Bharat Ek Khoj

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Aurangzeb Part-II
(Episode 36 )

The denouement leads inexorably to Aurangzeb imprisoning his father and not sparing any of the brother.

After Murad joins action with Aurangzeb both move north together to fight Shah Jahan's army with a strong artillery-detachment and ample cash enrichment from Bijapur and Golconda indemnities. They win hands down. In 1658, a second and more decisive battle finds the dilattant Dara with a dazzling array of 50,000 facing the resolute Aurangzeb with his dust-smothered veterans from the Deccan. The sunners are allowed to wreak devastation and Dara's forces are decimated.

Aurangzabe occupies Agra. Dropping all pretence of rescuing Shah Jahan from the 'infidel' influence of Dara, he besieges the fort and denies even supply of water bargaining for opening the fort-gates. He then confines the ailing emperor amongst the marble-terraces of his Agra fort, where he remains under the lonely care of daughter Jahan-Ara as a semi-senile spectre of his former glory, until death comes eight years later.

The feckless Murad is warned by his well-wishers and still enjoys Kathak dance in his court. During another spree of drunkenness and Kathak Mujra, he is inveigled by Aurangzeb's men and suceremoniously beheaded. Shuja, re-emerging from Bengal, is defeated once more, and flees to the distant Arakans and finally unto oblivion. Dara continues to flit from camp to camp through the Punjab, Sind and Gujrat, and is engaged in Ajmer. Having lost his beloved wife en route, he is betrayed and turned over to Aurangzeb. Still a popular figure especially with Delhi's non-Muslims, he is paraded though the streets in chains to their utter dismay and is hacked to death.

Nehru notes that the last of the 'Grand Mughals', Aurangzeb tried to put the clock back and, in the process broke it up. The Mughal rulers were strong, so long as they put themselves in line with the genius of the nation and tried to work for a common nationality and synthesis of the various elements in the country. When Aurangzeb began to oppose this movement and suppress it, and to function more as a Muslim than an Indian ruler, the Mughal Empire began to break up after he died as a broken man at the age of 90, in 1707.