Mahabat Khan ( Mahabat Khan Khan-e-Khanan Sipah-Salar Zamana Beg Kabuli, born Zamana Beg) was a prominent Mughul general and statesman and was well recognized in history for his revolt against the Mughul Emperor Jahangir in 1626. He died in 1634. Mahabat khan, and old and trusted friend of Jahangir, pushed beyond restrainst by the courtly infighting around him and rebelled against the emperior. The rebellion was made roughly during March-Sep 1926.
Earlier, Mahabat khan successfully crushed Prince Khurram's (Shah jahan) rebellion in 1623 AD. This success excited the jealousy of Empress Nur Jahan and his brother Asaf Khan who were worried about the rising power of Mahabat Khan. Nur Jahan managed to make Mahabat khan “Governer of Bengal” which was far from the the Mughul capital at Lahore. Furthermore, Nur Jahan had him charged with disloyal conduct and ordered him to return to Lahore to face trial .
As a result of Nur Jahan and Asaf khan's continous conspiracy against him, Mahabat Khan decided to take action, and so in 1626, he lead an army of loyal Rajput soldiers to the Punjab. The Rajput soldiers were said to be united under the leadership of Raja Moti Das of Sihat pargana in Punjab and came from western Uttarpradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Kashmir.
Sir H. M. Elliot in his book writes that Mahábat Khán had cleverly seen through Ásaf's designs, and had brought with him 4000 or 5000 Rájpúts, brave men united in one cause. He had also brought the wives and families of many of them, so that, if driven to extremity, they would fight to the last for the lives and honour of themselves and their families. The tradition of sacrificing the entire family was very common in rajputs while fighting with Mughuls.
Meanwhile, Jahangir and his men were preparing to head to Kabul , and were encamped on the banks of the River Jhelum . Mahabat Khan and his forces attacked the royal encampment, and successfully took the emperor hostage; Nur Jahan , however, managed to escape. Mahabat Khan declared himself emperor of India at Kabul , however his success was short-lived.
Nur Jahan , with the help of nobles who were still loyal to Jahangir , came up with a plan to free her husband. She surrendered herself to Mahabat Khan, and once reunited with her husband, put her plan into action. She had Jahangir convince Mahabat Khan that he was satisfied with the current arrangement, as it had freed him from her clutches. Mahabat Khan believed that he had won over the former emperor, failing to realize that Jahangir was in fact siding with Nur Jahan . Consequently, he decreased the Rajput guards that he had placed around Jahangir , and prepared to return to Lahore with the captive emperor. Meanwhile, Nur Jahan arranged for an army to meet them en route to Lahore ; in the ensuing battle, Nur Jahan's forces were victorious, and Jahangir was freed from captivity. In the battle, Rajputs were slaughtered like goats and few who were captured were sold in markets of Kabul. An estimated, nearly 3000 rajputs were killed in this battle and others were wounded heavily. Mahabat Khan's brief reign lasted approximately 100 days.
Many books on history written by various authors put focus on “Mahabat khan and his rebellion” but few questions remained unanswered in this entire event. What happened to those wounded rajputs and their families who fought for Mahabat khan?
At that time, it is mentioned in Tuzuk-I-Jahangiri that Nathu Mall used to be present in Jahangir's court as a representative of Majhauli estate ( Deoria, Uttarpradesh ). Mahabat khan after his defeat contacted his friend Raja Nathu Malla, Majhauli estate ( later became raja of Madhuban) and asked for safe exit of wounded rajputs and their families. Raja Nathu Mall helped the rajputs to settle in forests of Gorakhpur. According to local stories, the settled rajputs hid their identity to safeguard their families interest because at that time, most of the rajput kings were loyal to Mughul court. These rajputs considered themselves follower of Maharana Pratap who fought till end with Mughuls and never compromised. These rajputs took agriculture route for their survival and refused to become “sainiks”(army man) with the rajput kings who were loyal to Mughuls. These rajputs also supported the Bhatpara Rani while fighting to King Salem ( before conversion Raja Bodh Malla of Majhauli (14,15,16) ) and his Mughul army at the bank of river Gandak in Deoria around 1690 A.D. Later they supported Malla of Madhuban (descendents of Nathu Malla) for boycotting the Brahmabhoj ceremony of Raja Salem who wished his last rites to be done by hindu ritiuals.
Later in the time of British period (1884 A.D), these western rajputs alongwith Gaharwars of Padrauna and Santhwars of Kushinagar were classified under “sainthwar caste” by the Majhauli kings even though “sainthwar” was not a caste ( but a sangha of ancient kshatriyas of Buddha time ) and derived from the word “santhagara”. It is important to note that all three opposed the Brahmabhoj of Raja Salem. Other important factor to note here is that as per Uttar Pradesh District Gazetteers, Majhauli Raja helped British government to suppress the great 1857 Independence Struggle and thus their closeness increased with Britishers. This helped them to take revenge from their close family Madhuban descendents, Gaharwars of Padrauna, Santhwars of Kushinagar and western Rajputs who were responsible for hurting their sentiments before and after the conversion of their Raja, Bodh Malla.
Dr. Raghunath Chand Kaushik, Dr. Rajbali Pandey and Thakur Mehtab Narayan Mall (10,11,12) who did extensive survey on the kshtriya clans of Gorakhpur region mentions about the western rajputs who shared the 1626 Mahabat khan rebellion and their migration to Gorakhpur and adjacent areas. Prominent of those western rajputs are Das, Bhati, Rawats, Karkotaks etc. It is not possible to segregate western rajputs and ancient santhwars in modern time as they are quite mixed up.
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7. Royal Mughal Ladies and their Contributions : By Soma Mukherjee (page 143)
8. The Peacock Throne - The Drama of Mogul India : By Waldemar Hansen (page 76)
9. Mughal Empire : By John F. Richards (page 115)
10. Gorakhpur Janpad Aur Uski Kshtriya Jatiyon Ka Itihaas : By Dr. Rajbali Pandey
11. Kshtriya Rajvansh – By Dr. Raghunath Chand Kaushik
12. Bisen Vansh Darpan – By Thakur Mehtab Narayan Mall
13. Uttar Pradesh District Gazetteers – By Uttar Pradesh India, Page 296
14. The Golden Book Of India, A genealogical and biographical dictionary of the ruling princes, chiefs, nobles - By Sir Roper Lethbridge
15. Indian Integration Through Ancient wisdom –By Radhey Raman Saksena (Page 64)
16. Islam in India and the Middle East – By S.M. Ahmed (page 47)