Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ruler of the World: Empire of the Moghul by Alex Rutherford

Book 3 of the Moghul series with a lot of Akbar and a lot of Jahangir (Salim) and their not-so-great relationship. Akbar is probably the most celebrated king in India, because of his many virtues, tolerance towards other faiths being principally one of them. Rutherford portrayed Akbar in an all too human light with his virtues and his follies. The book also manages to bring out the difference in character between Humayun and Akbar and later Akbar and Jahangir, with Akbar coming out as the more rational, if less likeable (as a person) in comparison to his father and his son. For instance, for Akbar, the matter of highlighting and showcasing his religious tolerance was as important as being religiously tolerant, his marriage with the various Rajput princesses (including Jodhabai who hated Akbar with a passion) being a prime example of the principle.

No piece of work dealing with the relationship of Akbar and Jahangir can indeed be complete without the mention of Anarkali, right up to her being buried alive in a wall. The author admits to the story being his fabrication, rather than based on the literature he found and studied, a testament to the popularity of the story in Indian folklore.

Another very readable instalment by Alex Rutherford.

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