Akbar, the Great 1542-1605


Akbar, the Great 1542 – 1605

Can a man – all alone - foist a god upon his fellows
Even if it’s only himself
          And they his subjects

G.. is Akbar!

Does the muezzin from the minaret of Qoutoub-Minar
look up or
down to the illiterate savant emperor
whose newly-ordered cosmos
much as Tamerlane and Genghis Khan's blood
mixed gods
invented the Gysin-Burroughs cut-up and fold-in method
a cornucopian chimera

      shi'ite-sunnite-kharidjites
         hindu/buddhist-jain
            confucian-taoist/zoroastrian
                orthodox-christian/judaic
                    saivite-vaisnavite
                        mahayanist-theravadite
                            shintoist-zen-chan
                                agnostic-atheist

A…. is Great!

In the begining there was no VERB for him
In the end
                from
"brahmana" Himalayas to the "asurya" Deccan
                        from
Ghazna and Kabul to the spent chugged mouth of the Ganges
where bloomed the Allah-Upanishad

One common language
  One uncommon religion
     One classless society
        One mutually nourishing art
           One scientific quest

and the sweet music of friendly disputation
within then the world’s vastest book and art collection

though knowingly
took to wife an Hindu princess
chose his prime counsellor from among the Brahmin élite

where within hearing distance lithesome nymphs bathed in scented milk
his victoriously wearied warrior limbs back from punitive expeditions
       through Panipat Delhi Agra Punjab Gwalior Ajmer
Gujarat Bengal Sind Orissa Baluchistan Ahmadnagar Kashmir
                                                                                          Khandesh
to circumscribe the sub-continent
a Ceasar at the court of Fatehpur-Sikri

Akbar is ___!

Who would parse and complete or conclude the syllogism

For « One » who dared abolish the jiziyah


Note: Jalal ud-Din Muhammad Akbar (1542-1605), the third Mughal Emperor, edicted that muezzins should herald the rising of the sun by the call: Allah-u-Akbar!
The « jiziyah » , a word of Arabic origin, meaning a tax levied on non-Muslims who wished to conserve their own property, and imposed by the Moghul sovereigns – on and off - in India, was abolished by Akbar in his seventh year of accession to the throne.

©: T. Wignesan, March 13, 1992 (from the sequence/collection: "Words for a Lost Sub-Continent")

Leave a comment