Thursday, January 9, 2014
Dara Shikoh was the eldest son of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Shah Jahan named Dara heir to the vast Mughal Empire, but his younger brother Aurangzeb, usurped the throne and had Dara assassinated.
Dara Shikoh was a liberal, cultured and spiritual prince, a follower of Sufi saints and a friend of one of the Sikh gurus. He sought to link the two oceans of spirituality: Hinduism and Islam. The conservative Aurangzeb declared him an apostate, and went on to demolish some of the most sacred Hindu temples in India, and to force conversions to Islam.
It is often speculated as to how the history of India would have been very different had Dara Shikoh prevailed over Aurangzeb.
Incidentally Dara was considered a talented painter.