Aurangzeb was ruthless against the rules in the Deccan and subdued the sultans of the Deccan. Also, he fought frequent battles against Sivaji and his policy of conquering Deccan and had the interest to bring entire south India under the control of the Mughals
The Deccan policy of Aurangzeb was motivated by the policy of containing the growing influence of the Marathas, the rebellious attitude of the Shia kingdoms of Deccan like Golkonda and Bijapur and controlling the rebellious activities of his son Akbar who had taken refuge in the Deccan.
Aurangzeb came to the Deccan in 1682 and remained in the Deccan till his death in 1707. The Adil Shahi ruler Sikandar Adil Shah of Bijapur resisted the different forces sent by Aurangzeb.
Aurangzeb first sent his son Azam Shah (1685) but to no avail. Then he sent another son, Shah Alam to capture Bijapur. Though Bijapur Sultan, a Shia Muslim, ably defended the fort, he lost in the end, because Aurangzeb himself entered the battlefield and inspired his forces to fight to the finish.
Golkonda was captured in 1687 after defeating the ruler Abul Hasan.
Conflict with Marathas
The campaign against Maratha chieftain Shivaji was successful in the beginning. But Aurangzeb insulted Shivaji. Then Shivaji escaped from Agra and campaigned against the Mughals.
Then Prince Akbar rebelled against Aurangzeb. He received support from the Marathas and Deccan Sultanate. Then he fled to Safavid Iran.
Aurangzeb Failure in Deccan
The policy of Deccan gave a severe blow to Aurangzeb and to the Mughal empire. His attitude toward the rulers of Deccan and his religious intolerance caused massive destruction that lead to the death of thousands of his best soldiers, officers, and other top bureaucrats.
Also, it emptied the treasury of the Empire and people lost prestige to the Mughal empire. His Deccan policy was a miserable failure and his engagement in the war against Bijapur and Golkonda made the empire’s position worse.
Golconda and Bijapur were conquered by Aurangzeb’s 1686-1687 campaign.
As a result, Shia Muslim sentiment towards the Mughal empire was lost. Aurangzeb has increased his number of enemies. Although he had defeated most of them, he could not control them completely and as a result, the Mughal government exhausted all its reserves and the soldiers were starving due to endless wars and non-payment of salaries.
Aurangzeb invaded Bijapur by defeating Sikandar Adil Shah and invaded Golconda by defeating the Qutub Shahi dynasty in 1686 and 1687 respectively. This destruction of the Deccan kingdom was a political blunder by Aurangzeb, as these two Deccan dynasties were the only barrier between the Mughals and the Marathas.
By eliminating them, the Mughal dynasty faced direct attacks from the Marathas. This political blunder made by Aurangzeb is referred to as “Deccan Ulcer”. This ruined Aurangzeb and also weakened the Mughal Emperor’s image with the people.
Aurangzeb destroyed the Deccan kingdoms. It went on to become a political blunder for the Mughals. As the barrier between the Mughals and Marathas was now removed. As a result, there were direct clashes between Auragazeb and Maratha Chief ‘Shivaji’ took place, which exhausted the Mughal’s treasury.