Vincent Arthur Smith.

The Oxford student's history of India online

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children, in all sixteen in number, and during her lifetime was
the object of his devoted affection. But after she was gone he
allowed himself in his old age to indulge in unseemly pleasures,
and lost all capacity for serious business.

Mughal architecture. The masterpieces of Mughal archi-
tecture belong by universal consent to the reign of Shahjahan,
in connexion with whom the subject is best considered. The
beautiful domed architecture of the Mughal period is not
a product of India. It is essentially foreign, that is to say,
Persian in style. But the earlier specimens were considerably
affected in details by the employment of Hindu artisans, and
the later examples are much enriched by the use of the Floren-
tine style of inlay (pietra dura) apparently imported from Italy
by European artists in the service of Shahjahan.

Early Mughal buildings. Babur and Humayun, who both
possessed excellent taste, are recorded to have erected many
splendid edifices, but nearly all these have perished. Akbar
loved building, and one of the finest examples of the earl}'
Mughal style is the massive mausoleum or tomb of his father
near Delhi, finished in the fifteenth year of his reign, and erected
at the expense of Haji Begam, the senior widow of Humayun.
While the general design suggests that of the Taj, the earlier
building is far more simple and severe than the great edifice
of Shahjahan. The buildings of Fathpur-Sikri, begun in
1569, are universally admired. The mausoleum of Akbar, at
Sikandra near Agra, planned and erected under the orders of
Jahangir, is unique in design. The other works of Jahangir's
time are chiefly at Lahore.

Works of Shahjahan. Everybody is agreed that the crowning
glory of Mughal architecture is the mausoleum of Mumtaz
Mahall at Agra, commonly known as the Taj, which occupied
a multitude of workmen incessantly for twenty-two years.
New Delhi, or Shahjahanabad, was built under the direction
of Shahjahan, whose palace there, when perfect, probably was
the most magnificent edifice of its kind in the world. During
recent years, especially under Lord Curzon's orders, much has





been done to preserve and restore the numerous Mughal
buildings at Agra, Delhi, and elsewhere. The Indo-Persian
paintings of Shahjahan's time are very fine, and include a long
series of charming portraits.


The reign of Aurangzeb : his treatment of the Hindus ; the Rajput revolt ;
Sivajl and the rise of the Marathas.

Aurangzeb at the time of his accession. In May, 1659,
when Aurangzeb assumed the full honours of the imperial
dignity under the title of Alamgir, conferred by his father, he
was forty years of age, mature in body and mind, well skilled
in affairs, both civil and military, and firmly convinced that
it was his duty to uphold his religion at any cost. The
history of his long reign, extending like Akbar's over a period
of fifty years save one, may be condensed as being that of
the failure of an attempt to govern a vast empire, inhabited
chiefly by Hindus, on the principles of an ascetic Muslim saint.

Aurangzeb' s principles of government. Aurangzeb never
flinched from the practical action logically resulting from his,
theory, that it was his duty as a faithful Muslim king to foster
the interests of orthodox Sunni Islam, to suppress idolatry ^
and, as far as possible, to discourage and disown all idolaters,
heretics (including Shiah Muhammadans), and infidels. He
could not do all he would, but he did all he could to carry his
principles into effect. No fear of unpopularity, no consider-
ation of political expediency, no dread of resistance, was
suffered to turn him for a moment from his religious duty as
he conceived it. The Emperor Aurangzeb was a man of high
intellectual powers, a brilliant writer, as his letters prove, an
astute diplomatist, a soldier of undaunted courage, a skilled
administrator, a just and merciful judge, a pious ascetic in his
personal habits, and yet a failure.

Palliation of his fight for the throne. He crossed a river



of blood to gain the throne. The best defence that can be
offered for the crimes by which he won it, is that indicated in
his letter reproaching his old tutor :

' Ought you not ', he writes, ' to have foreseen that I might
at some future period be compelled to contend with my
brothers, sword in hand, for the crown, and for my very exis-
tence ? Such, as you must well know, has been the fate of the
children of almost every king of Hindustan.' ^

That defence, as far as it goes, is sound. If any one of his
brothers had gained the prize, Aurangzeb would have suffered
death, and he can hardly be blamed because he preferred to
inflict, rather than suffer, death. The deposition of his father
was a necessary consequence of the defeat of Dara Shikoh, who
had already assumed the imperial authority with the assent
of the aged emperor, who was then no longer fit to rule. Once
the deposition had been effected, Aurangzeb spared his father's
life though sternly refusing him liberty. The brutal treat-
ment of Dara Shikoh, which cannot be justified, is explained
by Aurangzeb 's intense hatred for all forms of religious heresy.
His eldest brother, an avowed freethinker, was to him a thing
accursed, and a fit object for extremest insult. Aurangzeb
regarded the world from the point of view of a Muslim ascetic,
and as against the rights of orthodoxy the claims of kindred or
of justice to Hindu unbelievers were nothing in his eyes. He
took up the position of Philip II of Spain in relation to the
people of the Netherlands. Like that monarch he was intense!} 7
suspicious, trusting neither man nor woman. His love, al-
though perhaps sometimes given, was seldom sought and never
returned, except by one grandson, Prince Bedar Bakht.

Mir Jumla's attack on Assam. In the earlier part of
the reign the only wars, other than that of the succession,
which claim notice are those with Assam and Arakan. Mir
Jumla, the able general, who had done such good service for
Aurangzeb when he was viceroy of the Deccan, and again in
hunting down Shuja, was rash enough to follow in the footsteps
of Muhammad the son of Bakhtyar (ante, p. 115) and to invade


Assam. Mir Jumla failed like his early predecessor, and, like
him, died soon after his return (1663).

Annexation of part of Arakan by Shayista Khan. In the
course of the same year, Aurangzeb's uncle, Shayista Khan,
who had allowed himself to be surprised by the Marathas in
the Deccan, was transferred to Bengal as the successor of Mir
Jumla. He governed the eastern province for about thirty
years. His expulsion of the English merchants from his terri-
tory in 1686 has been mentioned (ante, p. 166). At an earlier
date (1666) he had cleared out the Portuguese and other pirates
who infested the rivers in the neighbourhood of Chittagong,
and sent an expedition against the king of Arakan, who had
abetted the evil-doers, and was compelled to cede the Chitta-
gong territory.

Twenty years' peace. ' The expeditions into Assam and
Arakan did not disturb the general peace of Hindustan. A
profound tranquillity, broken by no rebellion of any political
importance, reigned throughout Northern India for the first
twenty years of Aurangzeb's rule.' It is true that for nearly
three years (1673-5) the Afghan clans beyond the Indus gave
trouble, and during part of that time Aurangzeb in person
superintended the operations of his generals, but the peace of
India, as a whole, was not disturbed by skirmishing on the
north-western frontier.

Attack on Hinduism. Much more important than frontier
fighting was the change in the emperor's internal policy which
began in 1672. Before that date he had not felt himself at
liberty to carry out fully his theory of government, but now
he deemed his position sufficiently assured to justify an attack
on his idolatrous subjects. He went so far as to order ' the
governors of provinces to destroy with a willing hand the
schools and temples of the infidels ; and they were strictly
enjoined to put an entire stop to the teaching and practising
of idolatrous forms of worship '. Of course such orders could
not be carried out completely, but the lofty minarets of the
mosque on the bank of the Ganges at Benares, occupying



the site of a famous temple, bear witness to their partial

The jizya reimposed. Aurangzeb never became a sanguinary
persecutor. No massacres stain the annals of his reign. He
was content to worry the Hindus, insult their religion, and
make compulsory converts. In pursuance of this perverse
policy he made an attempt to seize the children of the deceased
Raja Jaswant Singh of Marwar, apparently with the intention
of bringing them up as Muslims (? 1678), and, in 1679, against
all advice, reimposed the jizya, or poll-tax on Hindus, which
Akbar had wisely abolished (ante, p. 181).

Rajput rebellion. The outrage on the children kindled
a flame in Rajputana, and produced a serious rebellion in which
both Marwar and Mewar joined, although Jaipur (Amber) still
remained loyal. Prince Akbar, the emperor's fourth son, who
had been sent against the rebels, allowed himself to dream
a dream of empire supported by Rajput swords, and went
over to the enemy. But his father's diplomacy was too much
for him the levies melted away, and the young prince was
ultimately driven into exile in Persia (1681), from which he
never returned. He lived there until 1706.

Alienation of the Rajputs. After some time the Rana of
Mewar (Udaipur) made an honourable peace, by a treaty
which contained no allusion to the odious jizya, and Raja
Jaswant Singh's son was recognized as chieftain of Marwar.
The mischief, however, had been done, and Aurangzeb had
wantonly thrown away his most trusty weapon, the devotion
of the Rajput chivalry. During the following struggle in the
Deccan he learned the extent of his loss, but never repented of
his action or swerved a hair's breadth from his principles.
Notwithstanding the treaty, Rajputana was not pacified, and
the greater part of the country continued in revolt until the
end of the reign.

Prohibition of histories. A curious decree of the eleventh
year of the reign abolished the office of imperial chronicler and
forbade the publication of histories by private persons. This


prohibition has caused a certain amount of indistinctness in
the details and obscurity in the chronology of the greater part
of Aurangzeb's long reign. Such histories as were written
secretly had to wait for publication until the emperor's death.

Aurangzeb and the Deccan. In 1657, when called away to
take his part in the fight for the throne, Prince Aurangzeb,
then viceroy of the Deccan, that is to say of Khandesh, Berar,
Telingana, and Ahmadnagar, seemed to be on the point of
annexing the kingdoms of Golkonda and Bijapur and bringing
the whole of the Deccan under the rule of his father. Many
years elapsed before Aurangzeb as emperor was able to return
to the scene of his early labours. Meantime a new power had
arisen, which, rashly despised at first, became strong enough
to baffle all the efforts of the imperial grand army, and to con-
demn the aged emperor to long-drawn years of fruitless toil,
ending in lonely death, ' without heart or help '.

The new-born Maratha power. Before taking up the story
of Aurangzeb's campaigns in the Deccan during the twenty-six
years from the close of 1681 to 1707, we must go back to trace
the origin of the new-born Maratha power and sketch the life
of Sivaji, who gave it birth. The Marathas are the Hindu
population of Maharashtra, the country of the Western Ghats,
lying to the south of the Satpura hills, to the west of the Warda
river, and extending southwards as far as Goa. In the thir-
teenth century this region had been the centre of the Yadava
power (ante, p. 94). Its best known towns are Poona, Satara,
Kolhapur, and Nasik.

Description of the Marathas. The Maratha people are well
described by Elphinstone, who knew them intimately.

c They are ', he writes, ' small, sturdy men, well made
though not handsome. They are all active, laborious, hardy,
and persevering. If they have none of the pride and dignity
of the Rajputs, they have none of their indolence or their want
of worldly wisdom. A Rajput warrior, as long as he does not
dishonour his race, seems almost indifferent to the result of
any contest he is engaged in. A Maratha thinks of nothing
but the result, and cares little for the means, if he can attain


his object. For this purpose he will strain his wits, renounce
his pleasures, and hazard his person ; but he has not a con-
ception of sacrificing his life, or even his interest, for a point
of honour.'

To this description of the ordinary low-caste Maratha may
be added the remark that the Brahmans of Maharashtra are
characterized by extreme subtlety and intellectual power,
qualities not always devoted in these latter times to the
service of the British Government.

Early life of Sivaji. Sivaji, 'the mountain rat', who frus-
trated the imperial plans for the subjugation of the south, was
the son of Shahji, who in early life had served the king of
Ahmadnagar, and afterwards became governor of Poona,
under the king of Bijapur. While still a lad of nineteen (1646)
Sivaji began a career as a brigand chieftain, and seized several
hill forts in succession. Between 1649 and 1659 he made
himself master of a large tract of country to the south of

Murder of Afzal Khan. In the year 1659 the king of
Bijapur sent an army against him under the command of
Afzal Khan. The Maratha chief, feigning submission, man-
aged to approach the general and to kill him by a treacherous
blow with a concealed weapon, known as a ' tiger's claw '.
Three years later Bijapur made peace, leaving Sivaji in posses-
sion of the territory which he had acquired.

Shayista Khan. The Maratha now ventured to ravage the
Mughal territories, and thus provoked Aurangzeb to send his
uncle, Shayista Khan, to suppress him. But the Mughal com-
mander, having allowed himself to be surprised, was trans-
ferred to Bengal, as already narrated (ante, p. 210).

Auzangzeb's mistake. Other generals, including Prince
Muazzam, were now sent against the rebel, and ultimately
(1665) Raja Jaswant Singh of Jaipur forced Sivaji to submit
and even to come to Delhi to do homage. Aurangzeb made
the mistake of treating his opponent with disrespect, and so
incurring his undying enmity. Sivaji escaped secretly from


the court, returned to the Deccan, and in 1667 compelled the
Mughal commanders in practice to recognize him as Raja.

Renewed war ; death of Sivaji, 1680. The war was soon
renewed, and the Maratha freely plundered the imperial terri-
tories, including the rich town of Surat, but excepting the
English factory there. In 1674 Sivaji proclaimed himself
sovereign of his territories with royal pomp at his capital of
Raigarh. He then crossed the Narbada, and levied the chauth,
or fourth part of the land revenue, a species of blackmail, pay-
ment of which was supposed to protect a district from plunder.
In the south, where his father and brother had held jagirs, he
occupied the fortresses of Vellore and Jinji (Gingee), and was
granted additional territory by the king of Bijapur, in payment
for help against the Mughals. In 1680 he died at the age of
fifty-three leaving behind him a great reputation as the cham-
pion of Hinduism, the creator of a nation, and the founder of
a powerful kingdom.

Civil administration. Sivaji, who had begun life as a mere
robber chieftain, showed, as his power grew, that he knew how
to govern his unruly subjects. He was a devout Hindu, and,
although illiterate and unable to sign his name, was well versed
in the sacred stories dear to all Hindus. His government,
accordingly, was organized on a Hindu pattern. The supreme
authority under the Raja was a council of eight ministers
who followed the principles of Brahman law. The chief
minister was called the Peshwa. Other members of the coun-
cil severally looked after various departments finance, the
army, and so forth. The Maratha territory was divided into
districts, each with a staff of officials, and each village had
its headman (patel). Higher local officers were known as
Desadhikars, Talukdars, and Subadars. The ministers usually
held military commands, and left their civil duties to deputies
(Karbaris). The revenue settlements were made annually.
Justice was in the hands of panchayats.

Army and navy. The army was controlled by a commander-
in-chief, below whom was a regular gradation of officers.


The men were paid. At first Sivaji relied on his infantry
recruited from the Western Ghats and the Konkan men who
could climb like monkeys and capture the hill forts which
were the seat of his power. Gradually the light cavalry be-
came the most important Maratha arm. The horsemen pre-
ferred the lance to any other weapon. Discipline was strict.
No soldier was allowed to bring a woman into the field, on
pain of death. In this respect Sivaji's force differed widely
from the armies of the Mughals, and even from those of the
East India Company, which were always clogged by a train
of female followers. Plunder, the chief object of Maratha
operations, all belonged to the Raja, and had to be accounted
for strictly. Cows, cultivators, and women were not to be
injured. A fleet capable of carrying four thousand soldiers
helped the operations of the army on the coast.

Character of Sivaji. Sivaji was a born leader of men born
in a time when fraud had to be met by fraud and force by
force. None of his enemies surpassed him in guile, nor was
any of them his match in decision and vigour when he re-
solved to employ force. Other things being equal, he pre-
ferred fraud to force. It was not a time for men of nice
scruples, and Sivaji was as unscrupulous as any of his rivals.
The Marathas, honouring him as the champion of Hinduism,
the protector of cows and Brahmans, recognize in him an
avatar or incarnation of the Deity. Less partial critics are
willing to give him full credit for many personal merits
and to palliate his crimes as being the result of his evil
surroundings. 1

Aurangzeb assumes command in the Deccan. At the close
of 1681, a year after Sivaji's death, Aurangzeb in person took
command of the army of the Deccan, resolved to extinguish
the kingdoms of Golkonda and Bijapur, to curb the insolence

1 Portraits of Sivaji have been published from time to time, but it is
doubtful if they really represent him. Grant Duff notes that no description
of his person is on record and that no portrait was preserved at either
Kolhapur or Satara.


of the Marathas, and, if possible, to bring the whole south
under Mughal rule.

His treatment of the Hindus. The emperor's obstinate
adherence to his wrong-headed policy of annoying his Hindu
subjects added immensely to the inherent difficulties of his
task. The first thing he did was to issue stringent orders for
the collection of the arrears of the jizya tax in the southern
provinces, and in three months he compelled his officers to
squeeze 26,000 rupees out of Burhanpur. Insult was added
to pecuniary injury by a proclamation that no Hindu should
ride in a palankin or on an Arab horse without special licence.
Such measures, of course, made the entire Hindu population
the friends of his foss ; but no consideration of prudence
sufficed to turn Aurangzeb from his fixed policy.

The affairs of Golkonda. When he returned to the Deccan
he found the government of Golkonda in confusion. The king,
Abul Hasan, had abandoned himself to pleasure and ceased to
take any part in public affairs, which were controlled by the
representative of the emperor at his court and by two Hindu
officials. Aurangzeb, who could not endure Hindu influence,
sent his son, Prince Muazzam, to restore order. The prince
dallied over his task, but at last attacked the city of Hyderabad,
which he permitted his soldiers to plunder. The king took
refuge in the adjoining fortress of Golkonda. In 1685 the
prince, having made peace on terms displeasing to his father,
was recalled.

Annexation of Bijapur, 1686. The emperor, leaving Gol-
konda alone for the moment, deputed another son, Prince
Azam, to reduce Bijapur. He had little success, and was
superseded by his father, who took the capital in 1686 after an
investment lasting more than a year. The kingdom ceased to
exist, and the splendid city became the abode of desolation, as
it is for the most part to this day.

Siege and annexation of Golkonda. Aurangzeb then resolved
to make an end of the sister state of Golkonda, and to depose
the king, who was accused of sending money to the Marathas,

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u> b*r* cMt Made kic eril hahiu and played
CrtAmiy the ctty WM pot in a i
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were corrupted by luxury and incapable c active effort.
Grant Duff sums up the situation in these ords : ' These
apparently vigorous efforts of the governmet were unsub-
stantial ; there was motion and bustle, withouteal or efficacy ;
the empire was unwieldy, its system relaxed and its officers
corrupt beyond all example.' Success was imossible for such
a government.

Execution of Sambhajl ; Raja Shahu. Lr a time the
emperor's arms had a promise of success, and\urangzeb had
the poor satisfaction of putting to death with trture Sambhajl,
a son of Sivaji, in 1689. He spared the life f Sivaji junior,
nicknamed Shahu (Sahu), the infant son of Saibhaji, and kept
him in custody until his own death, when the*oung man was
released and returned to his own dominions, le became Raja
in 1708 after a contest.

Tara Bal. A few years after Sambhaji's xecution, Tara
Bai, widow of Raja Rama, another son of Siva, had retrieved
the Maratha losses, and directed the policy oflevastating the
imperial territories with such energy that te emperor was
shut up in his camp, and his treasure was pandered almost
under his eyes.

letreat and death of Aurangzeb. The Mughal army
jled to pieces, general famines and pestences occurred
in once, and ultimately (1706) Aurarzeb was forced
on Ahmadnagar, where he died at te beginning of
L707 (New Style), in the fiftieth year f his reign and
jhth of his life. His dust lies uner a plain tomb
)f Rauza or Khuldabad near Dulatabad. His
ried separately at Ahmadnagr .

3well words. However sevrely the policy
jgzeb may be judged, its impossible to
in on his death-bed win he addressed

L ere I shall go, or iiat will happen
ow I will say god-bye to every
t every one to te care of God.


and allying himself with infidels. When Abul Hasan perceived
that his destruction was decided on, he is said to have become
a changed man, to have cast aside his evil habits and played
the part of a hero. Certainly the city was put in a good state
of defence, and when the siege began early in 1687, the imperial
troops found that they had been set a hard task. The Mara-
thas cut off the supplies of the besiegers, who were reduced to
extremities by famine and plague. An assault ordered by the
emperor failed utterly, and it seemed as if the siege must be
raised. But a traitor admitted the Mughal army, and Gol-
konda fell (Sept. 1687). By these conquests and later opera-
tions the imperial commanders were able to levy tribute from
Tanjore and Trichinopoly in 1691, which date may be taken
as marking the furthest southern extension of Mughal power.

Struggle with the Marathas. The two Muhammadan king-
doms had been destroyed, but the Marathas remained un-
subdued, and the remaining twenty years of Aurangzeb's life
were spent in the vain attempt to subdue them. The emperor
never returned to the north, and wasted those weary years
gaining ' a long series of petty victories followed by larger
losses '. His armies seemed to be getting the upper hand
between 1698 and 1701, but in the succeeding years the enemy
recovered the lost ground.

Maratha method of warfare. The Marathas never, or hardly
ever, risked a general engagement, expending all their energies,
like the Boers in the South African War, in cutting off supplies,

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