EPISODE-52 (AURANGZEB & ABDUR RAHMAN)

EPISODE-52 (AURENGEB & ABDUR RAHMAN ‘MUNSHI’ OF AVATAR MEHER BABA)

Baba said Munshi was Aurangzeb and he returned to His Darbar due to his past connection with Him. Brief biographies of Aurangzeb and Abdur Rahman (Munshiji) are written as under:

Aurangzeb -Mughal emperor

Aurangzeb (born November 3, 1618, Dhod, Malwa (India)—died March 3, 1707) emperor of India from 1658 to 1707, the last of the great Mughal emperors. Under him the Mughal Empire reached its greatest extent, although his policies helped lead to its dissolution.

Early life- Aurangzeb was the third son of the emperor Shah Jahān and Mumtāz Maḥal (for whom the Taj Mahal was built). He grew up as a serious-minded and devout youth, wedded to the Muslim orthodoxy of the day and free from the royal Mughal traits of sensuality and drunkenness. He showed signs of military and administrative ability early; these qualities, combined with a taste for power, brought him into rivalry with his eldest brother, the brilliant and volatile Dārā Shikōh, who was designated by their father as his successor to the throne. From 1636 Aurangzeb held a number of important appointments, in all of which he distinguished himself. He commanded troops against the Uzbeks and the Persians with distinction (1646–47) and, as viceroy of the Deccan provinces in two terms (1636–44, 1654–58), reduced the two Muslim Deccan kingdoms to near-subjection.

When Shah Jahān fell seriously ill in 1657, the tension between the two brothers made a war of succession seem inevitable. By the time of Shah Jahān’s unexpected recovery, matters had gone too far for either son to retreat. In the struggle for power (1657–59), Aurangzeb showed tactical and strategic military skill, great powers of dissimulation, and ruthless determination. Decisively defeating Dārā at Samugarh in May 1658, he confined his father in his own palace at Agra. In consolidating his power, Aurangzeb caused one brother’s death and had two other brothers, a son, and a nephew executed.

Emperor of India -Aurangzeb’s reign falls into two almost equal parts. In the first, which lasted until about 1680, he was a capable Muslim monarch of a mixed Hindu-Muslim empire and as such was generally disliked for his ruthlessness but feared and respected for his vigour and skill. During this period he was much occupied with safeguarding the northwest from Persians and Central Asian Turks and less so with the Maratha chief Shivaji, who twice plundered the great port of Surat (1664, 1670). Aurangzeb applied his great-grandfather Akbar’s recipe for conquest: defeat one’s enemies, reconcile them, and place them in imperial service. Thus, Shivaji was defeated, called to Agra for reconciliation (1666), and given an imperial rank. The plan broke down, however; Shivaji fled to the Deccan and died, in 1680, as the ruler of an independent Maratha kingdom.

After about 1680, Aurangzeb’s reign underwent a change of both attitude and policy. The pious ruler of an Islamic state replaced the seasoned statesman of a mixed kingdom; Hindus became subordinates, not colleagues, and the Marathas, like the southern Muslim kingdoms, were marked for annexation rather than containment. The first overt sign of change was the re-imposition of the jizya, or poll tax, on non-Muslims in 1679 (a tax that had been abolished by Akbar). This in turn was followed by a Rajput revolt in 1680–81, supported by Aurangzeb’s third son, Akbar. Hindus still served the empire, but no longer with enthusiasm. The Deccan kingdoms of Bijapur and Golconda were conquered in 1686–87, but the insecurity that followed precipitated a long-incipient economic crisis, which in turn was deepened by warfare with the Marathas. Shivaji’s son Sambhaji was captured and executed in 1689 and his kingdom broken up. The Marathas, however, then adopted guerrilla tactics, spreading all over southern India amid a sympathetic population. The rest of Aurangzeb’s life was spent in laborious and fruitless sieges of forts in the Maratha hill country.

Aurangzeb’s absence in the south prevented him from maintaining his former firm holds on the north. The administration weakened, and the process was hastened by pressure on the land by Mughal grantees who were paid by assignments on the land revenue. Agrarian discontent often took the form of religious movements, as in the case of the Satnamis and the Sikhs in the Punjab. In 1675 Aurangzeb arrested and executed the Sikh Guru (spiritual leader) Tegh Bahadur, who had refused to embrace Islam; the succeeding Guru was in open rebellion for the rest of Aurangzeb’s reign. Other agrarian revolts, such as those of the Jats, were largely secular.

In general, Aurangzeb ruled as a militant orthodox Sunni Muslim; he put through increasingly puritanical ordinances that were vigorously enforced by muḥtasibs, or censors of morals. The Muslim confession of faith, for instance, was removed from all coins lest it be defiled by unbelievers, and courtiers were forbidden to salute in the Hindu fashion. In addition, Hindu idols, temples, and shrines were often destroyed.

Aurangzeb maintained the empire for nearly half a century and in fact extended it in the south as far as Tanjore (now Thanjavur) and Trichinopoly (now Tiruchchirappalli). Behind this imposing facade, however, were serious weaknesses. The Maratha campaign continually drained the imperial resources. The militancy of the Sikhs and the Jats boded ill for the empire in the north. The new Islamic policy alienated Hindu sentiment and undermined Rajput support. The financial pressure on the land strained the whole administrative framework. When Aurangzeb died after a reign of nearly 49 years, he left an empire not yet moribund but confronted with a number of menacing problems. The failure of his son’s successors to cope with them led to the collapse of the empire in the mid-18th century.

 

Abdur Rahman (Munshi ji)

Shaikh Abdur Rahim. Munshi ji was the storekeeper at the Public Works Department in Poona. His office assistant was Sayyed Saheb, through whom Munshi ji had heard about Merwan Seth.

Munshi ji, 42, was a faithful Muslim but he was also a generous, simple-hearted, unassuming person. He believed in the Prophet-hood of Muhammad, but was not orthodox. He enjoyed socializing with his friends, but most of all he enjoyed playing cards. This he hesitated to admit to Merwan Seth, thinking it was not spiritual.

One day Merwan Seth went to Munshiji's office concerning some business with the toddy shop. Without knowing who he was, Munshi ji was so taken by Merwan's appearance that he could not even say, "May I help you, sir?" Munshi ji simply stared at the striking figure and wondered who this young man was. Merwan introduced himself and proceeded to get his work done. After he left, Munshi ji longed to see Merwan Seth again.

Soon after, Sayyed Saheb invited Merwan Seth to visit Munshiji's home. Munshi ji inwardly recognized Merwan Seth to be someone spiritual or highly advanced and offered his home near Sassoon Hospital as a center for Merwan Seth's activities. His offer was accepted. One day Merwan Seth casually asked, "Munshi ji, why don't you ever play cards?" Munshi ji haltingly answered, "I do, but in your presence I would not ..." Merwan Seth interrupted, "What harm is there in playing cards? I will play a game with you." Munshi ji was overjoyed.

Munshi ji gradually became convinced that Merwan Seth had the ability to read his thoughts. One evening he was thinking, "For some days now, I have been eating meat — tomorrow I must eat fish. But how can I buy fish? It is not the season." The next morning, Munshi ji was surprised when he saw Merwan Seth bicycling toward him, carrying a large fish in His hand. Merwan smiled and, handing the fish to Munshi ji, pedaled away without a word. This incident convinced Munshi ji that Merwan Seth knew everything, for he had not told anyone of his desire to eat fish.

Another evening, Munshi ji went to bed with a fever. He woke in the middle of the night, took a bath and swallowed two quinine tablets. Early the next morning, Merwan Seth came to his house and said, "What a novel remedy you took for your fever: a bath in the dead of night and two tablets of quinine!" Munshi was again wonder-struck at Merwan's omniscience.

A group of Merwan Seth's friends and associates began gathering every evening at Munshiji's house. Merwan Seth would have the Divan of Hafiz read for an hour or two, explaining the poetry's mystical meaning to his comrades. Afterward, the group would sometimes play a game of cards or have some light entertainment. Munshi ji, a bachelor, was a good cook and would serve some food.

Meher Baba had not bathed during his entire six-month stay at Upasni Maharaj's ashram in Sakori, and his clothes had become ragged and full of lice. Reaching Bombay by train, he went to Munshiji's house on Charni Road. Munshi was now an important official in the Bombay Backbay Reclamation Scheme. He was very happy to see Baba, but was shocked by his condition. He pleaded with Baba to bathe, and Baba consented to do so with Munshiji's help. Before bathing, Baba agreed to be photographed, and Munshi ji sent Sayyed Saheb in his car to bring a friend of Munshiji's who was a photographer. After Baba had bathed, either that day or a few days later, a second photograph was taken of Baba in a suit and tie.

In 1922, Naval had recommended to Munshi to purchase a second-hand De Dion automobile for Rs.100, but repairing it cost Rs.300 more. On the afternoon of 5 October, Baba, Behramji, Gustadji and Munshi ji rode in it to Malabar Hill for a test drive. When they returned, Baba remarked, "The engine is so noisy that while talking one has to shout to be heard! It stalled twice, and Munshi ji had to shout to the driver over the roar of the engine." When Naval came to the Manzil, Baba told him facetiously, "You were right — the car was a steal! You really are a miracle-worker. Would you believe that we drove the car all the way up Malabar Hill at terrific speed without having to blow the horn once? It's a fact. The noise of the engine was so loud that it was sufficient to make all pedestrians give way — and then make them strain their necks to see who would be fool enough to ride in such a car!"

One day, Mr. Munshi tearfully told Chanji, "I wanted to kiss Baba's sadra, but I could not do so, thinking it would be disrespectful. I could see nothing but light around Baba. I cannot explain it. It is the greatest good fortune to have had his darshan and my great luck to have met him. What a privilege to be traveling with him on the same ship! I feel that this is why I have been sent to the West — only so I could meet a Buzurg (Great Being) like Baba!"

Munshi Rahim's adopted son, named Usman. He also came suddenly in the evening to see Baba after several years. When asked how he had come to know of Baba's presence, he, too, said he had dreamed the previous night of seeing Baba and had taken it as a sign that the Master would be in Nasik.

Naval cabled Baba that Munshiji died in Nasik of a heart attack at the age of 57 on the morning of 19 December 1933. Munshi had been one of the first in contact with Baba in Poona when, as a young man, Baba worked in the toddy shop in Kasba Peth.

Sayyed Saheb was deeply saddened by Munshiji's death, and Baba called him, Naval, Abdulla Jaffer, and Ramjoo from Nasik to Meherabad on the 22nd. Knowing how Sayyed missed Munshi, Baba consoled him, "Death is like sleep; and as sleep is essential to man, so also is death a necessary part of life. In reality, no one is born and no one dies. This is all a dream. And what worth does a dream have? "Munshiji has come to me and is happy; so it is not right to feel sad about him.

Once Baba said, with time, all the money was spent. Munshi Rahim loved Me much. He would visit Manzil-e-Meem. Once, he came and said he dreamt of Me and that I had instructed him about something which he had forgotten. I replied that, although he had forgotten, I would tell him. I said I was in need of money. He brought it and it was spent in no time.