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. This story is one of those not known to many of them. In order to make a deeper study, let’s go through the history of reign of “Aurangzeb”.
It was the period of Aurangzeb’s rule in India and Hindus led a life of hell. Aurangzeb who did not spare his own father and forced him behind the bars, the man who killed his own brothers in the lust of the throne, how could he let the Hindus in India live a peaceful life? The terror of Aurangzeb was never ending. 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.
His torture for Hindus was increasing day after day. When none could dare to stand against the terror of Aurangzeb, there was this man who stood with guts to fight against him and he was Rajaram!! Rajaram Jaat led the Jaat community, a brave soldier, as well as a great politician himself, decided to put an end to Aurangzeb’s terror in the minds of the people.
The Jaats are originally peasants. They basically are a community under the Punjabis. Jaats are known to be brave and hardworking, 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- the first rebellion led:
The first rebellion of the Jaats was led by Gokula-the zamindar of Tilpat, near Mathura. The Jaats under Gokula rose in revolt and refused to pay the revenue. Majority of the rebels were Jaats, though it consisted of other local people such as Meo, Meena, Ahir, Gujjar, Naruka and Panwar as well. Gokula defeated and killed Abdun Nabi Khan 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; later being unable to resist any longer, many of the women performed Jauhar 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 Jaat revolt was crushed when Gokula was captured by Hasan Ali Khan with help of his Peshkar, Shaikh Razi-Ud-Din.
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”.
Rajaram against Aurangzeb!!
While Aurangzeb was engaged in the Deccan, the Jaats rise up again under their new leader Rajaram -the zamindar of Sinsin. Let’s know a little more about “Rajaram Jaat” and his bravery against Aurangzeb.
Rajaram organized Jaat 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 had completely failed to stop Rajaram and his rebellion.
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 Jaats 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 a governor of Agra, but before he took charge, Raja Ram reappeared at Sikandra.
“already angered by the demands of the governors for revenue, a great number of the Jaats 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 from the grand grave, they threw them angrily into the fire and burnt them chanting their curses” (Storia-Mogor by Manucci)
Rajaram was one man who proved his bravery against the Mughals. However, he was killed under a conspiracy by the Mughal army in a war on 4th of July 1688. His head was brutally chopped off and presented in the court of Aurangzeb. It’s sad that our books do not tell us about these unsung heroes. Nor any Bollywood director makes a film based their stories. Why will anyone talk about such brave hearts. Will it not hurt the feelings of secularists in India favouring the Mughals? Hindu rulers in India are backstabbers and the Mughals are the ultimate heroes!! This is what is taught to us. Truth is a truth and you cannot hide it forever.
May the soul of such heroes “Rest in Peace”.