Nawab Safdar Jung
(Detailed Notes : This may not be very good in terms of language, but gives enough sketch for the purpose of research. This text may be using some vernacular terms too, which may be otherwise hard to understand in context but we will be happy to assist in this regard)
The full name of Safdar Jung was Mirza Sakim Abul Mansur Khan Safdar Jung. He was the nephew and son in law of the founder of Naishapur dynasty of Oudh. Though he did not possess in same measure, the attributes of Burhan-ul-Mulk but he was a brave, considerate, gave charities to poor and an able administrator. He was not articulate and astute statesman and behaved more as a soldier most of the time during his brief tenure of Wazir (Prime Minister) to the Mughal Emperor at Imperial Delhi. He was not a keen observer of men and that became his undoing and exit from the national scene as a key player. He started with all the advantages on his side. He was earlier called to Delhi to strengthen the Persian lobby and had everything in world going in his favor to become the leader of Persian group in the Imperial Court at Delhi. Somehow he started making one blunder followed by another. First he antagonized the Emperor and Queen Mother by the reckless murder of their favorite eunuch Roshan- ud-Daulah and later the Afghans and Mughals also joined against him. The last unpardonable act of the Wazir of Mughal Emperor was open rebellion against his own Imperial Master, He sought the help of Marathas and the Jat Ruler of Bharatpur for possible rapprochement towards the end when it was too late. It is said that Safdar Jung bowed respectfully in the direction of the Royal Chamber of the Red Fort Palace before finally moving out from Delhi and took a vow not to return again. The fate willed otherwise. He died in Oudh, his body was first taken to Gulab Bari, Faizabad but later conveyed to Delhi and interred in a mausoleum there described as the “…the last flicker of Mughal Architecture in India”.
Mirza Muhammad Mukim alias Abul Mansur Khan of Nishapur is famous in history as Nawaab Safdar Jung. He was the nephew (sister’s son) and son in law of the first Nawab of Oudh Saadat Khan. The marriage of Safdar Jung by default to Sadr-i-Jahan Begum happened due to change in mind of Saadat Khan when the news of the wild behavior of betrothed Nisar Muhammad Khan son of his eldest brother Mirza Muhammad Bagr reached him. The solemn event took place in 1724 A.D. and it changed the life of Mirza Muhammad Mukim, the young man who would have otherwise spent his lifetime idyllically in the town of Nishapur in Khorason province of Iran.
Saadat assigned the young and energetic son in law to help him out in his duties of Subedari of Oudh and Delhi affairs that formed part of his training as deputy to the Nawab. The first test came in 1739 when Saadat Khan died at Delhi. The story has been told earlier how Raja Lakshmi Narayan saved the situation for Safdar Jung by offering Rs Two Crores as guarantee to the Mughal Emperor for grant of Subedari of Oudh.
The second acid test was soon to follow. It was not enough to have the grant of Nawabi but one had to establish his authority too. The challengers to the authority were many and the long list included Sheikh Nasratullah the landlord of Amethi and Farhatullah the landlord of Bandahi. The Rajput Raja of Tiloi, ruler of Hasanpur, ruler of Garh Amethi, and the neo Pathans of Jagdishpur near Tiloi soon joined them. The opposition appeared formidable but the front leaders wasted too much time in precious little deliberations but lacked in concerted action. Prompted by the wise counsel of his constant companion Sadr-i-Jahan Begum, Nawab Safdar Jung initiated the preemptive action against his enemies and crushed them all. The entire career of Safdar Jung is marked with some initial successes but due to lack of political acumen, statesmanship and brilliant military strategy, it came to nut at the end. But for the sagacious advice, material help, and constant encouragement from his faithful wife, the life of Safdar Jung would have proved miserable. Safdar Jung had all the opportunities in his life that came his way without asking, He was fortunate to get married to the intelligent daughter of Sadat Khan and which paved his way to claim Subedari of Oudh. He inherited accumulated wealth of the deceased Nawab. Safdar Jung was extravagant in spending. He spent Rs.40 lakhs in the marriage of his son Shuja-ud-Daulah where as Mughal Emperors used to spend amount of Rs.15-16 lakhs in such marriages. A well-trained and equipped Mughal army was at his command. He was considered the only powerful chief to counterbalance the influence of Nizam of Hyderabad. The Persian lobby in Delhi already recognized him as one of their leader at the court. The Mughal Emperor formally appointed him to the post of Wazir. Alas! the young man of Nishapur could not cope up with these God sent opportunities. His thoughtless and partisan handling of court affairs, fight with his immediate neighbor Afghans, spoiling of relations with the Marathas, cold blooded murder of Queen Mother’s favorite eunuch, general show of arrogance and finally alienation and open show of defiance of the Mughal Emperor’s authority became the prime reasons of his downfall and ignominious departure from Delhi. He was not a shrewd judge of persons either. His own appointees, the two young men nailed the coffin of all his residual (if any) political ambitions for all time to come. Jadunath Sarkar has written sarcastic remarks about Imad-ul-Mulk, one of these young men who was 16 years of age when appointed to the post of executive head of the Mughal army. Sarkar writes, “- was the deadliest viper that he (Safdar Jung) could have ever nursed in his (Safdar Jung) bosom; two successive emperors of Delhi were put to death by him (Imad) and the heir to the throne could save his life from him (Imad) only by going into Satdarjung exile.”
The reader shall now feel inquisitive enough to know more about the second Nawab Wazir of Oudh. The description may leave many readers wonder at the end why the British immortalized Safdar Jung by naming a road, a hospital, a railway station and an airport in New Delhi after him where as none of the Mughal Emperor was ever considered for such an honor. He came from a respectable family of Shia Muslims from the province of Khorasan in Persia or modern Iran. As was told earlier, Safdar Jung traveled to Hindoostan after receiving invitation from his maternal uncle Saadat Khan to marry his daughter Sadr-i-Jahan Begum To his credit it may be said that perhaps Safdar Jung was the only Nawab Wazir of Oudh who remained faithful to one woman till his last day. The distinction of being that woman goes to Sadr-i-Jahan Begum who displayed exemplary character and conduct rarely found in any age. She possessed extraordinary intelligence and had the uncanny ability to foresee the events and judge the ability of a man or a woman, She was a constant companion and gave sagacious advice and material help to her man whenever it needed. She was a great source of inspiration and encouragement to her husband. She was not very well read in the sense as other Mughal Princesses or ladies of those times. Nevertheless she was well versed in religious education and received excellent training under the tutelage of his father. Many contemporary and later writers and visitors belonging to various communities and nationalities have praised the Begum for her both the qualities of head and heart. At the time of the marriage solemnized in the year 1724 A.D., Safdar Jung was a young boy of 16 years old and his bride Sadr-i-Jahan was hardly a 4 years unior to him. The wedlock resulted in the birth of their only son in 1738 A.D. and it was the 19th day of the January month. The birth was celebrated with great pomp and show. The happiness of maternal grandfather knew no bound. Lavish reception and festivities continued for days together. The baby Shuja-ud-Daulah was hardly one year old and had not enough of affectionate cuddles of his grandfather when the Senior Nawab Saadat Khan left this world for his final destination. The sudden death shrouded under mystery left his people stupefied. In the atmosphere of prevailing gloom and initial wrangling, the son in law Safdar Jung sat on the seat in the year 1739. Overcoming his inertia in the beginning and encouraged by his Begum for prompt action, Safdar Jung overpowered all his opposition with firm handling, after freeing himself from Oudh affairs, Safdar Jung started paying attention to the happenings in the Delhi Court. No doubt, he was an ambitious person and holding the charge of prosperous province of Oudh. He was a blue-eyed Persian by birth. The Persian group at the Delhi Court pampered him and reckoned him as a counterpoise to the Nizam. He built up the next best army after Nizam. His troops were mostly drawn up from Persian- Turks also called Qizlībashes who once formed part of the fighting machine of Nadir Shah. These formidable looking troops were highly paid as compared to Hindoostani troops. He built up the so-called sword arm of Persians or the Iranians in the Mughal Court against the other pressure groups of Turanis mostly Sunni Muslims. The events that took place during the last nine years of Muhammad Shah’s rule and five years rule of Ahmad Shah form the story of conflicts between the two warring factions of the Court of Delhi when the weak Mughal Emperors were silent spectators of the whole drama patterned like a Greek tragedy. The leaders were self-seeking and cared less for others including the Emperor and the general public. Even the hovering of clouds in the form of foreign invasion did not deter them or enthuse them to plan and take joint action. Such despotic rule by the leaders and their King rotten to the core was bound to collapse under its own weight sooner than later. It was merely the sustained momentum of the previous rule of strong Emperors that carried forward the rule of later Mughals, lingering for some more time. Amir Khan another noble and influential Persian managed to come back from Allahabad and once again became a trusted advisor to the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah although Nizam drove him out earlier from Delhi for his conspiracy and ill advice against the Wazir and Nizam. He convinced the Emperor to invite Safdar Jung from Oudh to provide armed support to quell the all round disturbances in the aftermath of Nadir Shah’s departure from Delhi. Amir Khan needed a a strong ally like Safdar Jung another Shia Muslim and Persian by birth who could take stand against Nizam and help him strengthen his position in the court. Amir Khan arrived in Delhi on Nov.5, 1744 and Safdar Jung followed him eight days after. Safdar Jung was allotted the residence of Dara Shikoh near Kashmiri Gate and when appointed as Mir Atish (Chief of artillery) also, took up his residence in the Fort Palace. The year 1746 saw the murder of Amir Khan. The reasons attributed were his unbearable and arrogant behavior with the Palace Officials and Nobles of the Court. His soldiers did not allow the burial to take place for four days continuously as they had not received their salaries for the last fourteen months. Finally it was left to Safdar Jung to make the part payment and then the formal burial took place. The event left an unsavory taste and spoke loud enough on the lousy conduct of the so-called respectable nobles of those days.
Safdar Jung becomes Wazir
Fortunately and unfortunately both, the turn of events rather took place earlier than anticipated for the poor Safdar Jung when Emperor Muhammad Shah died and his son Ahmad Shah ascended the throne. Ahmad Shah was a handsome young man of 22 years age but devoid of any formal or informal training for kingship. He mostly spent his life so far in the Imperial Harem. He soon was given to the life of pleasure accentuated by his chief officer of harem, the eunuch Javid Khan. The Queen Mother, who fell in disgrace during the latter period of rule of Muhammad Shah, now saw an opportunity and started behaving as supreme power of the Court. With the change of ruler it is imperative to have changes in the old guards too. The vacant post of Wazir due to death of Qamr-ud-Din was given to Safdar Jung for mere asking and the Nawab Wazir of Oudh joined the post on 20th June 1748. Within five months of his holding the charge, a plot was hatched with the connivance of the two sons of late Wazir and Javid Khan with the blessings of Queen Mother of course, to remove Safdar Jung from the post. However Safdar Jung escaped unhurt from a murderous assault on his life and then came the news of Nizam coming with his troops to Delhi. Safdar Jung took strong preemptive measures immediately and his coterie was frightened with the preparations of Safdar Jung. Immediately the Emperor issued a firman, confirming the subedari of Deccan on the young Nizam and he was given instructions to go back as there was no need for him to come to Delhi. Safdar Jung was thus pacified for the time being but the knot of suspicion emerged in the relationship of the Emperor and his Wazir. However Safdar Jung though outwardly mollified but was waiting for the right opportunity to take revenge against the most trusted and influential man of the Emperor for leading the conspirators against him. The bazaars of city of Shahjahanabad also called Delhi were full of gossips about the scandal concerning the illicit relationship between the Queen mother and eunuch Javid Khan. When power begets more power, the person loses his balance and that results in his quick downfall. It happened with Javid Khan who made all the court nobles and highborn by his authoritative, arrogant behavior and overbearing influence over the Emperor without holding highest office in the realm. It gave an opportunity to Safdar Jung consultation with his ally Marathas. The weak Emperor for taking a bold initiative to remove the thorn once for all, He plotted the murder of Javid Khan by inviting him to his mansion on the pretext of discussing important state matter. While Safdar Jung engaged Javid Khan in talks, one of his assistants came from behind and by one stroke of the sword, head of Javid Khan was separated and rolled down on the terrace floor, overlooking the river Yamuna. The servants of Javid Khan were waiting outside for their master and instead lo, the head came down with a thud before them. They understood at once, got frightened and ran away for their lives. Safdar Jung plans went awry and the calculated support did not come. The Emperor did not show any outwardly reaction to this heinous crime but it was different with the Queen Mother. She was deeply hurt and was behaving like a wounded tigress raging with revenge after her paramour left this world. She started wearing white colored clothes and abstentions from any recreational activities or festivities. The Wazir Safdar Jung now got a free hand and started filling all the vacant important positions by his own men. He preferred his own personal gains of all kinds and started ignoring the interests of others including that of Emperor.
Safdar Jung goes to war with Afghans
Safdar always nurtured a deep-rooted ambition to annex the territories of Afghans wedging between his province of Oudh and Delhi. The earliest opportunity came when Safdar Jung became Mir Atish (Head of Artillery) in 1744. With this post, he also became nominal chief of army too as Nizam-ul-Mulk the official Mir annex the territories of Afghans Bakshi was busy in Deccan subedari affairs since 1740. Without the consent of then Wazir, Safdar persuaded the Emperor Muhammad Shah to take punitive action against Afghans. The Imperial army under the command of Safdar Jung and accompanied by the Emperor followed by a reluctant Wazir started on 15th Feb. 1745. Summer started early that year and the Imperial army marched leisurely, covering a distance of 110 miles (176 kms) in 3 months to reach within 8 miles (12.8 kms) of the enemy line. Without much fight, a peace was concluded with the Ruhella Chieftain Ali Muhammad who in turn lost little but gained much. Ali Muhammad was granted 4-hazari mansabdari and made Fauzdar of Sirhind and in return agreed to surrender usurped fiefs and dismantling of Bangarh fortification. The peace treaty was negotiated at the instance of Wazir with the consent of weakling Emperor and much against the wishes of Safdar Jung who wanted complete annihilation of Afghans. Ali Muhammad Ruhela seized the first opportunity, when Abdali captured Lahore. He deserted the post of Sarhind, re-established his lost authority in Rohilkhand and the agent of Nizam was driven out from his seized territories. Attempt to restore the Imperial authority failed when Qutb-ud-Din Dy. Fauzdar of Moradabad fell in the battle fought with Dundi Khan Ruhela. Safdar Jung was now a Wazir of Mughal Emperor and he had to decide on the course of action. He prepared a plan of supporting one Afghan against another Afghan and persuaded Emperor Ahmad Shah to appoint one of the rival claimants Qaim Khan to the Government of Rohilkhand over ruling the claims of Saadullah Khan son of deceased Ali Muhammad Khan Rohila. Qaim Khan was encouraged to recover the territory from Saadullah Khan but it so happened that Qaim Khan was killed in a battle fought at village near Badaun city on 12th Nov.1749, The victor Hafiz Rahmat Khan Ruhela took most of thr possessions of Bangash House but left completely the west bank territories untouched. Safdar Jung then prevailed upon the Emperor to confiscate the property of late Qaim Khan. Although this practice was not a novel introduction and earlier Mughal Emperors also indulged on many occasions in the past, This time however things were different as Safdar had a nefarious design in mind for A fghans. Bibi Sahiba, the mother of late Qaim Khan and wife of patriarch Muhammad Khan Bangash, approached Safdar Jung for help and proposed terms to save the House of Bangash. Though agreeing first to the terms offered by Bibi Sahiba, Safdar Jung later withdrew from his promise and he annexed all the Bangash dominion leaving only 12 villages for the upkeep of Bangash family. He appointed Raja Nawal Rai as in charge of the newly annexed dominion started administering the Bangash territory by residing at Kannauj. Safdar sent five of Qaim brothers to Allahabad Fort where they were kept in confinement and returned to Delhi with five chelas (slaves) of the Bangash family.
Safdar’s enemies at the court were jealous of this short-lived success of Safdar over Afghans who always troubled Mughals in the past and always sided with the foreign Afghans invaders from Afghanistan. Soon the bad news came from Bangash land that his most trusted and faithful person Nawal Rai was killed in the battle of Khudaganj fought on 1st August 1750, against a powerful group of Pathans from Mau. Safdar Jung did not take the reported killing laying down low and marshaled a large but undisciplined Imperial force comprising of 70,000 horses, lead by Safdar Jung himself. Raja Suraj mall Jat of Bharatpur and other allies also accompanied the force thus hurriedly assembled. Before they could reach Farrukhabad, they were surprised by the sudden attack of Ahmad Bangash stepson of Bibi Sahiba and supported by other Afghans near Ramchatauni on 13th September 1750. The army under the leadership of Safdar Jung fought bravely till the nightfall but had to retreat towards Chambal yielding victory to Afghans. A bullet hit the jaw of Safdar Jung and he needed medical attention badly. One of his close associates was also gravely wounded.
Hearing the debacle of Mughal forces, Hafiz Rahmat Khan the leader of Ruhela Afghans started loot of Oudh towns and captured Khairabad also. Another victorious army of Afghans under the leadership of Mahmud Khan son of patriarch Ahmad Khan Bangash advanced and captured Lucknow and Allahabad. It was a cakewalk entry in the city of Lucknow as all the men of Safdar Jung had already fled for safer haven. Afghans appointed their own Kotwal of Lucknow and began administering the newly acquired Oudh territory. The new Afghan Kotwal was a corrupt person and people at large were unhappy with the change and dissatisfaction was brewing, Sheikh Muiz-ud-Din was at that time the most respectable amongst the Sheikhjadas of Lucknow. He took the lead and exhorted all his brethren to resist the Afghan rule and support the cause of Safdar Jung. The senior Sheikh was so enthused that he sold his valuables and collected a sizeable force. He turned out the Afghan Kotwal and made one Mughal Officer to don the robe of Kotwal declaring him to be appointee of Safdar Jung, Afghans that camped on the outskirts of Lucknow now attacked the Sheikhs and bitter fight ensued between the two warning groups. Tenacity of Sheikhs triumphed at the end and Pathans abandoned their plan to recover Lucknow. The 15,000 strong Afghan troops had to retreat.
Now it was the time of Safdar Jung to suffer the humiliation he inflicted over Afghans. His bitter enemies at the court likes of Javid Khan and the Turrani group cunningly spread the rumor of his death. The Turrani nobles were scheming to confiscate all the property of Safdar Jung since he was taken as a dead person and floating the name of Intizam-ud-Daulah as a suitable appointee in his place. The intrigues in the court reached Begum Sadr-i-Jahan in no time. She marshaled all her resources, collected 10,000 troops for any expediency, forewarned all her men including her son Shuza-ud-Daulah about the designs of Safdar’s enemies at the court and exhorted them to thwart any such move with all the might they possess. The Queen Mother and Madr-ul-Mahim together with her man Javid Khan even tried to outrage the modesty of Begum but the servants of Begum who stood steadfast in her support suitably rebuffed them. It was a testing time for any man and more so for any woman of nerve. Begum did not loose her cool and poise at any moment of time. Her people were amazed to see her ability and their faith grew in no bound. Her critics and historians of that trying time praised for her deft handling of the entire affair and thus preserved not only the property but wazarat also safe for Safdar.
The return of Safdar Jung from Rohilkhand debacle was greeted with abundance joy and thanksgiving followed by large scale distribution of gifts and money to all the faithful who stood solidly behind the Begum. Safdar on return did not grant any public audience and tried to remain aloof from other worldly activities. Begum proved great solace to him. She encouraged her husband to rise from the slumber and made Safdar to rise from weakness to strength. She even offered one lakh and ten thousand Asharfies for renewing support of his Jats and Marathas friends and for military preparations. With the promise of aid from Maratha leader Malhar Rao, and faithful Jat Raja, Safdar Jung made a third attempt and marched with renewed vigor against the Bangash Chief of Farrukhabad. The Pathans were defeated this time and made to flee in the interior of rough terrain of Rohilkhand. Ruhela and Bangash chiefs buttoned up in the foothills and the fighting dragged on for four months without yielding much desirable results. The marauding Marathas laid the plains of Rohilla country bare and they appropriated considerable booty. Tired with the long seize and no result in foreseeable distance and the Emperor’s urgent messages to reach Delhi without delay in the wake of Abdali having annexed Lahore and planning to invade Delhi, a peace treaty was signed and the Nawab Wazir appropriated the Afghan country. However it was a short lived victory as Ahmad Khan Bangash recovered all his territories in the wake of Abdali’s triumph over Marathas in the battle of Panipat and the Marathas were driven to south.
Civil War and Safdar Jung bids adieu to Delhi
After the apparent triumphant return of Safdar Jung from Rohilkhand to the capital the differences grew up between him and the Emperor. The conspirators were always at work and fanned the differences to the extent of an open civil war between Imperial forces at one hand and Safdar Jung at the other. The civil war that began on 26h March 1753 came to an end on 7 Nov.1753 consuming 7 months with endless misery to the common men, and made Safdar Jung a hated man in Delhi.
Safdar Jung dug his own grave by recommending two young men of noble birth for important court appointments, Intizam-ud- Daulah and Imad-ul-Muik Soon these two highly ambitious young persons became leaders of the court party working against the interests of Safdar Jung. Afghans were already a sworn enemy of Safdar Jung. The irritants leading to bitterness of Afghans shall be discussed separately. Safdar Jung was no longer left with friends in the court of Delhi, The matter grew from bad to worse and the Emperor took the extreme step to dismiss Safdar Jung and appointed Intizam as Wazir with the titles of Qamr-ud-Din Khan Bahadur and Itimad-ud-Daulah. Imad-ul-Mulk the Pay Master General was given the tittles of Nizam-ul-Mulk and Asaf Jah. The poor Safdar Jung looked towards Marathas and Jats for succor by promising heavy ransom amounts. The Marathas and Jats as usual started plunder of poor citizens of Delhi and thus added more misery to the citizenry. Now both the sides came in the open. Hostilities started between the Imperial troops and that of Safdar’s own men and went on for months without any result. Finally the intervention came from the Jaipur Raja Madho Singh. The hostilities that started in March 1753 ceased only in November. Finally with broken heart and unfulfilled aspirations, carrying the feel of guilt of waging war against his master, Safdar Jung decided to leave Delhi for good and never to return again. It is said that on the day of his conge from Delhi, Safdar Jung bowed, facing towards the Diwaan-i-Aam of the Fort Palace, which served as throne hall, to pay his last obeisance to the Mughal Emperor. The governance of Delhi Mughal Empire was now left in the hands of people who were scoundrels, murderers, unscrupulous and possessor of all the base elements.
Safdar Jung’s return to Oudh and death
On return to Oudh, Safdar Jung divided his time between Lucknow and Faizabad but continued to prefer Faizabad for his residence and his military headquarters. The Lucknow district Gazetteer has credited him to be the founder of Faizabad. He built a rampart and a moat encircling the city of Faizabad. He added few camps inside the fortification. Lucknow was not a well-developed city then. Safdar Jung did not build much but continued to keep the possession of Sheikh palaces. He was in agreement to give Sheikhs regular rent for hiring of the buildings but finally decided to dispossess Sheikhs of their buildings but in lieu gave them acres (280 ha) of land in Dugaon. The old Lucknow possession of Macchi Bhawan was rebuilt. The fort of Jalalabad towards south of the city was also built to keep vigil over refractory like Bais of Baiswara. The fort of Jalalabad was a scene of Vse fighting that took place in 1858. The British made the fort in line of defenses that included Alam bagh also, The Hindustanis attacked the forces of General Outram entrenched there but the attack was foiled. Another assault was de on February 21 but it was repulsed with greater vigor. The fort was abandoned since British did not consider it important strategically. Another structure, a stone bridge over river Gomti was started by his minister Nawal Rai who died in the battlefield before he could see its completion.
Safdar Jung on return to Oudh was filled with remorse, had become a recluse rather, It is said that Safdar Jung developed a boil on the leg that developed cancerous and in spite of receiving excellent attention both from his hakims and as well as from his dutiful Begum, the life of Safdar could not be saved. His end came in 1753 at a place called Panparhghat, which he wanted to develop as capital of Oudh. The coffin was first taken to Gulab Bari in Faizabad and later taken to Delhi and interred there in a grand mausoleum known as Safdar Jung ka Maqbara or simply Madarsa located near Lodi Road of the present New Delhi.
The life story of Safdar Jung can never be complete without mentioning the role played by his only wife Begum Sadr-i-Jahan. Begum played a notable part very early in the political career of her husband when he faced opposition from feudal chiefs of Oudh. Safdar was hesitant to take punitive action immediately and was mentally prepared for a wait and watch policy. There was no reason however for such approach at that moment. Military action was expedient seeing the mood of these chiefs. Safdar Jung inherited a fine Mughal army with strong artillery support. Begum pondered over the matter and counseled Safdar Jung to act without delay before the opposition leaders get an opportunity to organize effectively. The leaders who stood against the authority of new Subedar of Oudh were crushed with the might. Safdar was not a novice in the war game. He had served as deputy to his father in law on many such occasions earlier too. Begum again stood as rock of Gibraltar for Safdar when his chips were down heavily.
The portraits available in the Picture Gallery and Oudh Gallery of the state Museum of Lucknow show him as a man of aristocratic bearings with high Roman nose and a well-kept beard like his father in law. The complexion appears to be on darker side as painted but it contradicts us Persian origin. He did not wear a number of jewels on his person but those worn were large and precious enough. A necklace of pearls having several strands around the neck and beautiful looking heavy bracelets adorned the arms. A loosely tied Pagri with a long aigrette at the front, highly ornamented sword in a velvet sheath hung from the belt girded at the waist worn over a long white robe completes the portrait of the man.
It becomes very difficult to judge the character of a man when both time and space enter. Those were difficult times. Survival took precedence over other considerations. Intrigues were order of the day, which made court politics highly vicious. Values were debased. Deceit and money power play took the front seat. To stay in power and position, one had to adhere to these defined qualifications. It will be rational therefore to leave the final say for the discerning reader when the facts are staring before him. There was not iota of doubt that Safdar Jung remained faithful to his Chief Begum throughout his life. It was remarkable quality for a person of that age.