Life & Accomplishments of Aurangzeb: The Least Favorite Mughal

3 minute read

Aurangzeb is often mistaken to be the last ruler of the Mughal dynasty in India. However, his reign was such that there was no influential Mughal ruler after him and history knows how India fell prey to the British after the complete downfall of the Mughals. But what did Aurangzeb do that made him such a controversial and unloved figure in the dynasty of rulers known for art, benevolence, courage and resilience? 

Source: Open Magazine

Also Read: Ashoka: The Great Ruler of the Mauryan Empire

Early Life of Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb Alamgir was born on 14 October 1618, in Dahod, Gujarat as the beloved youngest son of Shah Jahan, the then Mughal Emperor and Mumtaz Mahal. He was raised in an orthodox Muslim environment and also gained expertise in military and administrative skills.

He soon started taking over his elder brother Dara Shikoh and led military expeditions including the ones to seize Golconda and Bijapur against Shivaji. In May 1658, he defeated his eldest brother in a Battle and got his other brothers and nephews executed. 

Source: Economic Times

Also Read: Babur: The Magnificent History of the First Mughal Emperor

The Reign of Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb ruled India for over 50 years, extending its boundaries and practising novel orthodox practices with his subjects. It is believed that till 1680 he was a ruthless but just Monarch attending to mixed subjects (Hindus and Muslims) and using his skills for the betterment of the nation. 

He safeguarded his empire from Turks and defeated the Maratha king Shivaji. He tried to use Emperor Akbar’s tactics of giving Imperial positions to enemies to have allegiances but Shivaji fled his capture to die as a ruler of an Independent Maratha state. 

After 1980 his policies changed and non-muslims were imposed taxes like Jizya and Poll Tax. At the same time, his captured kingdoms were experiencing famine. The Marathas didn’t give up even after the death of its major leaders Shivaji and Sambhaji. 

Their guerilla warfare tactics kept Aurangzeb engaged in safeguarding his boundaries while the system administration slowly drifted beyond his control. 

Source: X

Also Read: Samudragupta Maurya– The Indian Napolean 

Why is Aurangzeb the Least Favorite?

Aurangzeb is a hated name in the history of India. This can be due to countless reasons. He was brutal to his enemies, unjust in administration after a point in time, barbaric in approach and fought pointless battles. He was also hated among Muslims for orthodoxy and the reason his battles were bringing poverty and havoc among the locals. He is also known as a ruler who was not interested in art and culture and did not promote such activities in his kingdom. Most crucial of all he is known to be a destroyer of many Hindu temples in India. 

His actions are studied by scholars and debated upon by leaders even today. His rule by Sharia law in a country of mixed religions and barbaric acts also gave an easy access to the British East India Company in India. Who made the Indian youth dream of civilised mannerisms, development and open culture and to enslave them. 

For more such informative blogs on Indian History stay tuned to our General Knowledge section.

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