History without prejudice: Hindu Rulers Saints, Muslim Rulers Devils ?

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dennisflarsen / Pixabay

Ever since BJP has come to power there is an attempt to distort and rewrite history with a saffron touch. There is attempt to demonize the Mughal (Muslim) rulers of the past whereas at the same time an attempt to eulogize or deify the Hindu rulers. Fact of the matter is that there were good and bad quality in rulers of the past and some rulers had more good qualities than bad and vice versa. However to state that all Muslim rulers were religious extremists and committed genocide and forced conversions is ridiculous to say the least as much as to say that all Hindu rulers were nationalists and were focused on the welfare of the kingdom under their rule with justice and equality.

The motive for depicting Mughal history in negative light was the same then (British colonialists) and now (Hindutva brigade) that is to divide and rule. For example the most criticized or abused ruler among the Indian Muslim kings was Aurangzeb. He has been accused of being a religious fanatic who forced Hindus to convert to Islam and committed genocide of Hindus.

In 2015, a successful petition to rename Aurangzeb Road in Delhi summarized this despised ruler as ‘one of the most tyrannical tormentor perpetrator of Intolerant Inhuman Barbaric crimes in India

However historians like Audrey project a completely different picture than what is in popular perception:

Historian Audrey Truschke mentions in his book “The Life and Legacy of India’s Most Controversial King”

“Aurangzeb protected more Hindu temples than he destroyed. He employed more Hindus in his imperial administration than any prior Mughal ruler by a fair margin.”

Audrey also states that the blame lies with British colonialists who depicted Indo-Muslim kings overall as undesirable and held up Aurangzeb as uniquely horrific so that British colonialism might shine by comparison.

As we see the history from different historians & perspectives paints completely different picture of same person/period.

When Hindu kings plundered temples

Also, there is enough historical evidence to prove that many Hindu rulers after being victorious in battles plundered the temples of their vanquished rivals even during pre-Islamic / pre-Mughal period. However this is not highlighted in discussions as the very reason for bringing such debate is not to understand or learn from history rather it is an attempt to demonize particular faith and create hatred, enmity, polarize the people on religious lines and instigate them so that political benefit can be obtained and the real issues concerning the nation goes int back burner.

Source: Somanatha: The Many Voices of a History

Even those raising the issue of renaming roads and other landmarks which are named after Mughals on basis of their alleged historical wrong doings never apply the same principle to non-Muslim rulers like Ashoka who was also known for his religious intolerance, committing genocide and fighting wars in which lacs of people were killed.

This shows the hypocrisy of such people and the real intention behind such exercise to rewrite history i.e “divide & rule”.

In fact the brahmanical hindusim was responsible for wiping out Buddhism from vast areas of India as is mentioned by Dr. B.R Ambedkar:

The history of India is nothing but a history of a mortal conflict between Buddhism and Brahmanism.” [B.R. Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches, vol.3, p.267 (in the Chapter: “The triumph of Brahminism: regicide or the birth of counter-revolution”)]

“Buddhism arose as a distinct faith, in revolt against hierarchical Hinduism, and it drew adherents from those very layers of Indian society which lay at the oppressed and underprivileged bottom of the hierarchy. Despotic state power persecuted Buddhists for centuries as brahmanical Hinduism held sway in large parts of India. Buddhism was all but banished from this land and found refuge in Sri Lanka, Tibet, Myanmar, Thailand and eastwards. It is only in the 20th century, with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s deeksha, that it returned in a significant way to India.”  [Hindutva’s fallacies and fantasies, Praful Bidwai]

This is in no way meant to depict Hinduism in bad light rather it is an attempt to show history in right perspective & to realize that there were evil deeds committed by past rulers cutting across ideological and religious lines and no single religious group can today take a moral high ground and try to browbeat others using history as example.

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