August 8, 2014

The Art of Enrichment

By Kalikramatic Baba In Artefact 5 min read

“Although knowledge in itself is regarded as the summit of perfection, yet unless displayed in action, it bears not the impress of worth; indeed it may be considered worse than ignorance.”


Akbar as a boy

These words of Emperor Jalal ud-din Muhammad Akbar reverberated in my conscience as I stumbled upon a so called “informative” website advocating nothing more than communal atrocities. Through this article I request all the political parties, political groups and quasi- ‘saviours of culture’ to stay away from everything that is beyond their ‘intelligence’, and to stop proposing things like “Taj Mahal is a Shiv temple” or “Mughals were promoting communal violence”. Kindly get your facts right.

The political organisations who are deceitfully boasting the ideal democratic endeavours are conspicuously shielding their communal agendas which is simply brings shame to all Indians.

Having said that, let’s go back to the time when India’s glory was as its zenith. India has always been fortuitous with wealth, heritage, civilisation, worthy monarchs and ruling clans. It has been ruled by some of the greatest rulers in the world. From the Rajputs to the Gupta dynasty, from the Marathas to the Sikh Empire and from Ashoka Regime to Mughal Empire, India has been a hub of knowledge and culture.

This time I’m stressing on Mughals, I will be discoursing about the rulers who changed the course of an entire dynasty. Abu’l-Fath Jalal ud-din Muhammad Akbar, also known as Shahanshah Akbar-e- Azam or Akbar the Great was the third Mughal emperor of India. He succeeded his father Humayun at the tender age of fourteen, and is undoubtedly one of the most significant of Mughal rulers. He who not only considerably expanded the Mughal Empire but also developed and established a new benchmark for ruling, referring to which the later Mughal reign flourished.

Abul Fazl Presenting Akbarnama

Akbar is also popular for his secular and tolerant attitude towards other religions. He respected all religions and gave everyone equal political power in his courtroom. This claim is corroborated by the fact that four out of nine important courtiers, remembered as the Navratnas, were Hindus. Like all other Mughals, he was a great patron of art and literature even though he himself wasn’t ever formally educated. Nevertheless, is was a dexterous man whose economic and political strategies were used not only by Mughals, but were also incorporated in various other dynasties including the Rajputana Empire and Maratha Empire.

He was a humble and forgiving person, and had peculiarly creative way to keep problematic people out of power under his rule, by sending them on Hajj! Starting with Behram Khan who ruled the Empire under his name for a few years through means which were not appreciated by Akbar, to which he might have said “I think its time you go on pilgrimage Behram baba, Served !…. nay pilgrimed !.”He did the same to Mahamanga, his foster mother who was found conspiring against him, and also with lots of Ulamas who were against his liberal attitude towards other religions. Pilgrimed !

He was positively overwhelmed by different cultures and traditions. He did something which was often considered ‘psychotic’ by a lot of people; he even created his own religion called Din-i-Ilahi, combining the good qualities of all the religions about which he learned through his debates with  religious scholars of various sects. Moreover, he turned vegetarian,and adopted a celibate lifestyle.

Furthermore, Akbar believed that “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” Akbar greatly loved his family especially, his mother. When his son Salim, also known as Jahangir declared a war against him (no the war was not because of Anarkali), it was upon his mother’s request that Akbar didn’t fight against Salim nor did he “pilgrim” him.

Fatehpur Sikri

It can very well be said that today, Akbar has emerged as the most popular Mughal Emperor of all times, thanks to the extensive research conducted on his life, and reigning schemes, along with his dominating presence in the popular culture.

Akbar was a ruler who broke the rules established by the conservative Islamic ulama so that people could live with more freedom. He abolished Pilgrim Tax forever from the entire Mughal Empire. He also enhanced India’s connections with European traders and merchants. Moreover, he was an avid reader, and his library constituting of around 24,000 books, including an illustrated copy of the Mahabharata. This great king gifted India an entire city, the city of Fatehpur Sikri, an ethereally beautiful place which boasts of the best of Mughal architecture. Evidently the largest collection of Mughal paintings come from the Mughal-dominated epoch under his reign. His contribution to India is far beyond imagination. Akbar also commissioned a book called Akbarnama which contains the entire history of his reign.

A man who lived for the people, a man who thought forgiveness is the noblest quality of a king, a man who devoted his life to his mother, a man who punished the guilty in the best way possible ( I love the word) , a man who celebrated Holi and Eid with equal enthusiasm, a poet, a drummer, a singer and an engineer and yet today only known as a character from a film or a communal murderer by a few.
May your legacy live forever,
Not many men like you are born on this earth
“In his actions and movements he was not like the people of world, and the glory of god manifested itself in him”, as said by Jehangir in Tuzuki-Jahangiri


1 Comment
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