Hindustani music in the time of Aurangzeb
The long reign of the last Great Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb (r.1658-1707), is highly controversial in Indian history. An orthodox Muslim, Aurangzeb is infamous for his bigoted and oppressive political and cultural policies. Scholars have long argued that he banned music throughout his reign, leaving a crucial period in Indian music history unexamined. This thesis investigates North Indian musical life in the time of Aurangzeb, through a critical analysis of musical discourse in contemporary Persian language sources. These demonstrate that far from having banned music, musical practice thrived under Aurangzeb. My thesis aims 1) to refute the story of the ban and demonstrate that music played an integral role in Mughal society throughout Aurangzeb's reign; 2) to establish an epistemology of Indo-Persian musical treatises that enables these overlooked sources to be studied in their intellectual and cultural contexts; and 3) to explore two major developments in Hindustani music at this time.