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Dara Shikoh remembered for his contribution to introducing interfaith dialogue

Hyderabad (Telangana) : The religious scholars and intellectuals remembered Dara Shikoh, the elder son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his contribution to introducing interfaith dialogue in the country. The Two Day International Conference on Dara Shikoh and Majma-ul-Baharain Conference was hosted at Moulana Azad National Urdu University in Hyderabad.Haji Syed Salman Chishty, Gaddi Nashin of Dargah Ajmer Sharif addressed the inaugural session and launch of the book Safinat-ul-Awliya by Sufi Prince Dara Shikoh. In his inaugural address, Syed Chishty talked about the Spiritual impact of Ajmer Sharif and Khawaja Moinuddin Chishty's (ra) Teachings on Dara Shikoh as he was born in Ajmer Sharif as the elder son of Emperor Shah Jahan who had prayed walking barefoot to the Dargah Sufi Shrine of Hazret Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty popularly known as Khawaja Gharib Nawaz among the masses.Teachings of Khawaja Gharib Nawaz (r) Chishty Sufi Order had a major impact on Dara Shikoh towards developing his spiritual longing and opening up towards the Interfaith Understanding as well as dialogues among all faith spiritual, masters, teachers, scholars and elders during his time as he established research-based scholarly libraries in Kashmir, Delhi and other parts of Indian Subcontinent. Dara Shikoh, the Mughal Prince and Son of Emperor Shahjahan, is credited to have introduced interfaith dialogue in India. He invited Hindu Scholars from Banaras, Mirzapur to his court and himself went to Banaras to learn Sanskrit. He also invited Muslim and Christian scholars to initiate interfaith dialogue. Professor Tariq Mansoor, Vice-Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University said at the inaugural of the two-day International Conference on Majma-ul-Bahrain of Dara Shikoh-- A Harbinger of Pluralistic Approach towards Religion and Spirituality organized by the Department of Persian and Central Asian Studies (DP&CAS), Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) to mark Silver Jubilee year of the university. The conference is supported by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL). Majma-ul-Bahrain (Confluence of two oceans) is a path-breaking book written by Dara Shikoh).Mumtaz Ali, Chancellor, MANUU, delivered the keynote address and Professor Syed Ainul Hasan, Vice-Chancellor presided over the function. Prof Mansoor said that the translation of the Upanishad from Sanskrit to Persian by Dara Shikoh had a great impact not only in India but also in Europe. "The religious thoughts of India were exposed to Europe for the first time. Dara Shikoh was also a philosopher, who manifested his thoughts in the book Majma-ul-Bahrain which is being discussed today", he added. Dara Shikoh who was made crown prince by Emperor Shah Jahan never occupied the throne but he left his footprints on various aspects of Indian Civilization such as thought, philosophy, tolerance etc. Dara Shikoh has a multi-faceted personality and his thoughts are immensely relevant today. Mumtaz Ali recalled that Dara Shikoh called himself a 'Fakir' (mendicant) in his biography. He lived without the paraphernalia of royalty. His mind was always that of a mendicant. There are various other books written by Dara Shikoh but with his translation of Upanishad, the Western world by and large came to realise a hitherto unheard culture of India. Dara Shikoh either saw or met people who are said to have the truth; it is from them that he became aware that 'the truth' is infinite. This great understanding comes only when one has spiritual depth. Coming together of Two Oceans is worth looking into. "We have to live together in this country where it was declared 1000 years ago that truth is one and we called it by different names. Let us practice what we say and what we preach," Ali who is popularly known as Shri M. Prof. Ainul Hasan said, "Dara Shikoh taught us so many things like language appreciation. His ancestral language was Turkish, his language of expression was Persian, the religious zeal of Arabic cannot be overlooked, Sanskrit, on the other hand, is the language of his ideas." The Vice-Chancellor described Dara Shikoh as a universal man who loves all and hates none. Often it is believed that had Dara Shikoh been the successor of Shahjahan, the socio-cultural, socio-religious chemistry of India would have been different. Had he been alive for another 20 to 30 years he might have become a Mahatma (super soul) for the benefit of humanity.

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