At a time when questions are being raised by Hindu right wing groups on the contribution of Mughal rulers to India, experts from Uzbekistan, Babur’s birthplace, are here to study about him and the era to trace the historical links between the two countries. A team of researchers from the Central Asian country visited the National Museum which has a vast repository of information on Mughal rulers, including rare manuscripts about Babur, who founded the Mughal empire that reigned for over three centuries. The experts are working on the project ‘Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan in the Art Collections of the World’ where teams are gathering Uzbeki historical material from across the world.
“The team had come in April and their aim is to document material related to the Mughal era, primarily. “Babar was born in Andijan, (a city of Farghana province of Uzbekistan) and we have a lot of material on him and the Mughal dynasty in India. Another team will visit the museum too and we are happy to help them out,” said Dr BR Mani, Director General, National Museum which is under the ministry of culture. Babur, in fact, never visited Uzbekistan after he came to India and spent his life in his adopted country. At the museum, the Uzbek experts are particularly interested in manuscripts of the Holy Quran, scribed in Uzbekistan, which were presented to the Mughal emperors, as is evident from the royal seals on the cover page.
Also of interest are 15 illustrated folios of the Baburnama, which is Babur’s biography, in Turkish. “India is one of the friendliest countries for us. It was a real pleasure to visit. It is especially gratifying to realise that the culture of such a great country is connected with ours. “So far, work with India has just begun. We are planning to publish 1-2 albums in India depending on the results of the work,” said Professor Andrey Zybkin, the Uzbeki project coordinator, in an email reply to PTI. Uzbekistan takes pride in Babur’s contribution and has declared February 14 as Babur Day. However, while there is a wealth of knowledge that
However, while there is a wealth of knowledge that Uzbeks are looking to gather from India, a section in India feels that Mughal rulers were “invaders” and historians did not project their true picture. “Babar had looted the country. The Mughals were nothing but invaders. They remained outsiders until the end of their rule. In fact, the Ram temple in Ayodhya was demolished by them,” alleged Mohan Yadav, co-convener of BJP’s art and culture cell. In 2015, Delhi’s central Aurangzeb Road was renamed after A P J Adbul Kalam, the former Indian president. BJP leaders have also backed a proposal to rename Akbar Road, named after a 16th-century Mughal king, after Maharana Pratap, a Hindu ruler who fought the Mughals. This year, another change was recommended – to rename Babur Road in the capital after Lt Ummer Fayaz, the officer who was killed by militants in his home state of Jammu and Kashmir on May 9. In February this year, the BJP-led government in Rajasthan backed a proposal to rewrite history taught at the university level to say that Rajput warrior-king Maharana Pratap won the Battle of Haldighati against the Mughal army of Akbar led by his general Man Singh, despite historical evidence suggesting otherwise.
In February this year, the BJP-led government in Rajasthan backed a proposal to rewrite history taught at the university level to say that Rajput warrior-king Maharana Pratap won the Battle of Haldighati against the Mughal army of Akbar led by his general Man Singh, despite historical evidence suggesting otherwise. Historian Audrey Truschke, who was on the receiving end of a social media backlash ever since her book ‘Aurangzeb: The Man and The Myth’ was published earlier this year, says that modern attacks on the Mughals have little to do with India’s past and everything to do with India’s present. “In the current political environment, it serves many anti-Muslim, Hindutva interests to label the Mughals as “invaders” and portray them as destroyers of Indian culture, which is invariably reduced to a narrow band of Hindu culture in this worldview.
“In the current political environment, it serves many anti-Muslim, Hindutva interests to label the Mughals as “invaders” and portray them as destroyers of Indian culture, which is invariably reduced to a narrow band of Hindu culture in this worldview. “Such views also obscure Indian history. In reality, India was shaped by the Mughals in cultural, linguistic, political, and economic terms. Even the self-identity of many Hindus today is informed by Mughal ideas,” said Truschke. The Hindu right wing cannot change the past, and its reach outside of India’s borders is limited, she argued. “As a result, one possible impact of eroding historical knowledge within India may be to cede Indian history to those who work outside of its borders. It is a sad state of affairs,” she added.