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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Disney-Hotstar glorifies Turko-Mongol invader Babur in new serial

A new web series on the Mughal invader Babur is set to premiere on the OTT platform Disney-Hotstar. The series is said to be based on Alex Rutherford’s Empire of the Moghul which is the first of his six-part so-called historical fiction novel series on Mughals from Babur to Aurangzeb.

The series has been created by Nikhil Advani and is being directed by Mitakshara Kumar who has worked as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s assistant director in movies such as Bajirao Mastani and Padmavat, two supposed historical movies that had liberal doses of Hinduphobia that Bollywood is famous for in addition to not being true to historical facts. The screenplay has been written by Bhavani Iyer who has the Zee5 web series Kaafir to her credit.

Reviews of Rutherford’s novel suggest that Babur has been glorified or certainly presented in a manner where his flaws are overlooked. While it remains to be seen how the makers of the series have presented Babur, considering the fact that Bollywood has a penchant to glorify invaders as it has done with Akbar, Khalji, and others we can certainly expect some sort of glorification of the Turko-Mongol invader. That Babur is being presented as some kind of a ‘hero’ is evident from the trailer as well.

OTT content is overwhelmingly anti-Hindu as has been seen in several web series. Bollywood’s record in Hinduphobic content is all too well-known.

Bollywood sang praises of Babur’s grandson Akbar:

The completely fictional story of Akbar and Jodha Bai has been used since time immemorial, to glorify Akbar as a secular, tolerant monarch & to gloss over Bharat’s partial conquest by an upstart branch of Chengiz Khan’s Mongols, owing to bitter infighting and the inability of the then leadership, to look beyond their petty quarrels to unite and fight a common, larger than life, history-altering enemy. But it is the most persistent fiction of a Mughal emperor marrying a Hindu princess, and her being important enough in an age of 500 women in one harem, to be remembered and celebrated.

A similar glorification of Alaudin Khalji is resorted to in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavat. Historical movies that have come out from the Bollywood stable right from Jodha Akbar to Padmavat to Bajirao Mastani to Panipat have conveniently overlooked as well as distorted facts to suit its agenda.

As far as the Turko-Mongol invader Babur is considered, it can’t be emphasized enough that he was a fanatical Islamist who ordered the destruction of Hindu temples like his successors. 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.

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. It was on Babur’s instructions that his commander Mir Baki built the Babri Masjid over the existing temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi site.

Islamic historians and chroniclers have themselves left gloating records of Babur’s demolition of the Ram Janmabhoomi complex. Safiha-i Chahal Nasaih Bahadur Shahi, written by the daughter of Bahadur Shah Alamgir during the early 18th century is one such account.

Out of the above Chahal Nasaih (“Forty Advices”), twenty-five instructions were copied and incorporated in the manuscript entitled Nasihat-i Bist-o-Panjam Az Chahal Nisaih Bahadur Shahi in 1816 CE, which is the oldest known account of the destruction of Ram Janmabhoomi for construction of the Babri Mosque, and its author is none other than Aurangzeb’s granddaughter.

Mirza Jan, the author of Hadiqa-i-Shahda, 1856, Lucknow, has reproduced the above text in Persian on pp.4-7 of his book. The text runs as follows:

“… the mosques built on the basis of the king’s orders (ba Farman-i Badshahi) have not been exempted from the offering of the namaz and the reading of the Khutba [therein]. The places of worship of the Hindus situated at Mathura, Banaras and Awadh, etc., in which the Hindus (kufar) have great faith – the place of the birthplace of Kanhaiya, the place of Rasoi Sita, the place of Hanuman, who, according to the Hindus, was seated by Ram Chandra over there after the conquest of Lanka – were all demolished for the strength of Islam, and at all these places mosques have been constructed. These mosques have not been exempted from juma and jamiat (Friday prayers). Rather it is obligatory that no idol worship should be performed over there and the sound of the conch shell should not reach the ear of the Muslims …”

It remains to be seen how much Babur has been romanticized in Disney-Hotstar’s The Empire.

(Featured Image Source: The Envoy Web)

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