How a Mughal Crown Prince Fell Victim to Intolerance

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Few weeks ago, on a Sunday morning I was on the way with Mehmood to attend burial of a friend’s father when I thought I was crossing Aurangzeb Road in Lutyens’s Delhi. I recognised the road but the name looked different when Mehmood told me that Aurangzeb Road has now been renamed. Solemn occasion and sombre mood so could not think of this more than in terms of current politics of renaming roads and Indian cities.

Later one evening, coincidentally I happened to hear somebody on YouTube talk about the trial of the seventeenth century Crown Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh.

By UnknownUnknown author (1) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In the Court of his brother Aurangzeb, Prince Dara said ……”the creator is known by many names. He is called God, Allah, Prabhu, Jehova, Ahura Mazda and many more names by devout people in many different lands.” Further, “Yes, I believe that Allah is the god of all people of the world who simply call them by different names. I believe that there is only one great cosmic creator even if people have different places of worship and revere God in many different ways.”

Perhaps a very modern political philosophy for a seventeenth century crown prince who had social harmony and tolerance utmost in his mind.

Unfortunately, Aurangzeb brutally killed his brother Dara and committed the most heinous and barbaric act of ‘’offering’’ his mutilated head to his ailing old father on his dinner table.

How could a man do such cruel painful things to his old infirm father!

For now, I do not see Aurangzeb Road in Delhi anymore

But I do not see any Dara Shikoh Road either to celebrate his vision of social harmony and tolerance. His remains lie buried in an unidentified grave in Humayun tomb in Delhi.

The derelict ‘Dara Shikoh Library’ near Kashmiri Gate, currently a defunct museum and an abandoned office of Archaeological Survey of India is the only reminiscent of his thoughts and intellects.

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