Nader Shah

Shah of Iran (r. 1736–47) and founder of the Afsharid dynasty

Nāder Shāh Afshār (November 1688 or August 6, 1698June 19, 1747) was one of the most powerful Iranian rulers in the history of the nation, ruling as Shah of Persia (Iran) from 1736 to 1747 when he was assassinated during a rebellion. He was the founder of the Afsharid dynasty.

Nadir and his army

Quotes edit

  • Once, when Nadir was told that there was no war in paradise, he was reported to have asked: "How can there be any delights there?".
  • Afterwards Nadir Shah himself, with the Emperor of Hindustan, entered the fort of Delhi. It is said that he appointed a place on one side in the fort for the residence of Muhammad Shah and his dependents, and on the other side he chose the Diwan-i Khas, or, as some say, the Garden of Hayat Bakhsh, for his own accommodation. He sent to the Emperor of Hindustan, as to a prisoner, some food and wine from his own table. One Friday his own name was read in the khutba, but on the next he ordered Muhammad Shah's name to be read. It is related that one day a rumour spread in the city that Nadir Shah had been slain in the fort. This produced a general confusion, and the people of the city destroyed five thousand1 men of his camp. On hearing of this, Nadir Shah came of the fort, sat in the golden masjid which was built by Rashanu-d daula, and gave orders for a general massacre. For nine hours an indiscriminate slaughter of all and of every degree was committed. It is said that the number of those who were slain amounted to one hundred thousand. The losses and calamities of the people of Delhi were exceedingly great….
    After this violence and cruelty, Nadir Shah collected immense riches, which he began to send to his country laden on elephants and camels.
    • Tarikh-i Hindi by Rustam ‘Ali. In The History of India as Told by its own Historians. The Posthumous Papers of the Late Sir H. M. Elliot. John Dowson, ed. 1st ed. 1867. 2nd ed., Calcutta: Susil Gupta, 1956, vol. 22, pp. 37-67. [1]
  • When the Shah departed towards the close of the day, a false rumour was spread through the town that he had been severely wounded by a shot from a matchlock, and thus were sown the seeds from which murder and rapine were to spring. The bad characters within the town collected in great bodies, and, without distinction, commenced the work of plunder and destruction.... On the morning of the 11th an order went forth from the Persian Emperor for the slaughter of the inhabitants. The result may be imagined; one moment seemed to have sufficed for universal destruction. The Chandni chauk, the fruit market, the Daribah bazaar, and the buildings around the Masjid-i Jama’ were set fire to and reduced to ashes. The inhabitants, one and all, were slaughtered. Here and there some opposition was offered, but in most places people were butchered unresistingly. The Persians laid violent hands on everything and everybody; cloth, jewels, dishes of gold and silver, were acceptable spoil.... But to return to the miserable inhabitants. The massacre lasted half the day, when the Persian Emperor ordered Haji Fulad Khan, the kotwal, to proceed through the streets accompanied by a body of Persian nasakchis, and proclaim an order for the soldiers to resist from carnage. By degrees the violence of the flames subsided, but the bloodshed, the devastation, and the ruin of families were irreparable. For a long time the streets remained strewn with corpses, as the walks of a garden with dead flowers and leaves. The town was reduced to ashes, and had the appearance of a plain consumed with fire. All the regal jewels and property and the contents of the treasury were seized by the Persian conqueror in the citadel. He thus became possessed of treasure to the amount of sixty lacs of rupees and several thousand ashrafis... plate of gold to the value of one kror of rupees, and the jewels, many of which were unrivalled in beauty by any in the world, were valued at about fifty krors. The peacock throne alone, constructed at great pains in the reign of Shah Jahan, had cost one kror of rupees. Elephants, horses, and precious stuffs, whatever pleased .the conqueror’s eye, more indeed than can be enumerated, became his spoil. In short, the accumulated wealth of 348 years changed masters in a moment.
    • About Shah’s sack of Delhi, Tazrikha by Anand Ram Mukhlis. A history of Nâdir Shah’s invasion of India. In The History of India as Told by its own Historians. The Posthumous Papers of the Late Sir H. M. Elliot. John Dowson, ed. 1st ed. 1867. 2nd ed., Calcutta: Susil Gupta, 1956, vol. 22, pp. 74-98. [2]
  • The Persian ruler Nadir Shah, in his invasion of India in 1738, killed some 200,000 people and returned with a huge quantity of booty and a large number of slaves, including a few thousand beautiful girls. Alain Danielou (d. 1994), French scholar of Indian philosophy, religion, history and arts, described Nadir Shah’s assault of Delhi as follows: ‘…for a week his soldiers massacred everybody, ransacked everything, and razed the entire countryside, so that the survivors would have nothing to eat. He went back to Iran taking with him precious furniture, works of art, horses, the Kohinoor diamond, the famous Peacock throne, and 150 million rupees in gold.’
    • Danielou A (2003) A Brief History of India, trs. Kenneth F. Hurry, Inner Traditions, Rochester, p. 290 as quoted in M.A. Khan Islamic Jihad: A legacy of forced conversion, imperialism and slavery (2011)
  • Nadir Shah is said to have written to the emperor 'My coming to Cabul and possessing myself thereof was purely out of zeal for Islam and friendship for stay on this side of the Attock is with a view that when those infidels (the Marathas) move towards Hindustan, | may send an army of the victorious Kizzilbash to drive them to the abyss of hell'.
    • Satish Chandra - Parties and Politics at the Mughal Court, 1707-1740-Oxford University Press (2002) 285. (Fraeser, Nadir Shah, 138. )
  • Nader Shah of Iran was the self-made military and political genius and empire-builder who dominated his native country, defeated the Mughal emperors and Ottoman sultans, conquered vast new territories, stole the Peacock Throne for himself, overthrew the Safavid dynasty to raise himself from enslaved orphan and freebooting bandit to the throne of King of Kings. But he sank into paranoid brutality, frenzied killing and finally the insanity that led to his murder. Known as 'the Second Alexander', he was the tragic and murderous 'Napoleon of Iran'.
  • For some days after the massacre the streets of the doomed quarters of Dihli became impassable from the stench of the corpses filling the houses, wells and roadside, none venturing to approach them in fear.
  • “No barbarities were left unpractised. The tax imposed was strictly exacted. What numbers destroyed themselves with their own hands.’
    • Irvine, Later Mughals [3]

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