Mughal King Aurangzeb the craftiest and most capable of all the brothers
Aurangzeb's successors were incapable of saving the tottering empire
Aurangzeb annoyed the Rajputs by destroying temples in the states of even some of his subordinate Rajputs allies. His attempt to annex the Rathor state of Marwar led to a prolonged warfare in which he was unsuccessful in achieving his aims.
According to some historians, Aurangzeb's destruction of Hindu temples and Sikh shrine, his ban Hindu festivals, re – imposition of the Jizya tax on non- Muslims (it had been abolished by Akbar) and higher taxes on Hindu traders than on because of political and economic compulsions. Whatever Aurangzeb's own reasons might have been, his religious policy was an important cause of repeated rebellions and of the decline of the Mughal empire. The empire was already crumbling when he died in 1707.
Aurangzeb's successors were incapable of saving the tottering empire from its ultimate collapse. Most of them functioned as puppets in the hands of one or the other of the powerful nobles. The Marathas and the Sikhs established their own independent states. During the eighteenth century, the Mughal emperors had become dependent on the support of the Marathas, the Nawab of Oudh or the English East India company for holding their throne.
Bahadur Shah (1707 – 1712) the immediate successor of Aurangzeb made peace with the Marathas and the Rajputs as he had little choice in the matter. His successor, Jahandar Shah (1712 – 13) was murdered by his nephew Farrukhsiyar (1713 – 1719) who became a puppet in the hands of two nobles known in history as the Sayyid Brothers. The Sikh leader, Banda Bahadur was killed during his regin but the Sikhs rose again. the Sayyid brothers killed Farrukhsiyar when he tried to get rid of the and put Muhammad Shah (1719 – 1748) on throne.
Mughal King Aurangzeb
Prince Aurangzeb in the war
Aurangzeb extended the boundaries of the Mughal empire
Shah Jahan's illness in 1657 started a war of succession among his four songs. His third son, Aurangzeb the craftiest and most capable of all the brothers, defeated Dara, the eldest, in battle and captured the throne from his father. Dara and Murad (another brother) were killed. The fourth, Shuja escaped to the Arakan hills (near the border on Myanmar) where he was killed by the tribal.
Aurangzeb extended the boundaries of the Mughal empire to its southernmost limits by annexing the kingdoms of Bijapur and Golconda. He expanded the boundaries of the empire in the east by making extensive conquests in Assam but the Mughal hold on that province was very short – lived. In the north – west, his campaign in Central Asia was an expensive failure.
Aurangzeb's reign was also troubled by recurrent rebellions in different parts of his kingdom. The more troublesome among these were the rebellions of the Jats, the Sikhs, their Marathas and the Rajputs. He failed to completely suppress them. Historians point out increase in taxes, re- imposition of the `Jizya' tax on non – Muslims and persecution of Hindus and Sikhs as the main causes of the rebellions.
The Sikhs had become a militant sect after Arjun Dev, their fifth guru, was executed by Jahangir. Aurangzeb suspected Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru, of helping the rebels and had him executed in 1675. That led to a prolonged Sikh rebellion which he could not crush completely.
Aurangzeb attempts to suppress Shivaji (1644 – 1680) the founder of a new Maratha Kingdom in the Deccan, were futile in the long run. Shivaji succeeded in building up an extensive empire in the South which include large parts of the modern states of Maharashtra. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The marathas continue their struggle even after death of Shivaji, under Sambhaji (1680 – 1689), Raja Ram (1689 – 1700) and Shahu (1700 – 1749). The Mughals were forced to seek their alliances against other enemies.