Nadir Shah Invasion in India

07 Nov 2017  Tue

It was in the year 1739, Nadir Shah, the Shah of Iran and the founder of the Afsharid dynasty, invaded India and brought about a boisterous and damaging mark on the history of Mughal India. The invasion of India by Nadir Shah, one of the most mammoth calamities that had taken place during that period, brought about a complete destruction of the already weakened Mughal Empire.

Nadir Shah invaded India after consolidating his position in Persia and Qandhar in order to replenish his treasury by exploiting the weaknesses of the Mughal Empire. He defeated the Mughal army at the battle of Karnal on 13 February 1739 and took Muhammad Shah, the Mughal emperor as captive and ascended the throne of Delhi in March 1739.

The same day rumour broke out that Muhammad Shah had been killed by Nadir and some Indian officers attacked Nadir’s troops. This led to Nadir’s displeasure and he retaliated by ordering a massacre on 22nd March 1739 which was also known as the infamous “Qatl-e-aam”. During this massacre, Nadir Shah slaughtered everyone in the city for 6 hours in a day and killed lakhs of people in the city.

The whole city of Delhi was destroyed, looted, plundered and ruined by the army of Nadir Shah. Nadir Shah took with him the Peacock throne built by Shah Jahan. He also took the legendary “Kohi Noor” diamond. It is said the booty collected from Delhi was so massive that taxation was stopped in Iran by Nadir Shah, for a period of 3 years, after he returned to his kingdom.

The terror caused by Nadir in Delhi spread quickly to other parts of India. Coins were struck in his name from places far-off from Delhi like Ahmadabad, Murshidabad and Banaras. They all represent a very transient issue and are exceedingly rare.

This Silver Rupee of Nadir Shah which weighs around 11.47g was struck at Ahmadabad Mint in 1152 AH. The obverse of the coin is inscribed with Persian couplet “Sultan bar salateen jahan/shah Shahan Nadir Sahib Qiran” (Is the Sultan among Sultans of this World/ Nadir, the King of King, the lord of Conjunctions) while the reverse of the coins is inscribed as “Khallada Allah Mulkahu Zarb Ahmadabad Sanah 1152”. This coin was sold for INR 2, 40,000 at Classical Numismatic Gallery.