Was Akbar's Mausoleum at Sikandra Plundered?

On In 4 Comments
We know that Akbar, one of the greatest rulers in Indian history, died in the year 1605 and his tomb is located at Sikandra, Agra. Unhappily, the marble slab at Akbar's tomb no longer covers his bones! I was also shocked when I heard this. To learn more, we should go through the history of reign of Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb was a devout Muslim and he reverted Akbar's policies of religious tolerance. During his reign, many revolts occurred in different parts of the empire.

Akbar's tomb at Agra

The Uprising of Peasants:

The Jats were mostly peasants of Hindu religion, brave and hard working, who had settled around Mathura and Agra. They were ordered to pay heavy taxes. In 1668, Aurangzeb appointed Abdun Nabi Khan, a religious man, as faujdar of Mathura, to curb the Hindus of this area. Mathura was the birthplace of Krishna and is sacred to the Hindus. At Mathura, he built a mosque on the ruins of a Hindu temple.
Gokula's Rebellion (1669): The first rebellion of the Jats was lead by Gokula, the zamindar of Tilpat, near Mathura. The Jats under Gokula, rose in revolt and refused to pay the revenue. Majority of the rebels were Jats, though it consisted of other local people such as Meo, Meena, Ahir, Gujjar, Naruka, Panwar as well. Gokula defeated and killed Abdun Nabi Khan (May 1669) and plundered the pargana of Sadabad. Soon the disorder spread to Agra. Aurangzeb sent a strong force under Radandaz Khan to put down the rebels. An attempt was also made to make terms with Gokula by granting him pardon on the condition of surrender of his booty, but he refused. Hasan Ali Khan was sent against the rebels in the villages of Rewara, Chandarkha and Sarkhud. The villagers fought up to noon with bows and muskets; and then, being unable to resist any longer, many of them performed jauhar of their women and rushed upon the swords of Mughals. Nearly 300 of the villagers were killed and others were made prisoners. Pleased with his performance, Aurangzeb made Hasan Ali Khan the new faujdar of Mathura. The Jat revolt was crushed when Gokula was captured by Hasan Ali Khan with help of his peshkar, Shaikh Razi-ud-din. According to Maasir-i-Alamgiri, Gokula's limbs were hacked off in the police office of Agra (1670). Gokula's son and daughter were forcibly converted to Islam.

Aurangzeb then issued orders for the demolition of the Keshava Rai temple of Mathura which was built by Bir Singh Deo Bundela (whom the Emperor Jahangir had hired for killing Abul Fazl). After the destruction of temple, a lofty mosque was built on its site. The idols, set with costly jewels were brought to Agra and buried under the steps of the mosque of Jahan Ara Begum. Moreover, Aurangzeb changed the name of Mathura to Islamabad.

Raja Ram's Rebellion (1688): While Aurangzeb was engaged in the Deccan, the Jats rise up again under their new leader Raja Ram (1670-1688), the zamindar of Sinsin. Here is a brief history of Raja Ram Jat: Among the former chiefs of Jats, Bajja Jat, zamindar of Sinsin, was pre-eminent. He died leaving behind him three sons: Churaman, Badan Singh and Raja Ram. Raja Ram organized Jat groups of different clans and united them under him. He gave the farmers military training; built mud forts in deep jungles and turned to guerrilla warfare. He organized raids in Agra, attacked and plundered several caravans. Safi Khan, the governor of Agra, could do nothing. The first attempt by Raja Ram to demolish Akbar's tomb was repulsed by the local faujdar Mir Abul-fazl, though with great difficulty. Raja Ram attacked the Mughal commander Aghar Khan (who was coming from Kabul to Agra) near Dholpur and captured many bullocks, carts, horses and took women as prisoners. Aghar Khan pursued them to the fort and rescued the women after a sharp struggle. He then invested the fort of the Jats; but he was killed by a musket bullet. In 1688, Raja Ram attacked Mahabat Khan who on his way from Gujarat to Lahore was encamped at Sikandra. A fierce fight was followed in which Raja Ram was finally overpowered and driven back. At this time Shaistah Khan, Aurangzeb's uncle, was appointed governor of Agra, but before he took charge, Raja Ram reappeared at Sikandra. In Manucci's words, "already angered by the demands of the governors for revenue, a great number of the Jats assembled and marched to the mausoleum of Akbar. They began their pillage by breaking in the great gates of bronze which it had, robbing the valuable precious stones and plates of gold and silver, and destroying what they were not able to carry away. Dragging out the bones of Akbar, they threw them angrily into the fire and burnt them", avenging the death of Gokula (Mar 1688).

Aurangzeb was much afflicted at this piece of boldness and this outrage. He sent Khan-i-Jahan Bahadur Kokaltash (Zafar Jang) to punish and put down the rebels, but he could not subdue them. Aurangzeb appointed Prince Bidar Bakht and Bishan Singh, Raja of Amber, to proceed against the Jats. Soon after the sacking of Sikandra, Raja Ram turned his attention towards the war between the Chauhans and the Sekhawat Rajputs. Raja Ram accepted the Chauhan's request, however, was shot dead by a Mughal musketeer at Bijal in Jul 1688. The Prince Bidar Bakht, seventeen years old grandson of Aurangzeb (son of Azam Shah and Jahanzeb Banu Begum), laid siege to the fort of Sinsin and captured it in 1690. However, Churaman (1695-1721), brother of Raja Ram, continued the revolt and founded the Jat kingdom of Bharatpur in Rajasthan.

Reference:

Storia do Mogor By Niccolao Manucci

Bharatpuronline.com

4 comments:

  1. Well researched article !!! Nice piece of work

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very interesting read.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jaat Descendents of Bharatpur still have there caste as Sinsinwal, Few of those jaats settled in a Village in south delhi known as 'Katwaria Sarai'. Jaats continue to live in this urbanized village of South delhi. Bharatpur remained independent kingdom even during British rule. Greatest Jaat leader in history. Rajaram Sinsinwal

    ReplyDelete