If you like old paintings, you would love to take a look at this page from court poet Abul Fazal’s Akbarnama, depicting Mughal Emperor Akbar punishing his foster brother Adham Khan by throwing him down the terrace of Agra Fort, not once but twice! Reason? Adham Khan had killed Akbar’s favorite general Atgah Khan out of jealousy.
Adham was the son of Maham Anga, Akbar’s foster mother and a very influential woman in his life. Her famous response to Akbar breaking this news to her was a steely “You have done well”. Within a few days of her son’s death, Maham Anga also died of heartache. Probably for political reasons, Akbar had a mausoleum built in Delhi and had both mother and son buried there.
A few years back the Bollywood movie Jodha Akbar had nicely depicted this scene of the Emperor’s rage.
Have you visited Adham Khan’s tomb near present-day Mehrauli Bus Terminal? It is also called the Bhool Bhulaiya (maze) because of the labyrinthine passages within. Once it had been a pretty structure set among foliage, but today the mausoleum is much degraded. In the 1830s, a British officer Blake converted this tomb into his residence, and had the graves removed to make way for his dining hall. (Funny how many British officers wanted to have homes inside tombs!) Blake died rather soon afterwards- probably that’s what happens when you disturb the dead?
In any case, the structure continued to be used as a rest house by the British, and at one point also served as police station and post office. Quite an interesting past. Later, on the orders of Viceroy Lord Curzon, the rest house was abandoned, the tomb restored, and Adham Khan’s grave reinstated under the dome.
Today again, however, the tomb has become a rest house of sorts. Squatters sleep in the corridors and play card games at the historical setting. Buses continuously rev their engines in the bus terminal next door. The marketplace is abuzz with activity. Pretty hard to imagine Adham Khan asleep peacefully in this chaos.