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British Library, Or.3714, f.368r The second battle took place in 1556, when the emperor Akbar (r.1556-1605) fought a victorious battle against the Hindu Hemu, the last minister of the Afghan kings who had regained control of Delhi and Agra after Humayun’s death.
Our drawing documents the military alliances and battle tactics played out between the Afghans and Marathas at the third battle of Panipat of 1761.
On the other hand, the capital was dominated by Ghazi al-Din Khan ‘Imad al-Mulk, the Amir al-Umara (Commander-in-Chief of the imperial army), and his alliance with the Marathas from central India.
After deposing ‘Imad al-Mulk, the Marathas and the Afghans vied for political control of the capital, which led to the Battle of Panipat in January 1761.
In the years following Nadir Shah’s invasion in 1739, emperors Ahmad Shah (r.1748-54) and ‘Alamgir II (r.1754-59) were both quite weak and could barely voice their opposition against the various political parties wishing to exert their own control over the capital.
The lack of a coherent government left the capital susceptible to attacks: from the north came the Afghan Durrani ruler Ahmad Shah Abdali in the 1750s, who looted whatever remained in the aftermath of Nadir Shah’s earlier attack.
Trading agreement for pepper issued by the Sultan of Banjar to the East India Company, received on 24 October 1746: ' This is our royal decree to Mr Butler, Mr Stewart and Captain Kent; as your trading vessels sail in and out we agree that they will not be searched; you must not allow any nobles or notables to board your ship, or anyone at night, and during daytime only two or three merchants may board (at any one time); and we promise the Company to supply six thousand Bahwa ini titah kami kepada Mister Butel dan Mister Asdut serta Kapitan Kin jikalau ada perahu masuk atau perahu keluar tiada kami berikan diperiksa yang jenis perahu dagang dan lagi pula kalau raja2 atau orang besar2 hendak bermain ke kapal jangan dinaikkan atau orang henda naik pada malam melainkan orang berdagang dua tiga orang beroleh naik pada hari siang dan akan perjanjian kita dengan Kompeni memuat lada enam ribu pikul tiada kita mengubahkan tiap2 tahun jikalau kapal datang dua atau tiga enam ribu jua).
Soldiers prepare for combat, elephants with howdahs carry the military commanders, and billowing smoke as well as bodies fills the scene.These two leaders and their troops are positioned in the lower right corner.In this battle, the Maratha leader Sadashiv Rao and his army fought against Ahmad Shah Abdali.Inside the buildings, Afghans assault women and leave a stream of decapitated bodies.
Ahmad Shah Abdali, the Afghan ruler, riding on horseback on the right-hand side, is the clear hero of the battle.Next to Ahmad Shah Abdali is his son Timur Shah on horseback.