“Should Germany be thankful to Hitler?
Should Arabs be thankful to Ottoman Turks?”
These were among the few questions which popped up on the gigantic social platform, Twitter, last week. The very sensitive issue took a grievous path, resulting in a quick spar of words and facts.
Bollywood had their fair share of the game, as it all started with the release of the trailer of the periodic film, ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’, a film about the Maratha warrior Tanhaji. The protagonist of the film, Ajay Devgan, described the film as “a surgical strike that shook the Mughal Empire”. Within no time, this remark raised a few eyebrows, as the filmstar used the infamous phrase that was previously used by the NAMO government, to describe the quick successive attacks as a befitting reply to Pakistan.
Deeply enraged by the remarks, entrepreneur, and former journo, Irena Akbar, took to the platform and requested her followers to provide a list of how the Mughals benefitted the country. She suggested posting photos of cultural and other culinary findings, credited to the Mughals, with the hashtag #ThanksMughals.
Almost instantly, Twitter witnessed a deluge of tweets with this hashtag. While it started off promisingly, with people sharing the expected choice, i.e., Shahjahan’s magnum opus; Tajmahal, along with other artefacts, things took a wide turn, (also expected), when some people took the opportunity to praise Islam, which went beyond aberrant remarks.
Abashed and irked by the tweets, another section of people, mostly affiliated with Hindutva ideology, pounced upon with reply tweets. Many gave facts that sounded adept in all aspects, while a section of others delivered vague remarks out of rage. Another few brought up alleged gangrapes and forced conversions to Islam, during the period of Babur. They beseeched the current government to initiate steps to include such lesser-known facts about the Mughals in textbooks for children.
For those who haven’t had their share of knowledge in history, this was a rather interesting episode, as they were offered a series of interesting notes, free of cost. Thanks, Twitter.
There have been a lot of attacks on minorities in recent years. Though tragic in their outcome, such hashtags unite people and critique communalism. India stands out in front of the world for sharing diversity, in terms of different cultural backgrounds, and people from different ethnicities. After all, democracy prevails here.
For all those who are looking forward to changing the textbooks, if you ask a child about the Mughals, they will most probably come forward with examples like the Taj Mahal and Akbar.
Let’s not teach them to be divided along the lines of religion, caste or any other nuances of our rich history. Let our young ones live the life of equals, at least for the time being.