This article Deals with a POPULAR picture of Mughal Emperor Akbar with HIS HINDU Queen Mariam-Uz-Zamani .... This picture was published in a popular newspaper of the time - "The StatesMan" , on 14th November, 1916... along with a research paper presented to the Asiatic Society of Bengal, by Father Hosten. In this Post, i will mention the relevant content from that Research Paper.
Note that, this is NOT THE ORIGINAL painting, but an artistic illustration, after recent modification with water colors....The ORIGINAL painting was in black and white...The painting present here is an altered version of the Original One which was a PENCIL Sketch...
" Glory of Faith - Jalal-ud-din Akbar with Mariam Zamani Begum "
The painting had a Persian Inscription, which reads in English as .. "Glory of Faith - Jalal-ud-din Akbar with Mariam Zamani Begum" ... In Persian the reading is as follows - "Jalal-ud-din Akbar ma Mariam Zamani Begum".
In the painting, Akbar is seated, and holds a hookah/smokepipe in his right hand, and his left arm is thrown round the neck of his Queen, who is present leaning against him, and supports his left hand with hers....
The picture is Most Definitely suited to the taste of Akbar...This can be gauged from following facts...
1. Here, Akbar has been shown with a shaved beard, only sporting a moustache. Only Akbar and Jahangir followed this practice among all the Mughals.. Rest all the Mughals kept beards..
2. According to the Ain-i-Akbari, Volume-1, Page-88 (by Abu'l Fazl, translated by Henry Beveridge..) , Akbar had ordered that the takauchiyah(the buttons on his Jama/Upper Garment) shall be tied to the right side, though formerly it was tied to the Left..
The picture clearly emphasizes the above 2 points..
Answers to FAQ's associated with this painting:
Note that, in those days, the Paintings were made at the instance of the Emperor....The Emperor 'dictated' the hulia(face) of the Queen, and then the painters made the paintings...It is CLEAR that this Painting is heavily modified and is presented to us in "colored" form...
a. The clothes have also been modified, as such an EXPLICIT Pose is not in sync with those times...
b. In this painting Akbar is wearing ear-rings (which is not UNcommon as there are recorded instances when Akbar adorned ear-rings) .. but this is slightly perplexing...Perhaps, this is the reason that this paining was titled - "Glory of Faith" , as here Akbar(though a Mughal) appears wearing Rajputana specifics and Mariam Uz Zamani vice-versa .
c. On comparison of the present painting with the sketch, it was found that the conception was exactly the same...But, the floral designs on the costumes and tapestry, and some trifling other details are different.. This should clarify the issues pertaining to not so modest outfit...The costumes have been altered from the original sketch and it was clearly a personal memento which had been converted into a proper painting LATER, infact, much much later..
d. Such illustrations were made depending on the Creative Liberty and the Painter Concerned..Every painter had a different style.
e. In every painting concerned, Akbar is shown OLD(with white hair) and his Queen Mariam-Uz-Zamani(with black hair) is shown Young ..
This is Due to the fact - Akbar, due to his Hectic LifeStyle / Stress and Strain (coupled with Genetic Factors) , appeared OLDer than his age, which was normal for Kings in those times..The paintings portray him with White hair, which can be attributed to premature greying of hair.
The Queen Mariam-Uz-Zamani appears Young, owing to the Purdah System those days, and they lived with all luxuries in their palaces, hence had very less aging impact.
1. The practice of wearing ear-rings was introduced by Jahangir, owing to his roots from his mother's side, as his mother(Harka Bai) was a Hindu Rajput..It was the Rajputana Custom to wear ear-rings..Jahangir introduced this custom in Mughals.. Akbar DID wear ear-rings at specific festivals, but Jahangir gave permanent establishment to this custom in Mughals.!.
2. Mariam-Uz-Zamani / Heer Kunwari / Harka Bai, adapted to her surroundings quite well..Her dressing sense had BOTH Mughal and Rajputana influence. She did not want to draw the ire of the religious Ulemas due to her HINDU faith. Hence she professed her religious activities in the Harem(her place of residence) . Somehow this news got leaked to the staunch conservatives and they began to spread discontent among the public. But Akbar remained firm in favor of his Queen on this matter, by Joining her in her prayers....This is from Badayuni's Writings..He had criticized the King for this..He felt, the King had fallen in to the 'trap' of the beautiful daughter of Raja Bharmal..
This picture resulted in END-Less Debates in the NewsPapers of Calcutta, in the late 1910's.. The prominent newspapers which were flooded with the Articles based on this paintings appeared were "The EnglishMan" and "The StatesMan".... If possible, i will Upload those Old Articles here..
Though, that time, scholars had various views related to this picture (as some tried to lay stress on the fact that this is the Christian Wife of Akbar) , but the Only undisputed fact is that - The picture itself contains the Persian Inscription saying it to be of "Akbar and Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum" , who we know, was mother of Jahangir..
Historically, there is NO evidence to suggest any Christian Wife of Akbar..The Wife often confused with the Christian Wife is Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum(Princess of Amer) ONLY..
Special Thanks to my friends - Ms. Kamal, Lizzy and Ann for the inputs for this article..