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Biographical Data :

Name :Aurangzeb
Period :1618 - 1707
Biographical detail : Alamgir, the third son of the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan.

Aurangzeb Mohiuddin’s father entrusted him with the command of several expeditions, at an early age, in which he showed great military talent. When Shahjahan became seriously ill, his eldest son, Dara Shikoh, seized the throne. Aurangzeb, however, outmanoeuvred Dara and other brothers, confined Shahjahan in the Agra fort and became the sole ruler. Under his reign the Mughal Empire reached its greatest extent.

But it was clear by the end of the century that the Moghal Empire had begun its decline. The army and courts had both become too expensive, the emperors still invested in cultural activities, but neglected agriculture on which their wealth depended. The economic crisis came to a head during the reign of Aurangzeb (1658 – 1707) who believed that the answer lay in greater discipline in Muslim society. Those Muslims who had been unhappy with the old pluralism supported him in his sectarian policies.

Aurangzeb by bringing the whole of India under his domination ruled it as an orthodox Muslim who put puritanical ordinances, Fatwa-e-Alamgiri, that was vigorously enforced. Thus wine was prohibited by law (which made socialising with Hindus awkward) and the number Hindu festivals attended by the emperor was drastically reduced. The jizyah was reimposed, and taxes of Hindu merchants were doubled. Incidentally, there were serious revolts, led by Hindu chieftains and Sikhs, who started to campaign for a state of their own in the Punjab.

When Aurangzeb died, Mughal Empire was in a parlous state and never fully recovered. The empire began to disintegrate, and local Muslims officials tended to control their regions as autonomous units. The failure of his successors to combat the menace of the Marathas and the Sikhs, the court intrigues, the infighting between the claimants of the throne, the Shia Sunni tussle of power among the nobles, the treachery of the Sadat of Barha and last but not the least the incapability of the later Mughals to face the might of the most industrialist and technically superior nation of the world at that time, England, later led to the collapse of the Mughal Empire.
 (Compiler : M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin)


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