[Not So]Great Mughals
ITHIHASA SANKALANA SAMITHI On the occassion of 150th Year Anniversary for the first war of Independence (1857), you are cordially Invited for a Seminar on "Lessons of 1857" Speakers: Sri M.V.R Sastry, Editor: Andhra Bhoomi telugu Daily Sri V. Ram Madhav, RSS, New Delhi Sri Sadguru Sivananda Murty (Bhimili) will grace the occassion and release the Telugu Book titled "1857 THE FORGOTTEN WAR" Written by: Shri M. V. R Sastry
* Akbar (1)
* Mahamud Ghazni (2)
* Timur (1)
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Tuesday, December 19, 2006
- Translation of S.L. Sastry, New Delhi, from Yedi Charitra by M V R Sastry, Editor, Andhra Bhoomi
Thirteenth December 1398 A.D.: His Mighty Highness Timur alias Tamerlain faced a mighty problem. It was nine months since he had embarked on an expedition from Samarkhand in Central Asia to India with a large force of a hundred thousand cavalry men. Crossing river Sindhu (Indus), razing the Fort of Multan, reducing north-west Punjab along with its main cities Deepalpur, Bhatner, Sarsuti and Loni to ashes, slashing heads of Rajputs who resisted, slaughtering thousands of Hindus of the wayside villages, herding left-overs including women and children into prison camps, he finally reached the outskirts of Delhi bringing total destruction wherever he set his foot in. By that time he had accumulated a lakh of prisoners who, as per practice were distributed, each soldier having the custody of some. They were to be sold as slaves at whatever price they could fetch, after return to their country.
Timor assembled his amirs, ministers, political leaders, army commanders and other ‘sardars’.at his Jahannuma camp for finalizing plans for crossing Jamuna and attacking Delhi.! While discussing key strategic aspects, his ministers placed before him the prisoner problem that had cropped up The problem was how to keep a watch over such a large number of prisoners – a hundred thousand. They had to be watched throughout day and night. Even if there was a slight let up, some might escape. When the battle is on, they might engineer a revolt and join the enemy. They were not to be relied upon to remain quiet. And in the ensuing crucial war, in which the entire Army might be required to fight, how could the prisoners be left for themselves in the tents without watch? The problem was real. Timor therefore sought the advice of his Amirs as to how to solve the problem. What happened next, recorded by Timor in his own hand was as under: ‘I asked the Amirs for advice about the prisoners and they said that on the day of the battle these one hundred thousand prisoners could not be left with the baggage and that it would be entirely opposed to the rules of war to set these idolaters and foes of Islam to liberty, so no course remained but to make them all food for sword’ ‘When I heard these words ...i directed the commanders to proclaim throughout the camp that every man who had infidel prisoners was to put them to death and that whoever neglected to do so, should himself be executed and his property given to the informer.
When this order became known to the champions of Islam, they drew their swords and put their prisoners to death. One hundred thousand infidels, impious idolaters were slain on that day. Maulana Nasir-ad-din Omer, counselor and man of learning who had never killed a sparrow in all his life, now, in execution of my order, killed fifteen idolatrous Hindus who were his captives.’ The above was not an account given by a historian. It is the English translation of what Timor had written in his own hand – ‘Tuzuk-i-Timori’. This finds place in the third volume of the book ‘The History Of India As Told By Its Own Historians’ written jointly by Sir H.M. Elliot of East India Company and Professor John Dawson in eight volumes. This monstrous event did not occur in any un-noticeably far-off place such as the north pole zone or the surface of the moon. The outrage in which a hundred thousand innocent Hindus including women and children were butchered on one day for no fault of theirs, occurred very much in our own country, and right on the outskirts of its famous capital city of Delhi. Such monstrous atrocities, if at all, are perhaps not known or may be rare in a thousand years of world history. Yet, Timor’s brutality did not end with the outrageous pre-war disposal of a hundred thousand innocent prisoners as if he was discarding excess luggage.
Treating that as an auspicious beginning, he dutifully followed it up after conquering Delhi. Below is an English translation of what Timor had himself written about it: ‘The savage Turks fell to killing and plundering, while the Hindus set fire to their houses with their own hands, burned their wives and children in them, and rushed into the fight and were killed. All day Thursday and throughout the night, nearly fifteen thousand Turks were engaged in slaying, plundering and destroying. When Friday morning dawned, my entire army no longer under control, went off to the city and thought of nothing but killing, plundering and making prisoners. The sack was general during the whole day and continued throughout the following day.(Saturday, December 17th) the spoil being so great that each man secured from fifty to a hundred prisoners, men, women and children, while no soldier took less that twenty.
There was, likewise, an immense booty in rubies, diamonds pearls and other gems, jewels of gold and silver ....gold and silver ornaments of the Hindu women were obtained in such quantities as to exceed all account. Excepting the quarters of the ! Sayyids, the scholars and the other Mussalmans, the whole city was sacked.’(Elliot and Dawson, Vol.III, pages 445- 446) As the architect of the carnage had himself said this, its veracity need not be doubted. Nor need one suspect that someone inimical to him has written some cock and bull stories to defame him. According to Timor’s own estimation he had at least ninety thousand (90,000) soldiers with him as he reached Delhi. If each soldier took fifty, even twenty prisoners, there should have been eighteen lakh (18,oo,ooo) respectable peaceful Hindu citizens of Delht including women and children tied up in ropes and driven like herds of cattle for being sold as slaves leading an unbearably hideous menial life till death! If each soldier killed even two Hindus a day for three days, not less than five and a half lakh Hindus would have been mercilessly killed. As the soldiers sacked the city killing Hindus day in and day out at random, the extent of killings of the Delhi citizens could only be left for imagination. The enormous extent of terror created by the men of Timor is abundantly evi! dent from the fact that the Hindus set fire to their houses and burnt their wives and children before going to fight and get killed. How did our own indigenous historians perceive and react to these dreadful acts of destruction, the very thought of which would make one shudder? What sort of understanding do they impart for the consumption of the youth of the present generation regarding the wholesale elimination of millions of Hindus and destruction of their properties? In the history text book for the 11th class titled ‘Medieval India’ written by an eminent historian Satish Chandra, for the N.C.E.R.T., a National Institute for educational training and research, two paragraphs were allotted to Timor at the end of the chapter relating to Delhi Sultans. The following is what he recorded therein: ‘Timor’s raid into India was a plundering raid, and its motive was to seize the wealth accumulated by the Sultans of Delhi over the last two hundred years. With the collapse of the Delhi Sultaniat, there was no one to meet this incursion. Timor’s army mercilessly sacked and plundered the various towns on the way to Delhi. Timor then entered Delhi and sacked it without mercy, large number of people, both Hindus and Muslims as well as women and children losing their lives.” “Timor’s invasion once again showed the danger of a weak Government in India.
It resulted in the drain of a large amount wealth, gold, silver, jewelry etc. from India. Timor also took with him a large number of Indian artisans such as masons, stone cutters, carpenters etc.. Some of them helped him in putting up many fine buildings in his capital Samarqand. But the direct political effect of Timor’s invasion of India was small.(p.73). This is the so-called history our Marxist historians who are being considered as eminent have been rubbing into our youngsters about the inordinate brutalities underwent by our fore-fathers at the hands of Timor the Mighty. Timor had not wavered in recording his objective for the invasion of Hindustan. This is what he told in unequivocal terms: ‘My object in the invasion of Hindustan is to lead an expedition against the infidels.....(so that) the army of Islam might gain something by plundering the wealth and valuables of the Hindus..... we may convert to the true path the people of that country and purify the land from the filth of infidelity and polytheism and that we may overthrow their temples and idols and become Ghazis and Mujahids before God’. (Tuzuk – i- Timori : Elliot and Dawson Vol. III p. 197) Timor had clearly indicated his motive for the invasion in his own words. But our eminent historians are emphatically telling us that Timor had no other intention than looting wealth. Perhaps Satish Chandra knew the intention of Timor better than Timor himself!
From every word Timor had spoken, every step he had taken, his strong inclination to Islamic psyche, his blatant hatred towards Hindus and Hinduism, his feverish eagerness to destroy idols and idol-worshippers, are abundantly evident and clear. But our historians having pseudo-secular masks see only the thug in Timor. Timor’s own testimony that he had the heads of ten thousands Hindus slashed away quickly in Bhatner Fort did not matter for them. They did not consider the massacre of a lakh of prisoners including women and children worthwhile mentioning in their history books. Though Timor himself declared that his orders in Loni for the Muslims to be segregated from the prisoners and Hindus should be consigned ! to the sword, though he declared in Delhi that in sacking the city, the dwellings of Muslims should be excluded, our eminent pseudo-secular scholars in their closed mind-set, did not have the frankness to concede that only the Hindus were massacred. They exhorted that along with the Hindus, many Muslims with their women and children lost their lives. They thus tried to create a false balance, perhaps to compromise with their pseudo-secular sentiment.
The pitiable situation of millions of the unfortunate, otherwise respectable and peaceful citizens of Delhi who were driven like cattle to Samarqand to live their entire life in ugly slavery under the curse of Turks did not attract the eyes of our secular professors. Only the artisans and masons that went with Timor to construct beautiful buildings in his capital caught their secular eyes. Are we to recognize and remember Timor, as projected by the modern eminent historians in their current history books, as one who came on expedition to India out of contempt for Delhi Sultans, looted their wealth, tortured both Hindus and Muslims equally and as a secular art-lover who had taken Indian artisans with honour for having beautiful buildings built in his capital? Or, should we think it futile to remember him and his deeds as again, as harangued on oath by the same expert historians that his invasion had little effect on the political life in India?
Posted by Ravi Mukkavilli at 10:23 PM 0 comments
Md. Ghazni’s patronage of Art.
- Translation of S.L. Sastry, New Delhi, from Yedi Charitra by M V R Sastry, Editor, Andhra Bhoomi.
“Has your son passed in his examination?”
“No. He is in the course of invasions like Mahamud Ghazni”
This has become a joke, often heard in Andhra Pradesh. The boy has failed in his examinations several times and we laugh away at the joke comparing it to Ghazni Mahamud’s invasions. An indelible mark of a stamp is left in our minds that Md. Ghazni was an obstinate warrior, though inefficient, who relentlessly persisted in renewed invasions seventeen times though defeated each time. We console ourselves that people are generally ignorant or indifferent about true history and tend to believe the floating hearsay – and leave it at that.
But, we have in our midst, those great intellectuals who had for years together churned, analysed and digested both World History and Indian History, explored and resolved historical mysteries and dispersed the wisdom they gained throughout the world. Can we say confidently whether those intellectual geniuses know much about the personality of Mahamud Ghazni?
Let us take for example what Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru had written in his magnum opus – ‘ Discovery of India’, a book written with a modern scientific outlook imaginations and innovations of likes and dislikes – a book that influenced generations thereafter. The following are the conclusions of Pundit Nehru, reputed to be the maker of modern India:
“Mahamud was far more a warrior than a man of faith and like many other conquerors he used and exploited the name of religion for his conquests. India was to him just a place from which he could carry off treasure and material to his homeland. Mahamud was anxious to make his own city of Ghazni rival to the great cities of central and western Asia and he carried off from India large numbers of artisans and master builders. Building interested him and he was much impressed by the city of Mathura. About this he wrote, ‘There are here a thousand edifices as firm as the faith of the faithful; nor is it likely that this city has attained its present condition but at the expense of many millions of Dinars, nor could such another be constructed under a period of 200 years. (The Discovery of India, page 235)
How would one make a mental picture of a person whom Pundit Nehru had so picturesquely described? It is but natural to think that Mahamud Ghazni, a patron of art, was deeply impressed by the beauty of the buildings in India and out of his immense love of art, had taken artisans and master builders with honour from India in order to have equally beautiful buildings in his capital. But what is the truth?
It is true that Mahamud was wonder-struck on seeing the magnificent temples of Mathura. It is also perfectly true that he appreciated them immensely. The book ‘Tarikh-Yemini’ written by Mahamud’s personal secretary Abunanar Muhammud Ibni Muhmud Al Jabbaral Utpi (shortly Utpi) bears testimony to this. Following is what Al Utpi had written about the temple town of Mathura:
“In the middle of the city there was a temple longer and firmer than the rest. The Sultan thus wrote respecting it. ‘If any should wish to construct a building equal to this, he would not be able to do it without expending an hundred thousand thousand red dinars and it would occupy two hundred years even though the most experienced and able workmen are employed.’”
Utpi’s book was the main source of all books written about Mahamud Ghazni. Nehru also might have heard about it. Nevertheless perhaps Punditjee thought it improper for him to mention that a Sultan appreciated a Hindu temple; and hence in keeping with his professed Secular profile, he avoided using the word ‘temples’ and mentioned simply that the Sultan appreciated the buildings of Mathura.
So far, so good. But there is only one flaw. Nehrujee did not bother to mention about what the art-loving Sultan with so much admiration for the beauty of the Mathura temples did thereafter. The worthy scholars who kept Pundit Nehru informed of what the Sultan said about the Mathura temples perhaps concealed from him the events that occurred later. It would have been proper for Pundit Nehru to have perused AL utpi’s writings before giving a glorious certificate about Mahamud’s love of art. Here is what Al Utpi had written in the very paragraph (containing Mahamud’s high praise of Mathura temples) about the respectful treatment he bestowed on them later:
“The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naphtha and fire and levelled to the ground.” (Tarikh Yemini, Elliot and Dawson, Vol. II, page 43)
Following is what Nizamuddin Ahmed wrote in his book Tabakat-I-Akbari:
“The king arrived in Mathura, which was a very large city full of magnificient temples. It is the birthplace of Krishna (or) Basudeo whom the Hindus venerate as the incarnation of God. When the Sultan reached the city no one came out to oppose him. The Sultan’s army plundered the whole city and set fire to the temples. They took up immense booty and by the Sultan’s order they broke up a golden image which was ninety eight thousand three hundred miskals in weight.” (Elliot & Dawson, Vol. II. P.460-61.)
Mahamud Ghazni invaded India seventeen times between 1000 and 1026 AD. It is not that he destroyed temples only in Mathura and quietly minded his business of loot. Right from national leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru to the so called eminent progressive Marxist red-spectacled historians like Romilla Thaper and Satish Chandra, an apparently unanimous national opinion has been formulated that Mahamud Ghazni was only a thug interested in loot of wealth keeping religion as a veil but had not much attachment or love for religious faiths. But his deeds and the writings of his contemporary and close associates clearly show that the unanimous opinion formulated by those eminent historians is far from truth. There was no question of any selective invasion so far as he was concerned. He looted, plundered and destroyed every village, every temple, and every idol on which he could lay his hand, without any discrimination. Similarly he slaughtered every kafir whom he came across whether a soldier or a civilian.
Here are a few instances of destruction, slaughtering and idol-breaking and other atrocities brought about on this country by Mahamud Ghazni which betray the claims of love of art and lack of affinity for religious faiths attributed to him by the eminent historians mentioned earlier. These are sample pieces extracted from the authentic book Tarikh Yemini of Al Utpi who recorded them after being personally an eye-witness:
a) After exterminating idol worship from Hind and raising mosques in their places, the Sultan invaded again (in 1013 AD) to punish the idol worshippers. ( Elliot and Dawson – Vol. II, page 37)
b) Sultan returned with wealth in abundance. The number of slaves he brought was so large that the rate for slaves had fallen in the market. Those who were men of honour and of noble descent were condemned to be slaves to ordinary shop owners. This is the goodness of the God. He showered honours on His own religion and trounced the unfaithful. (Page 39 ibid.)
c) The blood of the unfaithful had flown so vastly that the pure waters of the rivers changed to red colour. People were unable to drink that water. But for the interception of darkness, we would have slaughtered a good many more. This victory is due to the kindness bestowed on us by the God. (Page 40 ibid.)
d) There were ten thousand temples in Kanauj. Seeing the fate of the deaf and mute idols, which they worship with great devotion, the people of the town shivered with fear and ran away like destitute widows and orphans. Those who did not run away were killed. Sultan captured all the seven forts of the city on one and only one day. He permitted the soldiers to loot as much as they wished and capture slaves as many, as they could. (Page 46).
e) Sultan called the more religiously fanatic of his soldiers and bid them make a sudden surprise attack on the enemy immediately. In the surprise attack many of the unfaithful were killed. Many more were captured as slaves. The Muslims did not bother about loot and plunder of the city’s wealth until the unfaithful Sun-worshippers and Fire-worshippers were massacred to their satisfaction. (Page 49)
All these destructions and massacres do not match the devastation and carnage brought about at Somnath in the year 1024 AD. The very thought of the event that occurred in the unprecedented devastation and ghastly blood-bath in this sixteenth invasion of India makes one recoil with shock and creates a repulsive and vomiting sensation that even dampens hunger. The following is what is said about them: in Ibn Asir’s Kamila-I-Tawarikh which forms the basis for all books written later about the heroics of Mahamud Ghazni in Somnath temple.
“ Somnath is the greatest of all Hindu Gods. At least a lakh of devotees used to visit the temple and perform worship on the night of every eclipse. The devotees used to offer invaluable gifts in obeisance. The temple had an endowment of ten thousand villages. Heaps of gems and diamonds whose value none could assess were just lying there. There used to be a large river ‘Ganga” in Hind. Hindus believed that its waters were very pious. The distance between Somnath and that river was 300 parasangus (about 1000 miles). Water used to be brought from that distance daily with which the idol used to be washed. There were 300 barbers to shave the heads and beards of the pilgrims. Three hundred and fifty men and women used to dance and sing in praise of the God. Every one of them was paid fixed daily rated wages’.
‘As Mahamud went on rampage breaking idols one after another during the series of his victories, Hindus used to be under an apprehension and trepidation that Lord Somanatha was annoyed with those idols and that was why they were being broken. They used to say that nothing would have happened to them had the divine blessing of Lord Somanatha was with them. Mahamud therefore decided that he should break that supremely adored idol of Somanatha so that people would know that their prayers and beliefs were all ill founded and wasteful and would therefore embrace Islam by themselves. Praying the God to help him in this venture, he embarked on the expedition on an auspicious day from Ghazni with thirty thousand horsemen and a number of followers. (Elliot and Dawson, Vol. II, pages 468, 469.)
What happened next is described in the chapter ‘Where is that Mahamud?'
Posted by Ravi Mukkavilli at 10:21 PM 0 comments
Labels: Mahamud Ghazni
The Cermated History
- Translated by S.L. Sastry, New Delhi, from ‘Yedi Charitra’. in Telugu by M.V.R, Sastry, Editor, Andhra Bhoomi
“I have heard that the Turks have invaded your dominions, and have spread over Khurashan. If you desire it, I will join you with five thousand cavalry, ten thousand infantry and a hundred elephants; but if you prefer it, I will send my son with twice the number. In making this proposal, I do not wish to ingratiate myself with you. Though I have vanquished you, I do not desire that any one else but myself should obtain the ascendancy.”
This was a letter written by the then king Ananda Pal of Punjab to Sultan Mahamud of Ghazni. Sceptics need not doubt the authenticity of that letter and try to attribute it to some person of the Sangh Parivar or some anti-Sultan Indian. It was written by a contemporary of the Sultan, courtier closely associated with him, and a very respected Muslim historian, Al Beruni. Even then, it was not a casual statement made by him on some occasion. He had recorded it in his famous book Tarikh-e-Hind. Appreciating the noble qualities of the Hindu kings of those days, he incorporated that letter in his book, adding his admiration of king Ananda Pal’s magnanimity as under:
“The letter which Ananda Pal wrote to Amir Mahamud at the time enmity existed between them, is much to be admired.”
(Al Beruni – Elliot and Dawson, Vol. II, pages 12-13).
The above letter conveys unequivocally that a Hindu king named Ananda Pal defeated Mahamud Ghazni squarely in some battle. There need be no doubt about it as king Ananda Pal directly reminded the Sultan of his (the Sultan’s) defeat in his hands. Moreover, Al Beruni reacted to the king’s letter with admiration but did not come out with any accusation that the king was lying.
Well, then, which was the battle in which the Sultan was defeated and in which of the seventeen invasions? And in what year and in what place? Unfortunately there is absolutely no information about it in any of the books written by the foreign historians. The medieval Muslim historians who adorned the court of the Sultan unanimously wrote that Mahamud Ghazni achieved tremendous victories in all the seventeen invasions easily annihilating large Indian armies comprising thousands of soldiers, by virtue of the valour of his comparatively small force and by the will of the God, he destroyed the kafir beetles in the wild fire of Islamic fury. Our Indian historians blindly believed them and repeated their versions mechanically like parrots, albeit with a few changes here and there.
Any Indian with warm patriotic blood flowing through his veins is bound to regret that there was not one Indian king in this great country who arrested their invasions and taught them an unforgettable lesson. Those foreign gangsters and plunderers invaded this country repeatedly a number of times breaking idols regularly razing ancient pious temples like Somnath and Mathura to the ground, slaughtering men and women on their way, and transporting countless riches to their country! And when an undeniable proof had come to light, that one Hindu king squarely defeated and repelled the invader Ghazni Mahamud and was also so magnanimous as to offer help later when that very enemy was in trouble, was it not the responsibility of our national intellectuals to explore further into the matter and place the true history before the people of the country? Is it not their responsibility to investigate whether there were more such cases concealed from us?
The noted historian Kommaraju Laxmana Rao had brought this event to light even ninety years back. Stating that he found an authentic information that king Ananda Pal of Punjab had squarely defeated and humiliated Mahamud Ghazni, he quoted the above letter from Abu Rihan Al Beruni’s Tarikh-e-Hind and incorporated it in his book “Mahammadiya Mahayugam” (The Mohammedan Age) published in the year 1911 A.D..
The following is what Dr. Kommaraju Laxmana Rao had written. “All events relating Mahamud have been written according to the versions in English books. All those writers followed the writings of the Mohammedan historians. There is no denying that all their descriptions were biased. The Mohammedan historians did not write of any defeats faced by Mahamud in any of his seventeen invasions. This is amazing. As it is habitual for them to drop the defeats undergone by their heroes, we may safely surmise that he was defeated in the seventh, eighth and tenth invasions. He did not try to establish his reign in India although he made so many invasions. Hence we have to presume that he was not able to establish himself in India as he was beaten many times. The truth cannot be established unless a thorough and enduring research is made about it.”
At the time when Dr. Kommaraju had written those lines, Indian national movement was not in spate. There were no opportunities or resources for initiating independent research. Only those books which were sieved and covered by the British authors were available. In due course the National Movement gained strength and Independence was achieved. Millions of rupees were spent on establishing hefty Historical Research institutions. But Indian History remained where the British left it. Macaulay’s mind-children going by the name of secular and Marxist historians ruled the roost. Their ways are too well known. Even noted historians like Prof. R.C. Muzumdar who were generally known not to have fallen into the prison of ‘isms’ and were persons of national outlook, proceeded to write volumes of medieval history within the frame-work of the reels of records of the Mohammedan and western history writers. They did not make hard and sincere attempts at digging out parts of history buried by the westerners and bring back the pages purposely torn out of true Indian History.
The doubt expressed by Dr. Kommaraju Laxman Rao remained a question mark, and in course of time, that will also get slowly worn out and erased. In the present history books which are unfortunately categorised as authentic, one can find only the stories of invasions and victories of Ghaznis, Ghories, Sultans, Moghuls and other foreign kings but not a word can be found about the heroic struggles made and glorious victories achieved by the kings and men of this country in arresting foreign incursions and occupations even if one searches through a computer scanner.
What are the impressions we are given to after studying the histories written by our eminent historians? That we are ourselves responsible for our own sufferings and our country’s ignominy. The impression given is that our kings of those days were lecherous and inefficient stupids incapable of ruling the country who never bothered to know what was brewing around them, oblivious to the plans of the enemy and their strategies of attack and even impervious to ways and means of defence preparedness. That with innumerable internal squabbles and treacheries they remained selfish, quarreling with each other in order to keep their positions safe, but never bothered about safety of the country, and that they remained closed within their own spheres in their own routine, when the enemy kings were advancing into our country in waves one after another, but never thought of making strong and appropriate preparation to check the inflow. This is what one is given to understand by these eminent historians.
In fact, the kings of Hindustan did make serious efforts to face the foreigners’ challenges and did resist the aggressive alien forces heroically at every crucial stage. It is a different matter if their valour and heroism went waste due to bad luck, perfidious tricks of the enemy and unfavorable times. The first and foremost person to be reckoned in this regard is king Shahi Jaipal of Gandhara, the father of king Ananda Pal mentioned at the start of this chapter.
It is necessary to recall to mind the boundaries of India, a thousand years ago, in order to appreciate the significance and importance of Jaipal, the king of Gandhara. In those days the Hindu culture was at its height in the vast land presently consisting of independent kingdoms of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Hindustan and around. Afghanistan in those days was known as Upa-gana Sthanam. The Islamic hurricane commenced it’s devastating move in the year 650 AD, when the Muslim army set it’s foot in Seisthan in Iran. As Arabs, Persians, Turks and Afghans in large numbers took to Islam and expanded, in course of time the entire Seisthan of Persia and a good part of Afghanistan became part of Darul-Islam. The earlier Hindu culture was wiped out beyond recognition. After dismantling Zoroastrian religion from Iran and west Afghanistan and converting the persons there into Islam, the Islamic Jihadi sword started aiming at the frontiers of Bharat. Even by then, Harrit, a part of western Afghanistan which bore the name of Hari-Rudra and the province of Khandhar, a part of Gandhara of Mahabharata fame were already under the control of the slave king Sabaktazin who was ruling these provinces with Ghazni as his Capital. The present Kabul of east Aghanistan was then known as Kubha. Shahi Jaipal was its king with the territory of Kapila to the west of Hindukush and Punjab to the east also comprising his kingdom.
After occupying all other parts of Afghanistan, the bordering territories of Hindu Shahis caught the eye of Sabaktazin. He started plundering and looting the villages and parts of the bordering hills belonging to Shahis, now and then. This angered Shahi Jaipal, who waged a straightforward war on Sabaktazin with a strong army together with a force of dreadful elephants. A fierce war ensued at Langhus and Ghazni. The war went on for a number of days after which it transpired that the Hindu army was gaining the upper hand. When it became clear that he was losing, Sabaktazin resorted to an abominable trick, which was described by Al-Utpi in his book Tarikh-yemini as under:
“There is a large cliff a little above the field base in which the Hindu army was stationed. Pure crystal clear waterspout arose from a cleavage therein. The water is so clear and clean that not even a trace of a strand of fungus existed therein. If some faeces is thrown into it, immediately heavy black clouds would emerge and a terrific whirlwind would blow. The peaks of the hill blacken. Heavy rainfall with hailstorm follows. The hill would break up into big stones, which fall on those below and consume them in the form of death. That was the rumour. Ameer Sabaktazin took advantage of it and had a bucketful of night-soil thrown into that spout. Immediately portends of peril and devastation appeared. Chaos ruled Jaipal’s army. Black smoke that engulfed them made it impossible for them to open their eyes. Hailstorm with fierce wind was blowing at an unprecedented speed felling huge trees with it. Chaos ruled Jaipal’s army and a good number of lives were lost. The victuals and other logistic supports were totally destroyed. Seeing that he could fight no longer, Jaipal sued for peace. Sabaktazin agreed on the condition that a million Dinars, 50 elephants and certain strategic force be surrendered to him. Jaipal agreed to these conditions, but after going back to his capital refused to honour the treaty. Thereupon Sabaktazin went into a rage and waged a war, taking a large army with him in which he defeated Jaipal and occupied his territory up to Langhus. This was the absurd story of Al-Utpi.
What did the Hindu Shahi king Jaipal do then? Did he become chicken, thinking that he could not meet the Muslim aggression and withdrew from any action? Or did he console himself that the remaining part of his territory was enough for him? Did he appeal to Sabaktazin to let him live peacefully and bowed in complete surrender? No. With renewed zeal and doubled perseverance, he collected one lakh army. Without being indifferent, the neighbouring Hindu kings stood by Jaipal supplying him some of their armies. Even the medieval Muslim historian Firista had written that the kings of far off places like Dilhi, Ajmer and Kalajar showed unity and sent armies to Jaipal. It is certainly a matter of pride to the Hindu community that the kings of even those early days showed unity amongst them to counter the onslaughts of the Muslim invaders and plunderers. As the inimical Muslim Historians have themselves confirmed this, there can be no room for any doubt in this matter.
But it is the speciality with our indigenous historians to doubt matters where there would be no room for a doubt, if those matters were not tutored to them by foreigners. For example, the native historian P.C. Ganguly repeated Al-utpi’s story in his essay in part 5 (The Struggle for Empire) of the book “The history and culture of Indian people” edited by the well known historian R.C. Muzumdar and added a doubt as under:
“If Firista’s statement could be accepted as true, it would go a long way in absolving the Indian rulers of the charge commonly levelled against them that they couldn’t unite even in the face of common danger threatening the safety of their motherland. Unfortunately there are no independent testimonies corroborating Firista’s statement, and meagre as it is, it does not enable us to identify the rulers who joined Jaipal in defending their motherland against the onrush of Islam.”
(The Struggle for Empire, page 4)
This is perplexing. The Muzumdar school scholars implicitly believe the absurd cock and bull Arabian Night stories of Al-Utpi that by throwing faeces on a water spout the sky gets filled with black smoky clouds, hailstorms blow with unprecedented wrath felling trees, mountains break up and spill stones on the armies below, king Jaipal out of shear fright agreed to the conditions imposed by Sabaktazin but resiled later and was therefore beaten again. But they express a doubt about a statement of a foreign historian that other Hindu kings helped king Jaipal. Did they express a similar doubt about Utpi’s story although it is absurd and nonsensical on the very face of it? Neither Ganguly nor Muzumdar expressed that the stories of Utpi cannot be accepted as true unless an independent evidence is available that initially king Jaipal sued for peace, that he agreed to the conditions imposed by Sabaktazin but resiled therefrom later for which he was punished. When they did not doubt the stories of Utpi, which are clearly false what made them doubt Firista’s information that the other Hindu kings helped Jaipal? Is it not enough if a historian of the enemy certifies that certain Hindu kings helped king Jaipal? Is it necessary that their names, gothras, clans, addresses, or bio-datas be mentioned for them to believe it? ---- Exasperating!
The story ostensibly narrated in almost all history books of today is that king Jaipal did not gain by the help of the other Hindu kings if any, that he was defeated squarely in spite of carrying on a fierce fight as he was unable to appreciate the war strategies of Sabaktazin, that Sabaktazin occupied the Shahi territory from Langhus to Peshawar and that king Jaipal’s residual territory was limited to Punjab. Sabaktazin died a little later and his son Mahamud became the sultan of Ghazni and stared the series of invasions of India in 1000 AD. He initially captured a few Shahi fortresses around Peshawar and in the very next year waged a war on Jaipal with the support of 15000 cavalry. King Jaipal met him at Peshawar with a force of 300 elephants, 12000 cavalry and 30000 infantry. By the afternoon Mahamud killed 5000 soldiers and captured Jaipal and his sons and grandchildren as prisoners. He then proceeded to Upabhanda, the capital of Shahis, slaughtered the soldiers who resisted but released king Jaipal on the condition that he should pay two and a half Lakh Dinars and surrender 25 elephants. Jaipal’s son Ananda Pal later paid the ransom as per the treaty and also got the other relatives released. Though he returned safe, Jaipal could not withstand the ignominy of the series of defeats form the Musalmans and cremated himself alive setting fire with his own hand to the funeral pyre erected by him. Ananda pal who became the king of Punjab in his place was defeated by Mahamud in all battles.
This is the story we find in all history books. No one knows how far it is true. There is no independent evidence and the story is based solely on biased Muslim historians like Al-Utpi. Still even national gentlemen historians unattached to any ‘isms’ such as R.C.Muzumdar have accepted and published those Musalman historians’ tales in toto without expressing even an iota of doubt about them. Why did they not entertain a doubt about the veracity of the tragic end of Jaipal although they had all doubts about other Hindu kings helping him in war? How far are the statements of Utpi’s and Firista’s, that Mahamud with his small army and by the grace of Allah easily defeated and slaughtered the Hindu armies famed for their strength and valour, reliable, particularly when in the same breath they say that the Hindu armies surrounded them like rows of ants? Did Jaipal who on two earlier occasions lost to Sabaktazin and agreed to humiliating conditions of the treaty but returned without losing his valorous spirit, lose it by a single defeat from his son to the extent that he lost interest in life? When he was depicted as an immoral king who resiled from an agreed treaty how did he suddenly become so highly moralistic immediately after respecting the treaty in similar circumstances? Why did not the same ignominy and humiliation burn him out on similar early occasions? When such a dignified hero with self-respect chose to burn himself, why didn’t the other Hindu kings who rose to support him stop him? Why didn’t his son Ananda Pal prevent him pacifying him that he should not take to such recourse as he was defeated in the fight for his country which was his responsibility? If the story that Ananda Pal was defeated on every occasion is right, how is it that he wrote a letter to Mahamud as “I defeated and humiliated you earlier; I don’t want the others to have this honour. I’m therefore prepared to help you to fight the Turks invading your territory, in case you require it.?”
Can historians explain?
Posted by Ravi Mukkavilli at 10:17 PM 0 comments
Labels: Mahamud Ghazni
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Akbar, The Great, A Tyrannical Monarch
History of India has witnessed innumerable invasions by hoards of armed marauders coming in from the west, perhaps attracted to the riches and wealth India then possessed. Apart from looting of wealth and destruction of property, the 'aliens' who remained, who committed grave atrocities against the local populace, and themselves, wallowing in immoral and unethical behaviour; except for one, it is said, Akbar.
Akbar, the third generation Moghal emperor who lived from 1542-1605 A.D, has been extolled as the greatest of all Moghals, righteous in deed and noble in character. He is praised to be the only and truly secular Emperor of the times, very caring and protective of his subjects. However, assessment and analysis of contemporary notings expose this unjustified edification of Akbar and provides a remarkably different picture of Akbar's personality.
The following is not a comprehensive report on Akbar's reign, but an attempt to provide a summary to the reader, on the real nature of Akbar based on contemporary records. It is hoped that the reader will make a judgement on Akbar's "greatness" based on the information provided below.
Akbar's ancestors were barbarous and vicious, and so were his descendants like Aurangzeb and others' down the line. Akbar was born and brought up in a illiterate and foul atmosphere characterized by excessive drinking, womanizing and drug addiction. Vincent Smith in "Akbar - The Great Mogul" (p.294) writes, " Intemperance was the besetting sin of the Timuroid royal family, as it was of many other muslim ruling houses. Babur (was) an elegant toper ... Humayun made himself stupid with opium ... Akbar permitted himself the practices of both vices .. Akbar's two sons died in early manhood from chronic alcoholism, and their elder brother was saved from the same fate by a strong constitution, and not by virtue." With such an atmosphere to nourish Akbar's thoughts, it is rather unsual for Akbar to become "divine incarnate"!
Describing the demoniac pleasure which Babur used to derive by raising towers of heads of people he used to slaughter, Col. Tod writes that after defeating Rana Sanga at Fatehpur Sikri "triumphal pyriamids were raised of the heads of the slain, and on a hillock which overlooked the field of the battle, a tower of skulls was erected and the conquerer Babur assumed the title of Ghazi." (p.246). Akbar seems to have preserved this "great" legacy of erecting minarets as is obvious from the accounts of battles he fought.
Humayun, the son of Babar, was even more degenerate and cruel than his father. After repeated battles, Humayum captured his elder brother Kamran and subjected the latter to brutal torture. A detailed account is left by Humayun's servant Jauhar and is quoted by Smith (p.20), which says, " .. (Humayun) had little concerns for his brother's sufferings .. One of the men was sitting on Kamran's knees. He was pulled out of the tent and a lancet was thrust into his eyes .. Some lemon juice and salt was put into his eyes .. After sometime he was put on horseback." One can imagine the cruelty and torture that Humayun was capable of inflicting on others when he subjected to his own brother to such atrocities. Humayun was also a slave to opium habit, engaged in excessive alcohol consumption and a lecherous degenarate when it came to women (Shelat, p.27). He is also known to have married a 14 year old Hamida Begum by force. The cruelties perpetrated by of Akbar's descendants (Jehangir, Shahjahan, Aurangzeb, etc.) are not entirely different from those of his ancestors. Having brought up in the company and under the guidance of a lineage of drug addicts, drunkards and sadists, it is rather anamalous that Akbar held such a gentle and noble character. Even assuming that he fancied nobility, it is amazing that Akbar let his comtemporaries and Generals, like Peer Mohammad, loot and rape the helpless citizenry that he was ruling! It would however be interesting to observe the incidents in Akbar's reign and evaluate his character.
Akbar's (Immoral) Character and Nature
Akbar possessed a inordinate lust for women, just like his ancestors and predecessors. One of Akbar's motives during his wars of aggression against various rulers was to appropriate their women, daughters and sisters. The Rajput women of Chittor prefered "Jauhar" (immolation) than to be captured and disrespectfully treated as servants and prostitutes in Akbar's harem. On his licentous relations with women, Smith refers to a contemporary Jesuits testimony (p.81) thus, "... Akbar habitually drank hard. The good father had boldly dared to reprove the emperor sharply for his licentous relations with women. Akbar instead of resenting the priests audacity, blushingly excused himself." Both drinking and enganging in debauched sexual activities was inherited by Akbar from his ancestors.
Abul Fazl in Ain-i-Akbari (Blochmann,V.1,p.276), ".. His majesty has established a wine shop near the palace ... The prostitues of the realm collected at the shop could scarcely be counter, so large was their number .. The dancing girls used to be taken home by the courtiers. If any well known courtier wanted to have a virgin they should first have His Majesty's [Akbar's] permission. In the same way, boys prostituted themselves, and drunkeness and ignorance soon lead to bloodshed ... His Majesty [Akbar] himself called some of the prostitutes and asked them who had deprived them of their virginity?" This was the state of affairs during Akbar's rule, where alcoholism, sodomy, prostitution and murderous assaults were permitted by the king himself. The conditions of the civic life during Akbar's life is shocking!
Sodomy was a precious service of Akbar's own family. Babur, Akbar's grandfather, has given a lengthy description of this sodomic infatuation for a male sweetheart. Humayun was no different. Though perhaps Akbar did not engage in sodomy, he "allowed" it to be practiced by his servants, courtiers and sycophats. Abul Fazal in Ain-e-Akbari provides accounts of some such acts which are too disgusting to even mention. Such perverse gratification was prevelant during the Moghal rule, and in Akbar's times.
That Akbar remained monogamous throughout his life is indeed history falsified myth. Again quoting V.Smith (pp.47),".. Akbar, throughout his life, allowed himself ample latitude in the matter of wives and concubines!" and further, " Akbar had introduced a whole host of Hindu the daughters of eminent Hindu Rajah's into his harem." (pp.212). An account of how the Jaipur rulers were coerced into sending their daughters to the Mogul harem is found in Dr. Srivastava's book Akbar - The Mogul (Vol.1). Shelat notes (p.90)," (after the "Jauhar" that followed the killing of Rani Durgawati) the two women left alive, Kamalavati (sister of Rani Durgawati) and the daughter of the Raja of Purangad (daughter-in-law of the deceased queen) were sent to Agra to enter Akbar's harem." It should also be observed that adimittance into Akbar's harem was available mainly to virgins and others' were "disqualified". Inspite of such disgusting and lewd personal affairs, inducting women of abducted or killed Hindu warriors into his harem as slaves and prostitutes, it is bewildering that Akbar is hailed as a righteous and noble emperor.
The personality and nature of Akbar has been nicely summed up by the Editor of Father Monserrate's Commentarius. The editor's introduction states, "In the long line of Indian soverigns, the towering personalities of Ashoka and Akbar (because of his dread) stand high above the rest... Akbar's greed for conquest and glory and his lack of sincerity form a marked contrast to Ashoka's paternal rule, genuine self-control and spiritual ambition. Akbar's wars were those of a true descendent of Timur, and had all the gruesome associations which this fact implies."
"The old notion that Akbar's was a near approximation to Plato's philosopher king has been dissipated by modern resarches. His character with its mixture of ambition and cunning has now been laid bare. He has been rightly compared to a pike in a pond preying upon his weaker neighbours .. Akbar was unable to give up his polygamous habits, for no importance needs to be attached to the bazaar gossip of the time that he once intended to distribute his wives among his grandees."
Whole of India was reduced to a brothel during the Moghal rule and Akbar, one of the Emperors, is being glorified as one of the patrons of the vast brothel. The above instances may suffice to convince the impartial reader that Akbar's whole career was a saga of uninhibited licentiousness backed by the royal brute.
Glancing at the events in the reign of Akbar, it is a compelling deduction that he was no less cruel a tyrant than any of his ancestors. With his trecherous nature and the unlimited power than he wielded over a vast region qualifies him to be one of the foremost tyrants and sadists in India's history, or perhaps, even world history.
Vincent Smith (p.50) says that in a privately executing Kamran's son [namely, Akbar's own cousin] at Gwalior in 1565, ".. Akbar set an evil example, initiated on a large scale by his descendents Shahjahan and Aurangzeb." This does not cause a serious alarm knowing the percious heritage of duplicity and trechery handed down to Akbar by his ancestors. Generations of martial races (Rajputs) were cut off by his (Akbar) sword ... he was long ranked with Shahbuddin and Alla (Allauddin) and other instruments of destruction, and with every just claim; and like these he constructed a Mumbar (a pulpit for islamic preachers) for the Koran from the altar of Eklingji (the deity of the Rajput warriors)." (Todd, p.259) Not only that he forcibly annihilated innumerable humans, he also had no respect for temples and deities and willingly indulged in destruction of such places of worship.
That Akbar refused to strike a helpless and injured prisoner seems to be utterly false. At an tender age of 14, Akbar slashed the neck of his Hindu adversary Hemu brought before him unconcious and bleeding. After the fateful battle of Panipat, the unconcious Hemu was brought before Akbar who smote Hemu on his neck with his scimitar, and in Akbar's presence, the bystanders also plunged their swords into the bleeding corpse. Hemu's head was sent to Kabul and his trunk was gibbeted at one of the gates of Delhi. After victorious forces pushing south from Panipat after that great victory (at Panipat), writes Smith (pp.29), "marched straight into Delhi, which opened its gates to Akbar, who made his entry in state. Agra was also passed into his possession. In accordance with the ghastly custom of the times, a tower was built with the heads of the slain. Immense treasures were taken with the family of Hemu whose aged father was executed." This "tower of heads" tradition and ceremony was religuously preserved by the "magnanimous" Akbar.
After the capture of Chittor, says Smith (p.64), ".. Akbar exasperated by the obstinate resistance offered to his arms, treated the town and garrison with merciless severity. The 8000 strong Rajput garrison having been zealously helped during the seige by 40,000 peasants, the emperor ordered a general massacre which resulted in the death of of 30,000 (even thought the struggle was over). Many were made prisoners." Such terrible was his humanitarian outlook as towards his defeated adverseries. L.M. Shelat writes more on this incident that (pp.105), "neither the temples nor the towers escaped the vandalism of the invaders". There were events where intolerant Akbar ordered the excision of one man's tongue, trampling opponents to death by elephants and other private or informal executions and assacinations. After a victorious battle at Ahemadabad, in accordance with the gruesome custom at the times, a pyramid was built with the heads of the rebels, more than 2000 in number. At one time, enraged on seeing a hapless lamplighter coiled up near his couch, Akbar order that the servant be shreded into thousand pieces! What else can one expect the barbaric and unscrupulous Akbar?
Akbar's reign of horrid cruelties includes the following incident which must be considered the jewel in the crown of horrid pastimes. Vincent Smith writes (pp.56) "An extraordinary incident which occured in April while the royal camp was at Thanesar, the famous Hindu place of pilgrimage to the north of Delhi, throws a rather unpleasant light on Akbar's character... The Sanyasins assembled at the holy tank were divided into two parties, called the Kurs and Puris. The leader of the latter complained to the King that that the Kurs had unjustly occupied the accustomed sitting place of the Puris who were thus debarred from collecting the pilgrims' alms." They were asked to decide the issue by mortal combat. They were drawn up on either side with their arms drawn. In the fight that ensued the combatants used swords, bows, arrows and stones. "Akbar seeing that the Puris were outnumbered gave a signal to some of his savage followers to help the weaker party." In this fight between the two Hindu sanyasin sects Akbar saw to it that both were ultimately annihilated by his own fierce soilders. The chronicler unctuously adds that Akbar was highly delighted with this sport. How can an emperor, so noble and great, can have a sadist mind that relishes and obtains "delight" by ordaining and watching two Hindu sanyansin sects being slaughtered?
Killing and massacring others' was regarded as a pastime and diversion by a bereaved Akbar. The chronicler Ferishta notes (Briggs, p.171), "Prince Murad Mirza falling dangerously ill (May 1599) was buried at Shapoor. The corpse was afterwards removed to Agra, and laid by the side of Humayun, the prince's grandfather. The kings grief for the death of his son increased his desire for the conquering the Deccan, as a means of diverting the mind." Could there exist a more sinister kind of sadism?
Akbar's cruelty towards the Hindu women kidnapped and shut up in his harem were stagerring and his much vaunted marraiges said to have been contracted for communal integration and harmony were nothing but outrageous kidnappings brought about with the force of arms. This is apparent from Akbar's marriage to Raja Bharmal's daughter that occured at Deosa "when people Deosa and other places on Akbar's route fled away on his approach." (Shrivastava, pp.63). Why would the people flee in terror if at all Akbar was "visiting" Raja Bharmal and that the marraige was congenial and in consent with the bride's party? Far from abolishing the practice of Sati, Akbar invited the Jesuit priests to watch the "considerble fun" and supporting it by his weighty judgement and explicit approbation. (Monserrate's Commentary, pp.61).
Many more horried facts on Akbar's rule can be added. Even the infamous tax, which supposedly was abolished by Akbar, was continually being collected in Akbar's reign. A number of persons were secretly executed on Akbar's orders and a list of such people is provided by Vincent Smith. Akbar's reign was nothing but terror, torture and tyranny for his subjects and courtiers as is obvious from the quoted events. There are numerous other occasions and recorded events from Akbar's life that personifies him as a devil incarnate, contrary to what has been propagated.
Akbar was born a muslim, lived like a muslim and died as a muslim; that too a very fanatic one. Histories have dubbed him as a true believer who accomplished a synthesis of the best principles of all religions. The infamous Jiziya tax, which is special tax exaction from the Hindus, was never abolished by Akbar. Time and time again different people had approached seeking exemption from Jiziya. Everytime the exemption was ostensibly issued, but never was actually implemented. Throughout Akbar's reign, temples used to razed to the ground or misappropriated as mosques and cows were slaughtered in them, as happened in the battle at Nagarkot. No symbol of Hindu origin and design was spared from the iconoclastic wrath of Akbar.
Xavier, a Jesuit in Akbar's court, gives a typical instance of Akbar's perfidy in making people drink water in which his feet had been washed. Xavier writes, says Smith (p.189), Akbar posed " as a Prophet, wishing it to be understood that he works miracles through healing the sick by means of the water in which he washed the feet." Badauni says that this [the above] special type of humiliation was reserved by Akbar only for Hindus. Says Badayuni, "... if other than Hindus came, and wished to become disciples at any sacrifice, His Majesty reproved them." Where was his broadminded and tolerant nature then?
Yet another Xavier's letter (MacLagan, p.57 and Du Jarric, p.90) states, "The Christian fathers got little opportunity of holding religious discussions with Akbar or influencing him in favour of Christianity ...Akbar silenced Xavier by telling him that the freedom accorded to him in preaching his religion was itself a great service." Akbar was not at all a tolerant of other religious faiths.
Akbar had filled both his hands with 50 gold coins when Badayuni expressed his strong desire to take part in a "holy war" (massacring Hindus) and "dye these black moustachois and beard in (hindu) blood through loyalty to Your Majesty's person" (sic). Akbar far from dispproving of Badayuni's despicable desire, gladly presented him with a decent premium.
The Hindus were treated as thirdclass citizens in Akbar's reign is evident from the Ain-i-Akbari. Abul Fazal writes, "... he [Husayn Khan, Akbar's governer at Lahore] ordered the Hindus as unbelievers to wear a patch (Tukra) near the shoulders, and thus got the nick name of Tukriya (patcher)." (Bochmann., p.403) The patch was obviously to mark the "unbelievers" out as pariahs for providing special degrading treatment.
The holy Hindu cities of Prayag and Banaras, writes Vincent Smith (p.58), were plundered by Akbar because their residents were rash enough to close their gates! No wonder Prayag of today has no ancient monuments -- whatever remain are a rubble! It is rather obvious that Akbar had no respect and reverance for cities considered holy by Hindus, let alone esteem for human life and property. Also, it is evident from this instance that Akbar's subjects were horrified and scared upon the arrival of their king into their city. If at all Akbar was so magnanimous, why then did not the people come forward and greet him?
Monserrate, a contemporary of Akbar, writes (p.27), "the religious zeal of the Musalmans has destroyed all the idol temples which used to be numerous. In place of Hindu temples, countless tombs and little shrines of wicked and worthless Musalmans have been erected in which these men are worshipped with vain superstition as though they were saints." Not only did the muslims destroy the idols, but usurped the existing temples and converted them into tombs of insignificant people.
Akbar has neither any love or compassion for Hindus as is apparent from the above examples. Hindus were openly despised and contemptously treated under Akbar's fanatical rule as under any other rule. Akbar was only one of the many links of the despotic and cruel Moghal rule in India, and enforced the tradition of his forefathers with sincerity and equal ruthlessness.
Akbar's (mal) Administration
Akbar was so penurious and retentive of money that .." he considered himself to be heir of all his subjects, and ruthlessly seized the property of every deceased whose family had to make a fresh start ... Akbar was a hard headed man of business, not a sentimental philanthropist, and his whole policy was directed principally to the aquisition of power and riches. All the arrangements about Jagirs, branding (horses) etc., were devised for the one purpose namely, the enhancement of the power, glory and riches of the crown." (Smith, p.263). The latter statement indicates what a marvellous and altruist administrator Akbar was!
Akbar's lawless and rapacious rule also led to horrible famines -- Delhi was devastated and the mortality was enormous. Gujrat, one of the richest provinces in India, suffered severly for 6 months in 1573-74. Smith writes, "The famine which began in 1595 and lasted three or four years until 1598 equalled in its horrors the accession year and excelled the visitation by reason of its longer duration. Inundation and epidemics occasionally marred Akbar's reign." And Akbar is said to have done nothing to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses, instead accumulated all the wealth he had amassed into forts and palaces.
Refering to the Gujarat famine, Dr. Shrivastava (p.169) writes, "... the famine was not caused by drought or the failure of seasonal rains, but was due to the destruction wrought by prolonged wars and rebellions, constant marching and counter-marching of troops, and killing men on a large scale, and the breakdown of admnistrative machinary and the economic system ... The mortality rate was so high that on an average 100 cart-loads of dead bodies were taken out for burial in the city of Ahemadabad alone .."
Smith asserts that epidemics and inundiation often marred Akbar's reign, and at the time of such distress, writes Badayuni (Blochmann, p.391), parents were allowed to sell their children. Utter lawlessness and stately permissions to carry out immoral activities seem to the norm during Akbar's reign. Deadly pestilence and frightful famine appeared on the scene from time to time and lasted for years together, due to Akbar's callous and inadequate administrative capacities.
Noble in character that Akbar was that his generals and courtiers, even including his son Jehangir, revolted against him. Interminable wars and unending rebellions were continuing somewhere or the other in his so-called peaceful reign. Dr. Shrivastava nicely summarizes (p.381) , "The vast empire hardly ever enjoyed complete immunity from some kind of disturbance and rebellion. Some chief or the other taking advantage of slackness of administration, lack of vigillance ... or the occurance of a natural calamity raised its head in revolt. It is tedious to recount cases of civil disturbance.". On an occasion of an accident, rumours spread about the seriousness of the injury and possibly the death of Akbar which caused revolts and rebellions in distant parts of the country, and many paraganas were plundered by turbulent people!
Had Akbar been do generous as he is often made out to be and his reign so just and kind, peace and contentment should have prevailed during his lifetime and upon his death, the subjects should have looked upon his children with devotion love and respect. However, due to nature of Akbar's rapacious rule, everyone from princes to paupers wished to overthrow Akbar.
The (usurped) Buildings
With constant famines, wars and revolts occuring the Akbar's era, where then did he get the time and money to construct buildings of magnificence and grandeur, like the Fort at Agra ? Akbar is said to have built several forts and palaces and founded many townships. However, as seen earlier, Akbar simply renamed pre-existing townships of Hindu origin and claimed to have been built by himself.
One such unfortunate township is that of Fatehpur Sikri. It has a massive defensive wall around it, enclosing redstone gateways and a majestic palace complex, explicitly in the Rajput style. It is the creation of these buildings and gateways that are accredited to Akbar. Fatehpur Sikri (or Fatehpur/Sikri) was an ancient independent principality before its occupation by the muslims. Testifying to this Todd says (p.240), " [Rana Sangram Singh] came to the Mewar throne in 1509 A.D. Eighty thousand horses, seven Rajas of the highest rank, nine Raos and 104 cheiftains, bearing the titles of Rawal and Rawut with 500 elephants follwed him into the field (against Babur). The princess of Marwar and Amber did him homage, and the Raos of Gwalior, Ajmer, *Sikri* ... served him as tributaries .." The above passage makes it clear that even during the reign of Akbar's grandfather Babur, Sikri was ruled by a "Rao", who owed allegiance to Rana Sangram Singh of Mewar. Another reference to Fatehpur Sikri is of the year 1405 (150 years before Akbar) when Ikbal Khan was killed and his head was sent to Fatehpur (E&D, p.40). Also it is stated (E&D, p.44) that Khizr Khan (the founder of Sayyad dynasty, 1500 A.D.) remained in *Fatehpur* and did not go to Delhi. Even Babur has stated that Agra and *Sikri* housed several palaces equally magnificent (E&D, p.223). These 15th century references will, for now, suffice to prove the existence of Fatehpur Sikri before even Akbar was born, and that the beautiful buildings were not built by Akbar.
The Red Fort of Agra, also originally of Rajput design and construction, was usurped by Akbar. However, an account says that Akbar demolished the fort in 1565, apparently for no reason, and constructed another in its place. Surprisingly, in 1566, Adham Khan was punished by being thrown down from the second storey of the royal apartments inside the fort! Keene (Handbook for Visitor's to Agra and Its Neighbourhood) quotes this rumour and casts a very pertinent doubt that is the fort was demolished in 1565, how is it possible for Akbar to stay there in 1566 and a man was flung down from the second story? Keene adds that even the foundation of the extensive fort could not have been complete within three years. Neither did Akbar demolish the fort, nor did he rebuild an entire structure. He simply comandeered the fort from its original inhabitants, and claimed to have been built by him.
Similarly, the palaces and mansions in Ajmer, Allahabad, Manoharpur and other townships were simply usurped by Akbar. He never ordered engineers and architects to build to build magnificent buildings. Testifying to this, Monserrate in his Commentarius (p.16) remarks, ".. musalmans whose nature is indeed that of barbarians, take no interest in such things (erecting massive and ornate buildings and townships). Their chronicles being scanty and unreliable and full of old wives tales..." The fraudulent claims that Akbar designed and built these monuments are fabricated stories written by muslim chroniclers toadying for Akbar's favours.
Akbar's life has been full of acts of cruelties, barbaric behaviour, lust for women and wine. Considering the background in which Akbar was brought up and the environment in which he lived, it was indeed a surprise that he would develop qualities of compassion and love. Even assuming that such miracles can occur, unfortunately, Akbar's reign and state of administration contradict such an assumption and one is compelled to conclude that Akbar was no better a monarch than his forefathers. Apparently from what was described above, Akbar has been given unecessary credit of being tolerant, secular and an altruist king. His sycophantic courtiers, including the court chroniclers, alloted to him all the praises he desired. Upon some inspection, the nine-gem story of Akbar's court becomes a sheer invention of court flatterers, who sought Akbar's favour for self-aggrandizement. Akbar's recalcitrance and callousless in the matters of caring for his subjects and domain, led to untold misery in the form of famines and pestilence. Wars, revolts and rebellions constantly erupted concluding is mass mayhem and killings. There was no tranquility nor peace in Akbar's reign, let alone material and spiritual prosperity. That an avaricious miser Akbar was, it is rather unbelievable for him to have spent on creating expensive buildings and mansions. He was no better than other muslim monarchs, constantly on the prey to usurp power and pelf by whatever means they could. Morality and humanitarian principles took a back seat to self aggrandizement and lechery. Even after exercising numerous abductions, kidnappings, murders Akbar have been refered to as noble, compassionate and great. Even though religious fanatism never decreased in his reign, nay, was sponsored by Akbar himself, he has been termed as a secular, broadminded person. Such blunders of a serious magnitude have been committed by historians reconstructing and writing accounts on Indian history.
It may be worthwhile to research and present the "true" story of Akbar exposing to the world the true nature of Akbar and his personality. The Moghal rule in India was indeed very ruthless and full of difficult times for the people and the country; truly a "dark" age.
Smith, V., "Akbar, The Great Mogul," 2nd Edition, S.Chand and Co., Delhi, 1958.
Todd, James.,"Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan," 2 volumes, Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd., London, 1957.
Shelat J.M, "Akbar," Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, 1964, Bombay.
Blochmann, H., "Ain-e-Akbari," translation of Abul Fazal's Persian text, 2nd Edition, Bibliotheca Indica Series, published by the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal.
Briggs, John, "History of Mahomedan Power in India (till the year 1612 A.D)," Vol.2, Translated from the original Persian of Mahomad bin Ferishta, S. Dey Publication, Calcutta, 1966.
Shrivastava, A.L., "Akbar the Great," Vol.1, Shiv Lal Agarwal and Co., Agra.
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