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Decline of Mughal Empire

Aurangzeb’s death in 1706 set off the rapid decline of the Mughal Empire. His successors were weak and increasingly became mere tools in the hands of the nobles. Taking advantage of this the Rajputs, Sikhs and the Afghans openly defied the authority of Mughal emperor.

Even more disturbing was the fact that the assertion of independence had spread to other parts of the empire. The governors of Hyderabad, Bengal and Avadh established independent kingdoms and the Marathas reorganized under a new system of government that of the Brahman ministers the Peshwas.They were gradually extending their control towards north India.

At the time of foreign invasions such as those of Nadir Shah (1729) and Ahmad Shah Abdali (1747-61) further weakened the empire. The rising power of the Marathas was temporarily checked by their defeat at the hands of Ahmad Shah Abdali in the third battle of Panipat in 1761. The Mughals were now reduced to the area around Delhi. They continued to rule in name until 1857.Real political power was shifted to the hands of the new kingdoms.