There are three collections of Aurungzebe’s Letters. First, the “Rūka’át-i-Alamgiri,” or the “Kalimát-i-Taiyibát,” collected and published by Ináyat Alláh, one of his principal secretaries; second, the “Rakáim-i-Karáim,” by the son of another secretary Abdūl Karim Amir Khán; and third, the “Dastūr-al-Amal Agháhi,” collected from various sources thirty-eight years after the emperor’s death by a learned servant of Rájá Ayá Mal under the Raja’s order. There is still another collection bearing the name of the “Adáb-i-Alamgiri,” and comprising letters written by Aurungzebe to his father, his sons, and his officers.

These letters have no dates and have no order. I have tried my best to assign dates to most of them. But it is impossible to do so in the case of each and every one of them, as some of them have no historical connection. Most of the letters seem to have been written when Aurungzebe was engaged in his great Deccan War (1683-1707), especially during the latter period of the war.

These letters generally depict Aurungzebe’s private life. Occasionally they allude to minor historical events which happened in his or in his father’s time. They exhibit Aurungzebe as a just, kind, and lenient king and as a religious and devout Mohemadan. Again they display his orthodoxy and fanaticism which brought ruin to his house and empire after his death. In these letters we find Aurungzebe giving advice to his sons about the duties of a king,—how to govern the state by preserving order and peace in the kingdom and by protecting the person and property of the subjects. “No person can be more alive than Aurungzebe to the necessity of storing the minds of princes, destined to rule nations, with useful knowledge. As they surpass others in power and elevation, so ought they, he says, to be pre-eminent in wisdom and virtue*.”

These letters are full of many fine and instructive passages from well-known Persian poets and thus afford a proof of Aurungzebe’s Persian scholarship. “He (Aurungzebe) also discountenanced poets, who used to be honoured and pensioned, and abolished the office and salary of royal poet. It is even distinctly related that he prohibited the composition and recitation of poetry; but this extreme austerity must have been of very short duration, for his own notes and letters are filled with poetical quotations, and sometimes with extemporary verses made by himself*.” “He (Aurungzebe) is a very elegant writer in prose, and has acquired proficiency in versification, but he abstains from practising it*.” Many Koranic verses are found in these letters. This proves that he was well versed in the Koran which he had learnt by heart. These letters were not meant for a literary purpose. As the language is from a royal pen, the style of the letters is generally polite. But at the same time, it is sweet and simple and sometimes figurative. Again, a large meaning is conveyed by a short sentence. Sometimes the language is Indianised and many Indian words occur in the epistles. The style is generally admirable.

“His (Aurungzebe’s) prohibition of history was more permanent; he not only discontinued the regular annals of the empire, which had before been kept by a royal historiographer, but so effectually put a stop to all record of his transactions that from the eleventh year of his reign, the course of events can only be traced through the means of letters on business and of notes taken clandestinely by private individuals*(i. e. Kháfi Khán and others).

Alamgir (the Conqueror of the World) was a title conferred on Aurungzebe (the Ornament of the Throne) by his father Shah Jehan in order to pacify him when he made head against him during his dangerous illness. 1657. When Aurungzebe ascended the throne he assumed this title and styled himself as Alamgir (the First). Aurungzebe is generally known by this name among his co-religionists. It is not necessary to give here a life of Aurungzebe as it can be read in any ordinary Indian history.

The following books have been consulted:

1. The History of India as told by Its Own Historians, Vol. VII, by Sir H. Elliot.

2. The History of India, by Elphinstone.

3. History of The Mahrattas, by Grant Duff.

4. Aurungzebe, Rulers of India Series, by Lane Pool.

5. Travels in the Mogul Empire, by Bernier.

6. Ain-i-Akbari, by Abūl Fazl.

7. Mūntakhab-ūl-Lubáb, by Muhammad Háshim Kháfi Khán.

8. Ma’asiri Alamgiri, by Muhammad Sáqui Mūsta’idd Khán,