rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » Of Mughals, Taj Mahal and 'traitors'

Of Mughals, Taj Mahal and 'traitors'

October 20, 2017 12:25 IST

The British were in India for over 300 years, but they never became Indians.
The East India Company sent all its loot back to London and the British empire continued that tradition.
On the contrary, the Mughals did not send a single rupee outside India.
So by what yardstick does one call them traitors, asks A Ganesh Nadar.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

Babur was an invader and an outsider, but his successors were Indian.

Almost all of them were born in India and died here.

 

Unlike the Britishers who dipped a sponge in the Ganga and squeezed it into the Thames, the Mughals never spirited anything out of India.

If the Mughals collected taxes in India, they spent it here.

The Taj Mahal is considered one of the seven wonders of the world. We are all proud of it.

This week, a BJP MLA in Uttar Pradesh declared that 'traitors' built the Taj Mahal, but the same 'traitors' built the Red Fort and the supreme leader of your party has had no problem addressing the nation from its ramparts on Independence Day three years running.

Shah Jahan built some of the finest buildings known to mankind in India.

He gave India one of the seven wonders of the world.

What did he do that makes him a 'traitor'?

He built this country much like the rest of his dynasty. The Mughals were by and large benevolent rulers, as all rulers were.

Aurangzeb was an aberration, and under his rule the Mughals reached both their zenith and their nadir.

If Akbar consolidated Mughal rule in India with his inclusiveness of all religions in his court, Shah Jahan built on this legacy.

Wikipedia says only the first two Mughal emperors were fully Central Asian.

The other Mughal emperors were of predominantly Rajput and Persian ancestry. The dynasty was Indo-Persian in culture, combining Persian culture with Indian cultural influences visible in its customs.

The British were here for over 300 years, but they never became Indians.

The East India Company sent all its loot back to London and the British empire continued that sordid mercantile tradition.

On the contrary, the Mughals did not send a single rupee outside India. So by what right does one call them 'traitors'?

Merely because you deny the sun, it will not stop rising every day.

Just because you decide that the Taj Mahal will no longer exist in your tourist guides or in your history books, you won't change reality.

People will continue to consider the Taj Mahal one of the seven wonders of the world and they will continue to travel to Agra to wonder about its beauty.

If you have a problem with the Taj Mahal, why don't you build something more beautiful?

I am reminded of some Hindutva supporters who complained to me that Christian missionaries were converting leprosy patients who were admitted to a leprosy hospice in Tamil Nadu.

I visited the hospice and saw young women washing the wounds of leprosy patients who had been abandoned by their children. None of the patients had converted to Christianity.

I came back and told my Hindutva informers, 'Why don't you start a leprosy home and look after all the Hindu patients? I would love to see you giving them a bath.'

This is the same advice I would give those who call Shah Jahan a 'traitor'. Why don't you build something comparable to the Taj Mahal?

If you can do that, I will applaud you from the rooftops, but I still won't agree with you that Shah Jahan was a 'traitor' or for that matter that any of the Mughals were 'traitors'.

In school we learnt that Ashoka was great and so was Akbar. We will pass that information on to our children and grandchildren.

To those who say they are a party with a difference, I ask: Does the difference mean that men like Pehlu Khan will be lynched in states that your party rules?

That mixed faith couples will be assaulted and hounded in states that your party governs?

That the government will outlaw our currency in a few hours?

Promise us one nation one tax, but still retain VAT, entertainment tax, cess and cess on cess?

Introspect about who causes such harm to the Indian people. You don't need me to tell you who they are.

A Ganesh Nadar / Rediff.com