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Gandhi on Dara

It was a fitting finale to a rare seminar organised by the Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu (Hind) on the life of Dara Shikoh,the philosopher-Mughal prince,who was murdered by his younger brother Aurangzeb in the 17th century.

It was a fitting finale to a rare seminar organised by the Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu (Hind) on the life of Dara Shikoh,the philosopher-Mughal prince,who was murdered by his younger brother Aurangzeb in the 17th century. Gopal Gandhi,former governor of West Bengal and a man of letters,delivered the valedictory address on Sunday. He used an unusual device,that of a letter to Dara Shikoh to hold the audience captive. In this “e-mail” letter,Gandhi discusses with Dara the brave steps the prince took to reconcile the philosophies of the two faiths,Hindus and Muslims,despite opposition from hardliners,besides,several tactical and other mistakes he made.

Gandhi drew on the similarities of the situation 400 years ago and now. He spoke of the need for such a reconciler and visionary who despite being a prince and mindful of the consequences,did what he thought was right.

He compared the attack on Dara by fundamentalists of his own faith to the assassination of his grandfather,Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi discussed how there was pressure from political Hindus to change “Ram Ram” with an invocation to Ram Lalla,and among Muslims who wanted to change “Khuda Hafiz” to “Allah Hafiz”.

His sharp references to naming roads as a tool to acknowledge greatness in Delhi met with much laughter. He questioned “why there isn’t a road named after Dara Shikoh in Delhi,” something that he hoped would urge people to research and find out more about him.

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First published on: 26-03-2013 at 03:09:16 am
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