This article will help the candidates get an idea on the reign of the successors of Akbar- Jahangir, Nur Jahan, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb.
Akbar’s Successors (UPSC Notes):- Download PDF Here
Akbar's Successors: Jahangir (1605-1627), Shah Jahan (1627-1658), Aurangazeb (1658-1707)
- In 1605, Prince Salim succeeded with the title Jahangir (Conqueror of World) after the death of Akbar.
- He defeated and imprisoned Son Khusrau.
- He also beheaded Guru Arjun, the 5th Sikh Guru and one of the supporters of Khusrau.
- One of his supporters, Guru Arjun, the fifth Sikh Guru, was beheaded.
- In 1611, Jahangir married Mehrunnisa who was known as Nur Jahan (Light of World).
- Asaf Khan elder brother of Nur Jahan was appointed as Khan-i-Saman, a post reserved for the nobles.
- In 1612, Asaf Khan’s daughter, Arjumand Banu Begum (later known as Mumtaj), married Jahangir’s third son, prince Khurram (later Shah Jahan).
Shah Jahan (1627-1658)
- Shah Jahan launched a continued war in the northwest frontier to recover Kandahar and other ancestral lands.
- His Deccan policy was more successful.
- He defeated the forces of Ahmadnagar and seized it.
- Both Bijapur and Golkonda signed a treaty with the emperor.
- Shah Jahan engraved four Mughal provinces in the Deccan – Khandesh, Berar, Telungana and Daulatabad
War of Succession
- The last years of Shah Jahan’s reign were clouded by a bitter war of succession among his four sons
- Dara Shikoh (crown prince)
- Shuja (governor of Bengal)
- Aurangazeb (governor of Deccan)
- Murad Baksh (governor of Malwa and Gujarat)
- Aurangazeb emerged victorious in this struggle
- He entered the Agra Fort after defeating Dara
- He forced Shah Jahan to surrender
- Shah Jahan was confined to the female apartments in the Agra fort and strictly put under watch
- Shah Jahan lived for eight long years lovingly nursed by his daughter Jahanara.
- Aurangazeb was one of the ablest kings of the Mughal.
- He assumed the title Alamgir, World Conqueror.
- In his first ten years of reign, his military campaigns were a great success.
- But in the latter part of his reign, he faced serious difficulties.
- The Jats and Satnamis and also the Sikhs revolted against him due to his harsh religious policy.
- The Deccan policy of the Mughals started from the reign of Akbar.
- Aurangazeb, as governor of Deccan, followed a belligerent Deccan policy.
- He concentrated on the northwest frontier in his first 25 years as the Mughal emperor
- In the same time, Sivaji, the Maratha Ruler carved an independent Maratha kingdom in the territories of north and south Konkan.
- Aurangazeb decided to invade Bijapur and Golkonda to hold the spread of the Marathas.
- He defeated Sikandar Shah of Bijapur and seized his kingdom.
- He proceeded against Golkonda and eliminated the Kutb Shahi dynasty.
- The destruction of the Deccan kingdoms was a political blunder by Aurangazeb.
- The barrier between the Mughals and the Marathas was removed and there ensued a direct confrontation between them.
- His ideal was to transform India into an Islamic state.
- He created a separate department to enforce moral codes under a high-powered officer called Muhtasib.
- Drinking was prohibited. Cultivation and use of bhang and other drugs were banned
- Aurangazeb forbade music in the Mughal court
- He discontinued the practice of Jarokhadarshan
- He also discontinued the celebration of Dasarah and royal astronomers and astrologers were also dismissed from service
- When he began a policy of destroying Hindu temples.
- The celebrated temples at Mathura and Benares were reduced to ruins.
- In 1679, he reimposed jiziya and pilgrim tax.
- The celebration of Muharram was stopped
- His invasions against the Deccan sultanates were partly due to his hatred of the Shia faith
- He was also against the Sikhs and he executed the ninth Sikh Guru Tej Bahadur.
- His religious policy was responsible for turning the Rajputs, the Marathas and Sikhs into the enemies of Mughal Empire
- It had also resulted in the rebellions of the Jats of Mathura and the Satnamis of Mewar.
- Therefore, Aurangazeb was held responsible for the decline of the Mughal Empire.
Personality and Character of Aurangazeb
- Aurangazeb was an orthodox Sunni Muslim.
- In his private life, Aurangazeb was diligent and disciplined
- He was very simple in food and dress.
- He earned money for his personal expenses by copying Quran and selling those copies.
- He did not consume wine.
- He was proficient in Arabic and Persian languages.
- He was devoted to his religion and conducted prayers five times a day.
- He strictly observed the Ramzan fasting.
- He misunderstood the true nature of the Maratha movement and provoked them.
- Also, he failed to solve the Maratha problem and left an open sore.
- His policy towards Shia Deccan Sultanates also proved to be wrong.
- His antagonistic policies towards non-Muslims did not help him to rally the Muslims to his side and strengthened political enemies of the Mughal Empire.
Causes for the Downfall of the Mughals
- The Mughal Empire declined rapidly after the death of Aurangazeb.
- Taking this advantage, in 1739, Nadir Shah imprisoned the Mughal Emperor and looted Delhi.
- The religious and Deccan policies of Aurangazeb contributed to its decline.
- The weak successors and demoralization of the Mughal army were also the reasons for the decline.
- The financial difficulties due to continuous wars led to the decline.
- The neglect of the sea power by the Mughals was felt when the Europeans began to settle in India.
- Further, the invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali weakened the Mughal state.
Akbar’s Successors (UPSC Notes):- Download PDF Here