A friend went to his favourite Mughlai paratha joint only to discover that it was renamed Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay paratha.
This dark tale might sound like a joke to many of you, but it doesn’t seem an implausible occurrence given the times we’re living in.
The Maharashtra state education board has reduced the role of the Mughal Emperor Akbar to just three lines in its new Class VII history textbooks while all preceding Muslim rulers – including Razia Sultana and the Tughlaq dynasty – have been completely erased.
This comes in shortly after their Rajasthan counterparts decided to teach children that Maharana Pratap actually defeated Akbar in the Battle of Haldighati. HE DID NOT!
Or did he?
According to George Orwell’s novel 1984, which is being referenced at an alarmingly high rate these days, ignorance is strength. This strength is derived from holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, accepting both of them.
Often accused of imposing its agenda of ‘cultural nationalism’ through education, the Narendra Modi government might just force us into this dystopian world – where the Mughals never ruled India.
So, if the Mughals never made it to the subcontinent, how could there be any stamp of their influence on the country’s architecture? What about the country’s most-visited monument and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal?
Would it cease to exist? Or would its construction be attributed to someone else, just like the Mughalsarai station or the Aurangzeb Road?
And if not for the Mughal-built Red Fort, where else would the Prime Minister of the country address his/her citizens from? Our bet would be the RSS headquarters in Nagpur.
‘A landmark of Indian cinema.’
‘Widely considered one of Bollywood’s most iconic films.’
‘Most proto-typical, high involvement, expensive, passionate piece of work that Hindi cinema has ever produced.’
‘Set the standard for everything to follow.’
These are some of the glowing reviews to give you an idea of the landmark nature of K Asif’s 1960 classic Mughal-e-Azam that was inspired by the much-tainted Persian-born rulers.
Named the greatest Bollywood film of all time by a poll celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema by British Asian (weekly newspaper), it would be a shame if the inspiration for the movie didn’t exist in the first place.
To khichdi or not to khichdi?
As 90s kids, many of us have grown up with popular folklore coming from the Mughal courtrooms, especially the one presided over by Akbar. The Emperor’s ‘nine jewels’ have constituted various stories, myths and legends through the generations.
One particular standout remains to be the witty and wise advisor Birbal, who gave birth to the khichdi tale or the one where he determines the thief in the palace by calculating the length of sticks.
Had he existed if Mughals did not? And if Mughals were to be forgotten, wouldn’t the historical wisdom associated with them be lost? That would be unfortunate to say the least.
Keep calm and Biryani
We can keep calm on all occasions, except when it comes to our favourite food item Biryani. Had the Mughals not set foot in India, we wouldn’t have been introduced to the biryani, nor the nihari, nor the koftas, nor the pasandas, nor the haleem!
A part of us just died while imagining this scenario.
One would attribute some of these dishes to the Avadh rulers, but hey if the Mughals aren’t allowed to exist, what makes you think these guys are any more special!