Why was Murad Baksh a strong ally imprisoned and later executed? 

This is an interesting question. Why did Aurangzeb imprison his brother Murad who had all along supported him in his battles and with whom he had a noble treaty to honor? To explain this mystery we look at the actions of Murad and his supporters. It is worth mentioning here that the details of Muradís unfortunate end have only been chronicled in great detail by Khafi Khan in his Muntakhab ul Lubab. The father of Khafi Khan was a recipient of Muradís aid when he was in captivity at Gwalior. It is therefore with caution that we need to state the events leading up to his death.

  • Initially Murad was being treated for his deep wounds in the battle.
  • On his recovery and on the instigation of supporters who filled his ears against Aurangzebís hidden ambitions, Murad began to slip from his stated position.
  • He started courting nobles who had already pledged allegiance to Aurangzeb over to his side.
  • An ever alert and astute Aurangzeb quickly realized the imminent danger lest he should be careless and caught by a complete surprise.
  • It has also been alleged that Shah Jahan sent some secret letters to Murad instigating him to rise up against his brother Aurangzeb.
  • Knowing fully well the fate of events to come Aurangzeb treacherously trapped Murad by inviting him over for a feast at his royal tent.
  • Murad was initially sent off to the state prison at Gwalior.
  • However his supporters would not rest and planned his escape even from there.
  • On receiving the news of his attempt to escape Aurangzeb decided to get rid of him.
  • Being the proponent of Sharia Law himself he could not order his execution in blatant violation and instead dug out an old case of murder pending in Gujrat when he was the former viceroy.
  • The Qadi (Judge) pronounced the judgement and Murad was put to death on 4th December 1661.
  • His body was buried in the Traitors Cemetary of Gwalior.
  • Forty years afterwards, Aurangzib, then an old man hastening to his latter end, refers to the grave of his murdered brother, but without a word of remorse or pity: