How did Akbar’s Son murder a Great Writer? (Post No.4576)

Written by London Swaminathan 


Date: 2 JANUARY 2018


Time uploaded in London- 19-22



Post No. 4576

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.



Killing journalists and writers in modern times hits the headline in newspapers. One reason for this is journalists belong to those newspapers. So these news stories get good publicity. Another reason is the opposition parties are waiting for some murder or mayhem so that they can get good political mileage from this violence. But there was a time in Indian history these things went unnoticed.


Moghul rule is notorious for fratricide and patricide. Apart from these killing of close relatives, writers were also killed in a planned manner. Salim, Moghul emperor Akbar’s son, made plans for the murder of Abul Fazl, famous poet of the period.


How and Why?

When Akbar was over 60 years of age around 1600 CE, he appointed his eldest son Salim (who was known as Emperor Jahangir later) as the Vice Royal of Allahabad. He had access to lot of revenue and he declared himself as an independent monarch. He struck coins of gold and copper and sent them to his father Akbar. Akbar was very angry and wanted his son to be learn economics. Afterwards he wrote to his trusted minister Abul Fazl to take steps to bring Salim to reason. Abul Fazl was the author of Akbar Nama (life history of Akbar) and Ain-i- Akbari.

Abul Fazl started at once to Agra to meet Akbar. In the meantime, Salim came to know about it and he planned to waylay him. He made a plot with Birsingdeo (Veera Simha Deva) whose territory lay across the Moghul highway to North. Birsingdeo was the ruler of Orcha Kingdom. He was not in good terms with Akbar.


Though Abul Fazl received some warnings he ignored them and proceeded to Agra. He never thought that Salim would kill him.


Between Narwar and Antri, not far from Gwalior (M.P.), Birsingdeo was waiting with 500 armed men and the conflict was unequal. Abul Fazl was killed and his head was sent to Salim (later Jahangir). Later Salim tried to justify his murder on the ground that Abul Fazl plotted against him and he prevented a reconciliation between him and his father Akbar.

Jahangir (Salim) wrote in his Memoirs, “By God’s grace, when Shaikh Abul -i- Fazl was passing through Birsingdeo’s territory, the Raja blocked his road and after a little contest, scattered his men and killed him. He sent his head to me in Allahabad”.


Akbar was furiously angry at the crime and gave orders to hunt down Birsing Deo. But he disappeared into the forests before Akbar’s army captured the fort of Orcha.

When Salim became Emperor Jahangir, Birsing Deo was restored to high honours. Jahangir made him the Ruler of Orcha in place of his elder brother, and gave him the exalted rank of Commander of Five Thousand.



Birsing Deo– A Hero!

Birsing Deo’s name deserves to be rescued from the oblivion into which it has lapsed, on account of the splendid buildings he left to posterity. He built a beautiful temple at Muttra which was later destroyed by Aurangzeb. He built palaces at Orcha and Datia. It is said that he built 52 temples and palaces. In an auspicious hour fixed by the astrologers he laid the foundations for those 52 structures. Some of them include the palaces at Orcha, Datia,the templs at Orcha and Chatarburj, fortress of Dhamoni, the Jhansi citadel and many bridges. He was a great builder.

His own tomb, above he Betwa at Orcha, is a gigantic square stone edifice flanked by  massive towers and surmounted by a huge dome. The sword with which he cut off Abul Fazl’s head is in the State Armoury at Tikamgarh.


After their deaths, Birsing Deo and his son Hardol Lala attained the status of demi gods. Hardol Lala became more famous owing to his tragic fate, which fired the popular imagination. He was unjustly accused by his brother Jhujar Singh, then the chief of Orcha, of having illicit intimacy with his wife and he  was compelled to drink the poison of Datura plant.

Akbar worshipping sun

The ghost of Hardol Lala was feared and propitiated by the peasantry of Bundelkhand; he became a popular saint, worshipped at weddings and in epidemics of cholera; a temple was built for him at Datia, and a shrine outside every village in the region; and the cult spread as far north as Lucknow.





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