|Ahmad Shah Durrani|
احمد شاه دراني
Shāh Durr-i-Durrān ("King, Pearl of Pearls")
|1st Emir of the Durrani Empire|
|Successor||Timur Shah Durrani|
|Born||Ahmad Khan Abdali|
Herat, Sadozai Sultanate of Herat (present-day Afghanistan)
or Multan, Mughal Empire (present-day Pakistan)
|Died|| (aged 49–52): 409 |
Maruf, Kandahar Province, Durrani Empire
|Dynasty||House of Durrani|
|Father||Mohammad Zaman Khan Abdali|
Ahmad Shāh Durrānī (Pashto: احمد شاه دراني; Dari: احمد شاه درانی), also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī (احمد شاه ابدالي), was the founder of the Durrani Empire and is regarded as the founder of the modern Afghanistan. In July 1747, Ahmad Shah was appointed as King of the Afghans by a loya jirga in Kandahar, where he set up his capital. Primarily with the support of the Pashtun tribes, Ahmad Shah pushed east towards the Mughal and Maratha Empires of India, west towards the disintegrating Afsharid Empire of Iran, and north towards the Khanate of Bukhara of Turkestan. Within a few years, he extended his control from Khorasan in the west to North India in the east, and from the Amu Darya in the north to the Arabian Sea in the south.
Soon after accession, Ahmad Shah adopted the epithet Shāh Durr-i-Durrān, "King, Pearl of Pearls", and changed the name of his Abdali tribe to "Durrani" after himself. The Tomb of Ahmad Shah Durrani is located in the center of Kandahar, adjacent to Kirka Sharif (Shrine of the Cloak), which contains a cloak believed to have been worn by the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Afghans often refer to Ahmad Shah as Ahmad Shāh Bābā, "Ahmad Shah the Father."
Ahmad's father, Mohammad Zaman Khan, was the Governor of Herat and chief of the Pashtun Abdali tribe, while his mother, Zarghona Anaa, was daughter of Khalu Khan Alakozai and belonged to the Alakozai tribe. Ahmad was born in Herat (then Sadozai Sultanate of Herat, present-day Afghanistan), or Multan (then Mughal Empire, present-day Pakistan) in 1720–1722 around the time of his father's death, when the Abdali leadership still controlled the Herat region.
In June 1729, the Abdali forces under Zulfiqar had surrendered to Nader Shah Afshar, the rising new ruler of Persia. However, they soon began a rebellion and took over Herat as well as Mashad. In July 1730, he defeated Ibrahim Khan, a military commander and brother of Nader Shah. This prompted Nader Shah to retake Mashad and also intervene in the power struggle of Harat. By July 1731, Zulfiqar returned to his capital Farah where he had been serving as the governor since 1726. A year later Nadir's brother Ibrahim Khan took control of Farah. During this time Zulfiqar and the young Durrani fled to Kandahar where they took refuge with the Ghiljis. They were later made political prisoners by Hussain Hotak, the Ghilji ruler of the Kandahar region.
Nader Shah had been enlisting the Abdalis in his army since around 1729. After conquering Kandahar in 1738, Durrani and his brother Zulfiqar were freed and provided with leading careers in Nader Shah's administration. Zulfiqar was made Governor of Mazandaran while Durrani remained working as Nader Shah's personal attendant. The Ghiljis, who are originally from the territories east of the Kandahar region, were expelled from Kandahar in order to resettle the Abdalis along with some Qizilbash and other Persians.
Durrani proved himself in Nader Shah's service and was promoted from a personal attendant (yasāwal) to command the Abdali Regiment, a cavalry of four thousand soldiers and officers. The Abdali Regiment was part of Nader Shah's military during his invasion of the Mughal Empire in 1738.
Popular history has it that the Shah could see the talent in his young commander. Later on, according to Pashtun legend, it is said that in Delhi Nader Shah summoned Durrani, and said, "Come forward Ahmad Abdali. Remember Ahmad Khan Abdali, that after me the Kingship will pass on to you. Nader Shah recruited him because of his "impressive personality and valour" also because of his "loyalty to the Persian monarch".
Further information: Durrani dynasty
Nader Shah's rule abruptly ended in June 1747 when he was assassinated by his own guards. The guards involved in the assassination did so secretly so as to prevent the Abdalis from coming to their King's rescue. However, Durrani was told that the Shah had been killed by one of his wives. Despite the danger of being attacked, the Abdali contingent led by Durrani rushed either to save the Shah or to confirm what happened. Upon reaching the Shah's tent, they were only to see his body and severed head. Having served him so loyally, the Abdalis wept at having failed their leader, and headed back to Kandahar. Before the retreat to Kandahar, he had "removed" the royal seal from Nader Shah's finger and the Koh-i-Noor diamond tied "around the arm of his deceased master". On their way back to Kandahar, the Abdalis had "unanimously accepted" Durrani as their new leader. Hence he "assumed the insignia of royalty" as the "sovereign ruler of Afghanistan".
At the time of Nadir's death, he commanded a contingent of Abdali Pashtuns. Realizing that his life was in jeopardy if he stayed among the Persians who had murdered Nader Shah, he decided to leave the Persian camp, and with his 4,000 troops he proceeded to Qandahar. Along the way and by sheer luck, they managed to capture a caravan with booty from India. He and his troops were rich; moreover, they were experienced fighters. In short, they formed a formidable force of young Pashtun soldiers who were loyal to their high-ranking leader.
One of Durrani's first acts as chief was to adopt the epithet Shāh Durr-i-Durrān, "King, Pearl of Pearls."
Further information: Durrani Empire
Although Ahmad Shah appointed his fellow Durrani (Abdali) clansmen for most senior military posts, his army was otherwise ethnically diverse with soldiers also from various other ethnic and tribal groups, including non-Durrani Pashtun tribes like the Ghilji and Yusufzai, and non-Pashtun groups such as Qizilbash, Hazaras, Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Baloch. He began his military conquest by capturing Qalati Ghilji from its governor Ashraf Tokhi and installed his own governor in Ghazni. He then wrestled Kabul and Peshawar from Mughal-appointed governor Nasir Khan, and conquered the area up to the Indus River. On 15 July 1747, Ahmad Shah appointed Muhammad Hashim Afridi as chief of the Afridi of Peshawar. Ahmad Shah conquered Herat in 1750, Balkh and Badakhshan in 1751, and Kashmir in 1752.
He also made two campaigns into Khorasan (1750–51 and 1754–55). During the first campaign he besieged Mashhad in July 1750 but retreated after four months and on November 10 moved onto Nishapur. His forces suffered heavy casualties and were forced to retreat in early 1751. In 1754 he invaded again. In June 1754 he took Tun and on July 23 had besieged Mashhad. Mashhad fell on December 2 and although Shahrokh Shah was re-appointed as leader of Khorasan in May 1755 he was forced to cede Torshiz, Bakharz, Jam, Khaf, and Turbat-e Haidari to the Afghans. He invaded Nishapur again and after a 7-day siege the city fell on June 24, 1755, and was utterly destroyed.
See also: Indian Campaign of Ahmad Shah Durrani
Peshawar served as a convenient point for Ahmad Shah for his military conquests in Hindustan. From 1748 to 1767, he invaded Hindustan eight times. He first crossed the Indus River in 1748, the year after his ascension – his forces sacked and absorbed Lahore. In 1749, Ahmad Shah captured the area of Punjab around Lahore. In the same year, the Mughal ruler was induced to cede Sindh and all of the Punjab including the vital trans-Indus River to him, in order to save his capital from being attacked by the forces of the Durrani Empire Having thus gained substantial territories to the east without a fight, Ahmad Shah and his forces turned westward to take possession of Herat, which was ruled by Nader Shah's grandson, Shah Rukh. The city fell to the Afghans in 1750, after almost a year of siege and bloody conflict; the Afghan forces then pushed on into present-day Iran, capturing Nishapur and Mashhad in 1751. Following the recapture of Mashhad in 1754, Ahmad Shah visited the eighth Imam's sepulchre and ordered repairs to be made. Ahmad Shah then pardoned Shah Rukh and reconstituted Khorasan, but a tributary of the Durrani Empire. This marked the westernmost border of the Afghan Empire as set by the Pul-i-Abrisham, on the Mashhad-Tehran road.
Main article: Battle of Panipat (1761)
The Mughal power in northern India had been declining since the reign of Aurangzeb, who died in 1707. In 1751–52, the Ahamdiya treaty was signed between the Marathas and Mughals, when Balaji Bajirao was the Peshwa of the Maratha Empire. Through this treaty, the Marathas controlled large parts of India from their capital at Pune and Mughal rule was restricted only to Delhi (Mughals remained the nominal heads of Delhi). Marathas were now straining to expand their area of control towards the Northwest of India. Durrani sacked the Mughal capital and withdrew with the booty he coveted. To counter the Afghans, Peshwa Balaji Bajirao sent Raghunathrao. He succeeded in ousting Timur Shah and his court from India and brought northwest of India up to Peshawar under Maratha rule. Thus, upon his return to Kandahar in 1757, Durrani chose to return to India and confront the Maratha forces to regain northwestern part of the subcontinent.
In 1761, Durrani set out on his campaign to win back lost territories. The early skirmishes ended in victory for the Afghans against the Maratha garrisons in northwest India. By 1759, Durrani and his army had reached Lahore and were poised to confront the Marathas. By 1760, the Maratha groups had coalesced into a big enough army under the command of Sadashivrao Bhau. Once again, Panipat was the scene of a battle for control of northern India. The Third battle of Panipat was fought between Durrani's Afghan forces and the Maratha forces in January 1761, and resulted in a decisive Durrani victory.
The Afaqi brothers died in Badakhshan and the ruler Sultan Shah delivered their bodies to the Qing. Ahmad Shah Durrani accused Sultan Shah of having caused the Afaqi brothers to die.
Durrani dispatched troops to Kokand after rumours that the Qing dynasty planned to launch an expedition to Samarkand, but the alleged expedition never happened and Ahmad Shah subsequently withdrew his forces when his attempt at an anti-Qing alliance among Central Asian states failed. Durrani then sent envoys to Beijing to discuss the situation regarding the Afaqi Khojas.
According to some sources, Ahmad Shah may have suffered a wound on his nose during a horse-riding accident in Kabul in 1768, or he may have suffered an injury due to a flying brick striking his nose when the Harimandir Sahib was destroyed with gunpowder, Other sources state that he suffered from what Afghan sources described as a "gangrenous ulcer", which may attribute to numerous illnesses, such as Leprosy, Syphilis, or a tumor. Lee writes: "Ahmad Shah gained poor health as a result of all his campaigns. Despite all attempts to treat it, a wound in his nose remained. The ulcer in his later years began eating into his brain". Following the advice of his physicians, he would spend part of the summer in the cooler climate of the Margha plain in the Toba Achakzai range during the last few years of his life. He died of his illness on 4 June 1772 (2 Rabi' al-Awwal 1186) in Maruf, Toba Achakzai, east of Kandahar. Some other sources state that he died on 16 October 1772
He was buried in the city of Kandahar adjacent to the Shrine of the Cloak, where a large mausoleum was built. It has been described in the following way:
Under the shimmering turquoise dome that dominates the sand-blown city of Kandahar lies the body of Ahmad Shah Abdali, the young Kandahari warrior who in 1747 became the region's first Durrani king. The mausoleum is covered in deep blue and white tiles behind a small grove of trees, one of which is said to cure toothache, and is a place of pilgrimage. In front of it is a small mosque with a marble vault containing one of the holiest relics in the Islamic World, a kherqa, the Sacred Cloak of Mohammed that was given to Ahmad Shah by Mured Beg, the Emir of Bokhara. The Sacred Cloak is kept locked away, taken out only at times of great crisis but the mausoleum is open and there is a constant line of men leaving their sandals at the door and shuffling through to marvel at the surprisingly long marble tomb and touch the glass case containing Ahmad Shah's brass helmet. Before leaving they bend to kiss a length of pink velvet said to be from his robe. It bears the unmistakable scent of jasmine.
In his tomb his epitaph is written:
The King of high rank, Ahmad Shah Durrani,
Was equal to Kisra in managing the affairs of his government.
In his time, from the awe of his glory and greatness,
The lioness nourished the stag with her milk.
From all sides in the ear of his enemies there arrived
A thousand reproofs from the tongue of his dagger.
The date of his departure for the house of mortality
Was the year of the Hijra 1186 (1772 A.D.)
Durrani's victory over the Marathas influenced the history of the subcontinent and, in particular, the policies of the East India Company in the region. His refusal to continue his campaigns deeper into India prevented a clash with the company and allowed them to continue to acquire power and influence after they established complete control over the former Mughal province of Bengal in 1793. However, fear of another Afghan invasion would influence Company policy-makers for almost half a century after the Battle of Panipat. The acknowledgment of Durrani's military accomplishments is reflected in an intelligence report made by Company officials on the Battle of Panipat, which referred to Ahmad Shah as the 'King of Kings'. This fear led in 1798 to a Company envoy being sent to the Persian court in part to instigate the Persians in their claims on Herat to forestall a possible Afghan invasion of India that might have halted Company expansion. Mountstuart Elphinstone wrote of Ahmad Shah:
His military courage and activity are spoken of with admiration, both by his own subjects and the nations with whom he was engaged, either in wars or alliances. He seems to have been naturally disposed to mildness and clemency and though it is impossible to acquire sovereign power and perhaps, in Asia, to maintain it, without crimes; yet the memory of no eastern prince is stained with fewer acts of cruelty and injustice.
His successors, beginning with his son Timur Shah and ending with Shuja Shah Durrani, proved largely incapable of governing the last Afghan empire and faced with advancing enemies on all sides. Much of the territory conquered by Ahmad Shah fell to others by the end of the 19th century. Timur Shah would consolidate the holdings of the Durrani Empire, and fight off civil war and rebellion throughout his reign, he would also lead multiple campaigns into Punjab to try and repeat his fathers success. After the death of Timur Shah, his son, Zaman Shah Durrani ascended to the throne, throughout his reign he would lose the outlying territories but also alienated some Pashtun tribes and those of other Durrani lineages. Zaman Shah would lead campaigns into Punjab, capturing Lahore, however due to internal strife, he was forced to withdraw on all attempts. Zaman Shah would later be deposed by Mahmud Shah Durrani, his brother, and the Durrani Realm would continue to disintegrate in the following years from progressive succession crises, usually between Timur Shah's sons, with Mahmud Shah Durrani, Zaman Shah Durrani, and Shah Shuja Durrani. Afghanistan would remain disunited Until Dost Mohammad Khan's ascendancy in 1826, chaos reigned in Afghanistan, which effectively ceased to exist as a single entity, disintegrating into a fragmented collection of small countries or units. Dost Mohammad throughout his reign had focused on re-uniting Afghanistan and had succeeded in doing so, with the Herat Campaign of 1862-63 in the recapture of Herat, and the eventual conquest of the Principality of Qandahar.
In Pakistan, a short-range ballistic missile Abdali-I, is named in the honour of Ahmad Shah Abdali.
Durrani wrote a collection of odes in his native Pashto. He was also the author of several poems in Persian. One of his most famous Pashto poems was Love of a Nation:
ستا د عشق له وينو ډک سول ځيګرونه
By blood, we are immersed in love of you
ستا په لاره کښې بايلي زلمي سرونه
The youth lose their heads for your sake
تا ته راسمه زړګی زما فارغ سي
I come to you and my heart finds rest
بې له تا مې اندېښنې د زړه مارونه
Away from you, grief clings to my heart like a snake
که هر څو مې د دنيا ملکونه ډېر سي
Whatever countries I conquer in the world,
زما به هېر نه سي دا ستا ښکلي باغونه
I will never forget your beautiful gardens
د ډیلي تخت هېرومه چې را ياد کړم
I forget the throne of Delhi when I remember,
زما د ښکلي پښتونخوا د غرو سرونه
The mountain tops of my beautiful Pashtunkhwa
د فريد او د حميد دور به بيا سي
The eras of Farid [Sher Shah Suri] and Hamid [Lodi] will return,
چې زه وکاندم پر هر لوري تاختونه
When I launch attacks on all sides
که تمامه دنيا يو خوا ته بل خوا يې
If I must choose between the world and you,
زما خوښ دي ستا خالي تش ډګرونه
I shall not hesitate to claim your barren deserts as my own
During Nader Shah's invasion of India in 1739, Ahmad Shah also accompanied him and stayed some days in the Red Fort of Delhi. When he was standing "outside the Jali gate near Diwan-i-Am", Asaf Jah I saw him. He was "an expert in physiognomy" and predicted that Ahmad Shah was "destined to become a king". When Nader Shah learned of it, he "purportedly clipped" his ears with his dagger and made the remark "When you become a king, this will remind you of me". According to other sources, Nader Shah did not believe in it and asked him to be kind to his descendants "on the attaintment of royalty".
According to the Taẕkira of Anand Ram "Mukhliṣ," Aḥmad Shāh issued a royal edict on 15 July 1747, appointing Muḥammad Hāshim Afrīdī as chief of the Afrīdī of the Peshawar region. This appears to affirm that Aḥmad Shāh's accession took place no later than mid-July.
The fact that numerous sources composed in the ruler's lifetime consistently connect him in his youth to Herat justifies the stance of Ghubār and others that Aḥmad Shāh was, in fact, born in the Herat region, around the time his father passed away and when the Abdālī leadership still exercised authority over the province.
Ahmad Shah (ruled 1747–72), the ephemeral empire's founder, was born in Multan in 1722.
It was in Multan that the future Aḥmad Shāh Sadūzāʾī was born of Khudādād's lineage.
Ahmad Shah Abdali (1722–72): Born in Multan, Ahmad Shah rose to power in the service of the Persian warlord Nadir Shah.
Afghans refer to him as Ahmad Shah Baba (Ahmad Shah, the father).
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...as the Golden Temple was being destroyed a brick slipped and hit the nose of Ahmed Shah Abdali causing a wound on it
... the temple structure was so powerfully blown that its debris reached tank's bank and a blown brick hit Abdali's nose ...
as a consequence of which he was wounded on the nose by a flying brick piece on April 10, 1762 which wound remained a festering incurable sore till he died of it on October 16, 1772 at Toba Mar in Suleman hills of Afghanistan.
Desecration of AmritsarTemple: To further punish the Sikhs he attacked them at Amritsar on the eve of the Baisakhi festival, i.e. April 10, 1762, when thousands of them had gathered for a bath in the holy tank. They of course dispersed at his approach, and he took occasion to blow up their sacred temple with gunpowder. The bungas or rest-houses meant for pilgrims were destroyed, and the tank after being desecrated with the blood of cows was filled up with refuse and debris. As the buildings were being blown up, a flying brick-bat is said to have struck the Shah on his nose and inflicted a wound from which he never recovered.
Few possessors of the Koh-i-Noor have led happy lives, and while Ahmad Shah rarely lost a battle, he was eventually defeated by a foe more intractable than any army. From early on in his reign, his face began to be eaten away by what the Afghan sources call a 'gangrenous ulcer', possibly leprosy, syphilis or some form of tumour. Even as he was winning his greatest victory at Panipat, Ahmad Shah's disease had already consumed his nose, and a diamond-studded substitute was attached in its place.
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In the following years Abdali's face became disfigured due to the wound inflicted on his nose by the flying brick. To cover it up, he got a nose of silver made. As ordained by Providance, maggot's formation took place in his nose, throat and brain. So much so that it became difficult for him to swallow the food. Maggots would slip down his throat. Attendants, tried to feed him milk by spoon but maggots would fall from his nose in the spoon. His condition became miserable and on the night of 16th Oct, 1772 at Toba Maruf in Suilleman hills he met with a terrible end.
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