The History, Art and Architecture of the Mughal Empire

Conqueror of the World


The controversy of Aurangzeb’s religious policies still holds currency in current political debates on the subcontinent. In his attempt to vindicate the emperor, Habib Saddiqi ‘explains’ the confusion compounded by school books.

He has been hailed as anyone from a “Saintly or Pauper Emperor” to one who “tried hard to convert Hindus into Muslims.” Depending on one’s religious rearing, one will favor one view over the other.

But while he sets out to ‘untangle the myth’, Saddiqi appears disabled by a myopia not unlike that which features so prominently (and not at all implausibly) in his initial diagnosis. Claims of Aurangzeb’s intolerance, he rages, are to be put down to an intellectual dishonesty

…more explosive and more damaging than nuclear bombs. We have already seen its hideous effect with the destruction of Muslim historic sites (including the Babri Mosque) and recent riots in India that killed thousands of Muslims.

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