Exploring the syntax of syncretism


Noted Hindi critic Manager Pandey’s latest book reinforces the secular nature of Indian society by making us familiar with the significant literary contribution of the Mughal emperors

Will anybody believe that Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the Hindutva forces’ primary target of attack, wrote poetry praising the Hindu trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh as well as other gods and goddesses? If this is true, will it not undermine the very edifice of the Hindutva project that exists and thrives solely on the basis of painting the Muslim rulers in blackest of colours as oppressors and destroyers of the Hindu religion and culture?

A recently released book does exactly this and takes the wind out of the sail of those who never tire of dividing the Indian society and its past on the basis of “mutually exclusive” religious identities of the Hindus and the Muslims. Published by Rajkamal Prakashan, “Mughal Badshahon Ki Hindi Kavita” (Hindi Poetry of the Mughal Emperors) has been compiled and edited by well-known critic Manager Pandey, who retired as professor of Hindi from the Jawaharlal Nehru University some years ago. He has heavily drawn upon a musical treatise “Sangeet Ragakalpadruma” that was written by Krishnanand Vyas Dev Ragasagar. It was a three-volume tome whose first, second and third volumes came out in 1842, 1845 and 1849 respectively. His attention was drawn to this voluminous work when he read Chandrabali Pandey’s book “Mughal Badshahon Ki Hindi” (Hindi of the Mughal Emperors) that was published by Kashi Nagari Pracharini Sabha in 1940. Read more