(Last Updated on : 23/05/2011)
Conquest of Golconda
was one of the greatest achievements of the Emperor. This rich kingdom, which controlled the famous diamond mines of the Carnatic, had long been coveted by the Mughals. Shah Jahan
had invaded it in 1635. He adopted a religious pretext to justify his action. He posed as the 'Champion of the True Faith' and warned Qutb Malik, the Sultan of Golconda, that he was ordained by God, not just as the leader of the Sunnis, but to be the destroyer of those who did not conform to His idea of Islam
. Shah Jahan then ordered him to establish Sunni practices in his kingdom if he wanted to protect himself from being invaded. The ensuing negotiations led to a compromise- the Sultan would pay tribute to the Emperor and the Emperor would withdraw his troops. In fact, the Mughal army was under pressure to forego its intention of conquest, being harrassed by the Maratha tribes.
In 1655, Mir Jumla, an ambitious Persian from Ardistan, who had visited Aurangzeb's court a few times, became the means by which to capture Golconda. He had come to India in the retinue of a horse trader, and went on to become a prosperous merchant, made a lot of money, and owned several armed ships. His magnificent style of living and sharpness brought him several contacts at the court of Golconda. He started passing himself off as a Sayyed a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad
, and slowly sought to gain the favour of the Sultan, Abdullah Shah Qutb, on whom he lavished presents of beautiful elephants, textiles from China and Europe, etc. The Sultan was impressed by his wealth, and courtiers spoke highly of him, so he condescended to accept the presents, and thus the Persian slipper-merchant established himself at court. He attended promptly to any task the Sultan gave him, and won his favour so that finally the Sultan made him Governor of Karnatic.
In this position he built up a fabulous fortune by collecting diamonds from the mines and pillaging gems from the idols in Hindu temples. He built up his own personal army with artillery, and hired elite European cannoneers. Even the Sultan began to feel envious and suspicious of his powerful Governor. A situation of conflict and tension arose between the Sultan and Mir Jumla and Muhammed Amin, his son, was arrested.
In his attempt to free him Mir Jumla sought allies against the Sultan. Aurangzeb's capital was only a fifteen-day journey away, so he went to him. Aurangzeb welcomed Mir Jumla and the two men became personal friends. The prince gave him forty thousand cavalry and led the attack himself. When the troops advanced, the frightened Sultan fled, abandoning his palace and treasure, part of which was buried in the tombs of his ancestors, but Aurangzeb was not able to appropriate his because of subsequent developments.
Aurangzeb behaved considerately towards the women of the harem, freeing them and allowing them to rejoin their husband if they so wished. Mir Jumla retrieved his son, and then the three of them began the pursuit of Abdullah Shah Qutb. However, Shah Jahan intervened in Shah Qutb's favour and ordered Aurangzeb to return to Aurangabad. The only condition imposed on the Sultan was that he should pay for the cost of the expedition. Aurangzeb recognized that Dara Shikoh
, his younger brother, was the mind behind this move of the Emperor that foiled his victory before it was complete. To offset the damage, he sent a marriage proposal for the daughter of the Sultan to be wed to his son Muazzam, which the now yielding Sultan readily accepted. By this move, Aurangzeb hoped that by this match his son would succeed to the kingdom of Golconda, thus his heir would inherit this rich stronghold in the Deccan
, not be subject to Shah Jahan's whims, and be independent when Dara Shikoh eventually became the emperor, as seemed most likely.
Later, Shah Qutb died without a male issue and the nobles put up a scion of the noble family, Abul Hasan, to the throne. He however was an incompetent ruler not too interested in the matters of administration. At this point in time Aurangzeb ordered his son Muazzam to invade Golconda with a view to annexing it to the Mughal Empire. There was no scope for compromise anymore especially as Golconda was a Shia ruling state. When the battle broke out, the Sultan's arny was defeated as not only was it small in size but Aurangzeb had bribed the commander of the army to join the Mughal Army at Hyderabad
. The Sultan fled the fort of Hyderabad without fight and fled to Golconda. The Mughal Army captured Hyderabad and swiftly moved to Golconda. The Sultan made a last bid to make peace with the Mughals and a temporary settlement was made by Prince Muazzam. However, when Aurangzeb returned he attacked the fort of Golconda against the terms of the treaty and after almost eight months it fell to the Mughals in 1687 AD. Sultan Abul Hasan was imprisoned in the Daulatabad Fort
and was given a pension for his life. Golconda was annexed to the Mughal Empire. All the wealth of the Golconda dynasty including seven crores of rupees in cash, heaps of jewellery and gold and silver ornaments and other extremely valuable items were seized and acquired by Aurangzeb.