Difference Between Akbar and Aurangzeb

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Akbar and Aurangzeb

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India has been home to some of the oldest empires in the world. Moreover, there have been several victories on Indian soil until history continues. The Mughal Empire has played a major role in mapping the history of India to a great extent. It has been known for its powerful rulers who had their ideals of ruling a country. Hierarchy played a big role in the question of who would be the next ruler. Despite appointing the ruler by hierarchy each monarch had their way of ruling and ideals. Two of the most renowned rulers of the Mughal Empire are Akbar and Aurangzeb. Both had differences and similarities. The Mughal Emperors, Akbar, and Aurangzeb gained a great deal of prominence as sovereign states. Both had unusual head and heart characteristics. They were brave, hardworking, and diligent and were gifted with the military talents of the first program. But points of difference in their appearance and character are more prominent than similar points. The policies of Akbar and Aurangzeb were very different from each other.

Akbar vs. Aurangzeb

Akbar, the third Mughal emperor to conquer India, reigned for approximately 50 years. His realm is often regarded as one of the most important in Mughal history. During his reign, the Mughals allied with the Indian populace and became the true Indian rulers, rather than foreign invaders. Aurangzeb was the Mughal Empire's sixth emperor. His rule was essentially comparable to Akbar's, although it was not peaceful. The Mughal Empire was at its pinnacle during Aurangzeb's reign due to his military policies and expansion, unifying most, if not all, of India. He even subdued Martha's power to a degree, which no previous Mughal king had ever done. Despite having some similarities Akbar and Aurangzeb were quite different, and the main difference was that Akbar had a liberal and secular outlook in his reign, but Aurangzeb on the other hand was a strict Muslim, he had deployed strict rules during his time as a ruler because of which people enjoyed little to now freedom. The table below will give a clear outlook on the difference between the two rulers.

Difference Between Akbar and Aurangzeb in Tabular Form

Basis of distinction Akbar  Aurangzeb 
Years of Reign  1556-1605  1658-1707 
Religious Policy  Religiously open-minded Orthodox Muslim, prosecuted Hindus 
Title  Akbar ‘the Great’  Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir’ 
Relations with Rajputs  Akbar had good relations with the Rajputs, with marital associations as well. Aurangzeb had Rajput nobles in his court, but he was not as open-minded as Akbar.
Important Contribution  Areas of expansion, conquests, art, architecture and literature. Most of Aurangzeb’s life as emperor was spent on war and takeovers.
Personalities Akbar maintained a magnificent court and loved grandeur and plenty. Aurangzeb was simple and frugal inhabits and he meticulously circumvented indulgences.
Trust on others Akbar fully relied on his attendants and worked up to the principle of interference.  

Aurangzeb was by nature suspicious and in-capable of trusting any one, not even his sons.

Who is Akbar?

Muhammad Akbar was a great ruler in medieval India. The majority of the Mughal Empire's consolidation was attributed to Akbar. He amalgamated the Mughal Empire in India through a combination of war and expansion strategies, regional alliances with minor kings, and matrimonial ties. Akbar is often regarded as the greatest and most capable Mughal monarch. Mughal polity and statecraft matured under him, and the Mughals progressed from a minor power to a large dynastic state. From his time through the end of the Mughal Empire, creative creation at both the imperial and sub-imperial levels was inextricably tied to ideas of state government, religion, and monarchy.

Akbar devoted his time to the consolidation of territories in north India. He achieved these feats through battles, marriages, treaties, and administrative reforms. At the same time as these activities, he also became interested in religion which, at first, his concerns eventually changed his view of the state, affecting his view of the empire. Many of the measures he implemented, like the renunciation of the jiziya for non-Muslims, had both a political and a personal foundation, since Akbar, more than his Mughal predecessors, saw every value in keeping good ties with the Hindu majority. Furthermore, around this time, Akbar was also interested in gaining the support of traditional Indian Muslims. His goal was to weaken the power of the Iranian nobles, that is, the princes of Persia and Central Asia, by including Indians, Hindus, and Muslims, in his administration.

Akbar during Mughal Era was famous for various things. During his reign, he was a major supporter of art and architecture, commissioning a large number of masterpieces. He attempted and succeeded in winning over the Rajput kings of Rajasthan by appointing them to prominent positions in his court and forming marriage ties with them. He was also a skilled general, and his dominion expanded to north, east, and west India. The removal of the jiziya and pilgrimage tax, his land revenue policy, the founding of the new religion of Din-I-Ilahi, and the building of Fatehpur Sikri were among Akbar's most important achievements. Din-e Ilahi was heavily influenced by Sufi practices from Islamic culture, and it showed Akbar's new awareness that truth is found in all religions. Instead of viewing Islam as a mere state religion, Akbar's new edict allowed various religious groups to adhere to their beliefs and practices, including the new customs and traditions that were born of Din-e Ilahi.

Who is Aurangzeb?

Muhi-ud-Din After savage infighting with his siblings and the assassination of his father, Muhammad Aurangzeb rose to the Mughal Empire. His reign lasted around 49 years, and the Mughal Empire reached its apex during his reign. Even as governor of Deccan, he demolished numerous temples, including Ahmedabad's renowned Chintamani temple, which he replaced with a mosque. After becoming Emperor of India, he actively pursued this practice. During his first year in power, he directed the governor of Orissa to destroy all temples in the region. He ordered the destruction of all notable and famous temples within his realm in the twelfth year of his reign. Mosques were built instead of temples. In Mewar, it is said that he had wiped out 240 temples. Some of the well-known temples destroyed were those of Keshva Temple (Mathura), Vishwanath (Varanasi), and Somnath (Kathiawar).

He was a very proficient military leader, and he occupied almost the entire Indian subcontinent. He was known for having a strong military hold, and the most prominent mission undertaken him was the Deccan campaign carried by General Malik Kafur. It was because of this event in which the Mughals came into undeviating battle with the Marathas, which eventually became a reason of the collapse of the Mughal Empire.  During his rule, he introduced Shariat Law throughout the Mughal Empire. Aurangzeb, despite being a devout Muslim, was not very tolerant of other religions. He had reinstituted the jaziya tax and desecrated other religions' sites of worship. He did not follow his forefathers' religious tolerance policy. Because Aurangzeb led a very frugal life and did not commission many works of art and monuments, there was no significant increase in art and architecture during his reign. Even though he had a large number of Hindu officials in his court, his reign was characterized by multiple upheavals and authoritarian rebellions.

In the northeast, the Ahoms were vanquished in 1663 but revolted again in the 1680s. Campaigns against Yusufzai and the Sikhs in the northwest were initially effective. The Rathor Rajputs of Marwar rebelled as a result of Mughal involvement in their succession and internal politics. Initially, campaigns against Maratha leader Shivaji were successful. However, Aurangzeb insulted Shivaji, who fled Agra and declared himself an independent king, resuming his attacks against the Mughals. The Marathas and the Deccan Sultanate supported Prince Akbar's rebellion against Aurangzeb. Finally, he escaped to Safavid Iran. Following Akbar's uprising, Aurangzeb dispatched soldiers against the Deccan Sultanates. Bijapur was occupied in 1685 and Golconda in 1687. From 1698 Aurangzeb led a decisive Deccan campaign against the Maratha invasion of the insurgent. Aurangzeb also had to deal with uprisings in northern India against Sikhs, Jats, and Satnamis, northeast of Ahom, and Deccan of Marathas. His death was followed by a heated argument between his sons.

He had deployed Discriminatory tolls:-

  1. Hindu traders were compelled to pay a 5% toll levy, whereas Muslim businessmen only had to pay half of it. Later, Muslim traders were exempted entirely from the toll levy.
  2. Hindus were barred from government jobs- Aurangzeb implemented a policy that barred Hindus from holding top administrative or executive positions in the government. In 1670, a general edict was issued barring the employment of Hindus in the tax service. However, because it resulted in a complete collapse of efficiency, the decree was partially changed, and Hindus were permitted to work on select limited jobs in the revenue department.
  3. Restrictions on Hindu educational institutions- Aurangzeb destroyed Hindu educational institutions in Varanasi, Multan, and Thatta. You have set limits on the implementation of new methods. Hindu children were forbidden to study the basics of their faith. They were also not permitted to go to Islamic Madrasas and Maktab.

Key Differences Between Akbar and Aurangzeb in Points

  1. Akbar was significantly responsible for the Mughal Empire's true consolidation. When Aurangzeb reached the throne, he already ruled over a stable empire.
  2. Akbar rose to the throne at the age of 14, whilst Aurangzeb ascended at the age of 39.
  3. Unlike Akbar, who expanded via a combination of feudal institutions, marriage alliances, and warfare, Aurangzeb expanded primarily through wars and military operations.
  4. Art, culture, and architecture had enormous sponsorship and appeal under Akbar but suffered greatly under Aurangzeb.
  5. Both Akbar and Aurangzeb trusted Hindus to run their empires, but Akbar was religiously tolerant and promoted secularism, whilst Aurangzeb instituted the Shariyat Law and controlled India as a Muslim territory.
  6. Although Akbar eliminated this levy on Hindus, Aurangzeb reinstated it. According to Elliot, the goal of restoring the Jizya, or voting tax, was to prevent the unbelievers and separate the faithful from the unbelieving nation. "Manucci, on the other hand, believes that the purpose of the levy was twofold: first, to replenish his treasury, which had begun to decline due to expenditure on his multiple military expeditions, and second, to force Hindus to accept Islam.
  7. While Akbar lacked Rajput ancestry, Aurangzeb did.
  8. Akbar synchronized many cultures and accentuated the arts, literature, music, architecture, and so on. Aurangzeb, on the other hand, expelled all painters, musicians, and artists from his court.


Both Akbar and Aurangzeb's names are inscribed in India's glorious history, but for quite different reasons. By various ways and tactics, Akbar "the Great" effectively united a disintegrating kingdom and rose to become one of the greatest kings in Indian history. He was viewed as a supporter of art, architecture, and literature, as well as a proficient military leader. Religions were not subordinated to political considerations under Akbar. He recognized the utmost significance of obtaining the Hindus' goodwill and moral support. As a result, he engaged in marriage links with the royal families of Rajputana, abolished the many indignities inflicted on non-Muslims, and had no qualms about assigning qualified Hindus to significant positions within the Government.

Whereas, Aurangzeb was one of India's most contentious rulers, he maintained a modest life but attempted to create India as an Islamic kingdom. The Mughal Empire was at its pinnacle during his reign, but its stability was eroding owing to his orthodox customs and rebellions across the kingdom. The Mughal Emperors, Akbar, and Aurangzeb established a strong reputation as rulers of vast empires. The Mughal Emperors, Akbar, and Aurangzeb acquired a solid reputation as significant empire rulers. Both have demonstrated exceptional mental and emotional talents. They were bold, diligent, and possessed a high degree of military capability. The disparities in their views, on the other hand, are far clearer than the similarities. The policies of Akbar and Aurangzeb were distinct to a large extent.



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"Difference Between Akbar and Aurangzeb." Diffzy.com, 2024. Thu. 18 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-akbar-and-aurangzeb-93>.

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