Aurangzeb is one of the most unpopular rulers in Indian history. He was a staunch Islamic ruler and he destroyed many Hindu temples and built mosques. Apart from this, he behaved very inhumanly with the Hindus. Today in this article we will test the veracity of these allegations Aurangzeb Alamgir: Did the Mughal emperor who ruled India for 50 years really hate Hindus? Must read the article till the end.
Aurangzeb Alamgir-early life
Aurangzeb, the most controversial ruler of the Mughal dynasty and Indian history, was born on 3 November 1618 in Dahod, Gujarat. He was the sixth child and third son of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan was the governor of Gujarat at the time of his birth.
|Full Name||Abul Muzaffar Muhammad Mohiuddin Aurangzeb Bahadur Alamgir Badshah Ghazi|
|Birth||3 November 1618|
|Birth place||Dahod Gujarat India|
|Father's name||Shah jahan|
|Reign||31 July 1658 – 3 March 1707|
|Wives names||Dilras Bano Begum, Begum Nawabbai, Aurangabadi Mahal Begum, Udaipuri Mahal.|
|Names of sons||Mohammad Sultan, Bahadur Shah, Mohammad Azam Shah, Mohammad Kambakhsultan Mohammad Akbar|
|Daughters names||Zeb-un-Nisa, Zeenat-un-Nisa, Badr-un-Nisa, Zubdat-un-Nisa, Mehr-un-Nisa|
|Coronation||13 June 1659 in Shalimar Bagh|
|Death||March 3, 1707|
|Age at death||(age 88)|
|Mausoleum||Aurangzeb's Tomb, Khuldabad Aurangabad Maharashtra, India|
In June 1626, as a result of Shah Jahan’s failed rebellion, Aurangzeb and his brother Dara Shikoh were imprisoned by Nur Jahan at their grandfather Jahangir’s court in Lahore.
When Shah Jahan was proclaimed Mughal emperor on 26 February 1628, Aurangzeb returned to live with his parents at Agra Fort. It was here that Aurangzeb received formal education in Arabic and Persian.
It was Aurangzeb during whose reign the Mughal Empire reached its zenith. He was probably the richest and most powerful man of his time. During his lifetime, through conquests in some of the kingdoms of South India, the Mughal Empire covered twelve and a half million square miles and ruled over 150 million people, a quarter of the world’s population.
Aurangzeb was a devout Muslim and imposed a Sharia-based Fatwa-i-Alamgiri on the entire empire and imposed a high tax called Jizya on non-Muslims for a long time. He was not the first Muslim ruler to impose Sharia on non-Muslim subjects. He killed Guru Tegh Bahadur of the Sikhs for not accepting Islam and destroyed many temples and built mosques in place of temples.
Aurangzeb’s rule and its system
Aurangzeb, whose full name was ‘Abul Muzaffar Muhammad Mohiuddin Aurangzeb Bahadur Alamgir Badshah Ghazi’, the seventh descendant of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, who ruled for ten years as governor and fifty years as regent, differences of opinion about his birth According to some, he was born on 24/October 1618 in Dahod city of Gujarat near Ujjain.
Aurangzeb’s rule lasted for about fifty years. 1658 to 1707 There is no doubt that he was a religiously fanatic Muslim. But he was also a ruler. Aurangzeb was a visionary king. He understood very well that the majority Hindu class of the country can go to any extent for their religion and they cannot be made followers of Islam by the force of the sword. If he had harmed the majority class, he would not have become the master of a vast empire.
History records that Aurangzeb was the only ruler from the first Delhi Sultanate to the Mughal rulers whose territory extended from Burma to Badakhshan and from Kashmir to the last frontier of the Deccan and established under a central authority. If he was a harsh king, would he have established such a huge empire?
Aurangzeb stopped marking Kalma on coins. According to him, coins are used by both sects, so the shape of the coin should be plain.
Aurangzeb established a new department to ban intoxicants and liquor etc. The seller of liquor was severely punished for selling or drinking liquor. An officer was transferred as punishment for drinking alcohol. Only Europeans were allowed to drink alcohol, that too twenty to twenty-five miles from the city, and the “cultivation of hemp” and its sale and consumption in the open were banned. (Reference-According to Mamat Ahmed, page 282, volume 1)
Muharram was associated with an atmosphere of sadness and sorrow, especially in the family of Hazrat Sayyid Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet ﷺ, beset by hardships in the plains of Karbala. Hazrat Sayyid Hussain and other family members were martyred. But people started celebrating this month like a festival. Therefore, in 1664, the celebration of Muharram was banned. Eleven years after he ascended the throne, Aurangzeb banned dancing in the court, while Aurangzeb himself was adept at playing bhajans. (According to historian Satish Chandra)
Aurangzeb was so interested in learning and teaching Indian languages that he prepared a dictionary through which a person who knew Persian could easily learn Hindi. He compiled a special book to introduce the rules and principles related to Hindi poems and ghazals. His manuscripts are available in Khuda Baksh Library, Patna.
Emperor Akbar established the practice of celebrating birthdays in his time, but Aurangzeb ended this practice. He did not get new mosques constructed on a large scale but kept the old mosques running by painting them. The staff, imam, muezzin, and khatib were paid by the state treasury. (According to Jadu Nath Sarkar, p. 102). Aurangzeb always made sure that Muslims and non-Muslims were equally punished for wrongdoing.
After the victory over the Marathas, a warlord Muharram Khan wrote to Aurangzeb describing non-Muslims as enemies and traitors and removed them from high positions, to which Aurangzeb replied:
Worldly matters have nothing to do with religion. If the advice given by you is followed, it will become my duty to root out all the non-Muslim kings and their allies, which I do not Can. Wise people never support the removal of talented and deserving officers. (Jadunath Sarkar p. 75, 74)
Similarly, Mir Hasan, an official living at Brahmapuri in the Deccan, wrote to Aurangzeb before his arrival at Brahmapuri:
“The fort of Islampuri is weak and you will be here very soon. What are your orders regarding the need for repairing the fort?
“You have not done well by writing the word Islam. Its name is Brahmapuri. You should have used the same name. The fort of the body is weaker than that. What is the solution?”
(According to Jadunath Sarkar in Appakyan page 91 of Aurangzeb)
Aurangzeb had banned the demolition of the temple
While handling his rule, Aurangzeb made it a rule that no ancient temple should be demolished but allowed repairs and donations. To maintain the sanctity of religious places and to maintain a peaceful atmosphere, Aurangzeb kept a close watch on mosques like temples as anti-government forces often gathered in temples and mosques and used to plot against the government or the emperor.
Famous historian BN Pandey has written that Aurangzeb used to donate to temples and monasteries. (Quoted by BN Pandey, Khuda Baksh Memorial Anvil Lectures, Patna, 1986) In addition, the temple of Someshwarnath Mahadev in Allahabad, the temple of Kashi in Banaras, the temple of Vishwanath, the temple of Balaji in Chitrakote, the temple of Ormanand in Guwahati and Aurangzeb in Uttar Pradesh Gave jagirs and donated many maths and gurudwaras in North India. (According to BN Pandey, lecture Patna 1986)
Aurangzeb’s rule was almost all over India, but Hinduism was established in its full dignity. Aurangzeb should have known that it would not be easy to rule India by humiliating the followers of Hindu (Sanatan) Dharma. The sanctity of most of the temples was maintained.
The story behind the destruction of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Banaras
A single incident is that of the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Banaras, whose destruction is mentioned somewhere in history, but the historical aspect of this incident is mentioned by P. Sita Ram Nath in his book ‘The Feathers of the Stone’, written by Gaya was also recorded by the historian B. N. Pandey in his article, according to him:
Eight queens of Kutch went to the city of Banaras to visit Kashi Vishwanath, out of which Sundar Rani was abducted by Brahmin Mahants. This was reported to Aurangzeb by the Raja of Kutch, who said it was his religious and personal matter. He does not want to interfere in their mutual affairs, but when the Raja of Kutch complained, Aurangzeb sent some Hindu soldiers to find out the truth, but Mahant’s men killed, scolded, and chased away Aurangzeb’s soldiers.
When Aurangzeb came to know about this, he sent some expert soldiers to take stock of the situation, but the priests of the temple opposed them. The Mughal army also came into the fight, the Mughal soldiers and Mahant were trapped inside the temple and the temple was damaged in the battle.
The soldiers entered the temple and started searching for the missing queen. In this regard, a secret tunnel was discovered behind the main idol (deity) which was emitting a very poisonous smell. For two days they kept trying to remove the stench by spraying medicine and the soldiers kept watching.
On the third day, the soldiers were able to enter the tunnel and found several bone structures there. which were only for women. The dead body of the missing queen of Kutch was also lying in the same place, without even a cloth on her body. The chief Mahant of the temple was arrested and severely punished. (Quoted by B.N. Pandey, Khuda Baksh Memorial Anvil Lectures, Patna, 1986. Om Prakash Prasad: A New Vision of Aurangzeb, pp. 20, 21)
South India is still famous for its big temples, how are they standing till today. If Aurangzeb was against temples then how the existing temples of South India were saved him? Does the second question arise that if Aurangzeb had to do religious and social work according to Islamic Shari’a, then does Shari’a allow the demolition of the temple and building of a mosque on it?
There is absolutely no permission in Shariah to grab someone’s land or occupy it and build a mosque on it. Then the next question arises whether the Mughal rulers had a lack of land due to which they considered it unnecessary to break the temple. And the truth is that Aurangzeb was not fond of building. Be it palaces or mosques. Most of the mosques were repaired during his time.
A decree called the “Banaras Edict” mentions that this decree was issued to a Brahmin family living in Mohalla Ghori, Banaras, the full details of which were first published in 1911 in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal. According to this decree issued by Aurangzeb on March 10, 1659, a Muslim wanted to demolish a Hindu temple to make way for common people, but Aurangzeb stopped it. (quoted by B. N. Pandey)
In 1660 Aurangzeb gave the hills (high lands) of Nisar and Abuji to Sati Das Jauhari of Shravaik Sect and ordered his officials not to collect any tax from these hills and if any enemy king wanted to capture these hills Even then it will be protected.
Aurangzeb spent the last 27 years of his reign in South India, but there is no record of him destroying any Hindu temples. (Reference-On the Mughal connection to the temple, India Today, [Hindi] editor Arun Puri, Issue 21, 15, 1. September 1987. Mr. Ram Sharma, Religious Intentions of the Mughal Rulers, p. 162)
- Powerful Women of the Mughal Empire: Who Had Extraordinary PowersHe donated land for a temple in Gaya, a historical and religious city in Bihar province.The truth is that both Hindus and Muslims supported Aurangzeb in political matters without any discrimination. For example, twenty thousand Jats of Mathura revolted under the leadership of “Gokala”, a regional landlord. This incident is from 1669. Aurangzeb himself went to suppress this rebellion and Gokula was given a death sentence.
Similarly, in 1672 a battle took place near Narnool between the peasants and the Mughal officers led by the head of a religious organization named “Bagi Satnami Naam”. Initially, he had a fight with a local official, but later it became bigger and Aurangzeb himself went to end this fight. The important thing in suppressing this rebellion was that the Hindu landlords of the region supported the Mughals, due to which this rebellion was crushed.
Aurangzeb was a courageous and brave man. He had the ability to do any work seriously and thoughtfully with a cool head. On the one hand, at the age of fifteen, he single-handedly faced a mad elephant, on the other hand, at the age of 87, he stood fearlessly in the front-line trenches and set an example of his courage and bravery. It is a testimony to his courage to speak encouraging words even at the time of impending danger surrounded by the Wagon Kheda.
Aurangzeb was fond of literature
Unlike other princes, Aurangzeb studied many books. Aurangzeb was a deep thinker and spoke Persian, Turkish, and Hindi very well. This led to the development of a large corpus of Islamic law “Fatawa Alamgiri” in India.
Aurangzeb’s morals were so good that when he was a prince he befriended high officials and general officials in his father’s royal court. After becoming the king, he further improved his nature and character. The subjects nicknamed him “a dervish in royal clothes”. Aurangzeb always stayed away from luxury while living a simple and majestic life. He had four wives.
Names of Aurangzeb’s four wives
(1) Dilras Banu Begum
(2) Begum Nawabbai
(3) Aurangabadi Mahal Begum
(4) Udaipuri Mahal.
Udaipuri remained with her till the last moment of her life whom she married in 1660.
Aurangzeb worked hard to look after administrative affairs. When the workload was heavy, he used to go twice a day. In his autobiography, Dr. Gamighi of the Imperial Court (of Italy) wrote:
“Aurangzeb whose stature was a tall, long nose, lean body and stooped by old age. Spotted and round face with a white beard. On the application submitted for various works, he himself has seen him writing the orders, which makes my heart go out to him and Respect and respect also increased. Despite his age, he did not wear spectacles while reading and writing. That’s what I felt when I saw his scarred face. He was very interested in his work.”
Even at the age of 90, there was no decrease in his quickness, his memory was very sharp, and he would not forget anyone he saw or heard for the rest of his life. Due to old age, he must have started hearing something sharp. In an accident, he dislocated his right knee, which could not be treated properly, so he started limping. Aurangzeb preferred to lead a simple life like a fakir.
- Excerpts from the book: Aurangzeb Alamgir
Author: Parvez Ashrafi
Publisher: Rahmani Prakashan, Malegaon (Year of Publication: 2010)
Did Aurangzeb really hate Hindus?
The facts that we are going to present below are the facts about Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir and his behavior. This article was first published on BBC Urdu on March 4, 2018, which is now being translated into Hindi for the readers and presented again in front of you. Used to be. Must read the article till the end to get an unbiased analysis. Is it politics or reality to repeat the past events of monarchy in a democracy? Let’s get started.
Why was Aurangzeb unpopular among Hindus?
Only one of the Mughal emperors failed to gain popularity among the majority community (Hindus) in India and that was Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir. Aurangzeb’s image among Indians is that of a staunch Muslim ruler who hated Hindus and did not even spare his elder brother Dara Shikoh for his political interests.
Apart from this, he kept his elderly father Shah Jahan imprisoned in Agra Fort for the last seven and a half years of his life.
Pakistani playwright Shahid Nadeem has written that ‘the seeds of the partition of India were sown at the same time when Aurangzeb defeated his brother Dara’. This is a really important comment.
India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru also presented Aurangzeb as a religious and conservative figure in his book ‘Discovery of India’ published in 1946.
But recently, an American historian, Audrey Trischke in her latest book ‘Aurangzeb, the Man, and the Myth’ denies that Aurangzeb destroyed Hindu temples because he hated Hindus.
Trisky is a professor of South Asian history at Rutgers University in Newark. She writes that historians of the British era are responsible for this fanatical image of Aurangzeb. They directly attributed this to the colonial rulers, who promoted Hindu-Muslim animosity under the policy of ‘divide and rule’.
In this book, she also reveals that if Aurangzeb’s reign had been shorter by 20 years, modern historians would have analyzed him differently.
Aurangzeb ruled India for 50 years
Aurangzeb ruled over 15 crore subjects for about 50 years. During his reign, the Mughal Empire expanded so much that for the first time, he made almost the entire subcontinent a part of his empire.
Trisky writes that Aurangzeb was buried in a mysterious tomb in Khaldabad, Maharashtra, while Humayun was buried in a red stone mausoleum in Delhi and Shah Jahan was buried in the grand Taj Mahal.
According to him; It is a misconception that Aurangzeb destroyed thousands of Hindu temples. Only a few temples were directly demolished by his order. Nothing happened during his reign which can be called a massacre of Hindus. In fact, Aurangzeb appointed Hindus to many important positions in his government.
Aurangzeb was very fond of literature
Aurangzeb was born on 3 November 1618 in Dohad during the reign of his grandfather Jahangir. He was the third son of Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan had four sons and their mother’s name was Mumtaz Mahal.
Apart from Islamic studies, Aurangzeb also studied Turkish literature and master calligraphy. Like other Mughal emperors, Aurangzeb also used to speak Hindi fluently since childhood.
From an early age, Shah Jahan’s four sons were competing for the Mughal throne. The Mughals followed the same principle of Central Asia in which all brothers had an equal right to rule. Shah Jahan wanted his eldest son Dara Shikoh to succeed him, but Aurangzeb considered himself the most worthy successor to the Mughal Empire.
Audrey Tresky mentions an incident where, after the marriage of Dara Shikoh, Shah Jahan organized a contest between two elephants, Siddhakar and Sunder. It was the favorite means of entertainment of the Mughals.
Suddenly Siddhakar ran angrily towards Aurangzeb riding a horse. Aurangzeb again hit Sudhakar on the forehead with a spear, which made him even more furious.
He hit the horse so hard that Aurangzeb fell to the ground. Eyewitnesses included his brother Shuja and Raja Jai Singh, who tried to save Aurangzeb, but the other elephant, Shyam Sundar, eventually drew Siddhakar’s attention to himself.
This incident is described by Abu Talib (the court poet of Shah Jahan).
Another historian Aqeel Khan Razi writes in his book ‘Waqwat Alamgiri that Dara Shikoh remained behind during the entire encounter and did not make any effort to save Aurangzeb.
Shah Jahan’s court historians also mention this incident and compare it with the incident in 1610 when Shah Jahan defeated a ferocious tiger in front of his father Jahangir.
Another historian, Catherine Brown, writes in her essay titled ‘Did Aurangzeb give music’ that Aurangzeb went to Burhanpur to visit his aunt, where he fell in love with Hirabai Jainabadi. Hira Bai was a singer and dancer.
Aurangzeb saw them plucking mangoes from the mango tree and got mad at them. The love increased to such an extent that he agreed to break his vow of not drinking alcohol in his life at the behest of Hira Bai.
But when Aurangzeb was about to take a sip of wine, Hira Bai stopped him. But after a year Hira Bai died and with that their love ended. Hira Bai was buried in Aurangabad.
If Dara had become the king!
One of the big questions in the history of India is what would have happened if the sixth Mughal emperor, Dara Shikoh, had been a moderate instead of the fanatic Aurangzeb.
Audrey Trischke responds to this by saying: In fact, Dara Shikoh was not able to run or conquer the Mughal Empire. Despite supporting the ailing king in his struggle for the crown of India, Dara Shikoh could not match Aurangzeb’s political skill and ferocity.
In 1658 Aurangzeb and his younger brother Murad besieged the fort of Agra. At that time his father Shah Jahan was present in the fort. He stopped the water supply of the fort.
Within a few days, Shah Jahan opened the gates of the fort and handed over his treasure, weapons, and himself to his two sons.
With his daughter as a mediator, Shah Jahan made a final offer to divide his empire into five parts to be divided between the four brothers and Aurangzeb’s eldest son Muhammad Sultan, but Aurangzeb did not accept this.
In 1659, when Dara Shikoh was captured by one of his trusted companions, Malik Jeevan, and sent to Delhi, Aurangzeb had him and his 14-year-old son Safar Shikoh wrapped in rags and put on an elephant suffering from scabies in the sultry heat of September. Made it sit Distressed by the heat, he went on the streets of Delhi.
A soldier was walking behind them with a drawn sword so that if they tried to escape, they would be beheaded. Italian historian Nicolai Manucci, who visited India at that time, wrote in his book ‘Storia du Mogor’: ‘On the day of Dara’s death, Aurangzeb asked him what he would do to him if his characters were reversed. Dara replied that he would cut Aurangzeb’s body into four parts and hang it at the four main gates of Delhi.
Aurangzeb buried his brother near Humayun’s tomb. But later Aurangzeb married his daughter Zeb-ul-Nisa to Dara Shikoh’s son Safar Shakuh.
Aurangzeb imprisoned his father Shah Jahan at Agra Fort for the last seven and a half years of his life, often accompanied by his eldest daughter Jahan Ara Diya. His biggest loss came to Aurangzeb when the Sharif of Mecca refused to accept Aurangzeb as the rightful ruler of India and refused to accept his presents for many years.
Baba ji Dhan Dhan
Aurangzeb left Delhi for South India in 1679 and never returned to North India. He was accompanied by a convoy of thousands of people headed south, including all of his sons except Prince Akbar and his entire harem.
In his absence, Delhi looked like a ghost town and the rooms of the Red Fort became so dusty that foreign visitors were prevented from showing them.
Aurangzeb wrote in his book ‘Rakat Alamgiri’ that he felt the biggest shortage of mangoes in the south. All the Mughal emperors after Babur were very fond of mangoes. Trisky writes that Aurangzeb often requested his officials to send mangoes from northern India. He also gave Hindi names to some mangoes like Siddha Rasa and Rasna Bilas.
In a letter to his son Shahzad Azam in 1700, Aurangzeb reminded him of his childhood when he used the Hindi title ‘Babaji Dhan, Dhan’ for Aurangzeb in imitation of playing the drums.
Aurangzeb lived his last days with Udaya Puri, the mother of his youngest son, Kambaksh, who was a singer. Aurangzeb wrote in a letter to Kambaksh from his deathbed that Udaipuri was with him in his illness and would be with him in his death.
And Udai Puri also died in the summer of 1707, a few months after Aurangzeb’s death.
On dispassionately describing the above historical facts, one thing becomes clear the allegations of bigotry against Aurangzeb seem contradictory in many places. When he tried to bring Hindus together, he also ordered the demolition of some temples. However, some personal reasons were more responsible behind it than religious. In fact, if he was so fanatic then so many ancient temples would not have existed in India. If only a few such incidents happened, then it should be seen as a normal political incident that was present in Hindu rulers and subjects as well.
Today, by spreading religious animosity in democracy for the failures of Hindu rulers, by spreading hatred for a particular class on the pretext of Aurangzeb and the Mughals, the game which is going on to throw India into a religious frenzy will ultimately only weaken India. History should not be analyzed being biased but keeping in mind the circumstances and the monarchy system.
Is this fact hidden from anyone that how Hindus treated Hindus (especially Dalits and Buddhists) in this country, which can be seen even today? By demolishing the Buddhist monasteries, the Hindu rulers built innumerable temples. If the history is dug, its evidence will be found. But since those incidents happened in a monarchy and taking their revenge in democracy is not justified from anywhere. That’s why it is necessary that efforts should be made to take India forward by taking lessons from history and not by being religious fanatics and taking it backward.