Chronicles of Akbar
|Original title||Chronicles of Akbar|
|(main) characters||Akbar Çakar|
|Timeframe||1688 - 1698 AN|
The Chronicles of Akbar is a narrative series written by Gustaaf Vermeylen, describing the events surrounding Akbar I, Sultan of Çakaristan, until his accession to the throne of Great Apollonia as Tobu Emperor.
The story series begins when Abu Çakar was crowned sultan as Akbar. This happened at the conclusion of the Sylvanian National Awakening. The stories give an insight into the personal lives of the sultan and the sultana, as well as the cultural developments of the Ultimate Çakar Sultanate.
The theme song for this story series is the national anthem of Çakaristan:
Marhaba ho marhaba
Akbar sat on a horse, surrounded by his guard. The enthusiastic crowd waved at him, while he was still a little upset that he had been elected sultan. Not his father, not one of his older brothers, but he had become a sultan. His smile was perhaps still modest. His meeting with Yodhaa, who was actually married to him, was very brief. Hasan had told about her and not a word of it had been lied to. As far as he could see, through her veil, she was very pretty.
He scattered gold coins into the crowd, while that crowd enhousiastically shouted at him: "Tu hai raja!” (You're the king). Suddenly Akbar was hit by an arrow. The guard reacted immediately by fencing off the sultan. Several people were not immediately aware of what was happening and were still cheering, while others were shouting in horror. Two men from the guard went after the gunman. Apparently the shooter had managed to get a weapon past the control. The shooter pointed a second arrow at the sultan, but the guard was unable to get the sultan in his sights. The two men of the guard ran towards him, when he realised this, he started to run away. He dropped his bow and arrow and fled.
The sultan was helped off his horse and brought back to the Red Fortress under guard. There doctors were summoned, while Abu's brothers sealed off the fortress. Large groups of people were imprisoned, but they were summoned to rest. The sultan was treated by the doctors, who removed the arrow from the sultan's left shoulder. The heart was not touched, the arrow was too high. The doctors treated the wound, but feared that the arrow might also contain poison. That poison could be more deadly than the arrow itself. The sultan lay unconscious while his wife and mother wept over the situation. His brothers and father remained strong, but all three of them got a headache from all the thoughts about how to proceed. The euphoria of less than an hour ago has turned into serious concern.
The two men of the guard managed to track down the shooter and took him prisoner. They took him to the Red Fortress. On the way, people spit on him, threw stones at him and the guard had to protect the shooter. In the fortress the shooter was put in a room, where he was guarded by six guards. He was searched and a capsule of cyanide was found. The shooter was disappointed, because this was how he wanted to avoid his punishment.
In the courtyard, Amir summoned the people to leave, but the councillors and dignitaries had to stay. He spoke to them, telling them honestly what the sultan's condition was. He stressed that it was precisely now that calm had to be maintained. The meeting was not entirely at ease. Hasan stressed: "If we don't stay together now, the fight for independence will have been in vain. Blood will have flowed for nothing! The only foreign guest still present said: 'If I may take the liberty of addressing you and giving you my humble advice, appoint a Grand Vizier to observe the government on behalf of the Sultan - may he soon recover. This will not put this nation out of control'. He bowed his head. The meeting actually agreed with the advice. But who should this Grand Vizier be? Amir urged everyone to remain silent, because the meeting collapsed in mutual consultation and debate. May I suggest that my brother, my father and I certainly would not become Grand Vizier? May I therefore propose that Rajesh Avchat be named Grand Vizier? For a moment, the sitting remained silent, but more and more faces cleared up, so there was agreement.
Rajesh Avchat himself was very surprised, but stated that he was very honoured. He took the oath before the meeting:
मैं यह शपथ लेता हूं
main yah shapath leta hoon
I swear this oath
The sitting applauded, while Rajesh nodded and bowed his head. Amir and Hasan breathed with relief. It was almost for nothing. They went back to the sultan. There they found the sultana next to the sultan, while others talked quietly from a greater distance. Suddenly the sultan moved, the doctors rushed. The sultan awoke, as if from a deep sleep. He looked up, wanted to get up, but felt the pain in his left shoulder. The anxious faces cleared up, relief began to set the mood. The sultan calmed down when he noticed he was in good hands. He saw her face, without a veil, without hindrance. Her beautiful face. He said to her: "marhaba" (welcome).
Courting the bride
The recovery of the Sultan went well. Akbar started working after some time. With his advisor and Grand Vizier decrees were issued to govern the sultanate. When he had recovered sufficiently, the marriage ceremony was organised. The formal marriage that had taken place during his coronation was now also confirmed with a wedding ceremony. Until this ceremony they had met, but had never been alone. They lived separated under one roof. That would change. The ceremony took place in the main hall, under the big dome.
"By Craitgod. This man and this woman are from now on bound together in the sacred covenant of marriage. Praise be to Craitgod!"
The sultan was very pleased with the marriage, a beautiful woman was now bound to him. On an elevated platform, stands a throne where the bride and groom were kneeling and a canopy above it. There was little time for the bride and groom to speak to each other. The guests passed the bride and groom's throne, expressed their congratulations and gave their gifts. The bride and groom smiles thanking their good wishes and gifts. They walked almost alone to the dining room, where the sultan had to admit that he was nervous to start a conversation with his bride. He did not want to flood her with questions. He had been dreaming about marriage for a long time, a beautiful woman for him alone. Comradeship, someone who would help him.
He thought back to what his professor said during one of the lectures: "The reason people get married, apart from dynastic motives, is that there is a framework around the relationship. Disagreements within intimate relationships are difficult to resolve, but they have to be resolved within a marriage. Because as part of the marriage vows it is the 'I won't leave you' element. As a result, within a marriage you cannot run away from every quarrel or manifestation of a defect. You have to solve it together. And how awful it is that a relationship is as unsettled as any dispute or manifestation of a flaw you can leave. Under what tension do you then live in the realisation that something only has to happen and your partner leaves? How are you going to behave then? First of all, of course you are not going to admit that you are doing something wrong. Secondly, you are going to behave like a frightened cat, because the relationship may just be over.
Some people then say it's a good thing that there is a possibility of divorce. Well, under certain circumstances that is justifiable. Only in general divorce is not a liberation from the bond of marriage. Because the uncertainty that you might get divorced if you don't, is a direct violation of your own vow of marriage. What is that vow worth if you can ignore it? After all, you made that vow, not only in front of your partner, but also in front of others.
So what is your attitude then? Look, you are in trouble, but so am I. You have flaws, but so do I. We are condemned to each other, because that is what we promised each other. It's an enormous vow, but that's why a marriage vow is also seen as a sacred act.
What would be your alternative, if you do not want to be 'bound' to a vow of marriage? Everything is changeable at any time. Well, live that. What does it look like when you're fifty? Two or three broken relationships, your family is fragmented, you have no continual stability. And it's not good for the children. It's a question of responsibility. If you can't run away, you have to solve your problems. So: I'm stuck with you, so let's solve problems. The alternative is that we have a boxing match for the next 40 years. If that responsibility doesn't hang over that relationship, then problems won't be solved. Because people avoid problems, that's the natural reaction. It is very difficult to solve problems, especially in an intimate relationship.
Suppose you have a quarrel. What your partner does and says doesn't seem to be in any proportion to what you do and say. You can't get to the bottom of it until you find out that your partner has been abused in the past. But your partner doesn't want to talk about it, and every time you bring that up, your partner gets angrier and angrier. So if in an unattached relationship there is always a threat to leave, but in the end there is a terrible story about the abuse. Your partner bursts into tears. What do you do then? In an unattached relationship you can avoid the problem and leave. Goodbye, good luck! But in a bonded relationship, you are condemned to solve this problem. Otherwise we have to carry this with us for the next forty years. This may be enough motivation to take on problems".
After dinner the party started. Music, dance and wine. Unfortunately the party was a separate affair. The men on one side of the main hall, the women on the other side. The women were shielded with a veil. While the dance and music were played in the middle. The sultan was reluctant with the wine, because he did not want to get drunk. The bride was escorted to the pouch room, where she waited for her groom to arrive. Akbar came in and there she sat on the bed. With her knees raised, under a veil. He took off his crown and sat down on the edge of the bed. She was clearly nervous. When Akbar carefully wanted to touch her hand, she pulled it away. Akbar realised that she didn't want to. He thought, was disappointed, but got up again and left. That night she slept on the bridal bed, alone.
The next few days Jodha saw her husband a few times while he was busy. She heard a conversation between him and her father, the Grand Vizier. The men did not know that she was listening while sitting on the balcony. Under the balcony, the men were in gespek. She was admired by her husband, who spoke with authority and full of wisdom. Not much later a high envoy from the Emirate of Arbor visited her. Her presence was desired and so she appeared in a beautiful dress and veil according to Aryastian tradition. In the courtyard towards the audience room she met the sultan. He nodded kindly and was apparently happy to see her. She appreciated his respectful attitude. But her court ladies, her mother and father were unhappy with the situation. According to them, the marriage had not been confirmed because they had not shared the bed.
On the other day she walked through the fortress when she suddenly saw the Sultan. He was not dressed in the usual sultanic robe. No crown on his head. His upper body was bare. Four sentries approached the sultan with drawn swords. The sultan fought the sentries, who apparently did not hold back. It was an exercise, because the brothers of the sultan were watching nonchalantly. The sultan defeated one after the other. The muscular upper body of the sultan was sweaty, she got itchy in her belly from the face. She hid behind the vitrages, but was indoctrinated from the muscular man. When the palace guards were defeated, the brothers approached laughingly. They drew their swords, but the sultan was already prepared. Akbar defeated his brothers with ferve.
That afternoon she saw in a beautiful symetric courtyard garden. She sang traditional Aryastian songs. The sultan heard her singing and was distracted. Then he finished the meeting, walked towards the beautiful singing. He saw her sitting, playing with young rabbits. The rabbits wanted to escape all the time, the court ladies were busy holding all the rabbits together. While singing her song, she stroked a rabbit in her arms. A poem, a song came into his mind and he heard the music already in his head:
|Adarani||Transliteration||Translated in Common Tongue|
कहने को जश्न-ए-बहारा है
Kehne ko Jashn-e-bahara hai
People may Imagine spring is here
Band of brothers
In the Red Fortress there were many courtyards, halls and gardens. Akbar had not yet had time to explore the entire palace. But what he did recognise was the uncomfortable attitude of the dignitaries towards his older brothers. They did not know what their position was, their status and how to honour it. After all, they had in fact passed through a strict order of succession which made their younger brother the sultan. But fortunately, they were true to their word and loyal to their brother. On one of the many courtyards there is a small dome on eight pillars. The octagonal roof was depicted in the cushions under the circular dome. This is where the three brothers sat. In front of their layers bowls with all kinds of delicacies: various kinds of baqlāwa, ḥalqūm and fruit.
"My brothers", started Akbar, he hesitated for a moment. Amir looked at the sultan in full anticipation. Akbar took a breath and said, "Three things I need to get rid of. And without diversion I am just going to say it". Hasan wanted to drink a sip, but put the cup back on the table to listen to his brother. "I am still troubled with the fall of Kila Qandagozar. The rumours that our father deliberately waited a day before marching with his troops to help Aykut Kökgül are persistent. We need to know what happened. Amir interrupted and asked Akbar: "Did you talk to our father about this? "No, not directly. I don't know how he will react", Akbar replied. Hasan said: "I have a reliable source who told me that father was indeed waiting a day. He knew that I would certainly not be on time with my troops." "Hmmm, this is what makes things so difficult now. Father always said he was waiting for the right moment," Amir said. Akbar shook his head. "As a sultan I cannot tolerate that father was deliberately too late to relieve Aykut. And we as a family cannot tolerate that if it were not true, the rumours would continue to go around". After a few moments of silence between the men, Amir said: "Couldn't you ask the Emir of Arbor to go to court? Then you, as a sultan, would not be too involved, because it concerns our father, and a fair verdict could be made". "Good idea," replied Akbar. He waved and a secretary approached. He dictated a letter to the Emir asking for this case to be investigated and tried.
Hasan said: “My brother, that was one thing, what is number two?” "Yes", replied Akbar, "the second thing is the assassin's army. The man is still imprisoned, but remains silent in all languages. I can't keep that man locked up forever, he has to be tried". "What do we know about this man?", asked Amir. "Not much, not even his name," replied Akbar. "Yes, then only his behaviour can be judged. If he doesn't share his motive, that's his problem," Hasan said. "True, but that makes it difficult to know if he is part of an organization or if he is a loner," Akbar replied. Amir said: "Once, but a judgement has to be made. And I would say, the death penalty'. Akbar nodded, but replied: 'I do not think his blood should spill on the land that has been fought over. The same country that Aykut gave his life for'. "Isn't there an island where his sentence can be carried out?" Hasan asked. "Undoubtedly, I will take the man to court and if he is sentenced to death, carry out his sentence on a lonely rocky island in the sea," Akbar concluded.
"Point three", Amir began. "This point is a bit personal", said Akbar, "we have the sultanate under control, but there is still a lot of green on our borders. There are opportunities there. One of the possibilities is the annexation of the former Aryasht. This area and especially its people are one of the cultural pillars of our nation. It is therefore important that we unite that area and its people with us. On the east side, we still have a piece of former Krasnarus, which is part of an island. If only for strategic reasons, it would be good to fly our flag on the mountain top of that island. That is why I want to send you both on a mission. A mission on the borders of the sultanate. But you are not doing that just for me. Hasan, I want to name you Raj over Korhal. Aryasht is west of there and that is part of your mission. Only Korhal is in your domain, with a large degree of autonomy. Amir, I want to send you east. I want to make you Khan over Albion. Conquer the island and conquer it for your khanate. Everything beyond that island is outside your domain. I don't want to take you away from Agra, but I do want to give you a share in the exquisite task that is mine".
The brothers looked at each other, their faces brightened. "What a great idea," Amir shouted. Hasan agreed and added: "My brother, we will not let you down! "Good to hear", said Akbar relieved. "Hasan, I named your mission 'shuddh butg par'. May Craitgod be with you!" Hasan nodded and already wanted to toast. "Amir, I named your mission 'tariqat alwird'. May Craitgod be with you!" Within days of this meeting, the brothers said goodbye and Amir and Hasan left for their mission.
For the first time since the coronation of Abu to sultan, a large meeting was organised in the Red Fortress. The atmosphere was less tense than at the previous meeting. At that time, the National Awakening was just coming to an end, but the future of the nation was very uncertain. It is different now, with a sultan at the helm, a government led by the Grand Vizier and secure territory.
The sultan emerged and sat down on his throne. Those present bowed their heads out of respect for the sultan. On the balcony on the right hand side of the sultan sat the sultana, somewhat hidden behind curtains. The Grand Vizier came forward and said: "By Craitgod, may the sultan reign forever". Those present answered with "Āmīn!". "With your permission there are a number of issues that need your attention", the Grand Vizier continued. The Sultan nodded approvingly.
"Your majesty, dignitaries, our nation exists by the grace of the great Craitgod. The struggle for independence has been fought, we honour those people who have paid the ultimate price for it. It would be a good thing if we did not forget that struggle and gave their lives. May I suggest, Your Majesty, that we erect a national monument? And to establish the day on which the National Awakening ended as official Independence Day? Several of those present nodded during the Grand Vizier's speech, after which a silence followed. The sultan nodded approvingly and said: "In this renewed city, the capital of our new nation, there is enough space to build a national monument. A park around that monument, so that the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice are carved in stone and there is room for reflection. Let that monument be the place where the fallen are commemorated every year and our independence is celebrated". "Thank you, Your Majesty," said the Grand Vizier with a bow.
"Your Majesty, dignitaries, in the absence of a constitution or a declaration of independence, we have not given our nation an official name. As a working title, we use the name 'Sylvania' and that is how we are labelled internationally, but officially we have not. May we ask you if you have a name for our nation', said the Grand Vizier. The sultan thought visibly and, after a short moment, said: "Dear Grand Vizier, dear dignitaries, may I hear you". It took some time for someone to come forward. "Your Majesty, may you rule forever", his speech was interrupted by the approving "Āmīn!", by those present. "Since you have been elected our sultan, sultan of this nation, it makes sense to name this nation as follows: Ultimate Sultanate of Akbar". The sultan smiled. "Your proposal flatters me, my dear, but this nation is greater than my name." The dignitary understood. Another dignitary came forward and said: "Your Majesty, may you rule forever" "Āmīn! "Why shouldn't we continue to use that working title?" The sultan replied: "Our nation encompasses a larger territory than what was once called Sylvania. The working title is inappropriate for our culture and identity". The dignitary nodded.
The Grand Vizier said: "Another possibility would be to use the name 'Hasanistan', but one of the sub-regions is already called that. The National Awakening is a joint effort by Hasanis, Nogans, Coriaks and support from the green. The name 'Hasanistan' would place too much emphasis on one of the participating population groups. The sultan nodded approvingly, after which the Grand Vizier realised that he had forgotten the formalities. He bowed his head in shame. The sultan didn't make a point of it or he didn't even notice it. The next dignitary came forward and said: "Your Majesty, may you reign forever" "Āmīn! "Our nation is the land of the cresent moon. We are on the east side of the Apollonian continent, while on the west side lies the land of the sun. The sun and moon are the most important celestial bodies, the moon reflects the light of the sun. May that be characteristic of our nation" "Thank you, my dear, your words have included true depth".
The meeting remained silent until the sultan himself took the floor: "In a divine vision I spoke with the great Craitgod. The deliberations of this assembly are of great value, that is why what the great Craitgod said to me was brilliant and brilliant. Naming a nation after me does not hold up. A nation named after a small minority does not stand up to others. A nation named after a lost past does not do justice to the present. That is why the following name is appropriate to our culture, does justice to your choice to choose me as a sultan and has eternal value: Çakaristan. The assembly burst out in joy and applauded: "Praise be to Craitgod for our nation Çakaristan!"
When peace had returned somewhat, the sultan said: "So it shall be, by the grace and wisdom of the great Craitgod, from this day forward, our nation is called: Çakaristan. The formal name will be Çakaristan: 'Ultimate Çakar Sultanate' and the ceremonial name 'Hilal Empire'.” The meeting applauded loudly! The sultan saw some participants asking about the ceremonial name. To which the sultan began to explain: "Our great nation is located on the Apollonian continent. We carry the Cresent Moon on our flag, while on the west side of this continent there is an empire with the sun on its flag. That is how that great empire and our great empire form a balance in perfect dualism". The previously questioning participants were pleased with this explanation and again there was a loud applause.
"Our nation is founded on a rich history of earlier nations. Only our nation will stand out from them in greater greatness. To begin with, we will change various names according to our language, according to our culture," said the sultan. The sultan's secretary came forward after a gesture from the sultan and read a list of name changes:
|Original name||New name||Arboric||Adarani||Meaning|
|Albion||Jabal al-Mada'||الجبل المضاء||dawn-lit mountain|
|(East-)Antica||Ardnusur||أردنوسور||अर्द नसर||land of eagles|
|Aryapur||Fatehpur||فاتحبور||फतेहपुर||town of victory|
|Aurelius and Makit||Çakarabad||شاكاراباد||चकराबाद||city of Çakar|
|Chesterfield||Kila Maidaan||فورت سهل||किला मैदान||fort plain|
|Maldon||Paar-Pahaadee||عبر التل||पार-पहाड़ी||crossing hill|
|Phedodah||Poorajangal||غابة كاملة||पूराजंगल||complete jungle|
|Sylvania||Sylfystan||سيلفيستان||सिल्वेनिया||from the forest|
The secretary nodded to the sultan when he had finished listing and took a step backwards. The sultan looked at the participants in the meeting and said: “May I ask the meeting to vote on these names?” The participants looked at each other, the Grand Vizier had to smile. With a nod, the sultan approved that the Grand Vizier would speak. The Grand Vizier said: "Dear representatives, our sultan, in the great wisdom of the great Craitgod, has decided that our great nation will have a parliament. This Parliament will have the mandate to become the legislative body of our nation. The sultan, may he reign forever, will ratify the approved laws by his signature. To this end, the sultan will draw up a basic law, provide a meeting place outside this palace and organise elections”. The meeting replied with: "Praise be to Craitgod for our nation Çakaristan!".
A vote was then taken and the list of new names was adopted by a large majority. The secretary announced the result of the vote. The sultan was satisfied.
A kiss from the rain
Jodha woke up, she felt enormously rested. She thought she had slept well. Her husband was still asleep next to her. She smiled, thinking back to the day before. For weeks she had been courted by the sultan. He did his best. And slowly her appreciation for him turned into love. She had already caught herself with a warm tickling sensation in her belly when she had seen him swordfighting. His muscles and appearance were beautiful to see. But she also felt the pressure, the pressure from outside to go to bed with him out of duty, because she had to give him a heir to the throne. She didn't have that in mind when she was younger. She wanted to fall in love, get married and then. The order was different now.
The previous morning began like other mornings. She had been invited by the Sultan to have breakfast with him. That happened more often, but the conversation was for looser than usual. She sighed when they had recovered from laughter. Even though she no longer knew why they had laughed so much, Akbar asked why she sighed. She said she used to dance and sing spontaneously when it rained. In Poorajangal rain is a blessing, so people would always party when it rained. Akbar asked what she sang then. And Jodha started to sing some lines of a song:
- O clouds please rain
- It's sweet and it's warm
- It's like a kiss from the rain
- It's warm, it's warm
- O clouds please rain
She clearly saw him enjoying her singing, although it was very simple. Suddenly the Sultan said: "Let us do something spontaneous!” Jodha was curious. He gestured her closer and in a gentle tone he said to her: "Put on some simple clothes, come to the parrot tower, then we will secretly go to the city". Jodha looked surprised and agreed. It was not clear how they managed it, but less than an hour later they walked together through the vegetation just outside the Red Fortress. Akbar looked through the bushes to see if anyone would see them if they took to the streets. When the coast was clear, Jodha and he took to the streets. Together they went to the souk. Their simple clothes seemed to be enough not to attract attention.
At the souk they were overwhelmed by the spicy smells, the wild colours and crowds. Akbar was introduced to some new flavours, which Jodha recognized from her homeland. They ate shawarma on a pita roll from one of the many street stalls. In the park, where the parliament building was under construction, they enjoyed the sun and the fresh breeze. Pigeons had already found the newly created park, while many trees still had to mature. Akbar wanted to see the national monument, which was built further on in the park. In this way they could see the monument well, without any formalities. They walked back into town, to the river Taw'am. Low quays had been built on the banks, so ships could moor. The ships were almost absent, so the quays were relatively deserted. In the distance they saw the Red Fortress. They talked to each other in such a way that they did not notice that heavy rain was approaching over the city. Armed they were talking to each other, when the shower erupted. They were so surprised that they rained soaking wet in a short time. Quickly they fled under one of the stone arched bridges over the river. There they were alone.
Akbar asked Jodha: "Can you sing that song again? The song about the rain." Jodha smiled, scraped her throat and began to sing:
|Adarani||Transliteration||Translated in Common Tongue|
ना रे, ना रे
Naa Re Naa Re, Naa Re Naa Re
Oh no ... oh no
While singing there were dance movements. Akbar enjoyed her singing. Jodha ended her dance in the arms of Akbar, where she sang the last lines. As if from a romantic movie they kissed each other. For the first time in full love. They experience it as magical, that moment. But in a film everything is directed to perfection, here in real life there was clumsiness too. For both of them it was the first time they kissed another, the first time they experienced a moment like this. That evening in the Red Fortress was possibly even more magical. Their kisses turned into a paradisiacal being together.
Our generous king is a shade of Craitgod
A special convoy transported the former king of Krasnocoria and his family to Agra. The mood was sad and they were nervous about what was in store for them. The former king looked outside, through the tinted windows of the armoured car. The landscape slipped by from what was once Krasnocoria. What he once ruled over. As they approached Agra, more and more building activities became visible. The former king was impressed by the large-scale approach. The new roads, railways and buildings. Eventually he also saw a well-known building, the Red Fortress. This was where the peace talks had been held to end the Hasani War. Now it is apparently the sultanic palace.
Even just before the Red Fortress there were construction works. Cars were no longer allowed to enter the Red Fortress, but stopped at the beginning of the bridge to the entrance gate. The construction work was to provide that arrival point with the necessary buildings and shielding. Undoubtedly there will also be room to park the cars when the Sultan's guests are in the Red Fortress. They got out and walked together across the bridge, through the entrance gate. There they were escorted to the large courtyard with the throne of the Sultan. A large number of people were present in the courtyard. The former king and his family were placed in front of the throne of the Sultan. Without handcuffs, without threat of weapons, but escaping was not an option. On the right, three men sat on three chairs, dressed in long robes. On the left were the Grand Vizier, Rajesh Avchat, and Ümit Çakar, the Sultan's father. Above the throne on the left, on the balcony behind curtains, he saw a beautiful woman, apparently the Sultana. And on the right above the throne, on the balcony behind the curtains, he saw Hamida Banu, the mother of the Sultan. He did not see the brothers of the Sultan.
The court speaker announced the arrival of the Sultan and from behind the throne the Sultan stepped forward and sat down on the throne. The court speaker began: "By Craitgod, may the Sultan reign forever". Those present answered with "Āmīn!". The former king and his family were amazed at what happened. The court speaker continued: "Your Majesty, before you stands Jovan, King of Krasnocoria, and his family. They were hiding in Micobad, where your brother, Hasan Çakar, found them. He had them brought here and so they are here". The Sultan nodded, after which Ümit Çakar came forward and took the floor: 'Your Majesty, under the responsibility of this man, many brothers have been murdered. During the Hasani War and the Sylvanian National Awakening, our brothers were murdered by men who had sworn allegiance to this man. May I advise the Sultan to punish this man for that". Ümit Çakar stepped back to his place. The Grand Vizier came forward and said: "The king pardoned the Hasanis after the Hasani War and cannot be held fully responsible for the actions under the Krasnocorian flag". Extensive statements were made by the two men. When they were over, the court speaker asked if the former king would like to make a statement.
Jovan said: 'Your Majesty, thank you for bringing me and my family here and protecting them. It is true that, as king of the fallen Krasnocoria, I can be held responsible for all actions under my rule. I cannot hide behind the fact that others have acted in my name. May all the dead who have been mourned find peace. All you can ask for, Your Majesty, is mercy. At least let my family continue to live in peace and tranquillity. If you pronounce a punishment, let me bear it." He became emotional and could not speak any further. One of the three men in the chairs talked to each other, then one of them stood up and said: "Your Majesty, we have come to a verdict" The Sultan nodded. "Jovan, the King of Krasnocoria, is fully responsible for his actions and those under his responsibility. His family cannot be blamed for that. It should also be borne in mind that the political circumstances have unleashed the Hasani War and the Sylvanian National Awakening, not the King's actions'.
The silence was deafening, everyone was waiting for a word from the Sultan. To the amazement of those present, the Sultan stood up. He descended and stood in front of Jovan. He said: "You pardoned my father after the Hasani War, that mercy must not be forgotten. Therefore, I will spare you your life and that of your family.
I send you into exile. The Chidao Emperor, Heavenly Light of the Jingdaoese Empire, has provided you with a home where you and your family can live in peace. The Fangzhu Castle has been made available for this purpose. You and your family have been banished from the Ultimate Çakar Sultanate for the rest of your life". The former king looked at his wife and said to the Sultan: “Thank you, may you reign forever”.
The Sultan's father looked a little disappointed. But one of those present exclaimed: "Dilwale hai zil-e-crait-elahi!" (Our generous king is a shade of Craitgod) The next day the former king signed the official abdication, renunciation of possessions and declaration never to set foot in the Ultimate Çakar Sultanate. His family and he were driven to a military airfield, where a private jet was waiting for them. That plane took off and flew to Jingdao. Akbar was only reassured when he received the news that the former king and his family had been handed over to the Jing. He was still afraid of an attack or something. Fortunately, that did not happen.
Tears on the marble floor
After a while Jodha noticed that she was pregnant. Akbar and they had their belated honeymoon, in which they showed a lot of love and passion to each other. First her father was worried about the absence of sexual intercourse, now her father was worried about the absence of the Sultan at meetings. Apparently it was never good, she thought it was youthful. She was already very happy with her pregnancy, although she was very nauseous. But Akbar was even happier if possible. He had lifted her up and danced around with her with joy.
It was difficult to keep the pregnancy a secret, but it worked well to keep the news within the palace walls. The sultanic couple experienced their happiness intensely, which made Akbar's work seem to suffer. During a meal together with both their parents, the sultanic couple received the old advice to find the balance. Akbar was invited by the tribal elders of the Nogans to talk about cultural preservation. The sultanate expanded rapidly, more different population groups came under the sceptre of the Sultan.
A few days before his departure, a tragedy took place. Jodha was inconsolable, she had lost her baby. Her pregnancy came to an end in great pain. Shortly before, we had listened together to the beating heart. But now it was over. Akbar wanted to comfort her, but she did not allow it. For days she cried with her court ladies, while Akbar cried on the other side of the closed door. He found the situation heartbreaking and wanted to do something. But she did not allow it. He could understand very little of it. His mother advised him to be patient and in his prayers he asked Craitgod why this happened.
Without her he left for the meeting with the Nogans. Just outside Akyar tents had been set up, where the tribal elders had gathered. On his way to Akyar he passed Kila Qandagozar, where he stopped. There was a memorial erected for Havildar Aykut Kökgül and his 20 men. Inside, the names of the men were carved in stone, not to mention that they gave the ultimate sacrifice for the creation of the sultanate. Yet he still felt that something was wrong with his father's performance around the attack on the fortress.
Upon arrival at the tent park of the Nogans, the discussions went well. After the meal with typical Noganish dishes, the Nogans began to sing:
|Adarani||Transliteration||Translated in Common Tongue|
ख्वाजा जी, ख्वाजा
Khwaja ji iiii…. khwaja
Noble Khwaja, Khwaja
On returning home, the door of Jodha's residence was still closed. Abu knocked, but Jodha did not want to let him in. He told about the meeting with the Nogans, especially what happened. He had received a revelation from the great Craitgod, who the Nogans called 'khwaja'. After that he had joined in the whirling and got into trance. "Jodha", Abu said, "There are no words from my mouth to comfort you, but you are my wife, I am always there for you". It remained silent for a moment, then the door gently opened. Jodha came out and let herself fall into the arms of Abu. She cried her last tears and came to rest. Their hearts were beating synchronously, their love for each other became deeper.
To maintain peace
In Agra there was unrest with the rise of Alduria-Wechua nearby. The island of Lyrica came more and more under their control. The storm that caused the Arboric fleet to move further east than planned may have caused unrest in Parap. The sultan remained calm and sent a special envoy to Alduria to open talks. That envoy had only informal talks, because there did not seem to be a formal official treaty in it. The sultan did not expect that either.
The sultan ordered the Pond Isles to be abandoned, then the envoy told us that Alduria has no interest in claiming on the Apollonian continent. "The strait between Kendall Isle and the Pond Isles is a clear boundary," concluded the Sultan. Not much earlier there had also been informal contact with Floria. There, the plans for the conquests of the Green were agreed upon. In this way possible conflicts were prevented.
Only Hurmu was a nation in the region with which no contact had yet been made. The sultan learned that the Emir of Arbor had some connection there. For example, the sultan ordered the ambassador in Arbor to talk to the Arboric government about this. The ambassador had the pleasure of meeting the Emir in Madinat al-Fath. The ambassador was already allowed to be a guest at a concert, where he witnessed a high quality Arboric culture. When he was granted an audience, the ambassador praised the excellent concert. The Emir was delighted with this praise.
"What brings you to His Majesty the Emir?", a servant asked. The Ambassador: "If it pleases you, O Great Emir, I would like to speak on behalf of my Lord, the Sultan, to maintain peace between Hurmu and my country. The Emir looked a little strange, he asked: "Your lord, the sultan, is wise to seek peace. What could I do to persuade Hurmu to go along with your lord's desire for peace? The Ambassador replied nervously: 'Your Majesty, may you forgive me if I tell you something you already know. You and your wife are members of the Order of the Holy Lakes in Knightly class. That is your connection with Hurmu." The Emir bowed to a servant and whispered with him. "Your Excellency, let me check this information. If this is true, I will act as an intermediary for your lord to keep the peace." The Ambassador bowed and left the audience hall backwards.
A few days later, a letter was received from the Emir, saying that the ambassador's information was correct. The Emir had asked the government of Hurmu to contact Agra. An Arboric representative had travelled to Vesüha and was there on behalf of the Emir to speak to the government of Hurmu. A treaty was signed, with which both Hurmu and Çakaristan were content. The treaty was ready for signing on the island of Suqutra. The port was decorated with the flags of Çakaristan and Hurmu when the ships arrived with the Hurmu senators Jan Spiik and Ellen Aarevalla. They were received and welcomed by the Grand Vizier. As usual, the senators were invited for a meal. There the senators were amused with dance and music:
After the meal, dance and music, the senators were invited to sign the treaty. De Grand Vizier signed on behalf of the sultan. When the senators left they were given gifts: tea, spices, hazelnuts and pomegranates.
As if love is in the air
On several occasions, Jodha witnessed the government actions of Akbar. Although he had not chosen to become a sultan, it became increasingly clear that choosing Abu was the right choice. Abu had grown to be great, to be Akbar. Jodha recognised this in his patience for her with exciting matters. She had not chosen to marry Akbar, but the time she needed to resign herself to her fate was granted by Akbar. Not only had she fallen in love, she wanted to be with him. Now, as often as she could and forever.
But she was still reluctant, afraid perhaps, to be intimate. Their intimacy was paradisiacal, though clumsy and new to the unknown. That they were in happy expectation was great, but that came to an end early on. That sadness, that disappointment still plays a role for Jodha. She came to the realisation that she more than had to admire Akbar's patience for her. At no time did he impose himself, although she knew that he wanted to be intimate with her.
She was very happy that her mother came to visit the Red Fortress. She missed her homeland, the freedom to go out. Into the wilderness. Abu had had beautiful gardens laid out, but that was not comparable to free nature. Even the botanical garden, where trees and plants had been planted from her homeland, could not measure up to what she could see in the past. She showed her mother around the palace, who said it was all very beautiful. In the botanical garden Jodha had tea brought to her and asked about her homeland. Her mother told her how it went there, but then her mother asked, "How are you? How is your marriage going?" Jodha got nervous, she looked down. Her mother stretched her arm and tried to raise Jodha's face with her hand. Jodha moved willingly, but a tear escaped from her right eye. "Is it true, what I heard?", her mother asked. "What have you heard?", Jodha asked. "How shall I say, my child? That you haven't been intimate since the loss", her mother replied. Jodha began to cry. "Oh, child", her mother said and took her daughter in her arms.
"Something of your feelings I can understand. The marriage between your father and me has also been arranged, we have also lost children. We didn't say that because we wanted to give you a carefree childhood. Not knowing that the great Craitgod had this in mind for you," her mother said. Jodha rose from her mother's arms. "Really?" she asked. Her mother started to cry and said: "It has been so long, but the pain remains". Together they cried, after a while Jodha asked her mother: "Do you love father? "Yes, it took a while, but after a while in the marriage I loved him," her mother replied. Jodha nodded, because she recognised that. "How did you continue after the loss?", she asked her mother. "It's difficult, but give your loss a place. A place in your heart and a place in your house", her mother answered and continued when Jodha looked questioningly: "Do you know that painting with the blue lily? Jodha nodded. "That is my place for the lost child.”
Jodha was sorry that her mother left again. She had never understood the painting with the blue lily, but the meaning is great. In her mind she walked over one of the walls of the Red Fortress, followed at a distance by her court ladies. Her thoughts were interrupted when she saw a butterfly fluttering and although she followed the butterfly with her eyes, suddenly the butterfly is gone. Then she went faster, the court ladies were startled and ran after her. Abu had seen her walking and suddenly they went faster. Abu thought the reaction of the court ladies was funny. He became curious and looked for Jodha to see where she was going. He found Jodha, who was searching through papers. "Yes," Jodha said, delighted and supposing she was alone. She held up a paper with an embroidery pattern. Abu came closer and coughed to mention his presence. Jodha looked back with a radiant face. She was not even surprised that Abu was standing there, she ran towards him and fell into his arms. She told about her mother and the embroidery pattern of a butterfly: "With this I am going to make an embroidery in memory of our loss. A place to remember and not to forget". Abu was moved and could only nod.
After dinner, the desire grew. The desire to be together. Jodha told Abu to come to her tonight. Abu had a late meeting, but ended it early. He walked through the corridors of the palace, while his heart started beating harder and harder. He stayed in the bedroom while his wife was standing opposite him.
|Adarani||Transliteration||Translated in Common Tongue|
इन लम्हों के दामन में
In lamhon ke daaman mein
In the lap of these moments
There are pure relationships
Meeting of the rising sun and the cresent moon
After Emiilia Ask had landed at the airport of Agra, it seemed as if she had arrived in a very large construction pit. The newly built capital city is the hallmark of the brand new nation. With Emiilia the diplomatic staff came along, as well as a lot of necessary stuff. The sultanate had made some cars available, as well as the embassy building. The ambassador was brought to this embassy building with a vehicle provided. There they worked hard to get the embassy operational. On arrival Emiilia unveiled the sign with the text "Hurmu embassy". The flag was hoisted above the building.
Two days later the ambassador was picked up by the sultanic palace guard. The luxury car, equipped with two flags on the bonnet, a Hurmu and a Çakari flag. The car was accompanied by palace guards on motorbikes. In this way Emiilia was driven to the front building of the Red Fortress. The front building was still new, so guests could be welcomed before entering the palace complex. Like the palace, the front building was constructed of red bricks in the typical Red Fortress architectural style. Evidently, an effort was made to match the front building with the palace. The Hurmu flag was also hoisted in front of the gate, as a sign of welcome. Once there, it was received by the Nawab ka Mahal, who greeted her with a Namaste: "Welcome to Agra, my name is Ayush Bajpeyi, the Nawab ka Mahal, meaning Lord of the Palace.” The Hurmu national anthem was played, the Hanwen u-Brida.
A guard of honour had been posted along the bridge to the palace complex. She was escorted over the green carpet by the Nawab to inspect the guard of honour. Once through the gatehouse, they arrived at the Court of the Grand Assembly. It was here that the ‘Azeem-o-shaan shahenshah’, the Çakari national anthem, was sung for the first time. There was no one there at the moment, but Emiilia could get an impression of this place. The Nawab talked about the first meeting, the election of the Sultan and the start of the Çakari revolution. Emiilia was further accompanied trough a colonnade along one of the inner gardens. Everything looked spick and span. Emiilia noticed that the hustle and bustle of the city was not audible in the palace. After that Emiilia was escorted through the Hall of Columns. In the middle was again a green carpet, on both sides a row of twenty columns, carrying a Babkhan arched roof. At the end of the hall, the Nawab with Emiilia stood in front of a closed door. A few moments later, the large double doors opened. Behind them, two curtains slid to each one side and another curtain slid upwards. Two sentries stood in position on both sides. The sultanic announcer said forcefully: “mahaamahim, main aapako imaamaliya aask, raajadoot huramu kee or se pesh kar sakata hoon” (Your Majesty, may I present to you Emiilia Ask, Ambassador of Hurmu)
The Nawab gesture that Emiilia could walk on, into the octagonal Hall of Mirrors. Opposite the entrance she saw the sultan sitting on a throne. Next to him sat the sultana. Emiilia walked towards the sultanic couple and stood in front of the steps of the platform. She greeted the sultan with a Namaste, who nodded. In her hand she had her credentials, a servant took them and gave them to the sultan. The sultan looked at the letters, nodded approvingly and gave them back to the servant. The sultan said: "Welcome to the Ultimate Çakar Sultanate. Your appointment has been accepted." Emiilia nodded in thanks. The sultana took the floor and said: “May I offer you a gift on behalf of the sultanate?” With a gesture of her hand, a servant handed the gift to Emiilia. It is a sari in Çakari green, with a richly decorated border. Emiilia thanked the sultan and sultana.
The sultan and sultana got up, they left the room to the adjacent room. The Nawab came forward and gestured Emiilia to follow. She too came into that room, which was more intimate. Low tables were in an L-shape, with seat cushions behind them. The sultan and sultana took place on the long side, while the Nawab invited Emiilia to sit on the short side. The table was provided with tea, fruit juices and delicacies. When Emiilia sat down, she noticed that the atmosphere was relaxed. The sultana to her journey. Emiilia answered, after which the sultan asked for her opinion about the embassy building. So the conversation went to a more relaxed one. The sultan let there be music and dance to conclude the conversation:
Help build this nation, because this nation belongs to you too!
Akbar took the words of Hasan, his brother, to heart: do not become a court prince! He wanted to travel through his country, explore the sultanate with his wife. But, how to start? As by the great Craitgod, a letter came with an invitation from the University of Šer-ku-Riž. The university where his father teaches. The students wanted to invite the sultan and sultana to meet. With the letter Abu ran through the palace to Jodha. She was surprised to see her husband running like that. But also happy with the invitation. The secretariat was instructed to prepare the meeting.
After a while the time had come. The sultanic couple set off for Šer-ku-Riž. They used the brand new sultanic train and drove over the restored track via Akyar to their destination. For the first time in a long time they saw more of their country than could be seen from the Red Fortress. Akbar and Jodha enjoyed it very much. The train arrived in Šer-ku-Riž, the hometown of Akbar, where he was born into Micras as Abu. In Krasnocorian times the city was the terminus of the main railway, line 6. Now, however, large-scale construction work is underway to build a new station a little further away from the old one. For a new railway junction is being built, so that from the city it is not only possible to travel to Akyar by train, but also directly to Salafuabad (formerly Slavograd) and eventually all the way to Manbai. Because the new station is not ready yet, the sultanic train arrives in the old station.
Many people had already gathered at the station to welcome the sultanic couple. The couple waved cheerfully at the people as they walked through the station building in the direction of the waiting cars. In convoy the cars drove to the university. Once there, the student corps formed a hedge of honour along the main road across the campus to the main building. Green flags almost hid the buildings, the frenzied students waving green flags and handkerchiefs at the sultanic guests. The Rector Magnificus and the Praeses of the student corps received the sultan and sultana on the pavement of the main entrance. They were led inside, in the hall the professors, doctors and professors of the university were lined up. The sultan and sultana each shook hands, of course there was a lot of attention when father and son shook hands. Ümit Çakar, the father of the sultan, is Professor of Sociology at the university. Since the coronation of Akbar, he had returned to university. Another professor appeared to overshadow this moment. Like his colleagues, he had prepared himself for the meeting with the sultan and sultana, but he refused to shake hands. He nodded, but did not say a word. Akbar recognised the man and remembered his passionate speeches about the ideal republic. Jodha saw that there was no shaking of hands and waited for Akbar's reaction. Akbar nodded and walked on to the next in line. The further hand shaking continued without interruption.
In the main hall sat the selected students, who all stood up when the sultanic couple entered the hall. A big applause followed to the sound of the national anthem, the "Azeem-o-shaan shahenshah". On the stage there were three seats on the side, designated for the Rector Magnificus, the Praeses of the student corps and Ümit Çakar. In the middle were two large chairs for the sultan and sultana, with a lectern in front of them. The Rector Magnificus exhorted everyone to silence and gestured to everyone to sit. He welcomed the sultan and sultana once again, thanked them for accepting the invitation and spoke about the course of the afternoon. Then the sultana was given the floor. There was applause, but that was silenced when the sultana stood behind the lectern. "Ladies and gentlemen, dear students, on behalf of my husband, may I say that we are very grateful for your invitation. It is clear that you have good connections with the sultanic court", said Jodha when she oversaw the students and turned towards her father-in-law. Those present had to laugh very much. They also laughed outside, because large screens were placed there so that the other students could watch.
"You asked in your invitation to speak about what life was like in the Green. Well, to see what is interesting for you to know, I made a study of life here. So I was able to make a comparison. Above all, life in the Green is an uncertain existence. There is no government, no national flag or binding factor. Because of this one is dependent on one's own survival. Fortunately, the bond of community has not completely disappeared. I myself have not had any direct threat, such as the insecurity of having no food or lack of firewood. But I have seen many people struggling with those deficiencies. Connected to the house where I was born and grew up was a soup kitchen. There I often helped to provide people with a hot meal. We had to buy food, but there was no certainty of the safe arrival of that food. Good roads were missing, if a bridge was damaged, there was no government to repair it. Let alone to build a new bridge. Prices of food were uncertain, prices could vary from day to day. Life in the Green, even for a princess, was not easy, but almost impossible for ordinary people. This unattractive picture of the situation is not the whole story. People's will to survive, to make life meaningful, that is a real gem. The jewel from the Green. That jewel has now come under my husband's government. That makes the annexation of the West a great opportunity for the whole sultanate. The unbridled energy, the will for a meaningful life and the craving for freedom make our nation unique. Thank you.”
Those present applauded, both inside and outside. The sultan also applauded, looking proudly at his wife. She bowed her head out of gratitude, after which she sat down. The sultan waited a moment before he got up. A moment of fame for his wife. When the sultan stood behind the lectern, it became silent again. "How can I surpass such a speech?", began the Sultan. Those present laughed. "Dear students, rector, praeses and professors. The call for democracy within the sultanate is becoming louder and louder. And rightly so, Krasnocoria in all its faults was a state with democratic principles. That is how the democratisation of the sultanate is taking place. A first step towards that process was the implementation of a census. It was already thought that many people lived on the western side of the green border, but after the census it became clear not only how much, but also the relationship with the people on the eastern side of that border. This led to new discussions in Agra. If we were to introduce a direct election to parliament, candidates from the west would, by definition, be in the majority. Perhaps even overwhelmingly in the majority. It is here, on the Sylvanian Peninsula, that the uprising began and our nation's origins lie. Today we, both west and east, form this nation. But we must not overrule each other. So we must have a relationship to balance. A system of electoral colleges is then a means of organising that. But what is a democratically elected parliament, without a separate executive. The question of how to organise it has not yet been answered. As it has now been done, namely through the appointment of a Grand Vizier, either by the Grand Assembly or by the Sultan. Or elected by the people. What will be the relationship between the Grand Vizier with his ministers and the Court? Now, as a sultan, I bear many responsibilities, but is that desirable for the future? In short, there is still much to discuss, much to develop. Our nation faces great challenges. After all, democratisation is one thing, other things are: diplomacy and relations with neighbouring countries, economic developments, the construction of infrastructure, expansion, taxation, culture and education. All these things are coming to us at the same time. As a result, our nation will need at least another decade to form a stable nation. You, students at this university, you can help with that. Help build this nation, because this nation belongs to you too!”
A standing ovation followed these last words. After a while of thankful nodding, the sultan sat down. This also ended the applause. The rector came forward and thanked the sultanic couple for the speeches. The visit was concluded with a light meal in the form of a reception. In this way the professors, the rector and the praeses could talk informally with the sultan and sultana. The sultanic couple left to spend the night in the luxurious Apollonian Oriental Hotel.
The joy of a birth, the pressure of succession
On the morning of 12.XI.1691 there was great tension in the Red Fortress. It had already been leaked that the Sultana was pregnant, but there was great social pressure to be cautious in reporting. The fact that something was going on was already apparent from the cancellation of the major meeting that morning. Early in the morning, before sunrise, Jodha's parents arrived at the Red Fortress. Rani Champavati, mother of the Sultana, would assist her daughter at birth. That is what is very common in Poorajangal. In Šer-Ku-Riž, the Sultan's parents were woken up, they got up to travel to Agra. A car picked them up and drove them to a nearby military base, from where they were flown to Agra.
The room where the women were locked. The men were not allowed to be there, not even the Sultan. Akbar thought that was old-fashioned, outdated, but eventually gave in to the pressure. He strolled back and forth in front of the door of the room. He heard Jodha, which worried him. But the other women didn't seem to panic. Then he heard a baby crying, there was the long-awaited child. Moments later Jodha's mother, the brand new grandmother, came out and looked happy. She invited the Sultan inside. Inside, the Sultan saw a sweaty but very happy Jodha, with a small baby in her arms. He approached cautiously and sat down next to Jodha. Jodha looked happily at him, he kissed her sweaty head. "The great Craitgod be praised," said Akbar. He saw that grandma Rani looked a bit worried. "What is it?", Akbar asked. Rani didn't answer. Jodha said: "It's a girl". Akbar looked into Jodha's happy brown eyes and said: "May this girl be as handsome and prosperous as you, my love". A tear of happiness found its way out of Jodha's right eye.
However fortunate the sultanic couple were, the big meeting that was held in Red Fortress with three days' delay was divided. Of course, everyone wished the Sultan and Sultana luck, but there was a group that ruled that the succession to the throne had not been assured. On the contrary, another group argued that the birth of a child is, by definition, a certainty for the future. The Grand Assembly seemed to be divided according to the origin of the Members. To the west of the Green Border, we are used to a system of matriarchal succession. Male or female succession through the maternal line. To the east of the green border, we are accustomed to a patriarchal succession. The male succession via the male line. The matriarchal succession in particular has different forms, which is an opportunity for the group to form a majority for the patriarchal succession. This led to fierce discussions, while the Sultan was yet to arrive.
The Sultan was almost impossible to get away from the cradle with the little girl. Jodha said: "My husband, it is time for you to devalue the succession for the Grand Assembly". Akbar looked into the loving eyes of his wife. "Well, my love," said the Sultan. The fierce discussion silenced immediately when the arrival of the Sultan was announced. Instead of the usual entrance to the courtyard, Akbar came from another entrance. It walked between the men, it was so quiet that the birds could be heard. Amidst the men, Akbar stood and listened to the birdsong. "Hear the sparrow and the swift, their twittering is the concert of nature. Your discussions are twittering on the fringes. The day will come when my succession will be arranged. That is not today," said the Sultan.
Blossoms of friendship
For the first time they travelled together, out of the country. The Sultan and Sultana flew to Batavia. They had to leave their daughter in Agra, in the caring hands of the nanny boys. After an hour-long flight they landed at Schapenheul Airport, near 's Koningenwaarde. There they were received with all due respect. A red carpet was rolled out at the bottom of the aeroplane stairs, a guard of honour and the Çakari national anthem was played. The Sultana whispered to her husband: "Our national anthem really doesn't sound without singing". Her husband laughed and was greeted by the Batavian reception committee. On the way to the Hotel Heerschap it was clearly visible that the city was buzzing with joy about the upcoming coronation.
It is noticeable that the city of 's Koningenwaarde is accustomed to visits by dignitaries. The security, accommodation and entertainment of guests has been taken care of down to the last detail. The Sultan took the opportunity to meet people. The plane with which they had come, that was a private jet of a Krasnocorian businessman. It was time for a new plane. ArBa Aircraft had moved their production from Point Vincent to Kolmar. There the Sultan and Sultana were given a tour. An aircraft of this manufacturer was a candidate to deliver the new sultanic aircraft.
On the day of the coronation, the Sultan and Sultana were escorted to the Catodral of 's Koningenwaarde. The beautiful building was decorated with flowers and flags. The foreign guests were received in a special reception room, where the Sultan and Sultana had the opportunity to meet other foreign guests. Those meetings were mostly polite and superficial. The dividing lines along the different alliances was the tension that hung in the room. They were then taken to the great hall of Catodral and assigned to their seats. The Sultan was dressed in a black three-piece suit, with, of course, a pin with the flag of Çakaristan on it. The Sultana was dressed in a long elegant dark blue dress, decorated with jewellery including a tiara, nose ring and necklace.
The sounds of the organ were strange to the ears of the sultanic couple. The music was so different from the music from their homeland. While they waited for the coronation ceremony they were treated to an ultimate piece of organ music:
The coronation ceremony was full of tradition, dignity and grandeur. Akbar was very impressed with its order and structure. In the meantime he thought about the Çakari situation. The succession to the throne, the ceremonies and the transfer of power. He and his wife could not understand the national anthem, but thought the melody sounded very beautiful. They greeted the crowned king and his wife as they walked along the aisle to the exit. When the new king had left the Catodral, the foreign guests were picked up and escorted to a side exit. From there they were taken to the Koninklijk Paleis. Via another route, the new king and his wife were driven in the golden carriage to the same palace.
In the Koninklijk Paleis the sultanic couple made their appearance to meet the new king and his wife. After they were announced, the sultanic couple entered the throne room. The new king and his wife were standing in front of the platform with the throne. There the colleagues gave hands to each other. Akbar congratulated the new king of Batavia on his coronation and wished him strength to carry out the important task. Hendrik Leopold thanked him for this and expressed the wish for friendly relations between Çakaristan and Batavia. Then the Sultan gave a hand to the Queen, who thanked the Sultan and Sultana for coming. When the Sultana greeted the queen, the queen congratulated her on the recent birth of their child. The Sultana thanked her for these congratulations. Although the courtesies were to be expected, the short meeting also showed sincere cordiality. That promised good for the future.
Handing over the key
Who was most nervous, that was the question. The Sultan would meet the elected Grand Vizier for the first time. For the first time there had been elections to the Çakari Parliament, the Majlis al-Sultina. The leader of the largest party, who also enjoys political support of at least half plus one seat, was nominated as the new Grand Vizier. Akbar knew that his father-in-law, Rajesh Avchat, was very keen to see him off. He knew that Rajesh had worked hard for the sultanate, but he was tired. The prospect of a new Grand Vizier taking office with the elections was a great moment of transfer for Rajesh. It was somewhat disappointing that elections had been postponed for a year. Nevertheless, Rajesh wanted to continue his task until the handover to a new elected Grand Vizier.
The election results were surprising. At least, the system of electors worked, which resulted in a balance in representation. The expectation was that many different parties would take part, but also create a patchwork of parties in the Majlis al-Sultina. Many parties did participate as well, but only three parties were elected. This will probably have something to do with the large constituencies, which currently comprise a whole princely state. Smaller parties may be more likely if the constituencies are smaller, perhaps the size of a province.
Jayanti Sinha, the leader of United Green, did not expect to become the largest party. The polls looked good, but how reliable would they be? She campaigned nationwide, although she knew that her chances in the east of the country were pretty slim. The rally in Agra turned out to be a great success, the turnout was much higher than expected. Now she was on her way to the Red Fortress. Her first meeting with the Sultan. She was nervous about that. The fact that she would become the first elected Grand Vizier, a woman in that position. The Sultan came from Hasanistan, a region where there were no women in government positions. The Sultan was married to a woman from Poorajangal, where male rule through matriarchal succession is common. Nevertheless, she had received an invitation to come to the Red Fortress.
Arriving at the Red Fortress, she was received as if it did not matter that she was a woman. A guard of honour, the playing of the national anthem and accompaniment by the Nawab ka Mahal. Jayanti was escorted to the Sultan. In the Hall of Mirrors the elected Grand Vizier was received by the Sultan. The Sultana was also present and the retiring Grand Vizier. She greeted the Sultan with a Namaste. The Sultan nodded and smiled. "Welcome to the Red Fortress, Jayanti Sinha," said the Sultan. The announcer came forward and asked: "Mrs Jayanti Sinha, have you come to be appointed Grand Vizier for the Ultimate Çakar Sultanate?” Jayanti replied: “Yes, that is why I have come”. The announcer turned to the President of the Electoral College and asked: “Have the elections to the Majlis al-Sultina, which determines the Grand Vizier, been conducted lawfully?” The President of the Electoral College replied: “Yes, the elections to the Majlis al-Sultina were lawful”. The announcer nodded and turned to the Sultan: “According to the law of the Sultanate, Mrs Jayanti Sinha was elected Grand Vizier”. The Sultan nodded. Then the announcer turned to the High Judge in the room and said: "The Sultan is pleased to appoint Mrs Jayanti Sinha as Grand Vizier". The High Judge came forward and asked Jayanti: "Are you willing to be appointed Grand Vizier?” Jayanti replied: “Yes, I am willing”. "Repeat this oath after me", said the High Judge, which Jayanti did:
मैं यह शपथ लेता हूं
main yah shapath leta hoon
I swear this oath
The High Judge said: "Thank you, congratulations, Your Excellency Grand Vizier". Jayanti nodded. The announcer came forward and said: “Your Majesty, Sultan of Çakaristan, may I present to you: the Grand Vizier”. The Sultan nodded and said: “Your Excellency, congratulations on your appointment. We look forward to a pleasant cooperation.” Jayanti had also put together her cabinet, and the sights (ministers) were also sworn in. After this ceremony, she and her sights were invited to join the Sultan and Sultana for the meal. The gathering relaxed. Nothing showed that the Sultan would have trouble with a woman like Grand Vizier.
After the meal the Grand Vizier and Viziers said goodbye to the Sultan and Sultana, after which they left the Red Fortress to go to their offices. The Grand Vizier went to her new office and had a meeting with the now old Grand Vizier, Rajesh Avchat. A golden key was handed over to Jayanti by Rajesh. "With this key I give you access to this office. That you may make many good decisions for the benefit of the sultanate here," said Rajesh. Jayanti thanked the old Grand Vizier. Rajesh then left for Liburnia, where I would resume his role of Raja a few days later.
The Green Flag over green land
For months, preparations had been made to receive the Sultan and Sultana in Haritdesh. The Sultanic guard was already nervous about the idea, but even more so when the Sultan made it clear that he did not want to arrive by air. He wanted to travel to and through Haritdesh by land. In terms of infrastructure, the area was still a big construction site. Roads were under construction, railways not yet finished and if there was a road, it was often the only road. A real nightmare for the Sultanic guard. Nevertheless, the visit of the Sultan and Sultana would go ahead.
By sultanic train, the sultanic couple travelled to Manbai. There, the Sultan visited the construction site where the Sultanic palace was being built. The Sultan treated construction workers to lunch and was himself present in the large tent. It took a while for the construction workers to loosen up, but there was mostly appreciation for the Sultan. Akbar showed interest in the work of the builders, also laid some stones, but of course not as skilfully as the builders. With his sleeves rolled up and helmet, the Sultan took a photo with the builders.
Instead of the usual luxury cars, all-terrain vehicles drove in front. The area in front of the Apollonian Oriental Hotel was cordoned off and the Sultanic couple got in. The convoy drove through the city, while many enthusiastic people stood along the side waving. Police officers had closed off intersections as the convoy approached. Several helicopters escorted the convoy, while motorcyclists led the way. So the convoy left Manbai city in a north-westerly direction, towards Padaudah. The first part of the road was brand new. The smooth asphalt made the all-terrain vehicles superfluous. They whizzed over the road as if on a magic carpet. This main road sometimes snaked around villages so that the road did not end in narrow streets. More importantly, the heavy traffic would not endanger the villagers and their children. At bridges over the road, people would often stand and wave as the convoy passed.
On the way, the Sultanic couple enjoyed the view. Fields alternated with forests. The road snaked around hills and over bridges to cross rivers. Along the way, the convoy stopped for various occasions. A photo of a vista, lunch at a roadside restaurant and a visit to a village. In that village, a medical school had just opened and the sultanic couple were given a tour. The children in the neighbouring small hospital received a visit from the Sultana, who speeded up their recovery with a kiss on the forehead. The young mothers were encouraged, as the Sultana had also just become a mother.
Eight hours after leaving Manbai, the convoy arrived in Padaudah, the first town in Haritdesh. The sultanic couple was received at the Prince's Palace by the Prince of Samudra. The Haritdesh Confederation consists of six states, each headed by a prince. In rotation, one of the princes is the head of the confederation. The confederation is considered one of the sovereign states within the sultanate. In the courtyard, the sultanic couple was entertained with music.
The next morning, the Sultanic couple was treated to a traditional breakfast, typical of Haritdesh. The Sultan and Sultana enjoyed it very much. Padaudah is an old city with narrow streets, so a parade with cars and the like was almost impossible. The Sultanic guard was not at all happy with the idea, but the Sultanic couple went on foot through the streets of the city. The city, of course, had turned out to see the Sultan and Sultana, the people all wanted to catch a glimpse. The Prince, the Sultan and Sultana walked through the narrow streets. The shops were open and the couple stopped at some of them. A court servant then approached to make the purchase of whatever product the Sultana wanted.
The Sultan and Sultana were invited to a preselected teahouse. Of course, the picture was that they spontaneously entered this teahouse, but Sultanic guard had of course organised this in advance. Nevertheless, the owners of the tea house were very honoured with the high visit. The tea was served together with all kinds of local delicacies. Most of them were familiar to Sultana, but there were also some delicacies new to her. The owner told passionately about the homemade sweets. The Sultan asked the owner about the business, about the turnover and profit. For a moment, the owner hesitated to disclose the facts, but did so anyway. He told the business improved greatly after Haritdesh was incorporated into the Sultanate. When the Sultan looked at him, the owner declared that it was true and that he would also take out the books to prove it. The Sultan smiled and said it was not necessary, he did not want to embarrass the owner. After tea, a picture was taken with the owners. That picture would later be hung on a prominent place in the teahouse.
The Sultanic couple continued their walk through the city. At the temple for the great Craitgod, they took time to meditate. They were sitting in a north-westerly direction, the direction of Cherry Trees. Akbar thought of his brother, who was in Craitland on a pilgrimage. Amir had said, "It is cold there," which made Akbar chuckle. Amir had been in the coldest place in the Sultanate, at least until the western border was extended to the Monalan Parvat (Monlan Mountains). Those mountains would surely be conquered by his brother, Akbar was sure. Jodha hoped that Amir would find love; she felt sorry for him now that his elder brother, Hasan, had also found happiness in Manikarnika. When the Sultanic couple left the temple and shook hands with the people, one of the children asked what the Sultan had prayed about. The Sultan replied: 'For peace on the continent, Pax Apollonia'.
Through the narrow streets, the party walked to the City Hall, where all kinds of important people wanted to meet the Sultan. Plans for the development of Haritdesh and infrastructural plans for new connections with Sylfystan were presented. The Sultan pointed out the opportunities in the north. A new network of expressways was also discussed at length. The inventor proposed that all expressways should be eight-lane, in urban areas with additional parallel lanes, flyovers and constructed in such a way that a speed limit is not necessary. Sultan could appreciate the ambition and said that if the construction of expressways is possible, the absence of a speed limit also depends on driving behaviour. The designer could not argue with this, but the Sultan was very pleased with the plan.
The Green flag above a green tent
The Sultanic caravan moved on again. Further west. Tents were pitched on a hill. Many had a flag of the Sultanate on top, waving happily in the wind. The large tent in the middle was clearly the Sultanic couple's tent. It was green, but the edges of the tent cloth were gilded and the emblem of the Sultanate was stitched on several surfaces with a golden thread. The cars carrying the Sultanic couple stopped right in front of the tent camp. People had to enter the tent camp on foot. An honor guard of students stood along the path, while the Sultan and Sultana walked up the path.
They approached the large tent in the middle, but still had to walk up and around the tent to get to the entrance. The Sultanic couple was given time to recover from the journey. The tent was arranged in two rooms, separated by curtains. The "door" between the front space and the sleeping space could be closed by pulling a rope and the curtain closed. The inner tent consisted of lighter colours green, golden yellow and white. The floor consisted of a raised floor, covered with Babkhan carpets. In the large sleeping area, a large four-poster bed stood ready. There was a copper bathtub on the side, a dressing table and a storage table with a chair. This tent and all its equipment was not for one-time use. The Sultan had this tent and everything in it specially made. Every time they toured the Sultanate and came to places where no suitable place to stay could be found, this tent could be set up. But also for staying abroad.
It was the first time that the Sultan and Sultana used the tent. They were both very enthusiastic about the tent and marvelled at the neat details. The craftsmanship, the care and effort that had gone into this tent. As Akbar stretched out on the bed, Jodha combed her hair. "What a beauty this land is," Akbar said. Jodha smiled, turned to Akbar and replied, "I told you that, didn't I?" "Truth, just like when Hasan told me how beautiful you are," Akbar responded. Jodha smilingly shook her head, she did not need to guess at her husband's intentions. They chatted for a while until the Nawad ka Tamboo (Lord of the Tent) entered. He was silent until the Sultan looked at him. "Your majesties, when it pleases you may I invite you to come out? The Sultan nodded and together the Sultanic couple walked out. When they came out of the tent, they noticed that it was getting dark. The students, who would be spending the night in tents around their big tent, were gathered in the central clearing. In the centre, wood had been piled up to light a campfire. In a large circle around it, cushions had been placed to sit on and torches had been set up in various places.
The students cheered when the Sultan and Sultana emerged from the big tent. They stopped and looked around. What an enthusiasm! They walked to the central clearing, where they sat down on a seat, waving. The students also sat down. A young man stepped forward and spoke: "Welcome your majesties for being here at our annual event. Students from three universities usher in the new academic year with this event. It is very special to us that you wanted to be part of this. On behalf of the students, I thank you. We were allowed to ask you questions and we wanted to do so in a structured way. There were so many questions that we made a selection. May I ask Aaria to ask the first question?" A young lady nervously stood up and stepped forward, "Your majesties, thank you for wanting to be here. My question to you, actually to you alone, Madam Sultana". Jodha had to chuckle at once. "How did you fall in love with your husband when your marriage to him was arranged?" "Good question," Jodha began, "actually I would like to ask: how can you not fall in love with this man?" She tapped Akbar's knee, who burst into laughter and the students laughed with him. "Of course, that is not the whole answer. We learned to love each other. For us, our marriage was a fait accompli. Resistance or aversion to it is in fact pointless. We both believe in the sanctity of the institution, marriage. We met each other on that basis. It is also no secret that we had no intimacy in the first period of our marriage. Abu... the Sultan and I established a relationship of trust before we became intimate." The questioner nodded and sat down again.
A young man stood up and asked the following question: "How can this nation continue to exist as a unit?" Akbar replied, "An excellent question, that question is asked every day in Agra. How do we keep this country together? There are many differences, such as: language, culture, religion, history, social status, economic prospects, too many to mention. There are also things that unite us: the deep desire to live in freedom and justice in peace. We may be so different, as long as the Sultanate, as an organisation and a nation, fulfils this deep desire, then there is unity". "Thank you," said the young man gratefully. Another young man asked, "With the advent of progress such as new roads, railways, airports, expansion of cities and so on, the landscape of Haritdesh will change. How can it be ensured that the beauty of the landscape is preserved?" Akbar replied, "Just now I expressed my admiration for the beauty of this land to my wife. You are right that the construction of new roads, railways and so on spoils this landscape. When planning them, we must strive to fit them into the landscape. A straight road through a hilly landscape, for example, is disruptive. In addition, areas must be designated as nature parks, so that the unspoilt nature in those areas is protected."
As the final questioner, a young lady stood up and asked, "Your majesty, is this the first time you have been to the west of the green border?" Akbar replied, "No, I have been west of the green border before. My first time was a visit to my wife's childhood home." He turned to his wife and said, "Perhaps you can relate that further?" His wife nodded and said, "The first time my husband came to Keruliya, my hometown, he was received in the traditional way. He was questioned by my father, whether he was going to take good care of me. Then he had to come to the courtyard. There, I was veiled along with many village girls. He had to recognise me and if he did, he was allowed to sleep with me that night. Otherwise he had to sleep alone in the courtyard. Sultan or not, there were no extenuating circumstances. Fortunately, he recognised me among all those village girls." The young people, especially the ladies, had to laugh at the story.
The time for questions was over. The sun was almost down. The young men prepared the campfire. The Sultan helped and surprised the young men by the skill with which the Sultan lit a first fire. With some flax and two flints. Maybe it was luck, but Akbar only had to hit the flints three times. The torches were also lit. Thus the camp was heated and lighted. When the fire was lit and blazing, Akbar came to Jodha. She was busy with other young ladies preparing the food. When Jodha saw her husband approaching, she spooned some of the curry she was preparing on a plate. She added some rice and a piece of thali (platter). "So, my husband," she said, handing over the plate, "you can have a taste. Akbar was a little suspicious of his wife's exaggerated sophistication, but he did not let it get him down. He took the piece of thali and used it to spoon up the curry rice. It tasted heavenly, though spicy, and it made Akbar hot. But he complimented his wife for preparing it, and also the other ladies who had also been watching the scene between Jodha and Akbar.
After thanking the great Craitgod for the gathering, the food and the peace of the sultanate, the meal was opened. Akbar and Jodha were seated among the young people, with no designated seating arrangement. Of course, they were still special guests, but the worst of the tension was gone. After the meal, there was singing around the campfire:
|Adarani||Transliteration||Translated in Common Tongue|
|झीनी रे झीनी रे झीनी चदरिया, झीनी रे झीनी रे झीनी चदरिया
के राम नाम रस भीनी चदरिया, झीनी रे झीनी रे झीनी चदरिया
अष्ट कमल दल चरखा डोले, पांच तत्व, गुण तीनि चदरिया
साइँ को सियत मास दस लागे, ठोंक-ठोंक के बीनी चदरिया
सो चादर सुर नर मुनि ओढ़ी, ओढ़ी के मैली कीनी चदरिया
दास कबीर जतन सो ओढ़ी, ज्यों की त्यों धर दीन चदरिया
|Jhini re jhini re jhini chadariya, jhini re jhini re jhini chadariya
Ke ram naam ras bhini chadariya, jhini re jhini re jhini
Ashta kamal dal charkha doley, panch tatva, gun tini
Saiin ko siyat mas dus lagey, thokey-thokey ke bini
So chadar sur nar muni odi, odi ke maili kini
Das kabir jatan so odi, jyon ki tyon dhar deen
|This is fine, this is fine cloth.
It is been dipped in the name of the lord
The spinning wheel, like an eight-petal lotus, spins,
with five tatvas and three gunas as the pattern.
Lord stiched it in 10 months (the gestation period)
The threads have been pressed to get a tight weave.
It has been worn by gods, people, and sages
they soiled it with use.
Kabir says, I have covered my self with this cloth with great care,
and eventually will leave it like it was.
Nam Sadar, Sultanate et unitate!
One of the most mysterious areas of Haritdesh is surely the area around Leylpur. After all, that area existed as an independent nation for a short time: Duchy of Leyl. When Haritdesh was annexed, Leylpur was included, but there was no representative at the reception of the First Expeditionary Force in Padaudah. As a result, it was uncertain whether the residents would agree to annexation under the green flag. Agra classified the area as a separate princely state, but as yet has not appointed a ruler.
The Sultan and Sultana left the tented camp in a northerly direction. The youths waved goodbye to their guests. The road along the Leyl River was quickly repaired because of the Sultanic couple's travel plan. The original road runs from Fatehpur to Maulikpur, only today interrupted by the Confederate States of Floria. Due to the unclear relations with Floria, most people travelled by boat from Manbai to Fatehpur. Around the territory of Floria.
At the border of Leylpur, the column stopped. The road was blocked by a barrier. On the other side stood a young man and behind him another group of people. The Sultan and Sultana got out and approached the barrier. Until the moment when they were facing each other, with the barrier between them. It seemed tense, but the young man gestured, and the barrier opened. The Sultan stepped forward and shook the young man's hand. "Your humble servant welcomes you to Leylpur," the young man said. "Thank you," said Akbar. Together, two groups travelled to the city of Leylpur. Once there, an official ceremony was held in the castle of Leylpur, Windsor Castle. Officially, Leylpur was incorporated into the sultanate as a principality. In the process, the young man was appointed as the ruler. Akbar pronounced: "Today I proclaim that Leyl Sadarya is part of the Ultimate Çakar Sultanate. The ruler of this princely state is the legal successor of the late Duke of Leylstadt, Nicholas of Vinandy-Windsor. Therefore, I present today the Sadar of Leylpur, Filip des Vinandy-Windsor."
The Sadar stood up: "Thank you, your majesty. May the Sultan reign forever!" The evening continued with music, dancing, food and drink. The next day, the Sultanic couple was given a tour of the city, which tour ended at the quay of the River Leyl. A ship was waiting there. The Sultan and Sadar shook hands and said goodbye. The Sultan went on board the ship, together with the Sultana he waved to Sadar and the people on the quay. The ship disembarked and sailed in a north-westerly direction. Smaller boats, mostly from the security, surrounded the ship. The ship sailed along the Adaraney river to Maulikpur. The Sultanic couple enjoyed the scenery of Leylpur and returned to the deck when the ship passed a riverside village. There, people stood waving at the Sultanic couple.
With the crossing of the border, it became clear that the green landscape was giving way to construction. The town of Maulikpur, which was earlier called "Mahapur", lies near the Leyl Sadarya border. The old capital of Aryasht was now the capital of the Haritdesh Confederacy. It is the second largest city after Manbai, but due to its compact construction it is the busiest city in Çakaristan. The Sultanic couple sailed quietly into the city, while the bank was restlessly crowded. Many people had come to watch on the waterfront, they wanted to see their Sultan and Sultana.
Through smaller waterways, the ship with the Sultanic couple arrived in the old city centre. The citadel was magical, authentic and so much different from the modern city around it. The great temple dedicated to the great Craitgod towered above the city, but as the Sultan and Sultana landed and stood at the foot of the temple, the temple seemed even bigger than they thought. Instead of one dome, like the temple in Agra, this temple had three domes. In awe of the architecture, the Sultanic couple went inside. Amiable music was played.
In one of the high front buildings, there was an audience hall. In the distant past, the prince of the city sat there and received his subjects to give advice and administer justice. This was something that did not happen now, except that monks of Craitism received people there to give advice. Today the Sultan and Sultana were to receive people. A man came forward with one leg in plaster. He said he was travelling by bus from his home town to a place in another principality to attend his sister's wedding. But the bus made an emergency stop and he broke his leg. The bus company would not reimburse him, even though he had very little money. He had to use the money he was going to give to his sister for the hospital.
The Sultan asked the man, "Were there any other injuries during this emergency stop?" "No, sir", replied the man. "Where were you sitting in the bus?", the Sultana asked. "Ma'am, I was on the roof of the bus". Akbar frowned, whispering with his wife. Apparently, it was common for people to travel on the roof of buses. A representative of the bus company was called in. "Sir, is it true that people travel on the roof of your buses?", the Sultan asked. "Yes, your majesty, that is correct." "Do you have facilities there, so that people can sit there safely as well?", continued the Sultan. "No, your majesty. People travel for nothing on the roof of our buses. Again the Sultan and Sultana consulted in a whisper. "We have come to a verdict," the Sultana said to the fallen man, "we will reimburse your expenses and provide a gift for your sister." The man was overwhelmed with surprise and joy. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," he said. The Sultan turned to the representative of the bus company: "You will have facilities installed on the roof of your buses so that people can sit safely. The people can then travel for free. I will reimburse you the cost of the adjustments to your buses".
At the main railway station of Maulikpur, an old train is waiting. The steam locomotive is puffing, ready to depart. The luxury train carriages are coupled. The train staff was waiting on the platform. Here came the highly honoured guests, the Sultan and Sultana. They were escorted across the green carpet to the chief conductor. The conductor greeted the Sultanic couple. The Sultan handed over the train tickets. At the top of the train tickets, "Apollonian Express" was written. Apart from the steam locomotive, the carriages are from the historic Apollonian Express, which once ran on the Maulikpur - Ambarganj route. Back then, those cities had different names, and there is still debate as to whether the Apollonian Express actually ran. But now, symbolically, a train journey was made to mark the revival of the Apollonian Express.
The Sultan and Sultana shook hands with each staff member and had a short personal talk. Then they boarded the train. From one of the windows, they waved to the spectators as the train departed. The track had been fully repaired, as it had not been maintained since the Antican period. Due to this lack of maintenance, the sleepers were so outdated that some broke in two. The wooden sleepers were simply rotten. Trains derailed, causing injuries, damage and delays. There are stories that, when a derailment occurred, the passengers got the train back on track together and the track was repaired on the spot.
On the way, such stories were told by the head conductor to the Sultan. The Sultan was surprised to learn that it was still common to sit on the roof of the train. "So for buses we have an arrangement, but it seems to me that travelling on the roof is more dangerous," said the Sultan. The conductor said, "Yes, your majesty, because if a train is derailed, most of the injured are the passengers who fall off the roof. "Good", said the Sultan, "we must do something about that". The Sultana said, "Maybe the parliament should debate that". The Sultan thought for a moment. He got an idea, winked at his wife and said to the head constable, "Good of you to bring the matter to my notice. Thank you very much." "The gratitude is entirely on my side, your majesty," replied the head conductor. He left the carriage and in the next carriage he began to whistle cheerfully, which was just audible by the Sultan and Sultana.
Akbar called the Grand Vizier. "Your Excellency, we have to do something about passengers travelling on the roofs of trains. There is a provision for buses, but not for trains. I would like parliament to pass a law prohibiting this. I can issue a decree, but I also want support," said the Sultan. The Sultana did not hear the other half of the phone call, but saw her husband's face change and then he began to nod. "Good, I will make a provision decree so that it will be banned immediately and then the parliament can debate it." After finishing the conversation, the Sultan called the Secretariat and quoted the decree: "After the usual beginning: Considering the many accidents and dangers of travelling on the roof of a train, this form of travel is banned with immediate effect. Violation of this ban will be punished by a fine of 30 gold dinars. This decision will remain in force until a further legal provision comes into force. Closing with the usual". "So, with a bit of luck I will be able to sign this decree after arriving in Akbarabad.
A point of time
The train arrived in Akbarabad, a newly built city. The Sultanic couple had spent the night on the train, as the journey took 9.5 hours. Akbar looked at a map and said to his wife, who had just entered the carriage, "On the map we seem to be crawling, but it takes a long time to travel around the country." Jodha looked at what her husband was pointing to on the map, nodded in agreement. "Now we are in the city named after you," said the Sultana. "Well, that's the peculiar thing. The people gave me the throne name 'Akbar', then a city is built with that name," the Sultan replied. "Yes, that is a form of circular sedition," the Sultana concluded. In front of the window, the sign 'Akbarabad' slid by, the train slowly entering the station.
The city was clearly still under construction, but efforts had been made to prevent the highly honoured guests from ending up in a construction pit. On the platform, the mayor of the new city was ready to welcome the Sultanic couple. Only something seemed to go wrong. The mayor and his entourage were standing at one of the doors of the train, for which a green carpet had been rolled out. But the Sultan and Sultana got off one door further on. When they both stood on the platform, they looked a little surprised. Jodha started laughing, then the Mayor too realised what was happening. He saw the Sultana laughing and the Sultan joked, "They must be expecting someone else". The Mayor was full of shame and apologised a hundred times. But Akbar calmed the man down and said it was no big deal. Jodha added: "There is no point in redoing the reception as it is already on camera." The mayor could laugh a little after all.
Together, they walked through the station hall to the square in front of the station. There were many people on the square to welcome the Sultanic couple, who had been able to watch the reception live on the platform via large screens. The mayor was embarrassed, but there was nothing he could do about it. The straight road between the station and the river was closed off. In the middle of the road stood a long table, which was 2.5 km long. Two and a half thousand guests were already seated at the table, the first two and a half thousand inhabitants of Akbarabad. The Mayor invited the Sultan and Sultana to sit at the table too. They all had breakfast together. When the Sultanic couple had eaten enough, they began to walk around the table. The Sultan on one side and the Sultana on the other. Shaking hands, short conversations and receiving presents.
At the end of the table, the Sultanic couple were waved off and escorted across the bridge over the river. In the middle of the river was an island, connected on two sides by bridges. The island's quays had been bricked up, the mayor said, and the island used to be under water at high tide. Now, that is no longer possible, but the river has been widened on the north side to avoid problems with high water. Because this island was needed for a special construction. A square had already been created on the island, with a steel line running through the pavement. "That is the prime meridian, your majesty," said the mayor. In the middle of the square was a steel compass rose. "May I ask you, your majesty, to stand in the middle of the compass rose?" The Sultan followed the invitation and the Sultana stood by him. "Your majesty, north and south speak for themselves. But if you look east, you will be looking in a straight line to your throne in Agra." The Sultan and Sultana were impressed. "Your majesty, may I invite you to walk a little east," the mayor asked. Together they walked eastwards. There was a stone ready, the first symbolic stone of a tower that will be built here. "This tower is a clock tower. The technical in this clock will indicate the exact time of CMT-0 time zone."
Start of a tour
The train took the Sultanic couple further on their journey. They arrived in Ambarganj, their last stop in Haritdesh for this journey. This time, the reception was by the book. The Prince of Parvatalaya received the Sultan and Sultana. A riksha was waiting for them on the station square. The Sultana looked strange and wondered if they would go on in that vehicle. Her fears turned out to be true, for indeed with this vehicle they would proceed. The Sultan first let her get into the back seat, he himself sat next to her. The prince sat in the front and steered the riksha. The Sultan saw the concern in his wife's eyes, but he reassured her. The prince started the engine and began to drive. A shriek escaped from the Sultana as the riksha jerked and she grabbed her husband's hand. But once the riksha had some speed, everything went much smoother.
The prince drove a tourist route through the city. Past the local Crait temple, the parliament building and the football stadium. The ride ended at a factory. It was the factory of Qaghta Motors, the manufacturer of motorbikes and rikshas. The Sultana thought she had seen enough of a riksha, but now she saw hundreds of them. In a large hall, which could be seen as a museum, were several rikshas and motorbikes. The bicycle riksha was the first product of this factory. In the Jing period, the motorised riksha was introduced. The models showed an evolution to the riksha in which they had come. The current models of rikshas still came in different variants, such as the riksha with a canopy and a back seat for two persons, the riksha with two back seats and the "pick-up" riksha with an open cargo box.
The director of the factory shared his concern about the future, as city councils wanted to do something about the smokes. And rightly so, but of course there had to be transport too. The capital Agra had even threatened to ban the riksha. The Sultan was surprised at these concerns, the Prince was nervous, as the director was not supposed to tell. But the Sultan asked, "What have you done to reduce emissions from the riksha?" The director replied, "The latest models have a filter on their exhaust, which reduces harmful emissions." The Sultan nodded and asked, "What fuel does the riksha use?" "Petrol," the director replied. "Look," said the Sultan, "in my youth I tinkered with an engine more than once. I am no expert, but I had a great liking for four-stroke engines. This makes the combustion a lot more efficient. I know, the engine also becomes more expensive, so the purchase of the riksha also becomes more expensive. But if you switch your entire production to the four-stroke engines, it will become cheaper. A next step could be to switch to compressed natural gas."
The director was happy with the Sultan's advice. The Sultanic couple was given a tour of the factory. At the engine department, the Sultan surprised the employee who was working on an engine block by explaining to the director how to use the four-stroke engine. The employee was patted on the back by the Sultan and a photo was taken. Then the company went to the courtyard of the factory. There was a course laid out, the prince asked the Sultan: "Have you already obtained your driving licence for the riksha?" The Sultan started laughing and replied, "No, I haven't." "Your majesty, may I invite you to obtain your riksha driving licence?", the prince asked. "Of course", replied the Sultan and turned to the Sultana, "would you also like to get your riksha driving license?" Jodha was surprised at the question and hesitated. But the prince said, "We have prepared two rikshas for a reason". Jodha agreed. The Sultanic couple were instructed about the riksha. Adjusting the mirrors, the buttons like the handshoke. The oil level should be checked. Jodha had to do that too, she got her hands dirty, but she did not let it get her down.
Then the course was explained. All kinds of obstacles were set out, such as a crossing, traffic lights and a road narrowing. For a moment, there was a question of who would go first, but Jodha set the riksha in motion and started driving. The Sultan smiled proudly. Cautiously, the Sultana went over the course and, according to the instructor, had a neat score. The Sultan then went over the course. He made some mistakes, mainly because he was going too fast. His experience with a motorbike was clear, because the control over the vehicle was better than with the Sultana. The instructor said sternly that the Sultan had actually made too many mistakes, but still got a driving licence. Jodha started laughing, to which Akbar asked, "Can I do it again?" The instructor brightened, for he knew that anyone else would not get a licence for this number of mistakes. Akbar drove the course more calmly this time and made hardly any mistakes. The instructor was happy and said that the Sultan had now really passed. Holding their riksha licences, the Sultan and Sultana were photographed.
At tea, the Sultan asked the director, "As you saw, I went too fast with my first lap, is there such a thing as a riksha race?" "Yes, in the distant past there was a Riksha Tour, a race across the country," the director replied. The prince said, "It would be a good idea to revive that." "Indeed," said the Sultan, "Next year a new Riksha Tour!" After tea, the Sultanic couple said goodbye to the director. The director promised to work on a riksha on compressed natural gas. The Prince took the Sultanic couple to the Prince's Palace, where they had their dinner and would stay overnight. The next day, the Sultanic couple flew back to Agra. They flew on the new plane that had just been delivered from Batavia. The plane had been extensively tested, but now for the first time in the service of the Sultan and Sultana.