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Authory: Laxman Burdak IFS (R)

Shuja-ud-Daulah (b. 19.1. 1732 – d. 26.1.1775) was the Nawab of Oudh and the Vizier of Delhi from 5 October 1754 to 26 January 1775.[1]

Shuja-ud-Daulah was the son of the Mughal Grand Vizier Safdarjung chosen by Ahmad Shah Bahadur. Unlike his father Shuja-ud-Daulah was known from an early age for his abilities to synthesize his subordinates, this skill would eventually cause him to emerge as the chosen Grand Vizier by Shah Alam II.

Shuja-ud-Daulah is also known to have assisted the famous Alivardi Khan on various occasions when the territories of the Nawab of Bengal, were being ravaged by Raghoji I Bhonsle and his Marathas. Thus Shuja-ud-Daulah is known to have been a very respected figure among the servicemen of Alivardi Khan.

Nawab of Awadh

After the death of his father the Mughal Grand Vizier Safdarjung in the year 1753, Shuja-ud-Daula was recognized as the next Nawab by the Mughal Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur.

Shuja-ud-Daula despised Imad-ul-Mulk, an ally of the Marathas of the Maratha Empire whose regime emerged after the Battle of Sikandarabad with the support of the Sadashivrao Bhau. Imad-ul-Mulk blinded Ahmad Shah Bahadur and placed Alamgir II on the Mughal imperial throne. Alamgir II and his son Prince Ali Gauhar, were often persecuted by Imad-ul-Mulk because they refused to abandon their peaceful terms with Ahmad Shah Durrani, they also demanded the resignation of Imad-ul-Mulk mainly due to his relations with the Marathas.[2]

Grand Vizier of the Mughal Empire

Prince Ali Gauhar fled from Delhi when he realized a conspiracy that would eventually lead to the murder of the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II. Shuj-ud-Daula welcomed and protected Prince Ali Gauhar, who then declared himself Shah Alam II and officially recognized Shuja-ud-Daulah as the Grand Vizier of the Mughal Empire. Together they challenged the usurper Shah Jahan III, who was placed on the Mughal imperial throne by Sadashivrao Bhau and his forces, which plundered much of the Mughal Empire.

Shah Alam II was then advised to lead an expedition that would attempt to retake the eastern regions of the Mughal Empire from Mir Jafar who was supported by the British East India Company. While Shuja-ud-Daula, Najib-ul-Daula and Mirza Jawan Bakht allied themselves with Ahmad Shah Durrani and assisted his forces during the Second Battle of Sikandarabad in the year 1760 and later led a Mughal Army of 43,000 during the Third Battle of Panipat.[3]

Third Battle of Panipat

After escaping from Delhi due to the murder of his father the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II, the young Prince Ali Gauhar was well received by Shuja-ud-Daula. The Nawab of Awadh and the newly appointed Mughal Grand Vizier Shuja-ud-Daula assured Prince Ali Gauhar that he and Najib-ud-Daula would initiate a struggle that would overthrow the Maratha if Prince Ali Gauhar would lead what remained of the Mughal Army against the expanding British East India Company in Bengal.[4]

Shuja's decision about whom to join as an ally in the Third Battle of Panipat was one of the decisive factors that determined the outcome of the war as lack of food due to the Afghans cutting the supply lines of Marathas was one of the reasons that Marathas could not sustain the day-long battle. Their forces were weak due to starvation and also fighting facing the sun.

Shuja was earlier not very sure about whose side should he take before the Third Battle of Panipat. Marathas were still further south then and it would have taken them considerable time to reach Shuja's province. In spite of His mother was of the opinion that he should join the Marathas as they had helped his father previously on numerous occasions he Joined Abdali.

As the chosen Grand Vizier of the Mughal Empire, Shuja-ud-Daula commanded a sizeable army of Mughal troopers, who cut off the supplies of the Marathas and even defeated them in pitched confrontations during the Third Battle of Panipat and dispatched the Maratha leader Sadashivrao Bhau.

Battle of Buxar

Shuja is also known for his role in the Battle of Buxar, a battle that was no less definite in Indian history. He along with the forces of Mughal emperor Shah Alam II & Mir Qasim ruler of Bengal were defeated by the British forces in one of the key battles in the history of British East India company.


Shuja-ud-Daula died on 26 January 1775 in Faizabad, the then capital of Awadh, and was buried in the same city. His burial place is a tomb and known as Gulab Bari (Rose Garden).


  1. Princely States of India
  2. Srivastava, Ashirbadi Lal (1945). Shuja-ud-daulah. S.N. Sarkar
  3. Mohan, Surendra (1997). Awadh Under the Nawabs: Politics, Culture, and Communal Relations, 1722-1856. Manohar Publishers & Distributors. ISBN 978-81-7304-203-4.
  4. Cotton, James Sutherland; Burn, Sir Richard; Meyer, Sir William Stevenson (1908). Imperial Gazetteer of India: Provincial Series. Superintendent of Government Printing. "Shah Alam ii an shuja-ud-daula."