Dara Shukoh

Indian prince
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Dara Shukoh, also known as Dara Shikoh (20 March 1615 – 30 August 1659), was the eldest son and heir-apparent of the fifth Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. He was favoured as a successor by his father, Shah Jahan, and his older sister, Princess Jahanara Begum, but was defeated and later killed by his younger brother, Prince Muhiuddin (later, the Emperor Aurangzeb), in a bitter struggle for the imperial throne.

Dara Shukoh


  • "..Paradise is only at a place where no mulla lives, Where no uproar and clamor from mulla is heard, May the world rid itself of terror of a mulla,May no one pay heed to his fatwas. In a city where a mulla dwells, No wise man is ever found.."
  • “When I had gone through the Persian translation of this book (the Joga-Vashishta), which is attributed to Shaikh Sufi, I saw in a dream two dignified figures of calm appearance, one of them standing on a higher level than the other. I was drawn involuntarily to their presence… and Vashishta with great affection and graciousness placed his hand on my back, and said: ‘Rama, here is an earnest seeker of knowledge, and a comrade (lit. brother) of yours in true search of the Reality; embrace him’. Ramchandra held me in his embrace with great warmth and love. Then Vashishta gave to Ramchandra some sweets which I ate out of his hand. After having seen this in dream my desire to have this book translated became greater than ever; and one man from among my servants was appointed to translate this work. This translation was completed under the supervision of the Pandits of Hindustan.” (pp. 116-17, Dr. K.R. Qanungo’s book ‘Dara Shukoh’.)
    • Dara Shukoh’s introduction to the Persian translation of the ‘Yoga-Vāśishtha’ called ‘Tarjuma-i-Joga-Vashishta’..quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited


  • Bigger in nature was the protest lodged by the citizens of Delhi when the vanquished Prince Dara Shukoh was humiliated and later executed by Aurangzeb in 1658. Francois Bernier was present in Chandni Chowk and witnessed the event. He writes that “the crowd assembled upon this disgraceful occasion was immense; and everywhere I saw the people weeping and lamenting the fate of Dara.”
    • Francois Bernier, quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 6
  • When that the impious seed of heresy,
    By Akbar nourished, sprang and sprouted fresh
    In Dara’s soul, the candle of the heart
    Was dimmed in every breast, no more secure
    Against corruption our Community
    Continued ; then God chose from India
    That humble-minded warrior, Alamgir...
    • Muhammad Iqbal, The Secrets of Selflessness, Emperor Alamgir and the Tiger
  • In one of his letters Aurangzeb himself writes: “The fate of Dara Shukoh excited the passions of the misguided citizens of Delhi. They wept in sympathy with him and pelted the loyal Malik Jiwan who had brought him to justice with pots full of urine and excreta.” Royal troops went into action and according to Khafi Khan, “several persons were knocked down and killed and many were wounded… If the Kotwal had not come forward with his policemen, not one of Malik Jiwan’s followers would have escaped with life.”
    • Khafi Khan, Muntakhab-ul-Lubab, pp. 245-46. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 6
  • The Hindus' sense of gratitude knows no bounds to Muslim rulers like Zayn al-‘Abidin (1420-70) of Kashmir, ‘Alau d-Din Husayn Shah (1493-1519) of Bengal, and Akbar the Great Mughal, who behaved towards Indians as Indians and at whose hands they could heave a sigh of relief from religious persecution. The three rulers tried their utmost to Indianize their rule and restore the dignity of Hindu community and culture, the latter essaying the uphill task of integrating Islam therewith, followed in this behalf by Prince Dara Shukoh. Who that has even the faintest sense of history can dispute the point that they were all intensely Indian, putting many a Hindu to shame in their patriotic fervour.
    • Harsh Narain, Myths of Composite Culture and Equality of Religions (1990)
  • “So long as you held the reins of government I never did anything without your permission, nor did I ever step beyond my jurisdiction. During your illness Dara usurped all power, girt up his loins to promote Hinduism and destroy Islam, and acted as king, totally setting you aside. The government fell into disorder... . My march on Agra was not due to a rebellious spirit, but to a desire to put an end to Dara’s usurpation, his lapse from Islam, and his exaltation of idolatry throughout the empire.... I was compelled, out of regard for the next world, to take up the perilous load of the crown, from sheer necessity and not from free choice, for restoring peace and the rules of Islam in the realm.”
    • Aurangzeb's letter to Shah Jahan,quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited. ch. 15
  • “When Aurangzeb learnt that the head of Dara had arrived, he ordered it to be brought to him in the garden on a dish, with the face cleaned of the blood on the surface and a turban on the head. He called for lights to be brought so that he might see the mark borne by the prince on his forehead, and might make sure that it was the head of Dara, and not that of another person. After he had satisfied himself, he told them to put it on the ground, and gave it three thrusts in the face with the sword he carried by way of staff, saying, ‘Behold the face of a would-be king and emperor of all the Mogul realms. Take him out of my sight.’... He gave secret orders to place it in a box, to be sent by runners to the eunuch Atbar can (I‘tibãr Khãn), who had charge of Shahjahan’s prison, with orders to deliver it to him (Shahjahan) when seated at table. It was to be offered in his name as a plat. This was planned by Aurangzeb with great glee….
    • Manucci, (vol. 1), quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited. ch. 15
  • Canonical Law and Faith apprehended many kinds of disturbance from his life. So, the Emperor, both out of necessity to protect the Faith and Holy Law, and also for reasons of State, considered it unlawful to allow Dara to remain alive any longer as a destroyer of the public peace.” Thus does the official history published under Aurangzib’s authority justify this act of political murder.
    • quoted in Sarkar J. History Aurangzib [1] also in Jain, M. (2010). Parallel pathways: Essays on Hindu-Muslim relations, 1707-1857.

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  1. Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws: From Islamic Empires to the Taliban By Shemeem Burney Abbas