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The Mughal’s Move: Sanskrit as a political tool

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Audrey Truschke's book, Culture of Encounters. Image source: news.stanford.edu

New Delhi: In Audrey Truschke’s recent book, Culture of Encounters, the author discusses the course of the rise and the fall of the Sanskrit language during the era of Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahana and Aurangzeb. While during the rule of the first three emperors, the ancient language substantially blossomed into their courts, but the start of the reign of Aurangzeb ushered in the downfall of the Sanskrit.

Truschke writes in her book that the decimation of the language was mainly due to two reasons. First, that Sanskrit in the 17th century was now slowly giving away to the evolution of Hindi and the second was that the political motivations of Aurangzeb curtailed the stimulation of the language.

To explain the political aspect of Aurangzeb further we need to know that, in order to demarcate his own ‘idiom of rule’ and cut up the ties entirely with that of his elder brother, Dara Shikoh, he steers clear from any associations with the Sanskrit world.

Truschke eased the context further by adding that “Let me clarify that while Akbar inaugurated Mughal engagements with Sanskrit, he did so for slightly different reasons than many people think… Akbar was interested in Sanskrit for its political valence in his empire, not as some personal religious quest.” This act was mainly an attempt by them to get acclimatized as the new rulers of India.

Akbar in order to gain the trust of the Indians tied up with the Rajput chiefs, Brahmin and Jains and took the strategic move of abolishing the pilgrimage tax in 1562 and the Jizya Law in 1564. This was mainly due to the fact that his rule was in the threat of continuous rebellions from the non-Muslims.

Though, the tactic was quite successful as we can find in Badauni’s work who claims that Brahmins had to testify that Akbar was another form of Lord Vishnu like Ram and Krishna, who has descended to earth as a human being.

Though the façade was over once the protest was over. It is discovered that Akbar re-implemented both the discriminatory decrees on the non-Muslims again. He massacred over 30,000 peasants in the Chittor fort, which may have resulted in the suppression of the initial rebellion.

Still, there is a catch that a bigger rebellion rose up again and Akbar was forced to abandon the Jizya Act again and instill the new ideology of Sulh-i-Kul, which basically means Peace with All in Persian.

The ultimate finding that should be known and incorporated into the mainstream discourse by the scholars is the fact that, “Hindi was on the ascent as a literary language in the 17th century and the Mughals increasingly looked to Hindi texts for classical Indian knowledge as opposed to seeking out Sanskrit works.”

Something that will dig out probably bigger further hidden secrets from the annals of unknown history. (Inputs from intoday.in)

Prepared by Annesha DasGupta for NewsGram

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The Biggest Casualty In Yemen’s War- Education

Yemen also suffers from a shortage of learning facilities.

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Girls attend a class at their school damaged by a recent Saudi-led air strike, in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, Yemen.VOA

The school year in Yemen is officially underway. But, the U.N. children’s fund reports the country’s ongoing civil war is keeping millions of children out of the classroom.

More than three years of fighting between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels is having a devastating impact on children’s health and well-being. The U.N. reports more than 11 million children or 80 percent of the country’s children are dependent upon humanitarian aid.

Another major casualty of the war is children’s education. The U.N. children’s fund says the education sector is on the brink of collapse because of conflict, political divisions and chronic underdevelopment.

yemen

UNICEF: Education a Major Casualty of Yemen’s War.

As a consequence, UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac said around two million children are not going to school this year. Furthermore, he said nearly four million primary school children soon may not be able to get an education because of a severe shortage of teachers.

“About 67 percent of public school teachers — and this is across the country — have not been paid for nearly two years. Many have looked for other work to survive or are only teaching a few subjects. So, obviously, the quality of education is at stake. Children are not getting their full lessons due to the absence of their teachers. Even when schools are functioning, the schools’ days and years are shortened.”

Yemen also suffers from a shortage of learning facilities. UNICEF reports more than 2,500 schools have been damaged or destroyed by the war. Many schools also are being used as shelters for displaced people and some have been taken over by armed groups.

Yemen
FILE – A supporter carries posters depicting Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi during a rally in Sana’a, Yemen, March 6, 2015.
Image source: VOA

The agency warns children who are out of school run many dangers. It notes boys are at risk of being used as child soldiers. It estimates more than 2,600 children have been recruited by all armed groups.

Also Read: North Kivu And Ituri, Congo To Welcome More Than 80,000 Children In This New School Year

UNICEF says girls are likely to be married off at an early age. A 2016 survey finds close to three quarters of women in Yemen have been married before the age of 18, and 44.5 percent before the age of 15. (VOA)