Thirteen years back I had seen Allahabad Fort built by Emperor Akbar in 1583 A.D which stands erect even today except in those places probably the zenana which are very near to Yamuna where it has sunken in. This is the area which Akbar had designed especially for his wife Jodha. The windows of the side where this rajput princess often stayed face Yamuna, a river worshipped especially by people who worship Krishna. The architecture was in such a way that that the river used to flow inside the fort touching the walls of her palace so that she did not have to go out but could bathe right in the river staying in her palace named as Jodhabai Palace. When I saw it for the first time I was very young then… my mind full of romances waiting to be lived…it had brought a smile to my face… I thought that’s the way it is between every man and woman on this earth. Life teaches otherwise. To fall in love is easy…to be in love for a lifetime is more often a dream.
It was a thinking out of box when Ashutosh Gowarikar decided to make a full fledged movie out of a real love story of two people whose lives were never read this way. Akbar the great Mughal emperor in the Indian history given to administration and socio-political reforms and Jodha the woman used as a pawn in the political game to unite the Rajputs and the Moghuls for selfish political ends-the way a woman has always been used if she is a part of the rajgharana. But seen as the first inter-religious marriage between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman mostly, this alliance has more shades often overlooked.
We never forget a Shah Jahan building a beautiful mausoleum, the internationally revered Taj Mahal for the woman who died bringing his 14th child to the world. We always love and respect people more when they are dead…we shed tears, we remember all the little things associated with this man or woman fondly….ironically these are the same men and women we hardly spend our time or energies with as long as they are alive.
What enhances my respect for emperor Akbar is his quality of being a good husband and the amount of freedom and respect and love he offered to his wife even when she was alive. What is so touching about this real story of the moghul emperor and the Hindu princess is not just going through the rituals of a wedding but being actually wed…in communion, in harmony, in love with each other. Culturally alien to each other in terms of religion, language, food, lifestyles…they allowed their hearts to take over.
An alliance between a Hindu and a Muslim is looked at as a taboo even today by a majority of Indians whose minds are torn with caste, creed, religion, gender and what nots. To allow her to continue with her religious faith, not forcing her to convert to his own religion speaks not so much for the two religions but for the individuals, for the human factor and a feeling called love.
Akbar did not build a Taj Mahal for his woman. Akbar did not wait for her to die so that he could prove his love to the world by erecting an ostentatious symbol of love. He only saw that life for his wife was easy and the way she wanted to live. Giving enough space and enough freedom to people we love and who are living and around us is a test of love professed.
My salutations to this beautiful couple who lived their love in silence without bothering to bring it to the world.
Surely truest wisdom is a loving heart.