Examples of support for Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by “Muslim” leaders galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar
By Bharat Dogra*
At a time when the country as well as the world is going through very difficult times leading to a more urgent need to strengthen national unity to meet several major challenges ahead, unfortunately, disputes over places of worship have been allowed to face their ugly head once again.
It is now well understood by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and the propagation of fanatical ideas of intolerance that are behind such misdeeds, but due to the growing threat of violence popular and patronage available at higher levels. groups propagating intolerance, many people are reluctant to express their opinions openly and fearlessly.
There is therefore an urgent need for broad-based peace committees with broader social support to spread the message of community harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimately lead to a disturbance of the peace. The judiciary can also play a very useful role in preventing the dissemination of messages and actions that are permitted to disturb the peace and incite communal discord.
In various parts of the world, including India, due to a complexity of factors, at certain times certain kings and invaders may have been responsible for very deplorable acts of looting, damaging or perhaps even destroying demolition of certain religious and religious structures. It can certainly be studied in the specific historical context of that time with all the causes and implications involved, with the aim of evidence-based investigation. However, there can be no justification for misinterpreting or exaggerating or misrepresenting such situations for the purpose of revenge or engaging in actions that will disturb peace and harmony in the present day. This applies to the whole world, including India.
Moreover, in the more specific context of India, we must point out that there are many examples of Muslim kings contributing to the construction as well as the maintenance of temples, including some very important temples in centers of famous pilgrimages like Ayodhya, Mathura and Vrindavan.
In fact, in many shrines and temples, including Ayodhya, Chitrakut, Mathura and Vrindavan, the contribution of Muslim kings is well known and appreciated, but people who wish to express such sentiments are increasingly silenced.
According to documents from the Mughal era, Akbar expanded and consolidated the grants to temples and temple servants in the Mathura region by his farmaans, dated August 27, 1598 and September 11, 1598 in Vrindavan, Mathura and their environs. Jahangir not only continued these grants; he substantially added to these. Jahangir added at least two temples to the list of thirty-five already supported by Akbar’s grant of 1598.
Additionally, he provided 121 bighas of land for 5 sevak families in the temple. Jahangir also visited the Vrindavan temple in 1620. The mentioned documents also reveal that whenever the priests of the temple had a serious problem, they approached the Mughal rulers or their senior officials and usually the rulers/officials took action to resolve this problem.
The nawabs of Oudh made several grants to the temples of Ayodhya and provided them with protection in other ways. Nawab Safdarjung’s Diwan built several temples in Ayodhya and organized the repair of other temples. Nawab Safdarjung donated land for the construction of a famous temple here. Asafadullah’s diwan provided additional help in building the temple.
Documentation is available on several famous temples in Chitrakut, Varanasi, Ujjain, Allahabad and other places to confirm grants given by Muslim rulers for their support.
Besides supporting the upkeep of temples, several Muslim leaders have also made efforts for the translation of Hindu scriptures into other languages ​​and supporting the learning of the religion of Hindu scholars.
Akbar started a translation department to have the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bible translated into Persian language.

In many places, including Ayodhya, Chitrakut, Mathura and Vrindavan, the contribution of Muslim kings is well known and appreciated.

In the Deccan kingdoms, a 16th century king, Adil Shah, established a very good library to care for which he appointed a Sanskrit scholar Vaman Pandit. His descendant Ibrahim Adil Shah was called “the friend of the poor” and “the teacher of the world” because of his policy of benevolence and goodwill. In his songs, he often pays homage to Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of learning. It has played an important role in the development of some Hindu religious places.
Bahmani Sultan Alla-ud-Din-II (1436-58) was devoted to Narasimha Saraswati, a great Hindu sage. Ibrahim II, the Adilshahi ruler of Bijapur (1580-1686) was also a devotee of Narsimha Saraswati. He built a small shrine near his palace in Bijapur and placed the paduka (shoes) of the saint there.

In Kashmir, the 15th century King Zain-ul-Abdin sent messengers to summon Hindus who had fled due to the intolerant policies of a predecessor. He was a scholar of Sanskrit as well as Persian and played an important role in translating parts of the Upanishadas into Persian. He publicly participated in Hindu festivals and built temples.
In Bengal, Pathan kings like Sultan Nazir Shah and Sultan Hussain Shah followed similar policies and organized the translation of Mahabharata and Bhagwat Puran into Bengali.
Given the ready availability of so many examples of the protection and support of Hindu temples, scriptures and saints by Muslim rulers, a question naturally arises: why has this been entirely ignored by those who spread communitarianism? Isn’t it tragic that our heritage is being twisted by bigoted and communal forces to spread discord and violence?
In these difficult times, very powerful and resourceful forces are trying to communalize the situation and are spreading a lot of misinformation regarding history and other topics to secure their narrow sectarian goals. These forces do not care about the harmfulness of this situation for our country and our society.
It is therefore very important that factual information regarding our common heritage and community harmony is widely disseminated among people. All the forces of national unity and social harmony must make considerable efforts in this direction, within the framework of mutual cooperation. In addition, the constitutional precepts of equality of people of all religions, the right to religion and worship for all and the fundamental precepts of secularism must be well protected by the judiciary.

*Honorary Organizer, Campaign to Save Earth Now; his recent books include ‘A Day in 2071’, ‘When the Two Streams Met’ and ‘Man over Machine-A Path to Peace’

About Shirley L. Kreger

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