The death of Mughal prince Dara Shikoh who was executed by his brother Aurangzeb

The sad fate of Prince Dara Shikoh deserves to be noticed. It created so much pity at the time, that the people of Dihli for once went into rebellion.

Published: 26th April 2020 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th April 2020 09:11 PM   |  A+A-

Shah Jahan presented with the slain head of his son, Dara

Shah Jahan presented with the slain head of his son, Dara

Khizrabad in Delhi has been declared a Covid-19 hotspot and placed under curfew. However, it was a hotspot of another kind previously, where Mughal prince Dara Shikoh was executed by his brother Aurangzeb after being betrayed by Afghan chief Malik Jiwan. Taken from the Minute by Francois Bernier, personal physician to Shikoh, and subsequently attached to the court of Emperor Aurangzeb. 

Born in 1615, Dara Shikoh was the eldest son
of Shah Jahan and his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal;

The sad fate of Prince Dara Shikoh deserves to be noticed. It created so much pity at the time, that the people of Dihli for once went into rebellion, instead of mutely looking, as had been their custom, on the atrocities which they called “decrees of fate”. The principal events of his capture and death are known from the European histories; but the following particulars may assist future historians in giving a more correct description of Dara’s fate.

That Malik Jiwan was a Muhammadan, and not a Bajah, as Marshrnan says, is clear from the fact that he was chief of Dadar, and also from the title of Balchtydr Khan, which Aurangzib conferred upon him as reward for his treachery. There is no instance on record that the title of Khan was ever “conferred” upon a Hindu. Dara and Sipihr Shikoh were escorted by Bahadur Khan and Malik Jiwan to Dihli, where they arrived on the 14th or 15th Zi Hajjah 1069.

They were confined in the palace of Khizrabad (Dihli). On the 20th of the same month, Aurangzib ordered them to be paraded (tashhir) on an elephant through the streets of Dihli, the inhabitants of which were to satisfy themselves that it was really Dara; else  false Daras were sure to create disturbances in future times.  Behind them on the elephant sat the desperate Nazar Beg, one of Aurangzib’s ‘trust-worthy’ slaves, and Bahadur Khan’s troopers formed the escort. Two days after Dara and Sipihr had been lodged at Khizrabad (ie, on the 16th or 17th Zi Hajjah), the people of Dihli expressed their sympathies for Dara by attacking Malik Jiwan and his Afghans, and the troopers of Bahadur Khan, as related in the histories. The leader of the revolt was an Ahadi of the name of Haibat.

He was seized and executed. Aurangzib expected a general rising. “His Majesty, therefore, animated by a desire to promote the religion of the Prophet and obey his law, and compelled by circumstances and  a regard for his own rule,” thought it necessary to kill Dara, “determined no longer to allow the Prince’s atheism (ilhdd) and rebelliousness—each a sufficient reason in itself for killing him—to  interfere with the peace of the country” (Alamgirnamah). The order was given the day after Dara had been paraded in the streets, on the 21st Zi Hajjah 1069; and Saif Khan, and several trustworthy chelahs (slaves), as Nazar Beg, killed Dara, in the beginning of the night at Khizrabad (Tuesday evening, August 30, 1659).* His body was taken to Humayiin’s tomb, and buried below.   (These details are taken from the Alamgirnamah, pp 218 to 325,  408 to 415, 430 to 435.) 

On the next day (the day after Haibat’s execution) ie, on the last day of Zi Hajjah, his Majesty ordered Dara to be killed conformably to the decision of lawyers that he had stepped out of the boundary of the Muhammadan law, had brought C’ufism into bad repute, and had passed into open heresy and schism. (Khdfi Khan II, p 87.)(Taken from the annals of The Asiatic Society of Bengal)


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