Who was the wife of Emperor Aurangzeb

The Mughal Mughal of India


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The Mughal Mughal of India

On July 31, 1658, Aurangzeb ascended the throne of the Mughal Empire. After times of peace through his father and grandfather, he relied on military expansion and initiated the creeping decline in the political structure of India. At the height of its power, the Mughal Empire spanned almost the entire subcontinent and parts of present-day Afghanistan.

Anyone who sees India today can hardly imagine that it was still an Islamic state around 150 years ago. The Mughal Empire existed from 1526 to 1858. The heartland of the empire lay in the north, in the Indus-Ganges plain around the cities of Delhi, Agra and Lahore. The state language was Persian. The rulers were dubbed Mughal, Great Mughal or Mughal Emperor. The name Mogul as a name for the rulers of North India is derived from the Persian and means Mongol. In terms of rank, the Mughal stands above the king and corresponds to that of an emperor.

Conquests and setbacks

Babur (Persian beaver) was the first Mughal Mughal. He ruled for only four years, from 1526 to 1530. He originally came from Central Asia and conquered the Sultanate of Delhi, starting from what is now Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. In 1530, Babur's son Humayun inherited an inwardly weak empire that stretched from the Hindu Kush to Bihar. His reign was marked by setbacks which temporarily withdrew control of his empire from the emperor and almost ended the rule of the Mughals in India after less than 15 years.

Birth of a wonderland

The most important Mughal ruler is Humayun's son Akbar. In the 49 years of his reign (from 1556 to 1605) he consolidated the empire in every way. By means of numerous campaigns and political marriages, Akbar enlarged the empire considerably. One of the most important foundations was religious tolerance towards the Hindu majority of the population of the empire. Under Akbar, more Hindus entered the civil service than ever before, and special taxes for non-Muslims were abolished. Akbar's centralized administrative system made the Mughal Empire one of the most modern states of the early modern period. No previous empire in Indian history has been able to permanently and effectively manage such a large area.

In 1605 Akbar's eldest son Selim ascended the throne under the name Jahangir (Persian conqueror of the world). Under him, the Mughal Empire experienced a period of relative peace that helped to consolidate it.

After Jahangir's death in 1627, Shah Jahan took the throne by assassinating all other pretenders to the throne. He is considered the most glamorous Mughal ruler. Under his rule, the court attained the height of its splendor and the architecture in the mixed Indian-Islamic style reached its peak. The most famous Mughal building, the Taj Mahal in Agra, was built as a tomb for Shah Jahan's wife Mumtaz Mahal, as were a number of other outstanding architectural monuments. The final years of his reign were marked by the rivalry between Shah Jahan's sons Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh for succession to the throne. Aurangzeb later captured his father, who died in prison in 1666. After Aurangzeb had his brother Murad arrested, he proclaimed himself emperor that same year.

Aurangzeb, the religious fanatic

Aurangzeb used Islam to legitimize his rule, and in contrast to his predecessors, he strictly applied its laws to the empire. His policies of religious intolerance damaged the symbiosis between the Muslim elite and Hindu subjects that his predecessors had promoted. For example, he reintroduced the poll tax for non-Muslims, which Akbar had abolished in 1564, and banned the construction of Hindu temples and places of worship for other faith communities. Numerous recently built temples were destroyed across the country.
His constant wars shook the economic foundation of the Mughal Empire. The last third of his rule was determined by the struggle against the impending decline of the empire.

Decline and end

In the course of the 18th century, the Mughal Empire declined to a subordinate power in the political fabric of India. In 1858 the last Great Mughal was deposed by the British, and his territory became part of British India. What has been preserved for posterity is rich evidence of architecture, painting and poetry shaped by Persian and Indian artists.

RR, as of July 28, 2008, images: Wikipedia, GNU

Note: All images and links have been removed from the archive