Pir Muhammad Khan Shirwani

Maulana Pir Muhammad Khan Shirwani[1] was a senior official of the Mughal Empire and a commander in the Mughal army.

BackgroundEdit

Pir Muhammad was the Vakil-i-Mutlaq (general manager) of the regent of the Mughal Empire, Bairam Khan, who had granted him the titles of Khan and Sultan.[2] However, in 1559,[3] he was temporarily dismissed by Bairam due to his arrogance and ordered to go to Mecca for Hajj (pilgrimage). He was replaced by Haji Muhammad Sistani, one of Bairam's subordinates.[4][5] This displeased Akbar as the dismissal of a senior official without prior consultation with the emperor was a sign of blatant disrespect on Bairam's part and Akbar decided to dismiss Bairam. Pir Muhammad, who had travelled till Gujarat and made his way back to Rajputana, was sent secret messages by Akbar to be ready to return.[6] Later in 1560, when Bairam was ordered by Akbar to go to Hajj, on the insistence of his political opponents Maham Anga and Adham Khan, Pir Muhammad (who had returned to the Mughal court) was sent to trail him and 'pack him off to Mecca'. When Bairam became aware of Pir Muhammad's approach, he took it as an insult and decided to turn back and rebel. At the sight of Bairam's Turkoman horse archers, Pir Muhammad hastily retreated.[7]

Conquest of MalwaEdit

In early 1561, Akbar sent Adham Khan and Pir Muhammad to lead an army to capture Malwa (in present-day Madhya Pradesh and south-eastern Rajasthan, India. The ruler of Malwa, Baz Bahadur attempted to resist them at his capital, Sarangpur, but was deserted by his best officers and defeated, though he managed to escape[8] to Khandesh, leaving behind his harem, treasure and war elephants.[9] Adham Khan and Pir Muhammad then conducted a general massacre in Malwa, killing women, children and even Sayyids, who were descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[9] Adham Khan kept all of the captive women and choice spoils for himself. His insolence infuriated Akbar, who dismissed him and the campaign of Malwa was left in command of Pir Muhammad, who was tasked to capture the fugitive Baz Bahadur.[10][11]

Pir Muhammad went south and captured Bijargarh (in present-day Madhya Pradesh) again with general massacre and invaded the kingdom of Khandesh, were Baz Bahadur had taken refuge. He also captured the fortress of Asirgarh and marched towards Burhanpur (both in present-day southern Madhya Pradesh), destroying everything on his way and conducting general massacres. At Burhanpur, however, he was defeated by a coalition of three rulers: Baz Bahadur himself, Mubarak Khan II, ruler of Khandesh and Tufal Khan, ruler of Berar (in present-day Maharashtra).[12][13][11][14]

DeathEdit

Outnumbered by this coalition, Pir Muhammad hastily retreated towards Malwa.[9] Having reached the Narmada River at night, he insisted at crossing it immediately despite his officers cautioning him not to do so. In the middle of the river, he fell off from his horse and died of drowning.[12][13][11]

LegacyEdit

Following his death, the leaderless Mughal army retreated from Malwa and Baz Bahadur temporarily recovered his kingdom. In 1562, Akbar sent Abdullah Khan Uzbeg to capture Malwa who managed to restore Mughal authority in the region.[11][13][9] Baz Bahadur remained a fugitive till he surrendered to Akbar in 1570. Akbar pardoned him and made him a musician at his court.[12][11]

In popular cultureEdit

In the Indian historical fiction television series Bharat Ka Veer Putra – Maharana Pratap, which ran on the channel Sony Entertainment Television from 2013 to 2015, Pir Muhammad Khan was portrayed by actor Kunal Bakshi.[15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Elliot, Henry; Downson, John (1867). The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians p. 257. London: Trübner & Co. – via Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Elliot, Henry; Downson, John (1867). The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians p. 257. London: Trübner & Co. – via Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Ibn Mubarak, Abu'l Fazl. "Akbarnama, Volume 2, ch. 21" – via Columbia University.
  4. ^ Elliot, Henry; Downson, John (1867). The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians p. 258. London: Trübner & Co. – via Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Ibn Mubarak, Abu'l Fazl. "Akbarnama, Volume 2, ch. 21" – via Columbia University.
  6. ^ Collier, Dirk (1 March 2016). The Great Mughals and their India p. 144–145. Hay House, Inc. ISBN 9789384544980 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Collier, Dirk (1 March 2016). The Great Mughals and their India p. 146. Hay House, Inc. ISBN 9789384544980 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Smith, Vincent, Arthur (1919). Akbar the Great Mogul, 1542-1605.
  9. ^ a b c d Richards, John F. (1995). "The Mughal Empire". The New Cambridge History of India. Cambridge University Press. p. 18.
  10. ^ Collier, Dirk (1 March 2016). The Great Mughals and their India p. 150–152. Hay House, Inc. ISBN 9789384544980 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ a b c d e Richards, John F. (1996). The Mughal Empire. Cambridge University Press. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-0-521-56603-2.
  12. ^ a b c Collier, Dirk (1 March 2016). The Great Mughals and their India p. 153. Hay House, Inc. ISBN 9789384544980 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ a b c King, L. White (1903). "History and Coinage of Malwa". The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Numismatic Society. 3: 358. JSTOR 42680007.
  14. ^ "Dhulia district gazetteer – history, medieval period".
  15. ^ Newbie Vaishali Takkar and Kunal Bakshi to enter Sony TV's Maharana Pratap – Tellychakkar.com. Retrieved 10th June 2021.