Aurangzeb

    

    Stanford University Press, 2017; Penguin India, 2017; Oxford University Press-Karachi, 2017.

The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir is one of the most hated men in Indian history. Widely reviled as a religious fanatic who sought to violently oppress Hindus, he is even blamed by some for setting into motion conflicts that would result in the creation of a separate Muslim state in South Asia. In her lively overview of his life and influence, Audrey Truschke offers a clear-eyed perspective on the public debate over Aurangzeb and makes the case for why his often-maligned legacy deserves to be reassessed.

Aurangzeb was arguably the most powerful and wealthiest ruler of his day. His nearly 50-year reign (1658–1707) had a profound influence on the political landscape of early modern India, and his legacy—real and imagined—continues to loom large in India and Pakistan today. Truschke evaluates Aurangzeb not by modern standards but according to the traditions and values of his own time, painting a picture of Aurangzeb as a complex figure whose relationship to Islam was dynamic, strategic, and sometimes contradictory. This book invites students of South Asian history and religion into the world of the Mughal Empire, framing the contemporary debate on Aurangzeb's impact and legacy in accessible and engaging terms.

Basing her judgments on a careful reading of contemporary Persian chronicles and European traveler accounts, Audrey Truschke presents a fresh, balanced, and much-needed survey of one of the most controversial figures in Indian history. Crucially, the author insists on evaluating the man in terms of the norms and traditions of his own day, and not those of later, more polarized times. —Richard M. Eaton, University of Arizona

Following British historians of the colonial era, Indian nationalists used the last and most controversial of the great Mughals in ways that simultaneously distorted Mughal history and served as a goad to Hindu cultural renewal. Audrey Truschke's project of looking at Emperor Aurangzeb afresh is thus a welcome and timely one and will interest readers in academia and beyond. —Barbara D. Metcalf, University of California, Davis

Truschke argues with wit and enthusiasm. —Maxwell Carter, Wall Street Journal

A learned intervention by a fine scholar. —Harbans Mukhia, JNU, Delhi

Overall, Aurangzeb is a fascinating biography of an emperor who continues to dominate the contemporary discourse on the Hindu-Muslim relationship and beyond. Strongly recommended for everyone, scholars, students and general readers, Aurangzeb is an example of how historical biographies of complex characters can be written. —Akshaya Mukul, The Hindu

A remarkably lucid book that takes Hindutva history head on… Between her book and her social media presence, Truschke’s model of engagement is something that other academics and, especially, historians would do well to emulate.  —Shoaib Daniyal, Scroll.in

     Read excerpts from the OUP-Pakistan edition of Aurangzeb, the Shivaji chapter, here.

     Read about the politics and controversy surrounding Aurangzebhere.

Buy Aurangzeb from Amazon.com (USA), Amazon.in (India) and OUP-Pakistan (Pakistan).