The Forgotten Mughals (A History of The Later Emperors of The House of Babar)

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Item Code: NAE863
Author: G.S Cheema
Publisher: Manohar Publishers and Distributors
Language: English
Edition: 2012
ISBN: 9788173046018
Pages: 552
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch X 6.0 inch
Weight 680 gm
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Book Description
Aboute The Book

A hundred and fifty years lie between the death of Aurangzeb and the final extinction of the Mughal empire.In its first hundred and fifty years the empire had seen six rulers, but during the next century and a half the Quila-i-Mualla would witness the passage of as many as eleven emperors –if one leaves out the six or seven failed pretenders. It was a period of violence and disorder, with armies constantly on the march across a landscape of increasing misery, impoverishment and desolation. The Forgotten Mughals is the story of these largely pageant emperors with their increasingly ineffectual ministers, and their gradual decline into irrelevance while younger and more powerful forces, both India and foreign, grappled with each other for the mastery of Hindostan.

The landmark events like the wars of succession, the dictatorship of the Syed brothers, the Nadir Shahi and Durrani invasions with their attendant horrors, the bloodbath of Panipat and the final sack of Delhi in 1857 are all covered in detail. The book’s strength lies in its anecdotal details, like that of young Muhammad Shah, hiding behind the ample skirts of the formidable Sadr un-Nissa, superintendent of the harem, and of Bidar Dil cowering in a closet, while the emissaries of Qutb-ul-Mulk tried, in vain, to convince his women that they had,in fact, come to call him to the throne. And who will believe today that, as part of the ‘retributive justice’ of the British. For nearly twenty years the Zinat masjid in Daryaganj was used as a bakery, and that the basement of the Fatehpuri mosque was sold to Seth Chuna Mall?

About The Author

G.S. Cheema was born in Ranchi and is presently a senior civil servant belonging to the Punjab cadre of the Indian Administrative Service which he joined in 1972. He lives in chandigarh.


History has been singularly unkind to the later Mughals. While every schoolboy is familiar with the names of the first six emperors of this illustrious house, few would be able to name more than one or two of the padishahs that followed the ‘Ornament of the throne, the world conqueror ‘ ,Aurangzeb Alamgir. For the average Indian,jahandar,Rafi-ud-Darjat, Alamgir Sani ,are mere names ,and unfamiliar ones at that.

Even the school history books do not talk of them. Only Muhammad Shah, Shah Alam II, and Bahadur Shah II receive a passing mention; the first because Nadir Shah’s incursion occurred during his reign, the second on account of the battle of Buxar and the treaty of Allahbad, and the last on account of the ‘Great Mutiny’, his verses, and simply by virtue of being the last of his house. The others are known only to numismatists.

But the period deserves deeper study. The great lessons of history are derived from its darker periods. The ‘golden age’ of Akbar and Shah jahan are of scant revelence to the fragmented politics and confusion of the present age. On the other hand it may be easier for us to empathise with the wazirs of the ‘Great Anarchy’ who had to contend with vicious governors, and a rulling class which had become utterly amoral. Corrupt, unscrupulous.

It makes for a gripping story and fascinating parallels can be drawn with political scene of today. That is the principal justification for this book which has been written primarily with the political scene of today. That is the principal justification for this book whish has been written primarily with the general reader in mind.

I have relied mainly on secondary sources or records already well known to historians, and my debt to the early writers on the subject ,particularly, William Irvine and Sir jadunath Sarkar is immense. Almost as great is my dept to Syed Mir Ghulam Husain Khan Tabtabai, and to his translator, M.Raymond , or Haji Mustapha. My thanks to low prize publications, Delhi, who have made available so many old historical texts at reasonable prices. large number of other books and records have also been consulted and I am grateful to the staff of the Punjab university ,the central state, and Dwarka Das Libraries at Chandigarh, the Punjab state archives library at patiala, and the Khalsa Collage Library at Amritsar, who made the material available to me.

My thanks too to my late mother (now lodged in paradise ) from whom I acquired my interest in history, to my wife for her patience and support during a difficult period. Bringing forth a book is a painful process and not conducive to good humour or amiability. My thanks too to Glenda, Nunes, Satnam Singh and jasbir who helped me out with the first typescripts and to Sabino D’Souza and Constantine D’Abreu of the Chiristian Brothers, formers principals of St. John’s, my old alma mater, who allowed me to use the school computer and printer, at a time when these were not as common place as they have since become. My son ,Prabhjot ,too must not be forgotten as it was he who provided the technical support for my own computer, when I finally acquired one. Whenever it caught a virus, otherwise crashed-as all computers do occasionally-it was he who debugged and nursed it back to health.

My Thanks too, to Mr. Ramesh jain ,who not with standing the bulk of the work and my inexperience as a writer, accepted this book for publication. The task of Mr. B.N Varma and his team was probably the most laborious. Their editorial suggestions were invaluable and the final book is consequently a considerable improvement on the earlier drafts besides being of more manageable length.

Last, but not least, I must also express my gratitude to the Punjab sarkar,whose salt I have been eating for close on three decades. The fidwi still depends on it for his government’s indulgence in not over burdening him with official duties. But for it’s forbearance this book would have taken so much longer to complete.


1The end of an Era15
2The breakdown of Empire24
3The war of succession30
4The end of Kam Baksh44
5The reign of Shah Alam Bahadur Shah53
6The Sikh rebellion and the death of Bahadur Shah60
7Brother against brother again68
8The reign of jalandar80
9Badshah Gardi or king making90
10The fall of Zulfiqar102
11The king and his makers113
12Take warning Ye who have eyes : the fall of Farukhsiyar128
13The Syed Dictatorship and puppets on string137
14The fall of the Syeds144
15The reign of muhamnmad Shah Rangila : The Turanian Ascendancy157
16First Maratha Invasion Of Hindostan170
17The court of the Merry Monarch178
18The persian invasion184
19Debacle At Karnal193
20The persian on his throne201
21The Morning After209
22Creeping chaos219
23The first invasion of Ahmad Shah Durani227
24The New reign236
25The Ministry of safdar jung241
26The civil war and the downfall of safdurjung255
27The Rise of Imad-Ul-mulk264
28The reign chaos271
29Rivers Of Blood :Ahmad Shah in hindustan280
30Towards Panipat290
31The Panipat compaign300
32The Aftermath313
33The dictatorship Najib ud-Daulah318
34The Wanderings of shah Alam331
35The Gilded Exile347
36Mirja Najaf Khan:The first phase354
37The fall of Abdul Ahad Majd-ud-daulah371
38Mirja Najaf Khan:The second phase376
39Night falls over the city:After Mirza Najaf383
40The regency of Mahadjji Scindia396
41Ghulam Quadir:His rise and fall406
42After Ghulam qadir:Thje dictatorship of mahadji Scindia421
43War strife in the Maratha Heartland433
44Maratha Twilight446
45The blind padishah in the Quila-i-mualla459
46The dawn of a new age464
47The Golden Calm(1806-1857)476
48The Ghadar:Reaping Whirlwind489
49The rebellion in Delhi502
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