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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Mughals weren’t empire builders, why Kabir Khan has his historical facts wrong

Mughals are an obsession with not just politicians but also Hinduphobic academicians and Bollywoodians who leave no opportunity to glorify the invading tyrants. In a recent interview, director Kabir Khan was singing praises of Mughals as being the first empire builders and that he was upset about Mughals being “demonized in Hindi cinema”.

Khan said in his interview to The Indian Express:

He also spoke about the depiction of the Mughals in Hindi cinema and how they are being force-fit into preconceived notions. “What really makes me upset is that it’s being done just to go with the popular narrative. I can understand when a filmmaker has researched something and a filmmaker wants to make a point… Of course, there can be different viewpoints. If you want to demonize the Mughals, please base it on some research and make us understand why, why they were the villains that you think they were.

He went on to add that if proper research is done and history consulted, ‘it’s very tough to understand why they have to be villainized’. “I think they were the original nation-builders, and to write them off and say they massacred people… But what are you basing it on? Please point out the historical evidence,” the filmmaker said.

PC: Baburnama in English by Annette Susannah Beveridge

The Baburnama as well as several Urdu, Persian and Arabic histories written in the 18th and 19th centuries have confirmed that the Babri masjid was constructed at the site of an ancient Hindu temple. All books without exception say that Babur ordered the destruction of the Ram temple and a Masjid to be built in its place.

Babur gave orders to his general Mir Baki to construct the Babri Masjid over the existing temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi site. Baki was only happy to oblige as it was customary for Islamic invaders and rulers to destroy existing temples and build mosques over them, often by simply making a few changes to the temple structures.

A nation is never built by destroying symbols of faith and massacring people only because they don’t adhere to one’s own idea of religion. If we have to draw a parallel with those who took their empires beyond the shores then we needn’t look further than the Cholas and the Hindu kingdoms of South East Asia. The casualties of war apart, one never finds such gruesome acts as making a pillar of heads as a trophy of victory.

Historian GB Mehandale details the brutal Islamic rule in his talk and says:

Mughals from Babur to Aurangzeb have indulged in razing temples and gurudwaras as recorded by their chroniclers, biographies and even these rulers themselves have recorded these destructions in their autobiographies.

At times they razed a lone temple and at others, they indulged in mass destruction. Maasir-I-Alamgiri states that between March 1679 and August 1680, more than 300 temples were felled by Aurangzeb. Official Mughal records show that in January 1705 Aurangzeb issued orders to destroy the Pandharpur Vittal Mandir and slaughter cows in the holy temple premises.

Economy under the Mughals

A nation is also about the common people who dwell within it. There is ample evidence on record to suggest that the general populace under the Mughals was economically disadvantaged. A majority of the revenue was appropriated by the Mughal emperors, Mughal armed forces, and their mansabdars thereby leaving very little for public works. The Mughal economic superiority is largely a construct of the Bharatiya Marxist historians.

The Mughal period was actually one of economic stagnation. The Mughals were also guilty of hoarding huge amounts of wealth that could actually have been used for public welfare.


The Mughal tax rate stood at 30-50% as compared to the 16% charged under Hindu rulers. Despite the high level of taxation, we find that no public work was carried out by the Mughals. They didn’t even bother to develop agricultural infrastructure such as irrigation facilities despite the fact that the major part of their revenue came from agriculture.

At a time when the Hindu rulers were undertaking the construction of dams and lakes in order to provide irrigation facilities for agricultural development, the Mughal rulers were either hoarding wealth or frittering it away on personal aggrandizement.

Kabir khan would do well to remember that romanticizing Islamic invaders like Khilji & the Mughals and fictionalizing Hindu rulers to fit in with their narrow political agenda is what Bollywood directors & writers do.


  1. Baburnama in English by Annette Susannah Beveridge
  2. Talk by Dr. Meenakshi Jain
  3. Talk by Shri GB Mehandale
  4. Islamic loot: How the Mughals drained wealth out of India by Shri Rakesh Krishnan Simha (Indiafacts)

(Featured Image Source: India Today)

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A opinionated girl-next-door with an attitude. I'm certainly not afraid to call myself 'a proud Hindu' and am positively politically incorrect. A Bharatiya at heart who loves reading, music, sports and nature. Travelling and writing are my passions.


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