New Delhi, 28 October 2016: Veteran journalist Shazi Zaman who is coming up with the book ‘Akbar’ published by Rajkamal Prakashan, after putting in two decades of unparalleled research on the life of the celebrated Mughal emperor, went conversational about it at the Oxford Book Store last evening.
On the other side of the dais was Madhukar Upadhyay, well-known journalist and writer. The next one hour of the questions and answers session would reveal a lot about Akbar, but not enough.That would require you to read the book, because twenty years of research about an era of over five decades could only be justified through the book and that was something only a person with Shazi Zaman’s persistence and calm could do.
“Akbar was very much like Mughal-E-Azam’s Prithviraj Kapoor, and K.Asif's casting is admirable. There is actually a miniature of Akbar's old age where he looks like Prithviraj Kapoor" , ShaziZaman answers to Madhukar Upadhyay’s question on whether the real Akbar matched up with the popular notion about him, as the audience chuckles! He further tells how deliberately he avoided the popular material available on him, so that it didn’t influence his own findings and analysis, and read the ones written by people who were near to the Mughal Emperor, such as Abu Fazl.
There are debates about Akbar being a dyslexic, but he was well read too. Not many know, he could write ‘dohas’ (couplets) in the Braj language and was at home in the language of the common man. Such multilayered was his personality that the book dives into. Widely considered to be secular, which he was, Akbar had a deep quest to have the status of a spiritual leader, in the latter part of his life, Shazi Zaman revealed. And there is so much more that Shazi Zaman’s ‘Akbar’ will tell us, in the most compelling way.
If Shazi Zaman is a brilliant story teller, well known Television journalist DarainShahidi is an excellent ‘dastango’ (Word for a reciter- a16th-century Urdu oral storytelling art form).He enlivened the character of the Akbar with his excellent recital of three excerpts from the book, and he did it with much ease. “A brilliant literature doesn’t require much effort and would be meaningful, even if you read it flat”, he said.
At the end of the conversation, Madhukar Upadhyay, a great writer himself, had this to say: “I am fortunate to be one of the first readers of the book. I can honestly tell you that if you asked me to pick twenty five good books, Akbar would be one of them.”
About the Book: Shazi Zaman has worked on 'Akbar' for twenty years. He has studied all primary sources of Akbar's time to understand how his mind was reacting to events around him and how his mind was shaping events around him. He has meticulously read official and voluminous history of Abul Fazl --Akbarnama, the unofficial and secretly written critical account of Mulla Abdul Qadir Badaoni -- Muntakhabuttawarikh,and many, many more. His quest for the subject, took the author from the Indian Museum, Kolkata to Victoria & Albert London.The book is being published in Hindi by Rajkamal Prakashan and Speaking Tiger has bought the rights for its translation into English.
About Shazi Zaman: Shazi Zaman is a veteran electronic media journalist and is the Group Editor of ABP News Network. He passed out from the prestigious St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi with a degree in History. He has worked for the BBC World Service, Star News, Aajtak, Zee News and Doordarshan. His earlier novels were ‘Prem Gali Ati Sankari’ and ‘Jism Jism Ke Log’.
About Rajkamal Prakashan: Rajkamal Prakashan Samuh is a publication house with credibility of more than 6 decades. It’s a name synonymous with literary distinction, blend of ethnicity, and intrinsic value in the Hindi publishing world. RajkamalPrakashanhas a publishing history of 65 years, that boasts of almost all the legendary writers in Hind language and their work, besides books of other languages translated in Hindi. Shazi Zaman’s earlier novels ‘Prem Gali AtiSankari’ and ‘Jism Jism Ke Log’ were also published by Rajkamal Prakashan.
Note: The novel is available for exclusive pre-booking at amazon.in and will be available for readers 15th November onwards.
L-R Darain Shahidi , Shazi Zaman,Madhukar upadhyay