Aurangzeb born in 1618 was considered as the last great Moughal emperor. He was the third son of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. By the time he turned 16 Shah Jahan gave him the post of the governor of Deccan. Soon after Shah Jahan fell ill all his sons began to fight over the throne. Aurangzeb defeated his elder brother dara Shikoh’s forces and took his father as prisoner. Dara was condemned to death by his own brother. He defeated his other brothers too and went on to role for 49 years.
Although aurangzeb’s predecessors were tolerant towards all religions he enforced strict Islamic law called the fatwa-e- alamgiri. He banned music art and dance in his courts. He also destroyed images in art and architecture.
Aurangzeb extended his empire both in the Northwest and Northeast. His armies consisted of 500000 camp followers 50000 camels and 30000 war elephants. He invaded Punjab and Afghanistan and also tried to suppress territories owned by the Marathas in the west which were led by Shivaji. When Aurangzeb insisted that all Kashmir Brahmins must convert to Islam they turned to the Sikh guru Tegh Bahadur for help. Aurangzeb insisted that he too must convert to Islam. When Tegh Bahadur refused Aurangzeb had him executed and this triggered a Sikh rebellion.
The Rajputs of Jodhpur and Mewar joined forces and rebelled against Aurangzeb. They declared themselves independent of his rule. Aurangzeb sent his son to quell their rebellion only to learn later that his son would deceive him. Akbar Aurangzeb’s son declared himself king and soon fled to the Deccan where he allied with Shivaji’s son sambhaji. Aurangzeb later sent his son into exile to Persia from where he never returned. Aurangzeb then captured Sambhaji and killed him.
Aurangzeb’s political power had weakened because of the time he spent on military matters. His governors and generals became powerful and many declared themselves Independent rulers. Aurangzeb breathed his last in 1707.
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