Get Complete Information on the Relationship of Aurangzeb with Rajputs

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(a) Rajput War (1679-81)

The Rajputs revolted in 1679. Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur died at Peshawar in December 1678. At the time of his death, he was in the service of the Mughals. Aurangzeb sent his officers to take possession of his kingdom and set up on the throne a worthless relative of Jaswant Singh who promised to pay him a Nazrana of about Rs. 35 lakhs. When the widows of Maharaja J as wan* Singh reached Lahore, they gave birth to two sons. Aurangzeb ordered them to be detained at the Mughal court.

This was too much for the Rajputs and they decided to rescue them. This was accomplished through the bravery of Durga Das in July 1679. The widows appealed for help to the Rana of Udaipur. The Rajputs made a common cause and the war started against the Mughals. This was continued from 1679 to 1681. To begin with Aurangzeb directed the armies from Ajmer. In 1679, Jodhpur was annexed to the state.

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The state of Mewar was ruined and the Rana ran away. In the beginning of 1681, Prince Akbar revolted against his father and joined the Rajputs. Aurangzeb tried to create dissensions between Prince Akbar and the Rajputs and for some time he succeeded in his mission. However, truth came to be known to Durga Das who escorted Prince Akbar to the Deccan in May 1681. From there, Prince Akbar ran away to Persia in 1683.

2. According to the terms of the peace, Maharana Jai Singh gave to the Mughals the Parganas of Mandal, Par and Bednor in lieu of the Jizya demanded from his kingdom. The Mughals were to withdraw from Mewar which was to be restored to Jai Singh with the title of Rana and the rank of a commander of five thousand.

It is true that Aurangzeb made peace with the Rajputs in 1681 but he had committed a blunder. In future, he could not count upon the loyalty and active support of the Rajputs. When he went over to the Deccan to take action against the Marathas and the Shia Kingdom of Bijapur and Golconda, he was all the time afraid of the trouble in Rajputana. Aurangzeb might have fared better in the Deccan if he had not alienated the Rajputs.

According to Lane-Poole, “But while the treaty enabled Aurangzeb to beat a fairly creditable retreat, it did not appease the indignant Rajputs of the West; even the Rana of Udaipur soon rode his elephants through the treaty; and all Rajputana, save Jaipur and the eastern parts, was perpetually in a state of revolt until the end of the reign. Tantum religion potent.

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But for his tax upon heresy, and his interference with the inborn sense of dignity and honour, Aurangzeb might have still kept the Rajputs by his side as priceless allies in the long struggle in which he was not to engage in the Deccan. As it was he alienated them forever. No Rajput Raja would again marshal his willing mountaineers to support a Mughal throne, as head been seen in the days of Jai Singh. So long as the great Puritan sat on the throne of Akbar, not a Rajput would stir a finger to save him.

Aurangzeb had to fight his southern foes with the loss of his right arm.”According to J.N. Sarkar, “In the height of political unwisdom, Aurangzeb want only provoked rebellion in Rajputana while the Afghans on the Frontier were still far from being pacified. With the two leading Rajput clans openly hostile to him, his army lost its finest and most loyal recruits. Nor was the trouble confined to Marwar and Mewar. It spread by sympathy among the Hada and Gaur clans. The elements of lawlessness thus set moving overflowed fitfully into Malwa, and endangered the vitally important Mughal road through Malwa to the Deccan.”

Prof. Satish Chandra says: “The Rathore uprising should not be regarded as constituting a breach between the Mughal and the Rajputs as each, for the Kachchwahas, Haras, etc., continued to serve the Mughal Empire. Nor was the material damage to the Mughul Empire very large. Its importance lay rather in as much as it constituted a definite set-back to the attempt to establish a composite ruling class consisting of various elements among the Muslims and the Hindus in the country.

It thus strengthened the forces of separation among the Hindus and the Muslims. In the second place, the absence of a powerful Rajput section in the nobility ultimately made negotiations with the Marathas more difficult. It also led to the diversion of resources at a critical time and emboldened other like the Jats and Sikhs to continue to defy Mughal Authority.”

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It is to be observed that from 1681 onwards, the struggle between the Rajputs and the Mughals continued till Ajit Singh was recognised in 1709 by Bahadur Shah as the Lord of Mewar. Between 1681 and 1687, Ajit Singh was in concealment and hence the struggle was in the form of a people’s war, leaderless, desperate and desultory. From 1687 to 1701. Durga Das and Ajit Singh themselves organized the war of independence with the help of the Hadas of Bundi.

Between 1701 and 1707, the struggle entered the last and final stage. More than once, Ajit Singh received imperial rank in order to tide over crises. However, when the news of the death of Auranzeb came, Ajit Singh drove out Jaffar Quli, the Deputy Faujdar of Jodhpur and ascended the throne of his ancestors. The struggle was no doubt exhausting but it was worth the blood, sweat, tears and toil.

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