How great were Mughals?

I have lot of doubts on accuracy of history, of India, about all kings – about all kingdoms! Something does not seem right to me, except British Raj! During their time they had press running in the country, which made things bit transparent. Apart from that there were other secret publications run by freedom fighters. With all these records we have a clear idea of bloodthirsty rulers of British East India.

History of Older kingdoms, on the other hand, was mostly based on travelogues of a few visitors and other delicate records. Travellers certainly had the pleasure of King’s hospitality, then, would definitely write something neat on him. Stone encryptions, again, are commissioned by royals. There are also palm leaf scriptures (in Pali, Sanskrit etc) which were written by the elite (educated) crowd of King’s court. Obviously, their education (and living) was funded by king himself. Now why wouldn’t we expect plain old asslicking praise on king and his kingdom? If these go on making history, how accurate is our history?

Talking about history and its accuracy, I would like mention about a post I came across on desicritics by beingCynical. It was about Aurangzeb and his misdeeds, especially his intolerance. This post presents a beautiful argument on this Mughal emperor, and claims that history is inaccurate about his rule. I am pasting a Para from that post:

What drives us to be so judgemental and conclusive without knowing the facts? Is it the bad and wrong history that been taught via the millions of government supplied history books, where truth is far fetched as history is fabricated to support someones ego and wants? The fact is good history is rarely about good guys and bad guys but unfortunately we follow this simplistic logic while going over our history, resulting in putting on a perception pair of glasses while engrossing it. I believe that history should be presented as it is, no biasing, no fabrication or no forced conclusion and the readers should be left to decide the good or the bad for themselves. I was sure that our text books are being pathetically modified, God knows for what and whom, so I always had a fascination for all those controversial & bad characters or so being pictured in books.

This part is 100% true; we certainly have omitted a large portion of history for our convenience (or likings). It could be due to several reasons, most probably to make our history look good, simple “tidy up”.

Anyways, my claim here is that our kings were not great, tolerant and merciful, leave alone Aurangzeb. I feel, being ruthless is natural for a king and it could be easily anticipated in a kingdom which is external to the society with a background of different culture, religion and ideology. Ruthlessness comes in package with power.

Let’s just have a look around to see what power has done to the present world, which talks about peace and stuff…

Burma keeps democratically elected victor in house arrest for decades. China repeatedly violates human rights and this doesn’t reach rest of the world. Few countries in Middle East ignore everything about women rights. African countries prioritise religious rules over hunger and decease. Let’s go backwards, there were Pol Pots and Hitlers who killed millions, for their beliefs. Before that, Roman church (as a state) killed many for not agreeing with them. There were crusaders Salahdeens, Gengis Khans and Huns. Persian kings were Gods and they wanted whole (known world) to bow to their king. There were Aryan tribes where tribal leader Indra was their God. I can go on and on…

Our guys were butchers too, it’s not registered in history properly, that’s all; say Asokas, Kaniska, Guptas etc. Were they good rulers, impartial, respecting human rights and tolerant? History books say they all were fantastic rulers. They laid roads, built schools, eased taxes etc etc endless songs. Text books are all in praises for all the rulers of India except couple of names here and there. This doesn’t make any sense to me, when the whole worlds have fought each other like barbarians, how can Indian rulers possibly be that great?

Among all these examples let’s pick something in the middle, not too old or new. Mughals! How great were Mughals? Mughal era is sandwiched between British Raj and few invaders from Afghanistan. British raj was notorious for taking the wealth out, and same were Afghani invaders, Ghori and Ghazni repeatedly attacked Indian places of worship and looted wealth away. They had power to do so and had no moral and religious obligation to hold back. Now, did Mughals do it? They did not have anything in common with India religion, culture and language plus they had army to loot. Still, nothing is registered in our history, why? It does not sound logical. Overriding someone’s culture with their own has ranged between Aryans till British, why do our Mughals  stand out?

To point out some of their larger than life qualities…

Tolerance: This looks almost impossible. Tolerance can be achieved in a society only if everyone (Rulers/subjects minority/majority) belongs to same group, Look at India, Pakistan and Srilanka for nearest examples, Are we tolerant?. Religious tolerance is not something a 15th century emperor can achieve when still holocausts run in the 20th. Rulers simply can’t resist it, to let live other tribe peacefully. But we have convinced ourselves that somehow a whole batch of emperors were tolerant. Is it not a valid argument that, this part of the history was not written, or erased deliberately?

Human rights: Indian history does not talk about this anyway, about any kingdoms as a matter of fact. I would like to see history registering all the details, along with laid roads and built schools and stuff. It should also describe burnt widows, killed witches, married infants, erased a tribes. History conveniently omits all these details and still sings “the most merciful”. We are talking about these emperors who cut the hands of thousands of workers who built Taj Mahal, just to make sure that they don’t build another of this kind. What is so merciful about this?

Do you want to know about mercifulness of Kings? Watch Caligula, you will see how pervert Cesar (entire society in fact) was. Read Fairy tale Arabian nights, where every night the Caliph executes his newlywed wife (of that day) for not satisfying him with a story. Apparently this is children’s book, on morals! Coming to the point, yes this is how kings behave.

On women rights: If this statistics make any sense to you, India has one of the biggest honour killing states till date. Its mainly happens in five to six major states where major kingdoms ruled, just extrapolate these numbers to get a picture of those days. One more fact I read, we had notorious zenana system running in Mughal kingdoms, where dozens of wives won in a battle were “stored” like cattle.. There were eunuchs guarding these rooms so that “queens” can’t do anything even if they get human urges.

Our history text books don’t talk about any of these, just because they look bad on our “glorious” past? How can history be “history”, if they talk only half truth? I hope one day a serious unbiased research will be done on Indian history to provide us with complete picture on our Shahenshahs.[tweetmeme]

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