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Friday, June 26, 2015

Farman of Mughal Emperor Akbar to protect a 'Brahmin of Mathura' + Scan of Original Persian Document | Connection with Maharana Pratap, Ajabde Bai Sa & Mariam-Uz-Zamani


Today, I am sharing a Farman which was given by Mughal Emperor Akbar to a Brahmin who lived in the suburbs of Mathura. This farman is first in the series of farmans, given by the Emperor to prevent this Brahmin saint - Shri Vithal Rai, from harassment at the hands of Imperial Mughal officers. The Emperor had given clear orders that no one should interfere with this Brahmin as regards his faith etc. and they should allow him to worship as per his custom, keeping the welfare of the Empire in mind.

A few months back, another farman was posted on the blog, which was granted by the mother of Mughal Emperor Akbar - Hamida Bano Begum, to the same Brahmin. She had to give the farman because, even after the farmans of the Emperor to this Brahmin, he was harassed by the Mughal officers. The farman by Hamida Bano Begum was to confirm the earlier farman of Akbar(mentioned in present post) given in same regard, in order to give more weight to the Emperor's order.

This Brahmin was a very famous saint and was the son of Shri Vallabhacharya. The disciples of this Brahmin saint include the following people - 

a. Mariam-Uz-Zamani / Harka Bai, First Rajput Wife of Mughal Emperor Akbar
b. Maharani Ajabde Bai Sa, First Wife of Mewar's Rajput ruler Maharana Pratap

c. Raja TodarMal,
d. Raja Birbal,
e. Baz Bahadur of Malwa(wife - Rani Rupmati),
f. Tansen, 
g. Raja Man Singh of Amer

Note :
Akbar and Maharana Pratap were fierce enemies of each other who fought against each other throughout their lives, yet their wives had the same saint as their 'Guru'(religious master) . This is because both of them were devotees of Lord Krishna, and this saint, whose name was Shri Vithal Rai, was a devotee of Shri Nath Ji, a form of Lord Krishna. He was the son of Shri Vallabhacharya & propagated the cult of Krishna Bhakti (devotion to Lord Krishna), which had been started by his father. For this reason, he was harassed by Mughal officials.

Emperor Akbar's officers did NOT always demonstrate the same tolerance as the Emperor, towards other faiths. There are several incidents of harassments at the hands of Imperial officials. The number of farmans issued by the Emperor to 'protect' the saint prove this assertion. 

This point was also raised by S.A.I Tirmizi, Deputy Director of Historical Archives, Govt. of India. While discussing Farmans issued by Mughal ladies, he mentioned that many times, the officials ignored the farmans issued by the Emperor and harassed the common folk. In such situations, the commonfolk often sought help from the Mughal ladies, who then issued farmans to redress the grievances of the common petitioners. Examples :
Farman of Wali Nimat Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum  |  She gave this farman, as a warning, and asked the official under question to return the Jagir to it's righful owner which was usurped by the Mughal official.
Farman of Hamida Bano Begum | Discussed at the end of this post.

Lord Krishna in the form of Shri Nath Ji, Painting : Udaipur

A separate detailed post is coming soon about this saint and his relation with these contemporary personalities..

Shri Vithal Rai Ji

Near Udaipur, in Mewar, there is a very beautiful temple dedicated to Shri Nath Ji, which is held sacred by BOTH Hindus and Muslims alike. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had tried his best to destroy the idol of Shri Nath Ji. Note that this temple is located in the former palace of Maharani Ajabde Bai Sa, First wife of Maharana Pratap.

Initially, the idol was present and worshipped in Goverdhan in Mathura. But, in 1669, it was taken from there into the protection of Rana Rai Singh of Mewar as, only he was deemed fit who could protect the idol. There is a farman of Aurangzeb, dated 9th April, 1669, issuing orders for the destruction of idols.

The following is the order/farman of Mughal Emperor Akbar:



Seal : Jalal-ud-din Muhammed Akbar Padshah 'Ghazi*'

The Farman of Jalal-ud-din Muhammed Akbar Padshah 'Ghazi*'

Contents (Approximate English translation):

" As Vithal Das*, indisputably a prayer-offerer (for our well-being) is a resident of the town of Gokul*, it is vital that no one out of the servants of the World-protecting Court, and others besides them, should
harass the above mentioned indisputable prayer-offerer (well-wisher), his relatives and retainers, and by no manner of means should demand or call for anything(ransom) from them. 

They must allow him to live in his place and home, he should be left easy at heart, so that he might engage himself in praying for our daily increasing fortune and the perpetuity of our eternity allied dignity. They must act according to what is written, and should not go contrary to it.

Written on 29th of Jamadi the Second Hijri 985 (Friday 13th September A. D. 1577).. "



I could obtain a photocopy of the Persian Farman, though it was too much tattered.
Thankfully, this document could be scanned. Here it is :


1. Gokul is a small town in Mathura district of present day Uttar Pradesh state of India. The place is associated with Lord Krishna, as per Hindu Mythology.

2. A farman of this nature by Hamida Bano Begum (to confirm the order of Akbar) bestowed to Vithal Rai, raises some pertinent points. 

This Brahmin must have been held in high favor/regard by Hamida Bano Begum, hence such an order. She would not go out of her way to grant him this favor. This also shows that the Royal ladies were not ONLY confined to the 4 walls of the harem, but also could interact with (select) people and were aware of the developments in the kingdom. It is not surprising that a royal lady has issued this farman, unless the person under consideration has impressed her greatly. Of course, such farmans were not gifted out to everyone, but only a few people of high repute.

3. This Vithal Rai was one of the two sons of a great saint of Mathura, Vallabhacharya, who had impressed Mughal Emperor Akbar by his divine views. He was the 'guru'(religious master) of many eminent personalities as listed in the post above.

4. Ghazi means slayer of infidels. This was a title present in the name of Mughal Emperor Akbar.

5. Note the date of this farman : It is 1577 - this was the time around which Akbar's policies started to have a great change "in reality".

The copy of this farman{order} has been sourced from the President House's Library, New Delhi.

Related Posts:
Farman of Wali Nimat Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum
Farman of Hamida Bano Begum
Farman of Begum Saheb Jahanara
Rare Stone Inscription recently found about the Battle of Haldighati

This article has been posted under the Mughals(Akbar) and Rajputs section of this Blog.

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