When Hindus and Muslims constructed mosques and temples for each other


On the initiative of the United Nations, the entire world observed first week of February as Communal Harmony Week. The purpose is crystal clear that communal amity prevails between religious communities. Our history has got ample evidence to prove the existence communal harmony in the past. If we read our history objectively we will find that during the medieval period a lot of temples and religious structures of Hindus were built or supported by the Muslim rulers of that time. These leaders contributed a lot besides money in the construction of the religious places of Hindus.

At least 35 temples in Mathura received support and help from Mughal rulers like Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan. The historical evidence to support this goodwill gesture is still available. Around 1000 Bighas of land were provided by the Mughal rulers in that period. The documentary evidence also highlights the role of these rulers and their officials in solving problem faced by the Hindus in that area. In a similar manner Nawabs of Awadh and their officials built temples, renovated mandirs and also donated lands to built mandirs. Nawab Safdarjung had provided land for the Hanumangarhi temple in Ayodhya. Dewan of Asifuddaula had also helped in the construction of mandirs.

One Mughal ruler had given 330 bighas of land for Balaji temple at Chitrakoot without tax and its evidence is still available in the mandir. This type of evidence has also been found from the temples of Prayag, Varanasi, Ujjain and Guwahati. In South, Tipu Sultan during his reign had donated wholeheartedly to mandirs. A mandir was also built near Tipu Sultan’s palace.  

Some fascist Hindu organisations used to complain that Muslim rulers remained aloof from their Hindu subjects and their religion and their culture. Are they not aware of Raja Zain-ul-Abedin or Budshah of Kashmir who openly participated in festivals of Hindus and built temples? Or, have they not heard of Raja Ibrahim Aadil Shah II who in his songs had many times used Saraswati. Mughal emperor Akbar used to listen to people of all religions. During his period Ramayana and Gita were translated into Persian language. Shivaji was a great ruler but some people have used him to provoke other communities by distorting his image. It’s an irony that the one who was instrumental in promoting unity has been used to create differences in society. Therefore, it becomes essential to know the role of Shivaji towards Muslims. All of us are aware that Shivaji used to arrange safe return of old people, children and Muslim women after a war. His thoughts and feelings about Muslims and Islam could not reach the public domain. Shivaji had recruited many Muslims in key post during his period and these Muslims lived up to the expectation of Shivaji and performed their duties in a responsible manner. Shivaji had built mosque near his residence and had contributed in the construction of mosques. He was friendly to Muslim religious scholars and on many occasions had taken advice from them on crucial issues. In his book titled New History of the Marathas G S Sardesai has written that Shivaji always used to take advice from religious scholars before doing any important work. These scholars were from both communities and he did not discriminate between them. In his capital Raigarh he had built both a mandir and a masjid near his palace.

King of Marwad had defeated king of Bikaner and Bikaner king was killed in that war. At that time his sons Kalyan Das and Bhim got asylum in Shershah Suri darbar. In the same manner Humayun was defeated by Shershah Suri at that point of time Humayun had got asylum at Rana’s darbar at Amarkot, where Akbar was born.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 March 2011 on page no. 4

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