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Why Javed Akhtar’s equivalence between British and Mughals is false

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Recently Javed Akhtar tweeted something knowing well it will evoke sharp response:

Robert Clive and Warren Hashtings became multi-millionaire after they set foot on Bengal. This is a reality! Robert Clive is accredited for establishing political & military power of Britain over Bengal, a state which alone was richer than Britain. While difficult to say who looted more, Warren Hashtings was impeached in British parliament over charges of corruption. Charges were so extensive that it took two days to cover them in parliament.

Coming down to the main question, why it is that in spite of British plunderer’s loot well documented in history, Indians don’t treat British with equal disdain as Mughals?

Answer lies in the way Islamic invaders ruled India and treated Hindus! Even most benevolent of them ‘Akbar the great’ carried out genocide at whims and fancy. Most notable of this was when Akbar lay siege on Chittorgarh, home to Rana of Mewar:

It took 60 days for Akbar and his large army to penetrate through the defence of the fort, once in, Akbar ordered slaughter of anyone who was found sympathetic to Rana, over 40,000 inhabitants of Mewar were massacred by ‘Akbar the great’ and the kingdom was destroyed. Historians write, as soon the fort was broken fire leapt to the sky implying women jumped into razing pyre to save their honour. Another example is from 1556, when ‘Akbar the great’ defeated Hemu at Panipat, after slaughtering Hemu’s army, Akbar built a victory tower with the heads. Building tower with the skulls of opponents was not new to Islam and idea came with Mughal from Central Asia.

Here’s a Mughal miniature from 1590, showing a skull tower being built during Akbar’s reign:

Obviously if Akbar was capable of such ghoulish act his predecessors and followers were even more ferocious!

When Timur sacked Delhi in 1398, he slaughtered a hundred thousand people, and built a tower with their skulls.

Destroying temples and using the broken parts for building mosques was a regular occurrence under Mughals.

Somnath temple the pride of India, was sacked many times in history. Notably Prithvi Raj Chauhan forgave Mohammad Ghauri seven times in battle after defeating him, but Ghouri succeeded ninth time, looting, plundering and killing in the most horrific way along with sacking the temple.

Alauddin Khilji whose lust for Rani Padmavati against her wishes is well known, not only sacked Somnath temple but took the idol away to Delhi to be trampled under feet of Muslims.

Bakhtiyar Khilji who was general to Qutubuddin Aibak destroyed Nalanda which attracted over 12,000 students, fire razed from university for three months, several Buddhists were killed during invasion.

Tipu Sultan who is commemorated yearly by government of Karnataka wrote “I have achieved a great victory recently in Malabar and over four lakh Hindus were converted to Islam. I am now determined to march against the cursed Raman Nair (Dharma Raja Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma).” His jihad against Hindus & Christians in Deccan and beyond is unparalleled.

The entire list of temples looted, destroyed and sacked by Mughals is so extensive that it will take work of many historians running in 1000s of pages to compile it!

If anyone wants an exhibit of how Mughals treated Hindus, they should turn to how ISIS treats minorities in Middle East. What happened to Yezidis prompted Obama to carry out military operation in Syria. In Pakistan & Bangladesh stories of churches razed down, Christians tormented and Hindus converted or killed are almost heard on daily basis.

Savagery, barbarity driven by religious hatred is what puts Mughals apart from British. While British exploited and looted India, their colonisation was not driven by religion. Mughals invaded and conversion was at the heart of their rule. Many noted historians have described conversion and genocide in books. K S Lal describes loss of 20 million Hindu lives between invasion of Mahmud Ghazni and end of Mughal sultanate. Similar figures have been cited by Stephen Knapp and Belgian historian Koenraad Elst.

Rise of Islamic extremism in modern world is a real threat and dividing the world like never before, daily terrorist attacks by radical Islam all over the world has changed the way people live, inviting far right governments in countries one after another. People like Javed Akhtar should be more worried about this clear & persistent threat rather than trying to draw false equivalence between Robert Clive & Aurangzeb!

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