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Who were the greatest of the Great Mughals?

16th Jan 2018
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The Mughal emperors, from the early 16th century to the early 18th century, built and ruled the Mughal Empire on the Indian subcontinent, mainly corresponding to the modern countries of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The Mughals were a branch of the Timurid dynasty of Turkic origin from what is now Uzbekistan. Their power rapidly dwindled during the 18th century and the last of the emperors were deposed in 1857, with the establishment of the British Raj. Mughal emperors were of direct descent from Timur (generally known in the West as Tamerlane the Great), and also affiliated with Genghis Khan, because of Timur’s marriage with a Genghizid princess. The Mughals also had significant Indian Rajput and Persian ancestry through marriage alliances, as emperors were born to Rajput and Persian princesses. Only the first two Mughal emperors, Babur and Humayun, were fully Central Asian (Turki or what is now known as Uzbek), whereas Akbar was half-Persian (his mother was of Persian origin), Jahangir was half-Rajput and quarter-Persian, and Shah Jahan was three-quarters Rajput. Nevertheless, all Mughals were of Turkic seeds. At their Empire's greatest extent in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Mughals controlled much of the Indian subcontinent, extending from Bengal in the east to Kabul and Sindh in the west, Kashmir in the north to the Kaveri basin in the south. Its population at the time has been estimated as between 110 and 150 million (a quarter of the world's population), over a territory of more than 3.2 million square kilometres (1.2 million square miles). It was the second largest empire to have existed in the Indian subcontinent, spanning approximately four million square kilometres at its zenith, after only the Maurya Empire, which spanned approximately five million square kilometres. The Mughal Empire ushered in a period of proto-industrialization, and around the 17th century, Mughal India became the world's largest economic power, accounting for 24.4% of world GDP, and the world leader in manufacturing, producing 25% of global industrial output up until the 18th century. The Mughal Empire is considered "India's last golden age". Here is a list of all the rulers who ascended to the throne of Mughal Emperor. Who do you think had the greatest impact on the course of world history? Rank these rulers from most influential to least.

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Who were the greatest of the Great Mughals?


Mahmud Shah Bahadur (1788)

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Mahmud Shah Bahadur (1749 – 1790), was Mughal Emperor of India for a brief period in 1788 as a puppet of Ghulam Qadir, after Shah Alam II had been deposed and blinded. He was the son of the former Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur. He was deposed in the same year by the Marathas and killed in 1790 on the orders of Emperor Shah Alam II, though it was he who had helped Shah Alam II during his brief reign by sending him water and food secretly when Ghulam Qadir had ordered that no food or water be supplied to the deposed Emperor. He had been made Subahdar of Punjab on 12 November 1752 as a child. Shahzada Bidar Bakht was born to Emperor Ahmad Shah in the year 1749, and afterwards given the titles Mahmud Shah Bahadur and Banka (champion). Little is known about his childhood except that he was appointed as the titular Subahdar (governor) of the province of Punjab on 12 November 1752 (when in fact, the province had already been ceded to Ahmad Shah Abdali). After his father's deposition in 1754, he was kept in confinement in the Salatin quarters of Delhi, where the progeny of all previous Mughal Emperors resided in poverty and neglect. As a result, these princes had in them a desire to be named Mughal Emperor at any cost, even though they knew that their reigns, imposed only through usurpation of any previous emperor's rule, would likely be short and fatal. This would manifest itself very clearly in the case of Prince Mahmud Shah. In 1788, Ghulam Qadir took over the Red Fort of Delhi from Emperor Shah Alam II's supporters through false promises, and an opportunity presented itself to the children of the ex-emperor Ahmad Shah. The ex-queens, Malika-uz-Zamani and Sahiba Begum, widows of emperor Muhammad Shah, entreated Ghulam Qadir to place Prince Mahmud Shah, the eldest living son of Ahmad Shah, as the new emperor, upon payment of 1.2 million Rupees. Ghulam Qadir, already looking for a way lo legitimize to some extent his treatment of the Timurid family, accepted. Hence, Mahmud Shah ascended the throne on 31 July as Nasir-ud-Din Muhammad Kuchuk Jahan Shah Padshah Ghazi. But his titular reign was full of misery. The plunder of the palaces had begun the previous day, and after some time, when the ex-emperor's immediate family had been robbed of all wealth, Mahmud Shah's turn came next. Ghulam Qadir plundered the female quarters, the widows of Muhammad Shah, and even took away Bidar Bakht's only kingly ornament, a string of pearls round his neck. Finally Mahadji Sindhia's forces arrived to the rescue of Shah Alam II. Attacking the Rohilla forces of Ghulam Qadir, they imposed a blockade on Delhi by the beginning of October. The situation became so dire that grain sold at 2 rupees a seer in Delhi, and Ghulam Qadir escaped from the city on 12 October, taking with him Mahmud Shah and some sons of Shah Alam II as prisoner. Mahmud Shah was deposed in absentia on 16 October 1788, upon Sindhia's capture of Delhi City. He was afterwards captured from the Rohillas. Mahmud Shah was allegedly put to death in 1790 by order of Shah Alam II, supposedly for usurping his authority in 1788. He left behind 2 daughters.
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