Mogul Aurangazeb, notorious killer of his own brothers.

Aurangzeb reading the
Shah Jahan with Dara Shikoh, Shah Shuja & Aurangzeb,
The Mogul empire was founded by Babar after his victory over Ibrahim Lodi, the last ruler of Delhi Sultanate in the first battle of Paniput in 1526. The Moguls were Turco- Mongols of Timurid dynasty claiming  decent from Genghis Khan, founder of Mongol Empire and Timur (Turco - Mongol conqueror).

Muhammad Khan Shah Jahan (5 January 1592 - 22 January) often called "Shah Jahan"  was the son of the fifth Mogul Emperor of India from 1628 to 1658.  His father was  Emperor Jahangir (31 August 1569 to 7 November 1627) and his mother a Hindu Rajput , Taj Bibi Bilqis Makani (13 May 1573 -18 April 1619). Shah Jahan was quite popular as his father was and he was the one who built the world famous  Taj Mahal, a highly artistic and embellished Mausoleum of marbles and precious stones in Agra, near Delhi. This was built in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Among his  four sons by Mumtaz Mahal - Shah Jahan had soft corner for his son  Dara Shikoh (20 March 1615 - 30 August 1659) and had closer contacts with him than his other sons Shah Sujah, Murad Baksh and Aurangazeb. Unfortunately, this biased and glaring  favoritism caused some kind of uneasiness among his other sons and this led to animosity among them. They formed an alliance among themselves against Dara Shikoh.

Unlike the tradition of many Hindu rulers or any other ruling families, as far as  inheritance to the mogul throne was concerned, it was was not based on Primogeniture - the  inheritance law or custom by which the the firstborn son inherits the throne or family estate. However, there was  a hitch, the sons were required to compete for military success to get to the covetous position. For all his sons, holding a reasonable administrative position - governors of different parts in the Mogul territories, the competition was a tough one. Between Aurangazeb (3 November 1618 - 3 March 1707) and Dara Shikoh, the intensity of competition was sky-high. The former was conservative in matters of religion and forthright, wheres the latter was more influential because he was liberal, compassionate but equally  competent.

As expected Shah Jahan declared that his successor was Dara Shikoh and later when he fell ill, Dara Shikoh took care of his father  in his newly constructed city of Shahjahanabad - present day Old Delhi. The infuriated other sons became more anxious as the emperor continued to be ill. The palace rumor mill worked over time and the brothers suspected that Dara was hiding the truth and their father had been dead for sometime  at that point of time.
Shah Shuja,  Murad  and Aurangzeb,  governors of Bengal, Gujarat and the Deccan respectively were contesting for the post from their places.

After the recovery of Shah Jahan from hia illness, Dara took his father to Agra. When the brothers declared that they were the de facto rulers of their respective areas under their control, Dara declared war on his brother Shah Sujah ans defeated him. Now , the other brothers Murad and Aurangazeb formed an alliance against Dara Shikoh and decided to split the empire between them.
In April 1658 the armies of Aurangazeb and Murad clashed with Dara's and won the battle, as Dara did not have enough forces to fight them,  because part of his army battled against Shuja and after victory,  won't get back to Delhi in time to face the mighty army of Aurangazeb. Dara was pushed into a precarious position and defeat was imminent. As for Dara, he never paid any attention to his advisors that he should not go to war with his brother when his father was alive and sick.

No sooner had he won the battle and gained control over Agra, on 8th June 1658 than Aurangazeb imprisoned his father Shah Jahan and broke off his alliance with his brother Murad Baksh. Murad was executed on 4th December 1661 for the murder of the Diwan of Gujarat in the Gwalior fort. Aurangzeb offered Shah Shuja the Governorship of Bengal which he did not accept it. His army defeated Shuja who now fled to Burma where he was put to death by the local rulers.

Dara Shikoh
In the meanwhile, Dara Shikoh had taken his army and moved  over to Gujarat for safety. His fate  was still hanging over the cliff. With Shah Shuja and Murad out of sight for ever and his father in prison in Agra, now the coast was clear for Aurangazeb. Now he is pitted against his only brother who was  alive.  Ruthless, as he was, Aurangazeb  went after Dara Shikoh to finish him off.  After Dara Shikoh lost the war to Aurangazeb near Ajmir, he fled to Sind.  Dara was ultimately  betrayed by one of his own trusted friends Junaid Khan Barazai, an Afghan Chieftain who arrested him (March 1659) and handed him  and his son over to Aurangzeb in June 1659).

In 1658, Aurangzeb, with great joy, celebrated  his coronation in Delhi and unashamedly had Dara Shikoh chained and paraded through the streets of  Delhi. Later without any remorse, whatsoever Aurangazeb had  on 30th August 1659.  executed his elder brother in the presence of his terrified son and public.
Shah Jahan and Mumtaz
Aurangazeb, having become the Emperor, after mercilessly disposing of all of his three brothers,  never released his  sick father from jail. The only consolation  father Shah Jahan  had was  that he could view the Taj Mahal from his  prison in the Agra fort and relive  his past joyful life with  his  wife Mumtaz Mahal who was in eternal sleep in the mausoleum. Fortunately, Aurangazeb did not ill-treat him. In his later years he was helped by  his favorite daughter Jahanara Begum.

Aurangazeb was considered the most obnoxious and tyrannical ruler ever ruled on the Indian soil and he  had no sympathy for other faiths. Hindus and others suffered a lot under him. Religious suppression was common during his period. Thus, he had made the Mogul Empire weak and toward the end of his life the Mogul economy was at the lowest level. Some time ago in Delhi, the street named after Aurangazeb was renamed after  late  Bharat Ratna A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, ex Indian President and  an eminent rocket missile expert of international repute, who, haling from Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu was leading a simple, Gandhian life till his last breath.