9. The Sayyid Brothers Made and Unmade Emperors Seemingly at Will
Open warfare finally erupted in 1719, and ended when the Sayyid brothers removed Farrukhsiyar from power. Not in a mood to forgive and forget, they imprisoned, blinded, and finally murdered him. The brothers replaced Farrukhsiyar with Rafi ad Darajat, a grandson of a previous emperor. They then proceeded to rule the realm, with the new emperor as their puppet. It was a short-lived puppet show, however, and ended with the new emperor’s death within a few months. So the Sayyids elevated his younger brother Rafi ad Dawla to the throne, and continued to rule through their new puppet emperor.
However, just like his brother, Rafi ad Dawla died only a few months after he was crowned. So the Sayyids picked a new emperor, the third appointed by the brothers in 1719, Muhammad Shah. Unfortunately for the siblings, the new emperor was made of sterner stuff than his predecessors, and refused to act as anybody’s puppet. Muhammad Shah had Hassan Ali assassinated in 1720, then defeated his brother Abdullah in 1722, after the latter gathered an army to avenge his brother. Sayyid Abdullah was captured, and executed in October of 1722.