Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bahadur Shah's paradise

'Journey's End', 1913
Abanindranath Tagore

"Paradise is there where no harm is received, where no one has (any) concern with any other."

~ Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah I, second son of Aurangazeb, in Lahore days before his death on dilemma of choosing Kangra or Kashmir for summer. He died in Lahore. Days before his death, he turned a bit insane. He almost entitled Lahore Dar-ul-Jihad. He asked Ali be declared chosen heir in daily khutba. People suspected he had turned Shia. There was political chaos. People said, 'This cannot take effect in Hindustan; it is not Iran'. Two khatibs,  reciters of new khutba were murdered. One in Gujarat. One in Kashmir. He threatened Mullas that he would make them eat in same platter as dogs. Mullas responded, 'That matters not — for we feared that you would make us eat out of one platter with yourself.' A commander revolted and threatened coup. Emperor had to eat his pride. They say he turned insane. He couldn't sleep at night. The howling dogs wouldn't let him sleep. It is said he had hundreds of dogs slayed. And then he died. Some say he died of apoplexy after a bout of cold, some say he was poisoned, some say he was stabbed by a General whom he caught in his harem...'They say that an inverted sore (dumbal-i-makush) formed on his stomach, and some have said other things which are not fit for me to repeat nor in accordance with his honour. God alone knows the truth!'

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* Based on 'Later Mughals' (1922) by William Irvine.

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Previously: Gardens, Paradise, Kashmir




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