History Proves the Workings of Karma

By Desmond Yeoh SC

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At his last moments, Babur, the Moghul emperor who conquered and ruled in India, said to his eldest son, Humayun, “Do naught against your brothers, even though they may deserve it”[1]. Humayun took over the rule from Babur and lived by that code. His three brothers rebelled against him at different times throughout his reign and every time he defeated them, he forgave them and reinstated them into high positions in his empire. Once his half-brother Hindal murdered Humayun’s favourite adviser and ran away from Agra. Instead of vengence, Humayun visited Hindal’s mother and swore on the Quran that he bore no grudge against Hindal and only wish for him to return to Agra. He pleaded until she agreed to fetch Hindal home.

Humayun’s son, Akbar, also lived by this code. Akbar, became the next emperor in 1556. In 1580, His half-brother, Hakim besieged Lahore and proclaimed himself emperor. Akbar managed to put down this rebellion and like his father, forgave Hakim and reinstated him to a high position again in the government.

The next emperor, Jahangir, did not have any problems from his siblings as they passed away from over-indulgence in alcohol before Jahangir took the throne. However, he had to put down a rebellion by his son, Khusrau. Jahangir forgave Khusrau and still saw him as his successor. However, Khusrau rebelled again and after putting him down, Jahangir had no choice but to have him imprisoned.

Shah Jahan, one of Jahangir’s son, was of the first of the Moghul Warlord descendants to break this sacred code in his quest to seize the throne, and perhaps pressed the trigger which led to the slow decline of the Moghul empire. Shah Jahan was a brilliant general and was the obvious choice to succeed Jahangir. When there was unrest in Deccan, Jahangir ordered Shah Jahan to march south to put down the insurgence. At that time, Jahangir’s wife, Nur Jahan was working behind the scenes against Shah Jahan. She saw Khusrau as an easier person to manipulate as the next emperor, and eventually make her own son-in-law, Shariyar, the next emperor. To protect himself, Shah Jahan insisted on bringing his half-brother Khusrau with him as a prisoner. As Jahangir was keen to solve the unrest in Deccan, he relented and agreed to the request. Shah Jahan’s expedition was successful. At that time, Jahangir fell seriously ill and when Shah Jahan received the news, his brother, Khusrau ‘coincidentally’ died of colic pains. It was widely believed that Shah Jahan murdered his brother in order to secure his position. Shah Jahan became the next Moghul emperor in 1627.

Shah Jahan’s eldest and favourite son, Dara Shukoh, was the designated heir. However, his third son Aurangzeb, using Shah Jahan’s example of murdering his brother, also murdered his brothers Dara Shukoh and Murad, and eventually proclaimed himself the emperor. This is the realisation of Shah Jahan’s negative Karma of killing his half-brothers.

Because of his unscrupulous nature, the Emperor, Aurangzeb could not trust others, even his own children and towards the end of his life, he wrote a letter to his son complaining that there is no one who he can rely on. Obviously, he did not see that this was all due to his own nature. Dara Shukoh’s inability to trust his close advisors and children is also the result of Karma. Because he himself is dishonest, he saw everyone around him as such. He had many children and grandchildren and as dictated by Karma, they fought and murdered each other in the struggle for power after his death.

[1] The Great Moghuls by Bamber Gascoigne.

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