The Tomb of Muhammad Shah ‘Rangeela’ sits within the enclosed boundaries of the Dargah of Nizamuddin Aulia and very close to the Tomb of Jahanara. He was an Emperor who ruled over the Sultanate of Delhi between 1719 AD and 1748 AD.
Emperor Muhammad Shah, who was formerly known as Roshan Akhtar, was the son of Khujista Akhtar Jahan Shah, who was the 4th son of Emperor Bahadur Shah I. He ascended the Mughal Throne at a young age of seventeen through the assistance of the ‘Sayyid Brothers’ who exercised full control over the political situation of Delhi during that period. After Muhammad Shah was crowned as the Emperor; he got rid of the Sayyid Brothers with the help of Nizam Ul Mulk Chin Qilich Khan and it was during this time that his mother, Qudsiya Begum had to exercise her powers over the Empire as Muhammad Shah was too young.
Emperor Muhammad Shah was nicknamed as ‘Rangeela’ by several historians due to his flamboyant nature. He had four wives, the first one named Badshah Begum who was the daughter of Emperor Farrukhsiyar. On 8th December 1721, the Emperor married Badshah Begum first and on the very same day married Mahal Begum too. He conferred Badshah Begum with the title of ‘Nawab Malika Uz-Zamani’ which means ‘Queen of the Era’ and his second wife, Mahal Begum, with the title of ‘Nawab Malika-i-Jahan’ which means ‘Queen of the World’ accompanied by a grand ceremony and celebrations that lasted for weeks. However, despite the fact that both wives were the Emperors favourite, Badshah Begum was considered as the most influential one and often exerted her opinions on him.
Badshah Begum gave birth to Shahriyar Shah Bahadur, the Emperor’s first son and heir to the Throne but unfortunately, Shahriyar Shah died on 19th July 1724 at a very young age. Since, the Emperor had no children from his second wife, her married Udhambai who was re-christened as Kudsiya Begum. She was earlier a dancer who was later appointed as a ‘Mansabdar’ of 50,000 armies whose principle duty is to govern the Empire and command the Armies in the name of the Emperor, especially during his absence.
Kudsiya Begum gave birth to a son on 23rd December 1725 and named him Ahmad Shah Bahadur, a future heir to the Throne of Delhi. Later, the Emperor again married Sufiya Sultan Begum who became his fourth wife. Historians probably nicknamed the Emperor as ‘Rangeela’ due to his merry making attitude towards life.
Emperor Muhammad Shah was eventually succeeded by three sons and three daughters during which his first and most favoured wife, Badshah Begum, passed away on 14the December 1724. His Tomb is surrounded by marble screens decorated with lattice work or ‘Jalis’ and sits on the south-eastern portion of the main Dargah or Shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.
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