The Profile of Akbar in Contemporary Rajasthani Literature
Akbar's Rajput policy has so far been studied essentially from how it appeared from the vantage-point of the Mughal court. Alternatively, there has been an implicit assumption that bardic Rajasthan sang of those who opposed Mughal authority and saw Akbar as an invader. It is, therefore, important to see how Akbar is actually viewed in 16th and 17th century Rajasthani literature. The present paper aims at offering a preliminary analysis of this fairly extensive literature.
Since Akbar had established a relationship with the old ruling families of Rajasthan, the relationship with these families was quite intimate and Akbar gave a personal touch to it by marrying Rajput princesses. But on the other hand he failed to establish a peaceful relationship with the Rana of Mewar, although in the beginning he initiated negotiations. Exaggeration, no doubt, is often entered in these portrayals of image and personality of Akbar but these depictions are nevertheless a clear testimony to the esteem which the great Emperor was held in Rajasthan.
Contemporary bardic literature of Rajasthan concentrates on the various aspects of Akbar's life. It assigns him high sounding titles such as shriji^fSdh2, nath3 (Pers, malik), and aspaii^ and chhatrapati5 etc, to Akbar and chakar (servant) or Hukmi chakar6 to the Rajput chiefs.
The Dalpai Vilas provides us with rare glimpses of different facets of Akbar's personality. The description becomes more reliable and faithful because the author is said to have been an eyewitness of all the contemporary incidents of Akbar.7 It portrays qualities of Akbar such as his youthful courage, kindness, sensitiveness and benevolence. Akbar set an example for his soldiers, while in his first military campaign of his career against Hemu, by putting his horse first in the channel (nallah) which was in full fury at that time. This compelled the soldiers to follow their master or leader8 and had the desired psychological impact on their military mentality. Youthful courage
Centre of Advanced Study in History, Aligarh Muslim University.
Social Scientist, Vol. 20, Nos. 9-10, September-October 1992