Saleem and Anarkali

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The Great Mughal emperor Akbar and his wife, Mariam-uz-Zamani, were blessed with a son Prince Nuruddin Saleem (Emperor Jahangir). He was a spoiled boy, and because of this, Akbar the Great sent his son away to the army for fourteen years to learn the discipline required to rule the empire. Finally, Akbar allowed his son to return to the main palace in Lahore (the then capital of the Mughals and in present-day Pakistan). Since it was a day of great celebration, the harem (court) of Akbar decided to hold a great Mujra (dance performance) by a beautiful girl named Nadeera daughter of Noor Khan Argun. . Her complexion was red like a “pomegranate” in full bloom, and it was because of her flushing red complexion that the emperor himself named her Anarkali and announced it in court. During her first and famous Mujra in Lahore, Prince Saleem fell in love with her at first sight and it became apparent that she was also in love with him. Later, they both began to see each other privately. Prince Saleem informed his father of his intention to marry Anarkali and make her the Empress of Hindustan (which included parts of present-day Pakistan, India and Bangladesh). The problem was that Anarkali, despite her fame in Lahore, was a mere dancing girl, and dancing girls were not of noble birth. They were considered to be low-born and keeping any relation with them was strictly prohibited by the society. So Akbar forbade Saleem from seeing Anarkali again. Prince Saleem and Akbar had a heated argument which later became very serious after Akbar ordered the arrest of Anarkali and placed her in one of the jail dungeons in Lahore. After many attempts, Saleem with the help of his friend helped Anarkali escape and hid her near the outskirts of Lahore. Then, the furious Prince Saleem organized an army (from those loyal to him during his fourteen years there) and began an attack on the city; Akbar had a large army and quickly crushed the Prince’s rebellion. Akbar gave his son a choice to...
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