The Short Reign of Shah Alam Bahadur Shah, Son of Aurangzeb

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"I was helpless in life and I am departing helpless. Whichever of my sons has the good fortune of gaining the kingship, he should not trouble Kam Bakhsh if the latter is content with the two provinces of Bijapur and Hyderabad. There is not, nor will there ever be any wazir better than Asad Khan. Dianat Khan, the diwan of Deccan, is better than other imperial servants. With true devotion entreat Muhammad Azam Shah, —if he agrees to the mode of partitioning the empire which was proposed in my lifetime, then there will be no fighting between armies end no slaughter of mankind. Do not dismiss my hereditary servants, nor molest them. The occupant of the throne should have one of the two subahs of Agra and Delhi, and whoever agrees to take the former (Agra) of these will get four subahs of the old kingdom—Agra, Malwa, Gujarat and Ajmir and the chaklas dependent on them, and four subahs of the Deccan, namely Khandesh, Berar, Aurangabad and Bidar and their ports. And whosoever agrees to take the latter (Delhi) will get the eleven subahs of the old kingdom— Delhi, Panjab, Kabul, Multan, Tatta, Kashmir, Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Allahabad and Oudh."

Flowering Plants of Kerala: Etlingera elatior, a Member of the Ginger Family

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Etlingera elatior by anjana

Recently, while walking through the garden at my house, I saw this beautiful flower in blooms. We had bought it's rhizome from a nursery, somewhat a year ago :) With my Nikon Coolpix I clicked these pictures. This plant is commonly known as Torch Ginger. From Wikipedia I learned that it's flower-buds are used for making some dishes. According to National Center for Biotechnology Information, the essential oils from Etlingera elatior could be used as a source of natural antioxidant and antibacterial in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

The Last Days of Akbar the Great

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Emperor Akbar died at Agra of dysentery or acute diarrhea, after a long reign of forty-nine years. Do you know that the last days of the great king Akbar was so miserable and that he was in extreme agitation?

Monuments built by Akbar the GreatJalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar popularly known as Akbar the Great (1556-1605), was born on 15th Oct 1542, in a Rajput house at Umerkot, now in Pakistan (where his father Humayun was taking refugee after losing the battle with Sher Shah Suri). He was coronated at Kalanaur in Punjab on Feb 14, 1556, at the age of thirteen, when his father Humayun died of an accident (falling from the stairs of his library). Akbar propagated the idea of universal tolerance or Sulahkul; his object was to unite all men in a common bond of peace. He respected all religions equally and abolished the Jizya tax on non-Muslims. He married Hindu Princesses and appointed Hindus at high positions in the court. The historian Badaoni criticized him as "enemy of Islam". Though he was illiterate, he translated the great epics; Mahabharata, Ramayana and Atharva Veda into Persian with help of scholars. Twin sons were born to Akbar in 1564, but they died in infancy. The Emperor visited he Sufi Saint Shaikh Salim Chishti with hopes of getting blessed with a male heir. As a mark of admiration, Akbar named his eldest son Salim. Salim's two brothers, Murad and Daniel, died during their father's lifetime.

Princess Zeb-un-Nissa, the Gifted Daughter of Aurangzeb

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"I am the daughter of a King, but I have taken the path of renunciation, and this is my glory, as my name Zeb-un-Nissa, being interpreted, means that I am the glory of womankind"

"No Muslim I, But an idolater, I bow before the image of my Love, And worship her:

No Brahman I, My sacred thread I cast away, for round my neck I wear, Her plaited hair instead"

"Whether it be in Mecca’s holiest shrine, Or in the Temple pilgrim feet have trod,
Still Thou art mine, Wherever God is worshiped is my God"

Was Akbar's Mausoleum at Sikandra Plundered?

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We know that Akbar, one of the greatest rulers in Indian history, died in the year 1605 and his tomb is located at Sikandra, Agra. Unhappily, the marble slab at Akbar's tomb no longer covers his bones! I was also shocked when I heard this. To learn more, we should go through the history of reign of Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb was a devout Muslim and he reverted Akbar's policies of religious tolerance. During his reign, many revolts occurred in different parts of the empire.