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Portuguese Inquisition of Goa

Goa is a small state situated in West India. This region has become a tourist hub within India, for its attractive beaches and decorated Churches. It has one of the largest Christian populations within India. But history has a cruel tale to unfold that happened in Goa. The event referred to happened during the Portuguese colonization of Goa. It is popularly known as the Inquisition of Goa. Though Indian mainland was ruled by British, Goa was under the control of Portuguese. King Manuel I of Portugal had introduced Inquisition in Portugal in 1497.

St Francis Xavier

St Francis Xavier requested Inquisition of Goa

 

In 1498, Vasco da Gama, the great Portuguese explorer landed in Goa and set up prosperous trade monopoly in the region. Soon, the Portuguese ousted the Sultan and started ruling the island. Society of Jesus was founded in Goa and many missionaries were sent to preach Catholicism. The mission set incentives for baptized Christians in the form of rice donations, good positions in Portuguese colonies for the converts and military for the local rulers. The converts were mainly opportunistic individuals who still continued practicing their old faith, Hinduism. In 1542, St. Francis Xavier arrived in Goa and he was disappointed with what he saw. In 1545 he wrote a letter to Pope John III requesting Inquisition to be installed in Goa.

Execution of Hindus in Goa

Hindus were executed for religious practices

 

Soon, the first inquisitors, Aleixo Dias Falcao and Francisco Marques arrived in Goa and occupied the residence of Portuguese viceroy. The first act of inquisitors was to forbid the open practice of Hindu faith. Practice of Hindu faith was a punishable offence. There was a lot of violence and brutality in the following days. As per the records, Hindus were cast into prison cells for religious practices or for minor offences. Due to lack of cells, they were stacked in small cells creating unhygienic conditions. In the years 1560-1774 it is recorded that more than 16,000 people were tried and condemned by the Inquisition tribunals. Back then, there was a practice among the locals to cross over the borders and cultivate lands in Maharashtra (neighboring Indian state). 4,000 people were arrested for their trivial crimes among them 57 were burned at stake while 64 in effigy.

Tambdi Surla Temple in Goa

Tambdi Surla Temple in Goa that survived the Inquisition

 

There were laws passed by the Portuguese colonial administration that prohibited passing of border for employment and public worship of Hindu deities. Moreover, the Hindus were forced to assemble periodically in churches to listen to Christian teachings and contradiction of their religion. The viceroy also ordered that Hindus would not be allowed in the capital on palanquins or horseback. Violations of this law would call for imprisonment. On top of this, there were other laws that forbade the Christian palanquin bearers from carrying Hindu passengers. Christian laborers were forbidden from working in Hindu lands, and vice versa. Inquisitors also extended protection and help to the Hindus who would convert to Christianity. All these laws had an adverse effect on the population and there were mass emigrations to other parts of India.

In 1567, Portuguese colonial forces launched a campaign of destroying Hindu temples. It is estimated that no less than 300 Hindu temples were destroyed during this campaign. On December 4, 1567 rituals such as Hindu marriages, sacred thread wearing and cremations were prohibited. Any person over the age of 15 was compelled to listen to the Christian preaching, failing which they were severely punished. In 1684, the provincial language Konkani was suppressed and it was compulsory for everyone to speak Portuguese language. The Inquisition of Goa was finally ended in 1812 and normalcy to life returned.

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Why did Alexander the Great leave his Indian Conquest Incomplete?

Every nation wants to be the greatest nation in the world. Historians grab every possible opportunity to glorify their nation. Often history is molded and real facts are twisted to showcase a nation’s glory. As a child I studied about Alexander the Great and his invasion of India in 325 BC (give or take a couple of years). In the Indian historical texts it is depicted that Alexander was overwhelmed by the character, valor and military might of Indian kings. His conviction was further fortified after meeting Porus and Chandragupta Maurya. It is said that he returned Porus his Kingdom and befriended young Chandragupta. He left hopes of conquering this great nation and returned back home.

Sculpture of Alexander The Great

Sculpture of Alexander the Great

 

Alas! Truth is far from these golden phrases. Alexander the Great was a highly ambitious man. He was cruel in a way too, because no great conquest can be carried out without a bit of cruelty. Apart from this the person who had conquered great Empires many millions away from home cannot be overwhelmed by a single battle or meeting a youthful talent. So, what was it that propelled Alexander to halt his war machines and turn back towards his native land?

Breastplate of Alexanders Armour

Breastplate of Alexanders Armour

In 336 BC, Alexander ascended to the Macedonian throne after the death of his father Phillip. In the initial days he spent time in consolidating his position as the King of Macedonia by crushing rebellions and various plots. After he was done with these internal strife, in 335 BC he set out to conquer the world with the Balkan conquest. Soon after Persia, Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia was conquered by the skilled troops of Alexander the Great. When Alexander entered Hellespont in 334 BC he has 48,100 soldiers, 6,100 cavalry and 120 ships. Most of the warriors who fought by his side were supremely skilled Greek soldiers. The council members were childhood friends and loyal subjects. Alexander’s army was known for their shrewd and well planned maneuvers in the battlefield. They were driven towards a common goal: to conquer the world.

Alexander's Army Formation

Alexander’s Army Formation

 

When Alexander’s troops set their reluctant foot on the Indian soil crossing Beas River, the scenario was completely different. The last few campaigns of Alexander were not one of glory. Most of the Greek soldiers were revolting, they ought to because most of them had not seen home for many years. The initial batch of skilled soldiers who had won swift victories were either killed in battle or they had to be sent home. The Greek soldiers were replaced by soldiers from various nationalities (Persians mainly). As a result conflicts within the troop were common. It is learned that most soldiers had asked their King to return back home after the conquest of Bactria and it was Alexander’s convincing power that forced them to cross into Indian Peninsula.

Alexander Crossing Beas River

Alexander Crossing Beas River

 

By the time Greeks under the leadership of Alexander reached India they were reduced to mere rags. There were hardly any world class soldiers, most were mercenaries and ruffians. They did not have their customary Greek military uniforms or superior equipment’s that accompanied them in the earlier campaigns. Most of the native Greeks had become lazy and arrogant after tasting the riches and luxuries of Persia and Egypt. Some of them had married native women and had a family now. So, the young men who had left Macedonia were now family men with a lot to think about. Far from thinking about world conquest, they wanted just one thing: to return home.

Battle of Hydaspes in India

Battle of Hydaspes in India

 

When Alexander entered India he invited all the nearby chieftains to submit to his authority and resume their functions as allies. Ambhi was the first to submit to Alexander and placed himself and his forces at the Great Conquerors disposal. But the Greeks met hostilities soon after. King Porus of the Paurava kingdom, situated on the banks of Hydaspes River in modern day Punjab, was defiant and Alexander had to participate in the Battle of Hydaspes. Though Alexander won a great victory in the ensuing battle, but he lost lots of men. The guerilla warfare employed by Porus, cost lot of Greek lives. Apart from this Indian monsoons, thick forests filled with venomous snakes posed a serious threat to Alexander’s army. Diseases claimed lots of life. By the end of the war Greek troops were only a band of few hundred men.

Alexander died on the voyage back home

Alexander died on the voyage back home

 

Apart from this rebellions were common among the surviving soldiers. Alexander was also tired from soul and his dreams were fading. He understood the logic of not moving forward. In the meantime, rumors spread among the Greek forces that there were thousands of soldiers on the other side of Ganges waiting to slay them. Nanda had a huge army, which was many times larger than Alexander’s small forces. He had the dared elephants (Greeks were quite new to the use of Elephants in battle). So, men could not be persuaded to cross the Ganges. Understanding that his dreams would have to wait, Alexander decided to return back. He gave Porus his kingdom and appointed Seleucus Nictor as the regent for India.

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Baba Harbhajan Singh: Holy Ghost of Sikkim

Harbhajan Baba is a holy figure all across Sikkim. He was a late sepoy enrolled in the Punjab Regiment on February 9, 1966. Harbhajan Singh had been born in a small village known as Browndal in Kapurthala district of the Indian state of Punjab. He was listed in the Indian army at a tender age and was soon posted on the high posts of Sino-Indian (China India) border near Nathula Pass. In the year 1968 there was heavy rainfall and floods throughout the region. On October 4 of the same year Harbhajan Singh was escorting a mule caravan from the battalion headquarters at Tukla to Deng Chukla. On his way he fell into a fast flowing stream and was washed away. Indian army continued search for his body for a couple of days. But this search was abandoned due to inclement weather and risks of further loss of life.

Baba Harbhajan Singh

As it seemed the battalion had finally given up hope of finding the body of their soldier, suddenly one night Harbhajan Singh appeared in the dream of one of his close colleagues. In the dream Harbhajan Singh mentioned the exact details of the location where his body could be found. He also asked the colleague to ask the army to construct a Samadhi (shrine) on that spot. He also promised that he would not quit his duty, though dead, he will patrol the area and never give up being a soldier of the Indian Army. When the man awoke he dismissed the dream as being a manifestation of his grief for the loss of his buddy.

Shrine of Harbhajan Baba

Soon another colleague saw the same dream. Now, this could not be a coincidence as both dreams had same sequence of events. A search party was dispatched to the spot mentioned in the dream and Harbhajan Singh’s body was found. He was cremated with full military honours. There was also a Samadhi built at Chhokya Cho as per the wish expressed by Harbhajan Singh. So, all the demands in the first part of the dream were fulfilled.

Bed of Late Harbhajan Singh

As for the second part, where Harbhajan Singh had promised he would still patrol the area, soon reports started coming in of a man riding a horse patrolling the area. Many Indian soldiers reported having such sightings. The Chinese troops on the other side of the border also claimed to have seen a ghost rider with Indian army uniform. Over the years Indian soldiers have seen Harbhajan Singh in their dreams and they have been informed of the loopholes and unprotected areas through which Chinese could attack. All his instructions were accurate and military took measures likewise.

Harbhajan Singh goes for a leave on September 14 each year to Kapurthala

The popularity of Harbhajan Baba grew among the common people as well. His Samadhi became a religious spot and people from far and wide came with their problems. Many infirmities have been reported to have cured after visits to this shrine. The Samadhi of Harbhajan Baba consists of three rooms. There is a neatly arranged bed laid out and uniform and boots are displayed. It has been reported by the caretakers of the Samadhi that each morning the bed sheets are crushed as though someone has slept on them. Further the polished boots are covered with soil and mud.

Memorial Plaque for Harbhajan Singh

For his service to the Indian army Late Sepoy Harbhajan Singh was promoted to the position of Honorary Captain. Monthly pay check is sent to Kapurthala residential address of Harbhajan Singh. He goes on an annual leave on September 14 every year. His trunk is packed with all the essentials and two soldiers accompany him to Kaputhala on train. He is brought back in the same manner. During his days of leave the patrolling around Nathula Pass is increased. Harbhajan Singh is the protector whom the Chinese never will to offend.

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Birth of Bindusara and Chanakya’s Death

Bindusara was the son of Chandragupta Maurya (founder of the Maurya Empire) and Queen Durdhara. According to a Jain work Rajavalikatha his original name was Simhasena. During his reign the Maurya Empire saw significant expansion southwards. But we are not here to discuss what history books have already told us.

Statue of Bindusara

There is a mystery over the birth of Bindusara. As the tale goes after Chandragupta Maurya became king of Magadha after defeating Nandas, his chief advisor was Chanakya. Now Chanakya feared that there would be assassination plots hatched against Chandragupta by other power hungry kings. To protect Chandragupta, Chanakya wanted to make him immune from poisoning. He added small amounts of poison in Chandragupta’s food everyday so that he would get used to it. But Chandragupta was unaware of the poison he consumed every day. One day while dining the Emperor shared his food with Queen Durdhara. She was just seven days away from delivery. The pregnant Queen who did not have poison as her staple diet started collapsing with some shrieks. Chanakya was passing by and he heard the screams. When he came inside the dining hall he found the Queen collapsing. He understood the importance of saving the child within her womb. So first of all he slit the Queen’s head so that the poison could not penetrate into her body and harm the child. Then he cut open her belly and took out the baby prince. But it seemed that one drop of poison had penetrated through and it touched the forehead of baby Bindusara. This caused a blue mark on his forehead. Thus the prince was saved.

Queen Durdhara was the mother of Bindusara

Though many scholars denounce this as a tale but references of such an event are found in many Jain works. It was a remarkable feat when we consider its timeline i.e. 320 BC.

Chanakya who knew a lot about Ayurveda helped in performing first birth by surgery

As Bindusara reached a fitting age to ascend the throne, Chandragupta in lieu of a famine took up a begging bowl and walked away to Deccan. But Chanakya remained minister and advisor to Bindusara. This was not liked by Bindusara’s minister Subandhu. Subandhu revealed to Bindusara that Chanakya had murdered the king’s mother. Hearing this Bindusara was enraged. Chanakya on the other hand gave all his possessions and wealth to poor, orphans and widows. He sat on a dung and prepared to die from fasting without any water or food. When the nurses revealed the real story to Bindusara he apologised to Chanakya.

Bindusara was angry with Subhandhu who mislead him. The king asked him to seek forgiveness from Chanakya. Though Subandhu still hated Chanakya but he agreed. When he visited Chanakya’s fastinbg spot he slipped a burning charcoal ember inside the heap of dung. With wind as its aid the fire caught and killed the man who masterminded the Mauryan Empire.

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The Real History of Kohinoor

Kohinoor or the Mountain of Light was the first word that escaped the mouth of Nadir Shah when he saw the diamond. In fact the Kohinoor has a spell binding aura and the Iranian invader could not avoid its charm. It is one of the heritages of India and it is a pity that our rare gem now decorates the crown of the Queen of England. The original shape and size of the Kohinoor have also been lost. The diamond was cut into two pieces – while one part is placed in the Queen’s crown, other part lies somewhere within the British treasury.

Kohinoor embedded in Queen of England's Crown

The history of Kohinoor is shrouded with deep veil of mystery. Kohinoor exchanged many hands before it landed up in the hands of the Brits. Though Kohinoor is known as Mughal Diamond, but one theory suggests it was found near River Godavari during the times of Lord Krishna. It belonged to the Mahabharata character, warrior Karna. But contradicting theories state that this diamond was found in the mines of Golconda while others feel Kohinoor came from the Kolar mines of Karnataka.

Kohinoor is the most coveted gem stone in history

The story of the Kohinoor is very marvellous too. The Kohinoor was possessed by the Rajas of Malwa for many centuries through their lineage. It passed on to Allaudin Khilji when he became the Emperor of Delhi in 1304. Kohinoor belonged to the following rulers of the Tughlaq and Lodhi dynasty. After the heydays of Delhi Sultanate the diamond was grasped by Timur in 1339 who took it back with him to Samarkhand. It remained nestled there for three centuries, until it was brought back to India by Babur who was a descendant of Timur. Some other records from those times suggest that the diamond was with the Raja of Gwalior who had managed to get it from the Delhi Sultans. He presented it to Humayun in 1526 after the Battle of Panipat. Another set of documents suggest that Kohinoor was with a diamond merchant named Mir Jumla who had discovered it from the Kolar mines and later presented it to Shahjahan in 1639. Though this theory is largely debunked.

Timur took Kohinoor out of the country to Samarkhand

Whatever might have happened before, it is confirmed that Kahinoor was a part of the loot that Nadir Shah took to Iran from India in 1739. He gave the diamond to his son Ahmed Shah Abdali of Afghanistan. It remained out of the country till Shah Shuja, the king of Afghanistan passed it over to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1813.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh received the diamond as a token for rescuing Shah Shuja

There is a whole new story about how Kohinoor got to Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Ahmed Shah Abdali had three grandsons – Shah Zaman, Shah Shuja and Shah Mahmud who dreamt of becoming the next Emperor. But upon Abdali’s death the reigns passed over to his Shief Minister Wazir Fateh Khan who favoured Shah Mahmud. Mahmud in his turn blinded his brother Shah Zaman. Shah Shuja took over his blinded brother’s responsibilities. Soon he ousted Shah Mahmud and became the king of Afghanistan. But Fateh Khan was able to regain power and put Shah Mahmud back upon the throne. Shah Shuja lost his power but kept the Kohinoor and gifted it to his wife Wafa Begam. But Mahmud wanted the diamond and Shah Shuja was imprisoned in Kashmir. In her bid to rescue her husband Wafa Begam sought help from the Sikhs. She promised Maharaja Ranjit Singh that she would present him with the Kohinoor if Shah Shuja was returned safely back to her. Sikhs managed to rescue Shah Shuja albeit at the loss of many lives. After a little reluctance Kohinoor was handed over to Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Lord Dalhousie confiscated Kohinoor after victory in Second Anglo-Sikh war

After the annexation of Punjab following the second Anglo-Sikh war in 1849 Lord Dalhousie confiscated the property of the Sikh Empire. The Kohinoor fell in the hands of the British East India company. The diamond was sailed to Britain, never to return again, and presented to Queen Victoria.

Since then the Kohinoor has stayed in Britain despite of many claims by Indian government to hand over this rare diamond.

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Was Mahabharata a Fictional Work or Historical Record?

Like most Indians I have grown up hearing tales and later watching Mahabharata, the great Indian epic. Most people in India think Mahabharata as the true history of glorious India back in the times of King Dhrutarashtra. Mahabharata in many ways has sculpted Indian culture and beliefs. But the Westerners have aptly classified it as a “Myth”. I feel this is not the true classification of Mahabharata as there are many reasons to believe this is a historical record of contemporary India. There are a few points mentioned below that will help you decide whether Mahabharata is a work of fiction or a true historical depiction.

Mahabharata: the Great Indian Legend

  1. In the elaborate text of Mahabharata it has been mentioned from time to time that it is a “Itihaas” which should translated as “thus occurred”. Aryans had coined the terms “Puraan” and “Itihaas” to categorise “ancient history” and “recent events” respectively. Both these terms denote historical records.
  2. In Aadiparva Chapter 62 the details and annals of the Bharat Dynasty which was the first grand dynasty in India are mentioned. Everyone holds Bharat dynasty as a true entity.
  3. It has been mentioned throughout the Aadiparva, Bheeshmaparva and other segments of Mahabharata that sage Ved Vyas intends to write “itihaas”. If he intended to write a poem or any other work of fiction then he would definitely describe it as “katha”(folklore) or “mahakavya” (epic).
  4. Some hold Mahabharata as a work of fiction solely due to its poetic nature. Such an assumption is weird. It was customary in those to write everything in poetic form.

As the Legend goes Ved Vyas narrated the work to Lord Ganesha who write it down

  1. It can be held that Ved Vyas had started writing the Mahabharata even before the Great War of Kurukshetra. He lived during the war and noted down all the details and later included them in his great work. If Mahabharata were a work of fiction Ved Vyas would not bother to provide such minute details of the war. He would rather ponder over some key moments.
  2. There are many dynasties mentioned in the Mahabharata. There are mentions of more than 50 kings from King Barhi to the Pandavas. Information about the kings, their wives, relatives, etc. are mentioned in minute details. If Ved Vyas wanted to create a fiction won’t 4 or 5 kings do the trick for him?
  3. The dynasties mentioned in the Mahabharata often match with those mentioned in Ramayana. Though Ramayana was an earlier work but many of the predecessors from Ramayana dynasties find a mention in Mahabharata. All the historical data from both these text match. If Mahabharata was a work of fiction why won’t Ved Vyas use new characters?
  4. If you have a look at other epics of teh world you will find they are based on one or two main characters. If we hold this theory who do you think would be the hero of Mahabharata. There is no lead male or female character in the work really.

Gruesome Battle of Kurukshetra

  1. There are descriptions of cities built by various kings. In the recent times the city of Dwarka has been uncovered from the depths of the sea. It has been mentioned that the city was flooded by the rising sea and went under water sometime between 2000-3000 BC. Other cities have also been identified.
  2. All the characters have been portrayed with minute details. Every facet of their character and other important events in their life have been noted. Such details are not required for an epic.
  3. The details of the war and the use of hi-tech weapons had raised a doubt in the minds of the researchers that Mahabharata was a made up story. But recent archaeological studies have proved that there was a much advanced civilisation in India which could have the knowledge of creating hi-tech weapons just as mentioned in the Mahabharata.
  4. If Mahabharata was an elaborate poem there was no need for the writer to give such elaborate descriptions of the battle. Person of Vyas’ genius would understand that these would rather bore the readers.

Minute descriptions of the Pandavas is present in Mahabharata

  1. There are huge number of characters mentioned in the Mahabharata. Just think if it were a work of fiction, would it be possible for the writer to create so many different characters with their separate traits and then provide elaborate details for each?
  2. One criticism against Mahabharata being a historical record is that – there is not too much description of the flora or fauna. Now think again, isn’t descriptions of flora and fauna a part of fiction writing. Historical works concentrate more on events and characters.
  3. Ved Vyas has repeatedly emphasised that he is writing “itihaas” after the death of King Dhrutarashtra. If he wrote a fiction there was no need to mention this. Did Shakespeare say he was writing about Hamlet after the death of the young Prince?
  4. Prominent Greek historian has stated that Chandragupta Maurya was the 138th King of Lord Krishna’s lineage. This means that character of Lord Krishna and other events were true. Even Chinese travellers have confirmed in their accounts that there was a custom to keep a track of Kings and their lineage during the times of Mahabharata and all the descriptions in this work are true in nature.
  5. On studying the astronomical details mentioned in the Mahabharata it has been found that the planets and stars were exactly in the same position in the era mentioned. Was there any need for such mathematical calculations if Ved Vyas was simply composing a work of fiction?

Bheeshma: One of the Heroes of Kurukshetra Battle lying on a bed of arrows

Thus it can be safely concluded that Mahabharata is nothing but a historical record in the times of Pandavas and Kauravas.

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Who was Anarkali?

The romance between Prince Salim (who was later known as Jahangir) and Anarkali was one of the most popular romantic tales from the Mughal era. According to the popular story, the real name of Anarkali was Nadira or Sharfunnisa. Anarkali (which means a pomegranate bud) was a title bestowed upon her in regards to her beauty. The story tell us that Anarkali was a dancer at the court of Akbar. Emperor’s eldest son and heir to the throne Prince Salim fell in love with Anarkali. When Akbar came to know about the love affair he did not approve of the relationship. He felt Anarkali who was of low birth was not suitable to be the Queen of Hindustan. But both the lovers paid no heed to the Emperors warnings. This enraged Akbar and he sentenced Anarkali to be bricked alive in a wall. Though there are a few minute variations in versions of the story, but this is the crux of the matter.

Eternal Love Story of Prince Salim and Anarkali

Today many researchers are dedicating their time and effort to determine whether this was a mere story or a historical fact. It is very surprising that there is no mention of Anarkali in the records from Akbar or Jahangir’s era. But the believers of this event cite a tomb in Lahore as the place where Anarkali was bricked alive. This tomb is situated on the premises of Punjab Records Office. It is an octagonal building covered by a tomb. In some old writings there is mention of a beautiful garden but no trace of such a garden can be found today. Though there is a sarcophagus with inscriptions containing 99 names of Allah and a Persian couplet:

Tomb of Anarkali in Lahore

“Ah ! could I behold the face of my beloved once more;
I would give thanks unto my God
Unto the day of resurrection.”

And on the northern side of the sarcophagus there is an inscription stating “Majnun Salim Akbar” or “in deep love Salim the son of Akbar”. There are two dates on the sarcophagus: 1008 hijri (1599-1600 AD) and 1024 hijri (1615 AD). Some scholars feel there was another inscription on this tomb which was destroyed in time. This Persian inscription read “The innocent who is murdered mercilessly and who dies after enduring much pain, is a martyr. God considers him/her a martyr”. Though Anarkali’s name is not mentioned in any of the inscriptions but one group of scholars are of the belief that is the tomb of none other than Anarkali.

Inscriptions on the Sarcophagus

As mentioned before there are two dates mentioned near the tomb. Scholars feel first date signifies the execution of Anarkali and second is the date when the tomb was erected. But Anarkali could not have been executed in 1008 hijri as Akbar had left Lahore and started residing in Agra from 1007 hijri or November 1598. So there seems to be some discrepancy here. When we study further, it is seen that there are two different versions of the story recorded by the British travellers during those times. William Finch who visited Lahore just eleven years after Anarkali’s execution states that the tomb was built for Prince Daniyal’s mother and one of the wives of Akbar. Both of Salim and Prince Daniyal’s mother loved each other, but this news reached Akbar and he ordered the lady to be enclosed in a room by building walls. She died in her solitary exile. The tomb was erected to mark the love relationship between Prince Daniyal’s mother and Prince Salim. Another British traveller Edward Terry reported that Akbar had initially disapproved the relationship between Prince Salim and another court lady, but approved of their marriage in his deathbed.

Prince Salim had an affair with one of the Wives of Akbar

Analysing these two accounts leaves us with a conclusion that Anarkali was none other than mother of Prince Daniyal. Abul Fazl leading historian of Akbar’s times has made a startling claim in his records. According to him one evening Prince Salim was beaten up by the royal guards near Akbar’s royal harem. In his explanation of the deed Prince Salim explained that he had caught an intruder getting near Prince Daniyar’s mother’s chambers, but the guards in their haste had mistaken him for an intruder. Historians believe that this intruder was none else than Prince Salim himself trying to reach his beloved.

There is clear reference that Anarkali was actually one of the wives of Akbar with whom Prince Salim had a love affair. She was never bricked to the wall but rather died in solitude. The tomb belongs to some other person may be some royal lady residing in Lahore.

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Eerie Ruins of Bhangarh

Bhangarh is situated on a road from Jaipur to Alwar in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is one of the most haunted places in India and is known for its ruins where nobody dares to stay after sunset. This town was established by Madho Singh who was the younger brother of Emperor’s General Raja Man Singh in 1631. But there are signs which suggest that the city was abandoned in a hurry just some centuries later. As per the local folklores the whole town had been vacated overnight because of a curse. According to the curse if the town was ever rediscovered there would be no township found, only the temples would show. This is true as all that can be seen in the landscape of Bhangarh are temples, even from the mountains only the shrines can be seen. Legends claim that no one who was stayed in Bhangarh after dark has returned.

Roofless Homes in Bhangarh

In regards to the rules government of India has to have an office of Archaeological Survey of India beside all the historic structures. But the government decided to make an exception with Bhangarh. The ASI office situated here is about 1 kilometre away from the ruins. This office is also close to a temple holding the myth of the curse true. There is a signboard placed by ASI in Bhangarh “”Staying after sunset is strictly prohibited in this area.” Tourists who visit this area during the day time have reported experiencing a strange atmosphere which is filled with anxiety and restlessness.

Government of India signboard prohibiting people from entering the town after sunset

The origin of this curse would take us back to the times when Bhangarh was a prosperous twon. The princess of Bhangrah Ratnawati was matchless in terms of beauty in entire Rajasthan. She was merely eighteen and there were marriage offers coming in from all states. In the same times lived a Tantrik or a practitioner of black magic, named Singhia. Singhia fell head over heels in love with Ratnawati. But he knew that the King would never even allow him to see the Princess. Once he saw one of Princess’s maids buying scented oil for the princess from the market. Singhia made use of the opportunity and put a spell in the oil that would draw the Princess to him and force her to satisfy him sexually. But when the Princess got the bottle of oil she threw it on a block of stone as she had already seen Singhia cast his evil spell. When the oil touched the stone it started rolling. It rolled towards Singhia and crushed him to death. While dying Singhia cursed Bhangarh that there will be an incident that will kill everybody in the palace and their souls will roam on the place forever. Amazingly the very next year there was a battle between Bhangarh and Ajabgarh in which no one survived in the battle as well in the palace. Even princess Ratnawati was killed.

Ruins of Bhangarh Fort

Whenever there were houses built near Bhangarh the roofs kept collapsing. Evidence is found near the place as all the houses near Bhangarh are without roofs. People in closest villages use straw to make roofs instead of bricks.

There were elaborate residences, large courtyards and miniature palaces in Bhangarh. The walls of these buildings were painted with bright colours and had detailed frescoes. It was one of the most prominent cities in Rajasthan.

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