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Aurangzeb, born Oct. 24, 1618, died on Feb. 20, 1707, was the sixth MOGUL emperor of India and the last to wield effective power. He was the third son of SHAH JAHAN, whom he served as viceroy of the Deccan (1636-44). He was sent to subdue Golconda (1656) and Bijapur (1657), but he returned in 1658 and seized the throne from his sick father, whom he held prisoner at Agra until his death. In the war of succession that followed, Aurangzeb killed his two older brothers and imprisoned his younger brother. He then moved the seat of government from Agra to Delhi and adopted the reign title of Alamgir ("World-holder").

Until about 1680 Aurangzeb's rule was fairly stable. Then, possibly provoked by a revolt (1678-81) of the RAJPUTS, which was supported by his third son, he began a series of fierce campaigns against the Hindu kingdoms. Bijapur and Golconda were finally captured in 1686-87. Thereafter he fought continuously and ineffectively against the MARATHAS in the south and west. Although Aurangzeb brought the Mogul empire to its greatest extent, his wars depleted his treasury, and his long absences in the south led to a weakening of Mogul control in the north. By his death, the empire was disintegrating. His Muslim fanaticism had also resulted in the destruction of countless Hindu temples and shrines.