Most of us know Aurangazeb as a tyrannical and bigoted emperor who tortured and killed his family members, suppressed non-Muslims,fought many unnecessary wars which drained the exchequer. He is also known as the one who paved the way for the decline of the Mughal Empire.
But how many of us know the ‘softer’ side of this emperor? I have read in my school history book that Aurangazeb used to stitch caps and transcribe by hand copies of the Koran to sell anonymously to earn money for his burial and tomb.
The remains of the mighty emperor who lorded over the sub-continent for about five decades lie in a modest tomb in a non-descript town of Khuldabad, about 30 kilometers from Aurangabad.
Aurangzeb died in Ahmednagar(1707 C.E.), but he had a desire to be interred near the tomb of his Islamic guru, Sayyad Zainuddin Shirazi at Khuldabad.
Originally, his tomb was open and on all sides. Lord Curzon directed the then Nizam to put up marble panels all around. The top is still open to the sky.
A blind caretaker Sheikh Hakim was at the site when I visited and was most helpful.
Aurangazeb’s son and his wife are also buried near the emperor’s tomb and Zainuddin Shirazi’s dargah is just behind. Behind the dargah there is a small room which is believed to house the robes of the prophet.
Across the narrow and busy street is the dargah of Sayyad Burhanuddin another notable teacher. The tomb of the first Nizam is also in this complex.
The whole complex is devoid of any visual or architectural attraction but it stands as a testimony to the frugality of a mighty emperor who hailed from a dynasty which took pride in building grandiose monuments and tombs.