TAIMŪR SHĀH (1746-1793), son and successor of Ahmad Shāh Durrānī, was born in December 1746 at Mashhad, in Iran, where his father was in the service of Nādir Shāh. Taimūr was educated at home and received practical training in the art of warfare by accompanying his father on many of his expeditions. He was present in Delhi in January 1757 during Ahmad Shāh's fourth inroad into India. In February 1757, Taimūr was married at the age of ten to the daughter of the Mughal Emperor, 'Ālamgīr II. While heading a detachment carrying booty from Delhi in March the same year, he was deprived of a large part of it by Ālā Siṅgh, founder of the Paṭiālā dynasty, and other Sikh sardārs at Sanaur and Mālerkoṭlā. In May 1757, Taimūr was appointed viceroy of the Punjab by his father with Jahān Khān, the commander-in-chief, as his guardian and deputy. After the departure of Ahmad Shāh Durrānī, Taimūr and Jahān Khān directed their attention towards chastising the Sikhs who had not been fully subdued. Their stronghold at Amritsar, Rām Rauṇī, was attacked and razed to the ground, the sacred tank was filled up and the Harimandar and other places of worship were defiled. The Sikhs angered by the sacrilege, ravaged the whole country around Lahore. Taimūr engaged them on several occasions but was worsted each time. After an year's stay in the Punjab, he was eventually driven out by the combined forces of the Sikhs, the Marāṭhās and Ādīnā Beg Khān in April 1758.

        Taimūr became the ruler of Afghanistan in 1773 after the death of his father, Ahmad Shāh Durrānī. He shifted his capital from Qandahār to Kābul. The possessions of the Sikhs extended at this time from Sahāranpur in the east to Attock in the west, and from Multān and Sindh in the south, to Kāngṛā, Jammū and Bhimbar in the north. Taimūr Shāh made several attempts to recover his lost territories and consolidate his empire, but all he could do was to hold on to Kashmīr and eject the Bhaṅgī sardārs from Mūltān.

        Taimūr Shāh died in Kābul on 18 May 1793.


  1. Ganda Singh, Ahmad Shāh Durrānī. Bombay, 1959
  2. Gupta, Hari Ram, History of the Sikhs, vol. II. Delhi, 1978
  3. Sarkar, Jadunath, Fall of the Mughal Empire, vol. II. Delhi, 1971
  4. Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, vol. I. Princeton, 1963

Gurdev Siṅgh Deol