Saturday, August 04, 2012


Akbar The Great (1556-1561) was a Self-realised Mughal Emperor who combined strong leadership with wisdom and spirituality. At the end of his reign in 1605 the Mughal empire covered most of northern and central India, a region of diverse religious traditions. He is most appreciated for having a liberal, syncretist attitude to all faiths. During his reign, culture and art in the Subcontinent experienced a great flowering.
He convened gatherings of mystics, theologians and learned courtiers to discuss aspects of religion and spirituality, with the aim of uniting the various faiths of his subjects, including Islam (both Sunni and Shia), Hinduism, Jainism, Judaism and Christianity. One such meeting is shown in the Hindi film about his life and marriage: Jodhaa Akbar
Though born into a Muslim dynasty, he made a marriage alliance with a Hindu Rajput princess. According to the film, her name was Jodha or Jodhabai (though some historians debate this). Akbar allowed her to practise her religion freely and would not tolerate any religious prejudice against her from his Muslim relatives and advisers. 
During his reign, people were ennobled and promoted to administrative positions, according to merit, regardless of their faith. This policy of pluralism and tolerance contributed greatly to the strength and stability of the Mughal empire.

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