NEW DELHI: In recent months, the Mughals have frequently been resurrected from their graves by right wing hotheads and denounced as “traitors,” “tyrants” and “bigots.” From Akbar to Bahadur Shah Zafar, their greatness has been questioned, their secularism doubted and their legacy denied.
The latest blow came when BJP legislator from Uttar Pradesh, Sangeet Som, called the Taj Mahal a “blot on Indian culture” and party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao described the Mughal rule as “exploitative, barbaric and a period of incomparable intolerance.”
The hateful comments against the monument that has been the pride of India and is regarded as a symbol of love, has left all right-thinking Indians furious. But for one person, these attacks have touched a personal chord.
Yakub Habeebuddin Tucy, a sixth generation descendant of the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, is deeply hurt and angry at such comments. “How will someone feel if his or her ancestors are abused? My blood boils, but we can’t do anything about it. I am not an emperor like my ancestors,” Tucy told The Sunday Standard over the phone from Hyderabad.
Tucy said the attacks on Mughals rulers and monuments built by them have been made in the past as well. “But this is for the first time that some silly politicians like Sangeet Som are levelling false allegations against our ancestors and this is intolerable,” he said.
There are many claimants of Mughal lineage, but Tucy said he had documents to prove that he is a direct descendant of Bahadur Shah Zafar. He cited DNA test reports and a Hyderabad civil court order recognising him as a legal heir of the Mughal Emperor.
Based in Hyderabad, the 46-year-old who adds the title of ‘Prince’ before his name, called Som’s statements a cheap publicity stunt and a desperate attempt to communalise society and polarise popular discourse.
“Such baseless comments cannot change the history. These comments are part of a larger plan to incite violence by dividing people on the basis of religion. Taj is not a religious monument. It is a symbol of love and love has no religion. But religion is being dragged into this for evil, ulterior motives,” he said.
Debunking the allegations that the Mughal rulers were bigots who indiscriminately destroyed Hindu temples and “wanted to wipe out the Hindus”, Tucy insisted that the composite culture of the country was, to a large extent, a result of the Mughal rule in the country. “Contrary to what is being alleged, the Mughals never imposed their religion, i.e Islam, on others. They never changed names. The fact that they respected other religions is also evident from the number of temples they built,” he claimed.
“It was the Mughals who brought the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb to India. They were the most secular rulers of India and I can proudly say that as many as nine Mughal queens were Hindus. The Mughals did not loot this country but made it their own by building monuments, which today generate crores of revenue for government. We are not seeking any revenue from the government. We don’t want anything from them, but the least we expect is some respect for our ancestors,” an aggrieved Tucy said.
Citing more examples of the liberal outlook of the Mughal rulers, Tucy claimed: “They were the first ‘gau rakshaks’; cow slaughter was a crime during the Mughal period. People were hanged for killing cows.”
Tucy, a businessman, currently lives in the Kanchanbagh in Hyderabad along with his wife and five children. But he is soon going to shift into a new residence in Shamsabad spread over 70 acres, which he has named ‘Royal Moghal Palace’.