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Preetha Nair (IANS)
Mughal rulers patronised Sanskrit literature in their courts, especially between AD 1560 to 1660, and also took up Persian translations of epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana as ambitious projects, says scholar Audrey Truschke in her book ‘Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court’.
Truschke, an assistant professor of South Asian History at Rutgers University, says that Hindu nationalism is deeply tied to colonial ideas and rewriting the past is a “dangerous activity”. The author also says that she faced backlash from Indian right wing groups against the book, published by Penguin Books India.
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Excerpts from an email interview:
Q: Your book ‘Culture of Encounters’ comes at a time when there is a perceived effort to demonise and rewrite Mughal influence in Indian history. How do you view this?
A: The Mughal empire is a critical chapter in India’s long, diverse history. I think that it is essential for future generations to learn about the Mughals and the Indo-Islamic past more broadly.
Q: The book has revealed how Mughals patronised Sanskrit. Do you think it has helped the language flourish?
A: It is difficult to assess the degree to which Sanskrit was dependent on courtly patronage during the Mughal period. I would need more data from elsewhere in India in order to answer this question.
Q: What made you research on a subject like the patronage of Sanskrit in Mughal courts? What were the cultural, academic and social challenges you faced?
A: A combination of my language skills (I read both Sanskrit and Persian) and my interests led me to this topic. I have more recently faced some popular backlash against my work, mainly from the Hindu right.
Q: Was the Mughal court’s decision to translate the Ramayana and the Mahabharata more of a political necessity than a literary urge?
A: The Mughals did not fully distinguish between political and literary aims. On the contrary, they expressed and pursued political goals through literature, and so the translations of the Indian epics were about both aesthetics and power.
All translations point up the limits of understanding across cultural and linguistic divides. The Mughals found certain aspects of the Indian epics difficult to translate, such as some of the religious scaffolding of the texts, and so adjusted these aspects accordingly.
Q: What has been the impact of British rule in India in demonising the Mughals as anti-Hindu?
A: The British attempt to demonise the Mughals carries on today in the efforts of Hindu nationalists, who have gobbled up this colonial argument. Today two major impacts are the ongoing suspicion of Indian Muslims and the persistence of the troublesome notion that somehow Hindu and Indian are collapsible into a single identity.
Q: There is a perception in some quarters that Aurangzeb is being overtly demonised by the current political dispensation in India. Though he was instrumental in the destruction of many temples, the number of Hindus in the Mughal courts was the highest during his reign.
A: Yes, Aurangzeb is being historically demonised in India today. He destroyed some Hindu temples, although he protected many more. He killed some Hindus who opposed the Mughal state, such as Sambhaji, but he also welcomed willing Marathas into the Mughal administration to the extent that they outnumbered Rajputs at one point.
My argument is not that Aurangzeb was not as bad as we think, although that is probably true. Rather, I contend that we should strive to treat Aurangzeb with historical rigour and understand him on his own terms. This is a basic mission of historians, and I think that we stand to learn about pre-colonial India if we come to a more historically-grounded interpretation of Aurangzeb and his impact on the subcontinent.
Q: India is witnessing an emergence of Hindu nationalism. As a historian, how do you evaluate the trend? Also how worrisome are the attempts to rewrite history?
A: Hindu nationalism has a particular history that is deeply tied to colonial ideas, as I have written about elsewhere. Hindu nationalism faces a significant problem, however, which is that it advances historically bogus claims. Hence the need to rewrite history arises.
Rewriting the past is a dangerous activity with potentially serious repercussions in the present and future. Hindu nationalist attempts to simultaneously villainise and erase Indo-Islamic history go hand-in-hand with casting aspersions on modern Muslims and bode ill for religious tolerance in India.
Q: Your book says “Indo-Persian court histories often obfuscate the importance of Hindi as a spoken vernacular in the Mughal imperium, and that it was on the ascent in the 17th century”. Could that be the reason for the decline of Sanskrit?
A: Possibly, but we would need to explain why it suddenly became a problem that Sanskrit was an elite language. Sanskrit had been used for thousands of years in India, and at earlier points the language even attracted people (such as Buddhists) who had previously written in more accessible tongues. I am not convinced that Sanskrit’s limited reach is responsible for its demise, especially since the written versions of vernacular languages in the seventeenth century were hardly accessible to everyone.
Q: Persian translations are an eye-opener to how theological interpretations have been given to both the Ramayana and the Mahabaratha to juxtapose Hindu Gods as intermediaries between humans and Allah. You have extensively explained the use of gushayandah (solver) and rahunama (guide) in the translations. Please comment.
A: There is no set relationship between God and the gods in Akbar’s Persian Mahabharata. At times, Hindu deities occupy a middleman position between people and Allah. At other times, however, Allah replaces Hindu gods, such as Brahma. I argue that the Mughal translators necessarily understood the religious landscape of the Indian epics as mediated through Islam. Accordingly, they introduced Allah as needed to make the Mahabharata intelligible to readers who had an Islamic background but who were relatively unfamiliar with Hindu traditions.
Q: The Mughal translators have adopted a severely shortened Bhagavad Gita, a text considered as the soul of Hinduism, to a few pages. Do you think it was necessitated due to social, political or religious reasons?
A: I think that the Bhagavad Gita made little sense within the Mughal concept of the Mahabharata as a book about India’s past. For the Mughals, the Mahabharata was what the Brahmins understood to be Indian history. The Gita was arguably a digression from this narrative, from a Mughal perspective, and in any case the Gita was theologically awkward within an Islamic worldview. ( IANS)
(Preetha Nair can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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The new medical colleges being opened in Uttar Pradesh will be named after saints and sages.
The state government has issued an order naming four district hospitals that are being converted into medical colleges.
These district hospitals are in Bijnor, Fatehpur, Chandauli, and Siddharth Nagar.
The Bijnor medical college has been named after Mahatma Vidur, a philosopher during the Mahabharata era and uncle of the Pandavas and Kauravas.
The Chandauli medical college has been named after Baba Keenaram, said to be the founder of the Aghori sect.
The Siddharth Nagar district hospital will be called Madhav Prasad Tripathi Medical College after the BJP politician from the region. Tripathi, popularly known as Madhav Babu, was also the first Uttar Pradesh BJP chief. He was elected MP from Domariyaganj in 1977, besides being two times Jan Sangh MLA and also a member of the UP legislative council.
The Fatehpur hospital has been named Amar Shaheed Jodha Singh Ataiya Thakur Dariyawn Singh Medical College, after the freedom fighter of 1857.
It is said that he was among the first to use Guerrilla warfare against the British, as taught by freedom fighter Tatya Tope.
Meanwhile, according to official sources, the medical college in Deoria will be named after Maharishi Devraha Baba and the medical college of Ghazipur in the name of Maharishi Vishwamitra.
The medical college of Mirzapur will be in the name of Maa Vindhyavasini, the medical college of Pratapgarh in the name of Dr. Sonelal Patel and the medical college of Etah will be named after Veerangana Avantibai Lodhi. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Medical Colleges, Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, India, Politics
Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has picked India as the favourite to win the ongoing ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Oman and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Inzamam feels that the Virat Kohli-led India have a greater chance of winning the trophy as the conditions in the Gulf nations are similar to the subcontinent, which makes India the most dangerous side in the event, according to Inzamam.
"In any tournament, it cannot be said for certain that a particular team will win' It's all about how much chance do they have of winning it. In my opinion, India have a greater chance than any other team of winning this tournament, especially in conditions like these. They have experienced T20 players as well," said Inzamam on his YouTube channel.
He said more than the Indian batters, the bowlers have a lot of experience of playing in the conditions. The Indian Premier League (IPL) was played recently in UAE and most of the Indian bowlers did well in that leg.
Inzy heaped praises on the Men in Blue for the confident manner in which they chased the target against Australia on a challenging track without needing Kohli's batting prowess.
"India played their warm-up fixture against Australia rather comfortably. On subcontinent pitches like these, India are the most dangerous T20 side in the world. Even today, if we see the 155 runs they chased down, they did not even need Virat Kohli to do so," he added.
Though he did not pick any favourite, Inzamam termed the India-Pakistan clash in the Super 12 on October 24 as the 'final before the final' and said the team winning it will go into the remaining matches high on morale,
"The match between India and Pakistan in the Super 12s is the final before the final. No match will be hyped as much as this one. Even in the 2017 Champions Trophy, India and Pakistan started and finished the tournament by facing each other, and both the matches felt like finals. The team winning that match will have their morale boosted and will also have 50 percent of pressure released from them," Inzamam added. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: India, Pakistan, Sports, ICC T20 World Cup, UAE.
Skin problems like itchiness, dryness and flakiness can occur anytime if you're not moisturising your body enough. It is commonly observed that while many people take their skincare routine seriously, a majority of them neglect to moisturise the body. It is important to keep in mind that timing matters a lot when it comes to applying moisturisers. Therefore, knowing the appropriate time to apply body lotion is essential.
Take a look at the ideal times to moisturise your body shared by Kimi Jain, Head of Retail, KIMRICA.
Moisturising the body in the morning sets your skin up to face countless irritants and environmental factors during the day. The skin is constantly exposed to harsh chemicals and pollutants when you're outside which is why using a protective and soothing moisturiser while going out is necessary. Kimirica's Five Elements Body Lotion comes with natural Aloe Vera extracts that act as a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins that helps protect your skin and provide a deep nourishing effect.
Moisturising the body in the morning sets your skin up to face countless irritants and environmental factors during the day. | Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash
After showering, Shaving and Washing hands
After you take a shower, your skin has the maximum moisture and moisturisers work effectively on hydrated skin. That is why dermatologists always recommend applying moisturiser right after getting out of the shower. When applied early, moisturisers are able to trap some water that's still in the body and hydrate the body. Shaving not only helps you to get rid of unwanted body hair but also removes the surface skin cells. To soothe any skin irritation and protect the exposed skin from dryness, apply any hydrating moisturiser that gives your skin a natural glow. The increasing use of antibacterial soaps and hand wash takes a toll on your hand disrupting the natural skin barrier. To protect your hands from cracking and dryness, you can use the brand's Bouquet Hand Lotion that comes with a rich combination of sweet almond oil, Shea butter, grape seed extracts, Olive Oil and Jojoba Oil.
The increasing use of antibacterial soaps and hand wash takes a toll on your hand disrupting the natural skin barrier. | Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
During and After Your Flights
Travelling makes your skin dryer, the reason being the low humidity and the recycled air inside. As body lotions are available in small sizes, it is advisable that you should carry your body lotion and apply it during your flight and once you land as this will help in combating the skin drying issue.
Research has shown that the skin effectively repairs itself from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. That's why you should always make sure to moisturise your skin on or before this time. Also, it has been observed that the skin's trans-epidermal water loss increases during sleep which takes away plenty of moisture from the skin. So, all these reasons make it quite clear as to why you should always moisturise your body before going to sleep.
Research has shown that the skin effectively repairs itself from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. | Photo by Aily Torres on Unsplash
Exfoliation is an important step in any skincare routine but applying body lotion post exfoliating is equally required. Exfoliating results in the removal of dead skin cells which makes space for a new layer of skin. Applying body lotion will help to soothe the top layer of skin and also strengthen the moisture barrier.
Applying body lotion will help to soothe the top layer of skin and also strengthen the moisture barrier. | Photo by Nati Melnychuk on Unsplash
Workout sessions are often sweaty and tiring but preparing your skin before stepping out is very important as exercising outside often leads to dryness. Applying light-weight body lotion before your session is recommended. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: natural, protect, moisturize, dryness, applying, lotion, skincare, hands, body