Aurangzeb in the eyes of the Sangh Parivar

S.M. Pasha

There is not a single member of the Sangh Parivar who is not made by his leaders to declare that the last great Mughal Emperor Auranzeb Aalamgeer was a bigot hostile towards his Hindu subjects. They, suo motu, portray him as a  hard-hearted Muslim with an insatiable zeal to convert Hindus into Muslims besides ripping them of their wealth and position. According to this narrative, since Muslims of his time, as they are today, were a minority, he saw to it that they were killed in large numbers so that the Muslim community attained majority.

The first thing I wish to point out is that it is  false that he persecuted Hindus alone and that he bestowed honours on Muslims alone. As a matter of fact, he opposed, tooth and nail, all his opponents - be they Hindus or Muslims. Is it not a fact that in the war of succession after his father’s death, he did not hesitate to see that his brother was killed.

It so happened that, the Mughal army was able to defeat non-Muslim rajas. It was the nobleness in him which prompted him to treat the defeated adversaries with due honour, recognising their bravery. Can any historian worth his salt deny that Aurangzeb gave the mansab-dari to Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur and later on appointed him the governor of Gujarat. On Raja Ajai Singh he bestowed the governorship of Deccan where there were Muslim nawabs. With a view to end permanently the bitter hostility between the Hindu Raja Shivaji and himself, he signed the Treaty of Pormander.

The number of Hindus in the Mughal army in his time was almost equal to Muslims. Jai Singh - a Rajput - was one of most famous generals in his army. Aurangzeb desired to make Shivaji a general of the most celebrated army contingent  and send him to Kabul to subdue Afghan rebels. It was not the British who abolished the Hindu custom of burning widowed wives on the funeral pyre of their husbands, It was Aurangzeb who issued a farman against it in 1666 outlawing sati.

The haters of Aurangzeb level the charge against him that he destroyed Hindu temples. In Deccan, where he campaigned against Shivaji, he did not touch a single temple. Unimpeachable evidence is available showing that Aurangzeb donated lavishly to Umanand temple in Guwahati, Jangum Badi Shiva mandir in Varanasi and Someshwar Nath Mahadev mandir in Prayag.

To those who view things with coloured spectacles everything will appear coloured. Aurangzeb was as good or as bad a Muslim emperor as Shivaji was as good or as bad a Hindu raja.


To many non-Muslims Aurangzeb was a Barbarian, whose one and only aim in life was to crush his Hindu subjects through all possible means and thus convert Hindustan into Islamistan. To substantiate their theory, they point out to the farmans [edicts] he used to issue from time to time, which they describe as a hundred per cent anti-Hindu. To be more specific, they point out to his imposition of JIzya on his non-Muslim subjects.  It was, without an iota of doubt, imposed on non-Muslim subjects [called dhimmis.  those who are under protection] Jizya was levied on  able-bodied non-Muslims who did not volunteer to join the army. Priests amongst the non-Muslims, womenfolk, children, slaves, senior citizens, the blind, the lame and the diseased were exempted from that tax. It must be noted that those on whom jizya was imposed were  from military service and also exempted from the zakaat [ the two and half per cent tax on every Muslim’s income}. It is a travesty of truth to describe the jizya as a punishment for non-Muslims or a tool for inducing in a non-violent manner non-Muslims become Muslims. In comparison to Zakat, ushr, fitra, sadaqua, hadiya, atia and qulul ‘afw paid by Muslims, jizya was a small payment charged as a defence tax from able-bodied non-Muslims who were not part of the Muslim army. Those non-Muslims who were in the army did not have to pay it. If the Muslims retrented from an area they paid back the jizya to person from whom it was collected, explaining that the retreating Muslim army was not able to defend them any longer.

Aurangzeb’s life as an emperor was divided into parts. In the first part, he was fully occupied with the task of safeguarding the north-western portion of his vast empire from the Persians and Central Asian Turkic people.  Aurangzeb, at first, adopted the successful recipe of his illustrious grandfather, Akbar,  the policy of attacking the foes, conquering them, and then winning their hearts by reconciling with them by bestowing on them lofty positions in the imperial service. It was with this noble intention that Aurangzeb invited his bitter foe Shivaji to come to Agra as his distinguished guest in 1666 C.E. Shivaji rejected the invitation of the emperor.

Incidentally, Aurangzeb treacherously induced the Rajputs to rebel against his father. Consequently, he lost his firm grip over the northern portion of his empire only because he was constrained to focus his attention on its southern portion.

Aurangzeb had inherited a half-empty royal treasury since his father impoverished the resources of the empire by constructing buildings which were apparently beautiful but actually useless monuments. As his father had constructed the Taj Mahal he constructed and gifted to the country an extremely grand structure called Red Fort from where now prime ministers address the nation. It is time it was renamed Quila-e-Aurangzeb.

Though he was a king, he lived the life of a pauper. Out of the royal treasury he did not draw money for his daily expenses but earned his livelihood by making caps and copying the Qur’an.

His brother Dara Shikoh turned out to be an overt Muslim and a covert non-Muslim. He was a secret ally of the Sikhs. The invitation extended to him by the Sikhs to lay the foundation of Golden Temple bears testimony to this fact.  A section of pleasure-loving Muslims hated Aurangzeb because he wanted them to be true Muslims. Here is an illustration. When he came to know that Muslims were spending their precious time, energies and resources on fruitless activities , he banned music in Delhi. One day when he was sitting on his balcony, he witnessed a  funeral procession with a large, shrouded corpse on the shoulders of hisco-religionists, he inquired as to whose body they were carrying to the graveyard.  One of his courtiers, who was a music lover, replied that they were taking music to bury it. The  emperor calmly replied , “Ask them to place a heavy stone on its grave so that it may not return to Delhi to spoil my subjects

Aurangzeb was more sinned against than sinning. May Allah Subhanahutallah allow his noble soul to abide eternally in the Jannatul Firdaus.    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 August 2016 on page no. 2

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