Brief note on the War of Succession Among the sons of Shah Jahan


When the news of Shah Jahan’s illness spread in A.D. 1657, the four princes set their eyes on the throne. Shah Jahan had four sons- Dara, Shuja, Aurangzeb and Murad. Dara was the eldest and his father’s favorite. He was the governor of Punjab and Multan but spent a lot of time with his father at Agra. He was a religious man and was greatly influenced by the Sufis. He was not at all liked by Aurangzeb who was a staunch Sunni.

Shuja was the governor of Bengal. Aurangzeb, the governor of the Deccan, was the most capable and shrewd of all his brothers. Murad was addicted to drinking and a fool. He had little sense to judge others. Murad, Shuja and Aurangzeb moved towards Agra. Shuja was defeated at Benaras by the imperial forces. Murad and Aurangzeb fought with the imperial forces at Dharmat and routed them. After this, they met the army led by Dara at Samugarh. Dara was defeated. Aurangzeb marched into Agra and made his father a prisoner.

At Delhi, Aurangzeb crowned himself the emperor after killing his brother Murad at Mathura. Dara, too was caught and executed in A.D. 1659. Thus, Aurangzeb became the master of India.


Shah Jahn lived as a captive for the rest of his life at Agra and died in A.D. 1666 at the age of 74. He was buried besides his wife Mumtaz Mahal in the Taj Mahal.

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