Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
By Sagarneel Sinha
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavat, which was earlier named as Padmavati has been in the news for the last few months. There are theories by some historians that Bhansali’s film is not doing justice with the character of Alauddin Khilji, the Delhi Sultan who was regarded as the most powerful ruler of the Khilji dynasty. They say that the film portrays Alauddin Khilji as a bad king who rather was a good administrator! To justify themselves they cite the example of Khilji defeating the Mongols invaders to India several times. And they say that Alauddin Khilji introduced new tax reforms for the well being of the people.
- It is true that under the reign of Alauddin Khilji, several attempts of Mongol invasions were thwarted. But does this example give a proof of Alauddin Khilji being a good administrator? Absolutely not. It is very important to mention that Alauddin Khilji ascended to the throne of Delhi Sultanate by killing Jalaluddin Khilji, the then Delhi Sultan. Alauddin was the nephew and son-in-law of Jalaluddin and the latter used to love the former as his son. Despite his uncle’s love, Alauddin after pretending to greet his uncle killed him in 1296 AD, which shows the hunger for power. Alauddin did not even hesitate before killing his beloved uncle!
Many historians and intellectuals of our country hail Alauddin as a “people’s ruler” and one of the “greatest ruler” to ever sit on the throne of Delhi. But if the writings of the then Muslim historian Amir Khusro’s are read, then one would come to know the true colors of Alauddin Khilji. It is to be mentioned that Khusro was the court poet in the Alauddin’s court and recorded Alauddin’s wars and administrative services. Many cite the presence of Hindu chiefs in Alauddin’s court as an example of his tolerance. But according to Khusro those Hindu chiefs who bowed their heads before Alauddin were only favored. So, it is very much clear that retaining Hindus as chiefs was not a sign of Khilji’s tolerance but was due to the fact that those Hindus had bowed before him!
There is also a debate whether Rani Padmavati is a historical character based on Khusro’s recordings of the 1303 AD Chittor conquest by Khilji. It is true that the name Padmavati doesn’t find its place in Khusro’s writings but he mentioned an important recording from the Chittor conquest. After Chittor was captured Khusro’s recordings say that Khilji ordered a massacre of 30,000 local Hindus. It is also said that Khilji married Hindu queen Kamala Devi of Vaghela and the relationship was more than above politics. However, truth is that she was captured by his army by defeating the Vaghela king Karna and later she had to marry Alauddin Khilji; it might be she had no option!
If historical records are checked properly, one would find Khilji’s numerous committed atrocities on the Hindus. His army plundered several Hindu towns. When his army attacked the kingdom of Vaghela, the Hindu towns including the famous Somnath Temple of Gujarat were plundered. In around 1299/1300 AD there was a mutiny near Delhi by some of the Mongol soldiers, after the generals forcibly tried to extract a loot from them. In result of this, Alauddin’s administration not only brutally punished the soldiers but also punished the mutineers’ families, including killings of children in front of their mothers. According to Muslim historian Ziauddin Barani, the practice of punishing wives and children for the crimes of men started with this incident in Delhi. The so-called “good” ruler Alauddin as according to contemporary Persian historian Wassaf, was that the Sultan was motivated by religious enthusiasm and his army massacred people for the sake of Islam.
(Wassaf said this while describing Alauddin’s 1299 AD Gujarat campaign).
Alauddin and his generals destroyed several Hindu temples during their military campaigns. These temples, other than Somnath included that of Bhilsa, Devagiri, Vijapur, Jhain, Chidambaram, and Madurai. There are many records of loot committed by Khilji’s generals and his army. Under the most trusted general of Alauddin Khilji, Malik Kafur, the Delhi army looted a large number of treasures, elephants and horses from Dwarasamudra and Pandya kingdom, which Ziauddin Barani described as the greatest loot since the Muslim rule in Delhi!
After checking the historical records, nowhere it is found that Alauddin was a “good” ruler! The so-called “people’s king” and his army is recorded for committing plunder in the history that also by the then Muslim historians! It is said that he introduced tax reforms in this country. Obviously, he did start large-scale reforms. But if Ziauddin Barani and Amir Khusro’s records are checked, then one would come to know that the new reforms introduced were mainly due to Sultan’s desire for targeting the Hindus by depriving them of their wealth and property. The Sultan’s land tax called Kharaj allowed extraction of the peasants’ surplus amount by the ruling class. These records contradict the fact that the reforms were introduced for the well-being of the people! Most importantly Alauddin was not the first ruler to introduce tax system in this country! Around 1500 years before his reign, Arthashastra, the book which deals with government, economics, market, trade, laws, and ethics were written by a scholar named Chanakya. The book was not only influential in Indian history but also in the Asian history. Most importantly the book talks about a fair tax system which should be convenient and easy to pay and also the text states that the King and his administration should ensure security and welfare for the people. All these contradict with Alauddin and his administration.If Mongols were known for their cruelty then Alauddin Khilji was not less than Mongols, where the latter was a destroyer of people’s wealth and property. Alauddin Khilji was never a “good” or “people’s” ruler as glorified by some historians and intellectuals of our country!
The writer lives in Tripura, India. Twitter @SagarneelSinha
The symbol of Swastika is known to signify peace, prosperity, and good fortune in the religious cultures of Eurasia. In fact, this symbol is considered very significant in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. But, at the same time, it has become one of the most misunderstood religious symbols and has been globally banned in many countries.
The reason why the symbol of Swastika is banned in many countries is because of its association with Adolf Hitler's extreme political ideology, Nazism, as Swastika as its official symbol.
Austria, France, Latvia, Spain, Germany, and Russia are amongst the many countries that have banned the display and use of the Swastika.
Moreover, last week Victoria in Australia is preparing to become the first-ever state to ban the public display of the Swastika. This is a step towards an expansion of anti-vilification laws in the state.
Representation of the Swastika on the flag of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Movement.Photo by Flickr.
Now, we must know and understand what went wrong with this symbol, which is sacred and signifies all-good things.
For a very, very long time, in India, the Swastika is the first emblem that is worshipped or even drawn before any sacred and auspicious ceremonies as this symbol in Sanskrit represents 'well-being'. But, the Swastika lost all its credibility when it was wrongfully used by Adolf Hitler.
In fact, it is believed that if this symbol is worshipped properly, then it gives positive results. But if it is abused, then it gives negative results. So, when Adolf Hitler rotated the Swastika at 45 degrees, it slowly and steadily brought misery not only to Adolf Hitler and his theory of Nazism but also to all the people who were associated with him.
Therefore, in order to give the kind of respect and credibility which the Swastika deserves, World Interfaith Harmony Week which was held in New York in February this year, interfaith groups appealed to the United Nations to recognize and acknowledge the Swastika as an important and peaceful symbol. In fact, they also differentiated it from the Hakenkreuz or "Hooked Cross" of Adolf Hitler.
India celebrated a historic day on August 7, as 23-year-old Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian to win an Olympic gold medal in athletics. In the men's javelin throw event, he achieved his greatest triumph, throwing the javelin 87.58 meters on his second try.
Neeraj Chopra was born on December 24, 1997, in Khandra village in Haryana's Panipat district. He grew up in a Haryanavi family of farmers. He is the brother of two sisters. He graduated from Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College in Chandigarh and is now enrolled in Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, Punjab, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree. Chopra was bullied due to his obesity as a kid, which prompted his father to enroll him in a nearby gym. He then joined a gym in Panipat, where Jaiveer Choudhary, a javelin thrower, noticed his potential and coached him. When the 13-year-old Chopra finished training under Jaiveer for a year, he was enrolled at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex in Panchkula, where he began training under coach Naseem Ahmed.
In 2018, he broke the world record in the javelin throw and became India's first-ever gold medalist in the javelin throw. He is also a laureate of the Arjuna Award for 2018. | Wikimedia Commons
Chopra's first international medal came in 2014, as he took home a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Qualification Tournament in Bangkok. In 2015, he set a world record in the junior category of 81.04 meters in the 2015 All India Inter-University Athletics Meet.
Since emerging into the public eye with a historic gold medal at the junior world championships in 2016, he has maintained a high level of performance, setting an Under-20 world record of 86.48m, which still stands. Gold medals in both the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Asian Games are among his other accomplishments, including a first-place in the 2017 Asian Championships. In 2018, he broke the world record in the javelin throw and became India's first-ever gold medalist in the javelin throw. He is also a laureate of the Arjuna Award for 2018.
Chopra has also had his share of bad events in life. In 2019, he underwent surgery on the elbow of his right throwing arm, which kept him out of the game for almost a year. However, he returned more robust than ever. In November 2019, he went to South Africa to train from Klaus Bartoneitz. He spent the following year in India training at the NIS Patiala because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was allowed to go to France with his coach after weeks of trying to get a travel visa.
Neeraj Chopra made history in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in athletics. Also, it is worth mentioning that after Abhinav Bindra, Chopra is only the second Indian to win an individual gold medal.
Keywords: Neeraj Chopra, Olympics, Tokyo2020, Gold medal, javelin, India, Haryana
The emergence of the Industrial Revolution in Victorian England brought with it many apprehensions and fears that translated into a new genre in literature: the gothic. Today, the idea of the gothic does not have to much with literature as much as it is associated with fashion.
The Victorians began to wear black more often during the Industrial Revolution to hide the stains of soot on their clothes. Many of the working class were employed in factories. They were newly introduced to technology, the idea of coal as fuel, and the working of machines to serve a certain purpose. This kind of work was hard and messy. Wearing light colours burdened the tired folk when the stubborn stains did not get washed away.
The steam engine was invented to make locomotion easier for the masses, but it brought fear to the people. They had led quiet and simple lives till now, and suddenly their world was infiltrated with loud noises and smoke. Dark places became synonymous with evil deeds and mysteries. It was from this time that horror gained a place in the imaginations of people and artists.
A man sporting gothic clothes and shock coloured hair Image source: wikimedia commons
The gothics of today are those who have held on to these practices. There is no need to fear smoke and noise anymore, but the goths wear black clothes all the time, paint their skin a pale shade, to contrast their clothes, and wear bright shades of red. The traditional gothics decorated themselves with jewellery bearing religious significances, as the belief in Dracula and vampires emerged in the Victorian period. Today, it is a trend to wear studded crosses, or crosses made of black metal either as neck chokers, or earrings.
Modern goths also wear bright monotones to show their patronage of a certain style or order of the goths. They can be seen in neon shades of green, pink, and yellow, often sporting piercings, and matching hair. Their tastes are metallic, and they have an uncanny love for tattoos.
Designers consistently include gothic tastes and styles in their clothing lines to create inclusivity for this subculture. Being gothic, or identifying with them is somewhat a concern even in today's society, and such people are often stigmatised to the extent that it is considered a mental illness associated with the dark arts. The phenomenon is mostly observed in teenagers, and often phases out when they reach adulthood, depending on their sphere of influence.
Keywords: Gothic, Fashion, Victorian, Black, Jewellery