Q: The policies of Aurangzeb were the main reason for the decline of Mughal Empire. Do you agree or disagree? Give reasons for your answer. ANS: The policies of Aurangzeb were one of the main reasons for the decline of Mughal Empire. Historians are divided about Aurangzeb’s attitude towards religion. Some says that he was intolerant and wanted to destroy other religions. They point out that he reintroduced non-Muslims tax Jizya. He destroyed a number of Hindu temples and he also tried to ban some of Hindu practices such as Suttee. He also enforced Islamic law making Hindu and Sikhs live according to Quran. Perhaps much of the criticism is the result of his austere measures, such as appointing censors of public morals, banning the consumption of alcohol, and stopping singing and dancing at court and even determining maximum length for beards. But there were also many other reasons for the decline of Mughal Empire: 1) ADMINISTRATION: The huge Empire was very difficult to administer. Decisions were often relayed over thousands of miles. Obviously the Emperor could not know exactly what was happening in every part of the Empire. This is the reason why Aurangzeb started the use of Mansabdars, but many problems remained when the rebellion broke out it was many months before that the Emperor could know exactly and take decisive action to end them. 2) MILITARY COSTS: The Mughal Empire was very huge and within the Empire there was an array of different people and religion. The Emperors were continually fighting against rebellions; there was always a pressure on the Empire from the separatist elements. The cost of putting down rebellion and fighting wars against invaders such as Nadir Shah was enormous. 3) SUCCESSION: It was often true that huge sums were wasted when an Emperor died there was a succession dispute. When Shah Jahan fell sick in 1657 all his four sons ended up Prepared By:
fighting to succeed him-even though he had not yet died! It was to avoid costly wars that Aurangzeb decided to divide the Empire between his three sons but this was not successful and the succession dispute continued to erode the Empire. 4) DECLINING MILITARY EXPERTISE: When dynasties are in great power over for long periods it is easy to become complacent and to imagine the success will continue forever. This happened with the Mughal Empire who let their army’s expertise decline until it was no longer an effective fighting force. When it became obvious that the Mughal strength was declining discontented groups with in the Empire were quick to act. 5) PLEASURE SEEKING: The wealth created by the Mughals also encouraged the nobility to become pleasure loving and degenerate. They betrayed the Principles of Islam and instead enjoyed pleasures brought about by wealth. Nobles often had finest clothes, Jewellary and food. One friend of Akbar is to have ordered 100 courses at each meal. The Emperors also set a poor example. Fine buildings were a symbol of power and culture, but some times they were so expensive that they were the symbol of extravagance. 6) WEAK CONTROL: The nobility grew highly powerful at the court and some Emperors feel it difficult to control them. (Some such as Allamgir II was assassinated by powerful courtiers) With the weak control from the center mansabdari system was not sufficiently supervised administration efficiency declined. Discontent grew and revenue from tax collection declined. 7) THE ARRIVAL OF THE BRITISH: Since the time of Jehangir the English East India Company (EIC) tried to take advantage of the wealth to be gained by India. The EIC was a private trading company but behind it was the Government of the most powerful country in the world. England had been the first country to experience industrial revolution. Its industries were producing cheap manufactured goods which were sold all over the world. With the wealth this created the British could afford a military strength that the Mughals could not...
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