Sunday, July 15, 2007

Aurangzeb -- As he was according to Mughal Records -- Part IX -- Hindus forced to pay Jizyah

On 2nd April 1679, Aurangzeb reimposed Jizyah upon the Hindus which had been abolished by emperor Akbar in 1564. The author of Maasir-i-Alamgiri writes:
"As all the aims of the religious emperor (Aurangzeb) were directed to the spreading of the law of Islam and the overthrow of the practices of the infidelity he issued orders... that from Wednesday the 2nd April 1679 in obedience of the Quranic injunction till they pay Jizyah with the hand of humility and in agreement with the canonical traditions Jizyah should be collected from the infidels of the capital and the provinces."

The economic burden of Jizyah was felt most by the poor who formed the vast majority of the Hindus. For the middle classes and the rich, it was not so much the economic burden which mattered but the humiliation involved in the prescribed mode of payment which the Jizyah collector could always insist upon as of right i.e. by insisting that he would accept it only when paid personally. The Quranic injunction that war must be made upon all those who do not profess Islam till they pay Jizyah out of their hand and they are humiliated was interpreted to mean that the Hindus must be made conscious of their inferior position when paying this tax.

In the painting a number of Hindus both rich and poor are lining up to pay Jizyah while the arrogant Jizyah collector is picking up the coins from the palm of a Hindu Jizyah payer. Some people have come from the neighboruing areas in their bullock carts. The bullocks are resting under the shade of the trees.

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