Veteran artiste Naseeruddin Shah has been one of the few from the Bollywood industry who does not shy away from speaking his mind. In an exclusive video interview with Bollywood Hungama, Shah shared his views on Mughals being demonized by people from the ruling party and their supporters.
EXCLUSIVE: Naseeruddin Shah says, “Mughals didn’t come here to loot, they came here to make this their homeland”
“Because the Mughals were the only ones the whole world knows about,” he said. “Mogul has become an English word, an American word; movie Mogul. Running them down is very convenient for the present dispensation to paint all Muslims in one colour and to claim that they looted the country, they destroyed temples, they did this and that and they had many wives. Every king does this.”
Sharing an example, Shah added, “Alexander destroyed the whole of Iran on his rampages but he is called Alexander the great. In Iran he is called ‘Alexander with two horns.’ He is spoken as a devil. He destroyed Persepolis, he destroyed all the treasures that were there of intellectual worth and of wealth and everything. (He) wiped out the Zoroastrian community because they had sided with the Iranian king.”
Shah also touched upon the stories of barbarism of Babur and Humayun being peddled across. Speaking about Humayun, Shah said, “Poor guy was an opium addict who fell down the steps when he was probably too stoned one day (laughs). And Akbar did this. And Aurangzeb, of course, the biggest villain of them all. They don’t talk of the other dynasties that were here before. Even before the Mughal dynasty, there were several dynasties of the Turks.”
Shah added that it is wrong to state that Mughals came to India to take away its riches. “The Mughals came here to make this their homeland,” he said. “They did not come here to loot and scoot. Like Nadirshah stole the peacock throne. He destroyed Delhi and massacred the citizens of Delhi and took his loot and pushed off. People don’t know this.”
Shah also spoke about the changing school syllabuses these days in order to spread a particular political ideology. “Theory of evolution is knocked out from the textbooks,” he said. “Next, I suppose Einstein will be knocked out off the science textbooks. Then the head of ISRO saying that all the scientific discoveries are there in the Vedas (and) all these discoveries are attributed to the west falsely. Now what can you say to a thing like that?”
When asked if he has always been rebellious, Shah said, “I think so (laughs). I rebelled against my father, my upbringing. I rebelled against the authorities in schools, college, drama school, FTII; everywhere I went. As Ram Guha, who is a good friend of mine, told me, ‘You seem to have a problem with figures of authority.’”
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