Find the perfect fit with Amazon Prime. Try Before You Buy.

Try Amazon Audible Premium Plus and Get Up to Two Free Audiobooks

Nadir Shah Invades India

An extract from:Mohammad Shah by Kodoom

Invasion Of Nadir Shah
In 1739, the Napoleon of Persia, Nadir Shah invaded Delhi and looted it. It is an event of macro importance in Indian History as it resulted in the fall of the Mughal Empire, the richest and most famous of all Indian Imperial Dynasties.

1. Nadir Shah wanted to empty Kandahar of Afghans. Therefore he asked the Mughal Emperor to close the Mughal frontiers around Kabul so that the Afghan rebels may not seek refuge in Kabul. The Emperor gave a confirming reply to Nadir Shah but didn't do practically anything. At this Nadir Shah sent an ambassador to the Mughal Emperor. The Emperor delayed meeting him and kept him at Delhi for an entire year. Thus Nadir Shah became furious with the Mughal Emperor.
2. Looking at the weak position of the Mughal Empire, Nadir Shah wanted to gain the rich treasures of India.

Nadir Shah at the sack of Delhi
Course Of The War
On the basis of the above reasons, Nadir Shah invaded India and decided to attack from Afghanistan. In May, 1738 he attacked Northern Afghanistan. In the same month, he captured Ghazni, in June he captured Kabul and in September Jalalabad also fell to him. In November he surrounded the fortress of Peshawar and completely razed it to the ground. Finally in January 1739, he captured Lahore, the former capital of the Mughal Empire.

Now Nadir Shah had captured territory up to Attock and Muhammad Shah and his courtiers could not close their eyes from further danger. They finally understood that the Persian Emperor was not the sort of enemy that could be bought off with the loot of a province. Furthermore he had devastated the area he had just conquered. The cities of Wazirabad, Emanabad and Gujrat were not only sacked but razed to the ground, its population murdered.

In February 1739, Nadir Shah captured Sirhind and moved towards the field of Karnal, a battle destined to be fateful to the Mughal rulers. On 13 February, the battle of Karnal was fought. Emperor Muhammad Shah had a force of over a hundred thousand against Nadir Shah's 55,000 men but was still decisively defeated. In the event, the Khan Doran died and wrote a will that the Mughal and Afsharid emperors should not meet but Nadir Shah should be turned back from there at all costs. His will was disregarded and the Emperor himself met Nadir Shah in his camp and abdicated on 26 February, thirteen days after the battle of Karnal. He handed over the keys of the Delhi gate and entered Delhi with him.

At first everything was cordial between the two emperors. However rumours spread throughout Delhi that Nadir Shah had been assassinated. The masses attacked the Persian force and slaughtered 900 Persian soldiers. At this Nadir Shah massacred the populace, and at least 30,000 people died. The Emperor, Nizam-ul-Mulk and Chief Minister Nawab Qamar-id-Din Khan Bahadur went to Nadir Shah to plead for mercy and thus he stopped the massacre and turned to looting the Mughal treasury. The famous Peacock throne, the Darya-e-Noor diamond and unimaginable wealth was looted. In addition, elephants, horses and everything that was desired was taken. Muhammad Shah had to marry his daughter Jahan Afruz Banu Begum to Nadir Shah's youngest son.

Now Muhammad Shah was crowned as emperor by Nadir Shah himself on 12 May, and Muhammad Shah ceded the area west of the Indus to Nadir Shah. They both switched crowns according to the Persian tradition of friendship and the Koh-i-Noor diamond was also lost. Then Nadir Shah went back to Persia.

After the Sayyid Brothers and the Marathas, this invasion destroyed what was left of the Mughal Empire and brought it near it to its end. The weakness of the Mughal army was clearly portrayed by this invasion. The Afghans began their relentless invasions of India. Everywhere there was depression and loss of hope. This invasion, in fact, brought the Mughal Empire to its fateful end.


Nadir Shah, the Persian Napoleon + Soldier Pictures
Nader Shah's victory against the Moghul Army at Karnal in 1739
Nadir Shah at the sack of Delhi
Persian Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers