“How Can Mughal be Our HEROES?”
- Yogi Adityanath
In 21st century India, it is very unfortunate that our history and heritage is getting hampered on the basis of trying to prove a religion as superior in our country. In the present scenario, we can see people criticizing the Mughals and questioning their contribution to history because of their religion. Lack of proper historical knowledge has led to such issues. And as our honourable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Adityanath Yogi raised the question of the Mughals being our heroes so it is very important to reply to him with good evidence to such a disgusting illogical question.
The most significant temple built by using a mix of architectural techniques — including Mughal ones — is the Govind Dev temple. If today’s temples have large business houses as their patrons, those of an earlier era had royals. In the case of the Govind Dev temple, it was the Kachhwaha ruler of Jaipur Raja Man Singh, a leading nobleman at Akbar’s court. Man Singh was an enthusiastic patron of architecture, his buildings combining Rajput traditions and Mughal elegance. Another striking feature of the temple is the use of the Khurasanian vault design often used in Mughal buildings. The use of vaulted and domed interior corridors flanked by elaborately bracketed pillars is another feature that is ‘very Mughal’ in nature. Even the decorative motifs created on red sandstone are not unlike those in the building known as Birbal’s house in Fatehpur Sikri.
Accessible via a short walk through Gopinath market and standing tall alongside Kesi Ghat is a third temple that completes Vrindavan’s Mughal triad (the first one being the Madan Mohan temple). This temple, the Jugal Kishore, is similar in design to the Madan Mohan temple except that the red sandstone has acquired a pale look possibly caused during restoration. The most interesting feature here is an exquisite carving above the entrance gateway of Krishna lifting the Govardhan hill.
Quite simply, the use of Mughal building techniques in the temples indicates an architectural open-mindedness that seems rare in today’s world where temple-mosque disputes are brought alive out of thin air.
Madan Mohan Temple , Govind Dev Temple and Jugal Kishore
In ‘Voices of Dissent’, Romila Thapar writes that Rajput-Mughal joint patronage helped make Vrindavan the focus of Krishna bhakti.
The Krishna bhaktas who were born Muslim were viewed as the other by two categories of Selves. The qazis and mullahs of orthodox Islam strongly disapproved of them as did orthodox Brahmanas. On occasion, the qazi tried to win back the bhakta by resorting to negotiation but this rarely succeeded. It continued until it became helpful to the formal religions to incorporate some of these teachings. Therefore, both the other and the Self have to be carefully defined each time either is referred to in different historical contexts. This might be a necessary exercise in clarifying identities, and more so where there is an overlap. (An excerpt from the book)
Akbar’s Ram Bhakti
The great Mughal ruler issued coins honouring the Hindu deities Ram and Sita as part of his new religious thought, in which he formed an amalgam of all religions. He issued both silver and gold coins of Ram and Siya. The great Mughal ruler issued coins honouring the Hindu deities in 1604-1605, even though idolatry is prohibited in Islam. He did so as part of his new religious thought, in which he formed an amalgam of all religions.
Ram-Siya’s coins were issued by the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great in 1604-1605. It depicts Lord Ram holding a bow & arrow while Sita holding a lotus. It also has “Rama-Siya” written in Devanagari script. The inscription on the other side reads “Amardad Illahi 50”, meaning the 50th year of the reign of Akbar.
Sources in the Archaeological Survey of India say such coins weren't issued in large numbers, and the minting of these coins was probably influenced by the presence of Raja Todarmal as the Royal Treasurer.
No matter how he may have ruled in his early years, the Ram Siya coins are the symbols of an inclusive empire that Akbar envisioned during his final years, where Hindus and Muslims could live together in peace and harmony.
MUGHAL MINIATURE PAINTINGS DEPICTING HINDU GODS & GODDESSES
The Hindu epics the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, and other texts such as the Harivamsa, a genealogy of Hari (or Krishna), were translated into Persian and illustrated for the first time during Akbar’s reign (1556–1605). Unlike other manuscript projects for which the Mughal court artists inherited a tradition of iconography and style from earlier Iranian manuscripts, they had to invent new compositions for these works. The present folio depicts Krishna holding up Mount Govardhan to protect the villagers of Braj from the rains sent by the god Indra.
During Akbar’s reign, there was an effort to repair the social damage done by the Mughal invasion. He undertook a programme to translate many of the Vedic classics into Persian. These volumes were illustrated by his artists, and illustrations from Harivamsa were part of that work. The massive oeuvre of art in the Mughal times is brought into sharp focus by the artists. In a painting of Nur Muhammad, who was active as a painter in the seventeenth century, the churning of the Milk Ocean is beautifully depicted.
In a famous painting by Ruknuddin (above) dated 1678, Vishnu and Lakshmi are seen seated on a golden throne surrounded by eleven female attendants who minister to them. This is a polished work wherein the exquisitely-rendered folds of Vishnu’s robe, the fabrics of the assistants presenting gifts to the divine couple, and the subtle shading of the faces are reminiscent of Mughal paintings. This work is based on an important painting by Ali Reza.
In an illustration to the Rasikapriya, a sakhi is shown embracing her companion in the doorway of a palace while gesturing towards her lover Krishna who stands behind a plantain tree. This was created by Shahibdin in 1650 in Mewar, and clearly shows his distinctive style. He worked on several illustrations of the Rasikapriya series. These works are verse-specific and interweave visual elements while retaining the literary flavour of the text. The illustrations maintain the spiritual and aesthetic harmony of Krishna and Radha as archetypal lovers.