Modern History Simplified: The reasons for the decline of Mughals in India

The Mughal empire began to decline and disintegrate during the first half of the eighteenth century after the death of Aurangazeb in 1707.
The following are the possible reasons for the decline of Mughals in India:
  1. Regime of Aurangazeb
    1. Not willing to accept Maratha’s demand for regional autonomy
    2. Auragazeb’s absence from north India. Because of his constant tussle with the Marathas.
    3. Conflict with the Rajput states such as Marwar and Sawai Jaisingh of Amber.
    4. Challenged by Satnamis, Jats and Sikhs.
    5. Aurangazeb followed religious orthodoxy such as imposing Jizya and destroying Hindu temples. This affected the peace in the region.
  2. Absence of fixed rule of succession: After the death of a king, the Mughal dynasty was plagued with civil war between the princes. Even the nobility transformed into warring factions.
  3. Nobility: The character of the nobility also deteriorated.
    1. They became very powerful. For instance, the Sayyid Brothers became highly influential in the Mughal Court after Aurangzeb’s death and became king makers. They created and dethroned Mughal Emperors at their will during the 1710s. 
    2. They were filled with selfishness, corruption and moral decay
  4. Weak Successor after the death of Aurangzeb: For Instance, Muhammad Shah was given the name ‘Rangila’ because of his addiction to wine and women. It was during his reign that
    1. Rise of regional states such as Hyderabad under Nizam-Ul-Mulk, Awadh under Saadat Khan and Bengal under Murshid Quli Khan took place. These regions became virtually independent. 
    2. Series of foreign invasions by Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali. 
  5. After the death of Aurangazeb, practice of Ijarah system (Revenue farming system) which means farming is given to the highest bidder. This led to the rise of a new class of revenue farmers.
    1. The loyalty of the revenue farmers lay with the local governor more than the Mugal ruler.
    2. The revenue farmers tried to extract and exploit the peasant class. This resulted in peasant uprisings.
  6. The Mughals with their infighting neglected the growth of industry, Science and technology, overseas trade and navy
  7. Because of the erosion of peace and stability in the society, there was an absence of spirit of political nationalism among people. Instead people were loyal to their tribes, caste and religious sects. 
  8. Because of constant conflicts, law and order broke down and the administration was completely bankrupt.
  9. Because of the neglect of the army and navy, the Mughal dynasty grew militarily weak. This resulted in a series of foreign invasions by Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali. 
  10. The final blow came from the challenge by the Britishers. They defeated Shah Alam II in the Battle of Buxar and after the revolt of 1857, Lord Canning dropped the title of ‘King’ from the Mughal rulers. 

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