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Did Mughals give birth to Raksha Bandhan in India? Fact-check

Like clockwork, a section of self-proclaimed secular-liberals make it a point to appropriate Hindu festivals to the Islamists and whitewash the brutality of Mughal rule by creating a farce of 'Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb'.

As the people across the country and the world are celebrating the festival of Rakshabandhan, a tradition that celebrates the sibling bond between a brother and a sister, wherein sisters of all age tie a ‘rakhi’ on the wrist of their brothers, investing them with the responsibility of their potential care, a particularly misleading image is doing the rounds on the Internet which says that Rakshabandhan had its origin in the Mughal-era.

Image Source: Twitter

The above-shared image is of an extract from author Rana Safvi’s book ‘City Of My Heart’ which was published two years ago in 2018. The article titled ‘How Mughal Delhi gave birth to Raksha Bandhan’ quoted author Rana Safvi saying, “Not many people know that Raksha Bandhan is actually a Mughal festival that originated in the heart of Delhi”. The article cites a historical legend from Safvi’s book where a Hindu lady retrieves Mughal emperor Alamgir’s body from a river until help arrived. Later, Shah Alam II, Alamgir’s heir, called upon her, declared her sister and rewarded her generously. The article states the day was celebrated as Raksha Bandhan every year until Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled from the Red Fort after 1857.

However, Rana Safvi issued a clarification shortly after the article was published. Taking to Twitter, Safvi had then claimed that she had intimated the editor about the misleading headline and blurb. She added that headline and blurb were not given by her, alleging that the text did not say that Mughal gave birth to Rakhi and just that they celebrated it.

While Safvi clarified the patently misleading headlines published by the media organisation, she asserted that Mughals enthusiastically celebrated Raksha Bandhan—a Hindu tradition of love and care between the siblings. However, historical evidence suggest that Mughals exhibited deep hatred for Hindus and the customs followed by them.

Mughal invaders attacked Hindus and symbols of Hinduism

Ever since the Mughals and other Muslim rulers invaded India, they have unapologetically presided over the persecution of Hindus and other non-Muslims. Scores of Hindus were slaughtered for refusing to convert to Islam. Hindu temples were pillaged by rampaging Muslim armies. The places of worship of Hindus and the idols of Hindu Gods installed there were vandalised to humiliate the local indigenous population of India. One of such places was —Ram Janmabhoomi, the birthplace of Lord Ram, the most revered Gods of the Hindu pantheon—was illegally occupied by the Mughals and a structure was erected at the place after demolishing the Ram Temple.

This week, the centuries-old-wrong will be set right as the bhoomi pujan ceremony of a Bhavya Ram Mandir is going to take place in Ayodhya on August 5. While Ram Janmabhoomi had been just one of the Hindu temples arrogated by the Mughal marauders, there had been numerous such Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and temple belonging to other communities that were forcibly occupied by the Mughal invaders and later converted to mosques or other buildings, as a sign of subjugation of aboriginals by the invading Muslims.

The famous Qutub Minar in Delhi is a forbidding reminder of how the pillaging Muslim interlopers had low regards for the indigenous religions. The inscription found on Qutub Minar and its compound allegedly reveal that the material used for its construction was used by destroying 27 Hindu/Jain temples. The Somnath temple in Gujarat was attacked and damaged at least 17 times by the Mughal plunderers. According to historical records, the original Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi was destroyed by Muslim rulers. It is said that while Akbar built the temple again, his great-grandson, Aurangzeb, destroyed the temple and built what is now the Gyanvapi mosque on it.

This has been a typical modus operandi of Mughal invaders in India during the medieval era. They attacked the places of worships and temples of other religions, slaughtered Hindus who valiantly refused to adopt Islam, and suppressed the celebrations of Hindu festivals and tradition. However, the pseudo-liberals in India have a penchant for whitewashing the Mughal inequities and depict them as just rulers.

In their nefarious attempt to shore up the propaganda of Ganga-Jamuni tradition, many so-called liberals have shielded the barbarism of Mughals by glossing over the unspeakable atrocities committed by them and painted a rosier picture of the Muslim invaders as exponents of pluralism, interfaith harmony and non-violence. It is through this deception that many of them have claimed that Muslim invaders not only allowed their Hindu subjects to celebrate Raksha Bandhan but also actively participated in the festival celebrating the bond between the siblings.

The origin of Raksha Bandhan dates backs to several thousands years ago

Contrary to what these so-called liberals claim about Raksha Bandhan, it is evidently a Hindu tradition that is also followed by members of several other communities in India. The history of Raksha Bandhan dates back to ancient times. Many folksongs and popular narrations of the Hindu epic of Mahabharata mentions the brother-sister bond between Lord Krishna and Draupadi.

There are mentions of instances when Draupadi tore a piece of cloth from her saree and tied it on the bleeding finger of Lord Krishna once. In return, Lord Krishna had promised her that he will return the favour in kind. Later, when the Kauravas were trying to disrobe Draupadi, Lord Krishna had fulfilled his promise by returning so much of ‘Vastra’ that the Kaurava never succeded in their plan to disrobe Panchali inside the Dyutsabha. In many ways, the piece of cloth, or thread, symbolises a promise of protection and honour.

Besides, the ancient legend of Bhavishya Purana refers to the bond between Indra Dev and Sachi, and Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana mentions the brother-sister love between King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi. The parable of Yamraj and Yamuna is another popular incident from our epics about the genesis of Raksha Bandhan, that results in the celebration of the festival of Bhai Dooj.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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