AURANGZEB THE MUGHAL EMPEROR

AURANGZEB THE MUGHAL EMPEROR

• Aurangzeb ascended the throne with the title of Alamgir or world conqueror.
• He was a great general and statesman and nobody could rival in diplomacy and states craft.
• He was a pious Muslim who believed the wealth of the state was a trust in its rulers to be spent for the welfare of the people instead of being squandered on personal whims.
• He lived simply and frugally.
• Aurangzeb is known as Zinda Pir or a living saint because of his simple lifestyle.
• He imposed Islamic law, Fatwa I Alamgir in India. Alamgir was the name adopted by Aurangzeb when he became the padusha.
• Aurangzeb was considered religiously fanatic.
• Even as viceroy during Shah Jahan’s rule Aurangzeb had handled administrative matters satisfactorily in the Deccan.
• On coming to the throne Aurangzeb took measures to give relief to the people.
• He abolished toll taxes, pindori, the ground and house tax and nearly eighty other taxes at court.
• He prohibited the festival of nauroz, banned music, dance and alcohol and appointed mohtabis or censors of public morals to control the conduct of the people.

• In 1679 jizya, the tax on non-Muslims was re-imposed on the Hindus, which created a lot of ill will for Aurangzeb. However, it is often overlooked that Aurangzeb abolished jizya in 1704.
• Aurangzeb called Shivaji a mountain rat and gave him the title raja because of his guerilla tactics.
• In 1660 he entrusted Shaista khan to defeat Shivaji.

Aurangzeb and the British:
• In Aurangzeb time, the British had started to fortify their possessions and when Shaista khan, the governor of Bengal, imposed local duties on British trade, the company defied Mughal authority. James, I sent his warships to the Indian Ocean to capture Chittagong. This aroused Aurangzeb’s anger and he ordered the taking over the British factories at Surat in Gujarat, Machilipatnam in the south, and on the Hooghly in Bengal. The British were asked to vacate these in 1688. Peace was restored when Aurangzeb pardoned the British who were able to return in 1690 to Hooghly after payment of compensation to the Mughal government.

A famous historian says of Aurangzeb ‘under him the Mughal Empire reached its greatest extent and the largest single-state known in India. From the dawn of history to the rise of the British was formed. From Ghazni to Chittagong from Kashmir to Karnataka the continent of India obeyed one scepter. The empire thus formed while
unprecedented’.

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