Dara Sukoh and Aurangzeb: An elder brother’s love and an younger brother’s hatred

Aurangzeb during and after winning the war of succession always referred to his elder brother as an enemy even in his letters to Shah Jahan and Jahanara(archives are available in museum).

But what did Dara Sukoh feel for his younger brother? Was it hatred or love towards an younger sibbling? Here are a few instances of his love for an younger brother who treated him like an enemy from childhood with hatred and mistrust.

Emperor_Shah_Jahan with dara sukoh shah shuja and aurangzeb
Emperor_Shah_Jahan with dara sukoh shah shuja and aurangzeb

Once Dara Sukoh built a palace on the banks of Yamuna river and invited all his siblings to show them around the new palace. Shah Jahan and all his sons and daughters went to see the newly built palace.  Dara took them to a room in the lower level of the palace and they had dinner and enterainment there. But aurangzeb who was suspicious of his elder brother sat outside the door as if guarding it despite Shah Jahan’s insistence on coming inside and enjoying the ocassion.

But before this Dara actually saved Aurangzeb from severe punishment. When Aurangzeb was 14 years old, he tried to kill Dara Sikoh by poisoning his food with lion hairs. Dara Sikoh fell terribly unwell and he could not eat anything as the lion hairs blocked his intestine. So he could not eat for days and Shah Jahan finally requested the Sikh Guru Hari rai whose medicine ultimately saved Dara. This was a couple of years after Mumtaz Mahal had died. When Shah Jahan discovered that aurangzeb had tried to kill his elder bother he was furious and wanted to punish him. But Dara Sikoh and Jahanara requested Shah Jahan to forgive him.

In the war for succession when Dara Sukoh was fleeing persecution from Aurangzeb he met the the Sikh Guru and told him that he only wanted to free his father, sister and other brothers from persecution by Aurangzeb’s forces and had no desire for the throne.

In the war for succeession on war field Dara Sukoh’s army commander and soldiers were raising “Shah Sujah, Aurangzeb murdabad” slogans and death on them. But Dara Sukoh told them not to do so saying “Let us not wish death to any one.That is base. All of us have God’s breath in us. In any case.We live and have our being With his grace”.

Again on another war for succession his commanders told him that all Rajput army is with him and he shall definitely be the next emperor. So Dara Sukoh commented “My friend if God thinks my younger brother Aurangzeb is more deserving to be an emperor than me and that it will help people of this sultanat, i will be more than happy to see him as the emperor. I have nothing personal against my brother”.

There are many instances when Shah Jahan was angry with Aurangzeb for his follies and had dismissed him from service as Subhedar/Governor but it was Dara Sukoh and Jahanara who always pleaded with him to give Aurangzebb’s responsibilities back.

But auranzeb never realized his folly and always hated Dara Sukoh to such an extent he destroyed all royal records and pictures of his brother and even destroyed a few temples he had donated to build. Aurangzeb took the path of religion and preached hatred agianst his brother because he was the tolerant towards all religions. He had him killed on the same charges

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