Life’s so strange.
Stranger than we all realize. Actions of insignificant people in the distant past sometimes have an extraordinary impact on the course of future events in a big way.
Take the Taj Mahal for instance. Hailed as a great monument to both love and architecture, the Taj Mahal has impressed visitors from around the world for 360 years.
But few realize that but for a mistake in 1526 by a treacherous cook in Babur’s employ, the Taj Mahal most likely would never have been built.
In his memoirs Baburnama, Babur, the founder of the Mughal empire, describes an assassination attempt on him in graphic detail.
The year was 1526 and the date December 21 (about eight months after the Battle of Panipat in which Babur defeated Sultan Ibrahim Lodi).
Not surprisingly, the architect of the assassination plot was Ibrahim’s mother Buwa. She had some poison brought from Etawah and bribed Babur’s cook to poison his food. However, the nervous cook used only some of the poison and cast the rest into the stove.
As a result, although Babur ate the poisoned meat he only became sick but did not die.
Once the suspicious Babur learned of the assassination plot, he quickly had the plotters arrested and put them to death in the most gruesome manner (You really want to know, OK: the cook was skinned alive, the food taster hacked to pieces, one woman thrown under an elephant’s leg, another woman shot and the architect of the plot Buwa was arrested).
If the cook had succeeded in assassinating Babur, would there have been a Mughal Empire? We doubt it. Remember, these were the early days of the empire, there was disaffection in Babur’s army and the empire had yet to consolidate itself.
So, without the Mughal empire there would have been no Shah Jahan and no Taj Mahal (completed in 1648).
Now you see how ultimately the Taj Mahal owes its existence to Babur’s cook (and hisÂ failure to kill theÂ King 122 years earlier).
Built by a Flustered Cook?
Most likely, the course of India too would have been very different if Babur’s cook had succeeded in his assassination attempt.
Here’s an excerpt on the assassination attempt in Babur’s own words:
After the first old woman, who gave Ahmad Chashnigir the poison, she sent another to see whether or not he had given me the poison. It is good that he put it on the plate and not in the pot, having done so because I had given the cooks strict instructions to supervise the Hindustanis and make them taste from the pot while the food was being prepared. When the meal was being dished out, however, our wretched cooks were negligent. The cook put a piece of thin bread on the porcelain plate and then sprinkled less than half of the poison from the paper on the top of the bread. On top of the poison he put some meat dressed in oil. If he had sprinkled the poison on the meat, or if he had thrown it into the pot, it would have been bad. In a fluster, he threw the rest into the stove.
Source: Baburnama, Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor P.367
Translated, edited and annotated by Wheeler M. Thackston
Who knows what extraordinary consequences the innocuous actions of our times will have in the distant future.
Life indeed is strange. Very strange.
well, we have more important things to care about..
Powder Blue is releasing on Tendulkar’s b’day.. Guess who is playing what in that movie! Rated 9.2/10 already.. hmm.. what is the crowd anticipating? when we see it, we will bielive it.
Powder Blue looks interesting for followers of Bielism.
In hindsight, the title of your article is misleading, in the sense that the cook was responsible for the existence of Taj Mahal, but he did not build it.
Nevertheless, a very interesting piece of information.
How does the Mughlai torture compare with Chinese torture, or for that matter, the Russion methods of torture ?
I have heard that Chinese and Russian methods of torture are the cruelest. If you watch Anniyan, it talks about Garuda Purana which prescribes different punishments for different levels of sins.
BTW, while I personally do not agree with David Kepesh’s observation (When you make love to …..everything that defeated you), a few of my friends said that truer words havent been said, and that it exactly echoed their sentiments which they themselves could never express, for a lack of words or whatever reason. And of course, these folks were all married.
1. You write above: In hindsight, the title of your article is misleading, in the sense that the cook was responsible for the existence of Taj Mahal, but he did not build it.
We meant it in a larger sense.
In the literal sense, yes, you are right. But then Shah Jahan did not build the Taj too, in the literal sense.
2. You write: How does the Mughlai torture compare with Chinese torture, or for that matter, the Russion methods of torture
We like the Mughlai variety as in Biryani compared to the Chinese variety as in noodles or chop suey or the Russian variety as in Borsch or Pelmeni.
Just kidding. 🙂
The ancient romans were pretty bad too when it came to torture – pitting men against beasts, sewing them into animal skin and throwing them to the dogs or leaving them in the forest ….
For those too lazy to click on the above link, here’s an excerpt:
Rather than drawing all these references and attributing such a reason on how the Taj Mahal came to existence, you could have said had Babur not been conceived by his mother there would be no Taj Mahal. Is such a description required to attract attention to such a topic to personify your authority on Indian Hisotry ?
Tajmahalai yar kattina ? (Who built the Taj Mahal). Kothanar Kattinar (Mason built it) Seems more apt !
You write above: you could have said had Babur not been conceived by his mother there would be no Taj Mahal
Vandatangapa comedy pasanga (here come the clowns).
Raja / Rani, take critisicm in the right sense. Your reply is highly conceited.
Us conceited? You must be mistaking us for someone else.
Humility is our first, middle and last name.
Truth be said, people are forever marvelling at our self-effacing temperament, boundless humility, amazing resilience and great fortitude in the face of extraordinary daily provocations and threats.
Mera Bharat Mahan.
Anyway Happy New Year to you.
Better not post this Habibi.
You could have said, in a ‘very broader sense’, that Adam had built Taj Mahal, since if it were not by Adam, there would not be human generations and thus no Mughals, so no Taj Mahal..!
Anyhow, it had some interesting piece of information..
Btw, here is a link that contains Medieval torture devices,
You write: You could have said, in a ‘very broader sense’, that Adam had built Taj Mahal, since if it were not by Adam, there would not be human generations and thus no Mughals, so no Taj Mahal..!
True (But for Adam, even this blog and your comment wouldn’t exist).
However, Babur’s cook was closer in time to the Taj Mahal than Adam.