(Last Updated on : 05-05-2012)
The Sayyid Brothers-Abdullah Khan and Hussain Ali played the most important part in Muhgal politics from 1713 to 1720. They were the leaders of the Hindustani Party. The Hindustani Party was formed in order to secure the anti-Muhgal and the quasi-nationalist interest that creep up during the time of the later Mughals.
The Sayyid Brothers were the descendants of a Prophet. Though the name of the Prophet has not yet been known, the historians have opined that the Prophet settled in the Doab region of the Muzaffarnagar districts for centuries. The Sayyids therefore are ingrained in the Indian society. Sayyid Miyan, the father of the Sayyid brothers (Abdullah Khan and Hussain Ali) used to serve as the Subahdar of Bijapur and Ajmer in the Muhgal period. After the death of Aurungzeb, there followed a war of succession for the Muhgal Throne. In this war of succession these two brothers joined in the army led by Bahadur Shah. In this way they came in contact with the later Muhgal politics. The Sayyid brothers were duly rewarded Emperor Bahadur Shah. In 1708 prince Azim-us-Shan appointed Hussain Ali in an assignment at Bihar. The prince Azim-us-Shan also appointed Abdullah Khan as his deputy in the province of Allahabad. It was because of these Sayyid Brothers, that Farukhshiyar ascended the throne of Delhi after his father Azim-us-Shan.
Farukhshiyar after his accession to the throne appointed Sayyid Abdullah Khan as his official or Chief Minister. Moreover he conferred him the titles like Qutb-ul-Mulk, Yamin-ud-daula, and Sayyid Abdullah Khan Bahadur, Zafar Jung etc. The younger brother Hussain Ali was appointed Mir Bakshi or virtual commander in Chief. He was also conferred with several prestigious titles. Khafi Khan, the contemporary of Farukhshiyar held that the appointment of the Sayyid brothers to such a high post excited the jealousy of the Turani and the Irani councilors of the Muhgal court. Thus the Sayyid brothers entered in the Muhgal politics in the later years.
The most active noble in the anti-Sayyid alliance was Mir Jumla, a favorite of the Emperor. The incompetent emperor gave Mir Jumla the right to use his authority. At the same time Sayyid Abdullah Khan, being a chief minister declared that no mansabs or promotions or appointing officers could exercise the emperor's authority without his permission. Hence the enmity initiated between Mir Jumla and the Sayyids. Differences between the Sayyids and the emperor culminated when Hussain Ali was appointed as the Subhadari of Deccan. But Hussain Ali could not move to Deccan leaving his brother bare to the politics of the Muhgal court. In due course there developed differences of the Sayyid brothers with the emperor. Finally it was declared that Hussain Ali would in person to assume the Subhadari and Mir Jumla would be sent out of Delhi to assume the Subhadari of Patna.
However the reconciliation could not really satisfy the emperor. Out of his grudge against Hussain Ali the emperor appointed Daud Khan, the Subahdar of Gujrat to kill Hussain Ali. But Hussain Ali discovered the plot and finally killed Daud Khan. But Farukhshiyar again intrigued against Hussain Ali. But Hussain Ali with the help of his tactical measure overcame all the plots against him. Instead of establishing an imperial authority in Deccan, Hussain Ali made a reconciliation with the Marathas. He signed a treaty with Shahu in 1719. He conceded great concessions to the Marathas in return of the armed supporting his struggle for supremacy in Delhi.
In the meantime Emperor Farukhshiyar decided to appoint Muhammad Murad in place of Abdullah Khan. Farukhshiyar collected a large army in order to defeat Abdullah Khan. Fearing a big army, Abdullah Khan also tried to enlist a big army against the emperor. However the general belief runs that Abdullah Khan was made prisoner. Hussain Ali rushed back towards Delhi carrying the Maratha Troops with him. As a result the clash between the Emperor Farukhshiyar and the Sayyid Brothers became inevitable. In the due course Abdullah Khan won over the important nobles like Sarbuland Khan, Nijam-ul-Mulk, Ajit Singh etc to his side. Now the Sayyid brothers confronted the Emperor Farukhshiyar with certain demands. The emperor also agreed to fulfill all their demands. But ultimately the Sayyid brothers killed the Emperor Farukhshiyar on 28thApril, 1719.
Thus after the death of Farukhshiyar, the Sayyid brothers became the masters of Delhi. They had the full control over the political situation at Delhi. They placed Rafi-ud-Dajarat, to the throne of Delhi. Thus the Sayyid brothers became the king makers of the Delhi throne. The emperors on the Delhi throne became the puppet and the Sayyids ran the administration. The contemporary records of Khafi Khan testify the stronghold of the Sayyid brothers in the Muhgal politics. From these records it is known that the Sayyids greatly leaned on the support of the Hindus. The Sayyid brothers lend the Hindu support in their struggle of supremacy in Delhi. Hence they owed to the Hindus. During their time many Hindus became the part of the Muhgal politics. During their time once again jiziya and slaughter of cows was abolished.
The Sayyid brothers becoming the sole authority of Muhgal politics reduced the status of the Turani and the Irani noblemen in the Muhgal 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. In order to subdue the counter-revolution, the Sayyid brothers shifted Nizam 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 Alam Ali Khan, the adopted son of Hussain Ali, who was the Deputy Subahdar of the Deccan. Meanwhile in Delhi a plot was devised against the Sayyid brothers. Haider Khan ultimately killed Hussain Ali. Abdullah Khan with a big army set out to avenge his brother's murder. But Abdullah Khan was defeated at Hasanpur and later he was poisoned to death. Thus the protracted career of the Sayyid brothers came to an end.