Why Aurangazeb was Unable to Capture Much Territory From the Marathas
So, this is the effect of the war in the 1690s, that Marathas were able to raise really strong armies. They followed the same guerrilla warfare tactics of Hit and run, it was a war of attrition and many places wars are fought.
The Mughal coffers were getting completely drained as a result. They were losing around 15,000 men every year, in the war. Treasures at the time of Shah Jahan, Jahangir, right from the times of Akbar, Shah Jahan, Jahangir, the vaults which have not been opened at the Red fort were now being opened to pay. Many places the Marathas would capture a Mughal commander, ask for payment, release him, retreat. Many places that use to sell forts, they fight a fort, come to a point when it is impossible to fight it, ask for money, take that money, release that fort, use that money to raise an army, come back and capture that fort. Because the Mughals relied on siege warfare throughout, (they did not) except for one case that it will come later on, where they captured Torna. They did not indulge in commando style attacks like the Marathas or use the cover of the night. Useless number of peoples, it was always about Siege Warfare. As a result, it used to take a lot of time to capture a fort and used to lose it within no time.
Also by this time, in the 1690s the Mughal Army commanders, Mughal Sardars were getting frankly bored of the whole war, because they’ve been there for 15 years, maybe perhaps almost 20 years, nothing was coming to them. They were losing wars every day, and hence it had become very easy for the Marathas to draw them away, defeat them, get money from them and release them. And this is how Aurangzeb, in spite of fighting for about 15, 16, 18 years was unable to capture too much of territory or whatever he captured he lost quickly and wasn’t able to hold it for too much time.
About 1698, when the conditions of Maharashtra had somewhat improved, Chhatrapati Rajaram left Gingee, he managed to escape from that siege also. Now there are various theories about how he managed to escape. There were lot of diplomatic tact on Chhatrapati Rajaram’s part on this case, where he managed to convince Zulfiqar Khan that releasing him was in his advantage. Aurangazeb was ninety years almost, he’s about to die and Mughal Sardars in South India are going to become more important, so at such point of time the Marathas are going to be the key players. So, Zulfiqar Khan did not press the siege, like he should have. He had already had been at the siege for eight years. So, one siege at Ramsej for 6 years, another siege of Gingee for 8 years. The Mughals had spent 14 years for two forts and took about 300 forts in Maharashtra.