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Jai Singh I

Jai Singh I

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Jai Singh I
Birth name:
Title: Mirza Raja
Birth: July 15, 1611
Place of birth: Amber
Amber is fossilized tree resin , which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewelry. There are five classes of amber, defined on the basis of their chemical constituents...

, India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

Death: August 28, 1667
Preceded by: Bhau Singh
Succeeded by: Ramsingh I
Ramsingh I
Mirza Raja Ram Singh I was the elder son Mirza Raja Jai Singh I and was ruler of Amber, and head of the Kachwaha Rajput clan, from 1667 to 1688.- Career as prince :...

Kunwar Ram Singh

Kunwar Kirat Singh (founder of Kama)

Mirza Raja Jai Singh (July 15, 1611 – August 28, 1667) was a senior general ("Mirza Raja") of the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 and a ruler of the kingdom of Amber (later called Jaipur
Jaipur , also popularly known as the Pink City, is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan. Founded on 18 November 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, the city today has a population of more than 3.1 million....

). His father was Maha Singh the Raja of Garha, and his mother was Damayanti, a princess of Mewar
Mewar is a region of south-central Rajasthan state in western India. It includes the present-day districts of Pratapgarh, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara and some of the part of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The region was for centuries a Rajput kingdom that later...


The great Raja Man Singh of Amber had several sons, the most capable of whom were the eldest Jagat Singh and Bhau Singh. Jagat predeceased his father and left behind a son Maha Singh—by the Hindu custom of primogeniture, on Man Singh's death this grandson Maha Singh should have been the next Raja of Amber. However the Mughal Emperor Jehangir declared Maha's uncle Bhau Singh to be more experienced and capable and made him Raja in 1614 with the rank of a commander of 4000 (cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...


At the same time, to ensure that Maha Singh would not take to arms to enforce his hereditary claim, he was also made a commander of 1000 and was given the Central Indian district of Garha as his estate. Sometime later he too received the title of Raja…but while serving in the Deccan wars, Maha Singh died of hard drinking in 1617. His uncle Bhau Singh died childless, and of the same cause, in 1621.

Accession and early career

At the age of 10 Jai Singh I became the Raja of Amber and the head of the Kachwaha
Kachwaha are a Suryavanshi Kshatriya clan who ruled a number of kingdoms and princely states in India such as Alwar, Maihar, Talcher, while the largest kingdom was Jaipur which was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727...

 Rajputs. His military career spans the full reign of Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan Shah Jahan (also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan, , Persian: شاه جهان) (January 5, 1592 – January 22, 1666) Shah Jahan (also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan, , Persian: شاه جهان) (January 5, 1592 – January 22, 1666) (Full title: His Imperial Majesty Al-Sultan al-'Azam wal Khaqan...

 and the first half of Aurangzeb's reign. Jai Singh's first step in his rise to greatness took place on the accession of Shah Jahan (1627)—taking advantage of this change of sovereigns, Jai Singh's commander in the Deccan, Khan Jahan Lodi rebelled along with his Afghan
Demographics of Afghanistan
The population of Afghanistan is around 29,835,392 as of the year 2011, which is unclear if the refugees living outside the country are included or not. The nation is composed of a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual society, reflecting its location astride historic trade and invasion routes between...

 followers. But the Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

 prince brought away his own army to the north and then joined in the campaign that finally defeated the rebels.

For these valuable services Jai Singh was made a commander of 4000. In 1636 Shah Jahan organized a grand campaign against the southern sultanates in which Jai Singh played a leading part—later this same army was sent to http://horsesandswords.blogspot.com/2006/07/central-india.htmlcampaign against the Gond
Gondi people
The Gondi, Goindi or Gond people are people in central India, spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra , Chhattisgarh, northern Andhra Pradesh, and Western Orissa. With over four million people, they are the largest tribe in Central India.The Gondi language is related to...

 kingdoms]. For his part in these successful ventures Jai Singh was promoted to the rank of commander of 5000 and the district of Chatsu (in Ajmer
Ajmer , formerly written as Ajmere, is a city in Ajmer District in Rajasthan state in India. Ajmer has a population of around 800,000 , and is located west of the Rajasthan state capital Jaipur, 200 km from Jodhpur, 274 km from Udaipur, 439 km from Jaisalmer, and 391 km from...

) was added to his kingdom. By defeating the Meo
Mayo or Meo or Mewati is a prominent Muslim Rajput tribe from North-Western India. A considerable number of Meos migrated to Pakistan after independence in 1947 and now they are estimated to be over 12 million. In Pakistan, Meos have lost their distinct group identity and cultural traditions and...

 robber tribes in the north of Amber, Jai Singh further increased the size of his ancestral kingdom. in 1641 he subdued the rebellion of Raja Jagat Singh Pathania
Pathania is the name of the branch of the Tomara Clan of Chandravanshi, Rajputs, descended from Lord Arjuna, the hero of Mahabharata. It is one of the ruling Rajput clans of India. They mostly live in and around Himachal Pradesh, in North India...

 of the hill-state of Mau-Paithan (Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India. It is spread over , and is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the south, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east...


Central Asian campaigns

In 1638 the fort of Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 was surrendered by its Persian commander, Ali Mardan Khan
Ali Mardan Khan
Ali Mardan Khan was a Kurdish noble at the court of Safavid King Shah Tahmasp but after surrendering the Afghan city of Qandahar to Emperor Shah Jahan in 1638, he was a well recognised figure at the Mughal court.-Life:...

, to Shah Jahan. The emperor's son Shuja, accompanied by Jai Singh, was sent to take delivery of this important fort. To overawe the Persian Shah from interfering in this task, Shah Jahan assembled a 50,000 strong army in Kabul. On this occasion Jai Singh received the unique title of Mirza Raja from Shah Jahan, which had earlier been given to his great-grandfather Raja Man Singh I of Amber
Man Singh I of Amber
Raja Shri Man Singh Ji Saheb was the Kacchwaha King of Amber, a state later known as Jaipur...

 by Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...


In 1647 Mirza Raja Jai Singh joined in Shah Jahan's invasion of Balkh and Badakshan in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. The conquest was easily achieved by the Mughals but the occupation of these poor regions could not be sustained—not one Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 officer would agree to be posted permanently in that desolate land and away from the wealth and luxury of India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, which was ironic since many of them had originated from these parts! This insane project thus ended in financial failure.

In 1649 another blow knocked down Mughal prestige—Kandahar was recovered by Shah Abbas II. In the ensuing Mughal-Safavid War
Mughal–Safavid War (1649–1653)
The Mughal–Safavid War of 1649-1653 was fought between the Mughal and Safavid Empires in the territory of modern Afghanistan. The war started after a Persian army, while the Mughals were at war with the Janid Uzbeks, captured the fortress city of Kandahar and other strategic cities that controlled...

 the Mughals twice attempted to eject the Persians from Kandahar under the command of Prince Aurangzeb (in 1649 and 1652) —on both occasions Raja Jai Singh was present as an army commander, but the attempts failed due to the lack of adequate artillery and poor marksmanship of the Mughal gunners.

A third grand attempt was made in 1653 under the command of Shah Jahan's oldest and favorite son Dara Shikoh
Dara Shikoh
His Highness, The Imperial Prince Dara Shikoh was the eldest son and the heir apparent of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. His name دارا شكوه in Persian means "Darius the Magnificent"...

, a deadly rival of Aurangzeb, and again Jai Singh was sent with this army. Prince Dara was knowledgeable in spiritual matters and was refreshingly secular in his outlook, but these noble qualities were marred by his military incompetence and his flattering and foolish advisers. Dara was particularly harsh on officers that had taken part in the earlier campaigns under Aurangzeb and repeatedly taunted Jai Singh for those failures. But when his own campaign ended with the same result, the Mughals finally gave up all attempts to recover Kandahar.

Dara continued his hostility towards Jai Singh on return to Agra—no promotions or awards were given to the veteran general for skillfully covering the army's retreat. Instead Jaswant Singh of the rival Rathor
Rathor may refer to:* Rathore or Rathor, a Suryavanshi Rajput clan of India and Pakistan* Rathor, Pakistan...

 clan was made commander of 6000 and received the superlative title of Maharaja
Mahārāja is a Sanskrit title for a "great king" or "high king". The female equivalent title Maharani denotes either the wife of a Maharaja or, in states where that was customary, a woman ruling in her own right. The widow of a Maharaja is known as a Rajamata...



In 1657 Shah Jahan fell seriously ill, to the extent that he was incapacitated. Dara's three younger brothers made preparations to seize the throne. Shah Shuja in Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 and Murad
Murad Baksh
Murad Baksh was the youngest son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and empress Mumtaz Mahal, he was the Subedar of Balkh until he was replaced by his brother Aurangzeb in the year 1647....

 in Gujarat crowned themselves emperors, but the clever Aurangzeb merely declared his intention of rescuing his father for the sake of Islam (Dara being avowedly secular). In the face of these triple dangers, Dara Shikoh now remembered Jai Singh—the Rajput chief was made commander of 6000 and sent east along with Dara's son Sulaiman and the Afghan general Diler Khan.

They triumphed over Shuja at the Battle of Bahadurpur (14 February) and chased him back to Bengal (May). By that time Aurangzeb had won the Battle of Dharmat and the Battle of Samugarh and had captured Agra (8 June). Jai Singh and his men were stuck far in the east while their homes and families in the west were at the mercy of Aurangzeb's troops—so he and Diller Khan advised Sulaiman to flee while they submitted to the new emperor.

Despite his victories Aurangzeb did not have a secure footing on the Mughal throne, and though bigoted, he needed the support of the leading Muslim and Rajput generals. So he pardoned Maharaja Jaswant Singh
Maharaja Jaswant Singh
Maharaja Jaswant Singh was a ruler of Marwar in the present-day Indian state of Rajasthan. He was a Rajput belonging to the Rathore clan. His father was Maharaja Guj Singh.-History:...

 who had fought him at Dharmat and promoted Jai Singh as a commander of 7000, the highest possible rank for any general. Dara was treacherously captured by a Pashtun chief in Baluchistan and was executed by Aurangzeb in 1659.

Campaigns in the Deccan

The Deccan Wars between the Mughal Empire and the southern sultanates had been complicated by the rise of the Maratha
The Maratha are an Indian caste, predominantly in the state of Maharashtra. The term Marāthā has three related usages: within the Marathi speaking region it describes the dominant Maratha caste; outside Maharashtra it can refer to the entire regional population of Marathi-speaking people;...

 national hero Shivaji.In 1659 Shivaji killed Afzal Khan, a notable general of Bijapur. In 1663 he wounded and chased away moghul general, Shaista Khan
Shaista Khan
Mirza Abu Talib, better known by his title Shaista Khan , was a Subahdar and general in the army of the Mughal Empire. A maternal uncle to Emperor Aurangzeb, he served as the Mughal governor of Bengal from 1664 to 1688, and was a key figure during the rule of his nephew, the emperor...

 who was Aurangzeb's maternal uncle.The next year he sacked the rich port city of Surat in Gujarat. Mirza Raja Jai Singh, who had begun his own military career in the Deccan, was appointed to lead a 44,000 strong army against Shivaji.

After ravaging the Maratha king Shivaji's region and capturing the fort of Purandar Treaty of Purandar
Treaty of Purandar (1665)
The Treaty of Purandar was signed on June 11, 1665, between the Rajput ruler Jai Singh I, who was commander of the Mughal Empire, and Maratha Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Shivaji was forced to sign the agreement after Jai Singh besieged Purandar fort...

 was signed, Jai Singh convinced Shivaji to come to terms and join him in an invasion of Bijapur, which would be beneficial for both sides. For this triumph Jai Singh, already the highest ranking general, received rich gifts in gold and silver——both his sons, Ram Singh and Kirat Singh, were raised in rank. The latter was serving under his father while the former was acting as his agent at the Mughal court.

The Mirza Raja's invasion of Bijapur commenced in December 1665. Jai Singh now had an army of 40,000 to which Shivaji added 2000 cavalry and 7000 infantry.

The Bijapuris melted away before this array and Jai Singh reached within 12 miles of Bijapur city. However the scorched earth tactics of the Deccanis succeeded, Jai Singh's food supply ran out and he was forced to begin his retreat in January 1666. At this time he sent Shivaji to the Mughal court to meet Aurangzeb while he conducted his army to safety. At Agra Shivaji was arrested but managed to escape (August 1666).

Unlike other generals who had failed in the Deccan, Jai Singh was punished harshly, partly because he was also held responsible for his son's actions at Agra, and partly because he was a Hindu. For the expenses of this campaign the Rajput general had received only 3 million rupees from Aurangzeb, and had spent 10 million rupees from the accumulated hoards in his ancestral kingdom. Not a pice of this money was compensated by his ungrateful master—probably the opportunity of ruining a leading Hindu chief was too tempting for Aurangzeb. Only two years after Jai Singh's demise Aurangzeb passed an order (1669) calling for the demolition of Hindu temples in the Mughal provinces.

In a letter written to one of his officials Jai Singh complained, "In four ways losses have fallen upon me—first my mujra (honour) is gone, second the districts of my kingdom have been taken away (by Aurangzeb), thirdly what I spent on this war is gone, and fourthly—and what is worst of all—my son's affairs have been ruined."

Raja Jai Singh died in the Deccan (28 August 1667) under mysterious circumstances and is universally believed that he had been poisoned on the orders of Aurangzeb. The fortunes of his family sank low in the next two generations, but were revived and raised to unexpected heights by Jai Singh II.