Bernier and Prince Sihikoh

 THE PHILOSOPH AND THE PRINCE

FRANCOIS BERNIER AND DARA SHIKOH (1659) 

In March, 1659, two fates meet near Ahmedabad : FrancoisBernier (1620-1688), physician, writer and great traveler on his way to Delhi and DaraRicoh(1615-1659) brilliant young Mughalprince engaged in a merciless succession war against his two brothers.

Dr. Bernier was vehemently implored by the prince to vivit one of his favorites dying of a strange illness. It happened to be a severe erysipelas but Bernier had the good fortune to heal rapidly the  patient.

Bernier remained three whole days among the Royal Court. After this brief encounter, the physician and the Prince went to follow their own way:Berniertraveled during a whole decade all over India and, on his return to Paris, found fame with a book called"Travels in the Mogul Empire" while the Prince was due to meet a tragic fate : defeated by hisbrothershe was captured anddragged chained atop an elephant throughthe streets ofDelhiand later murdered in front of his son.

Dara Shikoh's personality remainsfascinating to our timesbecausehe embodiedthe hopes of a new generation opposed to the overwhelming traditions of the Moghul Empire. In his search of a balance between Islam an Hinduism, he will remain inHistory as the greatancestor of modern India.

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