Sunday, April 29, 2012

Akbar was not that Great!!!

Fatehpur Sikri  Capital of Akbar

Akbar "The Great" [1542-1605], was one of the greatest secular rulers in Indian history. That is taught to all school going students in India.  This is most convenient stand for the ruling parties and the people in the race of power. The statement on the historical facts may not stand true.

During Akbar regime  more than 90% population was of Hindus and aligned religions. Yet the representation to Hindus in his court was of minority stake. According to the books that document Akbar’s administration, A’in e Akbari and Akbarnama, 70% of Akbar’s courtiers were foreigners. Of the Indian 30%, more than half were Muslims. There were 21 Hindu nobles of note.

Further details of these nobles tell that  17 were Rajputs who had submitted to Akbar and were in turn rewarded by a post in the court. Akbar ruled India for four decades during which only four Hindus by virtue of ability could find a place in his court. They were — Birbal, Todar Mal and his son, and a Khatri.  
This was the state of the key positions in a most “secular kingdom”.

Akbar did not fight the war of succession like all other Moghul kings because his father, Humayun died  in 1556 when he was only 13 years of age and his brother Muhammad Hakim was still more young.  It was Bahram Khan and his nurse Maham Anga who helped him stay at the throne in the initial years.  But as he grew he freed himself from them by 1562.

Akbar had inherited DNA both from Timur Lane from parental side and  Chengiz Khan from maternal side.  During his rule of 40 years he exhibited the qualities of these dynasties.  The word “Mughal”  is an adaptation from the Persian word “Mughul” meaning Mongol.

Hindu king Hemu had captured Delhi and  had a battle with Akbar at Panipat. Second war of Panipat was a close fight. The fate of the war changed when an arrow pierced into Hemu’s eye and he became unconscious. His army misunderstood him to be dead and conceded.
Coins of Akbar Period

Unconscious Hemu was taken to the tent of Akbar where he severed the head of  unconscious hindu king  with his saber.  After the battle Hemu's head was sent to Kabul as a sign of victory to the ladies of Humayun's harem.  His commander  Iskandar Khan chased the Hemu's fleeing army and captured a large contingent.  These soldiers when unarmed were slaughtered . A  pillar  to mark the victory of moghul army was built with the heads of slaughtered army men of Hemu.

Peter Mundy, an English traveller 75 years after the Panipat war noted about the “War Pillar of Human Heads. Hemu’s father was captured and was offered exoneration if he adopts Islam. On refusal to change the religion he was executed. Hemu’s wife was lucky to escape safe from the fort.

After the fall of Hindu kingdom at Delhi, many of the Rajputa kings on eastern part conceded to Akbar, but  Rana Uday Singh of Mewar refused to have alliance with Akbar. The Moghul king decided to teach the lesson and sent an army to crush the Rajput voice. After  successfully resisting Moghul battalion for four months, Chittod’s  commander Jaimal  died of wounds. The ration inside the fort was getting exhausted so the ladies of the fort decided to perform “Jauhar” (act of self-immolation for protection from molestation) and army came out of the fort for “Kesariya” – the final battle.

The huge battalion of Akbar won the war and post this war was repetition of the war of Panipat. It is said that more than 30,000 unarmed  hindus were slaughtered in Chittod.   Rana Pratap continued the fight against the Moghuls. Many of us take pride in watching the satute of Rana Pratap sitting on Chetak, do we analyse the reason why he had to live in Jungles and not in fort. Rana Pratap Singh of Mewar, son of Rana Uday Singh, kept the Rajput resistance to Akbar alive and tried to reclaim the glory of Chittod

Marriage with hindu princesses was not a gesture of secularism, but a show of “Strength of Power”. His harem had more than 5,000 ladies of which 300 were officially married queens. Many of them were hindu princess who were weded by threatening their kingdoms.   Akbar wanted religious sanction of all these 300 wives. He is said to have taken shelter of “Mutta” marriage with a free women of other religion. A 'Mutta' marraige involves no ceremony , but is a private pact between a man and a woman for, officially, 'a limited period time (as short as one night)' agreed between them.

The Sunni Ulemma (Islamic scholars) from his court  disagreed with this act. First Akbar and his courtiers tried to persuade the Sunni Kazi to declare the marriages to have religious sanction. The Sunni Kazi refused to bend.  Annoyed Akbar dismissed the highest religious officer from his court. He was later replaced with a Shia Kazi  who agreed  to say the wish of king is the wish of religion.

These are documented versions, only our text book writers do not brows through them as they are like Shia Kazi of Akbar court. The time has come to change and accept the truth – “Akbar was no different than other Muslim invaders, he was rude and intolerant of the native Hindu faith.”

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