A few stray thoughts, a few point of views and a few observation, none of my own work!
I am glad Arvind Kejriwal has added his ‘sur in the ‘taal’ of aggressive nationalists. A lot of things politicians do to adjust and win the votes. Thank you Kejri, we have got another Mulayam Singh. Good that you are so aggressive also. Straddling helps but not if if the durance if stretched. But when I look around I don’t think there will be any difference, like in Bangalore a road is called – MG Road which means Mahatma Gandhi Road. Mahatma Gandhi was the apostle of non-violence but MG Road is almost full of non-veg hotels. Next, this road has the biggest number of pubs’ in the entire Bangalore. Instead of changing the street/city/area names, it would have been better to change the Mind Sets!
The changing of street names have nothing to do with national pride or correction of history. That will only show how petty we are. The whole constitution is written in English. Our official language is English. I mean we are even having this conversation in English for crying out loud. Then what’s the point of changing street or other names to Hindi or other language. These type of actions don’t show our pride or love to the country. These things show how desperate we are to prove ourselves. If you love your country don’t waste time in changing the names of cities. Change the records like World Happiness Ratio. According to World Happiness Report 2015, India is one of the most unhappy country in the world, ranking 117 out of 158. These are the things that needs to be changed. That are worth giving consideration. So change the mentality. Also these names have become the part of our history. And there’s nothing wrong with these names. Last but not the least, Heritage and History are attached to these names. Changing them to new names results in loss of history and nothing else.
I have never been an admirer of Aurangzeb and I can’t imagine any ruling entity discriminating against the followers of religion that is different. The same logic is true for the reverse. A government is not supposed to favour any religion. I’ve a firm belief that ‘Religion’ and ‘State’ are separate and the two subjects must be dealt of their own merits. Religion is a very private affair and the fundamentals of religion do not demand TAMASHAS on the street. It should lie the heart and mind. I don’t believe is ‘Reservations’ of any kind, for anyone, anymore. Too much juice had already been wrung out of the hard working Indians Fruit in the name of ‘Underdogs.’ Seventy years after freedom was a very long period to make the correction in the social and economic structure and history. Now, let everyone should compete on his / her own merit and survive. Survival of the fittest is the law of nature and we can’t turn upside down the law of nature.
Having said that, I must confess that as a student of history, I find that of all the Muslim rulers who ruled vast territories of India from 712 to 1857 CE, probably no one got the muck and condemnation from Western and Hindu writers as Aurangzeb. He has been described as a religious Sunni Muslim who was anti-Hindu, who taxed them, who tried to convert them, who discriminated against them in awarding high administrative positions, and who interfered in their religious matters. But for many, he was one of the best rulers of India who was pious, scholarly, saintly, un-biased, liberal, magnanimous, tolerant, competent, and far-sighted. This is not my view. I still find a lot to blame him.
However, in recent years quite a few Hindu historians have refuted the allegations against Aurangzeb. Famous historian Babu Nagendranath Banerjee has rejected the accusation of forced conversion of Hindus by Muslim rulers by stating that if that was their intention then in India today there would not be nearly four times as many Hindus compared to Muslims, despite the fact that Muslims had ruled for nearly a thousand years. Babu Banerjee had challenged the Hindu hypothesis that Aurangzeb was anti-Hindu by reasoning that if the latter were truly guilty of such bigotry. According to history, Aurangzeb had a Hindu as his military commander-in-chief. Banerjee further argues: “No one should accuse Aurangzeb of being communal minded. In his administration, the state policy was formulated by Hindus. Two Hindus held the highest position in the State Treasury.
Some prejudiced Muslims even questioned the merit of his decision to appoint non-Muslims to such high offices. The Emperor refuted that by stating that he had been following the dictates of the Shariah (Islamic Law) which demands appointing right persons in right positions.” During Aurangzeb’s long reign of fifty years, many Hindus, notably Jaswant Singh, Raja Rajrup, Kabir Singh, Arghanath Singh, Prem Dev Singh, Dilip Roy, and Rasik Lal Crory, held very high administrative positions. Two of the highest ranked generals in Aurangzeb’s administration, Jaswant Singh and Jaya Singh, were Hindus. Other notable Hindu generals who commanded a garrison of two to five thousand soldiers were Raja Vim Singh of Udaypur, Indra Singh, Achalaji and Arjuji. One wonders if Aurangzeb was hostile to Hindus, why would he position all these Hindus to high positions of authority, especially in the military, who could have mutinied against him and removed him from his throne?
The other famous historian Shri Sharma stated that while Emperor Akbar had fourteen Hindu Mansabdars (high officials) in his court, Aurangzeb actually had 148 Hindu high officials in his court. But this fact is somewhat less known.
Interestingly, the 1946 edition of the history textbook Etihash Parichaya (Introduction to History) used in Bengal for the 5th and 6th graders states: “If Aurangzeb had the intention of demolishing temples to make way for mosques, there would not have been a single temple standing erect in India. On the contrary, Aurangzeb donated huge estates for use as Temple sites and support thereof in Benares, Kashmir and elsewhere. The official documentations for these land grants are still extant.”
A stone inscription in the historic Balaji or Vishnu Temple, located north of Chitrakut Balaghat, still shows that it was commissioned by the Emperor himself. The proof of Aurangzeb’s land grant for famous Hindu religious sites in Kasi, Varanasi can easily be verified from the deed records extant at those sites. The same textbook reads: “During the fifty year reign of Aurangzeb, not a single Hindu was forced to embrace Islam. He did not interfere with any Hindu religious activities.” (p. 138) Alexander Hamilton, a British historian, toured India towards the end of Aurangzeb’s fifty year reign and observed that everyone was free to serve and worship God in his own way. In his book Mughal Administration, Sir Jadunath Sarkar, foremost historian on the Mughal dynasty, mentions that during Aurangzeb’s reign in power, nearly sixty-five types of taxes were abolished, which resulted in a yearly revenue loss of fifty million rupees from the state treasury.
To wind up this article, let me endorse the views expressed by MIM President Asaduddin Owaisi:
“Start a Science Scholarship in Delhi schools (after) Kalam’s name.” He advised Kejriwal to read true facts about Mogul emperor Aurangzeb, attaching with his message the title image of “Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan – Evaluation of Their Religious Policies”, the book written by Dr. B.N. Pande and published by Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi.
By Naim Naqvi