A Destiny Realized: A Timeline of Afsharid Iran and Beyond

Sad to see the different outcome in Bengal, I think seeing a different British involvement in India is often more interesting than the boredom of lots of fully native Indias in other timelines. That being said, I trust you to do better than most with regards to Indian vibrancy when some keep it static and boring.

How go British and French efforts in the Carnatic?
 
Well, it's complicated. Non-Wahhabis are as capable of bigotry and violent as Wahhabis themselves, but I'm not convinced that Wahhabi influence is a good thing where it can be found.

And I am not denying that to be part of a convoluted truth. My opinion just stems from my poor view on any ideology, religious or political, that have fundamentalist undetones line throughout.
 
In the Punjab too, the disintegration of the Mughal Empire encouraged dynastic politics. When Zakariya Khan, who had submitted to Nader Shah rather than fight him during his invasion, died his sons took his place. By 1747, succession struggles had led to Shah Nawaz Khan becoming the unquestioned authority in the Punjab, despite the oppositions of the Mughal Vizier [2]. In the face of succession struggles however, as well as fears of Iranian ambitions, Sikhs had become an increasing threat in the rural areas of the Punjab. In 1754, Fatehabad was occupied by the Sikhs, becoming a centre for their burgeoning state. Without support from the centre, Shah Nawaz Khan struggled to defeat the growing insurgency. By 1758, the Sikhs plundered outlying areas of Lahore, and it was now wondered whether they would eventually overcome the governor and establish their own polity in the Punjab.


Last but not least, the position of the European powers became an increasingly important factor in Indian politics. The French and British came to blows in India in the 1740s, as a continuation of warfare in Europe rather than due to local factors. However, local considerations for the two powers soon became paramount, and the Second Carnatic War was fought as a proxy war, with the British and French supporting different sides in a war of succession. Some British Nabobs such as Clive dreamed of greater glory and territorial control in India with the downfall of the Mughal Empire. An opportunity seemed to present itself in Bengal, when complex manoeuvring on the part of the British, the French and Siraj-ud Dowla, the new Nawab of Bengal, had led to the notorious “Black Hole of Calcutta” which saw over a hundred British prisoners die in Bengali custody. Despite concerns among many in Bengal about Siraj-ud Dowla’s leadership, he was able to defeat the British at Plassey with the help of the French, scuppering British hopes for influence in the region [3].


The main effect of Karnal on India appears to have been the encouragement of an existing tendency toward decentralisation. Although the Marathas came close to filling the power vacuum that had been left in the wake of Karnal, they could not in the end subdue governors who were far from the imperial centre of Delhi. Having created the vacuum, the Iranians seemed content to concentrate elsewhere, and did little to fill the gap that they had created on the subcontinent. It seemed as if there would be no great successor to the Mughals, and that the decentralisation of the subcontinent would be made permanent by the events of Nader’s invasion of the Mughal Empire and their subsequent collapse.

While the power Vaccum may never be filled again, the original ideals of the Mughal Empire will survive in the Burgeoning Bengal and Sikh States.

Although given the placement of the Punjab is their a chance of Sikhism spreading into Central Asia or even China?
 
Splendid update! I'm interested as to how the Marathas are handling themselves as they are now the dominant power in the subcontinent. Have the Peshwas taken on the role of administering the empire from the Chhatrapatis?
 
Welcome back Nassir! Nice to see your thread up and running.

You have made an great update on the Indian subcontinent. Things will be a lot more interesting with independent Bengal, Marathas replacing the Mughals and Sikh states.

Will the British try to conquer India again in the future?
 
A Free and Independent Bengal!
The Bengal Tiger unleashed!

The fate of Bengal in this version of the timeline will be very much different to that of OTL's. The flaws of Siraj-ud Dowlah notwithstanding, Bengal had already shown signs of success. Under Alivardi Khan the state had repelled the Marathas and improved the administration of the region. There is a convincing case that Plassey was the "one shot" for the British to gain control over the region, as a Bengal that managed to consolidate further would be far more secure than in OTL. That being said, it is possible that the personality of Siraj-ud Dowlah would lead to a weakening of the state.
Awesome update! Glad to hear you enjoyed your time in Malaysia.
Many thanks! Well, I always do enjoy going to Malaysia, and this time round I finally got to see Malacca so that was cool.
Glad to see this one back.
I wasn't lying when I said that it wasn't going to die an ignoble death. ;)
Sad to see the different outcome in Bengal, I think seeing a different British involvement in India is often more interesting than the boredom of lots of fully native Indias in other timelines. That being said, I trust you to do better than most with regards to Indian vibrancy when some keep it static and boring.

How go British and French efforts in the Carnatic?
Well the British and French still hold a lot of land in the Carnatic. The main update will come in the next cycle when we look at the alt-Seven Years war in some detail, but the British still hold a number of advantages there.

The Europeans will still hold land elsewhere in India, as well as the various trading ports which ironically may mean a longer presence in the region for some European powers, but that's speculating too far into the future at this point.
And I am not denying that to be part of a convoluted truth. My opinion just stems from my poor view on any ideology, religious or political, that have fundamentalist undetones line throughout.
Well, at the end of the day it hasn't produced a particularly nice or virtuous society in Saudi Arabia. I have my own biases instilled by my own upbringing, but I can't really say that it has been a positive for Saudi Arabia or the Islamic World as a whole.
While the power Vaccum may never be filled again, the original ideals of the Mughal Empire will survive in the Burgeoning Bengal and Sikh States.

Although given the placement of the Punjab is their a chance of Sikhism spreading into Central Asia or even China?
I suppose the chances of a great state covering the north of India really depends on whether Nationalism develops down the same lines as OTL. Already the Bengalis have taken a step with the annexation of Bihar but the fact that India's state system has become so multipolar seems to suggest that for the time being, states will develop around the former viceroyalties of the Mughal Empire. The Marathas are the changing factor in the equation.

Sikhism's expansion into Central Asia or China is blocked by the fact that the Iranians are in the way. I don't see them managing to penetrate the barrier of the Himalayas.
Splendid update! I'm interested as to how the Marathas are handling themselves as they are now the dominant power in the subcontinent. Have the Peshwas taken on the role of administering the empire from the Chhatrapatis?
Indeed the Peshwas control the administration of the Empire by this point. As in OTL, the Marathas are transferring the zamindars and other administrative functions of the Mughal Empire into their own system at this point as their role changes from plunderers to administrators, at least in territories that are unquestionably theirs.
Welcome back Nassir! Nice to see your thread up and running.

You have made an great update on the Indian subcontinent. Things will be a lot more interesting with independent Bengal, Marathas replacing the Mughals and Sikh states.

Will the British try to conquer India again in the future?
I wouldn't count the British out yet. They still hold lands in the Carnatic and the promise of riches in India still attract talented young men. However, if Britain does not secure the resources she needs to conquer further, it is questionable whether she will become the power that she was in OTL. I suppose it depends on how well she does against the native powers of Southern India.
 
Until the End!
The Ferghana Valley, September 1758

The situation seemed to be improving at last. Unlike in Russia, when he had come to blows with the Chinese he had come off better. Now, the armies of the Qianlong Emperor could be pushed back beyond the Tarim, and perhaps Nader could supersede the achievements of Timur and invade China itself. The haul of treasure, as well as the prestige from such an expedition would dwarf even that of India’s, and secure him and his dynasty’s place as the greatest in Iranian history. Yes, Nader had much to look forward to.


He was brought out of his daydreams by the sound of someone dropping to the ground. Was it outside his tent or within? Either way, the soldier who had evidently had too much to drink would have to be punished in some way. He shook his head as his eunuch handed him the stamp to press onto some official documents, when Nader noticed three men standing in the doorway of his tent. He recognised two of them, Mohammad Khan Qajar and Saleh Khan, who held a dagger that was dripping with blood [1]. Nader took a look at the men, and instinctively pulled out his sword. He yelled “Murders! You worthless assassins!”


The men, conscious that his loud voice could rose the camp, rushed toward him. Rather than confront his adversaries, Nader slashed at the fabric of his tent, and jumped through the hole. His old bones creaked as he ran away from his tent, toward where the loyal Afghans were camped. However, the thunderous clap of a Jazāyer shot was heard, Nader fell to the ground. A second later, a shock of pain, as he realised his tibia had been shattered by the gun. The assassins had apparently anticipated his attempt at escape. Nader felt the life drain out of him, and saw a few figures approach. Mohammad Khan Qajar and Saleh Khan joined them.


Mohammad Khan Qajar looked worried. By now, they were just blurry figures to Nader. He saw one shove the other while saying “He killed your family. Take your revenge now or never”. Nader just saw the sword as it swung down towards his neck.


* * * * * *​


When Reza Qoli and Nassrollah Mirza returned to the camp from their hunting trip, chaos appeared to have set in. A man whom Reza was certain he recognised approached them on a horse, bellowing. “My princes, you are here! You must flee now!”

“Calm down man! What has happened here?” The princes were well aware, though of course they had to make pretences.


“You have not heard?” The man looked at them both, his stomach twist in fear and grief as he continued. “The Shah, he is dead. Slain by the Qajars and their evil followers”

Both brothers had time to prepare for the news. But with the confirmation that their father was no more, not even their treachery could offset the affection they felt for him as a men. Nasrollah wept, Reza drying the tears off his own face before comforting his brother. Grief would have to come later, now was the moment of truth. Both Reza and Nasrollah dismounted, followed quickly by the man who had told them.


“Tell me my man, were you honestly planning to flee?”

The man wisely composed himself, and backtracked on his previous advice to them. “A moment of panic, forgive me my lord. My men, they have apprehended Mohammad Khan Qajar, your father’s executioner, but Saleh Khan was killed when we attempted to take him. We suspect there were others too, but they have fled the camp already”

“Then news of this will reach Iran before we do” Reza considered his reaction for a moment. “You deserve the highest of praises for doing your duty to my father. You will be rewarded… what was your name again?”


“Ahmed Khan my lord, of the Abdalis” [2]

“Yes, of course. Ahmed, I need your help. As his eldest, I am by all rights my father’s successor, as my brothers will agree” He turned to Nasrollah, who nodded. “Iran is on a precipice now, and those who stayed loyal only due to fear of my father will rebel. If we do not have the army behind us, and if we do not act swiftly, we will have chaos, war and suffering. Everything my father gained would be lost”


Ahmed Khan nodded. Chaos would not necessarily be a bad thing for him. Briefly the thought crossed his mind that he could take his troops and found his own kingdom. If he could get away with it, which did not seem likely. His loyalties were set. “Then we need to end the chaos, and march back to Mashhad”


“That is correct. The Chinese are not in a condition to chase us down, and Qianlong may even accept a fair peace. He may not know of my father’s fate at the moment, and this is something we need to exploit” He turned now to Nasrollah. “I need you to rally all the commanders that you can. Ignore those who may have helped the traitor, we will deal with them when numbers are on our side”

“I will see you later brother”. Nasrollah stepped toward Reza, and kissed him on his cheeks. He mounted his horse, and rode off into the distance.


[1] – The two men were Nader Shah’s OTL assassins as well. Mohammad Khan Qajar was a relative of the later Qajar dynasty who would rise to power in Iran.

[2] – Yes, that is the Ahmed Shah Durrani of OTL.


* * * * * *

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The Assassination of Nader Shah

At the beginning of September in 1758, Nader Shah seemed set to rise into the rank of legend. He had come to the fore when Iran was at its nadir, its capital occupied by barbarian hill-people, some of its most productive lands occupied by foreigners. In a testament to his brilliant abilities, he not only liberated all of Iran’s territory, but expanded its territory in almost all directions. Iran’s dimensions far exceeded that of his Safavid predecessors, and yet more glory seemed possible as Nader made preparations from an invasion of China. Why then, at the dawn of what could have been his greatest achievement yet, did Nader find himself at the wrong end of an assassin’s blade?


For his many achievements, Nader did not have the illustrious background of his predecessors. Ismail, the founder of the Safavid Empire, had been the leader of a Sufi brotherhood. From the time he could walk, he was surrounded by people convinced of his divine mission and right to rule. Even as a young teenager, he won magnificent victories, and there were even some in the early Safavid Empire who thought of him as semi-divine, or even the Hidden Imam [3]. Indeed, there were contemporaries who asserted that Ismail was god himself! Although such notions were blasted away by Ottoman cannon at Chaldiran, the Safavids nevertheless maintained immense prestige from their position within Shi’a Islam. This had been a key basis of Safavid legitimacy, and although Nader had first exploited it when he ruled through Tahmasp and Abbas, he could no longer do so after he claimed the throne of Iran for himself. Nader came not from a background like that of Ismail’s, but started life as a shepherd’s son, who had worked his way up the ranks. An inspirational story for modern sensibilities, but not particularly endearing for 18th century Iranians.


Nader had never been particularly loved by the Iranian people. Respected would be a more appropriate adjective for most of his reign, as there was a wide recognition of his military achievements and his ability to secure Iran’s borders. What was far less popular were his extraordinarily high taxes to fund his wars. They had been tolerated in the first ten years of his reign, due to the perceived need to protect Iran from external threats. However, following his final defeat of the Ottomans, and his campaigns against Russia, the Central Asian Khanates and Qing China, the feeling amongst many in Iran was that military action had gone beyond what was necessary to protect the country, and had increasingly become a vehicle for Nader’s self-aggrandisement. In Iran, which had a relative tradition of public opinion and criticism of government, taxation for unpopular wars was likely to generate a great deal of public opposition to Nader’s government [4]. As taxation increased, rebellion became a more common feature in the 1750s.


This combined with the personal vendettas of some in his army to make a perfect storm. Accusations that his sons were complicit in his assassination were made by some Iranian historians sympathetic to the Safavids and mainstream Shi’ism [5]. However, there is little evidence to suggest that they were complicit or even aware of the plot against their father. Certainly, the sons of Nader Shah, if not his family as a whole, stuck together in the wake of the assassination, and Nader Shah’s sons and grandsons all supported Reza as the rightful heir to the throne. The conspirators were all dead within a week of Nader’s assassination, with the ringleader Muhammad Khan Qajar suffering a particularly gruesome execution. Although his assassins had been brought to justice, the Empire that he built was beginning to crumble as regional governors refused to recognize Reza Qoli as the successor to Nader, and some broke away from Iran entirely. Iran seemed once again to be returning to the bad old days of chaos and warfare that had dominated the country between the Safavids and the reign of Nader.


[3] – The Hidden Imam being Muhammad al-Mahdi. A shadowy figure to say the least in historical record, for the Shi’a Muhammad al-Mahdi is a figure analogous to the Messiah. For reasons of brevity I will not explain too much about him, suffice to say that the assumption that Ismail Safavi was the hidden Imam was a powerful testament to the Messainic fervour that the Safavids commanded from Shi’a Muslims prior to Chaldiran, which took much off the sheen of their divine mission.


[4] – Michael Axworthy’s Empire of the Mind describes a tradition of scepticism in regards to the government as being particularly strong amongst the ulema and bazaar merchants. Not to the same scale as the relative expansion of freedom of thought/speech that was taking place in some European countries at the time, but nevertheless quite fascinating. It was this tradition that eventually led to the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1905.


[5] – Pro-Safavids had a particular hatred for Reza Qoli due to his murder of the former Safavid Shahs Tahmasp and Abbas.

* * * * * *

Author's Notes - And so it is that Nader's career finally comes to an end. Would he have ever desired to conquer China itself? Certainly, there is a wealth of evidence in his lifetime that he wanted to emulate Timur as much as possible, and the chance to surpass Timur and achieve what he had never been able to would have been a great draw to Nader.

And yet, it seems even less likely that Nader would have succeeded than Timur could have done. Although China was far from invincible in the period (she was to be defeated by the Burmese in the 1760s), the prospect of Nader's army defeating the Qing in the heart of China does seem unlikely. Any invasion would have to resemble that of India's as there would be no hope that a government based in Iran could administer China.

It is likely though that the opposition triggered by Nader's incessant wars would catch up with him sooner or later. Those under him would have been more sensitive to the suffering of the Iranian people, weighed down by taxes, and he did not enjoy the admiration and love that the Safavids had possessed. Nader does not seem to be the kind of person to resign himself to a quiet death and it seems that inevitably, he would have brought death upon himself.

This ends the first cycle of updates, but part two will be coming very, very soon. Until then!
 
Many thanks! Well, I always do enjoy going to Malaysia, and this time round I finally got to see Malacca so that was cool.

Correct me if I am wrong but I believe at one point Malacca was called "The Mecca of the East" for being the jumping point for Islam to spread throughout South East Asia. Is this correct?
 
And yet, it seems even less likely that Nader would have succeeded than Timur could have done. Although China was far from invincible in the period (she was to be defeated by the Burmese in the 1760s), the prospect of Nader's army defeating the Qing in the heart of China does seem unlikely. Any invasion would have to resemble that of India's as there would be no hope that a government based in Iran could administer China.

I honestly wonder the affects of China focusing on Burma instead of the DZungar Khanate
 
Hopefully his successors bring about a small Shia resurrection, I always felt that they got a rough history and Nader Shah seems to have put them on the path to an even worse future than OTL.
 
And so, Nader's story finally comes to an end. Hopefully his successors can smooth over a peace with China, and the Emperor isn't going to be out for blood. A big loss could probably lead to disintegration at this juncture.
 
So the thing that keep Iran together Nader now is dead and since many follow Nader out of fear and respect with him gone civil war is only matter of time. And I doubt the brother will stay together for long at least until after all rebellion been put down. I can see at least Caucacus (and part of eastern anatolia) slip from Iran control after this.
Correct me if I am wrong but I believe at one point Malacca was called "The Mecca of the East" for being the jumping point for Islam to spread throughout South East Asia. Is this correct?
Don't know about Malacca but are you not confuse it with Aceh? Aceh title is verranda of Mecca.
 

Deleted member 67076

And so begins another cycle of instability, hopefully brief this time. Still the foundations of his state -critically the army- are there. If the monopoly on violence is held and regional power brokers are quelled, then a renegotiation of taxes and government can be set forth to provide the long term stability Iran needs to bounce back.
 
So the thing that keep Iran together Nader now is dead and since many follow Nader out of fear and respect with him gone civil war is only matter of time. And I doubt the brother will stay together for long at least until after all rebellion been put down. I can see at least Caucacus (and part of eastern anatolia) slip from Iran control after this.

Don't know about Malacca but are you not confuse it with Aceh? Aceh title is verranda of Mecca.

Yeah I think I might have got my facts mixed up.

Though now that you mention it, what will be the fate of Aceh this time around?
 
Yeah I think I might have got my facts mixed up.

Though now that you mention it, what will be the fate of Aceh this time around?
If i recall corectly in otl Aceh after Iskandar Thani Aceh have series of female ruler and weak central control after that dynasty after dynasty fail to establish properly until bugis? dynasty finally establish themselves in late 1800. So up to Nassir anyway if he want to touch it or not.
 
If i recall corectly in otl Aceh after Iskandar Thani Aceh have series of female ruler and weak central control after that dynasty after dynasty fail to establish properly until bugis? dynasty finally establish themselves in late 1800. So up to Nassir anyway if he want to touch it or not.

Oh. Well I was wondering if about the idea for Bengal expanding into Aceh in competing with other powers.
 
Speaking of which, it will be interesting what kind of european colonies and countries will pop out of india. I doubt the Marathas will survive for long as they disintegrated in OTL, but some likely candidates for a powerful state could be Mysore, Bengal, and Sikh. Europeans are coming as well, with Britain and France duking it out with other indian countries and their colonial rivals. I like how this timeline is working keep up the good work :cool:
 
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