Thursday, June 15, 2006



One person in the history of India whose life has impressed me the most is RAHIM – ABDUL RAHIM KHAN KHANA, I think that was his full name.

When Akbar was only 14 years old he succeeded to the throne of Delhi or India. Since he was only a boy, it was not possible for him to take care of the vast empire of India. So, Bairam Khan became the caretaker king and he trained Akbar in every walk of life from swordsmanship to statesmanship.

When Akbar reached the age of 18 yrs he became the king and Bairam Khan was no longer holding the post. He was given one of the important ministerial posts. However, at times he felt that he was not being respected or consulted in each and every affair which the king dealt with. Therefore sometimes he will talk to his colleagues and tell them that I trained Akbar and now he doesn’t care for me. His colleagues were no doubt quite jealous of him as they might have felt slighted at times when Bairam Khan was the boss. So, they told him that this fellow is nothing; after all you trained him so why don’t you make mutiny and become the king yourself.

Bairam Khan accordingly made mutiny against Akbar and he lost. As is the usual punishment for such a crime, the military court sentenced Bairam Khan to death; however the final approval was in the hands of the king. When Bairam Khan was brought in front of the king, Akbar had not forgotten what all he did to train him for kingship. Akbar therefore pardoned him and said you are a free man and what would you like to do.

Bairam Khan said he would like to go to Haj. Akbar ordered a retinue of soldiers, camels, horses and plenty of money to be given to Bairam khan. As Bairam khan’s caravan was passing through Afghanistan, the caravan was attacked by robbers, which happens even today in that country. In that fight, Bairam Khan was killed; therefore the caravan returned back to the capital in Agra with his wife who was pregnant.

The king welcomed his wife like someone from his own family and had a palace constructed for her. All facilities were accorded to her like the royals. When the child was born large-scale celebrations were made and the child was named Abdul Rahim Khan Khana. When the child grew up he was made a minister in Akbar’s court.

Rahim was very much influenced by Bhagwan Krishn and was a staunch devotee of Krishn. He also used to spend much of his time with Hindu saints and was a contemporary and friend of Tulsidasji.

When Rahim received his salary at the end of each month, he will donate all the money to whoever came to his door and he himself lived a very frugal life. One of his colleagues one day said to him:

Jyon Jyon kar ooncho karo, tyon tyon neeche nain;
Kunwar ji yeh ada sikhi tum kain.

Rahim replied, as he himself was a poet and wrote many dohes, as follows:

Devan Haro aur hai, devat hai din rain;
Log ham pe bhram Karen, tate neeche nain.

Translation: Q.As your hand goes up(in giving donations), so your eyes look downward;
Oh prince, where did you learn this style.

A. The one who gives, is someone else who gives day and night;
Lest people think that I am the giver, that’s why my eyes look downward.

Rahim had several ups and downs and was also put in prison, thanks to a Hindu courtier of the king, who always talked against Rahim; (No doubt many of the Hindus are very good at that). He was also sentenced to death once but his friend Amir Khusro got him released. He then worked as a bhadbhooja’s helper (the one who roasts the Chane in the Bhaad). Rahim then told people not to follow him as he was no longer the same or in a position to give money to people.

Finally, Rahim died; this is another sad story how he was murdered by jealous Moslem courtiers. A big mausoleum was made for him as was the practice for the ministers etc. at the time.

After a few years another courtier of high rank died and as the mausoleum for him was being built, they were informed that the red stone which was used for these mausoleums and which came from Jaipur was not available for the time being.

So, one of the courtiers suggested that why not remove the stones from the mausoleum of Rahim and use it for the new mausoleum. This suggestion was accepted and as the red stones were being transferred from Rahim’s mausoleum to the new one, one of the courtiers pointed out that Rahim was making donation even in his death.

Rahim’s dohe, some of them, in the next article.



At 2:40 AM, Blogger kewal singh Paneser said...

please excuse me for viewing your very informative article so late. I have enjoyed learning a great deal about him. please advise if you can dig up a little more about the last days of rahim.


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