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Aurangzeb was one of the last Mughal emperors of India. He lived from November 3, 1618 to March 3, 1707. He gained power by overthrowing and imprisoning his father, the Emperor Shah Jahan, in 1658. Aurangzeb had a goal to wipe Hinduism out of India and establish Dar-ul-Islam. Aurangzeb sharply increased the Jizya tax on Hindus forcing many of the poor to convert to Islam. Aurangzeb murdered over 4.6 million Hindus under his rule.

Atrocities against Hindus and Sikhs

Torture and Murder of Raja Sambhaji and Kavi Kalash

Raja Sambhaji was the son of Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire. On February 15, 1689, Sambhaji and Kavi Kalash were brought to the Imperial camp dresses as bufoons with long fool's caps and bells placed on their heads, mounted on camels, with drums beating, with thousands of onlookers lining the roads. Aurangzeb was sitting in the court and upon seeing the prisoners, "descended from the throne and kneeling down on the carpet bowed his head to the the ground in double thankfulness to Allah for crowning his victory." Sambhaji refused to convert to Islam and verbally criticized Aurangzeb. Sambhaji and Kavi Kalash were then tortured to death, and their remains were fed to the dogs.

Brutal Execution of Sikh figures

Dyal Das, Mati Das, and Sati Das along with the Sikh Guru were brought to an open space in front of the Kotwali. Mati Das was the first to be asked to convert to Islam. He refused, and was executed by being sawn from his head to his loins. Dyal Das criticized Aurangzeb for this act. As a result, he was tied up with an iron chain and was dropped into a cauldron of boiling oil. He was later roasted into a block of Charcoal. Sati Das condemned the brutalities after which he was wrapped in cotton fiber, tied to a pole and set on fire.

Guru Tegh Bahadur, the Sikh Guru, was executed by beheading.

Destruction of Hindu Temples

Temple Destruction Account in "Mir At-i-Alam" by Bakhtawar Khan

"...Hindu writers have been entirely excluded from holding public offices, and all the worshipping of places of the Infidels and great temples of these infamous people have been thrown down and destroyed in a manner which excites astonishment at the successful completion of so difficult a task. His majesty personally teaches the sacred kalima to may infidels with success. All mosques in the empire are repaired at public expense."

Temple Destruction Account in "Alamgir-Nama" by Mirza Muhammad Kazim

"...In 1661 Aurangzeb in his zeal to uphold the law of Islam sent orders to to his viceroy in Bihar, Daud Khan, to conquer Palamau. In the Military operations that folowed many temples were destroyed..."

In Koch Bihar(Bengal):

"...Towards the end of the same year when Mir Jumla made a war on the Raja of Kuch Bihar, the Mughals destroyed many temples during the course of their operations. Idols were broken and some temples were converted into Mosques..."

Temple Destruction Account in "Masir-i-Alamgiri" by Saqi Mustad Khan

Muhiyu'd-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir Padshah Ghazi(1658-1707) General Order

"...The Lord Cherisher of the faith learnt that in the provinces of Tatta, Multan, and especially at Benaras, the Brahmin misbelievers used to teach their false books in their established schools, and that admirers and students both Hindu and Muslim, used to come from great distances to these misguided men in order to acquire this vile learning. His majesty, eager to establish Islam, issues orders to the governors of all the provinces to demolish the schools and temples of the Infidels and with utmost urgency put down the teaching and the public practice of the religion of these misbelievers..."

Varanasi(Uttar Pradesh)

"...During this month of Ramzan abounding in miracles, the Emperor as the promoter of justice and overthrower of mischief, as the knower of truth and destroyer of oppression, as the zephyr of the garden of victory and the reviver of the faith of the Prophet, issued orders for the Demolition of the temple situated in Mathura famous as the Dehra of Kesho Rai. In the short time by the great exertions of his officers the destruction of this strong foundation of Infidelity was accomplished and on its site a lofty mosque was built at the expenditure of a large sum..."

"...Praised be the August God of the faith of Islam, that in the auspicious reign of this destroyer of infidelity and turbulence, such as wonderful and seemingly impossible work was successfully accomplished. On seeing this instance of strength of the Emperor's faith and the grandeur of his devotion to God, the proud Rajas were stifled and in amazement they stood like images facing the wall. The Idols, large and small set with costly jewels which had been set up in the temple were brought to Agra and buried under the steps of the Mosque of Begum Sahib, in order to be continually trodden upon. The name of Mathura was changed to Islamabad..."


"...Darab Khan who had been sent with a strong force to punish the Rajputs of Khandela and to demolish the great temple of the place, attacked on March 8th/Safar 5th, and slew the three hundred odd men who made a bold defence, not one of them escaping alive. The temples of Khandela and Sanula and all other temples in the neighborhood were demolished..."


"...On 24th Rabi S.(Sunday, May 25th), Khan Jahan Bahadur came from Jodhpur, after demolishing the temples and bringing with himself some cart loads of idols, and had audience of the Emperor, who highly praised him and ordered that the idols, which were mostly jewelled, golden, silver, bronze, copper, or stone, should be cast in the yard of the Court and under the steps of the Jama Mosque, to be trodden upon..."


"...Ruhullah Khan and Ekkataz Khan went to demolish the great temple in front of the Rana's palace, which was one of the rarest buildings of the age and the chief cause of the destruction of the life and property of the despised worshippers. Twenty 'machator' Rajputs who were sitting in the Temple vowed to give up their lives;first one of them came out to fight, killed some and was then himself slain, then came out another and so on, until every one of the twenty perished, after killing a large number of the imperialists including the trusted slave Ikhlas. The temple was found empty. The Hewers broke the images..."

"...On Saturday, the 24th January, 1680(2nd Muharram), the Emperor went to view lake Udaisagar, constructed by the Rana, and ordered all the three temples on its banks to be demolished..."

"...On the 29th January/7th Muharram, Hasan Ali Khan, brought to the Emperor twenty camel loads of tents and other things captured from the Rana's palace and reported that one hundred and seventy-two other temples in the environs of Udaipur had been destroyed. The Khan received the title of Bahadur Alamgirshahi..."


"...Abu Turab, who had been sent to demolish the temples of Amber, returned to the court on Tuesday August 10th(Rajab 24th), and reported that he had pulled down sixty-six temples..."


"...Hamiduddin Khan Bahadur who had gone to demolish a temple and build a mosque(in its place) in Bijapur, having excellently carried his orders, came to court and gained praise and the post of darogha of gusulkhanah, which brought him near the Emperor's person..."

General Text

"...Large numbers of places of worship of the infidels and great temples of these wicked people have been thrown down and desolated. Men who can see only the outside of things are filled with wonder at the successful accomplishment of such as seemingly difficult task. And on the sites of the temples lofty Mosques have been built..."

Temple Destruction Account in "Akhbarat" Chronicle

Mathura(Uttar Pradesh)

"...The emperor learning that in the temple of Keshav Rai at Mathura there was a stone railing presented by Dara Shikoh, remarked, 'In the Muslim faith it is a sin even to look at a temple, and this Dara Shikoh had restored a railing in a temple. This fact is not creditable to the Muhammadans. Remove the railing.' By his order Abdun Nabi Khan(the faujdar of Mathura) removed it..."

Ujjain(Madhya Pradesh)

"...News came from Malwa that Wazir Khan had sent Gada Beg, a slave, with 400 troopers, to destroy all temples around Ujjain...A Rawat of the place resisted and slew Gada Beg with 121 of his men..."


"...The Emperor learnt from a secret news writer of Dehli that in Jaisinghpura Bairagis used to worship idols, and that the Censor on hearing of it had gone there, arrested Sri Krishna Bairagis and taken him with 15 idols away to his house;then the Rajputs had assembled, flocked to the Censor's house, wounded three footmen of the Censor and tried to seize the Censor himself;so that the latter set the Bairagis free and sent the copper idols to the local subhadar..."


"...The Emperor,summoning Muhammad Khalil and Khidmat Rai,the darogha of hatchet-men...Ordered them to demolish the temple of Pandharpur, and to take the butchers of the camp there and slaughter cows in the temple...It was done..."

On way to the Deccan

"...When the war with the Rajputs was over, Aurangzeb decided to leave for the Deccan. His march seems to have been marked with a destruction to many temples on the way. On May 21, 1861, the superintendent of the laborers was ordered to destroy all temples on the route..."

Lakheri(?-means the place is not traceable today)

"...On September 27, 1861, the emperor issued orders for the destruction of the temples at Lakheri..."


"...About this time, April 14, 1692, orders were issued to the provincial governor and the district faujdar to demolish the temples at Rasulpur..."


"...Sankar a messenger, was sent to demolish a temple near Sheogaon..."


"...Bijai Singh and several other Hindus were reported to be carrying on public worship of idols in a temple in the neighborhood of Ajmer. On June 23, 1694, the governor of Ajmer was ordered to destroy the temple and stop the public adoration of idol worship there..."


"...The temple of Wakenkhera in the fort was demolished on March 2, 1705..."

Bhagwant Garh(Rajasthan)

"...The newswriter of Ranthambore reported the destruction of a temple in Parganah Bhagwant Garh. Gaj Singh Gor had repaired the temple and made some additions thereto..."


"...Royal orders for the destruction of temples in Malpura Toda were received and the officers were assigned for this work..."

Temple Destruction Account in "Fathiyya-I-Ibriyya"

Koch Bihar(Bengal)

"...Mir Jumla made his way into Kuch Bihar by an obscure and neglected six days the Mughal army reached the capital(19th December) which had been deserted by the Rajah and his people in terror. The name of the town was changed to Alamgirnagar;the muslim call to prayer, so long forbidden in the city, was chanted from the lofty roof of the palace, and a mosque was built by demolishing the principle temple..."

Temple Destruction Account in "Kalimat-i-Tayyibat" by Inayatullah


"...The temple of Somnath was demolished early in my reign and idol worship(there) put down. It is not known what the state of things there is at present. If the idolaters have again taken to the worship of images at the place, then destroy the temple in such a way that no trace of the building may be left, and also expel them(the worshippers) from the place..."


"...The village of Sattara near Aurangabad wad my hunting ground. Here on top of the hill, stood a temple with an image of Khande Rai. By God's grace, I demolished it, and forbade the temple dancers(muralis) to ply their shameful profession..."

Temple Destruction Account in "Ganj-i-Arshadi"

Varanasi(Uttar Pradesh)

"...The infidels destroyed a mosque that was under construction and wounded the artisans. When the news reached Shah Yasin, he came to Banaras from Mandyawa and collecting the Muslim weavers, demolished the big temple. A Sayyid who was an artisan by profession agreed with one Abdul Rasul to build a mosque at Banaras and accordingly the foundation was laid. Near the place there was a temple and many houses belonging to it were in the occupation of the Rajputs. The infidels decided that the construction of a mosque in the locality was not proper and that it should be razed to the ground. At night, the walls of the mosque were found demolished. Next day, the wall was rebuilt but it was again destroyed. This happened three or four times. At last the Sayyid has himself in the corner. With the advent of night, the infidels came to achieve their nefarious purpose. When Abdul Rasul gave the alarm, the infidels began to fight and the Sayyid was wounded by the Rajputs. In the meantime, the Musalman(Muslim) residents of the neighborhood arrived at the spot and the infidels took to their heels. The wounded muslims were taken to Shah Yasin who determined to vindicate the cause of Islam. When he came to the mosque, people collected from the neighborhood. The civil officers were outwardly inclined to side with the saint, but in reality they were afraid of the royal displeasure on the account of the Raja, who was a courtier of the Emperor and had built the temple(near which the mosque was under construction). Shah Yasin, however, took up the sword and started for Jihad. The civil officers sent him a message that such a grave step should not be taken without the Emperor's permission. Shah Yasin, paying no heed, sallied forth till he reached Bazar Chau Khamba through a fussilade of stones...The doors(of the temples) were forced open and the idols thrown down. The weavers and other Musalmans(Muslims) demolished about 500 temples. They desired to destroy the temple of Beni Madho, but as lanes were barricaded, they desisted from going further..."

Temple Destruction Account in "Kalimat-I-Aurangzeb" by Inyatullah


"...The houses of this country(Maharashtra) are exceedingly strong and built solely of stone and iron. The hatchet men of the government in the course of my marching do not get sufficient strength and power to destroy and raze the temples of the infidels(Hindus) that meet the eye on the way. You should appoint an orthodox inspector who may afterwards destroy them at leisure and dig up their foundations..."

Temple Destruction Account in "Muraqat-I-Abu-I-Hasan" by Maulana Abul Hasan

Bengal and Orissa

"...Order issued on all faujdars of thanas, civil officers(mutasaddis), agents of jagirdars, kroris, and amlas from Katak to Medinapur on the frontier of Orissa:- The imperial paymaster Asad Khan has sent a letter written by order of the Emperor, to say, that the Emperor learning from the newsletters of the province of Orissa that at the village of Tilkuti in Medinapur a temple has been(newly) built, has issued his August mandate for its destruction, and the destruction of all temples built anywhere in this province by the worthless infidels. Therefore, you are, commanded with extreme urgency that immediately on the receipt of this letter you should destroy the above mentioned temples. Every idol-house built during the last 10 or 12 years, whether with brick or clay, should be demolished without delay. Also do not allow the crushed Hindus and despicable infidels to repair their old temples. Reports of the destruction of temples should be sent to the court under the seal of the Qazis and attested by pious shaikhs..."

External links

  • Ahmad, Qeyamuddin(ed.),"Patna through the Ages", New Delhi, 1988
  • "Alberuni's India", translated by E.C. Sachau,New Delhi Reprint,1983
  • Attar, Shaykh Faridu'd-Din, "Tadhkirat-al-Awliya",translated into Urdu by Maulana Z.A Usmani
  • Bloch J., "Indian Studies", London, 1931
  • Chuvin, Pierre, "A Chronicle of the Last Pagans", Harvard, 1990
  • Durrant, Will, "The Story of Civlization", New York, 1972
  • Elliot and Downson, "History of India as told by its own historians", 8 volumes, Allahabad reprint, 1964
  • "First Encyclopedia of Islam"
  • "Futuhat-i-Alamigiri" by Ishwardas Nagar, trans. into English by Tasneem Ahmad, Delhi, 1978
  • Growse F.S. "Mathura:A Distinct Memoir", Reprint, Ahmedabad, 1978
  • Hosain, Saiyid Safdar, "The Early History of Islam", Vol.1, Dehli reprint, 1985
  • "Jami Tirmizi", Arabic text with Urdu translation by Badi'al-Zaman, Vol. 1, New Delhi, 1983
  • "Kitab Futuh Al-Budan" of Al-Biladhuri, translated into English by F.C. Murgotte, New York, 1924
  • "Maasir-i-Alamgiri" of Saqi Must'ad Khan, translated into English and annotated by Sir Jadunath Sarkar, Calcutta, 1947
  • "Maake Madine di Goshati", edited by Dr. Kulwant Singh, Patiala, 1988
  • "The Rehala of Ibn Batutta", translated into English by Mahdi Hussain,Baroda,1976
  • Sarkar Jadunath, "History of Aurangzeb", 3 Volumes, Calcutta, 1972,73.