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Temple Destruction in Aurangzeb’s reign

Temple Destruction in Aurangzeb's reign - Vatsal Tyagi

By the theory of its origin the Muslim State is a theocracy. Its true king is God, and earthly rulers are merely His agents bound to enforce His law on all. The civil authorities exist solely to spread and enforce the true faith (Islam). In such a State infidelity is logically equivalent to treason, because the infidel repudiates the authority of the true king and pays homage to his rivals, the false gods and goddesses.

Therefore, the toleration of any sect outside the fold of orthodox Islam is no better than compounding with sin. And the worst form of sin is polytheism, the belief that the one true God has partners in the form of other deities. It is the duty of every Muslim to degrade the Kaafir (Non-Muslims) to punish them, to put pressure on them. Such as they either convert to Islam or they die. Such strict policies were also employed by Aurangzeb during his reign on the Hindu population of his empire.
Here we present the temple destruction under Aurangzeb, strictly from Historical Sources. (However it must be noted that these are very small numbers. Strictly limited to Official sources. The actual number of temples destroyed under Aurangzeb is beyond counting) Before his accession, it is noted that the temple of Chintaman, situated close to Sarashpur, and built by Sitadas, was converted into a mosque named Quwat-ul-islam by order of the Prince Aurangzib, in 1645. The Bombay Gazetteer, vol. I adds that he slaughtered a cow in the temple.

Aurangzib writes to Bidar Bakht (Mughal Prince) – “The village of Satara near Aurangabad was my hunting-ground. Here on the top of a hill stood a temple with an image of Khande Rai. By God’s grace I demolished it.

In the last decade of his reign, Aurangzeb writes – “The temple of Somnath was demolished early in my reign and idol worship (there) put down. It is not known what the state of things there is at present. If the idolators have again taken to the worship of images at the place, then destroy the temple in such a way that no trace of the building may be left, and also expel them (the worshippers) from the place”.

On 19 Dec., 1661, Mir Jumla (Aurangzeb’s General) entered the city of Kuch Bihar, which had been evacuated by its king and people,
and “appointed Sayyid Md. Sadiq to be chief judge, with directions to destroy all the Hindu temples and to erect mosques in their stead. The general himself with a battle axe broke the image of Narayana”.

J. Sarkar writes – The Emperor (Aurangzeb) learning that in the temple of Keshav Rai at Mathura there was a stone railing presented by Dara Shukoh, remarked, ‘In the Muslim faith it is a sin even to look at a temple, and this Dara had restored a railing in a temple! This fact is not creditable to the Muhammadans. Remove the railing. By his order Abdun Nabi Khan (the faujdar of Mathura) removed it, as well as destoryed the Temple.

On 20 Nov, 1665, Aurangzeb issues such farman – “As it has come to His Majesty’s knowledge that some inhabitants of the mahals appertaining to the province of Gujrat have built the temples which had been demolished by imperial order,therefore His Majesty orders that the recently restored temples should be pulled down.”

On 9th April, 1669, “The Emperor ordered the governors of all the provinces to demolish the schools and temples of the infidels and strongly put down their teaching and religious practices.”

On May, 1669, “Salih Bahadur, mace-bearer, was sent by the Emperor to pull down the temple of Malarna”

On 2 September, “News came to Court that according to the Emperor’s command, his officers had demolished the temple of Vishwanath at Benares.”

British Orientalist Crooke writes – “Aurangzeb partially destroyed the Sitaramji temple at Soron, one of his officers slew the priests, broke the image, and defiled the sanctuary at Devi Patan in Gonda”

On 7th April, 1670, Sarkar writes – “News came from Malwa that Wazir Khan had sent Gada Beg, a slave, with 400 troopers, to destroy all temples around Ujjain……A Rawat of the place resisted and slew Gada Beg with 121 of his men.”

Aurangzeb’s order in Orissa recorded by Muraqat-i-Abul Hasan, completed in 1670 : Every idol-house built during the last 10 whether with brick or clay, should be demolished without delay. Also, do not allow the crushed Hindus and despicable infidels to repair their old temples.
A letter preserved in the Yasho-Madhav temple of Dhamrai in the Dacca district, dated 27 June, 1672, and printed in J. M. Ray’s Bengali History of Dacca, i. 389 states : “In every pargana officers have come from the thanas with orders for the destruction of Hindu Idols”. “Darab Khan under Aurangzeb was sent with a strong force to punish the Rajputs of Khandela and demolish the great temple of that place. He attacked the place on 8th March, 1679, and pulled down the temples of Khandela and Sanula and all other temples in the neighbourhood.”

On 25 May 1679, “Khan Bahadur returned from Jodhpur after demolishing its temples, and bringing with himself several cart-loads of idols. The Emperor ordered that the idols, which were mostly of gold silver brass copper or stone and adorned with jewels, should be cast in the quadrangle of the Court and under the steps of the Jama Mosque for being trodden upon.” The grand temple in front of the Maharana’s mansion [ Udaipur]-one of the wonderful buildings of the age, was destroyed and its images broken.

On 24 Jan, the Emperor went to view the lake Udaisagar and ordered all the three temples on its banks to be pulled down.

On 29 Jan, Hasan Ali Khan reported that 172 other temples in the environs of Udaipur had been demolished.

On 22nd Feb, the Emperor went to look at Chitor, and by his order the 63 temples of the place were destroyed.”

On 10 Aug, 1680, “Abu Turab returned to Court and reported that he had pulled down 66 temples in Amber.”

On 2 Aug. 1680, Temple of Someshwar in western Mewar ordered to be destroyed.

On Sep. 1687, On the capture of Golkonda, the Emperor appointed Abdur Rahim Khan as Censor of the city
with orders to put down infidel practices and [heretical] innovations and destroy the temples and build mosques on their sites.

The Emperor ordered the destruction of the Hateshwar temple at Vadnagar, the special guardian of the Nagar Brahmans-

On 3rd April 1694, “The Emperor learnt from a secret news-writer of Delhi that in Jaisinghpura Bairagis used to worship idols, and that the Censor on hearing of it had gone there, arrested Sri Krishna Bairagi and taken him with 15 idols.

In Middle of 1698, “Hamid-ud-din Khan Bahadur who had been deputed to destroy the temple of Bijapur and build a mosque (there), returned to Court after carrying the order out and was praised by the Emperor.” The demolition of a temple is possible at any time as it cannot walk away from its place.” – Aurangzib to Zulfiqar Khan and Mughal Khan in K. T. 39a.

On 1 Jan. 1705, “The Emperor, summoning Muhammad Khalil and Khidmat Rai, the darogha of hatchet-men ordered them to demolish the temple of Pandharpur, and to take the butchers of the camp there and slaughter cows in the temple ..It was done.” This concludes the long thread. Temples beyond count were destroyed by just Aurangzeb, imagine how many temples would’ve been suffered under the previous Mughals and Ghazni-Ghori.

Source– History of Aurangzeb J Sarkar Vol III Appendix V Page 280

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