Mughal Emperor AurangZeb

1658 - 1707
Full name
Abul Muzaffar Muhiuddin Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir
Al-Sultan al-Azam wal Khaqan al-Mukarram Abul Muzaffar Muhiuddin Muhammad Aurangzeb Bahadur Alamgir I, Padshah Ghazi
4 November 1618(1618-11-04)
3 March 1707 (aged 88)
Place of death
Shah Jahan
Bahadur Shah I
Nawab Raj Bai Begum , Dilras Bano Begam , Hira Bai Zainabadi Mahal , Aurangabadi Mahal , Udaipuri Mahal
( Dilras Bano Begam),Zeb-un-Nissa, Zinat-un-Nissa, Muhammad Azam Shah,Mehr-un-Nissa, Muhammad Akbar,(Nawab Raj Bai Begum),Sultan Muhammad, Bahadur Shah I, Badr-un-Nissa,w. Aurangabadi Mahal Zabdat-un-Nissa,(w. Udaipuri Mahal),Muhammad Kam Baksh
Shah Jahan
Mumtaz Mahal
Religious beliefs

The Deccan wars and the Rise of the Marathas

In the time of Shah Jahan, the Deccan had been controlled by three Muslim kingdoms: Ahmednagar (Nizams), Bijapur (Adilshahi) and Golconda (Qutbshahi). Following a series of battles, Ahmendnagar was effectively divided, with large portions of the kingdom ceded to the Mughals and the balance to Bijapur. One of Ahmednagar's generals, a Hindu Maratha named Shahaji, joined the Bijapur court. Shahaji sent his wife Jijabai and young son Shivaji in Pune to look after his Jagir.

In 1657, while Aurangzeb attacked Golconda and Bijapur, Shivaji, using guerrilla tactics, took control of three Adilshahi forts formerly controlled by his father. With these victories, Shivaji assumed de facto leadership of many independent Maratha clans.

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Just before Shivaji Raje's his coronation in 1659, Aurangzeb sent his trusted general and maternal uncle Shaista Khan to the Deccan to recover his lost forts. Shaista Khan drove into Maratha territory and took up residence in Pune.

Aurangzeb ignored the rise of the Marathas for the next few years. Shivaji continued to capture forts belonging to both Mughals and Bijapur. At last Aurangzeb sent his powerful general Raja Jai Singh of Amber, a Hindu Rajput, to attack the Marathas. Jai Singh's blistering attacks were so successful that he defeated Shivaji and had him arrested Shivaji agreed becoming a Mughal vassal. Jai Singh also promised the Maratha hero his safety, placing him under the care of his own son, the future Raja Ram Singh I. However, circumstances at the Mughal court were beyond the control of the Raja, and when Shivaji and his son Sambhaji went to Agra to meet Aurangzeb, they were placed under house arrest, from which they managed to effect a daring escape.

In 1689 Aurangzeb captured and had Sambhaji killed. Sambhaji's successor chhatrapati Rajaram and his, Maratha Sardars (commanders) fought individual battles against the Mughals, and territory changed hands again and again during years of endless warfare.

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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