Jodhaa Akbar is a sixteenth century love story about a political marriage of convenience that gave birth to true love between a great Mughal emperor, Akbar, and a Rajput princess, Jodhaa. King Barmal of Amer, who needed Akbar’s protection for his kingdom, offered his daughter’s hand in marriage to Akbar and the great Emperor Akbar decided to marry a rather reluctant Jodhaa. Little did Akbar know that the young girl he agreed to marry in order to further strengthen his relations with the Rajputs, was a fiery Rajput princess and he would in turn be embarking upon a new journey-the journey of true love.

Emperor Akbar was a man of great political acumen combined with valour which helped him secure not only the Hindu Kush, but also extend his empire from Afghanistan to the Bay of Bengal, and from the Himalayas to the Narmada River. Through a shrewd blend of diplomacy, intimidation and brute force, Akbar won the allegiance of the Rajputs. But this allegiance was not universal. There was a group of proud Rajput kings who held out and always considered Akbar as a foreign invader. In such circumstances, marriages between Rajputs and Mughals were frowned upon. Maharana Pratap led the group of rebel kings and banned inter marriages between Rajputs who had given their daughters to the Mughals and the ones who had not.

King Barmal of Amer, who needed Akbar’s protection for his kingdom, offered his daughter’s hand in marriage to Akbar and the great Emperor Akbar decided to marry a rather reluctant Jodhaa. Jodhaa agreed to marry him on two conditions: that she would retain her Hindu faith and that she could worship her Lord Krishna in the Mughal palace. Akbar not only accepted her conditions, but also appreciated her courage, simplicity and strength of character for openly expressing them. The marriage took place, and Jodhaa placed yet another condition on him: that she would only become intimate with him when she was ready, which the emperor also accepted. Even after Akbar’s acceptance, Jodhaa resented being reduced to a mere political pawn in this marriage of alliance. Akbar’s biggest challenge now did not merely lie in winning battles, but in winning the love of Jodhaa – a love hidden below deep resentment and extreme prejudice.

Jodhaa is forced to marry the Emperor Akbar to protect her father’s kingdom. Their relationship starts off with a lot of dislike and prejudices. Gradually as they started to live together, she came to feel an awe inspired by his bravery, his fair and just methods of ruling a vast empire, and his strong personality. At the same time, she was amazed by his kindness, goodness of character and respect for her. Akbar in turn was impressed by her beauty, poise and compassion towards others. He fell deeply in love with her but waited for her to reciprocate his love. He built a small temple for her inside her quarters and did not interfere in any of her activities. She learned his language, cooked for him in spite of being the Queen of Hindustan, and when he fell ill, she nursed him with true devotion. They fell deeply in love and their true union took place mentally and physically. They complemented one another and what started as a marriage for political and social obligation turned into a lifetime of eternal love and true devotion.

Some relationships start off on a note of opposition and dislike and then move on to richer, fulfilling levels. When arranged marriages take place due to external influences or as a compromise or when two people of diverse cultural or religious backgrounds enter into matrimony, there is a huge difference, mental gap or a vacuum to be filled. If both the partners do not take that extra step to tolerate, accept and appreciate each other’s likes, dislikes, desires and feelings, the vacuum may just keep growing and prove very difficult to fill. In practice, arranged marriages provide an equal or better opportunity for process of mutual self-discovery to mature. When two people with the right positive attitude enter into an arranged marriage, they gradually learn to complement one another and develop their relationship from the true depth of their inner self. They learn to love their partner not only for the qualities they see externally but for the real person inside who they gradually discover. Incidentally, they also gradually come to understand and respect one another and their families’ values.