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Muhi ud-din Muhammad Aurangzeb Bahadur Alamgir I, more commonly known as Aurangzeb ( (full title: Al-Sultan al-Azam wal Khaqan al-Mukarram Abul Muzaffar Muhi ud-din Muhammad Aurangzeb Bahadur Alamgir I, Padshah Ghazi) (November 4, 1618– March 3, 1707), also known by his chosen imperial title Alamgir I (Conqueror of the Universe) ( ), was the 6th Mughal Emperor whose reign lasted from 1658 until his death in 1707. Aurangzeb's reign as the Mughal monarch was marked by many wars of expansion.

Aurangzeb, having ruled most of the Indian subcontinent for nearly half a century, was the second longest reigning Mughal emperor after Akbar. In this period he successfully brought a larger area, notably in southern India, under Mughal rule than ever before. A devout Muslim, Aurangzeb tried to encourage all his people to follow the doctrines of Islam. He destroyed many works of art because he feared that they might be worshipped as idols.

After his death, the Mughal Empire gradually shrunk. Aurangzeb's successors, the "Later Mughals", lacked his strong hand and the great fortunes amassed by his predecessors.

Rise to throne

Early life

Aurangzeb was the third son of the fifth emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Bānū Begum). After a rebellion by his father, part of Aurangzeb's childhood was spent as a virtual hostage at his grandfather Jahangir's court. Muhammad Saleh Kamboh Salafi had been one of his childhood teachers.

After Jahangir's death in 1627, Aurangzeb returned to live with his parents. Shah Jahan followed the Mughal practice of assigning authority to his sons, and in 1634 made Aurangzeb Subahdar (governor) of the Deccanmarker. He moved to Kirki, which in time he renamed Aurangabadmarker. In 1637, he married Rabia Durrani. During this period the Deccanmarker was relatively peaceful. In the Mughal court, however, Shah Jahan began to show greater and greater favoritism to his eldest son Dara Shikoh.

In 1644, Aurangzeb's sister Jahanara Begum was accidentally burned in Agramarker. This event precipitated a family crisis which had political consequences. Aurangzeb suffered his father's displeasure when he returned to Agra three weeks after the event, instead of immediately. Shah Jahan dismissed him as the governor of the Deccan. Aurangzeb later claimed (1654) that he had resigned in protest of his father favoring Dara.

In 1645, he was barred from the court for seven months. But later, Shah Jahan appointed him governor of Gujaratmarker; he performed well and was rewarded. In 1647, Shah Jahan made him governor of Balkhmarker and Badakhshan (in modern Afghanistanmarker and Tajikistanmarker), replacing Aurangzeb's ineffective brother Murad Baksh. These areas at the time were under attack from various forces and Aurangzeb's military skill proved successful.

He was appointed governor of Multanmarker and Sindhmarker, and began a protracted military struggle against the Safavid army in an effort to capture the city of Kandaharmarker. He failed, and fell again into his father's disfavour.

In 1652, Aurangzeb was re-appointed governor of the Deccanmarker. In an effort to extend the empire, Aurangzeb attacked the border kingdoms of Golconda (1657), and Bijapur (1658). Both times, Shah Jahan called off the attacks near the moment of Aurangzeb's triumph. In each case Dara Shikoh interceded and arranged a peaceful end to the attacks.

War of succession

Shah Jahan fell ill in 1657. With this news, the struggle for the succession began. Aurangzeb's eldest brother, Dara Shikoh, was regarded as heir apparent, but the succession proved far from certain when Shah Jahan's second son Shah Shuja declared himself emperor in Bengalmarker. Imperial armies sent by Dara and Shah Jahan soon restrained this effort, and Shuja retreated.

Soon after, Shuja's youngest brother Murad Baksh, with secret promises of support from Aurangzeb, declared himself emperor in Gujaratmarker. Aurangzeb, ostensibly in support of Murad, marched north from Aurangabad, gathering support from nobles and generals. Following a series of victories, Aurangzeb declared that Dara had illegally usurped the throne. Shah Jahan, determined that Dara would succeed him, handed over control of his empire to Dara. A Rajput lord opposed to Aurangzeb and Murad, Maharaja Jaswant Singh, battled them both at Dharmatpur near Ujjainmarker. Aurangzeb eventually defeated Singh and concentrated his forces on Dara. A series of bloody battles followed, with troops loyal to Aurangzeb battering Dara's armies at Samugarh. In a few months, Aurangzeb's forces surrounded Agra. Fearing for his life, Dara departed for Delhimarker, leaving Shah Jahan behind. The old emperor surrendered the Agra Fortmarker to Aurangzeb's nobles, but Aurangzeb refused any meeting with his father, and declared that Dara was no longer a Muslim.

In a sudden reversal, Aurangzeb arrested his brother Murad, whose former supporters defected to Aurangzeb in return for rich gifts. Meanwhile, Dara gathered his forces, and moved to the Punjab. The army sent against Shuja was trapped in the east, its generals Jai Singh and Diler Khan, submitted to Aurangzeb, but allowed Dara's son Suleman to escape. Aurangzeb offered Shuja the governorship of Bengalmarker. This move had the effect of isolating Dara and causing more troops to defect to Aurangzeb. Shuja, however, uncertain of Aurangzeb's sincerity, continued to battle his brother, but his forces suffered a series of defeats at Aurangzeb's hands. Shuja fled to Arakan (in present-day Burma), where he was executed after leading a failed coup. Murad was finally executed, ostensibly for the murder of his former divan Ali Naqi, in 1661.

With Shuja and Murad disposed of, and with his father Shah Jahan confined in Agra, Aurangzeb pursued Dara, chasing him across the north-western bounds of the empire. After a series of battles, defeats and retreats, Dara was betrayed by one of his generals, who arrested and bound him. In 1659, Aurangzeb arranged his formal coronation in Delhimarker. He had Dara openly marched in chains back to Delhi; when Dara finally arrived, Aurangzeb had him tried and killed on August 30, 1659. Having secured his position, Aurangzeb kept an already weakening Shah Jahan under house arrest at the Agra Fort. Shah Jahan died in 1666.

Aurangzeb's reign

Enforcement of Islamic law

Soon after his ascension, Aurangzeb purportedly abandoned the "liberal" religious viewpoints of his predecessors . Though Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan's approach to faith was more syncretic than the empire's founder, Aurangzeb's position is not so obvious. While his conservative interpretation of Islam and belief in the Sharia (Islamic law) is well documented, how this effected the empire remains unclear. Despite claims of sweeping edicts and policies, contradictory accounts exist. Specifically, his compilation of the Fatawa-e-Alamgiri, a digest of Muslim law, was either intended for personal use, never enforced, or only poorly done. While some assert the lack of broad addoption was due to an inherent flaw, others insist they were only intended for his observance. While it's possible the war of succession and a continued incursions combined with Shah Jahan's spending made cultural expenditures impossible, Aurangzeb's orthodoxy is also used to explain his infamous "burial" of music. The scene describing the "death of music"(and all other forms of performance) is paradoxically dramatic.

Niccolao Manucci's Storia do Mogor and Khafi Khan's Muntakhab al-Lubab are the only documents which describe the aforementioned event. In Storia do Mogor, Manucci describes the ramifications of Aurangzeb's 1668 decree . Here, Aurangzeb's instructions for the muhtasib seem particularly damning:

In Hindustan both Moguls and Hindus are very fond of listening to songs and instrumental music.
He therefore ordered the same official to stop music.
If in any house or elsewhere he heard the sound of singing and instruments, he should forthwith hasten there and arrest as many as he could, breaking the instruments.
Thus was caused a great destruction of musical instruments.
Finding themselves in this difficulty, their large earnings likely to cease, without there being any other mode of seeking a livelihood, the musicians took counsel together and tried to appease the king in the following way: About one thousand of them assembled on a Friday when Aurangzeb was going to the mosque.
They came out with over twenty highly-ornamented biers, as is the custom of the country, crying aloud with great grief and many signs of feeling, as if they were escorting to the grave some distinguished defunct.
From afar Aurangzeb saw this multitude and heard their great weeping and lamentation, and, wondering, sent to know the cause of so much sorrow.
The musicians redoubled their outcry and their tears, fancying the king would take compassion upon them.
Lamenting,they replied with sobs that the king's orders had killed Music, therefore they were bearing her to the grave.
Report was made to the king, who quite calmly remarked that they should pray for the soul of Music, and see that she was thoroughly well buried.
In spite of this, the nobles did not cease to listen to songs in secret.
This strictness was enforced in the principal cities.

This implies he not only placed a prohibition on music, but actively sought and crushed any resistance. Without music, and implicitly dance, many Hindu-inspired practices would have been impossible. Lavish celebrations of the Emperor's birthday, commonplace since the time of Akbar, would certainly be forbidden under such conditions. Oddly, artistic work not only steadied during Aurangzeb's reign, it increased. Amidst these and other contradictions, the validity and bias of Manucci and Khafi Khan's work is being questioned.

Another particularly heinous claim against Aurangzeb, was his policy of temple destruction. Though figures vary wildly from 80 to 60,000 , it clearly took place to some extent. However, Aurangzeb's Firmans on behalf of the Balaji or Vishnu Temple and his land grant for famous Hindu religious sites in Kasi , Varanasi insist these events weren't universal. Noted Historian Richard Eaton believes the overall understanding of temples to be flawed. As early as the sixth century, temples became vital political landmarks as well as religious ones. In fact, not only was temple desecration widely practiced and accepted, it was a necessary part of political struggle.

Alexander Hamilton, a British historian, toured India towards the end of Aurangzeb's fifty year reign and observed that every one was free to serve and worship God in his own way . Francois Bernier, traveled and chronicled Mughal India during the war of succession, notes that both Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb's distaste for Christians. This led to the demolition of Christian settlements near the British/European Factories and enslavement of Christian converts by Shah Jahan. Furthermore, Aurangzeb stopped all aid to Christian Missionaries (Frankish Padres) initiated by Akbar and Jahangir.

Even Aurangzeb's dislike of non-Muslims has become the subject of scrutiny. Historian Shri Sharma states that while Emperor Akbar had fourteen Hindu Mansabdars (high officials) in his court, Aurangzeb actually had 148 Hindu high officials in his court."But this fact is somewhat less known, and all the more hidden and purposefully concealed in books ranging from general magazines to national curricula"

Aurangzeb's Views on the Jizya [Jizyah, or Poll Tax]

From Aurangzeb's Fatwa:

 "[Jizyah] refers to what is taken from the Dhimmis, according to [what is stated in] al-Nihayah.

It is obligatory upon [1] the free, [2] adult members of [those] who are generally fought, [3] who are fully in possession of their mental faculties, and [4] gainfully employed, even if [their] profession is not noble, as is [stated in] al-Sarajiyyah.

There are two types of [jizyah].

[The first is] the jizyah that is imposed by treaty or consent, such that it is established in accordance with mutual agreement, according to [what is stated in] al-Kafi.

[The amount] does not go above or below [the stipulated] amount, as is stated in al-Nahr al-Fa’iq.

[The second type] is the jizyah that the leader imposes when he conquers the unbelievers (kuffar), and [whose amount] he imposes upon the populace in accordance with the amount of property [they own], as in al-Kafi.

This is an amount that is pre-established, regardless of whether they agree or disagree, consent to it or not.

 "The wealthy [are obligated to pay] each year forty-eight dirhams [of a specified weight], payable per month at the rate of 4 dirhams.

The next, middle group (wast al-hal) [must pay] twenty-four dirhams, payable per month at the rate of 2 dirhams.

The employed poor are obligated to pay twelve dirhams, in each month paying only one dirham, as stipulated in Fath al-Qadir, al-Hidayah, and al-Kafi.

[The scholars] address the meaning of "gainfully employed", and the correct meaning is that it refers to one who has the capacity to work, even if his profession is not noble.

The scholars also address the meaning of wealthy, poor, and the middle group.

Al-Shaykh al-Imam Abu Ja‘far, may Allah the most high have mercy on him, considered the custom of each region decisive as to whom the people considered in their land to be poor, of the middle group, or rich.

This is as such, and it is the most correct view, as stated in al-Muhit.

Al-Karakhi says that the poor person is one who owns two hundred dirhams or less, while the middle group owns more than two hundred and up to ten thousand dirhams, and the wealthy [are those] who own more than ten thousand dirhams...The support for this, according to al-Karakhi is provided by the fatawa of Qadi Khan (d.


It is necessary that in the case of the employed person, he must have good health for most of the year, as is stated in al-Hidayah.

It is mentioned in al-Idah that if a dhimmi is ill for the entire year such that he cannot work and he is well off, he is not obligated to pay the jizyah, and likewise if he is sick for half of the year or more.

If he quits his work while having the capacity [to work] he [is still liable] as one gainfully employed, as is [stated in] al-Nihayah.

No jizyah is imposed upon their women, children, ill persons or the blind, or likewise on the paraplegic, the very old, or on the unemployed poor, as is stated in al-Hidayah."

Expansion of the empire

From the start of his reign up until his death, Aurangzeb engaged in almost constant warfare. He built up a massive army, and began a program of military expansion along all the boundaries of his empire. Aurangzeb pushed north-west into the Punjab and what is now Afghanistanmarker; he also drove south, conquering Bijapur and Golconda, his old enemies. He attempted to recover those portions of the Deccanmarker territories where the Maratha king Shivaji was sparking rebellions.

This combination of military expansion and religious intolerance had deeper consequences. Though he succeeded in expanding Mughal control, it was at an enormous cost in lives and treasure. And, as the empire expanded in size, Aurangzeb's chain of command grew weaker. The Sikhs of the Punjab grew both in strength and numbers, and launched rebellions. The Marathas waged a war with Aurangzeb which lasted for 27 years. Even Aurangzeb's own armies grew restive — particularly the fierce Rajputs, who were his main source of strength. Aurangzeb gave a wide berth to the Rajputs, who were mostly Hindu. While they fought for Aurangzeb during his life, on his death they immediately revolted against his successors.

With much of his attention on military matters, Aurangzeb's political power waned, and his provincial governors and generals grew in authority.


Many subjects rebelled against Aurangzeb's policies, among them his own son, Prince Akbar.

  • In 1669, the Jats around Mathuramarker revolted and led to the formation of Bharatpur state after his death.

  • In 1670, Chhatrapati Shivaji had opened the war against the Mughals. He opposed Aurangzeb with full strength and had initially stopped him from entering the Deccanmarker, but by 1689 Auranzeb's armies had conquered the ruler of Maratha Empire Sambhaji. But even after Sambhaji's death, Aurangzeb could never conquer the Maratha Kingdom completely ever in his 27 years of war in Deccan..

  • In 1672, the Satnami, a sect concentrated in an area near Delhi, under the leadership of Bhirbhan and some Satnami, took over the administration of Narnaul, but they were eventually crushed upon Auranzeb's personal intervention with very few escaping alive.

Soon afterwards the Afridi Pashtuns in the north-west also revolted, and Aurangzeb was forced to lead his army personally to Hasan Abdalmarker to subdue them.

When Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpurmarker died in 1679, a conflict ensued over who would be the next Raja. Aurangzeb's choice of a nephew of the former Maharaja was not accepted by other members of Jaswant Singh's family and they rebelled, but in vain. Aurangzeb seized control of Jodhpur. He also moved on Udaipurmarker, which was the only other state of Rajputana to support the rebellion. There was never a clear resolution to this conflict, although it is noted that the other Rajputs, including the celebrated Kachhwaha Rajput clan of Raja Jai Singh, the Bhattis, and the Rathores, remained loyal. On the other hand, Aurangzeb's own third son, Prince Akbar, along with a few Muslim Mansabdar supporters, joined the rebels in the hope of dethroning his father and becoming emperor. The rebels were defeated and Akbar fled south to the shelter of the Maratha Chhatrapati Sambhaji, Chhatrapati Shivaji's successor.

The Ahoms (the people of Shan community of Thailand) were the kings who had established their kingdom in the basin of river Bramhaputra and made it impossible for the Mughals to conquer that area.

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 (Nizamshahi), Bijapur (Adilshahi) and Golconda (Kutubshahi). 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 Punemarker 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. The Marathas harried the flanks of the warring Adilshahi and Mughals, gaining weapons, forts, and territories. Shivaji's small and ill-equipped army survived an all out Adilshahi attack, and Shivaji personally killed the Adilshahi general, Afzal Khan. With this event, the Marathas transformed into a powerful military force, capturing more and more Adilshahi and Mughal territories.

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 Punemarker. In a daring raid, Shivaji attacked the governor's residence in Pune, killed Shaista Khan's son, even hacking off Shaista Khan's thumb as he fled.This is the first known commando operation in the history, Shivaji and his band of mavla's dressed up as commoners and joined a wedding party and were successful in sneaking into Lal Mahal, where the governor was residing and drove him out from there by attacking him in his sleep.

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 Ambermarker, 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.

Shivaji returned to the Deccan, successfully drove out the Mughal armies, and was crowned Chhatrapati or Emperor of the Maratha Empire in 1674. While Aurangzeb continued to send troops against him, Shivaji expanded Maratha control throughout the Deccan until his death in 1680. Shivaji was succeeded by his son Sambhaji. Militarily and politically, Mughal efforts to control the Deccan continued to fail. Aurangzeb's son Akbar left the Mughal court and joined with Sambhaji, inspiring some Mughal forces to join the Marathas. Aurangzeb in response moved his court to Aurangabad and took over command of the Deccan campaign. More battles ensued, and Akbar fled to Persiamarker.

In 1689 Aurangzeb captured and had killed Sambhaji.Sambhaji's successorchhatrapati Rajaram and his, Maratha Sardars (commanders) fought individual battles against the Mughals, and territory changed hands again and again during years of endless warfare. As there was no central authority among the Marathas, Aurangzeb was forced to contest every inch of territory, at great cost in lives and treasure. Even as Aurangzeb drove west, deep into Maratha territory — notably conquering Sataramarker — the Marathas expanded their attacks further into Mughal lands, including Mughal-held Malwa,Hyderabad,Jinji in TamilNadumarker. Aurangzeb waged continuous war in the Deccan for more than two decades with no resolution. Aurangzeb lost about a fifth of his army fighting rebellions led by the Marathas in Deccan Indiamarker He came down thousands of mile way to Deccan to conquer Marathas but finally was unable to crush Maratha kingdom. He never went back and died a natural death while fighting the Marathas.

The Pashtun rebellion

The Pashtun tribesmen of the Empire were considered the bedrock of the Mughal Empire Army. They were crucial defenders of the Empire from the threat of invasion from the North-West as well as the main fighting force against the Sikh and Maratha forces. The Pashtun revolt in 1672 under the leadership of the warrior poet Khushal Khan Khattak was triggered when soldiers under the orders of the Mughal Governor Amir Khan allegedly attempted to molest women of the Safi tribe in modern day Kunar. The Safi tribes attacked the soldiers. This attack provoked a reprisal, which triggered a general revolt of most of the tribes. Attempting to reassert his authority, Amir Khan led a large Mughal Army to the Khyber passmarker. There the army was surrounded by tribesmen and routed, with only four men, including the Governor, managing to escape.

After that the revolt spread, with the Mughals suffering a near total collapse of their authority along the Pashtun belt. The closure of the important Attockmarker-Kabulmarker trade route along the Grand Trunk road was particularly critical. By 1674, the situation had deteriorated to a point where Aurangzeb himself camped at Attock to personally take charge. Switching to diplomacy and bribery along with force of arms, the Mughals eventually split the rebellion and while they never managed to wield effective authority outside the main trade route, the revolt was partially suppressed. However the long term anarchy on the Empire's North-Western frontier that prevailed as a consequence ensured that the Persian Nadir Shah's forces half a century later faced little resistance on the road to Delhimarker, being one of the causes for Mughal decline and eventual European dominance.


Aurangzeb's influence continues through the centuries. He was the first ruler to attempt to impose Sharia law on a non-Muslim country. His critics decry this as intolerance, while his mostly Muslim supporters applaud him, some calling him a just ruler. Today, in Afghanistan and South Asia, Aurangzeb is considered the most powerful king ever to have ruled the subcontinent, an example of Islamic might . He engaged in nearly perpetual war, justifying the ensuing death and destruction on moral and religious grounds. He arguably eventually succeeded in the imposition of Islamic Sharia in his realm, but alienated many constituencies, not only non-Muslims, but also Shi'ite Muslims. This led to increasing Power of the Marathas, and militant tactics of the Sikhs, the Pashtuns, and the Rajputs, who along with other territories broke from the empire after his death; it also led to disputes among Indian Muslims.

Unlike his predecessors, Aurangzeb considered the royal treasury as a trust of the citizens of his empire and did not use it for personal expenses or extravagant building projects (except, perhaps, for one project: he built the Badshahi Masjidmarker mosque (Imperial or Alamgiri Mosque) in Lahoremarker, which was once the largest outside of Mecca). He also added a small marble mosque known as the Moti Masjidmarker (Pearl Mosque) to the Red Fortmarker complex in Delhi. His constant warfare especially with Marathas, however, drove his empire to the brink of bankruptcy just as much as the wasteful personal spending and opulence of his predecessors.

Later in his life, Aurangzeb always portrayed himself as a humble person with head bowed in all his paintings.

Stanley Wolpert writes in his New History of India that

He alienated many of his children and wives, driving some into exile and imprisoning others. His personal piety is undeniable. Unlike the often alcohol- and women-absorbed personal lives of his predecessors, he led an extremely simple and pious life. He followed Muslim precepts with his typical determination, and even memorized the entire Qur'an. He knitted Hajj caps and copied out the Qur'an throughout his life and sold these anonymously. He used only the proceeds from these to fund his modest resting place. He died in Ahmednagarmarker on Friday, February 20, 1707 at the age of 88, having outlived many of his children. His modest open-air grave in Khuldabadmarker expresses his deep devotion to his Islamic beliefs.

Aurangzeb's legacy to India was factionalism, sectarianism, decentralization, and vulnerability to European encroachment.


Zafarnama (Gurmukhi: ਜ਼ਫ਼ਰਨਾਮਹ or ਜ਼ਫ਼ਰਨਾਮਾ, Persian: ظفرنامہ) means the "Declaration of Victory" and is the name given to the letter sent by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh in 1705 to the Emperor of India, Aurangzeb. The letter is written in exquisite Persian verse. In this letter, Guru Ji reminds Aurangzeb how he and his henchmen had broken their oaths taken on the holy Koran. Zafarnama is included in Hikayats and it's the first Hikayat.

Despite this deception, this treacherous leader could not harm the Guru. Guru Ji states in this letter that in spite of his several sufferings, he had won a moral victory over the crafty Mughal who had broken all his vows and had resorted to underhand behavior. Despite sending a huge army to capture or kill the Guru, the Mughal forces did not succeed in their mission.

The Emperors peace of mind had been shaken, he wrote another letter to his sons in which he states "I do not know who I am, where I am, where I am to go and what will happen to a sinful person like me. Many like me have passed away wasting their lives. Allah was in my heart but my blind eyes failed to see him. I do not know how I will be received in Allah's court. I do not have any hope for my future, I have committed many sins and do not know what punishments will be awarded to me in return".

The Zafarnama had a demoralising effect on Emperor Aurangzeb who saw his end looming over the horizon and his future appeared very bleak. He saw Guru Gobind Singh Ji as his only hope who could show him the right and truthful path, as hinted by Guru ji in his epistle. Although he had greatly wronged the Guru he knew him to be a man of God and wanted to meet with the Guru personally to seek redemption. He issued instructions to his Governors to withdraw all orders against Guru Ji. He instructed his minister Munim Khan to make arrangements for the safe passage of the Guru when he came to meet him.

Guru Ji was not willing to go to Delhi yet and instead stopped outside the town of Sabo Ki Talwandi. According to Sikh chronologists it was at Sabo Ki Talwandi that Guru Gobind Singh untied his waist band after a period of nearly eighteen months and breathed a sigh of relief. This is why Sabo Ki Talwandi is known as Damdama Sahib (place of rest). It was at Damdama Sahib that Mata Sundri Ji learned the fate of the four Sahibzaday and of Mata Gujri Ji. It was also at Damdama Sahib that Guru Gobind Singh Ji re-wrote the Adi Guru Granth Sahib from memory and added the Gurbani (Guru's writings) of his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib.

Will Of Aurangzeb

After receiving and reading the Zafarnama sent by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, Aurangzeb saw that had a bleak future. The will was recorded by Maulvi Hamid-ud Din in chapter 8 of his hand written book in Persian about the life of Aurangzeb:

1. There is no doubt that I have been the emperor of India and I have ruled over this country. But I am sorry to say that I have not been able to do a good deed in my lifetime. My inner soul is cursing me as a sinner. But now it is of no avail. It is my wish that my last rites be performed by my dear son Azam, nobody else should touch my body.

2. My servant, Aya Beg, has my purse in which I have carefully kept my earnings of 4 Rs and 2 annas. In my spare time I have been writing the Koran and stitching caps. It was by selling the caps that I made an honest earning of 4 Rs and 2 annas. My coffin should be purchased with this amount. No other money should be spent for covering the body of a sinner. This is my dying wish. By selling the copies of the Koran I collected 305 Rs. That money is also with Aya Beg. It is my will that poor Mohammedans should be fed with sweet rice purchased by this money.

3. All my articles - clothes, ink stand, pens and books should be given to my son Azam. The labour charges for digging my grave will be paid by Prince Azam.

4. My grave should be dug in a dense forest. When I am buried my face should remain uncovered. Do not bury my face in earth. I want to present myself to Allah with a naked face. I am told whoever goes to the supreme court with a naked face will have his sins forgiven.

5. My coffin should be made of thick Khaddar. Do not place a costly shawl on the corpse. The route of my funeral should not be showered with flowers. No one should be permitted to place any flowers on my body. No music should be played or sung, I hate music.

6. No tomb should be built for me. Only a chabootra or platform may be erected.

7. I have not been able to pay the salaries of my soldiers and my personal servants for several months. I bequeath that after my death at least my personal servants be paid in full as the treasury is empty. Niamat Ali has served my very faithfully he has cleaned my body and has never let my bed remain dirty.

8. No mausoleum should be raised in my memory. No stone with my name should be placed at my grave. There should be no trees planted near the grave. A sinner like me does not deserve the protection of a shady tree.

9. My son, Azam has the authority to rule from the throne of Delhi. Kam Bakhsh should be entrusted with the governance of Bijapur and Golconda States.

10. Allah should not make anyone an emperor, the most unfortunate person is he who is an emperor. My sins should not be mentioned in any social gathering. No story of my life should be told to anyone.

Translated from an historical article published by S.Ajmer Singh MA in the Fateh weekly Nov. 7th, 1976. According to wishes of the emperor, his grave made of 'kuccha' bricks can still be seen in Aurangabad.

After Death

After Aurangzeb's death, his son Bahadur Shah I took the throne. The Mughal Empire, due both to Aurangzeb's over-extension and to Bahadur Shah's weak military and leadership qualities, entered a period of long decline. Immediately after Bahadur Shah occupied the throne, the Maratha Empire — which Aurangzeb had held at bay, inflicting high human and monetary costs — consolidated and launched effective invasions of Mughal territory, seizing power from the weak emperor. Within 100 years of Aurangzeb's death, the Mughal Emperor had little power beyond Delhi.


Additional references

  • Essays on Islam and Indian History, Richard M. Eaton. Reprint. New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2002 (ISBN 0-19-566265-2). -- Eaton's essay "Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States", which attempts to comprehend Aurangzeb's motivation in destroying temples, has generated much recent debate

  • The Peacock Throne, Waldemar Hansen (Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1972). -- a very British accounting of Aurangzeb's reign, but filled with excellent references and source material

  • A Short History of Pakistan, Dr. Ishtiaque Hussain Qureshi, University of Karachi Press.

  • Delhi, Khushwant Singh, Penguin USA, Open Market Ed edition, February 5, 2000. (ISBN 0-14-012619-8)

  • Mcleod, H. (1989) Who is a Sikh. Oxford. Claredon.

  • Muḥammad Bakhtāvar Khān. Mir’at al-‘Alam: History of Emperor Awangzeb Alamgir. Trans. Sajida Alvi. Lahore: Idārah-ʾi Taḥqīqāt-i Pākistan, 1979.

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