Introduction: Aurangzeb (also Aurangzeb Alamgir) was the sixth king or emperor of Mughal Empire. His full name was ‘Abul Muzaffar Muhi-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb’.
Aurangzeb was the third son of Shahjahan. He was born in 1618. He was a man of a serious disposition with great powers of dissimulation. He was packed with courage, valor, patience and self-confidence.
Early career: Aurangzeb was highly applauded by his father for his bold conducts. In 1635, Shah Jahan sent him as the chief commander to suppress a rebellion. In 1636, the Emperor sent him as the viceroy of the Deccan where he stayed till 1644. His letters bear testimony to the fact that during his regime he did his best to settle the newly conquered territory, promote agriculture and improve the revenues of the state.
Aurangzeb soon acquired the same position in the reign of his father as the latter had enjoyed in that of his own father Jahangir. He was looked upon as the ablest general in the empire.
War of succession: The last days of Shah Jahan were very unhappy because of the fratricidal war among his four sons. The eldest son was Dara-Shikoh. The second was Shah Suja, the third was Aurangzeb and the youngest was Murad. Aurangzeb defeated the other brothers and threw his old father into prison. And, in 1659, Aurangzeb captured the throne and became the emperor.
Reign of Aurangzeb: Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s reign of 50 years can be divided into two phases. He spent the first phase of his reign in the capital (1658-1682) and the second phase in the Deccan (1682-1707). In the first phase he annexed Palamau in Bihar (now, Jharkhand), Cooch Behar in Bengal and Assam by defeating the Ahom King Jayaddhaja. He also occupied Chittagong and Sandwip by defeating the Arakan king. Mir Jumla and Shaista Khan were the two architects of his victory in the east.
For nearly a decade he remained busy in the north-west. But Rajasthan, the Deccan and Maharashtra troubled him more.
Aurangzeb’s Deccan Policy: The Deccan Policy of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb became more disastrous for him and his empire as well. The Deccan troubled Aurangzeb very much. He had to spend many years there. It is said that the Deccan was an ulcer which weakened Aurangzeb.
At that time there were two formidable powers in the South, the Sultanates of the Deccan and the Marathas of Western India. Aurangzeb waged war against both of them at a time. Instead, he could utilize the sultans of the Deccan States against the Marathas.
The two Deccan kingdoms of Golkonda and Bijapur strongly resisted the Mughals. Aurangzeb, however, conquered both the kingdoms but it took him a long time to do so.
Although he could subdue Bijapur and Golconda, the two sultanates of the Deccan, the Marathas remained unconquered and a constant headache for him. He had to be involved in a long war against the Marathas under their leader Shivaji.
Death: Aurangzeb lived a long life. He died on 28th February, 1707 at the age of 88.
Last updated: 26.07.2015