An Analysis of the Mughal Religious Policy with  Special Reference to the Temples of Banaras (1526-1707 A.D.)Download

Parvez Alam


Religion has been an unprotect component of human civilization in its various stages of evolution.  It played its significant role in acting on behalf of the ruling classes; however, every dynasty had ruled according to the contemporary rites and rituals. If we observe closely all phenomena, religion has been a means to get political power through alluring the notions of the people even now. After their victory in Northern India, Mughal emperors had effected changes by their policies. One of them was their religious policy which is a very controversial topic though is very important to the history of medieval India. There are several debates among the historians about it. One view is that being a Muslim ruler, the Islamic law was dominant in the shaping of religious policy and there was no room for other religions’ law. According to another point of view which is proved by original sources, the entire field of the personal law of their subjects were covered by the Hindu and Muslim law over which they had no authority to change. The emperors, however, called themselves agents of Islam; even this left a very wide margin of freedom to the citizens in theory and in practices.
 This study in the consideration of the second point of view through the primary Persian sources, travel accounts and the local sources is to explore how the Mughal religious policy was in favour of Pundits (priests), Hindu scholars and temples of Banaras (Varanasi). From time to time Mughal Emperors granted money and land to Banaras temples. Many Ghats and temples were constructed during the Mughal period.

It also tries to analyse the facts related to the demolition of Vishvanath temple allegedly by Aurangzeb. Facts clearly show that it did not happen because of Aurangzeb’s bigotry but the circumstances were different. This paper shows Farman and grants made by Aurangzeb to the people and temples of Banaras that present a secular image of Aurangzeb who has often been considered as a fanatic ruler by imperialist and nationalist historians and now by R.S.S.(Rastriya Swayam Sewak). As we shall see, the Mughal religious policy had been changing according to time and circumstances, but the main features did not change. It crystallized in the reign of Akbar and continued to be followed with minor adjustments.

Keywords: Religion, grants, construction and destruction of temples, Kashi Vishvanath temple and Aurangzeb’s impartial policy.
Banaras city is a semi moon shaped situated on the left bank of the Ganges River.  In the Ancient time it was called Kashi and the capital of this region was Varanasi.  During the medieval period Kashi became popular by the name of Banaras which is derived from Varanasi. Since time immemorial Banaras has been the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism and played a remarkable role in the development of Buddhism.  Here it would be pertinent to know the entry of Muslims in Banaras. It is said first of all Mahmud Ghaznavi invaded Banaras twice, in 1019 and 1022. But we find the authentic history of Muslims’ entry from the time of Muhammad Ghori who along with his Commander Qutubuddin Aibak conquered Banaras in 1194 A.D.; in the conquering process about a thousand temples were destroyed. From this time some Muslims settled there while some non Muslims converted to Islam. After this victory Banaras remained under the control of Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughals. On the one hand many temples of Banaras were destroyed during the war on the other hand we have references that show some temples were built in Banaras by Delhi sultans such as the rebuilding of the Vishwanath temple in Iltutmish’s reign (1211-36) and Padmesvara temple during the reign of Alauddin Khilji (1296-1316) .
During this time the Bhakti movement was most popular in Banaras. The champions of it like Ramanand (1299-1411), Kabir (14th to 15th centuries), Vallabhacharya (1477-1530), Tulsidas (1532-1623) and their disciples who either visited or lived in Banaras influenced the society and culture through their works. They always tried to promote fraternity among the people irrespective of caste and creed. But, by and large, Hinduism was most popular religion in Banaras and the dominant influence of Pandits (priests) were over the Hindus.
This was the situation in Banaras on the eve of Babur’s entry into India. After the victorious battle of Panipat in 1526, Babur started to consolidate his state. In this process, he had to fight against the Rajputs. Before the battle of Khanwa (1527), he used Jihad for his soldiers who were not willing to fight with Rajputs because of two reasons; one, they were homesick and another they had heard of the bravery of the Rajputs. However, in the battle of Panipat, he did not use the word Jihad. So it seems that his proclamation of Jihad was only to encourage his soldiers. Since Babur was entangled in wars, he did not determine any specific religious policy. After the victory of Awadh in 1529, he appointed Jalaluddin Khan Sharqi as the governor of Banaras. Suddenly, in a chaotic situation, Babur died. So, his successor Humayun had to face many problems. After conquering the fort of Chunar, Humayun laid siege to Banaras (1531); it appears that during this time, he went to see the Chaukhandi stupa of Sarnath. To remember this event Govardhan, son of Todar Mal, built an octagonal edifice (Athapahala Mahal) at Sarnath in 1589 . Showing a tolerant policy, Humayun made a grant of 300 acres of land to the Jangambadi Math (a monastery of the Jangambadi sect of the Shaivas of South India) of Banaras through a Farman (royal order issued by the emperor). The land grant was situated in Mirzapur district. This original Farman of Humayun is still preserved in the Jangambadi Math .
It is obvious that Humayun could not avail of opportunities to get the support of Rajputs. Due to ups and downs of situation, he had to leave India in 1540 for some years. When he came back and succeeded to capture Delhi in 1555, he suddenly died in 1556.So, like his father, he also could not get time to determine any specific religious policy. But both knew very well how to handle the situation in a multi-religious country. Learning from the past and the experience of his predecessors and the demand of the present situation, Akbar introduced a prolific type of tolerant religious policy which helped to establish the Mughal state in India firmly. His religious policy was intimately connected with his own religious views. He realized that truth is an inhabitant of every place . Because of his liberal religious policy, a notion of national unification and fraternity among Hindu, Muslim, Jain and Buddhist  developed. Till 1567, Akbar could not give greater attention to Banaras because of his early difficulties. In the same year, the Shiqdar (governor) of Banaras was Bayazid Bayat who converted a dilapidated temple to a Madrasah. When Akbar came to know about this, he dismissed Bayazid and gave two villages for the allowances of the teachers of this temple . Thereafter, Akbar gave proper attention to Banaras. Like his father, he also made a grant of 100 bighas of land to the Jangambadi Math of Banaras and confirmed an earlier grant made by Humayun .
In fact, Akbar not only permitted the rebuilding of temples, but also sponsored them. Some of the Hindu Rajputs of Rajasthan, who were the allies of the emperor, participated actively in the construction of Banaras Ghats and temples during this period. The reconstruction of Vishwanath or Vishveshwar temple was a significant event; Todar Mal rendered in available support through Narain Bhatta to the reconstruction of Vishwanath temple in 1585. He was also responsible in the construction of Draupadikund at Shivapur in 1589 . Man Singh built many Ghats (ford) and temples. Manmandir Ghat is one of the most famous Ghats, which was constructed by him . During this the Kumarswami Math was established at Kedar ghat where the south Indian pilgrims started to visit freely. It is said that Kumar Swami reached Delhi from Banaras and got a Farman from Akbar to establish this math (monastery) in Banaras .
In 1582, Akbar realized the unification of all religions and introduced a new order that is called in history as ‘Tauhid-i Ilahi’ (the assertion of the unity of God) . We see the influence of this order at Banaras also. A Muslim of Banaras named Gosala Khan who accepted Tauhid-i Ilahi. By the courtesy of Abul Fazal, Gosala Khan got a chance to enter into imperial army . During Akbar’s reign, many foreign travellers visited India. In this sequence, Ralf Finch (c. 1583-91), the first English traveller, visited Banaras. His account gives a vivid picture of the end of the 16th century. He has usually thrown light on every sphere of Banaras. He says that Banaras emerged from the chaos of the early 16th century and evolved freely again in religious life . At the same time, the birth of Tulsidas in Banaras was a significant event in the history of Banaras in the period of Akbar and Jahangir. In his ‘Vinay Patrika’, he mentioned about the munificent activities of these two rulers. We can understand about the contemporary beliefs, temples etc. related to Banaras from his ‘Vinay Patrika’ . On the basis of the above, we can say that Banaras had reached the peak of syncretism in the early 17th century.
At the death of Akbar, the Mughal state ruled over almost the whole of northern India and some parts of the south. Due to Akbar’s policies, the Indians started to conceive the Mughals as Indians and not foreigners. So it was necessary for Jahangir to maintain this position. Indeed Jahangir did according to the situation. After his accession, he issued 12 edicts; among them was an admonition to high nobles especially in border areas against forcing Islam on any of the subjects of the empire . Jahangir experimented in the simultaneous maintenance of several religions by the state. More than seventy temples were built in Banaras alone towards the end of his reign; however, all these temples were not completed when Jahangir died . At this time, a Central Asian traveller, Mahmud bin Amir Ali Balkhi visited Banaras and was horrified to see a group of 23 Muslims (former Hindus) who had deserted their religion and turned Hindu, after having fallen in love with Hindu women. For some time, he held their company and questioned them about their mistaken ways. They pointed towards the sky and put their fingers on their foreheads. By this gesture, he understood that they attributed it to Providence . So, this indicates that everybody was free to follow his religion without any fear in Banaras during Jahangir’s reign.
From the beginning of Shahjahan’s reign, the orthodox Ulama had tried to get  position in shaping state policies, but had not succeeded except for a few. The textbooks often present the picture of Shahjahan as an orthodox Muslim king and indeed he did take some pride in calling himself a king of Islam. But he continued the tolerant policy of his grandfather Akbar and father Jahangir. In the thirty years of his reign, he continued to appoint and promote Rajputs to high ranks. It is clear that Shahjahan followed the traditional policy in employing Rajputs in state services ; but as far as the matter of the Hindu temples is concerned, his policy was something different from his grandfather and father. He ordered not to demolish old temples but did not allow the construction of new temples. He embarked on a campaign of complete destruction of the new temples of the Hindus. As a result, seventy two temples were destroyed in Banaras and neighbouring areas ; it is mentioned by Peter Mundy (1608-67) who had travelled to India during this period . Shahjahan did not impose Jizyah, but he tried to re-impose the pilgrimage tax on non-Muslims. But owing to the persuasion of a Hindu scholar of Banaras, Kavindracharya (1627-70) who wrote a commentary on the Rig Veda, led a deputation to the emperor to request not to re-impose the pilgrimage tax. Accepting his request, Shahjahan allowed his non-Muslim subjects religious liberty .
The latter period of Shahjahan is remarkable because of his son Dara Shukoh who was a supporter of secular law for everyone. Dara’s study led him to the conclusion that the difference between Islam and Hinduism was merely verbal and to prove this he wrote a tract called ‘Majmu’-al Bahrain’(meeting of two oceans). In this he gave an exposition of the Vedantic view of universe and truth. It is clear that he must have derived considerable help from pundits in preparing the book . When Dara Shukoh was governor of Banaras in 1656, he translated the Upanishads into Persian which he called the ‘Sirr-i Asrar’ or ‘Sirr-i Akbar’ (the great secret). This translation was made by a large staff of Banaras pundits . He translated 52 of the Upanishads with the help of Banaras Pundits. He also translated a Sanskrit text named Shatbhumik . During this time a Sanskrit writer Vijayandra described the beauties and religious attractions of Banaras in 1641.
It appeared that Dara Shikoh would be the next emperor but in the war of succession, Aurangzeb getting the support of the Rajputs-notably Rana Raj Singh of Mewar and to some extent Jai Singh Kachhwaha of Amber-defeated Dara and acceded to the throne . There are many debates among historians with reference to Aurangzeb’s religious policy. S.R. Sharma presented statistics of the Hindu Mansabdars (nobles) to demonstrate the view that Aurangzeb deliberately worsened the position of Hindus in the administration . In response to this view, Athar Ali shows by statistics that the percentage of Hindu Mansabdars was 22.5% in Akbar’s reign, but it increased to 31.6% during Aurangzeb’s reign . According to Satish Chandra, it increased to 33% in 1689 . About the re-imposition of Jizyah in 1679 and the demolition of temples, J.N. Sarkar said it was the result of Aurangzeb’s religious bigotry . As far the matter of Jizyah is concerned, Satish Chandra says it marked a deepening political crisis due primarily to the deterioration of the situation in the Deccan. The Rathor war further accentuated it. Another factor in the re-imposition of Jizyah was the growing unemployment among the clerical members . In the matter of the demolition of temples, Zahiruddin Faruqi has justified in the context of political circumstances and necessities. As regards to temples of Banaras, he shows through the differences in dates related to their demolition and the construction of mosques, that all circumstances point to one conclusion that the temples were not demolished due to any general order .
Here, it may be pertinent to know the ideas of Aurangzeb about religion. We can better understand his view when in reply to a petition requesting the dismissal of non-Muslims from certain posts, he pointed out religion has no concern with secular business and in matters of this kind bigotry should find no place. Further quoting the Quranic text, he says “to you your religion and to me my religion” . So by and large he followed his father’s policy.
Soon, after his accession to the throne, Aurangzeb issued a Farman, probably in connection with the dispute over the right of holding charges of the ancient temples of Banaras, on February 28, 1659:
‘Let Abul Hassan ……….know that …..Therefore, in accordance with holy law, we have decided that the ancient temples shall not be overthrown; but that new one shall not be built. In these days of our justice, information has reached our  noble and most holy court that certain persons, actuated by rancour and spite, have harassed the Hindu resident in the town of Banaras and a few other places in that neighbourhood and also certain Brahmins, keepers of the temples, in whose charge these ancient temples are, and that they further desire to remove these Brahmins from their ancient office (and this intention of theirs causes distress to that community), therefore, our Royal Command is that, after the arrival of our lustrous order, you should direct that in future, no person shall in unlawful ways interfere or disturb Brahmins and other Hindus resident in these places, so that they may as before, remain in their occupation and continue with peace of mind to offer up prayers for the continuance of our God given Empire, that is destined to last for all that time.  Consider this is an urgent matter. (Dated the 15th of Jumda-s-saniya A.H.1069, A.D. 1658-59).
This Farman, on the one hand lays down the Islamic law about temples; on the other, it repudiates the charge brought against Aurangzeb.
According to popular tradition, Aurangzeb is responsible for destroying the temples of Banaras – Kirtibasaveswara, Beni-Madho and Vishvanath (or Vishveswara) – in 1669 and renamed the city as Muhammadabad which, however, did not become popular . Now, we should try to know the basic reasons behind the incident. Ultimately what happened that Aurangzeb had to go against the Farman of 1659? There are some following views about the demolition of the temples. One of them is on 9th April, 1669, it was reported to the emperor that the Brahmins of Sindh, Multan and especially of Banaras were engaged in teaching unholy books in their temples, where the Hindus and Muslims used to flock to learn knowledge and teaching.  After knowing this fact, orders were issued to all governors to destroy the temples . De Graaf heard of these orders because in 1670 he was in Hugli. Apart from the ‘Ma’asir-i-Alamgiri’ and De Graaf, there is no reference of the order of the destruction of temples in any other Persian sources.
Another view is that there was a Kashi Karvat system. There was a sacred and renowned well situated just to the east of the Vishvanath temple. In addition to the vertical opening, there was a passage leading down to the water (the Ganges River) that was used by scores of devout Hindus. In medieval Banaras, at the instigation of Pandas, pilgrims desirous of getting instant salvation jumped into the well to meet death by falling on a blade positioned there. It was misused by some immoral priests for material and sexual desires. This made Aurangzeb take action against the Brahmanical community and Hindu temples in Banaras. It has been mentioned by Alexander Hamilton (1688-1723) . M.A. Sherring also refers to one such incident in which a fanatic offered himself in sacrifice to Shiva, the God of the well .
There is a third version. According to Bishama Narain Pandey, when Aurangzeb was passing through Banaras on his way to Bengal, the Hindu Rajas requested him to stay here to visit Vishvanath temple. Accepting the request Aurangzeb ordered army pickets to stay at Mughalsarai. The Ranis (queens) made a journey to take their dip in the Ganga and went to pay their homage to Vishvanath temple. After offering puja(prayer), except the maharani of Kutch, all the Ranis returned. When Aurangzeb came to know, he sent his senior officers to investigate the issue. Ultimately, they found that the statue of Lord Ganesh, which was fixed in the wall, was movable one. When the statue was moved, they saw a flight of stairs that led to the basement. They found missing Rani dishonoured and crying and deprived of all her ornaments. The basement was just beneath Lord Shiva’s seat. Demanding justice by Rajas (kings), Aurangzeb ordered to demolish the temple and arresting the pandas .  B.N. Pandey has mentioned this point based on documentary evidence which he got through Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya’s famous book ‘The Feathers and the Stones’. Koenraad Elest sought some holes in this story; such as, there is no reference to show that Aurangzeb made any journey to Bengal or nearby Banaras; it was not the way of Aurangzeb to march with Rajput Ranis; by which way, the Rani disappeared in the presence of guards .
We see a forth account that is something similar to above story. In 1987, Abdul Bismillah wrote a novel named ‘Jhini-Jhini Bini Chadariya’ dealt with the condition of Banaras’s weavers. In this novel a character named Rauf uncle said a story which seems to have been told to him by his ancestors. This story is related to the construction of Gyanvapi mosque. He narrates: There was a great moneylender in Kashi whose name was Jyan Chandra. He had a beautiful and young daughter named Vapi. One day, she went to Vishvanath temple to offer prayer; but there she was raped and killed by the Pandas. On this happening, Jyan Chand wrote a letter to the emperor Aurangzeb and requested him to demolish the Vishvanath temple because inside of this temple there is basement and tunnel which is connected to Ganga River; there Pandas(priests) not only raped women but killed and threw them through tunnel into Ganga. After hearing this narration, Aurangzeb at once sent his army to Banaras that encamped near Lallapur and that is why a colony was set up there called Aurangabad – the area is present even today. This army destroyed the temple and built a mosque on that spot with the name of Jyanvapi; because Jyan Chand and Vapi played a key role in all happening. It is said when the temple was demolished and Jyanvapi mosque built there, a Persian knowing Brahmin composed Shair on this occasion:

ببين کرامت بتخانہء  مرا  ای  شاھ   گر چہ   خراب  شود خانہء  جودا   گردد

(O emperor! See the miracle of my Butkhanah (an idol temple), if it is destroyed, turn into the house of Khuda(God).
A fifth version supports the political motives behind the order against the temples. K.N. Panikkar argued that there was a nexus between Sufi rebels and pundits of the temple. That is why to break the nexus between the two Aurangzeb ordered the destruction of the temples.
‘Ganj-i- Arshadi’ gives a different view about the demolition of the temples. According to it, a communal riot that occurred in 1669 in Banaras caused the demolition of Banaras’ temples . We find from the District Gazetteer of Banaras that during a communal riot in 1809, the Hindus destroyed about 50 mosques including that of Gyan Vapi (p. 208). So it will be found that communal riots, and not Aurangzeb, were responsible for the demolition of temples of Banaras.
On account of the above noted aspects, we can say that it is very difficult to find out one reason that was responsible for the demolition of temples of Banaras. But it is assumable that reasons for temple demolition were political and contemporary circumstances not the discriminatory religious policy of Aurangzeb. As we know, there are a number of edicts about Aurangzeb’s endowments to Hindu priests and temples. For example, Shri Mangaldas Maharaj Bairagi impressed Aurangzeb with his knowledge and the emperor fixed an annuity of Rs. 5 from the qasbas and mauzaas in the country of Malawa and Rajaputana. He received in 1701 AD a khil’at, a horse, a drum, a mace, a silver umbrella with 200 dirhams . In lieu of their old grant of  2 1/2biswa, Sudaman and his son Pujari received a cash grant of Rs. 20 and some cultivable waste in 1667 . Aurangzeb issued a Farman on 12th March, 1660, which not only conferred to Shanti Das the village, hill and temples of Palitana, but it makes also a further grant of the hill and temples of Girnar under the jurisdiction of Junagarh, and the hill and temples of Abuji under Sirohi as a special favour . In 1672-73 Aurangzeb is reported to have ordered the resumption of lands, scholarships, Madad-i-ma’ash and rozinas of non-Muslims . In 1681, two temples were built at Bishalpur (Bengal) and one was built in 1690 . He granted the land and other facilities to the Brindaban temple at Mathura and Sikh Gurudavara of Deharadhun . He gave support to the construction of temple in Gopamau in Hardoi district, U.P. Writing about the temple of Someshwar Mahadev of Allahabad, Pradeep Kesharwani said Aurangzeb not only visited Someshwar Mahadev temple situated on the bank of Sangam but also offered grant and land for its maintenance. There is a pillar containing 15 sentences in Sanskrit mentioning, ‘the ruler of the country visited the temple in 1674 and gave heavy grants to the temple, both in the form of land and money. There are a lot of examples that denied the bigot image of Aurangzeb.
Besides these, Aurangzeb gave endowments to Banaras also. In 1671, Aurangzeb confirmed the 178 bigha land grant of the Jangams of Banaras made by his predecessors. In 1687, Aurangzeb granted in inaam 588 zira’( i.e. length of a hand) baitu-l mal and situated on the banks of the river Ganges at Beni Madho Ghat in Banaras to Ramjiwan Gosa’in and his sons “from generation to generation.” While speaking of Banaras Sujan Rai in his book ‘Khulasat-ul-Tawarikh’ (1695) does not mention the demolition of any temple there, though giving an account of Mathura, he says that the shrine of Keshav Rai was destroyed by Aurangzeb. So here, one thing is clear that the demolishing temples was not the result of Aurangzeb’s bigotry as has been often described.
On the basis of the above discussion, we can say that the Mughals followed a tolerant religious policy. Very often, they showed their support and gave grants to the temples of Banaras according to which the politico-socio-economic needs of the contemporary period framed the basis of Mughal religious policy. Mughal rulers treated temples lying within their sovereign domain according to the situation. They undertook to protect both the physical structures and their Brahman functionaries. They gave importance to the maintenance of peace, law and order among the various communities. A distorted view about the Mughal religious policy has been made by imperialist and nationalist historians that is mostly rooted even now in the conception of people which caused many communal riots in India. Fortunately, the Aligarh historians’ Society and some others have done fundamental and primary research on this issue through original sources. As a result, new perspectives, notions and historiographies have been enlightening the historians and the students of history.

Notes and References

Banarasidas, Ardhakathanak, tr. and annotated by Mukund Lath, Rajasthan Prakrit Bharati Sanathan, Jaipur, 1981, p.101.
H. R. Nevill, Benares Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI, Printed by F Luker, supdt, Govt. Press, United Provinces, Allahabad, 1909, p. 189.
Elliot and Dowson , The History of India as Told by its on Historians, Vol. II, Teubjstee and Co., 60, Pateenostee Row, London, 1869, p. 223.
Prabhanda Kosh, Appendix I, Calcutta, 1935, p. 132. Cited by Moti Chandra, Kashi Ka Itihash, Vishva Viddhalay Prakashan, Varanasi, 1985, p. 150
A. Fuhrer, the Sharqi Architecture of Jaunpur, Indilogical Book House, Varanasi, 1971,p. 51.
Jihad is of two types; one is ‘Jihad al-Akbar’ (the greater Jihad) which means battling against one’s own self. The other is ‘Jihad al-Asghar’ (the lesser Jihad) which means battling against the Kafirs, if they humiliate you.
Babur-Nama, trans. by A.S. Beveridge; vol. II, Calcutta 1922, p. 652.
Moti Chandra, op. cit., p. 160
Sri Ram Sharma, the Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors, New Delhi, 1940, p. 12.
Badauni, Muntakhab-ul-Tawarikh, vol. II, edit. by W.N. Lees and Ahmad Ali, Calcutta, 1865, p. 256.
Bayazid Bayat, Tarikh-i-Humayun wa Akbar, pp. 263-64.
Azhar Ansari, A note on six Jangambadi documents of Banaras, IHC, vol. XIV, Appendix, Doc. III.
Ibid, Doc. I.
Moti Chandra, op. cit., p. 162.
M.A. Sherring, Banaras: The Sacred City of the Hindus, B.R. Pub., Delhi, 1975, pp. 42-43.
Moti Chandra, op. cit.,p. 171.
According to Badauni, the condition for initiation into this silsilah (order) was though the acceptance of the four steps of allegiance, which required sacrifice of property, life, honour and religion. Akbar termed its creed ‘Tauhid-i Ilahi’. Roychaudhury following H. Blcochmann inaccurately called this ‘Din-i Ilahi (Divine faith) but suggested that it was similar to a type of Sufi order, not a religion. Bada’uni, op. cit. pp. 304-25
Badauni, op. cit., vol. II, pp. 418-19.
William Foster, Early travels in India, 1583-1619, First pub., London, 1921, p. 176.
Vinay Patrika, edit. by Viyogi Hari, pp. 103-04. Cited by Moti Chandra, op. cit., p. 169.
Harbans Mukhia, the Mughals of India, Blackwell Publishing, 2004, p. 30.
Abdul Hamid Lahori, Padshahnama, Bib. Ind., I (a), pp. 451-52.
Harbans Mukhia, op. cit., p.39
Athar Ali, Mughal India: Studies in Policy, Ideas, Society and Culture, Oxford, 2006, pp.201-202
Lahori, I, p. 452.
Peter Mundy, The travels of Peter Mundy, vol. II, Travels in Asia, ed. Richard C. Temple, London, 1914, p. 178.
H.D. Sharma and M.M. Patkar, Kavindra Chandroday, pp. 1- 4. Cited by Moti Chandra, op. cit., p.174.
Athar Ali, op. cit., p.203
Francois Bernier travels in the Mogul Empire, 1656-1668, second edition, rev. by V.A. Smith, oxford, 1934, p. 323.
Athar Ali, op. cit., p.203
Journal, Ganganatha Jha Research Institute, 1944, p. 193. Cited by Moti Chandra, op. cit., p.173
For the exchange of letters between Aurangzeb and Rana Raj Singh, see Vir Vinod, II, pp. 415-431.
S.R. Sharma, op. cit., pp.118-128
M. Athar Ali, theMughal Nobility under Aurangzeb, Oxford, Delhi,1992,p. 31
Itihas ki Punarvyakhya, an Anthology of Articles reinterpreting Indian History, Article of Satish Chandra, Aurangzeb Ka Punarmulyankan, published by Raj Kamal Prakashan, New Delhi, 2004,    p. 64.
J.N. Sarkar, History of Aurangzeb, vol. III, Orient Longman, New Delhi, 1972, pp. 176-185.
Satish Chandra, Jizyah and the state in India during the 17th century, JESHO, vol. 12, No. 3, 1969, pp. 336-37.
Faruqi, Aurangzeb and his times, Delhi, 1972, p. 127.
Ibid, p.120. Also see Quran’s para 30, Sura 109.
Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1911, p. 689. This original Farman is kept in Bharat Kala Bhavan, B.H.U. Varanasi.
L. Eck Dian, Banaras: City of Light, Penguin Books India, 1983, p. 83.
Musta’id Khan Saqi, Maasir-i-Alamgiri, p. 81; but the dates become very hazy after Aurangzeb’s prohibition of official chronicles in the 11th year of his reign.
Robert Orme, Fragment of History, Calcutta Reprint, p. 250.
Alexander Hamilton, A new Account of the East Indies, ed. William Foster, vol. III, London, 1930, pp. 21-22.
M.A. Sherring, op. cit., pp. 65-66.
B.N. Pandey, Islam and Indian Culture, Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library, Patna, 1987, pp. 44-45
See Koenraad Elest’Article ‘Why did Aurangzeb demolish the Kashi Vishvanath?’2002
Abdul Bismillah, Jhini-Jhini Bini Chadariya, Rajkamal Prakasan, New Delhi, 1987, pp. 76,77.
See Koenraad Elest’s Article ‘Why did Aurangzeb demolish the Kashi Vishvanath?’2002
Ganj-i-Arshadi, an account of daily life and a collection of the sayings of contemporary saints- Shah Tayyab of Banaras and Shah Mohammad Rashid and Shah Mohammad Arshad of Jaunpur, the disciples of the Banaras’ saint. The book was compiled during Aurangzeb’s reign, p. 248.
IHC, proceedings, 1975, Aligarh, p.358
Jnan Chandra, ‘Aurangzeb and Hindu Temples’, JPHS, vol. V, pt. IV, 1957, p.251.
Jnan Chandra, op.cit.; pp.253-54.
Mirat-i-Ahmadi by Ali Muhammad Khan; p.288; Bernier, p. 341.
Archaeological Survey Report, VIII, pp. 204-5, 244.
Itihas ki Punarvyakhya, op. cit., p. 65.
Irfan Habib (ed.), ‘Medieval India’, vol. II, Reprint Raj Kamal Prakashan, 1999, p. 162.
News Paper, The Times of India, Varanasi, Friday, September 11, 2015, p. 1.
Jnan Chandra, op. cit., pp. 248-50.
Ibid, p. 250.

Parvez Alam is Research Scholar in the Department of History, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 

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