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.

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

Destruction of Hindu Temples by Aurangzeb By Rajiv Varma

April 9, 2009

Destruction of Hindu Temples by Aurangzeb

By Rajiv Varma


Background

Islamic literary sources provide far more extensive evidence of temple destruction by the Muslim invaders of India in medieval times. They also cover a large area, from Sinkiang and Transoxiana in the North to Tamil Nadu in the South, and from Siestan province of present day Iran in the West to Assam in the East. This vast area, which was long the cradle of hindu culture, came to be littered with the ruins of temples and monasteries, belonging to all schools of Santana Dharma – Baudhha, Jaina, Shaiva, Sakta, Vaishnava, and the rest. Archeological explorations and excavations in modern times have proved unmistakably that most of the mosques, mazars, ziarats and dargahs which were built in this area, stood on the sites of and were made from the materials of deliberately demolished Hindu monuments.

Hundreds of medieval muslim historians who flourished in India and elsewhere in the world of Islam, have written detailed accounts of what their heroes did in various parts of the extensive Hindu homeland as they were invaded one after another. It is alear from the literary evidence collected alone that all Muslim rulers destroyed or desecrated Hindu temples whenever and whereever they could. Archeological evidence from various Muslim monuments, particularly mosques and dargahs, not only confirms the literary evidence but also adds the names of some Muslim rulers whom Muslim historians have failed to credit with this pious performance.

Some of the literary evidence of temple destruction during Aurangzeb’s rule is listed below.

[Emphasis mine.]


1. “Mir’at-i-Alam” by Bakhtawar Khan

The author was a nobleman of Aurangzeb’s court. He died in AD 1684. the history ascribed to him was really compiled by Muhammad Baqa of Saharanpur who gave the name of his friend as its author. Baqa was a prolific writer who was invited by Bakhtawar Khan to Aurangzeb’s court and given a respectable rank. He died in AD 1683.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (1658-1707) General Order

” …Hindu writers have been entirely excluded from holding public offices, and ALL THE WORSHIPPING PLACES OF THE INFIDELS AND GREAT TEMPLES of these infamous people HAVE BEEN THROWN DOWN AND DESTROYED in a manner which excites astonishment at the successful completion of so difficult a task. His Majesty personally teaches the sacred kalima to many infidels with success. … All mosques in the empire are repaired at public expense…”


2. “Alamgir-Nama” by Mirza Muhammad Kazim

This work, written in AD 1688 contains a history of the first ten years of Aurangzeb’s reign.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (1658-1707) Palamau (Bihar)

” …In 1661 Aurangzeb in his zeal to uphold the law of Islam sent orders to his viceroy in Bihar, Daud Khan, to conquer Palamau. In the military operations that followed MANY TEMPLES WERE DESTROYED…”

Koch Bihar (Bengal)

” …Towards the end of the same year when Mir Jumla made a war on the Raja of Kuch Bihar, the MUGHALS DESTROYED MANY TEMPLES during the course of their operations. IDOLS WERE BROKEN AND SOME TEMPLES WERE CONVERTED INTO MOSQUES. …”


3. “Mas’ir-i-‘Alamgiri” by Saqi Must’ad Khan

The author completed this history in 1710 at the behest of Inayatu”llah Khan Kashmiri, Aurangzeb’s last secretary and favorite disciple in state policy and religiosity. The materials which Must’ad Khan used in this history of Aurangzeb’s reign came mostly from the State archives.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (1658-1707) General Order

“…The Lord Cherisher of the faith learnt that in the provinces of Tatta, Multan, and especially at Benaras, the Brahmin misbelievers used to teach their false books in their established schools, and that admirers and students both Hindu and Muslim, used to come from great distances to these misguided men in order to acquire this vile learning. His majesty, eager to establish Islam, issues orders to the governors of all the provinces TO DEMOLISH THE SCHOOLS AND TEMPLES OF THE INFIDELS and with utmost urgency put down the teaching and the public practice of the religion of these misbelievers…”

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)

” …It was reported that, according to the Emperor’s command, his officers HAD DEMOLISHED THE TEMPLE OF VISHWANATH AT KASHI. …” Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)

” … During this month of Ramzan abounding in miracles, the Emperor as the promoter of justice and overthrower of mischief, as the knower of truth and destroyer of oppression, as the zephyr of the garden of victory and the reviver of the faith of the Prophet, ISSUED ORDERS FOR THE DEMOLITION OF THE TEMPLE SITUATED IN MATHURA

” …Praised be the August God of the faith of Islam, that in the auspicious reign of this DESTROYER OF INFIDELITY AND TURBULENCE, such a wonderful and seemingly impossible work was successfully accomplished. On seeing this instance of strength of the Emperor’s faith and the grandeur of his devotion to God, the proud Rajas were stifled and in amazement they stood like images facing the wall. THE IDOLS, LARGE AND SMALL

Khandela (Rajasthan)

” … Darab Khan who had been sent with a strong force to punish the Rajputs of Khandela and TO DEMOLISH THE GREAT TEMPLE OF THE PLACE, attacked on March 8th/Safar 5th, and slew the three hundred and odd men who made a bold defence, not one of them escaping alive. THE TEMPLES OF KHANDELA AND SANULA AND ALL OTHER TEMPLES IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD WERE DEMOLISHED …”

Jodhpur (Rajasthan)

” … On 24th Rabi S. (Sunday, May 25th), Khan Jahan Bahadur came from Jodhpur, AFTER DEMOLISHING THE TEMPLES and bringing with himself some cart-loads of idols, and had audience of the Emperor, who higly praised him and ordered that the idols, which were mostly jewelled, golden, silver, bronze, copper, or stone, should be cast in the yard (jilaukhanah) of the Court AND UNDER THE STEPS OF THE JAMA MOSQUE, TO BE TRODDEN UPON…”

Udaipur (Rajasthan)

” … Ruhullah Khan and Ekkataz Khan WENT TO DEMOLISH THE GREAT TEMPLE in front of the Rana’s palace, which was one of the rarest buildings of the age and the chief cause of the destruction of the life and property of the despised worshippers. Twenty ‘machator’ Rajputs who were sitting in the Temple vowed to give up their lives; first one of them came out to fight, killed some and was them himself slain, then came out another and so on, until every one of the twenty perished, after killing a large number of the imperialists including the trusted slave Ikhlas. The Temple was found empty. THE HEWERS BROKE THE IMAGES. …”

” …On Saturday, the 24th January, 1680 (2nd Muharram), the Emperor went to view lake Udaisagar, constructed by the Rana, AND ORDERED ALL THE THREE TEMPLES ON ITS BANKS TO BE DEMOLISHED. …”

” …On the 29th January/7th Muharram, Hasan Ali Khan brought to the Emperor twenty camel-loads of tents and other things captured from the Rana’s Palace and REPORTED THAT ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-TWO OTHER TEMPLES IN THE ENVIRONS OF UDAIPUR HAD BEEN DESTROYED. The Khan received the title of Bahadur Alamgirshahi…”

Amber (Rajasthan)

“… Abu Turab, who had been SENT TO DEMOLISH THE TEMPLES of AMBER, returned to the Court on Tuesday August 10th (Rajab 24th), and reported that HE HAD PULLED DOWN SIXTY-SIX TEMPLES. …”

Bijapur (Karnataka)

” … Hamiduddin Khan Bahadur WHO HAD GONE TO DEMOLISH A TEMPLE AND BUILD A MOSQUE (IN ITS PLACE) in Bijapur, having excellently carried his orders, came to court and gained praise and the post of darogha of gusulkhanah, which brought him near the Emperor’s person…”

General Text

“…LARGE NUMBERS OF PLACES OF WORSHIP OF THE INFIDELS AND GREAT TEMPLES OF THESE WICKED PEOPLE HAVE BEEN THROWN DOWN AND DESOLATED. Men who can see only the outside of things are filled with wonder at the successful accomplishment of such a seemingly difficult task. AND ON THE SITES OF THE TEMPLES LOFTY MOSQUES HAVE BEEN BUILT…”


4. “Akhbarat

These were reports from different provinces compiled in the reign of Aurangzeb.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (1658-1707)

Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)

” … The emporer learning that in the temple of Keshav Rai at Mathura there was a stone railing presented by Dara Shikoh, remarked, ‘In the Muslim faith it is a sin even to look at a temple, and this Dara Shikoh had restored a railing in a temple. This fact is not creditable to the Muhammadans. REMOVE THE RAILING.’ By his order Abdun Nabi Khan (the faujdar of Mathura) REMOVED IT…”

Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh)

” … News came from Malwa that Wazir Khan had sent Gada Beg, a slave, with 400 troopers, TO DESTROY ALL TEMPLES AROUND UJJAIN… A Rawat of the place resisted and slew Gada Beg with 121 of his men…”

Aurangabad (Maharashtra)

“…… The Emperor learnt from a secret news writer of Delhi that in Jaisinghpura Bairagis used to worship idols, and that the Censor on hearing of it had gone there, arrested Sri Krishna Bairagis and taken him with 15 idols away to his house; then the Rajputs had assembled, flocked to the Censor’s house, wounded three footmen of the Censor and tried to seize the Censor himself; so that the latter set the Bairagis free and sent the copper idols to the local subahdar …”

Pandharpur (Maharashtra)

“… The Emperor, summoning Muhammad Khalil and Khidmat Rai, the darogha of hatchet-men …. ORDERED THEM TO DEMOLISH THE TEMPLE OF PANDHARPUR, and to take the butchers of the camp there AND SLAUGHTER COWS IN THE TEMPLE … It was done…”

On Way to the Deccan

” … When the war with the Rajputs was over, Aurangzeb decided to leave for the Deccan. His march seems to have been marked with A DESTRUCTION TO MANY TEMPLES on the way. On May 21, 1681, the superintendent of the labourers WAS ORDERED TO DESTROY ALL THE TEMPLES on the route…”

Lakheri ( ? – means the place is not traceable today )

” … On 27 Sept., 1681, the emperor issued orders FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLES at Lakheri…”

Rasulpur( ? )

“… About this time, April 14, 1692, orders were issued to the provincial governor and the district faujdar TO DEMOLISH THE TEMPLES at Rasulpur…”

Sheogaon ( ? )

” … Sankar, a messenger, was sent TO DEMOLISH A TEMPLE near Sheogaon..”

Ajmer (Rajasthan)

“… Bijai Singh and several other Hindus were reported to be carrying on public worship of idols in a temple in the neighborhood of Ajmer. On 23 June, 1694, THE GOVERNER OF AJMER WAS ORDERED TO DESTROY THE TEMPLE and stop the public adoration of idol worship there…”

Wakenkhera ( ? )

” … The TEMPLE OF WAKENKHERA IN THE FORT WAS DEMOLISHED ON 2 MARCH, 1705. …”

Bhagwant Garh (Rajasthan)

“… The newswriter of Ranthambore REPORTED THE DESTRUCTION OF A TEMPLE IN PARGANAH BHAGWANT GARH. Gaj Singh Gor had repaired the temple and made some additions thereto…”

Malpura (Rajasthan)

” … Royal orders FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF TEMPLES IN MALPURA TODA were received and the officers were assigned for this work…”


5. “Fathiyya-i-‘Ibriyya

This is a diary of Mir Jumla’s campaigns in Kuch Bihar and Assam. “By looting,” writes Jadunath Sarkar, “the temples of the South and hunting out buried treasures, Mir Jumla amassed a vast fortune. The huge Hindu idols of copper were brought away in large numbers to be melted and cast into cannon. …”

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (AD 1658-1707)

Koch Bihar (Bengal)

” … Mir Jumla made his way into Kuch Bihar by an obscure and neglected highway. …. In six days the Mughal Army reached the capital (19th December) which had been deserted by the Rajah and his people in terror. The name of the town was changed to Alamgirnagar; the muslim call to prayer, so long forbidden in the city, was chanted from the lofty roof of the palace, and a mosque was built by DEMOLISHING THE PRINCIPLE TEMPLE…”


6. “Kalimat-i-Tayyibat” by ‘Inayatullah

This is a collection of letters and orders of Aurangzeb compiled by ‘Inayatullah in AD 1719 and covers the years 1699-1704 of Aurangzeb’s reign.

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (AD 1658-1707)

Somnath (Gujarat)

“… The TEMPLE OF SOMNATH WAS DEMOLISHED early in my reign and idol worship (there) put down. It is not known what the state of things there is at present. If the idolators have again taken to the worship of images at the place, THEN DESTROY THE TEMPLE IN SUCH A WAY THAT NO TRACE OF THE BUILDING MAY BE LEFT, and also expel them (the worshippers) from the place. …”

Satara (Maharashtra)

“… The village of Sattara near Aurangabad was my hunting ground. Here on the top of the hill, STOOD A TEMPLE WITH AN IMAGE OF KHANDE RAI. BY GOD’S GRACE I DEMOLISHED IT, AND FORBADE THE TEMPLE DANCERS (muralis) to ply their shameful profession…”

General Observation “… THE DEMOLITION OF A TEMPLE IS POSSIBLE AT ANY TIME, as it cannot walk away from its place. …”

Sirhind (Punjab)

“… In a small village in the sarkar of Sirhind, A SIKH TEMPLE WAS DEMOLISHED AND CONVERTED INTO A MOSQUE. An imam was appointed who was subsequently killed. …”


7. “Ganj-i-Arshadi

It is a contemporary account of the destruction of Hindu temples at Varanasi in the reign of Aurangzeb.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (AD 1658-1707)

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)

“… The infidels demolished a mosque that was under construction and wounded the artisans. When the news reached Shah Yasin, he came to Banaras from Mandyawa and collecting the Muslim weavers, DEMOLISHED THE BIG TEMPLE. A Sayyid who was an artisan by profession agreed with one Abdul Rasul to build a mosque at Banaras and accordingly the foundation was laid. Near the place there was a temple and many houses belonging to it were in the occupation of the Rajputs. The infidels decided that the construction of a mosque in the locality was not proper and that it should be razed to the ground. At night the walls of the mosque were found demolished. next day the wall was rebuilt but it was again destroyed. This happened three or four times. At last the Sayyid his himself in the corner. With the advent of night the infidels came to achieve their nefarious purpose. When Abdul Rasul gave the alarm, the infidels began to fight and the Sayyid was wounded by the Rajputs. In the meantime, the Musalman residents of the neighborhood arrived at the spot and the infidels took to their heels. The wounded muslims were taken to Shah Yasin who determined to vindicate the cause of Islam. When he came to the mosque, people collected from the neighborhood. the civil officers were outwardly inclined to side with the saint, but in reality they were afraid of the Royal displeasure on the account of the Raja, who was a courtier of the Emperor and had built the temple (near which the mosque was under construction). Shah Yasin, however, took up the sword and started for Jihad. The civil officers sent him a message that such a grave step should not be taken without the Emperor’s permission. Shah Yasin, paying no heed, sallied forth till he reached Bazar Chau Khamba through a fusillade of stones …… THE DOORS (OF TEMPLES) WERE FORCED OPEN AND THE IDOLS THROWN DOWN. THE WEAVERS AND OTHER MUSALMANS DEMOLISHED ABOUT 500 TEMPLES. They desired to destroy the temple of Beni Madho, but as lanes were barricaded, they desisted from going further….”


8. “Kalimat-i-Aurangzeb” by ‘Inayatullah

This is another compilation of letters and orders by ‘Inayatu’llah covering the years 1703-06 of Aurangzeb’s reign.

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (AD 1658-1707) Maharashtra

“…The houses of this country (Maharashtra) are exceedingly strong and built solely of stone and iron. The hatchet-men of the Govt. in the course of my marching do not get sufficient strength and power (i.e. time) TO DESTROY AND RAZE THE TEMPLES OF THE INFIDELS that meet the eye on the way. You should appoint an orthodox inspector (darogha) who may afterwards DESTROY THEM AT LEISURE AND DIG UP THEIR FOUNDATIONS…”


9. “Muraq’at-i-Abu’I Hasan” by Maulana Abu’l Hasan

This is a collection of records and documents compiled by (the above named author) one of Aurangzeb’s officers in Bengal and Orissa during AD 1655-67.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (AD 1658-1707)

Bengal and Orissa

“…Order issued on all faujdars of thanas, civil officers (mutasaddis), agents of jagirdars, kroris, and amlas from Katak to Medinipur on the frontier of Orissa :- The imperial paymaster Asad Khan has sent a letter written by order of the Emperor, to say, that the Emperor learning from the newsletters of the province of Orissa that at the village of Tilkuti in Medinipur a temple has been (newly) built, HAS ISSUED HIS AUGUST MANDATE FOR ITS DESTRUCTION, and THE DESTRUCTION OF ALL TEMPLES BUILT ANYWHERE IN THIS PROVINCE BY THE WORTHLESS INFIDELS. Therefore, you are commanded with extreme urgency that immediately on the receipt of this letter YOU SHOULD DESTROY THE ABOVE MENTIONED TEMPLES. EVERY IDOL-HOUSE BUILT DURING THE LAST 10 or 12 YEARS, WHETHER WITH BRICK OR CLAY, SHOULD BE DEMOLISHED WITHOUT DELAY. ALSO, DO NOT ALLOW THE CRUSHED HINDUS AND DESPICABLE INFIDELS TO REPAIR THEIR OLD TEMPLES. REPORTS OF THE DESTRUCTION OF TEMPLES SHOULD BE SENT TO THE COURT UNDER THE SEAL OF THE QAZIS and attested by PIOUS SHAIKHS…”

10. “Futuhat-i-Alamgiri” by Ishwardas Nagar

The author was a Brahman from Gujarat, born around AD 1654. Till the age of thirty he was in the service of the Chief Qazi of the empire under Aurangzeb. Later on, he took up a post under Shujat Khan, the governor of Gujarat, who appointed him Amin in the pargana of Jodhpur. His history covers almost half a century of Aurangzeb’s reign, from 1657 to 1700. There is nothing in his style which may mark him out as a Hindu.

Excerpts:

Muhiyu’d-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb ‘Alamgir Padshah Ghazi (AD 1658-1707)

Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)

” … When the imperial army was encamping at Mathura, a holy city of the Hindus, the state of affairs with regard to temples of Mathura was brought to the notice of His Majesty. Thus, HE ORDERED THE FAUJDAR OF THE CITY, ABDUL NABI KHAN, TO RAZE TO THE GROUND EVERY TEMPLE AND TO CONSTRUCT BIG MOSQUES (over their demolished sites)…”

Udaipur (Rajasthan)

“… The Emperor, within a short time, reached Udaipur AND DESTROYED THE GATE OF DEHBARI, THE PALACES OF RANA AND THE TEMPLES OF UDAIPUR. Apart from it, the trees of his gardens were also destroyed…”


Bibliography

  • Ahmad, Qeyamuddin (ed.), “Patna through the Ages”, New Delhi, 1988.
  • Alberuni’s India“, translated by E.C. Sachau, New Delhi Reprint, 1983.
  • Attar, Shykh Faridu’d-Din, “Tadhkirat al-Awliya”, translated into Urdu by Maulana Z.A. Usmani.
  • Bloch J., “Indian Studies“, London, 1931.
  • Chuvin, Pierre, “A Chronicle of the Last Pagans“, Harvard, 1990.
  • Durrant, Will, “The Story of Civilization“, New York, 1972.
  • Elliot and Dowson, “History of India as told by its own Historians“, 8 volumes, Allahbad Reprint, 1964.
  • “First Encyclopedia of Islam”
  • “Futuhat-i-Alamgiri” by Ishwardas Nagar, trans. into English by Tasneem Ahmad, Delhi, 1978.
  • Growse, F.S. “Mathura: A District Memoir“, Reprint, Ahmedabad, 1978.
  • Hosain, Saiyid Safdar, ” The Early History of Islam,” Vol. I, Delhi Reprint, 1985.
  • “Jami Tirmizi,” Arabic text with Urdu translation by Badi’al-Zaman, Vol. I, New Delhi, 1983.
  • “Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan” of Al-Biladhuri, translated into English by F.C. Murgotte, New York, 1924.
  • “Maasir-i-Alamgiri” of Saqi Must’ad Khan, translated into English and annotated by Sir Jadunath Sarkar, Calcutta, 1947.
  • “Makke Madine di Goshati“, edited by Dr. Kulwant Singh, Patiala, 1988.
  • “The Rehala of Ibn Battuta,” translated into English by Mahdi Hussain, Baroda, 1976.
  • Sarkar, Jadunath, “History of Aurangzeb,” 3 Volumes, Calcutta, 1972, 73.

online exhibitions

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www.shivajimaharaj.info
www.naxalism.info
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August 5, 2008

“No nation can move forward, unless it squarely faces its past. The courage to remember helps us not to repeat the same mistakes and to build a better future for our children” says H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living.

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