The Drama of Akbar


Muḥammad Ḥusain Āzād (also called Ehsan Azad, circa 1834–1910) was a successful Urdu poet and a writer of vivid prose, particularly in his historical writing. He was born in Delhi, where his father, Muhammad Baqir, edited the first Urdu newspaper, Delhi Urdu Akhbar. Muhammad Baqir’s involvement in the Uprising of 1857 (also known as the Sepoy Rebellion) led to his execution by the British. His son moved to Lahore several years later, where he taught Arabic at Government College and was subsequently professor of Urdu and Persian at Oriental College. Āzād wrote about 20 books, some published posthumously, and he is acclaimed as a master of Urdu prose style. His most important books include a history of Urdu poetry, his tales of medieval Indian history, his allegorical essays, and this work, Darbar-e-Akbari (The drama of Akbar), a history of the times of Akbar the Great (1556–1605). The drama, in 12 parts, was first published in 1910 and focuses particularly on Akbar’s son, Salim, who as Jahangir (Persian for “Conqueror of the World”) ruled the Mughal Empire from 1605 until 1627. Mehr-un-Nisaa, the beautiful and intelligent widow of a rebel officer, came to court where, several years later in 1611, the emperor married her and gave her the title of Nur Jahan, meaning "Light of the World." She was devoted to Jahangir, and he was so absorbed in her that he entrusted to her most of the work of governing the empire. In the drama, the dialogue brings the characters to life and love is portrayed as a magical force.

Last updated: December 3, 2012