Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 80, India (2)

Wow, we still are in awe of the fort at Lahore.....Marti looks a little confused.
What's wrong Marti??

Marti doesnt know who is who in the zoo....everyone is talking about Shah Jehan, Jahangir, Akbar.....and the great Mughal Dynasty.

Ok, Feroz is going to enlighten us on the Mughal family tree as we make our way towards the last city of our journey.....Agra!

Babur 1483- 1530 was a Muslim conqueror from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty of India.
He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother.

He seemed to be as monstrous as his ancestors! He claimed that women with braided hair "were shaved with scissors, and their throats were choked with dust" and that "the order was given to the soldiers, who dishonored them, and carried them away." !

Jarca says "Oh, he was the one who built the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, after destroying an existing temple that was built to commemorate the birthplace of Lord Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and ruler of Ayodhya."

In 2003, The Archaeology Society of India conducted a study and an excavation to ascertain the type of structure that was beneath the rubble.

The excavations yielded:"stone and decorated bricks as well as mutilated sculpture of a divine couple and carved architectural features, including foliage patterns, amalaka, kapotapali, doorjamb with semi-circular shrine pilaster, broke octagonal shaft of black schist pillar, lotus motif, circular shrine having pranjala (watershute) in the north and 50 pillar bases in association with a huge structure"

This is source of ongoing tensions amongst Hindus and Muslims in India almost 500 years later!!

Akbar was Babur's grandson.

So Marti says "oh, so he was the wonderful Akbar the Great from the movie "Jodhaa Akbar".!! Hold on Marti, the director of that movie has admitted that about 70% of the movie is based on his imagination. However, there are some events portrayed in this very romanticised movie that are based on real events.

Nopi ( our historian ) argues that Akbar killed an unconscious Hemu (a Hindu) to become a 'Ghazi' at the second battle of Panipat!!

He later ordered slaughter of all the captives from Hemu's army and had a victory tower built with their heads!!

He later ordered a massacre of 30,000 unarmed captive Hindu peasants after the fall of Chitod on February 24, 1568. Even the Nazis did not kill 30,000 prisoners of war in cold blood during the second World War!! Coward!

Hmm, if Akbar 'the epitome of secularism' was so cruel and brutal, what must have been the extent of brutality of Timur Lane, Babar, Aurangzeb and Nader Shah?
Should Akbar be called 'Great' and 'Secular' only because he was a lesser despot than the rest of the Mughal emperors?

Excellent point Nopi!

With his Hindu wife Mariam-uz-Zamani he had a son and then twins, but the twins died.

He then consulted the Sufi Saint Salim Chishti from the Chishti Order who lived as a recluse in the small town Sikri near Agra.

Salim predicted that Akbar would have another son, and indeed one was born in 1569 in Sikri.

He was named Salim to honor the saint and would later rule the empire as Emperor Jahangir.

The following year, Akbar, then 28 years old, determined to build a palace and royal city in Sikri, to honor his pir Salim Chishti (
So our next stop is Fatehpur Sikri....a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Marti wants to know what is Sufism?
It is is generally understood to be the inner, mystical dimension of Islam.

A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a ṣūfī , though some adherents of the tradition reserve this term only for those practitioners who have attained the goals of the Sufi tradition. Another name used for the Sufi seeker is

Sufism was considerably influenced by the
Hindu discipline of Yoga in such areas as physical postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama).

Fatehpur Sikri is the best example of the culmination of Hindu and Muslim architecture.

En route to Fatehpur Sikri Feroz has decided to entertain us with a qawwali


which roughly translates

O benefactor of the Poor (also the most popular epitaph of Hzrt Mo'een Ud Deen Chisti)
Oh my khwaja reside in my heart
You are the king of kings
Dearest of Ali
The faith of the unfortunate has been restored by you
In your court O Khawaja shines the eternal light
In your court O Khawaja even the nearest to God bow down
You are the carrier of those nearest to God your rank is most craved
Desiring you is the path to attaining perfect humanity (Prophet Muhammad)
My master's charity
I clutch the hem of your robe
Our miseries have disappeared
Your beneficence wraps all
No matter how much jealousy your blessings on me may create in others it does not matter
I cannot fathom abandoning your presence

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