Was Mughal Rule really the period of India’s Slavery?

Ram Puniyani
September 30, 2020

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When James Mill periodized the Indian History into Hindu Period, Muslim Period and British period, he not only gave the tool to British to pursue their policy of ‘divide and rule’, he also gave the potent weapon to the future pursuers of communal politics to intensify the divisive policies in the future. The Muslim communalists later claimed that India was ruled by Muslims and Hindu communalists claimed that Muslims are foreigners and this has been the land of Hindus from times immemorial.

One was reminded of the deep penetration of this communal view of History when, Yogi Aditaynath, the CM of Uttar Pradesh announced that the upcoming Mughal Museum in Agra to be recast as Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum. As per him such a historical museum is a reflection of subservient mentality and the symbol of ‘mentality of slavery’. The Mughal Museum’s foundation was laid by Akhilesh Yadav, the earlier Chief Minister of UP. The Museum was to come up near TajMahal in Agra and was to show the cultural aspects and armaments of Mughal kings. The aim was to give a boost to tourism industry in UP.

Same Taj is downgraded now by the Hindu communalists. One P.N.Oak has been trying to propagate that it was Tajomahlaya, Shiv Tample, which was converted into Mausoleum by Shahjahan. The fact as recorded by Tavernier, a French Jeweller his travelogues tell us that Shahjahan built it in memory of his wife Mumtaj Mahal. The same is also inferred from the account books of Shahjahan’s Court, which give a details break of regular expenses for the construction of this tomb. The land was acquired from Raja Jaisingh with due compensation.

As Yogi came to power he omitted Taj from the places of importance in UP. His recent utterances that remembering Mughals is symbol of slave mentality are in tune with the communal ideology which regards Islam as alien religion and Muslims as foreigners. As such we see that Indian History has been looked up in three particular ways. One was the Gandhi-Nehru, Indian nationalist interpretation where India is a place of rich diversity. The Muslim kings who ruled parts of India ruled here and lived here as the part of the land. Most of the Muslim kings respected the diverse religious tradition prevailing here.

Mahatma Gandhi points out, “the Hindus flourished under Moslem sovereigns and Moslems under the Hindu. Each party recognized that mutual fighting was suicidal and that neither party would abandon its religion by force of arms. Both parties, therefore, decided to live in peace. With the English advent quarrels recommenced.”

Similarly Jawaharlal Nehru in his book Discovery of India shows the thick interaction between Hindus and Muslims leading to what he famously termed as ‘Ganga Jamani Tehjeeb’, the beautiful portrayal of this is seen in the serial Shyam Benegals’ ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’.

Does this period, in which some parts of the country were ruled by Muslim Kings, (not only Mughals, there were the ones’ from others dynasties also Ghulam, Khaljis, Gazanavid’s. and in South Bahamanis, Haider and Tipu) are a period of slavery? While some kings like Mahmud Gazanavi, Mohammad Ghori, Ghengis Khan did plunder for wealth, the kings who ruled here became the part of this land. They presided over a system of exploitation, like any other king, in which the producer was the farmer. This was true of any king, anywhere for that matter.

This period in no way can be called a period of slavery of the country. Country’s slavery begins with the British, who ruled here and plundered our wealth and implemented the policy of super exploitation of peasantry. Shashi Tharoor has done a good job (An Era of Darkness) in showing as to how India contributed nearly 23% of global GDP and British brought it down to mere 3% by the time they left. On the plus side of British rule was that while social structure did not change in pre British period, during British rule social changes towards democratic society did start taking place with the introduction of railways, communication, modern education, modern Judiciary etc.   

The communalists, Muslim and Hindus take off from the British in interpreting the History as a fight between Hindus and Muslims, and twisting it in a way where their own selves are shown to be the real owners of the land and also victims of the other community. The British plunder and impositions are hidden under the carpet in their scheme of understanding.

At yet another level Ambedkar sees the Indian History primarily as the clash between the values of equality of Buddhism against the caste and gender hierarchy inherent in Brahmanism.

All Hindus kings were not great and all Muslims kings were not villains. Akbar and Dara Shukoh stand out as upholders of diversity, picking up from other religions, while Shivaji ensured that the taxation on poor peasants is curtailed.

As such the real heroes of Independent India are those who contributed to building of Modern India. The three major streams of this are Gandhi, who united the country in the bond of anti colonial struggle, Ambedkar who endeavoured for social equality and democratic rights, and Bhagat Singh who stood for for the cause of poor while giving fighting against British rule in India. It is these values which should inspire the modern India and not the values of Kings, which are essentially based on social inequality and taxation of peasants. All the positive developments strengthening pluralism and diversity with equality are the principles and values we need to look up to in times to come.

Mughal museum was just a small attempt to uphold the cultural background of our lived past and in no way symbol of subservience or of slave mentality. Unfortunately we are living in times where full attempts are going on to erase the symbols; like this upcoming Museum along with changing the names of cities (Allahabad, Faiazabad, Mughal Sarai), the Muslim contribution to Indian culture.

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News Network
October 17,2020

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Bengaluru, Oct 17: For the sixth time, the government of Karnataka has fixed rates for covid testing. The rates include the cost of PPE kits.

Sample collection and transportation of government and private samples to the testing lab can be charged not more than Rs 400. The RTPCR test for samples referred by government hospital to private labs should cost Rs 800. RTPCR test for privately given samples to private labs when samples are given at labs will cost Rs 1,200.

The RTPCR test for privately given samples to private labs when the samples are collected by the labs at home should be charged Rs 1,600. TrueNAT test for privately given samples at private labs will cost Rs. 2,200. TrueNAT test for privately given samples to private labs when the samples are collected by the labs at home will cost Rs 2,600.

CB-NAAT test for privately given samples at private labs will cost Rs. 3,800. CBNAAT test for privately given samples to private labs when these samples are collected by the labs at home will cost Rs 4,200. Rapid Antibody Test/ELISA for privately given samples at private labs will cost Rs 500. Rapid Antigen Test for privately given samples at private labs will cost Rs 700.

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News Network
October 19,2020

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New Delhi, Oct 19: A decision on Haj 2021 will be taken after the Saudi Arabian government's final call on the pilgrimage and the national as well as international Covid-19 guidelines will have to be kept in mind to ensure the well-being of the pilgrims, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Monday.

While chairing a Haj review meeting here, Naqvi said Haj 2021 is scheduled for June-July and the Haj Committee of India as well as other Indian agencies will formally announce the application process and other related preparations for the pilgrimage after a decision is taken by the Saudi Arabian government.

He said the final decision regarding Haj 2021 will be taken in due course, keeping in view the necessary guidelines to be issued by the governments of Saudi Arabia and India in view of the coronavirus pandemic to ensure the health and well-being of people.

The entire Haj process might witness a significant change in view of the guidelines, including those related to the accommodation, transport, health and other facilities both in India and Saudi Arabia, Naqvi said.

He said the health and well-being of the pilgrims is of utmost priority for the government in the wake of the pandemic.

The Indian agencies will ensure the necessary arrangements in this regard and the government as well as the Haj committee have started the preparations to ensure a good health and well-being of the pilgrims, the minister said.

Due to a 100-per cent digitisation of the Haj process in India, Rs 2,100 crore have been returned through the direct bank transfer (DBT) mode, without any deduction, to 1,23,000 people after the cancellation of Haj 2020 due to the pandemic, Naqvi said.

The Saudi Arabian government has also returned about Rs 100 crore for transportation, he added.

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October 20,2020

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Bengaluru, Oct 20: Karnataka's Transport Department has made helmets mandatory for all people riding on the two-wheelers and imposed a three-month suspension of driving license for non-compliance.

"As per new directives, helmets are mandatory for all two-wheeler riders who are over four years of age. State govt has imposed a 3-month suspension of driving license along with a penalty in case of violation," said State Department of Transport, Karnataka.

The state transport department has also issued a directive to strictly enforce the old rules for the safety of the riders.

As per the rule, Under the Central Motor Vehicle Act, motorcycle riders must wear a helmet. As per the Karnataka Motor Vehicle Rule, all bikers in the state wearing helmets are mandatory.

This new order comes after the Supreme Court's direction to the state's Road Safety Committee to strictly enforce the mandatory helmet-wearing rule for all persons traveling on two-wheelers in the state.

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