Aurangzeb, Wars of (1636–1657)
PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Mogul leaders of northern India
vs. the Persians and Uzbek Turks
PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): North India and Kandahar,
MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: The Mogul (Muslim)
leaders of India attempted to spread their control over the
region of present-day Afghanistan.
OUTCOME: Mogul leaders of India lost control of
Kandahar, which remained under the control of Persia.
APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS:
Aurangzeb (1618–1707) was the second son of the Mogul
shah Jahan (1592–1666) in India. In the period just prior
to the wars named for him, Aurangzeb consolidated the
conquests of his father. He then set about ensuring that
the great rivals of the Moguls, the Marathas, would remain
confined to the western Deccan. Operating from bases in
the sultanates of Bijapur and Golconda, Aurangzeb periodically
invaded the Maratha borderlands, taking key forts
and even pushing Mogul holdings into the Deccan.
Shah Jahan named his son governor of Gujarat in 1645
but quickly dispatched him to Balkh in Transoxiana. There
he fought and defeated the Uzbek Turks. Five years later
Aurangzeb led an army against Kandahar, with the object
of seizing it from the Persians and Uzbek Turks. His first
attempt failed—his force was outnumbered—but he recovered
from the attempt with his army intact and returned in
1652 with a larger force. Aurangzeb fought near Kandahar
for two months before personally withdrawing and handing
command to his older brother, Dara Shikoh (1615–59).
This commander likewise failed to take the city, and in
1653 Aurangzeb returned to the Deccan. Although he
retook Golonda and Bijapur, Kandahar remained in Persian
and Uzbek hands, and most of the Deccan was still dominated
by Marathas under Sivaji (1630–80).
See also MARATHA-MOGUL WAR (1647–1665); SHAH
Further reading: S. R. Bakshi Aurangzeb: The Great
Moghul (Columbia, Mo.: South Asia Books, 2000).