Dry Days for Moghuls

Bottle

 

It is likely that these cups would have been used to drink a mixture of wine and opium.

1. Babar, the founder of the dynasty, drank on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays but did not touch liquor on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Monday is pir or the first day of the week, Thursday is Jumaraat, an occasion for seeking vows on the eve of Friday (Juma), the day on which according to Islamic belief God created man and the day on which he will destroy it.

2. Jahangir did not drink on Thursday, as it was the day of his accession and on Friday, the Muslim sabbath.

3. Humayun was fonder of opium than wine, which he drank rarely.

4. Akbar drank within reasonable limits and abstained on many days in the week.

5. Shah Jehan followed his example and was a moderate drinker.

6. The biggest drunkard among the first six Moghuls was Jahangir — his brother Daniel and Murad died of alcoholism — who started drinking at the age of 17.

7. The first time Jahangir drank was on the banks of the Indus on a day when he was very tired, says Dr Ram Nath. After the drink he felt greatly relaxed. Thereafter wine ceased to intoxicate him and he started taking spirits of `araq’. Twenty cups was his daily quota and after nine years things reached such a pass that his hand began to tumble and someone had to hold the cup for him. It was at this time that the royal physician, Hakim Humam advised restraint. Jahangir took his advice and gradually brought down his intake to six cups a day. But he took a lot of opium all right.

8. Shah Jahan gave up drinking during the Deccan campaign.

9. Akbar Shah’s son, Mirza Jahangir, drank himself to death.

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