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Jodha Akbar: Controversy Looming?

12 Jan

I don’t know who took the momentous decision that no big budget Hindi film is allowed to release without some sort of tiresome melodrama attached to it, but the makers of the Ashutosh Gowarikar-directed period extravaganza Jodha Akbar, starring Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan, are definitely not bucking tradition. For a movie that seems to have been forever in the making with little to no information leaking out, it’s amazing how the past month has been all about petty incidents elevated to grand tragedy.

“Ash and Hrithik Hate Each Other” (pretty people are such divas), “Nobody Wants the Music” (really? Nobody wants an AR Rahman composed, Javed Akhtar written soundtrack for an Ashutosh Gowarikar film? Quick, how do I start my own music company and gobble up the rights… oh, wait. The producers have done that already.), “Hrithik and Gowarikar Hate Each Other” (well, why not?), “Ash and Gowarikar Hate Each Other” (the more the merrier), “Everybody Hates Each Other” (let’s make it simple), “I Hate Myself” – okay, I’m getting carried away.

But now that the trailers are out and the movie finally has a release date (February 15, 2008 – truly a major accomplishment as anyone who’s been tracking this movie can tell you) it turns out that the most controversial aspect of the movie might be the story itself. According to the always cheery people at IBOS, we can look forward to the sight of Hindu right-wingers frothing at the mouth at the very idea of a Hindu-Muslim romance and the emperor saying things like, “This is our country” (see video above). But just look at the questions this story throws up:

How long must you reside in a country before you can claim to be “of” that country? Are a conqueror’s rights to the land he has won limited by the fact that he is an outsider? Are you an Indian only if you can trace your lineage back through the mists of time and find that your ancestors all hailed from an area east of the Indus and west of the mangroves, south of the Himalayas and north of Kanyakumari? Are you an Indian if you live in that specific geographic area? What kind of a relationship can an invader have with the people he has conquered?

Political strife being what it is in India, I can’t imagine Jodha Akbar trying to explore these ideas in any great depth (go ahead and surprise me, Gowarikar!). But the tale of Akbar and his Hindu Princess wife (who, incidentally, was never called Jodha but I’ll continue to call her by her movie name for the purposes of this post) is bound to bring up these questions at some level whether you address them directly or not.

For one thing, the Jodha-Akbar marriage was a political alliance that arguable changed the course of Indian history. It cemented the Mughal dynasty’s subsequent claim to a pan-Hindustan empire. The Mongol-Turk Mughals would marry again and again into Hindu Hindustani stock but it was Akbar’s alliance by marriage to the Rajputs and the eventual coronation of his son Jahangir, borne by that same Rajput princess, to the throne of Hindustan that forms the crux of the “Mughals were an Indian dynasty” argument unlike, say, the Slave Sultanate. The Sultans of Delhi, for all that they ruled Delhi for a considerable length of time (enough, at all events, for the story of Razia Sultan to become a part of the local imagination), are still seen as the heirs of Muhammad Ghori than an Indian dynasty.

In the modern context, these questions on identity are still being asked by and of Indians in dramatically different circumstances from the one faced by the Mughals. The Non Resident Indian, for example, is a being that is simultaneously envied and reviled (perhaps reviled because he is envied) and like all others who’ve gone before him into a diaspora, finds himself confronting questions about his identity at every turn.

At what point is ethnic identity overshadowed by the political – in other words, what does an NRI mean when he says he is an Indian if he holds the passport of another country? Is he a hyphenate? What about his children – are they hyphenates or must they choose: children of the land where he has made his home rather than the land that saw his birth? What about those kids who’re born in another country but have grown up in India – what do we call them?

And what about the other side of the equation – Indians in India. How much does race matter in India? If you’re of Chinese, Tibetan, Bangladeshi, Nepali, etc descent but were born in India, are you an Indian? The always awesome Tom Alter, for example, is of American (missionary even) descent but was born and raised in India – how Indian is he? Can we determine these questions collectively for other people or will there be as many answers as there are people?

Identity. We could plumb its depths for eternity and argue just as long. Just take a look at this post by Sujatha.

If you wanted to test the sensitivity of this subject (or the hypothesis that Indians in general have no sense of humor, whichever you prefer) all you needed to do was take a look at the reaction to Ram Guha’s “Idle Worship, or The Non Resident’s Role Play” published in Outlook. [Note: you might be required to sign in, but registration is free.] Apart from his devoted following of right-wing nutters who live to call him commie, people expressed everything from offended dignity to puzzlement – I got the impression that I was the only one who so much as cracked a smile. Outlook even published a riposte from Priyamvada Gopal: “In Praise of the Native Intellectual“, an article with which I found no real fault other than the fact that I believe it came in response to the wrong man. [Well, and the prose which is a subject for another post.]

The Rajputs, the group that IBOS identifies as potential trouble for Jodha Akbar in Rajasthan, have another, deeply fascinating tie in to the issue of identity – the Roma, about whom I’ve written before, are believed to be of Rajasthani origin.

It remains to be seen what Ashutosh Gowarikar has done with his script. Below is an example of things in store.

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46 Comments

Posted by on January 12, 2008 in Entertainment, Life, Movies, Politics, Video

 

46 responses to “Jodha Akbar: Controversy Looming?

  1. monty

    January 12, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    sorry I didnot hear the whole story…but I can’t hear anything against hrithik! how can you say hrithik hates aishwarya? this is unbelievable.

     
  2. Aqua

    January 13, 2008 at 2:23 am

    Amrita, you should read this essay by Tenzin Tsundue if you want to a glimpse into the tibetan identify in exile. (http://www.friendsoftibet.org/articles/picador.html)

    I have also penned my thoughts on it here (http://aquadreamer.blogspot.com/2006/11/sarfaroshi-ki-tamanna.html)

     
  3. Renie

    January 14, 2008 at 4:36 am

    Hi Amrita, I notice you have the same template as on my blog :-). Thanks for your registration with IndiBlogger!

     
  4. Amrita

    January 14, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Monty – then I probably shouldnt mention “Yaadein” to you 😀 I didn’t say he hates her, it was one of those dumb rumors.

    Aqua – Thanks, I read it when it came out and it brought home the Tibetan situation to me in a way that very little else has. I think he’s amazing. Also I read your post and agreed completely – either we believe in free speech or we don’t, either we believe in refuge or we don’t, either we believe in ahimsa or we dont. we can’t have one foot in both camps.

     
  5. the mad momma

    January 16, 2008 at 5:36 am

    oh please don’t raise issues of identity and race. if we solve it all, what issues will our political leaders and the PR have to raise? spoil sport.

     
  6. Amrita

    January 16, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    MM – I’m ashamed 😳

     
  7. aryan

    January 20, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    The issues with jodha akbar are so many its difficult to know where to start. First of all, its not an accurate description of history. If you, assuming you are hindu, were to be kidnapped, raped, forcibly converted to Islam and then married to your rapist, you would certainly call that a romance, right ?

    That is the problem the hindus have with this movie, only self hating hindus like you, again i’m making an assumption, you could just be a godless commie, certainly sound like one, would like this movie. If you really want to know about the ‘great’ mughal raj in India during which tens of thousands of hindu temples were destroyed, hindu women kidnapped and raped, hindu massacred by the thousands, please read the true history of India in the VOICE OF INDIA books.

     
  8. Amrita

    January 21, 2008 at 1:00 am

    Thank for inspiring my next post. 🙂 Well since you asked so politely, I’ll tell you that I’m neither a commie nor a self-hating Hindu – I just despise Hindus like YOU who give all of us a bad name and have more in common with zealots elsewhere. And I have read a couple of VOI books – they’d be high comedy if they weren’t so pathetic. But tell me something, if I subsititute “Dalit” for “Hindu” and “upper caste” for “Mughal” in your scenario above, would you feel the same way about it? Except of course, Dalit women who were/are raped dont get married to their oppressors, they just get murdered.

     
  9. ajay khanna

    January 29, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Jodha-Akbar, to me, looks all set to court controversy. There have always been two schools-of-thought on the stature of Akbar. One school has looked upon him as somone who reined in the warring factions and led them unitedly whereas the other school has always painted him as a tyrrant. They say Maharana Pratap fought Akbar for 30 years (and stayed ahead) because he held Akbar responsible for the brutal massacre of 30,000 unarmed civilians in Rajasthan.
    Ashutosh Gowarikar is from the pro-Akbar camp and I am sure being an intelligent guy that he is, he would have prepared himself for the potential controversies in the pre-production phase only.
    Add to this the ‘jodha’ flavor. I can only wish good luck to Ashutosh.

     
  10. Amrita

    January 31, 2008 at 2:22 am

    Ajay – don’t you think the truth lies somewhere in the middle? As a conqueror I’m sure Akbar was no picnic to deal with. When you’re trying to conquer vast lands, starting in your teens, you’ll obviously fight hard and I’m sure he had plenty of blood on his hands. All conquerors do.
    But somewhere along the line, Akbar deviated from the script of previous conquerors by not only having a child with a woman from the enemy camp but also elevating that child to the imperial throne. It’s like he wasn’t merely in search of bounty, he was also in search of a nation. And the fact that four hundred years later we still have tales of his court means that there must have been some amount of good to come out of it.
    It’s like William the Conqueror in Britain – when he fought the Saxons, the Normans he led were as brutal as anything and he made it perfectly clear to his new subjects that they were a vanquished race. Some historians say there was a sort of Apartheid going on (and this in spite of the fact that they were of the same race and followed the same God). But once he had the throne, he wasn’t the Norman king, he was the Anglo-Norman king.
    This conversion of a conqueror into a king is probably the least discussed and most fascinating aspect of Akbar, imo.

     
  11. Sid

    February 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Well Amritra, I agree with Aryan..sorry, I have read through many pages of texts of authors ranging from zealots to orthodox to the more philosophicals. To keep myself restricted to Akbar, yes he was a better politician as to he took all races along to achieve his means. So that way there is a POSIITVE response to him by the historians. However as and when his supremacy was challenged he showed how cruel and inhuman he can be. When he fought Rana Pratap, he was humiliated by a smaller army day in and day out and so took upon himself to brutalise civilians in huge numbers because RANA PRATAP was a superior warrior to him. He ensured that his history was written by his own courtesan historian who wrote it the way it suited Akbar and you know the name i hope. So I dont agree with you when you debate Akbars character because we are not even reading the correct history like we dont read the correct history of the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal was not a monument of love but a structure which is built on the TEJO MAHAL( and epitomises the intention of the Mughals to break down temples) which was nothing but a Shiva Temple and Dr Oak the noted Historian has enough documents to prove it including the carbon testing from the souther gate of the Taj. Even till today there are more than 20 rooms locked inside including the one which has the beheaded Shiva stone. So lets cut this bull shit. Yes the Muslims have targetted the hindu women to increase their numbers and we have fallen prey to them. But the Rajput ladieswere clever and they burned themselves and dived into wells to save that to happen. As per as Daits are concerned, well no one would raise their hands in support of what is going on, but the problem we are discussing here is something as serious of ethnic cleansing of one of the largest religion.
    You know very well that the country where they are in majority, there is no secularism but wherever they are in minority they want equal rights. Please visit the Mid East countries to see how they make you feel second class citizens. So see the bigger picture, its there everywhere, just open your eyes and you will find what they are upto.
    Thanks Aryan for raising this sensitive Issue…I can only say that when even the sons dont trust their fathers and kill their families to attain the throne, what will outsiders believe them…HA HA HA….

    The Taj Report will follow for all of you….send it to as many people as possible…..

     
  12. unknown

    February 5, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Real History of “Taj Mahal”
    It is proved Taj Mahal is not a burial of Mumtaj but an ancient temple of
    Lord Shiva. Sufficient proofs and website links are with this mail.

    U can try this link (text and photo) before/after going through this mail:

    http://www.stephen-knapp.com/was_the_taj_mahal_a_vedic_temple.htm

    “The Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal built
    the Taj Mahal. It was built in 22 years (1631 to 1653) by 20,000 artisans
    brought to India from all over the world! . Many people believe Ustad Isa
    of Iran designed it.” This is what your guide probably told you if you ever
    visited the Taj Mahal. This is the same story I read in my history book as
    a student.

    NOW READ THIS…….

    No one has ever challenged it except Prof. P. N. Oak, who believes the
    whole world has been duped. In his book Taj Mahal: The True Story, Oak says
    the Taj Mahal is not Queen Mumtaz’s tomb but an ancient Hindu temple palace
    of Lord Shiva (then known as Tejo Mahalaya). In the course of his research
    Oak discovered that the Shiva temple palace was usurped by Shah Jahan from
    then Maharaja of Jaipur, Jai Singh. In his own court chronicle,
    Badshahnama, Shah Jahan admits that an exceptionally beautiful grand
    mansion in Agra was taken from Jai SIngh for Mumtaz’s burial. The
    ex-Maharaja of Jaipur still retains in his secret collection two orders
    from Shah Jahan for surrendering the Taj building. Using captured temples
    and mansions, as a burial place for dead courtiers and royalty was a common
    practice among Muslim rulers.

    For example, Humayun,Akbar, Etmud-ud-Daula and Safdarjung are all buried in
    such mansions. Oak’s inquiries began with the name of Taj Mahal. He says
    the term “Mahal” has never been used for a building in any Muslim countries
    from Afghanisthan to Algeria. “The unusual explanation that the term Taj
    Mahal derives from Mumtaz Mahal was illogical in atleast two respects.
    Firstly, her name was never Mumtaz Mahal but Mumtaz-ul-Zamani,” he writes.
    Secondly, one cannot omit the first three letters ‘Mum’ from a woman’s name
    to derive the remainder as the name for the
    building.”Taj Mahal, he claims, is a corrupt version of Tejo Mahalaya, or
    Lord Shiva’s Palace.

    Oak also says the love story of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan is a fairy tale
    created by court sycophants, blundering historians and sloppy
    archaeologists. Not a single royal chronicle of Shah Jahan’s time
    corroborates the love story.

    Furthermore, Oak cites several documents suggesting the Taj Mahal predates
    Shah Jahan’s era, and was a temple dedicated to Shiva, worshipped by
    Rajputs of Agra city. For example, Prof. Marvin Miller of New York took a
    few samples from the riverside doorway of the Taj. Carbon dating tests
    revealed that the door was 300 years older than Shah Jahan. European
    traveler Johan Albert Mandelslo,who visited Agra in 1638 (only seven years
    after Mumtaz’s death), describes the life of the city in his memoirs. But
    he makes no reference to the Taj Mahal being built. The writings of Peter
    Mundy, an English visitor to Agra within a year of Mumtaz’s death, also
    suggest the Taj was a noteworthy building well before Shah Jahan’s time.

    Prof. Oak points out a number of design and architectural inconsistencies
    that support the belief of the Taj Mahal being a typical Hindu temple
    rather than a mausoleum.

    Many rooms in the Taj ! Mahal have remained sealed since Shah Jahan’s time
    and are still inaccessible to the public. Oak asserts they contain a
    headless statue of Lord Shiva and other objects commonly used for worship
    rituals in Hindu temples. Fearing political backlash, Indira Gandhi’s
    government tried to have Prof. Oak’s book withdrawn from the bookstores,
    and threatened the Indian publisher of the first edition dire consequences.

    There is only one way to discredit or validate Oak’s research.

    The current government should open the sealed rooms of the Taj Mahal under
    U.N. supervision, and let international experts investigate.

    Do circulate this to all you know and let them know about this reality…..

    Hey please check this link ……..it adds as a visual proof ………

    http://www.stephen-knapp.com/was_the_taj_mahal_a_vedic_temple.htm

    If u dont believe the article above, and have faith upon BBC, please visit
    their website in this link:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A5220

     
  13. Amrita

    February 5, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Unknown – there is no point in having access to the internet if you’re simply going to substitute one set of dogma for another. you seem to have pretty much substituted whatever you see as Marxist with rightwing and left it at that.
    So let’s just examine those links you have in there – first of all, the BBC says no such thing. A blog on the BBC reports that Oak has made these claims. If tomorrow I write a book that says I am the longlost descendant of Asoka the Great and challenge the Indian govt to hand over my kingdom on the basis of some really old documents, and a blog on the BBC reports it, that doesnt mean I am actually any of those things. Secondly, Oak believes that the Taj could either be a Shiva temple OR a Rajput palace (something that a lot of rightwingers neglect to mention). And the reason he’s dismissed out of hand is not because the Marxists are standing in his way but because his revisionist view of history is truly bizarre – he thinks the Papacy was a Vedic priesthood and that the Kaaba was a Shiva temple.
    If you share his beliefs, then more power to you but you probably shouldnt wait for the rest of us to join you.

    Sid – there’s nothing to be sorry about. Its not like I’m the president of the Akbar Club. As for your point, which is that he was a good ruler when things were going his way and a brute when they weren’t – well, yeah. Thats how ruling works. We live in a modern democracy and thats how the government works. So why would you expect different from Akbar?
    As far as Taj Mahal goes, if you’re the Unknown above, then pls read what I wrote.

     
  14. saurabh

    February 13, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Hi Amrita,

    I think Indians are champions at getting offended…..largely, it is due to the inherent desire of insecure/unsure upwardly mobile communities to define themselves and let everyone know that they have arrived. The other question that you brought up was that of identity and indianess…according to the many of these ‘frothing at the mouth types’, you are indian only if you are a modi-vadi hindu. Everyone else can take a hike. Well, I say they can bugger themselves and take Mr. Fraud Historian PN Oak with them when they jump into a well.
    Thanks for the thoughtful blog!

    Regards,

    PS: did you ever write on the Chowk?

     
  15. rizwan uddin ansari

    February 14, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Rizwan Uddin Ansari
    Bhopal
    Today is Jodha-Salim’s Marriege anniversary
    On 13 th Feb 1585 Salim Married Jodha Bai at the age of 10 while salim was 15years old ,the celebration continued till 15th.Man Bai Became Taj Bi Bi to be known later as Jodha Bai.
    Jodha the son of Raja Rao Ranmal was born in 1415 AD and accepted Ruler from 1438 to 1488 AD.Jodha’s son Suja Ji was born in 1429 took over from 1491 to 1515 AD. His son Rao Bagha had Balram and Ganga singh and two daughters. Ganga married to Rani Padmawati Sirohi which gave birth to Raja Maldev Singh. He in turn married to Uma Devi and Pran Kunwardha . Raja Maldev Singh died in 1562 AD. At this point Akbar had a alliance with Rajputs. Thus in 1561 Akbar married Rukma Bai who was Later known as Maryam Zamani Begum. Rukma Bai was the daughter of Raja Maldev Singh. Even four more daughters of Raja Maldev Singh married in Moghal Family. Among the children of Raja Maldev Singh were also Chandar Sen and Udai Singh. Chandar Sen was elder so he took over after his father from 1562 to 1581 AD and Udai Singh after him from 1583 to 1595. Akbar also married after a while with the daughter of Chandar Sen i.e. Rukma Bai’s niece.
    Rukma Bai gave birth to Fatma Begum in 1562 , then twins Mirza Hasan & Mirza Hussain were also born but all of them died soon. Some more children were born of cocumbines also died. On 30 August 1569 Salim was born of Maryam Zamani Begum i.e. Rukma Bai daughter of Maldev Singh. After Salim, Murad on 7th June 1570. Danyal on 9th Sept 1572 were born while from Bi Bi Daulat shah two daughters Shakr un Nisa and Aaram Bano were born.
    On 13th Feb 1585 Salim Married Man Bai the daughter of Udai Singh .Udai Singh was the brother of Rukma Bai thus Man Bai was the first cousin of Salim.Man Bai’s name was changed to Taj Bi Bi which was later known as Jodha Bai. At the time of marriege Jodha Bai was 10 years old and Salim was 15 years old. Jodha Bai gave birth to Sultan un Nisa Begum on 16th April 1586 and on 6th August 1587 Khusro ( Shah Jahan) was born. After the birth Khusro was given to Ruqayya Begum daughter of Mirza Hindal as per Mughal Traditions.Jodha Bai died in 1603 at the age of 28. Salim also married shah Begum daughter of Bhagwan Das .Shah Begum was the neice of Man Bai as Bagwan Das was the brother of Man Bai (Jodha Bai).
    This and Many more details are given in my Book “UMMUL ANSAB” i.e. mother of family trees, which is published in 2007 in Urdu and soon to be published in English and Hindi.This Book gives details starting from ADAM and on the other hand BRAMHA .Thus giving details about the trees of Prophets, Syed (Sadat) (Descendents of Prophet Mohammed SAW, Ansari, Farooqi, Siddiqi, Usmani, Pathans, Mughals, Lodhis, Ghori, Ghaznavi, and on the other hand Surya Vansh , Agni Kul , Yadu Vansh Rajputs.
    RIZWAN_U_A@HOTMAIL.COM

     
  16. Amrita

    February 14, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Hey Saurabh – well thats as good an explanation as any because my other theory is they have nothing better to do 😀 Yes, I did write for Chowk back in the day. Havent been there in a while 🙂

    Rizwan – thanks for the head’s up.

     
  17. Dr.KCP

    February 16, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Amrita,kudos to desperate attempts to malign hindus.HINDUS ARE WEAK,SOFTER AND BEAR THE PAIN OF PARASITES LIKE YOU…it is not now…this is from ages even before people with vested agendas were born…and it is because of we educated and liberal hindus that beings like you voice your vulgarity shamelessly and blatantly .Forget the history…the clan and society you seem to uphold has’nt changed a bit even from the days of mughals and it is for the whole world to see .Just stop blogging and spend a while reading any newspaper and you will find History repeats itself and Hindus are again fooled and battered ….but this time the moles are people like you!

     
  18. Amrita

    February 18, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Dear Dr. Dumbass – gee, I was just waiting for you to tell me to stop blogging so I could stop! NOT. Hindus are weak and soft? Talk about self loathing – nice to know your opinion of yourself is that low but why don’t you leave the rest of us out of your self-hate?

     
  19. Indian

    February 19, 2008 at 6:36 am

    Dear jobless Amrita,
    I would suggest you to read an unbiased history, written by the hindus and not the mughals. Our history is written by the rulers themselves, which is obviously going to be biased. All I want to say is: as along as the lions do not write their own history, the history of lions will always glorify the hunter.

     
  20. Dr.KCP

    February 21, 2008 at 5:04 am

    Either u don’t understnd englsih or you shud be a perverted soul left on the streets unattended by your own blood just to leave the rest of your life licking those very feet who bought you your distress…ya!! Hindus are Weak and Soft…Do you Have a religion…?? joker! If u have one…tell me…!! IAM A HINDU!!…

     
  21. Amrita

    February 21, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Indian – let me get this straight: you trawl the net looking for posts that you disagree with and I”M jobless? hahahahah! idiot.

    Doctor dumbass – thats real funny coming from a guy who probably bought his degree somewhere in rural india and is slated to end up like that kidney racket guy. You’re about as much of a Hindu as the ghazis were. Why dont you fuck off and find a bus to set on fire instead of hanging about my blog if it bothers you so much? oh thats right – you dont have a brain.

     
  22. Amrita

    February 25, 2008 at 10:39 am

    dear doc dumbass – if you ever come back you’ll be saddened to know that you were unable to get your dose of public humiliation here. If you want to be called names that badly – and trust me I can make plenty of cracks about you and your family – you’ll just have to hire someone to spank you in public. In the meantime, I’ve just marked you as spam. Take a hint and fuck off – use that stick that Akbar himself shoved up your ass. Kthanxbai.

     
  23. Yasmeen

    February 26, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Guys!!!

    It is only an “epic romance” not intended a history of Mughal King Akbar as a text book supplement.

    Cool down! It is only a movie. Just enjoy

     
  24. Jai Hind!

    February 27, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    I’m a proud human, born to an awesome Muslim family in the Great India. I was educated mostly in Roman Catholic Convent School, back in A.P. with knowledgeable, educated & talented teachers from Hindu, Sikh & Christian sects.

    Its this modern world of science & technology one should denounce the differences between religions, ethnic backgrounds & countries.

    History of Muslims in India. THE GREAT QUOTES BY THE GREAT LEADERS:

    Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (India’s Prime Minsiter 1947-64) in ‘The Discovery of India,’ 1946, p. 218, 225.
    “The impact of the invaders from the north-west and of Islam on India had been considerable. It had pointed out and shone up the abuses that had crept into Hindu society – the petrification of caste, untouchability, exclusiveness carried to fantastic lengths. The idea of the brotherhood of Islam and the theoretical equality of its adherents made a powerful appeal especially to those in the Hindu fold who were denied any semblance of equal treatment.”
    “…his (Babar’s) account tells us of the cultural poverty that had descended on North India. Partly this was due to Timur’s destruction, partly due to the exodus of many learned men and artists and noted craftsmen to the South. But this was due also to the drying up of the creative genius of the Indian people.”

    “The coming of Islam and of a considerable number of people from outside with different ways of living and thought affected these beliefs and structure. A foreign conquest, with all its evils, has one advantage: it widens the mental horizon of the people and compels them to look out of their shells. They realize that the world is a much bigger and a more variegated place than they had imagined. So the Afghan conquest had affected India and many changes had taken place. Even more so the Moghals, who were far more cultured and advanced in the ways of living than the Afghans, brought changes to India. In particular, they introduced the refinements for which Iran was famous.”
    ————————————————–
    Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, Presidential Address to the Fifty-fifth Session of the Indian Congress, Jaipur, 1948.
    “(The Muslims had) enriched our culture, strengthened our administration, and brought near distant parts of the country… It (the Muslim Period) touched deeply the social life and the literature of the land.”
    ————————————————–
    N.S. Mehta, in ‘Islam and the Indian Civilization,’ reproduced in ‘Hindustan ke Ahd-i-Wusta ki ek Jhalak,’ by S.A. Rahman.
    “Islam had brought to India a luminous torch which rescued humanity from darkness at a time when old civilizations were on the decline and lofty moral ideals had got reduced to empty intellectual concepts. As in other lands, so in India too, the conquests of Islam were more widespread in the world of thought than in the world of politics. Today, also, the Islamic World is a spiritual brotherhood which is held together by community of faith in the Oneness of God and human equality. Unfortunately, the history of Islam in this country remained tied up for centuries with that of government with the result that a veil was cast over its true spirit, and its fruits and blessings were hidden from the popular eye.”
    ————————————————–
    Prof. K.M. Panikkar in ‘A Survey of Indian History,’ 1947, p. 163.
    “One thing is clear. Islam had a profound effect on Hinduism during this period. Medieval theism is in some ways a reply to the attack of Islam; and the doctrine of medieval teachers by whatever names their gods are known are essentially theistic. It is the one supreme God that is the object of the devotee’s adoration and it is to His grace that we are asked to look for redemption.”
    ————————————————–
    Zaheeruddin Babar in his Autobiography ‘Tuzuk-i-Babari,’ (Founder of Mughal Dynasty, Ruled India 1526-1530).
    “There are neither good horses in India, nor good meat, nor grapes, nor melons, nor ice, nor cold water, nor baths, nor candle, nor candlestick, nor torch. In the place of the candle, they use the divat. It rests on three legs: a small iron piece resembling the snout of a lamp… Even in case of Rajas and Maharajas, the attendants stand holding the clumsy divat in their hands when they are in need of a light in the night.
    “There is no arrangement for running water in gardens and buildings. The buildings lack beauty, symmetry, ventilation and neatness. Commonly, the people walk barefooted with a narrow slip tied round the loins. Women wear a dress …”
    ————————————————-
    Dr. Gustav le Bon in ‘Les Civilisations de L’Inde’ (translated by S.A. Bilgrami).
    “There does not exist a history of ancient India. Their books contain no historical data whatever, except for a few religious books in which historical information is buried under a heap of parables and folk-lore, and their buildings and other monuments also do nothing to fill the void for the oldest among them do not go beyond the third century B.C. To discover facts about India of the ancient times is as difficult a task as the discovery of the island of Atlantis, which, according to Plato, was destroyed due to the changes of the earth… The historical phase of India began with the Muslim invasion. Muslims were India’s first historians.”
    ————————————————–
    Sir William Digby in ‘Prosperous India: A Revelation,’ p. 30.
    “England’s industrial supremacy owes its origin to the vast hoards of Bengal and the Karnatik being made available for her use….Before Plassey was fought and won, and before the stream of treasure began to flow to England, the industries of our country were at a very low ebb.”
    ————————————————–
    Brooks Adams in ‘The Law of Civilization and Decay,’ London, 1898, pp. 313-17.
    “Very soon after Plassey the Bengal plunder began to arrive in London, and the effect appears to have been instantaneous, for all authorities agree that the Industrial Revolution, the event that has divided the l9th century from all antecedent time, began with the year 1760….Plassey was fought in 1757, and probably nothing has ever equaled the rapidity of the change which followed….In themselves inventions are passive, many of the most important having laid dormant for centuries, waiting for a sufficient store of force to have accumulated to have set them working. That store must always take the shape of money, and money not hoarded, but in motion.
    “…Before the influx of the Indian treasure, and the expansion of credit which followed, no force sufficient for this purpose existed….The factory system was the child of ‘Industrial Revolution,’ and until capital had accumulated in masses, capable of giving solidity to large bodies of labour, manufactures were carried on by scattered individuals….Possibly since the world began, no investment has ever yielded the profit reaped from the Indian plunder, because for nearly fifty years Great Britain stood without a competitor.”

     
  25. Amrita

    February 27, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Yasmeen – you try explaining to these nitwits. But I don’t think their mind is capable of holding more than one thought at a time.

    Jai Hind – it would have been better if you left a link.

     
  26. Kaffir who is no Dhimmi

    March 3, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    To all you muslim apologists out there, someone please tell me the common factor in the following wars and conflicts going on across the WHOLE world:

    – Israel – “Palestinians”
    – Darfur
    – Nigeria
    – Phillipines
    – Indonesia
    – Bombings across Europe (London and Madrid)
    – Attacks on the USA
    – Buddhist monks being massacred in Southern Thailand
    – And let us not forget Kashmir

    Time to wake up people – there is something very rotten at the core of Islam, and muslims in India by and large do not ascribe to this mentality because they have adopted many “Indian” values into their culture (I would argue that they are not “true” muslims because of this).

    Indians need to start addressing FACTS and not making bullshit “love” stories like this piece of shit film. Why not make a film showing the utter devastation and death brought by the lovely muslims as they pushed further and further west into India.

    Hell – we can even then see how the Zoroastrians were wiped out.

     
  27. Amrita

    March 4, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    You really shouldn’t call yourself names – it isn’t clever. If you’re really interested in those questions rather than starting a flame war (sorry, i’ve heard from too many folks who profess the same as you but go on to just petty name calling) then you might want to check out discussions on terror on Desicritics.

     
  28. Kafir

    March 4, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    So, when is someone going to have the guts to make a movie showing the TRUTHS of what muslims did as they invaded from the west?

    The movie can be 4 hours of raping, pillaging, destruction and mayhem. We could start out in Iran as the Zoroastrians are wiped off the map and then gradually move east to India where the same nearly happens to Hindus. I would pay to see this film, as it would accurately portray what happened instead of this shit film where everything is romanticized to somehow make people think everything was rosy back then.

    I swear Indians are the biggest pushovers in the damn world (this coming from an NRI) – you morons continue to bury your heads in the sand and pretend like the Islamic history of India was agood thing with cute puppies and flowers and honey. Just like it has been all over the world. I mean, EVERYONE else must be wrong right? It’s not the muslim barbarism that has caused conflicts in Israel, Nigeria, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, bombings in London, New York and Madrid, etc etc etc – the list goes on and on. It’s time to wake up and stop falling for this shit people! The truth shall set you free, don’t be afraid of it (muslims are the ones who should be quaking in their boots at the notion of truth).

    Hell, if you idiots eat up films like this inaccurate and offensive film, maybe I can make a film about Hitler and portray him as a kind and benevolent man who actually did a lot of good for Germany. He could meet a Jewish aristocrat girl and fall in love, and they could have dance numbers and lovely scenery. After all, it would just be a “film” right? No need for actual truths since it is only a film that is meant to be enjoyed, right?

    So yeah, try reading some books and finding alternate sources of information OTHER than Bollywood and what the government would have you believe about certain issues.

    WAKE UP YOU DAMN SHEEP!

     
  29. laiba

    March 5, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    if there was something very rotten at the core of islam i don’t think islam would be the FASTEST growing religion in the world despite all the crisis amongst the muslim world. the greatest empires in history have all had their bad sides with bloodshed violence e.t.c . it’s a different story if hinduism never got the popularity or even the chance to make an empire spread throughout the world. Even today places of war still have the same issues, not forgetting kashmir due to the presence of the indian army and the pakistani army. These issues are not a matter of religion. We, hindus and muslims shouldn’t go decades back reviving the same religious issues.

     
  30. Amrita

    March 6, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    “Kafir” – It’s funny you should mention sheep because you seem to have become one. see, the thing is that movie you’re suggesting would be enormously interesting although I dont know how you’d pack a cohesive story against a historical span of roughly 700 years. but it’s definitely an interesting period to explore – and as a matter of fact there’s a lot of literature about it.
    the problem where you’re concerned is, such a movie wouldn’t follow the simplistic path you’ve got all mapped out in your head. For one thing, islam was a secondary factor in a lot of those conquests. Take the Mongols for instance – they’re not exactly the Arab bogey man you’re thinking of and they attacked plenty of fellow Muslims in their day. In fact, they’re the ones that destroyed the baghdad caliphate.
    And a note about those dear little Zoroastrians the Muslims vanquished – they weren’t precisely the nice parsi couple who lived down the street. they were rather fierce and bloodthirsty people themselves. Didnt you see 300? those “persians” weren’t muslim persians.

    laiba – what? common sense? good luck with that 🙂

     
  31. Kafir

    March 13, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    I feel sad for you poor deluded people.

    If anyone is setting back “relations between Hindus and Muslims”, don’t you think it is the muslims themselves?

    I mean, why the hell is it that in this current day and age, these neanderthals are at war with just about everyone on the damn planet – including themselves?!

    Morons like the last two posters would like to sit around singing kumbaya and pretending that all cultures and soc ieities are equal.

    Well here’s a newsflash – denying basic human rights to women and minorities, stifling dissent, and calling for the destruction of entire populations of people is no society that deserves to be present in the modern world. And this is what Islam stands for.

    I dare anyone of you idiots to refute this FACT in lieu of the over-whelming evidence to support the suppositon.

    You people are more dangerous than religious zealots in my opinion. It’s because of people like you who don’t question things that great atrocities have happened throughout history.

    Perhaps it is time to grow a backbone and stand up for something for once – and NOT this bullshit that all cultures and societies are created equal. This condescending and simplistic view is very dangerous indeed.

     
  32. Amrita

    March 15, 2008 at 12:01 am

    “Kafir” – I AM standing up for something: my religion and mu culture which people like you are bent on destroying because you can’t be bothered to look at opposing povs.

    And I’m sorry but just saying “you people don’t question” doesn’t make it so. Between you and me on this board alone, anybody with half a brain would be able to see who knows what they’re talking about. You’re on the internet – read up. Or sit at home and have your views reinforced by people who believe exactly the way you do. In which case, don’t bother commenting again because you and I have nothing to say to each other.

    Thanks for coming by.

     
  33. Kafir

    March 16, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    How do you think I came about to my views Amrita?

    It’s BECAUSE I bothered to read up and educate myself on the real history surrounding the past. It’s BECAUSE I refuse to accept any one source of information as a positive endorsement of any one issue, and instead I seek multiple sources so that I can find an approximation to what really happened. .

    And after my exhaustive searching, i’ve come upon some rather ugly truths. Truths that people like you would rather sweep under the rug and pretend never happened, or worse, truths that you would distort and tinker with so that it fits your erroneous view of the past and present. And for what purpose? To placate the murderous thugs that live in your country? Since when has appeasement EVER worked in World History?

    And this farce of a film proves my point – people would rather watch a fabricated Bollywood film that glorifies muslims, rather than address the truth of the barbaric history of Islam AND the role of Islam as a world-wide agitator today.

    But hey, Ignorance is bliss right? And there must be a LOT of ignorance in India if they don’t want to address the ugly truths of the muslim invasion of Bharat.

     
  34. Amrita

    March 17, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    “Kafir” – How do I think you came by your views? By reading a lot of right wing literature. If you were really that committed to multiple points of view, you wouldn’t have made half the statements you’ve made here which are, frankly, ignorant and hateful. I’m sorry, but there’s not enough history in the world to make me turn on my fellow citizen.

    Tell you what, why dont you try seeing this movie? While Akbar gets a loving coat of paint, I assure you there is absolutely no masking the kind of brutality that accompanies war.

    Btw, were you brought up outside India? Because as somebody who grew up not only in India but in a city that Muslims repeatedly attacked and ruled for centuries, I can tell you we aren’t the least bit ignorant about our past or the blood that has flown over it. In fact we’re constantly talking about it and worrying over it and thinking about it. And this kind of a controversy is proof positive of it.

    Also this “Bharat” you’re talking about that got invaded by Muslims? What are its geographical boundaries? There is a Bharat i.e. India of which i am a citizen and then there is the Bharat of Hindu right wing nostalgia which is a completely different matter.

     
  35. Masoom_si_sararat

    March 20, 2008 at 6:19 am

    hi all

    doston and saheliyon (no offence intended)
    whats this all going out (my brain got fried) 😦
    I was expecting some gud discussion here but the same hindu-muslim war here also

    some have tried hard to prove themselves right and some were simply spitting the shit stored in their minds. if war / quarrel would have been the decidive factor to any matter , we would not have been facing the problems of high population , scarcity of land / food / water et al.

    Remember War Does Not Decide Who Is Right. It Decides Who Is Left

    Well IF you want to pry deep into the history then here are one or two facts which have to be taken into account before condeming someone of barbarism.

    1) the early invaders never invaded to make
    relationships. at their times the whole of lot was
    divided into ” kabilas” and the rule was survival for
    the fittest. they brutally murdered their fello faith
    followers. they just wanted to gain maximum for their
    personal kabilas. Later when less barberic invaders
    came , their motto wasto extend their kindom to
    prove they are the best. and they didnt raped or
    brutalised hindus or parsis in particular. the
    treatment was to their enemies which was a
    common practice that time.

    how do you think vikramaditya reached upto iran turk or kabaa when none of his predecessor was the ruler then (as is being said nowadayd). how can you say his army didnt gave the same treatement to the defeated countries??

    2) the history we read is never unbiased.
    whosoever is the ruler the history is written under his guidence to prove him the greatest. we will never learn the truth of that time. we can only understand the art ,architecture , culture which prevailed that time.
    the wisdom that era generated and so.

    i will write a detail post next time when i have some liesure time. I know those who are on the right track can make the most of the two points i have raised and for shitty , no need they will shit on whatever they get.

    well sorry to say but one of my friend said islam fastest growing.. friend never give those points which can cut through the heart and lead to bandal statements which will hurt feelings of otheres. for example [red](no offence intended)[/red]– high rate increase ni population is also a major factor for fastest growth.

    well bye for now . will come back when my mind is at peace
    bye all

    PS-: those who thinks hindus are weak i invite them to mess with me. hindus were never weak they were tolerant.

     
  36. Amrita

    March 21, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Masoom – you tell them! I’ve given up 🙂

     
  37. Shyam

    March 23, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Islam is the fastest growing religion because mohammadans have always tried to breed themselves into demographic majority. And sadly enough, it has worked in the past.

    Let us hope these cretins start to educated themselves and stop having 10+ children with multiple wives.

     
  38. Masoom_si_sararat

    March 24, 2008 at 12:32 am

    @ Amrita-: we cannot do anything until and unless the minds are open 🙂 . We can only try that the feelings of hatred are not spread at a faster rate

    @shyam -: Hey man dont give such absurd comments
    I have even seen muslims who dont eat non-veg, have only two children and are hard core Indians.
    give them time ,they are also coming up 🙂

     
  39. Amrita

    March 25, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Shyam – but then you’d complain that they’re stealing all the jobs by being so well educated 😀

    MsS – True 🙂

     
  40. Stranger

    March 29, 2008 at 7:10 am

    i cannot agree with you “UNKNOWN” and Mumtaz Mahal is a name …if u dont mind a muslim name….i have question 4 all of u ..tht y r t he ppl removing the true history of the MUGHAL EMPIRE …a person cannot be all evil …and yeah i have a 6 year old history textbook ..its totally different from what we are learning right now history cannot change ..so how did it change ??…pls tell me and HRITHIK CANNOT HATE ASH….thts 4 sure..if sumone like u will cum then its going to happen we are learning history so that we wont repeat the mistakes they made …theres a proverb..most of u must know tht “HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF”..so to not to repeat history we are learning about it , but if the history changes like in text books .then its sure TO REPEAT ITSELF …

     
  41. Shyam

    March 29, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    @Amrita

    How can they steal jobs and/or be well-educated when all their information comes from a 1400 year old book? Have you seen these morons? They sit on the ground rocking back and forth reading a book that tells tales about the exploits of their prophet Mohammad, which includes warring with just about everyone on the Arab peninsula and marrying a 6 year old girl and having sex with her when she was 9!

    I’ve lived in several countries and i’ve seen the same pattern everywhere with muslims, but no where is it more clear than here in Britain. Why is it that here in Britain, Hindus, Sikhs, Chinese, etc all these groups get along fine with the rest of the population and try to better themselves, but muslim pakis are always stuck in the slums blaming everyone else for their problems. And the press has the audacity to lump us in with these loafers!

    I’m sorry, but I have to agree with kafir’s statements (even though he/she seems to be a bit extreme in his/her views – doesn’t mean he/she is wrong though!)

     
  42. Amrita

    March 30, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Shyam – I was talking about the day in the future when they’ve managed to do what you advised them to do in your last comment.

    As far as the socio-economic problems of immigrant Muslim communities go, youre right, they do exist and it is worrying that most people seem to be willing to let them be for fear that anything else would be seen as discrimination – my favorite story about Britain, for example, being the one in which a school district decided on its own to start acknowledging Holocaust denial in case any of the parents in the neighborhood felt strongly on the subject and then the parents had to tell them to please stop being so agreeable.

    But I don’t know if you can apply such broad brush strokes – partly because I seldom see people of color portrayed as a part of the mainstream outside their own countries. So it makes me wonder if the stereotypical “Muslim in his Western ghetto” is an incomplete jigsaw puzzle.

    However, I sincerely doubt Kafir’s problems with Muslims have to do with their assimilation or improving their socio economic conditions. Also, there’s nothing especially moronic in the way they pray or study their texts – Jews study the Torah in the exact same way but it doesn’t seem to have done them any harm.

    As to race relations in Britain – I don’t know enough about the topic so I really dont know about the press and so on.

     
  43. Shyam

    March 31, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    @amrita

    Race relations as reported in the media in Britain is essentially comprised of this Amrita:

    Muslim, muslim, muslim, muslim, muslim.

    Just about every story is about muslim disenfranchisement or muslim protests or other nonsense. I’m tired of hearing about them all the time! Britain is made up of MANY different ethnic groups, but all one hears about is muslims and their so-called “problems”. All the TV shows are about how everyone can accomodate muslims so as to not offend them, or how everyone should learn to understand them. Why the hell is it that Muslims can’t be made to understand everyone else for once? Even the labels they have for themselves and non-believers, or their Ummah is divisive. And especially bad is that the media and government lumps together such diverse peoples of different religions and ethnicities into the same group as muslim pakistanis, when different groups have NOTHING in common with these layabouts save for their skin color.

    No one wants to realize that Hindus and Sikhs have different motivations and/or goals than their Muslim counterparts (not to mention that Hindus and Sikhs do proportionally well in this country because they get on with their lives and adapt to Western values, while still holding on to their unique cultural identity – in contrast to muslims here who want to change everyone else to their backwards way of life). Yet we are still lumped together with them under the banner of being ‘Asian’.

    Whenever there are riots which are proven to be comprised entirely of pakistanis [research the Bradford Riots], the authorities have the audacity to label the perpetrators as “Asians”. Implying that the rioters and troublemakers are made up of Indians, Chinese, Nepalis, what have you . This is political correctness gone amok! They marginalize other peoples for fear of offending muslims, and I think this is insane.

    And this is not only occurring in Britain – Muslims seem to always have problems wherever they go, blaming all their problems on everyone else, when the blame lies squarely on their shoulder.

    Finally I can assure you that many non-muslim minorities are frankly tired of hearing about the monolithic muslims and their “problems” not only in this country, but in the world in general. It’s time we stop focusing on them and start to see the world as the wonderfully diverse place it really is.

    /rant over

     
  44. Amrita

    April 7, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Shyam – I hear you about lumping all the brownies in one lot but think about this: if you’re so sick and tired of listening to the great Muslim debate, how do you imagine the Muslims feel? And then too, they have to listen to the extremists on both sides getting endless play.

     
  45. Anupam

    May 16, 2008 at 5:30 am

    gosh!!!
    i am a hindu…well mostly inevitably by birth….and i dont even know if it even is a religion…. whatever….people…media is all fucked up anyway….theres nothing substantially good being shown on TV or in the papers or wherever…..if blogging is something which has come up and is providing serious forum for expressions arguments discussions and reflections, at least read up and KNOW properly before you point a finger! amrita i seriously believe that the problem today for all of us lies in lack of hardcore delving into a matter and not being able to accept what is…anyway nice effort by you to keep these nitwits at bay….keep it up…

     
  46. Prabha

    May 26, 2008 at 10:29 am

    THE SILENT MAJORITY HAS SPOKEN – and the film Jodha Akbar has reached its 100th day, and has been proclaimed a superhit.
    So all you one track minded people – do continue to make noise like empty vessels!!!

    Amrita, keep up the good work! It’s like fire which brings several worms scurrying out into the open, leaving their crap behind.
    All this happened about 500 years ago. What we have to be worried about is the culture being lost today.
    I am so happy that finally we got to see a film which I could call truly Indian – the clothes, the music, the language.

     
 
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