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Samugarh is a town about 20 km east of Agra, south of the Yamuna River. It is known for the Battle of Samugarh which took place on May 29, 1658. Samugarh was a tipping point in India’s history which is associated with Jat History as well.

Battle of Samugarh

Battle of Samugarh, Jang-e-Samugarh, (May 29, 1658), was a decisive battle in the struggle for the throne during the Mughal war of succession (1658–1659) between the sons of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan after the emperor's serious illness in September 1657. The battle of Samugarh was fought between his sons Dara Shikoh (the eldest son and heir apparent) and his two younger brothers Aurangzeb and Murad Baksh (third and fourth sons of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan).[1][2]

Two great Mughal armies, led by Shah Jahan’s eldest son Dara Shikoh and his third son Aurangzeb, clashed on a dusty plain 20 km southeast of Agra. It was not only a battle for the Mughal throne, but a battle for the very soul of India. Dara was on the brink of victory when he was betrayed by one of his commanders, Khalilullah Khan. He then retreated to Lahore and then down the Indus. Eventually, he was brought to Delhi and put on trial. [3]

Dara Shikoh began to retreat towards Samugarh, about 20 km east of Agra, south of the Yamuna River, after Aurangzeb had defeated Dara Shikoh's forces during the Battle of Dharmat. Aurangzeb and his smaller but formidable army then flanked Dara’s fortified line along the Chambal River by finding a little-known and unguarded ford. The battle was fought during northern India's warmest season and Aurangzeb's men were on the march for a very long while. The army of Aurangzeb arrived with yellow banners and flags and fortified their position in front of the heir apparent. Dara Shikoh then tried to protect his rear flank by erecting massive red tents and banners.

The outcome of the battle was decided when Dara Shikoh's descended from his Elephant Howdah at the most critical moment of the battle, his elephant then quickly fled from the battlefield. Fleeing elephant was evidence enough for Dara Shikoh's troops who mistook this event to indicate his death. Thousands of Dara Shikohs forces surrendered to Aurangzeb when the Mughal military band of Aurangzeb played the ode of victory. Many more Sepoys and Sowars fled only to take the oath of allegiance to Aurangzeb later on.

If Dara Shikoh had won at Samugarh his rule might have promoted harmony between India’s turbulent peoples. A united Mughal empire may have prevented India from becoming so easily colonised by European powers. Samugarh marked the beginning of Islamic bigotry that led over the centuries to the Partition of India, the creation of Pakistan and the backlash of radical Hinduism. Samugarh was a tipping point in India’s history. [4]

Gohad zamindar helps Aurangzeb

One incident has been mentioned by Ishwar Das is that when Prince Aurangzeb, on his way to oppose Dara Shikoh, came to the fords of Chambal, he found them barred by the opposite entrenchment. He was ignorant about other ferries, while the waters were deep. This perturbed Aurangzeb. At this critical juncture Hathi Singh Jat, a zamindar of Gohad, came forward to lead his troops to a neglected ford (Kanira), where from Aurangzeb crossed the Chambal. Though by itself a small incident, it in one stroke turned the scales against Dara Shikoh. He had to hurry up for the Capital, leaving heavy artillery behind, which greatly weakened his position. [5] [6]

Churaman plundered sons of Aurangzeb

Ram Sarup Joon[7] tells that ...In 1704, he regained the fort of Sinsini from the Moguls. When a war was going on between Bahadur Shah and Azam, the two sons of Aurangzeb, Churaman plundered both the armies near Samugarh. Later, Bahadur Shah, who emerged victorious offered to appoint him Sardar of 500 horsemen, and 1,000 footmen to win over his support. This lure, however, did not work with Churaman and he remained independent.