Thursday, 5 November 2015

Mughal documents suggest that artists returned gold mohurs in protest again intolerance in Aurangzeb's reign

Historians made a startling revelation today that a group of calligraphy artists at Aurangzeb’s durbar had refused to accept their rewards, citing growing intolerance in his reign.  They made this announcement after examining a few documents from the Mughal era (a young boy, however, briefly claimed that the pages were actually from his history textbook).

According to their report, on 19th July, 1679, Aurangzeb invited a group of calligraphy artists at his durbar where he intended to reward them with a few gold mohurs for their contribution in the field of art and culture.  But in an unprecedented turn of events, when they were presented with the gold coins, they looked into oblivion and said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and put Aurangzeb in an awkward position.  He was all set to hand over the mohurs and look at everyone present there with a self-assuring smile.  Little did he know that those party poopers would screw up his grand panache.

The report further reveals that the incident sparked a huge debate across the nation and the citizens were divided over the issue.  Many dismissed this symbolic gesture as politically motivated whereas others genuinely believed that there was an environment of fear in the country.  During that turbulent period, a rebel prince called Jujharu Goswami launched a vicious attack on Aurangzeb.  The fearless commentator, social reformer, and mighty warrior had pledged himself to expose the Mughal emperor and clean up the society.  Legend has it that every night as the clock struck 12, he was seen outside Aurangzeb’s palace, interviewing his helps.  And all he wanted was truth.

The historians have also found a transcript of an interview Jujharu Goswami held with a disgruntled painter, which clearly indicates that he was much ahead of his time as far as investigative journalism was concerned and could possibly have pioneered this art form.  Here is an excerpt from that historic interview:

Jujharu:  Mr. Anonymous, you not only asked for anonymity but also covered your face with a plastic bag.  May I ask you why?
Anonymous:  Because I am anonymous.

Jujharu:  Ok, fair enough, but what leads you to believe that there is intolerance in the country?  Who is intolerant?
Anonymous:  That guy.

Jujharu:  Please be specific, Mr. Anonymous, and please don’t try to dodge my questions.  I ask you again, who is intolerant?  Is it Aurangzeb?
Anonymous:  Yep.  There was a lot of freedom earlier as we could paint whatever we wanted to, but not anymore.  In the past 20 years I have painted over 1000 portraits of this guy…I mean, Aurangzeb and that’s all I have been doing since he took over.  Every time I start a new sketch, he comes from nowhere and sits in front of the canvas.  I have forgotten how someone looks like without a beard.  When I look at my wife, I see beard on her face.

This enraged Jujharu Goswami, according to the report, as he declared war against Aurangzeb and started mobilizing his troops on the banks of Indus River.

Accounts vary as to what followed next but history books suggest that the decline of Mughal Empire started immediately after that.

Also published here 

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