111 Facts About Aurangzeb


Widely considered to be the last effective Mughal ruler, Aurangzeb compiled the Fatawa 'Alamgiri and was amongst the few monarchs to fully establish Sharia and Islamic economics throughout the Indian subcontinent.


Aurangzeb belonged to the aristocratic Timurid dynasty, held administrative and military posts under his father Shah Jahan and gained recognition as an accomplished military commander.


Aurangzeb's reign is characterized by a period of rapid military expansion, with several dynasties and states being overthrown by the Mughals.


Aurangzeb successfully imposed the Fatawa 'Alamgiri as the principal regulating body of the empire and prohibited religiously forbidden activities in Islam.


Aurangzeb is generally considered by Islamic historians to be one of the greatest emperors of the Mughals.


Aurangzeb's father was Emperor Shah Jahan, who hailed from the Mughal house of the Timurid dynasty.


Aurangzeb was born during the reign of his patrilineal grandfather Jahangir, the fourth emperor of the Mughal Empire.

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Aurangzeb received a Mughal princely education covering subjects like combat, military strategy, and administration.


Aurangzeb's curriculum included scholarly areas like Islamic studies and Turkic and Persian literature.


Aurangzeb rode against the elephant and struck its trunk with a lance, and successfully defended himself from being crushed.


Aurangzeb's valour was appreciated by his father who conferred him the title of Bahadur and had him weighed in gold and presented gifts worth Rs.


Aurangzeb was nominally in charge of the force sent to Bundelkhand with the intent of subduing the rebellious ruler of Orchha, Jhujhar Singh, who had attacked another territory in defiance of Shah Jahan's policy and was refusing to atone for his actions.


In 1637, Aurangzeb married the Safavid princess Dilras Banu, posthumously known as Rabia-ud-Daurani.


Aurangzeb was his first wife and chief consort as well as his favourite.


Aurangzeb had an infatuation with a slave girl, Hira Bai, whose death at a young age greatly affected him.


In 1638, Aurangzeb married Nawab Bai, later known as Rahmat al-Nisa.


That same year, Aurangzeb dispatched an army to subdue the Portuguese coastal fortress of Daman, however his forces met stubborn resistance and were eventually repulsed at the end of a long siege.


At some point, Aurangzeb married Aurangabadi Mahal, who was a Circassian or Georgian.


Aurangzeb suffered his father's displeasure by not returning to Agra immediately but rather three weeks later.


Shah Jahan was outraged to see Aurangzeb enter the interior palace compound in military attire and immediately dismissed him from his position of viceroy of the Deccan; Aurangzeb was no longer allowed to use red tents or to associate himself with the official military standard of the Mughal emperor.


Aurangzeb became viceroy of the Deccan again after he was replaced by Dara Shukoh in the attempt to recapture Kandahar.


Aurangzeb regretted this and harboured feelings that Shikoh had manipulated the situation to serve his own ends.


Shah Jahan insisted that things could be improved if Aurangzeb made efforts to develop cultivation.


Aurangzeb appointed Murshid Quli Khan to extend to the Deccan the zabt revenue system used in northern India.


Aurangzeb proposed to resolve the situation by attacking the dynastic occupants of Golconda and Bijapur.

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Again, he was to feel that Dara had exerted influence on his father: believing that he was on the verge of victory in both instances, Aurangzeb was frustrated that Shah Jahan chose then to settle for negotiations with the opposing forces rather than pushing for complete victory.


In 1656, a general under Qutb Shahi dynasty named Musa Khan led an army of 12,000 musketeers to attack Aurangzeb, who was besieging Golconda Fort.


Later in the same campaign, Aurangzeb, in turn, rode against an army consisting of 8,000 horsemen and 20,000 Karnataki musketeers.


Near Varanasi his forces confronted a defending army sent from Delhi under the command of Prince Sulaiman Shukoh, son of Dara Shukoh, and Raja Jai Singh while Murad did the same in his governorship of Gujarat and Aurangzeb did so in the Deccan.


Shuja was being chased through Bihar and the victory of Aurangzeb proved this to be a poor decision by Dara Shikoh, who now had a defeated force on one front and a successful force unnecessarily pre-occupied on another.


Aurangzeb then broke his arrangement with Murad Baksh, which probably had been his intention all along.


The allegation was encouraged by Aurangzeb, who caused the diwan's son to seek retribution for the death under the principles of Sharia law.


Aurangzeb claimed that Dara was no longer a Muslim and accused him of poisoning the Mughal Grand Vizier Saadullah Khan.


The first prominent execution of Aurangzeb was that of his brother Prince Dara Shikoh, who was accused of being influenced by Hinduism although some sources argue it was done for political reasons.


Aurangzeb had his allied brother Prince Murad Baksh held for murder, judged and then executed.


Aurangzeb is accused of poisoning his imprisoned nephew Sulaiman Shikoh.


However, Aurangzeb encouraged high ranking Hindu officials to convert to Islam.


Aurangzeb was a follower of the Mujaddidi Order and a disciple of the son of the Punjabi saint, Ahmad Sirhindi.


Aurangzeb sought to establish Islamic rule as instructed and inspired by him.


Aurangzeb made no mention of the Persian concept of kinship, the Farr-i-Aizadi, and based his rule on the Quranic concept of kingship.


Shah Jahan had already moved away from the liberalism of Akbar, although in a token manner rather than with the intent of suppressing Hinduism, and Aurangzeb took the change still further.


The chief qazi refusing to crown him in 1659, Aurangzeb had a political need to present himself as a "defender of the sharia" due to popular opposition to his actions against his father and brothers.


Historian Katherine Brown has argued that Aurangzeb never imposed a complete ban on music.


Aurangzeb sought to codify Hanafi law by the work of several hundred jurists, called Fatawa 'Alamgiri.


Aurangzeb learnt that at Multan, Thatta, and particularly at Varanasi, the teachings of Hindu Brahmins attracted numerous Muslims.

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Aurangzeb ordered the subahdars of these provinces to demolish the schools and the temples of non-Muslims.


Aurangzeb ordered subahdars to punish Muslims who dressed like non-Muslims.


Aurangzeb had banned the celebration of the Zoroastrian festival of Nauroz along with other un-Islamic ceremonies, and encouraged conversions to Islam; instances of persecution against particular Muslim factions were reported.


Shortly after coming to power, Aurangzeb remitted more than 80 long-standing taxes affecting all of his subjects.


In 1679, Aurangzeb chose to re-impose jizya, a military tax on non-Muslim subjects in lieu of military service, after an abatement for a span of hundred years, in what was critiqued by many Hindu rulers, family-members of Aurangzeb, and Mughal court-officials.


Aurangzeb issued land grants and provided funds for the maintenance of shrines of worship but ordered their destruction.


Whilst constructing mosques were considered an act of royal duty to subjects, there are several firmans in Aurangzeb's name, supporting temples, maths, chishti shrines, and gurudwaras, including Mahakaleshwar temple of Ujjain, a gurudwara at Dehradun, Balaji temple of Chitrakoot, Umananda Temple of Guwahati and the Shatrunjaya Jain temples, among others.


Ian Copland and others reiterate Iqtidar Alam Khan who notes that, overall, Aurangzeb built more temples than he destroyed.


In 1663, during his visit to Ladakh, Aurangzeb established direct control over that part of the empire and loyal subjects such as Deldan Namgyal agreed to pledge tribute and loyalty.


In 1664, Aurangzeb appointed Shaista Khan subedar of Bengal.


In 1685, Aurangzeb dispatched his son, Muhammad Azam Shah, with a force of nearly 50,000 men to capture Bijapur Fort and defeat Sikandar Adil Shah who refused to be a vassal.


In 1687, Aurangzeb led his grand Mughal army against the Deccan Qutbshahi fortress during the siege of Golconda.


Francois Bernier, the personal physician to Aurangzeb, observed versatile Mughal gun-carriages each drawn by two horses.


Aurangzeb had a more austere nature than his predecessors, and greatly reduced imperial patronage of the figurative Mughal miniature.


Aurangzeb's reign saw the building of the Lahore Badshahi Masjid and Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad for his wife Rabia-ud-Daurani.


Aurangzeb was considered a Mujaddid by contemporary Muslims considered Aurangzeb.


The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb is known to have patronised works of Islamic calligraphy; the demand for Quran manuscripts in the naskh style peaked during his reign.


Aurangzeb was not as involved in architecture as his father.


Aurangzeb later ordered the construction of the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, which is today one of the largest mosques in the Indian subcontinent.


Aurangzeb provided and repaired urban structures like fortifications, bridges, caravanserais, and gardens.

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Aurangzeb was more heavily involved in the repair and maintenance of previously existing structures.


Aurangzeb patronised the dargahs of Sufi saints such as Bakhtiyar Kaki, and strived to maintain royal tombs.


The textile industry in the Mughal Empire emerged very firmly during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and was particularly well noted by Francois Bernier, a French physician of the Mughal Emperor.


Aurangzeb further writes how "Artisans manufacture of silk, fine brocade, and other fine muslins, of which are made turbans, robes of gold flowers, and tunics worn by females, so delicately fine as to wear out in one night, and cost even more if they were well embroidered with fine needlework".


Aurangzeb explains the different techniques employed to produce such complicated textiles such as Himru, Paithani, Mushru and how Kalamkari, in which fabrics are painted or block-printed, was a technique that originally came from Persia.


Aurangzeb sent diplomatic missions to Mecca in 1659 and 1662, with money and gifts for the Sharif.


Aurangzeb sent alms in 1666 and 1672 to be distributed in Mecca and Medina.


Aurangzeb expressed his disgust at the unethical behavior of the Sharif who appropriated all the money sent to the Hijaz for his own use, thus depriving the needy and the poor.


Subhan Quli Khan, Balkh's Uzbek ruler was the first to recognise him in 1658 and requested for a general alliance, he worked alongside the new Mughal Emperor since 1647, when Aurangzeb was the Subedar of Balkh.


Aurangzeb received the embassy of Abbas II of Persia in 1660 and returned them with gifts.


Aurangzeb prepared his armies in the Indus River Basin for a counteroffensive, but Abbas II's death in 1666 caused Aurangzeb to end all hostilities.


Aurangzeb described his experiences in Travels in the Mughal Empire.


However, as Aurangzeb did not possess a powerful navy and had no interest in providing support to Ibrahim in a possible future war with the Dutch or English, the request came to nothing.


Aurangzeb often supported the Ottoman Empire's enemies, extending cordial welcome to two rebel Governors of Basra, and granting them and their families a high status in the imperial service.


Meanwhile, Aurangzeb shut down four of the English East India Company's factories, imprisoned the workers and captains, and threatened to put an end to all English trading in India until Every was captured.


In 1702, Aurangzeb sent Daud Khan Panni, the Mughal Empire's Subhedar of the Carnatic region, to besiege and blockade Fort St George for more than three months.


Aurangzeb intervened on Ladakh's behalf in 1683, but his troops retreated before Dzungar reinforcements arrived to bolster the Tibetan position.


Aurangzeb received an embassy from Muhammad Amin Khan of Chagatai Moghulistan in 1690, seeking assistance in driving out "Qirkhiz infidels", who "had acquired dominance over the country".


In 1696 Aurangzeb received his envoy, Semyon Malenkiy, and allowed him to conduct free trade.


Aurangzeb received tribute from all over the Indian subcontinent, using this wealth to establish bases and fortifications in India, particularly in the Carnatic, Deccan, Bengal and Lahore.

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Aurangzeb had an annual yearly revenue of $450 million, more than ten times that of his contemporary Louis XIV of France.


Aurangzeb felt that verses from the Quran should not be stamped on coins, as done in former times, because they were constantly touched by the hands and feet of people.


Aurangzeb's coins had the name of the mint city and the year of issue on one face, and, the following couplet on other:.


Aurangzeb appointed Mohammad Bidar Bakht as commander to crush the Jat rebellion.


In 1657, while Aurangzeb attacked Golconda and Bijapur in the Deccan, the Hindu Maratha warrior, Shivaji, used guerrilla tactics to take control of three Adil Shahi forts formerly under his father's command.


In 1659, Aurangzeb sent his trusted general and maternal uncle Shaista Khan, the Wali in Golconda to recover forts lost to the Maratha rebels.


Aurangzeb next sent general Raja Jai Singh to vanquish the Marathas.


Shivaji felt slighted at the way he was received, and insulted Aurangzeb by refusing imperial service.


Aurangzeb waged continuous war in the Deccan for more than two decades with no resolution.


Aurangzeb thus lost about a fifth of his army fighting rebellions led by the Marathas in Deccan India.


Aurangzeb travelled a long distance to the Deccan to conquer the Marathas and eventually died at the age of 88, still fighting the Marathas.


Aurangzeb leads his final expedition, leading an army of 500,000 troops.


Aurangzeb responded by organising a Mughal army of 10,000 troops and artillery, and dispatched detachments of his own personal Mughal imperial guards to carry out several tasks.


Aurangzeb was then brought to Delhi and tortured so as to convert him.


Aurangzeb employed the scorched earth policy, sending soldiers who massacred, looted and burnt many villages.


Aurangzeb proceeded to use bribery to turn the Pashtun tribes against each other, with the aim that they would distract a unified Pashtun challenge to Mughal authority, and the impact of this was to leave a lasting legacy of mistrust among the tribes.


Aurangzeb constructed a small marble mosque known as the Moti Masjid in the Red Fort complex in Delhi.


The conquest of the Deccan, to which Aurangzeb devoted the last twenty-six years of his life, was in many ways a Pyrrhic victory, costing an estimated hundred thousand lives a year during its last decade of fruitless, chess-game warfare.


Aurangzeb had only 300 rupees with him which were later given to charity as per his instructions and he prior to his death requested not to spend extravagantly on his funeral but to keep it simple.


Aurangzeb notes that the populist but "fairly old-fashioned" explanation for the decline is that there was a reaction to Aurangzeb's oppression.

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Aurangzeb's sons failed to reach a satisfactory agreement and fought against each other in a war of succession.


Aurangzeb's rule has been the subject of praise, though he has been described as the most controversial ruler in Indian history.


Aurangzeb's critics argue that his ruthlessness and religious bigotry made him unsuitable to rule the mixed population of his empire.


Nehru claimed that, due to his reversal of the cultural and religious syncretism of the previous Mughal emperors, Aurangzeb acted "more as a Moslem than an Indian ruler".


Aurangzeb's chosen title Alamgir translates to Conqueror of the World.


Aurangzeb had been attributed various other titles including Caliph of The Merciful, Monarch of Islam, and Living Custodian of God.