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Rajput war over Jodhaa

Jaipur, Jan. 31: Jodhaa Akbar or Jodhaa Salim ?

Rajputs in Rajasthan are up in arms against Ashutosh Gowarikar’s film Jodhaa Akbar because they say Jodhabai was the wife of Jehangir, not Akbar.

“How will it feel if Aishwarya Rai is shown as Amitabh Bachchan’s wife instead of Abhishek Bachchan’s?” asked Lokendra Singh Kalvi, the patron of the Rajput Karni Sena that has threatened to stall the film’s screening.

Aishwarya stars as the Rajput princess Jodhabai in the film due for release on February 15. Hrithik Roshan stars opposite her as Akbar. “Just because in Mughal-e-Azam, Jodhabai was shown as Akbar’s wife, Gowarikar cannot repeat the same mistake for cheap publicity,” Kalvi said.

The Rajput community claims that Jodha was the daughter of Jodhpur’s Mota Raja Udai Singh and was married to Jehangir in 1586. She was called Jodhabai because she hailed from Jodhpur, they say.

Historians specialising in the Mughal era agreed that there was no historical evidence to suggest that Akbar had a wife named Jodhabai. “While it is true that Akbar married the daughter of Raja Bharamal of Amer, there is no mention in Rajasthani or Persian sources of the day to suggest that she was named Jodhabai,” said Professor Irfan Habib, professor emeritus, Aligarh Muslim University.

Habib said the name was a 19th-century invention of the guides at Fatehpur Sikri who had labelled one of the buildings in Akbar’s abandoned capital “Jodhabai’s palace”. The myth was strengthened after the release of Mughal-e-Azam in which Durga Khote played Jodhabai, mother to Prince Salim, who went on to become Emperor Jehangir.

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