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The Mughal Dynasty                   [1627 AD - 1857 AD]

 

Shah Jahan (1628 AD - 1658 AD)

On his succession to the throne, the first thing he had to face was revolts in Bhundelkhand and the Deccan.The former he put down easily and the latter came into control with difficulty. Meanwhile the Marathas also emerged as a major threat to the authority of the Mughals. The Famous peacock throne and the Red Fort were completed by him. The Taj Mahal was also built in his beautiful wife's memory. His failing health started a war of succession amongst his four sons in 1657.

Aurangzeb (1658 AD - 1707 AD)

Aurangzeb, the third son emerged victorious and imprisoned his father in Agra fort till his death. He ruled for almost 50 years. During his long reign the Mughal empire reached its territorial climax. At its height, it stretched from Kashmir in the north to Jinji in the south, and from the Hindu Kush in the west to Chittagong in the east. He was an orthodox in his outlook and kept himself within the narrow confines of the Islamic law. He discarded Akbar's secular principles and re-introduced Jaziya with severity and destroyed many temples. This did not make Muslims more loyal to the Islamic state, although, the Hindus got somewhat alienated.

Most of his time was spent in trying to put down the revolts in different parts of his empire. While the empire was rent by strife and revolt, the new Maratha power was growing and consolidating itself in western India. Shivaji, the Maratha King, stopped Aurangzeb's mission of expanding towards the south. However after Shivaji's death Aurangzeb accomplished his mission of southward expansion. Apart from him, no one else, except the Britishers held India under a single rule.

Aurangzeb, the last of grand Mughals, tried to put the clock back, and in his attempt broke up the empire. After his death, the Mughal empire collapsed with internal conflicts among the successors and was reduced to the area around Delhi. The various provinces declared their independence and the Marathas under the leadership of Peshwas, gradually extended their hold in North India. Foreign invasion of Nadir shah in 1729 AD and Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1747-61 AD further weakened the empire. The last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was imprisoned by the Britishers after the 1857 mutiny.

Partly because the great majority of Muslims in India were converts from Hinduism and partly because of long contact, Hindus and Muslims in India developed numerous common traits, habits , ways of living and artistic tastes. Especially in northern India - in music, painting, architecture, food, and clothes