22-OCT-2018: Centre of Advanced Study organises symposium on 'Akbar and His India'
Aligarh, October 22: The Centre of Advanced Study, Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University organised a symposium on 'Akbar and His India' in which Professor Irfan Habib, emeritus Prof and eminent public intellectual spoke on 'Akbar and the World of Reason' and how Mughal emperor, Akbar built a state based on tolerance between various segments of society and developed a strong and stable economy, leading to commercial expansion and greater patronage of culture.
Prof Habib spoke extensively on the philosophical trends during Akbar's rule including Ibn e Arabi's Wahdat ul Wujud (Unity of Existence) and threw light on the four Fiqahs of Islam practiced in Akbar's India.
Quoting Jawaharlal Nehru from the 'Glimpses of World History', Prof Habib emphasised Akbar's ideas on the primacy of reason over faith. "We need to understand that the version of Islam in those times was different from what we have today," said Prof Habib adding that the Ma'aqulat traditions as a philosophy of reason reached the Mughal India through the translations of Greek texts into Arabic from the Abbasid rulers.
"One can see reason to be the base of arguments even in writings of Al Beruni, who quotes the testament and the Gita more than Quran," said Prof Habib quoting observations of Thomas Roe, who said that Muslim scholars in the Mughal India were familiar with the philosophy of Aristotle and Averroes. He also spoke on Rabia Basri and her speculations over reason and religion leading towards mystical philosophy.
Speaking on 'Akbar: The Reformer', Prof Shireen Moosvi said that like Asoka, the great, Emperor Akbar was a major figure to influence the course of Indian history.
Elaborating on Akbar's approach towards social inequities, Prof Shireen dealt with the administrative reforms of Akbar, which he implemented by interacting with common masses. "Akbar used to attend public festivities incognito to mix with the common populace and invited people to Jharokha Darshan, a medium through which common people petitioned the emperor," she said adding Akbar abolished the pilgrim tax and Jizyah after witnessing that it was difficult for poor people to pay these taxes.
She pointed out that Akbar banned slavery in 1562-63 with allowances to the freed slaves.
Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi, Chairman, Department of History said that it is important to understand and drive lessons from Akbar's rule today. "Akbar was tolerant ruler, who held 'manazras' (disputations) with people of different religions in order to reach truth.
The symposium was held after the Centre of Advanced Study and the Musa Dakri Museum of the University organised an exhibition to commemorate birth anniversaries of AMU founder Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Mughal emperor Akbar. The exhibition was inaugurated by AMU Vice Chancellor, Professor Tariq Mansoor.
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