domingo, 15 de septiembre de 2013

Who says Akbar was great?

I have recently read the bok Who says Akbar was great? by P.N.Oak.

At the first sight I thought that, though I will not agree with this book positions, it represents a very interesing point of view, meticulously detailed and argumented.
But it really is a continious and ill-intentioned distortion.
According with the author, there was NOTHING good, true or well done in Akbar´s reign (in fact in any of the 1.000 years of Muslim rule).
P.N.Oak does not collect the info, analyses it and gets himself into conclusions, but, the other way around, he decided a priori what is to be demonstrated and looks for fit arguments, suggesting ill-intentioned suppositions, assetting facts with no prove and twisting and misrepresenting whatever could be necessary to conduct the readers mind to a unique conclusion: Akbar was the Devil´s brother.
Contradictions, so often found in Oak´s book, are unimportant when by himself. Any reprochable fact done during muslim rule whenever in India is reproched to Akbar, often not mentioning him but just dirtying the text with obvious purposes.
No matter whether it comes from Akbar´s friend or foe contemporaneous chroniclers, western witnesses, later historians or scholar analists, every assertion is right when describing or suggesting an evil and/or incompetent, stupid Akbar; and it is wrong or fraudulent when not even praising, but just describing Akbar´s facts or dispositions without an express disaproval.
Thus, Abul Fazl, Arif Qandhari, Nizzamudin Ahmad, Ferishta are nothing but flatterers, Father Montserrate , Hawkings, Fitch stupid foreigners and Irfan Habib, Athar Ali, Musaffar Alam or Sanjay Subramanian are crazy blind old texts followers…or just liars. Except when they SHARE his opinions.
Nothing in old annals mean what is said and nothing is right or true in later Indian history.
Apparently only Vincent Smith (who seems having dictated most of Oak´s text, and whose own sources Oak never seems to be interested in looking for), Dr Shrivastava and some times Elliot and Dowson look trustable. Except when they DON´T SHARE his opinions. Even Badauni, the biggest contemporary critical faultfinder about Akbar dispositions and manners, is taken as tepid or as euphemisms teller when is not enthusiactic enough; in such moments, Badauni was “in the pay of Akbar”. But the prologue, writen 350 years later, to Badauni´s Munthakab, in used by Oak as a prove for his argumentations.

According to Oak:

  • The court of Akbar as a collection of unillustrated, savage barbarians. Oak intentionally forgets the presence and continious mention of scholars, poets, painters, musicians, etc, where amirs were both soldiers and artists and where even women had literary skills.
  • Gul Badan Begun, Akbar´s aunt, (whose memoirs continue nowadays being one of the most important, if not he most, sources in Humayun history) did not write any memoir.
  • Akbar, who at a certain moment stopped having women intercourse for spiritual reasons, was a lecherous degenerate who launched conquering campaigns and wars, no less, only to possess next country king´s wife or daughter; no mention is done to the universal use of sealing political pacts or submision through convenience marriage, obviously much more common in muslims that may have several wifes; no mention to the fact that including the harem of a dead king into his own is protecting women. Even he deposed his highest range militar in order to snatch his wife.
  • EVERY women in the harem, Oak says, was Akbar´s wife or concubine. And the fact of marrying his foes widows to his amirs was not for protecting them from poverty, but “blatant abductions” directed to a certain sort of prostitution network with Akbar as his master chief.
  • Akbar was ugly and ungainly.
  • In spite of being a degenerate, a cruel and bloodthirsty tiranic, hypocrite, treacherous, drunkard, heavy drugs consumer, Akbar was adict to spirits and drugs because of his “concience heavy with the burden” of his crimes had to “find an escape valve”(!!!).
  • Not only Akbar, but “everyone around” was of a beastly nature. (As any Muslim previous or later ruler was)
  • Akbar, who settled inter-religious discussions, who married several non-muslim women, who granted to the jesuits permision to open a church, to preach and to convert, who reproched the Muhamadams to convert by the sword, who prosecuted certain ullemas and destroid their mosques, who orientated his prayings to the East and not to the Mecca, who forbade the peregrination to Mecca, who encouraged the people to pray in their houses and not in the mosque, who developed his own sun-worship practices, who was critiziced by so many pious muslims (Badauni the most)…¡was a fanatic muslim!.
  • Akbar never abolished the jizja (tax on non muslims) as anyone else defends.
  • Tamsen was forced to be the king´s main musician. Oh, no, being so is not a honoring distinction.
  • Abu Fazl was a bad writer and Faizi a mediocre poet.
  • Not only Akbar, but none of the muslims built anything in India, all pretended muslim buildings being old hindu constructions.
  • Oak looses much time trying to demonstrate that Sikri existed much before Akbar. For all I know nobody maintains it did not. Same to prove that the red fort in Agra was not built by Akbar because there was a fort before. To point this out means Oak consider that the reader has but a small knowledge of contemporareous sources, as Jahangir (but not only him) expressly speaks about that previous fort an the reconstruction made by Akbar. 
  • Hunting expedition were never so, but all war expeditions.
  • Burqa is cruel. No special condemning comment about sati. Oaks even critizises Akbar for stopping some sati ceremonies, arguing that he did so only for dragging the women to his own harem.
  • The branding of horse was not for army controlling purposes, but for making a slave soldier of ALL person having a horse.
  • Akbar never had spiritual trances (that could be): he just was epileptic.
  • Economy was nothing but plundering (and Baduni remains silent)
  • The emperor regarded himself as the heir of all his subjects. Oak contradictes himself with what is said in another page about “troops whose command are inherited from father to son”. Both asserts show an alarming ignorance, real or simulated about the jagir institution and the army regulement.
  • The administration of such a huge, rich, increasing empire was chaotic. (!!!)
  • The army too was “a loose band of barbaric hoolingans collected in teemings swarms and later let loose uncared for”. No wonder if “the military organization was intrinsecally weak”. Hindu kings use to become vanqished because there are too chivalrous when in battle.
  • The army only purpose was to slaughter Hindus.

       And so on.

I´m not the one defending that Akbar was a wonderful person. He was a conqueror, the strength of whose army was the only guarantee for his power, recently obtained by his grandfather, lost and regained by his father and in his time threatenned by dozens of other powers. No sweet nice person would launch such expansion campaigns or could confront with such situation. But under this point of view great men were but very few. For sure not Hannibal, Julious Caesar, Alexander, Charles the 5th, Hernán Cortés, Napoleon, etc, all of them war men.

Six hundred years should be time enough for loosing resentment against the conqueror. But P. N. Oak is a strong Hindu-centric revisionist as fanatic as the muslim he want to fight and his book a shameless distortion based in grotesque and bizarre misconstructions much far from the rigour and accuracy that any historic-pretended text should work with.

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