Decline of Mughal Empire: Introduction
Posted on : 22-01-2018 Posted by : Admin


The decline of Mughal Empire started with the death of Aurangzeb in 1707. His death marked the end of an era in Indian history. Aurangzeb was one of the capable rulers of Mughal dynasty. After his death his three sons obviously fought for succession. One of his sons who succeeded took the tile of Bahadur shah and began to rule the Mughal Empire. He ruled for about 4 years. His rule was full of distress, trouble and wars. To extend his empire, Bahadur shah waged war against Rajputs but in vain. Meanwhile Sikhs also revolted. Mughal Empire was also attacked frequently by Marathas. Finally Bahadur shah died in 1712.

Many kings succeeded Bahadur shah one after another but their rule was short lived as these kings were weak. Moreover the empire has threats both from internal and external forces like Afghans, Sikhs and Marathas.


Threats for Mughal Empire

The following is the brief up of Mughal Empire after Bahadur shah,

  • The kings who succeeded Bahadur shah comparably were weak and not able to have a good grip on vast areas of the kingdom.
  • Sikhs started to revolt for the establishment of independent Sikh state in Punjab. Though they could not establish a Sikh state, successfully troubled Mughals.
  • Marathas who were fighting among themselves till then, started to reorganize under new system of Brahmin ministers (Peshwas). These Brahmin ministers were very tactic and efficient.
  • Afghans of Rohilkand were also rising up against Mughals. They tried to wage wars against Mughals. They tried to plunge away land and wealth from Mughal Empire.
  • Provincial governors of Hyderabad, Awadh and Bengal declared their independence and established their kingdoms. They could no longer be controlled by Mughal emperors.
  • Series of attacks by Nadir Shah of Iran from the north-west frontiers. Nadir Shah looted Delhi. The famous Peacock throne of Shah Jahan and the Koh-I-Noor diamond were taken to Iran.
  • Soon after Nadir Shah, Ahmad Shah Abdali conquered Punjab and added it to his territory in Afghanistan. This gave a major blow on the Mughal Empire.
  • Marathas under Peshwas established control over Mughal Empire through one of the weak emperors. This led Marathas into a conflict with Ahmad Shah Abdali and consequently third battle of Panipat was fought in 1761 between Afghans and Marathas. Marathas were defeated and thrown out of North India. Now the Mughal Empire was confined to just an area around Delhi.

Thus, Mughal emperors became name-sake rulers and the real powers were with the new kingdoms and their kings. Finally by the beginning of eighteenth century Mughal Empire declined completely.

This became advantageous for Europeans who were eyeing on India and its wealth. Europeans could easily fight the newly formed small states than the actual mighty Mughal Empire. Moreover Europeans were good sea fighters.

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