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Saturday, February 28, 2015

How Maharana Pratap ascended the throne of Mewar after nobles nullified the efforts of Dheer Bai Bhatiyani and Jagmaal - On 443rd Anniversary | With Scans from Mewar Records


Today is the 443rd Anniversary of Maharana Pratap's ascension to the throne of the kingdom of Mewar. He became the ruler of Mewar on 28th February 1572, after the demise of his father - Rana Udai Singh. To celebrate the day, i thought of making a post & describe that historic occasion. 

I am listing the events which happened at a great pace on that day - 28th February 1572.
Let's start.

Maharana Udai Singh had many sons. Rana Pratap being the eldest among them was the rightful heir to the throne, according to tradition. Also, mother of Maharana Pratap was the first wife of Rana Udai Singh.

Artistic Depiction : Jagmaal being removed from the throne by the nobles

As per what i have read - Rana Udai Singh discarded this tradition and made his younger son Kunwar Jagmaal the heir to the throne of Mewar, at his death. The reason given is - His affection for his favorite Queen Dheer Bai Bhatiyani. 

Scan from Mewar records - Rana Udai Singh declares Kunwar Jagmaal his heir due to Dheer Bai Bhatiyani's influence. Mughal forces had already started attacking Mewar earlier. It is mentioned that Rana Udai Singh was collecting his forces to tackle the Mughal agression.

No doubt Rana Udai Singh loved Dheer Bai Bhatiyani. But recently, i came across another story with a minor variation. It says -> After the death of Rana Udai Singh, Kunwar Jagmaal organized "a party of his own" and plotted to seize the throne. Jagmaal got 2 important nobles to his side - a. Rawat Sangha and b. Rawat Kishen Das. These 2 nobles were strong and played a major role in the court. Perhaps, they were bound by traditions & were acting under the decision of Rana Udai Singh.

- Rawat Sangha was the son of Rawat Siha Ji who died in the Battle of Khanua (17th March 1527) while fighting along side Rana Sanga of Mewar, against Mughal Emperor Babur. Rawat Sangha was a senior noble and he was married to Shyam Kanwar, the sister of Jaimal - the same Jaimal who died fighting in the Battle of Chittor on 24th February 1568. {Don't confuse Rawat Sangha and Rana Sanga of Mewar. Both are different people with same names.} Just for information - One of the sons of Rawat Sangha died fighting the Mughal Forces sent under Mughal Emperor Jahangir to subjugate Mewar in the reign of Rana Amar Singh, son of Maharana Pratap.

- Rawat Kishen Das was LIKE A grandson of Rawat Chundavat*. Rawat Chundavat died in the Saka at the Battle of Chittor on 24th February 1568 while fighting the forces of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Along with Rawat Chundavat, his ONLY son Kunwar Amar also died on the same day in the Saka at the Fort of Chittor.
Click here to Read about Saka and Jauhar : 
Jauhar and Saka - Ethos of Rajputana 

* Rawat Chundavat is the same person who is shown in the TV Show - Bharat Ka Veer Putra Maharana Pratap as a close confident of Rana Udai Singh. After his death, his position was taken by Rawat Khangar in 1568, who also died soon. Then, Rawat Kishen Das took this post.

Actually, Mewar had a unique system of administration. The King was from the family of Ranas and the administrator was from Chunda Dynasty, and together they managed Mewar. So, Chundas played a great role in important decision making process. Hence, Rawat Chundavat, Rawat Khangar and now Rawat Kishen Das were powerful nobles.

After Udaisingh's death in Gogunda, when his dead body was taken for cremation, Jagmaal was missing from the place. This irked some nobles because according to Mewar's Royal traditions, ONLY the heir to the throne did not take part in the cremation ceremony of previous king. Most of the samants were unaware of the proceedings. They were surprised at Jagmaal's absence from the funeral.

Pratap almost left the palace, but is brought back by the nobles and Jagmaal is removed from the throne.

At this moment, the former king of Gwalior, Raja Ram Singh Tanwar (who was given refuge in Mewar by Rana Udai Singh after defeat by forces of Mughal Emperor Akbar), asked Rawat Sangha and Rawat Kishen Das about the where abouts of Jagmaal. On hearing the reality, Raja Ram Singh Tanwar hotly opposed the decision of these 2 nobles. Learning soon the fact that Jagmaal had been made the crown prince of Mewar, Pratap's maternal uncle, Rao Akhai Raj of Jhalor also joined Raja Ram Singh Tanwar. {Some sources say he was maternal grand-father not uncle of Pratap, i think that is error in Sanskrit translation.}

They argued that -> "You are from the Clan of Chundas, so you have the right to sanction the heir to the throne. Today Mewar is not safe. An enemy in the name of Akbar is present. The condition of Mewar is deteriorating. In such a situation, if there are fights within the household, then there is no doubt of the state's destruction!. In such adverse circumstances of Mewar, it was appropriate to make some able person the ruler of Mewar."

Pratap was suitable for this from all aspects. According to the prevalent traditions also, he was the heir to the throne. All the samants present there were also in favour of this. So, Kishen Das and Rawat Sangha decided to make Pratap the heir and entire party of nobles returned to the palace. They exclaimed -> "For what fault of his should the rightful heir,the brave Pratap Singh, be denied the throne?"

There Jagmaal was getting himself crowned as king. When, after Udai Singh's cremation, all the samants came to the palace, Jagmaal was found sitting on the throne and Pratap waited outside the palace. The samants took Jagmaal and made him sit on the seat side of the throne saying, "Your place is not on the throne, but on the seat on the side of the throne" because the Maharana's brothers sit there. Jagmaal had to bear this insult quietly because, firstly, his position was weaker according to the traditions and, secondly, the strength of his supporters was also negligible. Without any protest, he sat on the assigned place.


Pratap is coronated and an angry Jagmaal leaves to meet Mughal Emperor Akbar

After that Pratap was called inside the palace and asked to sit on the throne and he was crowned as the king with all rituals and ceremonies, and the sky resonated with the cries of "Long live Maharana Pratap." After this, Pratap became the Maharana of Mewar. He gave gifts to his courtiers, according to the traditions of Mewar. In this way, where Jagmaal was dreaming of becoming the king and Pratap was thinking of leaving the kingdom, what happened was the opposite of this, Pratap became the Maharana of Mewar and Jagmaal could only watch silently. All these events happened on 28 February 1572, because in Mewar the next king was chosen on the same day as the death of the previous one.

But this throne was NOT a bed of roses for the struggle to keep mewar independent from Mughal rule was about to start...

Other Posts:

Click here to Read about Saka and Jauhar : 
Jauhar and Saka - Ethos of Rajputana 

About Chittor Siege, i have the following articles till now : 

7. Fatehnama-i-Chittor, Comparison & Pictures of Mughal-Rajput Weapons, Assessment of Akbar and Maharana Pratap, Old Portraits of Udaipur & Path for the Future Struggle of Mughals - Mewar | LONG Detailed Concluding Assessment..Last Post on Battle of Chittor Part 7

6. DETAILED Rajput Record of Jauhar, Saka & Massacre of Rajputs at 3rd Siege of Chittor(1567-68) | Description of Rajput Warriors & OLD pictures of Chittor Fort | Battle of Chittor Part-6

5. Mughal Record of Jauhar of Rajput Women & Saka of Rajput Warriors at 3rd Siege of Chittor(1567-68) + Mughal Victory Followed by Massacre of Rajput Civilians | Battle of Chittor Part-5 | With Portraits from Akbarnama & personal pictures of Chittor Fort

4. ACTUAL Struggle between Mughal & Rajput Forces - Course of War BEFORE Jauhar and Saka| Battle of Chittor Part-4 | With explained Portraits from Akbarnama

3. Battles BEFORE the Battle of Chittor - At Kumbhalgarh, Rampur, Udaipur, Mandalgarh | Part - III

2. Preparation of Rajputs - Battle of Chittor | Part - II

1. Why did Akbar attack Chittor | Part - I 

This article has been posted under the Rajputs section of history_geek's BLOG.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Jodha Akbar | 26th Feb 2015..God Track Part-3 Brief Update

Hi all,

I watched the episode of Jodha Akbar just now, as i could not catch it at 8 PM today. !

By now, you all must have read updates of what happened in the show. I watched the episode to see if there was any political development amidst the dramatization, in this God Track.!

Previous Updates :

Jodha Akbar Historical Update | Akbar trying to be God ? - Part-1
Akbar tries to injure himself | Man Singh stops Him - Part-2
I got some thing in this episode. So thought of posting. 
I will post a separate update on Mansoor later.

The grace by CV's is NO Ruqayya scenes and no Salim Anarkali(SA) story. That is a major reason i want this track to succeed as i can not watch SA back and grabbing the screen space.

Damage of 2-3 months can not be undone in 2-3 days, makers know this thing. It s a bit long process. I am not able to get the significance of this insect theory completely. Yesterday i thought this means that Jalal's enemies are popping up one after another.

Credit for Pic from Episode -> @JodhaAkbarTeam

But today Jalal getting infected by it was unrealistic..Though, in opinion of a friend, this is a symbolic twist to the story to show that human is helpless before Almighty, no matter how strong one is, he/she can not confront the wrath of that supreme soul who watches all of us. The CV's could have thought of a better "symbolism" if that was their motive, but anyways i am not talking about that.

The motive of this post is BASICALLY to mention a political development, as i try to keep track of such minute happenings -> Jalal announced in the DEK that the forces in Gujarat & Bengal are getting weakened(?) and they need re-enforcements. This is TRUE...

What happened was -> Akbar had won Gujarat in 1571-72, but rebels of Gujarat rose in revolt later; to counter them Akbar sent TodarMal. But an unfortunate development was that -> Shah Mansoor was given the position of TodarMal ; and made the Wazir-e-Sultanate(Prime Minister) by Akbar. Mansoor rose in prominence during this time. TodarMal and Mansoor did not see eye to eye to each other.

Since, Akbar also mentioned the revolt in Bengal in the episode. This happened at the same time, and here Daud Khan was the ruler. To counter him a Large contingent was sent, under Munim Khan, who died in Bengal in 1575 due to spread of a mysterious "epidemic". Cream of this army was wiped off by these deadly epidemic.! Later, Akbar himself proceeded and routed the ruler of this place.

In an earlier post, i mentioned that while proceeding on this war, Akbar took his select wives and his young sons Murad and Salim also with him to the war. Special attention was given to the flotilla of boats designed for the ladies.!

This was mentioned in my old post. See point 25 in this Link: Historical Tracks for Jodha Akbar
The point 26 of this Historical Tracks Post mentions that Salima Begum was away from Agra and gone on a Haj Journey from 1575-76 to 1581-82, hence she was not present in Agra.! A separate beautiful detailed post about the Haj of Gulbadan Begum was made by Radhika here. Link: The Haj of Royal Women - An Unusual Haraman Initiative

The point 27 of this Historical Track post mentions , Mirza Aziz Koka was put under house arrest by Akbar around 1576, because he showed "signs of dissent" against administrative measures which were introduced by Akbar. 
Personally, I support Akbar in this decision, his method was strict but aimed at reducing the corruption by Imperial Officers and breaking the monopoly of some nobles, but his execution was harsh and strict.! 

So, in the show we should be ready for some harsh treatment given to Mirza Aziz Koka also. :-P
The years of these revolts are between 1575 to 1576. In my update of God Track,{Akbar Trying to be God} you have seen that serious revolt happened in Bihar and Bengal, but the dates of those revolts is around 1580. Hence, i think the revolts which Jalal mentioned in the episode today are of earlier timeline, i mean before the major revolt mentioned in God Track Update.!
As i said earlier, CV's are doing some digging from history books, but they have botched up the timelines, while taking this "back leap" .!

Motive of this post is only to tell the political development amidst some "supernatural happenings" going on in the show.! The track is fine and important also but if the CV's tone down this melodrama and supernatural premonitions "a bit", the track can be enjoyed more. Only thing i want is a sensible and balanced portrayal of both Jodha and Akbar.
Barring the "insect theory" it was ok today.!

So, what are your thoughts ? The track is interesting, just needs a bit of course correction.

This article has been posted under the Jodha Akbar section of history_geek's blog.

Important Note:
Today, I have added the Language Translation option. It is visible on TOP of the blog. Readers , especially from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Russia can use it to view the posts in their language, as many have asked me for the same. This eliminates the need of lifting the updates from the blog for translation purposes, as now the translation can be done here itself easily by a single click, and the posts can be read too, here only. :)

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Akbar tries to injure himself, Man Singh stops him = Angry Akbar | The Fight of Akbar and Man Singh


This post is a continuation of the Part-1 post of the "God Track" of Jodha Akbar. In this track, the makers are showing that Akbar has immersed himself in the river of pride as he has won a lot of Hindustan and now even tried comparison with God. (as per serial, dramatized version of historical events)

In that regard, i made a update which can be read on this link.
Link: Jodha Akbar Historical Update | Akbar Trying to be God ? + Future Tracks

Before i start this post, just see this picture from Akbarnama.

Here, a sword can be seen at some distance. Akbar has thrown Man Singh to the ground, and is quite angry. Akbar is literally "sitting" over Man Singh. All the courtiers are in shock, and don't know what to do. This is a scene from a drinking party where AKbar tries to injure himself with a sword in order to prove his valor at par with Rajputs and acts in a mad manner to almost kill himself by placing his dagger on his chest and begins to pierce it, but is saved by Man Singh.

Now, the origin of this update lies in the following incident:

I had made a tweet on February 16, 2015. In the episode of Jodha Akbar aired that day, it was shown to us that -> Jodha, through the medium of a dream watches that Jalal acts in a mad manner to injure himself in chest using a sword. That day, while changing the channels on TV i came across this scene, and immediately took to Twitter and made a tweet that, this event happened in REAL HISTORY also. The tweet was made because i was surprised to see at least something NEAR to history.

Here are those screenshots.
Start reading from the bottom one in an upward manner..

I also promised to make an update, if this scene happens in reality in the show.
Now, in the episode aired on February 20, 2015, showed us this scene in REALITY.

So, as promised, here is the historical update regarding the same. 
You can read what actually happened in reality.

I am giving 2 different sources. First one is from Akbarnama. 
In that it has been noted that this incident happened in reality.
The incident is again somewhere from 1570's.

Read the Following scan. It notes that -> 

Akbar acted in a mad manner to prove that he can be as brave as the Rajputs. There was a drinking party where select people were present. While drinking, the topic of discussion shifted to the most brave warriors/heroes of Hindustan. The name which popped up was that of Rajputs. It was mentioned that Rajputs in orders to prove their bravery would not care for their lives and could even put a sword/spear in their chest from the front which would come out after piercing the chest from the back.! It was a fatal sport, but Akbar was hell bent at proving that he could repeat the same feat in order to show his bravery, hence he decided to do the same act as done by Rajputs.! Everyone was shocked and No one dared to stop him, but Raja Man Singh. Man Singh gave a tight blow to Akbar and the sword fell down. Akbar became so much displeased that he himself got hold of Man Singh and threw him to ground and a minor scuffle followed. 

Man Singh was not doing any thing wrong, but trying to protect Akbar from the "evil praises"of his flatterers, who were provoking him. 

Here is the scan from Akbarnama ->

Here is the text from Akbarnama, as given in above scans. Please note those words which i am coloring in this text in purple color, I am also adding some meanings in brackets. -->

" One of the occurrences was that an injury happened to His Majesty's hand; but it was cured. The brief account of this instructive catastrophe is that the sitter on the throne of the Caliphate is always shrouding himself(Akbar) under a special screen, while the stewards of fate are ever removing this screen and displaying the spiritual and physical glories of him who has been magnified by God. 

One night there was a select drinking-party. Discourse fell upon the bravery of the heroes of Hindustan, and it was stated that they paid no regard to their lives. For instance, some Rajputs would hold a double-headed spear, and two men, who were equally-matched(of equal strength), would run from opposite sides against the points, so the latter would transfix them and come out at their backs. 

That Divine wrestler of the world(means Akbar), for the sake of screening his glory(to prove his bravery), or for testing men, or from the melancholy engendered by his being in the outer world, fastened the hilt of his special sword to a wall, and placing the point near his sacred breast declared that if Rajputs were wont to sell their valour in their way, he would rush against this sword.(Akbar was trying to emulate what Rajputs did.) 

Awe fell upon those who were standing at the feast, and none had the power to utter a word, nor even to offer any opposition. Just then Raja Man Singh ran with the foot of fidelity and gave such a blow with his hand that the sword fell down and made a cut between His Majesty's thumb and his index-finger. Those present removed the sword and His Majesty angrily flung Man Singh on the ground and squeezed him. 

Mozaffar foolishly tried to free him from the grasp of that tiger of God and by twisting his wounded finger released Man Singh. This increased the wound, but by the Divine protection it soon healed. "


Above was the scan and text from Akbarnama. The language is a bit tough to understand.
Hence, here is the simplified version of the above event. This will make the incident completely clear


So this was the Part-2 update of the God Track. This incident involved Man Singh and Akbar's "fight" where Man Singh gave a blow to Akbar, thereby hurting the latter in the process, which was only to save his life. But as Akbar was drunk, he charged back on Man Singh. 

The bond of Man Singh and Akbar is still remembered in the bards in Rajputana, he fought even with his relative Rana Pratap as he had sworn his loyalty to Akbar. What counted for him was loyalty and his word of mouth, not his relations.! Man Singh was one of the most loyal officers of Akbar, and was referred to as Farzand-i-Akbar, meaning, "Son of Akbar". Akbar used to call him his son.!

I mentioned one portrait from Akbarnama above, where Akbar and Man Singh engaged in "fight". They had their own bitter sweet moments.

As told earlier, this "God track" has been formulated by joining dots from history with dramatization. Timelines are of 1570's , a sort of back-leap as already been taken.!

Article Category : Jodha Akbar and Mughals(Akbar) section.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Jodha Akbar Historical Update | Akbar trying to be God ? + Future Tracks


This is a short update about a track of Zee TV's show Jodha Akbar. 
I am terming it -> "The God track". 

It is shown that the flatterers of Akbar are supporting him and making him believe that if he cannot be the God himself than he can be the next most powerful person after God / Allah / Khuda / Bhagwan / Ishwar.

In this "God Track", it is being shown that -->
i. "Akbar tries to equate himself with God",  or i must say
ii. "he is trying to become the most powerful person after God", or 
iii. "he is trying to become the God present on Earth".

Watch Episode 442 - February 16 2015, between : 6:47 & 11:00 . The exact dialogues used in the episodes can be heard at this link. 
Link : 

In the end of this talk Akbar says ->  "Jald se Jald wo sikke banwaye jaye taaki aawam ko ehsaas ho saake ki Jab unki fariyaad wo EK Khuda na sun sake to dusra to sunega hi".

A New Promo has been released. It can be watched here.
New Promo Picture - Credit(Bhavna)

Now, naturally lot of questions arise while watching this track. Viewers are eager to know whether such an event happened in reality or not. Along with this, Zee TV has released a New Promo.

In regard of the same issue, here is a short historical update. I always love to write a LONG and Detailed writeup, but for time being do suffice with this, as i am short on time to write a long one. I have also given some future possible historical tracks, and i really hope the makers show all of them, focus on Jodha Akbar, as there are lot of events which can be shown.

This post is not meant to hurt anyone's religious sentiments. Now, I am only writing what History has told us. You will understand this post in a better manner, if you remember the years/timeline i am mentioning in this post. 

First, I am listing some core events from history. Before you read, let me tell you that this period is THE MOST controversial period in the life of Akbar. You will understand why i said so, as you read more below. Try to think after reading these incidents. If the Creatives of Jodha Akbar have touched this then it is a brave decision, but they should be careful in the execution. The track is inspired from history , of course with drama in play.!

I. Akbar issued a new Imperial Seal & new coins in 1575-76

According to Al-Badouni -> " Akbar asked how people would like it, if he ordered the words "Allah-u-Akbar" to be cut on the Imperial seal, and also on the the dies of his coins."

Many people supported Akbar, but some objected. Among them was a cleric Ibrahim who objected and said that the phrase could not be used. The issue is that the Emperor's name was also Akbar. Akbar means Great.

Hence, "Allah-u-Akbar" gave 2 meanings which offended some people. It "could" mean these two things ->
i. God is great, or 
ii. Akbar is God <--(This means Jalal-ud-din Muhammed Akbar was God.!!)

Hence, Ibrahim requested Akbar to substitute the verse "Allah-u-Akbar", and suggested the use of a verse from the Holy Qur'an -> "La Zikr Allah-u Akbar", which means "To commemorate God is the greatest" or "Speaking of God as Almighty".

Hence, this verse, if used, could easily remove the ambiguity. But Akbar became displeased at this suggestion & strongly resented this proposal of Ibrahim. 

Akbar's rejected his proposal saying -> "It was surely sufficient, that no man who felt his weakness would claim Divinity; he merely looked to the sound of the words, and he had never thought that a thing could be carried to such an extreme."

Before Akbar thought of using this new verse on the coins, the verse which was used on coins was -> "Huw-al-Ghani", which means the "one who is Independent" or "the one who is supreme/perfect".

Also, before this, the verse used on the Imperial Seal, was -> "Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim", which means "In the name of Allah - The most gracious the most merciful". Now, this was also replaced by "Allah-u-Akbar".

Several scholars have criticized and doubted Akbar's intentions, as he rejected the well thought out advice of Ibrahim. Had Akbar agreed to the suggestion of Ibrahim, there would have been no doubts over his intentions.

II. Renewal and Re-imposition of Jazia(Tax) on the Non-Muslims in 1575

Many of you have been asking me if this is the beginning of "Jallad(Devil) phase of Akbar" ? I want to tell one incident which happened around the same time. 

This was also the time when Akbar reversed one of his earlier landmark decision. You all remember that Akbar had abolished the tax - Jazia in 1564. But he brought back this tax in 1575.

An order of Akbar given in this regard has been noted in Al-Badouni, Vol-2, Pg-210. I could not find much details. Akbar ordered his religious ministers to assess and decide how much tax should be levied on Hindu population, and farmans were dispatched in all the directions of the Empire announcing this new decision. But, this regulation disappeared soon. Akbar withdrew Jazia again in 1579-80.

Some scholars are also of the view that this tax was re-imposed in order to pressurize the Rana of Mewar, Maharana Pratap, to make him surrender to the Imperial Mughal authority. Remember that, this period was one of great tension between Akbar and Maharana Pratap. The Battle of Haldighati also took place in 1576. So, the makers can show this event also, as they are NOT following the timeline.

III. Role of Abu'l Fazl

This track has shown Abu'l Fazl supporting the idea of Akbar being equated to God. Well, in one sense, this is true. It was Abu'l Fazl and his father Sheikh Mubarak who gave Akbar the idea of being the "spiritual and temporal guide of his people" on this Earth. The concept of Akbar being "Zil-e-Illahi" was supported by Abu'l Fazl very strongly. In the Din-e-Illahi Akbar is termed "Zil-e-Illahi", meaning "Shadow of God". 

Akbar used to conduct religious debates in Fatehpur Sikri since 1575-76. Abu'l Fazl was the head of one of the sections of the debating parties. He at last persuaded the emperor that his subjects ought to look upon the king not only as the temporal, but also as the "only spiritual guide." {Ain-i-Akbari, I, xiii}

IV. Role of Mansoor

Along with Abu'l Fazl, another person is shown to be supporting Akbar a lot, in this decision in the present track. He is Mansoor. I have not got any information about this person's involvement in this kind of act. But, he was a major finance minister of Akbar. He was caught on charges of treason around 1580, as he was found to be in secret correspondence with Mirza Hakim and hand in glove with his conspiracy to overthrow Akbar from Hindustan. His secret letters exchanged with Mirza Hakim were discovered by Raja Man Singh, who exposed him to Akbar. Such was Akbar's belief on Mansoor that he did not act against him(or perhaps did not believe the charges to be true) at first instance, but when his letters were discovered for 3rd time. Then he was executed. He was hanged till death on a tree, and this job was assigned by Akbar, to Abu'l Fazl. !! Though, Akbar punished him, but he often felt that he lost an able distinguished official in Mansoor.!

Future Tracks which the makers can show in the serial.

i. Since, the makers have brought this track of "coins" and also brought Mansoor in picture, i doubt they will show the "heated religious" debates which took place in Fatehpur Sikri since 1575. Acc. to Badayuni, such was the intensity of debates that, when "tongue" was not sufficient, the debating parties often used their "hands/limbs" to settle their point. !!! :-P

Akbar's religious debates in the Fatehpur Sikri since 1575 had began to turn the orthodox Ulemas against him. Badayuni, himself an orthodox, was so much frustrated with Birbal's views that he abused Birbal in his book. For Raja Bhagwan Das also he uses quite bitter words. Badayuni has infact "celebrated and rejoiced" their deaths in his book. 

Badayuni calls Abu'l Fazl as a "cursed infidel" for he supported Akbar and infact encouraged him to be the spiritual and temporal head of his people, and was liberal in his outlook. Badayuni has also written about the influence of Rajput wives of Akbar, for which a separate post will be made.

ii. During this time only, in 1577-78, an orthodox Sadr(religious minister) of Akbar, executed an influential Brahmin of Mathura on charges of blasphemy. Initially, he was brought to the court, but his crime could not be established. Hence, Akbar ordered him to be kept in custody, while the investigation was on. Death sentence could only be awarded by Akbar. But, this minister was so powerful that he got this Brahmin executed without orders of Akbar. 

Badayuni has not named any Rajput wife of Akbar, but only that Akbar's Rajput wives had put their complete force in the defense of that Brahmin, and they were a major force due to whom this Brahmin was not punished, despite the strong points put forward by many Sadrs of Akbar during the trial. And, when that Brahmin was wrongly executed, Akbar was "taunted" by his Rajput wives for his inability to "control" his ministers who were becoming very powerful and acted against his orders. {Persian Text, Tarikh-i-Badouni, Vol-3, Pg-129}

iii. Shortly afterwards in 1578 Akbar discovered that the Ulemas , Sadrs / Mullas were mis-using their powers, and discovered large scale corruption in the allocation of charitable lands. He confiscated the lands and along with that, took strict measures which offended the entire Islamic theologians, and they aligned against Akbar. Akbar was going to face a major revolt.! The measures taken by Akbar are too large to be covered in this post. Already, these people were offended by Akbar, due to the debates in Fatehpur Sikri, now they became even more bitter towards Akbar.

iv. In 1579, an event happened which was going to prove to be a final nail in the coffin. A full-fledged revolt was going to take place. What happened was that Akbar issued a document which was prepared by the father of Abu'l Fazl. This document gave Akbar enormous powers to decide the cases if there was any dispute among the religious theologians. This was seen by the theologians, as an attempt to put into practice the earlier suggestion to Akbar, of becoming the "spiritual and temporal head of his subjects". 

It was drafted in such a manner that the Emperor must be accepted as the supreme arbiter in all causes, whether ecclesiastical or civil, when ever there was difference of opinion among the interpreters of Shariat. It will suffice to say that Akbar was solemnly recognized as being superior in his capacity of Imam-i-Adil* to any other interpreter (mujtahid) of Muslim law - Shariat. Some theologians signed the draft willingly some were forced to do so. 

* - Imam-i-Adil means -> "One who is Just Like God".

This alarmed the Ulemas, because they thought Akbar was taking wide powers and concentrating them in his own hands, and reducing the hold of the Ulemas. Earlier also, Akbar had confiscated some lands and made new regulations, after discovering corruption by Ulemas, which were not liked by the latter.

This fear led to a full fledged war against Akbar, starting 1579-80, for economic, political & religious reasons. The Sadrs of Bengal and Bihar declared Jehad(Holy War) against Akbar and issued Fatwas against him, appealing the masses to safeguard 'Islam' from Akbar.! Mirza Hakim was invited to attack Hindustan from the North West Frontier, and from Bihar and Bengal's side Afghans gave GREAT trouble to the Mughals.! Raja Man Singh was sent to handle Mirza Hakim and Raja ToderMal was sent to Bengal. But it took as long as 1585 to completely silence the rebels.

Man Singh was given an offer to surrender himself before him, by Mirza Hakim, who had superior forces. This is what Man Singh replied to Mirza Hakim ->

" I will not break my promise to your brother Jalaluddin, who has kept this fort under my charge. If you want to try your fortune, move forth to the storm ; as I am ready to stop you. If you have faith in your greater forces, I am confident of the valour of my blood and my men, who will die thousand times sooner than surrender. If you proceed and capture the fort, I won't care for my life. I only care to be faithful to my word to my Shahenshah. "


I am not giving my view on these events which happened from 1575 to 1580, as they can not be covered in a single post. I made this post only to tell you all what Akbar did and what were the reactions to those events.

Another thing, which is worth noticing is that, the Creatives/Writers of Jodha Akbar have taken a sort of back-leap because all these events which you are reading are from mid 1570's onwards, while the show Jodha Akbar is running around mid 1580's ; because wedding of Salim and Man Bai happened in 1585 and Aram Bano was born in 1584. 

Perhaps, it has become clear that nothing can save this show except tracks which focus on life of Jodha and Akbar, not their children or grandchildren. :-P

Since the show is not following the events chronologically, it is not a big deal to worry about the time line. At least the makers have decided to show these events. For once, it looks like the show is trying to be about Jodha and Akbar once more.

So, this was the history part of the current track which i could share with you based on my readings, and which i think should proceed in this manner. Let's see how is all this shown in the show. I have shared some ideas for the future tracks also, and will share more, in coming days, as and when time permits.

Article Category : Jodha Akbar and Mughals(Akbar).

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Question of Ethics: Chanakya, Dharma and Ashoka

Hi All Ashoka Lovers,

When some of the greatest thinkers like Chanakya and Ashoka are involved, can questions on ethics be far behind? But this present post is limited to a discussion of the ethics of Dharma relinquishing all rights over Ashoka and handing them over to Chanakya in the TV show. 

Please note that this post has nothing to do with history nor does it endorse the view that Dharma did give away Ashoka to Chanakya in reality. 


In Friday's (13th Feb, 2015) episode, Chanakya admits to his feelings of guilt on separating a mother and her son, half to himself and half to his faithful disciple. It was a poignant moment yet it filled me with a sense of relief. Till that moment, i had wondered if Chanakya didn't feel at all the immense sorrow of Dharma and Ashoka at being unable to meet or even acknowledge each other, just because those had been his orders. It seems he did feel the grief but his overwhelming loyalty to the Mauryan empire and its future was more important to him. 

In his own words, he admitted that he would be pronounced guilty by history and labeled selfish and indeed, he felt he was selfish but he was doing it all for the greater good of the Mauryan empire and, if on the road to securing the future of the empire, he had to sacrifice a few relationships or use some people as pawns, so be it. 

{Do ends justify means? This is the question here. It is true that a mighty empire needs a mighty emperor to keep it together and expand it in all possible ways. It is also true that emperors are generally made and not born. If Chanakya saw the future of Magadh in Ashoka and wanted to nurture it, there's nothing wrong with it. But the way he is going about it is questionable, if not downright objectionable. 

The second question that arises is who is more important  - the state or the individual? Should an individual be used as a pawn to strengthen an empire, irrespective of his / her own wishes? What about the rights of a citizen?  


It may have been my imagination but i felt that Chanakya was trying to fool himself into believing his own words. He sounded as someone who was trying desperately to assuage his guilty conscience that what he was doing was not wrong because it would ultimately result in the good of the empire. 


Dharma had shielded Ashoka from his destiny all these years but now that destiny had come searching for him to his doorstep and wouldn't take No for an answer. She also possibly knew in her heart that she would never be able to give a secure life to Ashoka, the kind of life Chanakya could succeed in providing. She trusted Chanakya implicitly and, more so, after his efforts to prove her son innocent in the assassination attempt on King B. It may also have been her desire that at least her son should enjoy the love and company of his father.

In any case, it is exceedingly tough for a mother to part from her son for anything in the world, even the future of her husband's empire. Esp a mother who has no one except that son in her world and has learned to revolve her life around him. To see your son in front of you every day and still remain away from him as if he were a stranger is like twisting a sharp knife thru your insides and not even be able to cry about it. 

It is said every person must be recompensed for anything they give. Chanakya must be well aware of this principle. So it remains to be seen how he compensates Dharma for sacrificing her son. Or does he feel that the fact that her son would be king one day is enough recompense to her?

Think of Dharma's ordeal in Tuesday's episode (Feb 17, 2015) when she learns that her son has been kidnapped by a demon. She cannot even cry openly nor seek help from anyone in this regard. 


What about the little kid, Ashoka himself? I feel the most for him - a pawn in a political game, who is paying a heavy price without even knowing or understanding why. A child who is being politically used by blackmailing him emotionally thru his mother and by holding his mother captive so that he cannot try any tricks or escape. 

The scene when Dharma tells him that from then on, he must listen to everything Chanakya says just the way he obeyed his mother in the past without questioning her, moved me to tears. Ashoka is not given any explanation or reason as to why he must stay away from his mother, why he must never acknowledge that she is his mother and why he must remain bonded to Chanakya. And the amazing love for his mother shines thru here when he accepts his mother's decision and gives her his word in this regard, even though his heart is dull with pain and his sharp mind must be swirling with many questions

This kind of blind faith in his mother and acceptance of her words without questioning was also seen in the scene where he is being tortured by Bindusar's men just before his trial in the assassination attempt case. His mother makes him promise that he would not reveal her identity and he agrees EVEN in that condition when he is facing death. It was a stunning revelation about his relationship with his mother and makes it so easy to believe when he says that his universe lies at the feet of his mother. 

But why then does the mother need to extract promises from him? Doesn't she trust him as much as he does?

Scenes like this make us stop and think that Ashoka was one of those rare people who ARE born great. To him, the only ethical question is whether he is able to keep his mother happy or not. It doesn't matter to him that she is handing him over to a relative stranger to an uncertain future. (To a child, future with his mother would seem more certain and secure than anything else.) 

Ashoka seems aware that Chanakya has some big gameplan up his sleeve; he doesn't yet know just what it is but he is willing to play along just because his mother trusts this man. And he has his own dreams of becoming an emperor one day and he may be of the belief that being close to the king would enable him to spot opportunities to move closer to his dream. 

But still, it is amazing how Ashoka is able to maintain a cheerful disposition in spite of his circumstances. The other day, when he was hurt in the race with Sushima and was treated briefly by his mother, it was such a tender yet heart-wrenching moment. How much Ashoka would have wanted to share news of his win with his mother, how much he would have wanted to be pampered by her. How much she would have wanted to hug him and kiss his tears away. Chanakya wanted to send him to a dispensary for treatment but the self-respecting boy declined. Nurses could heal his injuries but only his mother could heal the hurt in his heart. And if he couldn't be healed by her touch, he didn't want to be healed at all.

The question is, is it possible for Ashoka to go on like this, away from his only emotional anchor, when he is in his teens, when he needs a mother's guidance and love the most? 

Would he be able to keep his love for her alive, in spite of her staying away from him? Or will resentment slowly make its way into his heart and embitter his soul against her?

What do you feel?

This is a strange, uneasy relationship among these three. Each has accepted this relationship for their own reasons, putting the ethics of it all in the background. 

But for us, ignoring the question is not easy. Please share your thoughts on this question and whether you think they are justified in their stands. 

Previous Post - Episode 1 and 2 | Feb 2 and 3 | The Stage is Set...Discussion

This article has been posted under the Ashoka Maurya section of history_geek's blog.

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