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Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Fatehpur Sikri

This is a ghost town on the outskirts of Agra. The interesting thing about this wonderful place is that it should remind us of two things and two things alone.
The first is that Akbhar built it to honour Shaikh Salim Christi (a Sufi ) who lived here, as it was the Sufi who told him he was going to have a son. No expense spared, it was the first planned Mughal city, it took nearly fifteen years to build, they lived in it for fourteen and then it was abandoned - WHY ? They made a  HUGE miscalculation on the availability of water and the rest is history. I wonder in 50 years time how many cities in the world will face similar problems.

The second, and to me this is even more fascinating, is the secular nature of this city. Akbhar was not called the great for no reason. He was a visionary and an aesthete and a lover of learning. He built three palaces for his three wives who came from different backgrounds and had different religions and he was sensitive to these differences but also conscious of the need to be inclusive and accepting of all. How liberating and how forward thinking in a man of the 16th century. His secularization is a lesson for every ruler in every country. Well at least that is what my friend Celia and I believe !


  1. Marina,
    As a student of History, I must tell you the TRUTH about Akbar the "Not-So-Great".

    Refer to :


    Second Battle of Panipat (1556)
    On hearing of the Hindu Emperor Hem Chandra's serial victories and the fall of large territories like Agra and Delhi, the Mughal army at Kalanaur lost heart and many commanders refused to fight Hemu. Most of his commanders advised Akbar to retreat to Kabul which would serve better as a strong-hold. However, Bairam Khan, Akbar's guardian and chief strategist, insisted on fighting Hemu in an effort to gain control of Delhi.
    On 5 November 1556, the Mughal army met Hem Chandra's army at the historic battle field of Panipat. Bairam Khan exhorted his army in a speech with religious overtones and ordered them into battle. Akbar and Bairam Khan stayed in the rear, eight miles from the battle ground, while Hemu led his army himself into battle, atop an elephant. He was on the cusp of victory, when he was wounded in the eye by an arrow, and collapsed unconscious. This led to confusion amongst the soldiers, with no supreme commander to coordinate decisions.
    Unconscious and at death's door, Hemu was captured by Shah Qulin Khan and carried to the Mughal camp for execution. He was first struck by Akbar himself, so that Akbar could earn the title of "Ghazi" (holy warrior). He was then beheaded by Bairam Khan.[36] His head was sent to Kabul, where it was hanged outside the Delhi Darwaza, while his body was placed in a gibbet outside Purana Quila in Delhi.
    After Hemu's death, a massacre of Hemu's followers was ordered by Bairam Khan. Thousands were beheaded and towers of skulls built with their heads, to instil terror among the Hindus. At least one painting of such minarets is displayed in the "Panipat Wars Museum" at Panipat in Haryana. These towers were still in existence about 60 years later as described by Peter Mundy, a British traveler who visited India during the time of Jahangir.

    On another occasion, Akbar was traveling away from his capital. On his return, he learned that one of his own Mughal relatives had secretly visited Akbar's harem, during Akbar's absence.

    Akbar immediately had the Hindu guard of his harem tortured to death.

    Akbar carried out the Genocide of 30,000 Hindu civilians of the Rajput kingdom of Chittor, after defeating Chittor in battle.

  2. Hello and thank you for your comment. Are you also the one who wrote this section on wikipedia as they are remarkably similar ? Delving deep into issues can be revealing and sometimes controversial and goes against the establsihed perception so thank you for bringing this to my attention. Marina

  3. No, Marina, I didn't author the section on Wikipedia, I merely copied and pasted it in the comments section of your blog.

    I am a keen student of History, who is only now learning the "Real History" of India, as our History Text-books did not tell us the truth in school.

    The successive Congress Governments of India have unfortunately "white-washed" the History of India, so that the terrible atrocities committed upon the Hindus, during the 1500 years of Islamic invasions against India, is not even taught to us Indians, by our school History text-books.

    Similarly, the terrible atrocities committed by the Catholic Portuguese against the native Hindus of Goa, India have also been conveniently brushed under the carpet by the Congress Government of India.

    Read up about the "Goa Inquisition". The atrocities committed by the Portuguese in Goa make Hitler look like an amateur school-boy.

    The Pope has not yet apologized to the Hindus of India for the terrible Crimes against Humanity committed by the Catholic Portuguese against the Hindus of Goa India, during the 500-year-long illegal invasion and occupation of Goa, India.


  4. Ummm...I think the incensed student of history would do well to remember that those were early modern times, when warfare was savage and the treatment of prisoners was bestial. Judged by the standards of his own times, not ours, Akbar was a remarkable ruler. As for the Inquisition, well, yes, it was dreadful. I don't think most Catholics would recommend that it come back into operation in our own times.

  5. Akbar was a remarkable ruler ?
    Why ? Because he limited his genocide of Hindus at Chittor to ONLY 30,000 Hindu Civilians ?

    The TRUTH is that Akbar was just another Islamic Barbarian, who did not belong in civilized Hindu India.

    Also, when is the Pope planning to apologize to the Hindus of India, for the Goa Inquisition ?
    It appears that Mass-Pedophilia is the Least of the Vatican's Crimes, completely paling in comparison to the other Crimes against Humanity committed by the Catholics.


  6. Thanks for sharing information about Fatehpur Sikri. Undoubtedly, the city is one of the best collections of Indian Mughal architecture in Uttar Pradesh, India.


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