According to Munis Forouqi, assistant professor of South Asian Department at University of California: “The Mughal prince (Dara) came to conclusion the ‘The Hidden Book’ or ‘Kitab-al-Maknoon’ mentioned in The Holy Quran is none other than the Upnishads and believed that in order to understand Quran, one needed to study the Hindu Text.”
In his famous book ‘Sirr-ul-Akhbar’ or ‘The Greatest Mystery’ Dara puts this hypothesis. The prince felt that the heterodox traditions of Indian cultural and historical mosaic demand an enlightened approach for peaceful and honorable co-existence. For Dara, Adam and Brahama were not different but the two names of one entity. Dara is also credited with the translation of 50 Upanishads from Sanskrit to Persian. His other remarkable translations include ‘Yoga Vashisht’ and ‘Bhagavad Gita’. He made the greatest contribution to Hindu-Muslim unity with his magnum-opus ‘Majma-ul-Bahrain’ or ‘The Confluence of Two Rivers’. It elaborates logically the similarities between ‘Sufism’ and ‘Vedantic Revelations’.
Being an excellent artist, architect, calligrapher and musician, he left undeniably perfect marks in the fields he touched. He patronized enthusiastically and took the Fine Arts to sublime heights. His collection of paintings ‘Dara Dhikoh’s Album’, from 1630 AD till his death is well preserved in Indian Archives even today. It was a present from noble prince to his beloved wife Nadirah Banu. He had commissioned the exquisite buildings like the tomb if Hazrat Miyan Mir in Lahore, the Akhoon Mullah Shah Mosque and Pari Mahal Garden at Srinagar, Dara Shikoh’s Library Delhi and the delicate structure – the tomb of His wife Nadirah Banu.
As someone had written – “Dara was not just an individual; he represented a world outlook that bigotry detests. It should be understood that the day Aurangzeb succeeded the die was cast for eventually ascendency of bigoted ideology that is evident today in the form Wahhabism, Talibanism and Lashkars who leave no stone unturned to defy the common sense and suffocate the breathing space so dearly advocated by Islam. People emulating Aurangzeb certainly cannot be expected to be benevolent to their Daras.”
Shah Jahan’s health was declining. Around 1657, the struggle for succession erupted among the four princes. Many internecine battles followed. Gentle Prince Dara failed to defeat the ruthless, astute and crafty Aurangzeb and met the flat defeat. Aurangzeb entered Agra as a victor on June 8, 1658. He imprisoned his father Shah Jahan and killed all his brothers. Dara Shikoh was accused of apostasy. In the dark of night, he was killed by the henchmen of Aurangzeb. The assassins presented the severed head of Dara to Aurangzeb who turned his face saying, “I wouldn’t look at that unbeliever in the face while he was alive and I won’t now.” Height of cruelty, unprecedented in the annals of history – his severed head was presented to his imprisoned father in a décor box.
The noble warrior, a simple human being and uncrowned king of Hindustan, was buried in the dead of night by some unknown minions, in an unknown grave in some remote corner of Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi.
Through this article, I would request the readers to ask the Indian Government and Indian public to redress the mega-neglect and injustice of history to this apostle of peace and recall his name in ways that suit his contributions.
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