Modern Asian Studies

Did Aurangzeb Ban Music? Questions for the Historiography of his Reign 1

a1 Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University

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Bury [music] so deep under the earth that no sound or echo of it may rise again.

- Attributed to Aurangzeb

There is no safer way to blacken a person's reputation in the estimate of following generations than to attribute a wanton holocaust of wasted beauty to him.

- Antonia Fraser on Oliver Cromwell


1 This research was generously funded by a Postgraduate Award from the United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). I am particularly grateful to Richard Widdess, Avril Powell, Jonathan Katz, and Gage Averill for their penetrating comments on this work at an earlier stage of its gestation; see Brown, “Hindustani music in the time of Aurangzeb” (2003), pp. 81–117.