Every Monday to Friday if you switch to Zee TV at 8pm, you’ll get to watch historical drama ‘Jodha-Akbar’ produced by Balaji Telefilms. The TV series portrays the love story of Jodha and Akbar in similar context to Ashuthosh Gowarikar’s Jodhaa Akbar. The plot is how the emperor marries the fiery Rajput Princess and embarks upon the true journey of love.
While we may eulogize for their love-saga through this fictional dramas, the actual truth lies in historical facts which has “no” mention of Jodha bai at all. Yes, there is no trace of Akbar’s favorite wife or loved one – Neither in ancient literature nor in legendary writings. If at all there is any claim of his favorite wife then it is Empress Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, a cousin whom he married at the age of 15. She was his first wife who was not only Akbar’s chief wife amongst his more than 30 wives but also politically very powerful.
Akbar had 3 historians at some stage during his rule who documented the history of that era – Nizamuddin Bakshi (also known as Nizamuddin Ahmed) penned the Tabqat-i-Akbari, Abdul Qadir Badayuni wrote the Mutakhabutawarikh and Abul Fazal wrote the famous Ain-e-Akbari and Akbar Nama. None of the three historians in their masterpieces have ever talked about ‘Jodhabhai’.
So how did the concept of Jodhabai exist in first place?
Well, Akbarnama mentions Akbar getting married to a Rajput princess. However, her name is not Jodha but Hira Kunwari, the eldest daughter of Amer’s Raja Bhar Mal. She was Bhagwandas’s sister and also the aunt of Man Singh I of Amber who later went on to become one of the Navratna’s in Akbar’s court. In the book, she has been addressed by the title of “Mariam-uz-Zamani” (the lady who gave birth) and not by her name. She was the queen who gave birth to prince Salim, who afterwards became Emperor Jehangir.
As per historians, Hira Kunwari arranged her son, Jehangir’s marriage with her neice princess Manmati (Manbhawati Bai). She was the daughter of Raja of Jodhpur, Raja Shri Udai Singhji Sahib Bahadur. It was Manmati or Taj Bibi Bilqis Makani who was also famous as Jodha Bai. So, going by the history, evidence and proofs, Jodha Bai was not Akbar’s Wife but daughter in law, who gave birth to Jehangir’s son and Mughal Emperor, “Shah Jahan.” This fact also appears on page 165 in the XI class NCERT history text book written by Satish Chandra.
Akbar: The Great Lover?
We have been taught that Akbar was a great Mughal Emperor but in reality as per written in the historical books it is totally opposite. Akbar had an extravagant lust for women, just like his predecessors and ancestors. One of Akbar’s intentions throughout his wars of belligerence against several rulers was to gain their sisters, daughters and women. In Chittor, the Rajput women preferred immolation (Jauhar) than to be detained and insolently treated as prostitutes and servants in Akbar’s harem.
Akbar married often. While Islam allowed only 4 wives, Akbar had many through ‘mutah nikah’ that had no legitimacy or ceremony and several concubines. Besides, Akbar most likely in his harem as concubines and wives had near about 300 women, from different races and religions. Moreover, in his youth, if his eyes ever fell upon one of his Amir’s wife, he would call her over and the Amir would oblige the emperor and loyally divorce his wife ahead of sending her to his emperor.
Jodha Akbar – In Summary
Due to the two movies, the legendary Mughal-E-Azam and Jodhaa Akbar (2008) many among us has a false belief that Emperor Akbar had only one wife (The Rajput princess Jodha) and was very loyal to her. However, it is totally bogus as per details, figures and history. The truth lies in the fact that the mighty Emperor had 34 wives and 300 women in his harem. Besides, the man who settled for mutah nikah now and then how can ever be loyal, true or real lover? Going by this piece of information, how could he ever love a woman who was traded only for alliance?
In addition, the very existence of Jodha Bai is in question and the one Jodha existed in history ever was Jehangir’s wife and not Akbar’s. Then why we as audiences are shown a fake love story which is evidently forged and has no stance?
Instead of giving us junk in the form of TV serials, it will be sensible to investigate and show us the “real” story of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, revealing his real nature of love and lust. He like other Mughal rulers was in reality very brutal and had no love for Indians or Hindus, forget creating a legendary love story with a Rajput princess.
Image Source : IANS