Before I begin, let me make it clear that I am neither an Aurangzeb admirer nor a Taimur fan and definitely not Babur ki aulad(the child of Babur).
A ubiquitous notion in the 21st century India is that medieval Muslim rulers did their best to kill the Indian culture and society due their religious bigotry. Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor is believed to be the most notorious of the rulers of that time. He is accused of destroying thousands of Hindu temples, genocide of Hindus and large scale conversion of Hindus to Muslims.
Historians confirm that Aurangzeb ordered the destruction of select Hindu temples (maybe a dozen over his 49-year reign) but it had nothing to do with ‘despising’ Hindus. He is said to have ordered demolishing of temples to forestall future uprising and in the aftermath of political rebellions. This doesn’t justify his actions but it explains that it didn’t stem from his alleged hatred for Hindus. Moreover Aurangzeb issued orders to protect Hindu temples and communities from harassment and it is a well known fact that the highest number of Hindus was incorporated into his imperial administration than any other Mughal ruler before him.
And when it comes to talking about the treachery, bigotry and tyranny of the Mughal rulers let’s have a look at some other rulers who had the same traits:
Way before Aurangzeb, it was Ajatashatru who had imprisoned his own father Bimbisara for the throne – The same King Bimbisara who had offered Siddhartha (later Gautam Buddha) the throne when his army men saw the prince leading a life of an ascetic in the kingdom.
Later, it is known that Ajatashatru’s son Udayabhadra killed his own father Ajatashatru for the throne.
After the Haryanka dynasty of Magadh came the Shishunaga dynasty. The Shishunaga dynasty was ended by Mahapadma Nanda, the son of the last king of the Shishunaga dynasty – Mahanandin.
According to the available Indian history texts, Mahapadma Nanda was Mahanandin’s son from a Shudra wife. Obviously, he was not the apparent heir to the throne. Next, he killed all his brothers to claim his supremacy on the throne!! This was not just the end of the Shishunaga sons but also the end of the Shishunaga dynasty as Mahapadma Nanda started his own Nanda dynasty!!!
Samrat Bindusara’s third son Ashoka was neither a crown prince nor an apparent heir to the throne. Being a son from a Brahmin mother, he had no chances of sitting on the throne. However, right or wrong, he too killed his brothers to claim the Magadh throne soon after the death of his father Bindusara!
Yes, not just Muslim rulers, even Hindu Kings imprisoned fathers & killed brothers for the throne in Indian history!
And let’s not forget Ashoka. If we were looking for a fanatic who would kill others due to a different belief – the equivalent of the Modern Day Islamic Jehadis – in India’s history, then Ashoka is the closest who comes to that description.
“At that time, an incident occurred which greatly enraged the king. A follower of the Nirgrantha (Mahavira) painted a picture, showing Buddha prostrating himself at the feet of the Nirgrantha. Ashoka ordered all the Ajivikas of Pundravardhana (North Bengal) to be killed. In one day, eighteen thousand Ajivikas lost their lives. A similar kind of incident took place in the town of Pataliputra. A man who painted such a picture was burnt alive with his family. It was announced that whoever would bring the king the head of a Nirgrantha would be rewarded with a dinara (a gold coin). As a result of this, thousands of Nirgranthas lost their lives.”
So again, my point here is ,you see, it was never about religion. Not always. Rulers of those times did what they did. They had many reasons for it and religion was not always one of those.
So, don’t go about calling these rulers as the ancestors of every Muslim and don’t bring religion into everything!
Yes. Madarasachap. Let us begin by learning what it means.
And oh, before I tell you the meaning, let me tell you that ‘madarasachap’ is a derogatory term.
Etymology: Its etymology lies somewhere in the words ‘anghutachap’ which means ‘illiterate’ and in ‘sadakchaap’ which loosely mean ‘homeless’. Here in India, I have come across many people who think that every Muslim is a madarasachap.
Synonyms: Muzzie, Mullahs, sand/oil nigger, raghead, etc.
Madarasachaps lack intelligence, patriotism and compassion; were born without any useful skills and are basically good for nothings who feed on taxes the Hindus pay.
The term has become so popular, that you can feel it when a non Muslim looks at a Muslim. These days, when I step out of the house I am more socially conscious than ever. I have to make sure that nothing about me would give someone a chance to call me a Madarasachap.
Being a Muslim woman, I wear the abaya. But unlike many non Muslim women who step out in their pajamas and night dress when they take their pets on walk or when they make a quick, short visit to the grocery store, I can’t wear pajamas or maxi under my all-covering abaya lest it shows while I walk the stairs and people point at me and laugh.
I can’t commit little everyday blunders like dropping my keys, mispronouncing a word, feeding the wrong pin to the ATM, taking too long to decide on the flavour of ice cream, spelling a word wrongly, missing the target entirely while playing archery at the sports arena in the mall, taking an extra minute at the billing counter, making a simple grammar mistake, shutting the door too loudly, pushing instead of pulling the door or even taking longer than half a minute to find change in my purse.
Nope, I can’t do all that without being judged. If I do those things it just proves I was born inept. That’s your certification for being a madarasachap. Infact, I turn into a madarasachap the moment I cover myself in the abaya which many people so lovingly call ‘the black tent’. Harsh, but true.
I have to be extra careful and extra generous everywhere. I have to be extra courteous and mind my manners to a T. But sometimes even this fails to make an impression. I then have to showcase my oratory and communication skills and speak in English. Only then people begin to believe that there’s a face behind the veil, a human being inside the abaya and a brain in my skull.
A few months ago, I started disallowing myself a lot of things. Like going to book fairs, cycling, archery or bowling because people look at me funny. They are short of screaming “Look! There’s a Moslem girl reading or playing a sport in an abaya!” I stopped playing in the rain or jumping in the puddles. When I click photos, I can hear someone snorting and I know what they are thinking. They are thinking “what’s the point of clicking pics when you are wearing the same dress every single time?!”
Not just me, my husband had to change several things in his lifestyle to avoid being unfairly judged. In India, every fifth person does something stupid or flouts the rules, for instance- walking on the wrong side of the street, jumping the signal, neglecting the helmet, speaking in the library, trying to sneak food items in the cinema hall, triple riding on a two wheeler, etc. These are normal things in my country. People will see you doing it, laugh or shake their heads and forget about it. But when a Muslim does it, they are hailed as madarasa…wait-for-it…chaap, madarasachap! The prejudice continues.
I am not saying that Muslims never make mistakes. There are dickheads everywhere, in every religion and they come in all colours and sizes and shapes. There are villains too. But very so often you’ll come across good Samaritans also. If I ever get in a debate, I can point out a ton of quirks and flaws and weird rituals in every culture of the world. But that would still not make me judgemental.
My point is, it’s easy to look at people and make quick judgements about them because they dress in a manner unfamiliar to you or they belong to a religion you don’t like. A few bad apples doesn’t make everyone bad. So, stop judging a book by its cover.