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Aurangzeb Gave More Grants For Hindu Temples Than Mosques by RKB

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🌹Writing in February of 1659 Emperor Aurangzeb said he had learned that “several people have, out of spite and rancour, harassed the Hindu residents of Benares and nearby places, including a group of Brahmins who are in charge of ancient temples there.”
🌹The Emperor then ordered his officials: “You must see that nobody unlawfully disturbs the Brahmins or other Hindus of that region, so that they might remain in their traditional place and pray for the continuance of the Empire.”
🌹Agreed this order was passed because this was one of the richest and largest revenue generating areas of the Empire; but the point is Aurangzeb did issue such a firman
🌹Emperor Aurangzeb actually built Hindu temples
🌹The temples built by him at Chitrakoot still stand
🌹Aurangzeb also bestowed lavish grants and revenue of whole villages for Hindu temples
🌹He also demolished Hindu temples
🌹Well he also demolished mosques and dargahs

♦️Aurangzeb became Emperor after killing his three brothers and imprisoning his father Shah Jahan; however he did not change the Mughal policy for increasing Hindu/Non-Sunni/non-Muslim participation in Mughal administration despite repeated and sometimes passionate protestations from the ulema!
🌹And even more shocking Aurangzeb in his reign (the longest for any Mughal Emperor) gave more grants, subsidies and whole villages to Hindu temples than to mosques
🌹Did Aurangzeb demolish temples? Of course he did
🌹Did he demolish mosques and dargahs? Yes he did
🌹Did Aurangzeb give lavish gifts from the treasury for upkeep and construction of Hindu temples? Yes he did
🌹Was he essentially anti-Hindu? Nothing could be farther from the truth
🌹Under Emperor Akbar, Hindus constituted 22.5% of all Mughal nobles. In the first twenty years of Aurangzeb’s rule this remained at a steady 21.6%. Between 1679-1707 Aurangzeb increased Hindu participation at the elite levels of the Mughal state by nearly 50%, with Hindus occupying 31.6% of the nobility.
🌹This ‘Hindu’ section included large number of Rajputs, Marathas as well as other caste and sectarian groups. Not only were they appointed within the administration, but they were also given high mansabs.
🌹Marathas like Kanhoji Deccani and Yashwant Rao enjoyed a mansab of 5000 and 4000 respectively. Later when Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s son Shahu ji was imprisoned by the Mughals, he was given a mansab of 7000.
🌹Rajputs from different clans also enjoyed high mansabs. The likes of Jaswant Singh of Marwar and Jai Singh of Amber enjoyed mansabs of 7000 while Raj Singh of Mewar had a rank of 6000.
🌹Even the Iranis despite mainly belonging to Shia sect did well under Aurangzeb. Between 1658-1678, 23 Iranis held the rank of 5000 and above. Though between 1678-1709, their number had come down to 14 Iranis enjoying a rank of 5000 and above, only 6 Turanis held a similar rank in this period.
🌹Aurangzeb’s completely secular attitude to administration becomes evident from his reply to a petition drafted by a Muslim from Bukhara who had entered Mughal service. He had requested the withdrawal of Persians from high positions as they were Shias and not Sunni. To this Aurangzeb’s reply was that “religion should be kept away from worldly affairs and administration should be vested in men of ability irrespective of their religious affiliations”
🌹And this is the man projected as an object of hatred by Hindu hagiographers and Hindutva historians
🌹In Akbar’s time, the theologian Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi complained that “the Hindus are demolishing mosques and are building their own places of worship in their stead”.
🌹Emperor Shah Jahan is also on record having seized seven mosques “from their unlawful proprietors” who had “violently seized and appropriated them for their own use in Punjab”.
🌹Aurangzeb refers to one of his two Rajput nobles with the highest mansab of 7000 given to any noble – Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur – who had in around 1658-59 “destroyed mosques and built idol-temples in their stead”. Yet, the two worked together for the next 20-odd years until Raja Jaswant Singh’s death in 1679.
🌹In matters of state craft Aurangzeb did not depart from established Mughal practices and if the views of the ulema were clashing with his views of statecraft, the ulema always got the worst of it.
🌹Similarly, Aurangzeb like his predecessors liked interacting with learned divines of various denominations.
🌹He was known for having discourses with the Bairagi saint Mangaldas Maharaj whom he also gave large grants and his visiting of the tombs of famous Sufi saints is also well known.
🌹In 1686-87 on way to annexing the Golconda state, Aurangzeb spent a week in the mausoleum of the famous Sufi saint Gesu Daraz.
🌹Even in his patronage, Aurangzeb was fairly balanced and did what was politically expedient. Aurangzeb renewed the land grants of several temples at Mathura, Allahabad, Brindavan and elsewhere.
🌹In 1687, the emperor gave land to Ramjivan Gosain to build houses for ‘pious Brahmins and fakirs’.
🌹In 1691, he conferred eight villages and substantial tax-free land to support the Balaji temple.
🌹In 1698, he granted land to a Brahmin named Rang Bhatt in Khandesh.
🌹Aurangzeb enacted similar policies towards the Jains as well granting land at Shatrunjaya, Girnar and Mount Abu in the late 1650s.
🌹In 1681, he donated land for a Jain monastery to a Jain monk named Lal Vijay. As late as 1703, he issued orders to stop people from harassing the Jain religious leader Jina Chandra Suri.
🌹He also gave lavish gifts to the Sikh gurudwara at Dehradun.
🌹Once, when Aurangzeb arrived at Chitrakoot, he ordered his army to destroy all the temples at Matiah, Gander and every statue and Math early next morning.
🌹However, when his forces commenced their task, the men began crying with unbearable pain in their stomachs. They started falling one by one and all became unconscious.
🌹All efforts to cure the soldiers proved futile and Aurangzeb, or so the story goes, became even more nervous. Finally a local lad plucked up the courage to call out to the Shahenshah. Nobody can cure these sick men, except our temple priest, Sant Baba Balik Dasji.”
🌹Aurangzeb had no choice but to beg the Baba to save his enfeebled army, promising not to destroy any temple at all, if his men were cured.
🌹Baba revived the unconscious army with his herbal medicine, which greatly impressed Aurangzeb.
🌹He ordered his men to build a grand temple then and there. He also conferred 330 bighas of precious and fertile land with seven villages and one rupee daily from the state treasury for the maintenance of the temple.
🌹These villages are Hamutha, Chitrakoot, Rodra, Sarya, Madri, Jarva and Dohariya in Allahabad district, UP.
🌹Aurangzeb wanted the Baba to teach his Court physicians how to brew the medicine that cured his soldiers
🌹It is said the Baba smiled and laughed “the medicine works in Chitrakoot only”
🌹Writing in February of 1659 Aurangzeb said he had learned that “several people have, out of spite and rancour, harassed the Hindu residents of Benares and nearby places, including a group of Brahmins who are in charge of ancient temples there.”
🌹The Emperor then ordered his officials: “You must see that nobody unlawfully disturbs the Brahmins or other Hindus of that region, so that they might remain in their traditional place and pray for the continuance of the Empire.”
🌹1687, the emperor gave some empty land on a ghat in Benares (which was, incidentally, near a mosque) to Ramjivan Gosain in order to build houses for “pious Brahmins and holy faqirs.”
🌹In 1691 Aurangzeb conferred eight villages and a sizable chunk of tax-free land on Mahant Balak Das Nirvani of Chitrakoot to support the Balaji Temple.
🌹In 1698 he gifted rent-free land to a Brahmin named Rang Bhatt, son of Nek Bhatt, in eastern Khandesh in central India.
🌹The list goes on and includes temples and individuals in Allahabad, Vrindavan, Bihar, and elsewhere.
🌹Aurangzeb enacted similarly favourable policies towards Jain religious institutions. Again following Akbar’s example, Aurangzeb granted land at Shatrunjaya, Girnar, and Mount Abu—all Jain pilgrimage destinations in Gujarat—to specific Jain communities in the late 1650s. He gave Lal Vijay, a Jain monk, a monastery (poshala), probably sometime before 1681, and granted relief for a resting house (upashraya) in 1679.
🌹As late as 1703, Aurangzeb issued orders prohibiting people from harassing Jina Chandra Suri, a Jain religious leader. Given such actions, it is unsurprising that we find laudatory descriptions of the emperor in vernacular Jain works of this period, such as, “Aurangzeb Shah is a brave and powerful king” (mardano aur mahabali aurangasahi naranda)
🌹Aurangzeb carried on the traditions of his forefathers in granting favours to Hindu religious communities, a continuity underscored by his dealings with the Jangam, a Shaivite group.
🌹The Jangam benefited from Mughal orders beginning under Akbar, who confirmed their legal rights to land in 1564.
🌹The same Jangam received several farmans from Aurangzeb that restored land that had been unfairly confiscated (1667), protected them from a disruptive local Muslim (1672), and returned illegally charged rent (1674).
🌹So what kind of Emperor was he? Did he destroy Hindu temples? Of course he did!
🌹Did he have the 9th Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur beheaded at Chandni Chowk after having his companions killed in a most barbaric fashion? Of course he did!
🌹Did he give grants to Hindu temples and actually had Hindu temples built ? Yes he did!
🌹So was Aurangzeb Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vajpayee, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, JFK, Martin Luther King Jr, Pope Paul the Second? No he wasn’t
🌹He wasn’t Santa Claus distributing gifts at Christmas
🌹He was the 4th in the line of Chagatai Turkish speaking warrior emperors who traced their bloodline to Timur through Babar’s mother
🌹Aurangzeb lived and ruled in brutal times where the first sign of weakness would have seen his head on a stake like Dara Shukoh’s to be displayed at Delhi’s Chandni Chowk
🌹Aurangzeb has to be analysed, not judged, in the context of the time he ruled India; not by what we expect to be civilised, lawful and just behaviour with respect for what goes for human rights in contemporaneous times!