'Jodha was Akbar’s bahu, not begum'

Updated on Jan 31, 2008 01:15 PM IST

Experts dispute Ashutosh Gowariker's portrayal of Jodhabai as Akbar's wife in Jodhaa Akbar, reports Avishek G Dastidar.

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Hindustan Times | ByAvishek G Dastidar, New Delhi

Has Ashutosh Gowariker got it all wrong? Noted historians have contended that his highly publicised film Jodhaa Akbar, starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwariya Bachchan, is factually incorrect.

Noted historians maintain that Mughal Emperor Akbar never married anyone named Jodhabai. And that Jodhabai was, in fact, his daughter-in-law, Jehangir’s wife.

The debate comes ahead of the film’s release next month. Rajput organisations in Rajasthan have threatened to block the release, accusing Gowariker of distorting facts.

"Historical documents, including Akbarnama and Jehangir’s memoirs, say it was not Akbar but Jehangir who got married to the House of Jodhpur. So the princess was later called Jodhabai," says historian Satish Chandra, author of NCERT History books.

Agrees historian Mohammad Amin. “Akbar forged alliances with Rajput families and he married the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber, who was later titled Maryam Rahmani or the Mother of Rulers of the Universe. But there is no evidence to say that she was called Jodhabai.”

How did the name Jodhabai get coined for Akbar’s wife then? Some blame the epic film Mughal-E-Azam. “A whole generation grew up believing what Mughal-E-Azam showed as accurate account of Mughal history. But accurate history said something else,” says SZH Jafri, head of the department, History, DU.

Gowariker says: “I have referred to books like A History of Jaipur by Jadunath Sarkar, Kachhvahon Ka Itihaas by Jagdish Gehlot and other works by KL Khurana and Hari Shankar Sharma. All call Akbar’s wife with various names like Harkha, Man Mati, Shai Bai etc.” “I agree there is a confusion regarding the name,” he said, adding, “I consulted the Royal family of Jaipur that gave me the nod to use the name Jodha.”

(With KS Tomar)

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