Published on: August 9, 2021



What is in news : The final resting place of Mughal prince Dara Shikoh remains a mystery, with the Archaeological Survey of India saying it has not located the grave within the Humayun’s Tomb complex

Background :

  • The present site is inside Humayun’s tomb complex
  • Government had set up a committee to identify the tomb site, which did not come to any consensus
  • It was difficult to identify the grave as there were no inscriptions, and references did not confirm the site as well


  • Eldest son of Shah Jahan.
  • Killed after losing the war of succession against his brother Aurangzeb.
  • Described as a “liberal Muslim” who tried to find commonalities between Hindu and Islamic traditions.
  • Translated into Persian the Bhagavad Gita as well as 52 Upanishads.
  • According to the Shahjahannama, after Aurangzeb defeated Dara Shikoh, he brought the latter to Delhi in chains. His head was cut off and sent to Agra Fort, while his torso was buried in the Humayun’s Tomb complex.
  • Described as “one of the greatest free thinkers of that time”.
  • Realised the greatness of the Upanishads and translated them, which were earlier known only to a few upper caste Hindus. Translations from that Persian translation have inspired a lot of free thinkers of today, even inspiring the likes of former United States President Barack Obama.
  • Some historians argue that if Dara Shikoh had ascended the Mughal throne instead of Aurangzeb, it could have saved thousands of lives lost in religious clashes. He was the total antithesis of Aurangzeb, in that he was deeply syncretic, warm-hearted and generous — but at the same time, he was also an indifferent administrator and ineffectual in the field of battle.