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Jodha Akbar 100b: The demands of Rajadharma

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Jodha Akbar 100b: The demands of Rajadharma

Post by sashashyam on 2013-11-06, 16:35

Folks,
After doing my post on the centenary episode of Jodha Akbar, which I at least found curiously unsatisfactory, I  read several other posts in the forum,  all interesting in different ways and all overflowing with relief. This celebratory mood was only deepened by the charming Jalal-Jodha scenes of last night , in an episode that was as light and airy and delightful as a successful souffl. I have not written about this one as it has been covered more than adequately already.
Facile optimism:But I was still  left wondering at, and somewhat dismayed by the insouciance with which all but a very few in the forum had brushed aside Jalal's statement in the Diwan-e-Khas,  during the continued confrontation with the ulema bent on dethroning him unless Jodha converted to Islam, offering to abdicate. 
Jalal  said then that he could not take back his zubaan to Jodha that she was free to practice her religion and she would not be forced to convert, nor could he go against the ulema. So, if they so desired, he would give up the throne, and nominate Rahim Khan-e-Khana to be his successor.
Almost the whole forum applauded Jalal for his nobility (very likely because this zubaan was given  to Jodha; if it had been one given to Ruqaiya or to Mahaam, the voting would have been 99:1  in the opposite direction!).
Hardly any gave even a passing thought to the likely  consequences of  Jalal's abdication, not only for  Jalal, but for the whole awaam  across his huge empire. If at all a few thought about  it, they saw it as a very astute siyasati chaal by Jalal, to rule by proxy thru his foster son for a decade or more, and then perhaps even take the throne back when the dust had long since settled.
This was facile optimism at its most acute,  felt in total disregard of the political ground realities prevailing in the Mughal empire. Far from being a very clever piece of statecraft, this throwaway statement by Jalal (which the historical Jalal would never have contemplated even in his worst nightmares)  would have resulted in an unmitigated disaster of  huge proportions. Let me try to explain why, and if you read what follows with an open mind, you will have to agree with me.
Nor is  this a purely theoretical non-issue, on the all is well that has ended well principle. Going by the Sharifuddin-Ulema scene yesternight, the butparasti  issue has not been finally buried; it  can very well resurface. If it does, Jalal cannot afford to repeat his previous performance.  Here  is why.
The  abdication offer:As I has written in my post of yesterday on the centenary episode, Jalal seemed curiously passive at the  hearing. Apart from  his insistence on his zubaan to Jodha, he was  strangely ready to cave in  to the power of the clergy. There was, at the moment of truth,  none of the fire with which he had declared, just  a little earlier, that if the maulvis  had not been the custodians of the faith, he would have decapitated them on the spot. In fact he threw  in the towel straightaway, and not only accepted that they had the right to dethrone him, but was ready to step down at once. He only added that he would nominate Rahim to assume the throne in his place.
This was simply unbelievable, that an emperor would be prepared to quit this throne, abandon his subjects, and leave them to suffer from all the chaos, instability, civil war and all that would inevitably follow,  simply I order to be seen to keep his word to his wife. This  was not rajadharma in any form, it was the negation of it. A king should be prepared to suffer hellfire if necessary to protect his subjects, and here we have a Jalal who thinks of nothing but his own self-indulgent virtue.
And how did Jalal  imagine that the ulema who have, thanks to his lack of resistance, acquired the power to dethrone him, were going to accept his choice of a successor? That too a 4 year old, whose father was one of the most hated men  in the Mughal sultanate? How long did  Jalal think Rahim would stay alive even if the ulema accepted him as the heir? It was  such an ill-considered, kneejerk  statement that I did not know what to make of it.
Disaster ahead: For those indulging fond hopes of a takhtheen Jalal ruling by proxy thru   Rahim,  thus continuing pretty much as he was doing till now bar his title,  a   reality check would be in order. Here it is, folks, and everything I have said here  is not speculative. It would assuredly have come to pass.
First and foremost, it would  not be in Jalal's hands to choose his successor once the ulema had got him dethroned for a crime against Islam, butparasti. Not Rahim, nor anyone else. It is unimaginable  that  the clergy, having declared him a sinner unfit to rule, would let him rule by proxy. No way.
The minute he was dethroned, Jalal  would become a non-person, deprived of the protection of the Mughal sultanate. Exactly what happened to Bairam Khan once he was no longer the Wazir--e-Ala would happen to Jalal. Adham would have him killed at the very earliest. Killing Jalal  would have been essential because his lineage would always have made him a dangerous rallying point for  the awaam,  whatever the religious charges against him.

There would next have been an all out power struggle, between Adham, Sharif and other claimants as well.

Rahim would have been killed too,  to prevent any of the Jalal loyalists from rallying behind him, as Jalal's designated successor once Jalal had been disposed of.
The eventual winner of the power struggle would have tried to marry Ruqaiya to get the legitimacy that would go with her true blue nasl-e-Timuri ancestry, as Babur's paternal granddaughter. Jodha would have to kill herself to escape being recruited into the successor's harem, and Hamida would have been dumped in some corner of the palace, if she was not disposed of as well.
In all of this, the common people, especially in the areas recently conquered by the Mughals, would  have been abandoned to the tender mercies of Adham Khan and his ilk. Law and order would have collapsed in the war that would have raged between the contenders for the throne and the armed forces under them. The Mughal army would have been divided and leaderless, and would have degenerated into an armed rabble, split up among the various warlords at each other's throats.
They would have looted, burnt and pillaged their way to power, and those suspected of harboring loyalty to Jalal, whether courtiers and Ministers like Atgah Khan, or at lower levels, would have been killed in short order.

That, folks,  is exactly what would have happened. A succession struggle for an imperial throne is not a civilised tea party. It is a bloodbath. Aurangzeb murdered all his brothers and imprisoned his father to get to the throne, and Shahjahan too had his brother and his cousin killed to secure his accession. And in their succession struggles, the common people suffered the most.

Jalal got the throne on a plate thanks to the loyalty of Bairam Khan,  and his present empire thanks to his Khan Baba's military and political skills. So he should have valued his takht  all the more. I am sure the historical Jalal did so value  it.  
Jalal's irresponsibility: To revert to our Jalal, when he was coronated as the Shahenshah-e-Hind, he undoubtedly swore a sacred oath  that he would  protect his subjects and to provide them with peace and security. This oath and his commitment to the people, should have, for Jalal, taken precedence over all else. A Indian Army cadet takes an oath that the country will come first for him, always and every time. So should it have been for Jalal.
Which is why it was irresponsible and criminally foolish of Jalal to risk all of the above, especially the  terrible consequences for  his subjects,  just to be able to say  that for him, pran jaye par vachan ne jaye, as if  he had been a reincarnation of the Raghukul Shromani Lord Rama.
Jodha's  single point thanksgiving: Finally, a few  hardy and skeptical souls, who had echoed my above critique of Jalal, had also wondered about Jodha offering thanks to her Kanha only for having saved her faith, without a single thought for the disaster that would have befallen her new family and the whole Mughal empire if Jalal were to step down. It  is not that she is not aware of what would then happen; Hamida Banu warns her about it on the sole occasion when she scolds her, after the tiger attack from which Jalal nearly dies. But then Jodha is like a frog in a well, a princess from a tiny riyasat whose ideas  of imperial power and the dangers of its collapse are very  limited. Plus she is terminally self-centred.
Moreover, why blame  her  alone when  not only is  Jalal ready to  betray his oath to his subjects and risk their lives and security because of his obsession with a woman (I doubt, somehow, if he would have reacted the same if the zubaan had been given to, say, Motibai!) , but Hamida Banu too says Jalal ki siyasat Jalal jaane,  par Mughal sultanate ne Jodha Begum ko zubaan di thi aur woh barkarar rahegi. With such defenders, only Allah could have saved the Mughal awaam from the CVs of Jodha Akbar!
Shyamala B.Cowsik
PS: A propos Jalal's statement yesternight that he had never had time to pay attention to the beautiful moonlight, and he did not see the point in wasting time  looking at the full moon,  Sara (smile.sara) has cleverly pointed out that this is completely at odds with what the selfsame Jalal said when Atgah Khan proposes the boat ride on the lake to him.  I had missed it, but she remembered that Jalal then specifically says that to be on the lake in the moonlight ka lutf toh  kuch aur hi hoga.
That time, of course, Jodha Begum did not seem to derive any of  the aseem shanti  from bathing in the moonlight that she was  talking of this time, as part of her bhashan of the day, or rather of the night. Her one man audience did not remind her of it, for  he was presumably suffering from short term amnesia, like Aamir Khan's character in Ghajini!

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Re: Jodha Akbar 100b: The demands of Rajadharma

Post by Manasvi on 2013-11-06, 17:52

Sash ashram, brilliant writing ! Are you a writer/critic? Raja dharma is to stand for the people. Agreed. The perils and consequences of Jalal abdicating the throne for a promise made would have been disastrous. It is scary to even think of it. That is why I had mentioned in your post that Jodha should have gotten up and agreed to the conversion when Jalal said that he would give it to Rahim. Salim Christi's message was on its way anyways and that would have saved her day. However, she being princess hothead, did not have the magnanimity to do it. Again, this was the 16th century where your religion, caste, creed all mattered one hell a lot.. Even in today's world, I don't think anyone takes conversions easily..the western world may be able to handle it a lot better than say someone in India.

Jalal like you rightly said was passive at the Diwane khas. He was quiet right thru .even after Hameeda made Jodha sit down for the conversion, he was quiet..guess not knowing what to do. So not sure why he tells Jodha that even if Ammijaan did not help her, he would have. So may be he might have stopped the conversion process if Salim Chisti's message did. to come at the right time. He probably meant it. Jalal is very sensitive to this more because this was one of the 2 conditions laid out by Jodha prior to the wedding.

Jalal seems to have selective memory. he loves the moon and the chandni raat,, the boat ride in the moonlight. However, when he sees Jodha, he gets butterflies in the stomach and goes weak in his knees, his brain and head stop functioning. Moreover he justs wants to be around her and make a conversation, be it about the moon

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Re: Jodha Akbar 100b: The demands of Rajadharma

Post by lakshmis on 2013-11-06, 22:36

My thoughts...
Jalal is very clever! He is known to be far sighted and uniquely gifted in scheming to his advantage at every turn- he likes win win situations...

he stands by jodha and declares to dethrone himself for his Vachan. Although she did not step up, which is quite understandable- ( she never wanted this sort of marriage, she never liked him, ardent devotee of Krishna, plus a person with strong beliefs and mind and more important does not trust jalal one bit and senses his scheming head which has been proven right every time they confronted in the past- he always got something out of everything he gave her) jalal knows that at the very end she probably would have stood up just as he gave up the throne which is making her accept it without he intervening. Rajvanshis have proven that loyalty was the most important quality they possess whether like the person they are loyal to or not... This is a hunting tactic and he was a good hunter! That is why jalal doesnot confront hamida when she orders the conversion- doesnot know that the messenger is on his way! It would have been on hamida and jodha as she assigned hamida her guardian angel not him. And has no sign of relief when the messenger does come at the end and stop the forced conversion. If the conversion happened it would not be on him and he happily reassures jodha he would have stood by her since he did nt happen and no point crying over something that did not happen and had nothing to loose but only gained (her trust) by saying so. He won over her all the same! Making rahim the king would have still kept him on the top of the ruling ladder since he is the legal father of rahim so technically is still the most authoritative person. Just like Bhairavi khan was to him!

Regarding the durg, jalal won a small battle by giving it to Sukanya! Dhawalpur king wanted it to protect himself from both Mughals and angry Rajvanshis. When he gave it the first time saying I have to keep my promise of getting Sukanya married he meant and had planned on taking it back and this jodha does sense not exactly what he was going to do but he had something under the carpet. He takes it back and gives it as a gift to Sukanya now, gaining not only higher respect amongst the amer people for saving the day and showing such great kindness that they will be indebted to forever (fear is no more the reason) , he has won dhalwalgarh under his kinship! Again ek theer mein dho nishan! Jodha senses this as well and hence does not show over excitement when she meets him( she is full of questions) Actually theen nishan since he is getting his wife's trust to top it all! She is shocked and speechless and thoughtful...and wondering, really? When he says it was given to the begums sister. His vested interested is clear from his dialogue with Atga khan - we have Amer and Dhawalpur (although I doubt he planned to gain Dhawalpur this way, since he was unaware of the promise of the durg and take advantage of the situation) under my rule now we need to think of the others kingdoms...

He is really playing political games and he was excellent at that since he not only gained politically but personally as well!

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Re: Jodha Akbar 100b: The demands of Rajadharma

Post by lakshmis on 2013-11-06, 23:18

And another note regarding rajadharma, jalal or his predecessors really did not care for the people in the sense- Hindus were mistreated, taxes were levied for ridiculous reasons, women were treated very poor and anybody could take any women of their liking (especially if she were a Hindu), just to name a few. People were already unsafe and there was no stability but only fear and and hence people were quite. Jalal did change this to a large extent eventually but he is not there yet. Until He did what he wanted and cleverly too...

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Re: Jodha Akbar 100b: The demands of Rajadharma

Post by sashashyam on 2013-11-07, 01:18

Thank you for your very detailed comments. But if you have read my post, the key point is that once Jalal had abdicated, he would have become a non-person. There is no way an emperor dethroned for butparasti would have been able to nominate  a successor or  rule by proxy thru him. In fact, exactly like Bairam Khan once he gave up power, Jalal would have been murdered by a killer hired by Adham Khan.Shyamala B.Cowsiklakshmis wrote:My thoughts...
Jalal is very clever! He is known to be far sighted and uniquely gifted in scheming to his advantage at every turn- he likes win win situations...

he stands by jodha and declares to dethrone himself for his Vachan. Although she did not step up, which is quite understandable- ( she never wanted this sort of marriage, she never liked him, ardent devotee of Krishna, plus a person with strong beliefs and mind and more important  does not trust jalal one bit and senses his scheming head which has been proven right every time they confronted in the past- he always got something out of everything he gave her) jalal knows that at the very end she probably would have stood up just as he gave up the throne which is making her accept it without he intervening. Rajvanshis have proven that loyalty was the most important quality they possess whether like the person they are loyal to or not...  This is a hunting tactic and he was a good hunter! That is why jalal doesnot confront hamida when she orders the conversion- doesnot know that the messenger is on his way! It would have been on hamida and jodha as she assigned hamida her guardian angel not him. And has no sign of relief when the messenger does come at the end and stop the forced conversion. If the conversion happened it would not be on him and he happily reassures jodha he would have stood by her since he did nt happen and no point crying over something that did not happen and had nothing to loose but only gained (her trust) by saying so. He won over her all the same! Making rahim the king would have still kept him on the top of the ruling ladder since he is the legal father of rahim so technically is still the most authoritative person. Just like Bhairavi khan was to him!

Regarding the durg, jalal won a small battle by giving it to Sukanya! Dhawalpur king wanted it to protect himself from both Mughals and angry Rajvanshis. When he gave it the first time saying I have to keep my promise of getting Sukanya married he meant and had planned on taking it back and this jodha does sense not exactly what he was going to do but he had something under the carpet. He takes it back and gives it as a gift to Sukanya now, gaining not only higher respect amongst the amer people for saving the day and showing such great kindness that they will be indebted to forever (fear is no more the reason) , he has won dhalwalgarh under his kinship! Again ek theer mein dho nishan! Jodha senses this as well and hence does not show over excitement when she meets him( she is full of questions) Actually theen nishan since he is getting his wife's trust to top it all! She is shocked and speechless and thoughtful...and wondering, really? When he says it was given to the begums sister. His vested interested is clear from his dialogue with Atga khan - we have Amer and Dhawalpur (although I doubt he planned to gain Dhawalpur this way, since he was unaware of the promise of the durg and take advantage of the situation) under my rule now we need to think of the others kingdoms...

He is really playing political games and he was excellent at that since he not only gained politically but personally as well!

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Re: Jodha Akbar 100b: The demands of Rajadharma

Post by sandhya on 2013-11-07, 18:56

Dear Shyamala Aunty,
I am in total agreement with your opinion. To a king, that too of Akbar's calibre and passion for kingdom, NOTHING can come before the welfare of his state, least of all a personal promise.
The entire Mahabharat was a result of Bheeshma placing his father above his kingdom. How could the CVs make Akbar(Jalal though he was then) place his empire above anything?
And Jodha who asked her father think as a king first and then as a father didn't mind the emperor abdicating to uphold the promise made to her. How self-obsessed she is! And the Emperor pines for her!
Somehow things don't seem to connect.
-Sandhya

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Re: Jodha Akbar 100b: The demands of Rajadharma

Post by --sumana13-- on 2013-11-07, 19:41

Wow Awesome post Shyamala .. Your post provides a completely different perspective ... Thanks you for sharing your post my dear ...

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Re: Jodha Akbar 100b: The demands of Rajadharma

Post by sashashyam on 2013-11-07, 21:10

That is  precisly  what it was intended to do, and I am very glad you agree with me on this point.Shyamala--sumana13-- wrote:Wow Awesome post Shyamala .. Your post provides a completely different perspective ... Thanks you for sharing your post my dear ...

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Re: Jodha Akbar 100b: The demands of Rajadharma

Post by sashashyam on 2013-11-07, 21:13

Well, Sandhya, I was not surprised at Jodha thinking only of herself, both  before and after, but the Bhishma analogy is perfect. He is the single most overrated and faulty character in the Mahabharata, and I can never forgive him for doing nothing to stop  the cheerharan outrage.Shyamala Auntysandhya wrote:Dear Shyamala Aunty,
I am in total agreement with your opinion. To a king, that too of Akbar's calibre and passion for kingdom, NOTHING can come before the welfare of his state, least of all a personal promise.
The entire Mahabharat was a result of Bheeshma placing his father above his kingdom. How could the CVs make Akbar(Jalal though he was then) place his empire above anything?
And Jodha who asked her father think as a king first and then as a father didn't mind the emperor abdicating to uphold the promise made to her. How self-obsessed she is! And the Emperor pines for her!
Somehow things don't seem to connect.
-Sandhya

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Re: Jodha Akbar 100b: The demands of Rajadharma

Post by sashashyam on 2013-11-08, 01:18

Manasvi wrote:Thank you, Manasvi. I too am not at all clear as to what Jalal intended to do if it had come to an impasse. The strange thing was that he did not look relieved and happy even after Sheikh Salim Chisti  had saved the day for him. He looked glum and discontented.

I am neither a writer nor a critic. I was a professional Indian diplomat for  38 years, and an Ambassador for the last 16 of them, before  I retired recently This IF  is a new hobby, but it is getting to be rather too time consuming.

Do call me Shyamala

Shyamala B.CowsikSash ashram, brilliant writing ! Are you a writer/critic? Raja dharma is to stand for the people. Agreed. The perils and consequences of Jalal abdicating the throne for a promise made would have been disastrous. It is scary to even think of it. That is why I had mentioned in your post that Jodha should have gotten up and agreed to the conversion when Jalal said that he would give it to Rahim. Salim Christi's message was on its way anyways and that would have saved her day. However, she being princess hothead, did not have the magnanimity to do it. Again, this was the 16th century where your religion, caste, creed all mattered one hell a lot.. Even in today's world, I don't think anyone takes conversions easily..the western world may be able to handle it a lot better than say someone in India.

Jalal like you rightly said was passive at the Diwane khas. He was quiet right thru .even after Hameeda made Jodha sit down for the conversion, he was quiet..guess not knowing what to do. So not sure why he tells Jodha that even if Ammijaan did not help her, he would have. So may be he might have stopped the conversion process if Salim Chisti's message did. to come at the right time. He probably meant it. Jalal is very sensitive to this more because this was one of the 2 conditions laid out by Jodha prior to the wedding.

Jalal seems to have selective memory. he loves the moon and the chandni raat,, the boat ride in the moonlight. However, when he sees Jodha, he gets butterflies in the stomach and goes weak in his knees, his brain and head stop functioning. Moreover he justs wants to be around her and make a conversation, be it about the moon

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Re: Jodha Akbar 100b: The demands of Rajadharma

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