Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Was Akbar a Hindu in his earlier life?

The mysteries of history deepen when it is interpolated with myth. The legend of Akbar, celebrated in stories and films, is no different. We revisit the Jodhaa-Akbar controversy, in the third part of the Allahabad Fort story.

CJ: Arindam Roy, 21 Feb 2008 Views: 1657 Comments: 1

WAS AKBAR destined to return to the place of his earlier life? According to a legend, the answer is yes. It is believed by the Hindus, that a holy man Mukund Brahamchari lived in Prayag, long before Akbar built his fort there. His abode is on the south bank of Yamuna, opposite the fort. It was known as Mukund Brahamchari’s teela (mound).

This holy man used to live just on cow’s milk. One day he happened to drink it, without straining, which is not done by the Hindus. It is said that he swallowed a hair of the cow, inadvertently. He became very sad, as it amounted to eating beef. He wanted to end his life, which is a sin. However, if one gives up his life at Prayag, it is no sin. Thus, the holy man committed suicide, in this city, wishing to become a Muslim king, in his next mundane incarnation. The legend goes on to say that Mukund Brahamchari was reborn as Akbar, who established the Moghul Empire.

It is also believed that Birbal was Mukund Brahamchari’s old, faithful attendant. He had followed his master’s death and was reborn, to share the royal fortunes. But, since he did not drink cow’s milk with a hair, he continued to be a Hindu, in his later birth. Believe it or not, even monuments have a ring of myth and magic in this city of confluence!

Myth mingled with Akbar’s history. In this land of Puranas, we love to weave and hear stories, particularly about great men.

Historical evidences point out that after the construction of Allahabad Fort, the city grew in importance. Before the end of Akbar’s reign, it was a place of considerable size. One of its chief industries was boat building. It is said that large number of huge sea-going vessels were constructed here and taken down the river to the coast.

After the construction of Allahabad Fort, it became the capital of the province, in place of Jaunpur, according to Tabaqat-i-Akbari.

In its capacity as a capital, Allahabad formed the residence of Subedar (governor), while the command of the fort was entrusted to a Foujdar. The former was often the chief noble of the realm and consequently, the administration was, in many cases, made over to a deputy, while the governor was absent at court.

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  1. Totally unaware of the jodha- Akbar controversy...what is it?

  2. Some Rajputs went on to say that Jodha was not Akbar's wife or a princess from Jaipur. Take a look at this link:

  3. A touch of fantasy in the fabric of reality, and that makes magic alive.

  4. That's right. Local history of our country has always been replete with strange tales and myths. This, in fact, is the oral source, which is being taken seriously in cultural anthropology, as alternative source of history. Thanks :)