Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/154

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150 THE MUGHAL DYNASTY. notwithstanding that the empire had fallen to pieces. When the Afghan invader, Ahmad Shah Duranf, entered Delhi in 176 1, the treasury officers presented him with a statement showing the land revenue of the empire at £34,506,640. The highest land revenue of Aurangzeb, after his annexations in Southern India, and before his final reverses, was returned at 38J millions sterling; of which nearly 38 millions were from Indian Pro- vinces, and the remainder from Kashmfr and Kabul. The total revenue of the Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb, from all sources, was estimated in 1695 at 80 millions sterling, and in 1697 at 77J millions sterling. The gross taxation levied from British India, deducting the opium excise, which is paid by the Chinese consumer, averaged 38 millions sterling during the ten years ending 1883. Character of Aurangzeb. — Aurangzeb tried to live the life of a model Muhammadan emperor. Magnificent in his public appearances, simple in his private habits, diligent in business, exact in his religious observances, an elegant letter-writer, and ever ready with choice passages alike from the poets and from the Kuran, his life would have been a blameless one, if he had had no father to depose, no brethren to murder, and no Hindu subjects to oppress. But his bigotry made an enemy of every one who did not share his own faith ; and the slaughter of his kindred compelled him to entrust his whole government to strangers. The Hindus never forgave him ; and the Sikhs, the Rajputs, and the Marathas, immediately after his reign, began to close in upon the empire. His Muhammadan generals and viceroys, as a rule, served him well during his vigorous life ; but at his death they usurped his children's inheritance. Decline of the Mughal Empire. — The succeeding emperors were puppets in the hands of the too powerful soldiers or states- men who raised them to the throne, controlled them while on it, and killed them when it suited their purposes to do so. The subsequent history of the empire is a mere record of ruin. The chief events in its decline and fall are summarized on page 154. For a time Mughal emperors still ruled India from Delhi. But of the six immediate successors of Aurangzeb, two were under the control of an unscrupulous general, Zul-fikar Khan, while