Father-son stages of life an analysis- Akbar and Salim

Jehangir had a bell of justice which could be rung by anyone and they could speak to him in Diwan-e-am. Jehangir got all sort of interesting people ringing that bell. One day it was jehangir’s birthday.

Once a beggar came to Jehagir hall of audience with tattered clothes and rang bell of justice as he wanted to give jehangir gift on his birthday. Jehangir called him inside and the beggar sat by the emperor’s throne and gifted him a small piece of roti he had as gift which jehangir took and ate much to disgust of his nobles etc.

FOR A COUPLE OF hundred years now, each generation of fathers has passed on less and less to his sons–not just less power but less wisdom. And less love. We finally reached a point where many fathers were largely irrelevant in the lives of their sons. The baby was thrown out with the bathwater, and the pater dismissed with the patriarchy. Everyone seemed to be floundering around not knowing what to do with men or with their problematic and disoriented masculinity.

I do not know of power but less wisdom and love is true. Parents especially fathers are so scared to give independence to sons that leads to lots of conflicts. Fathers are scared that their sons may become more powerful than them and want to hold on to that power in a family etc till the last. Love and time are things that keep reducing with each generation not only by a father but by mother and even siblings, that is how friends become more of a family in times of need and sometimes these friends misguide us for their benefits. This happened with salim who was more close to friends and they always misguide him ex for bhagawat etc

The struggles between fathers and sons are legendary. In the minds of some fathers, a son holds such promise, offering them an opportunity to relive an “improved” version of their own childhood. Conversely, in the minds of some sons, being fathered means carrying the weight of responsibility to satisfy a fathers dream and destinations. This makes for quite a combustible mixture; especially as the autonomy of middle and late adolescence kicks in, leaving dreams and destinations in the dust.

From all means its clear Akbar wanted Salim to be a great warrior like him and hence sent him in childhood to war. Whether this was appreciated by Salim or not we will not know but the fact that Salim hardly went to any war after he became emperor except known enemies of past means he was done and over with wars. When he was 40 years he already had 33 years experience in war field and he commanded an independent army at age 12 years. That is too many years of experience for a person of 40 years in war field. There is something known as fatigue or burnout that occurs in any person if pursuing a profession for long and Salim was definetly burnt out by 40 years.

As children, sons idolize their dads and think they can do anything. This identification is most often demonstrated by a son’s imitation of his father’s behavior by walking like him, talking like him or wearing his clothes or shoes. At this age, a son wants so much to please his father and receive his approval and acceptance.

This was the initial period where Salim as a kid was in awe and also scared of Akbar. The trying to please daddy could be seen in his struggles to learn archery and sword fighting. But this phase was cut short at age of 7 when he was sent to war field.

As teens, sons experience a period of discord in which conflict is the central theme they share. They often reject the expectations, values and directions their fathers have embraced and take on more non-traditional philosophies, placing them regularly at odds with one other. The teen may resent or even fear his father depending on the intensity of their differences, at times, carrying over into the son’s early twenties.

This is the phase Salim is in from 19 till 22. His values are different, his views of world is different, his parents may have problems with him going to watch a dance or have friendship with anarkali a courtesean but Salim does not think he is wrong.  Typical teenage years where you are out to change the world, bring new system, values and culture. This exists even today in 21st century where parents may not like us playing with a maids kid, or with slum kids on street, or a car drivers child becoming friends with us in school etc(RTE act where posh schools do not want to allow poor kids in schools because rich parents do not want lower strata kids to mingle with their kids). Salim is always in odds with Akbar as their thinking their values their way of living etc differ. Salim never had qualms about loving a courtesean Anarkali or a widow Nur Jahan. Akbar too married a widow, divorcee and a commoner girls but as parent he would never accept his son doing the same.

As young adults, the father-son relationship enters into a period of evolving. Distance may still exist emotionally and they may even ignore each other. The conscious attempts at being different than one’s father so characteristic in the discord stage begin to appear more like competition. Competition with another can be viewed as one of the most indirect but highest forms of flattery that exists. Mark Twain once said, ” When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”

Salim shall enter this phase at age of 24-25 years and this lasts till 34 years of age. Salim was never interested in a war with Mewar and Pratap though on his fathers orders he definetly waged war against them. Actually Salim spent almost all his teenage and adult life in war against Pratap only on orders of Akbar. Its said on his death bed Akbar took promise from Salim that he shall defeat Mewar. Hence Salim finally sent Khurram to wage war against Mewar.  But there again when he got info that Khurram was torturing innocent citizens of mewar he ordered him to release them. In history too once Amar Singh was defeated Jehangir returned all his land and treated him with respect even hugging him in ajmer while meeting him and teaching Karan hunting etc. Also when he came to know Shakti Singh helped Pratap in battle of haldighatti to escape by killing 4 Mughal afghan soldiers he forgives Shakti singh and tells him to go back to Pratap despite entire Mughal court baying for Shakti singh blood. See that conscious effort to be different from his father. Salim was a good warrior but never modelled himself as a great conqueror.

As adults in their 30’s and 40’s, sons begin to move into the stage of acceptance toward their fathers. They have begun to forgive, recognize strengths and even admire the qualities that once seemed so out of step with their previous “know it all” manner of thinking. They begin to accept each other’s differences. Fathers and sons often become friends during this time, share common interests and express opinions without heated exchanges. The son may even experience challenges as a father with his own son. Charles Wadsworth once said, ” By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.”

Well well Salim never reached this stage to appreciate his father when alive(may be in last year of Akbars life). But in jehangirnama once while having mangoes he feels sad that daddy dearest is not with him to enjoy those anymore. Also that fact that he never bad mouth his dad although he had differences with him when alive in his auto biography shows he had reached that stage of forgiveness and admiration of his fathers ability. (Compare that to a Shah Jahan biography or a Auragnzeb who are so critical of their fathers- they never reached maturity or understanding or had too much hatred filled in their hearts against fathers to realize it- in short they never grew up or they did not have the inner strength to forgive and forget)

In their 50’s, older adult sons become a legacy of their father’s influence for better and worse. Time tempers painful memories and in their place often remains admiration and respect for the difficult job being a father must have been. Older adult sons who have not yet resolved those issues with their elderly or deceased fathers, however, typically see them replayed with their teenage or young adult sons. If elderly fathers are still living, an ironic role reversal occurs with older adult sons beginning to take care of their aging fathers. Perhaps the best revenge is to live long enough to be a problem to your children.

Well Jehangir reached this stage faster in his 30s only because his son Khusrau revolted against him making him realize what a tough thing it is for fathers to handle when son revolts. That is when he finally reconciled with Akbar and went back to him. He finally realized what his father felt at his revolt.

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