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Muhammad Shah (محمد شاه) (1748 – 1702) also known as Roshan Akhtar was a Mughal emperor of Indiamarker between 1719 and 1748. He was son of Khujista Akhtar Jahan Shah, the 4th son of Bahadur Shah I. Ascending the throne at the age of seventeen with the help of the Syed Brothers, he later got rid of them with the help of Nizam ul Mulk Chin Qilich Khan. He was nicknamed as Rangeela meaning merrymaker by many historians.


During his reign, the Mughal empire eventually broke up into a loosely-knit collection of several regional states, each with its own ruler, thus declining the authority of the emperor into a greater extent .

In 1722, Muhammad Shah got rid of the Syed Brothers.The following year he lost Malwa to the Marathas. In 1725, the Marathas took Gujratmarker. In 1737, the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah had to fight the Marathas once again. He asked the Nizam-ul-Mulk to help him. Both forces fought the Marathas at Bhopalmarker but were defeated. Under the terms of a treaty, Muhammad Shah gave the Marathas 5 million rupees and also ceded Malwa to them.

Invasion of Nadir Shah

In February 1739, the Persian emperor, Nader Shah decided to conquer Indiamarker . Due to poor tactics, Muhammad Shah's army was easily defeated, and Nader Shah triumphantly entered Delhimarker within the span of one month, where he had the Khutba read in his name . In the violence that followed, more than 30,000 civilians were killed by the Persian troops, forcing Muhammad Shah to beg for mercy and handing the keys to his treasury .

In response, Nader Shah agreed to withdraw, but Muhammad Shah paid the consequence - handing over the keys of his royal treasury and losing even the Peacock Throne, along with the Koh-i-Noor and Darya-ye Noor diamonds, to the Persian emperor .


After Nadir Shah's invasion, the Mughal Empire disintegrated rapidly. Nawab Ali Wardi Khan of Bengalmarker proclaimed independence in 1740.In 1748, to the people's relief, the Mughal prince Ahmad Shah Bahadur defeated Ahmad Shah Abdali.

Muhammad Shah died in 1748 at the age of 46.


  1. Available here on Project Gutenberg.
  2. "This eighteen-year-old prince went down into the history as Muhammad Shah, nicknamed Rangeela (or merrymaker). Traditionally historians describe him as licentious and lazy but there can be little doubt that he is one of the most underrated personalities in history." (Khurram Ali Shafique, " Muhammad Shah 'Rangeela' in Dawn - The Review, October 2000). Retrieved 2009-08-17.

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