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Who was Akbar: Tyrant or benevolent?

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Suman Gupta – Mumbai Uncensored, 1st March 2022

All around the internet or major books or everywhere we read about the greatness of Akbar, how he has been bestowed with titles and awarded by a majority for being one of the greatest of all time. But little do we know about the reality that has been barred and subsided by the exaggerated historiography of Akbar. 

The nature of his rule, his war tactics and his values stand questionable when we read the history of Akbar in-depth without being blinded or influenced by stories rather than sticking to the actual facts. 

Here we are going to read about the actions that Akbar took which completely dismiss the idea of greatness rather it sheds light on the cruel and vindictive nature of the same.

Battle of Panipat 1556:

The early years of Akbar’s rule were marked with extreme violence and were driven by the ideology of imperialism and influenced by the religion Islam. Around these years numerous events show the cruel and tyrannical nature of rule that was prevalent in India.

In 1556, after the death of Humayun, the Mughal empire faced a surprising war by Hemu who won the war as the Mughal representative fled the scene and proclaimed himself as the new ruler of Delhi. After this, to retrieve Delhi back Bairam Khan the then Godfather of Akbar along with the latter rounded up his army and led to a war popularly known as the Battle of Panipat in 1556. Akbar won the battle and captured Hemu. Later Hemu was slain in front of his troops mercilessly. 

Akbar then ordered his troops to chase each soldier of his opponent and behead them, bringing back the skulls as trophies. After the gory incident, Akbar dispatched the head of the slain Raja to Humayun’s harem in Kabul; and paraded the torso in Delhi as a sign of victory. After returning to Delhi, Akbar ordered his soldiers to build a tower of skulls belonging to Hemu’s soldiers in the centre of the Mughal capital- giving him the title of Ghazi (slayer of non-believers).

Battle of Chittod

The battle of Chittod brought about some tragic results for the Rajputs. Akbar waged war against the Rajput army on Jai Mal’s refusal to give her daughter to Akbar. Akbar then defeated the army and led to a heavy and vicious massacre. All the women who did not want to get captured by Mughals and become sex slaves performed Johar. It is famously known as ‘Shaak Johar’. Fight till death ensued, and every soldier who took part in the battle got martyred. The fort of Chitor was home to 30,000 Hindu peasants who got massacred on the orders of the Mughal Emperor. 

The Lustful nature:

Akbar’s lust for women was not hidden from anyone. He even though practising Islam was allowed to keep 4 wives but he managed to have more than 5000 women in the harem where the women were just merely living for his pleasure. Many women were brought by force, bought or captured and sent to the harem for the lusting pleasure of Akbar.

An excerpt from Ain-i-Akbari says, “…His majesty has established a wine shop near the palace. The prostitutes of the realm collected at the shop could scarcely be counter, so large was their number. The dancing girls used to be taken home by the courtiers. If any well-known courtier wanted to have a virgin they should first have His Majesty’s permission. In the same way, boys prostituted themselves, and drunkenness and ignorance soon lead to bloodshed. His Majesty himself called some of the prostitutes and asked them who had deprived them of their virginity?”

Din-i-Ilahi:

Akbar has been lauded all around for his religious tolerance and secular policy. It reached the pinnacle when he formed Din-i-Ilahi where he decided to bring Islam and Hinduism together with essence and space for other religions like Christianity etc. This religious policy put Akbar at the supreme head above the entire population and made him superior to everyone. This religious policy was sought to bring about religious tolerance within the state but on the contrary, this policy could never be implemented on a full scale. Rather it was dismissed by a majority of people and was never followed in practice. Akbar got all the appreciation for a policy that was never fully administered or practised by the general public.

The character of Akbar’s Administration:

The Mughal administration under Akbar acquired an efficiency that rendered it brilliant in the Indo-Islamic history of India, but it was not national in the sense that it was mostly foreign in personnel. The Turks, Mongols, Uzbegs, Persians, Arabs and the Afghans with a small percentage of Indian Muslims and Hindus comprised the administrative personnel under Akbar.

Most of the foreigners had of course settled in the country for one or two generations and many of them accompanied Babur or Humayun and were related to the royal family. According to Blochmann, 70 percent of the high officers of the State had been occupied by them. 

What do we conclude?

All the above-mentioned points establish the reality of the greatness of Akbar. No matter what measures were taken to change the notions of people, there’s no way one can justify the reckless killing of innocent people, outraging the modesty of women, biases towards particular religion and the warmongering attitude that Akbar possessed. It is maybe the time when we should start reading and looking for factual truths rather than being blinded by the exaggerated stories fed to us over time.

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Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai Slammed For Goddess Kali Shown Smoking In Documentary Poster, Netizens Demand Her Arrest

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Under the hashtag #arrestleenamanimekalai, a poster for a documentary movie has gone viral on the internet. Indian director Leena Manimekalai’s documentary’s poster has come under fire for “insulting” the Hindu goddess Kali. The posters which have spread outrage among the netizens, depicted the Hindu goddess Maa Kaali holding an LGBTQIA flag and smoking a cigarette on the poster. 

Siddhant Mohite, Founder of Saffron Think Tank said “How dare such people insult Hindu goddesses Maa Kaali by making such films? I demand strict action against each and every person who has been a part of this film which has been produced to create unrest amongst the Hindu Community. We demand legal action against them under section 295 A for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.”

More than 2 Lakh 30 thousand people have tweeted demanding action under the hashtag #ArrestLeenaManimekalai on Twitter this morning.

A twitter handle named SakshiP wrote “This is blasphemy and hurts Hindu religious sentiment. Aga Khan Museum needs to take this down immediately. 

A user tweeted, “I am shocked to see this post ! From M F Hussain to u, deriving vicarious pleasure in denigrating hindu gods and goddesses has been our motto. Please pull this down as it is offensive, disgusting and affects the sensibilities of all hindus. This is psychologically traumatic too.”

Another twitter user urged the Home Minister Amit Shah and PMO India to take appropriate action.

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Culture

Students of Churchgate’s HR college do yoga in front of iconic locations of Mumbai, bring amusement to onlookers

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Mumbai: SYNC Club of H.R. College in collaboration with Kaivalyadhama conducted a Photoshoot while doing Yoga Asanas at some of the most iconic places in Mumbai such as CSMT Selfie Point, The Asiatic Society of Mumbai, BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange) and Kala Ghoda, attracting the eyeballs of many pedestrians walking the streets. 

This activity was done to celebrate the International Day of Yoga on 21st June 2022, and was an initiative towards promoting Yoga and spreading its awareness among the masses of Mumbai. SYNC is the Fitness Club of H.R. College and aims to include yoga and all forms of fitness in one’s daily life. 

Later the students along with a certified yoga trainer from Kaivalyadhama, Anvay Dixit visited the Angel Xpress Foundation (Colaba), a Mumbai-based Non-Profit Organization working for the education of underprivileged children. The HR college students then interacted with the children in a fun way and taught them some easy-to-do yoga poses along with explaining the significance behind each Asana in one’s life. The day ended on a joyous note with sparking smiles on everyone’s faces. 

Prof. Dr. Pooja Ramchandani, Principal of H.R. college said, “The art of practicing yoga helps in controlling an individual’s mind, body and soul. It brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve a peaceful body and mind; it helps manage stress and anxiety and keeps you relaxing. It also helps in increasing flexibility, muscle strength and body tone. Regular practice of yoga helps improve respiration, energy and vitality.”

Pictures of the students doing asanas in various locations are doing the rounds on social media, and has been applauded by many as a quirky way to promote Yoga in an always hustling city like Mumbai. 

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Culture

Qutub Minar Excavation Reports Denied By the Ministry

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Following the Gyanvapi Mosque survey reports said that the government had asked the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct excavations to ascertain the builder of the minaret.

Khushi Shah – Mumbai Uncensored, 23rd May 2022

Union Minister of Culture, GK Reddy has denied media reports that his ministry has asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct an excavation at the Qutub Minar complex to ascertain the facts behind its origin. “No such decision has been taken,” 

After the Gyanvapi Mosque survey, a controversy erupted over Delhi’s Qutub Minar. Some believe it was erected as a tower of victory to signify the beginning of the Muslim rule in India. Others say it served as a minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer. Dharamveer Sharma, the former Regional Director of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), recently claimed that Qutub Minar was actually Surya Stambh a “sun tower” 

Dharamveer Sharma is one of the most respected archaeologists in India. He has served as Superintending Archaeologist in the Delhi division of ASI three times. As per a report in Hindi daily Jagran, he had worked extensively on the conservation of Qutub Minar and went inside the Minaret multiple times. He said he had seen Devanagari writing in the inner parts of the minaret. Every year on June 21, he takes astronomers to the complex.

History states that the Qutub Minar was built in the beginning of the 13th century by Quṭb al-Din Aibak and completed by his successor, Iltutmish. He said it was erected by Emperor Vikramaditya, not the Mughals. He presented a 20-point fact sheet to prove his theory that Qutub Minar was an observatory.

The origins of Qutab Minar are shrouded in controversy. According to certain groups, Qutub Minar was earlier a site of Hindu and Jain temples. 

Two weeks ago, members of a right-wing group recited the Hanuman Chalisa outside the Qutub Minar complex and staged a protest demanding that the iconic monument be renamed ‘Vishnu Stambha’. 

International working president of United Hindu Front, Bhagwan Goyal, alleged that the Qutub Minar is the ‘Vishnu Stambha’, which was built by the “great king Vikramaditya”. “But later, Qutubuddin Aibak claimed credit for it. There were 27 temples in the complex and those were destroyed by Aibak. Proof of all this is available as people can find idols of Hindu gods kept in the Qutub Minar complex. Our demand is that Qutub Minar should be called as Vishnu Stambha,” Culture Secretary Govind Mohan had visited the monument on Saturday and had spent over two hours at the monument along with a team of senior officials and historians to discuss aspects related to the upkeep of the Qutub Minar complex

Recently, it was reported that last month a letter was written by the National Monument Authority to the ASI on moving two idols of the Hindu deity Ganesha out of the complex, “owing to their disrespectful placement”, and the idols were relocated to Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque.National Monuments Authority chief Tarun Vijay, who is also a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and a former member of the Rajya Sabha, had said that the placement of the idols was disrespectful. “I visited the site several times and realised that the placement of the idols is disrespectful,” he said. “They come near the feet of the mosque visitors.”Delhi court had last month directed the ASI not to remove two idols of Lord Ganesha from the Qutub Minar complex till further directions. A plea was filed in a Delhi Court against the removal of the idols by advocate Hari Shankar Jain on behalf of Jain deity Tirthankar Lord Rishabh Dev claiming that 27 temples were partly demolished by Qutubdin Aibak, a general in the army of Mohamad Gauri, and Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque was raised inside the complex by reusing the material. The court had directed the Archaeological Survey of India to maintain a status quo till further hearing of the case. It is also an established fact that Quwwat-Ul-Islam Masjid was built atop existing temples but the property was not being used for any religious purposes and no prayers were being offered here.

The court had observed that wrongs may have been committed in the past, “but such wrongs cannot be the basis for disturbing peace of our present and future”

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