Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Aurangzeb

Almost all Muslim rulers in India were secular. This they were in their own interest, for the vast majority of their subjects were Hindus. So if they persecuted Hindus there would be revolts and turbulences regularly, which no ruler wants.

Thus, the Mughals, Nawabs of Avadh and Murshidabad, Tipu Sultan, Nizam of Hyderabad etc were almost all thoroughly secular. For instance, the Nawabs of Avadh used to celebrate Holi, Dussehra and Diwali, organize Ramlilas, etc and give respect to all religions.

Akbar used to hold discussions with people of all religions, and give them respect (see my judgment in Hinsa Virodhak Sangh vs.Mirzapur Moti Koresh Jamaat online and 'Akbarnama'). His son Jehangir used to regularly meet the Hindu sadhu Jadrup, and hold discussions with him ( see 'Jehangirnama').
The controversy is about Aurangzeb. I discussed about him with many Professors of history in Aligarh Muslim University and Allahabad University. Strangely enough, The Professors of AMU with whom I discussed Aurangzeb, and who are Muslims, regard Aurangzeb as communal, while the Professors of Allahabad University, who are Hindus, regard him as secular. Which is the correct view ?

My own view is that more research is required.

On the one hand there is evidence to show that in Aurangzeb's time grants were given to several Hindu temples, e.g. Mahakal temple at Ujjain, the Chitrakoot temple, etc. In this connection one may see online 'History in the Service of Imperialism', which is a speech given in the Rajya Sabha by Dr. B.N. Pandey, former Professor of History of Allahabad University and Governor of Orissa. Details of the grants to Hindu temples in Aurangzeb'e reign can be seen there. Many of Aurangzeb's army commander's e.g. Raja Jai Singh were Hindus.

I had been to Bikaner a few years back. A part of the Maharaja's palace has been converted into a museum. I went to that museum and saw there a letter by Aurangzeb to the new Maharaja of Bikaner, who was a young man whose father (the previous Maharaja) had just died. Aurangzeb writes to the young Maharaja consoling him, and said that he could understand the loss of one's father. He concludes the letter saying that the young Maharaja should regard Aurangzeb as his own father, and if he needed anything he had only to inform Aurangzeb.

Now the point is that if Aurangzeb hated all Hindus would he have written such a letter ?

On the other hand, the fact cannot be denied that Aurangzeb reimposed jeziya on Hindus, a tax which his great grandfather Akbar had revoked. When I mentioned this to the Allahabad University Professors ( with whom I discussed Aurangzeb) they said that Aurangzeb needed money for his wars. Now if Aurangzeb needed money for his wars he should have imposed a tax on everyone, why only Hindus ?

The charge against Aurangzeb is that he demolished several Hindu temples e.g. the original Kashi Vishwanath temple, which is now the Gyanvapi mosque, standing next to the present temple built in the 18th Century by Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar. In fact the rear wall of the Gyanvapi mosque has Hindu carvings, which are clearly discernible.

Which is therefore the true Aurangzeb ?

My own view is that he is somewhere in between, but more research is required.

It cannot be denied that Aurangzeb antagonized Rajputs, Marathas, Sikhs, etc which hastened the demise of the Mughal Empire. After his death in 1707 within a few years the Mughal Empire's size was reduced to Delhi and its suburbs only ( ' Saltanat-e-Shah Alam, Az Dilli ta Palam').

Though Aurangzeb was a totally honest man ( he earned his living by making caps), he seemed to lack the great quality which Akbar had, of accomodating everyone and pursuing a tolerant and flexible, instead of rigid policy. Akbar realized that India is a country of great diversity, and so only a tolerant, flexible and accomodating policy can keep the Empire together. This realization, evidently, Aurangzeb lacked.

However , this is only my tentative opinion, and more objective research is required by experts

35 comments:

  1. Sir, I totally agree with you that more research is needed on this issue. The one argument that I found interesting was that why did he not impose tax on all people, why did he went for Jaziya. Sir, this was not the first time that Jaziya was reinstated after cancelling by a previous ruler. And Akbar was neither the first nor the last Delhi ruler to cancel it too. So as you've mentioned, I also believe that it was purely an economic decision at the time of scarcity of funds because of his continuous war with Marathas etc. And do see that tax was imposed on everyone irrespective of religion and Jaziya was an extra burden.

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    1. Jizya !! this term should not be misunderstood, in Islamic perspective Jizya is collected from non-Islamic subjects in a purely Islamic state as a guarantee for protection,safeguarding their rights and well being. that is only possible when such subjects are not part of the administration,govt,ruling elite,military or any authority in the country. But coming to India things were different and typical for these rulers who conquered India in first place then they naturalized themselves forever as Indians,no going back and they severed all their ties from their roots. They remained confused over this jizya issue, which as per Islamic rule is collected as tax and assurance to protect and exercise rights of non-Islamic subjects and on other hand it is one of the primary source of income for the govt. One has to remember that Muslims in any part of the world have to pay compulsory ZAKAT that is 2.5 percent of their wealth yearly obligatory by faith to the poor. A very good and simple example today is in gulf countries today which are mostly ruled by Muslims rulers, all organizations, establishments, small or big business must pay their zakat to the govt to renew or process any of their work. So the rulers like Akbar, Aurangzeb and others as we all know had many prominent Hindu rajas, maharaja in key posts, military commanders , chiefs as part of their govt administration officers, advisory and military. So the implementation of Jizya wasn't justified in first place because the condition to collect jizya was never met in India. but as you said and other here observed that the rulers needed the money for to run the show and to spend on their wars, that's the reason you see jizya went on and off as per their economic condition and sometimes political. for example Akbar he left mainstream Islam and went to create another religion or faith called deen-e-ilahi so he abolished jizya since he had abundant funds and wealth and to showcase his new faith, Aurangzeb time moghal empire many hostile kingdoms like the marathas, Deccan etc where he needed lots of money to fight he bring back the jizya which am sure want not without the consent of his Hindu officers and military commanders they fighting together for a united India and were successful to a large extent compare the geography of india then you will know. as you can very well see there are allegations that Aurangzeb demolished Hindu temples and there are evidence that show he granted aid to and built some other temples, this clear evidence that those temples which were used by his opponents to hatch plans or unite against his rule may have received harsh treatment and those who favored his rules received aid form the same jizya his govt collected. singley him alone without considering his Hindu general ,officers, commander you do a big injustice to history and mankind.

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  2. Akbar was indeed a true diplomat, while on the contrary Aurangzeb was just a ruler a politician and immensely lacked the skills of his great grandfather Akbar. Aurangzeb always worked towards strengthening his empire. He attacked his opponents just to prove his supremacy over the subcontinent. But he did not only attacked Hindus. He attacked on whoever posed danger to his empire. We know that He laid siege fro months on the famous Golconda Fort ruled by Qutb Shahi Sultanate and ultimately defeated them and finished the traces of the dynasty. The complete fort was destroyed even the Muslim places of worship were not spared. So to conclude whether he was Secular or not is a bit tough. and as rightly said we need to study more on this matter.

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    1. Akbar was a diplomat you are the best one to decide, but history says he gave up Islam to embrace his own religion deen-e-ilahi so try to mend himself according its doctrines or ideology. unfortunately in india hindus believe or think that as a muslim if a Muslim celebrates with them holi, deewali etc which are part of their belief system then he only he is secular or otherwise he is hostile to Hindus or Hinduism. On the other hand they hindus the most secular people are ever ready to come join us to pray five times a day, fast as Muslims fast in ramadhan , give zakat as Muslim do etc. to be frank to think that others are not secular because they don't celebrate with you your religious worship or festivals etc is every pathetic to think and call others to join for your religious rituals , the worst example of religious intolerance. our Hindus friends readily want to regard the Nawabs of Avadh and Murshidabad, Tipu Sultan, Nizam of Hyderabad etc as secular , adn others are all communal what a good conclusion by non-other than elite person of this country what to talk about others.

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  3. Islamic invasion in India is marred with brutal genocide, conversion, jauhar of widows. Secular Muslim ruler is a big Joke.

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  4. Secular Muslim is an oxymoron.

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  5. Honest ? He swore over the Quran that he would make Murad the emperor and be content serving Murad. What happened to Murad is well known. So much for Honesty and being a good muslim

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    1. Read MAHABHARATHA atelast one more time,with true heart and wish to find the truth..and try to worry more about the pandavas, kauravas and karan son of kunti and surya who was killed unarmed. when you understand and justify his killing you would very well be in a position to know more about Murad and Quran if you please.

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    2. So, Aurangazeb followed `lowly' Hindu moral standards than `high' muslim moral standards!

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  6. यही है निष्पक्ष इतिहास लेखन। औरंगजेब और बाबर जैसों को धर्म निरपेक्ष ठहराइये। मोहम्मद गजनवी के आक्रमणों को आर्थिक उद्देश्यों से प्रेरित बताकर उसे भी धर्म निरपेक्ष सिद्ध कीजिये। अगर औरंगजेब धर्मनिरपेक्ष था तो फिर तो किसी मध्यकालीन शासक को धर्मालम्वी नहीं कहा जा सकता। अल्लाउद्दीन खिलजी या बलबन तो फिर बच्चे थे!!
    बीएन पाण्डेय, डीएन झा, रोमिला थापर को उद्धृत (quote) कर इतिहास की एकपक्षीय व्याख्या ने कट्टर राष्ट्रवादियों/हिंदुवादियों को अकबर जैसे महान शासकों से दूर कर दिया। वामपंथी इतिहासकारों के लिए सभी मुस्लिम शासक धर्मनिरपेक्ष थे जबकि शिवाजी सांप्रदायिक। इसके बाद देश विभाजन के लिए अंग्रेजों को जिम्मेदार ठहराइए और अगर जरूरत पड़े तो हिन्दू-मुसलमानों को बराबर कटघरे में खड़ा कीजिये।
    ऐसा नहीं है कि तथ्य न हों लेकिन फिर भी इस सच्चाई से नज़रें फेरना कितना आसान बना दिया हमारे 'निष्पक्ष इतिहासकारों' ने कि सातवीं सदी में जन्मे एक धर्म ने कैसे दुनिया को झकजोर दिया।
    'काफिरों या विधर्मियों' को तलवार के बल पर अपने धर्म में समा लेना राजनीतिक कारणों से नहीं होता।
    आप किताबों के शौक़ीन हैं तो ये किताब जरूर पढ़िए-Eminent Historian: there work and methodology.by Arun Shaurie.
    और India; a wounded civilization

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  8. आपका ब्लोग कफी अच्छा है। मैने भी एक ब्लोग बनाया है यदि आप देखना चाहै तो यहां पर Click करें- हिंदी और अंग्रेजी सुविचार

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  9. Nice post , i hope everyone will like your post

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  10. how can one who kills his own brother and imprison his old father be secular and be like a father to someone??...

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    1. Dharama and karama, don't forget mahabharatha. who killed karan and on whoose orders, and while karan was unarmed.

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    2. Zahaks, hope you understand Mahabharata a bit more so you can use correctly. Karan was killed unarmed because he and five others had killed Abhimanuy a 16-year old kid who went to war to break Chakravyuha. It was against the war norms during those days for 5 supposed great warriors to take on one small kid from all the sides. Karna was reminded of the same before he was killed. No questions there. This blog is meant for info so do not want to drag on this one. I have many good muslim friends and I appreciate their trites and views. The problem we hindus ahve with the erstwhile invaders who did not understand that world is too large for their contrite view and destroyed nalanda library which took away lot of our cultural artifacts.

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    3. wat abt ashoka the great den ....

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  11. Your - Almost all Muslim rulers in India were secular - comment is light years away from truth.It is not corroborated by facts.Read Chachnama ! Every defeat of Hindus, was followed by massacre of infidels, looting and taking their women.Sir,please revisit the history.Apart from Akbar and Jahangir, who were secular to some extent, most of Muslim rulers have been fanatics.We can not be in denial.Aurangzeb was a rabid fanatic.

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    1. every conquest and battles implies blood shed .... as those were war times.... today we r developing nation and represent a civilized society because we dont fight or enter in war for small reasons ............ the coin always has 2 sides....... my friend .......... hatred has immense power but ........... peace has much more within .......

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  12. we all know how king Ashoka the great came to power

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  13. king ashoka is known for his brutality and den he renounces one final day ... becoming a saint

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  14. please ... jus stop our history is rich and different from others jus bcoz we represent a multi cultural, multi lingual civilization ........... plzzz dnt paint it with communal hatred .................

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  15. this is a true fact and it cannot be denied ............. there have been many diplomatic kings and rulers be it dey r hindu or muslims ............. but we all know we are a combo of aryans + mughals ........we hav that blood deep down somewhere inside us. the more we will put allegations on each other ........... the more we are giving chances to diplomats like AMericans .... Britishers to laugh on us ...........

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  16. Historian Shri Sharma states that while Emperor Akbar had fourteen Hindu Mansabdars (high officials) in his court, Aurangzeb actually had 148 Hindu high officials in his court. (Ref: Mughal Government) But this fact is somewhat less known.

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  17. Historian Babu Nagendranath Banerjee challenged the Hindu hypothesis that Aurangzeb was anti-Hindu by reasoning that if the latter were truly guilty of such bigotry, how could he appoint a Hindu as his military commander-in-chief? Surely, he could have afforded to appoint a competent Muslim general in that position.

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  18. We all know what Aurengzeb did to his brothers and father.

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  19. informative!!!

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  20. A learned judge apparently, but in dire need of a history lesson, or is it that it is a need of the intelligentsia of our time to delusionally believe that Muslim rulers were secular, in the hope that it will somehow lead to peace today?

    Mahmud of Ghazni is noted for plundering, killing, converting, enslaving and destroying temples.
    Mohammad Ghor, Qutb Uddin Aibak, Allauddin Khilji, Tughlaq, Babur were all, according to historians of their time, proud of doing more of the same:
    converting, enslaving, killing and destroying the idolators' places of worship.

    Guru Tegh Bahadur was tortured and executed for standing up against forced conversion by Aurangazeb. Guru Gobind Singh's sons were killed for not converting.
    Kashi Vishwanath and Mathura temples were destroyed and replaced by mosques. These are historical facts, documented by historians of their time.

    Tipu Sultan? Just read accounts of his forced conversion of Kodavas.

    In the Alice in Wonderland world that our liberal elite occupy, this stands for secularism. No wonder the word has lost all meaning.

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  21. auranzeb killed both his brothers, imprisoned father, forced both sisters to remain unmarried

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  22. auranzeb killed both his brothers, imprisoned father, forced both sisters to remain unmarried

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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