Perfectly timed invasion by Nader Shah (1739 - fall of Mogul rule in India

Nader Shah of Persia. Delhi invasion. Epic World History

India was  once a land of diamonds and precious stones, gold and silver. Particularly innumerable Hindu temples had a vast collection of gold jewels, precious stones, etc to be adorned by the deities during the festival times. Not only did the Hindu Maharajahs have a vast wealth of valuable jewelry, but also  the later Mogul rulers who ruled the land for a long period.

Babur (Persian;  14 February 1483 -26 December 1530), born Ẓahīr-ud-Dīn Muḥammad, was a conqueror from Central Asia. After a few early setbacks  he finally laid the early foundation for the  Mogul dynasty in the Indian subcontinent and became the first Mogul emperor. He was a direct descendant of Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur (Tamurlane) from the Barlas clan, through his father, and also a descendant of Genghis Khan on his maternal side.

Babar was the first of the Moguls to invade India in 1521, and seized power at Delhi by defeating the army of the Lodhi Sultan Ibrahim at Panipat in 1526.  In the midst of  economic and political crisis under the Moguls, who suffered from intellectual bankruptcy and foresight due to excessive power and pelf with the exception of Akbar, they never kept the nation secular and united. Their policies offended the sentiments of the Hindus, who formed the majority  and also the Muslims. Aurangzeb, whose  reign lasted for 49 years from 1658 until his death in 1707, was the most dreaded Mogul ruler. He was an expansionist and his victories in the southern states brought roughly 4 million sq. miles under his control.  Ruling over a population of 148 million people, he had a vast revenue of $459 million (£38,624,680 (2,879,469,894 rupees) - more than ten times that of his contemporary Louis XIV of France) in 1690.

Nader Shah  invasion of india1739

But, he failed to maintain the legacy of religious tolerance and pluralism (he introduced the Jizya tax for the Hindus) coupled with frequent expensive war expeditions that  hastened the decline of Mogul power in India toward the end of his regime. Aurangzeb was almost bankrupt before his death. The once Mogul empire had been weakened by ruinous wars of succession in the three decades following the death of Aurangzeb. The weak military and poor administration under the unworthy descendants of Babur exposed them to the menace of foreign invaders. The province became weak and corrupt  and there was hardly any collection of state revenues. Money had been spent by  declaring war on the mighty Maratha rulers. 

However, the stashed Mogul treasury had enough to attract the foreign invaders from NW. In the later years the soldiers in the Mogul army  had not been paid regularly for several years.  Situation in the subcontinent under the later  Mogul rulers being dismal, it provided a golden opportunity  for the invader from the NW to  seize power.

Invasion of Nadir Shah,

Muhammad Shah/

The ruler of Iran, Nader Shah (1736–47), a shrewd and powerful warrior did not lose time to let the opportunity slip  past him. Being the founder of the Afsharid dynasty of Persia, he exploited the weakness of last Moguls, at the right time. Having conquered many lands on the way to Delhi, at the Battle of Karnal on 24 February 1739, Nader led his army to victory over the Moguls headed by Muhammad Shah (7 August 1702-16 April 1748; Mogul emperor from 1719 to 1748) who surrendered  to him. The keys to the capital of Delhi were surrendered to Nader. He entered the city on 20 March 1739 and plundered the city of Delhi in February,1739 and took away immense  amounts of wealth. It was the worst plunder in Indian history next to the raid of Ghazni Mohame on the Somnath temple, Gujarat. During the course of six hours in one day, 22 March 1739, approximately 20,000 to 30,000 Indian men, women and children were mercilessly slaughtered by the Afsharid troops during the massacre in the city. In addition, some 10,000 women and children were taken slaves, according to a representative of the Dutch East India Company in Delhi. Though the estimates are controversial, history records
show that it was the most violent plunder of Delhi.

 In the words of the Tazkira:
    "Here and there some opposition was offered, but in most places people were butchered unresistingly. The Persians laid violent hands on everything and everybody. For a long time, streets remained strewn with corpses, as the walks of a garden with dead leaves and flowers. The town was reduced to ashes''.

 The Noor-ol-Ain diamond Tiara

The Koh-i-Noor and Darya-i-Noor ("Mountain of Light" and "Sea of Light," respectively) were  some of  the valuable diamonds taken away by Nader Shah. The latter  is now with the Iranian crown jewels along with  another priceless treasure  the famous peacock throne made of gold,  numerous diamonds, and innumerable precious stones of various beautiful enchanting colors and sizes with gold, silver, diamonds, pearls and emeralds from the Mogul treasury are now on display in the Tehran Museum. Besides sacking Delhi for several days an enormous fine to the tune of 20 million rupees was levied on the people of Delhi by Nadir Shah.

After the assassination of Nader Shah in 1747, the invasion was followed by a series of plundering raids by the Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah  Abdali, who invaded north India five times between 1748 and 1761. He took control of Punjab, Kashmir and finally defeated the  Marathas.

Nadir Shah Steppe History Forum - ProBoards

Mogul's Pecock throne

A graphic account of Nader Shah's worst invasion’s impact upon Delhi:

''..... (those) ... who had been masters were now in dire straits; and those who had been revered couldn’t even (get water to) quench their thirst. The recluses were pulled out of their corners. The wealthy were turned into beggars. Those who once set the style in clothes now went naked; and those who owned property were now homeless ... The New City (Shahjahanabad) was turned into rubble. (Nader Shah) then attacked the Old quarters of the city and destroyed a whole that existed there''.

It was a great blow to the surviving Mogul rulers and Nadir Shah's daring invasion left them bleeding and prostrate, exposing their hollowness and helplessness. Nadrr Shah's men were notorious criminals, rapists and cutthroat soldiers; they raped the women besides ravaging and destroying the kingdom. The Hindu temples were looted and damaged. They killed both Hindus and Muslims in large numbers.