Monday, April 11, 2016

The Story of India - Michael Wood - The Legacy of Babur

देवे तीर्थे द्विजे मन्त्रे देवज्ञे भेषजे गुरो

यादृशी भावना यस्य सिध्दिर्भवति तदृशी
ஒருவன் தெய்வம், புண்யதீர்த்தம், ப்ராமணன், மந்த்ரங்கள், ஜோதிடர், 
மருத்துவர், குரு இவர்களிடம் எப்படிப்பட்ட  நம்பிக்கை வைக்கிறானோ நம்பிக்கைக்கு ஏற்ற  வெற்றி  கிடைக்கும். 
பாபர் அவர்கள் கடவுள், மந்திரங்கள், ஜோதிடன், மருத்துவர், ப்ரபுக்கள், மதகுருமார்கள், அவர்களுக்கு என்று உள்ள நீர் நிலைகள் இவைகளை நம்பினார். அதற்கான பலனும் கிட்டியது. 
‘There is no god,
and no god at all, 
he who created god was a fool, 
and he who worships god is a barbarian.”
இந்த மாதிரியான வாசங்கள் நம் தமிழ் நாட்டில் மட்டும் பேசப்படும்.
பாபரைப் பற்றிய தொகுப்பு ஒன்றினைப் படித்தேன். நாம் என்றுமே நமது வீட்டிலோ அல்லது நாம் இருக்கும் நகரிலோ அல்லது மாகாணத்திலோ இந்த ஏழினைப் பற்றி பேசப்படுவதையோ, சொல்லப்படுவதையோ குறை கூறுவோம். அதற்கு தகுந்த விஞ்ஞான ரீதியான பதில்களை ஆராய்வோம். மேலும், கடவுள் இல்லை என்று கூறியது சரி என்று விதண்டா வாதமும் செய்வோம். வேறு மதத்தைச் சார்ந்தவரோ அல்லது ஒரு மேலை நாட்டவனோ சொன்னால் அதனை நம்புவோம். மேலும் அவர்களுக்கு பட்டங்களும் அளிப்போம். அந்த மேலை நாட்டவன் பாபர் எவ்வாறு மேலே சொல்லப்பட்ட ஸுபாஷிதானியின் படி எழுவரையும் (இங்கே ப்ராமணன் என்பதற்கு பதிலாக அவர்கள் மதத்தில் பெருமை நிறைந்தவர்கள்) நம்பியுள்ளான் என்பதை ஒரு விளக்கக் கட்டுரையில் எழுதியதை நான் படித்தேன். அதனை உங்களுடன் பகிர்ந்து கொள்கிறேன்.
The  Legacy of Babur - The Story of India by Michael Wood
Babur, like Tamburlaine and the Tuqluqs was an invader and his career was driven by violence. In sacred writings of Sikhs, Guru Nanak says he has a messenger of death, who ‘terrified Hindustan’, and accuses his armies of the rape of Hindu women. Mughal sources, on the other hand, say he went out of his way to protect the civilian population in war, even compensating farmers if their crops were ruined. But he was a man of his time, and his was a time when striking fear was part of being a king. There is much argument about his legacy now, especially by Hindu nationalists, who see the Mughal as an enemy of India. And it is true that he could on occasion talk the language of jihad, though only perhaps when his army seemed to be losing its nerve.
Also as the Koran enjoins, he could be merciless towards unbelievers when they resisted him. But did he destroy Hindu Temples, as others had done in the past and would in the future? Whether the mosque in Ayodhia was built on top of a destroyed Hindu Temple has never been shown, but conquerors did this sort of thing and whether Babur was different we cannot say. His bloodthirsty description of the killing of infidels at the siege of Chanderi in 1528, with the mass suicide of hundreds more (who went to hell) is a case in point.  He was hardly squeamish about killing unbelievers, just as Akbar the Great copuld kill idolaters and leave pillars made of their skulls. Such things, I daresay, were typical of wars of the time; if a city resisted, punishment was often merciliess. But Babur was an intelligent man and saw the conciliation of enemies was the path to the future. That is something central to the history of India. Sikh texts also mention that before his death Babur was blessed by Guru Nanak. Had something in him changed? Had he understood something important about India in the three and a half years between Panipat and his death?
The story of Babur’s death has a truly mythic quality. His son Humayun fell ill and the physicians lost all hope of his recovery. Babur was told that in India people sometimes offer their dearest possession to God and pray to Him to accept it as a substitute for the life of their dear one. He readily said that he would do so, and the nobles thought he would offer the Koh-i-noor diamond. But Babur said, ‘I can’t offer God a stone! After consulting a mystic, Babur walked three times around the sickbed and offered his own life in exchange for that of his son. Humayun recovered miraculously and Babur grew ill day by day. He died on 26th December 1530.

There were stories that before he died, Babur left Humayun a secret will. The purported document is now lost, but a photograph taken in the 1920s survived in a library in Central India. Was it real? If so, it would be crucial testimony in the cultural and political battles now taking place in India. According to the document, Babur , with his dying breath, urged Humayun not to harbor religious prejudice, nor to demolish or damage the places of worship of any faith, for “Islam can better be preached by the sword of love and affection, rather than the sword of tyranny and persecution. It was then, and still is good advice. Alas, although this is still contested, the will is surely nineteenth century forgery. But in point us to the remarkable events that took place in the reign of one of the most extraordinary figures in Indian and world history – Babur’s grandson , Akbar the Great.
Courtesy The Story of India - Michael Wood