A Destiny Realized: A Timeline of Afsharid Iran and Beyond

Unfortunately the Sikhs are not having a heck of a good time. The Sikhs are probably suffering as much as they did under the Afghans, though obviously the Iranians can bring more pressure to bare. If the Iranians do have the staying power that their resources suggest, the Sikhs may well be permanently pushed from the Punjab.

If that is the case, where can they go from there?
 
If the Iranians do have the staying power that their resources suggest, the Sikhs may well be permanently pushed from the Punjab.

I really doubt this. In the worst-case scenario, they would just flee to the hills (what is now Himachal Pradesh - the city of Paonta is a really good place to establish a capital) and fight a guerrilla war.
 
Welp, Ahmad Khan Abdali and his band of Afghans got what's coming to them. There'll be no Durrani Empire as of result. It seems the Afghans will be under rule of the Persian Empire. Perhaps, the Afghans in this TL is much better off than in OTL.

The Zands may do well, rather than going through their tragic ends in OTL at the hands of the Qajars. Will the Zands became a noble family in Modern Afsharid Iran?
 
Not?

Really enjoying the TL btw.
Very annoying when those little typos slip through. Thanks for spotting it, and glad to hear you're enjoying it.
If that is the case, where can they go from there?
Deeper into India I suppose. It depends on how determined the Iranians are in wearing them down but we are talking about the homeland of the Sikhs after all.
Nassirisimo you really are one of the best writers on this site.
Well that's very nice of you to say. I have been thinking of trying something a little different in terms of writing in the next cycle which may or may not work, we shall see how it goes.
Thats what you get when you focus on plunder rather than actually winning.
It has been the downfall of many a potentially successful army in the past, and is a particular risk for non-professional armies.
I really doubt this. In the worst-case scenario, they would just flee to the hills (what is now Himachal Pradesh - the city of Paonta is a really good place to establish a capital) and fight a guerrilla war.
There seems to be the outside chance that the Iranians could secure the Punjab to some extent, but as long as the Sikhs are around I would suppose that they would always be trying to return home. Ultimately that's what the future of the Iranian Punjab hinges on.
Welp, Ahmad Khan Abdali and his band of Afghans got what's coming to them. There'll be no Durrani Empire as of result. It seems the Afghans will be under rule of the Persian Empire. Perhaps, the Afghans in this TL is much better off than in OTL.

The Zands may do well, rather than going through their tragic ends in OTL at the hands of the Qajars. Will the Zands became a noble family in Modern Afsharid Iran?
ITTL, this rebellion was really the last chance of the Afghans to create their own big state. It's going to be fairly unlikely now that they will be able to break away from a strong Persian state, which will probably be able to make the Farsi/Dari language even more widespread in Afghanistan through cultural osmosis and administration. Indeed, without the attempts to delineate a separate Afghan culture, Dari will probably be thought of as a dialect of Farsi rather than a language in its own right.

The fact that the Zands have been able to do well speaks to the ability of the competent to progress in Iran. For all his many, many faults Nader was not a tribalist, and his lieutenants could be found from almost every ethnic group in Iran, and to some extent this is true of his sons.
 
Southeast Asia - 1759 to 1783
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The Rebirth of Burma

In a process that to some extent mirrored other parts of the world such as Europe, the Middle East and India, Southeast Asia in the latter half of the 18th century saw a tendency toward more centralised, more bureaucratised and stronger states than had been the case previously. Both Burma and Siam saw the downfall of old regimes and the rise of new ones, and many smaller states in the region saw a greater tendency toward cohesion. The region in general saw a marked rise in prosperity as rising demand across the globe saw an increased demand for luxuries, foodstuffs and other exports of Southeast Asian nations. Although there were certainly exceptions to these generalised trends, as well as emerging threats from outside the area, the period nevertheless appears to have been something of a watershed in Southeast Asian history. Not for nothing do some look back on the period as the beginning of the modern age in the region.


Burma perhaps provides the most dramatic example of the changes seen in the period. The Restored Toungoo Dynasty which had ruled over Burma for over a century succumbed in the 1750s to the renewed Kingdom of Hanthawaddy based in the Irrawaddy Delta. The capital of Ava was sacked and destroyed in 1753 and it appeared as if Upper Burma had been bested by Lower Burma. The subsequent revival of Burma thus appears something of a miracle in the context of what had gone before. A former village head who would come to be known as Alaungpaya rose to challenge the occupying forces, and by 1757 had bested the Mon of Hanthawaddy and incorporated the Irrawaddy Delta into his kingdom. Having reunited both Lower and Upper Burma would have been impressive in itself, yet the expansionistic drive of Burma under Alaungpaya and his successors was remarkable. Alaungpaya led campaigns into the Shan States, overran a British fort in the Irrawaddy area and even campaign into Manipur [1]. However, these campaigns into Manipur alerted the Nawab of Bengal to the growing strength of Burma. The Nawab began supporting the King of Manipur against Burma in an attempt to secure his own borders [2].


Following the death of Alaungpaya, a disputed succession almost led to Civil War, though careful management by Naungdawgyi as well as intercession from the women of the palace concerning his brother Hsinbyushin ensured that the succession went more smoothly than would have otherwise been the case. Naungdawgyi had a relatively short reign, though was able to defeat a number of attempted rebellions on the part of various subject peoples, securing the kingdom that his father had built. It was to be in the reign of his brother Hsinbyushin that Burma would reach its apogee. Hsinbyushin’s initial campaigns against Manipur and Vientiane were successful, which allowed him to consider an invasion of Burma’s main rival, Ayutthaya. However, growing tensions with the Chinese and a failed attempt on the part of a Chinese governor to cut Burma down to seize provoked a fully-fledged Chinese invasion in 1766. With the help of the experienced Burmese army, tropical disease as well as his own military ability, Hsinbyushin was able to repel multiple Chinese invasions, finally securing a peace with the Chinese in 1771 [3]. For China, the resulting peace was a stinging defeat, as it represented much more a definitive defeat than her shorter war against the Iranians in the West.


For the next ten years following the great victory over the Chinese, Hsinbyushin focused on subjugating the smaller states that surrounded Burma, finally enforcing the submission of Manipur in 1773, as well as conquering Arakan by 1777. With the Chinese border secure and numerous smaller kingdoms subdued for the time being, Hsinbyushin finally had the security needed to fulfil his great ambition; the conquest of Siam. In 1779, the Burmese launched an invasion of Siam, wresting vassals from her control and eventually besieging the capital of Ayutthaya itself. Siamese attempts to relieve her capital failed, and in 1781 the Burmese razed the city to the ground, marking the end of the Ayutthaya era in Siamese history and destroying one of the largest cities in Southeast Asia. Burma, it appeared, had finally vanquished its Siamese foe and settled for enormous territorial gains at Siam’s expense. As the country fell to civil war in the wake of the Burmese armies, it appeared that Siam’s history was now taking a very dark turn indeed.


[1] – Indeed, Alaungpaya fought and beat the British in OTL! There are always issues with trying to project the strength that Europeans had in the 19th century back into the 18th as this example shows.

[2] – It goes without saying that in OTL, there was no Bengali support to Manipur.

[3] – This is longer than the war went on in OTL. Ultimately there was the concern among the Burmese that the Chinese would keep fighting for as long as necessary to win, and the desire to pursue more fruitful wars elsewhere (they were fighting Siam simultaneously). Due to the increased difficulty in subjugating Manipur due to Bengal, as well as fighting the Chinese, the Burmese have not been able to invade Siam in the 1760s, saving the city of Ayutthaya for a while longer.

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Maritime Southeast Asia in the late 18th Century


The changes that affected the Southeast Asian archipelago in the latter half of the 18th century were perhaps somewhat less dramatic than those that had changed the mainland. A generalised increase in world trade led to a rising demand for commodities found in the area including tin from the Malay Peninsula, pepper from Aceh, coffee and sugar from Java as well as other spices and products found in the region. However, there were also unique threats to security and prosperity in the region that were not found in other areas to the same extent. Piracy was endemic, practiced mainly by the Bugis as well as by Malay princes who by custom were free to prey on shipping. The population outside of Java was extremely sparse and there were few significant urban centres of the scale found elsewhere. However, a number of trends that would eventually change these things were already underway in the period.


The Malay Peninsula had traditionally been split between a numbers of Sultanates outside of the Dutch colony of Malacca. Traditionally Johor had been the most powerful of the Malay Sultanates following the fall of Malacca to the Dutch in the 1500s, though the 18th century saw the rise of challengers in Kedah and Terengganu. The pattern that had emerged in the aforementioned states by the middle of the 18th century was that increasing revenues from trade were in part spent on firearms from European and Arab traders. As elsewhere, firearms disproportionately increased the military power of those with the economic resources to purchase them, which in the small states of the Malay Peninsula almost always meant the Sultans [4]. However, the sultans often found serious security challenges from the Bugis or the Anak Raja, the sons of formers Sultans who had not inherited. Kedah in particular suffered greatly from the instability caused by the Anak Raja, though by the 1770s had instead attempted prevent this by providing administrative roles for the siblings and cousins of the Sultan.

Between the Bugis and the Anak Raja, there were enough destabilising forces on the Peninsula to shift the balance of power significantly on the Peninsula. At the beginning of the century it had been Johor that was the clear premier Malay power, such as they were the inheritors of the Malaccan legacy. The unrest caused by the various invasions and power struggles caused the loss of Selangor and Seremban for Johor in 1766 and 1773 respectively, weakening the Sultanate relative to her main rival on the peninsula, Kedah [5]. With the alliance of Kedah and the new Sultanate of Selangor in 1767, it appeared as though Kedah’s influence even in the south of the peninsula was growing, and it was in part hoped that an alliance with the Bugis rulers of the Sultanate would provide much-needed military assistance from the Burmese. In terms of European powers, there was a “changing of the guard” as the British seized Malacca from the Dutch in 1778, establishing themselves as the primary European presence on the peninsula.


The period also saw greater numbers of foreigners arrive in the Sultanates than had previously been the case. The increased economic prospects brought not only trades from Europe and the rest of the Muslim World, but also brought a number of immigrants from Arabia, China as well as other islands in the Southeast Asian archipelago. These immigrants often found themselves working in tin mines or various other non-traditional roles, increasing the commodities that could be exported from the peninsula, which made them both valuable and desired by the various Sultans. Indeed, the Sultan of Perak had put a significant effort in recruiting Chinese workers from Malacca to work in the rich tin-mining areas of Perak. Meanwhile, Kedah had seen a growth in its rice production, making it an important part of the peninsula economically, especially in the wake of civil war in Thailand. The economy however was still relatively unmonetised when compared to that of larger states in Southeast Asia, and in many ways was backward, lacking almost any kind of manufacturing base.


In Sumatra, the attempt of the VOC to expand with the conquest of Jambi floundered in the face of the hostility of its inhabitants. Once again the VOC was limited to Palembang, ensuring that much of the island remained under the control of native powers, the most powerful of whom was the powerful pepper exporter of Aceh. In Java, a period of endemic warfare among its native powers had ended by 1757, resulting in a period of peace which greatly benefitted the VOC who were the dominant trading power on the island by this point. The division of Mataram into Surakarta and Yogyakarta were finalised, though there still remained the desire among many Javanese for the reunification of the Kingdom, and the conversion of the Dutch to Islam. For the VOC, the struggle now appeared to hinge more on the declining fortunes of the Netherlands itself, especially in the wake of the defeat in the Anglo-Dutch war of 1777-78 and the subsequent loss of its monopoly for trade in the Dutch East Indies. This key concession to the British would forever change the economic balance of power in the East Indies, which had enormous political effects.


[4] – Malays in the 18th century had encountered some difficulty buying arms as the VOC were forbidden to sell firearms. Although the British were happy to do so, the greater stability of the Middle East in TTL has meant that a greater number of firearms, albeit of the heavier Iranian style, are on the market in Southeast Asia.


[5] – Kedah in OTL suffered losses too in this era, the modern provinces of Trang and Satun in Thailand as well as Penang and Perlis a bit later on. As the expansionistic Thonburi and Chakri dynasties haven’t arisen in Siam as of this point, Kedah has not suffered quite as much.

* * * * * *

Author's notes - So in Southeast Asia we are beginning to see some big indirect effects of the POD. While the existence of Iran as a market for various luxury products from the region has contributed a small amount to the growth of trade in island Southeast Asia, the main effects actually come from India. With the king of Manipur supported by a Bengal wary of the growth of Konbaung Burma, the latter's expansion hasn't been quite as impressive as compared to OTL, but this may prove to be a benefit in the long run. Without distraction elsewhere, Burmese dominance over much of Siam may well last longer, as it proved rather short lived in OTL. This of course will have knock-on effects in the Malay Peninsula as noted, as well as in Vietnam where the dynamic between North and South is likely to be affected to some degree. Bigger changes will likely be seen in the next update, but stuff is definitely different.
 
Between the Bugis and the Anak Raja, there were enough destabilising forces on the Peninsula to shift the balance of power significantly on the Peninsula. At the beginning of the century it had been Johor that was the clear premier Malay power, such as they were the inheritors of the Malaccan legacy. The unrest caused by the various invasions and power struggles caused the loss of Selangor and Seremban for Johor in 1766 and 1773 respectively, weakening the Sultanate relative to her main rival on the peninsula, Kedah [5]. With the alliance of Kedah and the new Sultanate of Selangor in 1767, it appeared as though Kedah’s influence even in the south of the peninsula was growing, and it was in part hoped that an alliance with the Bugis rulers of the Sultanate would provide much-needed military assistance from the Burmese. In terms of European powers, there was a “changing of the guard” as the British seized Malacca from the Dutch in 1778, establishing themselves as the primary European presence on the peninsula.

In Sumatra, the attempt of the VOC to expand with the conquest of Jambi floundered in the face of the hostility of its inhabitants. Once again the VOC was limited to Palembang, ensuring that much of the island remained under the control of native powers, the most powerful of whom was the powerful pepper exporter of Aceh. In Java, a period of endemic warfare among its native powers had ended by 1757, resulting in a period of peace which greatly benefitted the VOC who were the dominant trading power on the island by this point. The division of Mataram into Surakarta and Yogyakarta were finalised, though there still remained the desire among many Javanese for the reunification of the Kingdom, and the conversion of the Dutch to Islam. For the VOC, the struggle now appeared to hinge more on the declining fortunes of the Netherlands itself, especially in the wake of the defeat in the Anglo-Dutch war of 1777-78 and the subsequent loss of its monopoly for trade in the Dutch East Indies. This key concession to the British would forever change the economic balance of power in the East Indies, which had enormous political effects.


Be interesting to see if the British usurp the Dutch in control of the East Indies, be a good compensation for no British Raj.
 
No doubt South-East Asia will be the same as in OTL, with much stronger Burma around and perhaps the growing power of the Malay states, it might bit more difficult for the Europeans to exert their influence in this area.
 
Indonesia and Australia being held by a single power could have interesting consequences.

I believe that they will be run separately as the British are just starting to colonize Australia at this time in OTL. With a gradual takeover of the East Indies alongside the expansion into Oceania, we may see administrations of both colonies go into territorial dispute over New Guinea. Which isn't even considering the implications of a surviving French Westralia.
 
First off, I would like to apologise for the very long break that the timeline has taken, as I was rather busier in Bahrain than I had anticipated. I should be able to keep up the rate of updates from this point forward however.
Be interesting to see if the British usurp the Dutch in control of the East Indies, be a good compensation for no British Raj.
Different parts of the East Indies would all be well-suited to growing cash crops, which is likely to increase the desire for British merchants for a more secure presence there in the long run. There will be a bit more detail on this Anglo-Dutch war in a later update, but the gist of things is that even if Batavia remains in Dutch hands for the time being, British commercial influence in the region is likely to grow.
No doubt South-East Asia will be the same as in OTL, with much stronger Burma around and perhaps the growing power of the Malay states, it might bit more difficult for the Europeans to exert their influence in this area.
Well the Malays are still not incredibly well placed to seriously resist European influence. Most Malay Sultans preferred accommodation, preferring the Europeans as overlords to the Siamese, who were arguably a greater threat to prosperity. Burma however is a different story, as could Siam be if she manages to recover in a similar way to OTL. Certainly without a large scale presence in Bengal, the British will have far more trouble invading Burma.
Indonesia and Australia being held by a single power could have interesting consequences.
I believe that they will be run separately as the British are just starting to colonize Australia at this time in OTL. With a gradual takeover of the East Indies alongside the expansion into Oceania, we may see administrations of both colonies go into territorial dispute over New Guinea. Which isn't even considering the implications of a surviving French Westralia.
One could see Javanese coolies finding work in Australia, but it really depends how things pan out. It is worth mentioning that as the OTL United States remains a part of the British Empire in TTL, there is less of an impetus for the British to settle Australia at the moment, which is true of New Zealand as well. There will still be encounters with traders, whalers and other such travellers but this is going to have a big impact on Australasia in general.
Ah, so it seems the Malay states are employing Chinese laborers as OTL. I guess some things never change. :rolleyes:
With a growing demand for labour, and so many people in Southern China seeking work, it is one of those processes in history that seems pretty likely to happen.
 
The Reign of Nasrollah Shah - 1773 to 1782
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The Iranian Conquest of the Punjab

The Battle of Khasa lasted an entire day from dawn to twilight, and proved as much as Karnal had done that the days of dominance enjoyed by the cavalry-based armies in India were coming to an end. The Sikhs, for the most part cavalry fighters, fought well and displayed great amounts of initiative, bravery and even tactical finesse. All of these however were not enough to overcome the impact of accurate Iranian gunnery, as for a whole day the hard-shooting Iranian Jazāyerchis kept the Sikh Cavalry at bay and flustered attempts to bring the fighting to close quarters. By the end of the day, the field of battle was strewn with the bodies of Sikh warriors. Iran was once again expanding, and the less modernised enemies that stood in her way were made to feel the impact of Iran’s successful modernisation of its army.


As much as a forgone conclusion the battle appeared as, it could have all gone differently. There were 13 years that separated Iran’s second invasion of the Punjab from her previous foreign war, fought with China in Central Asia. Reza Shah had taken a less expansionistic approach to his father, weakening internal enemies and consolidating the sprawling empire that his father had built. However, with the collapse of the semi-independent Mughal province of the Punjab and its replacement by a Sikh Confederation seemingly bent on expansion and with a reputation for the persecution of its Muslim subjects, opportunities for conquest presented themselves to the Iranians. India had been one of the great cash-cows of and many of his later wars with were funded with the loot that he had gained from India. He had established Iranian power at the gates of India in Peshawar, and may have desired for his successors to take direct Iranian rule further into the country as the Mughals had done centuries earlier.


With victory over the Sikh Confederacy at Khasa, Reza Shah appeared to be well-placed to do this. His hold over Iran was somewhat stronger than his father’s had been, allowing for the prospect of extended campaigning abroad without suffering from unrest at home. The Iranian army had clearly not lost any of its ability in the interlude of peace, proving more than sufficient to defeat the unreformed armies of India. The confused political situation in India appeared to favour Reza as well, as the Muslim Elite of the Indus and Gangetic Valleys chafed under the increasing power of non-Muslim polities, primarily the Marathas and Sikhs. And in contrast to the modernising powers elsewhere in India, those of the Indo-Gangetic Plain still largely relied on cavalry-based, unreformed “country armies” that would likely be vulnerable to the musket-wielding Iranian forces. The great promise of a huge Indo-Iranian Empire, stretching from the Black Sea to the Bay of Bengal seemed within grasp of Reza Shah, an Empire which would allow him to become the unquestioned leader of the Islamic world, and would even give him the resources to campaign into Europe.


With that in mind, it begs the question of what actually happened. Rather than accepting their defeat and adjusting to a new, Iranian-led order, the Sikhs simply stopped opposing the Iranians on the battlefield and instead waged a bloody guerrilla campaign that would sap the energies of Iran. It had taken just 50,000 Iranian troops to smash the Sikh Confederation at Khasa, and yet by 1772 there were over 130,000 Iranians in the Punjab guarding key forts, roads and cities against the Sikhs. As an Iranian general noted: it seemed as though the Sikhs were everywhere, watching every movement of our troops and striking whenever we were least in a position to respond. We do not guard our camps at night sufficiently, only corpses and smouldering remains are left by morning. An Iranian patrol is too small, and the Sikh stalk them like tigers, striking with great force and leaving none alive [1]. The effect on morale was devastating, and it soon began to give Reza Shah second thoughts about the wisdom of his venture. The drain of money and manpower in the Punjab took its toll, prematurely aging Reza and leaving him vulnerable to typhoid which took him at the relatively early age of 54.


Although there were fears that with Reza Shah’s death, there would be a power struggle over the succession, his brother Nasrollah was confirmed as the new Shah soon after, with the other main contender, Reza Shah’s son Shahrukh making a public show of obedience to the new Shah. Nasrollah changed the way that the Iranian army fought in the Punjab, fashioning Uzbek and Afghan light cavalrymen into “hunters” who struck into the jungles where Sikh warriors hid and slaughtering them wherever they could be found. Steadily the number of Sikh attacks on villages and Iranian troops decreased, and by 1775 it appeared as though the Iranians had secured their presence in the Punjab. It had cost a great deal of treasure and men, though the Punjab was now as closely integrated to the Iranian Empire as Georgia. While still headed by a native ruler, tribute was paid to the Shah in Mashhad and Iranian garrisons dotted the country. Despite the mammoth achievement, Iran was far too war-weary to consider further expansion into India, and once again focused on internal reform rather than expansion.


[1] – The Sikhs were rather good at this type of guerrilla warfare in OTL, and using it had crippled the administration of Zakariya Khan in the Punjab.

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Nasrollah the Lawgiver


When the Safavids had rose to power in Iran, with them came a modified legal system to what had gone before. Being of the Shi’a rather than Sunni branch of Islam the early Safavids were aware that the legal codes that had gone before them were wrong, but there was an intervening period of time while Sunni scholars were replaced in the Sharia courts by Shi’a counterparts. This had entrenched a system of Shi’a judges and legal scholars, though to some extent this had declined in the wake of the fall of the Safavids, particularly during the short reign of the Sunni Afghans. The rise of the Afsharids had left the legal system in a somewhat ambiguous position however; hardly a Sunni hardliner like the Hotaki Afghans, Nader was not a conventional Shi’a either. His religious policy of following the Jafari’ Madhab was mostly a fiction for the benefit of foreigners and little changed in Iran in respect to the legal system.


The relatively poor articulation of the Jafari’ Madhab, despite the continuation of its status as the official school of Islam within Iran continued to confuse the situation in the reign of Nader’s sons Reza and Nasrollah. At this point, there had not been an accomplished scholar who had managed to distil the teachings of Jafar al-Sadiq sufficiently to resemble one of the conventional Sunni schools, and there was the unwillingness on the part of either Reza or Nasrollah to “rock the boat” by formally returning to Shi’ism or converting to one of the existing Sunni schools [2]. By the reign of Nasrollah however, it was becoming apparent that the growing contradictions in the Iranian legal system were becoming too significant to ignore. Either the Shah was to continue sanctioning the appointment and dominance of Shi’a scholars and judges to Sharia law courts, there was to be a significant shift of religious policy, or the role of the Sharia in Iran’s legal system was to be reformed. Nasrollah, fearful of the greater controversy that either of the former options may bring, opted for the latter.


Iran had long possessed secular, or ‘Orfi courts. These had largely dealt with criminal and tort cases, whereas Sharia courts had largely dealt with other areas of law. The legal reforms introduced by Nasrollah were far-ranging, and gradually re-assigned many former functions of the Sharia courts to the secular ones. Areas such as civil and commercial litigation, criminal law and property were all to be dealt with increasingly by secular law courts, though particularly in more isolated areas the changes in practice often took decades, and religious judges and scholars retained much of their influence. While other areas of law remained the mainstay of Sharia courts such as family law, the shift toward a system that favoured secular law is palpable [3]. Although there was no question, or even the suggestion of a question, about the ideological role of Islam in the Iranian state, a mixture of sectarianism as well as the shaky theological basis of the Early Afsharid regime’s religious school had at least in part pushed the Iranian legal system away from a more traditional approach.


As well as the preference for secular courts, Nasrollah attempted a number of other legal reforms. The procedure of the secular courts was regulated to some extent, as part of the overall effort to standardise administration across the directly-administered parts of the empire. Laws surrounding land ownership were changed, reportedly at the suggestion of British East India Company men at the court in Mashhad, clarifying land ownership to a much greater extent than had previously been the case [4]. Laws governing commerce were also clarified, showing something in the way of Western European influence. Although there were a great many who resisted these sweeping legal changes (not least the ulema), Iran’s merchants and to a lesser extent, landowners quickly saw the benefits of the new legal system. While its adoption across the whole of the large Afsharid realm would be slow, it did represent some effort toward imprinting its own administrative vision on the empire, as well as to reforms necessary to ensure some measure of commercial certainty and growth.


[2] – As previously mentioned, the Mullahbashi that Nader Shah appointed was an unaccomplished scholar, clearly not one up to the task of formulating a whole school of thought.


[3] – Similar shifts in the Iranian legal system in OTL did not happen until the 19th century, and were not quite as far reaching as this.


[4] See post #162. Whereas Iran’s land tenure system was ambiguous at best before these reforms, who owns what is now clear rather than enduring the previous system of ambiguity. The majority of Iran’s peasants are still miserable sharecroppers though.

* * * * * *

Author's Notes - A bit of a difficult update to write, since I've not got a mind for understanding the law. Basically, Nasrollah Shah's legal reforms draw from an existing precedent for secular law to fill the gaps left by the Shari'ah, though with the relative ambiguity of the state's religious policies, these secular laws represent a larger part of the corpus than in other Islamic states. While this isn't a conscious policy of secularisation, it in practice makes the Iranian government and legal system more secular than many of its contemporaries, though this doesn't translate to a secular society.

In India, the Iranians seem to have secured the Punjab for the time being, though their hold on the region may not be as secure as it looks. Certainly, the Sikhs have not been destroyed as a people or a force.
 
A bit of a difficult update to write, since I've not got a mind for understanding the law. Basically, Nasrollah Shah's legal reforms draw from an existing precedent for secular law to fill the gaps left by the Shari'ah, though with the relative ambiguity of the state's religious policies, these secular laws represent a larger part of the corpus than in other Islamic states. While this isn't a conscious policy of secularisation, it in practice makes the Iranian government and legal system more secular than many of its contemporaries, though this doesn't translate to a secular society.

With law becoming Secular, will this mean other islamic states with substantial minorities like Bengal follow suit?
 
A Sikh comeback would be harder to achieve, it now seems. With Afsharid Iran having the Punjab under control, I can see some of the surrounding Indus states deferring to Mashhad out of commercial and political convenience. Certainly Kashmir and Sindh would be opening feelers to the empire, though Nasrollah seems a tad disinterested with Indian diplomacy.
 
How strong is Persian control of *Himachal Pradesh and Jammu? I imagine those regions are too mountainous to be controlled effectively, except by vassal states.
 
With law becoming Secular, will this mean other islamic states with substantial minorities like Bengal follow suit?
The circumstances under which some of Iran's legal codes have moved toward a secular system are fairly unique to Iran. No other Muslim state has such a precarious balance between Sunni and Shi'a, and no other Muslim state has such a weak foundation of Fiqh when it comes to its laws. This isn't a conscious move toward secularism, but one that recognises the realities that Iran's government faces as it attempts to standardise its legal system. The fact that a fairly secular legal code exists could be of great significance later on however.
A Sikh comeback would be harder to achieve, it now seems. With Afsharid Iran having the Punjab under control, I can see some of the surrounding Indus states deferring to Mashhad out of commercial and political convenience. Certainly Kashmir and Sindh would be opening feelers to the empire, though Nasrollah seems a tad disinterested with Indian diplomacy.
While the Iranians are likely not going to march to annex Delhi just yet, it does seem rather lightly that smaller states surrounding the Iranian Punjab will likely gravitate toward Iran. This may well be the basis for wider Iranian suzerainty over Northern India in the future, but perhaps we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves here. Nasrollah is, like his brother, more of a consolidator than a conqueror like his father, but he does seem to have some talent for establishing control in conquered areas. How far Iranian control in India gets really depends on how well the Iranian state is able to digest the Punjab in the long run and what the priorities of future Iranian rulers are.
How strong is Persian control of *Himachal Pradesh and Jammu? I imagine those regions are too mountainous to be controlled effectively, except by vassal states.
Jammu is independent for the time being, though its future relations with Iran will of course be of primary importance. If I can remember in OTL, the Sikhs did not vassalise Jammu until the 1770s meaning that they have probably not done so yet in TTL. For the time being, the state is independent of Iran, though of course this may change in the future.
 
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