TV serial Jodha Akbar is a favorite in many families in Dhaka, including mine.
“Did Jodha Bai become a muslim?” I was asked.
Being exposed of my ignorance of Islamic history in Hindustan I was not to be defeated by a child.
When I looked it up I was baffled by the rich legacy of Islamic traditions of the Mughals and the Sultans.
The Islamic Sultanate of Hindustan was a mercy for the people. From Lahore to Dhaka people were pulled into one divine system which guided society towards goodness and protected the people from evil.
People found peace and security in the Sultanate. Sanctity of life, property and honor under the united all the races, colors, languages and religions into the multi ethnic and highly diversified unitary state.
Secularization by the British Empire brought us a few new gifts.
One, the land was divided on religious / communal political camps. British educated politicians in Muslim League and Congress divided the land which for one thousand years was held together by the successive Sultanates. Division of people led to the division of lands. Instead of one mighty Sultanate we now have half a dozen states. Wars, bloodsheds, genocides and destruction have been our fate since the removal of the Islamic Sultanate.
Two, vices became free from the grips of piety, God consciousness and fear of final judgement. Gambling, drinking, free mixing, hoarding, riba, zina, and other vices received the go ahead from the colonizers. Today we are the most backward region in the world in social index. Poor farmers and factory workers do all the work for the handful of wealthy elites in urban centers. Value of a worker’s life is less than a TV set.
Three, the gravest cut of all is the poisoning of our sense of pride. We are ready to disgrace our Islamic culture for the sake of pleasing our generous western employers. We prefer to be ruled by the shaitanic system which legalized vice, sins, riba, zina, killings, genocide and bloodshed than to be under divine social system. Worse, we believe we are right when we are clearly wrong.
Below is an awe inspiring short story on the beautiful Sultana of Hindustan. She was known as Jodha Bai. That was before the Sultan (Jalaluddin Akbar) married her. After becoming the Sultan’s wife she was known as Maryam Az Zamani. Her tomb is in Lahore next to a masjid constructed in her memory, Bibi Shah Masjid. Her son was Jehangir Selim who incorporated Bengal (Subh-e-Bangal) into the Islamic Sultanate in Delhi. Dhaka was formerly known as Jahangirnagar for this reason.
Born Hira Kunwar as a Rajput princess, she married the Emperor Akbar in 1562 and thenceforth became known by the name Mariam uz-Zamani or “Mary of the Age.” She was an exceptionally politically active member of the throne, until the rise of the Empress Nur Jahan, the wife of her son Jahangir.
She was one of the few women in the Mughal court who had the authority to issue official documents (called farman) which was usually a power exclusive to the emperor.
She also partook in construction and shipping across the empire. Her wealth and influence were utilized to create gardens, wells, and mosques. Mariam owned and oversaw the sips that carried pilgrims to and from Mecca. IN 1613, her ship, the Rahimi, carrying passaengers and cargo, was seized by the Portugese pirate. When they refused to return the ship, her son, Jahangir, attacked the Portugeuese town of Daman. This sort of conflict would come to characterize the interactions between the Westernrs with their intention to colonize and the Mughal and other Indian powers.
When Mariam died in 1622, she was buried in Mariam’s Tomb in Sikandra. The Mosque of Mariam Zamani Begum, located in the Walled City of Lahore, was named after her.