I have attempted to divide the sources of information about Aurangzeb into four parts.
The first part includes various official government documentations and chronicles. The second part deals with accounts written by the courtiers or other people who were associated with Aurangzeb.The third part deals with the modern day orientalists and historians who have written various books on the subject.The fourth part deals with the great amount of literature written by Muslim religious scholars and their assessment on the status of Islam before and after the advent of the Mughals.

The series of events which have probably never before been discussed and given due recognition in the non-religious academic world.

The Mughal Emperors were voracious guardians of their legacy whether in arts, culture, architecture or literature. Various works on the detailed day to day rule of all the Mughal emperors can be found intact to this day in the form of Namas. There were people appointed by the emperor to scribe daily accounts in the courts or camps everthing that was said and done in public. These were referred to as Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Muala. Another source was the chronicles of the Waqia-Nigars (Recorder of Events) who sent periodically to the court reports about the events in their respective areas/provinces. This tradition was begun by Emperor Babar. Later this accumulated mass of accurate, detailed and absolutely contemporary records of occurrences were compiled into a magnificent texts supplemented by courtly prose, detailed miniatures and calligraphy. Texts like the Babar Nama, Humayun Nama, Akbar Nama, Tuzuki Jahangiri, Badshah Nama, Alamgirnama etc are manifestations of literary works at their zenith.

During the reign of Aurangzeb the man picked to write the AlamgirNamah was Mirza Muhammad Kazim Shirazi. He successfully compiled facts about the first 10 years of Aurangzeb’s rule. After this Aurangzeb forbade Kazim Shirazi to continue any further probably because of the extravagant expenditure involved in this work. After Aurangzeb’s death his Meer Munshi Inayatullah Khan Kashmiri urged Saqi Mustad Khan to complete the history of such an important and model sovereign. In order to help him in his work the State Archives were thrown open to him wherefrom he made important extracts he needed for his work. He completed this work in 1710 three years after the death of Aurangzeb and titled it Maasir-i-Alamgiri. By far this is the most complete account of the reign of Aurangzeb Alamgir that we can refer to. Let us now look at the second part.

Apart from the AlamgirNamah and Maasir-i-Alamgiri we have the collection of letters belonging to Aurangzeb compiled by his meer munshi Inayat Ullah Khan Kashmiri known as the Rukhaat-e- Alamgiri and the Adabe-e-Alamgiri. The mother of Inayatullah Kashmiri Hafeza Maryam was appointed as the hifz ustad (teacher appointed to help memorizing the Quran) for Zebunnisa Begum the eldest daughter of Aurangzeb.

The third source we have is the Ahkaam-e-Alamgiri ascribed to the pen of Hamiduddin Khan Bahadur who wrote a series of essays on the life and times of Aurangzeb Alamgir. Hamiduddin Khan was a very trusted officer of Aurangzeb so much so that he even entrusted Hamiduddin Khan with his last will for dividing his empire amongst his sons.

The fourth source we have is the Muntakhab-ul-lubab written by Khafi Khan. It is said that Khafi Khan did not scribe the Muntakhab-ul-Lubab with anyone’s permission or knowledge. The interesting fact attributed towards Muntakhab-ul-Lubab is that it was brought out after some 30 years from the death of Aurangzeb. Khafi Khans father was a servant in the service of Prince Murad Baksh. Muntakhab-ul-lubab provides some critical analysis on the rule of Aurangzeb from the early Mughal historians. It is pertinent to mention here that Khafi Khan belonged to the Fiqh – e – Jafaria who were extremely hostile to scholars of Fiqh – e- Hanafia who were favored by Aurangzeb.

The fifth source is Miraat-Ul-Khayal by Sher Khan Lodhi.

The last one is Bakhtawar Khan’s book Mirat-ul-Alam. Bakhtawar Khan was a favorite officer of Aurangzeb and the guardian of Inayatullah Kashmiri. Inayatullah assisted Bakhtawar Khan to compose the Mirat-ul-Alam which Aurangzeb authorized him to make public after the death of Bakhtawar Khan.

The third part deals with orientalist and modern historians. Needless to say the writings of the majority of the orientalists have focused on the communal angle leading us to imagine the past. It will suffice the readers here to quote imminent historians on this topic.

In the words of A. Athar Ali a national fellow – National Council of Historic Research, New Delhi, retd Professor Aligarh Muslim University, author of Mughal Nobility Under Aurangzeb.

“Jagunath Sarkar in his magisterial work A history of Aurangzeb turned from a sympathetic biographer in one volume to a trenchant critic in the subsequent volumes saw Aurangzeb’s religious bias and an increasing lack of balance in its pursuit, generate a ‘Hindu Reaction’ whose baneful consequences his own undoubted ability and strong will could not stem. S.R Sharma in his Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors underlined the same argument, furnishing substantiation from quantitative data which suggested a decline of the Hindu component in the Mughal nobility. Faruki in his Aurangzeb and His Times answered Sarkar essentially transferring the blame from Aurangzeb to the Sharia. On the other hand historians like Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi accepted the Sarkar-Sharma hypothesis of a decline in the position of the Hindu nobility and acclaimed this as an achievement rather than a lapse on the part of Aurangzeb”.

In the words of Dr. N.R Farooqi, Professor and HOD Dept of Medieval and Modern History, Allahabad University author of the Mughal – Ottoman Relations from 1546 to 1748.

“About the British historian James Stuart Mill (1773–1836), whose three-volume History of British India divided Indian history into three distinct periods of Hindu, Muslim, and British civilization. Mill’s schematization “sowed the seeds of a religious divide,” which ultimately led to the Indian subcontinent’s partition into a Hindu-majority India and a Muslim-majority Pakistan. In his eight volume work, The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, Sir Henry Elliot (1808–1853) compiled passages taken from Persian sources, with the explicitly stated objective of contrasting the “mildness and equity” of the British rulers with the “oppressiveness” of the Muslim rulers of India. In his preface to the work, “Elliot has nothing but condemnation for Muslim historians”. Thus, following a political agenda of their own, the British made the people of India believe that they were Muslims and Hindus first and Indians second, thus giving rise to the religious and communal tensions that have haunted India’s Hindu and Muslim communities to this day”.

The fourth part deals with the Muslim scholars who wrote a great amount on the history of Islam in India. Since our subject is focused on Aurangzeb it would be prudent to look at Muntakhab al Tawarikh by Abdul Qadir Badayuni which informs us of the real religious tensions existing between the government and the ulema during the pre-Aurangzeb era. The other set of books throwing light on the actions and strategies adopted by the ulema is Professor Khaliq Ahmad Nizami’s Hayat-i-Shaik-Abd al Haq and the other and most important being Maktubat of Shaik Ahmad Sirhindi. Both of these works need to be studied in detail to gauge the true sense of fear, discrimination, imprisonment and insecurity existing amongst the Muslim religious scholars of the time. In the recent times scholars like Professor Khaliq Ahmad Nizami whose book Tarikh-i-Mashaikh-i-Chasht is worth reading and highlights important aspects on the spreading of Islam into India, Maulana Shibli Nomani whose work Alamgir Badshah Par Eik Nazar translated into English by Syed Sabahuddin Abdur Rahman, Maulana Suleiman Nadvi’s Arab va Hindustan ke Talluqat, and Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi’s Tarikh-e-Dawat-O-Azeemat deserve a detailed study.