Arakan (in Myanmar) under Pashtun rule

When Sultan Islam Shah Sur died in 1553 AD, he was succeeded by his young son Firoz who was only 12 years old. He was foully murdered by his maternal uncle Mubariz Khan (Sher Shah Sur’s nephew born from a slave-girl). Consequently, civil war erupted in the Sur empire and several contenders for the Delhi throne emerged. Muhammad Khan Sur, the governor of Bengal, declared independence and ascended the throne of Bengal under the title of Sultan Shamshuddin Muhammad Shah.

Taking advantage of the preoccupation of Bengal’s ruler in civil war of Surs, Meng Beng, the king of Arakan, attacked Chittagong and conquered it from Bengal. Shamsuddin Abu Muzaffar Mohammad Shah (Muhammad Khan Sur), not only re-took Chittagong in 1554, but also ordered his generals to proceed further south into the kingdom of Arakan in the same year. His generals carried their victorious banner into Arakan and forced the Arakanese king to submit to the authority of the Afghan Sultan of Bengal. After the conquest of non-Muslims of Arakan, Sultan Muhammad Shah attached the title of ‘Ghazi’ with his name. To commemorate his victory over Arakan, he ordered striking of coins in Arakan in 962 A.H. (1554-1555). A coin minted by the Afghan Sultan in Arakan, is preserved in the London British Museum. Whether he appointed an Afghan governor in Arakan or could be make any appreciable change in Arakanese government or was he simply satisfied with the submission of Arakan king as a vassal, is not known.

The successor of Mohammad Shah, Giyathuddin Bahadur Shah (1555-60) also struck coins in his name in Arakan proving that Arakan remained under the effective control of the Afghan sultans of Bengal till 1560. How long the Afghans after Bahadur Shah’s death could hold on to Arakan, given the internal political crisis in Bengal, remains in the dark.

Arakan coin Suri
Shams al-Din Muhammad Ghazi (1552-1555 AD). Silver Rupee Arakan mint,
dated AH 962 (1554/55 AD). AR, 11.46g. Obv. Legend with Muhammad Ghazi’s titles, date below. Rev. Kalima, mint name Arakan in margin


Sur coin Arakan



1- The coins of the Muhammadan states of India in the British museum
2-   Chittagong under the Pathan Rule in Bengal by Muhammad Rahim
3- A History of Arakan by M Yunus

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