title =Al-Sultan al-Azam wal Khaqan al-Mukarram Abul Muzaffar Muhiuddin Muhammad Aurangzeb Bahadur Alamgir I, Padshah Ghazi
full name =Abul Muzaffar Muhiuddin Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir
date of birth =
November 14, 1618
place of birth =
date of death =death date and age|1707|03|3|1618|11|3
place of death =
place of burial =
Valley of Saints
reign =1658 - 1707
Bahadur Shah I
spouse 1 =Nawab Raj Bai Begum
spouse 2 =Dilras Bano Begam
spouse 3 =Hira Bai Zainabadi Mahal
spouse 4 =Aurangabadi Mahal
spouse 3 =Udaipuri Mahal
issue =(w. Dilras Bano Begam)
Zeb-un-Nissa, Zinat-un-Nissa, Muhammad Azam Shah, Mehr-un-Nissa, Muhammad Akbar,
(w. Nawab Raj Bai Begum)
Sultan Muhammad, Bahadur Shah I, Badr-un-Nissa,
(w. Aurangabadi Mahal)
(w. Udaipuri Mahal)
Muhammad Kam Baksh,
Aurangzeb (PerB|اورنگزیب (full title: "Al-Sultan al-Azam wal Khaqan al-Mukarram Abul Muzaffar Muhiuddin Muhammad Aurangzeb Bahadur Alamgir I, Padshah Ghazi") (
November 4, 1618ndash March 3, 1707), also known by his chosen Imperial title Alamgir I (Conqueror of the Universe) ( _fa. عالمگیر), was the ruler of the Mughal Empirefrom 1658 until his death. He was the sixth Mughal ruler. His name literally means "Adorning the Crown".
Indiafor 48 years, bringing a larger area under Mughal rule than ever before [The Great Mughals, by Bamber Gasciogne, page 233] . He is generally regarded as the last Great Mughal ruler. His constant wars, however, left the empire dangerously overextended, isolated from its strong Rajputallies, and with a population that (except for the orthodox Sunni Muslim minority) was resentful, if not outright rebellious, against his reign. His last twenty five years were spent fighting in the Deccantill his death in 1707.
After his death, the Mughal Empire was shrunken, having lost most of its northwest and being replaced by the Hindu
Maratha Empirein large areas of India. Aurangzeb's successors, the "Later Mughals", lacked his strong hand and the great fortunes amassed by his predecessors. It is generally believed that Aurangzeb's policies weakened the empire resulting in its disintegration.
Rise to throne
Aurangzeb was the third son of the fifth emperor
Shah Jahanand Arjumand Bānū Begum (also known as Mumtaz Mahal). After a rebellion by his father, part of Aurangzeb's childhood was spent as a virtual hostage at his grandfather Jahangir's court.
After Jahangir's death in 1627, Aurangzeb returned to live with his parents. Shah Jahan followed the Mughal practice of assigning authority to his sons, and in 1634 made Aurangzeb
Subahdar(governor) of the Deccan. He moved to Kirki, which in time he renamed Aurangabad. In 1637, he married Rabia Durrani. During this period the Deccanwas relatively peaceful. In the Mughal court, however, Shah Jahan began to show greater and greater favouritism to his eldest son Dara Shikoh.
In 1644, Aurangzeb's sister
Jahanara Begumwas accidentally burned in Agra. This event precipitated a family crisis which had political consequences. Aurangzeb suffered his father's displeasure when he returned to Agra three weeks after the event, instead of immediately on hearing of the accident. Shah Jahan dismissed him as the governor of the Deccan. Aurangzeb later claimed (1654) that he had resigned in protest of his father favoring Dara.In 1645, he was barred from the court for seven months. Later, Shah Jahan appointed him governor of Gujarat. He performed well and was rewarded. In 1647, Shah Jahan made him governor of Balkhand Badakhshan(in modern Afghanistanand Tajikistan), replacing Aurangzeb's ineffective brother Murad Baksh. These areas were at the time under attack from various forces. Aurangzeb's military skill proved successful.
He was appointed governor of
Multanand Sindhbegan a protracted military struggle against the Safavidarmy in an effort to capture the city of Kandahar. He failed, and fell again into his father's disfavour.
In 1652, Aurangzeb was re-appointed governor of the
Deccan. In an effort to extend boundaries of the Mughal empire, Aurangzeb attacked the border kingdoms of Golconda(1657), and Bijapur (1658). Both times, Shah Jahan called off the attacks near the moment of Aurangzeb's triumph. In each case Dara Shikoh interceded and arranged a peaceful end to the attacks.Indian and Western historians have been called Aurangzeb a fundamentalist Muslim who was anti-Hindu, who taxed them ( jizya), discriminated against them in awarding high administrative positions, destroyed their temples, tried to convert them and interfered in their religious matters.
War of succession
Shah Jahanfell ill in 1657, and was widely reported to have died. With this news, the struggle for the succession began. Aurangzeb's eldest brother, Dara Shikoh, was regarded as heir apparent, but the succession proved far from certain. When Shah Jahan supposedly died, his second son, Shah Shuja (Mughal)declared himself emperor in Bengal. Imperial armies sent by Dara and Shah Jahan soon restrained this effort, and Shuja retreated.
Soon after, Shuja's youngest brother
Murad Baksh, with secret promises of support from Aurangzeb, declared himself emperor in Gujarat. Aurangzeb, ostensibly in support of Murad, marched north from Aurangabad, gathering support from nobles and generals. Following a series of victories, Aurangzeb declared that Dara had illegally usurped the throne. Shah Jahan, determined that Dara would succeed him, handed over control of his empire to Dara. A Rajputlord opposed to Aurangzeb and Murad, Maharaja Jaswant Singh, battled them both at Dharmatpur near Ujjain, leaving them heavily weakened. Aurangzeb eventually defeated Singh and concentrated his forces on Dara. A series of bloody battles followed, with troops loyal to Aurangzeb battering Dara's armies at [http://horsesandswords.blogspot.com/2006/01/battle-of-samugarh.html Samugarh] . In a few months, Aurangzeb's forces surrounded Agra. Fearing for his life, Dara departed for Delhi, leaving behind Shah Jahan. The old emperor surrendered the Agra Fortto Aurangzeb's nobles, but Aurangzeb refused any meeting with his father, and declared that Dara was no longer a Muslim.
In a sudden reversal, Aurangzeb then had Murad arrested after intoxicating him and later executed him; [The Great Moghuls, "Aurangzeb",
Discovery Channel] Murad's former supporters, instead of fighting for Murad, defected to Aurangzeb. Meanwhile, Dara gathered his forces, and moved to the Punjab. The army sent against Shuja was trapped in the east, its generals Jai Singh Iand Diler Khan, submitted to Aurangzeb, but allowed Dara's son Suleman to escape via the Himalayan foothills and join his father in the Punjab. Aurangzeb offered Shuja the governorship of Bengal. This move had the effect of isolating Dara and causing more troops to defect to Aurangzeb. Shuja, however, uncertain of Aurangzeb's sincerity, continued to battle his brother, but his forces suffered a series of defeats at Aurangzeb's hands. At length, Shuja went into exile in Arakan(in present-day Myanmar) where he disappeared, and was presumed to be dead.
With Shuja and Murad disposed of, and with his father Shah Jahan confined in Agra, Aurangzeb pursued Dara, chasing him across the north-western bounds of the empire. After a series of battles, defeats and retreats, Dara was betrayed by one of his generals, who arrested and bound him. In 1659, Aurangzeb arranged a formal coronation in
Delhi. He had Dara openly marched in chains back to Delhi; when Dara finally arrived, he had his brother executed. Legends about the cruelty of this execution abound, including stories that Aurangzeb had Dara's severed head sent to the dying Shah Jahan. With his succession secured, Aurangzeb kept Shah Jahan under house arrest at the Agra Fort. Twice he allegedly sent poison to the ailing Shah Jahan with the Hakims treating him. On both occasions, the loyal Hakims took the cup to Shah Jahan but themselves drank the poison. It is also said that he had the window of the Agra Fortfrom where Shah Jahan would look at Taj Mahal, sealed.
Enforcement of Islamic law
The Mughals had for the most part been tolerant of non-Muslims, allowing them to practice their customs and religion without too much interference. Though certain Muslim laws had been in place (e.g., prohibitions against building new Hindu temples), the protection tax on non-Muslims (the
Jizya) was repealed by Emperor Akbarin 1562. Akbar also encouraged political tolerance toward the non-Muslim majority.
Aurangzeb abandoned many of the more liberal viewpoints of his predecessors. He espoused a more fundamentalist interpretation of Islam and a behavior based on the
Sharia(Islamic law), which he set about codifying through edicts and policies Fact|date=November 2007. Aurangzeb took personal interest in the compilation of the Fatawa-e-Alamgiri, a digest of Muslim law Fact|date=November 2007.
Under Alamgir, Mughal court life changed dramatically. He (in consultation with clerics), allegedly did not allow
music(though some scholars dispute this), and around 1668 commanded court musicians, dancers and singers to cease performing in his presence. Further, based on Muslim precepts forbidding images, he stopped the production of representational artwork, including the miniature painting that had reached its zenith before his rule Fact|date=November 2007. There is however a miniature portrait of the aged Aurangzeb with Qur'an in hand. Soldiers and citizens were also given free rein to deface architectural images such as faces — even on the walls of Mughal palaces. Untold thousands of representational images were destroyed in this way. Aurangzeb abandoned the Hindu-inspired practices of former Mughal emperors, especially the practice of Darshan, or public appearances to bestow blessings, which had been commonplace since the time of Akbar, as well as lavish celebrations of the Emperor's birthday Fact|date=November 2007.
Aurangzeb began to enact and enforce a series of edicts with punishments. Most significantly, Aurangzeb initiated laws which interfered with non-Muslim worship. These included the destruction of thousands of Hindu temples. [http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00islamlinks/ikram/part2_17.html XVII. Economic and Social Developments under the Mughals] from "Muslim Civilization in India" by S. M. Ikram edited by Ainslie T. Embree New York: Columbia University Press, 1964. This page maintained by Prof.
Frances Pritchett, Columbia University]
There were a great many rebellions during Aurangzebs's reign, including those by the Rajput states of
Marwarand Mewar, and the Sikhs. Things came to such a head that Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru(Spiritual Pontiff) of Sikhism, was executed by Aurangzeb for standing up against the forcible conversion of Kashmiri Hindu Brahmins and refusing to convert to Islam. Aurangzeb had demanded that all Kashmiri Brahmins convert to Islam. The Kashmiris then asked for assistance from the Sikh Guru. Guru Tegh Bahadur was proclaimed their Guru, and he advised Aurangzeb that if Tegh Bahadhur could be converted to Islam, then the Brahmins would convert to Islam. Tegh Bahadhur was then executed after his refusal to convert. This day, November 11 is still commemorated by the Sikh community. The son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of Sikhism, led an open revolt against Aurangzeb's forces. It is thought that a letter to Aurangzeb by Guru Gobind Singh (The Zafarnama) contributed to the death of the aged Emperor. The letter highlighted all the atrocties that the Emperor had committed. He is said to have had extreme remorse after reading it, and soon ceased many of his hostilities towards his non-Muslim subjects, especially before his death.
Aurangzeb also ordered the execution of Syedna Qutubkhan Qutbuddin, the Dai-ul-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohras (An Ismaili-Mustaali-Tayyebi sect of Shia Islam) for refusing to declare that the Dawoodi Bohras' religion was not in line with the Prophet's teaching. Syedna Qutbuddin Shaheed was executed by beheading and the Dawoodi Bohra community persecuted and their human rights taken away from them.
The climate of religious orthodoxy is often cited as the reason for these rebellions, as well as for the collapse of the Mughal empire after Aurangzeb. In addition, Aurangzeb's long wars of expansion, especially his decades in the Deccan, seriously strained the imperial treasury, while the many new nobles created and promoted by him (many of them Deccanis) did not share the old loyalty to the empire. Above all, the peasantry was steadily getting bled to death Fact|date=November 2007.
Expansion of the empire
From the start of his reign up until his death, Aurangzeb engaged in almost constant warfare. He built up a massive army, and began a program of military expansion along all the boundaries of his empire.
Aurangzeb pushed into the north-west — into the Punjab and what is now
Afghanistan. He also drove south, conquering Bijapurand Golconda, his old enemies. He attempted to suppress the Marathaterritories, which had recently been liberated by Chhatrapati Shivaji.
But the combination of military expansion and religious intolerance had far deeper consequences. Though he succeeded in expanding Mughal control, it was at an enormous cost in lives and to the treasury. And, as the empire expanded in size, the chain of command grew weaker.
Sikhs of the Punjab grew both in strength and numbers in rebellion against Aurangzeb's armies. When the now weakened Muslim kingdoms of Golconda and Bijapur fell beneath Aurangzeb's might, the Marathas waged a war with Aurangzeb which lasted for 27 years.
Even Aurangzeb's own armies grew restive — particularly the fierce
Rajputs, who were his main source of strength. Aurangzeb gave a wide berth to the Rajputs, who were mostly Hindu. While they fought for Aurangzeb during his life, on his death they immediately revolted against the Empire, an essential after-effect of Aurangzeb's Islamic fundamentalist policies.
With much of his attention on military matters, Aurangzeb's political power waned, and his provincial governors and generals grew in authority.
Conversion of non-Muslims
The conversion of non-Muslims to Islam was a policy objective under Aurangzeb's rule.
Aurangzeb's ultimate aim was conversion of non-Muslims to Islam. Whenever possible the emperor gave out robes of honor, cash gifts, and promotions to converts. It quickly became known that conversion was a sure way to the emperor's favour. [cite book | last = Richards | first = John F. | title = The Mughal Empire | year = 1995 | publisher = Cambridge University Press | location = Cambridge | id = ISBN 0-521-56603-7 | pages = 130,177]In economic and political terms, Aurangzeb's rule significantly favoured Muslims over non-Muslims:"In many disputed successions for hereditary local office Aurangzeb chose candidates who had converted to Islam over their rivals.
Parganaheadmen and quangos or record-keepers were targeted especially for pressure to convert. The message was very clear for all concerned. Shared political community must also be shared religious belief." [Richards 1995:177] . Many Hindu warriors started taking on Aurangzeb and his army. It also helped the resurgence of Hinduism in many ways.
Attitudes towards Hindus
Aurangzeb has been widely characterized as being
anti-Hindu, unlike other more liberal emperors who preceded him. According to some, this negative characterization came about largely due to his disparaging views of Hindus and his attempts to induce the conversion of Hindus to Islam But Noted scholar & former governor of Orissa Mr. B.N.Pandey, wrote in his book “Islam & Indian Culture” about the emperor Aurangzeb on page 41.“When I was the chairman of the Allahabad municipality (1948-53), a case of mutation (dakhil kharij) came up for my consideration. It was a dispute over the property dedicated to the temple of Someshwar Nath Mahadev.after the death of the mahant, there were two claimants for the property. One of the claimants file some documents which were in the possession of the family. The documents were the Farmans (orders) issued by emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb conferred a jagir and a cash gift on the temple. I felt puzzled. I thought that the Farmans were fake. I was wondering how Aurangzeb, who was known for the demolition of the temples, could confer a jagir on a temple with the words that “the jagir was being conferred for the puja and bhog of the deity”. How could Aurangzeb, who identifies himself with idolatry?I felt sure that the documents were not genuine. But before coming to any conclusion, I thought it proper to take the opinion of Dr. Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, who was a great scholar of Persian and Arabic. I laid the documents before him and asked for his opinion. After examining the documents, Dr. Sapru said that these Farmans ofAurangzeb were genuine. Then he asked his munshi to bring the file of the case of Jangum Badi Shiva temple of Varansi, of which several appeals were pending in the Allahabad high court for the past 15 years. The mahant of the jangum badi shiva temple was also in possession of various other Farmans of Aurangzeb granting jagir to the temple.It was a new image of Aurangzeb appeared before me. I was very much surprised. As advised by Dr. Sapru, I sent letters to the mahant of various important temples of India requesting them to send me Photostat copies, if they are in the possession of the Farmans of Aurangzeb, granting them jagir for their temples. Another big surprise was in store for me. I received copies of Farmans of Aurangzeb from the great temples of mahakaleshwara, Ujjain, balaji temple, chitrakut, Umanand temple, Gauhati and the Jain temple of Shatrunjai and other temples and gurudwaras scattered over Northern India. These Farmans were issued from 1065AH (1659) to 1091AH (1685). Though these are only a few instances of Aurangzeb generous attitude towards Hindus and their temples, they are enough to show that what the historians have written about him was biased and is only one side of the picture. India is a vast land with thousands of temples scattered all over. If proper research is made, I am confident; many more instances would come to light which will show Aurangzeb’s benevolent treatment of non-Muslims.”
last = Singhal
first = Damodar Prasad
authorlink = Damodar Prasad Singhal
title = A History of the Indian People
year = 2003
publisher = Cosmo (Publications, India); New Ed edition
isbn = 8170200148 ] cite book
last = Prasad
first = Ishwari
authorlink = Ishwari Prasad
title = A Short History of Muslim Rule in India, from the Advent of Islam to the Death of Aurangzeb P 609
year = 1965
publisher = Allahabad. The Indian Press. Private Ltd.
isbn = N/A ] . Some sources claim that the anti-Hindu measures of Aurangzeb were intended to help the orthodox Sunni faith gain prominence in India in an indirect manner. [cite book
last = Lalwani
first = Kastur Chand
authorlink = Kastur Chand Lalwani
title = The medieval muddle (Philosophy of Indian history) P90
year = 1978
publisher = Prajñanam
] However, his various edicts against Hindus, such as banning the celebration of
Diwaliand imposition of Jizya on non-Muslims are also factors in determining his attitudes. Indian historian, Sir Jadunath Sarkarhas traced the anti-Hindu policies of Aurangzeb from as early a year as 1644 AD. [cite book
last = Joshi
first = Rekha
authorlink = Rekha Joshi
title = Aurangzeb, Attitudes and Inclinations Pg 34
year = 1979
publisher = Original from the
University of Michigan
Historian E. Taylor writes that his negative views on Hindus were the primary reason for his reversal of the liberal policies of the previous Mughal emperors and "resumption of the persecution of Hindus" in the Empire, and the many rebellions that arose against him in
Rajasthanand among the Marathas. [cite book
last = Taylor
first = Edmond
authorlink = Edmond Taylor
title = Richer by Asia P147
year = 1947
publisher = Houghton Mifflin Co.
url = http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000JW8ZOW/
isbn = N/A ] .
Impact of Aurangzeb's reign
This is again a disputed issue. Mainstream historians, such as
Irfan Habib(who refers to a severe agrarian crisis) and Athar Ali(who blames the never-ending Deccan wars), believe that the real crisis was in the political and economic policies. Some, like Satish Chandrabelieve in addition that the Mughal empire was already weakened (a Jagirdari crisis) before Aurangzeb came to the throne, so it was only his steadfast commitment to strong rule and expansion that kept it from falling apart during his reign itself.
Many subjects rebelled against Aurangzeb's policies, among them his own son, Prince Akbar.
*In 1667, the
Yusufzai Pashtunsrevolted near Peshawarand were crushed.
*In 1669, the
Jatsaround Mathurarevolted and led to the formation of Bharatpurstate after his death.
Chhatrapati Shivajihad opened the war against the Mughals. He opposed Aurangzeb with full strength and stopped him from entering the Deccan.
*In 1672 the
Satnamis, a Kabirpanthisect concentrated in an area near Delhi, staged an armed revolt, taking over the administration of Narnaul, and defeating Mughal forces in an advance on Delhi. Aurangzeb sent an army of ten thousand, including his Imperial Guard, and put the rebellion down.
Soon afterwards the
Afridi Pashtunsin the north-west also revolted, and Aurangzeb was forced to lead his army personally to Hasan Abdalto subdue them.
When Maharaja Jaswant Singh of
Jodhpurdied in 1679, a conflict ensued over who would be the next Raja. Aurangzeb's choice of a nephew of the former Maharaja was not accepted by other members of Jaswant Singh's family and they rebelled, but in vain. Aurangzeb seized control of Jodhpur. He also moved on Udaipur, which was the only other state of Rajputanato support the rebellion. There was never a clear resolution to this conflict, although it is noted that the other Rajputs, including the celebrated KachhwahaRajput clan of Raja Jai Singh, the Bhattis, and the Rathores, remained loyal. On the other hand, Aurangzeb's own third son, Prince Akbar, along with a few Muslim Mansabdar supporters, joined the rebels in the hope of dethroning his father and becoming emperor. The rebels were defeated and Akbar fled south to the shelter of the Maratha Chhatrapati Sambhaji, Chhatrapati Shivaji's successor.
The Sikh rebellion
Early in Aurangzeb's reign, various insurgent groups of
Sikhsengaged Mughal troops in increasingly bloody battles. In 1670, the ninth SikhGuru, Guru Tegh Bahadurencamped in Delhi, receiving large numbers of followers, and this is said to have attracted the ire of Aurangzeb [ [http://www.sikhs.org/guru9.htm The Sikhism Home Page: Guru Tegh Bahadur ] ] .
In 1675, a group of Kashmiri
Brahmins, were being pressured by Muslim authorities to convert to Islam. The Panditsapproached Guru Tegh Bahadur with their dilemma. To demonstrate a spirit of unity and tolerance, the Guru agreed to help the Brahmins. He told them to inform Aurangzeb that the Brahmins would convert only if Guru Tegh Bahadur himself was converted. The Guru subsequently arrested and taken to Delhi before the Emperor. Teg Bahadur was offered a choice between accepting Islam or death; he chose death. [ [http://www.sikh-heritage.co.uk/gurus/TegBahadur/TegBahadur.htm Untitled Document ] ] His three close aides were also executed, Bhai Mati Das was sawn in half, Bhai Sati Das was wrapped in wool and burnt alive and Bhai Dayal Das was boiled alive. [ [http://www.searchsikhism.com/sati.html Sikh Martyrs - Bhai Sati Das Ji ] ] [ [http://www.searchsikhism.com/mati.html Sikh Martyrs - Bhai Mati Das Ji ] ] [ [http://www.searchsikhism.com/dyal.html Sikh Martyrs - Bhai Dyal Das Ji ] ]
The execution of Guru Tegh Bahadur infuriated the Sikhs. In response, his son and successor, the tenth Guru of Sikhism
Guru Gobind Singhfurther militarized his followers.
Aurangzeb installed his son
Bahadur Shahas governor of the northwest territories. The new governor relaxed enforcement of Aurangzeb's edicts, and an uneasy peace ensued. However, Gobind Singh had determined that the Sikhs should actively prepare to defend their territories and their faith. In 1699, he established the Khalsa Panth.
This development alarmed not only the Mughals, but the nearby Hill Rajputs. In a temporary alliance, both groups attacked Gobind Singh and his followers. The united Mughal and Rajput armies laid siege to the fort at
Anandpur Sahib. In an attempt to dislodge the Sikhs, Aurangzeb vowed that the Guru and his Sikhs would be allowed to leave Anandpur safely. Aurangzeb is said to have validated this promise in writing; the events of which Gobind Singh wrote in his letter to Aurengzeb, the Zafarnama(letter of victory) after he escaped unharmed [ [http://www.zafarnama.com/ Zafarnama ] ] . It is reported that when the remaining few Sikhs abandoned the fort under the cover of darkness, the Mughals were alerted and enagaged them in battle once again, at Chamkaur.
The Mughals, suffered considerable losses against the growing Sikh fighting force, the mughal army and mountain rajputs had a total army of 1 million warriors. The Guru only had less than 20,000 sihks. [ [http://www.singhsabha.com/battle_of_chamkaur.htm Battle of Chamkaur. he battle of Chamkuar is where history is made, The Guru only had 10 warriors and the mughals ad now had a even more larger army of 3 million warriors. the Guru's 10 sikhs killed atleast 400,000 warriors. also note that the Chamkuar place was a mud house which was not even fully built yet! ] ] . Guru Gobind Singh's two elder sons died fighting while his two younger sons were bricked alive by
Wazir Khan, the Mughal Governor of the Punjab at Sirhind[ [http://www.sikhdharma.org/content-ten-sikh-gurus-guru-gobind-singh-guru-gobind-rai The Ten Sikh Gurus - Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708) | Sikh Dharma International ] ] , and much of the Sikh force were decimated.
Guru Gobind Singh then held a last stand at
Muktsar, where some soldiers who had previously abandoned Guru Gobind Singh came back to fight for him, and the Sikhs defeated the Mughal Army. [ [http://www.british-sikh-federation.org/Punjabi-Sikh%20History.htm Punjabi/Sikh History ] ]
Afterwards, Guru Gobind Singh, in response, sent Aurangzeb an eloquent yet defiant letter entitled the
Zafarnama("Letter of Victory"), written in Persian, accusing the emperor of treachery, and claiming a moral victory.
On receipt of this letter, Aurangzeb is said to have invited Guru Gobind Singh to a meeting in Ahmednagar [ [http://www.kashmirsentinel.com/apr1999/3.5.html India'S Saint-Soldiers-Birth Of The Khalsa ] ] to discuss peace between the Mughals and Sikhs, but Aurangzeb died before Guru Gobind Singh arrived.
The Deccan wars and the Rise of the Marathas
In the time of Shah Jahan, the Deccan had been controlled by three Muslim kingdoms: Ahmednagar(Nizamshahi), Bijapur(Adilshahi) and Golconda(Kutubshahi). Following a series of battles, Ahmendnagar was effectively divided, with large portions of the kingdom ceded to the Mughals and the balance to Bijapur. One of Ahmednagar's generals, a Hindu
Marathanamed Shahaji, joined the Bijapur court. Shahaji sent his wife and young son Shivajiin Puneto look after his Jagir.
In 1657, while Aurangzeb attacked Golconda and Bijapur, Shivaji, using guerrilla tactics, took control of three adilshahi forts formerly controlled by his father. With these victories, Shivaji assumed de facto leadership of many independent Maratha clans. The Marathas harried the flanks of the warring Adilshahi and Mughals, gaining weapons, forts, and territories.
Shivaji's small and ill-equipped army survived an all out Adilshahi attack, and Shivaji personally killed the Adilshahi general,
Afzal Khan. With this event, the Marathas transformed into a powerful military force, capturing more and more Adilshahi and Mughal territories.
Following his coronation in 1659, Aurangzeb sent his trusted general and maternal uncle
Shaista Khanto the Deccan to recover his lost forts. Shaista Khan drove into Maratha territory and took up residence in Pune. In a daring raid, Shivaji attacked the governor's residence in Pune, killed Shaista Khan's son, even hacking off Shaista Khan's thumb as he fled. Once more the Marathas rallied to his leadership, taking back the territory.
Aurangzeb ignored the rise of the Marathas for the next few years. Shivaji continued to capture forts belonging to both Mughals and Bijapur. At last Aurangzeb sent his greatest general the old Raja
Jai Singh Iof Amber, a Hindu Rajput, to attack the Marathas. Jai Singh's blistering attacks were so successful that he was able to persuade Shivaji to agree to peace by becoming a Mughal vassal. Raja Jai Singh I also promised the Maratha hero his safety, placing him under the care of his own son, the future Raja Ram Singh I. However, circumstances at the Mughal court were beyond the control of the Raja, and when Shivaji and his son Sambhajiwent to Agra to meet Aurangzeb, they were placed under house arrest, from which they managed to effect a daring escape.
Shivaji returned to the Deccan, successfully drove out the Mughal armies, and was crowned
Chhatrapatior Emperor of the Maratha Empire in 1674. While Aurangzeb continued to send troops against him, Shivaji expanded Maratha control throughout the Deccan until his death in 1680. Shivaji was succeeded by his son Sambhaji. Militarily and politically, Mughal efforts to control the Deccan continued to fail. Aurangzeb's son Akbar left the Mughal court and joined with Sambhaji, inspiring some Mughal forces to join the Marathas. Aurangzeb in response moved his court to Aurangabad and took over command of the Deccan campaign. More battles ensued, and Akbar fled to Persia.
For nine years, Aurangzeb couldn't win a single fort from the
Marathas. But in 1689 Aurangzeb captured Sambhajiand offered him the option of conversion to Islam or death, Sambhaji proudly refused to convert to Islam and hence was tortured and killed. Sambhaji was succeeded by his brother Rajaram. Maratha Sardars (commanders) fought individual battles against the Mughals, and territory changed hands again and again during years of endless warfare. As there was no central authority among the Marathas, Aurangzeb was forced to contest every inch of territory, at great cost in lives and treasure. Even as Aurangzeb drove west, deep into Maratha territory — notably conquering Satara— the Marathas expanded their attacks further into Mughal lands, including Mughal-held Malwaand Hyderabad. Once, the Marathas attacked the imperial camp in the night, and cut off the ropes of the Emperor's tent. The Emperor escaped being crushed by the heavy tent only because he happened to be spending that night in another tent.
Aurangzeb waged continuous war for more than two decades with no resolution. After his death, new leadership arose among the Marathas, who soon became unified under the rule of
The Pashtun rebellion
Along with the Rajputs, the
Pashtuntribesmen of the Empire were considered the bedrock of the Mughal EmpireArmy. They were crucial defenders of the Empire from the threat of invasion from the North-West. The Pashtun revolt in 1672 was triggered when soldiers under the orders of the Mughal Governor Amir Khan attempted to molest women of the Safitribe in modern day Kunar. The Safi tribes attacked the soldiers. This attack provoked a reprisal, which triggered a general revolt of most of the tribes. Attempting to reassert his authority, Amir Khan led a large Mughal Army to the Khyber pass. There the army was surrounded by tribesmen and routed, with only four men, including the Governor, managing to escape.
After that the revolt spread, with the Mughals suffering a near total collapse of their authority along the Pashtun belt. The closure of the important
Attock- Kabultrade route along the Grand Trunk roadwas particularly critical. By 1674, the situation had deteriorated to a point where Aurangzeb himself camped at Attock to personally take charge. Switching to diplomacy and bribery along with force of arms, the Mughals eventually split the rebellion and while they never managed to wield effective authority outside the main trade route, the revolt was partially suppressed. However the long term anarchy on the Empire's North-Western frontier that prevailed as a consequence ensured that the Persian Nadir Shah's forces half a century later faced little resistance on the road to Delhi.
Aurangzeb's influence continues through the centuries. He was the first ruler to attempt to impose
Sharialaw on a non-Muslim country. His critics [ [http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/feb/16francois.htm The truth about Aurangzeb ] ] , decry this as intolerance, while his mostly Muslim supporters applaud him, some calling him a Caliph. He engaged in nearly perpetual war, justifying the ensuing death and destruction on moral and religious grounds. He eventually succeeded in the imposition of Islamic Sharia in his realm, but alienated many constituencies, not only non-Muslims, but also Shi'iteMuslims. This led to increased militancy by the Marathas, the Sikhs, and the Rajputs, who along with other territories broke from the empire after his death; it also led to disputes among Indian Muslims. The destruction of Hindu temples [ [http://www.fact-india.com/Aurangazeb.php Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism ] ] remains a dark stain on Hindu- Muslimrelations in India to this day.
Unlike his predecessors, Aurangzeb considered the royal treasury as a trust of the citizens of his empire and did not use it for personal expenses or extravagant building projects. He left few buildings, save for a modest mausoleum for his first wife,
Bibi Ka Maqbara, sometimes called the mini-Taj Mahal, in Aurangabad. He also created the Badshahi Masjidmosque (Imperial or Alamgiri Mosque) in Lahore, which was once the largest outside of Mecca. He also added a small marble mosque known as the "Moti Masjid" (Pearl Mosque) to the Red Fort complex in Delhi. His constant warfare, however, drove his empire to the brink of bankruptcy just as much as the wasteful personal spending and opulence of his predecessors. Stanley Wolpertwrites in his "New History of India" ISBN 0-19-516677-9 (Oxford, 2003)
expresses his strict and deep interpretation of Islamic beliefs.
After Aurangzeb's death, his son
Bahadur Shah Itook the throne. The Mughal Empire, due both to Aurangzeb's over-extension and to Bahadur Shah's weak military and leadership qualities, entered a period of long decline. Immediately after Bahadur Shah occupied the throne, the Maratha Empire — which had been held at bay by Aurangzeb, albeit at a high human and monetary cost — consolidated and launched effective invasions of Mughal territory, seizing power from the weak emperor. Within 100 years of Aurangzeb's death, the Mughal Emperor was to become a puppet of the Maratha Empireand then the British East India Company, with little power beyond Delhi and ignored by most Indian princes.
* There is a famous story that when the Emperor allegedly banned music in the court, the musicians arranged a mock funeral of the "Lady Music." The Emperor who witnessed it commented, "Let her be well and truly buried!"
Alamgir("Conqueror of the Universe"), as he preferred to style himself, in his old age, regretted the errors he made. [ [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/india/1707aurangzeb.html Indian History Sourcebook: The Great Moghul Aurangzeb, Farewell, 1707 CE ] ] . He implored his sons not to engage in a war of succession and left behind a will dividing his empire among them. His sons ignored the will and fought a bitter war of succession.
* Aurangzeb's son Akbar rebelled against him and fled to
Persia. He wrote a stinging letter to his father.
*During Aurangzeb's reign, the Portuguese born Catholic Dona
Juliana Dias da Costacame into his court and eventually would become harem-queen to his son Bahadur Shah I, and used to ride a war elephant beside him during battles to defend his authority.
* Aurangzeb nipped the attempts of the East India Company to gain territory by attacking it in 1687.
*Aurangzeb Alamgir had five sons.
*Aurangzeb's mother Empress
Mumtaz Mahalhad expired in a place called "Jamod". The actual name of the place is "Jah-e-Mout", known today as Jamod in the Buldhanadistrict in Maharashtraand 60 km from Burhanpurin Madhya Pradesh.
* Aurangzeb had ordered the demolition of the famous
Kashi Vishvanath Templein Varanasi and had the Gaynvapi Mosque built in its place.
* "Captive Princess-Zeb-un-Nissa", Annie Krynicki Kreiger pub by Oxford University Press"
* "Essays on Islam and Indian History", Richard M. Eaton. Reprint. New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2002 (ISBN 0-19-566265-2). -- "Eaton's essay "Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States", which attempts to comprehend Aurangzeb's motivation in destroying temples, has generated much recent debate"
* " The Peacock Throne", Waldemar Hansen (Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1972). -- "a very British accounting of Aurangzeb's reign, but filled with excellent references and source material"
* "A Short History of Pakistan", Dr. Ishtiaque Hussain Qureshi, University of Karachi Press.
* "Delhi", Khushwant Singh, Penguin USA, Open Market Ed edition, February 5, 2000. (ISBN 0-14-012619-8)Mcleod, H. (1989) Who is a Sikh. Oxford. Claredon.
Emperor of India
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/6430877.stm Quran hand-written by the emperor] -
* [http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/History/Mughals/Aurang2.html Article on Aurganzeb] from MANAS group page,
* [http://www.albalagh.net/general/0093.shtml Aurangzeb: Bad ruler or bad history?]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/mughalempire_5.shtml Aurangzeb] -
* [http://web.nwe.ufl.edu/~esull/restoration/aurengzebe.htm The Tragedy of Aureng-zebe] Text of
John Dryden's drama, based loosely on Aurangzeb and the Mughal court, 1675
* [http://coinlegends.blogspot.com Legends on Indian Coins]
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