27 January, 2021

Mightier Than The Pen

Murad Ali Baig raises the sibling rivalry between the sons of Shah Jahan to epic heights in this new rendering of the state of the nation in 17th century Mughal-dominated India.

Mightier Than The Pen

In the summer of our discontent about the changing of a road name, Aurangzeb’s restless spirit has been awakened. In his splendidly evoked account of the last great Mughal’s rise to power, Murad Ali Baig describes how, for all his calculating brilliance in extending the reach of his empire, Aurangzeb died an embittered man. As he writes in the epilogue des­cribing the ban on music, the one edict of Aurangzeb’s that every schoolchild reme­mbers: “His disapproval of music caused the musicians in his capital to try and mock his edi­cts by taking out large funeral processions of their instruments. But Aurangzeb was not moved when he was told about it. He had simply said, ‘Make sure that the grave is deep.’”

Aurangzeb was consig­ned to a dreary grave in a forsaken part of the Deccan where Shah Jahan had sent him and where he spent the best part of his life. As events were to prove, neither the place nor the grave were remote enough to con­­tain him. If Aurangzeb’s skills as a keen tactician and brilliant...



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