Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan have been blessed with a baby boy, with the actress delivering the baby at Mumbai's Breach Candy Hospital around 7:30 am on Tuesday. But the infant is already gaining some publicity from various quarters, and for a very unusual reason: his name.
After filmmaker Karan Johar revealed that the baby had been named Taimur Ali Khan and started a widespread Twitter hashtag in the process, people were quick to point out how inappropriate the name was in the historical context. Even noted secularist Tarek Fatah got into the act!
So who exactly is this Taimur and why is he so infamous? Born as Timur in the 14th century, this nomadic ruler was one of the biggest conquerors of all time, at times even rivalling Genghis Khan, whom he idolised. Here are five reasons why Timur — an ancestor of Babur — is so controversial:
1. Large number of killings: Although he was lame and was thus known as Tamerlane or Timur the lame, and also had a withered right hand as a result of years of war injuries, Taimur had managed to turn his army into one of the largest killing units in the world. It is estimated that over his conquests, Taimur and his army managed to kill 17 million people — or roughly 5 percent of the world population at that time! Many of these were not even soldiers or fighters, but just common men.
2. Pillaging and raping by soldiers: The soldiers in Taimur's army were infamous for their ways. After they conquered a place, they would often pillage it and rape the women, having killed most — if not all — able-bodied men.
3. Brutal invasion of India: Taimur invaded India in 1398, and massacring village folk along the way, invaded Delhi, then ruled by the last king of the Tughlaq dynasty. Taimur not only disposed of him, but historians say he let his army massacre the people in the walled city for three days, after which only corpses were left in it.
4. Curse after death: When Soviet scientists exhumed Taimur's body in 1941, they reportedly found two curses. The one on his tomb said: "When I rise from the dead, the world shall tremble." The second, in his casket, read: "Whomsoever opens my tomb shall unleash an invader more terrible than I." Three days later, Adolf Hitler launched his biggest operation against the Soviet Union. Strangely enough, Hitler's biggest loss and most crippling loss at the hands of the Soviets came just after Taimur's remains were re-buried.
5. Tamerlan Tsarnaev: Taimur has left behind a mixed legacy. While he is reviled at many places, he is worshipped as a hero in countries like Uzbekistan, where boys are often named after him. It was one such boy who reportedly masterminded the 2013 Boston Marathon terror attack, and was subsequently killed by the police.