This article attempts to dissect the media campaign launched recently by a local television channel aimed at discrediting Mughal rule portraying a picture that Mughal rulers were plunging their empire into decadence while the West was flourishing. The writings have been adapted from the works of Orya Maqbool Jan.

Ignorance of Today

Mughal Decline and Princely Architecture1The media adopts a policy of falsehood and the nation starts believing it then only despair awaits them. The media in this country is dominated by a select few who are bent on proving that our ancestors and forefathers were ignorant, uncivilised, oppressive and illiterate. Although the forefathers of this country were Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Muslims, but these scholars shed their wrath on Muslims and specifically Muslim rulers. Their target is more often Aurangzeb Alamgir, as he is known for his piety, religiosity and justness.

A local television channel is broadcasting a campaign which is trying to prove that when Universities were being opened in the West, Mughal kings were busy in constructing Taj Mahal and Shalamar Gardens.

Badshahi MosqueKeeping historical facts aside any normal person can comprehend that these brilliantly engineered buildings and artefacts cannot be constructed without two things. First being the articulate precision in construction which involves Geometry, Physics and Chemistry, secondly, the strong economic and financial condition of the country. The constructional precision visible in Taj Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Shalamar Gardens, Hamayuns Tomb, Dewan e Khaas etc. proves that it was a result of zenith achieved in architecture. The minarets of Taj Mahal were inclined half an inch outside so that in case of an earth quake they do not destroy the tomb. It stands on a foundation 90 foot deep, beneath which there is 30 foot of sand to protect from the jolt of a quake. This requires precision in mathematics and geometry. Tile mosaic is an art, it decorates and can be seen in the 1 km long wall of the Lahore Fort and Wazir Khan Mosque, the colouring used requires the complete knowledge of Chemistry. Same is the case with fresco paintings the colours of which for the past 400 years are still intact. All Mughal buildings have been laid by terracotta pipes beneath the floors used for water dispensation and sewerage, despite aging of centuries they are still in normal condition. Comparing the Mughal architecture and the science prevalent today it would take multiple doctorate degrees and research to learn one part the Mughal architecture. Was all this possible in a Hindustan which was ignorant and where rulers despised literacy.

Only foreign writers will be quoted here as the writings of a Muslim or a local author are not acceptable to the scholars of this country. Will Durant is a famous western historian and philosopher, in his book ‘Story of Civilisation’ he quotes

“Every village had a headmaster on the payroll of the government, before the advent of the British there were 80,000 schools in Bengal alone. For every 400 people there was one school. Five subjects were taught in these schools Grammar, Arts and Crafts, Medicine, Philosophy and Logic…”

In another of his books The Case for India he writes

“In the time of Mughals only in Madras there were 125000 institutions where medicine was being taught and medical facilities were available.”

Major M.D Basu has written multiple books on Hindustan before and after the advent of the British. He writes with reference from Max Muller Before the advent of British there were 80,000 schools in Bengal. In the time of Aurangzeb came a foreigner to Hindustan, his name was Alexander Hamilton, he writes that in the city of Thatta alone there were 400 colleges for teaching Arts. Major Basu also says that the education of a commoner in India was more than that of the elite and royals of England. The report of James Grant deserves remembrance, he writes

Granting inheritance to educational institutions was started by the Muslims. In 1957 when British completely occupied India, in the small locality of RohilKhand there were 5000 teachers drawing salary from the state.

Shalahmar gardensAll these mentioned areas were suburbs, away from the large cities of Delhi, Agra and Lahore. The English and Hindu writers testify to the fact that education reached its pinnacle at the time of Aurangzeb Alamgir. He for the first time equalised the salaries of a Hindu and a Muslim teacher, a person as secular as Akbar even dispensed a greater salary to a Muslim teacher. Aurangzeb for the first time conjoined inheritance with sacred places of Muslims and Hindus, state distributed salaries to people employed there. Three Hindu historians very popular from that era were Sujan Rai Khatri, Bhim Sen and Eeshwar Daas. Sujan Rai Khatri wrote Khulasatul Tawreekh, Bhimsen wrote Nuskha e Dilkasha and Eeshwar Das authored ‘Futuhat e Alamgiri’. These three in unity write that for the first time in sub-continent Alamgir had a syllabus compiled for medicine, Tibb e Akbar, Mufrah ul Qaloob, Tareef ul Imraaz, Mujarbaat e Akbari and Tib e Nabwi were some of the books being taught in colleges for higher education in health sciences. All these texts equate to today’s MBBS. Hundreds of years before Aurangzeb, Feroz Shah had established a hospital in Delhi which was called as ‘Dar ul Shifa’. It was Aurangzeb who had the book Tib e Firoz Shahi authored and compiled. In his era there were more than a hundred hospitals only in Delhi.

Thousands of such testimonies from history bear witness. The population census report present in the tomb of Anarkali tells us that in 1911 the literacy rate was 80%, which at that time was the greatest in the world. And when British exited this country the same rate was mere 10%. Bengal was conquered in 1757, in 35 years all the Muslim schools were turned into ruins. Then in 1781, to destroy the country the first religious institution (Madrissa) was established in 1781 by Lord Cornwallis. Before this there was no distinction between worldly and religious education, the same Madrissa taught science, Quran and philosophy.

These are the testimonies from history, but if they advertise and trade in falsehood who can stop them.

Abu Jahl’s (father of ignorance) real name was Amr bin Hisham, he was prudent and literate to an extent that people called him Abul Hakam (Father of wisdom). But my mentor (May peace be upon him) said “He is not the father of wisdom but the father of ignorance”. Today’s era is also not empty of Abu Jahls.