Fractured Memories
Vikas Rathee
AURANGZEB: THE MAN AND THE MYTH by Audrey Truschke Penguin Random House India, 2017, 189 pp., 399
September 2017, volume 41, No 9

Both Audrey Truschke and her book Aurangzeb have garnered much attention. A number of interviews of the author, reviews of the book, and other promotional material are circulating widely on the internet. The Preface says that the book is an ‘accessible biography’ of Aurangzeb that introduces the reader to its subject ‘in all of his complexity’. For a topic so complex, the book stands at a modest 139 pages of main text followed by a short postscript and a brief bibliographical essay. In place of footnotes or endnotes, the reader has to refer to ‘Notes’. Those looking for exactitude in arguments to sources of information will be disappointed. The author wrongly claims that ‘unlike other Mughal rulers … Aurangzeb has been neglected over the past several decades (p. 5)’. In the last decade and a half, amongst others, M.L. Bhatia, Shujauddin Naqshbandi, Abraham Eraly and Azizuddin Husain among others have written lengthy and extremely well-researched tomes charting the exact same ground. Further, well-researched historical fiction pertaining to Aurangzeb exists in English and multiple Indian languages. These include authors such as Sharad Pagare (Dakhani/Hindi), Shivaji Sawant (Marathi), Shyamal Gangopadhyaya (Bangla) and others.

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