- The Vice President calls Dara Shikoh a torchbearer of social harmony.
- He was the eldest son and heir-apparent of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
- In 1655 his father and Mughal emperor Shah Jahan declared him the Crown Prince; he was assassinated by his younger brother, Aurangzeb, in a bitter struggle for the throne on August 30, 1659.
- Dara was designated with the title Padshahzada-i-Buzurg Martaba (Prince of High Rank) and was favored as a successor by his father and his older sister, Princess Jahanara Begum.
- In the war of succession which ensued after Shah Jahan’s illness in 1657, Dara was defeated by his younger brother Prince Muhiuddin (Aurangzeb).
- Dara Shikoh is described as a “liberal Muslim” who tried to find commonalities between Hindu and Islamic traditions.
- He had a deep understanding and knowledge of major religions, particularly Islam and Hinduism is known as a pioneer of the academic movement for interfaith understanding in India.
- He strove to develop cordial relationships between people by finding commonalities between Hinduism and Islam and bringing their cultures into dialogue.
- His most important works, Majma-ul-Bahrain (Mingling of Two Oceans) and Sirr-i-Akbar (Great Mystery) are devoted to the cause of establishing connections between Hinduism and Islam.
- He not only discovered commonalities but even said that the foundation of the two religions is the same, which is the belief, “One Reality and One God”. He had a pluralistic outlook and understood India’s syncretic culture.
- Dara Shikoh acquired proficiency in Sanskrit and Persian, which enabled him to play a key role in popularising Indian culture and Hindu religious thought. He translated the Upanishads and other important sources of Hindu religion and spirituality from Sanskrit to Persian.
- Dara Shikoh had a keen interest in the fine arts and architecture. An album he dedicated to his wife is a treasure of Indian art.
- A rare miniature painting showing him with his spiritual masters is preserved in the library of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). As a talented architect, he designed the beautiful Pari Mahal Garden Palace in Srinagar and many other monuments.
- He wrote ‘Risala-i-hak Numa’ (The Compass of the Truth), the ‘Shathiyat or Hasanat-ul-Arifin’ and the ‘Iksir-i-Azam’.
- He also commissioned the ‘Jug Bashist’ and the ‘Tarjuma-i-Akwal-i-Wasili’.