Issues

Aurangzeb in the eyes of the Sangh Parivar

By S.M. Pasha, Chennai

There is not a single member of the Sangh Parivar who does not declare that the last great Mughal emperor Auranzeb Aalamgeer was a bigot excessively hostile towards his Hindu subjects. They, suo motu, portray him, or are made to portray him as hard-hearted Muslim with an insatiable zeal to convert Hindus into Muslims besides robbing them of their wealth and position. Since Muslims of his time, as they are today, were a minority, he saw to it that Hindus were killed in large numbers so that the Muslim community attained majority.

The first thing I wish to point out that it is false that he persecuted Hindus alone and that he bestowed honours on Muslims alone. As a matter of fact, he opposed, tooth and nail, all his opponents - be they Hindus or Muslims. Is it not a fact that in the war of succession, after his father’s death, he did not hesitate to see that his own brother was killed.

It so happened that the Mughal army was able to defeat non-Muslim rajas. It was the nobility in him which prompted him to treat defeated adversaries with due honour, recognising their bravery. Can any historian worth his salt deny that Aurangzeb gave mansubdari to Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur and later on appointed him the Governor of Gujrat. On Raja Ajai Singh he bestowed the Governorship of Deccan where there were Muslim nawabs. With a view to end permanently the bitter hostility between the Hindu Raja Shivaji and himself, he signed to Treaty of Pormander.

The number of Hindus in the Mughal army in his time was almost equal to Muslims. Jai Singh - a Rajput - was one of the most famous generals in his army. He desired to make Shivaji a general of the most celebrated army contingent  and to send him to Kabul to subdue the Afghan rebels. It was not the British who abolished the horribly repulsive custom of burning widows on the funeral pyre of their husbands, but Aurangzeb who issued a farman against it in 1666 outlawing sati.

The haters of Aurangzeb level the charge against him that he destroyed Hindu temples. In Deccan, where he campaigned against Shivaji, he did not touch a single temple. Unimpeachable evidence is available that Aurangzeb donated lavishly to Umanand temple in Guwahati; Jangum Badi Shiva mandir in Varanasi and Someshwar Nath Mahadev temple in Prayag. He did impose Jizya or "protection tax" on Hindus. He did so as he thought it was his duty to do as a Muslim Head of the State.

To those who view things with a coloured spectacles everything to appear coloured.

In short, Aurangzeb was as good or as bad a MUSLIM Emperor as Shivaji was as good or as bad a HINDU Raja!
 It is wrong to lift one up and set another down, without rhyme or reason- merely out of misguided and misplaced love or hate.     

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 July 2016 on page no. 2

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