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.