Muhammad Azam, Prince

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Muhammad Azam, Prince the subahdar of Bengal for a period of little over one year (1678-1679) during the reign of aurangzeb. He was appointed subahdar of Bengal at the death of Azam Khan Koka and reached Dhaka on 20 July 1678.

His most important achievement was the recapture of kamarupa which was occupied by islam khan chishti but was lost after the death of mir jumla. The death of the Ahom ruler Udayaditya (1673) was followed by a period of confusion in the Ahom kingdom. Ambitious and unscrupulous ministers, who played the role of kingmakers, were divided into two rival groups. One group got ascendancy and the other, out of despair, sought assistance from the Mughal subahdar of Bengal. Prince Muhammad Azam sent an army immediately and, after a lapse of twelve years, the Mughals again became master of Kamrupa in February 1679.

Prince Azam laid the foundation of a grand fort at Lalbagh, but was transferred before its completion. The remains of the fort show that it was meant not only for the prince's residence, but was designed as a fortress. He also built a fine mosque within the enclosure of the fort.

Azam being the son of the emperor, no vassal chief or zamindar dared raise his head against his administration, no one dared lodge any compliant against him and no official news-reporter had the imprudence of writing anything against his administration. The prince appointed one Mir Maula his diwan and Muluk Chand huzur-navis for the collection of revenues, and left the administration to them and passed his days in hunting, neglecting the duties entrusted to him. The emperor kept himself informed of the doings of his son and recalled him. The Prince left Dhaka on 6 October 1679. At Dhaka people used to say that prince Azam Shah ruled the country on horseback.

On the death of Aurangzeb, Prince Azam contested for the throne, but in the war of succession he lost to his elder brother Prince Muazzam. [Abdul Karim]