Aurangzeb in history is known to be a tormenter, a destroyer of hindu temples, and a tyrant ruler but he also has certain affirmative policies to his credentials as well.

Aurangzeb, the last of the Great Mughals although strong and bold is mostly infamous for his bigotry and aggressive policies towards the non-muslims especially Hindus. A staunch Muslim at heart, he had zeal to spread Islam at a great speed and so he not only killed Hindus but also ripped them off from their wealth and position. This is the general perception of the historians or maybe they used this facet in exaggerating his character a lot. However, in his time, did he only prosecuted Hindus alone and treat Muslims with great pomp and honor? Absolutely not! Aurangzeb executed all his opponents irrespective of their religion, whether Hindus or Muslims. In the war of succession, he even went ahead by killing his own brother Dara Shikoh. So, the point to be noted is that, he was not selective to Hindus alone.

512px Darbarscene1 Aurangzebs Policies Towards Hindus

Aurangzeb In Darbar

In fact, during his period, Hindu nobles and kings were treated way better than his predecessors when it came to position and ranks. Here, I would like to enlighten positive works of the Last Great Mughal for Hindus which unfortunately got side-lined in history as time passed –

Winners are winners and losers are losers. The Mughals always won and the Rajputs always lost to them. Who in the history has showered greatness to the defeated? None, right? Then why do we always curse Mughals and especially Aurangzeb who despite defeating the Rajputs, recognized their bravery and appointed many of them to a high post? Agreed, his relationship with Rajputs was not at all cordial but then it was also not incorrect. He gave mansabdari to Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur with 7,000 thousand foot soldiers and 7,000 riders. Later, he also appointed him the Governor of Gujarat. Besides, in 1665, he gave the governorship of Deccan to Raja Ajai Singh. The treaty of Pomander signed between him and the Maratha ruler, Shivaji also illustrates that he was instrumental in bringing a chapter of hostility to end.

The situation of nobel men, unlike portrayed is quite opposite with the data obtained from the chronicles. A comparison data exhibits that Aurangzeb’s government had 182 Mansabdars as against 105 of his father and predecessor Shah Jahan. This number even surpassed the amount of mansabdars which Akbar, the Great had during his rule. Aurangzeb who had sensed the valor of the Hindus appointed them in large amount in his army. Jai Singh, a Hindu Rajput is one of his most celebrated general who was the mastermind of many victories. His army also had lots of Maratha warrior. One of his plans was to appoint Shivaji, the great Maratha warrior and send him as a General in the north towards Kabul.

Sati, the act of burning the wife alive on the funeral fire of her husband was abolished by Britishers, this is what majority of us know. However, the fact that Aurangzeb in 1666 issued an order to outlaw Sati is not remembered at all. The great deed towards the Hindu women which even the Great Akbar could not do was done by Emperor Aurangzeb.

Aurangzeb to his name has lots of (dis)credit in destroying large Hindu temples in the north. However, it is observed that he did not even touch a single temple in the Deccan where he campaigned against Shivaji, the great. This directs me to a possibility that the destruction of temples in the east and north was perhaps an attempt to suppress his opposition. Also, he allotted land for many Hindu temples including Umanand temple in Guwahati, Jangum Badi Shiva temple in Varansi and Someshwar Nath Mahadev temple in Prayag. But as expected it is glossed over completely – a fact in history totally forgotten. I do not understand why a strong ruler, who hates Hindus and has no fear towards them, would do such a thing. It is true that he imposed the Jizzia tax against the Hindus, but when calculated the tax paid by a Muslim, the total amount paid by men from the two religions, was more or less the same.

Aurangzeb in history is known to be a tormenter, a temple destructor and a tyrant ruler but he also has certain affirmative policies to his credentials as well. However all his positive work and good conducts remains forgotten as if, they never existed…

By Deepti Verma

Also See:
Who was more cruel – Aurangzeb or Shah Jahan ? – Part 1
Who was Jodha Bai : Akbar’s Wife or Daughter-in-law?

Image Source: By Cordanrad [Public domain or Public domain], <a href=”http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADarbarscene.jpg”>via Wikimedia Commons</a>

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