The true message of Jodhaa Akbar

Published On: 2016-09-23

Author: unknown

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The true message of Jodhaa Akbar


Source: Khaleej Times 


EMPEROR Akbar may have won the hearts of Rajputs with his progressive, secular outlook during his reign several centuries ago, but today a section of the present-day Rajput community is loath to accept his message of tolerance. Rajput organisations are continuing their campaign, legal or otherwise, against the Bollywood magnum opus, Jodhaa Akbar, that hit the theatres a week ago amid a huge controversy. The freak protests are not confined to the Indian state of Rajasthan — they are even spreading to states like Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. Protesters say Jodhaa was married not to Akbar, but to his son Jehangir. In other words, the director of the Aishwarya Rai-starrer has been accused of distoring historical facts and hurting Rajput sentiments by allegedly showing princess Jodhaa as a ‘keep’ of the Mughal emperor. 


The Rajput uprising against the Bollywood film is nothing new. From MF Hussein to Deepa Mehta to Ashutosh Gowariker, the artistic community in India is bearing the brunt of a very different kind of cultural policing or militancy that refuses to give any credit to artistic imagination and simply won’t tolerate any artistic freedom. Over the past few years, the number of frivolous public interest litigations against various art works has been on the rise. India seems to be becoming increasingly tolerant of self-proclaimed guardians of the country’s historical and cultural legacy. It is indeed surprising to see that intellectuals and other enlightened sections of the Indian society are doing precious little to counter the hooliganism of organisations like Akhil Bharatiya Rajput Manch. 


In an exclusive interview with a leading Indian daily, Gowariker, who shot to fame with his Oscar-nominated film, Lagaan, a few years ago, points out that Jodhaa Akbar is “as relevant today as arranged marriages”. He goes on to explain that the marriage between the Mughal Emperor and the Rajput Princess, braving the religious and cultural differences, was no ordinary affair — the alliance has important lessons for today’s secular societies. While protesters refer to such historical documents as Akbarnama to set the record straight, they should also do well to remember that Akbar the Mughal Emperor also formed a sect called Din-i-Ilahi that merged the best elements in all religions and advocated religious tolerance. Akbar’s message is relevant to society even today.