India’s history is ripe with invaders. Many came and l0oted ruthlessly and then left or were forced out. Some of them invaded and stayed, going on to rule India for decades to come.
The one aspect that was common to all Muslim invaders was the brutality they displayed towards Hindus and Hinduism. Destroying temples and idols, converting Hindus, forcing women into their harems…the division amongst Hindu rulers led to invaders being successful in trampling our culture and tradition.
However, amidst the many invaders that placed foot on our soil, there was one who has come to be immensely respected, even idolized – Akbar. Akbar was a third-generation Mughal emperor who lived from 1542-1605 A.D. He has been glorified as been the most noble and secular and peace-loving of all rulers India has seen. Taught of in our history books with almost a palpable respect, Akbar has come to be known to children through textbooks and to elders through movies.
But the words of praise attached to Abkar aren’t absolutely accurate. Contemporary records present a remarkably different picture of the man which we will elaborate upon in two parts of this article.
Akbar’s ancestry wasn’t pious or anywhere close to divine. His ancestors were barbarous and vicious, as were his descendants like Aurangzeb and others.
Vincent Smith in ‘Akbar–The Great Mogul’ writes, “Intemperance was the besetting sin of the Timuroid royal family, as it was of many other Muslim ruling houses. Babur (was) an elegant toper…Humayun made himself stupid with opium…Akbar permitted himself the practices of both vices…Akbar’s two sons died in early manhood from chronic alcoholism, and their elder brother was saved from the same fate by a strong constitution, and not by virtue.”
Col Tod describes the pleasure that Babur used to obtain after raising towers of heads: “Triumphal pyramids were raised of the heads of the slain, and on a hillock which overlooked the field of the battle, a tower of skulls was erected and the conqueror Babur assumed the title of Ghazi.”
Humayun, the son of Babar, was even more degenerate and cruel. After repeated battles, Humayun captured his elder brother Kamran and subjected him to brutal torture. A detailed account is left by Humayun’s servant Jauhar and is quoted by Smith. It says, “…(Humayun) had little concerns for his brother’s sufferings. One of the men was sitting on Kamran’s knees. He was pulled out of the tent and a lancet was thrust into his eyes. Some lemon juice and salt were put into his eyes. After sometime he was put on horseback.”
Humayun was also a slave to opium, engaged in excessive alcohol consumption, and was a lecherous degenerate when it came to women. He is known to have married a 14-year old, Hamida Begum, by force.
Akbar’s ancestors, just like his descendants, were of the same nature. Immune to bloodshed, alcohol addicts, womanizers. It would be very hard to believe that all these traits skipped Akbar. Another very relevant question that must be asked here is that if Akbar was so noble, then why did he let his Generals, like Peer Mohammad, loot and rape the citizenry?
Lust for Women
Akbar’s lust for women was no different from others in his family. It is said that after killing his bodyguard Bairam Khan he went on to marry his wife.
Abul Fazal’s ‘Ain-i-Akbari’ talks of a market known as the Mina Bazaar near the Red Fort. On New Year, every woman of the state had to appear before Akbar and he would choose from them according to his taste. It’s said that there were almost five-thousand women in his harem.
An excerpt from Ain-i-Akbari says, “His majesty has established a wine shop near the palace. The prostitutes of the realm collected at the shop could scarcely be counted, so large was their number. The dancing girls used to be taken home by the courtiers. If any well-known courtier wanted to have a virgin, then they should first have His Majesty’s permission. In the same way, boys prostituted themselves, and drunkenness and ignorance soon lead to bloodshed. His Majesty himself called some of the prostitutes and asked them who had deprived them of their virginity.”
It is said that Akbar remained monogamous throughout his life. But this is yet another lie. V Smith went on to write, “Akbar, throughout his life, allowed himself ample latitude in the matter of wives and concubines! Akbar had introduced a whole host of Hindus, the daughters of eminent Hindu rajas, into his harem.”
A certain Dr Srivastava wrote the following in his book ‘Akbar-The Mogul: “…(after the ‘Jauhar’ that followed the killing of Rani Durgawati) the two women left alive, Kamalavati (sister of Rani Durgawati) and the daughter of the Raja of Purangad (daughter-in-law of the deceased queen), were sent to Agra to enter Akbar’s harem.”
If for some inducting women of killed or abducted Hindu warriors into a harem as slaves and prostitutes is a righteous act then one cannot argue with such demented thought.
The second part of the article will talk of Akbar’s barbarity and his anti-Hindu tendencies.