We all know that Shah Jahan built Taj Mahal and red fort,however there are some more interesting tell tales of his reign that I would like to share.Moguls would not marry their daughters.This was a policy introduced by Akbar to avoid less conflicts for the throne.Shah Jahan had 3 daughters and 4 sons.
ShahJahan like earlier Moghul rulers had very active sex life,infact,even after Mumtaz died,he continued to have sex with multiple partners every day,at times with wives of his officials.
According to Niccolao Manucci,Shah Jahan died because of Urinary disorder by the over doses of aphrodisiacs,which was taken to increase sexual desires.
Having read from lot of sources, it seems Shah Jahan imposed Sharia Law, back in the country,also restricted the restoration of temples and churches.(though he was born from a Rajput mother).But dont think he was a religious zealot.
His greatest fear of brothers killing their own brothers came true.He himself, had to kill his half brothers.So, when his own sons fought,he as a father must have felt the pain. Off course, the severed head of Dara Shikoh was presented to him, by Aurangzeb.
In my view,this disease of killing once own blood is not only with Moughals.I think if you are in power and would want to to have power,being a ruler is such a big high that you might in fact go ahead and do it.From Mahabharata times,we have known that brothers can become your enemies.Off-course,once own blood is not easy,however how can we forget king Ashoka,the great ruler India ever produced,who also had to fight a battle of succession. Infact, if you are in the business of killing,I think after sometime once own blood does not matter much,but what matters is your legacy and the name of your lineage.The instance where Shah Jahan, would have sex with the wives of his nobles, makes me wonder,what kind of life these rulers and its people were leading.All too powerful.
Would say Sex and violence were the stories of all mughal Rulers.Their lives are typical pot boilers.
Aurangzeb killed his two brothers(he chased off his third Shah Shuja),Murad was actually sentenced to death for killing his own Wazir,while offcourse Dara Shikoh was killed as a rival to his throne.Dara’ elder son Suleiman was also sent to prison with daily dose of pousta(pousta is a drink made of poppy heads crushed and soaked in water for a nightA large cup of this beverage was brought to them early morning and thye were not given anything to eat until it was swallowed,which first turned him into a zombie then later killed him.
Been inspired by Alex Rutherford,Jadunath Sarkar and few others.
Posted in Shah Jahan by admin with no comments yet.
The Crusade which began after September 11 with Air crash on Twin towers of World Trade Center, is still on.The battle between terrorism,terrorists(Jehad word has been hijacked) with US and its allies after the attack of 9/11 has entered never ending phase.Though countries like India have been fighting this since 80’s and Israel from the day of its inception .
19 highly motivated terrorists hijacked four airlines jets, and crashed them killing close to 5000, Christians, Muslims, Hindus,Jews, atheists.
The most audaciously planned terror attack ever against US.This 9/11 attack completely changed the perception of US people,as they became increasingly paranoid about flying and the world is general started to debate on topics like Clash of civilizations.People went back to history books to find precedence, going back to crusades and Jehads fought between Christians and Muslims over Jerusalem.(It is quite amusing to think that these three religions have one holy place, called Jerusalem,Christians, Muslims and Jews all view it as their holy place.The question is why? in a way i think these guys are brothers, as they all belong to the same land,they would have drank water from the same source,eaten food from the same soil,Tthe question is why three religions)this holds importance as Khalid Sheikh Mohammad,the chief architect of the attack was strongly critical of US policy in middle east and Israel.YesOsama bin Laden and Al Qaeda have towered in the minds of US citizens as the epitome of terrorism.
People also started to revisit the times when the likes of Salaudin,Franks, were around.
One religion has been specifically cornered ever since,and it is stated that all terrorists are Muslims, but not all muslims are terrorists.There have been other books like Clash of Fundamentalism, which give a deep insight into the origins of Islam,fight against Pagan tribes,concept of 72 hoors in Jannat, US policy of treating the world .All terror attacks are more or less traced back to Pakistan. What China is to cheap goods, so is Pakistan for terrorism.
Looking back, we realize that US society has changed a lot and since 9/11, there hasn’t been a single attack on the US soil after 9/11.This speaks volume of effort put by US homeland security in making sure that zero terror attacks take place. Of course World trade center has changed too,ground zero as it is called, is now being made with a memorial and new world trade center.
Well, September 11 or 9/11, has changed the geography of the world(my favorite subject)
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Since almost two years I have been tempted to write about crusades,which have captured the imagination of Islamic and Christian communities(and some history zealots like me) since almost a 1000 years.The word crusade became popular or at least I came across a lot during the second Iraq war, or I should say post Sept 11.Public interest,was probably resurrected in context of Americans trying to avenge the attacks of Sept 11.
I remember also listen to a song as a child “Jerusalem is lost”.And Yes, also heard that people are interested to know how the crusades really started.So according to one reliable source,of which I trust,it all started during the time,when Islam had already been in its Prime.
Jerusalem- is considered to be a holy place for Jews,Muslims and Christians as well.Some say,crusades were started byone person Pope Urban II.The way Pope Urban tried to mobilise people and raise passions,it kind of comes across as Christian version of Jehad.
Jerusalem was projected as a holy city supreme shrine and celestial Kingdom.Security of Holy Sculpture was at stake.Crusade was being portrayed as Salvation point on the battlefields of Jerusalem.It was also the war for money and power,as lands towards east were considered rich.
As the first wave of crusaders(Led by Godfrey) crossed Europe to Constantinople,they forced conversion and massacre thousands of Jews, to avenge the killing Christ.During the same period Arab world was divided and fighting among themselves.They could not provide good resistance to the invading army.
The time crusaders were in Jerusalem,they were exhausted and each crusader was promised possession of any house marked by his shield and arms,hence the crusading army searched Jerusalem and boldly killed the citizens,culling wives,children whole households.
Though- something to be noted- Crusader chronicles for propaganda exaggerated the scale of their crimes.
The second crusade was when Saladin(some say a noble and just ruler) recaptured Jerusalem.
The third Crusade was between Saladin and Richard the Lion Heart.On 4th July 1190,Richard the Lion Heart,King of England and Philip II king of France set out for the third Crusade to liberate Jerusalem.On Sep 1192 and almost a year at war,Saladin and Richard the Lion heart entered truce with Saladin still keeping Jerusalem, but allowing Christians to pray and make Pilgrimage.
Interestingly on his way home Richard was captured by the German King and was only released after one year,when a huge ransom was paid for him.
After Saladin died there was another attack on Jerusalem by Frederick II,who at that time was the most powerful ruler of Europe.(Damn the images of game of thrones are coming to my mind)
I was inspired from-Jerusalem by Simon Sebag Montefiore.
Posted in Crusades and tagged Battle of Hattin, Crusades, Europe, France, Frederick II, Godfrey, Iraq, Jerusalem, King, Philip II, Saladin, Second Crusade, Siege of Jerusalem, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Third Crusade, United Kingdom by admin with no comments yet.
History is always contentious .To some it is fact,while for rest, is a bunch of lies but for some it is an eye opener.At most times, only the winners of battles and Kings get the opportunity to write the history and they show what they think needs to be shown.
So making an opinion after reading history books or articles can be a deadly sin.Therefore, request all to do your own research, and at least try and read two books on one topic to come any close to forming an opinion.
History hasn’t been kind to any one religion or race.To be able to write on a religion can be tricky,however our history is so entangled with religion that one cannot just skip them,it is only now that fewer countries of the world have State religion.
I happen to have recently visited Bangla Sahib Gurudwara to help pray for a Friend’s Father survival.(who was fighting for his life)
It was also the anniversary of Operation Blue Star and a lot was written in media about Operations blue star.I remember as a six year old, the repercussions of state policies changed the outlook of how people viewed each other.My Grand parents lived in Delhi-Karol Bagh and we did visit them,immediately after the Mayhem.
Follow that ,we had a decade long insurgency-I read a lot of violence in Punjab.So, later when ever I would visit Delhi from Bhopal and see the Turban clad Sikh men,would get scared.(Ironically, this could have been the idea of Guru Har Govind, to install fear in Mughal soldiers -Psychological warfare)
Baba Nanak, was a Hindu reformer from Punjab,born in Khatri community in 1459 at Talwandi(now- Nanakana).Guru Nanak believed in one living God.Gurus from Nanak till Arjun Dev the fifth guru,won accolades from Mughal emperors by their saintly lives.Before Aurangzeb, their was no religious persecution of gurus.
Under Arjun,the fifth Guru, the number of sikh converts increased and also Guru’s wealth.Guru ji organsized a permanent source of income.Agents were posted in every city from Kabul to Dacca,to collect tributes from followers and have it sent to Amritsar(central treasury).Guru was treated like a King.For some reason Guru supported Prince Khusrau(Shahjahan) in his fight against his father Jahangir and gave him monetory help as well.Shahjahan was defeated and Guru was asked to pay a fine of 2 lakh rupees.Arjun refused to pay the fine and was then given punishment,out of which he died.After his death,Guru Har gobind(1606) became the guru and started to train himself in martial exercises and raised a small army.
While in Amritsar,Gurus forces and imperial forcesof new ruler ShanJahan fought each other over some game bird,there was a slaughter and Guru’s forces won.When reinforcements came,they too were beaten back.Lot of people from far and wide became his followers and then more Mughal forces were sent to crush him.His property and house in Amritsar was seized and Guru fled to Kiratpur in Kashmir hills.(1945)
Guru Teg Bahadur became the seventh guru.It was Aurangzed time and mass conversion were happening.Guru Tegh opposed it and encouraged people to resist it.He was taken as prisoner and was tortured for 5 days,before beheaded on his refusal to accept Islam(1675)
So finally open was broke out between Sikh and Islam.It was under tenth Guru Govind rai(1676-1708),that Mughal faced their most fierce enemy.Guru fought from Anandpur fort.He fined Hindus around 125 rs for saluting any Mohammdan saint’s tomb.He lived in a princely state. He fought the Rajas of J&K and Mughals alike.
Eventually Guru had to leave Anandpur fort and leave for South India.While on his way,his four sons perished fighting.The Guru reached Nander on the Godavari, and after staying there for a year and having made peace with the new Mughal ruler Bahadur Shah I,he was stabbed to death by an Afghan.
Inspired by text from -A short history of Aurangzib-Jadunath Sarkar.
Posted in Sikh Gurus and Mughals and tagged Amritsar, Anandpur fort, Baba Nanak, Bahadur Shah, Bhopal, Dacca, Delhi, Gobind Singh, Godavari, Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Tegh Bahadur, India, Jahangir, Kabul, Kashmir, Kashmir hills, Khatri, Khusrau (Shahjahan), Prince, Punjab, Punjabi people, ruler, Sahib Gurudwara, Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh, Sikh gurus, South Asia, South India by admin with no comments yet.
Why is it that the day,when Jesus Christ was crucified is called Good Friday,and not anything else.Probably,the day when good sacrificed for the greater cause of manhood/womanhood,people may call it good.Though a religious force/clerics conniving with the rulers to have somebody crucified just because they don’t follow the beaten path,speaks of less faith and a sense of insecurity, in their own faith.(samaj ke thekedar)
Very rare do we have examples when new thoughts have been welcomed without bloodshed and violence(eg Buddhism/Jainism)I don’t recollect a violent reaction when these religions started.(or any act of crucification).May be because these religion or say “way of life” were started by all powerful princes.
I think the time when Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem,Judaism was under attack for sometime and Romans had occupied the mind/body and soul of the city and its people.Romans had their own set of god and goddesses.So it seemed society was craving for change and change is what they got.
Recently I came across some videos,which talked about life of Jesus Christ.The video states that Jesus Christ probably studied in India.(the time he was born in bible,it is mentioned that angels(Buddhist monks) from east visited mother Mary.Probably they took the silk route as Buddhism was the most popular religion that time. Infact, it also states that from the age of 14 till i think 28-27, Jesus was travelling in India learning ancient texts/meditation and being a saint was also able to heal people.The lost tribes of Israel, it seemed travelled all the way to India/Kashmir- Features/language match with Jewish features.
As per the video, the way Jesus was crucified, people don’t die,they continue to live on for hours.So probably resurrection could be the way how Jesus with his meditation powers might have come back to life and considering the threat to him and his followers decided to spend the rest of his life in the familiar environment ie in India.(Interesting theory) Check out these videos.
Posted in Christ and tagged Belief, Christian mythology, Christianity, Good Friday, Historical Jesus, India, Israel, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jesus and history, Jesus Christ, Kashmir, Life of Jesus in the New Testament, Mary, Meditation, Person Travel, Religion by admin with no comments yet.
We don’t have many people these days talking about Gupta period.Neither, there are enough history books exclusively available covering their period,unlike what we have for Mughal time,Mythology(Mahabharataa) or even about King Ashoka times.Some how Gupta period has been completely forgotten by historians.I mean, what is being spread more prominently is the negative aspect of their rule -extinct of Buddhism in India,centralization of power among higher castes,and off course land grants based on caste system.So quite a few ills which our society is struggling have come from or probably originated during Gupta empire.Gupta empire was considered the golden period of India.However,if we talk to people today,they struggle coming up with a single name of ruler from its period.They might at least remember one or two rulers from Mughal,Mauryan but Gupta period,they just don’t.So, probably it has been deliberately ignored.
Therefore, attempt in this blog is made to revive this period of excellence and phenomenal growth.
Sri Gupta, was the one from whose reign we can say that Gupta as an Empire took off.(240-280 AD).After, Sri Gupta came Ghatohkacha. It was in 319 AD that King of Kings Chandragupta became the ruler of Oudh,Gangetic plain and Magdha.Lichchhavi’s(modern day Nepal border areas) played a significant role in the making of the Empire.Lichchhavi daughter was married to Chandragupta.
Samudra Gupta, became the ruler in 335, AD.The name meant, he was protected by sea, or his rule spread till sea.The Allahabad pillar has all details.Samudra Gupta had to fight his elder brother for the succession of the throne.Brother’s name was Kacha.
At Allahbad pillar,Samudra Gupta inscribed the details of his conquests and achievements.This was in stark contrast to how the pillar had details of Asoka.It showed that two kings were poles apart in content and character.
Samudra Gupta,after defeating his nearby kings.ie mordern day Barelli,Mathura started his South Campaign.He fought and conquered territory till Vishakapatnam.
Chandragupta II reigned from 375 AD -414 AD.Chinese Traveller Fa Hien travelled to India,from China via famous Buddhist places.He reliased that Buddhist traditions in China were imperfactly followed, so he traveled with fellow scholors via cities like Khotan, Kushgar.Hiyana form of Budddhism was followed there.The religion was called Shamanism.(The religion which was followed by Chengez Khan).
After crossing Indus the monks from China came to a place called Udyana(where the language spoken was of central India or Middle Kingdom).After that, they reached Taxila & Peshawar,where King Kanisha had built a grand monument.Crossing the range,they came up the region where both Himyana and Mahayana flourished.Even Punjab had lot of Buddhist monasteries.
It was in the middle Kingdom(the land of Bramanas),where people were prosperous and happy.Throughout the country,no one killed anyone,thieves were merely fined,people did n’t drink,they didn’t even have onion or garlic.Only the Chandalas would go hunting and fishing.Evidently Patliputra didn’t enjoy as much prime a position as it enjoyed during the Mauryan times.People of Middle Kingdom were rich and involved in a lot of charity and philanthropic activites.
Chandra gupta II or Vikramaditya ,had his elder brother killed,Who was willing to give his wife Dhruva devi to a Saka ruler.Vikramaditya went to SAKA ruler’s palace as a disguise of the queen and killed the King.He came back to his Kingdom and killed his coward brother and married his wife.(I mean, which kingdom would want to have a spineless ruler,who is giving his wife, to protect his own rule)
Kumara Gupta came to rule in 415 AD.
During Skand Gupta’s time,he fought with Huns in North and Pushyamitras in south.He restored the lost pride of the Empire.Gupta rulers appointed kings based on merit .(It was done by the father)
Buddhism and Jainism still flourished under Gupta rule,however the Gupta’s were followers of Brahminical religion.Sanchi continued to be a great place for Buddhist learning.During those days, there were no libraries.
FYI -Brahminical religion insisted on the contemplation of formless,in which art could not originate(Therefore, Budh Poja or image worship was probably an import from Hellenistic civilization) .Perhaps the earliest form of Brahminical stone structure is the Vishnu shrine at Besnagar near the Heliodorous pillar,second century BC.Satpatha Brahmana describes as Hindu Shrine consisting of two sheds forms of pots and beans and covered with reeds and mats.Religious services and rituals were performed in open air.
Information source is RadhaKumud Mukheerji’s Book on Gupta Empire
Posted in Guptas and tagged Allahabad, Asian people, Chandragupta I, Chandragupta II, China, Dhruva, Gupta Empire, India, Kanisha, King, King of Kings Chandragupta, Kings Chandragupta, Kumaragupta I, Patna, Peshawar, Samudra Gupta, Samudragupta, the Mauryan times, Vishnu shrine by admin with no comments yet.
Recently watched some episodes of New Mahabharata coming on TV.
Initially the new version of Mahabharata on TV,turned out to be interesting enough.However,over a period of time it became a drag,much like popular Hindi Soap operas currently on air and back ground sounds enamating, reflected a Diwali night.So have quit watching it,I think the old version was much faster.The new version started with a lot of promise as I liked their attention to details in dressing etc, but later a big bore.
Inspired and bored by the TV show, went ahead and purchased a book called Govinda’ the Aryavartta Cronicles.
I believe three names/characters greatly influenced the story of Mahabharata and they were largely responsible for The Great Mahabharata war.
Consider Draupadi first- She was one fiery out spoken lady.Her so called sharp remarks,time and again fuelled the fire already burning among rulers and brothers at large.
Govinda-The greatest architect and so called means to end gentleman.He orchestrated the greatest assassinations of that era(I would say one man Mossad-The Israeli secret service)
Suyodhan(Duryoudhan)- No story is complete till you have a villain defined.So, he was happy to take the mantle of anti-hero and went full throttle with his perceived sense of righteousness.
I loved reading it,went like a racy thriller.The book has its own, some interesting revelations on Mahabharata.
Consider this one,Jayathratha, the mightiest of the kings during that period, and had a garrison stationed close to Hastinapur.Bhisma,Dhrathrashtra and other nobles of Hastinapur were all scared of him.Jayadratha,ruled from Magdha,modern day Patliputra.
He was an emperor,whom the rulers of Aryavartta would bow.If we remember the folktale,it says he was killed and had his body parts thrown in two separate directions.But,as per the author he was defeated in a duel,with Bhim and killed,instead of any theatrics.
One of the most amazing characters at display was of Draupadi.She appeared to be in love with Govinda,like most girls of that era.
She seemed to be a woman with her own mind.Her inability to have any choice in choosing her husband speaks of the social climate of that period. Infact,she was actually married to Yudhisthir and not Arjun, in the Palace of her father.What we commonly call the Kaurava Prince as ” Duryodhan”, his name could probably been Suyoddhan(cannot imagine parents giving their child a name starting by Dur-or bad),and he seemed to be a mature politician, statesman and good human being.Infact,Yodhisthir used to often ask for money,to place bets and at times to pay off debts.Suyodhan seems to have been more peaceful,though Dhatrashtra appears to be one power hungry person,who loved the throne,and wouldn’t relinquish it even though his son, the Prince was 46 yrs old.Suyodhan apparently wasn’t really jealous nor insecure.Infact, it was Dharma raj Yodhistar,who could not compare himself with his warrior brothers.
An interesting bit is about,Vyasa,who was the grandfather of Pandu and Dhratrashtra,he himself was a love child.So when the daughters of Kashi,were married to both Hastinapur princes,non of them was able to concieve a child.It was such that fertility of the Princes was in doubt.So Vyasa was called to help produce the lineage of Hastinapur and carry forward the bloodline of King Hastin.It is difficult to believe the folktales,which say that since looking at Vyasa, the princess closed her eyes and that was why a blind son was born.
It seems these were Great men and warriors,who walked the lands of Northern India.The book tries to explain the reason why there was a war.It took place between two sets of people,one who controlled the science and engineering and who wanted to dominate vs the other group,who controlled the scriptures.
I think I might want to recommend people to read Govinda/Kaurava and visit http://www.aryavartachronicles.com/default.html
Posted in Uncategorized and tagged Ancient India, Dharma raj Yodhistar, Draupadi, Duryodhan, Duryodhana, Emperor, Festival of Lights, Hastin, Hastinapur, Hindu mythology, Hinduism, King, Kurukshetra, Mahabharata, mature politician, northern India, Pandu, Prince, Princess, Sanskrit, statesman, Vyasa by admin with no comments yet.
Last few posts have been of Mughal emperors,who ruled India for close two centuries.However, we need to remember that all this might have started somewhere.Therefore, tracing the roots became extremely important.So, the buck stops or you can started from Babur.
Babur,who was the father of Humanyun and Akbar’s grandfather,was born in a ruling family based out of central Asia region called Samarkand.His region comprised of the tough terrain from where Timur had come to India.The environment and the time he was born in very extremely fragile and there was constant war in that region.Cities and regions were being lost and won every season and I would say there were a lot of small rulers governing those small territories.
Having read Babur Nama, his own memoirs, I realize that he was always fighting for his survival.And many a occasions he was thrown out/lost wars of his own territories.So, it was only when he came to Kabul,he was able to relax and establish himself a little.His warriors were tougher than Afgan tribesmen and were more disciplined and offcourse, had better techniques for fighting.It was his third invasion of Hindustan that they were able to capture Delhi & Agra.And defeat Abraham lodi in the first battle of Panipat.Babur was a seasoned campaigner,while Lodhi, was foolishly brutal. Babar had in total 12000 troops,Matchlock while Ibrahim Lodhi’s army comprised of more than a 100000 soldiers and close to a 1000 war elephants.After the defeat,where Lodhi was killed in the battle field,Humanyu was able to get hold of Koh-i-Noor diamond,which presumably was brought from South India, by Alauddin Khilji.
Read babur,was a heavy drinker of his times.According to one statement of his,only 4 days are allowed for him to drink,so during those days Babur wold drink at night,while in rest of the days,since it was not allowed Babur and his group would drink in the mornings.
Recently came across from Bharat Ek Khoj, episode on Babur,where they say that it was Rana Sanga,who too invited Babur to invade India.But then, further in the serial,that invitation did not have much impact since Rana Sanga fought with Babur,but was defeated.
Posted in Babur and tagged Agra, Akbar, campaigner, Central Asia, Delhi, Humanyun, Ibrahim Lodhi, Ibrahim Lodhi's army, India, Kabul, Mughal emperors, Panipat, Rajput clans, South India by admin with 9 comments.