Aurungzebe, Or Autrnngzeb, the last great emperor of the Mogul dynasty in India, born Oct. 22, 1618, died at Ahmednuggur, Feb. 21, 1707. He was appointed by his father, Shah Jehan, to be viceroy of the Deccan. Here, while affecting an entire indifference for worldly things, he acquired military experience and amassed great wealth. In 1657 the emperor was taken suddenly ill, and Dara, the heir apparent and eldest brother of Aurungzebe, assumed the administration. Aurungzebe united with a younger brother in defeating Dara, and soon succeeded by his energy and treachery in putting to death all his brothers and their sons. His father, having meantime recovered, was confined for the rest of his life as a prisoner in his own palace, and Aurungzebe grasped the imperial power. His reign was the most brilliant period of the domination of the race of Akbarin India, and his empire included nearly all the peninsula of Hindostan, with Cabool on the west and Assam on the east. The first 10 years of his administration were marked by a profound peace, and his wisdom was especially signalized in the measures which he took in anticipating and assuaging a famine, and in suppressing an insurrection of Hindoo devotees headed by a female saint.
A greater misfortune to him was the rise of the Mahratta empire, the foundation of which had been almost imperceptibly laid by an adventurer named Sevajee. Against this leader Aurungzebe sent in vain his most experienced generals, and he therefore marched into the Deccan himself to superintend the war. He resided in the Dec-can 22 years, subduing the Carnatic and ruling an empire which in wealth and population was probably unsurpassed by that ever held by any other monarch. The proper name of Aurungzebe was Mohammed, and that by which he is commonly known, meaning the "ornament of the throne," was given him by his grandfather. He himself preferred the title of Alum-Geer, "conquerer of the world," and he was accustomed to have carried before him a globe of gold as his symbol. Yet to show that he as yet held but three fourths of the earth, he used to tear off a corner from every sheet of paper which he used in his correspondence. India owes to him several of her finest bridges, hospitals, and mosques.
In his personal habits he was remarkable for an ascetic simplicity; and in his zeal for the Mohammedan faith he became a persecutor of the Hindoos.