Impact of Religious Policy of Aurangzeb on Mughal Empire

Unlike Aurangzeb, among all Mughal emperors Akbar implemented the most liberal religious policy. During Jahangir’s reign, except some occasional outbursts of religious zeal towards Islam, the State maintained the spirit of religious tolerance towards all its subjects.

Shah Jahan, when compared to his father Akbar, undoubtedly favoured Islam: it can be substantiated from the facts that Shah Jahan prevented the celebration of Hindu festival at the court; it was during his reign that some temples were broken and conversion to Islam was encouraged. However, Shah Jahan never pursued the policy of religious persecution and according to some prominent contemporary historians his zeal to support Islam gradually abated during the later years of his reign. It is so the majority of historians have observed that Shah Jahan’s reign can be considered as the period of religious tolerance though it is obvious that his policy was tilted toward bigotry in comparison to the policy implemented by his father and grandfather.

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Aurangzeb’s Religious Policy

Aurangzeb, in a complete reversal of the religious policy of Akbar, adopted and implemented a policy of persecuting people of another faiths. Being a fanatic Sunni, Aurangzeb observed and practiced the principles of Islam strictly; he had such faith in Islam that he refused even to think that there could be truth in other religions as well. Aurangzeb believed that even Muslim Shias  did not follow true Islam.

Following the Islamic theory of kingship, he tried to convert this Dar-ul-Harb, that is land of infidals, into the kingdom of Dar-ul-Islam (land of Islam). And to fulfil his desire, Aurangzeb utilized the whole machinery of the State. He was of the opinion that prior to him the greatest mistake Mughal rulers did was that they did not attempt to establish the supremacy of Islam. It is so, he devoted his entire life to get his objectives liquidated on the ground.

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Banning Religious events

Aurangzeb forbade engraving kalma on coins, celebration of festival of Nauroj, practices of Jharokha Darshan and Tula-dan and gave marching order to astrologers, musicians and dancers from the royal court. He banned the cultivation of bhang, drinking alcohol and gambling.

He attempted to prohibit the practice of Sati and ordered a blanket ban on the celebration of festivals like Holi, Diwali, Besant etc. at the royal court. In order to ensure the proper celebration of festivals of Muslims, Aurangzeb appointed a new class of officers called Muhtasibs for the purpose. These officers had got the authority to punish the guilty ones. It was not the case that only Hindus were punished, instead during the reign of Aurangzeb, even Shias and Sunnis were punished.

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Persecution of Hindus

Following the policy of persecution of Hindus, Aurangzeb in AD 1669 disallowed Hindus to repair their temples and ordered Muhtasibs and provincial governors to destroy all temples and schools of Hindus. The Hindus were asked not only to pay Jizya but also to pay pilgrim tax. There was no trade tax imposed on Muslims, while the Hindus were asked not only to pay five per cent of the cost of an article as trade-tax. The services of Hindus were terminated from the office of revenue department and no Hindus were given high posts in the army. Aurangzeb imposed all these harsh political, social and economic and religious restrictions on Hindus with an intention to force them to accept Islam.

Consequences of policy of Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb’s policy to forward his religious zeal resulted in serious consequences. It ruined the unity, peace, power and prosperity of the Mughal Empire and therefore proved to be fatal for its future. Aurangzeb’s policy did not harm only his reputation but it resulted in the downfall of the might empire that Mughals had meticulously built.

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Direct consequences on Aurangzeb’s reign

The first direct consequence was the revolts of Jats, the Satnamis, the Sikhs and a few others in the Budelkhand, the Doab, etc. the leader of the first Jat revolt, Gokul Jat was killed near Mathura and his next leader Raja Ram was also killed; however, the revolt could not be suppressed and after the death of Aurangzeb the Jats succeeded in setting up the independent state of Bharatpur. The Satnamis, who revolted in the districts of Narnaul and Mewat, were suppressed after a bitter fighting.

As Aurangzeb killed Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur in prison, his son the next Guru Govind Singh took up arms and organized Sikhs into a military sect and fought against Aurangzeb throughout his life. Due to this prolonged fight the Sikhs became a very powerful force in Punjab’s politics even during the lifetime of the Guru Govind Singh himself.

The Rajputs were also compelled to raise their swords against Aurangzeb once they came to the conclusion that Aurangzeb was determined to destroy and snatch away the independence of their states.

Conclusion

The fightings, battles, wars during Aurangzeb’s reign ruined the peace, prosperity, unity and military power of the entire Mughal Empire. It can be emphatically observed that Aurangzeb not only failed in obtaining his objectives but also ruined the Empire which his elders had so laboriously built. His bigotry made him so insensitive that he forgot the duties of an emperor; and most of all he lost the loyalty and belief of the Hindu community as a whole by reversing the policy of Akbar his grandfather and father had followed without raising an eyebrow.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. It was a wonderful description about Aurangzeb’s period. Hope I could get more description about other mughal emperors.

  2. There is lots of mistakes…..
    1. Aurangzeb was not against the siays…according to proffesor athar ali 27 siay sardar with is in the samughar battle.
    2. Darul hurb and darul Islam concept ( according to j.n. sircar) was failed….. Satish Chandra clearly says that there is no any attamp of religion change of local people by Aurangzeb……
    3. And no single written Farman(order) of distory the Hindu tample by Aurangzeb……

    This article only based on sir JN sircar and s r Sharma’s research….. New research nhi h…

  3. The revolt of jats and satnamis was not a hindu reaction against aurangzebs religious policy but were Agrarian in nature. They had nothing to do with the Religion…
    Also the hindus were appointed on many impt. Positions like Raja Jai Singh and jaswant singh were appointed as governers of Deccan and Gujrat respectievely…
    The population of hindus increased in comparison to the period of any Mughal rular.
    The banning of religious festivals was jst a stp of social reform nd to mantain law and order… Thanku

  4. Aurangzeb Reh.is d only mughal emperor under whom d most military propotion was of hindu,rajput,jat,bundelas fighting for mughal emporer…this signifies Aurangzeb Reh.’s trust over hindus than muslims…. N there is no evident case that one of his any hindu,jat,rajput,bundelas military soldier or officer has accepted islam or forced to do so.

  5. fraud information expanded by ias.org.. It is fully worng about the policy of Auragjzeb

  6. Please!!!
    Read it completely.
    Many historians have called Aurangzeb a fanatic and a zealot because he issued decree to demolish Hindu temples and forbade the practice of any religion other than his own. He imposed Jiziya tax on his Hindu subjects.

    Poor Aurangzeb!

    Historian have completely misunderstood Aurangzeb. He was one of the most pious Muslim rulers in Islamic history. He is reported to have memorized the entire Koran. Even though he was the Emperor of a vast Empire, he is reported to have lived by the income derived from sewing Muslim Prayer caps. He is also reported to have made copies of the Koran to supplant his income. While Muslim rulers were known for keeping harem of hundreds of women, he did not marry more than what Allah had ordained.

    It is not without reason that he is called by the Muslim scholars as “Living Pir”. There was not a “zealot” bone in his body and not a “zealot” thought in his mind. It is not without reason that in the Year Book of the Muslim World, in the biography section, Living pir and pious Alamgir Aurangzeb gets 29 lines and apostate Akbar just 5. (Nadir Shah 35, Babar 30, Mahmud of Ghazni 31)

  7. Many mistakes…Shah jahan was not the son of Akbar.this is well known to everyone this shows that there is some more mistakes that is mentioned above.

  8. Aurangzeb unfortunately was also a very cruel and the one who ordered systematic destruction of Hindu temples .I think he started India’s present problems

  9. You all got a distorted version of history ……….don’t know which author s you read but let me tell all info. Is correct…….(except fumble in shah khan and Akbar) ….
    Aurangzeb z policy:-

    “”CRuelity commands respect . Men may hate us but we don’t care for their love only for their fear
    “”
    Circumventing the very basic idea of him being a Traitor and people(mulla’s and Maulana) who try to present a distorted version to the world at large and their people in circles ,,,,
    Read NCERt books (10 class tak) compiled by greatest f the historians

    P.s :- don’t study like conspiracy theorists…….and try not to mix religion here ……..
    Facts r facts and religion is not a fact at all
    #carpe-diem

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