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See biographies by Sir Jadunath Sarkar (5 vol., 1912–24) and M. Lal (1988); studies by S. Lane-Poole (1964) and R. C. Hallissey (1977).
Born 1618; died 1707. Last true ruler of the Mogul Empire (1658–1707). Son of Shah Jahan.
Aurangzeb was vicegerent of the Deccan from 1636 to 1644 and 1652 to 1657. In the war for the throne among the four sons of Shah Jahan (1658–59), Aurangzeb was victorious less because of his military superiority than because of intrigue, bribery, and deceit. He killed all the other claimants to the throne and put his father under house arrest.
Aurangzeb waged wars to seize Kandahar and Balkh in the north and Ahmadnahar, Bijapur, and Golconda in the Deccan. To pay for these costly wars, Aurangzeb increased taxes and renewed the jizya. Carrying out a policy of Muslim intolerance, he destroyed Hindu temples, confiscated the property of Hindu merchants, and annexed the lands of Hindu feudal lords. This provoked a Maratha uprising throughout the country, led by Sivaji, the Jats, the Rajput princes, and the Sikhs. The disintegration of the empire was accelerated by Aurangzeb’s harsh religious intolerance. At the end of Aurangzeb’s life, his sons rebelled against him. Under Aurangzeb, European trading companies became stronger in India.
REFERENCESBernier, F. Istoriia poslednikh politicheskikh perevorotov v gosudarstve Velikogo Mogola. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936. (Translated from French.)
Sarkar, J. The History of Aurangzib[2nd-3rd ed.], vols. 1–6. Calcutta, 1924–28.
K. A. ANTONOVA