Aurangzeb in Banaras Hindu University

So most of the people guessed it right in our Quiz about a Mughal firman poll. Yes, indeed it was Aurangzeb who issued that firman and that too just months after becoming the Emperor of India.

But the most interesting thing about this firman is that a copy of is on display in a museum in Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

Copy of the original firman in Persian.

Translation in English and Hindi.

Thank you BHU for displaying this firman, but can’t you get his name right? Its Aurangzeb and Hijari, just switch the letters.

Now read the two translations and see if you notice any difference between the two:

Quiz: A Mughal firman

We all are familiar with famous Mughals. So let’s play a quiz and see if you can figure out which emperor may have issued this royal firman. Translation is below the picture.

… therefore in accordance with holy law we have decided that the ancient temples shall not be overthrown but that new one shall not be built.

In these days of justice, information has reached our noble and most holy court that certain persons activated by rancour and spite have harassed the Hindu resident in the town of Banaras and a few other places in that neighbourhood.

And also certain Brahmins, keepers of the temples, in whose charge those ancient temples are, and that they further desire to remove these Brahmins from their ancient office (and this intention of their causes distress to that community) therefore our Royal command is that after the arrival of our lustrous order you should direct that in future no person shall in unlawful ways interfere or disturb Brahmins and other Hindus resident in those places.

So that they may remain in their occupation and continue with peace of mind to offer up prayers for the continuance of our God-given empire that is destined to last for all times.

Consider this as an urgent matter.

Vote your choice and add comments to explain, if you so wish.

[poll id=”7″]

My Travels to Delhi

When travels come, they come in battalions. Such has been the trajectory of my recent sojourns to Delhi. Travel to India can be, at best, random and left to a game of chance, given how the officialdom on both sides of the border ensures that people don’t cross real and imagined boundaries. Coincidence, or as my less rational side would say, the calling of the Delhi and Ajmer Saints, enabled me to land in Delhi twice in less than three months. Continue reading My Travels to Delhi

Death Of A Patriot

On the 24th of last month, the body of a 94 year old poet prince was led to rest. He was Imamuddin Khan Babi, who wrote poetry by the pen name of Ruswa Mazloom, and was the erstwhile ruler of Pajod, a small jagir in Junagadh district of Gujarat. Few in India have heard his name, and even fewer know that in spite of being the jagirdaar of one of the smallest princely states in India he towered above the other princes of pre-independent India. Continue reading Death Of A Patriot

Holi’s Muslim History

Holi, being celebrated across India March 21, may be the most colourful Hindu festival but it has a Muslim history as well.

Sufi saints like Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia and Amir Khusrau in their chaste Persian and Hindi loved the festival. Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, whose Holi ‘phags’ (songs) are relished even today, allowed his Hindu ministers to tinge his forehead with ‘gulal’ during Holi festival each year. Continue reading Holi’s Muslim History

Protests Against Jodhaa Akbar – History And Community Honor

Jodhaa Akbar MovieDuring January 2008, one has witnessed the acts of breaking glass panes, disrupting the screening of film Jodha Akbar, as a part of protests by sections of Rajput and Khsatriaya community against this film. They claim that this film insults their community honor! Some Governments banned this film, the ban which eventually was lifted by the courts. Continue reading Protests Against Jodhaa Akbar – History And Community Honor

Derasar And Dargah Coexist In Gandhi’s Gujarat

DerasarsTo the novice and the ignorant, no two religions could be as far apart as Jainism and Islam. The former, carries the principals of non-violence to the extreme, wherein even the lowest life forms such as insects are not to be harmed; while in the latter consumption of certain birds and animals for food is a part of everyday life. But life style and diet do not make up a religion. Nor do rites and rituals. These are mere symbols to remind us of a higher Reality and tools to make us more receptive to this Reality. One has to rise above them in order to discern the common threads that run through all religions. Continue reading Derasar And Dargah Coexist In Gandhi’s Gujarat

India’s Muslim Kings Implemented Enlightened Sharia Laws

Jama MasjidThese days we find some people criticizing the Islamic sharia laws as generically regressive and oppressive of non-Muslims. They also criticize India’s Muslim rulers of the past as having denied equal rights and freedom of religion to non-Muslims. However, when we review the record of the six hundred year long Muslim era in India, and especially that of the three hundred and fifty year long Moghul empire, we see a totally different picture. We find that most Muslim rulers asked the officials of their state to be non-sectarian and to ensure justice and harmony for their non-Muslim subjects. Continue reading India’s Muslim Kings Implemented Enlightened Sharia Laws

The Problem of Caste among Indian Muslims

The problem of caste among Indian Muslims is gaining increased scrutiny after a series of political and judicial events–the most recent being the Supreme Court’s notice to the Union government on the status of ‘low-caste’ Muslims of Maharashtra.  The traditional response of the Muslim community has been to shove the issue under the rug and charge those who dare to challenge the status-quo as indulging in anti-Islamic activity. Continue reading The Problem of Caste among Indian Muslims

India’s Islam

by Arun Nair

Firstly, I must apologise if this article smacks of an impolite urgency and prescriptive-ness. I mean not to be arrogant, but as someone addressing you on a matter of deep concern to us all, I felt that there was little room for ceremonial apologies before every sentence. Also, as an Indian middle-class Hindu who grew up in the Babri-masjid 90s, it is easy for me to say some of the things I say here.

Secondly, I address you, the reader, as an Indian citizen, not as a saintly Kabir or Gandhi preaching love for humanity. Our collective interests are being threatened by communal forces from within and without. WE MUST ACT. Continue reading India’s Islam