Archive for the ‘guru tegh bahadur’ Category

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.

Secular garb for Aurangzeb By A Surya Prakash

April 9, 2009

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By A Surya Prakash

Aided by an administration that is of late making anti-Hinduism an important component of state policy, a small group of Muslim bigots in Chennai disrupted an exhibition on Aurangzeb, the despotic ruler who destroyed hundreds of Hindu temples in the 17th century, including the most sacred shrines at Banaras and Mathura.

The story of the horrors perpetrated by this ruler in the name of Islam had been put together through pictures and drawings by the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT). The man behind this initiative is François Gautier, a noted journalist and a trustee of FACT who is committed to salvaging truths about India’s ancient and medieval history from the garbage that is palmed off as history by a small group of pseudo-secular historians who subsist on the patronage of the Nehru-Gandhis and the Communists.

The exhibition, which has 40 paintings, show cases Akhbarats (edicts) issued by Aurangzeb. It has been viewed by over 100,000 people in other cities before it went to Chennai. The organisers were, therefore, shocked when Chennai Police forcibly closed the exhibition at the instance of a handful of protesters.

The exhibition was based on the work of eminent historians. The history of the reign of Aurangzeb, including the story of his cruel and oppressive conduct vis-à-vis the Hindus and the Sikhs, was first put together after a life-time of research into the edicts passed by him by Jadunath Sarkar, one of India’s greatest historians. Sarkar’s work on the Mughals — and thereafter the four volumes he wrote, especially on Aurangzeb — is considered the most definitive account of events of that time.

Sarkar translated Masir-i-Alamgiri — a history of the reign of Aurangzeb — by Saqi Mustad Khan. Khan’s narration was based on orders passed by Aurangzeb and material available in state archives in 1710. Sarkar also translated Akhbarats, which were essentially reports on the orders passed by Aurangzeb. In addition, there are other accounts like Mirat-i-Alam and Alamgir-Nama written by persons employed by Aurangzeb. Eliot and Dawson’s History of India as told by its own historians aggregates much of the work done by these historians.

There have been several other accounts, including the much-acclaimed series titled The History and Culture of the Indian People edited by the eminent historian RC Mazumdar and published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, and the monumental series on civilisation by Will Durant.

A common thread that runs through all these accounts is the zeal displayed by Aurangzeb to promote Islam and to crush other faiths. Here is a list of the atrocities committed by him, as narrated by historians employed by him: Aurangzeb issued an order on April 9, 1669 to the governors of the provinces, directing them “to demolish the schools and temples of the infidels and put down their teaching and religious practices strongly.

Besides innumerable temples throughout the empire, even the famous Hindu temples of Visvanath at Banaras, of Keshav Dev at Mathura, and Somnath at Patan were destroyed. Even the loyal state of Jaipur was not spared, and sixty-six temples were razed to the ground at Amber”. Ten years later, on April 2, 1679, he imposed jizya on Hindus. This was an oppressive, commutation tax that had to be paid by Hindus in order to be allowed to continue to practice their faith.

According to Sarkar, jizya was imposed by Aurangzeb “with the object of spreading Islam and overthrowing infidel practices”. Mazumdar says, “He felt gratified when many Hindus, unable to pay it, embraced Islam.” But, destruction of temples and jizya were just the tip of the iceberg. Various other measures were adopted to force Hindus to convert to Islam. Here is a list provided by Mazumdar in his series: In April 1665, Aurangzeb fixed Customs duty on goods imported into his kingdom at 2.5 per cent for Muslim merchants and five per cent for Hindu merchants. He offered Government jobs and commutation of prison terms for those who converted to Islam. In 1668, Aurangzeb prohibited all Hindu religious fairs. In 1671, he passed an order dismissing all Hindu head-clerks and accountants and hiring Muslims in their place.

In March 1695, he prohibited all Hindus, except Rajputs, from riding in palanquins or on elephants and also forbade them from carrying arms. Aurangzeb also went after the Sikhs with a vengeance. He ordered the destruction of Sikh places of worship and the expulsion of the Sikh Guru’s representatives from the cities. He imprisoned Guru Tegh Bahadur and killed him after torturing him for several days because he refused to convert to Islam. The attack on Sikhism continued during the tenure of the next Guru, Guru Govind Singh. His headquarters in Anandpur were attacked several times and his four sons were slain.

On Mathura, Masir-i-Alamgiri says, “During the month of Ramzan, the Emperor… issued for the demolition of the temple 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, set with costly jewels which had been set up in the temple were brought to Agra, and buried under the steps of the mosque of the Begum Sahib, in order to be continually trodden upon. The name of Mathura was changed to Islamabad.”

In recent times, a bunch of pseudo-secular or Marxist historians has been trying to bury these historical truths just as Aurangzeb buried the idols of Hindu gods at the entrances to the mosques that he built. They have also been attempting fraudulent and criminal misinterpretation of facts in order to paint even persons like Aurangzeb, who launched monstrous attacks on Hinduism and Sikhism, as “secular” beings. Some Muslim groups in the country have been abetting this pseudo-secular enterprise.

The attack on FACT’s exhibition in Chennai is the latest manifestation of this phenomenon — which is nothing but a renewed assault on truth and on Hinduism. The only answer to this is to take this exhibition to every nook and corner of the country and to publicise the Akhbarats of Aurangzeb’s time in every way possible. We cannot promote secularism by turning a blind eye to truth. We must freely discuss the communal agenda of rulers like Aurangzeb if only to show how barbaric the state can become when it is wedded to theocracy. That is how the citizens of India in the post-independence era will appreciate the value of democracy and genuine secularism and the basic structure of our Constitution.

Source: http://www.dailypioneer.com

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.

WHY AN EXHIBITION ON AURANGZEB? Francois Gautier

April 9, 2009

Aurangazeb Exhibition: WHY AN EXHIBITION ON AURANGZEB?

Source: FACT India exhibition Detailed Exhibition

FACT, the Trust which I head, is doing an exhibition on ‘Aurangzeb as he was according to Moghol documents’ from 16th to 20th February in Habitat Center, New Delhi, Palm Court Gallery, from 10 AM to 9 PM.

Why an exhibition on Aurangzeb, some may ask ? Firstly, I have been a close student of Indian history and one of its most controversial figures has been Aurangzeb (1658-1707). It is true that under him the Moghol Empire reached its zenith, but Aurangzeb was a very cruel ruler ‘ some might even say monstrous. What are the facts? Aurangzeb did not just build an isolated mosque on a destroyed temple, he ordered all temples destroyed, among them the Kashi Vishvanath, one of the most sacred places of Hinduism and had mosques built on a number of cleared temples sites. All other Hindu sacred places within his reach equally suffered destruction, with mosques built on them. A few examples: Krishna’s birth temple in Mathura, the rebuilt Somnath temple on the coast of Gujurat, the Vishnu temple replaced with the Alamgir mosque now overlooking Benares and the Treta-ka-Thakur temple in Ayodhya. The number of temples destroyed by Aurangzeb is counted in 4, if not 5 figures. Aurangzeb did not stop at destroying temples, their users were also wiped-out; even his own brother, Dara Shikoh, was executed for taking an interest in Hindu religion and the Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded because he objected to Aurangzeb’s forced conversions.

Thus we thought we should go at the root of the matter. History (like journalism) is about documentation and first hand experience. We decided to show Aurangzeb according to his own documents. There are an incredible number of farhans, of original edicts of Aurangzeb, hand-written in Persian in India’s museums, particularly in Rajasthan, such as the Bikaner archives. It was not always easy to scan them, we encountered resistance, sometimes downright hostility and we had to go once to the CM to get permissions. Indeed the director of Bikaner archives told us that in 50 years, we were the first ones asking for these farhans dealing with Aurangzeb destructive deeds. Then we asked painters from Rajasthan to reproduce in the ancient Moghol style some of the edicts : the destruction of the Somnath temple, or the trampling of Hindus protesting jizya tax by Aurangzeb’s elephants, or the order from Aurangzeb prohibiting Hindus to ride horses and palanquins, or the beheading of Teg Bahadur and Dara Shikoh.

People might say: ‘ok, this is all true, Aurangzeb was indeed a monster, but why rake the past, when we have tensions between Muslims and Hindus today’ ? There are two reasons to this exhibition. The first one is that no nation can move forward unless its children are taught to look squarely at their own history, the good and the bad, the evil and the pure. The French for instance have many dark periods of their history, more recently some of the deeds they did during colonization in North Africa or how they collaborated with the Nazis during the 2d world war and handed over French Jews who died in concentration camps (French people are only coming to terms with it now).The argument that looking at one’s history will pit a community against the other does not hold either: French Catholics and Protestants, who share a very similar religion, fought bitterly each other. Catholics brutally murdered thousands of Protestants in the 18th century; yet today they lived peacefully next to each other. France fought three wars with Germany in the last 150 years, yet they are great friends today.

Let then Hindus and Muslims come to terms with what happened under Aurangzeb, because Muslims suffered as much as Hindus. It was not only Shah Jahan or Dara Shikoh who were murdered, but also the forefathers of today’s Indian Muslims who have been converted at 90%. Aurangzeb was the Hitler, the Asura of Medieval India. No street is named after Hitler in the West, yet in Delhi we have the Aurangzeb road, a constant reminder of the horrors Aurangzeb perpetrated against Indians, including against his own people.

Finally, Aurangzeb is very relevant today because he thought that Sunni Islam was the purest form of his religion and he sought to impose it with ruthless efficiency – even against those of his own faith, such as his brother. Aurangzeb clamped down on the more syncretic, more tolerant Islam, of the Sufi kind, which then existed in India.But he did not fully succeed. Four centuries later, is he going to have the last word ? I remember, when I started covering Kashmir in the late seventies, that Islam had a much more open face. The Kashmir Muslim, who is also a descendant of converted Hindus, might have thought that Allah was the only true God, but he accepted his Kashmir Pandit neighbor, went to his or her marriage, ate in his or her house and the Hindu in turn went to the mosque. Women used to walk with open faces, watch TV, films. Then the shadow of Aurangzeb fell again on Kashmir and the hard-line Sunnis came from Pakistan and Afghanistan : cinemas were banned, the burqua imposed, 400.000 Kashmiri Pandits were chased out of Kashmir by violence and became refugees in their own land and the last Sufi shrine of Srhar-e- Sharif was burnt to the ground (I was there). Today the Shariat law has been voted in Kashmir, a state of democratic, secular India,UP’s Muslims have applauded, and the entire Indian Media, which went up in flames when the Government wanted Vande Mataram to be sung, kept quiet. The spirit of Aurangzeb seems to triumph.

But what we need today in India – and indeed in the world – is a Dara Shikoh, who reintroduces an Islam which, while believing in the supremacy of its Prophet, not only accepts other faiths, but is also able to see the good in each religion, study them, maybe create a synthesis. Islam needs to adapt its scriptures which were created nearly 15 centuries ago for the people and customs of these times, but which are not necessarily relevant in some of their injunctions today. Kabir, Dara Shikoh and some of the Sufi saints attempted this task, but failed. Aurangzeb knew what he was doing when he had his own brother’s head cut. And we know what we are saying when we say that this exhibition is very relevant to today’s India

May the Spirit of Dara Shikoh come back to India and bring back Islam to a more tolerant human face.
François Gautier

Aurangzeb as he was according to Mughal Records

Aurangzeb, Emperor Shah Jahan’s sixth son, was born on 24th October 1618 at Dohad in Madhya Pradesh, and wrested India’s crown from his father before the end of June 1658, after defeating his brother Prince Dara Shukoh’s armies, first at Dharmat near Ujjain (15th April 1568) and the second, led by Dara himself, at Samugarh on 29th May 1658. The War of Succession to the richest throne in the world was practically over with this victory, and Aurangzeb secured his position by making Murad, his brother and accomplice in his impetuous pursuit for power, his prisoner, by treachery, on 25th June. He had already made his old father Emperor Shah Jahan a prisoner in the Agra Fort (8th June 1658).

Shah Jahan survived his confinement by nearly eight years and the disgraceful manner of his burial (Exhibit No.5)will ever remain a stigma on this unscrupulous son Aurangzeb’s advent to the throne in his father’s life time was not welcomed by the people of India, because of the treacherous manner it was achieved; , but public opinion became all the more hostile towards him when Prince Dara Shukoh, the favourite son of Shah Jahan, the translator of the Upanishads (Exhibit No.2), and a truly liberal and enlightened Musalman, was taken prisoner on the Indian border, as he was going to Persia. Dara was paraded in a most undignified manner on the streets of Delhi on 29th August 1659. The French Doctor, Bernier, was an eye-witness to the scene and was deeply moved by the popular sympathy for Dara (Exhibit No.3) which so much alarmed Aurangzeb that he contrived to have a decree from his Clerics announcing death-sentence for his elder brother on the charge of apostasy (Exhibit No.4).

Throughout the War of Succession, Aurangzeb had maintained that he was not interested in acquiring the throne and that his only object was to ward off the threat to Islam, which was inevitable in case Dara Shukoh came to power. Many, including his brother Murad, were deceived by this posture. After his formal accession in Delhi (5th June 1659) he posed as a defender of Islam who would rule according to the directions of the Shariat, and with the advice of the Clerics or Ulama for whom the doctrines, rules, principles and directives, as laid down and interpreted in the 7th and 8th century Arabia, Persia and Iraq, were inviolable and unchangeable in all conditions, in all countries, and for all times to come.

One of the main objectives of Aurangzeb’s policy was to demolish Hindu temples. When he ordered (13th October 1666)removal of the carved railing, which Prince Dara Shukoh had presented to Keshava Rai temple at Mathura, he had observed ‘In the religionof theMusalmans it is improper even to look at a temple’, and that it was totally unbecoming of a Muslim to act like Dara Shukoh (Exhibit No.6, Akhbarat, 13th October 1666). This was followed by destruction of the famous Kalka temple in Delhi (Exhibit No.6, 7, 8, Akhbarat, 3rd and 12th September 1667).

In 1669, shortly after the death of Mirza Raja Jai Singh of Amber, a general order was issued (9th April 1669) for the demolition of temples and established schools of the Hindus throughout the empire and banning public worship (Exhibit Nos.9 & 10). Soon after this the great temple of Keshava Rai was destroyed (Jan.-Feb. 1670) (Exhibit No.12) and in its place a lofty mosque was erected. The idols, the author of Maasir-i-Alamgiri informs, were carried to Agra and buried under the steps of the mosque built by Begum Sahiba in order to be continually trodden upon, and the name of Mathura was changed to Islamabad. The painting (Exhibit No.13) is thus no fancy imagination of the artist but depicts what actually took place.

This was followed by Aurangzeb’s order to demolish the highly venerated temple of Vishwanath at Banaras (Persian text, Exhibit No.11), Keshava Rai temple (Jan.-Feb. 1670) (Persian Text, exhibit No.12 and Painting, Exhibit No.13), and of Somanatha (Exhibit No.14).To save the idol of Shri Nathji from being desecrated, the Gosain carried it to Rajputana, where Maharana Raj Singh received it formally at Sihad village, assuring the priest that Aurangzeb would have to trample over the bodies of one lakh of his brave Rajputs, before he couldeven touch the idol (Exhibit No.15)

Aurangzeb’s zeal for temple destruction became much more intense during war conditions. The opportunity to earn religious merit by demolishing hundreds of temples soon came to him in 1679 when, after the death of Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur in the Kabul Subah, he tried to eliminate the Rathors of Marwar as a political power in Rajputana. But Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar, in line with the great traditions of his House, came out in open support of the Rathors.. This led to war with both Mewar and Marwar during which the temples built on the bank of Rana’s lake were destroyed by his orders (Exhibit No.23, Akhbarat 23rd December 1679) and also about three hundred other temples in the environs of Udaipur. (Exhibit No.25, Text), including the famous Jagannath Rai temple built at a great cost in front of the Maharana’s palace which was bravely defended by a handful of Rajputs (Exhibit Nos.20, 21).

Not only this, when Aurangzeb visited Chittor to have a view of the famous fort, he ordered the demolition of 63 temples there which included some of the finest temples of Kumbha’s time (Exhibit No.22). From Marwar (in Western Rajasthan) alone were brought several cart-loads of idols which, as per Aurangzeb’s orders, were cast in the yard of the Court and under the steps of Jama Masjid (Exhibit No.19). Such uncivilized and arrogant conduct of the Mughal Emperor alienated Hindus for ever, though they continued to be tolerant towards his creed.

In June 1681, orders, in a laconic two-liner, were given for the demolition of the highly venerated Jagannath Temple in Orissa (Exhibit No.24, Akhbarat, 1st June 1681)., Shortly afterwards, in September 1682, the famous Bindu-Madhav temple in Banaras was also demolished as per the Emperor’s orders (Exhibit No.27, Akhbarat, Julus 26, Ramzan 20). On 1st September 1681, while proceeding to the Deccan, where his rebel son Prince Akbar, escorted by Durga Das Rathore, had joined Chhatrapati Shivaji’s son, Shambhaji, thus creating a serious problem for him, Aurangzeb ordered that all the temples on the way should be destroyed. It was a comprehensive order not distinguishing between old and newly built temples (Exhibit No.26, Akhbarat, Julus 25, Ramzan 18). But in the district of Burhanpur, where there were a large number of temples with their doors closed, he preferred to keep them as such, as the Muslims were too few in number in the district. (Exhibit No.28, Akhbarat 13th October 1681). In his religious frenzy, even temples of the loyal and friendly Amber state were not spared, such as the famous temple of Jagdish at Goner near Amber (Exhibit Nos.30, Akhbarat, 28th March and 14th May 1680). In fact, his misguided ardour for temple destruction did not abate almost up to the end of his life, for as late as 1st January 1705 we find him ordering that the temple of Pandharpur be demolished and the butchers of the camp be sent to slaughter cows in the temple precincts (Akhbarat 49-7).

The number of such ruthless acts of Aurangzeb make a long list but here only a few have been mentioned, supported by evidence, mostly contemporary official records of Aurangzeb’s period and by such credible Persian sources as Maasir-i-Alamgiri.

I In obedience to the Quranic injunction, he reimposed Jizyah on the Hindus on 2nd April 1679 (Exhibit No.16), which had been abolished by Emperor Akbar in 1564, causing widespread anger and resentment among the Hindus of the country .A massive peaceful demonstration against this tax in Delhi, was ruthlessly crushed (Exhibit No.17), This hated tax involved heavy economic burden on the vast number of the poor Hindus and caused humiliation to each and every Hindu (Exhibit No.18). In the same vein, were his discriminatory measures against Hindus in the form of exemption of the Muslims from the taxes (Exhibit No.31, Akhbarat 16th April 1667) ban on atishbazi and restriction on Diwali (Exhibit No.32), replacement of Hindu officials by Muslims so that the Emperor’s prayers for the welfare of Muslims and glory of Islam, which were proving ineffective, be answered (Exhibit Nos.33, 34). He also imposed a ban on ziyarat and gathering of the Hindus at religious shrines, such as of Shitla Mata and folk Gods like Pir Pabu (Exhibit No.35, Akhbarat 16th September 1667), another ban on their travelling in Palkis, or riding elephants and Arab-Iraqi horses, as Hindus should not carry themselves with the same dignity as the Muslims! (Exhibit No.36). In the same vein came brazen attempts to convert Hindus by inducement, coercion (Exhibit No.41) or by offering Qanungoship (Exhibit No.44, 45, 46) and to honour the converts in the open Court. His personal directions were that a Hindu male be given Rs.4 and a Hindu female Rs.2 on conversion (Exhibit No.43,Akhbarat 7th April 1685). ‘Go on giving them”, Aurangzeb had ordered when it was reported to him that the Faujdar of Bithur, Shaikh Abdul Momin, had converted 150 Hindus and had given them naqd (cash) and saropas (dresses of honour) (Exhibit No.40, Akhbarat, 11th April 1667). Such display of Islamic orthodoxy by the State under Aurangzeb gave strength and purpose to the resistance movements such as of the Marathas, the Jats, the Bundelas and the Sikhs (Exhibit No.46).

On the 12th May 1666, the dignity with which Shivaji carried himself in the Mughal court and defied the Emperor’s authority, won him spontaneous admiration of the masses. Parkaldas, an official of Amber (Jaipur State) wrote in his letter dated 29th May 1666, to his Diwan. ‘Now that after coming to the Emperor’s presence Shivaji has shown such audacity and returned harsh and strong replies, the public extols him for his bravery all the more …” (Exhibit No.37).When Shivaji passed away on April 1680 at the age of 53 only, he had already carved a sufficiently large kingdom, his Swarajya, both along the western coast and some important areas in the east as well.

Aurangzeb could never pardon himself for his Intelligence in letting i escapefrom his well laid trap and wrote in his Will (Exhibit No.48)that it made him ‘to labour hard (against the Marathas) to the end of my life (as a result of it)”. He did not realize that it was his own doing: the extremely cruel manner ‘ even for those times – in which he put to death Shivaji’ son, Shambhaji (Exhibit No.38)made the Maratha king a martyr in the eyes of the masses and with that commenced the People’ War in Maharashtra and the Deccan which dug the grave of the Mughal empire.

Till the very end Aurangzeb never understood that the main pillars of the government are the affection and support of the people and not mere compliance of the religious directives originating from a foreign land in the seventh-eighth centuries.

His death after a long and ruinous reign lasting half a century, ended an eventful epoch in the history of India . He left behind a crumbling empire, a corrupt and inefficient administration, a demoralized army, a discredited government facing public bankruptcy and alienated subjects.