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Sunday, November 30, 2014

When a Mughal Prince asked Pardon from HIS LADY

Hi Friends,

Today, i am sharing 2 paintings, one from Mughal Court, and other from outside the court. The painting is not so important as such, but one thing which caught my eyes was the message it was trying to convey. Hope you all will decode it. :D

In the painting a Mughal prince (name unknown) was asking pardon from his lady. 


I. A prince approaches his lady. The placement appears to be that of a terrace. The lady is attended by her maid. The prince is bowing in petition. But the reaction from the lady was that of an anger/resentment. She turns her face away despite the maid trying to mediate of behalf of the prince. It seems she has been wronged/hurt by some action of this prince, and here he trying to persuade her to forgive him, but she seems NOT to be in a mood to forgive him easily. Looks like a scene from an Old Hindi Movie. Or, a normal scene where a lover tries to make-up with the beloved.?. Isn't it ? :-P

II. This is another painting. This was drawn outside the Mughal Court, but here also a similar message is conveyed. Here the lady is showing more visible signs of her resentment, only if one is able to analyze the facial expressions properly. :-P The prince begs forgiveness, this time even genuflecting at the feet of the lady he has wronged, either through his neglect or perhaps through straying with another. His hands are raised in supplication, but she is still angry and withnot turning her face away from him, she is drawing her veil across her face in rejection, and looking at him through her veil. This scene is also set on a terrace outside a white pavilion. 

The lady is sitting on her bed placed outside in the hot weather, under a beautiful red shamiana which hangs from underneath the heavy chajja or eave of the pavilion. The couple’s clothes and the details of the pavilion are painted in brilliant colours against an almost entirely white scenario, the bamboo blind with a design of repeating poppies with a brocade cover with irises rolled above it. This painting is not as beautiful as the previous one, where we could see many more details. Hope you all, will point it out.


The portraits depicting angry / neglected ladies is one of the most reflecting and telling portraits of the Hindustani past. There have been such tales in the reign of Humayun also and in the case of Akbar we have real incidence, add to this the ample amount of folklores.!!

One such incident is narrated by Gulbadan Begum in Humayun Nama, where she tells us about the anger of Bega Begum towards Humayun. Bega Begum complained that - while Humayun spent ample time with all the ladies, like his mother, foster mothers, aunt, sisters, etc. and talked with them , but not with her. On one occasion she even taunted him and expressed her anger by asking - "If the way to her home was full of prickles which stopped him from coming there.!!" 

Finally, Humayun was compelled to call a meeting of harem ladies to sort out these issues.!!!!.

What interests me here is the normal accepted trend in today's time that no one could raise her opinion against the wrong being done in medieval age. But that is not the writing on the wall. There were exceptions here and here one such case of Humayun has been mentioned, where Bega Begum showed her "nakhraS" to Humayun. These paintings, after a critical study do reflect many such happenings of those times. 

The "basics" of the relationships of a couple were same those days also, like it is in present times. They may be King-Queen for the outsiders, but for each other they were just human beings also. Isn't it.? In my opinion, these portraits try to paint the normal "anger-reconciliation" scenarios which happen even in today's times.!. 

Afterall, times may have changed, world can change from medieval to modern, but the human emotions remain the same. :)

This article has been posted under the Miscellaneous topics section of history_geek's Blog.

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  1. Abhay

    Beautiful paintings and a lovely description !

    So true, human emotions of love, tiffs, reunions are universal across time and place. If we see the Jodha Akbar show, J and A are forever having MUs and uniting again :)

    I want to narrate a story here, inspired by one aspect of the paintings. Apparently, the lady is a Hindu (according to her dress) and the prince is, of course, Mughal. If you don't mind, I will narrate one of the earliest love stories between a Hindu princess and a Muslim Prince.

  2. Thanks Radhika,
    You can share any thing. Let me also know of the story. ;p

  3. This is the tragic love story of Khizr Khan and Deval Devi. It has been immortalized by Amir Khusrow in 1316 (revised in 1318 after the death of Khizr Khan) in a poem (Masnavi) titled Ashiqa.

    Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji was not on good terms with his wife Mahru and married a Hindu princess, Kamla Devi. The Sultan's heir was his eldest son from Mahru, Khizr Khan. Kamla Devi was previously married to a Hindu raja and had a daughter, Deval Devi (aka Duval Rani), with him. She requested the Sultan to bring her daughter to her from her ex-husband and the Sultan sent his army to bring her to her mother.

    As luck would have it, Khizr Khan fell in love with Deval Devi. Although, they were not siblings by blood, the relationship was complicated and the Sultan, Kamla Devi and Mahru, were all against the relationship. But the prince was so hopelessly in love with Deval that he ran away with her.

    Mahru forced her son to marry her niece. But he soon fell ill. Mahru was so scared of losing her son that she finally agreed to his marriage with Deval.

    However, soon after, Mubarak Shah rebelled and got Khizr Khan murdered and forcibly took Deval as a slave girl into his harem. A most tragic end to a doomed love story, perhaps the first most famous love story between a Hindu Princess and a Muslim Prince.

    Relationships are complex webs of human emotions and the same patterns recur, as all humans are ultimately born with the same set of emotions and longings.

    Thanks for the lovely paintings that underscore this so beautifully. In spite of being a prince, the poor guy has kept all his ego aside and is begging forgiveness like an ordinary man. Truly, human emotions do not see rank or status. If a girl in love is upset with her lover, she will show her "nakhras", irrespective of whether her lover is a prince or a pauper. :)

  4. radhika - absolutely beautiful. love it.

  5. abhay - sharing something related 2 topic. d ruler of badakshan was very powerful bt under heavy influence of his wife. d tales abt him r funny.
    interesting post. thanks.

  6. Thanks for sharing yet another fascinating piece of information in the form of pictures, depicting the nature of the relationship between royal couples from centuries past.
    I liked your description also, you are right. Royals were humans too and felt the same emotions like any other ordinary couple.

  7. awesome Abhay!! I think the paintings of this period are so interesting and provide a window to those times.
    Abhay along these same lines....I was wondering if your blog can include a picture/ visual gallery. Of interest will be portraits of MUZ , akbar and others of this era. also of the tombs, and important buildings of this time. There are numerous portraits of MUZ scattered all over the forum and really hard to find. If they are in a gallery it will be so easy to look at...

  8. Preeti

    I have seen only one portrait of Akbar and HK on Abhay's historical threads. I cannot believe there are numerous portraits of her on the forum and I missed them all! :(

    Abhay and Kamal were saying Akbar didn't allow portraits of his queens being made. Then how did so many portraits come into existence?

  9. Iqra,

    Who was this ruler? Can you share one of these tales please? :)

  10. Abhay, Beautiful Paintings. Girl, Not wore, Her Nose, Which married Women wears, so i think, Girl is Unmarried. But i not sure, Boy is Mughal,But Yes Emotions are Same, Mostely that time or Even this Time.

    But seing Pic Girl is feeling, so much confident, +Nakhars, but Boy wants to Things should be normalise.or Poor Guy, is begging.So how much, time takes Girl, Know this, Need a second Painting,Or we can Guss.

    Yes post not matters in Realtions. If a person all time,Remembe.He or she in how much available in higher post, How can he live a normal life In serial Everytime he recalls, Salim is Heir, Sometime i feel they are snatching , His childhood, or ,Realising him, he is a special, from others. Somepoints its Good, But, somepoints its not benificial.

  11. radhika - his name was suleman. he attacked kabul 3 times. last tym he came when abul maali killed maha chuchak begum. his wife was very clever. she kept him in her hold. badakshan is north east afghanistan nd little part of south west tajikistan. i even read she took mirza hakim under her control nd made him turn against akbar by her influence.

  12. awww so beautiful ^_^ we even saw it in our show how Jalal pacifies Jodha and how he apologizes ^_^ its all true <3 <3
    thank u Abhay for the painting and description.

    who is this prince and his lady? any idea? Maan Bai and Salim?

    too busy these days...:'(

  13. Hmm Radhika, I saw several portraits of MUZ ( solo) on the forum. and two together one that we see all over the internet and the other with the two of them standing in a garden and it has a prince and a princess in the background. Ofcourse also who can forget the cherry on top..."the glory of faith" as another. Abhay please chime in and tell me if I am correct or not.

  14. Preeti

    I have seen only the "glory of faith" painting on Abhay's threads. That is the one on Internet too, isn't it?

    I have not seen the garden photos. Ya, I saw the birth of Salim painting (again on the history threads) in which MUZ is lying on a bed and everyone is celebrating the birth of Salim. :)

    Anyway, I am mostly ignorant of forum content till someone brings it to my notice. So I could have missed them. :)

  15. Thanks, Iqra. :)

    Wasn't Hakim Mirza turned against Akbar by MahaChuchak herself?

  16. Very interesting paintings Abhay, very unusual too! A man bowing before a lady - much less an prince before a begum!

    Just proves that stereotypes do not work in any era! What a fitting reply to those who kept hammering the point that 16th century Jodha should behave in certain way only! What simplistic and convenient logic!!! Are all women in 21st century the same? Behave same with with husbands?!

    Real HK Jodha was special in every way and she would have had to be to hold the heart of man like Akbar for 42 years! Just the fact that her youngest daughter was at Akbar's age of 42 odd tells the story of what a strong relationship they had.

    Would be very interested to know who the couple in painting is? Wouldn't it be fun if this turns out to be Akbar and HK?!!!! Real fitting reply to those who can't think out of the box and just tom tom about stereotypes!

  17. hmm..u look ryt..radhika..let abhay answer 'tis..i m not aware of details.

  18. Radhika and Iqra,

    The ruler was that of Badakshan only. Name was Suleiman.
    Mahachuchak Begum had died in 1564.

    Suleiman's wife was a very clever lady. She could "easily" influence people by mincing words. ;p

    According to Abul Fazl, it was she only who sowed seeds of rebellion in the mind of Mirza Hakim when he attacked Lahore in 1565.
    Note that Mirza Hakim was barely 13 years old that time..

  19. Preeti,

    I will think of some way to have a gallery here, or a separate page for this purpose.

    Btw, there are less available portraits of Akbar and MUZ. Reasons are given by Radhika above. On the forum, many portraits are said to be that of Akbar and MUZ but they are in reality NOT of them. ;)

  20. Well said Ayushi. Very Interesting points. :)
    But, the lady in both the figures have adorned a "small" nose-ring. Please see carefully. ;-P

  21. Geeta,
    The paintings are not connected. One is from Mughal Court, another is from Central India.
    But, the ladies in both the figures have adorned a "small" nose-ring. Please see carefully. ;-P

  22. Agree Charu. They are also normal humans in their own space . :)

  23. Tamy,
    I knew you will think of Jalal pacifying Jodha here. ;-P

    This is not a painting of Man Bai and Salim. The couple is unknown.

    Do read the blog whenever you get time. No issues. :)

  24. Exactly my point Medha. As i said, nothing is a writing on the wall. The Royal people are also "normal human beings" and have emotions which they do unload infront of their close ones. This painting is one such proof of the same.
    The couple in the painting is unknown. But, the painting does strikes at the stereotypes.

  25. Thanks for clearing up this confusion, I thought I had missed them ! :)

  26. oh ok Radhika and Abhay I did not realize that,
    But could there be more commissioned later in the mughal period ?

    Abhay I was wondering if you can look at these posts and see what I am talking about


    Also once Shireen Moosvi a very respected historian on Akbar gave a lecture on Akbar at a college in mumbai where she shared a picture of Jehangir with his mother and grandmother...Do you have any information on this picture?

  27. Preeti

    I was just wondering about these links you shared.

    The first link names HK as Maharani Jodha Bai, which is a misnomer, as stated by Abhay also on this blog. She was HK, and the name Jodha Bai was coined for her much, much later.

    So I would say the first link painting is just some latter day fanciful painting by someone from their imagination. It was definitely not commissioned by Akbar or Jehangir, who always referred to HK as MUZ only in their books and never even as HK, leave alone Jodha.

    The second link is very clearly to my eyes paintings by latter day painters. Akbar didn't allow just about anyone to paint his begums or for paintings of his begums to be circulated. So many paintings? Impossible. No matter how much he loved MUZ. Or esp because he loved her, he would not have allowed so many paintings to be made. Also, somehow that lady doesn't even look like MUZ because she just doesn't have the aura / personality.

    I am not a historian and stand open to being corrected. I could be wrong but ^^^ is my personal opinion. :)

    TFS - I had not seen these threads before. :)

  28. Radhika, Your First line, Very touchi, +True, Actually, Realtions Have their Own science, +Philosphay. Some realtions, We get, From God,or we can't change them, ex, Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, or Many others. We have habit to accept them, or We love them unconditionally, or they Love us Unconditinoly. By Birth. As we Grow
    We adjust them, or they adjust, us acc to eachother Nature. Give & Take process naturally, moving Own. no need to Mostely Blance, But yes Efforts, Sometime, More or less acc to time, we have to Do,
    Some realtion, Comes in Life, Husband, wife, they belong different families,,or Many realtion, New comes, with this New realtion. Because Everything is different,so here things changes a lot,or Many things count. So here investment, demands more, or acc to Circumstances. But because, Heart or Emotions, mostely same, But sometime supply comes less , which is time Demand, so realtions start, to go to different Manner. Acceptions more,Or Love less, start to damageing the realtions. Or Many others things, which necessary to bind the realtion When not comes, Realtions going to ,Loss Charm. So Curing is necessary in realtion, But you can't Cure realtion One side, Here Needed, Second Person, or if he wants to Mange the realtion. But in this process Heart or mind suffers a lot. So if someone touches, or Cure that point, Heart or Mind feel relax. A deep science works here. But its not a easy job.

    Some realtion comes in Life, for sometime, but they Leave A good or Bad effect. If Good effects comes, then one thoughs gives us energy a lot, or whole life, we remember that, realtion Same Bad effect realtion cause of Pain, we not forget easily.

    Friendhip realtion, mostely we choose, acc to our taste, or we think he or she can adjust us or Not. Here responsibily comes to two or some time Group, But here Heart attachment happens first. But here also need a Investment,If investment is not coming in accurate manner, realtionship going to start, Spoil. But sometime, Gaps comes,Here also, Typical point.Here Responisiblity big, to friends, or any other realtion, Try to not destroy realtion. Because realtionship, is not a easily available thing, so try to create giving space. if things normalise, Good, if not, try to blance,or put effort more, But Putting effort, or things, or not going to cool down, its a tough time, for any realtion, So if essentail then Curing is very necessary, to Any realtion,But common in every realtion, Adjustment, Love, Accept eachother Qualites, or Mistakes also Which realtion we get from God Direct, Or friends realtion,
    Heart attach first, So pain comes from Heart, when these type of realtion, going to Loss.

    Radhika your One line insipred me a lot, or i wrote some Haa Haa Haa,

  29. Abhay, yes in the second painting I can clearly see the nose ring, not the cart-wheel type.:) I must say, it's a candid painting:) Man does minnat a hundred times, n the girl acts as if she doesn't care, however to show it so beautifully as writing on the wall, is really candid. I think, it must be painter's imaginary piece not related to Mughals.

  30. Abhay!!
    This aspect of a prince apologizing to his lady in the manner shown in these paintings is very unique and thank you for bringing forward this rare information which is refreshing in contrast to our general impression of the male dominated/superior ancient century culture.So the "nakhras" and "roothna-manana" of royal couples with the prince shedding his ego were not alien concepts!The poor prince not only apologized profusely but also allowed his portrait to be made capturing the rare moment without any embarrassment or image consciousness . Some royal princes did give royal apologies! Shows that some royal couples too had very normal husband-wife emotions towards each other devoid of any ego or the superior prince tag.

  31. Ayushi,

    So well said! That's why I said you are the expert on relationships. :)

  32. Aashrita, You have noted a nice point here - The painting was also commissioned, of such an apology. This throws light on various facets of those times, viz. the personal emotions. We can have so many deductions from this. :)

  33. Preeti,

    I have seen those links before. But the point is, we were discussing paintings of "MUZ" , commissioned by Akbar "himself".

    These paintings on those links are altered ones / later versions. Some of them are in Urdu language which was a later development. Add to this, they mention her as Maharani Jodha Bai, which was not her correct name. :)

    About the picture of MUZ and Hamida Bano Begum, please see the post on Children of Akbar and MUZ. We have a picture there. 99.99% chances are there that - it is the one you are talking about.


  34. Would this be the birth of Salim painting, Abhay, because the others don't seem possible?

  35. maybe. so question for both of you is that as far as we know the only picture commissioned at akbar's time was "glory of faith"? what about Ruks and Salima any of their pictures survived?

  36. Preeti,

    Abhay wrote somewhere on this blog that there are no paintings of these 2 queens that were commissioned by Akbar himself or even by Jahangir.

    I wonder why there were no women painters who could have drawn portraits of the queens, at least for Akbar?

  37. Lovely paintings and desriptions Abhay! Thanks a lot for sharing them!

    I had always though that Begum's/ladies were always scared of their lords, but this painting proved me wrong! Like you have said at last, they are human's after all!
    And those paintings have uniquely depicted the anger of that lady!

    And bega begum instance! I had thought all begums of humayun might shiver at the very name of him! Well i am proved wrong again!

    Thanks again for sharing them!

  38. Thank you for sharing these rare pictures and info Abhay :) .....I don't know whether to be happy or utterly disappointed seeing the pictures.....Comfort, power, luxury, pampering was enjoyed by royal ladies (as per their position in front of princes and their standing) but did they enjoy absolute love & loyalty from their partners in that polygamous setup :( .....Waise any idea who the concerned lady and prince in the picture were???....because in both pictures, the lady's dressing style is the same (kind of what Hindus / Rajputs could have worn then) :p

  39. Yes Radhika and Preeti, that is the painting i am referring to.

    In that painting, the mother of Salim is clearly shown to be an Indian lady.

    Akbar and the other lady, most probably Hamida Bano Begum are in clear Mongoloid complexion. And both of them are wearing crowns also. And both are with grey hair. ;p

    Surprisingly, the mother is that picture appears young. Even the folklore descriptions of MUZ mention her in similar vein. :)

    Yes, Glory of Faiths is probably the only one painting which carries a "proof" that it is of Akbar and "MUZ". :)
    But even this was "colored" and changed from the original one, as we saw there.

  40. Rakshitha,

    That is not the case as you used to think. Even there is a famous of Akbar Rajput wives "taunting" him for not being able to enforce his order at some ocassion. Along with this, there is an instance where his Muslim and Hindu wives teamed up to join against him. ;p

    They were also humans, and had their own "anger-reconciliations" scenarios. I am sure you must be happy to find that you are proved wrong this time. :D

  41. Pallavi,

    The concept of Love and Loyalty was different those days. Those times were different. The definition of Love was different. It was about the trust factor and the deep sense of understanding between the couple. You could get anything those days BUT this trust and deep sense of understanding and the connect was found only in someone special. :)

    We should / can not compare those times with ours. Those were days of polygamy,just like we have monogamy today. BTW, the couple is not clear in this picture. ;p

  42. Just feeling sympathetic towards ladies of those times :(

  43. Pallavi,
    History is a double edged sword. :(
    We have +ve's and -ve's both. I can understand what you mean.

  44. Pallavi

    Polygamy was a norm but not everyone necessarily had multiple wives.

    Secondly, most marriages then were arranged and may be just one or two of them might have been based on personal choice (love, attraction etc). People in arranged marriages looked for security and financial comfort. As long as the women got this, they were happy.

    The need for something more from a marriage than just security and comfort is pretty modern, I should say. :)

  45. History-geek,thank u fr those rare paintings. are they connected, i.e frm same painter? my reading frm the painting is the girl is a Hindu, no doubt. She seems to be a spinster as she has no nose ring.
    I don't know if the king in the second painting is a Mughal.His head dress is similar to pagdi.
    The striking factor is that the man really loves that woman, that is why doing so much minnat.:)

  46. Preeti,

    I have seen those links before. But the point is, we were discussing paintings of "MUZ" , commissioned by Akbar "himself".

    These paintings are altered ones / later versions. Some of them are in Urdu language which is a later development. Add to this, they mention her as Maharani Jodha Bai, which was not her name. :)

    About the picture of MUZ and Hamida Bano Begum, please see the post on Children of Akbar and MUZ. We have a picture there. 99.99% chances are there that - it is the one you are talking about.


  47. Abhay

    I found this interesting snippet that in the entire Mughal history, there was only one notable female artist, Sahifa Banu, around 1620. There is a fine drawing from Shah Jahan's reign that shows a woman artist among the other women, capturing her surroundings on a drawing block.

    I saw one of her paintings - a portrait of Shah Tahmasp. Most exquisite. :)

  48. For those who wish to know, Shah Tahmasp was a great Safavid patron who reigned in Persia from 1524 to 1576.

    Sahifa Banu's painting of the Shah was found worthy of one of the richest 17th-century Mughal borders. Perhaps it was adorned by Mansur himself. It had drawings in gold of flora and fauna.

  49. Two more women artists are mentioned from the times of Akbar and Jahangir - Ruqaiya Banu and Nadira Banu.

    I don't think this Ruqaiya is Akbar's wife. :)

    A folio from Khamsa-i-Nizami shows a woman artist painting a self-portrait.

  50. Nadira Banu is the daughter of Mir Taqi and a pupil of Aqa Riza. Her surviving work appears to be from the last years of Akbar's reign. But she was also assigned as a painter to Prince Salim during Akbar's reign.

  51. The portrait of Shah Tamasp by Sahifa Banu

  52. A woman artist capturing her surroundings on a drawing block. This drawing is from Shah Jahan's reign.

  53. How beautiful! thanks

  54. so interesting Radhika, BTW do these ladies look Rajput or Mughal?

  55. Preeti

    They look Hindu.