There is serious evidence, on going through the Quran, that its ‘as it is’ and ‘non-contextual’ (of that period and situation) interpretation can, and evidently has, led to complete intolerance of Islam over other faiths and people following those faiths. This is a certainly one of the most important causes of terrorism globally.

*There is no other true way*

One key point that comes out during discussions with orthodox muslims is the fact that they believe there can be no other true interpretation of God, and the purpose of life, than the one they have as has been offered by Muhammad. Everyone else is wrong, they say, and there is no room for Self-inquiry, with the possibility of this leading to new answers. Answers are all laid out already – and simply need to be followed.

While a lot of other religions and intra-religious faiths within hinduism as well, take such a hard stance to spiritual pursuits of other people, the trouble arises when this difference in world-views (or God-views) reaches the point of intolerance of the other, and precipitates as aggression and violence.

This has been the case in both Islam and Christianity, and from what I know, in the Jewish faith as well. This has happened in the past with some of India’s Hindu kings as well, who were completely intolerant to Buddhism and Buddhists, and ordered their persecution. However, stories of such kings found doing circles in Srilankan and Tibetan Buddhist monks “seems to be” (and I welcome my readers to help me correct my knowledge of history) at best exaggerated.

Purpose of this article

I write this to help build religious harmony and tolerance between Islam and Hindusim in India. I will attempt to show reason on why muslims need to with hard look at history, thus needing to soften their stand on Babri Masjid/Ram Janmabhoomi, Kashi Vishwanath and other such key temple complexes which are the central flash-points of conflict currently in India.

The purpose of this article is invite muslim leaders and secular thinkers, to put themselves in the shoes of hindus, and then stand in judgment of their popular sentiment about Babri Masjid and other similar examples. Then

  • an opportunity for dialogue between the two communities can open up, on how to move forward
  • we can say, what was done in the past was shameful and against Islam
  • there will be an opportunity with muslims to soften their stand possibly, leading to voluntary relocation of some of the mosques standing in place of these temples or occupying, whether in use or not
  • a message to the hindus can go – that they need not repeat the same nonsense

Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb, in this discussion, in context of India, stands head and shoulders above all muslim invaders, kings and zealots who came to India plundering its resources, people, temples, lifestyles and destroying its social and spiritual fabric.

Proof of such destruction of Hindu temples across the region

It is often pointed out that no such thing was done by Aurangzeb, and that this version of history is contrived and incorrect to push forward the saffronisation agenda.

I recently came across a blog on Aurangzeb and the mess he created in India. The research done by Francois Gautier on Aurangzeb is based on farhans (original edicts) by Aurangzeb, preserved at the Bikaner Museum in Rajasthan.

His research led to a series of paintings and sketches to visually represent the destruction of hindu temples, their forced and coercive conversions, the brutal dismemberment of his enemies, and imposing strict interpretations of Islam leading to killing of philosophers and ban on music. Here are some links of these exhibits:

Exhibit No. 2: Prince Dara Shukoh translating the Upanishads

Exhibit No. 3: Scene of Captive Dara being paraded in Delhi

Exhibit No. 4: Dara Shukoh’s farcical trial and verdict

Exhibit No. 6: Keshava Rai Temple. “Even to look at a temple is a sin for a Musalman”, Aurangzeb

Exhibit No. 7: Demolition of Kalka’s Temple – I. Siyah Waqa’i- Darbar Regnal Year 10, Rabi I, 23 / 3 September 1667

Exhibit No. 8: Demolition of Kalka Temple II. Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Mu‘alla Julus 10, Rabi II 3 / 12 September 1667

Exhibit No. 9: General Order for the Destruction of Temples. (9th April 1669)

Exhibit No. 11: Demolition of the temple of Viswanath (Banaras). August 1669 A.D.

Exhibit No. 12 i – ii – iii : “During this month of Ramzan (1080 A.H./January-February 1670) ….. the Emperor ….. The reviver of the Faith of the Prophet issued orders for the demolition of the Dehra of Keshava Rai in Mathura. In a short time the destruction of this strong foundation of infidelity was accomplished and on its site a lofty mosque was built. ….. the idols large and small of the temple were brought to Agra and buried under the steps of the mosque of Begum Sahib” (Maasir-i- ‘Alamgiri, 95-96); http://according-to-mughal-records.blogspot.com/2008/06/exhibit-no_6075.html, http://according-to-mughal-records.blogspot.com/2008/06/exhibit-no_4763.html

Exhibit No. 13: Demolition of Keshava Rai temple at Mathura. (13th January – 11th February 1670)

Exhibit No. 14: Demolition of Somnath temple

Exhibit No. 16: Reimposition of Jizyah by Aurangzeb. (2nd April 1679)

Exhibit No. 17: “Burial of Music”. The musicians, wailing and lamenting carry the ‘bier’ of music in Aurangzeb’s presence. “Bury it so deep that no sound or echo of it may rise again”, Aurangzeb, (Muntakhab-al Lubab, p.213)

Exhibit No.19: Aurangzeb orders cart-loads of idols brought from Jodhpur to be cast under the steps of Jama Masjid. (May 1679)

Exhibit No. 20: Demolition of Jagannath Rai (Jagdish Temple), Udaipur and its brave defence. R.Y. 23rd of Aurangzeb’s reign (26th September 1679 – 14th September 1680)

Exhibit No. 22: Destruction of sixty-three temples at Chittor. On Monday, the 22nd February /1st Safar, the Emperor went to see Chittor; by his order sixty-three (63) temples of the place were destroyed

Exhibit No. 23: Orders for the destruction of temples on the bank of Maharana’s lake, Udaipur. Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Mu’alla Julus 23, Zilqad 29 / 23rd December 1679

Exhibit No. 24: Orders for the demolition of Jagannath Temple, Orissa. Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus 24, Jamadi I, 23 / 1st June 1681

Exhibit No. 25: Large scale destruction of temples in the environs of Udaipur (January 1680)

Exhibit No. 26: All the temples on the way to be destroyed. Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar Julus 25, Ramzan 18 / 21st September 1681

Exhibit No. 27: Demolition of Bindu-Madhav Temple at Banaras. Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus 26, Ramzan 20 / 13 September 1682

Exhibit No. 28: Problem of converting closed temples into mosques in Burhanpur district. Siyaha Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla R.Yr. 25, Shawwal 10 / 13th October 1681

Exhibit No. 29: Order for demolition of the temple at Goner (Amber). Siyaha Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus (R.Yr.) 24, Rabi I, 17 / 28th March 1686

Exhibit No. 30: Demolition of the Jagdish temple at Goner (Amber) – II. Siyaha Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus (R.Yr.) 24, Jamadi I, 5 / 14th May 1686

Exhibit No. 31: Muslims exempted from paying Zakat Siyah. Akhbart-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus (R.Yr.) 10, Zilqad 2 / 16th April 1667

Exhibit No. 32: Restriction on atishbazi. Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus 10, Shawwal 24 / April 9th 1667

Exhibit No. 33: Musalmans to replace Hindu officials as cure for ineffectiveness of prayers. Siyah Waqai Darbar Julus (R.Yr.) 10, Muharram 18 / 1st July 1667

Exhibit No. 34: Hindu Chowkinavis and Amins of the Haft-chowkis to be replaced by the Musalmans. Akhbarat Dargah-i- Mu‘alla Julus (R.Yr.) 9, Jamadi II, 28 / 15th December 1666

Exhibit No. 39: Aurangzeb orders the execution of Sarmad, a Jewish Armenian Philosopher who accepted Islam but stood for freedom of conscience.

Exhibit No. 40: Large number of conversions by Faujdar, Bithur. Grant of saropas and cash sanctioned by Aurangzeb. Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus (R.Yr.) 10, Shawwal 26 / 11th April 1667

Exhibit No. 41: Coercion in Conversion – Case of the chief of Manoharpur. Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus 24, Jamadi I, 7 / 16th May 1681

There is also a history paper written by Rajiv Verma on Destruction of Hindu Temples by Aurangzeb, which provides historical references.

A message to the readers

This is not meant to be a hate article.

This is a result of a dialogue between an orthodox muslim friend who during our series of discussions on Islam and Hindusim, denied that there was any such things done by Aurangzeb. It is such denial which leads to nonacceptance of each other’s anxieties. Gandhi used to say that the ability of hindus and muslims would be determined by the understanding they can have for each others anxieties.

I believe the Hindus have no real scars and have moved on, and moved forward with many things (which is a great thing ofcourse), yet there are some sensitive points in memory like Babri Masjid, which are a result of popular sentiment of people associated with someone who is as dear to the Hindus as Muhammad is to Muslims.

There needs to be movement forward by muslims in showing tolerance and acceptance now.

Aurangzeb :: The worst thing to happen to the “Idea of India”

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9 thoughts on “Aurangzeb :: The worst thing to happen to the “Idea of India”

  1. Change begins at home. To create secular harmony, first revolutionise your own view on it. Your entire article and much detailed research is a result of a conversation with one muslim. And your belief that by first making him accept that it was the doing of their religion, when we have made the other person and his entire history feel small, that will promote secularism… To create love and harmony, as against this pseudo secularism, we must first begin on the same plane, not on a crusaders horse. And is secularism only the concept of brotherhood between Hindus and Muslims.

    What about the menaingless massacre and continuing ill treatment of the christians in Orissa at the hands of Hindus. What about the merciless treatement meeted out to muslims in Gujarat,again at the hands of the so called ‘ moved-on’ Hindus. I am a Hindu, but I recognise we are not any better. i have seen the supicion with which Muslims are also treated, and the way they are handled in Police Stations. I wonder, if yu have ever walked into the Jama Masjid area alone and by yourself…. If you keep plodding the paths of the past, then its not Aurangzeb of then but the Indians of now, all of us who are responsible for the mess that is plaguing our country today. It is this attitude that we need to reform someone other than ourselves that is wrong. I know of Muslims who have erected schools for the ducation of girls in the thick of muslim dominated areas. maybe you are aware, for whatever lse may have been the shortcomings of Gen Musharaf, but that man, in alliance with people from his religion ( as that’s how we want to look at people) did a lot towards girl education, punishing clerics for opposing girl education.

    If you can, then look beyond the obvious and love every human being for what he is, you would not beed this article as the basis for promoting love and harmony.

  2. Hello there,

    Thanks for posting this comment. I would like to address to points that you raise here.

    —- your first point —-
    And your belief that by first making him accept that it was the doing of their religion, when we have made the other person and his entire history feel small, that will promote secularism…
    ———-

    Yes, I understand it can be a difficult position for a person who is being shown all this, to move forward. I have a reason, probably out of frustration, of raking up old ghosts.

    Islam, the orthodox version, is currently practiced extremely out-of-context. You have brought up the points about Gen Musharraf and his work towards girl-education – yet we know the pathetic status of women in most Saudi Arabia, and the regions which preach the same for of Wahabi Islam. Remember the videos of the brutal beating of women, and blasting of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afgansitan by the Taliban, which followed and preached the puritan form of Quran and Islam (also called Wahabi)?

    When you confront a mindset, which defends this directly, or innately, then it causes some serious concern. This is the same mindset, which creates intolerance, and attempts to puts Islam on a pedestal, above all religions, as the “only true” religion. Even well-read people like Dr. Zakir Naik, even though claim to compare Hinduism and Islam, end up with “my religion is better than yours” (this can be validated by the name of his website and organisation “True Call”). This is the same mindset, which in an extreme form motivates people to plant a bomb, and mass-murder people, who are non-believers, according to their convoluted world view.

    This needs to change, if we have to live in harmony. There has got to be acceptance of “many paths leading to the same God”, for us to make any serious breakthrough as humanity, and address our mutual goals. Sufiism promotes such a thinking – no surprise Sai Baba is adorned by the Hindus (and you should note that Wahabi Islam despises Sufism and Sufi followers, who believe in Peers – or Saints/Gurus – as the way to reach God; in their philosophy all human potential of rising to Godhood ended with Muhammad).

    Well, one may argue, that it is alright to do that as well. Sure! But, as long as it does not become violent. But unfortunately, it constantly does. And this has been going on for over a thousand years.

    Even Gandhi once said that Islam for too long has been depending upon the sword, and must lay it down to create harmonious living (I read his quote in a newspaper; have been trying to locate a citation of the same on the net unsuccessfully).

    In my muslim friend, with whom I had this discussion, atleast there was some room for sane discussion. The discussion got stuck at a point that there have been “no intolerance” shown by Mughal rulers. I felt the way forward would be to show some facts there.

    *Maybe I am wrong in doing so, but help me then, find a way forward*.

    Sometimes to make peace, you have to fight. My fight is of words and writing.

    AND
    ———-
    If you keep plodding the paths of the past, then its not Aurangzeb of then but the Indians of now, all of us who are responsible for the mess that is plaguing our country today. It is this attitude that we need to reform someone other than ourselves that is wrong.
    ———-

    Your last statement is rhetorical.

    Reform needs to happen at several levels. I have come to believe that it is our spiritual understanding as a society which is flawed, and this spiritual crisis is leading to the mess in India and the world. Spiritual awareness needs to be risen, which will bring acceptance for all human beings.

    Central to this is education; and inclusion of teaching of human values, and the ability to question and create ones own experience and understanding (easy answers; someone else’s answers and someone else’s path can be strife-ridden) is important. Fear of God, needs to be slowly (or on an urgent basis) needs to be converted into a Love for God.

    This can happen with *political will* ofcourse, and a serious change in the mindset of Islamic community. There are serious attempts being made in the west with organistions like “www.freemuslims.org” and “Centre for Studies on Islam and Democracy”, which are all working towards promoting Democracy and Secularism in the Middle-East.

    It is these kind of orgnaisations which will bring change. It is Sufism and dialogue between civilisations which will bring change.

    During dialogue, I feel, sometimes, facts are important to be brought up. Maybe I did a bad job of what I wanted to communicate here. If you feel the latter is true, help create a more positive dialogue, which resolves around creating an equitable society, with equal opportunities for men and women alike (atleast in principle), and where people can be left alone with their pagan or whatever faiths they have without being killed or converted coercively or aggressively. Help find a way where a dialogue to lift human minds is centred around philosphical discussions towards exploration of higher Truths, without being wronged, or worse – bombed.

    Sorry for ending on a negative note. I guess it is the frustration from the Delhi bomb blasts coming out.

  3. Hi Rahul

    Hope you remember me. We need to talk a lot man.

    I am sorry to say that your(and the unnamed Muslim friend of yours) understanding of Islam not based on facts and if it is those facts are twisted.

    I would surely want to discuss this with over a coffee.

    BTW, I have moved my blog over to http://saunzal.org.

    Hope to meet you soon.

    PS: Keep a eye at http://twitter.com/mirnazim. so that when I am in delhi next time, you can remind me even if I forget.

  4. A few more cents

    All argument against Islam fall flat on there faces when you consider one simple fact.

    If Islam is so bad.
    “Why is it the fastest growing religion today”.
    “And best part is among the people accepting Islam, 65% are women”
    “Despite the continued propaganda of west, Islam is growing fastest in Europe and America”

    And I am talking about the Non-Muslims accepting Islam at their will. Not the immigrants.

    Can you please answer me which Aurengzeb is forcing Islam at the point of sowrd in US and Europe.

    Any answers???

  5. Yes, Mir.

    First, please provide citations for your claims.

    Second, I have not said that Islam is bad. The way practices of Islam are being juxtaposed from 700AD to 21st century is the problem. Part of this is the misinterpretation of Muhammed and Quran, to claim superiority of this religion over others, and this being the only true way. For any change in the world to happen, there needs to be acceptance of the fact that “there are many ways to the ONE God, and ours is one of them”. Additionally, there needs be serious reform in Islam with greater acceptance of Sufi values, which are being bombed like many other things in Orthodox Islam.

    Thirdly and most importantly, if people move to a certain religion does not mean that the religion is good or superior. The only way a religion or philosophy can stand the test of ‘strength of wisdom’ is through ‘discourse’ and ‘dialogue’. In ancient India, from Kashmir (and actually beyond to Tashkent) to Kanyakumari – this spirit was called “Shastrarth” (philosophical discussions or debates), and most of ancient India (which extended upto boundaries of modern Iran) upto South-East Asia, started following Buddhism because of such Shashtrath. This is certainly not happening in context of the claimed Islamic conversions. Worse still, if people speak out freely, especially from within the muslim community, there are fatwas issued against them to kill them – Taslima Nasrin is an example, alongwith hundreds of other examples, from Middle East to SE Asia.

    Islam flourished in Arabia alongwith sciences in the middle ages, when there were serious exchange of ideas with the East. It is the nature of dialogue and debate that it leads to progress – spiritual and material. Room for all dialogue within Islam (or on Islam) is right now stopped or discouraged, through purposeful spreading of ‘fear’ (direct or coercive). This leads to moral, spiritual, and material decline.

  6. You need citation.
    1. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/30/nyregion/30converts.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
    2. http://www.prb.org/ . Search here lots of knowledge on world population myths

    “claim superiority of this religion over others, and this being the only true way.”

    This is the biggest myth ever invented by orientalists. Islam never claimed to be over all other religions. Instead Quran says “Islam has come to supersede all other ways of life”.

    Now you may argue its the same. But it is not.

    I am a bit short of time at this moment. But I promise that I will cover this thing in detail in a blog post and let you know about it.

    there are many ways to the ONE God, and ours is one of them
    CAN YOU PROVE THIS CLAIM LOGICALLY.
    This is plain simple hypocrisy.

    All roads don’t lead to roam. I am not willing to accept that there are many ways to reach God. There can be only one true way. I am fine if you or someone can prove that Islam is not the way . This is logical.

    Room for all dialogue within Islam (or on Islam) is right now stopped or discouraged, through purposeful spreading of ‘fear’ (direct or coercive).

    This is again utterly wrong. You claim to have seen Dr. Zakir Naik, but looks to me you have seen him talk but never listened to him. Infact Quran talks very clearly about this

    “Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious”. (Al-Qur’an 16:125)

  7. Hello. I am very happy becoz i have little knowldege by the grace of allah. and also by dr zakir naik. I am very thank ful to him. I think world have now need person like dr zakir naik.
    I am from kashmir srinagar dal lake

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