Deccan (dĕˈkänˌ) [key], region of India. Sometimes defined as all India S of the Narmada River, it is in a more limited sense the plateau of central peninsular India, including approximately all Karnataka and S Andhra Pradesh, SE Maharashtra, and NW Tamil Nadu. The rich volcanic soil is used for growing cotton. The last of the great Mughal emperors, Aurangzeb, exhausted the power of his empire in a futile attempt (1683–1707) to absorb the region. It was in the Deccan that the Hindus began to regain (early 18th cent.) political and military power in India under Śivaji, leader of the Marathas. There in the late 18th cent. the British decisively defeated the French in their struggle for India.