“He was a Prince every Way qualified for governing. None ever understood Politics better than he. The Balance of distributive Justice he held in an exact Equilibrium. He was brave and cunning in War, and merciful and magnanimous in Peace, temperate in his Diet and Recreations, and modest and grave in his Apparel, courteous in his Behaviour to his Subjects, and affable in his Discourse; He encouraged Virtue, and discountenanced Vice, and he studied the Laws of Humanity, and observed them as well as those of Religion…”
[A description of the Great Indian Emperor, Aurangzeb, by the Scottish merchant, Alexander Hamilton, who resided and travelled in numerous countries in the East, and who did not hesitate in describing a country as being oppressive and repressive if he found it to be so. He resided and travelled in India for many years during the latter part of Aurangzeb’s reign, even fighting for the British East India Company in their short-lived war against the Great Emperor which ended in a crushing, humiliating defeat for the British.]
“In the wake of the glorious succession of the Emperor bravery and success heralded all over there. Blessing, joy and pleasure started to reign and extended patronage to exalt professions and excellence. Act and deed worked together. Seditions and rebellions became like a vain dream. Oppression and exploitation were stopped. The garden of justice was added with new edifice of glory. For the beautification and proper functioning of the garden (country) peace was restored and the desires and wishes of the people were fulfilled. The lap of indigents, poors and deservings were filled with gold and silver. The source of blessings and qualities opened new venues which heralded the banners of fresh successes. Lion became friendly with cow while wolf with sheep and the high flying hawk settled with sparrow in the same nest, and the wolf became guard of sheep. Even if volumes are written in praise of good qualities of the Emperor, it shall not be more than a flower in garden or drop in ocean. Therefore it is better that the reins of pen may be withdrawn from the said valley and come to the real object.”
[Ishwardas, a Hindu Brahman contemporary of Aurangzeb, in the preface to his historical account, employs hyperbole to convey the unparalleled level of security and prosperity experienced in India under Aurangzeb’s just rule, by Muslim and non-Muslim citizens alike]
For now, some random bits of information have been presented below as a preview of what’s to come in future. All the contentious issues regarding Aurangzeb, such as his policy on temple destruction, his treatment of non-muslims, of rebels such as Shivaji and Tegh Bahadur, and of his own kin, the economy of India, the living conditions of the lowest strata of society, etc. will eventually be addressed in thorough detail here insha-Allah.