An Evening With Aurangzeb
Some days back one of my office friends sent out a mail on the very attitude of we Indians glorifying entities of history more than what they deserve, and ornamenting them with a larger than life image. In the same way, we malign few others to the core making them look no lesser than Amrish Puri of Mugambo fame.
What drives us to be so judgemental and conclusive without knowing the facts? Is it the bad and wrong history that been taught via the millions of government supplied history books, where truth is far fetched as history is fabricated to support someones ego and wants? The fact is good history is rarely about good guys and bad guys but unfortunately we follow this simplistic logic while going over our history, resulting in putting on a perception pair of glasses while engrossing it. I believe that history should be presented as it is, no biasing, no fabrication or no forced conclusion and the readers should be left to decide the good or the bad for themselves. I was sure that our text books are being pathetically modified, God knows for what and whom, so I always had a fascination for all those controversial & bad characters or so being pictured in books.
Do you remember the emperor who was a religious Muslim, anti Hindu? Who tried to forcefully convert them and taxed them for visiting their religious place? You got it: The poor snobbish chap, the Aurangzeb. I had a long fascination of meeting this brat, just to see how a person can be so cruel and bad. Thanks to Albert Einstein and his Time-machine which I could lay my hand one fine day accidentally. Punched all the red, green, yellow buttons as shown in some old hindi movies. Boom!! there I go. Out of nothing I found myself in front of the Red Fort in Agra in a jiffy. Goodness gracious, there is the emperor himself sitting at the top left block of the fort and stitching caps the Muslims put on. I can easily see the outline of his face through the illumination of the lamp in front him. I must have made some noise on my time defying arrival, I thought as the emperor looked at me and visibly astonished with my look, artier and the funny looking stuff I am riding. Being aware of his attitude towards we Hindus, as per the books I was dearly fearing for my life. No sooner my thoughts started to take wing, the main door opened with a Khali looking guy jumped out asking me to accompany him as the Sultan himself wants to see me in close ranges. Oh God, save me. Save me from getting converted or worst loosing my life is all I was thinking while moving to the front door of the fort.
As I entered inside, I could see the small temple at the corner with a lady lightning a Diya. The lady must be from this bad guy's harem I thought, which later on was clarified to me that the temple is there as the belief of the Sultan is to respect all religions equally. Once the introduction was over I was comfortably being placed in front of the emperor, he enquired about my locality and place. I don't know if the Sultan did understood much about the time-machine but could easily tell that I am from a future time. When asked about the purpose of my visit, I begged for my life before explaining all the history that we are taught and my subsequent fascination of meeting a real bad guy. A huge laughter followed which we can only associate with a Sultan. Let me correct your history a bit, if you are ready to believe me said the emperor. I couldn't decline this generous offer. Could I? Shoot your queries ordered the Sultan..
It is primarily suggested that you were an anti Hindu and believed in forced conversion. What is the ratio of Hindu and Muslim at present he asked. 4:1 I replied. That's the same now also. He looked happy. See if I am so fond of conversion then let me assure you, there wouldn't have a single Hindu roaming around in this part of the world, let alone being four times than the Muslims. I am ruling for last 50 years and Mughals for last 1000 years, if I had wished all would have been converted to Islam long back. I hope I answered this query of yours, ended the Sultan politely. But you were never a pro Hindu either, like your forefathers: Akbar or Jahangir, in fact you hate Hindus, I argued. Is it? he said. If I am guilty of such a bigotry then how come I have a Hindu as my military commander-in-chief? when I could have easily kept an efficient Muslim for the same post. In fact today all my state policies are formulated by Hindus, he added. For your info two Hindus hold the highest post in the state treasury. He looked somewhat upset.
After a brief silence he started again. Even some prejudiced Muslims question my decision on keeping non-Muslims in such high posts. But I believe in Sharia, which demands right persons in right position. This is the reason why Jaswant Singh, Raja Rajrup, Kabir Singh, Arghanath Singh, Prem Dev Singh are all holding high administrative posts. He ended this long sentence with a shy. I don't know why my forefathers are shown in a brighter light for their multi-ethnic culture of their court where Hindus were favored, when they had only 14 Hindu Mansabdars (High officials), I have 148 of them. He finished, still breathing heavily.
But our history says that you have demolished many temples, I asked. With a smile in his lips he said, same goes here also. If I had such an intention then, there would have been no temple standing by now, let alone the small one that you are seeing at the corner of this fort. He then suddenly asked one of his orderly in Urdu to bring some documents. On the contrary I have donated huge state estates for building temples and supports thereof in Benaras, Kashmir or elsewhere. He said this while showing me the documented proofs that he has just asked for. Go to Balaji temple and there you would find a stone inscription showing it is me who has commissioned the construction of it, he added. In fact I have granted land for Kasi, Varanasi temples, he said this with frustration while showing me another set of documents.
But didn't you re-install the Jizya tax on Hindus for travel to religious places which were abolished by your forefathers ? Which tax on what ? He seemed bewildered. Oh God. Jizya was never a tax for holy visit but it has something to do with state's development or best you can say a war tax. It is only collected from able-bodied non-Muslims of this state who did not want to volunteer in the defense of the state. He explained. We even don't collect it from women, immature male, old male or guys who are fighting for the safeguard of the state. The tax is to make sure that the lives of the tax payers is safeguarded during war. If by any manner the state fails to protect a tax payer then the total tax is returned back with interest. let me add to this he said. The Zakat (2.5% of the savings) and Ushr (10% of the agricultural product) were collected from Muslims who have some wealth, of course after a certain threshold called Nisab.The Muslims also pay Sadaqah, Fitrah and Khums, which are never charged from Hindus. As a matter of fact the per capita collection from Muslims are many fold than what we collect from Hindus. He explained while showing me another set of documents as proof of his explanation. In fact I have abolished 65 different type of taxes on Hindus there by incurring a 50 million loss to the state treasury. Now he was visibly upset over us on fabricating the history intentionally to show him in a bad light. As I was still with a huge fear within sitting alongside, perhaps the best, scholar, magnanimous, tolerant and far sighted emperor India has ever had, I though it is best for my health and well being to stop this questionnaire then and there.
Not before I was treated with all the Muglai delicacies, I wasn't allowed to leave. But before I could leave the great emperor back in history I didn't forget to ask him the reason on why he himself is stitching the caps when he replied his household runs on the money he earns from this stitching and the Korans that he sells which he himself again writes in his own hand, as he never consumes a single penny from state treasury for his personal reasons. Hats off to this great emperor and I strongly feel, it is high time we change or rather correct our history for good. Sir I admire you.
P.S :- I am a hardcore, orthodox Hindu.
An Evening With Aurangzeb
- » Published on June 29, 2010
- » Type: Opinion
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