Flawed Narratives History in the old ncert textbooks a random survey of Satish Chandra’s ‘Medieval India’ (ncert 2000)



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Flawed Narratives

History in the old NCERT Textbooks

A random survey of

Satish Chandra’s ‘Medieval India’ (NCERT 2000)

_________
By

Meenakshi Jain

INTRODUCTION
I would not care whether truth is pleasant or unpleasant, and in consonance with or opposed to current views. I would not mind in the least whether truth is, or is not, a blow to the glory of my country. If necessary, I shall bear in patience the ridicule and slander of friends and society for the sake of preaching truth. But still I shall seek truth, understand truth, and accept truth. This should be the firm resolve of a historian.”

- Sir Jadunath Sarkar
With hindsight, it must be conceded that the NCERT’s decision to discontinue textbooks authored by stalwarts of the Marxist school of historiography has triggered a veritable shift in the country’s intellectual template. And it was probably apprehending precisely such a fallout that leftist scholars had mounted a campaign of unprecedented ferocity to stall the new textbooks, even going to the extent of having sympathizers file a case in the Supreme Court against NCERT’s proposed curriculum revision.
Strangely, no one bothered to ask why scholars of hitherto unquestionable eminence were so perturbed at being dislodged from schoolrooms, when their status, expertise and dominance remained unchallenged at the university level, where they were also more likely to encounter students who could appreciate the finer points of their scholarship. Perhaps since these scholars were, above all, purveyors of an ideology, the indoctrination of young minds from a primary stage itself was crucial to their agenda. That is why they had in the first instance prepared history primers, which were for decades rammed down the throats of helpless school children.
The medieval era of Indian history was the special focus of Marxist interest. Their contribution to the study and proper appreciation of this period was not entirely a negative development. To the extent that Marxist methodology lays special stress on the role of material forces in the shaping of history, they were able to make a significant contribution in highlighting the exploitative nature of the state under Sultanate and Mughal rulers, who appropriated the bulk of the agrarian produce, leaving the peasants in abject poverty.
But Marxist methodology in India is not recognized for its emphasis on economic determinism alone. It is associated with an active hostility to India’s native civilization and its achievements. It is noted for its blatant bias towards the Islamic advent that commenced in this period. Non-partisan scholars describe the Islamic thrust into the sub-continent as one of the most prolonged instances of cultural encounter in world history, and accept that notwithstanding the peaceful entry of Arab traders, a substantial part of Muslim settlement was achieved by conquest. From a perusal of standard secondary works alone, J. F. Richards has noted 90 instances of military conflict between the first Arab assault on Sind and the commencement of Alauddin Khalji’s Deccan campaigns. (J. F. Richards, Power, Administration and Finance in Mughal India, Variorum, 1993). He concludes that an examination of primary sources would reveal many more such incidents. And yet, it has been an endeavour of Indian Marxists to negate this history of sustained resistance of Indians to Islamic incursions.
Further, they have sought to underplay the Islamic abhorrence of idolatry and polytheism and its assault on the sacred spaces of this land. Though the numerical superiority of Hindus compelled the invaders to grant them the status of dhimmis, the issue was too complex to be so resolved, and continued to exercise the Muslim mind throughout these centuries. Yohanan Friedmann has observed that the conciliatory trend in Indian Islam was always weaker than the orthodox one, and the few rulers who adopted it failed to inspire their successors (“Islamic Thought in Relation to the Indian Context”, in Richard M. Eaton ed., India’s Islamic Traditions, 711-1750, Oxford University Press, 2003).
Effacing the harshness of Islamic rule in India has been the primary objective of Indian Marxist historians. Even rulers of the notoriety such as Mahmud of Ghazni and Aurangzeb have been recipients of their kind benevolence. R. C. Majumdar has drawn attention to a typical, though not so well-known, case of Marxist intellectual jugglery. A Comprehensive History of India (vol. v), published under the auspices of the Indian History Congress, he says, eulogizes the Bengal ruler Husain Shah, for his patronage of Bengali writers and Vaishnava saints, and asserts that the creative genius of the people reached its zenith under him. The truth however, Majumdar states, is that Chandidas, the greatest Vaishnava poet, preceded Husain Shah, and the two poets of distinction who lived in his reign, enjoyed no royal favours.
Further, the Vaishnava leader, Chaitanya had no connection whatsoever with the Bengal Sultan. In fact after he became a sannyasi, Chaitanya spent almost twenty years in exile in the Hindu kingdom of Orissa. When he once visited a locality near the residence of Husain Shah, many people in Gauda feared for his safety and begged him to depart. Contemporary Vaishnava literature attests to the hostility of the Qazi of Navadvip who even prohibited kirtans. And yet in defiance of such damning evidence, A Comprehensive History of India has no qualms in declaring that “it is almost impossible to conceive of the rise and progress of Vaishnavism or the development of Bengali literature at this period without recalling to mind the tolerant and enlightened rule of the Muslim lord of Gaur”.
Such double speak forms the leitmotif of Marxist literature on medieval India. The Turkish invasions are glorified for effecting the political unification of India, and ending her alleged isolation, while Mughal rule is presented as the country’s second classical age.
Notwithstanding lofty declarations about free debate, Indian Marxists have, in classic Soviet style, relied heavily on state patronage and control of state-sponsored institutions to disseminate their version of history. Satish Chandra’s Medieval India (NCERT 2000)1 was part of the Marxist offensive at the school level. A brief critique of the work is hereby presented, with a view to explain to the general reader the objections that non-Marxists have to Marxist historiography, and to share a larger concern for veracity and objectivity in the presentation of the past, howsoever unpalatable the past may be. Merely labeling such endeavors as “saffronisation” cannot wish away the paramount question that confronts historians today: Should history be an honest record of the past, or should it sacrifice truth to be “Secular?”
It has been said that history is essentially the story of civilizational memory. That has certainly been the case in India. Both communities which constitute Hindus and Muslims today, have varying memories of their historical journey. A Marxist dictate on inter-community amity in medieval India has abjectly failed to alter civilizational memories. The gulf between the two communities even at the village level has been poignantly brought out by a Bengali writer who notes:
“The proud descendants of the Aryas, who propounded the six systems of philosophy, taught these to their pupils for seven hundred years after the advent of the Muslims, but never cared to know anything of the wonderful philosophical systems taught by the Maulavis in the Madrasas of the neighbouring village. The Muslim Maulanas, who did not hesitate to teach with delight the non-Islamic doctrines of Aristotle all their lives, never cared to inquire what was being taught in the neighbouring Chatuspathis. What is still most strange is that while the Muslim doctors read the Arabic translations of the medical treatises of Charaka and Susruta, they never knew that the original treatises were being taught in the tol of the neighbouring village. On the other hand, the Hindu authors of medical treatises, to the best of my knowledge, never cared to know anything or take any advantage of the Yunani system. It is often urged that Chaitanya sought to reconcile (or harmonise) the religious scriptures of the Hindus and Muslims, but I know nothing of it. So far as I know, the chief object of Chaitanya was to reform the Hindu society. The Muslims rulers, particularly the Mughal Emperors, invited to their courts, poets, scholars, philosophers and religious men from Iran and Turan. But the Hindus never profited in any way from these learned foreigners who had not established any contact with the Hindus” (quoted in R. C. Majumdar, History of Mediaeval Bengal, G. Bharadwaj and Co. 1973).
Now that the Marxists no longer occupy the commanding heights of Indian academia, they have a unique opportunity to assess the actual level of acceptability their work enjoys. Perhaps its time to recognize that evasion cannot bury the past. It is only by confronting it that it can be overcome.
* Note

Unlike the IHC’s Index of Errors which drew on the collective wisdom of Marxist luminaries, this is an individual effort. Any inadvertent misrepresentation may kindly be condoned. In view of the seriousness of the debate, proof-reading oversights, spelling errors, minor discrepancies in definition of technical terms and other such trivialities have been overlooked so as not to derail the discussion. The emphasis is on substantive issues of interpretation and presentation, and even here, only samples of faulty reasoning and construction are enumerated. This in no way claims to be an exhaustive study.

1.0 “Scientific” History?
Indian Marxists take immense pride in presenting what they claim is a scientific analysis of the past. Some examples of this ‘methodology’ are given below. It may be seen that Marxist narrative is bedeviled by a non-Indian perspective, which casts a shadow over its very veracity and motivations.


  1. Though purported to be a text on ‘Medieval India,’ Satish Chandra’s book begins with a discussion on Europe in the aftermath of the breakup of the Roman empire, followed by a description of European feudalism, the Arab world from the 8th to the 10th centuries, and last but not least, East and South-East Asia!

That India does not merit even a subsection in the opening chapter perhaps best illustrates the Marxist alienation from the Indic perspective and their utter reliance upon foreign categories and periodizations for understanding events in India. Even though the very first paragraph of the book admits that developments in Europe and Asia only “had an indirect effect an India….”(Page 1), Marxists are unable to break away from imported categories of thought, howsoever ill they fit the Indian reality. They seem incapable of viewing India in terms of itself. For them, it must always move in tandem with Europe, the Arab world, even East and South-East Asia.




  1. Chapter 3, on the Chola Empire, includes a discussion on the Hoysalesvara temple built by the Hoysalas, the Kannada compositions of the Rashtrakuta king Amoghavarsha, and the Chalukya patronage of Telugu writers like Nanniah.




  1. Chapter 5 entitled “The Age of –Conflict (circa 1000-1200)” commences with a brief account of Mahmud of Ghazni’s cataclysmic invasions of India, and provides no details of the Hindu ruling houses with whom he clashed. Ghazni’s invasions are abruptly followed by a discussion of the Rajput clan system, which breaks the narrative and detracts from the conflicts of the era under discussion. The chapter then moves on to the temple-building tradition in north India between the eighth and twelfth centuries, before returning to the subsequent conquests of Muhammad of Ghur. A peculiar sequence, to say the very least.




  1. Chapter 6 is entitled “The Delhi Sultanat (circa 1200-1400), The Mameluk Sultans.” The chapter begins with an account of the reigns of Aibak, Iltutmish, Raziya and Balban. It then jumps back to Iltutmish and the rulers who succeeded him in a discussion on the Mongols, which even includes Alauddin Khalji (1296-1316) who was certainly not a Mamluk. After this detour, the narrative returns to Iltutmish and Balban, to discuss their eastern campaigns. Thereafter, it again backtracks to Aibak, Iltutmish and Balban and their conflicts with the Rajput rajas. One fails to understand how such mixed chronology qualifies as ‘scientific history’.

  2. Chapter 7 tilted “The Delhi Sultanat-II (circa 1200-1400)”. Since the period upto Balban has already been covered in the previous chapter, the dating is puzzling. A brief introduction of the Khaljis and Tughlaqs is followed in that order by an account of the expansion of the Sultanate in the north under Alauddin Khalji, the Deccan campaigns of the Khaljis and Tughlaqs, the market regulations and agrarian measures of Alauddin Khalji, the experiments of Muhammad bin Tughlaq and the rebellions he faced, the nature of his nobility, the reign of Firuz and the invasion of Timur. The constant back and forth movement only serves to completely confuse the student.




  1. The following Chapter 8 discusses “Government, and economic and social life under the Delhi Sultanat.” Since the reigns of the Sayyids and Lodis also fall in the Sultanate period, it is odd to find no mention of them before this discussion. The chapter begins with an account of the office of the Sultan, the central administrative apparatus and local government, and then moves on to the economic and social life of the period. The condition of the peasantry and rural gentry, the state of trade, industry and merchants are all described in some detail.

Unexpectedly, however, the author then returns to the Sultan and his nobles. Logically this section should have been appended to the opening discussion on the Sultan. There follows a description of town life, a section on caste, social manners and customs. Thereafter, the nature of the state and religious freedom in the Sultanate are enumerated, when this should have formed part of the discussion on the Sultan, his government and nobility.


There seems in all this a pervasive pattern of fragmenting the narrative to prevent the emergence of a coherent perspective on the nature of the state under the Sultanate rulers.


  1. Chapter 10 “Struggle for Empire in North India-1 (circa 1400-1525)” opens with a reference to Timur’s sack of Delhi in 1398. Hence it would be logical to follow this with the Sayyids, since the founder of this dynasty had been handed charge of Delhi by Timur himself. This could have been followed by an account of the successor Lodi dynasty, and the various kingdoms struggling for hegemony.

What we have instead is an account of eastern India, then western India, in the course of which we come across Ibrahim Lodi. The Sharqi kingdom of Jaunpur follows, wherein we encounter another Lodi ruler, Bahlul. Only after this extended digression do we come to the Sayyids and the Lodis.




  1. Chapter 11 is titled “Cultural Development in India.” Since the bhakti movement predated Sufism in India, it should have been discussed first, rather than the other way round.




  1. Chapter 12. Sher Shah’s Rajput policy (pp 145-146) makes no mention of his treatment of the Rajputs of Raisin. Instead, in the subsection entitled “Contribution of Sher Shah,” after listing his measures to improve law and order, trade and commerce, his custom regulations, currency reforms, administrative restructuring, land revenue measures, reorganization of the army, judicial reforms and architectural achievements, there is a brief reference to his treacherous murder of the Raisen Rajputs with the proviso that Sher Shah was “not a bigot in the religious sphere…” (p 150).

This kind of whitewashing and obfuscation of the state’s dealings with native rulers and subjects is the hallmark of Marxist historiography.




  1. Chapter 13 on Akbar is followed by chapter 14 on the Deccan policy of the Mughals upto 1656, even though the reigns of Jahangir (1605-27) and Shah Jahan (1628-58) are dealt with in the subsequent Chapter 15.




  1. Chapter 15 commences with a resume of Jahangir’s reign, which is followed by a discussion of the foreign policy of the Mughals from the time of Akbar to the reign of Aurangzeb! After this comes an account of the reforms introduced in the mansabdari system by Jahangir and Shah Jahan, and finally a discussion on the nature of the Mughal army!

Such liberties with chronology are obviously part of a concerted attempt to prevent an integrated view of the era emerging in the minds of young students.




  1. The following Chapter 16 deals with “Economic and Social Life Under The Mughals,” though Aurangzeb who is very much a part of the dynasty comes up only in chapter 18. It is also surprising to find a discussion on the ethnic composition of the Mughal nobility inserted in the middle of this chapter, when it should surely have formed part of the narrative of the state under the various rulers. Be that as it may be, this surreptitious insertion also contradicts the assertions made in the main body of the text that the respective rulers gave generous representation to native groups in the nobility.




  1. Chapter 18 discusses “Cultural and Religious Developments” under the Mughals, again before a discussion on the reign of Aurangzeb.

It is no surprise if at the end of this, one is left unsure of even the basic chronology of the period.


***

2.0 Missing : Examples of Soviet style purging of Indian history - Whole dynasties and events have simply disappeared.
Purging history of its inconvenient moments having been a venerable tradition in the communist world, it comes as no surprise that India’s past too is considerably spruced up. Whole kingdoms and dynasties that flourished between the death of Harsha in AD 647 and the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate in AD 1206 find no mention in the text. This half millennium dominated by vigorous new ruling houses was an age of efflorescence, of monumental temples, literary flowering and intense philosophical speculation. And yet so much of that defining period of Indian history is simply effaced. Among rulers, dynasties and events missing:-


  1. The Gahadavalas, a leading ruling house of North India, in the forefront of the struggle against the Turkish invasions. They are also credited with a massive programme of temple construction in Ayodhya. One of the most important Hindu law compendium, the Kritya Kalpataru was written in their reign. But it is only the last ruler of this line, Jayachandra, who merits an unflattering mention: “Perhaps, he was not a very capable warrior because he had already suffered a reverse at the hands of the Sena king of Bengal” (p 43).




  1. The Chandellas of Bundelkhand are dismissed in one sentence on page 39. Believed to be of Gond (tribal) origin, they embarked on a career of greatness under Yasovarman, who finds no mention in the text. A reputed warrior, Yasovarman is even said to have allied with China to halt the onward march of the Turks. His successors aided the Shahi kings in their endeavour to repulse the Turks. Vidyadhar was the greatest of the Chandella kings. He killed the last Pratihara ruler of Kanauj for surrendering to Mahmud of Ghazni without a fight. The Chandellas were patrons of the Sanskrit littérateur Bhavabhuti, as well as of Vakpati and were also the builders of the magnificent Khajuraho temples.




  1. The Paramaras of Malwa who included Bhoja, one of the greatest kings of medieval India. During his reign of half a century, he thrice collaborated with other kings of north India in the drive against the Turks. He was also a formidable scholar and established a Sanskrit college within the precincts of the Saraswati temple (the present disputed Bhojashala at Dhar, M.P.).




  1. Eminent Chauhan kings like Ajayaraja (founder of the city of Ajayameru, Ajmer), Arnoraja and Vigraharaja IV Visaladeva, all of whom worsted the Turks. Vigraharaja IV Visaladeva, incidentally, established the Jain college at Ajmer, which was subsequently converted into the Arhai-din-ka-Jhompra mosque by Qutbuddin Aibak.




  1. The Kalachuris of Tripuri, an ancient ruling house whose earlier seat of power was Mahismati on the Narmada. The great kings of this dynasty included Kokalla, Gangeyadeva and Karna.




  1. Jayasimha Siddharaja, regarded as the greatest of the kings of Gujarat. A renowned warrior and builder of the Rudra Mahakala temple at Siddhapura , he was also the patron of the famous Jain scholar Hemachandra. Also missing are Kumarapala, renowned as the last great royal proponent of Jainism, and Naiki Devi, queen regent who defeated the forces of Muhammad of Ghur near Mt. Abu.




  1. The famous Karkota dynasty of Kashmir, which boasted of rulers like Lalitaditya, who made the dynasty the most powerful in India after the Guptas. Avantivarman, the sagacious ruler of the Utpala dynasty, who commissioned an engineering project for the drainage and irrigation of the valley which provided much relief from floods, besides increasing the land under cultivation, also goes unsung.




  1. The Sena kings of Bengal, Vijayasena and the famous Ballalasena, are ignored.




  1. The Shailodbhava dynasty of Orissa, the Karas, renowned for having had at least five female rulers. The Kesaris, the Eastern Gangas and the later Eastern Gangas, builders of the famous Lingaraja, Jagannath and Sun Temple, also do not merit attention. The three temples are merely mentioned in a survey on temple building in north India.




  1. The Chalukyas of Kalyani, including their distinguished ruler Vikramaditya VI, patron of scholars like Bilhana and Vijnaneshwara, are also missing.




  1. Rudramadevi of the Kakatiya dynasty, who ruled for almost 35 years, does not find even a listing.




  1. The text ignores the sheer dynamism of Indian society during the centuries. The movement of tribal groups from forest and pastoral settings to settled agriculture, their contribution to state formation, the rise and integration of tribal and local deities to regional and all-India status, the economic integration of the country through mobile communities of itinerant traders and merchants, are all overlooked in preference for a static and stereotyped rigidity that has long been rejected by modern scholarship. The persistent participation of Hindu peasants in warfare throughout this period is obliterated as part of the attempt to project Hindu society as a closed unit in which multiple occupations were ruled out and movement impossible.




  1. The evidence of the growth of urban centres and a flourishing economy in the kingdoms of the Pratiharas, Paramaras, Chahamanas, among others, are all suppressed with a view to validate the discredited thesis of the Marxist historian Prof. R.S. Sharma that trade and economy suffered a distinct decline in the three centuries after the death of Harsha.




  1. There is simply no discussion on the nature of the polity established by Prophet Muhammad, and its dependence on the twin concepts of jihad and ummah. The dhimmi system and status granted to non-Muslims requires honest discussion, given that the bulk of the period grapples with the exclusivist nature of the state established by Islamic rulers in India.

  2. The Arab invasion of Sind is not only eclipsed from Marxist history, so too are four centuries of stiff Hindu resistance in Sind, Kabul and Zabul. Only the Hindushahis from the time of Jaypala are mentioned.




  1. The iconoclasm of Subuktigin, father of Mahmud of Ghazni, as recorded by the chronicler, Abu Nasir Utbi is overlooked.




  1. The sheer number of Hindu victims of Islamic invaders has been carefully excised. Fifty thousand defenders lost their lives in just one attack of Mahmud of Ghazni on Somnath, which surely deserves an acknowledgement. Somnath, it may be recalled, was razed several times thereafter.




  1. Sayyid Salar Masud, Mahmud’s nephew, who launched a fresh series of Turkish attacks on India.




  1. The highly refined system of racial discrimination practiced by the Turks in India and the fact that the so-called egalitarian message of Islam did not win any converts in the twelfth century.




  1. Iltutmish’s destruction of the Mahakala Deva temple in Ujjain is ignored. Indeed there is an unmistakable tendency to overlook acts of Muslim vandalism. Richard Eaton has admitted that at least 80 temples were destroyed by Muslim iconoclasts. Although this is regarded as a ridiculously low figure in some quarters, even the major instances in his list are skipped over in the textbook.




  1. The text nowhere mentions that all Delhi Sultans sought investiture from the Caliph as part of their commitment to the wider world of Islam.




  1. Alauddin Khalji’s execution of three thousand muqaddams during the campaign against Chittor.




  1. Firuz Tughlaq’s attack on Orissa temples is briefly referred to, but surely it should be specified that it was the famous Jagannath temple that was the victim of his iconoclastic fury. The killings of thousands of inhabitants of the region is similarly expunged.




  1. The Vijayanagar kingdom’s great scholar Sayana, whose commentaries on the Vedic texts are highly rated even today, finds no place in the text.




  1. The deportation of thousands of peasants across the Indus as part of the pacification of the countryside is ignored.




  1. Akbar’s massacre of 30,000 peasants who had taken shelter at Chittor Fort, and his letting 300 elephants loose on the besieged people there. The author merely says, “many peasants from the surrounding area … were massacred”. Further, the giant statues of the Rajput warriors, Jaimal and Patta, the Emperor had erected outside Agra fort were intended as a mark of humiliation not honor, as the author would have us believe. The political motivations that dictated Akbar’s Rajput and religious policies are also underplayed.




  1. The chapter on Akbar is also remarkable for the absence of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi, the leading revivalist thinker of the time; Akbar’s close links with the Chishti order; his attempts to placate orthodox Muslim opinion till as late as 1579.



  1. Further, the discussion on Akbar fails to explain to students that the mansabdari system gave the Mughal state a strong military base. It is surely significant that almost sixty percent of the total Jama (assessed state revenue) under Akbar was spent on maintaining a military establishment in an era which saw no foreign invasions.




  1. The sheer magnitude of the revenue demand under the Mughals is carefully concealed from students. In Kashmir for example, Akbar discovered that two-thirds of the crop was being extracted from the peasants and reduced it to 50 percent. The Dutch Factor Geleynssen found in Gujarat in 1629 that the cultivators had to surrender three-fourth of their produce. A farman dated 1665 reveals that some jagirdars in Gujarat were attempting to extract from the peasants more than the whole produce in revenue, by the simple device of declaring the yield to be two and a half times more than what it actually was. Apart from the high revenue demand, the peasants had to pay a number of additional taxes and cesses. Under Aurangzeb, the inhabitants of a village complained that the additional illegal demands of the revenue officials totaled nearly one-third of the jama. In many cases the total tax liability of the peasants became so enormous that they were forced to sell their wives, children and cattle to meet the state demand. Yet the text is silent on all these matters.




  1. The chapter on Jahangir makes no mention of his hostility to the Sikh Guru, Arjun, as he himself expressed it in his autobiography and his execution of the latter. The reaction of the Guru’s son and successor Hargobind in girding two swords, piri and miri, symbolizing the complementary of spiritual and temporal authority, his construction of the Akal Takht at the Golden Temple and his imprisonment at Gwalior Fort by Jahangir for two years, are also ignored. Jahangir’s execution of the Sikh leader is dismissed in half a sentence two chapters later, in a chapter on Cultural and Religious Developments, where it is stated: “…death of Guru Arjun by Jahangir…” (p 222).




  1. Jahangir’s desecration of the sacred Hindu site Pushkar is glossed over.




  1. While mentioning Jahangir’s dealings with Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi it is nowhere stated that after the release of the latter from prison, the Emperor conferred a robe of honour and a thousand rupees on him and gave him permission to stay on at the imperial camp, where in fact Sirhindi stayed for three years, delivering sermons, some of which were heard by the emperor.




  1. Shah Jahan’s destruction of the massive temple Bir Singh Bundela had constructed near his palace and construction of a mosque on the site and his order of 1633 prohibiting the repair of shrines, and destruction of new places of worship in Banaras.




  1. Shah Jahan’s harassment of the Sikh Guru Hargobind is not part of the main narrative dealing with the Emperor, but is again hidden in a general chapter on cultural and religious developments.




  1. The appropriation of revenues by a very small clique. In the year 1647-48 a mere 445 mansabdars consumed more then three fourths of the revenues of the state.




  1. The general unacceptability of Dara’s views within his community, is inexplicably ignored by the foremost proponents of India’s composite culture!




  1. The severity of the jizya tax, which had a determining role in lower caste conversion to Islam, finds no mention. It has been estimated that as much as 15 percent of the total income of the state during Aurangzeb’s time came from the jizya.




  1. Aurangzeb’s exclusive recruitment of Muslims nobles of the erstwhile states of Bijapur and Golcunda into Mughal service and his dismissal of Brahmin and Telugu officials, are conspicuously evaded.




  1. The strong tradition of rebellion and agrarian resistance in Mughal India finds little space in the text, which is truly surprising given that Marxists have generally been obsessed with the role of economic forces in determining history.




  1. The long-standing policy of settling Afghans in areas of resurgence with a view to effecting their pacification, is quietly overlooked.




  1. Surprisingly there is no mention of Shahjahanabad and Lahore Fort in the discussion on Mughal architecture, though photographs of the former have been provided.

***
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