The fall of Mughal Empire
Under Aurangzeb’s successors the decay of empire was hastened by several causes and the spirit of lawlessness rampant throughout the land. In such circumstances ruin of Mughal Empire was inevitable. Aurangzeb, as a ruler of India proved to be a failure. He hardly realised that the greatness of an empire depends on the progress of its people as a whole, largely owing to the emperor’s each of political foresight. The symptoms of the integration of Mughal Empire appeared before he left the world. His successors only hastened the process of decay. Disintegration of the Mughal Empire
The death of Aurangzeb on the 3rd March, 1707, was a signal for the disintegration of the mighty Mughal Empire, which dazzled the contemporary world by its extensive territories, military might and cultural achievements. The reign of Aurangzeb was the swan-song of the Mughal rule in India. No sooner had he breathed his last then his three sons Muazam, Muhammad Azam and Muhammad Khan Baksh entered into bitter oratorical quarrels for the possession of the throne of Delhi. While nine Mughal Emperors followed one another in quick succession in the fifty years following the death of Aurangzeb, many adventurers Indian and foreign carved out independent principalities for themselves. Mughal government of Oudh, Bengal and the Deccan freed themselves from the control of the Central Government. The Hindu powers found the time opportune for assertion of their independence. Invaders from the North-West repeated their incursions in search of wealth and the European trading companies interfered in Indian Politics. In spite of all these external and internal dangers, dissolution process of the Central structure of the great Mughal Empire was slow and long drawn out process. BajiRao’s raid of Delhi(1773) and Nadir Shah’s invasion(1739) exposed the hollowness of the Mughal Empire and by 1740 the fall of the empire was an accomplished fact. Among the various causes responsible for decline and the downfall of the great Empire the following deserve special mention: 1. Aurangzeb’s responsibility.
The expansion of the Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb resembled an inflated balloon. The empire has expanded beyond the point of effective control. Its vastness in the absence of developed means of communication tended to weaken the centre instead of strengthening it. The emperor’s religious policy provoked a general discontent in the country and the empire was faced with rebellions of the Sikhs, the Jats, the Bundelas, the Rajputs and above all the Marathas. Aurangzeb only created enemies. His narrow bigoted religious policy turned the Rajputs, a reliable supporter of the Imperial dynasties into foes. He re-imposed “Jeiza” on the Hindus which led to the rising of the Satnamis, Bundelas and the Jats. The Sikhs rose against the empire paralysing Imperial administration in the Punjab. The Hindu resistance in the Maharashtra assumed a national character. The Maratha guerrillas demoralised the splendid armies of Aurangzeb, broke their spirit of superiority and wore them out. One of the strongest reasons of the annexation of the Shia Kingdoms of Bijapur and Golconda was religious. The conquest of these Muslim kingdoms of the south removed the strongest local check on Maratha activities and left them free to organise resistance of Mughal Imperialism. Aurangzeb’s mistaken policy of war in the Deccan which continued for twenty seven years drained the resources of the empire. The rulers of Bijapur and Golconda were Shias and for a fanatical Sunni like Aurangzeb there was no place for them in India. The annexation of these States was a blunder. He should have followed a buffer-state policy towards these kingdoms. He should have subordinated his religious zeal to statesmanship. If he had helped these states against the Marathas, he would have been able to keep the latter in check with much less expense and waste of energy. After the annexation of Bijapur...
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