Tag Archives: Aurangzeb


William Dalrymple has always been a great fan of Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir, India’s sixth Mughal emperor (1658-1707). In his two previous books, The Last Mughal and White Mughals, Dalrymple reenacted the British’s fondness for the Mughal period, by directly and indirectly praising the longest reigning emperor after Akbar.

In his forthcoming opus magnum, which will be solely dedicated to Aurangzeb, Dalrymple says he will go further: “Aurangzeb was absolutely fascinating, very self aware, very Shakespearean. By the end of his life, Aurangzeb does becomes a monster of myths, but his final letters are full of regret and awareness about how much he destroyed of what he had inherited”. And he concludes: “What is little spoken is that he was an extremely generous donor of various ashrams and maths. Just the sheer data that can be gathered about his donations to Hindu monasteries is extraordinary”….

Was the emperor such a pious man? Well, just look to what he did to his own family: Aurangzeb, who was neither the eldest, nor the favorite son of his father Shah Jahan, killed his two brothers to ascend the throne, dispatched his father to jail and subsequently murdered him by sending him poisoned massage oil. He later had his own son imprisoned (in his will, he admonished: “never trust your sons”). He was also very cruel to the majority of his subjects, the Hindus, ordering all temples destroyed, such as the Kashi Vishwanath, the rebuilt Somnath temple, the Vishnu temple (replaced with the Alamgir mosque now overlooking Benares), or the Treta-ke-Thakur temple in Ayodhya. He also made sure that deities of Hindu Gods and Goddesses were buried under the steps of the mosques (like the Jama Masjid in Delhi) so that future generations of Muslims would trample upon them.

Sikhism, the youngest religion in the world, owes its initial phenomenal growth to the persecutions of one man: Aurangzeb Alamgir. The Mughal emperor not only had the Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur beheaded, because he objected to his forced conversions, but he also viciously persecuted the followers of Guru Gobind Singh, whom he had never forgiven for having supported his brother Dara.

The sad thing is that today the Sikh world seems to be growing closer to Aurangzeb and drifting away from its Hindu brothers and sisters, forgetting that their order was originally created to defend them. Indeed, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), Amritsar, has not uttered a word against Dalrymple’s forthcoming book.

More serious even, the Central Government always eager to please ‘minorities’ has set up a dangerous precedent by removing from its ‘blacklist’ the names of 142 wanted Sikh terrorists and their associates, some of them now in Pakistan.

Among those: Lakhbir Singh Rode, nephew of dreaded slain terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and chief of International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), Ranjit Singh, alias Neeta, a native of Jammu and Kashmir who heads Khalistan Zindabad Force, Wadhawa Singh, chief of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and Paramjit Singh Panjwar, chief of Khalistan Commando Force (KCF). Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) It is said that President Paramjit Singh Sarna lobbied hard with Sonia Gandhi for this decision.

Aurangzeb’s deadly legacy of murderous fanaticism is still alive in parts of the world; such as Kashmir or Pakistan. The Sikh community should protest Dalrymple books and remember how much they suffered at the hands of Aurangzeb.


Dear friends, as I mentioned earlier, I am building in Pune a Museum of true Indian History, dedicated to the great Shivaji Maharaj, who was a Vibhuti, and who does not even have a proper status in India’s History books (forget about the West, where he is totally unknown). The Museum whose address is: Ahead of Marathwada Institute. Vadgaon Shinde road. Wadgaon. Pune 41, is OPEN every day from 9am to 6pm and entrance is FREE. There are now five buildings, each housing a unique exhibitions, such as the one on Aurangzeb, based on his own firmans, or on Maharana Pratap, the only Rajput who actually fought the Moghols and won in Haldighati. Please tell your friends about it. We also have a beautiful temple, dedicated to Shivaji Maharaj and Mata Bhavani, where daily aarti happens every morning at 9.30am

This is a noble, but VERY difficult project, for many reasons. One, there is no tradition of private museums in India, as there is in the West. Two, as soon as you touch at Indian history, it becomes very sensitive and tricky; and three, most philanthropists in India donate to education and health care, but recoil as soon as you mention the subject of Indian History.
But this is a Museum for ALL Indians, particularly dedicated to the Knowledge that stands behind Hinduism & which is the foundation of Indian culture and spirituality.

Thus, I need YOUR help. I am building this Museum on a shoestring budget and bills keep pouring in, while donations are very scant.
FACT is a registered Trust with Indian & UK, US tax exemption. If you would like to help, you could make a donation to: FACT, Account No: 04071450000237, IFCS code: HDFC0000407. We will mail you back your tax exemption certificate and we will honor all our donors.
Please pass this plea on to your friends

François Gautier


Not for myself I fought and ruled, but for God and the dharma, the religion of Hindu nationality which Ramdas enunciated (Conversations of the Dead, Shivaji & Jaysingh, by Sri Aurobindo)

I had heard about Shivaji for a long time without really knowing him well. There are cities in India where I feel ‘at home’, as if I already knew these places The first time I visited Pune, quite a few years back, I felt good, connected, spiritually alive. Was it my imagination? Nevertheless, I attributed this to Shivaji’s presence in His realm. When I finished the Art of Living course which I had come to conduct outside the city, I had a few hours before catching my plane and I set upon finding a museum about Shivaji, which I was sure was bound to exist in the city where he was born. I asked the driver and he took me to the main museum of Pune, the Raja Kelkar museum. It did look nice from the outside and it had indeed a marvelous collection of Mughal antiques which included paintings, instruments, lamps & different types of nut crackers. But I was astonished to see that there was not a single artifact on Shivaji. It did not make sense, because I had already noticed that Shivaji is a hero to most Maharashtrians whatever their political affiliation. I then explored other Pune museums: there is a Tilak museum, a tribal one, a war museum, but nothing on the great son of the soil who was born 60 kms from Pune.
As I finished my disappointing visit of the KeIkar museum, I felt right here and there that I should do something about honouring Shivaji in His city. But first I had to know him. I then set upon buying all the books that had been published about Shivaji. There came my second surprise: I quickly realized that all the biographies of Shivaji were terribly out dated: the most famous and quoted of all “Shivaji and his Times”, by (Sir) Jadunath Sarkar, was written in 1938! My favourite one, Chhatrapati Shivaji, by Setumadhavrao Pagadi, was published in 1973. It is the most recent of mainstream biographies of Shivaji. Now as Frenchman, I grew up hearing about the greatness of Napoleon who lived 300 years ago. And I do know that there is not a year that passes by, without two or three books on his life, his military victories, his mistresses, or his administration, being published.
How does Shivaji compare with Napoleon? Well, admirably. More than that even, as Shivaji surpasses him in many ways. Napoleon was a unique war strategist; and so was Shivaji. In fact, Chaatrapati fought in even more difficult conditions than Napoleon, as he did not have the might of a national army behind him and had to face the powerful and ruthless Mughal Empire of Aurangzeb. Napoleon was a remarkable administrator who made laws, some of them still in use in France; and so was Shivaji: once he conquered a territory, he made sure that it was well and fairly administered, as we will see later. What Shivaji did better than Napoleon then? Shivaji was secular, he believed in the oneness of all religions, though Hinduism was supreme to him. But furthermore, Shivaji was a Vibhuti, a direct incarnation from God who came to succour and help India at a time of great need, when the cruel and a-dharmic hand of Aurangzeb was poised to devastate the whole of the land and eventually make of the Indian subcontinent Dar al-Islam, the house of Islam.
It is necessary to dispel the impressions created by Indian and western historians who have made of the struggle of Shivaji a fight between Hindus & Muslims and an inter-religious struggle. It was not so: Moghuls in the times of Shivaji were still considered as ‘foreigners’. Thus it was a battle between Indians and invaders. Shivaji used his own integrity during this epic fight and mastered all the arts of wars of his time, so as to be that perfect leader. His courage to challenge the Mughals was unparalleled. He was truly a bhakti: SHIVAJI WORKED FOR THE DIVINE, AS GUIDED BY THE DIVINE
Great men and women who walk this earth and are instruments of God, do most of their work while in their physical body. But when they die, I believe they leave something behind, a presence, a will. This day, when I could not find a house in honor of Shivaji, the idea of a Museum of true Indian History, dedicated to Shivaji Maharaj started taking shape in my mind, as our Foundation FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism) had already made many exhibitions (see fact-india.com). Pune is the ideal place for this Museum: it’s Shivaji Maharaj’s realm, it is central to India and more than anything, Marathas have a stronger national fiber than in other states and I felt the Museum will be better protected here.
This is a difficult project. Whoever has never attempted to raise money for a Museum should give it a try… I have met hundreds of potential donors, but when I say that I want to build a Museum of true Indian History, it wipes off the smile of their faces and they say they have to consult their board, ha, ha… This is why we are most grateful to those who believed in this project and gave the bulk of the funds and also to the dozens of NRI’s who know me through my writings and trusted me with their donations.
Trying to portray Indian History as it happened, not as it has been written, is also a very sensitive task and at nearly every step, we have encountered obstacles sometimes even from our own people. Yet, Shivaji was an instrument of God and whoever binds him to a particular caste, or even a particular guru, demeans him and hampers his work, for he was a supra-national figure and his qualities of dedication to Mother India, of respect of human rights and honest administration, are needed today. His extraordinary courage in front of adversity, should also be an example to many Hindus, who today, at the slightest threat, go underground.
Please see the photos of what has already been done in the Museum on this link. This is just a humble beginning: we are planning to start the foundations of the main Museum which will house exhibitions from the Vedas to the India of tomorrow. If God, in spite of my shortcomings, gives me the strength, the enthusiasm and the health to do this work, it will be a wonderful and noble project, that will be talked about for generations. But for that we need funds a lot of funds and. I hope all of you will pass along the message to your friends.
The Museum, whose address is: Ahead of Marathwada Institute. Vadgaon Shinde road. Wadgaon. Pune 4, is OPEN every day from 9am to 6pm and entrance is FREE. Please tell your friends about it. we have daily aarti in the temple in the morning at 9.30am
FACT is a registered Trust with Indian & UK, US tax exemption. If you would like to help, you could make a donation to: FACT, Account No: 04071450000237, IFCS code: HDFC0000407. We will mail you back your tax exemption certificate and we will honor all our donors.
Namrita & François Gautier/ Trustees FACT


Continuing publication of excerpts my forthcoming book: “An History of India as it Happened (not as it was written)”:

It is not only Indian historians, who are negationists, but also western historians and India-specialists. We know that the first historians of Indian – the Britishers – twisted India’s history to suit their theory that they had come to civilize a race which was not only inferior to them, but also was supposed to have been heavily influenced in its philosophies or arts by European invaders – read the Aryans or Alexander the Great. But what is less known is that today many western historians not only still cling to these old outdated theories, but also actually more or less willfully mislead the general European public, who is generally totally ignorant and takes these “knowledgeable” comments about India as the absolute truth. One example is France, which has a long tradition of Indianists, who devote their time and life to the study of India. The main school of historic research in France is called the CNRS (National Center of Social Research), which has a very important South Asia section, of which India, of course, is the main component. Unfortunately, many of these India-specialists are not only Left-leaning, that is they are very close to the ideas of the JNU historians, with whom they are anyway in constant contact, but are also specialists of the Moghol period of India history, which is to say that they are sympathetic to Islam’s point of view on India, while they often consider Hindus as fanatics…

Take for instance one of the recent Indian History books published in France “Histoire de l’Inde moderne” (1994 Fayard / Paris), the authors (there are seven of, all famous Indianists), having subscribed to the usual Aryan invasion theory, accuse Shiva “to incarnate obscure forces” (Introduction III) and of course use the word “fanatics” to describe the Hindus who brought down the Ayodhya mosque. Basically, the book does an apology of he moghol period in India; while keeping quiet about all their crimes. In the chapter dealing for instance with Vijaynagar, the last great empire of free India, which symbolized a Hindu Renaissance after nine centuries of savage Muslim conquests, one cannot but perceive the enmity of the authors for Hinduism. The two young princes, founder of Vijaynagar who were converted by force to Islam when in captivity, are accused of “duplicity”, because they reverted back to Hinduism as soon as they were free; then the French historians highlight the “ambition of Brahmins, who used these two young princes to reconquer the power that at been lost at the hands of the conquering Muslims” (page 54); the book then mentions “the unquenchable exigencies of the (Hindu) central power in Vijaynagar”, forgetting to say that that for the first time in centuries, Hindus could practice freely their faith, that they were not killed, their women raped, their children taken as slaves and converted to Islam. And all this to finally sum up in seven words the terrible end of Vijaynagar, which has left a wound in the Hindu psyche even up to today: “looting and massacres lasted for three days”…

But the authors of “Histoire de l’Inde moderne” do not only run down Hindus, they also glorify Muslims, particularly the Moghols. Babur for instance, this monster who killed hundreds of thousands of Hindus and razed thousands of temples becomes at their hands a gentle hero: “ Babur did not like India and preferred to isolate himself in the exquisite gardens he had devised, with their geometrical design, their crossed canals, which evoked to him the rivers of paradise”. Oh, God what a sensitive poet! And to make it sound even more glorious, the author adds: “there he translated a manual of Koranic law and a Sufi treaty of morals”. Oh, what a saint and lover of humanity… Aurangzeb, the cruelest of the Moghul emperors, has also the full sympathies of the authors: “Aurangzeb seems to have concentrated on himself the hatred of militant Hindus, who attribute to him systematic destruction of temples and massive conversion drives. But this Manichean impression has to be seriously countered (page 126)”… Unfortunately for the authors, as we have seen earlier, Aurangzeb was not only proud of what he was doing to the Hindus, but he had his scribes note each deed down for posterity… In 2006 the same authors published “L’Inde contemporaine”, with the same prejudices and bias against Hindus and their political parties.

These French Indianists have also a tradition of speaking against the BJP, which they have always labeled as “fundamentalist” and dangerous for the “secular” fabric of India, although the BJP has been in power for quite a few years and nothing dramatic has happened to the secular fabric of India. The problem is that these Indianists not only write lengthy and pompous articles in France’s main newspapers, such as Left-leaning Le Monde, explaining to the ignorant reader why is India on the point of exploding because of fanatic Hindus, or how the Harijans in India are still the most downtrodden people on earth (this is why when President Narayanan visited France in April 2000, all the French newspapers chose to only highlight that he was an untouchable and that religious minorities in India were persecuted, nearly provoking a diplomatic incident between France and India), but unfortunately they also advise the French government, who like his citizens, is often shamefully ignorant and uninterested by India. This is why, although there has been a lot of sympathy for the French in India because of their tolerant response to the Indian nuclear tests of 1998 (whereas the whole western world reacted hysterically by imposing absurd sanctions), France has not yet bothered to capitalize on this sympathy and has not managed to realize that India is the ideal economic alternative to a very volatile China.

It would be nice to say that Indian journalists are not blind to this influence of French Indianists and the adverse impact it has on Indo-French relations, but when Christophe Jaffrelot, for instance who wrote many a nasty books on Hindu fundamentalism and is most responsible for the bad image the BJP in France, comes to India to release the English translation of his book, he is feted by the Press corps and all kind of laudatory reviews are printed in the Indian Press. So much for secularism in India.

And, ultimately, it is a miracle that Hinduism survived the onslaught of Muslim savagery; it shows how deep was her faith, how profound her karma, how deeply ingrained her soul in the hearts of her faithfuls. We do not want to point a finger at Muslim atrocities, yet they should not be denied and their mistakes should not be repeated today. But the real question is: Can Islam ever accept Hinduism? We shall turn towards the Sage, the yogi, who fought for India’s independence, accepting the Gita’s message of karma of violence when necessary, yet who had a broad vision that softened his words: “You can live with a religion whose principle is toleration. But how is it possible to live peacefully with a religion whose principle is “I will not tolerate you? How are you going to have unity with these people?…The Hindu is ready to tolerate; he is open to new ideas and his culture and has got a wonderful capacity for assimilation, but always provided India’s central truth is recognised.. (Sri Aurobindo India’s Rebirth 161,173)
Or behold this, written on September 1909: “Every action for instance which may be objectionable to a number of Mahomedans, is now liable to be forbidden because it is likely to lead to a breach of peace. And one is dimly beginning to wonder whether worship in Hindu temples may be forbidden on that valid ground (India’s Rebirth p. 55). How prophetic! Sri Aurobindo could not have foreseen that so many Muslim countries would ban Rushdie’s book and that Hindu processions would often be forbidden in cities, for fear of offending the Muslims. Sri Aurobindo felt that sooner or later Hindus would have to assert again the greatness of Hinduism.

And here we must say a word about monotheism, for it is the key to the understanding of Islam. Christians and Muslims (and Jews) have always harped on the fact that their religions sprang-up as a reaction against the pagan polytheist creeds, which adored many Gods. « There is only one real God they said (ours), all the rest are just worthless idols ». This « monotheism versus polytheism business » has fuelled since then the deep, fanatic, violent and murderous zeal of Islam against polytheist religions, particularly against Hinduism, which is the most comprehensive, most widely practiced of all them. It even cemented an alliance of sorts between the two great monotheist religions of the world, Christianity and Islam, witness the Britishers’ attitude in India, who favoured Indian Muslims and Sikhs against the Hindus; or the King of Morocco who, even though he is one of the most moderate Muslim leaders in the world, recently said in an interview: « we have no fight with Christianity, our battle is against the Infidel who adores many gods ».
But as we have seen earlier, Hinduism is without any doubt the most monotheist religion in the World, for it recognises divine unity in multiplicity. It does not say: « there is only one God, which is Mohammed. If you do not believe in Him I will kill you ». It says instead: « Yes Mohammed is a manifestation of God, but so is Christ, or Buddha, or Krishna, or Confucius ». This philosophy, this way of seeing, which the Christians and Muslims call « impious », is actually the foundation for a true monotheist understanding of the world. It is because of this « If you do not recognize Allah (or Christ), I will kill you », that tens of millions of Hindus were slaughtered by Arabs and other millions of South Americans annihilated by the Christians. And ultimately the question is: Are the Muslims of today ready to accept Hinduism ? Unfortunately no. For Muslims all over the world, Hinduism is still the Infidel religion « par excellence ». This what their religion tell them, at every moment, at every verse, at the beginning of each prayer : « Only Allah is great ». And their mollahs still enjoin them to go on fight « jihad » to deliver the world of the infidels. And if the armies of Babar are not there any longer; and if it is not done any more to kill a 100.000 Hindus in a day, there is still the possibility of planting a few bombs in Coimbatore, Mumbai or Varanasi, of fuelling separatisms in the hated land and eventually to drop a nuclear device, which will settle the problem once and for all. As to the Indian Muslim, he might relate to his Hindu brother, for whatever he says, he remains an Indian, nay a Indu; but his religion will make sure that he does not forget that his duty is to hate the Infidel. This is the crux of the problem today and the riddle if Islam has to solved, if it wants to survive in the long run.

We will never be able to assess the immense physical harm done to India by the Muslim invasions. Even more difficult is to estimate the moral and the spiritual damage done to Hindu India. But once again, the question is not of vengeance, or of reawakening old ghosts, but of not repeating the same mistakes. Unfortunately, the harm done by the Muslims conquest is not over. The seeds planted by the Moghols, by Babar, Mahmud, or Aurangzeb, have matured: the 125 million Indian Muslims of today have forgotten that they were once peaceful, loving Hindus, forcibly converted to a religion they hated. And they sometimes take-up as theirs a cry of fanaticism which is totally alien to their culture. Indeed, as Sri Aurobindo once said: “More than 90% of the Indian Muslims are descendants of converted Hindus and belong as much to the Indian nation as the Hindu themselves”…(Rebirth of India, p.237) The embryo of secession planted by the Mahomedans, has also matured into a poisonous tree which has been called Pakistan and comes back to haunt India through three wars and the shadow of a nuclear conflict embracing South Asia. And in India, Kashmir and Kargil are reminders that the Moghol cry for the house of Islam in India is not yet over.

One of the main reasons I have decided to build in Pune a Museum of Indian History, dedicated to the great Shivaji Maharaj (who is depicted in Indian History books as a petty chieftain and a plunderer), is that it will not be enough to rewrite Indian History in books, it will also have to be done in STONE. Please see our website fact-india.com and contribute financially, if you can, to the making of that Museum (we have US, UK and Indian tax exemption). We are also looking for IT persons to donate time to do presentations, animations & GAMES based on the lives of India’s Hindu heroes: Shivaji Maharaj, Maharana Pratapa, Ranu of Jhansi, Ahilyabhai, the Vijaynagar empire, etc. You can contact me at fgautier@rediffmail.com


Dear friends, I have often been accused of being an anti-Muslim, but the fact is that I am a brought-up catholic and that before coming to India, I could not make the difference between a Hindu and a Muslim. I guess reporting in Kashmir opened my eyes. Yet I saw in Kashmir what remained of Sufism, before it was snuffed out by the militants.

Great souls, vibuthis, avatars, come and go, but something of their influence & message remains. Dara Shikoh, Shah Jahan’s eldest and preferred son, should have become emperor of India – and then the whole history of Islam – in India and may be in the world – would have changed. But he was beheaded by his brother Aurangzeb, and the more intolerant, violent side of Islam took over. Yet, Muslims in India still have it in them to go back to the Sufi, poetic, mystic, tolerant Islam that Dara had preached and which would usher a UNITED INDIA, where Muslims feel Indians first, while keeping true to their faith.


Hence FACT’s latest exhibition, honors this prince of Islam.

We plan to erect a special building for it. As you know, my foundation is always struggling for funds. Thus I appeal to you again to donate generously. FACT is a registered Trust with tax exemption. You can make a donation to: FACT, Account No: 04071450000237, IFCS code: HDFC0000407. We will mail you back your tax exemption certificate. For those of you who wish to donate in Euros, Pounds or Dollars, you can make a direct transfer to: Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT) Account No: 04071170000016, Swift code:  HDFCINBB

Thanking you




Dear friends,

As you may know, I was a journalist and a reporter for many years (francoisgautier.com) and I felt that this was not enough. Hence I started writing books about India, such as “A New History of India” (Har Anand, New Delhi). This particular book attempts to rewrite Indian History as it happened – and not as it has been written by western historians & later adopted blindly by Indian historians. There is no doubt, for instance, that the Aryan Invasion theory, which is the foundation stone of all History books on India, western and Indian -never happened. All recent archeological, linguistic and even spatial discoveries, point in that direction. There is no doubt also that the genocide of Hindus at the hands of invaders for 1200 years has been swept under the carpet by historians (for good and bad reasons. Hence I attempted to set the record straight, however politically incorrect its is. 

 But I felt that writing books was not enough. Hence, when I got an award of journalism, I used the funds to start a foundation, FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism) & mounted an exhibition on the genocide & exodus of Hindus in Kashmir, which I witnessed firsthand, being a reporter for Le Figaro at that time: http://refugees-in-their-own-country.blogspot.in/. We showed this exhibition to the US Congress in Washington in 2008.

 Then I mounted another exhibition on the plight of minorities in Bangladesh, having also been there often:http://portrait-of-covert-genocide.blogspot.in/ 

Later, because in the process of researching for my books, I had seen how much Aurangzeb is portrayed as a stern but just ruler, we got hold of his firmans, which are still preserved in the Bikaner archives, hired a retired professor of history, V.S. Bhatnagar of the Rajasthan university, to translate them, engaged miniature painters in Jaipur and mounted a remarkable exhibition on Aurangzeb, as he was ACCORDING TO HIS OWN RECORDS:http://www.aurangzeb.info/

 And then and then, kept making exhibitions, till we have fifteen today, including one on Sikhism: http://defenders-of-dharma.blogspot.in/ Or one on Hindu genocide, which we called “HINDU TOLERANCE THROUGHOUT THE AGES:http://hindu-tolerance.blogspot.in/

 But this was not enough, I felt. Thus, 2 years ago, I started building a Museum of (TRUE) Indian history on 5 acres of land donated to FACT by HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. We have inaugurated the first phase one year ago. See the film at:http://www.youtube.com/user/FACTindia/feed

We built a small shrine dedicated to Mata Bhavani and Shivaji Maharaj at entrance of Museum (photo) and opened a beautiful permanent exhibition on the great Shivaji Maharaj, whom we elevated as a national Hero for the whole of India and a Vibhuti: http://hero-for-modern-india.blogspot.in/ 

 We then built a hall to put-up permanently our Aurangzeb exhibition. Photos: http://factmuseum.blogspot.in/

We have also built a video room where FACT’s films, such as “Brahmins have become the Dalits of India:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7Xgc4ljHKM , Or a film on the testimonies of survivors of the terror attacks in Mumbai of 26/11: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McjeQAUxz9Y can be screened

 & we have just completed a fourth building, which will house a remarkable exhibition on the genocide of Tibetans at the hands of Chinese, and which the Dalai-lama, whom I know well, for having interviewed him seven times, will inaugurate on 28th July. 

The Museum , whose address is: Ahead of Marathwada Institute. Vadgaon Shinde road. Wadgaon. Pune 4, is OPEN every day from 9am to 6pm and entrance is FREE. Please tell your friends about it. we have daily aarti in the temple in the morning at 9.30am

 This is a noble, but VERY difficult project, for many reasons. One, there is no tradition of private museums in Indian as there is in the West. Two, as soon as you touch at Indian history, it becomes very sensitive and tricky; and three, most philanthropists in India donate to education and health care, but recoil as soon as you mention the subject of Indian History. 

 But this is a Museum for ALL Indians, particularly dedicated to the Knowledge that stands behind Hinduism & which is the foundation of Indian culture and spirituality. My wife is preparing with Dr Kireet Joshi a series of exhibitions on the Vedas, which will be the foundation of our Museum.


However I need YOUR help. I am building this Museum on a shoestring budget and bills keep pouring in, while donations are very scant. 

 FACT is a registered Trust with Indian & UK, US tax exemption. If you would like to help, you could make a donation to: FACT, Account No: 04071450000237, IFCS code: HDFC0000407. We will mail you back your tax exemption certificate and we will honor all our donors.

Or you could donate via FACT USA

Please pass this plea on to your friends

Francois & Namrita Gautier/Trustees FACT


From an early age, Shah Jahan’s four sons, Dara Shukoh, Shah Shuja, Aurangzeb, and Murad Bakhsh, grew up in an atmosphere of bitter rivalry, writes Hambly, even though they were all children of the same mother, Mumtaz Mahal. In 1657, Shah Jahan became seriously ill. The expectation of an early death provoked the four sons into making a desperate bid for the throne. Only two candidates, writes Hambly, stood much chance of success — Dara Shukoh, who was 42 years old, and Aurangzeb, who was 39.

Dara Shukoh, Shah Jahan’s favorite and his heir, was a man of broad intellectual interests, writes Hambly. He was a Sufi and a religious eclectic who had translated the Upanishads into Persian.

Aurangzeb, notes Hambly, was well educated, knowledgeable in the traditional spectrum of Islamic studies, and strict in his religious orthodoxy. Aurangzeb had an acute sense of political realism and a fierce appetite for power. Although Aurangzeb’s personality was considered less attractive than that of Dara Shukoh, writes Hambly, Aurangzeb was the superior in both military talent and administrative skills.

Guru Nanak, Kabeer, Shaikh Ali Hujweri, Al-Beruni, Sheikh Nizamuddin Auliya, Dara Shukoh, Sheikh Qadiri, Mirza Mazhar Jani-I-Jahan, Jalal-Al-din Rumi…

As I did not look at this infidel’s face in his lifetime, I do not wish to do so now.”1 Aurangzeb is reported to have remarked when decapitated head of Dara Shukoh  was presented to satisfy him that no fraud or substitution had taken place. On Aurangzeb’s order Dara’s “corpse was placed on an elephant, paraded through the streets of the city a second time, and then buried in a vault under the dome of the tomb of Humayun, without the customary washing and dressing of the body.”2

Before his decapitation, such was the hatred of Aurangzeb towards his brother that after his capture, Dara Shukoh and his son were paraded through the streets of Delhi dressed in tattered clothes and seated on a miserable-looking female elephant.3

Dara Shukoh was executed not only on the charge of heresy and infidelity, but also for the crime of calling Hinduism and Islam ‘twin brothers’.4

The charge of Dara’s heresy and infidelity mostly stems from his dealings with the Brahminical and Islamic thought, his original work Majma’-ul-Bahrain (The Mingling of Two Oceans) and his translation of fifty Upanishads, Sirr-i Akbar (The Great Secret).

However, there is nothing in Dara’s Sufistic career to suggest that at any time he had renounced Islam. He was (along with his sister Jahan Ara) a Qadiri Sufi, believer in the Wahdat al-Wujud (Unity of Being) school of Sufism and a disciple of Sufi Mulla-Shah.

After his discourses with Baba Lal and other Hindu saints, yogis and ascetics, Dara Shukoh had come to believe that there was one and the same Absolute who was merely expressed in different forms in different religions. This was really nothing new. Similar ideas had previously been developed by Ibn ‘Arabi. It seems Dara was not familiar with the earlier comparison of the Nath terminology and Dvaidadavaitita-vilakshanvada and terminology of sufism and Wahdat Al-Wujud in Shaikh Gangohi’s Rushdnama. However, he worked independently on the same topic and in 1654-55 wrote the Majma’u’l-bahrain (Mixing of the Two Oceans).5 Dara drew parallels between the Hindu mystic and Islamic sufi terminology and was convinced that apart from verbal differences, the understanding of Reality of the two systems was essentially the same. He justified his conclusions on his interpretation of the ‘Light Verse’ in the Qur’an (24:35)6

Dara Shukoh divided the prophets in three categories and regarded the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad who he thought harmoniously blended the Absolute and the determined, the Colorless and the colored, and the Near and the distant was the “comprehensive prophethood”.7

According to Dara Shukoh, only such saints who combined Prophet Muhammad’s tasbih (immanence) with tanzih (absolute transcendence) were perfect. In this category he included the first four caliphs, Hasan and Hussein, a number of Prophet Muhammad’s companions and a host of sufis including his pir Mulla-Shah. Only one Hindu saint — Baba Lal Bairagi — was included in his list of “perfect saints”. 8 Even Kabir did not make the grade.

His other work Sirr-i-Akbar (The Great Secret) was the translation of fifty Upanishads. Study of the Upanishads satisfied Dara Shukoh’s intellectual curiosity in a way all other works had failed to do. He regarded them as fountainhead of Tawhid (Wahdat al-Wujud). He correlated them with the Qur’an and thought the latter to be commentary on them. He believed the Upanishads were the secret books mentioned in the Qur’an (LVI, 77-80)

That (this) is indeed a noble Qur’an

In a book kept hidden

Which none toucheth save the purified,

A revelation from the Lord of the Worlds.9

With the support of the Qur’anic verses that many earlier sufis had also argued that the ancient Indians had been recipient of the Divine revelation but Dara Shukoh asserted that the four Vedas were also Divinely revealed books and he regarded the “study of the Upanishads as the highest form of worship”. 10

The Majma’u’l Bahrain was Dara Shukoh’s most important work and was singled out by the Ulema as a justification for accusing Dara Shukoh of calling infidelity and Islam as ‘twin-brothers’ and condemning him to death.11

Did Dara Shukoh really call Hinduism and Islam as ‘twin-brothers’ or did he ever apostasize from Islam?

Rizvi maintains that “the work itself lies within the ideological framework of Ibn ‘Arabi’s teachings and asserts that the stage of universality and perfection was reserved for Prophet Muhammad, and that tanzih was harmoniously blended with tasbih only by his successors and the Muslims sufis, to whom alone were addressed the following words in the Qur’an:

Ye are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind. (3: 110) “12

In all his works there is no evidence of Dara Shukoh having renounced Islam or regarding Hinduism, independently on its own, as equal to Islam. His assertion of the Divine nature of the Vedas and the greatness of the Upanishads, he justifies only with the support of Qur’anic verses.

In his Safinatu ‘l-aulia, Dara gives glimpse of his Sunni orthodoxy. He had never denied the Prophethood or finality of the Prophet Muhammad , and as stated above, regarded Prophet Muhammad as the “perfect prophet”. He had never denied the validity of the revelations of the Qur’an. He was also convinced of the superiority of the first four Caliphs and graded them in the order they became Caliphs.13

He was a Qadiri sufi and believed in the superiority of the Qadiriya order started by Shaikh ‘Abdu’l-Qadir Jilani who he believed had received its rules directly from the Prophet.14

Dara Shukoh was conscious of his own scholarship and combined his personal spiritual interests to vindicate the universality of the Qur’anic worldview and to show how monotheism was echoed in classical Vedic and philosophical texts. He does not present the translation of the Upanishads as a means of religious syncretism of the Islamic and Hindu communities but claims that these are themselves Islamic texts as witnessed in the Qur’an and bearing witness to true and untarnished monotheism.15

Dara Shukoh begins the preface of Sirr-I Akbar by celebrating God and the revelations of the Qur’an, as well as paying tributes to his Qadiri preceptors. It is his “devotion to the Qur’an and a desire to more perfectly comprehend Tawhid that Dara is first drawn to the investigation of non-Islamic religious traditions.” In closing, he turns to the Qur’an again “for an omen of God’s blessing on his project”. More than half of the text of his preface of his translation is devoted to hope that it will be “perceived as an orthodox mantle of commentator.” 16

What Dara Shukoh was claiming was that like the Qur’anic revelations were an extension and completion of the Biblical revelations in the same way these were also an extension of the revelations of the Vedas. And as Biblical revelations stand superseded by the Qur’an so do the Vedic revelations. In claiming that the secret revelations mentioned in the Qur’an were the Upanishads, he clearly implied that the Qur’an is simply a continuation of the earlier revelations. In asserting the perfection of prophethood of Prophet Muhammad, he was also implying the perfection of revelations in the Qur’an. The Hindus were essentially Muslims, only they were not aware of this — a secret that he had unraveled.

Implications of such a scenario are far reaching as can be seen from the recent sermon by Shaykh Salih Bin-Muhammad Al Talib in a Saudi mosque.

In his sermon in the Holy mosque in Mecca, Shaykh Al Talib said

“Is it not time the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] pondered and acknowledged that Islam is a continuation of the messages that came before it and that it is the religion that God has chosen for the whole of mankind?”

He continued: “From the time of Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, until the Day of Judgment, God will not accept any other religion or creed,” the imam says and cites the Qur’anic verse: “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost.” 17

Dara Shukoh had extended the concept the “People of the Book” to the Hindus also.

In Dara Shukoh’s case more was in play than just his views on the Vedas and the Upanishads. Aurangzeb’s animosity to Dara and the struggle for the throne was no hidden secret but it was as much the Mullahs who ultimately decided his fate. And Dara’s contempt of the Mullahs was a foregone conclusion.

Ridiculing the Mullahs he had written:

Paradise is only at a place where no Mulla lives,

Where no uproar or clamor from a Mulla is heard,

May the world rid itself of the terror of a Mulla.

May none pay heed to his fatwa

In a city where Mulla dwells,

No wise man is ever found.18

While on this subject, I also might add:

Many Muslim commentators assert had Dara Shukoh succeeded to the Mughal throne, Islam would have disappeared from India. This may actually be a false conclusion. Accession of orthodox Aurangzeb to the Mughal throne and his Islamic zealotry, probably caused more harm to the cause of Islam in India. His re-imposition of jiziya, decree to demolish Hindu temples, political and economic conversions and generally harsh measures against the Hindus caused widespread resentment against the Mughal rule which ultimately resulted in the empire’s disintegration.

Rizvi thinks “political fear and economic incentives during the reigns of Shahjahan and Aurangzeb had little effect on Islamic proselytization. Nevertheless between the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries conversion of Hindus to Islam did occur on a considerable scale, due to successful prosyletizing techniques used by the new sufic orders and because of social factors inherent in the fresh wave of urbanization then taking place.”19

Though it is purely a matter of speculation today but it cannot be ruled out, given the nature of Hindu thought, it is quite possible that the approach adopted by Dara Shukoh might have proved to be more fatal to Hinduism than the harsh measures adopted by Aurangzeb. Once converted to Islam, the mild approach of Dara would have faded into oblivion, and India today might been just a larger version of Pakistan.

To conclude, there is no evidence of Dara Shukoh having renounced Islam or calling Islam and Hinduism as ‘twin-brothers’. Dara Shukoh was a Qadiri sufi in the Sunni tradition of orthodox Islam. He also regarded himself as wearer of mantle of Orthodox Sunni Islam. It is quite ironic the orthodox Mullahs led by Aurangzeb, in their zealotry, killed the golden goose that might have laid the golden egg of Islamic India.


1 Masum , 143b-145b; Bernier; 102, Tavernier, i.354; et al quoted in Jadunath Sarkar, History of Aurangzeb, vol. 1&2, Orient Longman, 1973, pp. 341 (quoted in footnote)

2 Sarkar, pp. 340

3 Rizvi, A History of Sufism in India, vol. 2, Munshiram Manoharlal, 1983, pp.128

4 ‘Alamgirnama, Calcutta1868, p. 432; Ma’asir-I ‘Alamgiri, Calcutta, 1870-73, p. 27; Quoted in Rizvi, pp.128

5 Rizvi, pp. 417

6 Rizvi, pp. 421

7 Rizvi, pp. 421

8 Majma’u’l Bahrain, pp. 101/56-57, Quoted in Rizvi, pp. 422

9 Rizvi, pp.423

10 Rizvi, pp. 423

11 Rizvi, pp. 422

12 Rizvi, pp. 423

13 Safinatu’l Aulia, p. 23, Quoted in Rizvi, pp. 132

14 Rizvi, pp. 134

15 Douglas L Berger, Oakmont Community College, IL., The Unlikely Commentator: The Hermeneutic Reception of Sankara’s Thought in the Interpretive Scholarship of Dara Shukoh, unpublished manuscript, pp. 2

16 Berger pp. 4

17 http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=20089

Saudi Sermon: Time for Christians and Jews to Convert to Islam [FBIS (US Government service) Translated Excerpt] [With thanks to http://www.mideastweb.org/mewnews1.htm ]  Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia TV1 in Arabic, official television station of the Saudi Government, carries on February 27, 2004 at 0945 GMT a live sermon from the holy mosque in Mecca.

18 Diwan-I Dara-Shukoh, quoted in Rizvi pp. 145

19 Rizvi, pp. 426