Date: 9/20/2005


Moghuls, the true picture /// Source: /// We regularly come across articles that eulogise the Moghuls. But were they as great and noble as they are made out to be? For a true picture read on. /// Tuesday, August 30, 2005 /// ----------------------------------- /// Advent of Mughul Rule: Babar /// Zahir Ud-din Mohammad or Babar (1484 1530 CE) was the ruler of the central asian Kingdom of Ferghana, a minor kingdom to the east of modern city of Tashkent in central Asia. He was a 5th generation desecendant of Timur Lung on his Father's side and on his mother's side of Chengis Khan. Timur Lung as we all know had sacked Delhi in 1398 in which he slaughtered 100,000 Hindus as a part of Jihad (Islamic war on non-believers of Islam). He ordered the heads of slaughtered Hindus to be made into Four pyramids and were set up in the four corner of Delhi. After his attack on Delhi it virtually became a city of the dead. /// Babar invaded Delhi with just 12,000 soldiers but had a strong artillery. Sultan of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodhi advanced from Delhi to meet the invader at Panipat with an army of 100,000 and 1000 war elephants. In the battle that took place at Panipat, Babar used cannons and the elephants in Lodi's army hearing noise of cannon at close range got frightened and ran wildly out of control trampling their own soldiers. Ibrahim Lodhi and about 6000 of his troops were involved in actual fighting. Most of his army stretching behind up to a mile never saw action. The battle ended in about half a day with the death of Ibrahim Lodhi who was at forefront. The battle marked the foundation of the so called Mughal or Mogul empire in India.The battle also marked the beginning of large-scale use of fire arms in Indian warfare. /// But Babar had to still fight the Rajputs of Mewar under the leadership of Rana Sangha or Sangram Singh who had a crippled leg, he had lost one eye in a fight with his brother, and a hand in battle. Rajput states joined forces under the leadership of Rana Sanga in a bid to conquer the new assailant and drive him from India. On March 17, 1527, the armies of Babar and Sangha met at Khanwa, about 60 km. west of Agra. At first, Sanga tasted victory, entirely destroying the Mughal advance guard of fifteen hundred. Unfortunately, the Maharana failed to follow up his advantage, hampered by discord among his allies. Babur's forces entrenched themselves. Babur employed artillery, which wreaked dreadful havoc in the Rajputs' closed ranks. The cannon fire also stampeded the Rajput elephants. But Sangha's forces continued the fight and the outcome remained doubtful. Then Silahadi, one of Sangram Singh's most trusted generals, decamped to Babur with his force. Rana Sangha lost the war and was forced to retreat from the field. Babur then raised towers of Hindu skulls just as his ancestor Timu Lang.He vowed he would not re-enter Chittor except in victory. He died at Baswa on Mewar's northern border without redeeming his pledge. Babar says in his memoirs called Tuzuk-I-babri on his killing so many Hindus, "For the sake of Islam I became a wanderer, I battled infidels and Hindus, I determined to become a martyr, Thank God I became a Killer of Non-Muslims! " /// He has also recorded the destruction of temples and the construction of Mosques at the same site to humiliate the defeated and to assert his supremacy. The important ones being the Babri Mosque at Ayodhya and one he built in Delhi on the supposed site of Indraprastha, the capital of Pandavas in the Mahabharatha and now known as Purana Quila. Guru Nanak Dev (the first Guru of the Sikhs) witnessed first hand the atrocities Babur committed on Hindus and recorded them in his poems. He says: "The Creator Himself does not take the blame, but has sent the Mughul as the messenger of death. There was so much slaughter that the people screamed. Didn't You feel compassion, Lord?" /// ------------ /// Humayun /// Humayun (1530-40, 1555-6) succeeded Babur and he inherited a freshly won empire with a host of troubles; the Afghan nobles, the Rajputs and worst of all, his three treacherous brothers. Sher Shah Suri (Afghan General who had served under Babur) defeated Humayun in the battles of Chausa and Kanauj in 1540. He lived the next 15 years of his life, from 1540 to 1555, self- exiled in Persia. Later on, with the help of the King of Persia, he captured Kabul and Kandhar. He was finally able to re-ascend the throne at Delhi and Agra after defeating Sikandar Suri. In 1556, Humayun fell from the staircase of his library in Delhi in his haste to obey the call to prayer and died. His son Akbar born of a Persian princess Hamida, who was only 13 years old succeeded him. During the first five years of his rule, Akbar (1556 1605) was fortunate to be assisted and advised in running the affairs of the state by an able reagent named Bahram Khan. /// ---------------- /// Akbar /// Hearing the news of Humayun's death, Hemu (chief minister to one of Afghan prince) with a desire to overthrow Mughals, and marched with a large force towards Delhi and defeated Mughal Governor Tardi Beg Khan's forces. Hemu proclaimed himself an independent ruler with the title of Raja Vikramaditya. But in the same year he had to face Akbar's forces under Bahram Khan at the Battle of Panipat. Hemu with a large army including 1,500 war elephants had initial success. There was a pitched battle and Hemu was on a winning spree when a stray arrow struck him in the eye and he became unconscious and slumped in the howdah. Following which his forces being leaderless lost the battle. And Delhi, once again fell back into Mughul Hands. Bahram Khan pleaded Akbar to perform the holy duty of slaying the infidel (non-believer of Islam) and earn the Islamic holy title of 'Ghazi` (Muslim soldier ). Among much self-congratulation Akbar then severed the head of unconscious Hemu with his saber. Akbar was only 13 years old then. THERE WAS A GREAT SLAUGHTER OF THOSE WHO WERE CAPTURED and IN KEEPING WITH THE CUSTOM OF HIS ANCESTORS TIMUR LANE AND CHENGIZ KHAN, AKBAR HAD A VICTORY PILLAR BUILT WITH THEIR HEADS. HEMU'S AGED FATHER WAS CAPTURED AND ON REFUSING TO ACCEPT ISLAM, WAS EXECUTED. At the age of seventeen, Akbar on the advice of his nurse Maham Anga sent Bahram for pilgrimage to Mecca. But Bahram was murdered on his way in Afghanistan. Although Akbar was an illiterate he realized quickly that it was difficult to rule the empire with out the support of the Rajputs. He adopted a conciliatory policy towards the Rajputs and offered them positions in the nobility. With this policy he was able to secure the borders of his kingdom and also expand it into Gujarat, Orissa Rajasthan, Kashmir, Sindh and Kabul by 1595. He also made attempts to expand his empire into the Deccan region. Akbar used marriage alliances with Rajputs (Rajput Princess) as a way of expanding his empire (The Moghuls incidentally never returned the favour by giving, or even offerring, their daughters to the Rajputs!). /// But the Maharana Udai Singh (son of Maharana Sangha) was not bought over by Akbar and he continued the resistance of Rajputs to foreign rule and proudly refused any alliance with Mughals. Angered by this Akbar laid a siege of Chitod on October 24, 1567. Rana of Mewar, Uday Singh left his capital, the great fort of Chitod to be defended by 8,000 Rajputs under an excellent commander, Jai Mal, and took himself and his family to the safety of the hills. Akbar forces lost nearly 200 men a day to musket fire from the fort and the siege lasted for four months after which the fort eventually fell into Akbar's hands on February 23, 1567, That night flames leapt to the sky as 1000's of Rajput Woman performed JAUHAR (act of self-immolation). They preferred jumping into a roaring fire, to being captured by Mughal Akbar. Later, the victorious Mughal army entered the fort of Chitod. At the time there were 40,000 Hindu peasants and artisans residing in the fort besides the Rajput army. AKBAR THEN ORDERED THE KILLING OF ALL THE CAPTURED UNARMED 40,000 HINDUS. /// Maharana Udai Singh then built a new city named after him Udaipur and made it his capital. Over the years he re-captured many forts from the Mughuls. He died in 1572, his son Mahrana Pratap succeeded him. /// Akbar celebrated the fall of Chitor by making a piligrimage to the tomb of Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chisti at Ajmer. Though he had more than three hundred wives, Akbar had no heir to succeed. It was this time, Shaikh Salim chisti living at Sikhri told Akbar that he would have three sons. The dreams fulfilled and Akbar was so impressed by the sequence of events that he built a new capital city at Sikri in honour of Shaikh Salim. /// Akbar had control of Chittor but not the kingdom of Mewar. He had sent several emissaries to Mewar to get Maharana Pratap to agree to sign a treaty declaring the supremacy of Akbar but Maharana Pratap turned down each one of them. In a bid to weaken Maharana Pratap, Akbar appointed Kunwar Sagar Singh, a younger brother of Pratap, to rule the conquered territory, However, Sagar, regretting his own treachery, soon returned from Chittor, and committed suicide with a dagger in the Mughal Court. /// In preparation for the inevitable war with the Mughals, Maharana Pratap commanded his subjects to leave for the Aravali mountains and leave behind nothing for the approaching enemy - the war would be fought in a mountain terrain which the Mewar army was used to but not the Mughals. The Bhils of the Aravalis were completely behind him. The army of Mewar now raided Mughal trade caravans going from Delhi to Surat, on their way to Europe. A section of his army guarded the all important Haldighati Pass, the only way to get into Udaipur from the North. Maharana Pratap swore that he would eat from leaf-plates, would sleep on the floor and would not shave till he achieved freedom. /// In 1576, the famous battle of Haldighati was fought with 20,000 Rajputs against a Mughal army of 80,000 men commanded by Raja Man Singh. The battle was fierce though indecisive; Maharana was wounded in the battle but his loyal, horse Chetak, who gave up his life trying to save his Maharana. After this war, Akbar tried several times to take over Mewar, failing each time. Maharana Pratap himself was keeping up his quest for taking Chittor back. However, the relentless attacks of the Mughal army had left his army weaker, and he barely had enough money to keep it going. /// In one incident that caused him extreme pain, his children's meal - bread made from grass - was stolen by a dog. It is said that this cut into Maharana Pratap's heart deeply. He began to have doubts about his resolute refusal to submit to the Mughals. Maharana Pratap wrote to Akbar accepting his offer for peace. /// At that time Prithiraj, a Rajput Prince serving at Akbar's court writes to Maharana Pratap not to give up the fight against the Mughuls as he was the last hope for India's freedom. Following this Maharana Pratap reverses his decision of submitting to the Mughals and carries on the fight despite grave personal hardships. /// After 1587, Akbar relinquished his obsessive pursuit of Maharana Pratap and took his battles into Punjab and India's Northwest Frontier. Thus for the last ten years of his life, Maharana Pratap ruled in relative peace and eventually freed most of Mewar, including Udaipur and Kumbhalgarh, but not Chittor. Thus Maharana Pratap Singh struggled through very hard times when he and his family and children ate bread made of grass, but never gave up his fight for freedom. On January 29, 1597, Maharana Pratap Singh, Mewar's greatest hero, He left his body at Chavand, aged 56. He never slept on a proper bed till his death as he could not win back Chitor. /// Unlike any other Muslim ruler in India, Akbar was perhaps the most tolerant of all Mughal rulers and other Muslim rulers of India. In 1564 the Jizya tax (A tax stipulated in the Koran to be paid by non-Muslims) on non-Muslims which was introduced by his predecessors was abolished, and bans on temple building and Hindu pilgrimages were lifted. Later during his rule he is believed to have stopped sending money to Mecca and Madina as the distribution of wealth to the poor. He then sought a religion that encompassed the best elements of the various religions and proposed a new one called Din Ilahi or the Divine Faith. However, it is believed he did not vigorously promulgate his new religion and it never gained in popularity, as the tenets were not clearly spelled out. /// As expected he soon ran foul with the ulema (the community of Islamic believers), who considered his actions blasphemous and a threat to Islam. His half brother Hakim, the governor of Kabul sent a fatwa enjoining all Muslims to revolt. Akbar sought the help of his Hindu lieutenants and defeated Hakim in Lahore and then made a triumphant entrance into Kabul in 1581. /// Akbar court had among others, Birbal, a gadfly, noted musician Tansen, Abul Fazl who wrote Akbar's Memoirs Akbar Nama. Most of the monuments constructed by Akbar were in or near Agra rather than in Delhi. Akbar's most ambitious and magnificent architectural undertaking was the new capital city that he built on the ridge at Sikri near Agra. The city was named as Fatehpur to commemorate Akbar's conquest of Gujrat in 1572. The most impressive creation of this new capital was the Jamia Masjid. /// Akbar had only three sons Prince Salim, Murad and Daniyal, despite having around 300 wifes and more than 5000 women in his harem. Prince Murad and Daniyal died in their prime from excessive alcoholism. during their father's lifetime. Prince Salim (Jahangir) turned against him. In the year 1600, when Akbar was away, Salim attempted to seize Agra. The father and son reconciled but Salim again declared himself emperor in 1602. Salim murdered the trusted memorialist of Akbar, Abul-fazl, when he was sent to Salim to broker a truce between father and son. Akbar finally agreed to have Salim as his successor. Akbar fell ill and died of slow poisoning on October 27, 1605. /// ------------ /// Jahangir/// Salim Akbar's son, Salim succeeded him as Jahangir (1605 AD - 1627 AD) after his death. Jahangir married Nur Jahan, a Persian, who was the thirty-year-old widow of one of his Afghan nobles in 1611. From then on Nur Jahan then became the real ruler of the empire until the death of her husband Jahangir. Leading positions of the court were filled by her, her father and brother Jahangir was an alcoholic and dependent on the decisions of his wife. Jahangir's third son Prince Khurram (future Shah Jahan-born 1592 of Hindu Rajput princess Manmati), Khurram was kept busy with several campaigns in Bengal and Kashmir. Jahangir claimed the victories of Shah Jahan's as his own. /// Kandahar and Northern Afghanistan, which had been won by Akbar, was lost to Persia's Shah Abbas. Some success was at hand in the Deccan when an African slave, Malik Ambar, brought from Baghdad, serving under the sultante of Ahmadnagar, helped Shah Jahan. After the fiasco in Kandahar, the relationship between Khurram and Jahangir soured. Khurram suspected that Nur Jahan favored her son-in- law Prince Shariyar (son of Jahangir from a slave), who was married to her daughter Ladli Begum, from her first marriage. Khurram was in rebellion with his father and in this the African slave Malik Ambar and Nur Jahan's brother Asaf Khan aided him. Khurram was married to Asaf Khan's daughter Mumtaz Mahal. Prince Shariyar was murdered and Nur Jahan spent her last years building a tomb for her father in Agra. /// In Mewar too successive Mughul generals (1605-1614) including Jahangir's own son Price Parvez failed to subdue Maharana Amar Singh (Son of Maharan Pratap). In the famous Battle of HALDIGHATI, Prince Parvez was defeated by Maharana Amar Singh and he fled the battlefield and retreated to Ajmer in disgrace. By then, Maharana Amar Singh had fought seventeen pitched battles and had captured many new areas, but each victory had meant the loss of many more of Mewar's most experienced veterans. In 1614, with a substantial army Prince Khurram attacked Mewar. Although Maharana Amar had tried to carry out his father's policies for seventeen years, the Mewar generals and ministers (the nobles), dismayed by the heavy odds against them and dejected by their earlier losses in the continuous battles of the past, pressured Amar into negotiating a peace treaty with Emperor Jahangir. With reluctance, the Maharana negotiated peace with Jahangir. /// The Maharana accepted the terms and, in February 1615, met Prince Khurram at Gogunda and signed the peace treaty. In 1616 as per the treaty, Maharana finally regained the ancient capital of Chittor but the fort was not to repaired. After signing the treaty Maharana went into a deep depression and lived a secluded life in a small haveli (manor) at AHAR. One day in 1620, he returned to the City Palace and appointed his son as the next Maharana and then announced his abdication. Amar Singh passed away six months later, aged 61, being the first Maharana of Mewar ever to die in Udaipur. /// Jahangir, despite being born to a Rajput princess was intolerant towards Hindus. He prohibited the free inter-marriage customs between Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir. Hindus marrying Muslim girls and those who had already married were given a choice between Islam and death. Jehangir also issued orders for Guru Arjun to revise Holy Granth and remove any references to Islam and to pay two hundred thousands rupees as fine. The Guru told Mughal emperor Jehangir that his money was the sacred trust of the Sikh community and the hymns in the Holy Granth were revelation in praise of God: no one dare alter them. Following which he Guru Arjun to be tortured to death if he didn't agree to expunge the so-called derogator references to Islam in Adi Granth or he converts to Islam. The Guru was tortured for five long days. Guru was made to sit on a red hot iron sheet. They poured burning hot sand on his body. He was given a dip in boiling water. Guru Arjun died in the Mughul was only forty-three years old at the time of his supreme sacrifice on 30 May 1606. Jahangir, the laid back emperor died in 1627 from alcohol abuse and Shah Jahan (1627 - 1666 ) succeeded him. /// -----------/// Shah Jahan /// His reign opened with the execution of his brothers and nephews. In the first year of his reign Shah Jahan had to face the rebellion of Jujhar Singh, son of Bir Singh Deo which he managed to suppress. With Shah Jahan's accession to the throne, the Deccan policy of the Mughals entered a new phase. Apart from political differences, the Deccan rulers had pronounced Shiahite learnings and were suspected of allegiance to the Shia rulers of Persia. In 1633 the Mughals won the fort of Daulatabad & the Nizam Shahi kingdom came to an end. But Shah Jahan's imperialistic designs could not be satisfied without crushing Bijapur and Golconda. He called upon the rulers of these countries to acknowledge his suzerainty. Abdullah Qutb Shah of Golconda formally recognized the suzerainty of Shah Jahan but the king of Bijapur was not ready to barter away his independence. But ultimately Adil Shah of Bijapur had to acknowledge the over lordship of the emperor & was allowed to retain his ancestral kingdom. /// Having settled the state affairs in the Deccan in 1636 Shah Jahan retired to Agra. Aurangzeb was appointed the Governor of The Deccan & he occupied that post for eight years (1636-44). During this period, Aurangzeb annexed Bagalna near Nasik and reduced the power of Shahji. In 1653, Aurangzeb was appointed the Governor of the Deccan for the second time. He remained in the post till 1657. The cover of Mughal suzerainty only helped the southern sultanates to extend their borders well into Chola heartland of Tamil Nadu and Mysore. Muslim rule, now effectively extended to the mouth of Kaveri River./// >In 1632 Shah Jahan (Son of Rajput Princess) ordered that all Hindu temples recently erected or being construction should be razed to the ground.. In Benares alone seventy six temples were destroyed. Christian churches at Agra and Lahore were demolished. He revived the pilgrimage tax and checked the conversion of the Muslims to other faiths. /// In 1638, Shah Jahan moved his capital from Agra to a city in Delhi. Known as Shahjahanabad, the new capital city was laid out under the emperor's auspices from 1639-1648. In 1631, Shah Jahan's wife Arjuman Banu, who was called Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to his 14th child. It is said that Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife. But there are historians who say Shah Jahan seized and remodeled a great Shiva Temple, the Tejo Mahila, and converted it into Taj Mahal. Abdul Hamid, author of Badshahnama (memoirs of Shah Jahan) has stated that Taj Mahal is a temple-palace taken from Jaipur's Maharaja Jaisigh. /// During his time the pearl Mosque of Agra, the Diwan-i-Am, the Diwan- i-Khas, the Jamia-Masjid, and the celebrated Peacock throne were built. He ordered the fortification of the palace known as the Red Fort or Lal Qala. Twice the size of the fort at Agra, the Red Fort was named for the high, red sandstone wall that surrounded the white marble palaces. Shah Jahan's had four sons from his wife Arjuman Banu, Dara Shukoh, Shah Shuja, Aurangzeb, and Murad Bakhsh, when in 1657, Shah Jahan became seriously ill. The expectation of an early death provoked the four sons into making a desperate bid for the throne. /// ----------------- /// Aurangzeb /// Dara Shukoh, Shah Jahan's favorite and his heir, was a man of broad intellectual interests was very popular with people of Delhi. Dara Shukoh was a student of Hindu philosophy, educated in the Sufi tradition. He translated, with the help of a pundit, 52 Upanishads, Gita and Yoga Vashishta into Persian, completed in 1657. Aurangzeb (1658 - 1707) was a strict and orthodox Muslim. Aurangzeb had a fierce greed for power and had a superior military talent. On 29 May 1658 near Agra, Aurangzeb defeated Dara's army. Dara captured and was marched humiliatingly, together with his 15 year old son Sipihr Shukoh, along Chandni Chowk. Dara beheaded later on and buried in Humayun tomb complex. Sipihr was imprisoned for 14 years. Aurangzeb also killed his other brothers and declared himself the monarch in 1658. Shah Jahan who was old and whose health was poor, spent the last eight years of his life as a prisoner of his son Aurangzeb. Thus began the reign of Aurangzeb /// At the beginning of his reign he added Assam and Kashmir to his kingdom, Deccan had already been subdued except for the trouble being created by the Marathas. He also began his dream of converting the entire Indian population into a Muslim community. Gross discrimination in the ranks of administration was imposed. Art, music and dance were banned. The hated jizya that had been lifted by Akbar was reinstated for all Hindus. When the people in Delhi protested they were ordered to be stampeded by elephants. Temple desecration was again begun in earnest, though it had never been completely stopped during Shah Jahan's rule. Varanasi, the holiest Hindu site was attacked because of Shiva Lingam worship, the worst form of idolatry according to Islam. A mosque was built in its place. An order was issued that all new temples and others in strategic locations were to be destroyed or converted to mosques. Non-Muslims were blatantly treated as second-class citizens and bigotry was encouraged with impunity. /// This alienated the Jats, Rajputs and the Sikhs, in addition to the rising Maratha power in the South. Aurangzeb tried during his lifetime to put down rebellions all over his empire (the Marathas, the Sikhs, the Satnamis and the Rajputs) by one hand while trying to take Deccan with the other. However, it was like trying to put out a wild fire. Ultimately, it was these alternative power blocs, which were cropping up all over the country that sped up the fall of the Mughals. /// Shivaji was born in 1627 to Sambhaji and Jijabai. His father was a General of the Adil Shah's of Bijapur. In his early days under the able tutelage of his Guru Shri. Ramdasji, he would take control from the fort as Governor and immediately send a word to the King of Bijapur, that he had done in the king's interest as the ex-governor was not giving the revenue due to the king. Shivaji used this technique of cunningness to conquer more and more such forts. The king eventually ordered Shivaji to stop these activities. But Shivaji knew that by now the whole region was behind him and thus ignored the warnings from the King of Bijapur. /// The King of Bijapur sent a small army under Afzal Khan to catch Shivaji dead or alive. When a peace meeting between the two was arranged, Afzal Khan (a big, stocky and giant of a figure, compared to short and agile figure of Shivaji) tried to kill Shivaji with a big embrace and stab at Shivaji. Shivaji was prepared for this enentuality with a short knife under his palm. With a swift action, he slayed the giant. The Marathas who were hiding behind every crevice and bush in the densely wooded jungles around the Pratapgad fort ambushed Afzal Khan's army and routed it completely. /// Aurangzeb was infuriated by this and wanted to desperately crush the infidel upstart. He sent his uncle maternal Shaista Khan with a large and powerful army to checkmate Shivaji. Shaista Khan came into Maharashtra and started devstating towns, villages fields, temples, forts and everything that came in his path. To provoke Shivaji, Shaista Khan established his camp in Shivaji's home in Pune called Lal-Mahal. And to top it up, he put up his Harem in Shivaji's prayer room. Shivaji bided his time for many months and one night, he with a select band of Maratha, sneaked into Pune and into the Lal-Mahal. He tracked down the sleeping Khan to his bed. The Khan sensing that his time was up tried jumping out of the window. At that point Shivaji cut off the Khan's fingers with which he was holding on to the window sill. /// Following this Shaistha Khan was recalled to Delhi. This time the Mughal emperor sent a vast army under its senior general, Jai Singh. After a few skirmishes Shivaji thought it prudent nominally to accept the emperor's sovereignty and offered to come to court itself to pay homage. The trick worked and his army remained intact. He proceeded to Agra to present himself at the mughal court. However the perfidious emperor arrested him. As is well known, Shivaji tricked his jailors and escaped. By the time he returned to Poona, his army was in good condition. This was his opportunity to give a crushing defeat to the retreating armies. /// Now Shivaji had an unquestioned sway over a big area. Fort Raigad was to become the centre of power and prowess. He died after three years in 1680. His son could not amass sufficient strength to finish the work of liberation throughout Bharat but the good work done by him was continued by Peshwas later. After Shivaji's death seeing an oppurtunity to crush the Maratha power Aurangzeb in 1682, at the age of sixty-four, returned to Deccan never to return again to Delhi until his death twenty-five years later. Aurangzeb could not put off the flame of independence lit by Shivaji Maharaj. /// It was just not in the South that Aurangzeb had problems, he had antagonized the people of the North too.In those days he had ordered a large scale conversion of Kashmiri Pandits into Islam. In 1675, unable to bear the burden the Kashmiri Pandits turned to Guru Tegh Bahadur for help. On hearing their sad story the Guru said," Go tell Aurungzeb that if they can convert your Guru then you will all become Muslims". Aurangzeb asked Guru Tegh Bahadur to show miracles, if he was true guru, or to embrace Islam. The Guru replied that showing a miracle was to interfere in the work of God which was wholly improper. As for embracing Islam he considered his religion as good as Islam, and therefore the change of religion was not necessary. Aurangzeb ordered that the Guru be put to the severest tortures. After Six days of relentless torture when the Guru did not yield Aurangzeb ordered his death on 11th November 1675. After the execution Guru's head and body were placed on the back of an elephant and paraded into the streets and bazars of Delhi. They were kept at the Kotwali in Chandni Chauk after demonstrations. Aurungzeb then ordered that parts of his body be imputated and hung about the city. With his father thus murdered Guru Gobind Singh became the 10th Guru of the Sikhs. He was only 9 years old then. He organized the sikhs into a fighting body and carried on the fight against the oppressive rule of Aurangzeb. He continued the fight against Aurangzeb despite losing his two sons while fighting the Mughal hordes and two of his other sons were bricked alive at Sirhind under orders of a Mughal Governor. Aurangzeb towards the end of his life became more and more orthodox. In his zeal to hold on to power, he had already killed two of his sons. A third son had been imprisoned. His daughter was exiled because she kept corresponding with the exiled son Akbar in Persia. Lonely and desolate he never found peace in his heart and fell seriously ill in 1705. The misery of the people of India ended two years later, when he died in 1707, almost ninety years of age. /// ------- /// End of Mughul Rule/// With the death of Aurangzeb the inevitable struggle for succession started. Two brothers had already been killed and one Prince Muazzam came out as the victor, after defeating another brother in a battle for succession. He assumed the name of Bahadur Shah and ruled for five years. But the long reign of Aurangzeb had left seventeen potential claimants to the throne, including his grandchildren and great grandchildren. As a result, the next seven years saw more bloodshed and in 1719, Aurangzeb's great grandson, Muhammad Shah ascended the throne and ruled till 1748. Other Mughal rulers held on to power with diminishing influence until the year 1858, when the British dethroned the last Mughal king Bahadur shah Zarfar II. Thus ended the Mughul Ocuupation of India. But to the misery of India which had just recovered from one struggle for independence, it was to be enslaved again, this time by the British./// ..................000000000