COLLECTION OF PORTRAITS OF MUGHAL EMPERORS MADE BY COLONEL GENTIL (H.M. AL-SULTAN AL-'AZAM WAL KHAQAN AL-MUKARRAM, ABU'L-MUZAFFAR MUHI UD-DIN MUHAMMAD AURANGZEB BAHADUR 'ALAMGIR PADSHAH GHAZI [KHULD MAKAN], EMPEROR OF HINDUSTAN) THIS WORK WAS DONE
December 31, 1773
Mirza Firuz Shah
Shah Alam II 1759–1806
Muhi-ud-Din Muhammad (3 November 1618 – 3 March 1707), commonly known by the sobriquet Aurangzeb (Persian: اورنگزیب "Ornament of the Throne") or by his regnal title Alamgir (Persian: "Conqueror of the World"),was the sixth Mughal emperor, who ruled over almost the entire Indian subcontinent for a period of 49 years. Widely considered to be the last effective ruler of the Mughal Empire, Aurangzeb compiled the Fatawa-e-Alamgiri, and was among the few monarchs to have fully established Sharia law and Islamic economics throughout the Indian subcontinent. He was an accomplished military leader whose rule has been the subject of praise, though he has also been described as the most controversial ruler in Indian history.
He was a notable expansionist; during his reign, the Mughal Empire reached its greatest extent, ruling over nearly all of the Indian subcontinent. During his lifetime, victories in the south expanded the Mughal Empire to 4 million square kilometres, and he ruled over a population estimated to be over 158 million subjects. Under his reign, India surpassed Qing China to become the world's largest economy and biggest manufacturing power, worth nearly a quarter of global GDP and more than the entirety of Western Europe, and its largest and wealthiest subdivision, the Bengal Subah, signaled proto-industrialization.
Aurangzeb was noted for his religious piety; he memorized the entire Quran, studied hadiths and stringently observed the rituals of Islam. Unlike his predecessors, including his father Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb considered the royal treasury to be held in trust for the citizens of his empire. He did not enjoy a luxurious life and his personal expenses and constructions of small mosques were covered by his own earnings, which included the sewing of caps and trade of his written copies of the Quran. He also patronized works of Islamic and Arabic calligraphy.
Aurangzeb has been subject to criticism. Critics argue that his policies abandoned his predecessors' legacy of pluralism and religious tolerance, citing his introduction of the jizya tax and other policies based on Islamic ethics, demolition of Hindu temples, the executions of his elder brother Dara Shikoh, Maratha king Sambhaji and the Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur, and the prohibition and supervision of behaviour and activities that are forbidden in Islam such as gambling, fornication, and consumption of alcohol and narcotics. Some historians question the historicity of the claims of his critics, arguing that his destruction of temples has been exaggerated, and noting that he also built temples, paid for their maintenance, employed significantly more Hindus in his imperial bureaucracy than his predecessors did, and opposed bigotry against Hindus and Shia Muslims.
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