mōdgethanc wrote:Salman, he might be repressive as hell but he hasn't committed any atrocities as far as I know.
He helped crush Arab Spring protests both at home
and in Bahrain
and became the first Saudi ruler to bomb a foreign country since the (First) Gulf War
I don't know much about about Aurangzeb.
Aurangzeb was a Muslim fanatic who wanted to eliminate all other religions from India but Islam. He imposed taxes on non-Muslims and sharia on everyone; destroyed a lot of temples and even some mosques; forced people to convert to Islam; executed a Hindu ruler, a Sikh religious leader, a Jewish convert to Islam, and most of his own brothers, including his oldest brother whose head he had presented to him on a platter; imprisoned his father, Shah Jahan, who then died in prison eight years later; had his nephew who was slightly younger than us poisoned and strangled; murdered said nephew's wife and baby daughter; and generally terrorized Indians so much that we view him as a monster to this day. (The very first thing I ever heard about Aurangzeb was from my mom. It wasn't that he was a king or an emperor or Muslim or anything else; it was that he was just really bad
). There were so many rebellions against him that the Mughal Empire crumbled within seventeen years of his death even though he had just expanded it. He also apparently had zero appreciation for art yet encouraged the textile industry; I have no idea why.
Victoria presided over a massive empire so some fucked-up stuff must have happened on her watch, though I don't know what it would be offhand.
Under Queen Victoria, the British exiled the last Mughal emperor to die of typhoid in some random swamp in Burma and murdered his three sons in cold blood at the gateway to Delhi. Then their corpses were covered with a shroud and put on display at Delhi's biggest market, and Victoria declared herself Queen of India. She also endorsed a foreign policy that led to the Anglo-Zulu War and the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The Boer Wars also took place under her watch. She had two random Indian dudes hastily selected as personal servants and once said being shot at was proof that she was popular.
I know very little about Ashoka and thought he was semi-legendary.
Ashoka is well-known for being the first Indian ruler to convert to Buddhism and also spread Buddhism and implemented some of its principles into the law, but this all came after what everyone seems to agree was an extremely brutal conquest of most of South Asia. IIRC he turned his own capital into a prison or something, and he gained the throne by tricking the heir apparent into falling into a pit of live coals. There is also a story that he once burned his entire harem to death when some of the women in it insulted him, and he is also said to have been a sadist. Most notably, Ashoka conquered Kalinga, a parliamentary democracy (thereby making it part of his empire, which of course was an absolute monarchy), and killed at least 50,000 people in the process by his own records. Then
he converted to Buddhism.
Peter the Great I know was a brutal guy but also modernized Russia and is seen as the prototypical "enlightened despot" though that's a trope I generally think is bullshit.
bullshit. You'll notice that this is also pretty similar to Atatürk. Some people seem to think brutality is okay as long as it's in the name of modernization. I don't.