Nadir's operations against India

In India, after the death of emperor Aurengzeb in 1707, the next Mughal rulers who followed him one after another were Bahadur Shah (1707-1712), Jahandar Shah (1712-1713), Farukh Siyar (1713-1719) and Muhammad Shah (1719-1748), in whose time, Nadir had conducted his expedition to India. Nadir set out from Nadirabad for Ghazna on May 21, 1738 and crossed the Indian frontiers with a gigantic army. He crossed Khyber Pass and reached Peshawer, and left it on January 6, 1739 for Lahore after passing through Wazirabad and Jhelum. He set off from Lahore on February 6, 1739 and proceeded to Sirhind, where he heard that the Mughal king Muhammad Shah had reached Karnal with 3 lac soldiers and 2000 elephants with a large deposit of cannon. Nadir ordered Nasrullah Mirza on February 24, 1739 to march from Jamna for Karnal, and he himself advanced in between Jamna and Ali Mardan Canal.

The tradition relates that Imam Abul Hasan Ali had also accompanied Nadir during the operations, but it cannot be substantiated in the Indian sources. We may safely infer that Abul Hasan Ali would have joined the regiment of Nasrullah Mirza in the operations of Karnal, had he accompanied.

The Khokar tribe in Punjab were originally the Ismailis, who thickly resided in Hazara, Rawalpindi, Attock and Jhelum districts at that time. Marikala, modern Marigala, situated in a pass of the low hills between Attock and Rawalpindi, a few miles to the east of Hasan Abdal, was the main foothold of the Khokars. Mukarrab Khan, the chief of Khokar tribe did not fight with the army of Nasrullah Mirza, and joined him in the battle of Karnal in 1152/1739. As a reward of his useful services, Mukarrab Khan had been confirmed with the hold of the fort of Pharwala, and upon his return to Kabul on November 24, 1739, Nadir had invested him the title of Nawab.

Nadir finally entered Delhi without opposition on March 20, 1739 and pillaged the accumulated treasure of the Mughal empire till it depleted. He took away huge money, jewels, diamonds and gold for the worth of about 70 crore of rupees, including the famous pea-cock throne and Koh'i Noor diamond. James Fraser in "History of Nadir Shah" (London, 1742, p. 193) and Abdul Aziz in "The Imperial Treasury of the Indian Mughals" (Lahore, 1942, p. 554) write that, "Nadir carried away the treasure to the value of 70 crores (87,500,000 sterlings) in jewels and other effects; and his officers and soldiers 10 crores (12,500,000 sterlings)." He departed from Delhi on May 16, 1739 and reached Kabul on December 2, 1739. The Delhi was attacked in its archilles heel and collapsed as thoroughly as a heap of cards. Thus, Nadir left the Mughal empire bleeding and prostrate under his heels. Sir Alfred Lyall writes in "History of India" (1893, 8th vol., p. 78) that, "Nadir Shah added one more massacre to the blood-strained annals of that ill- fated city, wrenched away from the imperial crown all its possession west of the Indus and departed home leaving the Mughal empire which had received its death blow in a state of mortal collapse."

Nadir quitted Kabul on December 9, 1739 and entered India once again to plunder Sind. He reached Dera Ismail Khan on January 5, 1740 and at Larkana on February 12, 1740 and pillaged gold, jewels and pearls amounting over one crore rupees from the ruler of Sind. Nadir left Sind on April 10, 1740. To this we must add the likelihood that Abul Hasan Ali had availed chance to see his followers privily in Sind, provided the tradition of his company is genuine. If so, he should have seen his followers when Nadir was hunting booty between January and April, 1740.

Nadir thus dominated Iran, Afghanistan and India. In Iran, he tried to solve differences of Usuli and Akhbari groups and also endeavoured to have the Jafari fiqah accepted as a fifth fiqah in the Sunni framework of the four schools of law. He also tried to overcome the Sunni theologians. Nadir was a brave campaigner, and so was cruel and proud, and had executed a large number of innocent people. He was at last killed in his tent near Mashhad in 1160/1747.

Immediately after the murder of Nadir, the Afghan and Turkoman leaders in Afsharid military collided each other for the treasures pillaged in India. Ahmad Shah Abdali (1747-1773) lastly succeeded to take away the whole lot to Kandhar and established the Dhurrani rule in Afghanistan in 1160/1747. In Iran, the southern Caucasus and Azerbaijan had been captured by the Afghan general called, Azad Khan. Another leader, Ali Mardan Khan occupied Ispahan, and Karim Khan Zand took Fars and Laristan.

Ali Quli Khan was the second Afsharid ruler, known as Adil Shah (1747-1748), the nephew of Nadir Shah; who ruled Khorasan. His brother Ibrahim (d.1161/1748) became the third ruler for few months. Shah Rukh, the son of Nadir escaped from prison at that time, and attacked on Khorasan, and became the fourth ruler for few months. He was deprived of his sight by his own Khorasani chiefs, and Murad Khan had been proclaimed as the fifth ruler. Murad Khan was also blinded, and once again the blind Shah Rukh was placed on the throne, who ruled till 1210/1795.

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