Aurangzeb’s full name was Muḥī al-Dīn Muḥammad. He was the third son of the Fifth emperor of the Mughal dynasty, Shah Jahan. His mother was Mumtaz Mahal. He was born on November 3, 1618, in Dhod, Malwa, India. He was the sixth emperor of the Mughal dynasty and under him, the empire rose to its greater heights. Aurangzeb was given the title of Alamgir which means conqueror of the world. Aurangzeb was considered to be the most ruthless leader who went on to create a “golden age” of Indian civilization.
Aurangzeb was the sixth ruler of the Mughal empire who ruled over the entire Indian subcontinent for 49 years. He was an orthodox religious Sunni Muslim ruler and was a very good administrator. He compiled the Fatawa-e-Alamgiri and established Sharia law and Islamic economics throughout the Indian subcontinent. He is praised throughout history for being the most accomplished military leader but he is also considered to be the most controversial one. Aurangzeb ruled the Mughal empire from 1658 to 1707 and he died on March 3, 1707 Bhingar, Ahmednagar, India.
Basic Information about Aurangazeb
Aurangzeb Full Name: Muḥī al-Dīn Muḥammad
Aurangzeb Date of Birth: November 3, 1618
Aurangzeb Date of Death: March 3, 1707
Age (At the Time of Death): 88
Aurangzeb’s Early Life
Aurangzeb was the third son of the fifth Mughal emperor, Shahjahan. His mother was Mumtaz mahal who later in Shahjahan’s life inspired him to build the famous Taj mahal. Aurangzeb’s full name was Muḥī al-Dīn Muḥammad and he was born on November 3, 1618, in Dhod, Malwa, India. He was a very serious-minded child as he grew up. H was a devoted Sunni Muslim who was very orthodox in nature. Earlier in his life, Aurangzeb developed military and administrative abilities. These qualities of him were admired by many people in the kingdom. These qualities along with the taste of power brought him into a rivalry with his elder brother for the throne of the Mughal empire.
When Shahjahan fell seriously ill in 1657, the race for the succession of the throne began and Shah Jahan favoured his elder son Dara, but many advisors of the kingdom saw him as unworthy as he was too worldly. Aurangzeb, a much more committed son than his elder brother was favoured by people. The tension rose between the two brothers for the succession of the Mughal empire and it seemed that war was inevitable. Aurangzeb showed struggle for power in between the period of 1657 to 1659 and during this period Aurangzeb showed ruthless determination, great powers of dissimulation, and excellent tactical and strategic military skills against his brother Dara for the throne. With plan and strategy, Aurangzeb defeated Dara at Samudarh in May 1658. While the war was going on between the two brothers Shahjahan recovered and was again on the throne but as Aurangzeb defeated his brother he confined his father in his own palace at Agra. After coming to power Aurangzeb caused one brother to die and had two other brothers, a son and a nephew executed.
Aurangzeb’s 49 years of reign is known as the longest reign in Mughal Empire. Aurangzeb ruled the Mughal empire from 1658 to 1707 and his reign fell into almost two equal parts. The first part lasted until 1680. He was a monarch and a religious Sunni Muslim who was generally disliked for his ruthlessness but was feared and respected because of his exceptional military and administrative skills. During the early days of his rule, he safeguarded the northwest from the Persians and central Asian Turks and also had a conflict with the Maratha Chief Shivaji Maharaj. he had stolen the great port of Surat twice in 1664 and in 1670 from Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb followed his great grandfather’s tactics of conquest which were to defeat the enemy, reconcile them and place them in imperial service. And so Shivaji was defeated and was called for reconciliation in 1667 but he flew away and later died in 16680 as the independent ruler of the Maratha Kingdom.
After the year 1680, there was a change in the attitude and the policies with which the Mughal empire ran. Aurangzeb, being an orthodox Muslim ruler replaced the seasoned statement of the mixed kingdom. Hindus were colleagues during previous rulers’ reign but now under Aurangzeb, they were subordinates. The first sign of change in the way the kingdom ran was the reimposition of a poll tax or jizya on non-Muslims in 1679. In the past, the tax was abolished by Akbar. This led to religious tension in the kingdom which led to many Hindus serving the emperor but were never loyal to him. Because of this, there was a Rajput revolt against the Mughal emperor in 1681. The war with Marathas started in 1687 and soon Shivaji’s son Sambhaji was captured and executed in 1689 and his kingdom was also taken. After the death of Sambhaji, the Marathas fled towards the south and were inactive for some time. Aurangzeb then went on and captured forts of the Maratha hill country.
Aurangzeb then went on and expanded the Mughal empire in both south and north but his military campaigns and the religious intolerance he showed towards people annoyed many of his subjects. He started losing control of the administration in the north to and as the matter worsened the empire became over-extended and Aurangzeb imposed higher taxes on the agricultural lands in order to pay for the wars.
The agricultural revolt of the Sikh began as he started taking additional taxes on the land. Many Sikhs revolted in Punjab and in 1675 he executed the Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, who refused to work under his name. Guru Govind Singh, the new leader of the revolt, was an open rebellion for the rest of Aurangzeb’s reign.
In general, Aurangzeb was considered to be very ruthless and a militant orthodox Sunni Muslim. He forcefully tried to make his beliefs and morals be accepted by his subject which led to many revolts and in the end his fall.
Aurangzeb maintained the empire for half a century and he also started extending the territory in the south and came as far as Tanjore and Trichinopoly. While Aurangzeb was busy expanding the territory in the south, the Marathas drained all imperial resources in the North. The rebellion started by the Sikhs and the jat also added extra pressure in the north. Aurangzeb’s orthodox religious behaviour and the imposition of religious policies towards the Hindu rulers seriously damaged the stability of the Mughal Empire.
Death of Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb was 88 years old when he died in central India on March 3, 1707. He died of natural causes, those being terminal illnesses that had gotten to him. His 49-year-old reign came to an end without him declaring a crown prince which eventually led his three sons, Bahadur Shah I, Muhammad Azam Shah, and Muhammad Kam Baksh to fight amongst each other for the vacant throne. When he died the Mughal empire was at its breaking point as it was filled with the many rebellions who were against him and his beliefs. Under his son, Bahadur Shah 1 the Mughal empire slowly started declining and finally ended with British rule when the last Mughal emperor was sent into exile in 1858.
Legacy of Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb is considered to be “The last Great Mughal emperor” and he ruled it for 49 years. Many critics say that his ruthlessness and religious behaviour made him unsuitable to rule the mixed population in his empire. The imposition of the sharia and jizya religious taxes on non-muslim and the doubling of the custom duties on Hindus and the destruction of temples caused the birth of a religious rebellion against him which led to his fall.