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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Mughal Emperors and Homosexuality-Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb (1658 - 1707) H.M. Al-Sultan al-'Azam wal Khaqan al-Mukarram, Abu'l-Muzaffar Muhi ud-din Muhammad Aurangzeb Bahadur 'Alamgir Padshah Ghazi [Khuld Makan], Emperor of India.  Aurangzeb, Emperor Shah Jahan's sixth son, was born on 24th October 1618 at Dohad in Madhya Pradesh, and wrested India's crown from his father before the end of June 1658, after defeating his brother Prince Dara Shukoh's armies, first at Dharmat near Ujjain (15th April 1568) and the second, led by Dara himself, at Samugarh on 29th May 1658. The War of Succession to the richest throne in the world was practically over with this victory, and Aurangzeb secured his position by making Murad, his brother and accomplice in his impetuous pursuit for power, his prisoner, by treachery, on 25th June. He had already made his old father Emperor Shah Jahan a prisoner in the Agra Fort (8th June 1658).

Shah Jahan survived his confinement by nearly eight years and the disgraceful manner of his burial  will ever remain a stigma on this unscrupulous son Aurangzeb's advent to the throne in his father's life time was not welcomed by the people of India, because of the treacherous manner it was achieved; but public opinion became all the more hostile towards him when Prince Dara Shukoh, the favourite son of Shah Jahan, the translator of the Upanishads, and a truly liberal and enlightened Musalman, was taken prisoner on the Indian border, as he was going to Persia. Dara was paraded in a most undignified manner on the streets of Delhi on 29th August 1659. The French Doctor, Bernier, was an eye-witness to the scene and was deeply moved by the popular sympathy for Dara which so much alarmed Aurangzeb that he contrived to have a decree from his Clerics announcing death-sentence for his elder brother on the charge of apostasy.

Throughout the War of Succession, Aurangzeb had maintained that he was not interested in acquiring the throne and that his only object was to ward off the threat to Islam, which was inevitable in case Dara Shukoh came to power. Many, including his brother Murad, were deceived by this posture. After his formal accession in Delhi (5th June 1659) he posed as a defender of Islam who would rule according to the directions of the Shariat, and with the advice of the Clerics or Ulama for whom the doctrines, rules, principles and directives, as laid down and interpreted in the 7th and 8th century Arabia, Persia and Iraq, were inviolable and unchangeable in all conditions, in all countries, and for all times to come. 

In fact, Aurangzeb suffered from Paranoia, a psychiatric disease in which a person imagines himself to be an all-time great man and further trusts nobody.  One of the reasons for  the ruin of the Mughal Empire after his death was his mistrust of his own sons as well as his coutiers.  He trusted no body.  Psychotherapists say that one suffers from Paranoia when one represses his homosexual instincts.  Since homosexuality, dancing, music, drinking, etc. are banned in Islam.  He also banned people from indulging in such gaities.  However, his nobles continued to keep slaves, turn them into eunuchs and indulge in homosexuality.

As part of this paranoia, one of the main objectives of Aurangzeb's policy was to demolish Hindu temples. When he ordered (13th October 1666) removal of the carved railing, which Prince Dara Shukoh had presented to Keshava Rai temple at Mathura, he had observed 'In the religion of the Musalmans it is improper even to look at a temple', and that it was totally unbecoming of a Muslim to act like Dara Shukoh. This was followed by destruction of the famous Kalka temple in Delhi.

In 1669, shortly after the death of Mirza Raja Jai Singh of Amber, a general order was issued (9th April 1669) for the demolition of temples and established schools of the Hindus throughout the empire and banning public worship . Soon after this the great temple of Keshava Rai was destroyed (Jan.-Feb. 1670)  and in its place a lofty mosque was erected. The idols, the author of Maasir-i-Alamgiri informs, were carried to Agra and buried under the steps of the mosque built by Begum Sahiba in order to be continually trodden upon, and the name of Mathura was changed to Islamabad. This was followed by Aurangzeb's order to demolish the highly venerated temple of Vishwanath at Banaras , Keshava Rai temple (Jan.-Feb. 1670) , and of Somanatha .To save the idol of Shri Nathji from being desecrated, the Gosain carried it to Rajputana, where Maharana Raj Singh received it formally at Sihad village, assuring the priest that Aurangzeb would have to trample over
the bodies of one lakh of his brave Rajputs, before he could even touch the idol.

Aurangzeb's zeal for temple destruction became much more intense during war conditions. The opportunity to earn religious merit by demolishing hundreds of temples soon came to him in 1679 when, after the death of Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur in the Kabul Subah, he tried to eliminate the Rathors of Marwar as a political power in Rajputana. But Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar, in line with the great traditions of his House, came out in open support of the Rathors.. This led to war with both Mewar and Marwar during which the temples built on the bank of Rana's lake were destroyed by his orders and also about three hundred other temples in the environs of Udaipur, including the famous Jagannath Rai temple built at a great cost in front of the Maharana's palace which was bravely defended by a handful of Rajputs.

Not only this, when Aurangzeb visited Chittor to have a view of the famous fort, he ordered the demolition of 63 temples there which included some of the finest temples of Kumbha's time. From Marwar (in Western Rajasthan) alone were brought several cart-loads of idols which, as per Aurangzeb's orders, were cast in the yard of the Court and under the steps of Jama Masjid. Such uncivilized and arrogant conduct of the Mughal Emperor alienated Hindus for ever, though they continued to be tolerant towards his creed.

In June 1681, orders, in a laconic two-liner, were given for the demolition of the highly venerated Jagannath Temple in Orissa. Shortly afterwards, in September 1682, the famous Bindu-Madhav temple in Banaras was also demolished as per the Emperor's orders. On 1st September 1681, while proceeding to the Deccan, where his rebel son Prince Akbar, escorted by Durga Das Rathore, had joined Chhatrapati Shivaji's son, Shambhaji, thus creating a serious problem for him, Aurangzeb ordered that all the temples on the way should be destroyed. It was a comprehensive order not distinguishing between old and newly built temples . But in the district of Burhanpur, where there were a large number of temples with their doors closed, he preferred to keep them as such, as the Muslims were too few in number in the district. In his religious frenzy, even temples of the loyal and friendly Amber state were not spared, such as the famous temple of Jagdish at Goner near Amber.
In fact, his misguided ardour for temple destruction did not abate almost up to the end of his life, for as late as 1st January 1705 we find him ordering that the temple of Pandharpur be demolished and the butchers of the camp be sent to slaughter cows in the temple precincts (Akhbarat 49-7).

The number of such ruthless acts of Aurangzeb make a long list but here only a few have been mentioned, supported by evidence, mostly contemporary official records of Aurangzeb's period and by such credible Persian sources as Maasir-i-Alamgiri.

In obedience to the Quranic injunction, he reimposed Jizyah on the Hindus on 2nd April 1679 , which had been abolished by Emperor Akbar in 1564, causing widespread anger and resentment among the Hindus of the country. A massive peaceful demonstration against this tax in Delhi, was ruthlessly crushed. This hated tax involved heavy economic burden on the vast number of the poor Hindus and caused humiliation to each and every Hindu . In the same vein, were his discriminatory measures against Hindus in the form of exemption of the Muslims from the taxes  ban on atishbazi and restriction on Diwali , replacement of Hindu officials by Muslims so that the Emperor's prayers for the welfare of Muslims and glory of Islam, which were proving ineffective, be answered . He also imposed a ban on ziyarat and gathering of the Hindus at religious shrines, such as of Shitla Mata and folk Gods like Pir Pabu , another ban on their travelling in Palkis, or riding
elephants and Arab-Iraqi horses, as Hindus should not carry themselves with the same dignity as the Muslims!  In the same vein came brazen attempts to convert Hindus by inducement, coercion  or by offering Qanungoship  and to honour the converts in the open Court. His personal directions were that a Hindu male be given Rs.4 and a Hindu female Rs.2 on conversion. “Go on giving them”, Aurangzeb had ordered when it was reported to him that the Faujdar of Bithur, Shaikh Abdul Momin, had converted 150 Hindus and had given them naqd (cash) and saropas (dresses of honour).  Such display of Islamic orthodoxy by the State under Aurangzeb gave strength and purpose to the resistance movements such as of the Marathas, the Jats, the Bundelas and the Sikhs.

On the 12th May 1666, the dignity with which Shivaji carried himself in the Mughal court and defied the Emperor's authority, won him spontaneous admiration of the masses. Parkaldas, an official of Amber (Jaipur State) wrote in his letter dated 29th May 1666, to his Diwan. “Now that after coming to the Emperor's presence Shivaji has shown such audacity and returned harsh and strong replies, the public extols him for his bravery all the more …” . When Shivaji passed away on April 1680 at the age of 53 only, he had already carved a sufficiently large kingdom, his Swarajya, both along the western coast and some important areas in the east as well.

Aurangzeb could never pardon himself for his Intelligence in letting him escape from his well laid trap and wrote in his Will  that it made him 'to labour hard (against the Marathas) to the end of my life (as a result of it)”. He did not realize that it was his own doing: the extremely cruel manner 'even for those times - in which he put to death Shivaji' son, Shambhaji  made the Maratha king a martyr in the eyes of the masses and with that commenced the People' War in Maharashtra and the Deccan which dug the grave of the Mughal empire.

Till the very end Aurangzeb never understood that the main pillars of the government are the affection and support of the people and not mere compliance of the religious directives originating from a foreign land in the seventh-eighth centuries.

His death after a long and ruinous reign lasting half a century, ended an eventful epoch in the history of India. He left behind a crumbling empire, a corrupt and inefficient administration, a demoralized army, a discredited government facing public bankruptcy and alienated subjects.

He married only three times.  His first marriage took place at Agra on 19th May 1637 with Nawab Dilrus Banu Rabia-i-Durani Begum Sahiba , elder daughter of Shahzada Badi uz-Zaman Mirza, Shah Nawaz Khan, of the Safawi dynasty of Persia. She died at the Alamgiri Mahal, Aurangabad, 18th October 1657 and was  buried there. Second time, he married on  26th December 1638, Nawab Bai Begum Sahiba alias Rahmat un-nisa Raj Mahal Sahiba ), née Rajkumari Anuradha Bai Sahiba [Kalimat un-nisa Khanum], given a false sayyidi pedigree to flatter her son, daughter of the Raja Chatar Shena [Taj ud-din Khan], Raja of Rajauri, in Kashmir. She was born at Rajauri, Kashmir in 1620 and died at Delhi in October/November 1691. The third time he married Nawab Sadr un-nisa Begum Sahiba, previously Fatima Begum, widow of Nawab Fakhir Khan Bahadur Najm-i-Sani, sometime Mir Tuzuk (Master of Ceremonies), and daughter of Mirza Bahman Yar I‘tiqad Khan, sometime Mir Bakhshi
and cdr. of 5,000 zat and 1,000 sowar.

He also kept the following concubines as detailed below:
1. Dilaram , a former slave girl. m.
2. Udaipuri Mahal Sahiba , née Udaipuri Bai, probably the daughter of a Sisodia thakur from Jodhpur, or a Kashmiri girl originally from the harem of Prince Dara Shikoh.
3. Aurangabadi Mahal Sahiba
4. Chhatter Bai, a former slave girl, given to Mir Khalil, in exchange for Zainabadi Mahal.
5. Zainabadi Mahal Sahiba, née Hira Bai, a former slave girl in the household of Mir Khalil, husband of Aurangzeb’s maternal aunt.
6. Daulatabadi Mahal Sahiba.

He died from a severe fever, near Ahmadnagar, 3rd March 1707 and was buried in the courtyard of the Shaikh Zain ul-Haq Muqbara, Khuldabad, near Daulatabad, having had issue, six sons and several daughters, including:
1) Shahzada Mahmud Mirza. 
2) Shahzada Muhammad Sultan Mirza. b. near Mathura, 29th December 1639 n.s. (s/o Nawab Bai). Appointed as Heir Apparent by his father-in-law Sultan 'Abdu'llah Qutb Shah, King of Golconda-Hyderabad, April 1656. Appointed as C-in-C and Principal Counsellor to his father-in-law, Shah Shuja, 1659. Rejoined his father on 20th February 1660, and imprisoned at Salimgarh 8th May 1660. Imprisoned at the Fort of Gwalior on the orders of his father from 14th January 1661 to December 1672.  He died in confinement, at Salimgarh Prison, Delhi on 14th December 1676  and buried at Qutb Shah, Delhi). 3) Sultan Muhammad Mu'azzam Mirza, Shah-i-'Alam, who succeeded as H.M. Sahib-i-Qiran-i-Mu'azzam Shah 'Alamgir Sani Abu'n Nasir Sayyid Qutb ud-din 'Abdu'l-Muzaffar Muhammad Mu'azzam Shah 'Alam Bahadur Shah I Padshah Ghazi, Emperor of India (s/o Nawab Bai) 
4) Sultan Muhammad 'Azam Tara Mirza, Shah-i-'Ali Jah, who succeeded as H.M. Padshah-i-Mamalik Abu'l Faiz Qutb ud-din Muhammad 'Azam Shah-i-'Ali Jah Ghazi, Emperor of India (s/o Dilrus Banu Begum). 
5) Sultan Muhammad Akbar Mirza who was born at the Alamgiri Mahal, Aurangabad on 21st September 1657 (s/o Dilrus Banu Begum). Subadar of Multan 1676-1679, Cdr. of the advance division in the Rajput War 1679, Cdr. of an Army corps 1680-1681. Rebelled against his father and crowned himself Emperor on 12th January 1681. Defeated and fled, first to the Maratha country and then into exile in Persia. He died at Farah/Garmsir, Persia on 22nd March 1706 and was buried at Mashhad.
6) Sultan Muhammad Kam Bakhsh Bahadur. He was  at Delhi on  6th March 1667 n.s. (s/o Udaipuri Mahal). Confined by his father for misconduct, from December 1698 to June 1699. Subadar of Bijapur at Hyderabad 16th February 1707-1709. Rebelled against his brother and assumed the style of Padshah Muhammad Kam Bakhsh-i-Dinpanah in April/May 1707. Defeated near Hyderabad on 13th January 1709. He died of wounds at the battle at Hyderabad on 14th January 1709 and was buried at Mausoleum of Emperor Humayun, Nizampur, Delhi.