Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/155

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DECLINE OF THE MUGHAL EMPIRE. 151 the four others were the creatures of a couple of Sayyid adven- turers, who well earned their title of the ' king-makers.* Independence of the Deccan and of Oudh.— From the year 1720 the breaking up of the empire took a more open form. The Nizam-ul-Miilk, or Governor of the Deccan, severed the largest part of Southern India from the Delhi rule (1720- 1748). The Governor of Oudh, originally a Persian merchant, who had risen to the post of wazir, or prime minister of the empire, practically established his own dynasty as the Nawab Wazfr of Oudh which ha-d been committed to his care (1732- 1743)- Hindu Risings : Sikhs and Marathas. — The Hindu subjects of the empire were at the same time asserting their independence. The Sikh sect in the Punjab was driven by the oppression of the Delhi Emperors into revolt, and was merci- lessly crushed (1710-1716). The indelible memory of the cruelties then inflicted by the Mughal troops nerved the Sikh nation with that hatred to Delhi which served the British cause so well in 1857. Their leader, Banda, was carried about in an iron cage, tricked out in the mockery of imperial robes, with scarlet turban and cloth of gold. His son's heart was torn out before his eyes, and thrown in his face. He himself was then pulled to pieces with red-hot pincers; and the Sikhs were exterminated like mad dogs (17 16). The Hindu princes of Rajputana were more fortunate. Ajft Singh of Jodhpur asserted his independence, and Rajputa'na practically severed its con- nection with the Mughal Empire in 17 15. The Mardthas having enforced their claim to black-mail (chautli) throughout Southern India, burst through the Vindhyas into the north, and obtained from the Delhi emperors the cession of Malwa(r743) and Orissa (1751), with an imperial grant of tribute from Bengal (i75i)- Invasions from Central Asia, 1739-1761. — While the Muhammadan governors and Hindu subjects of the empire were thus becoming independent of the Delhi emperors, two new Sets of external enemies appeared ; one set from Central Asia, the other set from the sea. In 1739, Nadir SMh, the Persian monarch, swooped down on India, with his destroying