The game of narrative building!
By: Adv Masood Peshimam
Once a great Urdu drama writer, Imtiaz Ali Taj, happened to visit the grave of Anarkali, the kaniz or the courtier of Emperor Akbar at Lahore. Her name was Nadira who hailed from Afghanistan. There is Anarkali Bazar at Lahore in Pakistan and this concept mattered much to Imtiaz Ali Taj. With a view to enlarge the canvas of Anarkali, the dramatist thought of rolling out some new story with a touch of fiction. He developed the whole drama of crown Prince Jahangir son of emperor Akbar having an affair with Anarkali with the copious details involving ironic court intrigues which was not largely synonymous with reality.
Being an artist he inundated the whole drama with rich literary content. Based on Taj’s literary creation the theme occupied more literary space with some later adding more plot to the situation with the sensational treatment to the subject. It caught the imagination of director K Asif who made “Mughal-e-Azam” which turned out to be magnum opus of Indian cinema with the rich dialogue of Mirza Amanulla, Zeenat Aman’s father. The morale of the story is that many a time untrue narrative is created around kings, nobles or big personalities to arouse attraction. The malignant intention may paint a personality as devil.
Attuned to the phenomena of painting devil of Muslim kings, a controversial statement of BJP president of Rajasthan, Madan Lal Saini, came who said that Mughal emperor Akbar was a ” molester” who used to organise ” Meena Bazar” to exploit women. Saini also said that the kinds of misdeeds Akbar used to commit under the guise are recorded in history without giving any reference. He said that some Kiran Devi when confronted with the inappropriate activities of emperor Akbar pushed him to the ground pointing a dagger at his chest. Akbar begged for his life lay at her feet which culminated in to the closure of Meena Bazar.
The narrative of Mr Saini is the product of fertile imagination not supported by the historical facts. The ruthless campaign to paint devil of Muslim rulers is to spew venom against Muslims for the political advantage. The agenda of taking “historical revenge” is a convenient tool to target the Indian Muslims who are no way responsible for the deeds or misdeeds of Muslim rulers. It’s not out of context to note that the war between Muslim rulers and others were more of a political nature rather than religious. Religion had no role in it. The first Panipat battle was between Babar and Ibrahim Lodhi.
There may be some gray areas but seeing every one with disdain and contempt is not proper. While finding lacuna with the Muslim rule the contribution of Muslim rule, particularly in architecture cannot be overlooked. No less significant is to note that history cannot be applied to the contemporary realities when it has become fashion in India to play the political trump card by painting devil out of Muslims which needs to be avoided in the larger national interest.
Right now, what is happening in India is all about image creation and image distortion and all this is done for a purpose which is contrary to the very foundations of this culturally and religiously rich country. Minority communities are being branded as traitors, outsiders, invaders etc in order to garner more and more political benefit out of the fear psychosis and sense of religious orthodoxy.
This is also an attempt to get away with the real issues that confront the people of this country while the government has, quite consistently shown lack of resolve and courage to take initiatives in such directions.