Bloody Battle For Succession

After the death of Bahadur Shah, all the generals of the royal army, including Mohammed Amin Khan, who had been engaged in the expedition against the Sikhs, returned to Lahore. This gave some relief to the Sikhs.

At Lahore, all the four sons of Bahadur Shah fought a bloody battle for the throne of Delhi. On the 3rd of March 1712, a fierce battle was fought between the forces of Jahandar Shah and Azimushan on the banks of river Raavi.[1] The first royal casualty of this battle was prince Azimushan (father of Farukhsiyar) who was killed by Abdus Samad Khan (father of Zakaria Khan, later the Governor of Lahore). Abdus Samad Khan was fully loyal to prince Jahandar Shah. When Azimushan was dead, Abdus Samad Khan carried his dead-body and threw it in front of Jahandar Shah.

The second battle was fought between the armies of Jahandar Shah on one hand and the armies of Rafiushan (Rafi-ul-Qadir) and Jahan Shah (Khuzishta Akhtar) on the other hand. At first, Jahan Shah had an upper hand; his companions Rustam Dil Khan, Jani Khan and Mukhlis Khan defeated the forces of Jahandar Shah and they also arrested Azz-ud-Din (son of Jahandar Shah). The next day, when Jahan Shah, accompanied by his son Farkhanda Akhtar, was going to his camp, Abdus Samad Khan fired a ball from cannon and killed both of them. After this, the companions of Jahan Shah surrendered and also released Azz-Ud-Din (son of Jahandar Shah).

After the death of Azimushan and Jahan Shah, now, Jahandar Shah and Rafiushan fought against each other. In the wee hours of the next morning, Rafiushan made a forceful attack on the army of Jahandar Shah. But, the newly recruited soldiers of Rafiushan could not face the well-trained soldiers of Jahandar Shah and began fleeing the battle-field. When Rafiushan saw this, he himself came forward to encourage his soldiers and manage the battle; soon, he too was killed. Thus, now three of the four sons of Bahadur Shah were dead. Even after this, the enmity between the princes did not come to an end; Jahandar Shah or his companions did not bother even for the dead bodies of his brothers. The dead bodies of the princes remained unattended on the tavi (hot sand burning like a tava, i.e. hot plate for baking loaves) of river Raavi for three days and on the fourth day Jahandar Shah ordered the burial of the dead-bodies.[2]

After finishing his brothers and nephews, Jahandar Shah’s first action was to punish his enemies i.e. the officers, generals, helpers and collaborators of his dead brothers. Jahandar Shah also decided to honour his loyal companions. Amir-ul-Umraa Bahadur Kokaltash Khan, Khwaja Hassan Khan, Shakar-ulla-Khan and some other umraa had been the most faithful to Jahandar Shah; he bestowed liberal gifts upon them and offered them high offices in his government.

On the 20th of March 1712, he ordered the execution of Mohammed Rustam Khan (Ghaznafar Khan alias Ghazi Khan, the former Governor of Sarhind) and Mukhlis Khan (both of them were the associates of the prince Khuzishta Akhtar);[3] Besides, Hamid-Ud-Din Khan Bahadur Aalamgiri, Sarfraz Khan Bahadur (Behroz Khan) and his sons, Saif-ulla-Khan, Rehman Yaar Khan, Musharaff Khan gurj-bardar and Fakirullah Khan were also given death sentences. Seventeen persons, including Hamid-Ud-Din Khan, Mahabat Khan (son of Khan Khana), Ahtiman Khan and his son Lutfullah Khan (deputy of Khuzishta Akhtar), Rehman Yaar Khan, Attaullah Khan, Fatehullah Khan, Mohtam Khan, Rai Raiyan, Jani Khan, Fidvi Khan, Abdul Karir Khan, Aqidat Khan (son of Amir Khan), Mohammed Ali Khan etc were immediately arrested and imprisoned in Lahore Fort. Properties of all these seventeen persons were confiscated. But, the very next day, Jahandar Shah announced amnesty for Lutfullah Khan, Rai Raiyan and Jani Khan. On the 21st of March 1712, Jahandar Shah ordered that Mukhlis Khan and Hakim Moitmad-Ul-Mulk be executed by cutting limb-by-limb.[4] The punishment was to be carried out at Delhi. On the 23rd of March 1712, Jahandar Shah formally sat on the throne (in Lahore Fort) and held his court.