler of Bijapur who refused to be a vassal. The Mughals led by Muhammad Azam Shah could not make any advancements upon Bijapur Fort mainly due to the superior usage of cannon batteries on both sides. Outraged by the stalemate Aurangzeb himself arrived on 4 September 1686 and commanded the Siege of Bijapur after eight days of fighting and the Mughals were victorious.

Subahdar of BengalEdit

 
Crown Prince Azam, stands before his father, Emperor Aurangzeb

Prince Azam was appointed the governor (Subahdar) of Berar Subah, Malwa and Bengal from 1678–1701 upon the death of his predecessor, Azam Khan Koka.[20] He successfully captured the Kamarupa region in February 1679. He founded the incomplete Lalbagh Fort in Dacca. During his administration, Mir Maula was appointed Diwan and Muluk Chand as Huzur-Navis for revenue collection.[20] Prince Azam was recalled by Aurangzeb and left Dacca on 6 October 1679.[20] Berar Subah and Malwa were annexed by the Marathas; Bengal went under administration of the Nawabs of Murshidabad.

He later became the governor of Gujarat from 1701 to 1706.

AccessionEdit

In third week of February 1707 in a bid to prevent a war of succession, Aurangzeb separated Azam and his younger step-brother, Kam Baksh, whom Azam particularly loathed. He sent Azam to Malwa and Kam Baksh to Bijapur. A few days before his death he wrote farewell letters to Azam. The next morning, Azam who had tarried outside Ahmednagar instead of proceeding to Malwa, arrived at the imperial camp and conveyed his father's body for burial at his tomb at Daulatabad.[21] Azam Shah proclaimed himself Emperor and seized the throne. In the political struggles following the disputed succession, he and his son Prince Bidar Bakht were defeated and killed on 8 June 1707 at the Battle of Jajau by his step-brother, Prince Muhammad Mu'azzam, who succeeded their father to the Mughal throne.[22]

His grave along with that of his wife, lies in the dargah complex of Sufi saint, Sheikh Zainuddin, at Khuldabad near Aurangabad, which also houses the tomb of Aurangzeb to the west.[23]

Full titleEdit

Padshah-i-Mumalik Abu'l Faaiz Qutb-ud-Din Muhammad Azam Shah-i-Ali Jah Ghazi

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Sir Jadunath Sarkar (1925). Anecdotes of Aurangzib. M.C. Sarkar & Sons. p. 21. 
  2. ^ Sarkar, Sir Jadunath (1912). History of Aurangzib Vol. I (PDF). Calcutta: M.C. Sarkar & Sons. p. 71. 
  3. ^ Eraly, Abraham (2007). The Mughal World: Life in India's Last Golden Age. Penguin Books India. p. 147. 
  4. ^ Chandra, Satish (2002). Parties and politics at the Mughal Court, 1707–1740. Oxford University Press. p. 50. 
  5. ^ Koch, Ebba (1997). King of the world: the Padshahnama. Azimuth Ed. p. 104. 
  6. ^ Nath, Renuka (1990). Notable Mughal and Hindu women in the 16th and 17th centuries A.D. New Delhi: Inter-India Publ. p. 148. 
  7. ^ Annie Krieger-Krynicki (2005). Captive princess: Zebunissa, daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb. Oxford University Press. p. 1. 
  8. ^ Sarkar, Sir Jadunath (1916). History of Aurangzib: First half of the reign, 1658–1681. M.C. Sarkar & sons. p. 54. 
  9. ^ Sir Jadunath Sarkar (1933). Studies in Aurangzib's reign: (being Studies in Mughal India, first series). Orient Longman. p. 43. 
  10. ^ Krynicki, Annie Krieger (2005). Captive Princess : Zebunissa, daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb. Oxford University Press. p. 102. ISBN 9780195798371. 
  11. ^ Elliot, Henry Miers (1959). The History of India: 1959 Volume 30 of The History of India: As Told by Its Own Historians; the Muhammadan Period; the Posthumous Papers of H. M. Elliot, Sir Henry Miers Elliot. Susil Gupta (India) Private. p. 48. 
  12. ^ Sarkar, Sir Jadunath (1974). History of Aurangzib: mainly based on Persian sources, Volume 5. Orient Longman. p. 219. 
  13. ^ Saqi Musta'idd Khan, Jadunath Sarkar (1947). Maasir-i-'Alamgiri: A History of the Emperor Aurangzib-'Alamgir. Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal. p. 320. 
  14. ^ Mohammad Shujauddin, Razia Shujauddin (1967). The Life and Times of Noor Jahan. Caravan Book House. p. 138. 
  15. ^ Chandra, Satish (2005). Medieval India: From Sultanate To The Mughals: Part I: Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526). Har-Anand Publications. p. 273. 
  16. ^ Commissariat, Mānekshāh Sorābshāh (1957). A History of Gujarat: Mughal period, from 1573 to 1758. Longmans, Green & Company. p. 214. 
  17. ^ a b Sir Jadunath Sarkar (1933). Studies in Aurangzib's reign: (being Studies in Mughal India, first series). Orient Longman. pp. 43, 53, 56. 
  18. ^ Sir Jadunath Sarkar. History of Aurangzib: mainly based on Persian sources, Volume 3. Orient Longman. p. 31. 
  19. ^ Sardesai, H. S. (2002). Shivaji, the Great Maratha (1. publ. ed.). Cosmo Publication. p. 789. ISBN 9788177552874. 
  20. ^ a b c Karim, Abdul (2012). "Muhammad Azam, Prince". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
  21. ^ Eraly, Abraham (2000). Emperors of the peacock throne : the saga of the great Mughals ([Rev. ed.]. ed.). New Delhi: Penguin books. pp. 510–513. ISBN 9780141001432. 
  22. ^ Mughal dynasty
  23. ^ "World Heritage Sites – Ellora Caves – Khuldabad". Archaeological Survey of India. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
Muhammad Azam Shah
Born: 28 June 1653 Died: 8 June 1707
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Aurangzeb
Mughal Emperor
1707
Succeeded by
Bahadur Shah I