This topic is dedicated to Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. While we all know that Aurangzeb, got his brothers eliminated to get the Mughal throne, here is an alternate story today. This is related to Aurangzeb and a son of Shah Jahan, whom he got eliminated.
There was nothing that would stop Aurangzeb in his quest to become the ruler of Hindustan. He imprisoned his father and eliminated his brothers. He did not trust anyone and considered his own brothers his deadly enemies. He did not even trust his own sons who in turn rebelled against him later. What's more? He imprisoned his own daughter too.! Besides liquidating his brothers, he imprisoned and drove into exile many of his sons except his favourite third son, Prince Azam. Towards Azam, he was loving and indulgent.
Aurangzeb often said in the court > “The art of ruling is so delicate that the king’s jealousy should be awakened by his very shadow.”
Shah Jahan’s favourite son was Dara Shikoh. But Aurangzeb hated him and was determined to get rid of him first and deal with the rest of his brothers later. His fight against Dara was not merely a power struggle but a holy war. Both brothers absolutely despised each other.
While Dara looked down on Aurangzeb as a bigot, the latter called Dara as an infidel. For Dara, it was not a question of good against evil. It was simply that his brothers rebelled against Shah Jahan, who was the legitimate ruler of Hindustan. And so they had to be put down by him.
The war of succession between the two brothers percolated down to the imperial harem, between their two sisters who were fierce rivals. One sister, the beautiful Jahanara Begum who was loved by all her brothers, favoured Dara although Aurangzeb too loved her dearly. Raushnara Begum, the other sister, stood by Aurangzeb.
Dara was assisted in battle by his son Sulaiman Shikoh. When the decisive battle between Dara and Aurangzeb took place at Samrugarh in June 1658, Sulaiman was unfortunately away from Agra and could not return in time to save his father or himself. He received the grim news of Dara’s defeat when he was at Kara(near Allahabad), east of Agra.
Abandoned by his generals, Sulaiman, with a small army of 6,000 soldiers sought refuge with the Raja of Garhwal. The Raja was hospitable and helped him.
For about a year, Sulaiman roughed it out in the hilly terrains of Garhwal. However in 1661 Aurangzeb, who had ascended the throne, reached into the mountains and forced the Raja to surrender the prince. Sulaiman was brought in chains to Delhi and presented in court before Aurangzeb.
Many courtiers shed tears at the sight of this tall and very handsome young man in shackles. The royal ladies of the court who were permitted to be present were greatly moved too.
Aurangzeb was unmoved and smiled at the humiliation of the handsome young prince. But he feigned kindness and promised Sulaiman that no harm would come to him. Sulaiman’s only request was that he be put to death right away rather than administered posta, a narcotic concoction made from crushed poppy heads soaked overnight in water, which given over a period of time slowly turned men into zombies and drained them of life. Sulaiman was determined not to die such a degrading death. Aurangzeb gave him his word that posta would not be administered to him. Alas, this was the word of Aurangzeb, who was known to betray even his own brothers.
Sulaiman was sent to Gwalior prison for confinement, where on Aurangzeb’s orders, he was forced to drink posta every day. Sulaiman lingered on for a year, more or less a vegetable. He passed away in May 1662, when he was only 27 years old. He was Shah Jahan’s favourite grandson, but was buried at an exclusive cemetery meant for traitors. There was no reason for Aurangzeb to inflict such cruelty on this young man who was no longer any threat to him. By the time Sulaiman was captured, Aurangzeb had already been the emperor for two years. He had already liquidated his brothers Dara and Shuja while Shah Jahan and his another brother Murad were his prisoners. What could Sulaiman have possibly done to Aurangzeb? But this was Aurangzeb’s way..!!!
Major credit for this post goes to a friend who shared this with me. I have simply checked the information and added few points in it. I have kept the details simple here, we can explore this topic in the REAL discussion/debate below, in comments, as we usually do.!!
This article has been posted under the Miscellaneous topics section of history_geek's Blog.