I was a bit surprised by the shock expressed over Ruqaiyya's initiation of Salim to opium. The incident in itself is shocking and deplorable, especially as it is being shown in excruciating detail at prime time. True, no adult, least of all, a "mother" figure should ever abuse a child's trust or harm a child for his/her own benefit. But, Ruqaiyya is NOT Salim's biological mother. She is, as good as, a stepmother to him. And stepmothers have been known to be evil since ages in literature, mythology, folklore and cultural traditions.
It was a motherly figure Kaikeyi who got Sri Rama banished for 14 long years so that her son could become the heir. Devavrata took the terrible oath of lifelong celibacy to become Bheeshma so that the children born to his stepmother Satyawati could become Kuru heirs. Snow White's stepmother sought to kill her out of sheer jealousy of her beauty. Cindrella's stepmother used her as a maid.
In Jodha Akbar itself, the mother figure, Mahamanga, (a foster mother, not even a stepmother) emotionally brainwashed a young Jalal and kept him under her control by making him feel eternally grateful to her for her services. Mahamanga was astute enough to NOT require any drugs to control Jalal. She achieved her mission covertly without anyone being able to point any fingers at her.
Ruqaiyya, who was never in the same league as Mahamanga, has been unable to emotionally "control" Salim, tied as he is strongly to his own mother. She has therefore recoursed to the use of opium. This act is condemnable but not shocking if one considers the character of the reel Ruqaiyya and the level of imagination of the CVs.
Just as most evil stepmothers are usually never punished but, at most, meet their nemesis in a natural manner or are left unaccounted for at the end of the story, this reel Ruqaiyya too shall probably be left unaccounted for her sins at the end of the show.
The fact that the real Ruqaiyya never actually did this and that Salim became a victim of alcohol and drug abuse much later in life as a result of his own folly has enabled me to grit my teeth and bear this natakiya rupantar too. Personally I like to think that Salim being the first surviving child of Akbar must have been much pampered by all the women in the harem, especially the chief queens.
Actually, when we look at the character of the reel Ruqaiyya last year, she would never ever do anything to jeopardise the safety of the Mughal emperor or the empire. Why would such a woman endanger the future of the empire by making the wali-ahad a drug addict? The CVs clearly do not bother about such trivial logical details.
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