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Thursday, November 12, 2020

The book, *"Auranzeb: The Man and the Myth"* English review.

The book, *"Auranzeb: The Man and the Myth"* English review.

In the Indo-Pak subcontinent, prejudice is so pervasive in Mughal historiography that many *myths about Mughal emperors* have become documented in public memory. There are so many stories attributed to Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor, that his status has become Muslim, not only in public memory but also in scholarly discourses, and sometimes it becomes difficult to deal with them. These stories have made Aurangzeb either a holy and blessed person or a tyrant and a staunch enemy of the Hindus.

The book "Aurangzeb- man and Myth"

And also that the intellectuals of Indo-Pakistan present him as the founder of all the problems of the present subcontinent. There should be a circle of devotees of Aurangzeb that the intellectuals of both the circles of his opponents have made the image of Aurangzeb more suspicious. With the history of Aurangzeb's reign, some historians have started defending him in the pursuit of justice and this has made his personality even more stubborn.

The book, *"Auranzeb: The Man and the Myth"*, published in 2017 by American author *Aundrey Trotsky* on Aurangzeb, is a very balanced and based fact. Because of this book, India's ruling party, the BJP, and its supporters have been at loggerheads with the author on Twitter. *Iqbal Hussain and Fahad Hashmi have translated Audrey Troshki's book on Aurangzeb into Urdu.* While this book has started a new narrative on Aurangzeb in the academic circles, it has also worked to erase many poisoned and distorted images of Aurangzeb.

In the foreword to the book, the author writes: “From the point of view of a historian, Aurangzeb Alamgir is a Mughal king about whom most people know sadly little. This book is an attempt to introduce a historical Aurangzeb to a large number of readers with all its intricacies. Perhaps the attempt to introduce Aurangzeb to a large number was the reason for the translation of this book into Urdu.

King Aurangzeb Alamgir, who ruled India from 1658 to 1707, is extremely hated in present day India. Modern thinkers have made it known about this king that he was a victim of intense hatred towards Hindus. According to the statement, there are allegations of mass genocide of Hindus, demolition of thousands of Hindu and Jain temples, and reduction of the number of Hindus in his administration.

Aurangzeb was sharply criticized for killing his brothers and imprisoning his father, destroying art, culture, music, Mughal customs and traditions, banning academic projects as well as banning Hindu festivals and texts.

 *In this book, the author examines all these allegations against Aurangzeb in the light of the historical material available at the time and repeats dozens of times that the critique of this medieval king by modern standards is an injustice to history.*

The author reviews Aurangzeb according to his time and place. No attempt has been made to acquit Aurangzeb of the charge of murdering his brothers, but of the absence of the tradition of Khalaf Akbar (primogeniture) among the Mughals. Has tried to explain. For the crime of imprisoning his father, Aurangzeb was criticized not only by the judges of the empire, the Sharif of Mecca, and the Shah of Iran, but this indecent act was a burden on his conscience all his life.

The author, Professor Trotsky also points out in the book that only a few dozen temples were demolished during Aurangzeb's reign, instead of Hazaraha, and that *the reason for their demolition was political, not religious.* The demolition of the Vishwanath temple in Banaras in 1669 is said to have involved the escape of Shivaji from Mughal captivity, while the Jat uprising and the assassination of Abdul Nabi Khan are at the root of the demolition of the Keshu Dev temple in Mathura in 1670.

Historical sources show traces of the looting and demolition of each other's temples by Hindu kings themselves due to political feuds in India from the sixth century onwards. The author includes a satisfying discussion of the jagirs and financial aid given to temples and Hindu communities by Aurangzeb, as well as the decrees and letters issued for their protection in full detail.

Aurangzeb's animosity towards Shivaji explains the rift between political power rather than religious bigotry. *The author also mentions the large number of Hindus among Aurangzeb's emperors, courtiers and officers as compared to other Mughal kings.* Yes, it is true that Aurangzeb was more inclined towards religion than other Mughal kings. He completed the Fatwa Alamgiri project under his supervision in eight years. The jizya was restored, and the king's public appearances and certain types of music were banned.

But it is also a fact that if any Islamic principle ever stood in the way of their political plans, they put their political interests first. In some places the celebration of Holi and Diwali was banned and in some places it was done with the celebration of Muharram and Eid. Even some selected writings of Ahmed Sirhindi were banned.

Regarding Aurangzeb, the author's words are very valuable: 'No single attribute or action can cover the personality of Aurangzeb Alamgir, who has been the adornment of the Mughal throne for almost fifty years and has dominated the minds of the people for a long time.' ۔ 

The Urdu translation of the book is excellent and the devotion of the translators to the subject is clear. Therefore, anyone who has devotion, hatred or interest in Aurangzeb should definitely read this book.

Book review in Urdu by Jb. Mazhar Ali Khan, RTI Activist, New Delhi.

Translated into English by Syed Shahlal Hasan, Siwan, Bihar.


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