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Mughal war of succession (1707–1709)

Mughal war of succession (1707–1709)

After the death of Aurangzeb, there were three official contenders to the Mughal throne – Prince Muhammad Azam, Muhammad Muazzam, also called Shah Alam and Bahadur Shah I, and Kam Bakhsh. It was Prince Muhammad Azam who conveyed his father’s body for burial to Khuldabad. Moreover, Muhammad Azam had been Aurangzeb’s more-or-less official heir apparent since 1681.

At the time of Aurangzeb’s death, Muazzam or Bahadur Shah I was in Kabul far away from the scene; Kam Bakhsh was in the southern Deccan, but Muhammad Azam was right at hand near the imperial court. What followed was a race to Agra.

In spite of the forbidding distance, Muazzam (Bahadur Shah I) made it in good time. On 10 June 1707, he along with his men reached Jajau and defeated Muhammad Azam in the battle. On June 19, Bahadur Shah I was finally coronated at the age of 63. Azam’s reign had barely lasted seventy-eight days.

The other contender, Kam Bakhsh, had stayed behind in the Deccan. As per Aurangzeb’s last will, Bahadur Shah was happy to leave his younger brother in control of his territories. However, Kam Baksh’s reckless behaviour compelled Bahadur Shah to take an action.

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Almost two years later, on 13 January 1709, Kam Baksh was defeated and critically injured near Hyderabad in a battle with Muazzam and died the next day. Bahadur Shah himself washed the wounds from Kam Baksh’s body and replaced his blood-stained clothes.

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