Religious Policy of Sher Shah

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There is a difference of opinion regarding the religious policy followed by Sher Shah. According to Dr. Qanungo, “Sher Shah followed a policy of religious toleration towards the Hindus. His attitude was not contemptuous sufferance but respectful deference.” Principal Sri Ram Sharma differs from Qanungo. Sher Shah was very much devoted to his own faith. He did his prayers five times a day.

On more than one occasion, Sher Shah resorted to Jehad or holy war against the Rajputs. War against Pooranmal of Raisin was officially called a Jehad. His treatment of Maldeo of Jodhpur is a symbol of his intolerance. The same could be said about the siege of Kalinjar. Generally, Sher Shah was tolerant in matters of religious belief. He separated politics from ethics. He did not carry on any organized propaganda against the Hindus. On the whole, he was tolerant towards the Hindus.

According to Dr. A. L. Srivastava, “The net result of Sher Shah’s policy was that his Muslim subjects never felt angry with him on account of his liberal and lenient policy towards the Hindus. On the other hand, Akbar, in his anxiety to please his Hindu subjects, ignored the sentiments of his Muslim subjects. Its result was that he (Akbar) no doubt was successful in pleasing the Hindus, but he lost the sympathy of his Muslim subjects and, as such, became an obstacle in uniting the two communities into one.

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Sher Shah’s policy was that Islam should be given its due dignity and supremacy in this land but, at the same time, Hinduism also should not be held inferior nor should it be degraded. In those days, therefore, this attitude and policy was more useful and appropriate, according to which he (Sht Shah) could openly favour the Hindus without displeasing the Muslims as well. If Akbar and his successors had pursued this policy of ‘religious neutrality’ in the country, this complicated communal problem of India would have found a correct solution very long ago.”

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