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Aurangzeb’s last will recorded by his Maulvi: Allah shouldn't make anyone emperor

By Mohan Guruswamy 

Aurangzeb’s grave is a simple slab open to the sky lying along the roadside at Khuldabad near Aurangabad. I once stopped by to marvel at the tomb of an Emperor of India whose empire was as large as Ashoka the Great's. It was only post 1857 when Victoria's domain exceeded this. The epitaph reads:
"Az tila o nuqreh gar saazand gumbad aghniyaa! Bar mazaar e
ghareebaan gumbad e gardun bas ast."
(The rich may well construct domes of gold and silver on their graves. For the poor folks like me, the sky is enough to shelter my grave)

The modest tomb of Aurangzeb is perhaps the least recognised legacies of the Mughal Emperor who ruled the land for fifty eventful years. He was not a builder having expended his long tenure in war and conquest. Towards the end of his reign and life, he realised the futility of it all. He wrote: "Allah should not make anyone an emperor. The most unfortunate person is he who becomes one."
Aurangzeb’s last will was recorded by Maulvi Hamid-ud Din in chapter 8 of his hand-written Persian book on the life of Aurangzeb:
***
“There is no doubt that I have been the emperor of India and I have ruled over this country. But I am sorry to say that I have not been able to do a good deed in my lifetime. My inner soul is cursing me as a sinner. But I know it is of no avail. It is my wish that my last rites be performed by my dear son Azam. No one else should touch my body.
My servant, Aya Beg, has my purse in which I have carefully kept my earnings of Rupees four and two Annas. In my spare time, I have been writing the Quran and stitching caps. It was by selling the caps that I made an honest earning. My coffin should be purchased with this amount. No other money should be spent for covering the body of a sinner. This is my dying wish. By selling the copies of Quran I collected Rupees 305, which is also with Aya Beg. It is my will that poor Mohammedans should be fed with sweet rice procured with this money.
All my articles – clothes, ink stand, pens and books should be given to my son Azam. The labour charges for digging my grave will be paid by Prince Azam.
My grave should be dug in a dense forest. When I am buried, my face should remain uncovered. Do not bury my face in the earth. I want to present myself to Allah with a naked face. I am told, whoever goes to the supreme court on high with a naked face will have his sins forgiven.
My coffin should be made of thick 'Khaddar'. Do not place a costly shawl on the corpse. The route of my funeral should not be showered with flowers. No one should be permitted to place any flowers on my body. No music should be played or sung, I hate music.
No tomb should be built for me. Only a 'chabootra' or a platform may be erected.
I have not been able to pay the salaries of my soldiers and my personal servants for several months. I bequeath that after my death at least my personal servants be paid in full, even as the treasury is empty. Niamat Ali has served me very faithfully : he has cleaned my body and has never let my bed remain dirty.
No mausoleum should be raised in my memory. No stone with my name should be placed at my grave. There should be no trees planted near the grave. A sinner like me does not deserve the protection of a shady tree !
My son, Azam, has the authority to rule from the throne of Delhi. Kam Baksh should be entrusted with governance of Bijapur and Golconda states.
Allah should not make anyone an emperor. The most unfortunate person is he who becomes one. My sins should not be mentioned in any social gathering. The story of my life should not be told to anyone.”
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