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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Akbar - Ruqayya False Monogamy Clause - Akbar NEVER said he regretted marrying again after Ruqayya Begum

Hi EveryOne..

Continuing in the Series of Historical Articles.....Here is an article Dealing with a popular MIS-conception on Mughal Emperor Akbar and his Wife Ruqayya Begum...

Today, I am here with a topic, which is not new.

But want to correct the misconception which 99.99% of Digital Media, seems to have accepted as a truth, which WAS propagated as a GOSPEL truth by the Wikipedia. But the reality is something else.

Read these arguments..
I am talking about the following WRONG "clauses".

1. Akbar stated in his early middle-age, when his sexual desires faded, that had he been wiser earlier in his life, he would not have married more than once.

2. Akbar regretted taking any other wife apart from Ruqaiya, and even went so far as to recommend monogamy, saying, "To seek more than one wife is to work one's own undoing.
In case she [the wife] were barren or bore no son, it might then be expedient.

Both these statements are false. The words have been twisted to prove the view of Ruqayya Begum being most loved queen.  Now, let us see the answer point by point.

Statement 1:

Akbar stated in his early middle-age, when his sexual desires faded, that had he been wiser earlier in his life, he would not have married more than once. "

Akbar never said the above statement.
What he said is as follows :: >  the exact quote is : read carefully----
had i been wise earlier, i would have taken no women from my own kingdom in my harem(seraglio).

then he gives the reason:

for my subjects are to me in the place of my children..

Fazl (court historian of Akbar) explains that Akbar felt he committed a sin and expressed remorse for his sins, because Akbar NOW, placed his kingdom in place of his children, and he thought that he had (kept) his children in his harem...!!!

This shows the hollowness of the argument to prove Akbar's preference for Ruqayya Begum.! Facts are twisted by adding any word here and there, to suit any interest, and this is how HISTORICAL facts are played with.

Statement 2:

" Akbar regretted taking any other wife apart from Ruqaiya, and even went so far as to recommend monogamy, saying, "To seek more than one wife is to work one's own undoing.
In case she [the wife] were barren or bore no son, it might then be expedient. "

The explanation for above statement will be given in parts..

@Red part
This statement's origin is Wikipedia only(which is edited at the whims and fancies of anyone every other day), and in no other Historical or Contemporary work you will find it.!!!
Since, this statement is written only on that Wikipedia page and from there it has been copied into infinite newspaper editorials, magazines and at many more places/other Blogs on the Net; and has been misleading people.

@Blue part
Yes, he recommended monogamy. This was his social reform (Explained at the end of this post). But, again this needs explanation.

He recommended monogamy for his subjects, not for him..

a.) After, this reform, Salim (his son) also married many times. 

b.) Let me cite a statement from Badayuni's memoirs - Munthakhab-Ut-Tawarikh ::

The phrase states --
Either make no friendship with an Elephant Driver .
or make a house fit for an elephant.

The LITERAL meaning is ->
Akbar said - " Either you do not make a elephant, your friend, and if you do so, then you should be ready to accommodate the elephant ."

And, the GENERAL meaning,(what he really meant.) ->
Akbar meant - "Either you marry only 1 wife, or if you marry more than 1 wife, then you should have the resources to accommodate all of them."

Infact, this reflects his thinking and is not related with Ruqayya Begum. This statement was said, only for welfare of the subjects. Abu'l Fazl states Akbar considered them his children. It is important to remember that monogamy was recommended for the common people not for the royals.

@Pink part
Then, further he adds that, in case the first wife does not gives you a child, then you may remarry. Considering, those were Medieval times where heir was required and was of paramount importance...

So,Why was Ruqayya Begum's name brought into this topic ?

A wonderful reform and thinking was re-painted and distributed through Wikipedia to ELEVATE Ruqayya Begum vis-a-vis other Queens of Akbar, thereby nullifying the reform.


Extra Notes:

1.a. Monogamy reform of Akbar:

One of the principle edicts of Din-I-illahi, according to the Badayuni Chronicles was Monogamy and not marrying within the close family..The reason supplied for this is the lack of sexual vigour in the marriage between the cousins.. Din-I-illahi also forbids sexual intercourse with barren women..

1.b. Akbar's views against Child Marriage:

Akbar says marriage at a young age makes it tough for it to be a successful bond, because objective of marriage in this case is not fulfilled. From Ain, Vol-3, Pg-397, Jarett

1.c. Akbar's views about marriage: Which is better - Close relations or strangers ?

Akbar says that marriage between those individuals who are NOT related (by any family relations) is bound to be more successful. 
He says, in case of marriage with the relations, the "more remote the relation" , better is the possibility of harmony in marriage.

 From Ain, Vol-3, Pg-397, Jarett

What do the above points says about Ruqayya Begum - Akbar relationship. This can be seen as a facet of Akbar's thinking.


2. Lament about the Sati

Akbar laments about the Sati practice and wonders how the sacrifice of wives ensures deliverance of men. From Ain, Vol-3, Pg-398, Jarett

There is a famous anecdote regarding Akbar stopping a forced Sati incident. Read more about it here, in this detailed blog article :- When Akbar RODE a Horse to STOP a Forced Sati Practice of Rani Damayenti : CLICK HERE to Read


3. Moderation

Akbar's constitution - As per which, a king should not indulge in

1. Excessive hunting
2. Incessant play
3. Excessive drinking
4. Excessive sexual intercourse

He advocated moderation. From Ain, Vol-3, Pg-399, Jarett


This post was meant to clear the air regarding the wrong use of statement about Akbar's repentance for multiple marriages. Rest of the quotes etc. are for informational purposes.

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  1. well i wish the creatives of BT AND ZEE TV would have done even 10% research of what u have done.

  2. and i wish they would have employed u to research for them..maybe we would have seen a better script and a better jodha akbar then.

  3. Thanks Aanchal..
    I also feel, it would have been so good, had the CV's did more research anf portrayed the beautiful story of Jodha and Akbar before us in a realistic manner.

  4. Thank You. I will wait, i hope, in future some other PH comes up and makes a show on Jodha Akbar. :)


  6. Thanks for the post...I agree with Aanchal the next PH that films Jodha Akbar should have you doing the research!

  7. Transferring the discussion to this thread .
    From this link..>>
    Posted by Nia
    Oh my my...
    She was a first wife.They got married 6 years before
    Akbar marry Heer right?? How was their relationship during that time??
    Didn't she become a special wife of akbar?? Didn't she has any important
    role as she was a first wife, a mughal princess also...

  8. Nia,
    This is the irony. She was his first wife. But not much is present about her relationship with Akbar. On the other hand the Din e Illahi reform of Akbar "bans" childhood marriages. Surely she must be having a fine place in the harem, but her equation with AKbar was not so special. As i told you earlier, she was having different opinions and not in sync with liberal thinking of Akbar.

  9. Nia,

    Let me clarify Abhay's point a bit.

    Ruqaiyya and Akbar were married when they were children. They didn't know the significance of marriage or romantic love then. They were friends. And Ruqaiyya had her own place in the harem and as one of the 3 main queens. But either she never tried or she was never given the chance to play a more active role in the empire, not even as much as Salima Begum did, leave alone (as much as) Heer Kunwari MUZ or Hamida Banu.

    In fact, Akbar later introduced many laws related to marriage such as banning childhood marriages, discouraging marriage among close relations and requiring the consent of both the bride and the groom before marriage. Somewhere I feel he based these laws on his own marriage with Ruqaiyya Begum. Esp discouraging marriage among close relations.

    Ruqaiyya Begum is not mentioned in any detail in historical chronicles. It is not necessary that the first wife should be the most important wife. Any wife who is emotionally and mentally close to her husband and understands /supports/ helps him grow into a better person/king would naturally have more importance. Heer Kunwari had all these traits and more which is why she rose to a high stature in the family and the court and is still remembered today with reverence.:)

  10. Okay Radhika...

    I understand now. Here the novel trilogy taj mahal by indu sundaresan and taj mahal by john sorrs were translated into indonesia. Many of us believe on what indu said. That he had make many documentary research for the project. And john sorrs also mention ruqaiyy begum as the wife who akbar love the most.

    But as they couldn't give us any documentary proof, so i will believe on what historical document said.

    Again, thank you so much for helping me find right answer of my every question...

  11. Posting snippet from the first page of the FICTIONAL novel - The 20th Wife of Ms. Indu Sundaresan.

    The MIS-nomer of Ruqayya Begum being assigned the title of Padshah Begum has gained ground from Ms. Indu Sundaresan's, " FICTIONAL "
    novel , The Twentieth Wife. It's an irony that despite being called a
    work of fiction, the novel has been used for citation in Wikipedia, and many other places,

    The following snippet clearly mentions that it is work of "fiction"..

  12. Nia,
    That book by Ms. Indu Sundaresan is a fictional novel.

    See this snippet below..

  13. Nia

    Ms. Indu Sundaresan is a historical fiction writer. She writes fiction based on historical characters. :)

    You are most welcome to discuss any Q or doubt here :)

  14. Abhay, Radhika,

    What about anarkali in the show?? Is she a real person according to history??
    Some stories mention about her affair with akbar. And when akbar knew that salim want to marry her, Akbar got angry and executed her. Is that true??

  15. Nia,

    Anarkali is most likely a fictional character. Abhay will be posting on this interesting topic soon. Pls wait a while :)

  16. I believe this Tomb is in memory of Jahangir's wife Sahib i Jamal, another wife of Jahangir. She was the cousin of Zain Khan Koka.Zain Khan Koka was the foster brother of Akbar. Abhay Probably can give the accurate information

  17. Sahib Jamal was Zain Khan Koka's niece. But you are right, Sindhu. The tomb is most likely hers. :)

  18. It's v difficult for people to differentiate between historical books and historical fiction. But at least sites like Wikipedia should be more careful about their "sources".

  19. wow so that is not Anar tomb like all r tell oh god Abhay pls make post about this soon it will be very interesting to read