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BJP wants to erase Mughal emperor Akbar’s legacy, but its MP models himself on him

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A video listing achievements of BJP MP Nishikant Dubey indirectly portrays him as Akbar with the song Azeem-o-Shaan Shehenshaah playing in the background.

New Delhi: As the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to be hell-bent on denouncing all things to do with Mughal emperor Akbar, some of its leaders appear to be singing a different tune, quite literally.

Nishikant Dubey, a two-time BJP Lok Sabha MP from Godda in Jharkhand, has shared a one-minute video clip of himself and his achievements on his personal Facebook page, with the song Azeem-o-Shaan Shehenshaah (majestic and noble emperor) — which refers to emperor Akbar — playing in the background.

The video, shared by Dubey Tuesday evening, came the same day the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh renamed Allahabad as Prayagraj. The move is seen as part of the BJP’s efforts to erase traces of the Mughal rule as well as eliminate Islamic influence across spheres.

Allahabad was built by Akbar as a modern city in the 16th century and which he named Ilahabad.

Also read: Allahabad is now ‘Prayagraj’, after Yogi Aditynath’s UP cabinet approves its renaming

With the song featured in the movie Jodha Akbar playing in the background, the one-minute clip begins with images of Dubey speaking in Parliament and at rallies, with his achievements — of changing Deoghar’s (Jharkhand) fortunes, building an airport and national highway and winning an award for being best Parliamentarian, among others — scrolling across as texts.

The video goes on to feature clips of newspaper articles on Dubey and ends with saying “Jisne badhai Godda ki shaan, woh hai janata ka neta Nishikant” (The one who has enhanced Godda’s pride is people’s leader Nishikant).

Dubey is no stranger to controversy. Recently, the video of a BJP worker in Jharkhand washing his feet and then drinking the dirty water from his palm drew much flak. In June too, he created another furore when he promised to pay the legal expenses of those accused of lynching two Muslim men in Godda.

BJP on a renaming spree

Dubey’s attempts to model himself on emperor Akbar is clearly a misfit for a party that has consistently tried to wipe out traces of Mughal history. Earlier this year, the Mughal Sarai railway station in Uttar Pradesh was renamed the Deendayal Upadhyaya station. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in fact, has gone as far as to say that “it was proved that it was not Akbar, but Maharana Pratap who was great”.

Also read: India to showcase Deen Dayal Upadhyaya as cultural icon, to hold annual lecture

Last year, the secondary education board in Rajasthan, also a BJP-ruled state, had approved a change in the history section of the Class X social science books, mentioning that Rajput king Maharana Pratap conclusively defeated Akbar in the 16th-century Battle of Haldighati.

In 2016, a section in the BJP said they wanted Akbar Road in Lutyens’ Delhi renamed after Maharana Pratap. Karan Singh Tanwar, the NDMC vice-chairperson and former BJP MLA, had said he would move a proposal to this effect.

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  1. Barring Aurangzeb – a sobriquet grandmother conferred on me at age five, seeing how headstrong I was – the Mughal rulers were a fine lot. Akbar was clearly the best. Those who respect Sardar Patel as a fine administrator should feel nothing but admiration for Emperor Akbar. The Red Fort, symbol of our Independence Day, and the Taj Mahal are Shah Jehan’s enduring gift to India. Historians speak in glowing terms about Noor Jehan. It would be an act of civilisational vandalism to erase our past.

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