400 years later, what will a ‘Dara Shikoh’ chair signify in the AMU?

New Delhi | The Academic Council of Aligarh Muslim University has passed a draft proposal to induct a Dara Shikoh Chair to encourage studies around the topic of peace.

On Wednesday, the Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University Tariq Mansoor talked about the move in New Delhi during a symposium on Dara Shikoh that had been organised by “Academics for Nation”.

“This is a unique and timely initiative and Dara Shikoh can be used to project as an example of composite culture. With this, a new beginning can be made. Aligarh Muslim University gives assurance of taking this message forward project and cooperating with Krishna Gopal. The Academic Council of AMU has cleared the proposal of Dara Shikoh chair,” Mansoor said in his address.

The event also saw the attendance of RSS leader Krishna Gopal and Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, is famous for his respect for all the religions. He was ousted by his brother Aurangzeb, who ordered to kill Dara and took over his throne.

“He completed the translation of fifty Upanishads from their original Sanskrit into Persian in 1657. Europeans knew Persian and not Sanskrit, with this they got to read the texts. He believed in the commonality of all religions” added Mansoor.

Dara’s translation is called Sirr-e-Akbar(“The Greatest Mystery”), in which he has stated that the work referred to in the Qur’an as the “Kitab al-maknun” or the hidden book, is the Upanishads.

“The proposal for the Dara Shikoh chair was made by the Department of History a few months ago. We realised that we need to institute a chair in medieval India studies. Dara Shikoh was much preferred as after Akbar it is Dara who is responsible for developing the ganga jamuni tehzeeb”, Nadeem Rezavi chairman, and coordinator of AMU History department told News18.

The idea of the Chair was based on that there should be “study of the policy of sule qul, (absolute peace), cultural religious exchange between the communities and how cultures started developing”, he said.

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