Archive for the ‘jizya’ Category

Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb: Bad Ruler or Bad History?

April 9, 2009

By Dr. Habib Siddiqui

Of all the Muslim rulers who ruled vast territories of India from 712 to 1857 CE, probably no one has received as much condemnation from Western and Hindu writers as Aurangzeb. He has been castigated as a religious Muslim who was anti-Hindu, who taxed them, who tried to convert them, who discriminated against them in awarding high administrative positions, and who interfered in their religious matters. This view has been heavily promoted in the government approved textbooks in schools and colleges across post-partition India (i.e., after 1947). These are fabrications against one of the best rulers of India who was pious, scholarly, saintly, un-biased, liberal, magnanimous, tolerant, competent, and far-sighted.

Fortunately, in recent years quite a few Hindu historians have come out in the open disputing those allegations. For example, historian Babu Nagendranath Banerjee rejected the accusation of forced conversion of Hindus by Muslim rulers by stating that if that was their intention then in India today there would not be nearly four times as many Hindus compared to Muslims, despite the fact that Muslims had ruled for nearly a thousand years. Banerjee challenged the Hindu hypothesis that Aurangzeb was anti-Hindu by reasoning that if the latter were truly guilty of such bigotry, how could he appoint a Hindu as his military commander-in-chief? Surely, he could have afforded to appoint a competent Muslim general in that position. Banerjee further stated: “No one should accuse Aurangzeb of being communal minded. In his administration, the state policy was formulated by Hindus. Two Hindus held the highest position in the State Treasury. Some prejudiced Muslims even questioned the merit of his decision to appoint non-Muslims to such high offices. The Emperor refuted that by stating that he had been following the dictates of the Shariah (Islamic Law) which demands appointing right persons in right positions.” During Aurangzeb’s long reign of fifty years, many Hindus, notably Jaswant Singh, Raja Rajrup, Kabir Singh, Arghanath Singh, Prem Dev Singh, Dilip Roy, and Rasik Lal Crory, held very high administrative positions. Two of the highest ranked generals in Aurangzeb’s administration, Jaswant Singh and Jaya Singh, were Hindus. Other notable Hindu generals who commanded a garrison of two to five thousand soldiers were Raja Vim Singh of Udaypur, Indra Singh, Achalaji and Arjuji. One wonders if Aurangzeb was hostile to Hindus, why would he position all these Hindus to high positions of authority, especially in the military, who could have mutinied against him and removed him from his throne?

Most Hindus like Akbar over Aurangzeb for his multi-ethnic court where Hindus were favored. Historian Shri Sharma states that while Emperor Akbar had fourteen Hindu Mansabdars (high officials) in his court, Aurangzeb actually had 148 Hindu high officials in his court. (Ref: Mughal Government) But this fact is somewhat less known.

Some of the Hindu historians have accused Aurangzeb of demolishing Hindu Temples. How factual is this accusation against a man, who has been known to be a saintly man, a strict adherent of Islam? The Qur’an prohibits any Muslim to impose his will on a non-Muslim by stating that “There is no compulsion in religion.” (surah al-Baqarah 2:256). The surah al-Kafirun clearly states: “To you is your religion and to me is mine.” It would be totally unbecoming of a learned scholar of Islam of his caliber, as Aurangzeb was known to be, to do things that are contrary to the dictates of the Qur’an.

Interestingly, the 1946 edition of the history textbook Etihash Parichaya (Introduction to History) used in Bengal for the 5th and 6th graders states: “If Aurangzeb had the intention of demolishing temples to make way for mosques, there would not have been a single temple standing erect in India. On the contrary, Aurangzeb donated huge estates for use as Temple sites and support thereof in Benares, Kashmir and elsewhere. The official documentations for these land grants are still extant.”

A stone inscription in the historic Balaji or Vishnu Temple, located north of Chitrakut Balaghat, still shows that it was commissioned by the Emperor himself. The proof of Aurangzeb’s land grant for famous Hindu religious sites in Kasi, Varanasi can easily be verified from the deed records extant at those sites. The same textbook reads: “During the fifty year reign of Aurangzeb, not a single Hindu was forced to embrace Islam. He did not interfere with any Hindu religious activities.” (p. 138) Alexander Hamilton, a British historian, toured India towards the end of Aurangzeb’s fifty year reign and observed that every one was free to serve and worship God in his own way.

Now let us deal with Aurangzeb’s imposition ofthe jizya tax which had drawn severe criticism from many Hindu historians. It is true that jizya was lifted during the reign of Akbar and Jahangir and that Aurangzeb later reinstated this. Before I delve into the subject of Aurangzeb’s jizya tax, or taxing the non-Muslims, it is worthwhile to point out that jizya is nothing more than a war tax which was collected only from able-bodied young non-Muslim male citizens living in a Muslim country who did not want to volunteer for the defense of the country. That is, no such tax was collected from non-Muslims who volunteered to defend the country. This tax was not collected from women, and neither from immature males nor from disabled or old male citizens. For payment of such taxes, it became incumbent upon the Muslim government to protect the life, property and wealth of its non-Muslim citizens. If for any reason the government failed to protect its citizens, especially during a war, the taxable amount was returned.

It should be pointed out here that zakat (2.5% of savings) and ‘ushr (10% of agricultural products) were collected from all Muslims, who owned some wealth (beyond a certain minimum, called nisab). They also paid sadaqah, fitrah, and khums. None of these were collected from any non-Muslim. As a matter of fact, the per capita collection from Muslims was several fold that of non-Muslims. Further to Auranzeb’s credit is his abolition of a lot of taxes, although this fact is not usually mentioned. In his book Mughal Administration, Sir Jadunath Sarkar, foremost historian on the Mughal dynasty, mentions that during Aurangzeb’s reign in power, nearly sixty-five types of taxes were abolished, which resulted in a yearly revenue loss of fifty million rupees from the state treasury.

While some Hindu historians are retracting the lies, the textbooks and historic accounts in Western countries have yet to admit their error and set the record straight.

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WHY AN EXHIBITION ON AURANGZEB? Francois Gautier

April 9, 2009

Aurangazeb Exhibition: WHY AN EXHIBITION ON AURANGZEB?

Source: FACT India exhibition Detailed Exhibition

FACT, the Trust which I head, is doing an exhibition on ‘Aurangzeb as he was according to Moghol documents’ from 16th to 20th February in Habitat Center, New Delhi, Palm Court Gallery, from 10 AM to 9 PM.

Why an exhibition on Aurangzeb, some may ask ? Firstly, I have been a close student of Indian history and one of its most controversial figures has been Aurangzeb (1658-1707). It is true that under him the Moghol Empire reached its zenith, but Aurangzeb was a very cruel ruler ‘ some might even say monstrous. What are the facts? Aurangzeb did not just build an isolated mosque on a destroyed temple, he ordered all temples destroyed, among them the Kashi Vishvanath, one of the most sacred places of Hinduism and had mosques built on a number of cleared temples sites. All other Hindu sacred places within his reach equally suffered destruction, with mosques built on them. A few examples: Krishna’s birth temple in Mathura, the rebuilt Somnath temple on the coast of Gujurat, the Vishnu temple replaced with the Alamgir mosque now overlooking Benares and the Treta-ka-Thakur temple in Ayodhya. The number of temples destroyed by Aurangzeb is counted in 4, if not 5 figures. Aurangzeb did not stop at destroying temples, their users were also wiped-out; even his own brother, Dara Shikoh, was executed for taking an interest in Hindu religion and the Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded because he objected to Aurangzeb’s forced conversions.

Thus we thought we should go at the root of the matter. History (like journalism) is about documentation and first hand experience. We decided to show Aurangzeb according to his own documents. There are an incredible number of farhans, of original edicts of Aurangzeb, hand-written in Persian in India’s museums, particularly in Rajasthan, such as the Bikaner archives. It was not always easy to scan them, we encountered resistance, sometimes downright hostility and we had to go once to the CM to get permissions. Indeed the director of Bikaner archives told us that in 50 years, we were the first ones asking for these farhans dealing with Aurangzeb destructive deeds. Then we asked painters from Rajasthan to reproduce in the ancient Moghol style some of the edicts : the destruction of the Somnath temple, or the trampling of Hindus protesting jizya tax by Aurangzeb’s elephants, or the order from Aurangzeb prohibiting Hindus to ride horses and palanquins, or the beheading of Teg Bahadur and Dara Shikoh.

People might say: ‘ok, this is all true, Aurangzeb was indeed a monster, but why rake the past, when we have tensions between Muslims and Hindus today’ ? There are two reasons to this exhibition. The first one is that no nation can move forward unless its children are taught to look squarely at their own history, the good and the bad, the evil and the pure. The French for instance have many dark periods of their history, more recently some of the deeds they did during colonization in North Africa or how they collaborated with the Nazis during the 2d world war and handed over French Jews who died in concentration camps (French people are only coming to terms with it now).The argument that looking at one’s history will pit a community against the other does not hold either: French Catholics and Protestants, who share a very similar religion, fought bitterly each other. Catholics brutally murdered thousands of Protestants in the 18th century; yet today they lived peacefully next to each other. France fought three wars with Germany in the last 150 years, yet they are great friends today.

Let then Hindus and Muslims come to terms with what happened under Aurangzeb, because Muslims suffered as much as Hindus. It was not only Shah Jahan or Dara Shikoh who were murdered, but also the forefathers of today’s Indian Muslims who have been converted at 90%. Aurangzeb was the Hitler, the Asura of Medieval India. No street is named after Hitler in the West, yet in Delhi we have the Aurangzeb road, a constant reminder of the horrors Aurangzeb perpetrated against Indians, including against his own people.

Finally, Aurangzeb is very relevant today because he thought that Sunni Islam was the purest form of his religion and he sought to impose it with ruthless efficiency – even against those of his own faith, such as his brother. Aurangzeb clamped down on the more syncretic, more tolerant Islam, of the Sufi kind, which then existed in India.But he did not fully succeed. Four centuries later, is he going to have the last word ? I remember, when I started covering Kashmir in the late seventies, that Islam had a much more open face. The Kashmir Muslim, who is also a descendant of converted Hindus, might have thought that Allah was the only true God, but he accepted his Kashmir Pandit neighbor, went to his or her marriage, ate in his or her house and the Hindu in turn went to the mosque. Women used to walk with open faces, watch TV, films. Then the shadow of Aurangzeb fell again on Kashmir and the hard-line Sunnis came from Pakistan and Afghanistan : cinemas were banned, the burqua imposed, 400.000 Kashmiri Pandits were chased out of Kashmir by violence and became refugees in their own land and the last Sufi shrine of Srhar-e- Sharif was burnt to the ground (I was there). Today the Shariat law has been voted in Kashmir, a state of democratic, secular India,UP’s Muslims have applauded, and the entire Indian Media, which went up in flames when the Government wanted Vande Mataram to be sung, kept quiet. The spirit of Aurangzeb seems to triumph.

But what we need today in India – and indeed in the world – is a Dara Shikoh, who reintroduces an Islam which, while believing in the supremacy of its Prophet, not only accepts other faiths, but is also able to see the good in each religion, study them, maybe create a synthesis. Islam needs to adapt its scriptures which were created nearly 15 centuries ago for the people and customs of these times, but which are not necessarily relevant in some of their injunctions today. Kabir, Dara Shikoh and some of the Sufi saints attempted this task, but failed. Aurangzeb knew what he was doing when he had his own brother’s head cut. And we know what we are saying when we say that this exhibition is very relevant to today’s India

May the Spirit of Dara Shikoh come back to India and bring back Islam to a more tolerant human face.
François Gautier

Aurangzeb as he was according to Mughal Records

Aurangzeb, Emperor Shah Jahan’s sixth son, was born on 24th October 1618 at Dohad in Madhya Pradesh, and wrested India’s crown from his father before the end of June 1658, after defeating his brother Prince Dara Shukoh’s armies, first at Dharmat near Ujjain (15th April 1568) and the second, led by Dara himself, at Samugarh on 29th May 1658. The War of Succession to the richest throne in the world was practically over with this victory, and Aurangzeb secured his position by making Murad, his brother and accomplice in his impetuous pursuit for power, his prisoner, by treachery, on 25th June. He had already made his old father Emperor Shah Jahan a prisoner in the Agra Fort (8th June 1658).

Shah Jahan survived his confinement by nearly eight years and the disgraceful manner of his burial (Exhibit No.5)will ever remain a stigma on this unscrupulous son Aurangzeb’s advent to the throne in his father’s life time was not welcomed by the people of India, because of the treacherous manner it was achieved; , but public opinion became all the more hostile towards him when Prince Dara Shukoh, the favourite son of Shah Jahan, the translator of the Upanishads (Exhibit No.2), and a truly liberal and enlightened Musalman, was taken prisoner on the Indian border, as he was going to Persia. Dara was paraded in a most undignified manner on the streets of Delhi on 29th August 1659. The French Doctor, Bernier, was an eye-witness to the scene and was deeply moved by the popular sympathy for Dara (Exhibit No.3) which so much alarmed Aurangzeb that he contrived to have a decree from his Clerics announcing death-sentence for his elder brother on the charge of apostasy (Exhibit No.4).

Throughout the War of Succession, Aurangzeb had maintained that he was not interested in acquiring the throne and that his only object was to ward off the threat to Islam, which was inevitable in case Dara Shukoh came to power. Many, including his brother Murad, were deceived by this posture. After his formal accession in Delhi (5th June 1659) he posed as a defender of Islam who would rule according to the directions of the Shariat, and with the advice of the Clerics or Ulama for whom the doctrines, rules, principles and directives, as laid down and interpreted in the 7th and 8th century Arabia, Persia and Iraq, were inviolable and unchangeable in all conditions, in all countries, and for all times to come.

One of the main objectives of Aurangzeb’s policy was to demolish Hindu temples. When he ordered (13th October 1666)removal of the carved railing, which Prince Dara Shukoh had presented to Keshava Rai temple at Mathura, he had observed ‘In the religionof theMusalmans it is improper even to look at a temple’, and that it was totally unbecoming of a Muslim to act like Dara Shukoh (Exhibit No.6, Akhbarat, 13th October 1666). This was followed by destruction of the famous Kalka temple in Delhi (Exhibit No.6, 7, 8, Akhbarat, 3rd and 12th September 1667).

In 1669, shortly after the death of Mirza Raja Jai Singh of Amber, a general order was issued (9th April 1669) for the demolition of temples and established schools of the Hindus throughout the empire and banning public worship (Exhibit Nos.9 & 10). Soon after this the great temple of Keshava Rai was destroyed (Jan.-Feb. 1670) (Exhibit No.12) and in its place a lofty mosque was erected. The idols, the author of Maasir-i-Alamgiri informs, were carried to Agra and buried under the steps of the mosque built by Begum Sahiba in order to be continually trodden upon, and the name of Mathura was changed to Islamabad. The painting (Exhibit No.13) is thus no fancy imagination of the artist but depicts what actually took place.

This was followed by Aurangzeb’s order to demolish the highly venerated temple of Vishwanath at Banaras (Persian text, Exhibit No.11), Keshava Rai temple (Jan.-Feb. 1670) (Persian Text, exhibit No.12 and Painting, Exhibit No.13), and of Somanatha (Exhibit No.14).To save the idol of Shri Nathji from being desecrated, the Gosain carried it to Rajputana, where Maharana Raj Singh received it formally at Sihad village, assuring the priest that Aurangzeb would have to trample over the bodies of one lakh of his brave Rajputs, before he couldeven touch the idol (Exhibit No.15)

Aurangzeb’s zeal for temple destruction became much more intense during war conditions. The opportunity to earn religious merit by demolishing hundreds of temples soon came to him in 1679 when, after the death of Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur in the Kabul Subah, he tried to eliminate the Rathors of Marwar as a political power in Rajputana. But Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar, in line with the great traditions of his House, came out in open support of the Rathors.. This led to war with both Mewar and Marwar during which the temples built on the bank of Rana’s lake were destroyed by his orders (Exhibit No.23, Akhbarat 23rd December 1679) and also about three hundred other temples in the environs of Udaipur. (Exhibit No.25, Text), including the famous Jagannath Rai temple built at a great cost in front of the Maharana’s palace which was bravely defended by a handful of Rajputs (Exhibit Nos.20, 21).

Not only this, when Aurangzeb visited Chittor to have a view of the famous fort, he ordered the demolition of 63 temples there which included some of the finest temples of Kumbha’s time (Exhibit No.22). From Marwar (in Western Rajasthan) alone were brought several cart-loads of idols which, as per Aurangzeb’s orders, were cast in the yard of the Court and under the steps of Jama Masjid (Exhibit No.19). Such uncivilized and arrogant conduct of the Mughal Emperor alienated Hindus for ever, though they continued to be tolerant towards his creed.

In June 1681, orders, in a laconic two-liner, were given for the demolition of the highly venerated Jagannath Temple in Orissa (Exhibit No.24, Akhbarat, 1st June 1681)., Shortly afterwards, in September 1682, the famous Bindu-Madhav temple in Banaras was also demolished as per the Emperor’s orders (Exhibit No.27, Akhbarat, Julus 26, Ramzan 20). On 1st September 1681, while proceeding to the Deccan, where his rebel son Prince Akbar, escorted by Durga Das Rathore, had joined Chhatrapati Shivaji’s son, Shambhaji, thus creating a serious problem for him, Aurangzeb ordered that all the temples on the way should be destroyed. It was a comprehensive order not distinguishing between old and newly built temples (Exhibit No.26, Akhbarat, Julus 25, Ramzan 18). But in the district of Burhanpur, where there were a large number of temples with their doors closed, he preferred to keep them as such, as the Muslims were too few in number in the district. (Exhibit No.28, Akhbarat 13th October 1681). In his religious frenzy, even temples of the loyal and friendly Amber state were not spared, such as the famous temple of Jagdish at Goner near Amber (Exhibit Nos.30, Akhbarat, 28th March and 14th May 1680). In fact, his misguided ardour for temple destruction did not abate almost up to the end of his life, for as late as 1st January 1705 we find him ordering that the temple of Pandharpur be demolished and the butchers of the camp be sent to slaughter cows in the temple precincts (Akhbarat 49-7).

The number of such ruthless acts of Aurangzeb make a long list but here only a few have been mentioned, supported by evidence, mostly contemporary official records of Aurangzeb’s period and by such credible Persian sources as Maasir-i-Alamgiri.

I In obedience to the Quranic injunction, he reimposed Jizyah on the Hindus on 2nd April 1679 (Exhibit No.16), which had been abolished by Emperor Akbar in 1564, causing widespread anger and resentment among the Hindus of the country .A massive peaceful demonstration against this tax in Delhi, was ruthlessly crushed (Exhibit No.17), This hated tax involved heavy economic burden on the vast number of the poor Hindus and caused humiliation to each and every Hindu (Exhibit No.18). In the same vein, were his discriminatory measures against Hindus in the form of exemption of the Muslims from the taxes (Exhibit No.31, Akhbarat 16th April 1667) ban on atishbazi and restriction on Diwali (Exhibit No.32), replacement of Hindu officials by Muslims so that the Emperor’s prayers for the welfare of Muslims and glory of Islam, which were proving ineffective, be answered (Exhibit Nos.33, 34). He also imposed a ban on ziyarat and gathering of the Hindus at religious shrines, such as of Shitla Mata and folk Gods like Pir Pabu (Exhibit No.35, Akhbarat 16th September 1667), another ban on their travelling in Palkis, or riding elephants and Arab-Iraqi horses, as Hindus should not carry themselves with the same dignity as the Muslims! (Exhibit No.36). In the same vein came brazen attempts to convert Hindus by inducement, coercion (Exhibit No.41) or by offering Qanungoship (Exhibit No.44, 45, 46) and to honour the converts in the open Court. His personal directions were that a Hindu male be given Rs.4 and a Hindu female Rs.2 on conversion (Exhibit No.43,Akhbarat 7th April 1685). ‘Go on giving them”, Aurangzeb had ordered when it was reported to him that the Faujdar of Bithur, Shaikh Abdul Momin, had converted 150 Hindus and had given them naqd (cash) and saropas (dresses of honour) (Exhibit No.40, Akhbarat, 11th April 1667). Such display of Islamic orthodoxy by the State under Aurangzeb gave strength and purpose to the resistance movements such as of the Marathas, the Jats, the Bundelas and the Sikhs (Exhibit No.46).

On the 12th May 1666, the dignity with which Shivaji carried himself in the Mughal court and defied the Emperor’s authority, won him spontaneous admiration of the masses. Parkaldas, an official of Amber (Jaipur State) wrote in his letter dated 29th May 1666, to his Diwan. ‘Now that after coming to the Emperor’s presence Shivaji has shown such audacity and returned harsh and strong replies, the public extols him for his bravery all the more …” (Exhibit No.37).When Shivaji passed away on April 1680 at the age of 53 only, he had already carved a sufficiently large kingdom, his Swarajya, both along the western coast and some important areas in the east as well.

Aurangzeb could never pardon himself for his Intelligence in letting i escapefrom his well laid trap and wrote in his Will (Exhibit No.48)that it made him ‘to labour hard (against the Marathas) to the end of my life (as a result of it)”. He did not realize that it was his own doing: the extremely cruel manner ‘ even for those times – in which he put to death Shivaji’ son, Shambhaji (Exhibit No.38)made the Maratha king a martyr in the eyes of the masses and with that commenced the People’ War in Maharashtra and the Deccan which dug the grave of the Mughal empire.

Till the very end Aurangzeb never understood that the main pillars of the government are the affection and support of the people and not mere compliance of the religious directives originating from a foreign land in the seventh-eighth centuries.

His death after a long and ruinous reign lasting half a century, ended an eventful epoch in the history of India . He left behind a crumbling empire, a corrupt and inefficient administration, a demoralized army, a discredited government facing public bankruptcy and alienated subjects.

The reign of Aurangzeb : his treatment of the Hindus

April 9, 2009
The reign of Aurangzeb :
his treatment of the Hindus :
the Rajput revolt ;
Sivaji and the rise of the Marathas


Auranhzeb at the time of his accession. In June 1659, when Aurangzeb assumed the full honours of the imperial dignity under the title of Alamgir, conferred by his father, he was forty years of age, mature in body and mind, well skilled in affairs, both civil and military, and firmly
convinced that it was his duty to uphold his religion at any cost. The history of his reign, extending like Akbar’s over a period of nearly fifty years, may be condensed as being that of the failure of an attempt to govern a vast empire, inhabited chiefly by Hindus, on the principles of an ascetic Moslem saint.

Aurangzeb’s principles of government. Aurangzeb never flinched from the practical action logically resulting from his theory, that it was his duty as a faithful Moslem king to foster the interests of orthodox Sunni Islam, to suppress idolatry, and, as far as possible, to discourage and disown all idolaters,
heretics (including Shah Mohammedans)’ and infidels. He could not do all he would, but he did all he could to carry his principles into effect. No fear of unpopularity, no consideration of political expediency, no dread of resistance , was suffered to turn him for a moment from his religious duty as he conceived it.
The emperor Aurangzeb was a man of high intellectual powers, a brilliant writer, as his letters prove, an astute diplomatist, a soldier of undaunted courage, a skilled administrator, a just and merciful judge, a pious ascetic in his personal habits, and yet a failure.

Palliation of his fight for the throne. He crossed a river of blood to gain the throne. The best defence that can be offered for the crimes by which he won it, is that indicated in his letter reproaching his old tutor:

‘Ought you not’, he writes, ‘to have foreseen that I might at some future period be compelled to contend with my brothers, sword in hand, for the crown, and for my very existence Such, as you must well known, has been the ate of the children of almost every king of Hindutan’.

That defence, as far as it goes, is sound. If any one of his brothers had gained the prize, Auragzeb would have suffered death, and he can hardly be blamed because he preferred to inflict, rather, than suffer, death. The deposition of his father was a neccessary consequence
of the defeat of Dara Shikoh, who had already assumed the imperial authority with the assent of the aged emperor, who was then no longer fit to rule. Once the deposition had been effected, Aurangzeb spared his father’s life though sternly refusing him liberty. The brutal treatment
of Dara Shikoh, which cannot be justified, is explained by Aurangzeb’s intense hatred for all forms of religious hereby. His eldest brother, an avowed freethinker, was to him a thing accursed, and a fit object for extremest insult. Aurangzeb regarded the world from the point of view of
a Moslem ascetic, and as against the rights of orthodaxy the claims of kindered or of justice to Hindu unbelevers were nothing in his eyes. He took up the position of Philip II of spain in realtion to the people of the Netherlands. Like that monarch he was intensely suspicious, trusting neither man nor woman.
His love, although sometimes given, was seldom sought and, perhaps, never returned, except by one gradnson, prince Bedar Bakht.

Mir Jumla’s attack on Assam. In the earlier part of the reign the only wars, other than that of the sucession, which claim notice are those with Assam and Arakan. Mir jumla, the able general, who had done such good service for Aurangzeb when he was viceroy of the Deccan, and again in hunting down Shuja,
was rash enough to follow in the footsteps of Mohammed the son of Bakhtyar (ante, p. 106) and to invade Assam. Mir Jumla failed like his early predecessor, and, like him, died soon after his return (1663).

Annexation of part of Arakan by shayista khan. In the course of the same year, Aurangzeb’s uncle, Shayista khan, who had allowed himself to be surprised by the Marathasin the Deccan, was transferred to Bengal as the sucessor of Mir jumla. He governed the eastern province for about thirty years. His expulsion of the
English merchants from his territory in 1686 has been mentioned (ante,p.161). At an earlier ate (1666) he had cleared out the portuguese and other pirates who infested the rivers in the neighbourhood of Chittagong, and sent an expedition against the king of Arakan, who had abetted the evil-doers, and was compelled to cede the Chittagong territory.

Twenty years’ pece. ‘The expeditions into Assam and Arakan did not disturb the general peace of Hindustan. A profound tranquillity, broken by no rebellion of any political importance, reigned throughout Northern India for the first twenty years of Aurangzeb’s rule.’ It is true that for nearly three years (1673-5) the Afghan clans beyond the Indus gave trouble,
and during part of that time Aurangzeb in person superintended the operations of his generals, but the peace of India, as a whole, was not disturbed by skirmishing on the north-western frontier.

Aurangzeb’s history. Aurangzeb was a religious bigot, nad he reversed in every repect the wise policy of Akbar towards his Hindu subjects. In 1669, hearing that certain Brahmins were giving religious lectures at Multan and Benares, he ordered ‘all governors of provinces to destroy with a willing hand the schools and temples of the infidels’.Inconsequence,
the temple of Vishvanath at Benares was destroyed. In 1672 a Hindu religious sect called the Satnamis rebelled, and was crushed with ruthless severity. In 1675, Tegh Bahadur, the ninth of the sikh gorus (post, p.p 224-6), was taken and executed because he refused to embrace Islam. In 1678, Raja Jaswant Singh of Marwar died. The emperor tried to seize his children and have
them brought up as Moslems. He adopted the same policy towards the young Maratha Prince shahu. Finally in 1679 he revived the hated jizya or poll-tax which Akbar had ablished. By his bigotry Auragzeb rent in pieces the mighty Mogul empire, and paved the way for the British conquest of India.

Alienation of the Rajputs. After some time the rana of Mewar (Udaipur) made an honourable peace, by a treaty which contained no allusion to the odious jizya, and Raja Jaswant singh’s son was recongnized as chieftain of Marwar. The mischief, however,had been done, and Aurangzeb had wantonly thrown away his most trusty weapon, the devotion of the Rajput chivalry. During the following
struggle in the Deccan he learned the extent of his loss, but never repented of his action or swered a hair’s breadth from his principles. Notwithstanding the treaty, Rajputana was not pacified, and the greater part of the country continued in revolt until the end of the reign.

Prohibition of histories. A curious decree of the eleventh year of the reign abolished the office of imperial chronicler and forbade the publication of histories by private persons. This prohibition has caused a certain amount of indistinctness in the details and obscurity in the chronology of the greater part of Aurangzeb’s long reign. Such histories as were written secretly had to wait for
publication until the emperor’s death.

Aurangzeb and the Decan. In 1657, when called away to take part in the fight for the throne, prince Aurangzeb, then viceroy of the Deccan, that is to say of khandesh, Berar, Telingana, and Ahmadnagar, seemed to be an on the point of annexing the kingdoms of Golkonda and Bijapur and bringing the whole of the Deccan under the rule of his father. Many years elapsed before Auragzeb as emperor was able to return
to the scene of his early labours. Meantime a new power had arisen, which, rashly despised at first, became strong enough to baffle all the efforts of the imperial grand army, and to condemn the aged emperor to long-drawn years of fruitless toil, ending in lonely death, ‘without heart or help’.

The new-born Maratha power. Before taking up the story of Aurangzeb’s campaigns in the Deccan during the twenty-six years from the close of 1681 to 1707, we must go back to trace the origin of the new-born Maratha power and sketch the life of sivaji, who gave it birth. the marathas are the Hindu population of Maharashtra, the country of the western Ghats, lying to the south of the satpura hills, to the west of the warda
river, and extending southwards as far as Goa. In the thirteenth century this region had been the centre of the Yadava power (ante,p.84). Its best known towns are poona, Satara, Kolhapur, and Nasik.

Description of the Marathas. The inhabitants of the barren uplands of the Deccan, with its fierce heat and uncertain rainfall, are a frugal, manly race. ‘They are ‘,says Elphinstone , ‘small, sturdy men, well made though not hansome. They are all active, laborious, hardy, and perserving. If they have none of their indolence or their want of wordly wisdom.’ One feature of the Deccan must be particularly noted. It is intersected
by a number of mountain-ranges, and high flat topped hills rise up on all sides. These hills are easily convertible, by means of a few bastions, into forts, which are almost impregnable without the use of siege artillery. These natural strongholds played an important part in the great struggle against the Mohammedans. The Marathas would retire to them when hard pressed, and then, when the opportunity offered, they would sally forth and hang
upon their opponents’ flanks like a pack of wolves, cutting off stragglers and intercepting supplies. The Marathas were admirably adapted for these guerilla tactics.

Early life of sivaji. Sivaji, the great Maratha champion, belonged to the Bhosle family. His father Shahji was a soldier of fortune, and while he was away on distant campaigns in southern India, on behalf of the kings of Bijapur, the lad was brought up at poona under his mother Jijabai. He became inspired with the idea of freeing his country from the Mohammedan yoke. At the age of nineteen he began his career by seizing some of the hill
forts in the poona district. In 1659 the Biajpur government began to realize that the danger was serious. Afzal khan, a famous general, was sent with a large force. But he became entangled in the dense jungles between Wai and Mahableshwar, near sivaji’s fort of Pratapgarh. Here Afzal khan was tempted to a conference and cut down. His army was suddenly attacked from every side and completely annihilated. Bijapur now thought it prudent to come to terms.

Shayista Khan. The Maratha now ventured to ravage the Mogul territories, and thus provoked Aurangzeb to send his uncle, Shayista khan, to suppress him. But the Mogul commander, having allowed himself to be surprised, was transferred to Bengal, as already narrated (ante,p.208).

Auragzeb’s mistake. Other generals, including pince Muazzam, were now sent against the rebel, and after some time (1665) Raja Jai Singh of jaipur persuaded sivaji to submit and even to come to Agra to do homage. Aurangzeb enforced the court rules of etiquette on his opponent, and so incurred his undying enmity. Sivaji escaped secretly from the court, returned to the Deccan, and in February 1668 compelled Aurangzeb to reconize him as Raja.

Renewed war; death of sivaji, 1680. The war was soon renewed, and the Marathas freely plundered the imperial territories, including the rich town of Surat, all except the English factory there. In 1674 Sivaji proclaimed himself sovereign of the Deccan with royal pomp at his capital of Raigarh. He then crossed the Narbada, and levied the chauth, or fourth part of the land revenue, a species of blackmail, payment of which was supposed to protect a district from plunder.
In the south, where his father and brother had held jagirs, he occupied the fortresses of Vellore and Jinji (Gingee), and was granted additional territory by the king of Bijapur in payment for help against the Moguls. In 1680 he died at the age of fifty-three, leaving behind him a great reputation as the champion of Hinduism, the creator of a nation, and the founder of a powerful kingdom.

Civil administration. Sivaji, who had begun life as a petty chieftain, showed, as his power grew, that he knew how to govern his unruly subjects. He was a devout Hindu, and , although illeterate and unable to sign his name, was well versed in the sacred lkore dear to all Hindus. His government, accordingly, was organized on a Hindu pattern. The supreme authority under the Raja was a council of eight ministers who followed the principles of Brahmin law. Tge chief minister was called the Peshwa.
Other members of the council severally looked after various departments-finance, the army, and so forth. Maratha territory was divided into districes, each with a staff of officials, and each village had its headman (patel). Higher local officers were known as Desadhikars, Talikdars, and Subadars. The ministers usually held military commands, and left their civil duties to deputies (kabaris). The revenue settlements were made annually. Justice was in the hands panchayats.

Army and navy. The army was controlled by a commander-in-chief, below whom was a regular gradation of officers. The men were paid. At first Sivaji relied on his infantry recruited from the Western Ghats and the Konkanman who could climb like monkeys and capture the hill forts which were the seat of his power. Gradually the light cavalry became the most important Maratha arm. The horsemen preferred the lance to any other weapon. Discipline was strict. No soldier was allowed to bring a woman into the field on pain of death. In this respect
Sivaji’s force differed widely from the armies of the Moguls, and even from those of the East India Company, which were always clogged by a train of female followers. The chief object of the Maratha raids was to till the treasury; hence all plunder had to be strictly accounted for. Cows, cultivators, and women were not to be injured. A flect capable of carrying four thousand soldiers helped the operations of the coast.

Character of Sivaji. Sivaji was a born leader of men, and a real master of guerilla warfare. There can be no doubt that he rally believed himself to be born with a mission ‘to protect Brahmins and kind’, and to set his country free. He lived in a dark and cruel age, when religious feeling ran high, and admittedly his career was stained by deeds which would
be condemned in modern times. Of the death of Azal Khan it is impossible to speak with certainly, but the murder of the two Maratha chiefs, Chandrarao More and Baji Ghorpade, and the destruction of their capitals, is hard to defend. Equally cruel were the brutal tortures inflicted on teh Hindu baniyas of Surat to extract their hidden treasures. But on the whole he was a chivalrous and far-sighted man, and we may fully concur with the character given to him by Khafi Khan, the Mohammedan historian, who was certainly not biased in his favour:

‘He made it a rule that, wherever his followers went plundering, they should do no harm to mosques, the Book of God, or anyone’s women. Whenever a copy of the holy Koran cam into his hands, he treated it with respect, and gave it to some of his Mussulaman followers. When the women of any Hindu or Mohammedan were taken prisoners by his men and they had no friend to protect them, he watched over them till their relations came to buy them their liberty.’

Aurangzeb assumes command in the Deccan. At the close of 1681, a year after Sivaji’s death, Aurangzeb in person took command of the army of the Deccan, resolved to extinguish the kingdoms of Golkonda and Bijapur, to curb the insolence of the Marathas, and, if possible, to bring the whole south under Mogul rule.

His treatment of the Hindua. The emperor’;s obstinate adherence to his wrong-headed policy of annoying his Hindu subjects added immensely to the inherent difficulties of his task. The first thing he did was to issue stringent orders for the collection of the arrears of the jizya tax in the southern provinces, and in three months he compelled his officers to squeeze twenty-six thousand rupees out of Burhanpur. Insult was added to pecuniary injury by a proclamation that no Hindu should ride in apalankeen or an Arab horse without special licence.
such measures, of course, made the entire Hindu should ride in a palankeen or on an Arab horse without special licence. Such measures, of course, made the entire Hindu population the friends of his foes; but no consideration of prudence sufficed to turn Aurangzeb from his fixed policy.

The affairs of Golkonda. When he returned to the Deccan he found the government of Golkonda in confusion. The king, Abul Hasan, had abandoned himself to pleasure and ceased to take any part in public affairs, which were controlled by the representative of the emperor at his court and by two Hindu officials. Aurangzeb, who could not endure Hindu influence, sent his son, Prince Muazzam, to restore order. The prince dallied over his task, but at last attacked the city of Hyderabad, which his soldiers plundered without permission. The king took reguge in the adjoining fortress of Golkonda.
In 1685 the prince, having made peace on terms displeasing to his father, was recalled.

Annexation of Bijapur, 1686. The emperor, leaving Golkonda alone for the moment, deputed another son, prince Azam, to reduce Bijapur. He had little success, and was superseded by his ather, who took the capital in 1686 after an investment lasting more than a year. The kingdom ceased to exist, and the splendid city became the abode of desolation, as it is for the most part to this day.

Siege and annexation of Golkonda. Aurangzeb then resolved to make an end of the isster state of Golkonda, and to depose the king, who was accused of sending money to the Marathas, and allying himself with infidels. When Abul Hasan perceived that his destruction was decided on, he is said to have become a changed man, to have cast aside his evil habits and played the part of a hero. Certainly the city was put in a good state of defence, and when the siege began early in 1687, the imperial troops found that they had been set a hard task. The Marathas cut off the supplies of the besiegers, who were reduced to extremities by famine and plague.
An assault ordered by the emperor failed utterly, and it seemed as if the siege must be raised. But a traitor admitted the Mogul army, and Golkonda fell (September 1687). By these conquests and later operations the imperial commanders were able to levy tribute from Tanjore and Trichinipol;y in 1691, which date may be taken as marking the furthest southern extension of Mogul power.

Struggle with the Marathas. The two Mohammedan kingdoms had been destroyed, but the marathas remained unsubdued, and the remaining twenty years of Aurangzeb’s life were spent in the vain attempt to subdue them. The emperor never returned to the north, and wasted those weary years gaining ‘ a long series of petty victories followed by larger losses’. His armies seemed to be getting the upper hand between 1698-1701, but in the suceeding years the enemy recovered the lost ground.

Maratha method of warfare. The Marathas never, or hardly ever, risked a general engagement, but empended all their energies, like the Boers in the south African war, in cutting off supplies, intercepting convoys, and incessantly harassing the enemy. Mounted on hardy ponies, they were ablr to move with a quickness which completely baffled the imperial armies; and, so each man carried with him his simple food and belongings, they needed no transport trains.

Inefficiency of the Mogul army. The mogul forces, on the other hand, were unwideldy and almost immovable. The royal tents alone occupied a space three miles in circuit, and a contemporary traveller describes the whole camp as being ‘ a moving city containing half a million of souls’. Grant Duff sums up the situation in these words: ‘These apparently vigorous efforts of the government were unsubstantial; there was motion and bustle, without zeal or efficacy; the empire was unwidely, its system relaxed, and its officiers corrupt beyond all example.’ Success in these circumstances was impossible.

Execution of Sambhaji ; Raja Shahu. For a time the emperor’s arms had a promise of success, and Aurangzeb had the poor satisfaction of putting to death with torture Sambhaji, a son of Shivaji, in 1689. He spared the life of sivaji jonior, nicknamed Shabu (sahu), the infant son of Sambhaji, and kept his at court until his own death, when the young man was released and returned to his own dominions. He became Raja in 1708 after a contest.

Tara Bai. A few years after Sambhaji’s execution, Tara Bai, widow of Raja Rama, another son of Sivaji, had retrieved the Maratha losses, and directed the policy of devasting the imperial territories with such energy that the emperor was shut up in his camp, and his treasure was plundered almost under his eyes.

Retreat and death of Aurangzeb. The mogul army gradually crumbled to pieces, and ultimately (1706) Aurangzeb was forced to retire on Ahmadnagar, where he died at the begining of March 1707 (N.S), in the forty-ninth year of his reign and the eighty-eighth of his life. His dust lies under a plain tomb in the village of Rauza or Khuldabad near Daulatabad.

Aurangzeb’s farewell words. However severely the policy and conduct of Aurangzeb may be junged, it is impossible to refuse pity to the old man on his death-bed when he addressed his sons in these sad words:

‘I know not who I am, where I shall go , or what will happen to this sinner, full of sins. Now I will say good-bye to every one in this world and entrust every one to the care of God. My famous and auspicious sons should not quarrel among themselves and allow a general massacre of the people who are the servants of God. . . My years have gone by profitless. God has been in my heart, yet my darkened eyes have not reconginized His light. . . There is no hope for me in the future. The fever is gone, but only the skin is left. . . The army is confounded, and without heart or help, even as I am; apart from God, with no rest for the heart
yet my darkened eyes have not recognized His light. . . There is no hope for me in the future. The fever is gone, but only the skin is left. . . The army is confounded, and without heart or help, even as I am; apart from God, with no rest for the heart. . . When I have lost hope in myself, how can I hope in others? . . . You should accept my last will. It should not happen that Mussulmans be killed and the blame for their death rest upon this useless creature. . . I have greatly sinned and know not what troment awaits me. . . I have greatly sinned and know not what torment awaits me. . . I commit you and your sons to the care of God, and bid
you farewell. . . May the peace of God be upon you.’

Aurangzeb’s failure. The causes of Aurangzeb’s failure are obvious enough, and have been indicated in the course of the narrative, but it may be well to sum them up briefly. Aurangzeb acted as if he were merely the head of the Sunni sect Mohammedans, and not the protector of all the races and creeds of India. Akbar had realized the truth that the authority of the monarch of an empire inhabited chiefly by Hindus could not be lasting unless it rested on the support of all his people. During the greater part of his reign he treated all religions with impartial justice. Only in his latter days he forgot himself so far so to violate his avowed principles by
heaping insults upon Islam. Jahangir accepted and put in practice the tolerant maxims of his father, encouraging the building of Hindu temples as of chiristian churches. Shahjahan revived then old evil policy or persecution, harrying the christians and razing temples to the ground. Aurangzeb went farther, especially after 1678, when the death of Raja Jaswant Singh deprived his countrymen of their most powerful support. The emperor, then, in 1679,reimposed the wisely abolished. He carried to monstrous legths the policy of destroying the holy places of Hinduism, and may be reasonably charged with the overthrow of thousands of temples.

His measures forced all Hindus to regard him as their enemy and deprived him of the willing service of the Rajput clans. Sivaji, whom the emperor despised as a mere robber chief, was honoured by the Marathas as a hero, the champion and protector of Hinduism aginst the imperial bigot. Aurangzeb’s Sunni bigotry made him as hostile to the shah states of Bijapur and Golkonda as he was to the Hindu powers. He thus shattered the forces of Islam in the Deccan, by which the Hindu revolt of the marathas might have been held in check. The emperor’s suspious disposition, which prevented him from trusting anybody, deprived him likewise of all chance of finding trustworthy agents. He was, consequently,
ill served. His life was so prolonged that he continued to grasp the sceptre after he had lost the strength to use it with effect. His officers, corrupted by luxury, lacked the vigour of their ancestors and were incapable of honest exertion. The long-drawn-out Deccan wars exhausted a large part of the huge treasure of shahjahan, and ruined the finances of the empire. Financial ruin involved the collapse of the whole administration. The subject might be treated from many other points of view, but what has been said may suffice.

Chronology of Aurangzeb’s Reign

Deposition of Shahjahan and informal accession July 1658

Formal installation of Aurangzeb June 1659

Charter granted by charles II to the E.I Company ;
Bombay ceded by the portuguese to the English 1661

Mir Jumla’s attack on Assam 1662-3

Shayista khan surprised by the Maathas 1663

Foundation of the French Compagnie des Indes 1664

Death of shahjahan ; annexation of part of Arakan

by shayista khan 1666

Prohibition of public idolatrous worship 1669

Sivaji formally proclaimed as sovereign 1674

Revival of the jizya 1679

Death of Sivaji 1680

Rebellion of the Ranjputs and prince Akbar 1680-1

Assumption of command in the Deccan by Aurangzeb 1681-2

Annexation of Golkonda ; Greatest extension of Mogul empire 1687-91

Execution of Sambhaji, son of Sivaji 1689

Foundation of Calcutta by job Charnock 1690

United East India Company 1720-8

Retreat of Aurangzeb to Ahmadnagar 1706

Death of Aurangzeb 1707

GENEALOGY OF THE ‘GREAT MOGULS’ (Principal Names)

Amir Timur
|

Four generations

|

Babur (Zahir-ud-din Mohammed, descended from the
stock of chinghiz khan through females

|
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| |
HUMAYUN (Nasir-ud-din Mohammed) Kamaran and two others

|
——————–
| |
Akbar (Jalal-ud-din) Mohammed Hakim Mirza
| (Ruler of Kabul)
|
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| | |
| | |
JaHANGIR (Nur-ud-din Mohammed) Sultan Murad Sultan Daniyal
| | |
| | |
| A Son Three sons
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| | | | |
Sultan Khusru Sultan Parviz SHAHJAKAN
or Khusrau (Shihab-ud-din Mohammed) Jahandar Shahryar

|
Dawar Bakhsh or Bulaki |
and two others |
|
|
|
———————————————————————-
| | | | |
Dara Shiloh
(Mohammed) Sultan Shuja AURAGZEB ALAMGIR Murad Bakhsh Several other children,
| | including two daughters,
Four sons Three sons (Mohammed Muhi-ud-din) Jahanara and Roshanara,
or Roshan Rai