After moving about almost every year between Bijapur in the south and the Manjira river in the north, Aurangzib (21st May, 1695) finally made Brahmapuri, on the Bhima river east of Pandharpur, his Base Camp, and named it Islampuri. Here a city sprang up from his encampment, and it was walled round in time. Here his family was lodged when he went forth on campaigns.

On 19th October, 1699, after a four years' stay at Islampuri, Aurangzib, now aged 81 years, set out to besiege the Maratha forts in person. The rest of his life is a repetition of the same sickening tale: a hill fort captured by him after a great loss of time men and money, the fort recovered by the Marathas from the weak Mughal garrison after a few months, and the siege begun again by the Emperor after a year or two! The soldiers and camp-followers suffered unspeakable hard­ships in marching over flooded rivers, muddy roads and broken hilly tracks; porters disappeared, transport beasts died of hunger and overwork, scarcity of grain was ever present in the camp. His officers all wearied of this labour of Sisyphus; but Aurangzib would burst into wrath at any suggestion of return to Hindustan and taunt the unlucky counsellor with cowardice and love of ease! The mutual jealousies of his generals, Nusrat Jang and Firuz Jang, Shujaet Khan and Muhammad Murad Khan, Tarbiyat Khan and Fathullah Khan, spoiled his affairs as thoroughly as the French cause in the Peninsular War was ruined by the jealousies of Napoleon's marshals. Therefore, the Emperor must conduct every operation in person or nothing would be done!

A bare record of his sieges will suffice here:

BASANTGARH (siege, 22nd—25th Nov., 1699).

SATARA (siege, 8th Dec., 1699—21 April, 1700).

PARLIGARH near Satara (siege, 30th April—9th June).

Halt at Khawaspur for the rainy season of 1700, (30th Aug.—16 Dec.)

PANHALA (siege, 9th March—28th May, 1701) also Pavangarh captured.

Halt at Khatau for the rainy season of 1701, (29th May—7th Nov.)

Capture of Wardhangarh (6th June, 1701), Nandgir, Chandan and Wandan (6th Oct.) by Fathullah Khan.

KHELNA (siege, 26th Dec., 1701—4th June, 1702).

The rainy season of 1702 spent in a most painful march (10th June—13 Nov.) from Khelna to Bahadur-garh with a month's halt at Vadgaon in August.

KONDANA (siege, 27th December, 1702—8th April, 1703).

Halt at Puna for the rainy season of 1703, (1st May— 10th November).

RAJGARH (siege, 2nd Dec. 1703—16th Feby. 1704).

TORNA (siege, 23rd February—10th March).

Halt at Khed for the rainy season of 1704 (17th April —21st October.)

WAGINGERA (siege, 8th February—27th April, 1705).

Halt at Devapur, 8 miles from Wagingera, for the rainy season of 1705, (c. 1st May—23rd October).

This was the last of his sieges, for here he got a warning of what was to come. At Devapur a severe illness attacked him, which was aggravated by his insistence on transacting business as usual. The whole camp was in despair and confusion: who would extri­cate them from that gloomy mountainous region if the Emperor died? At last Aurangzib yielded to their entreaty and probably also to the warning of approach­ing death, and retreated to Bahadurpur (6th December 1705), whence he reached Ahmadnagar (20th January, 1706), to die a year later.

The last years of Aurangzib's life were inexpressibly sad. On its public side there was the consciousness that his long reign of half a century had been a colossal failure. “After me will come the deluge!” this morose foreboding of Louis XV. was repeated by Aurangzib almost word for word (Az ma-st hamah fasad-i-baqi). His domestic life, too, was loveless and dreary, and wanting in the benign peace and hopeful­ness which throw a halo round old age. A sense of unutterable loneliness haunted the heart of Aurangzib in his old age. One daughter, Zinat-un-nisa, already an old maid, looked after his household, and his youngest concubine, Udaipuri, bore him company. But he had at one time or other, to imprison all his five sons except one! By his own conduct in the War of Succession he had raised a spectre which relentlessly pursued him: what if his sons should treat him in his weak old age as he had treated Shah Jahan? This fear of Nemesis ever haunted his mind, and he had no peace while his sons were with him! Lastly, there was the certainty of a deluge of blood when he would close his eyes, and his three surviving sons, each supported by a provincial army and treasury, would fight for the throne to the bitter end. In two most pathetic letters written to his sons when he felt the sure approach of death, the old Emperor speaks of the alarm and distraction of his soldiery, the passionate grief of Udaipuri, and his own bitter sense of the futility of his life, and then entreats them not to cause the slaughter of Musalmans by engag­ing in a civil war among themselves. A paper, said to have been found under his pillow after his death, contained a plan for the peaceful partition of the empire among his three sons. Meantime death was also busy at work within his family circle. When Gauharara, the last among Aurangzib's brothers and sisters, died, (about March, 1706), he felt that his own turn would come soon. Some of his nephews, daughters, and grandsons, too, were snatched away from him in the course of his last year. In the midst of the darkness closing around him he used to hum the pathetic verses:—

By the time you have reached your 80th or 90th year,
You must have met with many a hard blow from the hand of Time;
And when from that point you reach the stage of a hundred,
Death will put on the form of your life.

And also,—

In a twinkle, in a minute, in a breath,
The condition of the world changes.

His last illness overtook him at Ahmadnagar, early in February 1707; then he rallied for 5 or 6 days, sent away his two sons from his camp to their provincial governments, and went through business and daily prayers regularly. But that worn out frame of 91 years had been taxed too much. A severe fever set in, and in the morning of Friday, 20th February, 1707, he gradually sank down exhausted into the arms of death, with the Muslim confession of faith on his lips and his fingers on his rosary.

The corpse was despatched to Khuldabad, six miles from Daulatabad, and there buried in the courtyard of the tomb of the saint Shaikh Zain-ud-din, in a red sand­stone sepulchre built by Aurangzib in his own lifetime. The covering slab, 9 feet by 7 feet, is only a few inches in height, and has a cavity in the middle which is filled with earth for planting green herbs in.

Aurangzib's wife, DILRAS BANU BEGAM, the daughter of Shah Nawaz Khan Safawi, died on 8th October, 1657, after bearing him Zeb-un-nisa, Azam and Akbar. A secondary wife (mahal) NAWAB BAI, the mother of Sultan and Muazzam, does not seem to have been a favourite, as her husband seldom sought her society after his accession. Of his three concubines (parastar), Hira Bai or ZAINABADI, with whom he was infatuated almost to madness, died very young; AURANGABADI, the mother of Mihr-un-nisa died of the plague in November 1688; UDAIPURI, the favourite companion of Aurangzib's old age and the mother of his pet son Kam Bakhsh, entered his harem after his accession. She is said to have been a Circassian slave-girl of Dara, gained by Aurangzib among the spoils of victory. But another account which describes her as a Kashmiri woman is more likely to be true, because the Masir-i-Alamgiri calls her Bai, a title which was applied to Hindu women only. Her descent from the royal house of Mewar is a fanciful conjecture of some modern writers.

Aurangzib's eldest son, SULTAN, chafing under the restraints of his father's officers, during the war of succession in Bengal, fled to Shuja and married his daughter, but in a few months returned to his father. The foolish youth, then only 20 years old, was kept in prison for the rest of his life. (Died 3rd December, 1676).

His second son, MUAZZAM, (also Shah Alam), who in 1707 succeeded him on the throne as Bahadur Shah I., incensed Aurangzib by intriguing with the besieged kings of Bijapur and Golkonda, and was placed in confinement (21st February, 1687). After his spirit had been thoroughly tamed, his captivity was relaxed little by little (in a rather amusing fashion), and at last, on 9th May, 1695, he was sent to the Panjab as governor, (afterwards getting Afghanistan also to govern).

The third prince, AZAM, stepped into the vacant place of the heir-apparent (Shah-i-alijah) during Muazzam's disgrace, and was made much of by his father. But he was extremely haughty, prone to anger, and incapable of self-restraint.

The fourth, AKBAR, rebelled against his father in 1681, and fled to Persia where he died an exile in November, 1704. His presence at Farah, on the Khurasan frontier, was long a menace to the peace of India.

The youngest, KAM BAKHSH, the spoilt child of his father's old age, was worthless, self-willed, and foolish. For his misconduct during the siege of Jinji he was put under restraint, and again confined for his fatuous attachment to his foster-brother, a wretch who had tried to assassinate an excellent officer. The third and fifth brothers fell fighting in the struggle for the throne which followed Aurangzib's death, (1707 and 1709).