Islamabad: Lives of
two Mughal princes, Dara Shikoh and his younger brother Aurangzeb,
sons of emperor Shah Jahan, have been distorted by historians, a
Pakistani-American scholar has said.
Munis Faruqui, assistant professor at the South and Southeast
Asian Studies Department of the University of California,
Berkeley, has presented a unique side to the brothers, in a
discourse titled "New perspectives on the Mughals: The case of
Faruqui discussed at length the two brothers' relationship,
religious views and their bitter struggle over political control
of the culturally and economically rich empire, Dawn News
Focusing on the fact that neither of the brothers were "saints" or
"devils", Faruqui said Dara had a deep interest in Sufism, and
also attempted to find common language between Islam and Hinduism.
Not able to find the answers he was looking for, Dara went on to
study the Upanishads, the philosophical texts considered an early
source of Hindu religion, he said.
The Mughal prince came to the conclusion that the "hidden book"
mentioned in the Quran was none other than the Upanishads and
believed that in order to understand the Quran, one needed to
study the Hindu text.
Dara even drew an equation between Adam and Brahma -- a view
which, according to historians, branded him as a heretic and
ultimately led to his execution.
Faruqui explored the relationship the "misunderstood" brothers
shared and their struggle for the throne.
He said that while Dara almost never left the safety of the Mughal
court, Aurangzeb was a skilled warrior -- a fact evident in the
battleground where Aurangzeb triumphed over his brother.
Faruqui said that contrary to general perception, Aurangzeb
cultivated even those who disagreed with him.
He was tolerant of other faiths and enjoyed strong military and
political support from Muslims as well as non-Muslims, the
"Ultimately, it was nothing more or less than Dara's ability to
antagonise friend and foe alike, compared to Aurangzeb's
unequalled ability to paper over differences that enabled one
prince to ascend the throne, while consigning the other to the
grave," Faruqui said.