(Last Updated on : 28/01/2012)
Deccan policy of Aurangzeb had political as well as religious purpose. The extension of the empire was also one of the purposes of Aurangzeb. It is believed that extinction of the states of Bijapur
and Golconda was a prior necessity for the destruction of the power of the Marathas in the Deccan. Besides this political motive, he desired to annex these states because their rulers were Shias. Therefore, Aurangzeb was not satisfied simply by acceptance of his suzerainty by them but he desired to annex them to the Mughal Empire.
Aurangzeb remained busy in the north for the first twenty-five years of his rule. Therefore, the responsibility of looking after the affairs of the Deccan was left to his different nobles. Bijapur had failed to fulfil the terms of the treaty of 1657 A.D. Therefore, Raja Jai Singh was deputed to attack it in 1665-66 A.D. But, Jai Singh failed to get the submission of Bijapur. The situation, however, changed when Adil Shah II died in 1672 A.D. and was succeeded by his four-year son, Sikandar Adil Shah. The Sultan being minor failed to keep his nobles, under control. The nobles were divided into two groups, viz. the foreigners and the Indian Muslims. Both these groups tried to capture the power of the throne which resulted in maladministration of the state. The Mughals took advantage of it and attacked Bijapur in 1676 A.D. but with no results. The Mughals failed to get any success in the coming years till Aurangzeb himself reached the Deccan.
Aurangzeb deputed his son, Azam against Bijapur. Azam besieged the fort and Aurangzeb also reached there in person in July 1686 A.D. The fort surrendered in September, 1686 A.D. Sikandar Adil Shah was granted a pension and Bijapur was annexed to the Mughal Empire. Golconda was ruled by Abul Hasan Qutub Shah at that time. Aurangzeb deputed Prince Shah Alam to attack Golconda. Abul Hasan left Hyderabad
and sought shelter in the fort of Golconda. Abul Hasan pleaded for a treaty with the prince and he agreed. But Aurangzeb was not prepared for any treaty. He besieged the Golconda Fort
in 1687 A.D. and captured it. Sultan Abul Hasan was imprisoned in the fort of Daulatabad and was given a pension for his life. Golconda was annexed to the Mughal Empire.
The conquests of Bijapur and Golconda did not complete the conquest of the Deccan by Aurangzeb. The newly-risen power of the Marathas under Shivaji was yet a powerful challenge to him. Shivaji
had established an independent kingdom in Maharashtra
. In order to achieve it he had to fight both against Bijapur and the Mughals. Shivaji first came into conflict with the Mughals in 1656. But Aurangzeb forced him to agree for peace in 1657 AD. When Aurangzeb became the emperor, he deputed Sayista Khan to suppress Shivaji. But Sayista Khan failed. Shivaji succeeded in making a surprise night-attack on him when he was resting at Pune
and he fled away. Aurangzeb recalled him and deputed Raja Jai Singh to attack Shivaji. Jai Singh forced Shivaji to sign the treaty of Purandar by which he surrendered 3/4th of his territory and forts. Shivaji visited Agra
in 1666 A.D. where he was virtually imprisoned. However, he managed to escape from Agra. He started fighting against the Mughals in 1670 A.D. In 1674 A.D., he held his coronation and made Raigarh his capital. Shivaji died in 1680 A.D. but prior to his death he had succeeded in establishing quite an extensive kingdom in the south. He was succeeded by his son, Shambhuji. Prince Akbar, son of Aurangzeb found shelter with him. But Shambhuji was an incapable ruler. Aurangzeb reached the Deccan in 1682 A.D. and succeeded in capturing Shambhuji in 1689 A.D. Shambhuji was killed and entire Maharashtra was occupied by Aurangzeb. It completed the conquest of the south by Aurangzeb. But, his success remained short-lived. The Marathas rose as one force against the Mughals to liberate their motherland. The Maratha war of independence was first led by Raja Ram and then by his widow, Tara Bai. This war continued till the death of Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb failed in subduing the Marathas and died in the Deccan fully realising his failure against the Marathas. Thus, the Deccan policy of Aurangzeb, ultimately failed.
The Deccan policy of the Mughals reached the perfection of its success during the rule of Aurangzeb. But it was a temporary success. Aurangzeb failed to consolidate his success. The Marathas rose against him and brought about the collapse of his Deccan policy. The failure of the Deccan policy of Aurangzeb participated in the disintegration of the Mughal Empire.