Naseeruddin Shah says Mughals needn’t be glorified nor vilified; talks about upcoming seriestext_fields
Mumbai: Actor Naseeruddin Shah claims that there is no room for a healthy debate in the nation and that those who consistently disagree with him will never comprehend his viewpoint. Hatred and misinformation flourish in the absence of reason or knowledge of history, which may be why some Indians seem to be blaming the present for everything, particularly the Mughal Empire, which Shah finds amusing rather than infuriating.
Ministers in the current administration have consistently vilified the Mughal period in recent years. There have been efforts to change history, from attempting to change the names of 40 "Mughal-era" villages to renaming the famous Mughal Gardens at the Rashtrapati Bhavan as "Amrit Udyan."
Shah plays King Akbar in the ZEE5 original series Taj - Divided by Blood, which premiers in these polarising times. According to the show's description, it is "a revelatory tale about the inner workings and the succession drama" that transpired inside the Mughal empire's palaces, Indian Express reported.
Shah responded to an inquiry about how he views the nation, which appears to think that the Mughals are to blame for all of its problems, “It amuses me because it is so utterly ridiculous. I mean, people can’t tell the difference between Akbar and a murderous invader like Nader Shah or Babar’s great-grandfather Taimur.
“These were people who came here to loot, the Mughals didn’t come here to loot. They came here to make this their home and that’s what they did. Who can deny their contribution?”
The veteran claimed that the notion that the Mughals represented everything evil simply demonstrates one's ignorance of the nation's past. Sure, the Mughals may have been viewed as kind in history texts at the cost of India's indigenous culture, but their role in history should not be dismissed as catastrophic, according to Shah.
“Sure they are not the only ones. In school, unfortunately, history dwelled mainly on the Mughals or the British. We knew about Lord Hardy, Lord Cornwallis and the Mughal emperors, but we didn’t know about the Gupta dynasty, or the Maurya dynasty, or the Vijayanagara Empire, the history of the Ajanta caves, or about the northeast. We didn’t read any of these things because history was written by the Englishmen or the Anglophiles and I think that’s really unfair.
“So what people are saying is to some extent true, that the Mughals have been glorified at the expense of our own indigenous traditions. Perhaps that’s true, (But) there is no need to villainize them either.”
If the Mughal empire was so evil, Naseeruddin Shah argued, why don't those who oppose it "knock down" the monuments they have erected? “If everything they did was horrible, then knock down the Taj Mahal, knock down the Red Fort, knock down Qutub Minar. Why do we consider the Red Fort sacred, it was built by a Mughal. We need not glorify them, but there is no need to vilify them either.”
When asked if there is a space for an intellectual conversation right now, Shah said, “no, absolutely not,” because the discourse is at an all-time low.
“Tipu Sultan is vilified! A man who gave his life to drive the English away. (And it’s now being said), ‘Do you want Tipu Sultan or the Ram Temple?’ I mean, what kind of logic is this? I don’t think there is room for debate, because they can’t ever see my point of view and I can’t ever see theirs,” he added.
Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister, stated earlier in January that during the upcoming Assembly elections, voters in Karnataka must decide between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who constructed the Ram Temple in Ayodhya and improved Kashi, Kedarnath, and Badrinath, and "those who glorify Tipu Sultan".
Dharmendra will play Sheikh Salim Christi in the Contiloe Digital production Taj - Divided by Blood, which depicts King Akbar's reign as he searches for a worthy successor.
The dramatisation of the subsequent generations' rise and decline highlights the great dynasty's beauty and brutality, as well as their love of the arts, poetry, and architecture and, at the same time, their remarkably cold-hearted decisions regarding their own family in the pursuit of power.
The cast includes Aditi Rao Hydari as Anarkali, Aashim Gulati as Prince Salim, Taha Shah as Prince Murad, Shubham Kumar Mehra as Prince Daniyal, Sandhya Mridul as Queen Jodha Bai, Zareena Wahab as Queen Salima, Sauraseni Maitra as Mehr un Nisa and Rahul Bose as Mirza Hakim.
The showrunner of Taj is William Borthwick, while Ronald Scalpello is the show's director and Simon Fantauzzo is its writer. On March 3, ZEE5 will start streaming Taj - Divided by Blood.