Both, Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodha Akbar and TV series Jodha Akbar concentrates a lot on Jodha Bai’s estranged cousin brother Sujamal (He is often called as Surjamal) aka Suja. However, other than terming him a “Bhagoda” – absconder nothing concrete has been said about him.
It is very unfortunate how the makers of both the movie and TV series showed him in a negative light without exploring his background and where did he come from. Alright then let me do the honors by highlighting some of the vital points of Sujamal or Surjamal which for obvious reasons should have not missed while portraying his character. So let’s connect the dot to see then where Surjamal comes from and what was his connection with both the Rajput and Mughal family.
After the death of Prithvi Singh I or Raja Prithviraj in 1527, his first son Puranmal became the King. Now Surjamal or Sujamal as the television serial likes to call him was the son of this king Puranmal and Raja Bharmal, Jodha Bai’s father was the brother of Puranmal nad fourth son of Raja Prithviraj but from another queen. Well, the question now arises that then why Surjamal did not become the next King? Well, well, if you think war of succession was only among Mughals, brothers fought amongst each other only in the Mughal dynasty then perhaps I am sad to say that you are wrong because the same trend was seen here in this Rajput family too.
When Puranmal became the King there was lot of political uncertainities in India, Rana Sanga the great Rajput as well as Maharana Pratap’s grandfather had lost everything in a battle. Mughal power under Humayun was too not much established in India. In addition there were other Muslim rulers like Sher Shah Suri and Bahadur Shah of Gujarat who were trying their best to get a hold on the state. Puranmal understood that the Mughals were trustworthy unlike the previous Muslim rulers and so he sided Humayun to recapture the fort of Banaya in the Bharatpur district. Unfortunately, while helping Humayun, Raja Puranmal died in the battle of Mandrayal. Soon, there was a question who will become the king. Now, Surjamal should have been the successor, isn’t it but since he was small, Bhim Singh another son of Prithviraj from the same queen became the King. While Puranmal ruled for seven years, Bhim Singh ruled only for 3 years and made his son Ratan Singh as the king. Ratan Singh who ruled for 11 years till 1548 was killed by his own step brother Askaran for the throne. People of Askaran dethroned him in a single day and Raja Bharmal, the uncle of Ratan Singh was made the King in 1548.
Going back to Surjamal, the poor kid was soon shifted to the Tanwar Royal family (from his grandmother’s maternal side) after his father died in the battle, then how come he is shown as a bhagoda here in the TV serial? Perhaps maybe he came back later but being the Raja’s son, wasn’t he the true heir of the Amer throne? If like the TV show and the film portrays, Raja Bharmal made his son Bhagwant Das the next heir, wasn’t Bharmal wrong to give the throne to Bhagwant Das when Surjamal now grown up was the most eligible person?
Actually, nothing sort of this happened in real as Surjamal took shelther in his Tanwar family and never looked back. I fail to understand why the poor lad is dragged as a Bhagoda everywhere while they fail to show that his father the king had actually helped Humayun’s life in a battle. Now, Akbar was a good king wasn’t he? Would he recognize the favor of Surjamal’s father Puranmal? However, neither Ashutosh Gowariker nor the Jodha Akbar on TV tried to explore this angle a further more.
Half knowledge is dangerous and the two dramas indeed proved it right by show casing Sujamal aka Surjamal aka Suja in a negative light as Bhagoda – absconder!
By: Deepti Verma
Image Source: Rediff.com