Poems by Akshay Vij

Taj

a poem by

Akshay Vij

A life of joy,
A life of sorrow,
A life so hard fought
To win and face the morrow,
Thus it began and ended so,
Henceforth what lies now we know.

(1)

“Prince Salim blessed with a son,”
Began the messenger who had come;
Travelled under the sky alight
With the twinkling stars shining bright.

King Akbar received the news with pleasure,
For he was to be his greatest treasure,
A treasure that was joy forever,
In Akbar’s eyes he was so, ever.

Fame and fortune he was to yearn
And that too he will earn
After a stormy and illustrious career
So described his future, the astrologer.

Named by Akbar as Prince Khurram
For he was to bring joy to the kingdom.
A noble heart, an intelligent mind,
So were his qualities, excelling in each kind.
The best rider, a great swordsman,
For he looked up to Akbar as his ideal person.

(2)

“Khushrau hated, Parvez a weakling,
Shahryar yet to grow up, Khurram the most promising.”
Thought Nur Jahan,
So thought her evil mind.

“My niece should marry,
Only the finest of the fine.
Hence she should become Empress,
And the power shall be all mine.”

Her plans went on
As she had thought.
For five years after their engagement,
The happy day arrived of Khurram and Arjumand’s marriage.”

Blessed they were
By Jehangir and Nur Jahan,
While Akbar, who had died,
Lay peacefully in heaven.

(3)

The time came for him to prove his prowess,
To defeat the Rajputs and conquer their fortress.
So asked by his father he was,
To defeat Rana Amar Singh and return victorious.

He left for Mewar and laid seige to Chitor,
But the Rajputs were not so easily to be given for.
They fought and defied the might of the Mughals
To force them into giving drastic action orders.

“Cut off their supplies, burn down their crops,”
Khurram gave orders to his troops.
And he was right,
Rana Amar Singh had to accept their might.

Surrender was his next forced action.
Welcome, was Khurram’s pleased reaction.
Came back he did, victorious.
To hear something more
Of his rank being raised
To the equal of Parvez.

But the woman who had waited for her hero with great patience,
Could finally not control her emotions.
For she ran down the hall to meet her King.
He, she knew, would not know a thing.
Of what she thought, of what pains she had been through.

But it was a happy ending,
To both’s longing
For each other
To be together.

(4)

But again there was trouble
This time in the Deccan,
In the form of the wily Malik Ambar.
Where Parvez was unsuccessful, there Khurram was beckoned.

Conferred upon him was the title of Shah Sultan.
Given command he was of the Deccan forces.
Will he return victorious,
He shall outstrip his brothers in number of men and horses.

Victor was he
For Malik Ambar’s camp fleed.
So, forcefully the Deccani Rulers paid a handsome tribute.
And so commenced between both truce.

Returned Khurram
With several forts.
To be proclaimed in front of all the court,
Shah Jahan, king of the world.

(5)

Let us leave this scene
Move a few years ahead,
Where the seated King and Queen
Are informed of the crafty Malik Ambar’s scheme.

Asked again Khurram was
To put Malik Ambar’s forces at a loss,
And end his tricks
Once and for all.

Decided he to do what had previously been done by Babar in history.
To not touch liquor until victory,
To throw down the wine, to break the cups,
To give the fragments to the poor ones.

Then did he set on march,
Arriving to witness the retreat of his side.
Though advised to lay low till after the monsoon season
He disagreed and took a quick but risky decision.

To strike quick, decisive blows.
Surprise the enemy when he least knows.
Shah Jahan was right,
For again prevailed the Mughal might.

Totally caught unaware,
Ambar had to face a defeat very severe.
Surrender, he had to, all his territories
Tribute, ha had to pay, of fifty thousand rupees.

(6)

As evident was victory, so unpredictable were Nur Jahan’s thoughts,
Shah Jahan’s growing power had spoiled her plot,
To have her youngest step son Emperor,
And her daughter by earlier marriage the Empress.

So set she to poisoning Jehangir’s mind,
Turning him against his own child.
Hence, a cold welcome received Khurram,
Enough to tell him what was to come.

All that Nur Jahan wanted was power,
And her son-in-law proved the right person.
Had not two people stood between her,
She was to have what she yearned for.

(7)

Message arrived for Shah Jahan from Jehangir,
Asking him to re-conquer Kalandahr sieged by the Persians and set it free.
This time Khurram asked for his own terms,
Dismissed as ridiculous, thought unreasonable,
Bestowed upon him the title of wretch or Be- Daulat.

This was the result of Nur Jahan’s wicked mind,
One of its own kind.
Banished from the kingdom,
Forbidden to show his face was Khurram.

Left with no other option,
War was the only solution.
Exasperated at his son’s resolution,
Jehangir decided to finish off his own flesh and blood.

Battered was Shah Jahan in the battle,
Defeat was certain so to avoid anything fatal,
Flee he did and remained a fugitive,
For three whole years, moving from place to place was what they did.

(8)

A life so hard,
A life so miseriful,
A life full of bitterness and depression

He fell ill and was advised for a reconciliation,
Asked Jehangir for pardon,
Jehangir this time was easy on his son,
Asked for the surrender of Asirgadh and Rohtas

He asked for Dara and Aurangzeb,
To be sent to the Imperial Court as hostages,
The parting was tough but had to be done,
Shah Jahan was not to see for a long time his sons.
Eighteen months ahead,
Jehangir is dead.
Only to see Shahryar proclaim himself emperor
At the city of Lahore.

(9)

“Weep shall I,
Or fight for what is mine.”
“Waste time, you I lose,
Fight back and be mine to chose.”

So said Arjumand
So it was done.
Fight together,
Father-in law and son.

Victory was theirs
Over to cheer.
Victory to Shah Jahan,
Victory to the Emperor.

Arrived their sons
After all ceremonies were done.
Took place a grand family reunion,
Where all was merriment, joy, happiness and fun.

“May the world
Be blessed under your rule.”
“Without you,
Nothing would be true.”

(10)

With every birth there is a death.
And so it was for with the birth of the fourteenth child
There was to be the death of his beloved – Mumtaz Mahal, The Chosen One,
The one who never let her aunt rule the nation,
The one who never ran out of patience,
The one who encouraged him to implement his decisions,

The one who asked her King,
To build a thing
The world is yet to see,
The thing we know as Taj Mahal

The promise was made,
The promise was kept,
And lies her corpse
Next to her lord.

Her lord who never again smiled,
Her lord who never saw life through the same set of eyes,
Her lord who lived and died for her.

The Taj Mahal,
A dream in white marble,
A significance of the love of two people,
Lives to tell tales untold.

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