Muslim Mughal Rule in India ended because of the bankruptcy of their treasury, just the way Pakistan is headed. This bankruptcy was accumulated in years of fighting British Colonials supported the Hindu Maratha insurgency in the Centre of the country.
Literature is full of eyewash statistics that gloss over the actual reasons that kicked off the rapid collapse of the Great Muslim Mughal rule in India and how we can see Pakistan, a remnant of that rule, in the future.
Muslim Rollback History
The rollback of the Muslim footprint started from the Indian West coast towns around Surat Port that were firmly under the influence of British colonials.
Aurangzeb had previously stepped on a hornet’s nest by taking over Bengal from the thieving colonial bandits and they did not like it one bit.
First British pirates were set loose on Aurangzeb’s pilgrimage trade route, which he suppressed on land but had to sign a compromise at sea.
Then the British, French and Portuguese colonial officers took a back seat and surreptitiously helped the Hindu Marathas in the areas around Surat and Bombay to create trouble for Aurangzeb Alamgir
Aurangzeb expended his treasury in prolonged conflict to suppress the roving bands of Marathas.
Bankruptcy was also the reason why Aurangzeb could not extend his domain right up to the southern tip of India.
Poor quality of officers of the empire
The insurrection by the Hindu Marathas around the west coast was so intense, and Aurangzeb’s officers so incompetent, that he personally stayed the last 25 years of his reign very close to the area of action.
Support by Shia Persia
Another supporter of Hindu Marathas was the Shia Persian government, who resented the fact the puritanical Sunni Aurangzeb had downgraded Persian advisors and replaced them with his Turi Mongol advisors. Maratha and Aurangzeb’s dissidents were given protection there.
Aurangzeb’s cash cow Bengal was too far away to keep effective governance of a community that had never seen Aryan rule and were mostly being controlled by the British in collaboration with their pirate crews. Aurangzeb was the only Mughal to cross the Brahmaputra to consolidate his hold on Bengal. This was deeply resented by the colonials and slowly sapped his coffers.
Though Aurangzeb repeatedly took back forts and defeated brigands of Marathas, the Narmada and Tapi rivers in-between Delhi and Surat and Aurangzeb not having a solid Navy made sure the insurgents always found replenishments.
Aurangzeb Alamgir the Mugal’s chronology
Aurangzeb first secured the Western wall of his empire right up to Kabul so effectively that there was a brief period when a lady was running the show there.
Then Aurangzeb moves to take over Bengal.
Moving South toward Deccan was extremely problematic for him as by that time the British, French, and Portuguese had established firm footholds there and had started training their Hindu allies, the Marathas.
Aurangzeb’s first half of this forty-five years reign (1658-1607) was of consolidation, with little puritanical codes enforced. It was after his prolonged warfare with Hindu Marathas that Aurangzeb changed into a puritanical emperor. He banded music, arts, and even Hindus in executive posts. He did carry out a purge of Hindu temples in areas he deemed unruly, as a battle tactic.
Aurangzeb managed to alienate the British, the French, Hindus Marathas, Hindu Rajput, Sikh, and Shia Muslims altogether, by the end of his reign.
Qazis had more powers than his top generals.
It is said near the end of his reign his treasury barely had a few crore rupees were in the good year India produced 25% of the world’s GDP. This Khazanchee would desperately wait for remunerations from Bengal to arrive to finance the military.
Aurangzeb Alamgir’s Islamic fundamentalism
Aurangzeb’s predecessors were horribly bad administrators’ Jehangir and Shan Jehan and the Mughal Empire was already waning.
Aurangzeb invoked conservative Islam out of necessity like Emperor Constantine invoked Christianity to slow down the steep slide of a dying empire.
He even enforced Jizya tax, allowed in Quran to be enforced on “erring” non-Muslim factions, at 2.5% higher against non-Muslim traders. Although, Aurangzeb had abolished Highway tax on goods, in lieu, that really p*ssed of the non-Muslim subjects.
Aurangzeb even resorted to the forcible conversion of recalcitrant Hindu tribes and kingdoms, to forestall their rebellion in the future, but they had a stronger backer, the colonials. Colonials had factories that produced guns, gun powder, and a solid Navy and a disenfranchised local Hindu-Sikh population that the Mughals did not.
It worked for a while, but as the Roman Empire, the rot in quality and ambition of the officers was too deep to arrest.
What happened after Aurangzeb?
Immediate after Aurangzeb died in 1707, the empire started falling apart and the main agent in all this were the Colonials that wanted their vassals to fight the remnants, while they get richer in the shadows.
Hindu Marathas, buoyed by their successes against the Muslim Mughals, quickly moved across central India, with the blessings of Colonial British, into former Muslim kingdoms and divided the lands amongst themselves to form princely states, like the ones that existed before the Muslims arrived.
The British after defeating the French using Hindu Marathas moved against their former allies to and simply moved in to the whole of Southern India. Tipu Sultan and the Nizam of Hyderabad Deccan stood no chance.
Then the British egged on Sikh to expand westwards into Afghanistan and North into Kashmir.
After Ranjit Singh did has he was told, the British kicked him out too and disbanded his French-trained troops.
So, there you have it, the story of the end of the Mughal Empire in 1000 words.
What can Pakistan learn out of this history?
Now, you ask me what Pakistan can learn out of this history.
These are my top ten lessons for Pakistan. Ignore these at your nation’s peril. Phir na kehna kissi nai batay nai tha
You cannot alienate your inhabitants, whether of any caste, color, gender, creed, or religion. An administrative decision has to be free of ecclesiastic considerations
An army should be self-sustaining, aimed at securing more wealth, not drain it.
Self-developed weapons and economic institutions win wars, not the conviction of soldiers
An empty treasury is a death knell.
Neighbors’ have to be incorporated into the national narrative, power structure, or decision hierarchy otherwise peace will be elusive.
An emperor, whether benevolent or tyrannical will drown the nation’s fate.
Invest more in educating your people and less in making war.
Democracy is the best way to bring continuity in succession, the cornerstone of a great nation.
Intrigue and insurrections can only be neutralized by political means; military means will just buy you time.
The country will produce leaders, only as good as your median quality person, and change comes from bottoms up, not top-down. So spend on education and health.
Some races like the Mongol descendants, Bengalis have always been syncretic in their outlook as they have been spared from being brutalized by living too close to the Western Invasion route of India. These people need a social contract to rope them in, not religion.
Aurangzeb is considered as the spiritual forefather of Pakistan, in India, whether Pakistanis believe it to be true or not. Indians must hate him to justify their collaboration with colonials. Let’s promote his virtues of uniting the Indian continent and keeping colonials and marauders from the West at bay.
Revenues come from where there are rivers, like in the case of Bengal, so save your water.
Arts, crafts, music, entertainment, sports, and the written word is the soul of a nation talking to itself, so let them be.
Predominantly Hindu India did it again by collaborating with another colonial power, the USSR in dismembering East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. Hindu nationalists are toying with the same against China too. So, the streak remains.
If you do not have self-created weapons, strong national institutions especially economic, forget annexing more territory.
The final word
The Pakistan we have inherited as a result of mass conversion of non-Muslims and a benevolent nod by the colonials for the cannon fodder we have been providing them in their world wars. If it wasn’t for collaboration of Hindu Marathas and Sikh with the British, French, and Portuguese colonials, Pakistan would have been far bigger in size.
Make the best of what is left.