Archive for the ‘aurangzeb’ Category

Temple Destruction by Arangzeb (Proof Documents)

April 9, 2009

Exhibit No. 6: Keshava Rai Temple. “Even to look at a temple is a sin for a Musalman”, Aurangzeb. Umurat-i-Hazur Kishwar-Kashai Julus (R.Yr.) 9, Rabi II 24 / 13 October 1666.

‘It was reported to the Emperor (Aurangzeb) that in the temple of Keshava Rai at Mathura, there is a stone railing presented by Bishukoh (one without dignity i.e. Prince Dara, Aurangzeb’s elder brother). On hearing of it, the Emperor observed, “In the religion of the Musalmans it is improper even to look at a temple and this Bishukoh has installed this kathra (barrier railing). Such an act is totally unbecoming of a Musalman. This railing should be removed (forthwith)”. His Majesty ordered Abdun Nabi Khan to go and remove the kathra, which is in the middle of the temple. The Khan went and removed it. After doing it he had audience. He informed that the idol of Keshava Rai is in the inner chamber. The railing presented by Dara was in front of the chamber and that, formerly, it was of wood. Inside the kathra used to stand the sevakas of the shrine (pujaris etc.) and outside it stood the people (khalq)’.

Note:

Aurangzeb’s solemn observation recorded in his own Court’s bulletin that “In the religion of the Musalmans it is improper even to look at a temple” and therefore, presentation of a stone railing to Keshava Rai temple by Dara was “totally unbecoming of a Musalman” casts serious doubts about a few instances of religious toleration and temple grants attributed to him. Only two years before his long awaited death, he had ordered (1st January 1705) to “demolish the temple of Pandharpur and to take the butchers of the camp there and slaughter cows in the temple … It was done”. Akhbarat, 49-7, cited in J.N. Sarkar, Aurangzeb, Vol.III, 189).

Exhibit No. 7: Demolition of Kalka’s Temple – I. Siyah Waqa’i- Darbar Regnal Year 10, Rabi I, 23 / 3 September 1667.

“The asylum of Shariat (Shariat Panah) Qazi Abdul Muqaram has sent this arzi to the sublime Court: a man known to him told him that the Hindus gather in large numbers at Kalka’s temple near Barahapule (near Delhi); a large crowd of the Hindus is seen here. Likewise, large crowds are seen at (the mazars) of Khwaja Muinuddin, Shah Madar and Salar Masud Ghazi. This amounts to bid‘at (heresy) and deserves consideration. Whatever orders are required should be issued.

Saiyid Faulad Khan was thereupon ordered (by the Emperor) to send one hundred beldars to demolish the Kalka temple and other temples in its neighbourhood which were in the Faujdari of the Khan himself; these men were to reach there post haste, and finish the work without a halt”.

Note:

Kalkaji’s temple which stands today was rebuilt soon after Aurangzeb’s death (1707 A.D.) on the remains of the old temple dedicated to Goddess Kali. The two Akhbarat dated R.Yr. 10, Rabi I, 23 and Rabi II, 3 (Sept.3 and Sept. 12, 1667) provide details regarding the demolition of the temple on Aurangzeb’s orders. Since 1764, the temple has been renovated and altered several times but the main 18th century structure more or less remains the same. The site is very old dating back to Emperor Asoka’s time (3rd century B.C.). There is mention of Kalkaji in the Maratha records of 1738. People flock to the temple in large numbers especially during Navratras.

Exhibit No. 8: Demolition of Kalka Temple II. Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Mu‘alla Julus 10, Rabi II 3 / 12 September 1667.

“Saiyad Faulad Khan reported that in compliance with the orders, beldars were sent to demolish the Kalka temple which task they have done. During the course of the demolition, a Brahmin drew out a sword, killed a bystander and then turned back and attacked the Saiyad also. The Brahmin was arrested”.

Note:

There are only a few recorded instances of armed opposition by outraged Hindus, such as at Goner (near Jaipur), Ujjain, Udaipur and Khandela, but there must have been many more such instances of angry outbursts and resistance against Muslim vandalism which do not find mention in the official papers of Emperor Aurangzeb.

Most of the Hindus took the destruction of these temples philosophically considering these as acts of ignorance and folly for a vain purpose. They regarded that it was beyond the understanding or intelligence of the Musalmans to comprehend the principle behind the idol worship or the fundamental oneness of saguna and nirguna worship. The Hindus believed that the Gods and Goddesses leave for their abode before the hatchet or the hammer of the vile “mlecchas” or “asuras” so much as even touched the idols. The idea has been well described in Kanhadade Prabandha (wr. 1456 A.D.) when giving an account of the destruction of the Somnath temple by Sultan Alauddin’s troops in 1299.

Exhibit No. 9: General Order for the Destruction of Temples. (9th April 1669)

“The Lord Cherisher of the Faith learnt that in the provinces of Thatta, Multan and especially at Benaras, the Brahmin misbelievers used to teach their false books in their established schools, and their admirers and students, both Hindu and Muslim, used to come from great distances to these misguided men in order to acquire their vile learning. His Majesty, eager to establish Islam, issued orders to the governors of all the provinces to demolish the schools and temples of the infidels, and, with the utmost urgency, put down the teaching and the public practice of the religion of these unbelievers”.

Note:

This is not the only instance when Aurangzeb prevented the Muslims from acquiring knowledge and wisdom of the Hindu philosophical works and other Sanskrit and Bhasha classics, or sharing spiritual and intellectual experience, and thus stifled the process of fusion, or at least bridging of the gulf between the two creeds with very different approaches, principles, values, levels of intellectual attainments and period of evolution of ideas. A general order of this type to put down the teaching and public practice of religion by the Hindus was used as a ground to demolish some of the most venerable shrines of India during the next few years, but despite the severe and comprehensive nature of the order, it failed to wrest from Banaras its unique prestige and position as the chief centre of learning of the Vedas, Dharmashastras, the Six Systems of Philosophy, Sanksrit language and literature, and Astronomy.

Exhibit No. 10: General Order for the demolition of Hindu Temples.

On the 9th April 1669, Aurangzeb “eager to establish Islam, issued orders to the governors of all the provinces to demolish the schools and temples of the infidels, and, with the utmost urgency, put down the teaching and the public practice of the religion of these unbelievers (Hindus)” Maasir-i-‘Alamgiri, p.81).

In the sketch, the artist has shown the destruction of the temples of Somanath, Jagannath (Puri), Kashi Vishwanath (Banaras)and Keshava Rai (Mathura), which were all highly venerated shrines, as symbolic of Aurangzeb’s ideal of thorough destruction of Hindu temples. In the centre is a portion of the infamous order of the 9th April issued by him.

Exhibit No. 11: Demolition of the temple of Viswanath (Banaras). August 1669 A.D.

It was reported that, “according to the Emperor’s command, his officers had demolished the temple of Viswanath at Kashi”. (Maasiri-‘ Alamgiri, 88)

Note:

Kashi is one of the mort sacred towns in India and reference to the worship of Shiva as Vishveshvara goes back to very early times. Kashi itself enjoys highest sanctity since times immemorial. According to the Puranas, every foot-step taken in Kashi Kshetra has the sanctity of making a pilgrimage to a tirtha. Lord Vishvanatha is regarded as the protector of Kashi and the belief is that one earns great religious merit by having darshana (view) of the deity after having bathed in the Ganges. After destruction of the temple on Aurangzeb’s orders, a mosque was built which still stands there as a testimony of the great tolerance and spirit of forgiveness of the Hindus even towards those who had for centuries desecrated and destroyed their temples and other places of worship and learning, and also as a lesson that “mutually uncongenial cultures”, when forced by circumstances to intermingle in the same Geographical area, result in such calamities. A portion of the sculpture of the demolished temple, probably built in the late 16th century, still survives to tell the fate of Aurangzeb’s vandalism and barbarity. The present temple of Vishveshvara was built by Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore.

Exhibit No. 12 i

Exhibit No. 12 ii

Exhibit No. 12 iii

Exhibit No. 12 i – ii – iii : “During this month of Ramzan (1080 A.H./January-February 1670) ….. the Emperor ….. The reviver of the Faith of the Prophet issued orders for the demolition of the Dehra of Keshava Rai in Mathura. In a short time the destruction of this strong foundation of infidelity was accomplished and on its site a lofty mosque was built. ….. the idols large and small of the temple were brought to Agra and buried under the steps of the mosque of Begum Sahib” (Maasir-i- ‘Alamgiri, 95-96).

Exhibit No. 13: Demolition of Keshava Rai temple at Mathura. (13th January – 11th February 1670)

The great temple of Keshava Rai at Mathura was built by Bir Singh Deo Bundela during Jahangir’s time at a cost of thirty-three lakhs of rupees. The Dehra of Keshava Rai was one of the most magnificent temples ever built in India and enjoyed veneration of the Hindus throughout the land. Prince Dara Shukoh, who was looked upon by the masses as the future Emperor, had presented a carved stone railing to the temple which was installed in front of the deity at some distance; the devotees stood outside this railing to have ‘darshan’ of Keshava Rai. The railing was removed on Auranzeb’s orders in October 1666.

The Dehra of Keshava Rai was demolished in the month of Ramzan, 1080 A.H. (13th January – 11th February 1670) by Aurangzeb’s order. “In a short time, by the great exertion of the officers, the destruction of this strong foundation of infidelity was accomplished and on its site a lofty mosque was built at the expenditure of a large sum”. To the author of Maasir-i-‘Alamigiri, the accomplishment of this “seemingly impossible work was an “instance of the strength of the Emperor’s faith”. Even more disgraceful was transporting the idols to Agra and burying them under the steps of the mosque of the Begum Sahib “in order to be continually trodden upon”.

The painting shows the demolition of the great temple, on Aurngzeb’s orders in progress and subsequent uncivilized conduct towards the idols.

Exhibit No. 14: Demolition of Somnath temple.

About the time the general order for destruction of Hindu temples was issued (9th April 1669), the highly venerated temple of Somanath built on the sea-shore in Kathaiwad was also destroyed. The famous temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva. In the 11th century, the temple was looted and destroyed by Mahmud Ghaznavi. It was rebuilt by King Bhim Deva Solanki of Gujarat and again renovated by Kumarapal in 1143-44 A.D. The temple was again destroyed by Alauddin Khalji’s troops in 1299. In a rare description of the scene of a temple destruction, like of which continued to occur time and again during the long and disastrous rule of the Musalman rulers in India, we have the following account. “The Mlechchha (asura) stone breakers”, writes Padmanabha in his classic work “climbed up the shikhar of the temple and began to rain blows on the stone idols on all three sides by their hammers, the stone pieces falling all around. They loosened every joint of the temple building, and then began to break the different layers (thara) and the sculptured elephants and horses carved on them by incessant blows of their hammers. Then, amidst loud and vulgar clamour, they began to apply force from both the sides to uproot the massive idol by means of wooden beams and iron crowbars” (Kaanhadade Prabandha, Canto I, vss. 94-96).

After the destruction of Somnath temple during Alauddin’s time, it was rebuilt again. When Aurangzeb gave orders for its destruction, the scene must have been little different from the one described by Padmanabha. The artist in his painting has tried to recreate the scene.

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Guru Tegh bahadur brutally martyred

April 9, 2009

Souce: Aurangzeb Exhibition FACT INDIA

Exhibit No. 47: Martyrdom of the 9th Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur & his three followers at Chandni Chowk, Delhi. (11th November, 1675)

The martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru, in 1675 is a major event in the Sikh history. It led to the creation of Khalsa in 1699 by his son Guru Gobind Singh; the creation of Khalsa is considered as a watershed in the history of the Sikhs.

Guru Tegh Bahadur was born in 1621 to the sixth Guru Hargovind (1605-45), who was the first to arm the Panth to defend it from the oppressive Mughal rule and to help the weak and the needy. He was followed by Guru Har Rai (1645-61) who incurred displeasure of Aurangzeb for having blessed Dara Shukoh, then passing through Punjab after losing the War of Succession.

Guru Tegh Bahadur accepted the mantle of Guruship in 1664 after the death of the eighth Guru Har Kishan at Delhi. Sooner or later he was bound to invite hostility of Aurangzeb who had summoned the two previous Gurus as if he had the right to arbitrate in the succession for the Guruship. He travelled extensively, spreading his message of hope and courage to the Scattered sangats and encouraging all to bear their tribulations. The surviving hukam-namas show the high regard in which he was held by his followers. In 1669 or so, he accompanied Maharaja Ram Singh of Amber (Mirza Raja Jai Singh’s son) to Assam where he participated in the Mughal campaign. After returning from there he took his residence at Makhowal where in about 1675, he received a deputation of the Brahmins of Kashmir who narrated to him harrowing tales of their oppression and forcible conversion in Kashmir. Gradually Guru Tegh Bahadur was drawn into the whirlwind which Aurangzeb had raised by his policy of temple destruction, conversion and discrimination against the non-Muslims. Along with the temples, Gurudwaras were also razed. Guru Tegh Bahadur, who had all along called upon others to fight against oppression and injustice, and for freedom of conscience, now came out openly against Aurangzeb’s policies and encouraged the resistance of the Hindus of Kashmir against forcible conversion to Islam there by carrying out Guru Nanak’s injunction that “righteous people must defy and resist tyranny”.

Guru Tegh Bahadur was taken to Delhi and cast into prison. After he and his three companions refused to embrace Islam, they were brought to the Chandni Chowk near the Red Fort where his companions were tortured to death in his presence to intimidate him, but on his firm refusal to abjure his faith at any cost, he was beheaded “in a large public spectacle” on 11 November 1675. Guru Tegh Bahadur preferred to give his head but not his honour. The Guru’s martyrdom deeply influenced his son Gobind Singh’s mind and it is believed to be one of the main reasons for his founding the Khalsa in 1699 which made every Sikh a potential warrior against oppression and religious persecution and led to a most dramatic change in the Sikh Panth.

Aurangzeb, the recent historical play by Rangapat

April 9, 2009
Aurangzeb

Source: Kolkata Mirror

By Saayan Chattopadhyay
Posted On Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 06:43:26 PM

The volatile political scenario in Indian subcontinent has often provoked a discourse on whether religion may become a primary mainstay of the nation-state. Such notion of desired integrity and coherence of a nation through the anxious binding thread of religion has spawned violence, despotism and death; and it’s not only the recent political turmoil that corroborates it but also history stands as a proof— Aurangzeb, the recent historical play by Rangapat traces its relevance in this religio-political discourse that shape our future, as it formed the past.

Indira Parthasarathi wrote the original play in Tamil, later it was adapted in Bengali by Satya Bhaduri. Mohit Chattopadhyay, inspired by both the plays, reinterpreted the annals of late Mughal period drawing parallel of contemporary political, religious events and depicted the historical Aurangzeb in curious sheds of gray rather than stark black and white.

The dialectics between the notion of a theocratic state and a secular state, in the backdrop of the waning years of the Mughal Empire, engage Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh in rhetoric of religion, state and governance; while Dara, expectedly remains a harbinger of secularism and tolerance, questioning essentialist interpretations of Islam, as well as Hindu religion. The play traces the transformational journey of self-realisation, which alters Aurangzeb’s concern of building a nation founded on despotic theocratic regime.

The play is centred more on familial rather than war-torn annals of history. Liberal use of Farsi and Arabic phrases lends the play an interesting bygone Mughal milieu. Director, Harimadav Mukhopadhyay, stirred up the right mélange of melodrama and naturalism; although the play seems a little too long, perhaps because of its focus on dialectics rather than the dramatic narratives, expected from a historical play.

The cast comprised of some of the most eminent actors— Debshankar Halder in the role of Aurangazeb, Harimadhav Mukhpadhyay as frail, old Shah Jahan, Bijoylkhshmi Barman as Jahanara and Rita Dutta Choudhury as cunning Roshanara, turn in an admirable performance. Tapanjyoti Das, playing Dara Shikoh deserves special mention for his mellowed yet intense performance.

Aurangazeb is one of the most expensive productions of recent time, and the set design, costume and art direction testify that. Set designed by Sanchayan Ghosh, art direction by veteran artist Samir Aich and costumes designed by Sushanta Pal charmingly recreate the medieval Mughal grandeur. Joy Sen’s light arrangements, along with Dev Choudhury’s music aesthetically commensurate with the changing temper of the narrative; making full use of the elaborate set.

The play confronts us not only with a merciless, fanatical monarch that our history books tell us rather a tragic hero, who initially turns out to be a casualty of his own flawed faith but at the end concedes the obligation of defending a more tolerant, secular and pluralist society.

History as we know it — Dr Manzur Ejaz

April 9, 2009

Source: WATAN DOST
WASHINGTON DIARY: History as we know it — Dr Manzur Ejaz
Daily Times, July 9, 2008

An overhaul of the entire curriculum is a prerequisite for any positive change in the Pakistani psyche. Unfortunately, it is reluctantly being done under US pressure, which is leading to misperceptions of its own

“Was Aurangzeb a brutal emperor?” a fairly educated journalist asked me, after watching the play The Trial of Dara Shikoh. The question was revealing because it shows that the teaching of history leaves with our students concocted fiction rather than fact-based records of the present and past.

The play The Trial of Dara Shikoh written by Akbar S Ahmad and directed by Manjula Kumar had been staged in many locations in the last few weeks. As expected, most of the caste comprised Indian artists except the usual suspects, Noor Naghmi and his son Sultan Naghmi.

Despite much professional criticism of many aspects of the play, the general audience appreciated it very much. The play was also successful in spurring pertinent questions in the minds of the viewers like my journalist friend.

Aurangzeb imprisoned his father, murdered three of his brothers and most of their children. He dumped most of the Indian Shias in Kashmir and, once while he was riding his elephant, crushed a Hindu mob because they were protesting against high taxes. Given these facts, it was up to my friend, I told him, to decide whether Aurangzeb was brutal or not.

“How about the stated history that Aurangzeb used to make his living by producing Qur’anic calligraphy and sewing topis (hats)?” he asked. I remember such a characterisation of Aurangzeb in school textbooks. And if I had not kept educating myself beyond school textbooks that would be the Aurangzeb I would have in my mind.

Elaborating my point I told my friend that Aurangzeb spent most of his time fighting and administering wars and that his favourite wife — mother of his youngest son, Kam Bakhash — was a Hindu woman. Aurangzeb used to vacation in Kashmir often, along with a large harem, according to some historical accounts.

I do not know when he found time to produce calligraphy or sew topis on a scale that could meet the expenses of his palace which was housing hundreds of Mughal princes and princesses besides a large army of concubines and servants/slaves.

Intellectual Talibinisation was initiated from very early on after the creation of Pakistan. A mythical history of Muslims was introduced in textbooks where every ruler, invader and plunderer, was shown in the role of protector and religious crusader.

Starting from Mahmud Ghaznavi, the conqueror of the Somnath Temple, to Nadir and Ahmad Shah Abdali, every invader was presented as the great saviour of Indian Muslims. Three generations of Pakistanis have been indoctrinated with this concocted history to create Islamic chauvinism and to belittle people of other religions.

No wonder most Pakistanis developed a sense of superiority resulting in unnecessary war-mongering. The military elite has been clinging to this false sense of superiority in making wars.

According to Air Marshal Noor Khan, Ayub Khan sent paratroopers in Kashmir because he really believed that one Muslim soldier can overwhelm dozens of infidels. Not learning any lesson from three lost wars, the elite continued naming the missiles after Mahmud Ghaznavi, Muhammad Ghauri, Nadir Shah and sundry.

The fact of the matter is that most of the revered Muslim invaders plundered India to loot. Ghaznavi attacked Somnath because it had the largest gold deposits in India. Hindu Rajas themselves used to attack their religious temples for gold. Hindu mercenaries were part of Ghaznavi’s invading force according to some historians. They joined hand with the Afghan invaders for their share in the booty.

Likewise when Nadir Shah is idealised as a great soldier of Islam no one mentions that he ordered a three-day massacre in Delhi because the locals killed one of his soldiers. The butchering was indiscriminate and ironically, more than half of those murdered were Muslims.

Ahmad Shah Abdali’s story is no different. He invaded India many times, looted the riches and went back to Afghanistan. On one of his trip, he appointed a Hindu as the governor of Lahore. He had no ‘Islamic ideals’ like our fictional history textbooks would have us believe.

Even Mughal emperor Baber did not conquer Hindus but a Muslim dynasty of India to lay the foundations of the Mughal Empire. Guru Nanak, in his Baber Bani, has described how Baber butchered indiscriminately and demolished mosques along with temples of other religions.

But history textbooks used in Pakistan’s educational system never mention these historical facts. They are instead tools for creating fake chauvinism and a false sense of superiority. Therefore, it is not surprising that within 30 years of Pakistan’s creation, religious parties like Jamaat-e Islami had a monopoly over defining the ideology of Pakistan. And this ‘Murder of History’, as KK Aziz would call it, has contributed towards religious fundamentalism and extremism.

On the contrary, the real Muslim intellectuals, the Sufis, who spread Islam in India, have been shunned away by Pakistan’s educational system.

An overhaul of the entire curriculum is a prerequisite for any positive change in the Pakistani psyche. Unfortunately, it is reluctantly being done under US pressure, which is leading to misperceptions of its own. But it has to be done and someone has to do it.

Postscript: Hindu extremists, led by BJP, are following the Pakistani model by substituting history with mythological texts to whip up Hindu chauvinism. This reminds one of the Punjabi proverb that it is more common to pick up your neighbour’s bad habits rather than his good behaviour.

The writer can be reached at manzurejaz@yahoo.com

Aurangzeb, Akbar, and the Communalization of History

April 9, 2009
Source: MANAS
[see also Aurangzeb: A Political History; Aurangzeb: Religious Policies;
Mughal Empire]

In Indian history, the syncretistic and communalist viewpoints have conventionally been represented, to take one case in point, by offering a contrast between the lives of the two emperors under whom the Mughal Empire was at its zenith, Akbar (reigned 1556-1605) and Aurangzeb (reigned 1658-1707). Akbar is often adduced as an example of the tolerant ruler, whose policies demonstrate that though he himself was a Muslim, the state was not Islamic. Some have even pointed to him as a ‘secular’ ruler, when scarcely any monarch in Europe was such, and his advocacy of a new faith, the Din-i-ilahi, which combined elements from various religions, exemplifies the ecumenism with which he is associated. “He looked upon all religions alike”, writes Tara Chand, “and regarded it his duty to make no difference between his subjects on the basis of religion. He threw upon the highest appointments to non-Muslims.” [1] Though it is admitted that he may have forged political and military alliances with Hindu rulers from considerations of expediency, other historians allude to more enduring signs of his real commitment to religious harmony and interest in different faiths, such as his marriage to Rajput women, his scholarly interest in epics such as the Ramayana, and his zeal in promoting Hindu learning. Historians point to Akbar’s elimination of the jizya (poll-tax) usually levied on non-Muslims and his assumption of final authority on religious questions on which there might have been conflict of opinion among Muslim theologians, thereby undermining the authority of the ulama (Muslim clergy). Describing Akbar’s success as “astonishing”, Jawaharlal Nehru gave it as his opinion, in a work that places him among the ranks of historians, that Akbar “created a sense of oneness among the diverse elements of north and central India.” [2]

The commonplace view of Aurangzeb, on the other hand, is that he repudiated Akbar’s policies of religious toleration, and by alienating Hindus he undermined the very empire whose tremendous expansion he masterminded. Nehru maintained that Aurangzeb had “put the clock back”, undoing what his predecessors had achieved by working against the “genius of the nation” and ignoring the common culture that had been forged among the different elements of the Indian population. “When Aurangzeb began to oppose this movement [of synthesis] and suppress it and to function more as a Moslem than an Indian ruler,” Nehru argued, “the Mughal Empire began to break up.” But where Nehru saw Aurangzeb as a “bigot and an austere puritan” whose policies were instrumental in creating unease and dissent, and Tara Chand deplored his “misdirected efforts” which caused “irreparable damage” to the “great edifice of the empire”, [3] many Indian historians have been inclined to take a much harsher view of Aurangzeb’s conduct. In this they were to follow the lead supplied by Jadunath Sarkar, whose 1928 biography of Aurangzeb in four volumes bequeathed the view of Aurangzeb that still predominates in the popular imagination. Sarkar suggested that Aurangzeb intended nothing less than to establish an Islamic state in India, an objective that could not be fulfilled without “the conversion of the entire population to Islam and the extinction of every form of dissent”; and to render this scenario more complete, he proposed that the jizya (poll-tax) on non-Muslims, which Aurangzeb had re-instituted in 1679, was aimed at forcibly converting Hindus to Islam, though he was unable to marshal evidence to substantiate this view. [4]

If Aurangzeb was so ferocious a communalist, why is it, some historians have asked, that the number of Hindus employed in positions of eminence under Aurangzeb’s reign rose from 24.5% in the time of his father Shah Jahan to 33% in the fourth decade of his own rule? They suggest, moreover, that Aurangzeb did not indiscriminately destroy Hindu temples, as he is commonly believed to have done so, and that he directed the destruction of temples only when faced with insurgency. This was almost certainly the case with the Keshava Rai temple in the Mathura region, where the Jats rose in rebellion; and yet even this policy of reprisal may have been modified, as Hindu temples in the Deccan were seldom destroyed. The image of Aurangzeb as an idol-breaker may not withstand scrutiny, since there is evidence to show that, like his predecessors, he continued to confer land grants (jagirs) upon Hindu temples, such as the Someshwar Nath Mahadev temple in Allahabad, Jangum Badi Shiva temple in Banaras, Umanand temple in Gauhati, and numerous others. [5] On the other hand, one might argue, if Akbar was so dedicated to the principle of religious harmony, why is it that none of the Mughal princesses were ever allowed to marry into Rajput households? And while he may have propagated a new syncretistic faith, how was it received by ordinary Muslims? Moreover, do not both the supporters of Akbar and critics of Aurangzeb presume that relations between Hindus and Muslims are to be inferred by studying the lives of rulers, or at best members of the ruling class? What, in any case, is really conceded when it is admitted that Akbar was tolerant towards other faiths to the same extent that Aurangzeb was only solicitous of the welfare of his Muslim subjects? As the historian Harbans Mukhia has argued, “Once one accepts that the liberal religious policy of Akbar was only the reflection of his own liberal outlook, the conclusion becomes inescapable, for instance, that the fanatic religious policy of Aurangzeb flowed from his fanatic disposition.” [6] If Aurangzeb sought to convert members of important Hindu families to Islam, all the more to ensure the preservation of his empire, why should that serve as a basis for the presumption that a wholesale conversion of Hindus was a matter of state policy? By what method of transference is it possible to construe that conflicts among the ruling elite are conflicts at the broader social level? In the debate over the nature of the Indian past, then, particularly with respect to Hindu-Muslim relations, Akbar and Aurangzeb were to become, as they still are, iconic figures.

Notes:

[1] Tara Chand, History of the Freedom Movement, 4 vols (New Delhi: Government of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Publications Division, 1961-72), 1:111-12.

[2] Jawaharlal Nehru, The Discovery of India (Calcutta: Signet Press, 1946; reprint ed., Delhi: Oxford University Press/Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, 1981), p. 270.

[3] Ibid., p. 265, 271; Tara Chand, History of the Freedom Movement, 1:112.

[4] J. Sarkar, History of Aurangzeb, 4 vols. (Calcutta, 1928), 3:249-50, cited by Satish Chandra, “Reassessing Aurangzeb”, Seminar, no. 364: Mythifying History (December 1989), p. 35.

[5] This paragraph draws upon M. Athar Ali, The Mughal Nobility Under Aurangzeb (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1968), pp. 30-32; Chandra, “Reassessing Aurangzeb”, pp. 35-38; and B. N. Pandey’s comments in Parliamentary Debates, Rajya Sabha, Vol. 102 (29 July 1977), col. 127. See also Sita Ram Goel, “Some historical questions”, Indian Express (16 April 1989), p. 8.

[6] Harbans Mukhia, “Medieval Indian History and the Communal Approach”, in Romila Thapar, Harbans Mukhia, and Bipan Chandra, Communalism and the Writing of Indian History (New Delhi: People’s Publishing House, 1969), p. 29.

Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb: Bad Ruler or Bad History?

April 9, 2009

By Dr. Habib Siddiqui

Of all the Muslim rulers who ruled vast territories of India from 712 to 1857 CE, probably no one has received as much condemnation from Western and Hindu writers as Aurangzeb. He has been castigated as a religious Muslim who was anti-Hindu, who taxed them, who tried to convert them, who discriminated against them in awarding high administrative positions, and who interfered in their religious matters. This view has been heavily promoted in the government approved textbooks in schools and colleges across post-partition India (i.e., after 1947). These are fabrications against one of the best rulers of India who was pious, scholarly, saintly, un-biased, liberal, magnanimous, tolerant, competent, and far-sighted.

Fortunately, in recent years quite a few Hindu historians have come out in the open disputing those allegations. For example, historian Babu Nagendranath Banerjee rejected the accusation of forced conversion of Hindus by Muslim rulers by stating that if that was their intention then in India today there would not be nearly four times as many Hindus compared to Muslims, despite the fact that Muslims had ruled for nearly a thousand years. Banerjee challenged the Hindu hypothesis that Aurangzeb was anti-Hindu by reasoning that if the latter were truly guilty of such bigotry, how could he appoint a Hindu as his military commander-in-chief? Surely, he could have afforded to appoint a competent Muslim general in that position. Banerjee further stated: “No one should accuse Aurangzeb of being communal minded. In his administration, the state policy was formulated by Hindus. Two Hindus held the highest position in the State Treasury. Some prejudiced Muslims even questioned the merit of his decision to appoint non-Muslims to such high offices. The Emperor refuted that by stating that he had been following the dictates of the Shariah (Islamic Law) which demands appointing right persons in right positions.” During Aurangzeb’s long reign of fifty years, many Hindus, notably Jaswant Singh, Raja Rajrup, Kabir Singh, Arghanath Singh, Prem Dev Singh, Dilip Roy, and Rasik Lal Crory, held very high administrative positions. Two of the highest ranked generals in Aurangzeb’s administration, Jaswant Singh and Jaya Singh, were Hindus. Other notable Hindu generals who commanded a garrison of two to five thousand soldiers were Raja Vim Singh of Udaypur, Indra Singh, Achalaji and Arjuji. One wonders if Aurangzeb was hostile to Hindus, why would he position all these Hindus to high positions of authority, especially in the military, who could have mutinied against him and removed him from his throne?

Most Hindus like Akbar over Aurangzeb for his multi-ethnic court where Hindus were favored. Historian Shri Sharma states that while Emperor Akbar had fourteen Hindu Mansabdars (high officials) in his court, Aurangzeb actually had 148 Hindu high officials in his court. (Ref: Mughal Government) But this fact is somewhat less known.

Some of the Hindu historians have accused Aurangzeb of demolishing Hindu Temples. How factual is this accusation against a man, who has been known to be a saintly man, a strict adherent of Islam? The Qur’an prohibits any Muslim to impose his will on a non-Muslim by stating that “There is no compulsion in religion.” (surah al-Baqarah 2:256). The surah al-Kafirun clearly states: “To you is your religion and to me is mine.” It would be totally unbecoming of a learned scholar of Islam of his caliber, as Aurangzeb was known to be, to do things that are contrary to the dictates of the Qur’an.

Interestingly, the 1946 edition of the history textbook Etihash Parichaya (Introduction to History) used in Bengal for the 5th and 6th graders states: “If Aurangzeb had the intention of demolishing temples to make way for mosques, there would not have been a single temple standing erect in India. On the contrary, Aurangzeb donated huge estates for use as Temple sites and support thereof in Benares, Kashmir and elsewhere. The official documentations for these land grants are still extant.”

A stone inscription in the historic Balaji or Vishnu Temple, located north of Chitrakut Balaghat, still shows that it was commissioned by the Emperor himself. The proof of Aurangzeb’s land grant for famous Hindu religious sites in Kasi, Varanasi can easily be verified from the deed records extant at those sites. The same textbook reads: “During the fifty year reign of Aurangzeb, not a single Hindu was forced to embrace Islam. He did not interfere with any Hindu religious activities.” (p. 138) Alexander Hamilton, a British historian, toured India towards the end of Aurangzeb’s fifty year reign and observed that every one was free to serve and worship God in his own way.

Now let us deal with Aurangzeb’s imposition ofthe jizya tax which had drawn severe criticism from many Hindu historians. It is true that jizya was lifted during the reign of Akbar and Jahangir and that Aurangzeb later reinstated this. Before I delve into the subject of Aurangzeb’s jizya tax, or taxing the non-Muslims, it is worthwhile to point out that jizya is nothing more than a war tax which was collected only from able-bodied young non-Muslim male citizens living in a Muslim country who did not want to volunteer for the defense of the country. That is, no such tax was collected from non-Muslims who volunteered to defend the country. This tax was not collected from women, and neither from immature males nor from disabled or old male citizens. For payment of such taxes, it became incumbent upon the Muslim government to protect the life, property and wealth of its non-Muslim citizens. If for any reason the government failed to protect its citizens, especially during a war, the taxable amount was returned.

It should be pointed out here that zakat (2.5% of savings) and ‘ushr (10% of agricultural products) were collected from all Muslims, who owned some wealth (beyond a certain minimum, called nisab). They also paid sadaqah, fitrah, and khums. None of these were collected from any non-Muslim. As a matter of fact, the per capita collection from Muslims was several fold that of non-Muslims. Further to Auranzeb’s credit is his abolition of a lot of taxes, although this fact is not usually mentioned. In his book Mughal Administration, Sir Jadunath Sarkar, foremost historian on the Mughal dynasty, mentions that during Aurangzeb’s reign in power, nearly sixty-five types of taxes were abolished, which resulted in a yearly revenue loss of fifty million rupees from the state treasury.

While some Hindu historians are retracting the lies, the textbooks and historic accounts in Western countries have yet to admit their error and set the record straight.

Khalsa – The immaculate order

April 9, 2009

Khalsa – The immaculate order

By: R. N. Raina

Source: Daily elixor

Compelling circumstances drove a spiritual Master to become a valorous warrior. Divinity and liberty merged to produce a Guru-General. Guru Gobind Singh was the tenth descendant of the Sikh faith. And the compelling circumstances were the persecutions and atrocities mounted on the people of India by the tyrant King, Aurangzeb. History has held this fanatic Mughal King responsible for bringing down an Empire so astutely assembled by Akbar the Great, his ancestor and so splendidly maintained by his father, Shahjahan.

Aurangzeb put the Empire on fire. In north as well as in South. Guru Gobind Singh was forced into a long war in the north. Shiva Ji was similarly engaged in the south for a life term. Immense miseries were mounted on people for refusal to convert to Islam. He imprisoned his father, Shahjahan for seen years till his death. Also killed his three brothers by deceit and hypocricy. And when the ninth Sikh Guru Tej Bahadur an indomitable Apostle of Truth and Determination, refused to convert to Islam, Aurangzeb’s fanaticism reached the climax. The Guru was brutally beheaded publicly at Chandni Chowk, the Prime Bazar established magnificently by Shahjahan in front of the seat of power, the Red Fort.

This tyrant King finally came to his senses, but that was only too late at his death bed. He confessed his sins ruefully in the letters he wrote to his sons. These letters appear in the “History of India”, Vincent Smith, Oxford 1920. An extract has been brought out by eminent Sikh writer-scholar and historian, Dr Gopal Singh. His “National Biography of Guru Gobind”, P-42 refers as:

“I know not who I am, where I shall go and what will happen to this sinner full of sins. My years have gone by profitless. God has been in my heart but my darkened eyes have recognised not His light. There is no hope for me in future. When I have lost hope in myself, how can I have hope in others? I have greatly sinned and know not what torment awaits me in the Hereafter”. Dr Gopal Singh’s work has been published by National Book Trust of India 1966.

Gobind Rai, as he was named at his birth was born in Patna when his illustrious father, Guru Teg Bahadur, was on God’s Mission in North-East India. On the martyrdom of his father he had to rise to the Sikh Throne at Anandpur Sahib at a young age of nine years. His mother was the protector till he grew up into an adult. This was the time when people in general were terror-striken and demoralised under Aurangzeb’s cruel rule. There were divisions in the society due to casteism. The Sikh, although grown in number since its inception by Guru Nanak Dev, were only a social and spiritual community. They were neither a decisive force, nor a political entity. Guru got awakened to the need of the hour. He was for a change in the present subdued dispensation. He wanted to develop a vibrant and free society. He was for fight against the force of oppression. He was also against the curse of casteism. He sought equality for all and honourable existence for the community.

So cause the decisive day, the Baisakhi (Ist day of Baisakh), the new year day of Bikram Samvat 1756, corresponding to the 13th April 1699. Men and women from far and near had gathered at Anandpur Sahib to pay homage to the Guru on the new year day. The Guru was in a mood different from festivities. He wanted to take advantage of the occasion to implement his plan. The occasion got converted into a Historical Event. Standing before the assembly he suddenly unsheathed his sword and like a lion he thundered. “I want a Sikh who can offer his head to me, here and now. My sword is thristing for the head of one who has learnt the lesson of surrender to me. The terrifying words brought about pin drop silence. With flashing eyes, he repeated his demand a second time. No response, only silence. He then roared, a third time and Lo! a devotee came forward, Daya Ram, the Sikh from Lahore. The Guru took him inside a tent, slaughtered a goat and came out with his blood soaked sword to exhibit to the assembly. Shivers and terror struck every where. This was not all. He wanted a second sacrifice. Another devotee offered. He repeated the same process five times. Coming out every time with flashing red eyes and the blood socked sword.

Next came the climax. The five devotees come out of the tent in new garbs, blue turbaned. With a yellow kurta, a waist band and swords dangling from their side. They were named (Panj Pyare) and baptised into a new order with sweetened water – the Amrit. Khalsa took the birth.

The Guru’s declaration followed in these memorable words.

“From now on, you have become caste less. No rituals Hindu or Muslim. No superstitons. No pilgrimages. No austerties, but the pure life of household, yet ready to sacrifice it all at the call of Dharma. Women shall be equal to men in every way. No Purdah. No burning of widow’s. Khalsa shall not only by warlike, but also sweeten the life of those whom he is chosen to serve.

The Guru further explained, “My Khalsa shall always defend the poor and ‘Deg’ (the community Kitchen) will be as much as an essential part of the order as the ‘Teg’ (the sword). Now onwards you all ‘Singhs’ (The Lions) and shall greet each other with “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.” (The Khalsa belongs to God, victory be to God).

Now onwards all offerings were supposed to be in the shape of weapons and horses. A marshal race came into being with best skills in archery and war strategm.

The tradition completes 300 years on this year’s Baisakhi. Tercentenary celebration are being organised. Sikhs from all over are congratulating at the Khalsa High Seat Shri Anandpur Sahib. People of all faith have been invited. Pad – Yatras have been flaged off from far and near. Community singing – Shabad Kirtan, the essence of Sikh faith, the community dinner while seated on floor as equals are the significant items. Display of cultural heritage and discourses on Sikh philosophy in general and Khalsa Panth in particular will be the glittering features of the tercentary.

This all to commemorate the Tenth Guru Gobind Singh. His valour and chivallery. His services and sacrifices. Humility and compassion. His teachings Universality of God and equality of man will be paid obeisance to. Long live Khalsa.


Religious Conversion with Sword: by Narender Sehgal

April 9, 2009

Memorial of mistakes: Converted Kashmir

A Bitter saga of Religious Conversions: by Narender Sehgal

Source: Kashmir information Network

Chapter 14
Religious Conversion with Sword

      Aurangzeb, on assuming power in Delhi, took his sword out of the shield for converting entire India into a Darul Islam. For fulfilling his cruel desire one Subedar of Kashmir, Iftihar Khan, played a “bloody Holi” with the Pandits for increasing the pace of religious conversion.

    When after Shahjahan fundamentalist Aurangzeb occupied the throne of Delhi he tore to shreds the well debated and so called secular policies of his predecessor Mughal rulers. He, while rejecting all the double-edged policies of the Mughal emperors, took his sword out of the shield to implement God’s dictate for converting India into an Islamic state. The entire country was shocked and shudered because of his atrocities. First of all he made Hindu scholars and the Pandit community as his target. He believed that this very community of Hindus would teach people their religion and nationalism. It is because of their preaching and teaching that the entire population of India had not become Muslims despite continuous pressure for many years. He thought that it was necessary to eliminate the Brahmin community for the elimination of that society that keeps on struggling against conversion.

    This analysis of the Indian mind made by Aurangzeb became the source of encouragement for him in his evil and cruel deeds. Since Kashmir has remained India’s centre for learning and since the same land has produced great scholars, Aurangzeb entrusted the reigns of the land to dreadful Subedars for Islamisation of Kashmir.

    During his 49-years rule Aurangzeb deputed 14 Subedars to Kashmir for achieving his goal of Islamisation. And among those Subedars Iftihar Khan proved the most loyal who between 1671-75 perpetrated cruelties on the Hindus of Kashmir and forced them to adopt Islam.

    Kashmiri Pandits approach Guru Teg Bahadur for help

    After getting frustrated by the inhuman cruelties committed by Iftihar Khan, Kashmiri Pandits decided to approach great nationalist, Shri Guru Teg Bahadur, at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab for help, about 500 Pandits, under the leadership of Pandit Kripa Ram, met Guru Teg Bahadur. Giani Gurja Singh has given an account of the appeal of Pandits to the Guru. He has written:

    (Guru Teg Bahadur, son of Guru Hargobind, we have now no strength. Take us by our arm. You are world reformer, you are a prophet of Guru Nanak, just as Lord Krishna saved the honour of misfortune-stricken Draupdi and shaped and smoothened the work of his beloved Sudama, similarly you are the current Krishna to set right things. Kindly fulfil the hopes of the people. You will remain immortal).

    The delegation from Kashmir, under the leadership of Pandit Kripa Ram, narrated their condition to acquaint Guru Teg Bahadur of the situation in Kashmir.

    An account of this pity-inspring story has been given by Giani Gian Singh in his book “Shri Guru Granth Prakash” whose translation is published in September issue of the Weekly Panchjanya in 1991 and this describes the evil deeds of Aurangzeb and Subedar Iftihar Khan.

    He has written that the Mughal of Chugtai dynasty, Aurangzeb, is highly wicked. Being drunk he has occupied the throne of Delhi. He does not recognise the power of God in relation to the non-Muslims. This cruel person has willed to do evil deeds. He wants to dye the entire India in the colour of his religion and Islamise it. This proud and arrogant person has ordered demolition of all temples of deities without any delay. He wanted to finish ancient customs and religious and pious policies. He would not allow worship of deities, ancestors, God, prayers and association with saints and sages. Propagation of Puranic tales, importance of pilgrimages and worship of deities have all been finished. On the other Aide construction of mosques and propagation of the Koran have increased in India. It is not known what shape the future will take ?

    Through allurement and atrocities he has converted many Hindus to Islam. Many Hindus have been polluted after their sacred thread and vermillion were removed. This way a big misfortune has gripped the Hindus in India. It gives immense pain. There is no parallel to his cruelty. He removes 1.25 maunds of sacred thread daily. These Muslims have plundered honour of everyone. This cruel ruler had forcibly abducted many daughters of Hindus and offered them to cruel people. We all have thought over all these misfortunes and have come to your refuge for the protection of the religion of the land. Now you alone can save us.

    A historical decision for protection of religion

    Shri Guru Teg Bahadur became engrossed in deep thought after listening to the story of the Pandits. His face lit bright like the sun. The Kshatriya in him awakened for the protection of religion and nation. His son, Gobind Rai, enquired from him the reason of his trance. The Guru told his inquisitive son that there is need for the sacrifice of a greatman for protecting the Hindu society from the misfortune. The son of the Guru, who was dedicated to the nation and religion, had the same blood in his veins. He said instantly “Who else is more great than you ?”

    With these words of his son, Gobind, Shri Guru Teg Bahadur decided to sacrifice himself for the protection of the sacred thread and vermillion (Tilak). This decision was of national importance, because it changed the course of future history.

    Shri Guru Teg Bahadur sent a message to Aurangzeb that if he could convert Teg Bahadur to Islam, every Hindu will become a Muslim. On receiving this message Aurangzeb danced out of delight and ordered Subedar of Kashmir, Iftihar Khan, to stop forcible religious conversion because now it had to be easy to complete this work. Only one person had to be converted to Islam and the rest will automatically accept Islam. He sent a message to Anandpur Sahib inviting Shri Guru Teg Bahadur to Delhi.

    Prior to the receipt of this invitation Guru Teg Bahadur had left for Delhi alongwith his five disciples. On reaching the periphery of Delhi all were arrested and carried to the court of Aurangzeb. There was a discussion between Aurangzeb and the Guru. The Guru roared like a lion and told the king that he could not change his religion. Forcing anyone to change religion was against humanity. The Mughal ruler is irreligious by following an irreligious path. Honouring his dictates and orders is a deep dishonour for the entire country of India and for the vast Hindu society. He told him that he opposed, strongly, clearly and with determination these evil deeds.

    Aurangzeb felt losing ground under his feet on seeing the courage and strong religious faith of Guru Teg Bahadur. Aurangzeb flared up and gave two options to the Guru – either death or adoption of Islam.

    Great love for Hindu religion

    The Guru opted for the option of death for sacrificing his life for the protection of nation and religion. And for this very purpose he had come from Anandpur Sahib to Delhi. The desire of the Guru and his expression of courage finds an account in the book “Shri Guru Pratap Suraj”.

    (On hearing Aurangzeb the brave Guru Teg Bahadur said: “We belong to Hindu religion. How can we give up our highly dear Hindu religion ? This Hindu religion is a source of happiness in this and the other world. No other religion seems to be equal to Hindu religion. Those having mean and unwise bent of mind and give up this religion are wicked and base. Such people suffer greatly in this world and even Yamraj (god of death) does not get satisfied while punishing them. We are wise and learned. Why should we forsake Hindu religion ? We have a permanent commitment and love for protecting our religion”.

    This gave birth to a period of cruelty on Guru Teg Bahadur and his colleagues. Tieing to a hot pillar, throwing hot sand on their bodies, wounding their bodies and other intolerable pains became a routine. And whenever anyone was not made unstable, orders were issued to kill them mercilessly. As per the Fatwah (decree) of the royal Qazi the Gurus first associate, Bhai Dayal, was thrown in a boiling pot and killed. The second associate Bhai Sati Das, was packed in a bale of cotton which was set ablaze and the third one, Bhai Mati Das, was sawed to death. After the immortal sacrifice of these three persons, Shri Guru Teg Bahadur was beheaded. Before his assassination the Guru had recited the first five lines of the sacred book Japuji. This way the name of this great nationalist is immortal in the pages of history for having smashed the arrogance of Aurangzeb.

    Guru Teg Badaur treats this misery as national tragedy

    This great nationalist sacrificed everything on the altar of India, its religion and its nationalist life values. He gave a call for the entire Hindu society to unite and get strong for preserving and protecting their religion. On the request of Kashmiri Hindus a greatman of Punjab went to Delhi and sacrificed his head. This by itself is an example of basic unity of our nation. No one, at that time, had said that he being a Panjabi why should he die for Kashmiri. There was no dirty game of votes and appeasement at that time. There was no danger of losing the Muslim vote bank through the sacrifice of Guru Teg Bahadur.

    Treating the cries of 500 Kashmiris as the pain and misfortune of the entire Hindu society and India he sacrified in the interest of the nation. He did not treat the problem of Kashmir as an ordinary national issue. It was really an image of the tragedy of the entire nation. Thus the woeful tale of 500 Kashmiri Pandits was given national importance by the Guru who sacrificed himself to fulfil the national duty. But today the woeful plight of three lakh Kashmiri Hindus, who have migrated from the valley, could not achieve national importance. Possibly there is no great nationalist and saviour of religion like Guru Teg Bahadur in India at present. Everybody is a victim of the policy of “vote bank” and appeasement and are busy in baking their bread in the naming oven of Kashmir problem. The traders of Muslim “vote bank” not only handed over Kashmir to terrorists in the interest of their self-interest but also wasted the sacrifice of Guru Teg Bahadur for Kashmir. The situation has reached a stage where anyone having solid, clear and right outlook on the security of Kashmir are being dubbed as anti-Muslim. It means that the importance of the Muslim vote bank is greater than the security of Kashmir and integrity of the country.

    Great sacrifice

    How strange it looks: the Guru who sacrificed himself for the safety of Kashmiri Panditis, the so called and disloyal followers of the same Guru are now supporting those who are the cause for the current disaster of Kashmiri Pandits. What else can be the national tragedy and misfortune that once again Kashmir is a victim of the schemes of Aurangzeb ? At that time 500 Kashmiri Pandits had found Guru Teg Bahadur but today three lakh Kashmiri Pandits are helpless in finding any saviour of religion.

    On receiving the news about the sacrifice of Guru Teg Bahadur his son, Shri Guru Gobind Singh, had said:

    “tilak janju raakhaa prabh taakaa keeno bado kalu mahi saaka —- “

    Guru Teg Bahadur’s religious steadfastness and his nationalism and his unique amd matchless sacrifice would be remembered for ages. It was a great deed for the protection of Hindu society, nation and the permanent values of humanity. With this unique sacrifice of Guru Teg Bahadur the rule of Aurangzeb started experiencing tremors. This sacrifice led to the wave of Hindutva, which swept the entire India, and direction was given to this wave by Guru Gobind Singh in Punjab, Rana Raj Singh in Rajasthan, Shiva Ji in the south and Chatrasal in the east. A united revolt was launched against the cruel Aurangzeb.

    Aurangzeb had himself, before his death, prepared the coffin for the Mughal rule through his fundamentalist and cruel dictatorial policies. After him the Mughal rule started witnessing continuous fall. Though many states in India had declared independence, Kashmir continued to remain under the Mughal rule. In Kashmir Mir Ahmed Khan was running the administration as Naib Subedar. His policies were liberal towards Hindus but the process of religious conversion continued with a slow pace.

    Muhata Khan’s dangerous resolution

    Muhata Khan, a Muslim Sardar, was an influential person in the court of Bahadur Shah, who succeeded Aurangzeb on the throne of Delhi. He was a Kashmiri but having remained out of the valley for a long time he had established contact with the Mughal ruler in Delhi. He had become an owner of an estate in Delhi because of the benevolence of Bahadur Shah. But when he lost his estate after the death of Bahadur Shah he returned to Kashmir. He requested Subedar Mir Ahmed Khan to give up his liberal policy. He established an honourable place in the Muslim society becauge of his knowledge of Islam. Gradually he started criticising the basic principles of Hindu religion, religious customs in Kashmir. In his eyes conversion of Hindus to Islam in any fashion was the order of God. That is why he got fully engaged in this work. He objected to the grant of equal rights to Hindus by the Subedar. That human approach and policy was intolerable for him.

    Khwaja Ajim Khan has given information about the dangerous resolution Muhata Khan submitted to the Subedar of Kashmir. In his book “History of Kashmir” Ajim Khan has said that Muhata Khan was a scholar of Islamic laws. Once he had bitterly criticised the liberal policies of Subedar Mir Ahmed Khan towards Hindus. He had made it clear that progress of Hindus was not tolerable in any way. In this context he submitted the following proposals to the Subedar.

    1. Hindus should not be allowed to ride a horse. 2. They should not wear “jama” (a type of Mughal dress). 3 . They should nat handle weapons. 4. They should not visit gardens. 5. They should not put vermillion (Tilak) on their forehead. 6. Their wards should not be given any education.

    The Subedar rejected all the proposals of Muhata Khan. He instructed Muhata Khan to remain away from such activities.

    Attack on Hindu function

    But Muhata Khan decided to have his way for achieving his aim by taking law in his hands. He set up a centre of his activities in a mosque. He incited people, who used to come for Nimaz, for remaining rigid on Islam and bring the idol worshippers within the ambit of Islamic principles. Having been influenced by his powerful religious discourses the Muslim youth decided to obey his instructions. Muhata Khan issued instructions for implementing his above mentioned resolutions on Hindus. The result was that any Hindu found with vermillion (Tilak) on his forehead would be smashed. Hindus could no longer ride horses and wearing good dresses was banned for them.

    At that time an attack on a famous trader, Majlis Rai Chopra, took a historical turn. Arrangements for a luncheon in connection with a religious function were made by Majlis Rai. When thousands of Hindus were having their lunch in a garden Muhata Khan, with a band of bigots, attacked them with weapons. Majlis Rai managed to escape and took shelter in the house of Mir Ahmed Shah. But that house too was gheroad and surrounded by the men of Muhata Khan. Mir Ahmed Khan escaped from a secret door and took refuge in a nearby cantonment. He waged a battle, with the help of a company of troops, against Muhata Khan but was defeated. Muhata Khan arrested and iailed this supporter of Hindus and assumed power himself.

    Majlis Rai was killed mercilessly and all his property was oonfiscated. It was followed by shameless atrocities on the Hindus. There was turmoil among the Hindu families. Many Hindus were converted to Islam in this atmosphere of terror.

    Muslims gave shelter to Hindus

    But there was no impact of the atmosphere on the common Muslims. Muhata Khan’s influence was limited to the Muslims belonging to the rich and the upper class.

    According to one historian, Anand Rai Pahalwan, the attack on Majlis Rai is an indication of the class struggle. Common Hindus were tormented because their link with him (Majlis Rai) was based on religion and not money. But a big number of common Muslims would participate in this function and festival. One non-Muslim historian has written that many Muslims gave shelter to innumerable Hindus in their houses till the situation improved.

    Muhata Khan tormented Hindus but he did not spare those Muslirns who gave assistance to Hindus in any way. There were many Muslims officers, who, while being on key Government posts, had given help to their Hindu colleagues. And when this section of the Muslims became victim of the atrocities of Muhata Khan, they started getting annoyed. The result was that this sectien sounded the bugle of revolt.

    Anarchy gripped the state and one Muslim sardar beheaded Muhata Khan with his sword.

    Two liberal Subedars, Abdus Samad and Inayat Khan

    After this the Mughal emperor, Mohammed Shah, sent four to five Subedars, one after the other, to Kashmir but no one was able to control anarchy, communalism and uncertain political situation. Ultimately it was left to Subedar Abdus Samad to control the situation in Kashmir. He made a vigorous effort for resettling uprooted Hindus. They were given monetary help from the state exchequer. They were given posts in the government. After his Subedar Barkae Khan too installed many Pandits on high Government posts. This liberal Subedar appointed one scholar Pandit, Mukand Ram Kar, as his chief advisor. After giving him major powers, Barkat Khan started a new chapter of strength and co-existence in Kashmir’s history.

    During this era there was hegemony of Kashmiri Pandits in the Delhi Mughal court. But despite this whenever Mughal emperors, Muslim Subedars or sardars, were obsessed by bigotry they started massacre of their trusted Hindu friends. There are many instances in support of their discriminatory attitude and cruel activities. The leaders of Kashmiri Pandits, settled in Delhi and Agra, Jairam Bhan, had great influence in DeIhi Durbar. Under this influence he worked for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus and for the education of their children. But one Hindu, being jealous of his influence, lodged a complaint against him in Delhi Durbar. Dubbing him as an enemy of the Muslims, he poisoned the ears of Kamaruddin, a minister of Emperor Mohammed Shah. Pandit Bhan was arrested and killed through deceit. His two sons were also jailed.

    Under the instructions from Delhi Durbar the then Subedar of Kashmir, Inayatullah Khan, was asked to confiscate the property of Jairam Bhan in the valley. But Inayatulla alerted Pandit Bhan’s brothers before implementing the court order. As a result of it they were saved and so was saved their property.

    During the closing days of the rule of Mohammad Shah the invasion of an Afghan Sardar, Nadir Shah, had its impact on Kashmir too. Subedars of Kashmir refused to accept the leadership of Delhi Durbar. The administration became victim of local groupism and once again Kashmiris were pushed to the abyss of deep darkness.

    Kashmir a land of lust and tour in the eyes of Mughal Kings

    If an analysis is made on the impact of the rule of the Mughals on Kashmir it is clear that except for Aurangzeb Kashmir remained peaceful under the Mughal reign. During the Mughals people got relief and Kashmiri Hindus lived honourably. Even if these facts are correct, deep probe in the era reveals many other details.

    The Mughal emperors would live in Delhi. They would come to Kashmir with their harem for pleasure trips. Kashmir for them was nothing else than a place for pleasure trips.

    According to a known scholar and writer, Mr. Vachnesh Tripathi, eras went on changing. The Kashmir which was once famous for its sanctity as a pilgrimage and on whose soil baching of Sanskrit and fruitful discourses of Sanskrit scholars had given importance in life and which was treated with devotion by Prince Darashikov, the same Kashmir became a spot for pleasure for the Mughal kings. The Shalimar Bagh was known for being a garden where Jehangir and Noor Jahan would give shape to their lust and pleasures. As such Kashmir was turned into a centre for pleasure and luxury and from that very period India’s freedom and integrity was jolted.

    Mughal kings ruled Kashmir from Delhi through their Subedars. These Subedars had two groups. One was influenced by the religion of “Din Illahi” propounded by Akbar and they allowed the cool breeze of goodwill to blow over the verdant vales of Kashmir. But the other group came under the influence of Akbar’s practice of organising programmes for sensuous delights and “Meena Bazaar” type pleasure outlook. As such they patronised such shameless and uncivilised activities in Kashmir and tormented Hindu women. There is a big question mark on the personality of Akbar because as a secular he patronised both the “Meena Bazaar” and “Din Illahi”, two contradictory trends.

    Kashmir felt the impact of these two opinions and trends. The result was that while roads were constructed, mosques were built but no one repented over the demolition and destruction of temples and idols by the Muslim sultans. No renovation of temples and shrines was carried out. None promoted ancient culture of Kashmir through schools and there was no system under which a Kashmiri Hindu would remain a Hindu. The eyes of the Mughal rulers remained fixed on the dreams of “Darul Islam” and “Islamic Millat”. As a result of it the Hindutva which earlier was being poisoned to death was now being lured to sleep through sweet lullabies.

Aurangzebs letter and the TAJ

April 9, 2009


Source: Stephen Knapp

The Letter of Aurangzeb

This is supposed to be a copy of the original letter from Aurangzeb himself written in 1652, complaining of the extensive repairs that are in need of being done on the Taj Mahal. He says that several rooms on the second storey, the secret rooms and tops of the seven storey ceilings have all absorbed water through seepage and are so old that they were all leaking, and the dome had developed a crack on the northern side. This was in spite of the fact that the rumor is that the Taj was finished being built in 1653. The logic of this is that Mumtaz was supposed to have died around 1631, and it is said that it took 22 years to build the Taj. However, in the letter herein Aurangzeb ordered immediate repairs at his expense while recommending to the emperor that more elaborate repairs such as the roof be opened up and redone with mortar, bricks and stone.

Aurangzeb’s letter is recorded in at least three chronicles titled ‘Aadaab-e-alamgiri ‘, ‘Yaadgaarnama ‘and the ‘ Muraaqqa-I-Akbarabadi ‘ (edited by Said Ahmad, Agra, 1931, page 43, footnotes 2).

In any case, if the Taj was a new building, there would no doub not be any need for such extensive repairs.

The reign of Aurangzeb : his treatment of the Hindus

April 9, 2009
The reign of Aurangzeb :
his treatment of the Hindus :
the Rajput revolt ;
Sivaji and the rise of the Marathas


Auranhzeb at the time of his accession. In June 1659, when Aurangzeb assumed the full honours of the imperial dignity under the title of Alamgir, conferred by his father, he was forty years of age, mature in body and mind, well skilled in affairs, both civil and military, and firmly
convinced that it was his duty to uphold his religion at any cost. The history of his reign, extending like Akbar’s over a period of nearly fifty years, may be condensed as being that of the failure of an attempt to govern a vast empire, inhabited chiefly by Hindus, on the principles of an ascetic Moslem saint.

Aurangzeb’s principles of government. Aurangzeb never flinched from the practical action logically resulting from his theory, that it was his duty as a faithful Moslem king to foster the interests of orthodox Sunni Islam, to suppress idolatry, and, as far as possible, to discourage and disown all idolaters,
heretics (including Shah Mohammedans)’ and infidels. He could not do all he would, but he did all he could to carry his principles into effect. No fear of unpopularity, no consideration of political expediency, no dread of resistance , was suffered to turn him for a moment from his religious duty as he conceived it.
The emperor Aurangzeb was a man of high intellectual powers, a brilliant writer, as his letters prove, an astute diplomatist, a soldier of undaunted courage, a skilled administrator, a just and merciful judge, a pious ascetic in his personal habits, and yet a failure.

Palliation of his fight for the throne. He crossed a river of blood to gain the throne. The best defence that can be offered for the crimes by which he won it, is that indicated in his letter reproaching his old tutor:

‘Ought you not’, he writes, ‘to have foreseen that I might at some future period be compelled to contend with my brothers, sword in hand, for the crown, and for my very existence Such, as you must well known, has been the ate of the children of almost every king of Hindutan’.

That defence, as far as it goes, is sound. If any one of his brothers had gained the prize, Auragzeb would have suffered death, and he can hardly be blamed because he preferred to inflict, rather, than suffer, death. The deposition of his father was a neccessary consequence
of the defeat of Dara Shikoh, who had already assumed the imperial authority with the assent of the aged emperor, who was then no longer fit to rule. Once the deposition had been effected, Aurangzeb spared his father’s life though sternly refusing him liberty. The brutal treatment
of Dara Shikoh, which cannot be justified, is explained by Aurangzeb’s intense hatred for all forms of religious hereby. His eldest brother, an avowed freethinker, was to him a thing accursed, and a fit object for extremest insult. Aurangzeb regarded the world from the point of view of
a Moslem ascetic, and as against the rights of orthodaxy the claims of kindered or of justice to Hindu unbelevers were nothing in his eyes. He took up the position of Philip II of spain in realtion to the people of the Netherlands. Like that monarch he was intensely suspicious, trusting neither man nor woman.
His love, although sometimes given, was seldom sought and, perhaps, never returned, except by one gradnson, prince Bedar Bakht.

Mir Jumla’s attack on Assam. In the earlier part of the reign the only wars, other than that of the sucession, which claim notice are those with Assam and Arakan. Mir jumla, the able general, who had done such good service for Aurangzeb when he was viceroy of the Deccan, and again in hunting down Shuja,
was rash enough to follow in the footsteps of Mohammed the son of Bakhtyar (ante, p. 106) and to invade Assam. Mir Jumla failed like his early predecessor, and, like him, died soon after his return (1663).

Annexation of part of Arakan by shayista khan. In the course of the same year, Aurangzeb’s uncle, Shayista khan, who had allowed himself to be surprised by the Marathasin the Deccan, was transferred to Bengal as the sucessor of Mir jumla. He governed the eastern province for about thirty years. His expulsion of the
English merchants from his territory in 1686 has been mentioned (ante,p.161). At an earlier ate (1666) he had cleared out the portuguese and other pirates who infested the rivers in the neighbourhood of Chittagong, and sent an expedition against the king of Arakan, who had abetted the evil-doers, and was compelled to cede the Chittagong territory.

Twenty years’ pece. ‘The expeditions into Assam and Arakan did not disturb the general peace of Hindustan. A profound tranquillity, broken by no rebellion of any political importance, reigned throughout Northern India for the first twenty years of Aurangzeb’s rule.’ It is true that for nearly three years (1673-5) the Afghan clans beyond the Indus gave trouble,
and during part of that time Aurangzeb in person superintended the operations of his generals, but the peace of India, as a whole, was not disturbed by skirmishing on the north-western frontier.

Aurangzeb’s history. Aurangzeb was a religious bigot, nad he reversed in every repect the wise policy of Akbar towards his Hindu subjects. In 1669, hearing that certain Brahmins were giving religious lectures at Multan and Benares, he ordered ‘all governors of provinces to destroy with a willing hand the schools and temples of the infidels’.Inconsequence,
the temple of Vishvanath at Benares was destroyed. In 1672 a Hindu religious sect called the Satnamis rebelled, and was crushed with ruthless severity. In 1675, Tegh Bahadur, the ninth of the sikh gorus (post, p.p 224-6), was taken and executed because he refused to embrace Islam. In 1678, Raja Jaswant Singh of Marwar died. The emperor tried to seize his children and have
them brought up as Moslems. He adopted the same policy towards the young Maratha Prince shahu. Finally in 1679 he revived the hated jizya or poll-tax which Akbar had ablished. By his bigotry Auragzeb rent in pieces the mighty Mogul empire, and paved the way for the British conquest of India.

Alienation of the Rajputs. After some time the rana of Mewar (Udaipur) made an honourable peace, by a treaty which contained no allusion to the odious jizya, and Raja Jaswant singh’s son was recongnized as chieftain of Marwar. The mischief, however,had been done, and Aurangzeb had wantonly thrown away his most trusty weapon, the devotion of the Rajput chivalry. During the following
struggle in the Deccan he learned the extent of his loss, but never repented of his action or swered a hair’s breadth from his principles. Notwithstanding the treaty, Rajputana was not pacified, and the greater part of the country continued in revolt until the end of the reign.

Prohibition of histories. A curious decree of the eleventh year of the reign abolished the office of imperial chronicler and forbade the publication of histories by private persons. This prohibition has caused a certain amount of indistinctness in the details and obscurity in the chronology of the greater part of Aurangzeb’s long reign. Such histories as were written secretly had to wait for
publication until the emperor’s death.

Aurangzeb and the Decan. In 1657, when called away to take part in the fight for the throne, prince Aurangzeb, then viceroy of the Deccan, that is to say of khandesh, Berar, Telingana, and Ahmadnagar, seemed to be an on the point of annexing the kingdoms of Golkonda and Bijapur and bringing the whole of the Deccan under the rule of his father. Many years elapsed before Auragzeb as emperor was able to return
to the scene of his early labours. Meantime a new power had arisen, which, rashly despised at first, became strong enough to baffle all the efforts of the imperial grand army, and to condemn the aged emperor to long-drawn years of fruitless toil, ending in lonely death, ‘without heart or help’.

The new-born Maratha power. Before taking up the story of Aurangzeb’s campaigns in the Deccan during the twenty-six years from the close of 1681 to 1707, we must go back to trace the origin of the new-born Maratha power and sketch the life of sivaji, who gave it birth. the marathas are the Hindu population of Maharashtra, the country of the western Ghats, lying to the south of the satpura hills, to the west of the warda
river, and extending southwards as far as Goa. In the thirteenth century this region had been the centre of the Yadava power (ante,p.84). Its best known towns are poona, Satara, Kolhapur, and Nasik.

Description of the Marathas. The inhabitants of the barren uplands of the Deccan, with its fierce heat and uncertain rainfall, are a frugal, manly race. ‘They are ‘,says Elphinstone , ‘small, sturdy men, well made though not hansome. They are all active, laborious, hardy, and perserving. If they have none of their indolence or their want of wordly wisdom.’ One feature of the Deccan must be particularly noted. It is intersected
by a number of mountain-ranges, and high flat topped hills rise up on all sides. These hills are easily convertible, by means of a few bastions, into forts, which are almost impregnable without the use of siege artillery. These natural strongholds played an important part in the great struggle against the Mohammedans. The Marathas would retire to them when hard pressed, and then, when the opportunity offered, they would sally forth and hang
upon their opponents’ flanks like a pack of wolves, cutting off stragglers and intercepting supplies. The Marathas were admirably adapted for these guerilla tactics.

Early life of sivaji. Sivaji, the great Maratha champion, belonged to the Bhosle family. His father Shahji was a soldier of fortune, and while he was away on distant campaigns in southern India, on behalf of the kings of Bijapur, the lad was brought up at poona under his mother Jijabai. He became inspired with the idea of freeing his country from the Mohammedan yoke. At the age of nineteen he began his career by seizing some of the hill
forts in the poona district. In 1659 the Biajpur government began to realize that the danger was serious. Afzal khan, a famous general, was sent with a large force. But he became entangled in the dense jungles between Wai and Mahableshwar, near sivaji’s fort of Pratapgarh. Here Afzal khan was tempted to a conference and cut down. His army was suddenly attacked from every side and completely annihilated. Bijapur now thought it prudent to come to terms.

Shayista Khan. The Maratha now ventured to ravage the Mogul territories, and thus provoked Aurangzeb to send his uncle, Shayista khan, to suppress him. But the Mogul commander, having allowed himself to be surprised, was transferred to Bengal, as already narrated (ante,p.208).

Auragzeb’s mistake. Other generals, including pince Muazzam, were now sent against the rebel, and after some time (1665) Raja Jai Singh of jaipur persuaded sivaji to submit and even to come to Agra to do homage. Aurangzeb enforced the court rules of etiquette on his opponent, and so incurred his undying enmity. Sivaji escaped secretly from the court, returned to the Deccan, and in February 1668 compelled Aurangzeb to reconize him as Raja.

Renewed war; death of sivaji, 1680. The war was soon renewed, and the Marathas freely plundered the imperial territories, including the rich town of Surat, all except the English factory there. In 1674 Sivaji proclaimed himself sovereign of the Deccan with royal pomp at his capital of Raigarh. He then crossed the Narbada, and levied the chauth, or fourth part of the land revenue, a species of blackmail, payment of which was supposed to protect a district from plunder.
In the south, where his father and brother had held jagirs, he occupied the fortresses of Vellore and Jinji (Gingee), and was granted additional territory by the king of Bijapur in payment for help against the Moguls. In 1680 he died at the age of fifty-three, leaving behind him a great reputation as the champion of Hinduism, the creator of a nation, and the founder of a powerful kingdom.

Civil administration. Sivaji, who had begun life as a petty chieftain, showed, as his power grew, that he knew how to govern his unruly subjects. He was a devout Hindu, and , although illeterate and unable to sign his name, was well versed in the sacred lkore dear to all Hindus. His government, accordingly, was organized on a Hindu pattern. The supreme authority under the Raja was a council of eight ministers who followed the principles of Brahmin law. Tge chief minister was called the Peshwa.
Other members of the council severally looked after various departments-finance, the army, and so forth. Maratha territory was divided into districes, each with a staff of officials, and each village had its headman (patel). Higher local officers were known as Desadhikars, Talikdars, and Subadars. The ministers usually held military commands, and left their civil duties to deputies (kabaris). The revenue settlements were made annually. Justice was in the hands panchayats.

Army and navy. The army was controlled by a commander-in-chief, below whom was a regular gradation of officers. The men were paid. At first Sivaji relied on his infantry recruited from the Western Ghats and the Konkanman who could climb like monkeys and capture the hill forts which were the seat of his power. Gradually the light cavalry became the most important Maratha arm. The horsemen preferred the lance to any other weapon. Discipline was strict. No soldier was allowed to bring a woman into the field on pain of death. In this respect
Sivaji’s force differed widely from the armies of the Moguls, and even from those of the East India Company, which were always clogged by a train of female followers. The chief object of the Maratha raids was to till the treasury; hence all plunder had to be strictly accounted for. Cows, cultivators, and women were not to be injured. A flect capable of carrying four thousand soldiers helped the operations of the coast.

Character of Sivaji. Sivaji was a born leader of men, and a real master of guerilla warfare. There can be no doubt that he rally believed himself to be born with a mission ‘to protect Brahmins and kind’, and to set his country free. He lived in a dark and cruel age, when religious feeling ran high, and admittedly his career was stained by deeds which would
be condemned in modern times. Of the death of Azal Khan it is impossible to speak with certainly, but the murder of the two Maratha chiefs, Chandrarao More and Baji Ghorpade, and the destruction of their capitals, is hard to defend. Equally cruel were the brutal tortures inflicted on teh Hindu baniyas of Surat to extract their hidden treasures. But on the whole he was a chivalrous and far-sighted man, and we may fully concur with the character given to him by Khafi Khan, the Mohammedan historian, who was certainly not biased in his favour:

‘He made it a rule that, wherever his followers went plundering, they should do no harm to mosques, the Book of God, or anyone’s women. Whenever a copy of the holy Koran cam into his hands, he treated it with respect, and gave it to some of his Mussulaman followers. When the women of any Hindu or Mohammedan were taken prisoners by his men and they had no friend to protect them, he watched over them till their relations came to buy them their liberty.’

Aurangzeb assumes command in the Deccan. At the close of 1681, a year after Sivaji’s death, Aurangzeb in person took command of the army of the Deccan, resolved to extinguish the kingdoms of Golkonda and Bijapur, to curb the insolence of the Marathas, and, if possible, to bring the whole south under Mogul rule.

His treatment of the Hindua. The emperor’;s obstinate adherence to his wrong-headed policy of annoying his Hindu subjects added immensely to the inherent difficulties of his task. The first thing he did was to issue stringent orders for the collection of the arrears of the jizya tax in the southern provinces, and in three months he compelled his officers to squeeze twenty-six thousand rupees out of Burhanpur. Insult was added to pecuniary injury by a proclamation that no Hindu should ride in apalankeen or an Arab horse without special licence.
such measures, of course, made the entire Hindu should ride in a palankeen or on an Arab horse without special licence. Such measures, of course, made the entire Hindu population the friends of his foes; but no consideration of prudence sufficed to turn Aurangzeb from his fixed policy.

The affairs of Golkonda. When he returned to the Deccan he found the government of Golkonda in confusion. The king, Abul Hasan, had abandoned himself to pleasure and ceased to take any part in public affairs, which were controlled by the representative of the emperor at his court and by two Hindu officials. Aurangzeb, who could not endure Hindu influence, sent his son, Prince Muazzam, to restore order. The prince dallied over his task, but at last attacked the city of Hyderabad, which his soldiers plundered without permission. The king took reguge in the adjoining fortress of Golkonda.
In 1685 the prince, having made peace on terms displeasing to his father, was recalled.

Annexation of Bijapur, 1686. The emperor, leaving Golkonda alone for the moment, deputed another son, prince Azam, to reduce Bijapur. He had little success, and was superseded by his ather, who took the capital in 1686 after an investment lasting more than a year. The kingdom ceased to exist, and the splendid city became the abode of desolation, as it is for the most part to this day.

Siege and annexation of Golkonda. Aurangzeb then resolved to make an end of the isster state of Golkonda, and to depose the king, who was accused of sending money to the Marathas, and allying himself with infidels. When Abul Hasan perceived that his destruction was decided on, he is said to have become a changed man, to have cast aside his evil habits and played the part of a hero. Certainly the city was put in a good state of defence, and when the siege began early in 1687, the imperial troops found that they had been set a hard task. The Marathas cut off the supplies of the besiegers, who were reduced to extremities by famine and plague.
An assault ordered by the emperor failed utterly, and it seemed as if the siege must be raised. But a traitor admitted the Mogul army, and Golkonda fell (September 1687). By these conquests and later operations the imperial commanders were able to levy tribute from Tanjore and Trichinipol;y in 1691, which date may be taken as marking the furthest southern extension of Mogul power.

Struggle with the Marathas. The two Mohammedan kingdoms had been destroyed, but the marathas remained unsubdued, and the remaining twenty years of Aurangzeb’s life were spent in the vain attempt to subdue them. The emperor never returned to the north, and wasted those weary years gaining ‘ a long series of petty victories followed by larger losses’. His armies seemed to be getting the upper hand between 1698-1701, but in the suceeding years the enemy recovered the lost ground.

Maratha method of warfare. The Marathas never, or hardly ever, risked a general engagement, but empended all their energies, like the Boers in the south African war, in cutting off supplies, intercepting convoys, and incessantly harassing the enemy. Mounted on hardy ponies, they were ablr to move with a quickness which completely baffled the imperial armies; and, so each man carried with him his simple food and belongings, they needed no transport trains.

Inefficiency of the Mogul army. The mogul forces, on the other hand, were unwideldy and almost immovable. The royal tents alone occupied a space three miles in circuit, and a contemporary traveller describes the whole camp as being ‘ a moving city containing half a million of souls’. Grant Duff sums up the situation in these words: ‘These apparently vigorous efforts of the government were unsubstantial; there was motion and bustle, without zeal or efficacy; the empire was unwidely, its system relaxed, and its officiers corrupt beyond all example.’ Success in these circumstances was impossible.

Execution of Sambhaji ; Raja Shahu. For a time the emperor’s arms had a promise of success, and Aurangzeb had the poor satisfaction of putting to death with torture Sambhaji, a son of Shivaji, in 1689. He spared the life of sivaji jonior, nicknamed Shabu (sahu), the infant son of Sambhaji, and kept his at court until his own death, when the young man was released and returned to his own dominions. He became Raja in 1708 after a contest.

Tara Bai. A few years after Sambhaji’s execution, Tara Bai, widow of Raja Rama, another son of Sivaji, had retrieved the Maratha losses, and directed the policy of devasting the imperial territories with such energy that the emperor was shut up in his camp, and his treasure was plundered almost under his eyes.

Retreat and death of Aurangzeb. The mogul army gradually crumbled to pieces, and ultimately (1706) Aurangzeb was forced to retire on Ahmadnagar, where he died at the begining of March 1707 (N.S), in the forty-ninth year of his reign and the eighty-eighth of his life. His dust lies under a plain tomb in the village of Rauza or Khuldabad near Daulatabad.

Aurangzeb’s farewell words. However severely the policy and conduct of Aurangzeb may be junged, it is impossible to refuse pity to the old man on his death-bed when he addressed his sons in these sad words:

‘I know not who I am, where I shall go , or what will happen to this sinner, full of sins. Now I will say good-bye to every one in this world and entrust every one to the care of God. My famous and auspicious sons should not quarrel among themselves and allow a general massacre of the people who are the servants of God. . . My years have gone by profitless. God has been in my heart, yet my darkened eyes have not reconginized His light. . . There is no hope for me in the future. The fever is gone, but only the skin is left. . . The army is confounded, and without heart or help, even as I am; apart from God, with no rest for the heart
yet my darkened eyes have not recognized His light. . . There is no hope for me in the future. The fever is gone, but only the skin is left. . . The army is confounded, and without heart or help, even as I am; apart from God, with no rest for the heart. . . When I have lost hope in myself, how can I hope in others? . . . You should accept my last will. It should not happen that Mussulmans be killed and the blame for their death rest upon this useless creature. . . I have greatly sinned and know not what troment awaits me. . . I have greatly sinned and know not what torment awaits me. . . I commit you and your sons to the care of God, and bid
you farewell. . . May the peace of God be upon you.’

Aurangzeb’s failure. The causes of Aurangzeb’s failure are obvious enough, and have been indicated in the course of the narrative, but it may be well to sum them up briefly. Aurangzeb acted as if he were merely the head of the Sunni sect Mohammedans, and not the protector of all the races and creeds of India. Akbar had realized the truth that the authority of the monarch of an empire inhabited chiefly by Hindus could not be lasting unless it rested on the support of all his people. During the greater part of his reign he treated all religions with impartial justice. Only in his latter days he forgot himself so far so to violate his avowed principles by
heaping insults upon Islam. Jahangir accepted and put in practice the tolerant maxims of his father, encouraging the building of Hindu temples as of chiristian churches. Shahjahan revived then old evil policy or persecution, harrying the christians and razing temples to the ground. Aurangzeb went farther, especially after 1678, when the death of Raja Jaswant Singh deprived his countrymen of their most powerful support. The emperor, then, in 1679,reimposed the wisely abolished. He carried to monstrous legths the policy of destroying the holy places of Hinduism, and may be reasonably charged with the overthrow of thousands of temples.

His measures forced all Hindus to regard him as their enemy and deprived him of the willing service of the Rajput clans. Sivaji, whom the emperor despised as a mere robber chief, was honoured by the Marathas as a hero, the champion and protector of Hinduism aginst the imperial bigot. Aurangzeb’s Sunni bigotry made him as hostile to the shah states of Bijapur and Golkonda as he was to the Hindu powers. He thus shattered the forces of Islam in the Deccan, by which the Hindu revolt of the marathas might have been held in check. The emperor’s suspious disposition, which prevented him from trusting anybody, deprived him likewise of all chance of finding trustworthy agents. He was, consequently,
ill served. His life was so prolonged that he continued to grasp the sceptre after he had lost the strength to use it with effect. His officers, corrupted by luxury, lacked the vigour of their ancestors and were incapable of honest exertion. The long-drawn-out Deccan wars exhausted a large part of the huge treasure of shahjahan, and ruined the finances of the empire. Financial ruin involved the collapse of the whole administration. The subject might be treated from many other points of view, but what has been said may suffice.

Chronology of Aurangzeb’s Reign

Deposition of Shahjahan and informal accession July 1658

Formal installation of Aurangzeb June 1659

Charter granted by charles II to the E.I Company ;
Bombay ceded by the portuguese to the English 1661

Mir Jumla’s attack on Assam 1662-3

Shayista khan surprised by the Maathas 1663

Foundation of the French Compagnie des Indes 1664

Death of shahjahan ; annexation of part of Arakan

by shayista khan 1666

Prohibition of public idolatrous worship 1669

Sivaji formally proclaimed as sovereign 1674

Revival of the jizya 1679

Death of Sivaji 1680

Rebellion of the Ranjputs and prince Akbar 1680-1

Assumption of command in the Deccan by Aurangzeb 1681-2

Annexation of Golkonda ; Greatest extension of Mogul empire 1687-91

Execution of Sambhaji, son of Sivaji 1689

Foundation of Calcutta by job Charnock 1690

United East India Company 1720-8

Retreat of Aurangzeb to Ahmadnagar 1706

Death of Aurangzeb 1707

GENEALOGY OF THE ‘GREAT MOGULS’ (Principal Names)

Amir Timur
|

Four generations

|

Babur (Zahir-ud-din Mohammed, descended from the
stock of chinghiz khan through females

|
—————————-|
| |
HUMAYUN (Nasir-ud-din Mohammed) Kamaran and two others

|
——————–
| |
Akbar (Jalal-ud-din) Mohammed Hakim Mirza
| (Ruler of Kabul)
|
——————————————-
| | |
| | |
JaHANGIR (Nur-ud-din Mohammed) Sultan Murad Sultan Daniyal
| | |
| | |
| A Son Three sons
————————————————————————-
| | | | |
Sultan Khusru Sultan Parviz SHAHJAKAN
or Khusrau (Shihab-ud-din Mohammed) Jahandar Shahryar

|
Dawar Bakhsh or Bulaki |
and two others |
|
|
|
———————————————————————-
| | | | |
Dara Shiloh
(Mohammed) Sultan Shuja AURAGZEB ALAMGIR Murad Bakhsh Several other children,
| | including two daughters,
Four sons Three sons (Mohammed Muhi-ud-din) Jahanara and Roshanara,
or Roshan Rai