Attendant Lords : Bairam Khan and Abdur Rahim Courtiers and Poets in Mughal India
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Author: T.C.A. Raghavan
Bairam Khan and his son, Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan were soldiers, poets and courtiers whose lives reflected the turbulent times they lived in. In telling their stories, Attendant Lords spans the reigns of four emperors Babur, Humayun, Akbar and Jahangir and covers over a hundred years of Mughal history, a time when these two noblemen were at the very heart of the court s labyrinthine politics. After Humayun s untimely death, Bairam Khan was regent to the young Emperor Akbar for five critical years. Bairam s own son, Abdur Rahim, became one of the most important generals of the Mughal Empire, but he is best remembered for his literary prowess, most particularly for his famous dohas . Literature plays a large part in this story. This unusual dual biography traces the lives of these two noblemen against the backdrop of the courtly intrigues, brutal power struggles and the grand literary endeavours of the Mughal court. And it looks at their afterlives how politics and the Hindi Urdu debate reincarnated them as national heroes; how both men came to be seen as standing at the confluence of Hinduism and Islam; how their life stories have undergone subtle transformations; and how history, religion and literature combine in the broader context of nationalism and nation building.