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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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Film Review: ‘Why Cheat India’ is a Stinging Slap on Educational Policies

By the end of the film Raja Bhaiyya loses all his hard-earned fame and money. As we stare into the void of his life there emerges from the mound of immorality a kind of hope

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'Why Cheat India' is a stinging slap on educational policies (Film Review).

Film: “Why Cheat India; Director: Soumik Sen; Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Shreya Dhanwanthary; Rating: ****(4 stars)

Relevant topical films frequently fall into the trap of overstatement. But here is where “Why Cheat India” scores high marks. It succeeds avoiding the imbalance between topicality and engagingness by simply letting the actors be.

The characters in this film exposing the scam of forged duplicate examinees don’t quite develop into the explosive entities they promise to. Their working class psyche shines in their disability to generate spectacular drama. Hearts are broken, young lives are destroyed, marriages fall apart, and ambition dissolve… But life goes on.

Director Soumik Sen sees life in trivia. In the way the characters speak of their unremarkable life, the film creates quite a remarkable litany of bustling boredom. Take for example the character of the protagonist Rakesh alias Rocky’s wife. She is so immersed in her life of mundane domesticity she never imagines there could be any other life than what she has.She gives him sex. But it’s clinical cold and uninviting. In one sequence in their bedroom Rocky suggests sex after a long hiatus. The wife doesn’t catch on at all and babbles on about the household activities. At the end when her husband is in jail she arrives with tiffins full of food and begins the serving the food to her husband and his associates as though it was part of an everyday routine.

ACTOR,CHEAT INDIA
Emraan Hashmi.

“Why Cheat India” is not about Rocky’ wife. It’s about his hunger to create a “New” India with underprivileged and perhaps undeserving students being given a push by substitute candidates writing their examination papers. This life of shocking duplicity never elicits harsh censure in the film. The narrative’s tone suggests that our social order gets the kind of moral structure that it deserves.

The Rocky Bhaiyyas of Hindustan make full use of the Indian middleclass’ unfulfilled ambitions and dreams. Astonishingly Rocky sees no harm in scamming the Indian middleclass of its dreams and money.

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This is a film about unfulfilled dreams and abducted yearnings, shot by cinematographer Y. Alphnose Roy about a brilliant student called Sattoo(impressive newcomer Singhadeep Chatterjee) whose career is destroyed by Rocky’s patronage. I felt the bonding between the student and his mentor was not played out closely enough. We never feel Satoo’s disappointment. The growing relationship between Rocky and Sattoo’s sister (outstanding discovery Shreya Dhanwanthary) gets far more space to breathe.

By the end of the film Raja Bhaiyya loses all his hard-earned fame and money. As we stare into the void of his life there emerges from the mound of immorality a kind of hope. (IANS)