Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan’s son Shah Shuja murdered in Burma’s Arakan (in English and Burmese)

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The Cambridge History of India : Shah Shuja in Arakan

Shah Shuja the second son of the Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan. In 1639, Shah Shuja the second son of the Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan, was designated deputy of the king of Bengal. The struggle for succession between the sons began immediately. Aurangzeb won, dethroned his father in 1658 and declared himself emperor. Shah Shuja continued his fight but was finally defeated in 1660. Since he did not succeed in establishing his rule in Bengal, he fled, together with his family and bodyguards, from Dacca to Chittagong.

Sandathudama, king of Arakan Burma(1652-1687) granted him permission to continue to Mrohaung on condition that his followers surrender their weapons. He arrived there on August 26, 1660, was welcomed by the king and given a dwelling near the town. There are various versions of the events describing what happened in Arakan at that time.

 

Prince Shah Shuja (1616-30), the third son of ...

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According to the archives (Daghrigister) of the Dutch East India Company in Batavial, the Company’s representative and director of the Dutch trading post who was in Mrohaung at the time reported the events to Batavia. He too was not an eye witness but wrote according to rumors heard in the city.

He describes the warm welcome given to Shah Shuja in 1660, by the Arakan king and his promise to supply the refugees with ships to take them to Mecca. Eight months passed and the promise had not been kept.

According to the Dutch representative, the reason for this was that King Sanda Thudama asked Shah Shuja for a daughter in marriage… Shah Shuja proudly refused to submit to what he regarded as a grave dishonour, and as a result friendly relations ceased between him and the King.

The Dutch East India Company representative states that Shah Shuja’s followers were murdered on February 7, 1661, because the prince intended to escape from the King’s palace and conquer the kingdom of Arakan for himself [For details, please see G.E.Hervey, The fate of Shah Shuja 1661. Journal of the Burma Research Society, part 1, 1922. pp. 107-115]

But who escaped the massacre were later admitted into the king’s bodyguard as a special archers unit calledKama ns orKam anci.[ M. Siddique Khan, op, cit., p. 253}]Those of Shah Shuja’s soldiers who escaped the massacre were later admitted into the king’s bodyguard as a special archers unit called Kamans or Kamanci (from the Persian : bow, kaman. bowman Kamaci.) From 1666 to 1710 the political rule of
Arakan was completely in their hands, during which the Muslim Kaman units played a decisive role of king makers and king breakers. Their numbers were increased from time to time by fresh arrivals from upper India.[ G. E Hervey, History of Burma, London 1925, P. 148. Mohammad Khalilur Rahman, Tarik-i- Islam Arakan & Burma, Urdu version, Quoted by Abdul Haque Chowdhury]

The historian Sir Arthur P.Phayre thinks that the Arakanese Chronicles conceal their king’s ugly behaviour, and emphasize the prince’s abortive experiment to capture the palace by neglecting to mention the preceding provocation of not providing the promised ships, the king’s request to have one of Shah Shuja’s daughter’s in marriage and his wish to molest the prince’s richest.

Phayre quotes no source for this ‘opinion, which is apparently only his personal point of view, but a decidedly acceptable one.

Although immediately after Shah Shuja came to Arakan, Aurangzeb demanded to the Arakan king to deliver the fleeing prince and his family into his hands. Aurangzeb had been seen to be quite prepared himself to murder his own brother, but became angry when the Arakan king dared to harm a member of the Royal Mogul Family.

He decided to use this as an excuse to put an end to the Portugese Arakanese pirate raids on the East Bengal coast. In 1665 to 1666 a large Mogul force attacked the Portuguese and Arakanese, demolished their settlements in Sandwip, destroyed their navies and conquered Chittagong and Ramu. During their retreat to Mrohaung, Arakanese army units were also attacked by the local Muslim population, descendants of the Muslim slaves who had been settled on the land.

This defeat spelled the end of the power of the kingdom of Arakan. The death of Sandathudama in 1684, marked the beginning of a period of anarchy and riots in the kingdom during which the Muslim Kaman units played a decisive role as makers and displacers of kings. These units were being continually reinforced by fresh Afghan mercenaries from North India. From 1666 until 1710 the political rule of Arakan was completely in their hands. Ten kings were crowned and dethroned and usually murdered- by them during that period- In 1710 king Sandawizaya (1710-1731) succeeded in gaining the upper hand over them, and most of the Kamans were exiled to Rarmee Island.

Their descendants live in Rarmee and in a few villages near Akyab and still bear the same name to this very day. Their language is Arakanese and their customs are similar to Arakan customs in everything except religion Islam.( G. E Hervey, History of Burma, London 1925, P. 148. Mohammad Khalilur Rahman, Tarik-i- Islam Arakan & Burma, Urdu version, Quoted by Abdul Haque Chowdhury)

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Next source:Shah Shuja (Mughal) From Wikipedia

Shāh Shujā (June 23, 1616 – 1660) was the second son of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and empress Mumtaz Mahal.

Emperor Shah Jahan appointed Shah Shuja as the Subahdar or governor of Bengal in 1639. In 1642, Shuja was also given the charge of the province of Orissa. He ruled the provinces for more than twenty years, from 1639 to 1660. During the period there were two short breaks: first in 1647-1648, when he was with the emperor on his campaigns against rebels in the Afghan passes; and the second in 1652, when he was at Kabul for about four months from April to July. During the later part of his Subahdari, from 1658 he twice proceeded towards the capital in his bid to contest for the throne.

Shāh Shujā built the Bara Katra (Bengali: বড় কাটরা) between 1644 and 1646 in Dhaka to serve as his official residence.

When Shah Jahan fell ill, a struggle for the throne started between his four sons – Dara Shikoh, Shah Shuja, Aurangzeb and Murad Baksh. Shuja immediately crowned himself the emperor and took imperial titles. He marched with a large army, backed by a good number of war-boats in the river Ganges. However, he was beaten by Dara’s army in a hotly contested Battle of Bahadurpur (in modern Uttar Pradesh, India). Shuja turned back to Rajmahal to make further preparations. In the meantime, Aurangzeb defeated Dara twice (at Dharmat and Samugarh), caught him, executed him on a charge of heresy and ascended the throne. Shuja marched again to the capital, this time against Aurangzeb. A battle took place on 5 January 1658 at Khajwa (Fatehpur district, Uttar Pradesh, India) where Shuja was defeated.

After his defeat, Shuja retreated towards Bengal. He was pursued by the imperial army under Mir Jumla. Shuja put up a good fight against them. However, he was finally defeated in the last battle in April 1660. After each defeat he had to face desertions in his own army, but he did not lose heart. He, rather, reorganised the army with renewed vigor. But when he was going to be surrounded at Tandah, and when he found that reorganisation of the army was no longer possible, he decided to leave Bengal (and India) for good and take shelter in Arakan. He left Tanda with his family and retinue in the afternoon of 6 April 1660 and reached Dhaka on 12 April. He left Dhaka on 6 May and boarded the Arakanese ships on 12 May at Bhulua (near present-day Noakhali, Bangladesh).

Shuja made contacts with Arakan before his departure from Bengal. His plan was to go to Mecca and then to Persia or Turkey. But as the sea was rough in May and the rainy season, he asked for asylum in Arakan for a few months and help in procuring ships. On his arrival at Mrohaung (Mrauk-U), the capital of Arakan, the king warmly received him through his ministers. A house was allowed for Shuja’s stay in the outskirts of the city. But as time passed, the king’s attitude to his guest changed; either for getting hold of rich treasures Shuja carried with him, or to get one of the pretty and cultured daughters of Shuja as his spouse, the king picked up a quarrel with Shuja. Shuja, his family and his retinue were tortured to death. A few of his retinue, fleeing to the countryside, could escape the gruesome murder, but some of the Mughal princes and princesses survived.

References

  1. JN Sarkar (ed), History of Bengal, vol II, Dhaka, 1948
  2. JN Sarkar, History of Aurangzib, vol II, New Delhi, 1972-74
  3. A Karim, History of Bengal, Mughal Period, vol II, Rajshahi, 1995.

 

 

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15 Responses to “Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan’s son Shah Shuja murdered in Burma’s Arakan (in English and Burmese)”

  1. Rakib Says:

    what really happened to prince and princess who survived the murder. Did they settled in bangladeshi countryside? i think some of them later settled in Bangladesh.

  2. Abid Bahar Says:

    What a wonderful piece! Thanks for your contributions.

    It was Shah Suja’s death that triggered the end of the Arakan’s piratical oppression in lower Bengal especially of Chittagong.
    From Chittagong to Cox;s bazar was known as Shah Suja Road, it his army that cleared the road for him to go to Arakan. Arakenese were sea pirates. They let this entire place uninhabitable for strategic purpose.
    Much more research should be done on this subject!!!

  3. Muqtadir Says:

    Want to know how shah Shuja dead and what happened the rest of his family at the time what were the portugese rulers doing

  4. Rosemary Says:

    Heya i’m for the primary time here. I came across this board and I in finding It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I’m hoping to give
    one thing back and aid others like you helped me.

  5. Javaid Iqbal Says:

    This is Javaid Iqbal Waseer native of Sargodha Punjab Pakistan and presently settled in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. I am serving Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority ( PEMRA ) as General Manager. There is a shrine of saint Sultan Habaib Nangeyana in the town Dharema in the outskirts of Sargodha. My father died in 2010 in Islamabad at the age of 98. In my childhood, he used to take me to Dhrema on Eid Mela ( a local festival ), probably next day to Eid-ul-Fit’r where tent pegging and horse dancing were the main events. There is a grave in Dharema which is attributed to Shah Shuja ( son of Mughal Empror Shah Jahan). The Military Band of Shah Shuja is still there at Dharema. Shah Shuja son of Emperor Shah Jahan and real brother of Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir and ever great Dara Shikoh might have exiled from Arakin ( Burma ) to Dharema in late sixteenth century. Karana Hills ( black mountains ) is a terrain of mountains at Sargodha Faisalabad Road ( Punjab Pakistan ). My father used to tell me that there was another grave on the top of Karana Hills which was also attributed to Shah Shuja . He had seen with his own eyes holes on the that very grave from where local people at that time had stolen precious stones. Saint Sultan Habib nangeyana coulld be one of the sons of Sultan Shah Shuja or he might be a religious scholar in the royal army of Shah Shuja. Shah Shuja’s wife was sheite bu faith. Most of the Nangeyanas are still inclined towards shiaism even today in Sargodha Punjab Pakistan.
    I would really appreciate if someone enrich me on the topic through his/her research on the following E-mail .

    All the best for now.
    Javaid Iqbal

    • Faisal Mirza Says:

      Dear Mr. Javed. I come from an old military family from Pind Dadan Khan and retired as a major.Nangianas had been the Murshids of our tribe.Last worthy saint was Baba Akbar. There is a tradition in our people that Nangianas told them that they belonged to Shah Shuja’s line,which I very much doubt, as you might know Shah Shuja was killed in Arakan,in eastern India.We are known as Tajaks in this area.Regards

  6. Bo Min Aung Says:

    The daughter of Prince Shah Shuja namely Roshon Ara Begum was married by Rakhine King Sadrathudama. He got a son namely who became Muslim. Our descent started from there in Myoe Haung (Mrauk Oo) of Arakan. We have all history of our descent. That was our (mother’s father) grand father’s side and (mother’s mother) our grand mother side, they are also Rakhine Buddhists. Again, my father side, they are Kaman Muslims and mix Rakhine as well.

  7. Bo Min Aung Says:

    The daughter of Prince Shah Shuja namely Roshon Ara Begum was married by Rakhine King Sadrathudama. He got a son namely Abu Faras who became Muslim. Our descent started from there in Myoe Haung (Mrauk Oo) of Arakan. We have all history of our descent. That was our (mother’s father) grand father’s side and (mother’s mother) our grand mother side, they are also Rakhine Buddhists. Again, my father side, they are Kaman Muslims and mix Rakhine as well.

  8. Bo Min Aung Says:

    One more thing: our grand mother (father’s mother) is also from the same descent from Sandrathudama and Roshon Ara Begum, the daughter of Prince Shah Shuja.

    It means that our grand father (mother’s side) is the elder brother of our grand mother (father’s side).

    • Bashabi Barua Says:

      Bo Min Aung: your comments contain some very interesting information. A bangladeshi writer, Shaheen Akhtar, is writing a novel on the journey of mughal prince Shah Suja from Rajmahal to Arakan. So, i would like to know if u can tell us more about the subsequent incidents happened after the murder of Shah Suja and his family. So far we have learnt that Suja had an archery unit comprised of muslim archers later known as kaman muslims who were recruited as arakan king’s bodyguards. It was known that these bodyguards made an attempt to murder arakan king after few years. At this backdrop, how did the situation turn out for Suja’s daughter Roshon Ara Begum and her son Abu Faras and how did the son get converted to islam? Wasn’t he raised in the palace? Also, as u mentioned in your comment that you have all the history of your descent, can we have any link to read about that? thanks in advance and looking forward to ur reply.

  9. Bo Min Aung Says:

    Well, in Myanmar, we are using internet just few years ago. You cannot read everything on internet. My uncle kept some historical documents. If you have possibility to travel to Yangon, then I can help to meet some people. Who will post everything on website? We do not have the people to do so.

    • drkokogyi Says:

      TQ friend,
      May be later after there is a real true democracy.
      I can go back anytime as I had even payed Myanmar income-tax for 35 yrs. But may be not able to come out of the country as Military gov and 969 ultranationalists would do all the dirty tricks on me.
      I cannot trust Thein Sein-Min Aung Hlaing gov..

    • bashabi barua Says:

      thank u very much for the reply…so, can we exchange our email address? would be glad if you send me ur address at bashabi.barua@gmail.com so that we can plan abt this travel in near future.

    • Faisal Mirza Says:

      Dear Bo..looks very interesting.Kindly add me on FB so we can further discuss it.Regards.

  10. M. jahangir, Dubai Says:

    I want to know that, Leave Shah Shuja any family member in chittagong or afater death of Shah Shuja an family came and stay in Banchkhali or Raozan? If any body help me to information about it I will be thankfull.

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