When a British were formulation Lutyen’s Delhi, a final famous descendants of Mughal dynasty were possibly resting in their graves or pulling rickshaws in a streets of Calcutta.
After a unsuccessful mutiny of 1857 and a successive genocide of Bahadur Shah Zafar, some of them were executed by a British. Those who survived, left from Delhi to live in shade and penury, mostly out of fear of being held and killed.
Zafar’s final famous relative, his good grandson Prince Mirza Bedar Bukht, died in 1980. His mother and 6 children live off a insignificant grant in a slums of Howrah. Their predecessors Jamshid Bakht and Jawan Bakht didn’t do spectacularly good either; their biggest feat being a successful transition from Lal Quila to a streets of Calcutta.
Between 1911 and 1931, when a British designed and inaugurated New Delhi, they were apparently not underneath vigour from members of a Mughal dynasty to honour their ancestors. Neither was there any vigour to strike some opportunistic fondness with a absolute family and a supporters.
Yet, a British named a roads and parks of a new city after rulers from a Mughal dynasty. What was a reason? It is transparent from a names the British chose for roads, lanes, squares and gardens, they wanted a new city to simulate a story of Delhi. The names were an paper to a several rulers who contributed to Delhi’s history, geography, art and culture. So, though removing into a politics, segment and sacrament of a rulers, a British chose Lodis, Tughlaqs, Mughals, and Hindus; Mongols, Pashtuns, Pathans and Rajputs — almost everybody from a story — to give temperament to Delhi’s landmarks.
That a British chose though differentiating between segment and sacrament becomes clear when we round India Gate. Roads named after Prithviraj Chouhan, Ashoka, Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan and Sher Shah combine into an extraordinary kaleidoscope of centuries of history.
The British were clearly broadminded in their approach. Though they had no adore mislaid for a Mughals — don’t forget they probably finished a dynasty; killed Zafar’s son, banished him to Burma and fought sour wars with Aurangzeb that roughly gathering them out of India — they did not let politics come in a approach of a devise for a new capital.
Those who are overjoyed that Aurangzeb has now been transposed by APJ Abdul Kalam on one of New Delhi’s categorical roads have, obviously, missed a point: New Delhi’s embankment was desirous by history, not politics and bigotry.
If a arguments that have been put brazen to urge a renaming of Aurangzeb Road — “bad Muslim, bigot, destroyer of temples”— turn a basement for revisiting a roads, cities and monuments, zero would sojourn sacrosanct.
Lodi Garden — Did Ibrahim Lodi not repudiate a good Hindu ruler Rana Sanga a bench of Delhi even after being degraded during a Battle of Khatoli (1517)? Tughlaq Road — Did Ulugh Juna Khan (Muhammed bin Tughlaq) not destroy Hindu kingdoms and, like Aurangzeb, not kill his father Ghiyasuddin to adopt a throne? Did he not lift taxes by Tughlaqi firmans to levels so high that people revolted? Did he not, as his justice historian Ziauddin Barni wrote, govern Hindus, Muslims, Shias, Sufis, poets, heretics, rivals with proud cruelty?
And a Taj Mahal, a relic that defines India? Is it not a pitch of rapist wastage of income collected by unreasonable taxes? Does it not remind us of a apocryphal tales of Shah Jahan’s vicious acts of blinding a architects, chopping off a hands of a artisans of a masons and designers?
Oh yes, Aurangzeb had demolished several temples. But, would historians of a after age review Rajasthan’s arch apportion Vasundhara Raje with a Mughal ruler since of her ongoing scuffle with a RSS, that recently close down Jaipur to criticism dispersion of temples by her supervision for a metro rail project?
Frankly, it is unfit to pass a visualisation on Aurangzeb. He was not a passing materialisation tangible by a singular event. He lived and done Indian story for scarcely 70 years — first as Shah Jahan’s son and his viceroy in a Deccan and afterwards as India’s ruler.
He could have been a extremist who penalised Hindus, broken temples, put restrictions on Diwali celebrations, buried idols of deities underneath stairs so that he could travel over them, re-imposed jaziya, speedy acclimatisation by provocation and enforced Sharia on a majority. He might have been intensely vicious and ruthlessly desirous for murdering his siblings, imprisoning his father and sister and executing Guru Teghbahadur and Shivaji’s son Shambhaji.
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There might also be some consequence in a opposite arguments: that he financed temples, was physical in his early years though incited to Islam after for domestic reasons; that he detained his father to stop him from commanding some-more taxes to financial a reproduction of Taj Mahal done of black marble as his (Shah Jahan’s mausoleum). That he killed to conceal rivals, not since of his eremite beliefs; and broken temples possibly for dark treasures or to daunt their use for formulation rebellion.
Well-known academician Harbans Mukhia argues, story has undergone unusual shift and post-Independence there have been attempts to demeanour during it in terms of several invariables, of that eremite temperament was usually one. In this departure, a idea of class–and conflicts arsing in multitude on comment of it–played a poignant role.
History is complex, and so are those who figure it. One man’s left-wing can always be other person’s Alamgir. Aurangzeb Road could only have been a section in history, a sign of a complexities; instead of being incited into a pitch of a right-wing’s enterprise to pass narrow-minded judgments on those who done it by a prism of religion.
In 2002, during a revisit to Berlin, we was astounded by a steer of a badly-damaged ‘Hollow Tooth’— a Kaiser Wilhelm commemorative church during Kurfurstendamm. The church was broken in British atmosphere raids in 1943. But, a Germans refused to correct it in annoy of rebuilding whole Berlin. They defended a shop-worn spire of a church as a sign of Germany’s past and a horrors of a fight unleashed by Hitler.
If zero else, Aurangzeb Road could have been India’s Hollow Tooth. It would have reminded many who expostulate by Delhi’s roads of a perils of a supervision desirous by cruel ambition, violence, bigotry and a community agenda.