Shaheen Bagh: Chinks in India’s rule of law – Amar Bhushan

Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran

Amar BhushanShaheen Bagh demonstrators show a complete lack of empathy for fellow citizens in the neighbourhood colonies and for commuters, shopkeepers and roadside vendors whose daily life has been brought to a standstill. – Amar Bhushan

Prior to December 15, 2019, most people in Delhi and the rest of India would not have heard of Shaheen Bagh. Since then, it has acquired a unique notoriety. Hundreds of Muslim women, some old and very old, kids looking like zombies due to lack of sleep and mothers holding toddlers in arms have been squatting 24×7, on the main road near Shaheen Bagh that connects the city to Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. They want the “black law” (read CAA), NRC and NPR withdrawn, because if these get implemented, they will be expelled to detention camps as illegal immigrants. Their demand is inexplicable because the Citizenship Amendment Act does not take away their citizenship, NRC is not on the government’s agenda and NPR is like census that keeps getting updated since 1872, every 10 years.

The problem is not with squatters’ freedom from their grinding housekeeping or with their right to express dissent over the CAA, but with their complete lack of empathy for fellow citizens in the neighbourhood colonies, commuters, shopkeepers and roadside vendors whose daily life has been brought to a standstill. They are left to suffer because they have no voice, no courage to confront picketers and have no courts or police to rescue them from the blockade. In democratic India, it is perhaps the trespassers who have the right to define who will live where and how.

Shaheen Bagh has also created a new model of protest for forcing governments to accept demand. It is already being gleefully replicated in some cities in India and will surely cheer the habitual dissenters to organise agitations in future, accordingly. They only have to ensure that kids and women join the carnival in huge numbers, arrangements are made in advance to financially sustain protesters for a long period, rabble-rousers are regularly invited to give fiery speeches in support of their demand and location of the protest is so chosen that daily life of common man gets massively affected.

Thanks to this experiment, aura of the rule of law stands shredded in bits and pieces. Instead of clearing the blockade by using water cannon, teargas, pellets and opening fire, Delhi Police has been busy in counselling and begging protesting women to go back home. It is funny seeing them clutch on to the barricades, playing kabaddi with agitators. They appear lost, abandoned and desperate to return to their barracks. They cannot use force against women and kids, because the government fears, it will traumatise the social conscience of the nation, infuriate justices and evoke ridicule from human right activists in India and abroad. So, hell with the enforcement of law and maintenance of public order!

Indeed, the courts are angry with protesters for blocking the road but won’t issue clear directions. They want the police to enforce Section 144 judiciously but what is judicious, they won’t define. It is true, police have committed mistakes but like all institutions, they are also fallible. But instead of letting them perform their legitimate duties, every stakeholder has shackled them. It is dangerous because police are the only instrument that every civilised nation has, to ensure safety to masses from unruly few. – The New Indian Express, 23 February 2020

Amar Bhushan is a former special secretary of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), New Delhi.

Shaheen Bagh Protest


Ode to Shiva – Raji P. Shrivastava

Lord Shiva grinding bhang.

Raji P. Shrivastava“The scholarly hold this narrow view of you—that you are the sun, the moon, fire, air, water, space, earth, the self. But who knows the things that you are not?” — Pushpadanta

“Nada tanu manisham shankaram….” sang Tyagaraja, the Carnatic saint-composer, in an immortal ode to Shiva or Shankara, the Lord of Auspiciousness.

“I salute you, with my head and my mind, for you are the embodiment of nada (sound) and the essence of the Sama Veda. The sapta-swara or the seven notes, Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni emerge from your five faces—Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Tatpurusha, Ishana and Aghora.” Tyagaraja’s chosen deity was Ram, and his usual language of composition was Telugu, but here he employed some stunning Sanskrit epithets for Shiva.

Pushpadanta, a Gandharva, composed the Shiva Mahimna Stotram, a string of lyrical verses in praise of Shiva, where he noted, “The scholarly hold this narrow view of you—that you are the sun, the moon, fire, air, water, space, earth, the self. But who knows the things that you are not?” Shiva is the bestower of the most auspicious boons upon the Gods in heaven, despite the fact that his own possessions are seemingly inauspicious—the bull, a wooden hand-rest, an axe, a tiger skin, serpents, a human skull and ash smeared on his body. Shiva is beyond all delusions caused by the mirage of worldly life and therein lies his greatness.

Ravana, the ten-headed demon king of Lanka, whose pursuit of power was rivalled only by his legendary devotion to Shiva, realised that a different state of mind is needed to comprehend that sublime reality. “When will I be able to worship that eternal Shiva from a position of detached indifference towards a snake or a garland, precious gems or a clod of earth, friends or foes and a blade of grass or lotus-shaped eyes?” “Samapravartika kada sadashivam bhajamyaham?” he queried, in his famous composition, Shiva Tandava Stotram.

In the Vedas, obeisance is offered to Shiva in the form of Rudra. Curiously, the supreme ascetic is described as the wealth of the household and guardian deity of the home (vastavyaya cha vastupaya). Shiva as Rudra is worshipped as the sacred Om and the source of happiness in this life and in the hereafter. He confers bliss in this life and in the one beyond. The Rudram Chamakam, a powerful hymn from the Yajurveda, says that he is worshipped because he is auspicious—Shiva—but also because he is more auspicious—Shivatara—than any other thing.

Venerable seers or power-crazed demons, saintly musicians or divine minstrels, homemakers or office-goers—everyone connects with the Shiva within. The lyrics may differ and the settings may change, but the heart thrills with the instinctive realisation that we dance to an auspicious music deep within our souls—something very Shiva-like. – The Asian Age, 26 February 2014

› Raji P. Shrivastava is an IAS officer in Punjab. 

See Speaking of Shiva by A.K. Ramanujan

Lord Shiva meditating in bliss while Devi Parvati plays the vina.



The David Frawley Interview – Gaurie Dwivedi

David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri)

Gaurie Dwivedi“The only way India can truly honour its culture, tradition, history and civilisation is by building the Ram Mandir as a global heritage site. Not just in India, Hindus and tourists from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia—particularly Bali—will come to Ayodhya due to the reach and impact of Ramayana.” – Dr David Frawley

 The Bharatiya Janata Party has been unable to breach Arvind Kejriwal’s Delhi fortress second time in a row despite focusing heavily on national issues including the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the Shaheen Bagh protests. As we decode the Delhi mandate and its larger pan-India impact, we sit down with American Vedic guru and scholar, Dr David Frawley to understand how much the intensifying anti-CAA protests will impact the Indian polity and what his vision is of the proposed Ram Mandir. Edited excerpts:

Q : How do you read the Delhi results since BJP’s entire focus was on the anti CAA protests, but that issue could not connect with the electorate?

A: Delhi election seems to be a combination of many factors, both local and national. So while the BJP did see an increase in its vote share and number of seats as compared to the last election, there were other factors at play. This was not a national election but a local one. Local issues are something that have to be dealt with by the local BJP unit and not the national leadership and the Prime Minister. Also this is an election that had many other things, for instance, we saw what all Kejriwal did—he chanted Hanuman Chalisa, said “Bharat Mata ki Jai”. And some people were not happy with Kejriwal for doing all this in the election.

Q : Do you think the ongoing CAA protests had any bearing on the Delhi election?

A : Yes, the protests have had an impact. These have been backed by jihadists and Marxists. And that has now been very clearly exposed. The Amendment to the Citizenship Act is aimed to address the persecution of religious minorities in the Islamic countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and has no impact on Indian Muslims. It’s a false propaganda that was timed with the Delhi election. CAA is a pretext; protests are essentially about the construction of Ram Mandir and abrogation of Article 370 and that is what most people have now been able to understand. But the question that I ask is whether these protests are now going to work as intimidation or whether people will go against these protestors.

Q : Do you expect these protests to escalate given that it is being perceived that the Delhi mandate was a clear referendum on the CAA where it has been rejected?

A : These Shaheen Bagh protests can continue if they are peaceful. Around the world, protests keep happening on causes that people want to be associated with. But these will not escalate and will most certainly not last till the next election, which is Bihar. In the first term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi there were the “award wapsi” narrative and the “attacks” on churches in Delhi. These developments were well timed and almost immediately disappeared after elections, despite many believing it was very significant. In his second term, PM Modi has the CAA protests which are supported by Marxists and jihadi elements. “Award wapsi” didn’t matter in his first term, the CAA will not have an impact now. So these protests will continue in some form or the other. After the defeat in 2019, the forces supporting such protests have become more desperate and will now resort to anything. The Delhi result is not due to CAA but due to freebies being offered. Globally, governments cannot give grants just like that. In India, state governments can and they are doing so since they are reaping electoral dividends.

Q : What do you think about the issue of Ram Mandir that has been resolved now with the focus now shifting towards construction of the temple?

A :  The only way India can truly honour its culture, tradition, history and civilisation is by building the Ram Mandir as a global heritage site. Not just in India, Hindus and tourists from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia (particularly Bali), will come to Ayodhya due to the reach and impact of Ramayana. The temple premises in Ayodhya should be made into a seat of learning. People like Asaduddin Owaisi who have been making disparaging comments about the Supreme Court decision and the Hindu community should know that the Babri mosque was never a sacred site for Muslims around the world, but Ram Janmabhumi is sacred for every Hindu. In fact, I hope there should now be a movement towards reclaiming the other two holy sites of Hindus—Kashi and Mathura. It has to be a through process and I hope that it starts soon.

Q : You have been at the forefront of freeing Hindu temples from government control, but since this falls under the ambit of state governments how confident are you that this is possible?

A : Temples should not have to pay their revenues to states. Since they don’t take anything from mosques and churches, state should not be able to legally take anything from temples as well. I think the Sabarimala case could be a defining moment in the larger movement to free Hindu temples because there are legal issues there. Because the Hindus accept all religions but this is a specific sect issue. This is exactly what the Marxists have been saying all along—since Christians and Muslims also go to Sabarimala, they should also have a say in the overall management and policy of the temple. So in effect this is punishing the Hindus for being liberal. There are also larger issues related to specialized temples, temples for certain communities. The point is there is a far greater variety of temples in India and essentially that is not the domain of the courts.

Q : At a time when the Pakistani diaspora has become extremely active against India, like how they came in busloads to disrupt the Howdy, Modi! event in Houston or attacked the Indian High Commission in London last year, what do you think NRIs can do to correct the false narrative.

A : Most Indians are ideal immigrants—they are better educated, have higher per capita income, have higher amount of per capita asset ownership, have lower crime rate and contribute more to the GDP. However, unlike the Pakistanis, the Indian diaspora is not consolidated and does not vote. So despite being more in number, Indians in UK are not wooed the way Pakistanis are, simply because they are not voting together and most are not even voting. So my advice to all NRIs would be that they should organize themselves even better and should vote. Only then the Indian diaspora will go a long way in creating a very significant voice of India overseas. But till then Pakistanis will be the one getting more attention and kid glove treatment, whether in UK or in US. – Sunday Guardian Live – 15 February 2020

Shaheen Bagh Protest


Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi issue on the agenda of Vishwa Hindu Parishad – IANS

Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi

Indo-Asian News ServiceThe Gyanvapi Mosque, which adjoined the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1669 after allegedly demolishing a Hindu temple. – IANS

After getting a satisfactory verdict from the Supreme Court on Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has now shifted its focus on Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi and Krishna Temple in Mathura.

The VHP has called a meeting on 16 February to push for the demand and devise strategy on the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi.

The Gyanvapi Mosque shares a boundary wall with the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

A civil court in Varanasi will start hearing the Gyanvapi Temple-Masjid complex case from 17 February.

The VHP, which had earlier claimed that there is no plan to take up the causes of Kashi and Mathura, has now started pushing for them, emboldened by the Supreme Court verdict in Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Mosque case.

The VHP wants to free the Gyanvapi premises of the mosque which is situated near the temple.

Milind Parande, Secretary General of Vishva Hindu Parishad, though was guarded on response when asked about the issue, but said the Kashi Vishwanath temple is a symbol of Hindu religious identity, which cannot be abandoned.

The Hindu party in Gyanvapi Temple-Masjid complex case has sought an archaeological excavation on the temple premises in Varanasi.

The Gyanvapi Mosque, which adjoined the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1669 after allegedly demolishing a Hindu temple.

Hindus claim that the original Vishwanath Temple existed on the site of the alleged demolition. An application was filed by Hindus in the Varanasi district court in 1991 seeking ownership of the disputed site. The Muslim side is also a party in the case. – Swarajya, 13 February 2020

Aurangzeb's firman ordering the demolition of the Vishwanath Temple at Varanasi in August 1669 CE.

Aurangzeb’s firman ordering  demolition of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in August 1669 CE.


How the Mughals looted India – Rakesh Krishnan Simha

Mogul agent collecting the jizyah tax from Hindus.

Rakesh Krishnan SimhaIndia under Muslim occupation was a tributary of the Islamic empire. Incalculable amounts of wealth and numberless slaves were sent annually to the countries that India’s Muslim rulers owed allegiance to. – Rakesh Krishnan Simha

The drain of wealth out of India by the British is a well-known fact that has been meticulously recorded by historians and economists. However, the drain of wealth originally started with the Islamic invaders who carted off prodigious quantities of wealth to their Arab, Persian, Turkic and Central Asian homelands for a longer period than the British in India. Muslim invaders also carried away millions of Hindus as slaves and Muslim rulers exported Hindu slaves. India was the world’s leading economy from 1 CE to 1000 CE but in the second millennium it lost the top spot to China after the Islamic invaders razed India’s universities, disrupted the economic systems and caused havoc in religious and social life.

Not many realise that from the year 712 CE (when Sindh became the first Indian kingdom to be conquered by a Muslim army) to the middle of the 16th century, India was a part of the Islamic Caliphate. The areas of the country under Muslim occupation were tributaries of the Islamic empire. Incalculable amounts of wealth and numberless slaves were sent annually to the countries that India’s Muslim rulers owed allegiance to.

“This is how the money and resources, extracted from the sweat and toil of non-Muslim subjects of India, used to be siphoned to the treasuries of the Islamic Caliphate in Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo or Tashkent, to the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina, and to the pockets of the Muslim holy men throughout the Islamic world[1]. At the same time, the infidels of India were being reduced to awful misery,” writes M.A. Khan in Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery.

To their credit, the Mughals were the first Muslim dynasty in India to declare independence from the Islamic Caliphate. But this was not because of any love for India (on the contrary the first Mughal emperor Babur hated India so much that he stated his desire to be buried in Kabul after his death). The Mughals broke free because of two reasons. One, they had become too large and powerful to remain a subsidiary of a distant Caliphate; secondly, the hedonistic Mughal emperors did not want to send the greater portion of their vast wealth overseas when they could spend it all on themselves—no questions asked.

The quantum of wealth that flowed into the Mughal treasury was enormous. Here’s what the historian Abul Fazl wrote about India’s wealth: “In Iran and Turan, where only one treasurer is appointed, the accounts are in a confused state; but here in India, the amount of the revenues is so great, and the business so multifarious that 12 treasuries are necessary for storing the money, nine for the different kinds of cash-payments, and three for precious stones, gold, andinlaid jewellery. The extent of the treasuries is too great to admit of my giving a proper description with other matters before me.”[2]

However, contrary to the claims of leftists, liberals, and fraudsters like the Hindu-hating Audrey Truschke, the drain of wealth continued. The sending of tributes had ended but the one-way flow of India’s wealth kept going west in different forms. “Besides sending revenue and gifts to the caliphal headquarters of Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo or Tashkent from India, Islam’s holy cities of Mecca and Medina amongst others also received generous donations in money, gifts and presents even in the Mughal period, when the Indian rulers had declared their independence from foreign overlords,” explains M.A. Khan.


Mughal drain game

Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, in his autobiography Baburnama records the gifts and presents he had sent “in the cause of God” to the holy men of Samarkand, Khurasan, Mecca, and Medina.

Shortly after his victory over the last Delhi sultan Ibrahim Lodhi, which gave the Mughals the keys to the imperial treasury at Agra, Babur virtually emptied the treasury through his generosity, which of course extended only to Muslims.

Babur writes in his autobiography Baburnama: “Suitable money gifts were bestowed from the treasury on the whole army, to every tribe there was, Afghan, Hazara, Arab, Balluch, etc. to each according to its position. Every trader and student, indeed every man who had come with the army, took ample portion and share of bounteous gift and largess. And indeed to the whole various train of relations and younger children went masses of red and white (gold and silver), of planishing (furniture and furnishings), jewels and slaves.”[3]

Many gifts went to Babur’s extended family in his native Uzbekistan, modern Tajikistan, modern Xinjiang in China and Arabia. “Valuable gifts were sent for the various relations in Samarkand, Khurasan, Kashgar, and Iraq. To holy men belonging to Samarkand and Khurasan went offerings vowed to God; so too to Makka and Madina.”[3]

In Afghanistan, where Babur wandered many years during his youth, every single citizen was rewarded. The amount disbursed must have been huge. “We gave one shahrukhi (silver coin) for every soul in the country of Kabul and the valley-side of Varsak (in Afghanistan), man and woman, bond and free, of age or non-age.”[3]

Presents of jackets and silk dresses of honour, of gold and silver, of household furnishings and various goods, were given to those from Andijan, Uzbekistan, and to those who had come from Sukh and Hushlar, “the places whither we had gone landless and homeless”. Gifts of the same kind were given to the servants of Qurban and Shaikhl and the peasants of Kahmard (in Afghanistan).[4]

It is clear that hearing of Babur’s windfall, multitudes of Central Asians and Afghans had traveled to Delhi to claim cash, material gifts and slaves. Those who couldn’t trudge the vast distance were supplied cash in the comfort of their homes.

According to the Persian historian Firishta, “Babur left himself stripped so bare by his far-flung largesse that he was nick-named Qalandar.”

Haj windfall

Modern India’s secular rulers granted hundreds of crores for Indian Muslims to perform the Haj. This annual ripoff continued for decades. This involved building an entire Haj terminal in Mumbai. Despite the unconstitutionality—and blatant hypocrisy—of secular governments catering to a purely religious pilgrimage, the appeasement continues. Several Indian states, including Delhi, have spent vast sums to construct Haj houses. However, all these efforts by Hindu dhimmis pale before the Mughal Haj tours.

During the Mughal era on an average 15,000 pilgrims, every year visited Mecca to perform Haj. According to a Mughal official, these pilgrims went on Haj “at great public expense, with gold and goods and rich presents”. Mughal emperors sponsored the pilgrimage to “stand out as defenders of Islam”.[5]

This religious sponsorship began after Akbar conquered Gujarat in 1573 and the Mughal Empire got access to the port of Surat. An imperial edict proclaimed that “the traveling expenses of anybody who might intend to perform the pilgrimage to the Sacred Places should be paid”.[5]

In 1576, a Mughal Haj caravan left Agra with its party of sponsored pilgrims and an enormous donation of Rs 600,000.[6] To understand how large this amount was, the average salary of a chariot driver that year was Rs 3.50 per month and a barber earned Rs 0.50 a month.

In 1577, another Haj caravan left with a double bounty of Rs 500,000 and Rs 100,000 for the Sharif of Mecca, who was a descendant of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hasan ibn Ali.

These gargantuan amounts of money caused many poor people from all over the Muslim world to flock to Mecca in 1577-78 to share the alms bonus.[6]

However, with great wealth comes great temptation. In 1582, Akbar discontinued the sponsored pilgrimage because of massive corruption both in Mecca and among his courtiers who were siphoning funds allocated for the Meccans.

Akbar’s great charities didn’t protect him from his own son Jehangir, who poisoned him to death. The new Mughal emperor reinstituted the sponsored tours. In 1622, Rs 200,000 was allocated for Haj.[7]

Jahangir writes in his autobiography Tarikh-i-Salim Shahi: “During the reign of my father, the ministers of religion and students of law and literature, to the number of two and three thousand, in the principal cities of the empire, were already allowed pensions from the state; and to these, in conformity with the regulations established by my father, I directed Miran Sadr Jahan one of the noblest among the Seyeds of Herat, to allot a subsistence corresponding with their situation; and this is not only to the subjects of my own realms, but to foreigners—to natives of Persia, Roum, Bokhara, and Azerbaijan, with strict charge that this class of men should not be permitted either want or inconvenience of any type.”[8]

Jehangir’s son and successor Shah Jahan was the least religious of the Mughal emperors. Although devoted to a life of luxury, debauchery and extravagant monument building, he too did his bit for the Ummah. Shah Jahan despatched to Mecca an amber candlestick covered with a network of gold and inlaid with gems and diamonds by his own artisans. It was a most gorgeous piece of work turned out by the craftsmen, worth Rs 2.5 lakh.[9]

Lavish gifts were also sent by other notables such as Mufti Ahmed Saeed, who in 1650 dispatched a diamond-studded candlestick and a 100-carat diamond.

Aurangzeb and his apologist Audrey Truschke

Aurangzeb : A cut above

The cruel and fanatic Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was perhaps the biggest Indian donor to Muslim lands. During the years 1661-67, he received at his court the kings of Persia, Balkh (in Afghanistan), Bukhara, Kashgar (in Xinjiang, China), Urganj (Khiva) and Shahr-i-Nau (in Iran), and the Turkish governors of Basra (in Iraq).

According to the Cambridge History of India, “His policy was to dazzle the eyes of these princes by lavish gift of presents to them and to their envoys and thus induce the outer Muslim world to forget his treatment of his father and brothers. The fame of India as a soft milch cow spread throughout the middle and near East, and the minor embassies were merely begging expeditions.”[10]

On the embassies received and the return-embassies sent out, Aurangzeb spent in presents nearly Rs 3 million in the course of seven years, besides the large sums which he annually distributed at Mecca and the gift of Rs 1 million to Abdullah Khan, the deposed king of Kashgar, who had taken refuge in India in 1668 and died at Delhi in 1675.[11]

The Sharif of Mecca, in particular, used to send his agents to the Delhi court every year with the object of levying contributions in the name of the Prophet, till Aurangzeb’s patience was worn out and he stopped all donations to the Sharif. However, the flow of cash to Mecca continued—Aurangzeb sent his gifts to scholars and mendicants through his own agents.

Ripoff artists from the Islamic crescent

Mughal gift-giving was a purely one-way street as far as the flow of wealth was concerned because the return gifts were pretty pathetic or at best ordinary and base. This is illustrated by an episode from the travelogue of Francois Bernier, the Frenchman who spent a considerable length of time in Delhi.

In 1664, the Christian monarch of Ethiopia sent an embassy represented by two ambassadors—an Armenian Christian named Murat and a Muslim merchant. They arrived in Delhi with the following “gifts”—a mule skin, the horn of an ox, some arrack and a few famished and half-naked African slaves.

Upon receiving them, Aurangzeb presented the embassy with a brocade sash, a silken and embroidered girdle, and a turban of the same materials and workmanship; and gave orders for their maintenance in the city. Later at an audience, he invested each with another sash and made them a present of Rs 6,000. However, the fanatic that he was, Aurangzeb divided the money unequally—“the Mahomaten receiving four thousand rupees, and Murat, because of [being] a Christian, only two thousand”.[12]

And that wasn’t the end of Aurangzeb’s largesse. The cunning merchant solemnly promised Aurangzeb that he would urge his king to permit the repair of a mosque in Ethiopia, which had been destroyed by the Portuguese. Hearing this, the emperor gave the ambassadors Rs 2,000 more in anticipation of this service.[13]

Another interesting embassy came from the Uzbek Tatars. The two envoys and their servants brought some boxes of lapis-lazuli, a few long-haired camels, several horses, some camel loads of fresh fruit, such as apples, pears, grapes, and melons, and many loads of dry fruit.

The embassy which was led by two Tatars is described by Bernier as remarkable for the “filthiness of their persons”. He adds: “There are probably no people more narrow-minded, sordid, or unclean than the Uzbek Tatars.”

But to Aurangzeb—who otherwise took the greatest offence at the smallest of slights—the wretched condition of the stinking embassy was a minor inconvenience that could be easily overlooked. All that mattered was that the beneficiaries were Muslims. So, in the presence of all his courtiers, he invested each of them with two rich sashes and Rs 8,000 in cash. Plus, a large number of the richest and most exquisitely wrought brocades, a quantity of fine linens, silk material is interwoven with gold and silver, a few carpets, and two daggers set with precious stones.

According to the Twitter handle True Indology, in total Aurangzeb sent Rs 70 lakh to Muslim countries in six years. “This amount was almost twice the total revenue of England,” he writes. “This wasn’t foreign diplomacy since nothing but Islamic relics ever came back in return. The same Aurangzeb hanged to trees all Indian peasants who had defaulted on tax.”

Reality of Mughal rule

Leftist and secular historians are right about one thing—the Mughals were the richest dynasty of their time. But wealth has never been the yardstick for greatness. What they don’t see is the reality hiding in plain sight—India under the Mughals was one of the most miserable countries in the world. The relentless wars of the Mughals, in particular, Aurangzeb’s 28-year war of attrition with the Marathas, and the loot of the peasantry were the prime reasons why the Indian economy was in tatters. In contrast to the previous Hindu rulers who taxed the farmers just 16 percent of the total production, the Mughal tax rate was 30-50 percent, plus some additional cesses.[14]

As Bernier observed, gold and silver “are not in greater plenty here than elsewhere; on the contrary, the inhabitants have less the appearance of a moneyed people than those of many other parts of the globe”. This is perhaps the greatest indictment of Mughal rule—that the richest empire in the world also had the greatest mass of poor citizens.

Even during Jehangir’s time, the English ambassador Thomas Roe had noted the backwardness of the countryside. While his eyes dazzled at the mountains of diamonds, rubies and pearls displayed in the Mughal court, he also noted the generally large number of destitute people—all along the route from Surat to Delhi.

Under Aurangzeb’s rule, the condition of the people worsened. It is “a tyranny often so excessive as to deprive the peasant and artisan of the necessaries of life, and leave them to die of misery and exhaustion,” writes Bernier.[15]

“It is owing to this miserable system of government that most towns in Hindustan are made up of earth, mud, and other wretched materials; that there is no city or town which, if it be not already ruined and deserted, does not bear evident marks of approaching decay.”[16]

A significant reason for India’s growing backwardness under the Mughals—as it was under the previous Sultanate Period of 334 years—was a predatory and unsustainable economic system institutionalised by India’s new rulers who had supplanted the country’s ancient Hindu royal houses.

“Labourers perish due to bad treatment from governors. Children of poor are carried away as slaves. Peasantry abandons the country driven by despair. As the land throughout the whole empire is considered the property of the sovereign, there can be no earldoms, marquisates or duchies. The royal grants consist only of pensions, either inland or money, which the king gives, augments, retrenches or takes away at pleasure.”[17]

According to historian K.S. Lal, All the resources available in India were fully exploited to provide comforts and luxuries to the Muslim ruling and religious classes. “Muslim chronicles vouch for this fact. They also vouch for the fact that the enjoyment of the Muslim elite was provided mainly by the poorest peasants through a crushing tax system.”[18]

Shah Jahan & Mumtaz Mahal

Disconnect from the people

An episode from Shah Jahan’s life shows the contempt the Mughal court had for the people they ruled over and whose toil ensured their luxurious lifestyles.

In March 1628 a grand feast was held on the occasion of Nauroz, the Persian new year. All the grandees of the Empire were invited to participate. The members of the royal family were granted gifts and titles. Mumtaz Mahal, the imperial consort, was the recipient of the richest reward: she has granted Rs 50 lakh from the public treasury. His daughter Jahan Ara received Rs 20 lakh and her sister Raushan Ara, Rs 5 lakh.

During the period February-March alone, Shah Jahan expended altogether Rs 1 crore and 60 lakh from the public treasury in granting rewards and pensions.[19]

Two years later a terrible famine hit the kingdoms of Golconda, Ahmednagar, Gujarat and parts of Malwa, claiming the lives of more than 7.4 million citizens of the Mughal Empire. This makes it even greater than the British engineered famine of 1943 that killed between three and seven million Indians. The scale of the disaster was recorded by a lawyer of the Dutch East India Company who left an eyewitness account.[20]

The Mughal induced famine was a direct result of Shah Jahan’s scorched earth policies in his wars against the southern, western and central Indian kingdoms. To illustrate, when Mughal forces marched into Bijapur, they were ordered to “ravage the country from end to end”[21] and “not to leave one trace of cultivation in that country”.[22]

Corpses piled up along the highways of the empire as millions of hungry people were on the march looking for food. Proud fathers offered their sons free as slaves so the young may live but found no takers. Mothers drowned themselves in rivers along with their daughters.

In the backdrop of this disaster, the amount Shah Jahan distributed for famine relief was a paltry Rs 100,000. It was 10 percent of what he gave his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal as her fixed annual maintenance. His imperial treasury had Rs 6 crore in cash. The Taj Mahal cost more than Rs 4 crore to build. The famous Peacock Throne, covered with pearls and diamonds including the legendary Koh-i-Noor, was valued at Rs 3 crore.

If the reign of Rama, Ashoka (in his later years) and Harshavardhana could be considered the acme of generosity, the Mughal government was the exact opposite. Mughal rule was purely for the pleasure of the royal court, the emperor’s family and the vast harems. The total expense of the Mughal state plus autonomous princelings and chiefs was about 15-18 percent of national income, writes the economist Angus Maddison.[23]

By one estimate, as many as 21 million people (out of a total population of approximately 150 million) constituted the predatory Mughal ecosystem—the court, family, army, harems, servants, slaves and eunuchs who produced nothing and only consumed. “As far as the economy was concerned, the Moghul state apparatus was parasitic,” writes Maddison.[24] It was a regime of warlord predators which was less efficient than European feudalism. “The Moghul state and aristocracy put their income were largely unproductive. Their investments were made in two main forms: hoarding precious metals and jewels.”

This large parasitic body was a huge drag on India. Bernier says the artisans who manufactured the luxury goods for the Mughal aristocracy were almost always on starvation wages. Incredibly, the price of what these artisans produced was determined by the buyers. Failure to comply often meant imprisonment or death. Similarly, the weavers who spun the world’s finest brocades and garments went about half-naked.

Destruction of agriculture

The Mughal Empire was essentially agrarian in nature. “The Timurid dynasty’s wealth and power was based upon its ability to tap directly into the agrarian productivity of the Indian sub-continent,” writes American historian J.F. Richards. “Trade, manufacture and other taxes were much less important to the imperial revenues than agriculture, most estimates putting them at less than 10% of the total.”[25]

And how did the Mughals treat this critical sector on which the vast majority of Indians depended for their livelihood? Agriculture, in which India had excelled since ancient times as per Greek accounts, was in a terrible state under Aurangzeb. According to Bernier, “Of the vast tracts of country constituting the empire of Hindustan, many are little more than sand, or barren mountains, badly cultivated and thinly peopled; and even a considerable portion of the good land remains untilled from want of labourers; many of whom perish in consequence of the bad treatment they experience from the governors.”[26]

“These poor people, when incapable of discharging the demands of their rapacious lords, are not only often deprived of the means of subsistence, but are bereft of their children, who are carried away as slaves. Thus it happens that many of the peasantry, driven to despair by so execrable a tyranny, abandon the country, and seek a more tolerable mode of existence, either in the towns, or camps; as bearers of burdens, carriers of water, or servants to horsemen. Sometimes they fly to the territories of a raja, because there they find less oppression, and are allowed a greater degree of comfort.”[26]

Modern Indian historians concur that the Mughals were nothing less than rapacious. “The Mughal state was an insatiable Leviathan,” writes T. Raychaudhuri in State and the Economy: The Mughal empire. The result according to him was a peasantry consistently reduced to subsistence.

In 1963, Irfan Habib published The Agrarian System of Mughal India: 1556–1707 in which he viewed the Mughals as essentially extractive in character, taking the entire surplus from the farmers. Habib, a stridently anti-Hindu academic, states that the Mughal share of the crop varied between one third and one half, according to fertility. On top of this, the zamindars’ share amounted nominally to 10 percent of the land revenue in northern India and 25 percent in Gujarat.[27]

Irrigation, the lifeblood of agriculture, was neglected. According to Maddison, the irrigated area was small. There were some public irrigation works “but in the context of the economy as a whole these were unimportant and probably did not cover more than 5 percent of the cultivated land of India”.[28]

However, it would be incorrect to say the Mughals did nothing for agriculture. They built a mighty canal that transformed the geography and economy of a vast area, bringing prosperity to what used to be a barren desert. Unfortunately, it was not in India, but in Iraq.

In the late 1780s, even as the Mughal Empire was tottering under the blows of the Marathas, the chief minister of Awadh, Hasan Raza Khan, made a contribution of Rs 500,000 towards the construction of a canal known as the Hindiya Canal. When it was completed in 1803, it brought water to Najaf.

Lahore based historian Khaled Ahmed writes: “So big was the diversion of the water from the Euphrates that the river changed course. The canal became a virtual river and transformed the arid zone between the cities of Najaf and Karbala into fertile land that attracted the Sunni Arab tribes to settle there and take to farming.”[29]

What it boils down to is that while the Mughals did not build a single canal in India in 350 years, they built a life-changing one in Arabia. And that was in the 1780s when the Mughal Empire was a vassal of the Marathas, and the British had captured large swaths of its eastern territories. Even in such a desperate situation, when they were on the verge of being ousted from Delhi, the Mughals saw fit to sneak money out of India.

Is further proof required to nail the lie that Mughals did not loot India’s wealth?

The Mughals were Muslims first and Muslims last. For better or for worse, their legacy continues to impact the Muslims of the subcontinent. As Khaled Ahmed says, “The custodian of the seminarian complex of Najaf and the mausoleum of Caliph Ali is a Pakistani grand ayatollah, appointed to his top position in deference to the fact that Najaf and Karbala were developed as a habitable economic zone by the Shia rulers of North India.”[29]

Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji

Mughals: The original racists

The Mughals are a misnamed dynasty—they are not Mongols or from Mongolia but are a Turkic people. The dynasty is more accurately described by early Western historians as the House of Timur. Babur’s homeland being Samarkand in Uzbekistan, the core of the Mughal court remained Uzbek, Central Asian and Persian (plus a smattering of Arabs and Turks) till the dynasty was extinguished in 1857. More significantly, the language of the Mughal harem was Turkic and that of the Mughal court was Farsi. There was very little that was Indian about it.

The Mughal harem was continuously replenished by fresh infusion of Turkic clansmen and brides coming in from Central Asia, mostly Uzbekistan. All that a dirt-poor Uzbek or Azerbaijani needed to do in order to become a noble was move to Delhi where he would be welcomed with cash, costly gifts, a large estate, countless slaves, a guaranteed annual income and a grand title. As the various independent accounts show, these new arrivals sent back to their extended family, friends and religious heads in Central Asia, vast quantities of wealth from their Indian jackpot.

While Hindus, barring a few Rajput kings who had allied themselves with the Mughals, lived a wretched existence, even the newly converted Indian Muslims were treated with contempt by the Mughals. As Bernier observes: “It should be added, however, that children of the third and fourth generation, who have the brown complexion, and the languid manner of this country of their nativity, are held in much less respect than newcomers, and are seldom invested with official situations; they consider themselves happy if permitted to serve as private soldiers in the infantry or cavalry.”

To illustrate, one of Babur’s premier commanders, Khwaja Kalan, was known for his open dislike of India. While returning to his homeland, as a parting shot, he had the following couplet inscribed on the wall of his residence in Delhi:[30]

If safe and sound I cross the Sind,
Blacken my face ere I wish for Hind!

Clearly, by their actions and words, the Mughals remained a foreign occupying dynasty which was rooted in India only to live off the land. While contributing little to the country’s well-being, these parasitic rulers did everything to increase the people’s misery.

As Rukhsana Iftikhar of the University of Punjab, Lahore, observes in her study titled Historical Fallacies, in the reign of Shah Jahan, 36.5 percent of the entire assessed revenue of the empire was assigned to 68 princes and amirs and a further 25 percent to 587 officers. That is, 62 percent of the total revenue of the empire was arrogated by 665 individuals. Therefore, the Mughal period was a golden age only for kings, princes and some individuals. The subjects of Hindustan, the real custodians of this state, were lucky if they had a loaf of bread.[31] – PGurus, 4 January 2010

Rakesh Krishnan Simha is a New Zealand-based journalist and foreign affairs analyst. His articles have been quoted extensively by national and international defence journals and in books on diplomacy, counter terrorism, warfare, and development of the global south.

Mogul Empire


  1. The highjacking of the Ganj-i Sawaʼi – British Library
  2. Abul Fazl, Ain-i-Akbari, The Imperial Treasuries – Persian Packhum
  3. Vol II, page 22, Annette Beveridge, Baburnama,
  4. Vol II, page 529, Annette Beveridge, Baburnama,
  5. John Slight, The British Empire and the Hajj – Harvard Edu
  6. Wollebrandt Geleynssen, National Archives –  Books Google
  7. John Slight, The British Empire and the Hajj – Harvard Edu
  8. Tarikh-i-Salim Shahi, page 16 – Books Google
  9. Radhakamal Mukerjee, Economic History of India, page 92 – Sagepub
  10. Edward James Rapson, Wolseley Haig, Richard Burn, The Cambridge History of India, page 229 –
  11. Edward James Rapson, Wolseley Haig, Richard Burn, The Cambridge History of India, page 229 –
  12. Francois Bernier, Travels in the Mogul Empire, page 139
  13. Francois Bernier, Travels in the Mogul Empire, page 140
  14. Irfan Habib, Agrarian System of Mughal India, 1556–1707, page 38 – Books Google
  15. Francois Bernier, Travels in the Mogul Empire, page 226
  16. Francois Bernier, Travels in the Mogul Empire, page 227
  17. Francois Bernier, Travels in the Mogul Empire, page 5
  18. K.S. Lal, Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India, Chapter 5 – Books Google
  19. S.M. Jaffar, The Mughal Empire From Babar To Aurangzeb, Page 228
  20. A famine in Surat in 1631 and Dodos on Mauritius: a long lost manuscript rediscovered – Euppublishing
  21. Muhammad Amin Kazwini, Padshah-nama, page 57 – Books Google
  22. Muhammad Amin Kazwini, Padshah-nama, page 135 – Books Google
  23. Angus Maddison, The Moghul Economy and Society, Chapter 2, Class Structure and Economic Growth: India & Pakistan since the Moghuls, (1971), page 5
  24. Angus Maddison, The Moghul Economy and Society, Chapter 2, Class Structure and Economic Growth: India & Pakistan since the Moghuls, (1971), page 6
  25. J.F. Richards, “Fiscal States in India Over the Long-Term: Sixteenth Through Nineteenth Centuries, 2001, page 4 –
  26. Francois Bernier, Travels in the Mogul Empire, page 225
  27. Irfan Habib, Agrarian System of Mughal India, 1556–1707, page 38 – Books Google
  28. Angus Maddison, The Moghul Economy and Society, Chapter 2, Class Structure and Economic Growth: India & Pakistan since the Moghuls, (1971), page 5
  29. The Shia of Iraq and the South Asian Connection – Criterion-quarterly
  30. Vol II, page 36, Annette Beveridge, Baburnama,
  31. Rukhsana Iftikhar, Historical Fallacies, South Asian Studies, A Research Journal of South Asian Studies Vol 28, No. 2, July – December 2013, page 367

See also

  1. Aurangzeb’s temple-breaking legacy according to Mughal records – FACT-India

How the Moguls secured their income from the dhimma state of Hind.


Nicolas Notovitch and the Jesus-in-India tale – D.M. Murdock

Issa and the Giant's Skull (1932) Nicholas Roerich

D. M. Murdock / Acharya S.“Despite the popularity of the Jesus-in-India tale, the claim is not accepted by mainstream authorities, either Christian or secular. … It is not a question of a “historical Jesus” being in India and the East but of a variety of solar cults that worshipped a similar deity with similar rituals, doctrines and myths.” – D.M. Murdock 

Jesus with wife Mary Magdalene and KidsThe Myth of the Lost Years

Over the centuries, the claim has repeatedly been made that Jesus Christ not only walked the earth but also spent his early and post-crucifixion years in a variety of places, including Egypt, India, Great Britain, Japan and America. Indeed, traditions maintain that Jesus, the great godman of the West, lived, learned, loved and died in such places. Popular modern literature also purports that Jesus sired children, who then became the ancestors of various royal families of Europe, including France and/or elsewhere, depending on the author.

The allegation of Christ being a kingly progenitor is extremely convenient and useful for European royal families, obviously. Unfortunately for the European claimants, however, India also has a tradition that Jesus went there and likewise fathered children. So too does Shingo, Japan, allege that Jesus ended up there after the crucifixion, having children with a Japanese wife. Other tales depict Jesus “walking the Americas” or bopping about Glastonbury, England, with his “uncle,” Joseph of Arimathea. Not all of these tales can be true, obviously, unless Jesus is polymorphous and phantasmagoric, a perspective that in reality represents that of the mythologist or mythicist. To wit, regardless of these fables, or, rather, because of them, the most reasonable conclusion regarding Jesus and where he may or may not have been is that he is a mythical character, not a historical personage who trotted the globe.

Jesus the YogiThe Groovy Guru

According to legend, Jesus, the great Jewish sage, spent his “lost years,” from between the ages of around 12 to 28 or 30, in India, where, per another tradition, he also escaped after surviving the crucifixion. The Jesus-was-a-guru tale was popularized over a century ago by the Russian traveler Nicolas Notovitch. Notovitch asserted that in 1887, while at the secluded Hemis or Himis monastery in Ladakh/Tibet, he was shown a manuscript which discussed the “unknown life” of Jesus, or “Issa,” as he was supposedly called in the East. This “Issa” text, translated for Notovitch from Tibetan by a monk/lama, alleged that during his “lost years” Jesus was educated by yogis in India, Nepal and “the Himalaya Mountains.”

Stating that he felt the manuscript to be “true and genuine,” Notovich maintained its contents were written “immediately after the Resurrection,” while the manuscript itself purportedly dated from the third century of the Common Era. Notovitch related that the “two manuscripts” he was shown at Himis were “compiled from diverse copies written in the Thibetan tongue, translated from rolls belonging to the Lassa library and brought from India, Nepal, and Maghada 200 years after Christ.” (Notovitch, 44)

Notovitch’s story was challenged by a number of people, which served to popularize it further. Noted Sanskrit scholar Max Müller came down hard on Notovitch, concluding that either the Russian had never gone to Tibet in the first place, and had concocted the Jesus story, or that waggish Buddhist monks had played a trick on Notovitch, as Indian priests had done in a notorious instance concerning the Asiatic Research Society’s Colonel Wilford. Others subsequently journeyed to Himis/Hemis and witnessed repeated denial by the lamas that Notovitch had ever been there or that any such manuscript existed. In 1922, Indian scholar and swami Abhedananda eventually determined for himself by visiting Himis, gaining the confidence of the lamas and having the manuscript revealed to him. Other visitors to Himis, such as mystic Nicholas Roerich, verified the same story. Aspects of Notovitch’s story checked out, and he apparently did indeed stay at Himis and was shown a manuscript relating to “Issa.”

Notovitch claimed that Indian merchants brought the account of “Jesus” to Himis, and that they had actually witnessed the crucifixion. Indeed, the text begins with “This is what is related on this subject by the merchants who come from Israel,” reflecting not that “Jesus” lived in India but that the Jesus tradition was brought to India and Tibet. (Notovitch, 32) Notovitch’s text also did not state that Jesus was specifically at Himis: In fact, the lama stated that the Issa scrolls “were brought from India to Nepal, and from Nepal to Thibet.” Yet, upon returning to Himis through later visitors, the story eventually became morphed into “Your Jesus was here,” meaning at Himis itself. The “one book” or “two manuscripts” became “three books,” which were displayed for the later visitors, with the implication that there was more to the tale.

Nicolas NotovichAlthough subsequent visitors were presented such texts, none but Nicholas Roerich’s son, George, could read them. By his translation, Roerich was evidently shown the same text as Notovitch. Thus, it appears that there was only one text at Himis, and that it did not state that Issa himself was ever at the monastery. Furthermore, that one text is based on hearsay provided by passing merchants and does not at all represent an “eyewitness” account of “Jesus” in India and Tibet, although the impression is given that this and other texts do constitute such records.

Also, Notovitch asked if “Issa” was reputed to be a saint, and was informed that “the people ignore his very existence” and that the lamas who have studied the scrolls “alone know of him.” These remarks are a far cry from Roerich’s claim that the tale of “Christ” in India and other parts of Asia was to be found widespread. They also contradict the Tibetan text’s own assertion that Issa’s “fame spread everywhere” and that Persia and surrounding countries “resounded with prophecies” of Issa, thus causing the Persian priesthood to be terrified of him. This latter element sounds like typical myth-making, especially since there were similar prophecies of godmen for centuries, if not millennia, prior to Christ’s purported advent, particularly in India.

Moreover, the “originals” of the scrolls housed at the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, were composed in Pali, while the Himis library contained one copy in Tibetan. Yet, the Tibetan alphabet was developed by the king who “reigned in the days of Mohammed”; hence, nothing could have been written in Tibetan prior to the 7th century. Although older texts were composed in Sanskrit or Pali, it is clear that the actual physical manuscript revealed to Notovitch could not have existed before the 7th century. In fact, it would appear that very few Tibetan texts date to before the 9th century. In any event, the manuscript itself certainly did not date from the third century, although it could represent tradition transmitted over the centuries.

While Notovitch claimed the Issa story dated to shortly after “the Resurrection,” in it there is no mention of the resurrection, and the tale ends with Issa’s death. In this regard, the text depicts the “Jews,” whom it calls “Israelites,” in a favorable light, and is “the only [manuscript] ever to charge the Romans [“pagans”] solely for Jesus’ execution.” Unlike others, this account does not have Jesus being resuscitated and then returning to India, to father children and live a long life.

Notovitch’s modern editor, Frank Muccie, relates that the manuscript states, “Pilate is responsible for removing Jesus’ body from the tomb,” noting that this development somehow does not “mean the resurrection hope is invalid.” He then says:

“By the third century A.D., there were no fewer than 25 different versions of Jesus’ death and resurrection! Some have him not being put to death at all, some have him revived back to life, and some have Jesus living on to old age and dying in Egypt!” (Notovitch, 6)

Obviously, not all of these 25 or more accounts can be “true and genuine,” and such a development casts doubt on the historicity of one and all.

Rozabal TombThe Rozabal Tomb

Moreover, it is interesting that Notovitch spent six days in the “Vale of Kashmir,” in its capital, Srinagar, “city of the sun,” where the purported tomb of “Jesus,” the wandering prophet Yuz Asaf, is shown to tourists. Yet, the Russian traveler apparently never heard of the tomb, known as the “Roza Bal” or “Rauzabal” shrine, as he does not mention it in his writings concerning the Tibetan text, where its inclusion certainly would have been judicious in demonstrating that Jesus lived in India! Perhaps, however, as a believing Christian Notovitch ignored this tale, much as the devout do today and much as skeptics may do with other fables concerning Christ.

Possessing the priestly touch of sculpted footprints “with nail marks” over the grave, the Roza Bal shrine may seem convincing to the uninitiated, who are unaware of the world’s well-developed priest-craft. This “artifact” is another in a long line of so-called relics, like the 20+ shrouds or the multiple foreskins of Christ. In reality, there were many “footprints of the gods” in ancient times—and a number of Indian gods are depicted with nail holes in their feet.

Also, “Yuz Asaf” is not equivalent to “Jesus” but to “Joseph,” which was often a title of a priest and not a name. In fact, Eastern scholars such as Dr. S. Radhakrishnan state that the name “Joseph” or “Joasaph” is “derived from Bodhisattva, the technical name for one destined to obtain the dignity of a Buddha.” (Prajnanananda, 107) Thus, this tomb of a Bodhisattva could belong to any of thousands of such holy men. In like regard, the purported graves of “Jesus” and “his brother” in Japan are in reality those of a 16th-century Christian missionary and his brother.

The legends regarding Jesus’s tomb in Srinagar, and that of the Virgin Mary in Kashgar, are apparently of Islamic origin, emanating largely from the “heretical” Ahmadiyya sect. Such a creation would serve a couple of purposes: 1. That, as asserted in the Koran, Jesus was not the “son of God” but a mortal prophet, whose body was buried in Kashmir; and 2. that some presumably Muslim people are his descendants.

Proponents of the Jesus-in-India theory hold up a number of other texts and artifacts they maintain “prove” not only Jesus’s existence on Earth but also his presence in India. When such texts and artifacts are closely examined, they serve as no evidence at all, except of priest-craft. With one or two possible exceptions originating to a few centuries earlier, the Eastern texts regarding “Issa” seem to be late writings, some dating to the 15th and 18th centuries, based on traditions, not eyewitness accounts. Some of the “documents” are obviously fictitious, and others are downright ridiculous, such as the Bhavishya Mahapurana. A number of these texts merely relate the basic gospel story with embellishments depending on what the storyteller is attempting to accomplish.

Tibetan monk holding scrollsBuddhist Propaganda or Christian Proselytizing?

Although some of the writings appear to be of Hindu origin, the attack by “Issa” on the Vedas and Brahmans, as in the Notovitch text, represents Buddhist propaganda. It appears that Buddhists were trying to demonstrate that Jesus, the great wise man of the West, was influenced by Buddhism, even having been taught by “Buddha,” an eternal disincarnate entity. In this regard, the Notovitch text states, “Six years later, Issa, whom the Buddha had chosen to spread his holy word, could perfectly explain the sacred rolls.” (Notovitch, 35) In this way, Buddha usurps Jesus, becoming the Jewish teacher’s guru.

That the text has been used as propaganda to raise Buddha and Buddhism over Christ and Christianity is further validated by Notovitch’s foreword, in which he related that the lama told him, “The only error of the Christians is that after adopting the great doctrine of Buddha, they, at the very outset, completed separated themselves from him and created another Dalai-Lama….” This “Dalai-Lama,” the monk subsequently informed the Russian, is the Pope. Concerning Christ, the lama continued, “Buddha did, indeed, incarnate himself with his intelligence in the sacred person of Issa, who, without the aid of fire and sword, went forth to propagate our great and true religion through the entire world.” (Notovitch, 20) Hence, Eastern traditions regarding Jesus are designed to show that Jesus is Buddha and that Christianity is an offshoot of ancient Eastern wisdom.

Nevertheless, the Notovitch text itself may have been composed originally by proselytizing Christians who attempted to use the natives’ belief in Buddha in order to increase Christ’s stature. These missionaries may have been appealing to women to follow “Issa,” as the text puts great emphasis on women, whose status in India and elsewhere has been abysmally low. The text would also appeal to the Sudras or Pariahs, since it has Issa preaching on their behalf. These groups are targeted to this day by Christian missionaries in India.

Considering that many missionaries, travelers and scholars have been keenly aware of the numerous and profound similarities between the Tibetan and Catholic religions, it would not be surprising if this Issa fable were created in order to show that the Tibetan religion is merely a foreign derivative of the “true universal religion,” i.e., Catholicism. The resemblances between various Indian sects and Christianity likewise led to tales about the Christian missionaries Thomas, Bartholomew and Pantaenus also proselytizing in India. Like the Jesus-in-India myth, there are other explanations for the resemblances, which are addressed in detail in my book Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled. In short, the major explanation is that the “Christian” religion and savior were already in India long before the alleged advent of Jesus.

Lord ShivaIs “Issa” Jesus—or Shiva?

By calling Issa “Jesus” or “Christ,” modern writers have cemented in the readers’ minds that the correlation is absolute, an erroneous conclusion. In reality, the name “Issa,” “Isa” or “Isha” is a title and simply means “lord,” “god” or “master,” often referring to the Indian god Lord Shiva: “‘Isha’ or ‘the Lord’ is another name of Siva…” (Prajnanananda, 19) Furthermore, Prof. Nunos de Santos says, “… a god variously named Issa, Isha, Ichtos, Iesus, Ieshuah, Joshuah, Jesus, etc., is indisputably originally from India.” He also states, “Ishvara (Ishwar) is widely worshipped in the Far East, being also called Isha (or Ishana) in India, Issara in Pali, Isuan in Thai, Jizu (or Jizai) in Japanese, and so on.”

“Isa” is likewise another name for Chandra, the Indian moon god, as well as for Shiva’s Egyptian counterpart, the soli-lunar god Osiris, also called Iswara in India:

“Iswara, or Isa, and Isani, or Isisi, are … unquestionably the Osiris and Isis of Egypt. Iswara, Siva, or Hara (for these are his names among nearly a thousand more) united with Isi, represent the secondary causes, whatever they may be, of natural phenomena; and principally those of temporary destruction and regeneration.” (Moor, 151)

Numerous ancient legends, recorded for example in the writings of Diodorus Siculus during the first century BCE, depict Osiris as traveling all over the East, as well as the rest of the world, during the millennia when he reigned as Egypt’s favorite deity. Osiris, or Isa, it should be noted, was put to death and resurrected, among many other correspondences to the Christ myth. Osiris/Isa too had a number of tombs in various places, especially in Egypt but likely also in India. However, Osiris was not a “real person” but a fertility and sun god. What mythologists recognize is that it was not a “historical Osiris” but his myth that made it to India and diverse places. As in the case of Osiris, the same phenomenon occurred regarding “Jesus,” who is, in the end, a remake of Osiris, among others.

The title “Isa” or “Issa” could apply to others, and is a common name even today. Indeed, some part of these Jesus-in-India tales may revolve around the famed Greek sage Apollonius of Tyana. Not a few persons over the centuries have noted the similarities between the lives of Apollonius and Christ, and even in ancient times Christians were accused of plagiarizing the Apollonius legend.

Nicholas RoerichThe Nestorians

The Issa myth apparently represents a Christianization of legends regarding Osiris, Shiva, Apollonius and other gods and “Bodhisattvas,” by the Nestorians, an early Christian sect who lived in India and elsewhere, and may well have spread the syncretistic fable to other Asian ports of call. Indeed, Nicholas Roerich himself surmised that the ancient Nestorian sect spread the tales in the East:

“We heard several versions of this legend which has spread widely through Ladak, Sinkiang and Mongolia, but all versions agree on one point, that during His absence, Christ was in India and Asia…. Perhaps [this legend] is of Nestorian origin.” (Prophet, 261)

Roerich also stated, “Whoever doubts too completely that such legends about the Christ life exist in Asia, probably does not realize what an immense influence the Nestorians have had in all parts of Asia and how many so-called Apocryphal legends they spread in the most ancient times.” (Roerich, 89) In addition, George Roerich even proposed that there was a “floating colony” of Nestorians in Ladakh itself “during the eighth to tenth centuries,” which could well be when the Notovitch text was composed. Roerich, one of the main writers whose works have led to the Jesus-in-India theory, almost invariably and misleadingly substitutes “Jesus” or “Christ” for “Issa,” when Issa could be a number of individuals, mythical and historical.

In his account of Jesus in India, Roerich declared, “The teachings of India were famed far and wide; let us even recall the description of the life of Appolonius [sic] of Tyana and his visits to Hindu sages.” (Roerich, 119) Again, one likely scenario regarding “Issa” (“Lord” or “Master”) is that, whatever part of his tale is “historical,” it possibly refers to Apollonius.

Muziris on the Roman Tabula PeutingerianaPre-Christian Indo-European Interaction

As is well-known, Apollonius was not alone in his journeys to the East. Decades and centuries prior to the Christian era, there was much intercourse between India and the West, including the famous journey by Pythagoras and the Alexandrian incursion. As another pertinent example, one of the seats of Mandeanism, a Christian baptist sect, was Maisan, a Mesopotamian city colonized by Indians. As Dr. Rudolph Otto relates:

“… Indian caravans passed through Maisan and likewise Nabatea. Indian merchants, wherever they went, were importers and missionaries of Indian ideas. There need be no surprise therefore if direct Indian imports are found in the syncretistic medley of Mandean Gnosis”. (Prajnanananda, 41)

Space does not permit us to recount the numerous authorities who are in agreement as to the westward spread of Indian and Buddhist concepts centuries before and into the Christian era. A number of them may be found in Prajnanananda’s book, including a “Mr. Cust,” who evinced that trade between India and Yemen “was established not later than 1000 B.C.” Yemen is very close to Israel, and by the first century CE there were plenty of Indians in the Roman Empire.

Despite the popularity of the Jesus-in-India tale, the claim is not accepted by mainstream authorities, either Christian or secular. The tale’s proponents assert that scholars reject Jesus in India because of Western imperialism and the inability to accept that Christ could have been influenced by Buddhism. In the case of mythicists, however, the reason Jesus is denied as having gone to India is because he is a pagan sun god remade into a Jewish “human” messiah. Thus, it is not a question of a “historical Jesus” being in India and the East but of a variety of solar cults that worshipped a similar deity with similar rituals, doctrines and myths.

Mithras / Sol InvictusThe “Lost Years” Are Astrotheological

Over the centuries Jesus’s so-called “lost years” and post-crucifixion life have provided much fodder for the fertile human imagination, leading to speculation, legends, traditions and myths that the great godman and sage lived and studied in a variety of places. Once the fable of Christ became popular, numerous towns, villages, cities and nations wished to establish some sort of connection. Instead of recognizing that such a significant omission as Jesus’s “lost years” is an indication of the mythical nature of the tale, individuals using typical priest-craft have come up with countless extraordinary adventures of the “historical Jesus.” Unfortunately for the believers, however, not only is the gospel story itself but so too are these Jesus-the-Globetrotter tales mere deluding smoke and mirrors, and the reason for the gap in Jesus’s biography is because he was not a “real person” but a pagan sun god turned into a Jewish messiah. In the mythos revolving around the sun god, there need be no accounting for “lost years,” as the “age” of 12 represents the sun at high noon, while the 28 or 30 represents the days of the lunar or solar months, respectively.

When religions are investigated with a profound knowledge of mythology, the correspondences are clearly revealed, and it becomes evident that it is not the case that this miracle-worker or that godman traveled to this place or that, as has been rumored to have occurred with just about every god or goddess. In actuality, it is the legends, traditions and myths concerning these gods, godmen or gurus that have been spread far and wide by their proponents, priests and propagandists. As was the case with the missionary and his brother in Japan, who were taken for the object of worship they were proselytizing, so has it developed in other parts of the world over the millennia concerning not only Jesus but also many other deities, such as the virgin-born, crucified Mexican god Quetzalcoatl, whose similar “life” and religion led to claims that “Jesus” was in America. The reason for the similarities, however, is because both Jesus and Quetzalcoatl are sun gods with the same attendant holidays and practices.

Jesus in the Zodiac (11th century)In the final analysis, it is not possible that Jesus could have lived years after the crucifixion, fathered children and died in several different places, as legends represent. The past explanation for such discrepancies has been metaphysical, deeming Jesus to be multidimensional and capable of simultaneous incarnations in various locations. Such an explanation, of course, will not satisfy the skeptic and scientist. Or the mythologist, who simply knows better, because she or he has studied in depth the products of the human mind. Because the basic story of Christ revolves around the sun, which was highly esteemed the world over beginning many millennia ago, the myth is likewise found around the globe. To the basic mythos and ritual were added various embellishments according to the place and era, and for a variety of reasons. In the end, Jesus the Globetrotter is a not a historical personage who magically appeared all over the world, bi-locating and flying on the backs of birds. “Jesus Christ” is mythical creature, to be found globally only between the pages of a book. – Truth Be Known, 1995


  1. Capt, E. Raymond, The Traditions of Glastonbury, Artisan, 1983
  2. Ellis, Peter B., “Our Druid Cousins,” 2000
  3. Huc, M. L’Abbé, Christianity in China, Tartary, and Thibet, I, London, Longman & Co., 1857
  4. Moor, Edward, Simpson, ed., The Hindu Pantheon, Indological Book House, India, 1968
  5. Notovitch, Nicholas, The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ, Tree of Life Publications, CA, 1980
  6. Nunos de Santos, Arysio, “The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ–Comments,”
  7. Prajnanananda, Swami, Christ the Saviour and the Christ Myth, Calcutta, 1984
  8. Prophet, Elizabeth Clare, The Lost Years of Jesus, Summit University Press, 1984
  9. Roerich, Nicholas, Altai-Himalaya, Adventures Unlimited, 2001

› › D. M. Murdock  (March 27, 1960 – December 25, 2015), also known as Acharya S., was an American author and classical scholar of religion. She was a proponent of the Christ myth theory and administered a website called Truth be Known. She argued that Christianity is founded on earlier myths and the characters depicted in Christianity are based upon Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Iranian and Indian mythology.

Persian Sun God Mithra


Mithras the Pagan Christ


Why Modi’s economic policies are not working – Punarvasu Parekh

Indian Budget 2020

Journalist IconThe government suffers from a poverty of ideas which it seeks to hide with a plethora of words. Worse, it seems to have forgotten lessons from our socialist past. The mindset which placed government at the centre of things remains intact. There is a distrust of businessmen, foreign investors, taxpayers and those dealing in cash. Elaborate mechanisms have been set up to keep them on a tight leash. – Punarvasu Parekh

There is a glaring dichotomy in Modi government’s performance. On political front, it knows its objectives, can devise effective strategies to achieve them and implement these strategies in the teeth of severe opposition. The economy, however, stubbornly refuses to do its bidding.

To be sure, the economy has many things going for itself under NDA-II. The government is remarkably free from corruption at the top and looks quite sincere in its ambition of making India great again. A rock solid majority in Lok Sabha affords the country political stability that would be envy of most of the democracies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys unparalleled popularity and has a knack of marketing politically difficult ideas to the masses. Together, these two circumstances have created a huge political capital that could be leveraged to carry out far-going reforms.

For all that, however, the government suffers from a poverty of ideas which it seeks to hide with a plethora of words. Worse, it seems to have forgotten lessons from our socialist past. The mindset which placed government at the centre of things remains intact. There is a distrust of businessmen, foreign investors, taxpayers and those dealing in cash. Elaborate mechanisms have been set up to keep them on a tight leash.

Quite a few bad old policies are back, sometimes with the same terminology. Often the government gives the impression of being willing to strike but afraid to wound. While it talks of promoting reform, it is not prepared to go far enough. It wants to give relief and withhold or take it back at the same time. The cumulative effect of all this has been compounded by some big ticket mistakes.

In the name of curbing tax evasion and black money, Modi government has consistently prioritized formalization of the economy over growth. This has lured it into committing two big ticket blunders—demonetisation and hurried implementation of an ill-conceived GST. Together, these two measures destroyed demand, disrupted supply chains across industries and bankrupted thousands of farmers and small businesses. We are still living with the consequences. For all its talk of minimum government and ease of doing business, there is more government now in our lives and doing business is more hasslesome now than before.

In fact, the uneasiness set in quite early. Modi’s first finance minister Arun Jaitley (a misfit in the finance ministry by all accounts) had an opportunity to roll back the retrospective amendments to income tax laws which the BJP had rightly condemned while in opposition. He could have begun the promised phased reduction of corporate tax rates while removing exemptions and offered relief to the middle class in income tax. He did nothing of the sort. When oil prices plummeted, the NDA government pocketed much of the gains by hiking duties on fuels instead of passing them on to the people who had been bearing the brunt of expensive fuel when oil prices were high. All this has eroded businessmen’s and investor’s faith in the government.

Coming to the current economic crisis—arguably the most severe slowdown in three decades—it has three aspects.

First, the “twin balance sheet” problem: public sector banks, saddled with huge NPAs and short of capital, have no appetite or resources to lend big. Private sector companies, neck deep in debt and facing underutilization of existing capacity are in no mood to borrow more for creating fresh capacity. This is now compounded by the crisis in NBFCs and real estate. Second, private consumption has taken a hit, partly as a lingering effect of demonetization. Third, exports are lackluster owing to problems with international trading system and India’s protectionist policies. It does not help that sectors that generate employment on large scale—textiles, real estate, gems and jewellery, automobiles and small trade and businesses—are in deep trouble.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s latest budget was expected, above all, to revive the economy. She could (and should) have slashed income tax rates, extended lower corporate threshold of 17 per cent to all companies and abolished surcharge, expanded MNREGA and doubled income support to farmers under PM Kisan Sahay Yojna, so as to increase aggregate demand. She could have listed out steps the government wanted to take to revive job creating sectors, restore the health of financial sector and carry out administrative reforms including judiciary and police.

What we had, alas, was a marathon speech that threw up few winners. After making the right noises on almost everything, it failed to present a credible blueprint to kick start growth by stimulating consumption and promoting investment. There is an air of half-heartedness in the reliefs given and expenditure sanctioned.

The restructuring of income tax slabs will cost the exchequer Rs 40,000 crore, we were told. However, while some tax rates were reduced, quite a few exemptions were eliminated and tax payers were given a choice of either opting for the new regime or staying with the old one. Every taxpayer now has to do his own sums to find out where he stands. Most people are likely to discover that switching to the new system does not make much difference and some may even prefer to stick to the old system.

The dividend distribution tax paid by the companies was abolished which would now have Rs. 25,000 crore more to play with. However, the dividend income will now be taxed in the hands of the recipient shareholders at applicable rates and would probably make up for the revenue forgone.

Come to the expenditure side. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Generation Act (MNREGA), for all its flaws, has proved to be an effective means of transferring income to the people at the bottom. The revised expenditure on it for 2019-20 is Rs 71,000 crore, whereas the allocation for 2020-21 is Rs. 61,500 crore—a reduction of 13 per cent. The budget for Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna has been trimmed by 2 per cent as also the budget for rural development by a similar proportion.

The finance minister is betting on public investment to resuscitate growth—there is a 21 per cent increase in government’s capital expenditure, mostly on infrastructure. This strategy is unexceptionable when all other drivers of growth—private consumption, private investment and exports—are down.

But the problem with infrastructure is not paucity of funds. Even if banks have no funds to lend, even if private sector companies are too debt-ridden to invest and even if government is too constrained financially to fund these projects, the world is awash with money in search of good returns. The real impediments are land acquisition and the myriad approvals needed to put up anything large. If the government were to get its act together and offer shovel-ready projects—complete with approvals and land acquisition, it will be surprised by the number of bids it receives to implement them.

The massive infrastructure investment is proposed to be funded partly from disinvestment proceeds of Rs 2.1 lakh crore. In the current year, as against the target of Rs 105,000 crore, it has managed to garner Rs 65,000 crore. Air India is not going to be an easy sale, and the best offer it fetches may fall short of what is politically acceptable to the government. As with infrastructure, there is no dearth of public sector companies fit for sale, but it requires tremendous inter-ministerial coordination and efficiency to realize the disinvestment target.

Probably the worst part of the budget is the continuation of tinkering with import duties on a large number of miscellaneous items, with a view to protect and promote indigenous industries. This is stupidity. If this was the road to economic greatness, India would have been a super power in the four decades of the licence-permit-quota raj. Instead it was pushed to the precipice of bankruptcy.

The key to economic power lies in productivity reflected in competitiveness of the economy. One way of making India a hub of manufacturing activity is to encourage our industries to join global supply chains. That, however, requires factor market reform, open economy, investor-friendly regime, predictable taxes and rules and high quality transportation and communications. Modi government pays lip service to all of these, but its actions do not inspire confidence.

It is not that the government does not receive right kind of advice. The Economic Survey for 2019-20 emphasized creation of wealth, private enterprise, competitive markets and invisible hand of the price mechanism. It recommended, inter alia, abolition of the Factories Act, Essential Commodities Act, Food Corporation of India Act, Sick Textile Undertakings Act, Land Acquisition Act and Recovery of Debt Tribunal Act. Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget looks like an anti-climax when compared with the survey.

In fairness to the finance minister, budget is too small an instrument to turn around an economy like ours. We need bold actions simultaneously on a large number of fronts with a focus on productivity and competitiveness. If the economy does not revive, do not blame the finance minister.

Punarvasu Parekh is an independent senior journalist in Mumbai.

Indian Budget 2020