Assassination of a Mughal Emperor…………..

Tragically ill Fate of  Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar………………….

Does the Naubat Khana in Red Fort resonate with the cries agony of Farrukhsiyar after imprisonment, starvation, poisoning and blinding………………………………………..?


Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar (r. 1713-1719) after whom the Farrukhnagar was named

by his governor Faujdar Khan, who founded the city in 1732

(Source: Internet)

Abu’l Muzaffar Muin ud-din Muhammad Shah Farrukh-siyar Alim Akbar Sani Wala Shan Padshah-i-bahr-u-bar [Shahid-i-Mazlum] (or Farrukhsiyar, 20 August 1685 – 19 April 1719) was the Mughal Emperor between 1713 and 1719.

He was the son of Azim-ush-Shan—the second son of emperor Bahadur Shah I—and Sahiba Nizwan.

He acquired the throne after murdering Jahandar Shah. He was as a handsome ruler and was given to believing heresay. He was naïve enough and was easily swayed by his advisers. Farrukhsiyar lacked the ability, knowledge and character to rule independently.

His reign witnessed the primacy of the Sayyid Brothers who became the effective powers of the land, behind the façade of Mughal rule. His constant plotting eventually led the Sayyid Brothers to officially depose him.

Farrukhsiyar’s Humiliating and Bloody end

Farrukhsiyar met a humiliating and bloody end, as his constant plotting eventually led the Sayyid Brothers to officially depose him as the Emperor. Farrukhsiyar was imprisoned and starved; later, on 28 February 1719, he was blinded with needles at the orders of the Sayyid Brothers. Farrukhsiyar was strangled to death on the night of 27/28 April 1719.

After accomplishing his assassination, the Sayyid Brothers placed his first-cousin, Rafi-Ul-Darjat on the throne. Rafi-ud-durjat’s father and Farukhsiyar’s father had been brothers.

Farrukhsiyar is believed to be assassinated at Naubat Khana in Red Fort.

Sayyid Brothers

The term ‘Sayyid Brothers’ refers to Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha (1666 – 12 October 1722 CE) and Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha (1668 – 9 October 1720 CE), who were powerful Mughal Army generals of the Mughal Empire during the early 18th century.

Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha and his court

(Source: Internet)


Syed Hussain Ali Khan and Emperor Farrukhsiyar

(Source: Internet)

The Sayyid Brothers became highly influential in the Mughal Court after Aurangzeb’s death and became kingmakers during the anarchy following the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707

Aurangzeb’s son Bahadur Shah I defeated his brothers to capture the throne with the help of Sayyid Brothers and Nizam-ul-Mulk, another influential administrator in the Mughal court.

Bahadur Shah I died in 1712, and his successor Jahandar Shah was assassinated on the orders of the Sayyid Brothers.

In 1713, Jahandar’s nephew Farrukhsiyar (r. 1713–1719) became the emperor with the brothers’ help.

Cries for Succession of 1712


Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar

(Source: Internet)

When Prince Farrukhsiyar first arrived at Azimabad, Syed Hussain Ali Khan was away on an expedition, apparently the recapture of Rohtas fort of Bihar, which about this time had been seized by one Muhammad Raza “Ravat Khan”. The Sayyids had felt annoyed on hearing that Farrukhsiyar had issued coin and caused the khutba to be read in his father, Prince Azim-ush-shan’s, name, without waiting to learn the result of the impending struggle at Lahore. Thus on his return to his headquarters his first impulse was to decline altogether that Prince’s overtures. In truth, no attempt could well look more hopeless than that upon which Prince Farrukhsiyar wished to enter.

In aid of Farrukhsiyar:

The Prince’s mother now hazarded a private visit to the Sayyids mother, taking with her little granddaughter. Her arguments rested on the fact that the Sayyids position was due to the kindness of the Prince’s father.

Here the Prince’s mother and daughter bared their heads and wept aloud. Overcome by their tears, the Sayyida called her son within the harem. The little girl fell bareheaded at his feet and implored his aid for positive action.

Prince Farrukhsiyar, meanwhile, had marched out with an army along with Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha from Patna to Allahabad to join Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha as soon as possible.

At the Battle of Agra 1713 fought on 10 January 1713, Prince Farrukhsiyar won decisively and became the Emperor of the Mughal Empire succeeding his uncle Jahandar Shah.

Characteristics of Farrukhsiyar:


Gold Mohur minted by Farrukhsiyar in the Khujista-Bunyad mint

near the end of his reign, 1131 AH (1719)

(Source: Internet)

It is recorded that Farrukhsiyar was given to atrocities, which led to his downfall and ultimately death.

Farukhsiyar had blinded some of the prominent members of the imperial family who had been held in captivity.

Zulfiqar Khan was treacherously murdered on Farrukhsiyar’s order and his property was confiscated.

Asad Khan lingered in misery till his death in 1716 so much so that the elimination of Asad Khan – “the last prominence survived of great age of Aurangzeb” was a political mistake.

All this was done to make it impossible for the Sayyid Brothers to displace him and set up on the throne some other Prince of the house of Babar.

Farukhsiyar also quarreled bitterly with Sayyid Brothers in March 1713 but did not have the courage to strike and he patched up a truce. He continued however to indulge in foolish and perfidious plans to weaken the Sayyid Brothers.

The estrangement reached a climax in 1719 and assisted by Ajit Singh of Marwar who had married his daughter to Farrukhshiyar, the Syed Brothers deposed and murdered the Emperor (the Sayyid were forced into action for their own lives and honour).

Tragic End of Farrukhsiyar


Sheesh Mahal-Farrukhnagar

(Source: Internet)

These differences hence, led to the tragic end of Farrukhsiyar, who was dragged down from his throne, bare headed and bare footed and subjected every moment to blows and vilest abuses.

Thereafter, he was imprisoned, starved, blinded, poisoned and finally strangulated to death.

Farukhshiyar was blinded with needles at the orders of Syed Brothers on 28th February 1719.

It is said he was assassinated in the Naubatkhana of Qila-i-Mulla Aka Qila-i-Mubarak Aka Lal Qila.

Syed Brothers – The King Makers

After deposing Farrukhsiyar (April 1719) the Syed Brothers placed on the throne: i) Rafi-ud-Darajat, a son of Rafi-ush-Shan (the second son of Bahadur Shah I). Then the Syed Brothers enthroned ii) Rafi-ud-Daula with the title of Shah Jahan II, and thereafter, the Syed Brothers put on throne iii) Roshan Akhtar, a son of Shah Jahan (fourth son of Bahadur Shah I). He was placed on the throne under the title of Mohammad Shah [Rangila] in September 1719, who plotted and had the Syed brothers killed.

Muhammad Shah Rangila wanted to take back control of his rule. Hence he arranged for the brothers to be killed with the help of Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah. Syed Hussain Ali Khan was murdered at Fatehpur Sikri in 1720, and Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha was fatally poisoned in 1722.

Evil Begets Evil – End of the Sayyid Brothers



Nizam-ul-Mulk was instated as the Grand Vizier of the Mughal Empire, by Muhammad Shah on 21 February 1722, to overthrow the Sayyid Brothers.

Mir Qamar-ud-din Khan Siddiqi Bayafandi (20 August 1671 – 1 June 1748) was awarded the title Chin Qilich Khan by Aurangzeb in 1690–91. The title Nizam-ul-Mulk was awarded by Farrukhsiyar in 1713 and Asaf Jah (awarded by Muhammad Shah in 1725].

The Sayyid brothers becoming the sole authority of Mughal politics reduced the status of the Turkic and the Irani noblemen in the Mughal court. This excited the jealousy of these nobles, who used to enjoy high status under Emperor Farukhshiyar. As a result, they formed a force of counter-revolution against the Sayyid brothers.

The leader of the Counter Revolution was Nizam-ul-Mulk. To subdue the counter-revolution, the Sayyid brothers shifted Nizam-ul-mulk from Delhi. Nizam was appointed as the Subahdar of Malwa. In due course Nizam captured the forts of Asirgarh and Burhanpur in Deccan. Moreover, Nizam also killed Mir Alam Ali Khan, the adopted son of Syed Hussain Ali Khan, who was the Deputy Subahdar of the Deccan.

Meanwhile, in Delhi a plot was devised against the Sayyid brothers. Nizam-ul-mulk ultimately killed Syed Hussain Ali Khan on 9 October 1720. Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha with a big army set out to avenge his brother`s murder. But Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha was defeated at Hasanpur near Palwal (Haryana) in 15–16 November in the same year and later he was poisoned to death on 12 October 1722. Thus the protracted career of the Sayyid brothers came to an end.


The Cambridge Shorter History of India

Textbook of Indian History and Culture

By Sailendra Nath Sen

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