This book attempts to tell the full story of the actual fall of the Muslim empire which the Timurid prince Babar had founded in India in 1526. The decline of that empire had, however, commenced nearly a century before the year 1738, from which this book starts. The first unperceived origin and the gradual spread of the moral decay has been studied by me in earlier works, to which the reader must turn if he wishes to learn how step by step the poison worked in the body politic of the Delhi empire. Outwardly the empire reached its zenith under Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658) but in this very reign its decline commenced. My history of Aurangzib, in five volumes, starts with a detailed study of that prince’s campaigns as his follower’s agent in the Deccan, Balkh and Qandahar, followed by his administrative and martial activities as an exceptionally capable viceroy of the Deccan, other incidents, and the illness (in 1657) which cost Shah Jahan his throne. The earlier history of the Sultanates of Bijapur and Golkonda and the rise of the Maratha national hero Shivaji are sketched here. The second volume describes the war of succession among Shah Jahan’s sons. The third volume of History of Aurangzib confines itself to north India during the first half of Aurangzib’s reign, which he passed there in comparative peace except for the long wars with the Afghan frontier tribes and with the Rajputs. It describes his family and ministers, the state policy and moral regulations, his religious bigotry and the reaction it provoked among the Rajputs and the Sikhs. The basic ideas of the Islamic State are critically analysed and their practical effect illustrated. Tod’s Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan is corrected at many points. The fourth volume deals only with southern India from 1658 to 1689 but it also looks back to 1644, the roots of Maratha history. It tells the full story of the last years and the extinction of the kingdoms of Bijapur and Golkonda, and the reigns of Shivaji and Shambhuji as reconstructed from many original sources.
Orient Black Swan