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Parvati Sharma Parvati Sharma. Acclaimed Indian author, best known for her unconventional narrative biographies, among which the latest is Akbar of Hindustan.


Akbar is usually presented as a beacon of tolerance. His philosophy of “Sulh-I-Kul” or universal peace seems far-sighted and rather astonishing if we consider the times he lived in. Times when Elizabethan England was zealously persecuting Catholics, Huguenots were getting massacred in France and the infamous Inquisition was torturing “heretics” not just in Spain and Portugal but across their vast empires in America, Africa and Asia. Freedom of religion had not yet been conceived as a value much less articulated and enshrined among state objectives anywhere in the world.

The ethos of pluralism and tolerance pioneered by Akbar served his empire well long after he had passed away.

Now in 21st century as religious differences are once again beginning to tear at India’s social fabric, can we look to Akbar’s India as a role-model for our multicultural society? Can Akbar be upheld as an icon for a cohesive India?

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