The story of 16th Mughal Emperor Alamgir II (earlier Aziz-ud-Din) is quite strange yet interesting as he spent most of his life in prison before he was raised to the throne at the age of 55.Here, we shall share everything about his life.
Aziz-ud-Din was born to Mughal Emperor Jahandar Shah and his wife Muazzamabadi Mahal in 1699. However, when Jahandar Shah was defeated by his nephew Farrukhsiyar in 1713, Aziz-ud-Din along with his father was jailed too. Aziz-ud-Din was Jahandar Shah’s second son.
So, although he was born during the beautiful era of Aurangzeb, his great grandfather, and life was normal during his grandfather and father’s reign. At the age of 13, he was jailed and spent all his life there.
Elevation to the Mughal Throne
After sitting on the Mughal Throne for almost 6 years, Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur was blinded and imprisoned. This gave Aziz-ud-Din the chance to become a Mughal Emperor. Well because Aziz-ud-Din, 55, was raised to the throne by Imad-ul-Mulk after he successfully deposed Ahmad Shah Bahadur in 1754.
The Reign of Mughal Emperor Alamgir II
When he ascended the throne, Aziz-ud-Din took the title of Alamgir and became Mughal Emperor Alamgir II. Having seen his great grandfather Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir on the throne, he followed his approach.
However, now that he was an old man of 55 years with no experience of administration and warfare, he was a weak ruler. All the powers were vested into the hand of his vizier, Ghazi-ud-Din Imad-ul-Mulk who had made him the Emperor. Being a selfish man, Imad-ul-Mulk didn’t let Mughal Emperor Alamgir II let breathe easily.
When the Marathas were growing strong, Alamgir II decided to take the help of the French. So in 1755, he wrote a letter to De Bussy requesting French assistance against Marathas. He asked De Bussy for French contingent of 1000 to protect his capital at Delhi. In return, promised to pay a hefty sum for the maintenance of the French and also promised to settle disputes in the Carnatic Wars.
However, things didn’t turn out in Alamgir’s favour as Imad-ul-Mulk made allies with the Marathas. Alamgir II on the other formed an alliance with Ahmed Shah Durrani. Soon, his son become his son-in-law. Later, in the siege of Delhi in 1757 the Marathas led by Raghunath Rao could occupy all of the villages near Jamuna. Slowly, he lost power from all sides as the Marathas grew strong.
Mughal Emperor Alamgir II had 6 wives – Zinat Mahal, Faiz Bakht Begum, Azizabadi Mahal, Latifa Begum, Zinat Afruz Begum and Aurangabadi Mahal. He had 9 sons and few daughters. His eldest son Shah Alam II later became the Mughal emperor while his one daughter Zuhra Begum was married to Timur Shah Durrani, the son of Ahmed Shah Durrani.
The name of his other sons were Mirza Muhammad Ali Asghar Bahadur, Mirza Muhammad Harun Hidayat Bakhsh Bahadur, Mirza Tali Murad Shah Bahadur, Mirza Jamiyat Shah Bahadur, Mirza Muhammad Himmat Shah Bahadur, Mirza Ahsan-ud-Din Muhammad Bahadur and Mirza Mubarak Shah Bahadur.
In the summer of 1759, the eldest son of Alamgir II Prince Ali Gauhar (Shah Alam II) escaped from Delhi. This made Imad-ul-Mulk and the Maratha leader Sadashivrao Bhau furious as they thought Alamgir II wants to advance his son to overthrow their authority.
After having a through discussion, Imad-ul-Mulk decide to plot to wash out Mughal Emperor Alamgir II. Next, he not just murdered the Emperor but also assassinated all the prominent members of his family by the winter of 1759. Thus ending his reign. He was buried in Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi.
Source and Reference:
Mughal Empire in India: A Systematic Study Including Source Material by SR Sharma
“Alamgir II (Mughal emperor) – Encyclopædia Britannica”