Play on Dara Shikoh seeks Hindu-Muslim unity

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Gurgaon, Nov 10 (UNI) Why do books argue with me? Why does good not always prevail over evil, When would man become human? Dara Shikoh, eldest son of Mughal emperor Shah Jehan, saw every question as a chain and was told not to look for answers to all questions.

He was termed a religious heretic by his brother Aurangzeb to whom he lost the war of succession.

A play on the life and times of Dara Shikoh at Epicentre last evening said communal tension and the argument for a secular order rather than a religious one was present in the Mughal era also.

Director of the play M S Sathyu told UNI, ''In such times of communal tension, the message of Dara Shikoh is still relevant. He was for a secular order rather than a religious one.'' ''Dara's brother Aurangzeb was completely different from him in promoting a religious order based on Islam,'' he said.

Parallels were drawn between Hinduism and Islam in the play. Dara was a scholar, having read the Upanishads, and propounding that both the religions tell the same ''truth''.

He was termed a religious heretic by his own brother.

The colourful play began with a girl professing her love for Dara and his philosophy in life. The characters spoke in chaste Urdu, rendering it the feel of the Mughal era.

Dara's wish to follow his great grandfather Akbar's ideals was shown brilliantly in the play. He was hailed as the true descendent of Akbar.

He had a questioning mind, seeking answers for,''Why do books argue with him?, Why good does not always prevail over evil?, and When would man become human?''. He sees every question as a chain and was told not to look for answers to all questions.

Like Arjun in Mahabharata and Hindu emperor Ashoka, Dara also questions the futility of war but was advised ''never to run away from it'' as not all war was bad and if it was in the line of duty, it was good.

His name in Persian means ''The possessor of Glory''. He was interested in Sufi, Hindu wisdom and spirituality.

In the tale of betrayal, Dara was executed at the behest of Aurangzeb. The fight between the two brothers was given a religious angle.

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