Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the religious fanatic, was fired with an ambition to capture power, obsessed with the impossible dream of bringing the whole of the subcontinent under his `Islamic' rule. He was a wily commander and a manipulator par excellence. On the other hand, Dara, Emperor Shahjahan's favorite, was also a poet, a calligraphist, a painter, a scholar of comparative religion and above all, a practicing Sufi. The war of succession between the two was a war of two divergent conflicting interpretations of Islam Dara's vision of India was a country where all religions co-existed and intermingled. If he had succeeded Shahjahan, the brewing conflict with rajas and ranas in the South and the West could have been contained, even resolved. Religious and cultural integration would have been possible. Communalization of politics, which had devastating consequences, might have been averted.
It is an extreme Irony that Aurangzeb, the killer of his brothers and offspring, is projected as a role model by our partisan and biased scholars. And Dara, the great scholar, the sensitive artist, the passionate and devoted Sufi, the patron of arts, the prince of the people, the visionary, has almost been wiped out from the history books. "Dareis an attempt to relive that glorious.Though a tragic period, bring back Dara into our collective historical and cultural consciousness and redress a monstrous historical wrong.