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Alamgir II (Mughal Emperor)

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Alamgir II, was the son of Mughal Emperor Jahandar Shah and grandson of Bahadur Shah I. He was born on June 6, 1699 and died on November 29, 1759. His original name was Aziz-ud-Din.

Alamgir II reigned for a short period of five years from 2nd day of June, 1754 to 29th November, 1759. He was fifty-five years of age at the time of his accession. He had spent all his life in prison and had, therefore, no experience of war or civil administration. He, however, loved to read books of history, disliked pleasures and said his prayers regularly. He was a religious person and had a liking for Sufi saints. He used to attend the various city mosques on a regular basis.

He was devoid of capacity for leadership. Throughout his reign, he was controlled by his his wazir (Vizier), Imad-ul-Mulk, who was an undisciplined and selfish courtier. Mughal Emperor Alamgir II, mainly depended on the acts of his wazir, Imad-ul-Mulk.

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During the reign of Alamgir II, the wazir attempted to recover the Punjab from the Abdali’s domination. Muin-ul-Mulk, Governor of the Punjab on behalf of Ahmad Shah Abdali of Kabul, died in November 1753. The Abdali permitted Muin-ul-Mulk’s infant son to take his father’s place and the child’s mother Mughlani Begum to act as his regent. The boy governor died soon after and Mughlani Begum was confirmed in his place. Under her the affairs of the Punjab were mismanaged and anarchy prevailed throughout the province. Wazir Imad-ul-Mulk took this opportunity to recover the Punjab and set out from Delhi taking the emperor with him, but had to return from Panipat on account of a fearful revolt in his army. Within a few months he proceeded again and from Ludhiana sent a powerful contingent of his troops to Lahore to bring Mughlani Begum as a prisoner. This was done and the wazir appointed Adina Beg Khan as governor of the province.

The wazir’s interference in the affairs of the Punjab led to the fourth invasion of India by Ahmad Shah Abdali who had considered that province as his own. The Afghan king marched on Lahore and Adina Beg Khan fled to Hisar in terror. Imad-ul-Mulk in alarm appealed to Mughlani Begum, his mother-in-law, to intercede for him and surrendered himself to the Shah. The Abdali forgave him and accepted him as wazir.

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The invader entered Delhi and met Alamgir II, ordered the imperial city to be sacked and forced contributions to be realized from all nobles, officers and inhabitants. Many people fled and some committed suicide to save their honour.

The Abdali had sent another force to Mathura. An epidemic broke out in the Afghan army which caused great mortality and compelled Ahmad Shah to return. Near Delhi Alamgir II met him and complained of his treatment by wazir Imad-ul-Mulk. The invader appointed Najib Khan Ruhela as Mir Bakhshi, and conferred on him the title of Najib-ud-daula and entrusted him with the duty of protecting the emperor.

After the Abdali’s departure in 1757, the emperor placed all the districts round the capital under Najib-ud-daula who appropriated most of the revenues of these districts for himself and starved the royal family. Alamgir found Najib even worse than Imad-ul-Mulk. It was at this time that Imad-ul-­Mulk made peace with the Marathas and with their assistance besieged Najib in August, 1757. Najib surrendered after forty-five days’ siege and retired to his estate in Saharanpur and Najibabad. Imad-ul-Mulk took charge of the administration and the Maratha influence was re-established at the capital.

After his restoration with Maratha help, wazir Imad-ul-Mulk took steps to re-establish his hold over the Emperor.

Meanwhile, the quarrel between Alamgir II and his wazir, Imad-­ul-Mulk, had reached its climax. The wazir, Imad-ul-Mulk, plotted a plan to kill Alamgir II.  Alamgir II was murdered in 1759, but his son Shah Alam II managed to escape. Shah Alam II further managed to become the next Mughal Emperor.

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