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29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

US scholar's book argues Aurangzeb wasn't a Hindu-despising Islamic fanatic, gets hatemails "almost hourly"

Counterview Desk
A new book by senior American scholar Audrey Truschke, “Aurangzeb: The Man and the Myth”, has stirred a major controversy, as it seeks to contest the strongly-held view across India that last of the six great kings of the powerful Mughal dynasty was a Hindu-despising Islamist fanatic.
Assistant Professor at Rutgers University, Newark, Truschke has complained that she has been getting a lot of hatemails ever since the book was published. According to her, these days she is “bombarded almost hourly”, adding, “My Twitter account is a nightmare right now. It hasn’t been fun.”
Reporting on the book and the aftermath, Rutgers University’s news section, which provides information on “faculty publications, history, India, arts and science”, calls Truschke a “leading scholar of South Asian cultural and intellectual history.”
Introducing Aurangzeb as “one of the most hated figures in Indian history”, whose empire “stretched across the Indian subcontinent during the heyday of Muslim rule in the region from the 16th to 18th centuries”, the report states, ever since this year’s publication of the book, “Truschke has been targeted by Hindu-nationalists supporting the ruling BJP and by other groups, whose current anti-Muslim sentiment traces back to medieval times, when Muslims started expanding into the region.”
“The popular view in today’s India is that, like other Mughal kings who were hostile to Indian languages, religions and culture, Aurangzeb was a Hindu-despising Islamist fanatic who destroyed Hindu and Jain temples and imposed a military tax on most non-Muslims”, the report claims.
“But Truschke, one of the few living scholars who reads pre-modern Persian, Sanskrit and Hindi, had in a prior book argued that the Mughal courts were deeply interested in Indian thinkers and ideas, with elites and intellectuals engaging across cultures”, the report says.
Thus, while researching the monograph, “Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court” (2016), says the report, Truschke became “the first scholar to study texts in Sanskrit and Persian in exploring the courtly life of the Mughals.”
Going a step further, according to the report, in her latest work, Truschke “paints a much more nuanced picture of Aurangzeb, showing how he also protected most Hindu and Jain temples and increased the Hindu share in the Mughal nobility.”
The report adds, “Rather than hatred of Hindus driving his decisions, Truschke says, more likely Aurangzeb was guided by political reprisals and other practical considerations of rule, along with morality concerns, and a thirst for power and expansion.”
Pointing out that this interpretation hasn’t “sat well with some factions in India”, the report quotes Truschke as arguing that “as an academic historian, her project wasn’t to play political football with Aurangzeb to satisfy current agendas. It was to recapture the world of the sixth Mughal king, which operated according to quite different norms and ideas.”
“My book looks at Aurangzeb as part of an Indian dynasty in all its complexities and nuances. I don’t ask if he was good or bad; that’s not an interesting historical question,” says Truschke. “I look at him with a purely empirical view, and that has been widely read by Hindu-nationalists as an apology for his Muslim atrocities.”
Truschke further says that “the current ethno-religious tensions in India were stoked during the British colonial period, when Britain benefitted by pitting Hindus and Muslims against each another while portraying themselves as neutral saviors who could keep ancient religious conflicts at bay.”
Contending that the Hindu-right “largely ignore the colonial history and see their history through an Indo-Islamic lens only”, Truschke believes, this is one reason why to contradict a narrative or make it more nuanced and complex “is a problem, since their current position in the Indian cultural and political landscape rests on their reading of the past.”
She insists, “Aurangzeb was a complex king who had a profound impact on the political landscape of 17th- and 18th-century India. As historians, we need to avoid this persistent stance and look at the evidence before us.”

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India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
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Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

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Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
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Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

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Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
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An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
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Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

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By Sheshu Babu*
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History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
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