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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Vishkanya - Jodha Akbar | Short Update

The Vish Kanya (विष कन्या; singular: Visha Kanya) (English: Poison girl) were young women reportedly used as assassins, often against powerful enemies, during the Mauryan Empire (321–185 BC). Their blood was purportedly poisonous to other humans, and was mentioned in the ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, Arthashastra, written by Chanakya, an adviser and a prime minister to the first Mauryan Emperor Chandragupta (c. 340–293 BC).

An interesting old track of Ekta Kapoor's show - Jodha Akbar, is going to complete 1 year. As many of you have asked regarding the same, i am posting some details regarding it.

It was shown that a Vishkanya (Poison-girl) came to Agra, with a purpose of assassinating Akbar. The present post is about that same old track of the show. In this regard, i know of 2 references, via my friends. I am mentioning them below.

As per translation, at present:

This was not confirmed, whether the wife of Akbar actually drank poison or not. 
Rest of the details are here :

"Sending Vishkanya was a joint conspiracy of Mahachuchak Begum(Mirza Hakim's mother) and Abu'l Maali ( Akbar's brother in law). The Vishkanya was sent by Abu'l Maali, from Kabul, after planning with Mirza Hakim's mother. (though, in the serial it was not shown that Mahachuchak Begum was also involved.!)

The same account also mentioned the next episode about an attack, after Vishkanya incident, which was quite perplexing. Akbar was attacked in Agra'a Palace only, by a person who acted to be a soldier. And, during a ' jashn/celebration ' attacked Akbar, but missed him. He ate poison and died. So, the actual person behind the attack was not identified, but he was suspected to be a Rajput who opposed Akbar's marriage with the princess of Amer. That time, Raja Bhagwan Das assured Akbar - that Rajputs would not attack from back, and also gave him his word that if it's proved that there was any Rajput behind this attack, then he(Bhagwan Das) will personally fight against them. Akbar believed Bhagwan Das, but launched an investigation further. End-result of the investigation was missing from the source."


I. - A Persian source sans name. We tried getting the translation for this Persian source, but were not very successful, owing to the bad condition. This was supposedly a work of Mulla Abu'l Qadir Badayuni {a court historian of Akbar}.

II. - A Marathi source. This is more explicit. The name of this book is Samrat Akbar. Note that this book is in Marathi language.

For those who want to know, this book can be purchased and the links are here:

I don't know reading Marathi language. I have got this via a friend. But for those readers, who are staying near Raigad district in Maharashtra state of India. For them, here are some more details : This book is present in the Library of Bhau Saheb Nene College of Arts, Science and Commerce, District:Raigad, Pin - 402107, Maharashtra.

College Website:

Library account number of this book is > 16715     

Library title of this book is > Samrat Akbar
Library registered author of this book is > Godbole Ravindra
This modest college houses some rare books of Maratha-Mughal struggle. The number of books are less(under 15,000) but the quality is praiseworthy. For medieval history lovers, this college library is awesome.

We tried contacting Mr. Godbule in order to know more about his sources/references, but sadly, he passed away early this year. A celebrated personality in Maharashtra. A chemical engineer by profession , who worked in civil engineering field. And, finally returned to his early passion, i.e., history ; was an all rounder. He is a recipient of many state awards under the Government of Maharashtra and other organizations for his well written books.

His other works include accounts of the Vedas and of the Mahabharata. He has also written an excellent account of Aurangzeb in a separate book. This was a brief description of this "lesser known author on Internet", who was multi-talented and excelled at whatever he did. Works of regional authors, though less known, are extremely useful.

This is the same author on whose works were based the last 2 recent blog posts and discussions, on Aurangzeb.

Aurangzeb's Succession to Mughal Throne | An alternate Story
Aurangzeb - Personality Assessment

Article Category : Jodha Akbar.

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  1. Ha ha Abhay, I cant believe this! there really was a Vish Kanya sent to kill Akbar? Too bad we don't know if Harka saved him or not. Its unbelievable that this show appears to have done such extensive research earlier and is now deliberately trying to distort the facts and trying to destroy the image of AKbar and MUZ. Abhay, I feel that somewhere along the way the CVs stopped believing in the story of JA. This show has immortalized Ruqayya Sultana Begum ....Eeesh!

  2. Preeti,

    This Vishkanya track makes me wonder too. But, what can one do after getting the source at hands. When i was told of this incident for the first time, i was not ready to believe it, and i dismissed it as a jest. But, after getting the references, i was settled with this incident.

    Yes, you are correct, if this show has done anything, it is showing Ruqayya Begum as most powerful {in order to promote negativity}, and made a mockery of Akbar. Think, he is getting continuously fooled by Ruqayya.!! ?

  3. abhay - i remember reading on IF 2. by d way 'tis time u hv given references. thnks 4 'tis post.

  4. Thanks for sharing this abhay.

  5. So, a vishkanya was really sent to kill Akbar. Poor shehenshah, I dread to think of him having had to live in constant fear of being attacked by one enemy or the other.

    I hope the production house does not bring back Abu'l Mali and Mahachuchak Begum again. One terribly malicious version of EK's Rukaiyya is enough for the audience to handle.

    Thank you for this informative post, Abhay.

  6. LOL Charu, I do think though that my revulsion for Rukaiyya is now so great that I would rather have Mahachuchak than have to tolerate that evil Begum e khas for even a second more

  7. Abhay,

    This post reminds me of the wonderful discussion that was held on IF about this track and vishkanyas in particular. The references make it easier for those who still doubt to verify for themselves.

    Quite a few tricks were employed to get up close to kings who were highly secured otherwise, so that they could be killed. Esp vishkanyas have been around for a long time. They were present even in the times of Chanakya.

    We can't rule out anything just because it seems mythical now. Unless there is evidence that proves something as impossible / not having occurred.

  8. Thanks Abhay, i remembered, when you post, this, IF,Then Ekta was showing, serial, in a good manner, Kaha gaye voo episodes.

  9. Thanks Medha.
    It has been posted on my threads by members about HK saving life of Akbar. But, i will post it here when i get confirmation for the same myself.

    Yes, i do remember the long discussions we use to have when this show was close to history and was worth watching.:) Right now there is nothing left in the show. :(

    BTW, You can get this book, i am sure you will be able to read it. :)

  10. They have brought back Sharifuddin instead.

  11. Yippee! Charu never thought I would be so happy to see Sharifuddin again, excited to see focus shifted to a new vamp......anyone...even Benazir resurrected. I must watch this episode tonight!

  12. I agree with you Preet. Right now mahachuchak bhi chalega.

  13. It was a relief to see Sharifudin.

  14. I can't claim to be a JA watcher....but Rukaiya Sultan Begum is getting more attention that she deserves ( based on my suboptimal information...Abhay can confirm this....she is getting attention ...somehow!

  15. Cleo,
    Even i am not a JA watcher these days, but from the understanding i have from the Written updates. It is clear that she IS getting more attention and she is being given a lot of footage somehow in a show meant for Jodha Akbar.

  16. Medha,

    I missed replying to this part of your comment earlier. Atifa track has nothing close to reality. It was supposed to be the Delhi noble wife case divorce track, which was presented to us in a different format by the CV's.

  17. History-geek, the practice of making of Vishkanyas goes back to Chanakya's days.I hv read in my childhood that amatya Rakshas had sent a vishakanya to kill Chandragupta. Foreseeing this Chanakya used to feed Chandragupta, poison in small amount daily, to make him immune to the killing attempt by his enemies. The legend has it that once it so happened, Chandragupta not knowing this, feeds his wife some morsels frm his own food. Durdhara, his wife not immune to this, n about to deliver a baby, dies eating this food.chandragupta takes out the baby, the heir frm her womb, n he was named Bindusara.,who touched the drop of poisoned blood.
    So, vishkanya in Akbar's days cannot be denied.:)

  18. Geeta,
    Thanks for sharing this interesting anecdote. :)
    Yes even i have read this incident. But i also think this is a legend. Do you feel this is possible in reality. :)
    Yes, Vishkanyas have existed in the times of the Roman Emperors also. Mithridates VI of Pontus was also immune to poison. :)

  19. Abhay, immunisation to poison is possible.And keeping in mind nature of Kautilya, anything is possible, he cud hv done it to safe guard Chandragupta. But taking out the baby frm the womb is possible only fr doctors, not warriors :) So it's difficult to believe.But the story doesn't stop here,when Bindusara grew up, one of the ministers reveals this to him instigating him against Chanakya, hus making him leave the court n take sanyas.:)
    But dr. Chadraprakash Dwivwedi, in his serial, has shown Amatya Rakshas approaching a courtisan, (played by Neena Gupta ) to lure Chandragupta.thus keping the debate of vishakanya alive.:)

  20. Geeta,

    Agree with you. The story about taking out the child from the womb is highly debatable, in fact i don't find it believable.

    But about the Vishkanyas, Chanakya is known to have mentioned them in Arthashastra. :)

  21. Thank Abhay,
    seen to be more they have done but some have the story is stuck up after their love accepted by both they were not able to move story because of the trp in Atifa track i think from their the blunder started they were afraid of showing Akbars other wife whom he married for the political, then they made ruq in to villain to continue their dram but its also made them down more over all time the history of Akbar itself have more twist and turns y they went beyond that they took all in leap now in a dead end came god know's what is in their mind if v ask them their only replie is all time v can't show jj love scene is what v want ? is their Q now what ans shall v give them y don't they show some positive like before all time evil plans and fool Akbar, jodha cruel salim something made me close to this show and iam not able to stop now may be late i will thank for u post its really wonderful to read i already heard about this by my grand dad he use to tell us in the story but not sure now u made conform that they lived

  22. Abhay

    It is not impossible. Recently, a pregnant woman in the US had died. She was kept on life support till the 7th month and then the baby was taken out through an operation. Then the life support was removed and the woman allowed to die. The baby is doing fine.

    In ancient India, surgery was quite advanced. Even anesthesia was known to them. So if they have mentioned that a baby was taken out of the womb of a dead woman, it is quite possible. The baby could have been taken out pretty soon after the queen died and before the poison the queen had ingested could reach the baby through the blood stream.

  23. Meena,
    You are most welcome. Thanks. :)

  24. Radhika,
    What you say is right, and thanks for sharing that US incident. This was interesting for me. :)
    But, this legend says that the child was taken out from the womb after cutting it, i really find this unbelievable. I even do not know the authority, as mostly this incident is written on Internet.

  25. It is one of those "stories" that are hard to believe as being historically true. But it was an interesting one!

    Wonder why Bindusar was named like that otherwise?

  26. Radhika,
    This again points to the same legend we are discussing. They say he was called "Bindusara" because he had "bindu/spot marks" on his forehead when he was born, as a drop of poison which reached his mother's womb stained his forehead. :)

    But there is one more legend to this which says that the unborn prince was kept in a goat and when he was born he had spot marks all over, hence he was called so. :)

  27. Radhika,
    My reply here..

  28. Abhay

    It is possible some kids have spots naturally. But a legend may have sprung up around it. :)

    The goat story is even harder to believe!

  29. Abhay, I think, taking out the baby which is grown fully , frm the womb can be done in a planned way. But in this situation it was possible if the vaidya, a gynac or dayee was around or called immediately.This might hv been done instantly' n meticulously by the vaidya, not by Chandragupta. After all cutting the womb is nothing but ceaserion.When this reached ordinary people , they might hv given various colour to this story

  30. U mean in goat's womb?That's again surrogacy ha ha. He shud hv been named after goat (now i don't remember what they call goat in Sanskrit) :)

  31. Geeta thanks for sharing this interesting anectode .Vishakanyas seems to be an interesting tale .i remember reading somewhere chanakya had a selected group of girls based on a particular horoscopeand were given poison and made immune who were later used as weapon as they can carry poison in their mouth without being dead.Not sure if its true or not but i guess some form of vishakanyas could have existed as there are many references about them .

  32. Priya, what plans they used to do, to kill the powerful king:)It seems beautiful girls mean easy trap fr the king:)
    Even i hv heard n read that snakes r friendly towards somepersons whom they don't bite.;)

  33. Geeta,
    I remember that one legend said he was kept in goat, then this can be womb only(?). BTW, In sanskrit goat is called "chaga", if i remember correctly. :)

  34. True Geeta ..The fascinating tales our mythology has in regards to snake makes me really curious.I feel the snake taking human form may also have stemmed from this vishakanyas.

  35. It is entirely possible, Geeta. Even Julius Caesar, I read somewhere, was born through Caesarean only.

    Chanakya was pretty shrewd. He could have come up with this idea of taking out the baby before it died.

    The Mahabharat is full of such "strange" birth stories.

  36. Thanks for the info Abhay :)

  37. Hi Abhay .
    Thanks for the info.
    If I was in India right now ,I would have really helped you in finding some books as in Pune we have large no of books on Mughal history as it's a historical city too.
    But do tell me how these vishkanyas were really made ? How can they survive with snake poison in their body ?

  38. Thanks for the help Rashmi. It is much appreciated. If you come to India in recent future, please do let me know.

    About the Vishkanya's method of preparation, i will reply soon in next comment. It was shared by KDR and me earlier at some other place. I will post it here too. :)

  39. Vishkanyas - Method of Preparation

    VishKanya's were fed with small amount of Poison
    everyday under supervision.The amount and Type of poison was adjusted according to age and desired effect.

    Now, these girls were not
    randomly chosen ones, but were carefully selected among many such girls
    whose parents were willing to accept the proposition.The girls had to be
    born under a specific birth star constellation and were the ones with
    certain flaws in Kundli like Vaidhavya -yog or Anura-Yog..and the girls
    who had not shown signs of Puberty.

    girls were taken to Gurukuls where they were taught various arts and
    science.These girls, getting those various types of poisons slowly got
    immune to those types of poison.

    However, Their blood was NOT Poisonous.

    The tactics used to kill people were as follows:

    exceptionally beautiful and talented , these girls easily got recruited
    into the Royal Household of Kings either as Courtesans, Concubines or
    Maids. After making themselves noticeable and intimate to the Targeted
    Kings / Princes, these Girls took such amount of poison in their mouth
    which were fatal to normal human beings(but not for themselves) and
    either mixed that in food or transferred to the victim while kissing.

    VKs being immune to the venom used, did not show any adverse effect but
    the victim succumbed to death. So, after the death no one could find
    the source of the venom as there were no trace left anywhere except the
    VK's own body which no one could imagine or guess

    Clean Act u see...
    they could even smear their fingers with Poison and scratch their
    victims to death, without the danger of harming themselves.

    The mission thus accomplished, the VKs returned to their centers.

  40. Abhay, LOL - I remember the furious discussion on the IF about Ben track in JA. I joined JA forum just when Ben made her entry. I remember I used to be a silent member of JA forum and when Jalal asked Ben to sit next to him and told MA to ask Jodha to leave, I was so mad at Jalal - I made my first thread on JA forum.

    After that read ALL your threads and ALL the comments on the JA forum and this Vishakanya track had everybody agog!

    To think that THIS was an actual true to history track of JA!!! Wonderful information. I hope this library has taken care to digitize all the books so preserve them forever.

    You reminded me of the fun days on forum. How we counted remaining dresses of Ben! JA climbed to No.1 in TRPs at end of Ben track.

    Sad to see current condition of JA :(( To think that Ben track was true to history while what they are showing now has nothing much to do with HK Akbar or history! Just Ruk :((( Grrr

    I wish you are able to find out if HK had drank poison to save Akbar's life. I remember reading on your threads that she had saved Akbar's life 2-3 times, right?! We never got to see any other tracks. Also you had written on thread that 3 attempts were made on Akbar's life using women - Ben and Atifa were shown. I doubt Atifa track had any reality to it?! Only you would know Abhay :)

  41. Thanks for the references Abhay! I can read and understand Marathi language so I can help with any translations! :)

  42. Samanika,
    Thanks for telling me about this. I will surely get back to you, when ever i need any help in reading Marathi language again. :)