Jahangir, who ruled northern parts of India between 1605-1627AD, seems to be a tolerant ruler when compared to Aurangzeb but if we look closely at the historical accounts, his bigotry and hatred towards Hinduism becomes clear.
My professor sent a reading named “Recovering a Missing Voice from Mughal India: The Imperial Discourse of Jahangir in his Memoirs”, written by ‘Corinne Lefevre’.
In his lectures he discards all the historical accounts telling about Jahangir except Jahangirnama. The reading also does so. The professor and the reading sent by him, try to establish the wrong narrative that all the contemporary accounts were written only to show Jahangir in bad light.
Francis Bernier, Thomas Roe and all travelers who wrote about 17th century history were biased against Jahangir, according to my professor. Elliot and Dawson who wrote about the History of India taking reference solely from the Medieval Historians, are wrong according to him.
For him Jahangir was a ‘Secular’ Ruler. He also says that people have not understood the ‘greatness’ of Jahangir.
When I started looking into the sources that he discarded in his love for Jahangir, the picture became clear that Jahangir was Anti-Hindu Islamic Fanatic just like other Mughal Rulers.
Demolishing Temples for the sake of Islam and selling Hindus as slaves in Central Asia were the parts of his behaviour towards Hindus and Hinduism.
Scott C Levi writes that more than 2 lakh Hindus were sold as slaves in 1620s and 1630s in Central Asia.
“By and large, the enslavement of Hindus and their exportation to Central Asia continued unhindered throughout the Mughal period. Abd Allah Khan Firuz Jang, an Uzbek noble at the Mughal court during the 1620s and 1630s, was appointed to the position of governor of the regions of Kalpi and Kher and, in the process of subjugating the local rebels, “beheaded the leaders and enslaved their women, daughters and children, who were more than 2lacks in number”.
‘Tuzuk-I-Jahangiri’, the autobiography of Jahangir, tells about an Incident when he visited Pushkar in Rajasthan. He very jealously ordered to demolish a Varaha Temple situated there. In his own words –
“I went to see that temple. I found a form cut out of black stone, which from the neck above was in the shape of a pig’s head, and the rest of the body was like that of a man. The worthless religion of the Hindus is this, that once on a time for some particular object the Supreme Ruler thought it necessary to show himself in this shape; on this account they hold it dear and worship it. I ordered them to break that hideous form and throw it into the tank”.
The Emperor by the divine guidance had always in view to extirpate all the rebels in his dominions, to destroy all infidels root and branch, and to raze all Pagan temples level to the ground. Endowed with a heavenly power, he devoted all his exertions to the promulgation of the Muhammadan religion; and through the aid of the Almighty God, and by the strength of his sword, he used all his endeavors to enlarge his dominions and promote the religion of Muhammad.
‘Intikhab-I-JahangirShahi’, an account contemporary of Jahangir, tells that when he came to know about Jain Temples in Ahmadabad, he instantly ordered to demolish them.
“The Emperor Jahangir ordered them to be banished from the country, and their temples to be demolished. Their idol was thrown down on the uppermost step of the mosque, that it might be trodden upon by those who came to say their daily prayers there. By this order of the Emperor, the infidels were exceedingly disgraced, and Islam exalted”.
These are a few historical accounts which I have looked till now. I took guidance from the book of Sita Ram Goel “Hindu Temples : What Happened to them” and “Islamic Jihad” by MA Khan.
After reading these facts, it is crystal clear that Jahangir was not secular from any angle. In fact, did reverse of it.
Sir Thomas Roe writes about the situation of cities in the reign of Jahangir. He says – “In General, all old cities are beaten down, by what policy I understand not; but the King seeks to ruin of anything not begun by his Ancestors”.
Jahangir was just like other Mughal Rulers – An Islamic Fanatic who hated Hindus and Hinduism every bit and piece. Still I am being taught wrong about him, that so in the famous Kirori Mal College.
- Hindus Beyond the HinduKush : Indians in the Central Asian Slave Trade; Scott C Levi, pp.283
- Tuzuk-I-Jahangiri, translated into English by Alexander Rogers vol1, pp.254
- The History of India vol6, Elliot and Dawson pp. 528
- Ibid. pp. 451
- Court of the Great Mogul, Sir Thomas Roe pp.111