Freedom of Expression

15 03 2008

Freedom of Expression

Loook at this strange Historin or is he one and how they shamelessly start supporting and encouraging the jehad (if there is somethink like that at all)

Don’t defame a kind ruler
Brouhaha over Aurangzeb: N Jamal Ansari | Religious and political affairs commentator, Aligarh Muslim University

Don’t defame a kind ruler

An exhibition of miniatures and firmans of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, organised by the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism in Chennai, has initiated a debate on Aurangzeb. Often we forget that Aurangzeb led a simple life and fought to save India from rebels and terrorists. Before jumping into any conclusion, we should objectively analyse his conduct and rule.
No doubt, Aurangzeb destroyed many temples. But it was a general practice with other rulers, including Hindu Kings. In the 11th century, Chola king Rajendra I decorated his capital with idols he had seized from neighbouring kings. Similarly, Kashmiri King Harsha plundered many temples. In the 12th and 13th century, Parmar rulers plundered Jain temples in Gujarat.
Coming back to Aurangzeb’s ‘iconoclastic’ tendencies, in 1667, a rebellion took place in Benaras. It was believed that Shivaji’s escape from prison was facilitated by Jai Singh, the great grandson of Raja Man Singh, who had built Vishvanath temple. According to SN Sinha, it was due to this fact that Aurangzeb ordered the destruction of that temple in September 1669 (Subah of Allahabad under the Great Mughals). At the same time, Jat rebellion broke out in and around Mathura in which the Nazim of city’s congregational masque was killed. In 1670, the leader of the Jat rebellion was captured; thereafter, Aurangzeb ordered the destruction of Keshav Dev temple.
We should not forget that in those days victory was generally celebrated by the destruction of temples and idols associated with enemies. In 1579, Murahori Rao destroyed popular Ahobilam temple and brought its Ruby-studded image to Golconda and presented it to the Sultan as a war trophy. So, the destruction of temples in those days was political – not religious – in nature.
Aurangzeb granted jagirs to several Hindu temples. He also constructed the Chitrakoot temple, besides giving an endowment of 200 acres of land to maintain it. Considering temples within his domain as state property, Aurangzeb punished disloyal Hindu officers by desecrating temples with which they were associated.
Aurangzeb is a victim of communal historiography. However, it’s not just Aurangzeb who is seen with prejudice. In most books, Muslim rulers are portrayed as ‘villains’ and their Hindu counterparts are regarded as ‘heroes’ – be it Aurangzeb versus Shivaji, or Akbar versus Maharana Pratap. Their political struggle is substituted with the religious angle. It is never emphasised that Muslim rulers fought against each other as well. When Babar attacked India, he fought against Ibrahim Lodhi. In fact, he was supported by several Hindu rulers, including Rajputs.
It’s an irony that Aurangzeb’s struggle against Shivaji has been given a communal angle. Shivaji has been portrayed as champion of Hindu cause. This is a wrong depiction, considering the fact that Aurangzeb’s confidant was Raja Jai Singh and Shivaji’s trusted commander was Maulvi Haider Ali Khan. So, it was essentially a power struggle between Aurangzeb and Shivaji, not a fight for the defence of religion.
In 1659, Aurangzeb observed: “In these days information has reached our court that several people have out of spite and rancour harassed the Hindu residents of Benaras including a group of Brahmins who are incharge of ancient temples there. These people want to remove those Brahmins from their charge of temple keeping, which has caused them considerable distress. Therefore upon receiving this order, you must see that nobody unlawfully disturbs the Brahmins or other Hindus, so that they might remain in their traditional place.” (Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1991.)
We should realise that Aurangzeb was a kind emperor who was fighting for saving his empire from rebellions. His political struggle should not be given the communal colour. So, any attempt to distort his life – through history books or paintings – should not be allowed.



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