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Khusrau - The Shadow of Power - II

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Khusrau - The Shadow of Power - II

Post by Tanthya on 2013-09-06, 15:16

In a measure of the popular feeling that Khusrau could still arouse, several voices at court, including those of Jahangir loyalists, pleaded for him to be spared. But the Emperor was adamant and in one contemporary account, the act was done by wire inserted into his eyes, causing a pain “beyond all expression”. He was then thrown into a dungeon. Through it all, the victim bore himself stoically, uttering not a word of remonstrance.

Thus was a much-loved prince of Hindustan cauterised from the circles of power and condemned to live out the remainder of his life in darkness and obscurity. But the saga of Khusrau was not ended. Its highest moments were yet to come, and would stand testament to the extraordinary transcendence of the human spirit.

Soon after the blinding of Khusrau, Jahangir — possibly in a fit of remorse — ordered his physicians to see if they could restore his son's vision. With their efforts, Khusrau was spared the horror of total blindness; a thin haze of light penetrated his eyes so that he lived in a shadow world where people moved as ghost images across a screen. Jehangir then even began to allow Khusrau into court, but to little effect. As the monarch observed, “He showed no elevation of spirit and was always downcast and sad, so then I forbade him to see me any further…”

Still, Khusrau was far from being reduced to a non-entity. Significantly, whenever the Mughal Emperor travelled out of Agra, the royal convoy would more often than not have Khusrau in its wake, shuffling along in leg chains. Once when Jahangir embarked on a long hunting trip, he had Khusrau walled up in a tower. This was a prince whom the ruling elite still feared for his hold on the popular imagination. Admiration for the prince had even grown since his blinding, his stoicism then and after widely commented on by observers at the time.

Khusrau had another priceless asset: his wife, the daughter of Aziz Khan Koka. In the years that followed, through all their trials and tribulations, husband and wife remained passionately devoted to each other. Though Jahangir had made it clear that she was free to do as she pleased, she refused to leave Khusrau, instead tending to him lovingly, and remaining by his side even when he was walled up in the tower.

The Khusrau affair


And so the years passed. Then, in 1616, there occurred a series of events that came to be known as ‘ the Khusrau affair'. Jahangir had been now on the throne for 11 years. Apart from Khusrau, he had sired three sons, two of whom, Pervez and Shahriyar, were effete. The last, Khurram, was a brilliant general with exceptional military and administrative gifts. In 1615, he had covered himself with glory by subjugating Mewar, which had been a thorn in Mughal flesh for decades, and his claim to succeed an ageing Jahangir seemed complete.

However, by this time the Emperor was only a figurehead. Real authority had long since passed, with his consent, to the woman who ruled in all but his name — the Empress Nur-Jahan. And in the rise of Prince Khurram she saw a threat to her dominance.

Nur-Jahan was a consummate player in the game of power. In a bid to neutralise Khurram, she approached Khusrau for the hand of Ladli Begum, her daughter by her first husband. The adventurer Pietro Della Valle has left a fascinating account of what followed. First Nur-Jahan informed Khusrau of that which he knew already: that Khurram had demanded the custody of Khusrau from Jahangir. Khurram claimed that he feared another plot against Jahangir by his half-brother. This fooled no one, for by now it was patently clear that Khusrau was incapable of mounting anything like a conspiracy. Khurram was simply taking steps to remove all rivals in his path.

But Khusrau still commanded many loyalties. The same begumswho had supported Jahangir against Khusrau earlier now worked hard for his safety, and, as a compromise measure, Khusrau's custody had been given to Nur-Jahan's brother, Asaf Khan. Now if only Khusrau would consent to marry her daughter, Nur-Jahan promised him not only his freedom but also that she would throw her weight behind him in the succession.

It was a master stroke by a master strategist, except that Khusrau refused. His reason for doing so stunned Nur-Jahan and her clique: love. His wife was his beacon, the one person who had stood by his side through all the years and he would have nothing whatever to do with another woman. Remember this was an age when large harems and polygamy were the undisputed norm. And the Prince's options were very likely laid out starkly before him: the throne, or at the very least freedom and luxury versus certain death. Then perhaps we can get a glimmer of the incredulity that Khusrau's answer must have evoked. His wife, according to Della Valle, begged him on bended knee to accede to Nur-Jahan's plan and save himself, but Khusrau “could never be prevailed with”.

Throughout 1616–17, Nur-Jahan and Asaf Khan worked on Khusrau, but he remained steadfast in his refusal to contemplate another woman. Finally they gave up and turned instead to the pliable Shahriyar. Khusrau's usefulness to the Empress was at an end, and now she made no further effort to stall his transfer to Khurram's custody. Khusrau had effectively signed his own death warrant. In 1617, he was given over to Khurram (known now by the honorific Shah Jahan) who had him quickly moved to Burhanpur in the Deccan. Khusrau was now a man on borrowed time.

The end came in January 1622. The most widely accepted account is that a slave of Shah Jahan's named Raza Bahadur sought to enter Khusrau's chambers in the middle of the night. When Khusrau refused him entry, Raza Bahadur broke open the door and rushed in with some accomplices and fell upon Khusrau. Khusrau shouted out to wake his servants and, despite his partial blindness, defended himself bravely but to no avail. He was strangled and then re-arranged on his bed to make it appear as if his death was natural.

The aftermath

Early next day, his wife was the first to discover him. Her shrieks soon wakened the palace. On January 29, Jahangir received word from Shah Jahan that Khusrau had died of qalanj, colic pains. But, as word of Khusrau's death swept across the empire, there was a public outpouring of grief as had not been seen for a long time. The popular verdict was overwhelming: murder. As far west as Gujarat, people were heard to cry for vengeance against those who had shed the blood of an innocent. Jahangir himself seems to have not been unduly distressed at the news; his ire was reserved for Shah Jahan for seeking to conceal the truth of Khusrau's death from him. On the Emperor's orders, Khusrau's body was exhumed from his makeshift grave, sent to Allahabad and consigned in a mausoleum next to his mother's in a garden, now called Khusrau Bagh.

A movement soon came into being that proclaimed Khusrau a martyred saint and shrines sprang up wherever his body had rested on its way to Allahabad. So popular were these shrines that a contemporary Dutch observer wrote that “both Hindus and Moslems went there in vast numbers in procession each Thursday … to his worship”. Until, that is, Jahangir ordered them destroyed and the worshippers driven away.

Despite this attempt at canonisation, it seems fair to say that, as with life, death has not been kind to this unfortunate prince. In one of history's great ironies, the man who most likely killed him — Shah Jahan — is universally celebrated for leaving us with that sublime monument to man's love for a woman: the Taj Mahal. Devoted though he was to his wife Mumtaz Mahal, Shah Jahan had liaisons with many women after her death. Rather, it is in the unfolding of his brother's life, in Khusrau's searing affirmation of the centrality of one love, that we see its most enduring monument.


 ~ End ~

Link to First Part :

http://dhwani.mytvsoapforum.com/t19006-khusrau-the-shadow-of-power-i

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Re: Khusrau - The Shadow of Power - II

Post by sonshine487 on 2013-09-06, 15:33

yes, History is often presented to us rather skewed

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Re: Khusrau - The Shadow of Power - II

Post by Tanthya on 2013-09-06, 15:43

Strange isn't it ..The Man who stood for Love is buried, forgotten , uncared for while the King who  cut off the hands of the labourers who built Taj Mahal is revered as a Angel of Love !!

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Re: Khusrau - The Shadow of Power - II

Post by sonshine487 on 2013-09-06, 15:54

Tanthya wrote:Strange isn't it ..The Man who stood for Love is buried, forgotten , uncared for while the King who  cut off the hands of the labourers who built Taj Mahal is revered as a Angel of Love !!
then again, would Khusrau have remained a saint if he had been tainted by the throne...

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Re: Khusrau - The Shadow of Power - II

Post by Tanthya on 2013-09-06, 15:56

sonshine487 wrote:
Tanthya wrote:Strange isn't it ..The Man who stood for Love is buried, forgotten , uncared for while the King who  cut off the hands of the labourers who built Taj Mahal is revered as a Angel of Love !!
then again, would Khusrau have remained a saint if he had been tainted by the throne...

Was he ever  a saint ??? He comes out as a Man with principles , not as a saint

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Re: Khusrau - The Shadow of Power - II

Post by sonshine487 on 2013-09-06, 15:59

Tanthya wrote:
sonshine487 wrote:
Tanthya wrote:Strange isn't it ..The Man who stood for Love is buried, forgotten , uncared for while the King who  cut off the hands of the labourers who built Taj Mahal is revered as a Angel of Love !!
then again, would Khusrau have remained a saint if he had been tainted by the throne...
Was he ever  a saint ??? He comes out as a Man with principles , not as a saint
saintly then...
let us say... does not power have the tendency to corrupt?

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Re: Khusrau - The Shadow of Power - II

Post by Tanthya on 2013-09-06, 16:11

sonshine487 wrote:
Tanthya wrote:
sonshine487 wrote:
Tanthya wrote:Strange isn't it ..The Man who stood for Love is buried, forgotten , uncared for while the King who  cut off the hands of the labourers who built Taj Mahal is revered as a Angel of Love !!
then again, would Khusrau have remained a saint if he had been tainted by the throne...
Was he ever  a saint ??? He comes out as a Man with principles , not as a saint
saintly then...
let us say... does not power have the tendency to corrupt?

Depends on ur mental strength .. It corrupted Adham, Sharifuddin but Maan Singh  was an exception , It  corrupted Ruqs but not Salima.

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Re: Khusrau - The Shadow of Power - II

Post by pollyanna on 2013-09-06, 16:16

Brutality lies in the eyes(and pen) of beholder.......

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Re: Khusrau - The Shadow of Power - II

Post by sonshine487 on 2013-09-06, 16:33

Tanthya wrote:
sonshine487 wrote:
Tanthya wrote:
sonshine487 wrote:then again, would Khusrau have remained a saint if he had been tainted by the throne...
Was he ever  a saint ??? He comes out as a Man with principles , not as a saint
saintly then...
let us say... does not power have the tendency to corrupt?
Depends on ur mental strength .. It corrupted Adham, Sharifuddin but Maan Singh  was an exception , It  corrupted Ruqs but not Salima.
Again depends... If Salima was presented with the opportunity to gain something of importance enough...
Also depends on her thought processes...

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Re: Khusrau - The Shadow of Power - II

Post by amimus on 2013-09-06, 17:46

Shah jahan also met his last days in confinement from his son Aurangzeb. Well what you do to others comes back at u some time in life. Power taints many a soul and during those times power influence and authority were way to important

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Re: Khusrau - The Shadow of Power - II

Post by Tanthya on 2013-09-06, 18:01

sonshine487 wrote:
Tanthya wrote:
sonshine487 wrote:
Tanthya wrote:Was he ever  a saint ??? He comes out as a Man with principles , not as a saint
saintly then...
let us say... does not power have the tendency to corrupt?
Depends on ur mental strength .. It corrupted Adham, Sharifuddin but Maan Singh  was an exception , It  corrupted Ruqs but not Salima.
Again depends... If Salima was presented with the opportunity to gain something of importance enough...
Also depends on her thought processes...

She had !! She could have easily got Akbar to declare Murad as his successor  but she refrained..

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Re: Khusrau - The Shadow of Power - II

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