HISTORY OF INDIA from 1707 – 1947
Death and legacy
By 1689, almost all of Southern India was a part of the Mughal Empire and after the conquest of Golconda, Aurangzeb may have been the richest and most powerful man alive. Mughal victories in the south expanded the Mughal Empire to 3.2 million square kilometres, with a population estimated as being between 100 million and 150 million. But this supremacy was short-lived. Jos Gommans, Professor of Colonial and Global History at the University of Leiden, says that "... the highpoint of imperial centralisation under emperor Aurangzeb coincided with the start of the imperial downfall." Aurangzeb's vast imperial campaigns against rebellion-affected areas of the Mughal Empire, caused his opponents to exaggerate the "importance" of their rebellions. The results of his campaigns were made worse by the incompetence of his regional Nawabs. Muslim views regarding Aurangzeb vary. Most Muslim historians believe that Aurangzeb was the last powerful ruler of an empire inevitably on the verge of decline. The major rebellions organized by the Sikhs and the Marathas had deep roots in the remote regions of the Mughal Empire. Unlike his predecessors, Aurangzeb considered the royal treasury to be held in trust for the citizens of his empire. He made caps and copied the Quran to earn money for his use. He did not use the royal treasury for personal expenses or extravagant building projects excepting perhaps the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, which for 313 years was the world's largest mosque. Aurangzeb constructed a small marble mosque known as the Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) in the Red Fort complex in Delhi. However, his constant warfare, especially with the Marathas, drove his empire to the brink of bankruptcy just as much as the wasteful personal spending and opulence of his predecessors. Aurangzeb knew he would not return to the throne...
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