Comparison of Akbar and Aurangzeb
Both the Mughal Emperors, Akbar and Aurangzeb won great reputation as ruler over extensive dominions. Both possessed extraordinary qualities of head and heart. Both of them were brave, industrious and energetic and were endowed with military talents of a first order. But the points of difference in their outlook and character are more pronounced than points of resemblance. The policies of Akbar and Aurangzeb were in sharp contrast to each other.
Mughal Emperor Akbar was endowed with an extraordinary liberal outlook in matters of religion. The religious policy of Akbar was very liberal. He had equal regard for all religious system and he believed in the essential unity of all religions.
But Aurangzeb was sectarian in his views and often carried them to excesses. The non-Muslim who were the bulk of the population became completely alienated from him.
Akbar did not subordinate religions to political interests. He realized the supreme value of enlisting the goodwill and moral support of the Hindus. Accordingly he entered into the matrimonial relations with the princely families of Rajputana, removed the various indignities imposed on the non-Muslims and felt no scruple in appointing suitable Hindus to responsible posts under the Government.
By this liberal and enlightened policy, Akbar succeeded in securing the whole-hearted co-operation of all classes of these subjects. This strengthened the stability of the Empire which had reached far and wide under Akbar. But Aurangzeb reversed the wise and benevolent policy of his predecessor. Aurangzeb removed many Hindus from state offices, re-imposed the Jizya, imposed the additional indignities of them and even violated their religious sentiments. This policy of religious intolerance produced its inevitable result, viz., the alienation of the Hindus. The alienation of Hindus sentiments was one of the potent factors which contributed to the decline of the Mughal Empire. The Empire that Akbar had built up with the goodwill of the Hindus perished as a result of Aurangzeb’s bigotry and intolerance.
Akbar maintained a magnificent court and loved grandeur and plenty. Aurangzeb was simple and frugal in habits and he scrupulously avoided luxuries.
Akbar fully relied on his subordinates and worked up to the principle of minimum interference. Aurangzeb, on the other hand, was by nature suspicious and in capable of trusting any one, not even his sons. Thus while Akbar trained up an efficient and self-reliant bureaucracy, Aurangzeb failed even to train his own successor.
Akbar came to the throne a peaceful, legitimate manner, but Aurangzeb caused his father to be imprisoned and his brothers to be murdered so that he could himself become the Emperor.
Unlike Akbar, Aurangzeb was not a liberal patron of arts and literature.