History Optional Paper- 1 Solution – 2006: Q.5 (d)
Q.5 (d) Write a short essay on: “Dara Shikoh”
Dara Shikoh was the eldest son of Shahjahan and was the most favoured nominee for the thrown. He recieved the title of ‘Shah-i-Buland Iqbal’ from Shahjahan
He contested but lost the throne of the Mughal Empire to Aurangzeb. He was executed by Aurangzeb in 1659 on charges of heresy.
Dara is known for his liberal views and interest in pantheism especially in the Vedanta stream. He wrote detailed work entitled Majma-ul-Bahrain (mingling of two oceans) where he compared the Islamic Sufi concepts with those of Hindu mysticism and came to this conclusion that they were identical.
He also took keen interest in the Upanishads. He got 52 Upanishads translated into Persian, known as Sirr-i-Akbar (the great secret).
Dara was devotee of Qadiri order of Sufism and was disciple of Miyan Mir and then his successor Mulla Shah Badakshi. The Qadiri order reflects liberal and syncretic tendencies of Islam which influenced Dara.
Dara’s other famous works were: Safinat-ul-Auliya (Biographies of Sufi saints), Sakinat-ul-Auliya (Biographies of Dara’s two preceptors Miyan Mir and Mullah Shah), Hasanat-ul-Arifin (Contains Dara’s religious ideas).
Many scholars believe that the course of Mughal history in the later half of the 17th Century could have been totally different, had Dara ascended the throne instead of Aurangzeb.