Muhi al-Din Muhammad, also known as Aurangzeb, was one of India’s longest-serving rulers of India belonging to the Mughal dynasty. In his book, Aurangzeb, Whitewashing Tyrant, Distorting Narratives, Saurabh D Lohogaonkar systematically disintegrates the lies that were spun around one of the world’s greatest mass murderers by presenting actual data and historical eyewitness accounts.
Lohogaonkar’s book reads more like a detailed forensic study of this dark period that saw millions of Hindus die and their places of worship systematically demolished. The author has presented compelling evidence of Aurangzeb’s cruelty and hatred against non-Muslims and his lack of faith in those Muslims who had recently converted to Islam and even Shia Muslims.
The book conclusively proves during his reign as the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb was very proud of his Timurid connection, which is clear evidence that he only saw Bharat as his property but not his country. In his eyes, Bharat was the land of the Kuffar, and it was his duty to kill or covert all.
In fact, in this book, the author gives the actual percentage count of how many foreign Muslims compared to converts and Hindu nobles. The book gives the exact percentage of many Irani-Turkish served under the Mughals and under Aurangzeb. More than 65 per cent of top positions were held by foreigners, and Indian Muslims consisted of only 14 per cent and Hindus less than 20 per cent. The author has actually given pie charts to prove his point.
American historical Will Durant, in the book, Our Oriental Heritage, writes, “Aurangzeb cared nothing for art, destroyed its “heathen” monuments with coarse bigotry, and fought, through a reign of half a century, to eradicate from India almost all religions but his own,”.
Aurangzeb, Whitewashing Tyrant, Distorting Narratives covers many facets of Aurangzeb’s rule, from his quest to gain power by killing all his brothers and nephews to how he reintroduced the humiliating Islamic taxation of Jazia over non-Muslims and to his constant wars to expand his territory.
However, his most cunning masterstroke was to use his religion as leverage during his struggle for succession. Aurangzeb was a tyrant, but he was also at the same time one of the coldest and most calculating people and his decisions, albeit cruel, were well-thought-out. The story of how he outwitted his older brother Dara Shikho was perhaps his finest achievement from a psychological perspective since he had nothing but hate for his brother, who was not only liked by their father but also by the people.
After Dara Shikho was captured, he wrote to his brother to forgive him and allow him to live in retirement, which many readers might find as new information because it has been conveniently erased from public memory. However, for Aurangzeb, his brother Dara who had translated the Vedas to Persian, will always be a threat, and to ensure his brother’s killing did not affect him in any way, he declared Dara an apostate. Once Dara was declared an apostate, his fate was sealed as now Aurangzeb had a watertight reason to have him killed.
Killing people in the name of blasphemy and apostasy is still prevalent in Islam. Once his brother was killed, his head was paraded all over Delhi to terrorize the people and relish his victory.
For over three hundred years, Aurangzeb has been portrayed as a pious man who lived a simple life, but in reality, he was one of the most vindictive human beings to ever walk the face of the earth. After getting rid of his elder brother, he put his youngest brother Murad Bakhsh in prison, where he was given drugs to make him senseless, and he did the same to his nephew Sulaiman Shikoh. Once every bit of life was sucked out of them, they were both executed and now buried in a Traitor’s Cemetery in Gwalior.
Aurangzeb’s blind and vengeful faith ensured the Mughals were constantly at war which led to the depletion of its treasury. Even his own son, Prince Akbar, who had fled to Persia, said that his father’s quest for more territory in the last twenty-five years of his life ravaged the Mughal army, he says, “The soldiers are impoverished and unprovided with arms, people have no employment traders being assassinated or their goods stolen. The lands of the Deccan, which are so vast and once seemed like terrestrial paradise, are now a day’s uncultivated, unproductive, and inhabited (Page 250)
Aurangzeb’s empire travelled with him because he was an extremely paranoid person who did not trust anyone, and in that process, wherever he went, he turned that place into a barren moon as his troops ransacked the countryside, which led to millions dying. His obsession with annihilating the Maratha empire cost the Mughals very dearly as the coffers ran dry, and there was rebellion all over his domain.
Saurabh D Lohogaonkar is not an eminent historian but a simple Indian who decided someone must be willing, to tell the truth, and taking a quote from the book, “until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter,”.