Ed’s History Challenge. The Red Fort Of Delhi

The Red Fort is a massive structure, and you cannot photograph it in one day. Impossible. I would even say that you need a few days for this.

The Prime Minister addresses the Nation behind a bullet proof glass every Independence Day. It was, however, commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1638 when he decided to move his capital from Agra to Delhi. This is where Shah Jahan had the famous Peacock Throne as well as the famous diamond, Koh-i-noor, that were plundered by the Persian king, Nadir Shah, in 1739.

The Fort was commissioned in 1648, and soon after Aurangzeb, his youngest son defeated his three other brothers in a war of succession. Shah Jahan was besieged in the fort, and was then sent to Agra to live in the Red Fort of Agra until his death. As per historical legend, Aurangzeb paraded his oldest brother, and Shah Jahan’s favourite – Dara Shikoh, naked on a donkey before the gates of the Red Fort. He was killed, and his sister Roshanara is said to have asked that Dara be beheaded. She then had Dara’s head served whole to Shah Jahan, who fainted at the sight of the head.

Aurangzeb refused to see his father during the last 7 years of Shah Jahan’s life.

Aurangzeb ruled for about 50 years, and for the last half of his reign, was in South India fighting the Marathas. This caused the Mughal Empire to slowly implode after his death.

I won’t go into the long history of the decline, but by 1857, the last Mughal Emperor was a puppet and a pensioner of the British. However, the Mughal King still had an aura and was the rallying symbol for the Mutineers. After his death, he was sent to Rangoon where he died.

That was the end of the Mughal Empire. However, the Red Fort has seen so much history that it is sometimes difficult to describe the mystique of the fort. It also contains, by the way, the older Salimgarh Fort that was built by the Suri Emperors in the years that Shah Jahan’s great grandfather, Humayun, was in exile.


    1. Oh, don’t feel sorry for Shah Jahan… Before he became king, he was Prince Khurram. He killed his brother in order to ascend to the throne. He also rebelled against his father.
      The history we learn in school is sanitised. When you study it, you realise how dramatic and brutal, wars of succession could be

  1. Ha……I was in Delhi when you posted this Rajiv……we went to a rather dreary son et lumierre at the red fort, the history was interesting but the light show wasn’t! You can’t win em all! Loved Agra though.

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