Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

Less Known Temples of Kerala – 3: Thirunavaya, Trippadam, Hanuman Kshetram

The three temples  are near one another and can be comfortably covered within two hours.   (between kottakkal & kuttipuram on Mangalore  – Cochin rd ‘ 19 km from kadampuza ).

Ed visited these temples in June 2011.

PS: Roads in Kerala have innumerable turns , bends , forks, and junctions. Of course there are no sign boards where you need them. However people are helpful enough.

Thirunavaya : Nava Mukunda

Vishnu Kshetram on the banks of Bharatha Puza.

It is approximately 19 Km from Kadampuza. On the bank of the river steps have been built and maintained for convienence of pilgrims. Pitru Karma and kria ceremonies are conducted here, and many who are unable to go to Kashi or Gaya come here. You will also see many ladies performing ‘ tarpanam’, an unusual site, as normally it is the men folk who perform these ceremonies.

Navamunkuda Temple, believed to be constructed by Nava yogis on the right bank of Bharathapuzha, is an important Vishnu temple of Kerala. Pitru Tharpanam is a ritual, held here on the day of Amavasi in Karkidaka (July).  Balikarma is offered by people in their wet clothes, after a dip in the river, for the salvation of sins and to appease the manes.

There is a seperate sanctum for Lakshmi. The story goes; when Adi Sankara visited this spot he found that people of the area were arrogant on account of the vast wealth they possessed.  He saw that the reason was living in the vicinity of the idol of Laksmi whose right hand with an open palm facing downwards was below the hip  level. This ensured that any one who prayed to her was showered with wealth, deserving or not. So Adi Sankara prayed to the mother goddess to revert to her normal abhaya hasta, which she did. This ensured that undeserving persons did not get wealth.

Across the Bharatha puza is a temple for Brahma. However there are no boats or bridge to cross over for a darshan of Brahma.

Trippadam ;

Trikanangode ; Siva Ksehtram; Markandeya Moksha Sthalam

Markandeya was destined to live for only 16 years. When he found his parents sad and unhappy on the last day of life on earth he went to Trikanangode , the abode of Paramasivan, for help. He was chased by Yama dhootas and fled towards the shrine. The AAL in front of the temple split and gave way and allowed him to pass.

Markandeya entered the temple premises and in to the sanctum sanctorum and embraced the the Linga and prayed. The Yama dhootas could not enter the area and went to complain to Yama who himself came on the scene and summoned the young lad to come out.  When Markandeya refused Yama who by then had grown angry and frustrated bloated as he was with the power he wielded over all beings, threw the the pasak kayaru at the boy. The noose wrapped around the boy and the the Linga. When Yama pulled the pasam the Siva Linga was displaced and out came Lord Siva himself , angered by the the action of yama who had dared to take away the life of his bhakta.

It is said he covered the distance to Yama in three steps, and slew him with his trisulam. Then he went to the temple pond and washed away the stains . There is a temple at the original site and the three small temples depicting the three steps taken by Siva, near the present  main temple.

The main pujas in this temple are : Japa of Mritunjaya Mantram’, Uma Maheswara Puja ‘& Maha Rudra Yagna

Rama Temple at Althiyoor

(12 Km from Tirur)

It is a temple for Rama but over a period of time Hanuman has gained  pradhanam. There is a separate enclosure for Lakshmana.

Here one will find a strange looking Hanuman idol, with hands folded and head tilted as if listening carefully. The sthala puranam Rama spoke to Hanuman personally and in confidence and gave him some special signs by which he could identify himself to Sita  as the special dhoota of Rama. He related to Hanuman incidents not known even to Lakshmana, who was standing at a distance. Hanuman with folded hands is listening carefully to Rama. The sight of Hanuman with folded hands and attentive demeanour cannot but bring tears in to ones eyes.


There’s a full moon over India and Gandhi lives again…



There has been a lot of discussion in the media about Gandhian methods and their efficacy. There have also been references to Gandhiji’s fads and quirks — especially his ideas about sex and continence.

I was attending a workshop in Kuala Lumpur. It was ostensibly about how to run a business and earn more money. The programme was interspersed with music and short experiential exercises. At one such session, the trainer played the famous American singer John Denver’s song ‘It’s About Time’, which began with the lines “There’s a full moon over India and Gandhi lives again/ Who’s to say you have to lose for someone else to win?”

The inspiration behind this song was Denver’s visit to India in the 1980s to pay respects to his spiritual guru Swami Muktananda as also his chance encounter with the members of the film fraternity who were on board and were going to Delhi to launch the film ‘Gandhi’. As the plane neared Delhi, Denver looked out of the window and saw the full moon in its pristine glory shining over India. The song writer in Denver was overwhelmed that nature conspired to make him empathise with the humanity at large through the prodding of a great soul, Gandhiji.

The powerful words of the song, coupled with Denver’s mellifluous singing, cast a spell on the participants who had gathered from different corners of the world. Joining hands and forming a circle of 500-plus, they sang in unison — “Who’s to say you have to lose for someone else to win?”

Gandhiji taught us this truth in so many ways. He was the master of non-violent communication that led to win-win situations. He was against class war because it had the seeds of violence in it and the potential for hate on the part of those who lose. He suggested that the rich act as trustees of their wealth and see to it that the last man gets a decent life before enjoying what they have in excess. Though a lawyer, he did not support litigation. Rather, he promoted out-of-court amicable settlements. He propagated ‘heart unity’ to solve the communal question.

The communal divide was sought to be closed by understanding each other’s religion better and accommodating one another. The crux of his campaign against untouchability was directed towards the heart of those who practised the evil because even if one is convinced that one is doing the wrong, it takes a long time to emotionally accept that and change one’s behaviour.

Gandhiji ruled out violence because it denigrated the practitioner; it was irreversible and, therefore, not to be practised by fallible human beings; because once practised, its threshold would increase with every successive attempt; also, it overlooked the fact that every human being is capable of love. Besides, violence did not lead to the resolution of conflicts because it always led to a win-lose situation — “For the first is just the last one when you play a deadly game. It is about time we find out it is all of us or none” (Denver).

He tellingly conveys Gandhiji’s thoughts when he croons —“There’s a man who is my brother, I just don’t know his name/ But I know his home and family because we know we feel the same/ And it hurts me when he is hungry and when his children cry/ I too am a father, and the little one is mine.” When Gandhiji felt sad over the London bombings during the Second World War he was echoing these very sentiments. It is ‘about time’ we recognised the truth of Gandhiji’s words and act on them.


Annai Vailankanni Besant Nagar :Our Lady of Good Health Church


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FESTIVAL TIME: The faithful converged at the Annai Vailankanni Our Lady of Good Health Church in Besant Nagar for the annual fest. It is held as part of the birthday celebrations of Mother Mary. The celebrations began at the church on Saturday with the hoisting of flag. The annual fest begins with a 9-day Novena to the Mother on August 29 every year and culminates on September 8th, the birthday of Mother Mary


Public Service: Silently

Club for a CAUSE

The Monday Charity Club, Which Helps People In Need

Priya M Menon | TNN

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This group of housewives gets together once a month, always on a Monday. And though they do take the time to catch up on each other’s lives, their concern extends to a larger section of society — the needy and the underprivileged. Topics discussed range from problems faced by working parents to discrimination against the girl child.

“I wanted to encourage housewives to do social work,” says 79-yearold Savithri Vaithi, who established the Monday Charity Club in 1970. From the age of 16, Savithri has been an untiring social worker, visiting the slums of Chennai.

The club, however, was established on a very modest note. “I used to teach women cooking and baking,” says Savithri, who holds a diploma in medico-social work. “I sounded them out about starting a charity club and we established it with the first group of students in my house in Alwarpet,” says Savithri. Kausalya Seshadri, 73, a founder-member and one of Savithri’s former students, says, “We wanted to start a ladies’ club not to just while away time but to do charity every month. Helping others gives us great personal satisfaction.”

Since the club consisted of housewives, Monday was a convenient day for them to meet. “We usually meet on the first Monday of every month, between 11 am and 1 pm,” says Kausalya. Any programme the club organises — be it lectures by eminent people or demonstrations — are also held on Mondays

Though they began with 20-odd members and the aim of doing one charitable deed a month, the club has grown exponentially over the years.

Today, it has 170 members and several ongoing charitable ventures. “We don’t just momentarily dole out help but are doing projects on a sustainable basis,” says 73-year-old Malini Kasthurirangan.

One of their older projects is the Book Bank, which helps college-going students. “They can enrol by paying Rs 20, borrow the prescribed textbooks for degree courses and return them after the academic year,” says Savithri.

Other projects to help needy students include funding poor students and Vidya Daan. “We request schools to recommend good students who need our help,” says Kausalya. They then ‘adopt’ students of Class VII, looking after their educational needs till Class XII.

The club was instrumental in setting up Vishranthi old age home. And the ‘Undrugol’ (literally meaning walking stick) project caters to people above 60 from lower socio-economic backgrounds. “We personally visit households and identify people,” says Savithri.

They are then given a photo-identity card. On the first Wednesday of every month, they come to the club to collect provisions — 5 kg rice, 1 kg dal, 1 kg oil and a little bit of tamarind, red chillies and dhaniya plus Rs 30 as pocket money. “This helps these elderly people live with their family and be independent at the same time,” says Savithri.

While the club has attracted sponsors over the years, today they are low on funds, admits Kausalya. Yet another concern is the fact that the club mainly consists of elderly people.

“Most of us started out together and are now grandmoms and even great-grandmoms, we are looking for younger members,” says Savithri. “Social work is our focus but we also do fun things together, like go on picnics.”

“We need younger people to take over from us, so I have enrolled my daughter-in-law and her sister,” says Kausalya. “We are even thinking of changing the day we meet to Saturdays as most women work these days.”
For more details, call 24994806


This group meets once a month to spring-clean temples

Kamini Mathai | TNN

HAPPY TO HELP: Members of the group at work

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For about eight years now, on the fourth Sunday of every month, a group of people from various parts of Chennai and its suburbs meet up to spring-clean a temple somewhere in Tamil Nadu. While it began in 2001 as four friends thrashing out their idea for service to society, today the group has expanded to more than 400. And they call themselves the ‘Uzhavarappani Group’.

The original four founders of the group are B Srinivasan, a cooperative store employee in Tambaram, artist T Saravanan, S Ganeshan, an auditor and S Ayyappan, a store owner. They are still the main planners and get the requisite permission from the temple authorities.

“Our mentor, whom we used to call Krishnamoorthy Ayya, the man who inspired us to start, passed away sometime ago. But the core team remains the same. Usually, the four of us narrow down on the temple and then inform the members of the group and decide where and what time we can organise pick-ups etc,” says 48-year-old Srinivasan.

Transport is arranged for members who live in different areas in the city with each bus carrying around 50 people. “No one has ever written about us, we have never advertised our services. Still, the group has grown so much. It is only because of the conscientiousness of the volunteers,” says Srinivasan. He adds that since they have been doing this for years, it is so well organised that word just spreads and the volunteers arrive.

“We try and get to the temple by 8am so we can work till 6pm. The members are divided into various groups, which have their functions cut out for them. It’s all very well planned — one group takes care of cutting grass, another does whitewashing, the third group cooks food for the entire group, while the fourth polishes all the brass in the temple.

We always pick a temple that is dilapidated,” says Srinivasan. The group has people from all walks of life — from artists and government employees to doctors, housewives and businessmen

“We never ask people for money as this is a free service,” says Srinivasan. “But we usually have donors within the group who voluntarily take on various expenses, like the food served or the bus charge,” he adds.
To date, the group has cleaned more than 90 temples in Chennai and its surrounding districts.

“We know there will always be temples to clean and we are ready to clean them. Kancheepuram district alone has more than 1,000 temples. So, we have our work cut out for us for years to come,” says Srinivasan.


Islam and Peace:Muslims must speak in one voice against extremism

An article courtesy  TOI, of  17 March.

It is very very rare to see such frank opinions on extremists, root cause for extremism, especially when linked to a religion with more than its share of violence and man made tragedies.

Even brave souls like MJ Akbar have not been so forthright in in voicing their opinions.

We wish those who should read it, do so, and introspect.


Build The Peace Consensus

Muslims must speak in one voice against extremism

Sadia Dehlvi 

The trail of terror continues with cricketers as the latest target. The Mumbai and Lahore attacks, public executions and the murder of over a thousand civilians in the Swat valley by Taliban-style terrorists are horrifying examples of atrocities committed by militant groups thriving on political Islam.

Global Muslim communities urgently need to condemn the agenda of political Islam that distorts religious scriptures to legitimise violence. This ideology of Islamism is threatening to replace a moderate and spiritual Islam, leading to the destruction of many societies and, in particular, oppression of women and minorities.

Muslims have a moral responsibility to engage in the social, political and economic development of the societies they live in. Global Muslim societies would do well to imitate the exceptional efforts of Indian clerics in denouncing terrorism and delinking it with Islam. Sincere moral outrage needs to be expressed at Taliban atrocities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, political kidnappings and assassinations, militancy in Kashmir, Shia-Sunni killings in Iraq and Pakistan, fatwas condoning suicide bombings in the Israel-Palestine conflict and other atrocities affecting innocent lives.

Muslims require an international consensus on combating extremism. Our credibility is lost when we express selective outrage, as in the aftermath of the Danish cartoons controversy.

Political Islam draws its lifeblood from the ideology of fighting the oppressor, but has clearly become the oppressor itself. Though some Islamist groups have renounced violence, accepted the principles of democracy and marginally improved their stand on women and minority rights, they remain socially conservative.

In Jordan, the Islamist party does not support the rights of women to file for divorce. In Kuwait, the Islamists fought against the right of women to vote. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood will not allow a woman or a person from a minority community to become head of state. Unfortunately, militant Islamist groups thrive in the political vacuum created by oppressive regimes in most Islamic countries.

Muslims must stop blaming the problem of extremism on catastrophic policies of foreign countries. For, two wrongs simply do not make a right. It is primarily a Muslim problem, threatening both Muslim and non-Muslim societies. We need to acknowledge that there is a problem of theology when extremists talk of going straight to heaven after taking innocent lives.

The roots of all modern militant Islamic movements can be traced to one man, Abdul Wahab from Nejd in the Arabian Peninsula. He set out to ‘purify’ Islam, believing that Muslims had drifted away from true religion. Wahab’s followers destroyed many sacred sites that he
considered linked to idolatry. Attacking the arts for being frivolous and dangerous, Wahab sanctioned the rape, murder and plunder of those who refused to follow his injunctions. He was considered a heretic by most, for Mecca and Medina were then centres of contemplative Islam, inhabited by Sufis from all over the world.

In 1774-75, Wahab negotiated a deal with the then nomadic tribe of Saud, forebears of the current royal family, in exchange for support to their quest for political domination. Most Saudis reject the name Wahhabi; they either call themselves Muwahuddin — Unitarians — or Salafi, referring to salaf, the venerated companions of the Prophet. In this blinkered view, no other version of religious truth can exist.

This new face of Islam has nothing to do with Sufis, music, poetry, miracles or the countless devotional customs of Muslim cultures across the world.

Under the patronage of Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism went from strength to strength. Abul Ala Mawdudi, a journalist who translated the Quran outside the classical paradigms, propagated the Wahhabi ideology. He founded the political party Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, making jihad central to Islamic discourse. Addressing non-Muslims as infidels, he grouped Muslims into ‘partial’ and ‘true’ Muslims. Mawdudi’s ideas of Islam as a revolutionary doctrine to take over governments and overturn the whole universal order deeply influenced Syed Qutub of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

These groups have been motivated by political upheavals and the rejection of traditional scholars. Syed Qutub’s brother happened to be among the teachers of Osama bin Laden.

The extremism now found in Mecca and Medina, the heartland of Islam, is the Wahhabi ideology that the Saudis have spent millions in promoting through their outreach programmes. There is no tolerance for Shias, Sunni Sufis or other Muslim traditions, leave alone non-Muslims.

Unfortunately, there is no collective Muslim protest against the Saudi regime for bulldozing graveyards, destroying the cultural and religious heritage of the holy cities, imposing a certain segregation of the sexes inside the Prophet’s mosque at Medina, radical sermons or distribution of radical literature outside Saudi mosques, many of them issuing calls for death to whoever they view as infidels or innovators of Islam.

The problem of Muslim extremism began in the Muslim world and the responsibility of resolving it lies with us.

The inability to present Islam as a peaceful religion is a collective failure of global Muslim communities. We could begin by increasing the decibel in condemning violence and sectarianism and standing up for women’s rights.

We should stop demonising the ‘other’ as infidels and show increased support for democratic movements in Muslim countries. It is time for the devout, silent and peace-loving Muslim majority to speak for Islam.

Let our voices be louder than the radical voices claiming to represent us.

The writer is a Delhi-based commentator.

Sadia Dehlvi is a renowned Delhi based media person. She is a prominent face on prime time television debates dealing with the issues of Muslim communities.

A well-known columnist and writer, Dehlvi is frequently published in frontline Urdu, Hindi and English newspapers and magazines. She has been the editor of Bano, a popular woman’s journal in the Urdu language with the Shama group of Publications. Dehlvi has produced and scripted a number of documentaries and television programs.

For over thirty years Sadia Dehlvi has engaged in voicing concern on issues regarding heritage, culture, women and Muslim communities. She is currently working on a book on Delhi’s Sufi history. Her surname ‘Dehlvi” means someone from Delhi reflecting her family’s long association with Delhi


Top French honour for Pondy Sanskrit scholar


Top French honour for Pondy Sanskrit scholar

Bosco Dominique | TNN

BIRTHDAY GIFT: S Sambanda Sivacharyar, Sanskrit scholar and research assistant of French Institute of Pondicherry

Puducherry: He has been working more than 10 hours a day for the past five decades, collecting palm leaf manuscripts in different scripts from various parts of country and categorising them after researching their content.

On his 83rd birthday, S Sambanda Sivacharyar, Sanskrit scholar and research assistant at the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP), got the pleasant news that he had been selected by the French government for one of the oldest and prestigious civil awards ‘Ordre des Palmes Académiques’ for his contributions to the study of the languages, texts, history and cultures of the Indian subcontinent.

The scholar, who joined IFP in 1969, extensively collected and studied Saiva manuscripts on palm leaves under the guidance of pandit N R Bhatt. He was instrumental in publishing critical editions of the Saivagamas, one of the 28 main texts (agamas) of Saivasiddantha (philosophy and scriptures of the Saivas), tracing the historical evolution of its doctrines and the Saiva ritual system dating back several centuries.

He is currently in charge of the upcoming edition of Suksmagama of the IFP, which has one of the richest collections of palm leaf manuscripts on Saivasiddhanta.

The institute’s palm leaf manuscript collections have been included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

The researcher said palm leaf manuscripts available in the institute were in several scripts including Tamil, Grantha, Telugu, Malayalam, Tigalari, Sarada, Nadinagiri and Newari.

His work primarily focussed on cataloguing the manuscripts based on their contents and transliterating the contents from one script to another, Grantha to Devanagiri script, for instance, enabling present generation researchers to access and understand ancient contents.

“IFP has about 8,000 bundles of palm leaf manuscripts mostly on Saivasiddhanta followed by grammar, palmistry and Thevaram in various scripts. We have categorised a little more than 25% of our collection and brought out several publications on Saivasiddhanta. transliterating the contents from ancient scripts to Devanagiri script,” Sambanda Sivachariar told TOI. He said in ancient times, Tamil-speaking people used Grantha script to write Sanskrit and most of the manuscripts on religious text were written in Grantha.

“The use of Grantha to write Sanskrit declined subsequently in the last century and Devanagiri became a widely popular script for Sanskrit,” he said.

Born on January 6, 1927 in a family of temple priests, Sambandan learnt temple rites at the tender age of seven from his father and the Vedas from eminent scholars before joining the Ahobila Math Sanskrit Padashala, Madurantakam. He studied at Raja’ College, Thiruvaiyaru and Mylapore Sanskrit College.

Before joining the IFP, he worked at the manuscript library of Theosophical Society and the Government Manuscript Library, Chennai and was also closely associated with the Saraswathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur, Thiruvanandapuram Manuscripts Library and Mysore Oriental Research Library in 1950s.

He has to his credit the establishment of a printing press with Grantha and Devanagiri scripts and printed and published many books on Agamas. Presently, he is editing an almanac, ‘Thiru Koil Anushtana Vakya Panchangam’ for the past 15 years and running a publishing company, which comes out with books on temple rituals.


Losing Temper

Mr Watwani has sent this mesage

Make sure you read all the way down to the last sentence. (Most importantly the last sentence)

There once was a little boy who had a bad


His Father gave him a bag of nails

and told him that every time he lost his

temper, he must hammer a nail into the back

of the fence.

The first day the boy had

driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next

few weeks, as he learned to control his

anger, the number of nails hammered daily

gradually dwindled down.  He discovered

it was easier to hold his temper than to

drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the ! day came when the boy didn’t

lose his temper at all. He told his father

about it and the father suggested that the

boy now pull out one nail for each day that he

was able to hold

his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally

able to tell his father that all the nails

were gone. The father took his son by the

hand and led him to the fence He said, “You

have done well, my son, but look at the

holes in the fence. The fence will never be

the same. When you say things in anger,

they leave a scar just like this one.  You can put

a knife in a man and draw it out.

It won’t matter how many times you say “I’m

sorry”, the wound is still there.  A verbal

wound is as bad as a physical one.

Friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They

make you smile and encourage you to succeed.

They lend an ear, they share words of praise

and they always want to open their hearts to us.”

It’ s National Friendship Week. Show your

friends how much you care. Send this to

everyone you consider a FRIEND, even if

it mean s sending it back to the person who

sent it to you. If it comes back to you,

then you’ll know you have a circle of friends.


Now send this to every friend you have!!

And to your family

Please forgive me if I have ever left a hole.


Aurangzeb :: The worst thing to happen to the “Idea of India”

There is serious evidence, on going through the Quran, that its ‘as it is’ and ‘non-contextual’ (of that period and situation) interpretation can, and evidently has, led to complete intolerance of Islam over other faiths and people following those faiths. This is a certainly one of the most important causes of terrorism globally.

*There is no other true way*

One key point that comes out during discussions with orthodox muslims is the fact that they believe there can be no other true interpretation of God, and the purpose of life, than the one they have as has been offered by Muhammad. Everyone else is wrong, they say, and there is no room for Self-inquiry, with the possibility of this leading to new answers. Answers are all laid out already – and simply need to be followed.

While a lot of other religions and intra-religious faiths within hinduism as well, take such a hard stance to spiritual pursuits of other people, the trouble arises when this difference in world-views (or God-views) reaches the point of intolerance of the other, and precipitates as aggression and violence.

This has been the case in both Islam and Christianity, and from what I know, in the Jewish faith as well. This has happened in the past with some of India’s Hindu kings as well, who were completely intolerant to Buddhism and Buddhists, and ordered their persecution. However, stories of such kings found doing circles in Srilankan and Tibetan Buddhist monks “seems to be” (and I welcome my readers to help me correct my knowledge of history) at best exaggerated.

Purpose of this article

I write this to help build religious harmony and tolerance between Islam and Hindusim in India. I will attempt to show reason on why muslims need to with hard look at history, thus needing to soften their stand on Babri Masjid/Ram Janmabhoomi, Kashi Vishwanath and other such key temple complexes which are the central flash-points of conflict currently in India.

The purpose of this article is invite muslim leaders and secular thinkers, to put themselves in the shoes of hindus, and then stand in judgment of their popular sentiment about Babri Masjid and other similar examples. Then

  • an opportunity for dialogue between the two communities can open up, on how to move forward
  • we can say, what was done in the past was shameful and against Islam
  • there will be an opportunity with muslims to soften their stand possibly, leading to voluntary relocation of some of the mosques standing in place of these temples or occupying, whether in use or not
  • a message to the hindus can go – that they need not repeat the same nonsense


Aurangzeb, in this discussion, in context of India, stands head and shoulders above all muslim invaders, kings and zealots who came to India plundering its resources, people, temples, lifestyles and destroying its social and spiritual fabric.

Proof of such destruction of Hindu temples across the region

It is often pointed out that no such thing was done by Aurangzeb, and that this version of history is contrived and incorrect to push forward the saffronisation agenda.

I recently came across a blog on Aurangzeb and the mess he created in India. The research done by Francois Gautier on Aurangzeb is based on farhans (original edicts) by Aurangzeb, preserved at the Bikaner Museum in Rajasthan.

His research led to a series of paintings and sketches to visually represent the destruction of hindu temples, their forced and coercive conversions, the brutal dismemberment of his enemies, and imposing strict interpretations of Islam leading to killing of philosophers and ban on music. Here are some links of these exhibits:

Exhibit No. 2: Prince Dara Shukoh translating the Upanishads

Exhibit No. 3: Scene of Captive Dara being paraded in Delhi

Exhibit No. 4: Dara Shukoh’s farcical trial and verdict

Exhibit No. 6: Keshava Rai Temple. “Even to look at a temple is a sin for a Musalman”, Aurangzeb

Exhibit No. 7: Demolition of Kalka’s Temple – I. Siyah Waqa’i- Darbar Regnal Year 10, Rabi I, 23 / 3 September 1667

Exhibit No. 8: Demolition of Kalka Temple II. Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Mu‘alla Julus 10, Rabi II 3 / 12 September 1667

Exhibit No. 9: General Order for the Destruction of Temples. (9th April 1669)

Exhibit No. 11: Demolition of the temple of Viswanath (Banaras). August 1669 A.D.

Exhibit No. 12 i – ii – iii : “During this month of Ramzan (1080 A.H./January-February 1670) ….. the Emperor ….. The reviver of the Faith of the Prophet issued orders for the demolition of the Dehra of Keshava Rai in Mathura. In a short time the destruction of this strong foundation of infidelity was accomplished and on its site a lofty mosque was built. ….. the idols large and small of the temple were brought to Agra and buried under the steps of the mosque of Begum Sahib” (Maasir-i- ‘Alamgiri, 95-96);,

Exhibit No. 13: Demolition of Keshava Rai temple at Mathura. (13th January – 11th February 1670)

Exhibit No. 14: Demolition of Somnath temple

Exhibit No. 16: Reimposition of Jizyah by Aurangzeb. (2nd April 1679)

Exhibit No. 17: “Burial of Music”. The musicians, wailing and lamenting carry the ‘bier’ of music in Aurangzeb’s presence. “Bury it so deep that no sound or echo of it may rise again”, Aurangzeb, (Muntakhab-al Lubab, p.213)

Exhibit No.19: Aurangzeb orders cart-loads of idols brought from Jodhpur to be cast under the steps of Jama Masjid. (May 1679)

Exhibit No. 20: Demolition of Jagannath Rai (Jagdish Temple), Udaipur and its brave defence. R.Y. 23rd of Aurangzeb’s reign (26th September 1679 – 14th September 1680)

Exhibit No. 22: Destruction of sixty-three temples at Chittor. On Monday, the 22nd February /1st Safar, the Emperor went to see Chittor; by his order sixty-three (63) temples of the place were destroyed

Exhibit No. 23: Orders for the destruction of temples on the bank of Maharana’s lake, Udaipur. Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Mu’alla Julus 23, Zilqad 29 / 23rd December 1679

Exhibit No. 24: Orders for the demolition of Jagannath Temple, Orissa. Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus 24, Jamadi I, 23 / 1st June 1681

Exhibit No. 25: Large scale destruction of temples in the environs of Udaipur (January 1680)

Exhibit No. 26: All the temples on the way to be destroyed. Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar Julus 25, Ramzan 18 / 21st September 1681

Exhibit No. 27: Demolition of Bindu-Madhav Temple at Banaras. Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus 26, Ramzan 20 / 13 September 1682

Exhibit No. 28: Problem of converting closed temples into mosques in Burhanpur district. Siyaha Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla R.Yr. 25, Shawwal 10 / 13th October 1681

Exhibit No. 29: Order for demolition of the temple at Goner (Amber). Siyaha Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus (R.Yr.) 24, Rabi I, 17 / 28th March 1686

Exhibit No. 30: Demolition of the Jagdish temple at Goner (Amber) – II. Siyaha Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus (R.Yr.) 24, Jamadi I, 5 / 14th May 1686

Exhibit No. 31: Muslims exempted from paying Zakat Siyah. Akhbart-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus (R.Yr.) 10, Zilqad 2 / 16th April 1667

Exhibit No. 32: Restriction on atishbazi. Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus 10, Shawwal 24 / April 9th 1667

Exhibit No. 33: Musalmans to replace Hindu officials as cure for ineffectiveness of prayers. Siyah Waqai Darbar Julus (R.Yr.) 10, Muharram 18 / 1st July 1667

Exhibit No. 34: Hindu Chowkinavis and Amins of the Haft-chowkis to be replaced by the Musalmans. Akhbarat Dargah-i- Mu‘alla Julus (R.Yr.) 9, Jamadi II, 28 / 15th December 1666

Exhibit No. 39: Aurangzeb orders the execution of Sarmad, a Jewish Armenian Philosopher who accepted Islam but stood for freedom of conscience.

Exhibit No. 40: Large number of conversions by Faujdar, Bithur. Grant of saropas and cash sanctioned by Aurangzeb. Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus (R.Yr.) 10, Shawwal 26 / 11th April 1667

Exhibit No. 41: Coercion in Conversion – Case of the chief of Manoharpur. Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i- Mu‘alla Julus 24, Jamadi I, 7 / 16th May 1681

There is also a history paper written by Rajiv Verma on Destruction of Hindu Temples by Aurangzeb, which provides historical references.

A message to the readers

This is not meant to be a hate article.

This is a result of a dialogue between an orthodox muslim friend who during our series of discussions on Islam and Hindusim, denied that there was any such things done by Aurangzeb. It is such denial which leads to nonacceptance of each other’s anxieties. Gandhi used to say that the ability of hindus and muslims would be determined by the understanding they can have for each others anxieties.

I believe the Hindus have no real scars and have moved on, and moved forward with many things (which is a great thing ofcourse), yet there are some sensitive points in memory like Babri Masjid, which are a result of popular sentiment of people associated with someone who is as dear to the Hindus as Muhammad is to Muslims.

There needs to be movement forward by muslims in showing tolerance and acceptance now.