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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Historical Update - Jodha Akbar - Mirza Qasim, Sharif-ud-din and Twins-Ruqayya Track

Hi Friends,

This is a short update on the proceedings of  Episode-340 | September 29 2014 of Jodha Akbar, where we are watching the conspiracy to kill the twins of Jodha and Akbar.

1. Today, a character named Mirza Qasim was introduced in the show. He was the son of Kamran,  brother of Humayun. He was a cunning rival of Akbar, just similar to Kamran for Humayun. He was arrested by Tardi Beg, the governor of Delhi in 1555/56 and handed over to Akbar.  

These^ facts are from the English tranlation of Akbarnama, Vol.1, Pg-365, Calcutta Edition-1878, ed. by Rahim

At present, it is not known to me, if he was released later by Akbar. I am finding more on this. Later, after sensing a possible 'conspiracy' , he was "executed quite brutally in private" on orders of Akbar in 1565 in the Fort of Gwalior. Interestingly, none of Akbar's chroniclers shed light on this fact/reasons involved in this "private execution". This makes the event quite interesting. Note that Internet websites mention his date of execution in 1561, which is wrong.

These^ facts are from Smith's Akbar(1917), Page-28. 

2. As far as involvement of Sharif-ud-din is concerned in conspiracy, my readings say he will runaway and rebel later. Historically, he survived for a longer time, so his end is not near anytime soon.

3. This point is about the twins' death. I have drawn my sources in this regard from many places. I am still searching more on this to conclude the actual proceedings in minute details.

First, i would like to remind you all about my earlier post on twins of Mariam-Uz-Zamani and Akbar from Akbarnama. Readers should go through the post and EACH comment/discussions below this post on the page, to understand the meaning of the words. Here it is > The Twins of Mariam-Uz-Zamani and Akbar | An Assessment

These were the conclusions -

a. The twins sacrificed their lives for their father.
b. The twins sacrificed their lives for the prestige of their father.
c. The twins sacrificed their lives for the prestige of the Royal Household.  
d. The twins death was eclipsed by dramatic events.
e. Their life/death was part of a 'gamble'.
f. The manner in which twins died was not "perfectly" natural.
g. The language of Abu'l Fazl hinted aggression and violent nature, preceding their death.
h. Sacrificing life for prestige of their father means that someone from the immediate family was involved in this, hence the name of the person was not exposed by Abu'l Fazl, who was the "official chronicler" of Akbar.

Above facts were deductions from Akbarnama. Now, according to my information, which has been shared in the last few days - This track would consist of 4 people - A maid, Ruqayya, Akbar and Jodha. The maid would be a pawn of Ruqayya, and will be used in a sort of conspiracy aimed at Jodha. But she will not be successful. Akbar gets miffed with Ruqayya after this incident, and she would cease to be a part of his life for significant amount of time. Details will be confirmed IF verification for the same is obtained because the source who provided this information underwent a research on Akbar a decade back as a part of her thesis. I have requested for the details, and will post it when i receive the same. So, put this information on hold till then.

It is not easy to filter out the information from accounts, as here the matter points to involvement/association of a close family member of the Emperor. Though, 2 things are clear from Abu'l Fazl's writings:

a. The death of twins was eclipsed by some dramatic events, of violent/aggressive nature, attributing their lives to be part of a 'gamble'..
b. There was involvement of someone close to the Emperor. Hence, the end of the lives of the twins was compared to a sacrifice FOR their father('s prestige), as the end of their lives ALSO buried a "black chapter" in Akbar's era..

Views on this track (Do not mix this with the above history part. Now we are talking about the REEL part.)

The introduction of Mirza Qasim is perplexing for many of the viewers. Though, for me also it is a matter of confusion, so as to why he has been introduced by the makers. I have limited knowledge, at the moment, about him. The twins died roughly in early November 1564 . The execution of Mirza Kasim happened next year.

There was involvement of a maid. It seems the wife of Mirza has been roped in to play that part.

This track has mixed bits of history with the required spice of telly shows..!!

I hope this much historical information provides sufficient ammo to the readers, for taking the discussion on this track further. 

You all are welcome to share your views, and discuss the track... 
This article has been posted under the  Jodha-Akbar section of this  history BLOG.

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September 29 2014 Jodha Akbar | 340 - Lahore Conspiracy...!!!

Mirza Hakim and Zeenat Begum Arrive...Conspiracy Against Twins  Afoot...Ignorant Ruqaiyya Prefers Zeenat over Jodha as DaiMa!!!


This track is getting more and more interesting, as we go along. Since yesterday, we have been hearing a lot about the mysterious Zeenat who is appointed as Dai by Ruqaiyya for Hussein and who repeatedly tries to kill the twins. There was a lot of speculation as to who Zeenat might be and who the hand behind her might be. Many of us felt that Zeenat may be a pawn of SD and his father. 

Today, the curtain lifted on Zeenat Begum (not a maid) and her husband, Mirza Qasim. They have arrived all the way from Lahore to congratulate Jalal on the birth of his sons. There's a happy family reunion and Ruqaiyya jumps at the opportunity to request Zeenat Bhabhijaan to be Hussein's Dai Ma. Little does she know that the couple has come to seek revenge against Jalal by killing his sons. Zeenat wastes no time in trying to get rid of Hussein. This is better than the Atifa track, where we had to endure her doing nothing for many days. Zeenat is better looking too.    

The episode opens with Hussein crying. Ruqaiyya is unable to calm him or make him sleep. Some begums tell her that Hussein knows that she is not his real mother; Jodha is. Ruqaiyya is upset with their remarks and shows them out. 

The hakima comes to check the children. Jodha announces in front of everyone that she would prefer to bring her child herself and does not need the services of any dai ma. She notices that Hussein is crying in Ruqaiyya's lap. She takes him into her arms and he stops crying immediately.
 Jodha offers to help in taking care of him also. Ruqaiyya refuses pointblank and takes back Hussein. Without any compunction, she states that she has the sole right to decide about Hussein and that she would never let Jodha have any rights over him as a mother, not even as a dai ma. Ruqaiyya then turns haughtily towards Gulbadan Begum and asks her to arrange for a good dai ma.

Most Shocking Scene

 This was perhaps the most shocking scene so far this week, at least. Not because of Ruqaiyya's behavior. She cannot be expected to behave any better. Today, she just outdid herself. She insulted both Jodha and Jalal. By stating that she wanted a new dai ma for Hussein every six months, she made it clear that she didn't want Hussein to think of any other woman as his mother ever. This was a clear allusion to Jalal's relationship with Maham. 

Though it is good to be careful, it doesn't pay to be haughty, esp towards the emperor in the DEK. No doubt, Maham had misused her position as dai ma to Jalal. But Ruqaiyya could have made her insecurity about the dai ma clearer, without being insulting to Jalal.

No, I was not shocked by Ruqaiyya's behavior at all. I am shocked by the calmness with which Jalal, his mother and aunt and Salima Begum took the affront to Jodha (and Jalal). Surely one of them could have tried to convince her otherwise. No one did. At last, when she swept out of the room with Hussein, someone should have come and consoled Jodha. No one did. She just stood there, rooted to the spot, hurt deeply but unable to say anything to anyone. 

 Being a mother, Jodha cannot help thinking about Hussein and whether Ruqaiyya is taking care of him, as she should. 

Most Beautiful Scene

Jalal walks in and the three of them - Jalal, Jodha and Hasan - seem so happy just to be with each other. :) It was a wonderfully precious moment. 

Mirza Qasim and Wife Arrive

Humayun's step-brother Kamran had apparently fought many a pitched battle against Humayun and even plotted  to kill his own brother. At last, the ever patient Humayun decided to blind him. 

Mirza Qasim is Kamran's son, and, unknown to Jalal, has come to kill his heirs, using his beautiful wife Zeenat.

He is received warmly by Man Singh and later in the court by Jalal and the royal family. His wife Zeenat Begum looks like a beautiful, well-bred woman, who is supposed to look after children extraordinarily well. 

As soon as Ruqaiyya sees Zeenat, she zeroes in on her as the dai ma for Hussein. The other senior ladies of the harem, who are smitten by Zeenat agree at once. Jalal is a bit worried and unsure about Zeenat as the dai ma for his son. But Ruqaiyya prevails as usual. And in the end, Jalal does give his consent, albeit reluctantly. 

Zeenat - The Dai Ma

Zeenat agrees most easily to Ruqaiyya's request to be the dai ma for Hussein. Almost immediately, she tries to kill him by throwing him from the window. She is stopped in just the nick of time by Ruqaiyya, who inquires casually why Zeenat is standing near the window. 

The Conspiracy

The CVs seem to have learnt a good deal from the Atifa track. This time, they are showing everything as clearly as daylight. No suspense or fudging facts. :)

The two conspirators - Mirza Qasim and his wife Zeenat - recount their brief history so that everyone is clear about who they are, from where they have come and what their mission in Agra is. Thank you, CVs.

Mirza Qasim and his wife, Zeenat, elaborate on their mission - they are here to kill Jalal's twins and extract revenge for his father blinding Qasim's father. Zeenat mentions how Ruqaiyya has made her task easier by appointing her as the dai for Hussein. 

This plot does not seem to have anything to do with SD or his father. ??? 

Jodha is also, for once, alert to the possibility of someone attacking the children. And she is, therefore, on her guard.  Like Jalal, she too is not keen on Zeenat acting as the dai for Hussein but keeps her views to herself. Gulbadan Begum apprises her about Mirza Qasim's background and tells her that Mirza Qasim is quite different from his father, Kamran. Jodha remains unconvinced.

Additional Scene 

There was an additional scene of SD and his father grumbling about the abolition of jaziya, leading to reduction in their salary and the increasing clout of Hindus in the court with their coterie. It remains to be seen if this discussion led to SD using Zeenat as a pawn or if this group has nothing to do with Mirza Qasim's conspiracy. 


Zeenat starts to make her move. She tries to poison Hussein by pouring some ark/poison  in his mouth. Javeda sees her and asks her what she is doing. 

Troubling News

Earlier I had thought that this is Ruqaiyya's downfall track. Not sure now. One, they are still harping on Maham's curse. Second and this point is important. The CVs seem to have introduced the Mirza Qasim angle to reduce the gravity of the allegations leveled against Ruqaiya Begum. So she may still get off lightly. :( 

You all are welcome to share your views, and discuss the episode... 

This article has been posted under the  Jodha-Akbar section of  history_geek's BLOG.

history_geek has updated the historical information related to this track here.>
Historical Update - Jodha Akbar - Mirza Qasim, Sharif-ud-din and Twins-Ruqayya Track

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Monday, September 29, 2014

What is the "Actual Age" of Old Delhi.?. - Article for Debate

Hi friends,
Here is an interesting topic worth debating.

Deduction and evidence point to existence of human habitation in Delhi before Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan founded Shahjahanabad....


Shahjahanabad was the new city founded by Shah Jahan. There is no doubt about it but the presence of Delhi Sultanate monuments in it raises a question mark: Was the area known as Old Delhi already inhabited, with a sizable population, in which the pre-Mughal rulers decided to build some of their edifices? They couldn’t have done so in a wilderness, with vast spaces in which wild animals roamed, leopards and a wide variety of antelopes, besides hyenas, jackals, porcupines, monkeys and langurs. During the reign of Iltutmish, successor of the first Slave king Qutubuddin Aibak, Hazrat Turkman Bayabani had already set up his khanqah or hospice where Shah Jahan’s Turkman Gate was to come up in the 17th Century. It was near the saint’s shrine that Iltutmish’s daughters Razia Sultana and Sazia Sultana were buried in Bulbulikhana. Moreover, every Basant Panchmi Day a big mela amid kite-flying was held at the shrine. 

In the Tughlak period, Feroz Shah Tughlak’s 14th Century hunting lodge came up where Bhuli Bhatyari’s (or Bu Ali Bhatti’s) palace was built on the Ridge near present-day Karol Bagh. Feroz Shah also built his Kotla opposite the latter-day Khooni Darwaza (actually a Lal Darwaza of Sher Shah).

Paharganj, one of the main bazaars of Shah Jahan’s time, was, it seems, already an inhabited locality during Tughlak and Lodhi times. The Tughlak Baradari and a Lodi mosque on Qutub Road, through which lies one of the approaches to New Delhi station also proves that there were people living there in those times. Otherwise for whose benefit were they built? Surely not for the denizens of the wilderness. 

Similarly, in the Jama Masjid area, Bhojla Pahari, part of which was cut down to build the grand mosque, was not the preserve of dacoits and gypsies only. Some claim there was a Vishnu temple nearabouts. In Chandni Chowk the Apa Gangadhar shivala might have come up during the time of the Marathas but legend associates it with an already existing ancient shivala, a small one, which devotees visited and which was presumably looked after by a pujari.

Not far from it was the Afghan fort on whose ruins the Red Fort was built, like the Agra Fort, which too was constructed on the ruins of a Pathan citadel called Badalgarh, originally a Rajput fort. Sher Shah’s son built Salimgarh before Shah Jahan was born and Jahangir, whenever he passed by Delhi on his way to Lahore and Kashmir, camped there as also on the Yamuna bank. The Jhandewalan temple beyond Paharganj had temples predating the Sultanate era, and one of them was built by Prithviraj Chauhan’s daughter Bela which exists in Jhandewalan Extension. Incidentally, Bela’s husband was killed in a battle with Sultanate forces near the site occupied by Pusa Institute. The battle raged daylong and when word was brought to Bela of her spouse’s death she and her maids committed sati on the Jhandewalan mound below which is the Panchkuian Road cremation ground. This would mean that the Chauhans, after the second Battle of Tarain, where Prithviraj lost to Mohammed Ghori, had retreated from Mehrauli to the Ridge area that made way for Karol Bagh centuries later.

Interestingly enough, Firoz Tughlak’s eldest son Fath Khan was buried in a mausoleum around which Qutub Road came up. Known as Qadam Sharif because of the stone bearing the footprint of the Prophet placed above Fath Khan’s grave, it used to have an annual urs even during Firoz’s time. Why did the Sultan build it so far from the Kotla and his other architectural creations in Mehrauli (where he himself is buried)? Probably because his domain spread that far and beyond to North Delhi, where his observatory was located. And naturally his subjects were living round about. Kali or Kalan Masjid near Turkman Gate was also built in his reign.

It is heartening to note that the Delhi Archaeological Department, in collaboration with Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), has begun repairs to the Paharganj Baradari and the Lodi era mosque to make amends for years of neglect that saw the two buildings vandalized and encroached upon in a heavily congested neighbourhood. According to a news report, the monuments are graded “A” and “B” and found structurally sound though godowns that had been built in the Baradari are now being demolished. The Baradari has five domes, overgrown with foliage because of which there has been water seepage, resulting in cracks and serious damage to the façade. “The Paharganj Baradari and the Lodi mosque are part of the conservation of 50 unprotected monuments, some in Mehrauli as also the ruins of Bhuli Bhatiyari-ka-Mahal.” So, didn’t Shah Jahan build his new capital on an already existing habitation?

I would like to read your interesting takes on this topic. 
I have already debated this topic at an event. 

This article has been posted under the historical accounts section of history_geek's Blog.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

"Chronicled Tales" of Akbar - Birbal

Hi all

This post is placed under history Section of history_geek's BLOG..

Since the show - Jodha Akbar on Zee TV has introduced Birbal, and we are having a lot of discussions on him, hence i thought to post something on Akbar - Birbal tales.  So, here are some of them, from the "earliest possible sources"...

I do not claim credit for this post, because this is not SOLELY my personal research, as i have taken translation for this post from the research paper material of an eminent professor.. The original material was in Urdu books. I took the translation. Though, i verified the content of this post(i.e., the research matter of the professor) from the sources mentioned along with each anecdote.

1. One day Akbar asked to Birbal - "Bring me a Muslim turned into a Hindu." Birbal asked for the time of one week. The king agreed. When six days had passed, on the seventh day Birbal took a donkey to the river and busied himself in bathing it. It happened that Akbar too came to the river. He asked, "Oh Birbal, what are you doing?"  He said - "Jahanpanah, I am bathing this donkey, so that it will turn into a horse."  The king said, "You fool, can a donkey possibly turn into a horse?" Birbal said, "Jahanpanah, how can a Muslim turn into a Hindu?"  
Matba Jauhar-e-Hind. 
Lata'if-e-Akbar | Hissah Pahli: Birbal Nama. 
Pd. in Delhi, By Maha Narayan, in 1888, Urdu, Volume-1 


2. One day Akbar, in the assembly, asked all of courtiers, "Which flower is the best flower of all?" No one could answer. Finally Birbal's turn came.  Birbal said, "That flower is the best of all flowers, from which the whole world's clothing is made." Akbar accepted his reply.
Matba Jauhar-e-Hind. 
Lata'if-e-Akbar | Hissah Pahli: Birbal Nama. 
Pd. in Delhi, By Maha Narayan, in 1888, Urdu, Volume-1

3. One day Akbar drew a line with his auspicious hand on the floor of the open court, and commanded, "Make this small, but don't by any means erase it with your hand." All those present were stupefied. When Raja Birbal's turn came, he at once drew another line next to it, and didn't disturb the first line. Those present saw it, and said, "In truth, the first line is small(er)."
Matba Jauhar-e-Hind. 
Lata'if-e-Akbar | Hissah Pahli: Birbal Nama. 
Pd. in Delhi, By Maha Narayan, in 1888, Urdu, Volume-1 

4. One day Akbar said "something" to Birbal and asked for an answer. Birbal gave the very same reply that was in the king's own mind. Hearing this, the king said, "This is just what I was thinking also." Birbal said, "Jahanpanah, this is a case of 'a hundred wise men, one opinion' [the text said - "sau siyane ek mat"] ." The king said, "This proverb is indeed well-known." Then Birbal replied, "Jahanpanah, if you are so inclined, please test this matter." The king replied, "Very good."
        The moment he heard this, Birbal sent for a hundred wise men from the city. And the men came into the king's presence that night. Showing them an empty well, Birbal said, "Jahanpanah orders that at once every man will bring one bucket full of milk and pour it in this well." The moment they heard the royal order, every one reflected that where there were ninety-nine buckets of milk, how could one bucket of water be detected? Each one brought only water and poured it in. Birbal showed it to the king. The king said to them all, "What were you thinking, to disobey my order? Tell the truth, or I'll treat you harshly!" 

Every one of them said with folded hands, "Jahanpanah, whether you kill us or spare us, the thought came into this slave's mind that where there were ninety-nine buckets of milk, how could one bucket of water be detected?"

        Hearing this from the lips of all of them, the king said to Birbal, "What I'd heard with my ears, I've now seen before my eyes: 'a hundred wise men, one opinion'!"
Matba Jauhar-e-Hind. 
Lata'if-e-Akbar | Hissah Pahli: Birbal Nama. 
Pd. in Delhi, By Maha Narayan, in 1888, Urdu, Volume-1


5. One day Akbar said to Birbal, "Bring me four individuals--one, a hero; two, a coward; three, a modest person; four, a shameless person." The next day Birbal brought a woman  before the king. He commanded, "I had called for four individuals, and you brought one. Where are the others?"  Birbal said, "Jahanpanah, this one has all four qualities." The king directed him, "Explain." He replied, "When she stays in her in-laws' house, out of shame she doesn't even open her mouth to speak clearly. And when she sings songs at a marriage somewhere, her father and brothers and husband and in-laws and caste-fellows all sit and listen, but she's not ashamed before any of them. And when she sits with her husband, at night she won't even go alone into the store-room, and she says, 'I'm afraid to go.' Then, when she takes a fancy to someone, at midnight in the dark, all alone, with no weapon, she goes fearlessly to meet her lover, and is not at all afraid of robbers or evil spirits." Hearing this, the king was pleased, and gave Birbal a reward, and commanded, "You speak truly."
Matba Jauhar-e-Hind. 
Lata'if-e-Akbar | Hissah Pahli: Birbal Nama. 
Pd. in Delhi, By Maha Narayan, in 1888, Urdu, Volume-1 

6. One day Akbar was fishing by the edge of the river. And someone from somewhere had presented to the king some honey by way of a formal gift. The king was licking it. Birbal went out from the king's presence. On the road, some Muslims who were very respected and venerable, and were on their way to pay obeisance to the king, inquired from Birbal, "What is Jahanpanah doing?"  Birbar said, "He is babbling nonsense [jhak mar rahe hain] by the riverbank, and licking up dung."  Those Muslims were very much displeased. Akbar said, "In fact Birbal did not lie, but told the truth. For I was hunting (=marna) fish, and fish in the Shastra are called 'jhak.'  And as for honey, it is well known that it is the dung of honeybees, thus I was licking it. So don't be displeased."
Matba Jauhar-e-Hind. 
Zarafat-al-Akbar | Hissah-e-Suvv'am: Birbal Nama
Pd. in Delhi, By Munshi Narayan, in 1888, Urdu 

7. In Akbar's court, another courtier who was a constant rival of Birbal, generally arrived wearing a very elegant turban, and Birbal, wearing a cap.  [The courtier boasted about his turban, so that Birbal undertook to rival it.] Accordingly, the next day Birbal, placing a mirror before him, tied a turban extremely excellently and went to court. [The courtier claimed the turban had been tied by Birbal's wife. Asked by the king to prove it, he pulled off his own turban and retied it as it had been before; he then challenged Birbal to do the same.] Thus Birbal repeatedly tried to retie his turban, but it never came out as before, since previously he had tied it while looking in the mirror. Then the king laughed and said to Birbal, "Birbal, that courtier says truly, and it seems that what you're not able to do yourself, you get done by your wife!" Birbal was inwardly extremely distressed.
Matba Jauhar-e-Hind. 
Zarafat-al-Akbar | Hissah-e-Suvv'am: Birbal Nama
Pd. in Delhi, By Munshi Narayan, in 1888, Urdu 

8. One day the Chief Eunuch [Khwaja-Shera] said to Akbar, "Janab Birbal is very quick-witted. He ought to be asked a question to which he can give no answer." The king said, "What you say will be asked [of him]." The Chief Eunuch said, "Today please ask Birbal where the center of the earth is, and how many stars there are in the sky, and how many men and women there are in the world." Hearing this, the king said, "It's true; good. Call Birbal." As he was saying this, Birbal appeared.  The king asked Birbal those very questions which the Chief Eunuch had told him. Birbal, having heard them, said, "I will give the answer to them tomorrow."  With these words, he went to his house.
        At dawn, Birbal, taking a hammer and an iron nail, presented himself in the king's service. The king, as soon as he saw his face, said, "Birbal has brought the answers to our questions of yesterday." He said, "Your Majesty, I am at your service." With these words he drove the nail into the midst of the royal palace, and said, "Your Majesty, this is the center of the earth. If you don't believe me, have it measured." Hearing this excellent answer, the king fell silent. And when he asked the answer to the second question, Birbal brought a ram to stand before him: "Your Majesty, as many hairs as there are on its body, there are just so many stars in the sky.  If there's any doubt of this, please count them."
        [Then Birbal said,] "I have also brought the correct answer to the third question. But one matter has thrown me into perplexity. It is this:  in which reckoning should the eunuchs be counted? They are neither women nor men. Thus the idea has come to me that if all the eunuchs in the world were to be killed, the account would become correct." Hearing this, the king laughed very much and the Chief Eunuch was inwardly very much ashamed of "the act of testing Birbal". And the king, rewarding Birbal, gave him leave to depart.
Matba Kaikstan, Present at India Office Library, Folio-105
Hikayat-e-Birbal Kamil, Har-Kahra-Hissah
Pd. in Delhi,1920, Urdu

You all can add more interesting events to the list..

Related Posts:
Entry of Birbal in Ekta Kapoor's Jodha Akbar

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