Nader Shah Afshar (name origin Persian), also known by two other names, “Nader Qoli Beyg” and “Tahmasp Qoli Khan”, was born in August 1688 and died on June 19 1747. He belonged to a Semi-nomadic Turkic Qizilbash pastoralist tribe settled in the Northeast province of the Iranian Empire. Nader Shah had a difficult childhood, including the early death of his father, alongside Nader and his mother taken as slaves by marauding Uzbek or Turkmen tribespeople. His mother lost her life in slavery while Nader Shah managed to escape the cruel Tribesmen. Nader Shah served under a local chieftain, and his patronage led a group with supreme power. In the long run, the goal-oriented Nader becomes rebellious. He turned into a radical and assembled a generous armed force.
Rise of Nader Shah
Growing up in Safavid Dynasty, Nader shah became a fearless person with leadership qualities. During the fall of the current state emperor Soltan Hossein, who caused a rebellion by Ghilzai Afghans, the Soltan suffered great, and the Afghans took over in 1722. At first, Nader Shah sided with the Afghans but built himself an army and rebelled against them.
Soltan Hossein’s son Tahmasp and Qajar leader Fath Ali Khan seek Nader’s help in driving the Afghans out of Khorasan. After becoming a solid figure, he became chief of the army and later took the title of Tahmasp Qoli (Servant of Tahmasp).
In September 1729, Nader defeated the new Shah of Ghilzai Afghans in the Battle of Damghan and later in November in Murchakhort.
During the recent chaos created by Tahmasp of losing control of Georgia and Armenia, Nader Shah deposed Tahmasp in 1732 and made his infant son, Abbas III, the emperor and himself, become the regent. Within two years, Nader recovered the lost land and expanded the Empire to the detriment of the Turks and the Russians.
Nader decided to regain Georgia and Armenia by seizing Ottoman Empires and using them as a bargaining chip for the lost regions. He won the war against Ottoman General Topal and later on laid siege on Baghdad and Ganja. He earned a Russian Alliance against the Ottomans. By the end of summer 1735, he regained control of Georgia and Armenia.
Nader becomes Shah
In 1736 Nader felt that he had made a strong position for himself and was now powerful enough to become Shah. After suggesting this to his friends, he arranged a qoroltai( a grand meeting) and proposed his idea of getting the throne in place of the young Abbas III. Everyone agreed apart from some people. Nader shah crowned as Shah on march 8, 1736. His Astrologers specially chose a date for him.
After becoming Shah in 1738, he set out to invade Kandahar, capturing Kabul, and set his foot towards India. He was a fearless and aggressive leader, and during his time in Delhi, he killed thousands of people. He stole a significant number of precious jewels. In 1739, Despite being outnumbered by the Mughal army, Nader shah overpowered Mughal Army in less than three hours in the Battle of Karnal.
In 1740, he gave a death sentence to Tahmasp II and his two infant sons. He restarted the war with the Turks and built a navy side by side to conquer Oman.
In 1741, there was an assassination attempt on Nader Shah; luckily, he got only minor injuries but blamed his eldest son for the attempt thinking he did in the thirst of the throne and had him blinded.
Religious perspective and policies
Nader introduced several religious policies and reforms. He bought up as Shi’a, but while gaining power and authority, he espoused Sunni Faith. He thought that Shi’ism had brought a conflict in the Sunni Ottoman Empire. Nader wanted Iran to be more open to Sunni faith and to adopt a form of Shi’ism he called “Ja’fari”. He forbids certain Shi’a practices that were disrespectful to Sunni Muslims.
Nader hoped that “Ja’farism” would be considered and accepted as the Fifth Mazhaab of Sunni Islam. That Ottoman would allow its followers to perform Hajj and Visit the Other Holy places without any discrimination. Nader wanted to get rid of Shi’ism because he thought of it as always, an obstacle in supporting the dynasty. He even hanged the mullah of Persia after he was seen supporting the Safavids.
He also introduced “kolah-e Naderi”, which was a hat with four peaks symbolizing four Caliphs.
Death of Nader Shah
In the last years of his life, he became ruthless and imposed strict laws on people. His desire of having more money and a powerful military army caused him to extort tax money from everyone. He announced to hang people who refused to pay tax.
Nader Shah was assassinated on 1 June 191747 by his commanders, who surprised him in his sleep. He managed to kill two assassins before he was killed by Salah Bey, Captain of the Guards.
In conclusion, Nader Shah was a gifted leader who was a great strategist and brought up from a complex background but kept his confidence high and won many battles and eventually became Shah. In the end, his lack of personal Morales and overall ruthless personality led to his assassination.
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