Author Topic: Aurangzeb: UNC Mohur(s), Aurangabad Mint  (Read 1719 times)

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Offline mitresh

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Aurangzeb: UNC Mohur(s), Aurangabad Mint
« on: October 14, 2013, 07:21:28 AM »
Coin 1

Aurangzeb, Gold Mohur, 11g, Aurangabad, AH 1074 RY7 (1664 AD)

Coin 2

Aurangzeb, Gold Mohur, 10.96g, Aurangabad, AH 1078 RY10 (1668 AD)

Coin 3

Aurangzeb, Gold Mohur, 10.97g, Aurangabad, AH 1081 RY14 (1671 AD)

Aurangzeb's remarkable reign of half a century can be divided into two parts, each part having it's own well defined distinguishing features.  During the first part, North India remained the epicentre of interest for all important developments, civil and military, with South India in total negligence.  But in the second half of the reign, Emperor went to the South with his family in 1681 and moved the bulk of his court along with him.  During this period, Daulatabad and Aurangabad remained the focus and North went in total disorder and anarchy.

The Southern phase was inspired by a combination of religious zeal to subdue the Shia Kingdoms of Golconda and Bijapur as well as to smash the Hindu nationalistic uprising in the form of Marathas led by Shivaji. The campaign turned into a disaster with ongoing running battles with the Marathas that made the Mughal army weary and the Treasury empty. About Aurangzeb's war against the Marathas, Dr. K. M. Panikkar says that "For about 20 years, the Emperor chased his own shadow. He marched up and down, attacked and conquered fortresses but the Maratha resistance became stronger as years went by. It was a nation at war against an enemy".

The Maratha campaign became what the Spanish campaign was to become for Napoleon, a running sore where his superiority in almost every calculable factor counted for nothing against a country in arms. After a strenuous campaign led by the Emperor in person against Maratha strongholds, Aurangzeb came back a broken and defeated man and died soon thereafter. The Marathas had not only not been put down, but were in effective possession of a greatest territory and had attained enormous national prestige by their successful resistance.

As Peter (Figleaf) has mentioned several times in previous posts, the Mughal gold was never meant for ordinary circulation for use by the common populace. It was minted for various purposes such as presentation or decoration (Nazrana) to visiting dignitaries and ambassadors or for distribution amongst the Emperor's trusted and loyal courtiers, military commanders and like. The gold was also extensively used to bribe rivals to influence them to shift allegiance to the Emperor. It is said that Aurangzeb spent millions of gold pieces in order to sway the influential traders, businessmen and military commanders of Bijapur, Golconda and the Marathas.

Aurangabad was bestowed the mint epithet "Khujista Bunyad - The fortunate foundation".  The verse on Aurangzeb's mohurs and rupees came from the pen of Mir Abdul Baqi Shahbai, as below:

Obv: Shah Aurangzeb Alamgir Sikkah Zad Dar Jehan Cho Mihr Monir (Shah Aurangzeb Alamgir struck coins in world like the shining full moon)

Rev: Sanat (RY) Julus Maimanat Manus Zarb (mint name) (issued in the year xx of the accession associated with prosperity, struck at xxxx).

It is ironical that Aurangzeb's tomb is located at Khuldabad in Aurangabad (Maharashtra), the place and people he so longed to subdue and within which he found his final resting peace.

See here for more Aurangzeb Mohurs.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2014, 06:57:00 AM by mitresh »
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Aurangzeb: UNC Mohur(s), Aurangabad Mint
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2013, 09:23:41 AM »
What strikes me in your story and coins is that the coins are all of the same weight. Running a losing war for a long time is - as you note - a heavy drain on the state finances. One would expect a bout of inflation or even hyperinflation. If the money standard is held constant, one would rather see a collapsing economy: an increase in the numbers of homeless and beggars, war damage not repaired, shops closing, markets shrinking. With the Marathas still a threat, you'd think the moghuls wanted to look good at least to their own people. Since the rupee was not a trading currency, there was no reason to keep it stable against other currencies. I can think of these options:

- gold was held stable, but silver coins lost weight. Possible, but not likely.
- Aurangzeb had other priorities than the economy. Possible but short-sighted.
- ignorance. No ideas on how to fix things by tinkering with the money. European contemporaries knew.
- a form of price-control. Possible, but would create black markets, destroy trade and encourage smuggling out.

None of the above look as attractive as a devaluation to me.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.