An emperor’s will was the final word. Pleas for justice or reconsideration of a verdict could be made, but acceptance was based on the ruler’s self-perception, rather than established principles of justice. A convict is allowed to escape through an underground route, to honor a personal promise made decades ago, but the to-be-buried-alive sentence is carried out in public view.

This facet of history is highlighted beautifully in the epic movie ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, which took sixteen years in the making.  There is one character – a sculptor called Sangtarash, who highlights the irony of justice in Emperor Akbar’s court in his work. One of those is a sculpture which depicts the fate of rebels – death by being trampled under an elephant’s foot.

a battered soul crushed

the elephant’s sole that kills

is owned by a king

Those who understand Urdu can recall the scene in a video here. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one with Englidh sub-text.

The rebel sculptor


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