Aurangzeb as he was.

“The Great Mogol is a foreigner in Hindoustan. To maintain himself in such a country he is under the necessity of keeping up numerous armies, even in the time of peace.”

– Francois Bernier

Some still consider Aurangzeb as the greatest emperor of the time. Displaying his paintings in public, chanting of his name out is still rampant. People have a tendency to forget things quickly, especially Indians.  People forget that this Aurangzeb destroyed Hundreds of Hindu Temples, beheaded many innocent Hindus, peasants, converted many to Islam and also killed second Chhatrapati of Swarajya i.e. Sambhaji Raja. But before we procced to Aurangzeb we should know about the Islamic Invaders and how Aurangzeb carry forwarded their legacy.

I)  During 1398-99, Mahmud Shah Tughlaq faced defeat from Taimur. He captured Delhi. In the next five days, looting began in the Delhi region according to Timur’s orders, and those who opposed were left only as corpses. The streets of Delhi were filled with the remains of the dead. Afterwards, Timur proceeded to Haridwar. Upon reaching Gomukh, where the Ganges flows, he got fierce , and out of compassion, he killed many Hindu people present over there. At this time, he prayed to Allah, saying, “I have come here for two purposes. One is to plunder the infidels [Kafirs] and facilitate their passage to the afterlife, and the other is to plunder their wealth and establish Islam in this world.” 1

II) Near Sarhind there was a village called Samana. Against Mohan Munddhir (or Mundhdr) of Samana, Babur sent Tarsam Bahadur with 6,000 soldiers, horses, and elephants.  Meantime Tarsam Bahadur had attacked and fired the village, killing many of its inhabitants. The pursuers on the west saw the flames of their burning homes, ran back and were intercepted on their way. About 1000 men, women and children were made captives ; they were killed and beheaded, and a pillar of heads was raised 2

III) In 1568, Akbar captured the fort of Chittorgarh. In the fort there were eight thousand Rajput warriors and had more than forty thousand farmers. According to Abul Fazl, (Akbar’s court historian) after the victory, the peasants excuses or their request for life of was no use for any purpose. The command of “Qatl-e-Aam” (massacre) was given, and nearly thirty thousand people were killed in that widespread massacre. As a result, Akbar achieved the title of “Ghazi” (One who fights for religion)

IV) Shah Jahan discontinued the restoration and construction of several old temples in his reign. Around three temples in Gujarat, seventy-two in Banaras, four in the vicinity of Allahabad, and some temples in Kashmir were destroyed. During his reign, “Peter Mundy” an English employee was living in Agra. In his travel account he states that He saw Minars with more than eighty kilometers of distance. Each minar is generally twice the height of a common minaret, with a broad base resembling a tower, and topped with domes and spires. Each minar has thirty to forty head, like this there were two hundred minars/ towers. Based on these calculations, there were approximately eight thousand heads in distance of eighty kilometer i.e. hundred heads per kilometer.

Aurangzeb belonged to the Sunni sect of Islam. He was not as liberal as Akbar and held strong religious beliefs. His main goal was to establish the dominance of Islam over non-Muslims. He preferred the company peers and fakirs. It is now well-known that Aurangzeb ordered the destruction of the temple of Vishwanath, similar to his actions against other temples during his reign. Besides this, on 28/03/1683, the commander-in-chief of Sambhaji Maharaj, Naroji, along with 100 Marathas, beheaded and displayed their heads in form of Minar on Aurangzeb’s order. Similarly on 11/01/1700, in Rahimatpur (Satara) minars of heads of Maratha soilders was constructed. In one stroke Hindu Soldiers, Court Mens were removed from service. A well-known letter written by Aurangzeb to the Subedar of Gujarat, in which he states, “At this time, I am engaged in Jihad and tirelessly working towards the extermination of wicked infidels… Every Muslim who takes pride in his religion should come forward to assist the Islamic emperor who has been engaged in Jihad at this time.

Therefore, Aurangzeb’s religious intolerance during his reign was widely known. The destruction of temples, desecration of idols, and forced conversions of villagers are well-documented. Numerous instances of his acts against Hindus are available in various writings from his time, which describe the wave of his actions. It is recommended to study his works and the chronicles of his era for more information on his deeds.

Ethnic Cleansing of Hindus

Destruction of Places of Worship.

These are the references mentioned in Aurangzeb’s newspapers (Akhbar) regarding the destruction of temples. The mentioned devastation were carried out under Aurangzeb’s orders, and its implementation was immediate. Let’s see the important notes mentioned in it.

  1. October 13th 1666, Mathura:-  Dara Shikoh built a stone wall(?) within the Keshav Rai temple premises. When the emperor was informed about it, he said even the act of looking at Temple for a Muslim is prohibited. This act by Dara Shikoh of erecting the stone structure there is not acceptable to Muslims. Therefore, the emperor ordered the removal of that structure. When Abdul Nabi Khan became the governor, he went and removed the stone structure from the temple premises. 5
  2. September 12th and 26th 1667:- a application was filed by Sayyid Foulad Khan stating that he had gone to demolish the kalika temple. The soilders as ordered, they destroyed the temple. During this a Brahmin picked up a sword and attacked one of the soilder who was standing there and injured him, immediately he was arrested. Hindus and Muslims gathered together to recite prayers for the goddess Shitala Devi and the saint Pir Pabu. Hindus were willing to go, but we did not agree to gather together. The worship of the goddess was also stopped. 6
  3. April 8th and 9th 1669:- The emperor is eager to establish Islam everywhere. He has ordered the officials of all provinces to demolish schools and temples of the infidels, and this task must be completed swiftly. Teaching and public practices of these unbelievers must be stopped. As per the emperor’s decree, the Temple of Vishveshwar in Kashi (Varanasi) has been demolished. 7
  4. December 23th 1679 and February 22nd1680 – Kal YakkaTaj Khan and Hira Govandi presented a petition stating that they discovered maps of temples and requested permission to demolish them. The order was given to demolish the temples in that area…In Chittur, 63 temples were demolished. 8
  5. January 29th1680:- Hasan Ali Khan brought 20 camels loaded with tents and other goods from the king’s courtyard and informed that 172 temples near Udaipur have been demolished. Khan was awarded the title of Bahadur Alamgirshahi for this act.
  6. June 1st1681, Asad Khan was ordered (by Aurangjeb). He instructed Bengal’s Subedar Amir-ul-Umara to demolish the temple of Jagannath in Odisha (Orissa) and take control of it.
  7. September 13th 1682:- based on the written instructions of Diwan Rafi-ul-Amin, it was understood that the temple of Bindu Mahadev in Varanasi had been demolished. The order was given to construct a mosque in its place.9
  8. January 2th 1705, the emperor arrived in Pandharpur. At night, Kalaratri Khwaja Muhammad Shah Muhattasib (an officer responsible for monitoring ethical conduct) approached the emperor and informed him, “There is a temple in the village of Pandharpur. The Hindu people in the army are stationed there, engaging in guard duty, pilgrimage, and worship. The emperor, therefore, summoned Muhammad Khalil, Khidmat Rai, and the Baladars’ Daroga Muhammad Amin. The emperor commanded that the temple be destroyed and the treasury seized, and the butkhana (Temple) be handed over to the army, and the cows be slaughtered. In this regard, the emperor also instructed the son of Tarbiyat Khan Bahadur, Muhammad Is’haq, to go to the temple and disrupt the activities there. Tabiyat Khan Bahadur’s son, Muhammad Is’haq, was to disperse the crowd and pilgrimage. Consequently, the orders were executed. 10

Forced Conversions

There is no such evidence that Hindus has willingly converted their religion. There are indeed many historical mentions of individuals who have forcibly, out of fear, or due to coercion, changed their religion. Examples of such instances can be found on pages of history in every specific Islamic Rulers rule. Below are some examples.

  1. September 19th 1666:- Jagjivan submitted an application stating, “I have a debt of 500 rupees taken from the government.” Due to this, I (Jagjivan) would be Muslim. The order was given by (Badshah) that the government should provide him with 500 rupees and he should convert to Islam. 11
  2. 22nd April 1667:- Makrand and three others became Muslim. The kanungoi of Kohri Pargana was bestowed on them and they were given robes of honour. 12
  3. 16th & 17th May 1667:-Vijaysingh and Timuraj became Muslims, and they were given robes. In the city of Durjanj, the lawyer Rustum Malan Khangar became a Muslim, and he was given a robe of honour. 13
  4. 17th, 26th & 27th September 1667:- Kevlaram accepted Islam under the guidance of a Shariyat Panha, and he was given an Ashrafi (a type of coin) and nine rupees. Showing complete favor towards him, he was honoured with the title “Kamaluddin” and bestowed with a robe. Panjray Khatri also converted to Islam and was granted a robe.14
  5. 14th August 1680:- The Badshah ordered Darbar Khan to retain the women and children out of captives at Mauja Yaval and handed over 35 male captives to Ihtsham Khan should covert them and teach them namaz. The kotwal converted them to islam as per orders.15
  6. 14th December 1682:- An order was given given concerning 45 servants of Sambha (Sambhaji Raja) “makhoor16 whoever becomes Muslim should be kept in prison and others be killed. I (Kartalab Khan, officer at Surat) made Muslim those who were willing to become Muslim and Killed (the other) thirteen.
  7. 7th April 1685:- Jumadatul-Mulk was ordered to wite a hasbul-hukum 17 to the fauzdars and diwans of relam: To those hindus agreeing to become Muslim, are earmarked Rs.4 per male and Rs.2 per female from treasury. But if they are becoming Muslim of their own volition for the sake of Islam, they need not be paid.18

Even if the small mentions are taken, then the list would be too long. These are some selected and prominent and notable references. . Turning a blind eye to the atrocities committed during his reign would be a foolish act. Forgetting the atrocities inflicted by the Islamic rulers in that era, including Aurangzeb, means forgetting the very reason behind the establishment of Shivaji Maharaj’s kingdom, which would be a greatest sin.

1 Muslamani Riyasat Part 1 pg 177-78
2 Baburnama pg 700-01
3 Chh. Shivaji Maharaj Jhale naste tr, Mehendale pg. 20, The religious policy of the Mughal Emp. Pg.16
4 The religious policy of the Mughal Emp. Pg. 103, Chh. Shivaji Maharaj Jhale naste tr, Mehendale pg. 20-21
5 AFS , Vol. VI, No.31
6 Ibid, no. 92, 94
7 Maasir-I-Alamgiri pg 52,55
8 Maasir-I-Alamgiri pg 117, AFS , Vol. VI, No.137
9 Ibid, no.306
10 Mogal Darbarchi Batmipatre vol.3
11 AFS vol.6 no.23
12 Ibid no.50
13 Ibid no.57,58
14 Defeated or fit to be defeated
15 Ibid no.161
16 Defeated or fit to be defeated
17 A royal order not signed by sultan but some subordinate official.
18 Ibid no. 597


2 responses to “Aurangzeb as he was.”

  1. Must write & teach about great leaders & rulers like Ahilya bai Holkar

  2. Ashu Singh Avatar
    Ashu Singh

    Beautiful exposition on this rarely discussed topic shoved safe into oblivion by “curative historians”of the Nehruvian era the chronological description s most worthwhile

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