Shazi Zaman

12th October 2019

Akbartried to learn about many religions

From his perceived image, as propagated by films like Mughal-e-Aazam, to the sensitive man that Akbar really was, author Shazi Zaman spoke about some interesting facets of the Mughal ruler’s life at the Kalam Jaipur session. In conversation with journalist Ashwani Pareek, Zaman discussed the emperor’s life and thoughts in light of his book, Akbar. “Rulers of that era had to be cruel. If they had not been so, they ran the risk of being usurped of power as there’s no scope for mercy in the battlefield. The time for being merciful is before and after war. In addition to being a successful emperor, Akbar was also a sensitive person. He wanted people to use their mind instead of imitating mindlessly,” Zaman said. “Imitation are ideas that are earned as legacy, but intellect leads you towards an untravelled path,” he added. Zaman feels the film Mughal-e-Azam caused the maximum amount of damage to Akbar, since it is completely a work of fiction. On rebellion, he added that it was almost a duty for each prince to rebel against his father in those times. “Rebelling was like a public service exam during that era. Then, as is the case now, nobody wants to give up their seat of power. There was no scope for voluntary retirement at that time; of course, retirement was still a possibility if one lost their life,” he added, creating an interesting narrative for the audience. The author discussed how Akbar’s ideals and the activities undertaken under his rule affected his image as an individual. “Many myths had taken shape around Akbar. People had begun to think that he was straying from his religion. Christian priests were present when Akbar died in Agra. This led to questioning about his religion. People would say they are unsure what religion he was born to and whether he died by the same religion. All these speculations were a result of the fact that Akbar tried to learn about different religions,” Zaman added.



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