Jodha Bai #atozchallenge

A teleseries on Zee TV

Jodha Bai was the Chief Rajput wife of Emperor Akbar, and the mother of his successor, Jahangir, thus the grandmother of Shah Jahan. She is usually referred to as Marium-Uz-Zamani as the historicity of the name ‘Jodha’ is very controversial. Her marriage to Akbar was a political alliance but gradually she could garner respect and honor of the Mughal household. She brought about religious tolerance in Akbar, his reign and instilled in him the compassion to view other ethnicities favorably, which was previously lacking.

Jodha was the first wife of the Emperor to observe and practice Hindu rites and rituals in the royal household. She was allowed to keep her religion and was not forced to convert. A Hindu temple was created for her to perform puja, within the palace (harem), where she worshiped Lord Krishna and Akbar too occasionally took part in the rituals. Her nature, character and personality intrigues me a lot. How could a single woman change the perspective of such a powerful far-reaching unyielding ruler?

Their love story is a favorite of all romantics, who know the religious constraints in India. Their love and mutual respect was beyond the borders of religion and ethnicity, and was powerful enough to bring about long lasting note worthy changes in the history of this land. Ashutosh Gowarikar’s movie ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ starring Aishwarya Rai Bacchan depicts this timeless love story beautifully. Ekta Kapoor’s tele series of the same name too portrays the characters well. Though, the authenticity of the facts in the stories is controversial.

I wonder how Jodha even survived the marriage and lived through the differences between herself and her husband long enough to love him. She was literate, he was not. She was pure vegetarian, he was just the opposite. Moreover, their religion differences- as a Hindu, she believed in idol worship, he did not; she prayed with head bowed and hands folded, he prayed with eyes towards the heaven. Interesting!

Watch and read through these links to know more.


Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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