Malik Ambar’s son Fateh Khan succeeded him to the exalted position of wakil and peshwa. He, however, lacked his father’s great qualities and was incapable as a statesman and a general. His haughty conduct created a rift between the Habashis and the Deccanis, many of whom deserted him and joined the Mughals.
He annoyed the Marathas by conniving at the murder of their chief Jadhav Rao and his family members which led many of them to desert him. He now approached the eunuch Hamid Khan or Jait Khan who tried to recover the fort of Ahmadnagar but was defeated by Khan-i-Jahan Lodi. But the temptation of Deccani gold proved to be stronger and he was able to win him over with huge bribe.
Khan-i-Jahan handed over to him the whole of Balaghat as far as the fortress of Ahmadnagar. Meanwhile, Shahjahan had ascended to the throne of Delhi. He was an orthodox sunni and regarded it his religious duty to exterminate the shia States of Deccan. He himself marched to Deccan to chastise the rebel Khan-i-Jahan Lodi and to annex the Nizam Shahi kingdom.
He reached Deccan in A.D. 1629 and the Mughal army was sent in two directions under the command of Azam Khan and Abul Hasan. Azam Khan inflicted a crushing defeat on the Deccan armies in 1630 and forced them to withdraw to Devalgaon and Bir. Khan-i- Jahan fled and took refuge in Daulatabad hotly pursued by Azam Khan.
The fort of Dharur had to-be surrendered to the Mughals after heroic reisistance by its commander Siddi Salim. The ruler of Bijapur, Nasir Khan sent large armies under Randaula Khan to protect his frontiers against the Mughals and the Nizam Shahis. Burhan decided to move towards Kandhar but was intercepted by Azam Khan and had to take refuge in Daulatabad.
The Mughals laid siege to the fort. Burhan’s appeal for help to the Adil Shahis offering Sholapur as the price brought a favourable response from the Bijapur dictator, Khawas Khan. Azam Khan sent Jai Singh and Multafit Khan to prevent any reinforcements and help from Adil Shahis.
The strategic fort of Parenda was besieged by the Mughals. Vithoji’s attempt to relieve the besiegers proved abortive. Adil Shahi troops, however, proved more successful and Azam Khan had to raise the siege and withdraw to Dharur. But the allies failed to rescue the besieged garrison at Kandhar.
The fort was ultimately captured by the Mughals. Meanwhile Abul Hasan had captured Nasik and Sangamnir. Burhan Nizam Shah was in a desperate condition. On his mother’s insistence, he released her brother Fateh Khan who was also raised to the position of wakil and peshwa.
Burhan Nizam Shah asked him to do whatever he could to save the kingdom as his father had earlier done. Fateh Khan’s first task was to put to death his old rival Hamid Khan. He then opened negotiations with the Mughals and at their suggestion he brought about the death of Burhan by poisioning him. He raised his son Husain, a boy of ten, to the throne with the title Husain Nizam Shah III.
Shahjahan left Deccan on 6 March, 1632 and appointed Mahabat Khan as the Governor of Deccan. He had to fight against the Adil Shahis as well as Shahji. Fateh Khan found his position quite insecure and was obliged to surrender the fort of Daulatabad.
Fateh Khan was taken into the imperial service, while Husain Nizam Shah was imprisoned in the fort of Gwalior for the rest of his life. Shahji deserted the Mughals and extended his rule over the territory from “Poona-Chakan to the Konkan, from Junnar and Sangamnir to the environs of Daulatabad and Ahmadnagar.” He had captured Nasik and Trimbak from the Mughals and seized a larger part of Nizam Shahi territory.
Shahji now came foward as a champion of Nizam Shahi kingdom. He found a scion of the royal family and proclaimed him King under the title of Murtaza Nizam Shah III, in 1633. It is difficult to say whether his motive was to carve out a kingdom for himself or he was sincerely trying to revive the defunct Nizam Shahi kingdom.
In any case, he governed in the name of Nizam Shah and resisted the Mughal advance. He captured several forts such Shivnevi, Jivdhan, Khef, Hansgarh, etc. He even plundered and ravaged the country around Ahmadnagar. Mahabat Khan had meanwhile died on 26 October, 1634. Shah jahan himself marched to Deccan to subdue Shahji, and to obtain the allegiance of two other kingdoms.
He reached Burhanpur in January 1636 and planned his course of action. The army was divided into four divisions. Shaista and Allivardi Khan were to take possession of the forts of Chandor, Sangamnir, Nasik, etc., Khan-i-Zaman was to compel him to leave the Nizam Shahi territories, and Khan-i-Dauran was to prevent any help from Qutb Shahi kingdoms while Khan-i-Jahan was to attack Adil Shahi territory.
Thus Shahji was pressed from all sides. Shaista Khan and Allivardi Khan were quite successful in their plan and captured as many as 25 forts. Khan-i-Zaman drove away Shahji and he took shelter in the fortress of Mahdli. Adil Shahi forces were defeated by Khan-i-Dauran at Bidar and Gulbarga.
The Sultan signed a peace treaty by which he surrendered the forts of Parenda and Sholapur and adjoining areas. Adil Shah was given some parts of Nizam Shahi kingdom including the province of Kalyani and the territory lying between rivers Bhima and Nira. He was required to help the Mughal forces to subdue Shahji.
Aurangzeb was appointed viceroy of Deccan on 18 April, 1637. Shahji was relentlessly pursued by the Adil Shah and Mughal forces and he had to surrender the forts of Udgir and Ausa.
He was in great straits and offered to surrender Murtaza Nizam Shah III. He also promised to join the Adil Shahi service. The Prince Murtaza was sent as a prisoner to Gwalior and thus Nizam Shahi kingdom of Ahmadnagar was extinguished.