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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.

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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‘‘Music can take you to the pinnacle of patriotism and duty’’ – PM Modi after receiving Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar award.

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KHUSHI SHAH – Mumbai Uncensored, 25th April 2022

The Prime Minister had tweeted on Saturday evening,  “Tomorrow evening, I will be in Mumbai where I will  receive the 1st Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award. I am  grateful and humbled by this honour associated with Lata  Didi. She always dreamt of a strong and prosperous India  and contributed to nation-building.’  

24th April 2022 marked the institution of this award in  memory and honour of the legendary singer who passed  away at the age of 92 years in Mumbai earlier this year. It  incidentally also marks the 80th death anniversary of  Master Deenanath Mangeshkar, the singing legend’s  father.  

Lata Mangeshkar along with being an empress of music,  was like an elder sister to Narendra Modi, and a symbol of  oneness that brought together the entire country with her  iconic tunes. Dedicating the Lata Mangeshkar award  bestowed on him to “all the countrymen”, Modi said “As 

Lata Didi belonged to people, this award given to me in  her name also belongs to people”.  

The Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Smruti Pratishthan  Charitable Trust had said in a statement that the award  will be given every year to an individual “who has made  path-breaking, spectacular and exemplary contributions  to our nation, its people and our society.” 

Empowering the arts, this award aims to honour legends  from the field of music, drama, art, medical and social  work. Touching his government’s philosophy “Sabka  Saath, Sabka Vikas , Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas” and  the concept of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’, Modi said that  such a notion of development could not be achieved by  just material capabilities, ‘’For this spiritual consciousness  is critically important.’’ That’s why we see India providing  leadership in areas like yoga and Ayurveda. Similarly, our  Indian music is also an important part of this heritage  alive with the same values and can be used as medium of  world peace and conformity.  

Lata Mangeshkar as a part of the Indian film world  witnessed the transitions of the industry for decades and  was always passionate about India’s growth. ‘’She always  wanted to see a strong and developed India,” Added  Modi.  

As an international statesman who has not only put India  on the path of global leadership, but kick started progress  in every aspect and dimension our entire country is driven  

and inspired by him. As one of the most influential  leaders of our times instituting the award to him makes  everyone see the power of music by paying tributes to the  legendary singer, who always dreamt of a strong and  prosperous India.

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शनिवारवाड्याची दुरावस्था : जबाबदार कोण?

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Akash Swarup Sonawane – Mumbai Uncensored, 11th April 2022

दिनांक १७ जून १९१९ रोजी महाराष्ट्रातील राष्ट्रीय संरक्षित स्मारक म्हणून घोषित केला गेलेला शनिवारवाडा महाराष्ट्रातील पुणे शहरातील एक ऐतिहासिक वास्तू आहे. मराठा साम्राज्याचे पंतप्रधान, अर्थात पेशवे यांचे निवासस्थान तसेच कार्यालय असणारा आणि महाराष्ट्राचा इतिहास वास्तुरूपी जिवंत ठेवणारा हिंदवी स्वराज्याचा अंश शनिवारवाडा हा सध्या फक्त एक पर्यटनस्थळ म्हणून राहिलेला आहे.

शनिवारवाडा मराठा साम्राज्याच्या वैभवाचा, विजयाचा, पराक्रमाचा आणि इतिहासाचा साक्षीदार आहे. पेशव्यांचा शनिवारवाड्या ने जसे सोनेरी दिवस पाहिले तसेच वाईट दिवस ही पाहिले आहेत. शनिवार वाड्याच्या राजेशाही वैभवासाठी आणि हिंदवी स्वराज्याच्या अस्तित्वासाठी अनेक मराठ्यांनी आपले प्राण पणाला लावले. पेशव्यांच्या ब्रिटिश, निझामशाही आणि पोर्तुगीजांविरोधी मोहिमा जगभरात प्रसिद्ध आहेत. हिंदूंच्या संरक्षणासाठी पेशव्यांचे योगदान मोठे मोलाचे आहे. त्यांचे हे  वास्तूरुपी अस्तित्व टिकवून ठेवणे आणि त्याचे संवर्धन करणे ही काळाची गरज आहे.

शासकीय यंत्रणांनी या वास्तू कडे पूर्णपणे दुर्लक्ष केले आहे. स्थानिक प्रतिनिधींनी लक्ष घालून शनिवारवाड्याची दुरुस्ती करुन त्याचे अस्तित्व मलिन होण्यापासून थांबवावे आणि ते टिकवून ठेवण्यासाठी येथील सुरक्षा वाढवावी असे सॅफ्रन थिंक टॅंक चे संस्थापक सिद्धांत मोहिते यांनी त्यांच्या पुणे दौऱ्या दरम्यान सांगितले. येथील भिंतींची दुरावस्था झाली आहे. तरुण जोडपे येथे आपले नावे लिहून जात असल्याने या वास्तूचा अपमान होऊन दिवसेंदिवस शोभा हरवत चालली आहे. या वास्तूचे गांभीर्य येथे येणाऱ्या लोकांमध्ये असणे गरजेचे आहे. हे सर्व थांबवण्यासाठी, दुरुस्तीसाठी आणि टिकवून ठेवण्यासाठी योग्य ती उपाय योजना तातडीने राबवण्याची मागणी सॅफ्रन थिंक टॅंक या संघटनेने केली आहे.

केंद्रीय पुरातत्त्व विभागाकडून शनिवारवाड्याची देखभाल दुरुस्ती, स्वच्छता केली जात नाही व दुसऱ्यांनाही करू दिली जात नाही. पुरातत्व खात्यास जमत नसेल तर स्वच्छता करण्याची परवानगी आम्हाला द्यावी, अशी मागणी क्रिएटिव्ह फाउंडेशनने पुरातत्त्व विभागाचे अधिकारी गजानन मंडावरे यांच्याकडे केली आहे. 

शनिवारवाड्यात जाण्यासाठी २५ रुपये शुल्क आकारले जाते. पण शनिवारवाड्यातील सर्व माहिती फलक पुसट झाले आहेत. कारंज्यात घाण साचली आहे, वाहने लावण्यासाठी योग्य नियोजन नसल्याने नागरिकांचे वाद होत असताना सुरक्षा रक्षक बघ्याची भूमिका घेतात. शनिवारवाड्यातील लाइट अँड साउंड शो बंद आहे तो पुन्हा सुरु करावा, अशी मागणी क्रिएटिव्ह फाउंडेशनचे अध्यक्ष संदीप खर्डेकर यांनी केली. शनिवारवाड्यात छोटी कामे केल्यास तेथील स्वच्छता होऊ शकते, पण आम्ही काही करणार नाही आणि कोणाला काही करु देणार नाही, अशी भूमिका आपल्या खात्याची आहे. आमच्या संस्थेला स्वच्छतेसाठी परवानगी द्यावी आम्ही शनिवारवाड्याचे पावित्र्य राखू अशी मागणी खर्डेकर यांनी पुरातत्त्व खात्याकडे केली आहे. असे ‘सकाळ’ या वृत्तसंस्थेने स्पष्ट केले आहे.

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