The True Causes of the Rajput Rebellion Against Aurangzeb
Mentor:Michaela Reaves, Professor - History, California Lutheran University
The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (1618-1707) is often painted as a strict, intolerant, and militant Sunni Muslim whose authoritarian Islamic policies directly contributed to revolts against his empire. The prevailing contemporary sentiment is that one such uprising was staged by the Hindu Rajput people in an effort to defend themselves from the religious persecution of a dogmatic tyrant. Taking into account the opposing viewpoints of scholars Jadunath Sarkar and Robert Hallissey, this research project utilizes primary source evidence from seventeenth century India in an effort to determine the true causes behind the Rajput insurrection. These sources include Francois Bernier’s Travels in the Mughal Empire A.D 1656-1688, Saqi Mustad Khan’s Maasir-i-Alamgiri, Hasan’s The Waqiat I Alamgiri of Aqil Khan Razi, and personal anecdotes written by Aurangzeb himself. Contrary to popular belief, the data clearly suggests that the Rajput rebellion against Aurangzeb was fueled not by religious bigotry between differing faiths, but by conflicting political goals and ambitions of all parties. Passing off this rebellion as a religious conflict between Hindus and Muslims is an excellent example of an unsupported attempt at drawing a connection between the communal problems of the twentieth century to seventeenth century Mughal India.